MESSAGE FROM THE EXCO
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Dhamma,
We are happy to see the construction of our extension block moving full steam again after some initial hiccups. The construction is now at about 35% complete and it is expected to be completed by end 2016. The total construction cost is estimated to be about RM5 million (not including GST and interior design works which will be an additional of more than one RM1 million, hence the total costs will be about RM6.5 million). Since SJBA launched its Temple Building Extension Fund on Wesak Day in 2013, it has raised about RM3.6 million. To help raise as much funds as possible to help built the said building extension successfully by end 2016, SJBA decided to organize a “Nurturing Wisdom and Compassion” Charity Dinner. The response has been fascinating. 2 months before the event, all the tickets for the dinner were already fully sold. In conjunction with this charity dinner, we made an appeal for sponsors for the 13 Dhamma Classrooms and 2 Senior Citizens Rooms, at RM100,000 each and 2 Halls RM1,280,000 each. The response was also very encouraging. All the 13 Dhamma Classrooms and the 2 Senior Citizens Rooms have been sponsored. We are grateful and thankful to all who donated generously to our Building Extension Fund.
Over the years, many people have found meaning in life and the Way to Liberation from suffering, living a happier life after learning and practising the Dhamma in SJBA. Many have also found fulfilment and joy giving their services to the Association and to the Community.
Upon completion by end of this year of this proposed 4 storey block, we are going to have a more conducive premise to conduct a more holistic and inspiring Dhamma education for our younger generation as well as for the adults. SJBA will also become a more conducive place for spiritual development as well as a conducive place to conduct regular Meditation Retreats and other mindfulness cultivation programs as well as to enhance social welfare and community services to bring relief, joy and happiness to those who are needy, etc.
Hopefully, by Wesak Day this year, we would have raise enough funds to successfully complete SJBA’s new extension block. We look forward to your continued support on this Wesak Day. Helping to build Vihara for the Triple Gem is very meritorious.
This year’s Wesak Day falls on 21 May 2016. Wesak Day is a thrice sacred day for the millions of Buddhists all over the world because on this Full Moon Day of May in 623BC, the Sakyamuni Buddha was born in his last rebirth as Prince Siddhartha Gotama. 35 years later, He attained Full Enlightenment and became the Buddha also on Full Moon Day of May. Finally the Buddha attained Parinibbana also on the Full Moon Day, ie. Wesak Day.
Wesak Day is an auspicious day for reflections on the Dhamma, to do good, abstain from evil and purify our mind. Our Wesak Celebration will commence Wesak Eve (20 May 2016), with the lighting of Blessings Oil Lamps at 7.30pm followed by Wesak Eve Buddha Puja, Dhamma Talk by SJBA Abbot, Ven. Nyanaramsi, Procession round the Vihara, followed by Chanting and Meditation. On Wesak Day itself, Puja Service will commence at 8.00am, followed by the official launching of the Wesak Day Celebration and chanting of Parittas by the Sangha. Blessings will be carried out by the Venerable Members of the Sangha. From 11.00am to 2.30pm, vegetarian food will be provided. There will be a Blood Donation & Organ Pledge Campaign and a Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnosis and treatment for devotees who need such services. We need about 200 volunteer helpers to help organize our Wesak Celebration. If you can help, please call Sis. Lily at Tel. 03-56315299.
This year, the proceeds of the Wesak Day’s donations will go to the Temple Building Extension Fund. Amongst various ways to raise funds for the construction of the new block is the on-going “Donate a Brick” campaign. Each brick is RM100. The donors can write their name and sign on the bricks which will be used for the construction of the new block. As in previous years, offering of lights will be one of the highlight of Wesak to symbolize dispelling the darkness of ignorance by the light of wisdom. This year as you offer lights and reflect on its significance, you can also contribute to making SJBA Vihara more conducive to propagate the Dhamma and promotion of the Buddhist Way of Life.
We look forward to welcome you to celebrate Wesak Day together. May the Blessings of the Triple Gem be with you! May you be well and happy!
SJBA – Your Friendly & Caring Dhamma Centre
Wesak Day Celebration This year’s Wesak day falls on 21 May 2016. Our Wesak Celebration will start on Wesak Eve, 20 May with lighting of Blessings Oil Lamps at 7.30pm followed by Wesak Eve Buddha Puja, Dhamma Talk by Ven. Nyanaramsi, Procession Round the Vihara and Bodhi Tree, Chanting and Meditation. On Wesak Day, Puja Service will commence at 8.00am followed by the official launching of the Wesak Day Celebration at 9.45am. Blessings Service will be carried by the Maha Sangha.
From 11.00am to 2.30pm, vegetarian food will be provided. There will be a Blood Donation & Organ Pledge Campaign, Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnosis and treatment for devotees needing such services. We need around 200 volunteer helpers to help organize all these activities. Please register yourselves by writing your name at our Notice Board or call Sis. Lily at Tel. 03-56315299.
Venue 21 May 2016
Introduction to Satipatthana Meditation Course followed by Meditation Retreat SJBA is organising an intensive 6-lesson Introduction to Satipatthana Meditation Course with meditation practice, conducted by our Abbot, Ven. Nyanaramsi from end May to early June 2016. This is a practical course which introduces the principles and basic teachings of Insight Meditation as taught by the Buddha.
At the end of the course, you are expected to attend a 4 days 3 nights weekend meditation retreat in SJBA. The course program is as follows:
26 May, (Sat) 8.30pm-9.30pm Course Orientation Bro Siang Chye
27 May (Fri) 8.30pm-10.30pm Lesson 1 Ven. Nyanaramsi
28 May (Sat) 2.00pm-9.00pm Lesson 2 & 3 Ven. Nyanaramsi
29 May (Sun) 2.00pm-9.00pm Lesson 4 & 5 Ven. Nyanaramsi
3 Jun (Fri) 8.30pm-10.30pm Lesson 6 Ven. Nyanaramsi
2–5 Jun (4D/3N) TBA Meditation Retreat Ven. Nyanaramsi
Please email or call us now to confirm your participation!
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone : 03- 5631 5299 / 5634 8181 (Sis. Lily or Sis. Cindy)
End May to early Jun 2016
Annual General Meeting SJBA will be holding our Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 5 June 2016 at 9.30am. The Agenda include receiving and adopting the Executive Committee’s Annual Report, Audited Statement of Accounts, and deliberation of other matters as deemed fit by the Assembly and election of the Exco for the term 2016/18. You are cordially invited to join us.
Venue: 5 June 2016
Sutta Study Workshop SJBA is hosting a 1-day Sutta Study with Meditation Workshop on “HOW TO DIMINISH THE EFFECTS OF BAD PAST KAMMA”, facilitated by Ven. Aggacitta.
Many Buddhists believe in performing various rituals to cleanse themselves of their bad past kamma (or at least diminish its effects) which is influenced by the folk beliefs and rituals. On the other hand, more knowledgeable Buddhists may think that performing more good kamma is more efficacious.
The purpose of this workshop to go back to the roots by investigating what the Pāḷi suttas actually say about this matter. However, even more important than mere textual analysis is the practicality of our efforts, discoveries and conclusions: how will they help us interpret the suttas meaningfully so that we can practise effectively to reduce and eventually end suffering. To emphasise this pragmatic approach towards the study of the suttas, periods of mindfulness practice will be incorporated in the workshop.
Venue: 17 Jul 2016
7th Lunar Month Pattidana In conjunction with the 7th Lunar Month, SJBA is organising a Pattidana (Dedication of Merits) Ceremony for the departed ones. When those departed relatives and friends, who may been reborn in certain unfortunate state of existence, become aware that their departed relatives performing meritorious deeds dedicated to them, they can feel relief. If they rejoice repeatedly, their unhappy birth can be transformed into a happy one. It is the duty of relatives to perform acts of merits for the departed ones. The program will start at 8.00am with the offering of flowers, candles and pure water, followed by Pindacara, chanting, Dhamma Talk, offering of requisites, dedication of merits to the departed ones and followed by Blessings by the Sangha and lunch dana. All are welcome.
Merdeka Celebration, Academic Excellence Award and Blessings Service for students sitting for major examinations in 2016
SJBA is celebrating our country’s 59th Merdeka Day on 31st August 2016 (Wednesday). The Celebration will start with a Merdeka Breakfast at 7.45am, followed by Flag Raising Ceremony, Blessings by the Venerable Monks, cutting of Merdeka cake and fellowship. Members and devotees are invited to join us for the Celebration. To encourage our members’ children to strive for excellence in their academic performance, SJBA will present Academic Excellence Awards to students who excelled in their examinations in 2014. The Awards will be given out on Merdeka Day, 31st August 2015. For more information, please call Sis. Lily at tel. 03-56315299;
On the same day, SJBA is also organizing a Blessings Service for students sitting for UPSR, PT3, SPM, STPM, etc. examinations this year, conducted by the Members of the Sangha. .
You Have to Save Yourself
Oneself, indeed, is one’s savior, for what other savior would there be? With oneself well controlled the problem of looking for an external saviour is solved. (Dhammapada 166)
As the Buddha was about to pass away, His disciples came from everywhere to be near Him.While the other disciples were constantly at His side and in deep sorrow over the impending loss of their Master, a monk named Attadatta went into his cell and practiced meditation. The other monks, thinking that he was unconcerned about the welfare of the Buddha, were upset and reported the matter to Him. The monk, however, addressed the Buddha thus, ‘Lord as the Blessed One would be passing away soon, I thought the best way to honour the Blessed One would be by attaining Arahantship during the lifetime of the Blessed One itself’. The Buddha praised his attitude and his conduct and said that one’s spiritual welfare should not be abandoned for the sake of others.
In this story is illustrated one of the most important aspects of Buddhism. A person must constantly be on the alert to seek his or her own deliverance from Samsara, and ‘salvation’ must be brought about by the individual alone. One cannot look to any external force or agency for help to attain Nirvana.
People who do not understand Buddhism criticize this concept and say that Buddhism is a selfish religion which only talks about the concern for one’s own freedom from pain and sorrow. This is not true at all. The Buddha states clearly that one should work ceaselessly for the spiritual and material welfare of all beings, while at the same time diligently pursuing one’s own goal of attaining Nirvana. Selfless service is highly commended by the Buddha.
Again, people who do not understand Buddhism may ask, ‘It may be alright for the fortunate human beings, in full command of their mental powers, to seek Nirvana by their own efforts. But what about those who are mentally and physically or even materially handicapped? How can they be self-reliant? Do they not need the help of some external force, some god or deva to assist them?’
The answer to this is that Buddhists do not believe that the final release must necessarily take place in one lifetime. The process can take a long time, over the period of many births. One has to apply oneself, to the best of one’s ability, and slowly develop the powers of self-reliance. Therefore, even those who are handicapped mentally and spiritually must make an effort, however small, to begin the process of deliverance and the duty of those more able is to help them do this; e.g. monks and nuns help lay people to understand and practise the Dharma.
Once the wheels are set in motion, the individual slowly trains himself or herself to improve the power of self-reliance. The tiny acorn will one day grow into a mighty oak, but not overnight. Patience is an essential ingredient in this difficult process. For example, we know from experience how many parents do everything in their power to bring up their children according to the parents’ hopes and aspirations. And yet when these children grow up, they develop in their own way, not necessarily the way the parents wanted them to be. In Buddhism, we believe that while others can exert influence on someone’s life, the individual will in the end create his or her own karma and be responsible for their own actions. No human being or deva can, in the final analysis, direct or control an individual’s attainment of the ultimate salvation. This is the meaning of self-reliance. This does not mean that Buddhism teaches one to be selfish. In Buddhism, when people seek, by their own effort, to attain Nirvana, they are determined not to kill, steal, tell lies, lust after others, or lose the control of their senses through intoxication. When they control themselves thus they automatically contribute to the happiness of others. So is not this so-called ‘selfishness’ a good thing for the general welfare of others?
We all know human beings are born with many varying levels of intelligence and powers of reasoning. Some are born as geniuses while at the other end of the spectrum, some are born with very low intelligence. Yet every being has some ability to distinguish between choices or options, especially when they concern survival. If we extend this fact of survival even to the animal world we can distinguish between higher and lower animals, with this same ability (in varying degrees of course) to make choices for the sake of survival.
Hence, even a lower form of life has the potential to create a good karma, however limited its scope. With the diligent application of this and the gradual increase of good karma a being can raise itself to higher levels of existence and understanding.
To look at this problem from another angle, we can consider one of the earliest stories that have been told to show how the Buddha-to-be first made the initial decision to strive for Enlightenment. A great many rebirths before the Buddha was born as Siddharta, he was born as an ordinary man.
One day while travelling in a boat with his mother, a great storm arose and boat capsized, throwing the occupants into the angry sea. With no thought for his personal safety, this brave young man carried his mother on his back and struggled to swim to dry land. But so great was the expanse of water ahead of him that he did not know the best route to safety. When he was in this dilemma, not knowing which way to turn, his bravery was noticed by one of the devas. This deva could not physically come to his aid, but he was able to make him to know the best route to take. The young man listened to the deva and both he and his mother were saved. After his mother had been saved, he reflected on how much happiness he had gained from saving a single being. How much greater would that happiness be, if he perfected himself and then saved all sentient beings? There and then he made a firm determination and life after life he went on cultivating his life for gaining Enlightenment.
This story illustrates the fact that Buddhists can and do seek the help of devas in their daily lives. A deva is a being who by virtue of having acquired great merit is born with the power to help other beings. But this power is limited to material and physical things. In our daily existence, we can seek help of the devas (when misfortune strikes, when we need to be comforted, when we are sick or afraid, and so on).
The fact that we seek the aid of these devas means that we are still tied to the material world. We must accept the fact that by being born we are subject to physical desires and needs. And it is not wrong to satisfy these needs on a limited scale. When the Buddha advocated the Middle Path, He said that we should neither indulge ourselves in luxury nor completely deny ourselves the basic necessities of life.
However, we should not stop at that. While we accept the conditions of our birth, we must also make every effort, by following the Noble Eightfold Path, to reach a level of development where we realize that attachment to the material world creates only pain and sorrow.
As we develop our understanding over countless births, we crave less and less for the pleasures of the senses. It is at this stage that we become truly self-reliant. At this stage, the devas cannot help us anymore, because we are not seeking to satisfy our material needs.
Therefore in Buddhism, a person can seek the help of external agencies (like devas) in the pursuit of temporal happiness, but in the later stages of development when attachment to the worldly conditions ceases, there begins the path towards renunciation and enlightenment at which point one must stand alone. When one seeks to gain liberation, to break away from the endless cycle of birth and death, to gain realization and enlightenment, one can only do this by one’s own effort and own concentrated will power. “No one saves us but ourselves”.
Buddhism gives great credit to human beings. It is the only religion which states that human beings have the power to help and free themselves. In the later stages of their development, they are not at the mercy of any external force or agency which they must constantly please by worshipping or offering sacrifices.”
Extracted from “What Buddhists Believe – Expanded 4th Edition” by K Sri Dhammananda
SJBA Academic Excellence Award 2016
Aim : To encourage the children of our members to strive for excellent
Terms & Conditions :
(a) This award is open to all children of SJBA life members (registered on or before 31 Dec 2015) .
(b) Application is now open to students who sat for the following
Examinations in the year 2015 .
(i) UPSR – SK : 5 As
SJK : 6 As & above
(ii) PT3 – 7 As & above (excluding lisan & oral)
(iii) SPM – 8 As & above
(iv) STPM (or equivalent) – 3 As & above
(c) Application forms can be obtained from the SJBA office.
(d) Eligible applicants are required to submit the form together with
(i) a copy of the examination result certified by the respective school principals.
(ii) a copy of the Birth Certificate
(e) Closing date of application : 31-7-2016
( Applications after this date will not be considered )
(e) The award will be given out on 31-8- 2016 during the
Blessings Ceremony for this year’s examination candidates.
(f) Successful applicants must attend the ceremony personally to
receive the award .
(f) The SJBA Exco’s decision is final.
MERDEKA DAY CELEBRATION & EXAMINATION BLESSING
PROGRAM (31st August 2016)
7.45am Arrival of devotees and guests
8.00am Merdeka Breakfast at SJBA Dana Hall
8.30am Raising of Malaysian Flag, Selangor Flag, Buddhist Flag and Singing of National Anthem, Lagu Selangor, & Anthem of Unity, Keranu Mu Malaysia and Tanggal 31.
9.00am Merdeka Message by President, SJBA
9.10am Cutting of Merdeka Cake
9.15am Blessings by Venerable Monks
9.30am Puja at Shrine Hall
9.50am Congratulatory Message by Principal, SJBA SDS
9.55am Blessings by Venerable monks for examination students
10.30am Presenting Excellence Award to students
11.00am Lunch Dana to Sangha by participating students