Buddhist monk leads discussion of karmic forces in Morristown

by LORRAINE ASH, Daily Record, Apr. 3, 2011

Morristown, TN (USA) -- Famed Buddhist monk Bhante Wimala held 45 people in rapt attention Saturday at the Center for Spiritual Living as he explained principles of karma at work in everyone's inner life every day.

<< Bhante Wimala, a traveling monk, speaks at the Center for Spiritual Living in Morristown. He made a rare appearance to address the issue of karma in everyday life. / STAFF PHOTO: MARK R. SULLIVAN

"When you really understand karma, you can master your life and pull yourself out of pain," said Bhante, a title meaning "Father" in the Theravada Buddhist tradition.

Since 1994, he has been chief monk of the United States, a responsibility bestowed by a council of monks in his native Sri Lanka.

The karmic cycles going round and round a person's mind — whether positive or negative — shape the quality of his or her experience, said Bhante. Karmic cycles even transcend samsara, a term for the cycle of birth and death.

"Action and consequences, together, we call karma," he explained. "You dislike somebody and you think an angry thought. The minute it rises, it has an effect. When you think negative thoughts, you are in pain."

This cause and effect always occurs, he said. It doesn't matter if a particular anger is justified; the anger still causes pain. Similarly, it doesn't matter if a sadness is a natural reaction to a life event; the sadness still causes pain.

"Pain is very dangerous," Bhante said, "because it is a distortion of perspective. The nature of the mind is such that the more intense the negativity, the easier it is to repeat it. When negative behavior is repeated, you become a negative personality."

And negative personalities, he added, tend toward depression, violence and negative relationships for a simple reason.

"You attract what you radiate," he said.

The way out is to understand the karmic cycle — or awaken to it — and cultivate positive thoughts, which are filled with clarity.

"Say you were abused," Bhante said. "If you stand tall, stay patient and face that abuse with clarity, you will not suffer." An audible gasp was heard throughout the room as Bhante continued.

"That person is abusing you because of their own pain, but you are suffering because of your own reaction," he added. "How long you suffer depends on how much negativity you generate."

Respond with 10 percent negativity? Bhante said. Then suffer 10 percent.

The flow of teachings rolled for hours, with questions punctuating the talk: Isn't anger all right if it helps a person stand up for peace? What about collective karma, when whole groups seem to hate each other?

Bhante, whose Triple Gem Society reconstructs villages in many dangerous, war-torn areas of the globe, re-focused the questioners to their individual states.

"If you are standing for peace," he said, "find yourself some peace first. You cannot change the world positively if you are living in a pool of negativity."

Participant Joan Lloyd of Mendham hears Bhante speak whenever she can.

"It's very peaceful and soothing to be in his presence," she said, adding that hearing him always is an emotionally moving experience.

We Need Your Help to Train the
Buddhist AI Chat Bot
(Neural Omniscient Robotic-Being for Buddhist Understanding)

For Malaysians who wants to donate in MYR, please use the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB
Note: Please indicate your name in the payment slip. Thank you.

Dear Friends in the Dharma,

We seek your generous support to help us train NORBU, the word's first Buddhist AI Chat Bot.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this noble cause:

One-time Donation or Loan: A single contribution, regardless of its size, will go a long way in helping us reach our goal and make the Buddhist LLM a beacon of wisdom for all.

How will your donation / loan be used? Download the NORBU White Paper for details.

For Malaysians who wants to donate in MYR, please use the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB
Note: Please indicate your purpose of payment (loan or donation) in the payment slip. Thank you.

Once payment is banked in, please send the payment slip via email to: editor@buddhistchannel.tv. Your donation/loan will be published and publicly acknowledged on the Buddhist Channel.

Spread the Word: Share this initiative with your friends, family and fellow Dharma enthusiasts. Join "Friends of Norbu" at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/norbuchatbot. Together, we can build a stronger community and create a positive impact on a global scale.

Volunteer: If you possess expertise in AI, natural language processing, Dharma knowledge in terms of Buddhist sutras in various languages or related fields, and wish to lend your skills, please contact us. Your knowledge and passion could be invaluable to our project's success.

Your support is part of a collective effort to preserve and disseminate the profound teachings of Buddhism. By contributing to the NORBU, you become a "virtual Bodhisattva" to make Buddhist wisdom more accessible to seekers worldwide.

Thank you for helping to make NORBU a wise and compassionate Buddhist Chatbot!

May you be blessed with inner peace and wisdom,

With deepest gratitude,

Kooi F. Lim
On behalf of The Buddhist Channel Team

Note: To date, we have received the following contributions for NORBU:
US$ 75 from Gary Gach (Loan)
US$ 50 from Chong Sim Keong
MYR 300 from Wilson Tee
MYR 500 from Lim Yan Pok
MYR 50 from Oon Yeoh
MYR 200 from Ooi Poh Tin
MYR 300 from Lai Swee Pin
MYR 100 from Ong Hooi Sian
MYR 1,000 from Fam Sin Nin
MYR 500 from Oh teik Bin
MYR 300 from Yeoh Ai Guat
MYR 300 from Yong Lily
MYR 50 from Bandar Utama Buddhist Society
MYR 1,000 from Chiam Swee Ann
MYR 1,000 from Lye Veei Chiew
MYR 1,000 from Por Yong Tong
MYR 80 from Lee Wai Yee
MYR 500 from Pek Chee Hen
MYR 300 from Hor Tuck Loon
MYR 1,000 from Wise Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd
MYR 200 from Teo Yen Hua
MYR 500 from Ng Wee Keat
MYR 10,000 from Chang Quai Hung, Jackie (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from K. C. Lim & Agnes (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from Juin & Jooky Tan (Loan)
MYR 100 from Poh Boon Fong (on behalf of SXI Buddhist Students Society)
MYR 10,000 from Fam Shan-Shan (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from John Fam (Loan)
MYR 500 from Phang Cheng Kar
MYR 100 from Lee Suat Yee
MYR 500 from Teo Chwee Hoon (on behalf of Lai Siow Kee)
MYR 200 from Mak Yuen Chau

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: editor@buddhistchannel.tv