Buddhism in Plain Terms

Buddhism in Plain Terms | Why Do We Have To Practise Selflessness? | 2 May 2020

< Buddhism in Plain Terms < 白话佛法共修分享    

Time : Saturday 2pm-4pm
Platform : ZOOM Cloud Meeting
Topic of Discussion :Why Do We Have To Practise Selflessness


On 2 May 2020, Guan Yin Citta, Singapore held the first online Buddhism in Plain Terms (BIPT) Group Study (in English).

The topic of this week was why do we have to practise selflessness. The session opened up with a video of Master Lu’s discourse before participants took turns reading the translated text. The positive spiritual energy of Master Lu’s Buddhism in Plain Terms then inspired a fruitful discussion that centred around knowing oneself, practising selflessness and relinquishing one’s attachment to forms. The discussion was interspersed with cross-references to Master Lu’s other related discourses and enhanced the learning of all. Indeed, the silver lining of being unable to head out may come in the form of more opportunities for us to head inwards and examine our mind and self, and what better way to do that by engaging in a rigorous session of Buddhism in Plain Terms Group Study? Two hours flew by for our participants in a jiffy and we hope to see the numbers grow.


Let us now look at some comments from participants:

My whole family truly enjoyed this session. All three of us liked it a lot. There were many excellent elements of the session such as the facilitator and the cross-references that captured the gist of the discussion and key learning points. I liked the revision part as it helps me to recap easily. Even my 11 year old daughter, who sat next to me and listened along, was able to understand and learn from the session.”

? Next Buddhism in Plain Terms English Group Study:

⏰ Date and time:
Saturday 9 May 2020
2-4 pm


Please click here to download the Summary Slides shared during the Group Study:

02052020 Why do we need to practise selflessness?


Buddhism in Plain Terms – Episode 1 (Part 2)

Why Do We Have To Practise Selflessness?


Topic 1

“If you don’t know yourself, you will not comprehend the Buddha-dharma”

My fellow Buddhist friends, Buddhist friends from all around the world, and also disciples of Guan Yin Citta Dharma Door, good evening everybody. Today, I would like to touch on Buddhism in plain terms to help everyone become enlightened and see the true nature of oneself.  This is most important. It’s because in this world, there are times when we don’t know ourselves. There are times when we know about others, but we don’t know about ourselves.  Just like a person who doesn’t know about many of his/her own habits, until others point it out, then the person gradually realises “Oh, so I’m like that.”

In reality, if you don’t know yourself, you will not know your own karma and obstacles. Hence, for all those who aspire to practice Buddhism they must start from understanding themselves. If you don’t even know yourself, you won’t know how much power you have, or how capable you are in accomplishing a certain task.  What is your capacity? What can you achieve today? Only when you understand yourself can you understand others. So for a person who doesn’t know about his own abilities and habits that they possess, who has no idea what they can do either, how could they comprehend the Buddha-Dharma? Hence, one must learn to truly understand oneself, then one can be a decent person in this lifetime.

My talk today is not just about how to attain Buddhahood. When it comes to your conduct as a human, you need to also understand yourself. Such as “I have so many shortcomings”; “I am so gullible”; “I have the habit of spreading rumours and gossiping”; “I prefer to start doing things before truly understand it”.  These are shortcomings that people typically possess. Hence, a true Buddhist should seek to understand themselves, so that they can control themselves.  After you can control yourself, then you can become selfless and you forget about yourself.


Topic 2 & 3

– “Why Master Lu keep urging us to practise “SELFLESSNESS””

– “Why is “attachment to forms” a taboo in spiritual cultivation?”

Buddhists who are willing to endure hardships, always think about the welfare of others and do everything they can to help others are like the mother in a family, who always thinks of her child and always thinks of others. A mother endures the hardships as she has only thoughts for others, this is how they earn the respect of others. In fact, an altruistic person has concerns for the well-being of others,  and already possesses a boundless state-of-mind.  So among your friends if there is someone who always talks about themselves, about how they feel or brag about themselves, they do not have a boundless state-of-mind. Only those who are able to take themselves lightly, can truly understand other sentient beings.

In the past, many people would follow a teacher to practise Buddhism. They would meditate, do chanting and bow and pray every day. They asked, “Will I attain Buddhahood by doing all this?” Their teacher would tell them: “You will not attain Buddhahood through meditation”; “You will not attain Buddhahood through doing chanting”.  Then they asked the teacher: “What should I do to attain Buddhahood?” and the teacher told them that the Buddha has never thought about attaining Buddhahood himself.

This philosophy tells us that: no matter what you sow, so shall you reap. How do so many people become highly respected individuals? How can a Buddhist practitioner transform themselves into a Bodhisattva? The answer is selflessness. They never thought that they need to accomplish something, neither do they do things for the sake of their future, fame or gain. They forget about everything.

As there is no perception of a self, the perception of the Buddha arises. Buddha will never take its form when there is selfishness. Hence, a Buddha never had once thought about wanting to become a Buddha. And he became one. Just like a kind-hearted person never thinks about exploiting others and in the end, they became a highly-respectable individual. What is on the Buddha’s mind then? The Buddha only thinks about ways to help sentient beings, how to give more to others and how to allow everyone’s mind to be filled with wisdom and Prajna. All that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas think about is how to help others and make their lives easier. 

If we think of ourselves less every day and have more concern for others instead, and be ever ready to be of service to others, every day, having thoughts like “I should do a bit more for him, I should help him, I should bear that responsibility” and do my utmost quietly. Such kinds of people never brag about themselves. Gradually, through carrying out their responsibility, they learn to understand to be tolerant and forgiving.  In practising Buddhism, there are neither desires nor greed. This is a state free of any desires.  When a person gives without desiring anything in return, this person is the Bodhisattva in the making. 

Hence, in all your endeavours, don’t think about what you can do or what you want to be in the future, or what you want to gain out of it.  Everything is like a dream, an illusion and won’t last long. That’s why in this world, only when you treat sentient beings sincerely, love them truly and show them tolerance and forgiveness with all your heart, will you give all you can with the mind of Buddha. You will then be reciprocated with the Buddha nature of sentient beings. The very Buddha nature that you have awakened.


< Buddhism in Plain Terms < 白话佛法共修分享