Doraemon goes to Hell?

My brother showed me an interesting news today; please watch the actual news reported by China’s CCTV: http://english.cntv.cn/program/newshour/20121222/102978.shtml

1356155769625_1356155769625_r 1356155802458_1356155802458_r Can you find Doraemon?

A Thai artist re-painted the wall of a temple in Northwest Bangkok six years ago after the temple’s wall paintings were damaged by flood. The artist introduced Doraemon, a popular Japanese anime character, to different themes depicted in the wall paintings. We can see him appearing as one of the many sentient beings within the six realms of samsara; Heaven, Asura, Human, Animals, Hungry Ghosts, and Hell. Doraemon’s appearance in the paintings is very subtle similar to “Where’s Waldo?”. If you pay attention Kung Fu Panda and Angry Birds also appeared in the animal realm of the paintings, also some deities were holding IPad instead of traditional scriptures. A monk interviewed by CCTV reporter said that everyone in their monastery liked it and noticed it helps young children to get interested in Buddhism. What do you think?

I personally think it is a skillful mean of the artist to help adding a little bit of humor and elements that relate to modern people to Buddhism, which many think is an ancient religion or philosophy. But it is not absolutely true. The teaching of Buddha in all aspect transcend the test of time by being applicable to all race, culture, and generations. If we investigate with an open mind, we will see that Buddha Dharma provides the solution to all human problems; jealousy, hatred, fear, anger…etc. Back to my original topic, I really appreciate the artist’s creativity in the temple’s wall paintings.

Lastly, I would like thanks Tsem Rinpoche here because just like our creative artist from Thailand; Tsem Rinpoche skillfully uses “modern” Buddhism to reach tens of thousand of people  on the internet. My family and I  are one of these fortunate people.  I have watched many of his teaching on YouTube and read many of his blog posts. Recently, he is giving away images of Manjushri and Medicine Buddha. If you wish to invite home a Buddha’s image, please have a look:

http://blog.tsemtulku.com/?p=39699
http://blog.tsemtulku.com/?p=39695

Dear Rinpoche; My grandmother is sick

http://blog.tsemtulku.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/a-chance-to-bring-home-medicine-buddha-%E2%80%93-for-free.html

Dear Tsem Rinpoche,

My mom just called me saying that my grandma is diagnosed with kidney cancer. I am not entirely sure how serious this is, but my grandpa passed away from lung cancer two years ago. She has always been healthy and enjoy playing ping-pong, and she was the Hong Kong elderly ping pong champion several years ago.

She enjoys taking care of her grand daughters. One of them is studying in New York right now and I just sent her her the bad news. The other two are a baby and a 2 years old. She also love taking care of the older grand daughter’s cats MiuMiu. I was not brought up by my grandma and has not been entirely close to her; especially I left Hong Kong more than ten years ago, and every time I go back I ignored her in exchange for “enjoying” myself with friends. Now that I am writing this short article / letter I realize how i little I know about her…..

Although I want to help but don’t exactly know how to directly benefit her. My mother recently revisited a nunnery where she used to visit during a financial crisis in my family several years ago; and she made a donation for the nunnery’s shrine for Medicine Buddha. Maybe Medicine Buddha for her to take refuge against the suffering of cancer. Sorry I cannot find a picture of my grandma but I do start to remember how she looks like now.

Yours Sincerely,

Stephen

 

Xian, China and Guangren Lamasery

xian-v8i2 “I lost most of my Xian photos after returning my blackberry to my previous employer; all photos here were found from Google….”

Summer 2012, my first stop to China and Tibetan Amdo region was Xian; the ancient capital of Han and Tang dynasty but it is only a second tier metropolitan in today’s People Republic of China. “Western”  influence flourished before the Muslim dominated Middle East and gradually the silk road trade, which eventually forces European to discovery of the New World but that’s not what we are going to discuss here. “Western” influence as the ancient Chinese knew it mainly referred to India, Persia, Arabia, and Roman Empire. The silk road trade brought different exotic spices like cumming popular in Northwestern Chinese cuisine; mystical creature (to the ancient Chinese spectators) such as Lions, Peacock, and elephants; foreign furniture such as chairs, which was not integrated into the Chinese culture until Song dynasty; and philosophical ideas from Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam have also reached China via silk road. I cannot be fully certain but I understood that main influences of Chinese Buddhism came from Greco-Buddhist nations along the silk road rather than directly from India.

My purpose to Xian was strictly business, therefore I did not visit the Terracotta Army nor any other popular tourist spots. However I did manage to escape from my unsuccessful business venture and visited Geuangren Lamasery (China refers to Tibetan Buddhist monastery as Lamasery) ; a Gelugpa Buddhist monastery largely unheard of even by the locals.

guangrensi_gate The monastery was built several hundreds  years ago in Qing Dynasty by the imperial family that followed the Buddhist Gelugpa tradition. It served the purpose of being a monastery for Manchurian/Mongolian elites and also as a resting place for the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama, or other high lama on their way to Beijing. Today the monastery is still actively promoting Buddhism and charity works in Xian. Out of admiration for the beautiful monastery and their works, I offered a portion of my traveling budget to the monastery for reconstructing one of their halls dedicated to one-thousands Lama Tsongkhapa statues.

guangrensi

Similar to Yonghegong Lamasery (if I remember correctly) Gelugpa monasteries in China would have at least three main halls the first venerates Shakyamuni Buddha who appeared in his supreme emanated form to show living beings the dharma; the second hall venerates Lama Tsongkhapa who found the Gelug tradition; and the third hall is dedicated to Maitreya the next Buddha who will appear aeons after Buddhism disappear from our time. However Guangrensi is special that their first main hall venerates Green Tara instead of Shakyamuni Buddha. According to my lovely tour guide (a lay student of their venerable abbot) there is a beautiful history behind this.

In Tang Dynasty Xian, there was a time when Tibetan kings would marry Chinese princesses. As one of her dowry the Princess took the Xian’s Shakyamuni statue to Tibet.

One night, the Chinese emperor was looking at the empty throne of Shakyamuni Buddha and thought “Who will protect Buddhism in China now that the Buddha is in Tibet…?”

That very moment the very same Green Tara statue in Guangrensi replied “Don’t worry I will protect and spread Buddhism in China.” As a result of this conversation between Green Tara and the emperor, Guangrensi installed Green Tara as their main deity when it was being constructed. The tour guide also stated to me in great pride that although themonastery is not well known their Green Tara statue is famous all the way to Tibet and Mongolia. (The picture below is their 9m tall Maitreya; for I failed to locate a picture of Guangrensi Green Tara)

gurangrensi mitrya

This concludes my trip to Xian. After that I left for Amdo, Tibet (Today being incorporated into the Chinese province Qinghai) with my younger brothers. Next post, I will write about an interesting conversation I had with a Taoist lady during my visit to Guangrensi, which involve discussion on Buddhist refuge and renunciation.

Why am I an engineer student even bother blogging?

“Tsongkhapa crown ornament of the scholar of the land of the snow; we prostrate at your lotus feet. ”

It is my first time writing a blog since Xanga, which I have abandoned years ago. I had the impulse to start a blog while riding the streetcar (in Toronto) on my way from school. The main purpose of this blog is to share with readers (if I ever get any) simple talks that I have with different people; my observation on human behavior; religious and philosophical debate; today’s news; or even simple fun facts.

On the other hand, I hope to improve my English through writing blog post on a weekly basis. It will be a great opportunity for me to practice skills that Dr. Hart taught in her English writing workshop at the university. As a Buddhist, I also praise the founder of the Gelug tradition Lama Tsongkhapa for blessings. He is a remarkable scholar/debater; to his followers a powerful lord of speech and embodiment of wisdom.

Hopefully my posts will be meaningful through applying my professor’s teaching while receiving spiritual inspirations from Lama Tsongkhapa. It is very unlikely that anyone would read this, but what the heck… I am looking forward for you guys (non-existing readers). Please come back! My next posts will be on my trip to Northwest China and Northeast Tibet (Amdo) last summer.