Little Monk Goes Viral

A little child dressed up as a monk in Fuzhou China has gone viral on Weibo

Robot Monk Unveiled In China

A buddhist temple, Dragon Spring Temple in Beijing, China has developed a robot monk named "XianEr" which was unveiled at the temple's National Day Gala celebration earlier this mont

Steven Seagal To Rebuild Buddhist Temple In Serbia

Steven Seagal Wants To Rebuild Europe's First Buddhist Temple

Buddhist Story - The Dog And The Pet Shop Owner

About A Dog And His Master, A Pet Shop Owner

Get Rid Of Bad Luck

Japanese Style

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Japanese Monk Takes Buddhism To Another Level

Buddhism in Japan is in crisis. Eventhough most Japanese identify themselves as Buddhist but very few actually knows what Buddhism is all about. Young people are abandoning from Buddhism which they perceive as un-cool and a religion for old people. In order to preserve the religion, monks in Japan are trying hard to get the Buddhist message to the young generation.

A Buddhist monk by the name of Kansho Tagai comes out with an unconventional idea of reaching out to young people - hip hop and rap music. In an interview with reporters, the monks says that when he first listened to a rap song sung in English, he couldn't understand a single word but he likes it. From there he realises that this type of singing could be used to sing about Buddhism and Buddhist scriptures as it will appeal to young people. This is his way of passing the Dharma to the new generation of Japanese.

Personally i do not see this method of spreading the worlds of the Buddha as a form of disrespect but rather a reliable way to make young people to learn about Buddhism. Though this monk might be the first to go all the way out to reach to the young people by doing what they like to do, he isn't the only doing so today. There has been a Christian priests going to bars to preach God's words to the bar patrons and i have read that a Muslim woman in Malaysia was looking for a young and preferable handsome Muslim iman to preach in entertainment outlets frequented by young Muslims and a handsome Muslim iman singing religious songs has achieved pop star like status in Indonesia.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Goldie Hawn Wants To Teach Buddhism

Goldie Hawn is in talks to set up a Buddhist school in the United Kingdom.

The actress' Hawn Foundation ( here ) already teaches kids Buddhist techniques in schools across America, and now she wants to take the initiative across the Atlantic, and use the teachings to help British children build social and emotional stability - and curb violent outbursts in the classroom and playground.Hawn says, "We need to rethink our whole approach to classroom education, integrating neuroscience with the latest social and emotional learning techniques."A peaceful, happy child is the first step towards a peaceful world."

I do not know who wrote the above article or which website it originated from but now it has been picked up by many sites. Anyway,I think this article is a little misleading. If we go to her Hawn Foundation website, we'll find that her foundation teaches about "mindfulness", nothing about Buddhism is mentioned at all. Probably part of the teaching involves some sort of meditation ( or she actually incorporates Dharma teachings in the programs but was not mentioned ) but still it is inaccurate to say that her foundation teaches Buddhism to kids. Nevertheless, Buddhism or not, her noble act of setting up this foundation to help kids to develop their minds and thoughts should be applauded.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

200 Years Temple Damaged By Fire

A day ago a 200 years temple, Ho An Kiong Temple in Kampung Cina ( a Unesco Heritage site ) in the eastern state of Terengganu in Malaysia was razed by fire. Ho An Kiong Temple was built in 1801 by settlers from Fukien, China and is the oldest and the largest temple in the state. The fire started at 9.30pm and was reported by members of the public. They attempted to put off the fire but were hampered by the raging blaze and the locked temple. 15 firemen took 25 minutes to bring the fire under control. It was reported that the fire has damaged 60% of the temple. According to the report released by the police, the fire was likely caused by decorative candles in the middle of the temple. A gust of wind could have toppled the candles and caused the plastic table to catch fire. During that incident, no one was in the temple as the son of the temple's caretaker who was relieving his father had left the temple for a while.

Eventhough most of the temple's structures remain intact and strong, the damaged materials, most of them were brought in from China are priceless and irreplaceable. According to the temple's caretaker, Mr Tan, the damaged materials are hard to find or no longer available even in China today.

It is sad to see something historial like this temple got damaged because even if the temple is restored 100%, it would never be the same again. The caretaker's son should have known better not to leave lighted candles / joss sticks unattended, not even for a while. When we have something burning in our premise, the risk of the flame/fire getting out of control is always there. These days many homes are using those electrical candles. These candles are just as fire hazard as the convetional candles. If these electrical candles are left lighted for a long time, the candles will get overheated and burst into flames (sparks) and catch fire easily. People should exert extra cautious when lighting candles / joss sticks and never leave them unattended at all time.

Before the fire

After the fire

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Oprah Meets Monk Thich Nhat Hanh

A few days ago, Oprah Winfrey had a lenghty interview with the famous American based Vietnamese monk, Thich Nhat Hanh. Read the whole interview on Oprah's official website here

Monday, February 22, 2010

Temple - Lunar New Year Celebration

Every year a festival will be held in Chua Huong Pagoda ( Perfume Pagoda ) from February to March. Chua Huong Pagoda is actually not a temple but a cluster of temples located in the vicinity of Huong Son also known as Perfume Mountain. Huong Son is located about 70km southwest of Hanoi.

This year the festival officialy starts on the 6th day of the lunar new year but few days before that visitors are already flocking to the pagoda to pray.

Though the temple can be reached by road but many visitors opt to go by boat to enjoy the cool air and the scenic beauty of the place.

No life-vest for passengers ? If i were there, i wouldn't want to take such boat ride

The place does look nice

After the boat ride, it's time to ascend to the "summit"

... and for some, it's time to descend to the pier to catch the boats

Visitors can also reach the temple ground by cable car. People queueing up to purchase tickets for cable car ride.

Impatient visitors attempt to "jump" queue. It was reported that sale of tickets had to be halted from time to time to clear the "backlog" of passengers before new passengers were allowed in.

Thousand of visitors thronged the pagoda ground

Incense smoke permeates the air. I believe burning insense do raise the temperature a bit, a respite for the visitors there.

This is the more popular temple here. It is called Thien Tru Temple meaning Heavenly Kitchen Temple. According to folk legend, the temple got its name from the formation of rocks there that looks like a chef busy cooking away in a kitchen

A food stall selling meat. The animal seen hanging up there ( on the left ) is a goat but at a glance it could look like a dog, a favorite delicacy in Vietnam.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Temple - Lunar New Year Celebration

On the eve of the recent Lunar New Year, thousands of Buddhist from the local community visited the Vietnamese Phat Hue Pagoda in Frankfurt, Germany. People went to the temple not only to pay homage to the Buddha but to participate in New Year celebration held in the temple.

A view inside the temple

A resident monk addressing the crowd

Devotees offering prayers to the Buddha

A praying session in progress

Devotees chanting

Meditation session in progress

Hundred of visitors thronged the temple on the eve of Lunar New Year

Two young men waiting to perform lion dance

The lion dance wishes the monk and his temple and receives the monk's blessings in return

The "cute" God of Prosperity having his picture taken with a monk

The resident monk giving out oranges to children

It's time for the lion dance to venture outdoor

The lion dance perform in freezing condition outside the temple premise

Friday, February 19, 2010

Buddhist Personality : Evan Brenner

Name : Evan Brenner
Nationality : USA
Profession : Actor ( one man show stage actor ). He had a show called Buddha : Triump & Tragedy Of A Great Sage. He was introduced to Buddhism when he was in high school and got immersed into Buddhist sutras as he learned more about Buddhism.

In the following videos, he shares his thoughts about being a Buddhist and his Buddha's theme show.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Welcoming The Year Of The Tiger

Today, February 14, 2010 is the 1st day of the Lunar New Year. According to Chinese zodiac, this year is the year of the Tiger. Lunar New Year is celebrated by Chinese, Vietnamese and Koreans all over the world. In China, this celebration is called Spring Festival, in Vietnam it is called Tet while the Koreans call this new year as Seollal, elsewhere in South East Asia, Europe and other parts of the world, it is often known as Chinese New Year.

For those who are celebrating this Lunar New Year, i wish you Happy New Year.
Enjoy, the following snapshots of Chinese New Year celebration held all over the world.

Performers in a temple fair in Temple Of Heaven in Beijing, China on the 1st day of Chinese New Year

Foreigner join in the celebration of Chinese New Year by lighting fireworks in Beijing, China

A lion dance being performed during Chinese New Year celebration in Beijing, China

Worshippers pray in a temple in Lanzhou, China on the 1st day of Chinese New Year

Visitors tour a temple fair decorated with lanterns in Beijing, China on the 1st day of Chinese New Year

Crowds gather in Hague, Netherlands to participate in a Chinese New Year parade

People braved cold to watch and participate in a Chinese New Year celebration in Stockholm, Sweden

Children perform in a Lunar New Year celebration in Pyongyang, North Korea

Locals enjoy watching and participating in a dragon dance performance held in conjunction of Chinese New Year in Sao Paolo, Brazil

A Chinese new year gala show held in conjunction of Chinese New Year in Kiev, Ukraine

Times Square in New York, USA sends out a giant Chinese New Year greeting

The whole of Singapore is lit up with lanterns and colorful lights to celebrate Chinese New Year & God of Longevity giving out gifts to zoo visitors in Singapore

The city of Hanoi in Vietnam lit up in colorful lights to usher the Vietnamese New Year ( Tet ) and worshippers praying in a temple in Hanoi, Vietnam on the 1st day of the new year

Vietnamese enjoy a new year street show and a display of fireworks on the eve of Lunar New Year in Hanoi

A temple ceremony to mark the Lunar New Year ( Tet ) in Hanoi, Vietnam

Chinese New Year celebrations held in the largest shopping mall, SM Mall of Asia in Manila, Philippines

Children perform in Chinese New Year show in Moscow, Russia

Worshippers all over Taiwan flocked to temples to pray on the 1st day of Chinese New Year

Lion dance performed to a street crowd for Chinese New Year celebration in Sydney, Australia

A Chinese new year performance held in Helsinki, Finland

Lively performances held to celebrate Chinese New Year in Madrid, Spain

Indonesian children waiting for their turn to perform dragon dance for the Chinese New Year celebration in Jakarta, Indonesia & a worker lights up giant joss sticks in a temple in Jakarta on the 1st day of Chinese New Year ( Imlek )

Worshippers pray in a temple in Medan, Indonesia on the 1st day of Chinese New Year

Colorful Chinese New Year celebration in Bangkok, Thailand & 2 tiger cubs were dressed in Chinese traditional costumes in a zoo in Chonburi to usher the Year Of The Tiger

Children receiving gifts in a Chinese New Year celebration in Sofia, Bulgaria

People watching a lion dance performance, held in conjuction of Chinese New Year in Southampton, England

Chinese New Year parade in Vancouver, Canada

A lion dance performance to greet the new year in Athens, Greece

Member of Chinese peacekeeper troop sending new year greetings from Port Au Prince, Haiti

Worshippers pray in a temple on the 1st day of Chinese New Year in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Acrobats perform in a Chinese New Year show in Nairobi, Kenya

The annual Chinese New Year Gala Show ( held for the 4th year ) in Valletta, Malta

Lion dance and dragon dance being performed in Paris, France to celebrate Chinese New Year

A man prays in the Kuan Kung Temple in Panama City, Panama on the 1st day of Chinese New Year and a lion dance roamed the street of Panama City to usher the Year Of The Tiger