Dharma Encounters

What books should new Buddhists read?

《妙雲集》 is a set of 24 Dharma books written by Master Yin Shun 印顺导师.

After studying《妙雲集》in detail, 宏印法师 Venerable Hong Yin recommended in his book “怎樣讀《妙雲集》” for new Buddhists to start with 《佛法是救世之光》 of 《妙雲集》.

Within this book, Venerable advises that the following short articles be read in sequence, one after the other:

Chapter Title Pages
佛法是救世之光 1-6
二七 人生的意義何在 273-284
二八 切莫誤解佛教 285-306
佛為救護我們而來 7-16
一四 佛學的兩大特色 157-166
Note: There are also other good articles in this book that are very suitable for beginners.

After one has finished and digested the above teachings, one should move on to the next book that Venerable recommends. Check out 如何讀《妙雲集》 for details.

Enjoy the learning!

May all have right view and right understanding of the Buddha’s teachings.

Tech Tips

How to tether with the HTC Hero?

How to surf the net on a Vista laptop by using the “Mobile network” connection on the Hero?

0. Install HTC Sync on Vista

1. Turn on “Mobile network” HSPA connection on Hero

2. Connect Hero to PC via USB cable. If it prompted to install a new driver but auto search for driver failed, manually point it to the “inf” file in C:\Program Files\HTC\HTC Driver\Driver Files\Vista_x86

3. On Hero: Menu > Settings > Wireless Controls > Mobile network sharing (click to turn on)
=> Skip this step if you forgot to do Step-5 previously cos it’ll auto connect

4. It may take 3-5 mins to connect. Monitor the handshake process by clicking once on the network connection icon in the system tray on the laptop (assume Vista). When you see this, the tethering is complete and successful:

Currently connected to:
<Some new network name>
Access: Local and Internet

5. When you are done tethering, turn it off on Hero:
Menu > Settings > Wireless Controls > Mobile network sharing (click to turn off)
=> It’s better to turn off to prevent accidental use while charging phone

6. Turn off “Mobile network” HSPA connection on Hero

Tech Tips

How to Split the GNU screen in half horizontally?

1. Create two screen sessions
2. Ctrl+a S to split in half
3. Ctrl+a TAB to move to bottom half
4. Ctrl+a ” to select session
5. Ctrl+a Q to return to full size screen

Tech Encounters

Why is Drupal “Contact Form” not sending any email?

PROBLEM : My “Contact Form” in Drupal (v6.14) was not delivering any email to my mailbox. No error was indicated in Drupal logs.

SOLUTION : Turned out my web hosting company had to move my domain name record from /etc/localdomains to /etc/remotedomains.

Here’s a php script to test the sending of email:

$to = "[email protected]";
$subject = "Test mail";
$message = "Hello! This is a test message.";
$from = "<name>@<your domain>";
$headers = "From: $from";
echo "Mail Sent.";

Misc Quotes Our Society

Hostile takeover of AWARE

Excerpt from source @ Glass Castle:

Not Secular Feminists But Sectarian Fundamentalists: And They’ll Come For You Too

Editor Jolene addresses the takeover of AWARE by a group featuring prominent anti-gay activists.


At the end of March, AWARE held an AGM attended by a large bloc of new members, many of whom had not previously been especially active in the organisation (according to the Straits Times, a large majority of them had only joined the organisation in the preceding 3 months). They proceeded to elect a new executive committee dominated by anti-gay activists. The new President (who has since, bizarrely, resigned), Claire Nazar, has publicly said that in her interpretation of her religion, Christianity, homosexuality is an ‘abomination’ and ‘the [result] of sin and flouting of God’s moral order’. The new honorary secretary, Jenica Chua, has previously criticised NMP Siew Kum Hong for his support for the legalisation of gay sex by referring to ‘the homosexual agenda’ and ‘the homosexual interest group’, language which originates from Christian fundamentalist movements in America.

Their supporters at the meeting included more individuals with clear connections to anti-gay Christian fundamentalist activism. Among these was Angela Thiang, who works in a company headed by infamous anti-gay Christian NMP Thio Li Ann, and who has publicly spoken in favour of Section 377A and in opposition to abortion rights. There was also Dr Alan Chin, who has used the language of American Christian fundamentalists by referring disapprovingly to ‘the gay lifestyle’.

Many of the members who voted for this new executive committee had only joined recently and were not well-known to active existing members of AWARE – suggesting that they were a new faction, rather than representing and reflecting the existing values of the group. In other words, the organisation appears to now be run not by secular feminists but by sectarian fundamentalists. It is likely that they will use it to push through a new agenda, promoting visions of gender, sexuality and women’s rights which are contrary to what AWARE previously stood for.

This has severe implications for women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, and civic society at large. Even if you consider yourself wholly indifferent to feminism or LGBTQ rights, please sit up and pay attention. They could come for you next.

Read the full article at


Screensaver / wallpaper for your mobile phone? provides the free creation of animated mobile phone screensavers/wallpapers of different sizes with personalised text on it. Here are some that I’ve created as reminders for myself. Feel free to d/l if you like them. Size = 176×220.

It may juz stop. It wun beat 4evr.

Make it good. R u really alive?

Anicca Dukkha

Anatta Who am i?

Dharma Quotes


When collaboration among members within a Buddhist organisation breaks down, part of the reason could be due to the lack of “六和敬” 的 “见和同解”. It’s only natural for people with very differing points of view to part ways when there is no longer mutual understanding.

But why do they have such differing viewpoints in the first place? One possible reason is because some of them may have understood the Dharma in different and incomplete ways, but held on to the partial viewpoint as whole, i.e. thinking that the trunk is the whole elephant.

This is why Right Understanding of the Dharma is so important. How do we cultivate Right Understanding then? 印順導師 offered his viewpoint:

印順導師《教制教典與教學》p.178 ~ p.180:







Misc Quotes

Barry Schwartz: The real crisis? We stopped being wise

TED talk – Barry Schwartz: The real crisis? We stopped being wise

Feb 2009

Barry Schwartz makes a passionate call for “practical wisdom” as an antidote to a society gone mad with bureaucracy. He argues powerfully that rules often fail us, incentives often backfire, and practical, everyday wisdom will help rebuild our world.

Check out the 20 mins short video.

I find Barry’s following message especially true:

“…  as we turn increasingly to rules, rules and incentives may make things better in the short run, but they create a downward spiral that makes them worse in the long run. Moral skill is chipped away by an over reliance on rules that deprives us on the opportunity to improvise and learn from our improvisations and moral will is undermined by an incessant appeal to incentives that destroy our desire to do the right thing. And without intending it, by appealing to rules and incentives, we are engaging in a war on wisdom.”

In life, there are apparently many questions without known answers, and many situations seen as hopeless and beyond our control. When “we” can’t understand or solve these problems at our level, we tend to turn to “higher entity” for answers.

I guess it’s a lot easier for most of us to push the personal responsibility of our lives to an external entity. That way, we avoid the accountability for our own actions. Harmful actions can thus be proudly committed in the name of the “higher entity” without remorse or guilt. We stopped doing the right thing, because “right” is now fuzzy.

It’s always easier to simply believe and not question because we’ll have less work to do, less facts to verify, less concepts to learn and digest, and less cultivation to do. “Why so serious?”, some will say. Because ignorance begets suffering. We all need that wisdom beyond blind faith to start taking responsibility of our lives.

IMHO, Barry Schwartz’s secular statement above says it well, if you substitute “rules” with “dogmas” and “incentives” with concepts such as “believers will rise to heaven while non-believers suffer in hell forever”.

We need to stop creating or turning into zombies. Wisdom must take center stage. Wisdom guides all actions.

Dharma Quotes



--《佛法概論》〈自序〉p. 1

Dharma Quotes




( Y 34p133~134 )