Monday, February 08, 2010

Pastor Rony blasts Buddhism, response

Just tonight I've seen these videos and
I'm sorry that this is going to be quite long, as they mentioned various things in 20 minutes. I shall attempt to clear up the misconceptions that the interview is trying to portray and extract some moral values for us to learn here.

Mantra: I believe what Joseph Wee was chanting was Pali words, which can be called Puja (the chanting). The lure of chanting to gain power not entirely true, chanting can help one to calm one's mind and to cultivate a pure heart. With a pure mind and a calm heart, one can act more rationally, be happier and therefore be healthier. This positive influence can spread on to the people around oneself and make the world a better place, one person at a time. That's the "power" of chanting. One who is more inclined to faith can initially be lured to chant without knowing its meaning, however as one progresses on, one should learn the meaning behind the words, the attitude when chanting (not relying on external superpowers to solve one's own problem), and how to chant (maintain good thoughts, pure mind) before the chanting can be useful to oneself. Even if one doesn't know the meaning, the collective effect and the atmosphere when chanting is of peace and smoothing nature, so it can help calm one's mind (not unlike the choirs in the church).

"Higher than GOD" (Wrong): There's no such concept as a omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent being (aka GOD) in Buddhism. So the phrase "Higher than GOD" has no meaning in Buddhism. However there are powerful beings known as devas (or gods with a small 'g') in Buddhism. They have limited power and are beings who live in heaven, but they are also subjected to birth, decay and death. Aim of Buddhism then is not to gain power, but to find the end of suffering, the end of birth, decay and death. According to Buddhism, all beings have the potential to be free from suffering.

Moral: Define the word god or GOD properly when making a statement.

Rebirth: There are 31 planes of existence where beings can be reborned into. These include humans, animals, hell, ghost, and heaven.
There's even planes for Beings who deluded themselves (by being very powerful and long lived) to believe that they are the omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent being (aka GOD) who created the world. The difference between Rebirth and Reincarnation is that Rebirth doesn't involve the concept of a soul transferring from one body to another. Buddhists do not believe in a permanent self but believe human consciousness (the "I" or self) dissolves at death and that only a subtle mindstream remains. The mindstream carries with it karmic imprints from prior lives and gets a new consciousness in a new body. Evidence of rebirth: see works of Ian Stevenson, who had investigated 3000 childhood cases that suggested to him the possibility of past lives for 40 years. Logical arguments are unnecessary in the face of empirical evidence.

Workings of Karma in Rebirth: "Do good deeds and Hopefully reborn in heaven, but not certain." In determining which plane to reborn into, karma plays the main role, firstly, there's the heavy karma: if one committed heavy bad karma, one would be instantly be reborned in hell; then comes the last moment thought, if the last moment thought is wholesome, one would be reborned in a wholesome state. If not, then comes the normal, habitual karma, the habitual thoughts that fills our mind all the time, eg. if one thinks of love and compassion in between lessons, in between talking, always holding up this thought, one would surely be reborned in a higher realm. Lastly, comes the residual karma. Looking at this complex conditions, it can be summarized in "not certain", but then it is easily misunderstood.

Ex-monk: Being only a novice monk for 2 weeks, Joseph cannot be qualified to be introduced as an "Ex-monk" in the beginning as this carries the intonation that he had studied Buddhism thoroughly and yet find Christianity more suited for him. It is obvious that he has very superficial understanding of Buddhism despite years of being in a temple. Carrying an important position in the temple only reflects one's capabilities, not one's spiritual training.

Deny yourself: The training of a monk is to renounce the world of sensual pleasures. That means to give up the sweetness of life brought by the 5 senses, but it doesn't mean that one would torture oneself, it is also to give up the bitterness of life by the 5 senses. This is important to calm the mind down, so as to train the mind through meditation and then using a clear, sharp mind to see the world as it truly is. To train the mind while indulging in sensual pleasures is very difficult and unhealthy as one might get to think that the purpose of life is to seek ever more pleasures.

Resident monk: As a treasurer, he must handle money, therefore he is a layperson, a layperson cannot be a resident monk. No novice monk for 2 weeks will be considered to be asked to be a resident monk. Contradiction from his statement.....

To get to Nibbana: Must be doing good deeds as a base for practicing concentration meditation as a base for practicing insight meditation to gain knowledge of the true nature of phenomena. Not necessary to be celibate. To be a monk is to take up celibacy, and to be a monk is to help one to meditate in a more conducive environment. To meditate more is to train the mind to a higher concentration more so as to be able to perpetrate into the real nature of the world when practicing insight meditation.

Virtuous life as a monk: To observe the 227 precepts, not to promote violence, killing, bad deeds, to promote and share the good deeds, to provide a way for layperson to donate and practice generosity, to set an example for the devoted lay person to follow, to inspire the devotees to do good deeds, to teach the dharma (the teachings of the Buddha), to spread love and peace wherever they go (by practicing themselves as an example to follow), not to get angry or lustful with anyone, to help whenever possible, to practice meditation fervently so as to attain the sainthoods (stages to Nibbana) and thus inspire the followers by becoming the living proof that enlightenment is possible, to guide the others to Nibbana, and not to show off that they are doing all these good deeds (so that's why people generally think monks do nothing).

Music: As explained before, monks are not to indulge in sensual pleasures, music is the pleasure to the ears. Therefore monks are not to listen to music for pleasure. The chanting is meant to be inspiring sounds that redoubles the effort to enlightenment. To accommodate with the lay followers and youths, chanting can sometimes be made into pleasurable sounds.

The state of enlightenment, neither here nor there, timeless, ultimate happiness, no suffering, unchanging, soulless.
Below from:

Defined in terms of what it is...

"This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Nibbana."

— AN 3.32

There's no fire like passion, no loss like anger, no pain like the aggregates, no ease other than peace. Hunger: the foremost illness. Fabrications: the foremost pain. For one knowing this truth as it actually is, Unbinding is the foremost ease. Freedom from illness: the foremost good fortune. Contentment: the foremost wealth. Trust: the foremost kinship. Unbinding: the foremost ease.

Dhp 202-205

The enlightened, constantly absorbed in jhana, persevering, firm in their effort: they touch Unbinding, the unexcelled safety from bondage.

Dhp 23

...and in terms of what it is not

"There is that dimension where there is neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor wind; neither dimension of the infinitude of space, nor dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, nor dimension of nothingness, nor dimension of neither perception nor non-perception; neither this world, nor the next world, nor sun, nor moon. And there, I say, there is neither coming, nor going, nor stasis; neither passing away nor arising: without stance, without foundation, without support [mental object]. This, just this, is the end of stress."

Ud 8.1

"There is, monks, an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated. If there were not that unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, there would not be the case that emancipation from the born — become — made — fabricated would be discerned. But precisely because there is an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, emancipation from the born — become — made — fabricated is discerned."

Ud 8.3

Where water, earth, fire, & wind have no footing: There the stars do not shine, the sun is not visible, the moon does not appear, darkness is not found. And when a sage, a brahman through sagacity, has known [this] for himself, then from form & formless, from bliss & pain, he is freed.

Ud 1.10

Unable to explain in mundane terms, to be self-experienced.

Karma as fatalistic (Wrong): There're 5 laws that govern how things happen: Universal laws (physics), Organic order (biology), Inorganic order (chemistry, atmospheric and earth physics), the law of the mind (partially covered by psychology), and the Law of Karma (that good begets good, bad begets bad). So karma is just one of the conditions that determine what happens. So not everything that happens is due to karma. And since karma is constantly being created, one can change one's karma by doing good/bad deeds and influence what will come to one in the future. For one who understands karma, he'll be practicing good deeds constantly and avoid all bad deeds. This is also not to highlight that one practice good deeds just to get the rewards, but it is just a simple application of a law of nature e.g. Hammering one's finger is painful, so one doesn't do it. This also empowers the individual to change his own fate instead of hoping on external sources.

Women and men in Buddhism: Main difference is in the physical body. The Buddha raised the position of women in ancient India, He even allowed the order of nuns and monks to coexist together. There're more rules (no nun should go out alone) for the Nuns as women are not considered equal in the society (rape victims), the rules are not to belittle the nuns, but necessary due to physical body difference.

Overall Moral: Never belittle the other religions just to increase the faith in your own one. Even when you got their previous people converting into your own religion, don't make them give a public interview just to belittle their previous religion.

Urgent Message From Pastor Rony

I have received a number of emails from people who have been saddened and hurt by the testimonies of an ex-monk and an ex-nun. I realized that my presentation and comments were wrong and offensive. So I sincerely apologize for my insensitivity towards the Buddhists and Taoists, and solemnly promise that it will never happen again.

When we have received those emails, we immediately removed the video clips from our website. I urge those who have posted those clips on the YouTube to remove them as well.

After reading the frank views from those emails, I was also prompted to tell my members not only to continue to love souls, but also to respect other belief and not to ridicule them in any way, shape or fashion.

Let's put our goal to build a harmonious Singapore a top priority.


kai xin said...

aggreed. haha.

ThinkAgain said...

38 Point-by-point Clarifications of Misconceptions in Pastor Rony Tan’s Vids can be seen @

Anirudh Kumar Satsangi said...

Rebirth is ‘YES’. I know about my previous birth. My most Revered Guru of my previous life His Holiness Maharaj Sahab, 3rd Spiritual Head of Radhasoami Faith had revealed this secret to me during trance like state.
HE told me, “Tum Sarkar Sahab Ho” (You are Sarkar Sahab). Sarkar Sahab was one of the most beloved disciple of His Holiness Maharj Sahab.

Since I don’t have any direct realization of it so I can not claim the extent of its correctness. But it seems to be correct. During my previous birth I wanted to sing the song of ‘Infinite’ but I could not do so then since I had to leave the mortal frame at a very early age. But through the unbounded Grace and Mercy of my most Revered Guru that desire of my past birth is being fulfilled now.

Anirudh Kumar Satsangi said...

In Bhagavad-Gita Lord SriKrishna says to Arjuna:
“I taught this immortal Yoga to Vivasvan (sun-god), Vivasvan conveyed it to Manu(his son), and Manu imparted it to (his son) Iksvaku. Thus transmitted to succession from father to son, Arjuna, this Yoga remained known to the Rajarisis (royal sages). It has however long since disappeared from this earth. The same ancient Yoga has this day been imparted to you by Me, because you are My devotee and friend, and also because this is a supreme secret”.
At this Arjuna said: You are of recent origin while the birth of Vivasvan dates back to remote antiquity. How, then, I am to believe that you taught this Yoga at the beginning of creation? Lord SriKrishna said: Arjuna, you and I have passed through many births. I remember them all, you do not remember.
1. Radha Soami Faith was founded by His Holiness Param Purush Puran Dhani Huzur Soamiji Maharaj on the prayer of His Holiness Huzur Maharaj who later on became second Spiritual Head of Radha Soami Faith. The prime object of the Radha Soami Faith is the emancipation of all Jeevas (Souls) i.e. to take the entire force of consciousness to its original abode. There is a tradition of succession of Gurus or Spiritual Adepts in Radha Soami Faith. I am one of them as is evident from the above facts or ….