Talk at Buddhist Gem Fellowship

BGF Deputy President Bro. Bobby Ng introducing Bro. Tan and inviting him to deliver the talk.

Report and photographs by Ajita Lim.

On Sunday 6 August, Nalanda founder Bro. Tan gave a Dhamma talk at the Buddhist Gem Fellowship (BGF) in Petaling Jaya.  Bro. Tan shared a simple yet succinct teaching on what a layperson should cultivate to achieve joy and success in life.  He outlined the earnest devotee’s path of practice as dāna (generosity), sīla (virtue) and bhāvanā (mental development).

Devotees were delighted to have Bro. Tan delivering the Sunday Dhamma teaching.

DĀNA  (Generosity)

Dāna – the giving of material possessions, service, comfort, and Dhamma – should be done with Right Understanding.  We practise dāna not because of the meritorious benefits we can reap or to receive appreciation, but to reduce attachment and selfishness that cause us suffering.  Everything that we do should be connected with the intention of eradicating the causes of suffering.

 

SĪLA  (Virtue)

For the laity, the cultivation of virtue begins with observing the five precepts.  Bro. Tan shared that these precepts are not rules we need to obey; rather they are training principles that we voluntarily undertake to reduce defilements.  With the observance of sīla, we will not experience guilt or remorse from doing what we know is wrong.  The freedom from remorse enables us to experience joy and satisfaction in life.  It also allows us to easily calm down and develop our tranquillity and concentration.

 

BHĀVANĀ  (Mental Cultivation)

With the establishment of sīla, we are able to cultivate the purity of our minds.  Bro. Tan shared that bhavanā has three aspects which include recollection, meditation, and reflection.

  1. Recollection (anussati) is not the same as recitation. It involves careful examination and investigation into different aspects of the Dhamma, such as recollecting the virtues of the Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha, mettā, and other subjects recommended by the Buddha.
  2. Meditation is a key practice that we should develop every day. By doing it often, we are able to develop calmness and clarity of the mind.
  3. Reflection is like looking into a mirror. Based on the Dhamma we have learnt, we need to reflect on how we are progressing in accordance to it.  For example, during an encounter with someone we disliked, was there anger present?   Tan also shared that these reflections are strengthened by stronger mindfulness (sati); the more sati we have, the clearer our ‘mirror’ is.

Upon arrival earlier in the morning, Bro. Tan was warmly welcomed by BGF Committee Members Bro. Ng (centre) and Bro. Tee (right).

We are grateful to Bro. Tan for sharing such a simple yet profound and pragmatic teaching with us. We also express our appreciation to BGF for providing this opportunity for the timely hearing of Dhamma.  Sadhu anumodana!

Devotees taking the opportunity to ask Bro. Tan practical questions on Dhamma.  Sadhu!