Food for Thought, Thought for Action!


Compassion and the Individual

មេត្តាធម៌ និង​​ បុគ្គល

The purpose of life
ONE GREAT QUESTION underlies our experience, whether we think about it consciously or not: What is the purpose of life?  I have considered this question and would like to share my thoughts in the hope that they may be of direct, practical benefit to those who read them.
I believe that the purpose of life is to be happy.  From the moment of birth, every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering.  Neither social conditioning nor education nor ideology affect this.  From the very core of our being, we simply desire contentment.  I don’t know whether the universe, with its countless galaxies, stars and planets, has a deeper meaning or not, but at the very least, it is clear that we humans who live on this earth face the task of making a happy life for ourselves.  Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness.
How to achieve happiness
For a start, it is possible to divide every kind of happiness and suffering into two main categories: mental and physical.  Of the two, it is the mind that exerts the greatest influence on most of us.  Unless we are either gravely ill or deprived of basic necessities, our physical condition plays a secondary role in life.  If the body is content, we virtually ignore it. The mind, however, registers every event, no matter how small. Hence we should devote our most serious efforts to bringing about mental peace. Continue reading

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Buddhist Symbols

source: the big view

Since the making of human images of the Buddha was considered sacrilegious for a long time, Buddhist visual art has produced an elaborate vocabulary of symbolic and iconic forms of expressions. A great variety of Buddhist symbols is found in temples and in Buddhist visual art and literature. The following eight figures are among the more common ones. The lotus, the wheel, and the stupa can be seen in almost every Buddhist temple. One may understand these symbols as visual mantras. Contemplating these figures is an exercise in meditation to establish inner contact with the aspect that is represented.

Lotus Flower Lotus Flower
Padma – Symbol of Purity. Can be of any colour except blue.
The Wheel Dharmachakra
The wheel of the law. The eight spokes represent the eightfold path.
Stupa Stupa
The stupa is a symbolic grave monument where relics or the ashes of a holy monk are kept. It also symbolises the universe.
The Three Jewels Triratana
The three jewels – the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha.
Chattra Chattra
A parasol – protection against all evil; high rank.
Dhvaja Dhvaja
Banner – the victory of the Buddha’s teachings.
Deer Deer
The deer -usually in pairs- symbolises the first sermon of the Buddha which was held in the deer park of Benares.
Naga Naga
The snake king. Vestige of pre-Buddhist fertility rituals and protector of the Buddha and the Dhamma.


Images of the Buddha were produced from the fifth century onwards. Continue reading


About Buddhism

-The greatest achievement is selflessness.
-The greatest worth is self-mastery.
-The greatest quality is seeking to serve others.
-The greatest precept is continual awareness.
-The greatest medicine is the emptiness of everything.
-The greatest action is not conforming with the worlds ways.
-The greatest magic is transmuting the passions.
-The greatest generosity is non-attachment.
-The greatest goodness is a peaceful mind.
-The greatest patience is humility.
-The greatest effort is not concerned with results.
-The greatest meditation is a mind that lets go.
-The greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances.

by Atisha (11th century Tibetan Buddhist master)

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The Noble Eightfold Path

The Great Wall of China

1. Right View Wisdom (Pajna)
2. Right Intention
3. Right Speech Ethics (Sila)
4. Right Action
5. Right Livelihood
6. Right Effort Mediation (Samadhi)
7. Right Mindfulness
8. Right Concentration

The Noble Eightfold Path describes the way to the end of suffering, as it was laid out by Siddhartha Gautama. It is a practical guideline to ethical and mental development with the goal of freeing the individual from attachments and delusions; and it finally leads to understanding the truth about all things. Together with the Four Noble Truths it constitutes the gist of Buddhism. Great emphasis is put on the practical aspect, because it is only through practice that one can attain a higher level of existence and finally reach Nirvana. The eight aspects of the path are not to be understood as a sequence of single steps, instead they are highly interdependent principles that have to be seen in relationship with each other.

1. Right View

Right view is the beginning and the end of the path, it simply means to see and to understand things as they really are and to realise the Four Noble Truth. As such, right view is the cognitive aspect of wisdom. It means to see things through, to grasp the impermanent and imperfect nature of worldly objects and ideas, and to understand the law of karma and karmic conditioning. Right view is not necessarily an intellectual capacity, just as wisdom is not just a matter of intelligence. Instead, right view is attained, sustained, and enhanced through all capacities of mind. It begins with the intuitive insight that all beings are subject to suffering and it ends with complete understanding of the true nature of all things. Since our view of the world forms our thoughts and our actions, right view yields right thoughts and right actions. Continue reading