MV Dhamma Fellowship celebrates 5th Pindapata Day

Introduction

What a joyful day for the MV Dhamma Fellowship when it organised the 5th Pindapata Day on August 9th 2017 that coincided with the 52nd Singapore National Day celebration. There were five monks participated in the alms-round comprised of three host monks, namely Bhante U Cittara, Bhante Cakkapala and Bhante Seelananda and the two guest monks were Venerable Dr Shi Zhen Jue from Hui Yin Lodge and Bhante Gnanarathana from Kong Meng San Temple, currently residing at Sri Lankaramaya Buddhist temple during the semester holiday.

What is pindapata?

Alms-food is elucidated as “any sort of food or nutriment is called “alms food” or pindapata – literally means “lump dropping,” because of its having been dropped (patitatta) into a bhikkhu’s bowl during his alms round (pindloya). Or alms food (pindapata) is the dropping (pata) of the lumps (pinda); it is the concurrence (sannipata), the collection, of alms (bhikkha) obtained here and there, is what is meant.” (Vism. II, 89).

It is further elaborated as “The dropping (pata) of the lumps (pinda) of material substance (amisa) called alms (bhikkha) is “alms-food” (pindapata); the falling (nipatana) into the bowl of lumps (pinda) given by others, is what it is meant. He gleans that alms food (that of lumps he seeks it by approaching such and such a family, thus he is called an “alms-food [eat]er”  (pindapata). Or his vow is to gather (patitum) the lump (pinda), thus he a “lump- gather” (pindapatin). To “gather” is to wander for.  A “lump-gather” (pindapatin) is the same as an “alms-food-eater” (pindapatika). Thus the practice of the alms-food-eater is the ”alms-food-eater’s practice.”  (Vism. II, 5 iii).

“What are the benefits of a monk’s observance of his regular alms-round?  One thinks of benefitting all beings equally and destroys the faults of enjoyment.  One is not pleased when invited, is not pleased with many words, and does not call on householders. One does not walk hurriedly. Rare as the moon at full, one appears and is appreciated and honoured.  One gets a following of good men.  This observance is doubt-free.” (Vimuttimagga).

P1670945

L to R: Bhante U Cittara, Bhante Cakkapala, Bhante Gnanarathan & Venerable Dr Shi Zhen Jue.

The event

At 8:30 am the day kick started with devotees, participants and well-wishers brought “cooked food and fruits with seeds removed” (D.I, 6) to the kitchen. It has been a tradition for monks to consume one meal day before midday and no food at night so as to give them more time to practise. Buddhist monks are “not allowed to store up food and drinks” (D.I,5) and “refrained from causing injury to seeds or plants and eat one meal a day, not eating at night, refraining from food after hours (after midday)” (D.I,6; M.I,180).

For safety of the monks Lord Buddha forbade the consumption of food and monks going for alms ground outside the proper time: “It has happened that bhikkhus wandering for alms in the thickness of darkness of the night have walked into a cesspool, fallen into a sewer, walked into thorn bush, and walked into sleeping cow; they met hoodlums who had already committed a crime and those planning one, and they have been sexually enticed by women. Once, venerable sir, I went wandering for alms in thick darkness of the night.  A woman washing a pot saw me by the flash of lightning and screamed out in terror: ‘Mercy me, a devil has come for me!’ I told her: ‘Sister, I am no devil, I am a bhikkhu waiting for alms.’ – ‘Then it’s a bhikkhu whose ma’s died and whose pa’s died!’ ‘Better, bhikkhu that you get your belly cut open with a sharp butcher’s knife than this prowling for alms for your belly’s sake in the thick darkness of the night.” (M.I, 448-449).

The Vimuttimagga further elaborates: “What are the benefits of the observance of ‘no food after time’? One abandons greed, and experience the joy of self-restraint.  One protects the body, and avoids taking food in advance, does not hanker, does not ask others for things, does not follow his inclination. This is an observance of good men.  The observance is doubt-free.”

P1680204

Vegetarian food and fruits with seeds removed brought to the kitchen.

Although Lord Buddha did not forbid the preference of eating meat (M.I, 369) but to uphold the temple’s rule prescribed by the late Venerable M.M. Mahaweera Maha Nayaka Thera, only vegetarian food and fruits are allowed.

Give or donate according to your means

In almsgiving it is the thought that matters and according to one’s ability and the suitability of the gifts to the receivers not the quantity.

“Does almsgiving become especially productive of great fruit only when it is liberality of such magnificent sort as this, or is it rather when it is a liberality in accordance with one’s means?”

The Blessed One said, “Not merely by efficiency of the gift does giving become especially productive of great fruit, but rather through efficiency of the thought and efficiency of the field of those to whom the alms are given. Therefore even so little as a handful of rice-bean or a piece of rag or a spread of grass or leaves or a gall-nuts in decomposing (cattle-)urine bestowed with devout  heart upon a person who is worthy of receiving a gift of devotion will be the great fruit, of great splendour and of great pervasiveness.” (Vv. I,1).

P1680222

“… even so little as a handful of rice-bean … … bestowed with devour heart upon a person who is worthy of receiving a gift of devotion will be the great fruit, of great splendour.” (Vv.I,1)

The benefits of alms-giving

General Siha asked the Lord:  ”Is it possible to see the results of generosity?”  And the Lord said: “Yes it is possible to see the result of generosity.  The giver, the generous one, is liked and dear to many. … Good and wise people follow the generous person. … The generous person earns a good reputation. … This is the result of generosity. Once again, in whatever company he enters, be it nobles, brahims, householders or monks, the generous enters with confidence and without trouble.  And finally, the giver, the generous person, is reborn in heaven after death.  This a result of generosity that can be seen hereafter.” (A.III,39).    

“In giving food, one gives five things.  What five?  One gives life, beauty, happiness, strength and intelligence.  And in giving these things, one partakes in the qualities of life, beauty, happiness, strength and intelligence, both here and thereafter.” (A.III,42).

“When they give out of faith with a heart of confidence, food accrues to (the giver) himself both in this world and the next.” (SN 1:43).

Pot luck menu

It was a pot luck menu with volunteers from the kitchen laid out the food for the Sangha’s table and the congregation’s tables with a potpourri of delicacies like pastries, salads, deserts, assorted fruits, tit-bites, beverages and the sumptuous Burmese and Chinese cuisines.

P1680279

P1670978

Devotees’ tables.

 

Alms-round

The alms-round started at 10:15 am with about 200 participants lined up in rows facing each other and when the monks walked through gently dropped a lump of rice into each alms bowl and requisites to the accompanying kappiyas.

Once the alms-givers had made their offer were requested to assemble at the main shrine hall for the morning puja. The whole process was completed within half an hour.

Thus with pindapata, the Buddhist monks and the laypeople have mutual benefits; the monks rely on the laypeople for food and in return they teach the true Dhamma to the laypeople. “From householders the homeless receive these basic necessities of life, robes to wear and a place to dwell dispelling the hardships of the seasons. Householders and homeless alike, each support for the other, both accomplish the true Dhamma – the unsurpassed security from bondage.(It 8-13).

Puja session

The puja was a full-house session with the four monks presided by Venerable U Cittara conducted the sermon.

P1680285

A full house session.

P1670974

Puja lead by Bhante U Cittara . .

Offerings of candles, joss-sticks, flowers and a platter consisted of cut fruits, water, food and betel leaves and nut to the Buddha, were carried by volunteers proceeded to the line of devotees each one touched the items as a token of offering as they passed by.

The puja ended with blessing by the symbolic sprinkled of holy water on the head of the devotees.

Sanghika dana

Immediately after the puja session the monks proceeded to the Mangla Hall for sanghika lunch. Devotees crowded round the table and touch it with the rest behind tapped on the shoulders of each other while the monks offered blessings followed by transferred of merits to the departed ones to rejoice with them.

P1680301

Blessing during sanghika dana followed by … …

P1670985

… … transference of merits.

Bon appetite

Thereafter the monks consumed the food before midday and the devotees feasted on the food laid on the other tables as “both devas and human beings always take delight in food. So what sort of spirit could it be that does not take delight in food?” (SN 1:43), we were mindful toconsume food neither for amusement nor for intoxication nor for the sake of physical beauty and attractiveness, but only for the support and maintenance of the body, for avoiding harm, and for assisting the spiritual life.” (AN 4:159).

P1680316

“Both devas and human beings always take delight in food. So what sort of spirit could it be that does not take delight in food?” (SN 1:43) …

P1680318

… but to “consume food neither for amusement nor for intoxication nor for the sake of physical beauty and attractiveness, but only for the support and maintenance of the body, for avoiding harm, and for assisting the spiritual life.” (AN 4:159).

Happy ending but the need to know

The occasion ended well with all the food consumed and the place tidied up and everyone left with a joyous heart looking forward to the next pindapata day, however bearing in mind annica, the true nature of impermanence when “whatever exists here on earth and in space, comprised by form, included in the world – everything impermanent decays.  The saga fare having pierced the truth.” (AN.1, 712), we will take it in good strife as we move along while looking forward to the next pindapata gathering.

Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!

Contributor: Chin Kee Thou

Date: August 12th 2017

N.B.  All citations from Buddhist texts are available from MV Library , MV eLibrary Books,

MV Library Resourceful Websites.

You may visit the photo gallery to view more photos.

Contents, photos and video clips by contributor who takes responsibility for an inadvertence factual or otherwise. 

 

Posted in Abhidhamma in Daily Life, Buddhism in Daily Life, Dhamma in Daily Life, Events, Meditation in Daily Life, Sutta in Daily Life | Leave a comment

Dhamma Talk – “Criteria of a Buddhist”

Many of us call ourselves Buddhists. Are we a Buddhist in name only?
Do come and find out are you really a Buddhist on September 11th 2017.
It is a free invitation and do make a date to know more.

Criteria of a Buddhist

All are welcome

Submitted by: Chin Kee Thou
Date: August 8th 2017

Posted in Abhidhamma in Daily Life, Buddhism in Daily Life, Dhamma in Daily Life, Dhamma Talk, Events, Meditation in Daily Life, Sutta in Daily Life | Leave a comment

Pindapata Day (alms giving) on August 9th 2017

What are the benefits of giving?

“In giving food, one gives five things. What five? One gives life, beauty, happiness, strength and intelligence. And in giving these things, one partakes in the quality of life, beauty, happiness, strength and intelligence, both here and hereafter.” (AN.III,42).

Do I get immediate result?

Siha asked the Lord: “Is it possible, Lord, to see the result of generosity?”  And the Lord said: “Yes, it is possible to see the result of generosity.  The giver, the generous one, is liked and dear to many. This is a result of generosity that is observable. Good and wise people follow the generous person. This is a result of generosity that is observable. The generous person earns a good reputation.  This is also a result of generosity that is observable. Once again, in whatever company he enters, be it noble brahims, householders or monks, the generous person enters with confidence and without trouble. This is the result of giving that is observable.  And finally, the giver, the generous person, is reborn in heaven after death.  This is a result of generosity that can only be seen hereafter.” (AN.III,39).

Pindapata poster 2017

So do come and partake in the joy of giving and reap the fruits on August 9th 2017.

Submitted by: Chin Kee Thou

Date: July 21st 2017

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Buddhism in Daily Life, Dhamma in Daily Life, Events, Meditation in Daily Life, Sutta in Daily Life | Leave a comment

How to maintain happiness in the developed society?

Do you wish to know the answer?

Just look at the poster below.

How to maintain happiness

All are welcome!

Submitted by: Chin Kee Thou

Date: July 7th 2017

Posted in Abhidhamma in Daily Life, Buddhism in Daily Life, Dhamma in Daily Life, Dhamma Talk, Events, Meditation in Daily Life, Sutta in Daily Life, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

“How to read sutta and what are the benefits?” by Piya Tan – an audio recording

The MV Dhamma Fellowship was privileged to have Mr. Piyasilo “Piya” Tan, a respected and learned scholar in the Tipitaka, who graciously accepted an invitation and delivered a talk “How to  read sutta and what are the benefits?” on July 3rd 2017 at the Chew Quee Neo Hall.

Mr. Piya Tan elucidating a moot point.

The event was organised by the Buddhism in Daily Life programme under the Dhamma Talk series, regularly engages monks and lay speakers to share the Dhamma with the Buddhist community.  Mr Piya Tan was the second lay speaker who graced the event, the first being Sister Sylvia Bay.

Full House

As with the past Dhamma talks, the attendance was a full-house capacity, that filled to the brim of the hall.

Questions and Answers Session

As usual the questions and answers session was well received with participants raised intrigued and interesting queries.

Questions from the floor.

Audio recording

However, there were also many who missed it  and could attend for whatever reason, it is, therefore, an honour to bring the Dhamma to them emulating the Lord Buddha’s mission: “I allow you, monks to wander abroad for the good of the many, for the welfare and happiness of devas and humans. Do not go two together monks, but teach the Dhamma that is lovely in its beginning, lovely in its middle, and lovely in its ending, both in the letter and in the spirit, and display the holy life fully complete and perfect. There are beings with little dust on their eyes who are perishing through not hearing the Dhamma, they become knowers of Dhamma.” (D.ii,48).

In the cyber age of computers, smart televisions, tablets, smart phones and gizmos where information is available at the fingertips with just a few keystrokes on a keyboard or virtual keyboard with internet connection, thus this audio recording is uploaded on the blog for their benefits and for all to share.

Token of Appreciation

As a token of appreciation Mr Piya Tan was presented with a copy of The Mangala Vihara (Buddhist Temple) 50th Anniversary Souvenir Book.

Mr. Piya Tan with a copy of the MVBT souvenir book.

The gift of the Dhamma excels all other gifts.

The flavour of the Dhamma excels all other flavours.

The pleasure of the Dhamma excels all other pleasures.

He who has destroyed craving overcomes all sorrows.

(Dhammapada Verse 354)

Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!

Contributor: Chin Kee Thou

Date: July 4th 2017

Do keep a lookout for announcement of the next Dhamma talk by Venerable Dr R Gnanaseeha schedule on August 28th 2017 at the same venue. Topic has yet to be determined.

Texts, photos and audio clip by contributor who takes responsibility for any inadvertence, factual or otherwise.

 

 

Posted in Abhidhamma in Daily Life, Buddhism in Daily Life, Dhamma in Daily Life, Dhamma Talk, Events, Meditation in Daily Life, Sutta in Daily Life, Sutta Study Class | Leave a comment

Dhamma Talk, “How to read sutta and what are the benefits?” by Piya Tan

The word sutta was adopted by the Buddhists to mean a discourse, a chapter, a small portion of a sacred book in which for the most part some one point is raised, and more or less disposed of. (T.W. Rhys Davids).

Reading sutta is not like reading novel.  So do come and learn how to read sutta from a master practitioner Piya Tan on July 3rd 2017.

Poster-events-adhoc-MDVF-How to read sutta

All are welcome

Contributor: Chin Kee Thou

Date: June 1st 2017.

Posted in Abhidhamma in Daily Life, Buddhism in Daily Life, Dhamma in Daily Life, Dhamma Talk, Events, Meditation in Daily Life, Sutta in Daily Life, Sutta Study Class | Leave a comment

MV eLibrary

 

Brick and mortar MV Library

Since the revamped and automation of the MV Library was completed in January 2015 after five months of laborious effort, the readership of the brick and mortar library has somewhat dwindled over the years as it ebbs with the tide in the mist of the modern trend of the digital age.

Like any library, the MV Library is no exception as reported in a recent media report, that loan on physical books from library has fallen and e-books gain popularity.

P1670800

(The Straits Times dated May 11, 2017)

Digital platform

To keep up with modern times and move along with the trend, a digital platform is the way forward, an electronic library was envisaged to supplement the brick and mortar MV Library for the convenience of savvy readers to browse, read or download online digitized books on the go anytime and anywhere with a digital device with internet connection.

Co-incidentally, when Mangala Vihara (Buddhist Temple) revamped its website recently,  The MV Dhamma Fellowship was allocated a webpage for its activities and the MV Library Committee did not hesitate and jumped on the band wagon and established a digital platform known as the MV eLibrary.

The MV eLibrary

MV eLibrary screen shot

Screen shot of MV eLibrary page.

The MV eLibrary is stocked with more than 200 titles including many recommended course and text books and; of course the ever popular and demanding Nikayas. It also has a collection of antiquated books for academic research and has a collection of selected old copies of Journal of Pali Text Society, London.

The collection of digitized books by more than 50 authors ranging from scholar monks to academic writers like the famed Bhukkhu Bodhi, Bhukkhu Nanamoli, Bhukkhu Nyanatiloka Thera, Venerable Narada Mah Thero and eminent scholar writers like T.W. and C.A.F. Rhya Davids, Max Muller, Herman Oldenberg, Hellmuth Hecker, I.B. Horner,  Maurice Walshe, and U Ko Lay just to name a few.

Although the MV eLibrary is stocked with Buddhist materials mainly in English; Buddhist texts and literature in the Chinese language will be included in the MV eLibrary collection in due course including a Burmese collection.

The MV eLibrary is set to expand with time when more titles are made available will be added to the collection.

Dhamma within a few keystrokes on a digital device

This is a small contribution of the MV Library in the propagation of Buddhism by bring the Dhamma within reach of a few keystrokes on a digital device with internet connection, anywhere and anytime, 7/24,  so that “beings with little dust on their eyes who are perishing through not hearing the Dhamma they will become knowers of Dhamma.” (D.ii,48).

The gift of the Dhamma excels all other gifts. The flavour of the Dhamma excels all other flavours. The pleasure in the Dhamma excels all other pleasures.” (Dhp. 354).

Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!

Contributor: Chin Kee Thou

Date: May 26th 2017

Text and illustrations by contributor who takes responsibility for any inadvertence, factual or otherwise.

 

Posted in Abhidhamma in Daily Life, Buddhism in Daily Life, Dhamma in Daily Life, Meditation in Daily Life, Sutta in Daily Life, Sutta Study Class | Leave a comment