words? Those people who ( because of the three poisons of greed, hatred and ignorance ) commit suicide will accumulate great sins, and will immediately fall into the "three lower realms", after their deaths. It is most fortunate that one can now get this most precious human birth, after long periods of waiting and suffering. Again, with so many accumulations of "good deeds" from our many past lifetimes, we are able to have all these freedoms and endowments. If we still do not treasure it and try to make use of it in the best possible way that we can, such that we can use the strength of Dharma practice to handle the direction of our own "fate" then we only have to wait and wait for billions of years to come!

For those friends who do not believe in the Law of causes and effects (karma), do you want to bet on your own fate? While you are still happy with what you have in this life as a human being, you can easily say that there is no need for Dharma practice, thinking that "I did not do any bad things, and so what's the big deal?" But when the time comes that you are in one of the "three lower realms" when you are having immense sufferings, or that you are crawling on the ground looking for food, then there is no time for you to regret, neither have you got the time to argue with others on the issue : "Who is going to save you?" It was well said by the Lord of Compassion (Kwan-yin; Chenresig): "It is better to ask oneself, than to ask others, for help." If one does not actively engage in the Dharma practices during one's life in order to change one's own destiny and save oneself at any time, then the time comes when one is already in a critical condition, the chance of asking for others' help in order to be saved will almost be zero percent!

Endless sufferings will come by just because of one thought,
Dangers around a billion years of lives and deaths.
Now asking for others' help, but remorseful for not helping oneself before,
Painfully asking "in which life will I be freed from this cage?"

This natural law, which governs the ways that "good" and/or "bad" actions will lead to the six different life forms of (cyclic) existence, is called the Law of causes and effects (Karma). During the whole process, there is no god, buddha or creator who acts as the Judge to decide upon the destiny of each individual. From the beginning to the end, it is a matter of human conduct, and so each individual will reap what he/she has sown. The most perplexed thing of all is that there is no possibility of tracing back the records of all the "good" and "bad" deeds that one had done all through one's many past lifetimes. Hence, one will tend to believe there must be an invisible hand in control of one's own fate and destiny, and that if one can plead for mercy and salvation, then one will be saved from those tragedies. Yet, they have mistaken the fact that the most important main cause of everything is ONESELF !

As in the fable of a mouse having tied a bell onto the neck of a cat, it must be the same mouse who is brave enough to untie the bell from the cat, so it must be the same person who can save himself/herself from what he/she had done. Lord Buddha, as a good example of having saved himself through Dharma practice, knew very well that all outside forces were only supporting conditions and these could not help sentient beings to be liberated from the cyclic existence of samsara. Hence, Lord Buddha taught the Dharma teachings so that sentient beings could practice them in order to free themselves from the sufferings of samsara. In order to help his mother, Lord Buddha had to go to heaven, and then taught her the Dharma teachings, so that she could practice them and finally freed herself from the bondage of cyclic existence. For those people who are superstitious about miracles and supernatural powers, you will probably question why didn't Lord Buddha just use his "magical stick" to liberate his mother? Why did he need to go to heaven and then taught the Dharma teachings to his mother? Why so much fuss about the whole thing? The answer is very simple : not that the Lord Buddha did not want to do it in a simple way, but just because he knew that he could not do so!

One should first catch the "king" of the thieves, then all the other thieves will follow his instructions. So, the first thing that one should do is to change all those "natural responses" (of greed, hatred and ignorance), so that one can follow the instructions on those "good" thoughts and actions as taught by Lord Buddha. This kind of practice is to prepare oneself so that one's mind will be of "good" nature at the moment -- CONTINUE --

CONTENT of Issue 3

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