Volume 5  No 1

From the Editor

Knowing is Bliss

Some years ago, a friend who was new in Singapore had an interesting experience about driving in the city. I think it is worth sharing. He had been driving into the city to attend a ten-day course without knowing that he needed a coupon to enter the central business district during the peak hours. It was only on the tenth day that he noticed a little police kiosk at the side of his regular route, and the policeman inside was busy taking down his vehicle registration number. To his dismay, he had been repeatedly committing an offence. He was being booked for that and he did not even know. He had a hard time pleading with the traffic police department. Fortunately for him, he was let off with a small fine for committing one offence rather than the ten. He summed up the experience by saying, "If only I knew."

I see a lot of similarity between this incident and what we often have to go through in our lives, the only difference is that there may be no merciful ears to listen to our pleas. Knowing is bliss because, by avoiding the wrong actions we avoid the eventual penalties. Another anecdote to illustrate my point: a monk who came from a wealthy and noble family was asked if he ever regretted renouncing the world to lead the austere life of a monk. When he said "yes", he was met with ears hungry for a little gossip. However, it became an anti-climax for them when he continued in his answer, "I regret not doing that much earlier, for I had done many things that I shouldn't have done."

Learning, knowing and practising the Buddha's teachings help us live a happy, blessed and blissful life that we all strive for. Ah! If only we had known earlier… but, not to worry, start this day with a new beginning.

I am particularly grateful to our reader, Lynnette Low, for her article 'Judge a tree by its fruits'. As a Christian she is convinced that "everyone can benefit from learning and applying Buddhist teachings in their lives", and that "Buddhist teachings are a wonderful well of wisdom which is beneficial to anyone who will drink from it ..... in a truly 'universal' way." That is a very significant observation. I am hopeful that her experience is an inspiration for all of us.

Be with Buddha, be with wisdom.


Copyright 2002.Jen Chen Buddhism Centre