May 3, 2023 | Latest, News & Message
SUKHO BUDDHĀNAṂ UPPĀDO! Happy is the birth of all Buddhas!
Vesak is that time of the year when we recall the birth, enlightenment and the great passing away or MAHĀ-PARINIBBĀNA of the Buddha. These three important events are significant to our own lives, as they teach us how to live a peaceful way of life and to realise our full potential.
It is also the time for us to draw inspiration from the life of the Buddha and to aspire to gain our true freedom by walking in the footsteps of the Buddha.
In order to gain true freedom and enlightenment, we need to develop two things: merits and wisdom. The Buddha developed all kinds of merits through the perfection of virtues such as generosity; morality; renunciation; wisdom; effort; patience / endurance; truthfulness; determination; loving-kindness; and equanimity.
It is through these perfections that the Buddha was able to overcome all the obstacles and challenges he encountered. When he was attacked by the wild, intoxicated elephant, Nālāgiri, or challenged by demons such as Ālavaka and other heretics, the Buddha simply resorted to the act of Truth (SACCA KIRIYĀ) based on the virtues he had perfected. He never resorted to hatred, revenge or violence.
Besides developing merits through the cultivation of the ten perfections, the Buddha also showed us how to cultivate wisdom through the development and purification of the mind. This is clearly expounded in the Noble Eightfold Path, namely: Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Bodily Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration.
These eight path factors can be understood in terms of SīLA – precepts or good conduct, SAMĀDHI – concentration, and PAÑÑĀ – wisdom.
The aim is to purify our body speech and mind from the unskilful tendencies of greed, hatred and delusion.
Through SīLA or the restraint of speech and body actions, the tendencies of greed, hatred and delusion can be prevented from manifesting at the physical and verbal levels, but not at the mental level. Hence the need to develop SAMĀDHI or concentration, to cultivate calmness and insight in order to prevent the tendencies of greed, hatred and delusion from manifesting at the mental level. However, unskilful tendencies can still manifest when one’s mind is out of concentration, or when the path factors of effort, mindfulness and concentration are not in proper focus. Hence the need to develop PAÑÑĀ, wisdom and insight, through the cultivation of Right Understanding and Right Thought.
The threefold training in SīLA SAMĀDHI PAÑÑĀ, which enables us to overcome greed, hatred and delusion, can be effectively realised through the systematic cultivation of SAMATHA-VIPASSANĀ – calmness and insight meditation.
These practices along with merit-making – such as the offering of lights, offering of alms food to the Sangha and other acts of generosity (DĀNA) – are often promoted during Vesak celebrations. They also include the observance of precepts (SīLA) and the cultivation of Metta and Mindfulness and other qualities that contribute to the development and purification of the mind (BHĀVANĀ).
The true significance of Vesak lies in the universal peace message of the Buddha which shows us how to overcome the tendencies of greed, hatred and delusion – the root causes of all human problems and challenges in the world today.
Since wars and other man-made and natural disasters are beyond our individual control, giving rise to uncertainties in our lives, it is important for us to turn within to control our own minds through the cultivation of SAMATHA-VIPASSANĀ, and sow the seed of enlightenment.
On this occasion of Vesak, let us extend goodwill to all and pray for peace, harmony and stability in the country, and in the world at large.
May all suffering beings, be free from suffering.
May all those in sorrow, be free from sorrow.
May all those in fear and danger, be free from fear and danger.
May all beings be well and happy.
Happy Vesak to all!
 DASA PĀRAMĪ (Ten Perfections)
 Those interested to participate in our ongoing Samatha Vipassana course, please contact Aloka.
Dec 30, 2022 | Latest, News & Message
New Year greetings to all!
Once again, it is time to reflect and recall all the goodness we have done during the past year, and resolve to improve and transform ourselves in the coming year. How we fare in the coming year will ultimately be determined by our own thoughts, speech and bodily actions.
Whatever may be in store for us in the lunar Year of the Rabbit – a symbol of longevity, peace and prosperity – we either need to make the best use of all the positive influences to further our wellbeing, or counter the effects of certain negative forces and change the course of things through the cultivation of spiritual values.
The celebration of Lunar New Year (as with other culturally-related new years) is well known for traditional practices such as respecting elders, being generous, seeking forgiveness, and so on. These wholesome actions are conducive to peace, harmony and prosperity within the family. In addition, we also need to cultivate certain values that will equip us to meet the challenges of our time.
Metta and Mindfulness are two very important ‘tools’ that will help us to meet the challenges of our time. Both are now the subject of scientific investigation around the world, and there are a growing number of studies which demonstrate their benefits – especially in mental health and interpersonal relationships.
For more than 10 years, we have been promoting the awareness and cultivation of Metta, or loving-kindness meditation, through various activities such as 24Hr Metta, Metta Round the World, Metta Circles, Metta Conventions, and the Million Minutes of Metta and Mindfulness initiative.
We rejoice with all the individuals and groups from around the world who participated in Metta Circles and the Million Minutes of Metta and Mindfulness initiative at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and collectively clocked in over 6 million minutes by 13 July 2022.
Between July and October 2022, the Aloka Online Dhamma Course (AODC) on Mindfulness, based on the Maha-Satipatthana Sutta as taught by the Buddha, was also successfully conducted. More than 500 participants completed the course, and many have indicated their interest to further their practice in smaller groups at different locations. (Sadhu to all the coordinators and volunteers who have made this online course possible.)
In the coming year, we look forward to having your continued support and assistance to reach out and share the practice of Metta and Mindfulness with members, devotees and Dhamma friends. For those who have completed the online course on Mindfulness, we hope you will make greater commitment to take your practice to another level.
We also rejoice with all our Dana providers who have generously supported us throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
We look forward to having your continued support and participation in the coming year.
Wishing you all a happy and prosperous New Year.
May you and all members of your family be blessed with a long, healthy and happy life.
May the blessings of the Buddha Dhamma Sangha be with you all, always.
Dec 31, 2021 | News & Message
Wishing you all a Happy New Year!
2022 – the year of the Tiger in the Chinese zodiac – will be like any other year… good for some and not so good for others. Tigers are well known for their strength and courage, which are what we need to face the ongoing challenges of Covid-19. After nearly two years of lockdowns, restricted movement, quarantine, home-isolation and so on, we certainly appreciate the freedom to be able to move around and travel again, and to reunite with our family members and loved ones. It is a good time for us to practise the age-old values of respecting elders, seeking forgiveness and sharing what we have with our relatives and friends, as well as making fresh resolutions for the coming year.
The problems and issues relating to Covid-19 over the past two years must have taught us some important lessons, so we should know what to pray and wish for in the year(s) ahead. Seeing the pain and sorrow experienced by those who have lost their loved ones, or those who have lost their businesses or jobs, and listening to all the frustrations, anxieties and fears of fellow human beings, would have aroused a sense of sympathy in our hearts, as well as a sense of urgency to cultivate our own minds, to develop the wisdom and compassion to overcome our problems and be able to reach out to help others in times of need.
The wisdom to understand the true nature of our life can be developed through the study and practice of the Dhamma. We truly rejoice with all those who participated in our six-month Online Dhamma Course, which was conducted weekly from May to November 2021, and particularly with those who have helped to organise the course. Dhamma is the best thing to engage in during these times of crises.
This year we will conduct another Online Dhamma Course, focussing on the cultivation of Mindfulness, based on the Mahā-Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta as taught by the Buddha. We look forward to your participation and will advise further details at a later date.
In the upcoming course, we will be focussing on the systematic study and practice of Mindfulness. Mindfulness will pave the way for the development of the necessary wisdom and insights to prepare us to face whatever circumstances that arise in these challenging times. Through wisdom comes the heart of compassion, and the basis of both wisdom and compassion lies in the cultivation of Metta and Mindfulness.
The Covid-19 pandemic, and other impending problems and dangers caused by climate change and other natural or man-made disasters, are not directly within our control. But, we can focus on something that is within our own control – our own thoughts, speech and body actions. We can learn to bring them under our control through the training of the mind, with Metta and Mindfulness. These are useful tools that will not only transform ourselves but also help to transform others.
Please join us, and encourage others to join us, in the ongoing initiative of Million Minutes of Metta and Mindfulness.
We wish to express our gratitude and appreciation to all our members, devotees and Dhamma friends who have so generously supported us over the past year, providing us with food and other necessities through contactless delivery. We also rejoice with all those who have joined us in our online activities as well as the recent 24hr Metta event.
Year in, year out, we pray for peace, good health, longevity and prosperity, not realising that they are all within our reach, by disciplining our own thoughts, speech and bodily actions. In wishing you all a happy and prosperous new year, I urge you all to make the firm resolution and aspiration to cultivate your minds, so that you will have the strength, courage and wisdom to meet the challenges of our time.
May the blessings of the Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha be with you and all your family members. May you be blessed with a long, healthy and happy life, so that you will be able to continue to progress in the Dhamma’s path.
Happy New Year!
May all beings be well and happy!
Dec 31, 2020 | News & Message
Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!
2021 – the Year of the Ox in the Chinese zodiac – is like any other year… good for some and not so good for others. Despite all the uncertainties caused by the Covid-19 virus pandemic, many of you are still able to smile. Those who have joined our 3-month Dhamma Course and the Online Retreat in the past year will naturally be more prepared to accept things as they come. Those who have not joined our online Dhamma Course should try to join us from March to May this year, when we launch a new series of online Dhamma talks and guided meditation. In order to make the most out of the course, your commitment is necessary.
New Year celebrations are a time when we practise age-old values such as respecting our elders, seeking forgiveness, sharing what we have with others and making
resolutions. The impact and challenges of Covid-19 will continue through most of this coming year. So we need to remain vigilant and resilient, by cultivating values such as METTA, KARUNA, MUDITA, UPPEKHA. We need to immerse and suffuse ourselves with METTA so that we will be able to reach out to others in times of need.
METTA has the power to attract the blessings of devas and Dhamma protectors, as well as bringing into maturity all our perfections (PARAMI) and accumulated merits so that we will have the necessary strength and support to face the challenges of our times.
At the individual level, METTA or loving-kindness meditation helps to boost our immune system by reducing and overcoming negative emotions such as anger, hatred, grudges, fear, anxiety, suspicion and so on. It also promotes acts of kindness, such as extending a helping hand to the needy, bringing us joy and happiness.
On a wider societal and global level, METTA can play a tremendous role in developing community support through benevolent activities such as creating employment through social enterprise. Communal support is essential to help us all go through the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic and especially to reach out to the poor and needy, as poverty breeds crime and conflict in society, nations and world.
We rejoice with all our dana providers over the year, who despite the lockdown and restricted movement, made a point of delivering groceries and other essential items in support of the spiritual community at Aloka.
For the forthcoming 3-month online Dhamma course and guided meditation from March to May 2021, please take note that registration is necessary. Look out for announcements and more information on this website in the near future.
The Covid 19 pandemic has served as a wake-up call for us to return to righteousness, to lead a more contented and Dhammic way of life. It is in the Dhamma that we will find the highest form of protection:
DHAMMO HAVE RAKKHATI DHAMMACĀRI
The Dhamma protects those who live in accordance with the Dhamma
May the Blessings of the BUDDHA DHAMMA SANGHA be with you all always.
Dec 31, 2019 | News & Message
Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!
Our life as a human being is very precious. Compared to all other beings in the different realms of existence, we have the unique opportunity to develop our minds and gain total liberation. The human lifespan enables us to enjoy the worldly pleasures of life and also to experience the various manifestations of sufferings, which can act as a stimulus for us to seek true peace and happiness by reducing and overcoming the tendencies of greed, hatred and delusion – the root cause of all our sufferings.
At New Year we always pray for longevity, happiness and prosperity. Longevity provides us with greater opportunity to fulfill our worldly duties and responsibilities. It also provides greater opportunity for us to see the true nature of life. With each passing year, we see our children growing up, and we wish for them to have a bright future. At the same time, we see our elders aging, and we wish that they remain healthy and free from pain and sickness for as long as possible. While we reflect on all the good things that we have done over the past year, we also see that they are impermanent and that we cannot avoid facing difficulties from time to time.
If we see this and truly reflect on the impermanent and unsatisfactory nature of life, this will prompt us to aspire for something higher, to gain liberation from the cycle of samsara, not only for our own happiness but also for the benefit of others. Therein lies the true purpose of the long life we wish for.
The recent bushfires in NSW serve as a lesson in impermanence for us to wake up to the realities of life. There is nothing in this world that we can grasp or cling on to as “I” or “mine”. While we use these words in the conventional world, our knowledge and understanding of the Dhamma will naturally lead us to realise the ultimate reality of things around us. It is the understanding of the true nature of life – the knowledge that enables us to go beyond “I”, “my”, “me”, and “mine” – that constitutes wisdom. As the years go by, we need to grow in wisdom and realise the true meaning of life.
I truly rejoice with all those who have supported the Aloka Meditation Centre, the ABM, ACI and all their related activities over the past year. I also rejoice with all those who have put in the time and effort to cultivate their own minds, through retreats and the Novitiate programme held earlier this year, as well as in their own practice – for one’s own benefit as well as for the benefit of others.
In the coming year there will be several special events. From 1 to 9 February, the Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik Drupchen will be held at Aloka Meditation Centre, followed by Ushnishavijaya Puja from 12 to 14 February. A number of spiritual masters and lamas will be coming to conduct this special retreat and long life blessings ceremony, which is being held for the first time in Australia. I urge you all to take this opportunity to make a connection in whatever way you can with this activity to promote peace and happiness for the benefit of all beings.
The 5th Metta Convention is planned for 13-15 November in Nagpur, India. Please refer to the website in the upcoming months for further information.
May the blessings of the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha be with you always.
Dec 29, 2019 | News & Message
New Year greetings to all!
We rejoice with all the services you have rendered over the past year, and with your continued generosity and effort in supporting Aloka Meditation Centre, ABM and ACI.
The highlight of the year 2018 has been the success of the Metta Convention in Putrajaya, Malaysia, along with various other activities held in conjunction with the birth centenary celebrations of the late ‘Chief Reverend’, Ven. K Sri Dhammananda Nayaka Maha Thera.
Our grateful thanks to all our sponsors and donors, organisers and volunteers, as well as all the participants.
The Metta Convention generated greater awareness of the need to cultivate loving-kindness and compassion amongst all the 500 participants, young and old. Going forward, we wish to promote Metta-in-Action ‘From Womb to Tomb’. As such, we are looking out to recruit those interested to offer their services and expertise to form a task force to identify and implement activities for metta-in-action catering for all stages of life. These would include workshops, seminars and other activities dedicated specially for newly-wed couples, young parents, retirees and our elders, for metta to be embraced and practised for their own well-being and also for the happiness of others. This will ensure continued blessings to all members, devotees and their family members at different stages of their lives.
As you celebrate the New Year 2019, the Year of the Pig – considered an auspicious year – please do not forget the age-old values of generosity, reverence, humility, contentment and gratitude. These values are essential to promote peace within oneself and live in harmony with others around us.
Peace and harmony are the basis of all worldly gains such as health, wealth and longevity. They also provide the basis for us to progress further along the Dhamma’s path.
Wishing you all a happy and prosperous New Year.