Friday, August 28, 2009

...xCITE... your time this dec2009. xCITEing event is coming your way. because @ INCOVAR we inspire...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Happy Human Being :: 31st INCOVAR DHAMMA CAMP

Thanks to bro. Siew Lin for posting this article >>

On the first day of the camp, I was late........ for the morning puja. Then my group are forfeited, we had to wash the dishes. This is based on the Amazing Race theme that this camp has... for this time.

Now as I see among the faces of my group, I regonised them only through facebook pictures. Our group leader is Chow Foong, if this name sounds familar, you're right. He's Chow Fu's (the one who's in the top 5 physics Olympiad team) older brother.

So, we kinda know each other even before the camp itself. Except that I was in Singapore and I've just gone back to Petaling on the 10th June. The others had prepared a good slide show presentation on one of the ancient cities in India that relates to Buddhism.

The first day of INCOVAR is filled with activities, dharma talks, games in from the Amazing Race... Ok I don't remember the exact schedule. So I'll just tell you what I feel.

They asked who's the old people here? Well, we have people who are in this camp series from 5th timers to 1st timers. As Incovar Dharma Camp is a biannual thing and 4 in a series, the 5th timers were 1st timers 2 years ago and need not pay anything to join the camp! The first one is 4 noble truths, then 8 foldpath, 3rd one is karma (this is the one I'm in), and 4th one meditiation. So anyone who has gone through all 4 of them can be considered as having the knowledge of the basics of Buddhism.

Anyway, back to my feelings, the old timers were quick to warm up as they recognised their old friends, be it from University Malaya, IMU, UPM, etc.... and one old timer from NUS is Ken Juin, and we are the only 2 from NUS. So I naturally feel that the camp is a bit unfriendly towards the first timers, as the camp warden and the assistant are 3rd timers.

Due to insufficient preparation time, the first day passed by unsatisfactorily. I thought, man, 3 more days of these.... not fun, not as good as our NUSBS Dharma Camp.

But then, Ken Juin assured me that this is the worst one, it will be better. And indeed, I don't know how, but after the organisers got organised in the first night, I had to admit that I was enjoying myself in the camp.
Let's go through some activities in the camp....
We get to shop in the nearby shopping center, to buy materials for the egg protection game (our egg broke... what a professional pride lost... well at least I'm not an enginneer) which I believe that if we had swapped eggs (ours was a bit broken during contruction), our egg protector can stand more than 3 stories of drop (it has a parachute too).

Eating time is almost always a torture. First meal, Lunch time, we had to feed the person opposite you, not changing the plates. Well, my poor patner... you know why, I took so many food that he had to stuff them in. The trick here is to change the food, not the plate.
Next meal, we had to eat with our hands linked to each other, well, at least we get to feed ourselves. The 3rd meal is fun.... Blindfold eating. We had to feed ourselves with a blindfold over our eyes! I asked to wash my hands after a few unsuccessful attempts to eat by spoon. Then I ate using my hands! They said that this is the first time in many years that someone used their hands to eat blindfold, good strategy. The Forth one and the hardest one is the best one. Blindfold and feed your patner. Our group has just won in the advertisement activity and we get to sit on a chair and table as our reward together with orange juice, chocolate waffles, and so on.... as the others on the floor gets their blindfold, we were relieved.... Until they gave us the last of the blindfolds. Our jaws were on the floor as we had to endure torture even in the face of luxury. Well, there's no using hands this time round, so we guide our patner's hands to our mouths, blind feeding the blind. All these serves to incoparate dharma, as we experience it. The blind in the dharma leading the blind is a very dangerous thing to do, the floor will get messy, we will not get the food that we wanted.... and so on. Appreciation of how the blind eat is also one of the lessons that one can learn from here.

Talking about advertisement, we had an assignment for each group to perform. We had to advertise Incovar in a Sketch advertisement. We had it like Malaysian Idol style, with 3 judges and comments from them. One group used SpongeBob SquarePants and actually created it using yellow, square sponge! Our group acted with 5 people breaking the 5 precepts, gone to Incovar camp, and changed for the better. And we won!

The Amazing Race does features many exciting oppotunities to experience winning and losing. But the dharma lesson to be learnt from this is that winning or losing is temperary.

Well, we have Tai Chi Classes too in the morning, and kick-boxing class on the next morning, the Dharma talks were good, with opportunities for us to become the MC for the speaker. Perhaps the best event is singing time! We inspire, we're the fire, we're the spirite of youth's life..... You my beautiful friend, you bring me joy.... Ehi Passiko, come and see you'll know......Cradled in Buddha's Arms........

One memorable activity is testing of the 5 precepts and assumptions. We broke off into mixed groups and go from one station to another, passing the lying test, the drinking alcohol test , not opening ---magazine test, etc. It serves to tell us that even under excited states, under any conditions, if we don't adhere to our precepts, there's no point taking them. My group consist of all girls and me and the only guy..... we didn't get the first few stations but then, we reconsidered and played the rest smoothly. One particular station is the donation station, where one can donate (to who? donate what?), our group was the first one to go there and people are taking out their wallets, watches, etc to donate.... even an iPhone. I almost donated, but was reminded by them that you might not get it back.... so I reconsidered. This iPhone thing cause quite a stir from the other participants, they demanded to have it back to the owner (the owner didn't said anything). After one day, the organisers finally revealed to us that they had no rights to keep those stuffs, and they were planning to return them on the last day. This is to test to see what we would do. However, due to excessive demands by the participants, they gave it out early. We all learned a lesson that day. Never assume.

And the one unique experience in the Incovar camp is Incovar night. The things said there are to remain there. It's a heart to heart session with blindfolds and small groups, confessing our guilt, the people that we didn't forgave, and help us on a road to forgive them, and ourselves.

I didn't planned to write so long, but emotions are hard to control and harder not to express such beautiful experiences. After the Incovar night, we have our last night gatherings and I commented this to the organisers, "On the first night that I was here, I was disappointed and I wonder why so many of you guys keep on coming back. However, after all we have been through, I've to say that this is the best camp I have ever been to and I hope that Incovar last for a trillion years and beyond.

We each have a booklet that contains everyone in the camp, mine is more than half full signed by people around the camp. Well, lots of them are paises for me, as I revealed my silver status and my rubiks skills to them. Dan Yi Wong, the Malaysian who came to our NUSBS Dharma Camp, also came to the camp on the last day. All in all, I highly recommend this camp, if you have the opportunity to join, by all means, join it. I'm looking forward towards the next camp too, on November/December 2009, but it also depends on my CCAs here, and my exam time.
Just in case someone reading this is a organiser..... I might go back during my reading week on 14-20th Nov, or after 13th Dec..... anyway I'll go for the June one again if I missed the next one.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

“Living Healthily Without Medicine” :: 12-Sep :: 2pm

“Living Healthily Without Medicine”
by Dr. Lim Hin Fui (Ph.D.)
主讲者: 林廷辉博士

Time: 2.00 pm – 4.00pm
Date: 12 September 2009
Venue: BGF Centre
The main purpose of this public talk is to share with you how foods affect your health. It is about how you, your family members can make a wise choice in choosing what to eat to avoid disease and to maintain, attain and regain health. The change in eating habit will also contribute to conservation for the survival of human beings and the earth’s flora & fauna.

Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) Senior Researcher Dr Lim Hin Fui, BGF & BUBS life member, will speak from his personal experience, sharing how his family’s switch to health food to save the life of his father-in-law, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1996 and survived for 13 years without any radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Health food has improved the overall health of his family members.

Trained as a social anthropologist, Dr Lim completed his tertiary education in Malaysia. He obtained his BA from the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Master of Social Science from the Universiti Sains Malaysia and PhD from the Universiti Malaya.

Other than forestry issues, over the years, he has developed interests in understanding the relationship between foods and diseases. He delivers free health talks and provides free consultation to cancer patients as well as their family members during his free time. He shares his knowledge and his family’s experience with everyone who is interested to live a healthy life via health food. This is part of his dream in the pursuit of health for all.

He has written three health books in English, Chinese and Bahasa Malaysia entitled, Eating for Good Health (2nd Edition, 2009), Xun Zhao Jian Kang (2007) and Makanan Sihat Sebagai Ubat (2008).

Media interview records: Eastern Times of Sarawak (14 April 2007), New Straits Time (24 April 2007), TV3 8pm News coverage (30 April 2009), Metro (10 May 2009), Berita Harian (16 May 2009), The Sun (28 May 2009).

For any inquiry, please contact:-
Bro. Alex Tan at 016-4204000
or email:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Enriching Oneself, Inspiring Others :: 17th BGF Counseling Course

Dhamma Talk by Sayadaw U Thitzana :: 4-Sept

The Buddha often spoke about four states of mind as the four "Brahma-viharas": loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity.

These four attitudes are said to be excellent or sublime because they are the right or ideal way of conduct towards living beings.

They are called abodes (vihara) because they should become the mind's constant dwelling-places where we feel "at home". They should become our inseparable companions, and we should be mindful of them in all our common activities. As the Metta Sutta, the Song of Loving-kindness, says:

When standing, walking, sitting, lying down,
Whenever he feels free of tiredness
Let him establish well this mindfulness -
This, it is said, is the Divine Abode.

Sayadaw U Thitzana who is currently the Chief Abbot of the Dhammasukha Monastery in Los Angeles, USA was born in December 1951, in a village about 140 miles to the North-West of Mandalay, Upper Myanmar. He entered the monastic order as a young novice in 1960 after completing his elementary education.

Sayadaw mastered Pali at an early age and studied some of the major Buddhist texts under the special guidance of a very well-known and skillful Pali master, Venerable Sayadaw U Kondanna, the Chief Abbot of Kan Oo Monastery at Hlaw-gar village.

Sayadaw later pursued his advanced monastic studies in Tipitaka Buddhist Pāli canonnical texts in the Ma-Soe-Yein Thaik-Thit Monastery in Mandalay , which is a center of Buddhist Studies where nearly three thousand Buddhist monks and young novices receive their monastic education in present day Myanmar.

In 1970, Sayadaw started teaching Pāli courses, Abhidhamma (Buddhist psychology) and scriptures for seven years in this monastery before moving on to Pinsanikāya Sāsanabeikman monastery, Yangon, to take up a leading presiding teacher's role, responsible for teaching Buddhist monks and novices from 1978 to 1995.

Sayadaw holds the title of Dvipitakadhara, a title conferred to him after having passed the exams of Dvipitaka and in memorizing the Vinaya Pitaka & Suttanta Pitaka. Sayadaw also obtained his Sasanadhajasiripavara Dhammacariya degree and was able to memorise five volumes of the Vinaya. Sayadaw passed his Vinayadhara exams when he was still a samanera.

Sayadaw achieved many educational degrees for outstanding achievements conferred by the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Government of Myanmar, among which are:
- Sāsanadaza Siripavara Dhammācariya (The equivalent of lecturer in Pāli Language).
- Vinaya Pali Pāragu (an equivalent of Ph.D in Pāli Language)
- Vinaya Dhara, Vinaya Kovida (Master of Vinaya Pitaka Buddhist Texts)
- Dighabhānaka , Dighanikāya Kovida (Master of Suttanta Pitaka Texts)
- Ābhidhammika , Ābhidhamma Kovida (the Master of Abhidhamma Texts)

From 1973, Sayadaw had taken up intensive meditation in the Mahāsi meditation center under the guidance of the late Venerable Sayādaw U Sujāta and Venerable Shwe-taung-gone Sayādaw U Pandita. He also learnt ānāpānasati under Venerable Sun Lun Sayādaw and Kani Shwe-Thein-Daw Sayādaw.

Since May 1995, Sayadaw is based in United States where he has established a Buddhist temple in Southern California. Presently Sayadaw conducts Vipassana meditation retreats, Buddhist sudies, Pāli grammar courses in Canada , California and Florida.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Upcoming INCOVAR Camp

...Upcoming INCOVAR Camp. Coming soon in Nov/Dec 2009. Watch out for the continuity of 31IDC. All 31IDC participants are encouraged to join in the upcoming activity of INCOVAR in Nov/Dec 2009. Watch this space and you will regret if you missed it...

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Dhamma Talks to commemorate late Chief Venerable K Sri Dhammananda's 53 years of Dhammaduta work

In the month of August, BGF will be presenting a series of talks to commemorate our late Chief Venerable K Sri Dhammananda's 53 years of Dhammaduta work.

The talk series will cover 4 major phases of his legacy. All talks will start at 8.15pm with Puja, on every Thursday in the month of August.

[6 Aug] Bro. Benny Liow
Talk 1: Propagating the Dhamma with laughter

Our late Chief Reverend used to deliver dhamma talks with a lot of funny stories and jokes which makes people laugh and seldom falls asleep. With these, people easily absorbs the gist of the teaching. However, there are some who does not remember much but just the laughters.In this talk, the emphasis of happiness through listening the dhamma is important and also the teachings from the laughter.

[13 Aug] Dr. Chan Kah Yein
Talk 2: Listening and continuing the legacy
Chief Reverend has always used inspirational and motivating ideas to deliver his talks and this talk will re-live the moments when he enlightens the public and highlighting his mothodologies for propagation in his 53 years.

[20 Aug] Bro. MV Nathan
Talk 3 : K Sri Dhammananda Rhapsody
This talk will emphasize the harmonization between dhamma and music. A historical and chronological account of how music was introduced in Buddhism and then how Buddhism is introduced through music. Inspirational words and songs.

[27 Aug] Uncle Vijaya
Talk 4: Revisiting the past for now and the future
This talk will be a chronological and biographic account from the time when Martin Garmage was born, ordained as K. Sri. Dhammananda, then to becoming the chief rev of malaysia & singapore. This talk will emphasize his words of wisdom and his journey of propagating the buddha dhamma in malaysia and singapore.

Buddhist Gem Fellowship
w : e :
BGF Centre : 60A Jalan 19/3, 46300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.