City Dharma

is the name of a new Dharma circle for tertiary students in the city area.

Organised by the NUS Buddhist Society Alumni and supported by Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery, the programmes are specially tailored to meet the needs of busy students who are new to Buddhism. All sessions, in English, are held every Tuesday night.

It provides weekly programmes on Buddhism and modern living to students studying in schools like SMU, MDIS, NAFA, LaSalle; also to smaller private schools in the Bugis/ City Hall area.

The first session, on 4 September 2007 Tuesday, is on:

Marketing an understanding of life
Sharing by Soo Lih-yi, Deputy Manager with a local private healthcare establishment

Buddhism is one of the oldest religions in the world and yet in today’s internet age, more and more people are finding relevancy in the teachings of Gautama Buddha that were introduced 2551 years ago. In this session, Lih-yi shares about her understanding and belief in Buddhism, and the challenges of introducing Buddhism to those who are new to the faith.

7.00pm – 9.00pm
Singapore Council for Women’s Organisation (SCWO)
96 Waterloo Street Singapore 187967
(beside sculpture square, nearest MRT station: Dhoby Ghaut)

To sign up, call 6849 5344 or Email

For the speakers’ bio and detailed programme for the rest of September, visit

Location map:


Got a question? Feel free to leave a comment here 🙂

The Buddhist perspective of burning paper items

Many devotees who carried boxes of joss money (saw USD too, wth), clothes and cars to burn for their deceased relatives also walked into the prayers area covering their mouths and noses in a bid to block out the smoke and ash spewing from the giant incinerator, where they burn those items. A most ironic sight I witnessed at the Ullambana Prayers held Monday, at Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery.

Apparently, they believe the burnt items are going to be “delivered” (how? Hades Postal Service?) to their deceased relatives so they can use them in their afterlives.

Sorry to burst their bubbles, but

  1. there is no basis (scientific nor religious) that these burnt paper items will materialise into solid items
  2. even if they do materialise, they cannot be used in Hell, one of the 6 realms of existence in Buddhism. That’s because Hell is a realm of suffering, not a realm where its beings can drive Mercedes Benzs, use Nokia handphones and live in ornate mansions. Just in case you are interested, the other realms of existence are that of hungry ghosts, animals, humans, demi-gods and gods.
  3. unless these devotees have attained the power of knowing the past and future lives of beings through meditation, how can they be so sure their deceased relatives are going to need these items? Relatives reborn in the hungry ghosts, hell and animal realms can’t use them, while those with the good karma to be reborn as humans, demi-gods, and gods don’t need them. Who knows, some may have already attained enlightenment…..

Click here to learn more

You’ll be surprised to know many of the people bringing boxes after boxes of joss items to burn are young working adults. The power of superstition and age-old customs…sigh..

Luckily, though, many people were reading this poster with interest. I do hope some degree of public education/ demystification is attained!

The smoke and ash was so bad our eyes teared and turned red. It looked as if the haze hit again, this time with volcanic ash. And i only got rid of the smell in my hair after 3 washes!

Got friends/relatives who faithfully burn paper items every Seventh month? Now you have 3 very good reasons to save everyone from the smoke and ash…

In place of burning items that will never reach the deceased, a much more practical way is to do good deeds and dedicate merits in their name.

late night ramblings

  1. i have a rather violent craving for Macdonald’s breakfast right now. Sis says Mac is a unscrupulous MNC, so she’s reluctant to eat with me tmr. i know it too, but a craving’s a craving.
  2. there’s a need for me to document my entire Ullambana experience in detail, but i havent got photos yet. it came and went, and i’m really happy to work with the nicest people even though i did kenna some scoldings by the public/ unreasonable people… Unavoidable, since i’m i/c of enquiries. the spirit of self-sacrifice really shows in many volunteers, and they put me to shame.
  3. went Bi Feng Tang @ century square (again!) to celebrate sis’ bday. it was damn good as usual. just thinking of the food now makes me hungry. we had the set menu for four, and every single dish did not fail to disappoint. and the staff is so friendly! offered me free bowl of peanut dessert, so nice. BFT is so underrated! Din tai fung feels like a total letdown compared to BFT, what with its very limited menu and rip-off prices. oh and imperial treasure sucks! overpriced, bad food. that time with cf and eric shd be my first and last visit….
  4. i am finally finally going on a holiday!!! first up, bangkok with my father. poor him, already say he will help me carry my shopping. aww. two other destinations for 2007: taiwan and vietnam! feels like some sort of a “travellorhea”, after 1 year of not travelling. oh and im going on a one day tour to JB/Kluang with my mother! cant wait cant wait! my passport is itching to be chopped!
  5. oh i forgot to mention i have a slight tinge of regret for joining the SPH student reporters thingy.. after the briefing we all concluded that there is little space for us to maneuver. cant write in first-person! cant review things! cant this, cant that. i dont know what to write. i dont know how clipping our wings like that is gonna make the portal a truly vibrant and youthful one, really.

my “mood pendulum” has swung a bit to the happy side… quite dramatic, the way good things follow after my shitty encounter.

否极泰来 in one day!

After my shitty incident:

  1. i had super nice dinner at the Dining Hall. The vegetarian fish curry was so good i had second serving.
  2. Yamada-san, this very cute 人老心不老volunteer, treated me to durian! he insisted that i eat 3 hoots 🙂 and it was damn good.
  3. i didnt need to wait very long for my two buses 52 and 53.
  4. i managed to catch some sleep on 53.
  5. Librarian called to tell me somebody returned my book for me!!! So i neednt pay for it! woohoo~
  6. I got selected for the SPH thing.

Quite an amazing spate of good things one after another… after a shitty thing.
I was working with Yuzhen-jie and Ching wi’s parents yesterday… and they’re such darlings. All bursting with metta!! CW’s parents are 名副其实的“老菩萨”咯。and Yuzhen-jie’s a real dear too… Really enjoy working with them!

Ok i feel better. the shitty thing is prolly a manifestation of my PMS or something.

Will be super busy with Ullambana.  Pray for good weather (no rain, air con temperature, slight breeze) and docile crowds with tempers of lambs. Also pray that I dont go blind with all the smoke from joss sticks.

Volunteers urgently needed for Ullambana!

  • What: Ullambana Day 盂兰盆节超度法会
    The observance of Ullambana on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month is based on the incident of Maudgalyayana (Mogallana), a disciple of the Buddha, who discovered throughhis meditative powers that his Mother had been reborn in one of the realms of misery. Distressed, he approached the Buddha for help, who then advised him to make offerings to the Sangha, as the merit of doing so would help relieve the suffering of his Mother, and that of other beings in the realms of misery. Making offerings to relieve the suffering of departed and other beings in the realms of misery thus became a popular communal observance.
    Ullambana is observed by making offerings to the Order of monks and nuns, and performing acts of charity. The merit from these deeds is then shared with all beings.
  • Who:
    1. Strong guys needed to help with logistics on 24, 25, 26, 27 August! Commit at least 2 hours enough already
    2. Girls/not-so-strong guys to help with packing rice, 26 August Sunday
    3. Friendly, patient people who can understand and speak Mandarin and/or Hokkien to help with Enquiries on 25, 26, 27 August. (ie. Customer service)
  • How: Either fill in the form or contact me! My email:
  • Why: It’ll be an interesting experience 🙂 Buddhists and Non-Buddhists welcomed.

Excuse me while I implode.

my gawd lah i have to blog or else i will die of implosion.

That guy whom Ching wi marked came down today. She left us alone in the office intentionally, and texted me 1000 questions to (discreetly) ask him.

So I found that out for her, at the expense of getting my cover blown while having to feel so embarrassed silently……. he went for 6 months short term monkhood, might have attained some mind-reading powers? Even if he cant read minds, he will confirm smell something fishy when I only start talking to him after I receive smses right!

and she texted: “U get to noe him la 🙂 he’s a nice chap 🙂 smart oso”

i replied: “walao eh is this some match making thing. I am so innocently being manipulated by you!”

It was so hard trying to keep a straight face in front of him while i typed that sms.


Luckily, he was really nice. At least i Dont feel too “unethical” being a spy for CW…..

The devious, insidious ways  she use to headhunt/establish contacts/expand resource base……

😛 If he reads this we’re all gonna die.

But CW says we’re desperate for (talented, intellectual) people to help us. But is that a good enough reason to pounce on innocent, unknowing people like him? True we cant force him if he doesnt want to help, but isnt roping him in within days of meeting him a bit too hurried?