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20 years overseas! Read about Leon's life overseas.


Buddhism in Brief
by Leon



I.  Foreword (by Leon)

II.  Contrast Buddhist Symbol with Swastika

III.  Meanings of the Symbols

IV.  Basic Tenets of Buddhism

V.  Some Personal Experiences



During my first year in Korea, I occasionally would see the Buddhist symbol portrayed above shops/homes, and it peaked my curiosity because of the similarity to the swastika.  During the rest of my stay (total ten years in Korea), I saw it more and more frequently.  It must not be confused with the swastika, for two reasons:

(1) the shapes of the symbols are actually different, 

(2) the meanings are very different.

Please enjoy learning about Buddhism (in brief).


Contrasting Shapes of Symbols


The picture to the left portrays the Hitler/German Socialist Party's logo/symbol.  Notice the arms branch off in the opposite direction of the Buddhist symbol.


The Buddhist Symbol.
In Chinese,    "Wan Zi"
In Korean,     "Man Ja"
In Japanese,  "Man Ji"


The Meanings of the Symbols

The Swastika symbolizes the superiority of the Germanic or "Aryan" Race.


The Wan Zi symbolizes 3 THINGS!
According to my Chinese-Korean dictionary, they are:

English Chinese Korean
good luck; fortune ji2 (吉) gil
happiness xiang2 (祥) sang
10,000 virtues wan4 de2 (万德) man deok



  Some Basic Beliefs of Buddhism  

The Four Noble Truths

1.  Life is pain (suffering).
2.  Pain (suffering) comes from desire.
3.  To be free from pain, one must be free from desire.
4.  The eight-fold path

Source:  myself & Access to Insight


The Eight-fold Path

1.  Right Knowledge
2.  Right Thinking
3.  Right Speech 
4.  Right Conduct 
5.  Right Livelihood 
6.  Right Effort 
7.  Right Mindfulness 
8.  Right Concentration

Source: Think Quest

1.  Right View
2.  Right Intention
3.  Right Speech
4.  Right Action
5.  Right Livelihood
6.  Right Effort
7.  Right Mindfulness
8.  Right Concentration

Source: Access to Insight


{I'm not sure what this path is supposed to lead to.  The goal of Buddhism is to end all human suffering.  So, I guess the path leads in that direction.  But, how exactly it is supposed to rid us desires is beyond me.  And, I'm not criticizing.  I really just don't understand.  Moving right along, #4 (above), namely: "right action," is divided into the ten wholesome actions (below).} 


The Ten Unwholesome Actions

1. Taking life
2. Taking what is not given
3. Wrong use of the senses
4. Saying what is not true
5. Slandering
6. Cursing
7. Perpetuating rumors / idle talk
8. Covetousness
9. Malice
10. Entertaining the wrong view (and promulgating it)

The Ten Wholesome Actions

Abstaining from 1-7 (above)

Being free of 8 & 9 (above)

Entertaining the right view (and promulgating it)

Source: Access to Insight 


I heard from someone who did a lot of study into the philosophy of Buddha and actually read the Sutras, that the one called "Buddha" actually taught that the way to escape Karma is very simple:

Forgive everyone!

No matter what, forgive everyone!

I didn't say it was easy.  I said it was simple.  In fact, it was the hardest thing I ever did in my life.

Unfortunately, I do not have chapter and verse, but I believe it.

Did not the Nazarene teach the same thing?  He said, and I'm paraphrasing:  forgive those who trespass against you, for if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will our Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.


Some Personal Experiences

When I was young and single (around 1997), I decided to take part in a Buddhist class for foreigners (in English) at a Korean Buddhist Temple called:  Hwa Gye Sa.  I'm not sure, but I guess that means:  Peaceful-World Temple. I mean that I'm sure that Gye means World and that Sa means temple, but I'm guessing on the Hwa word, which could have any of several meanings, depending upon the Chinese character.  The Temple leaders have chosen to call the temple something else in English:  The Seoul International Zen Center.

So, I would attend every Sunday around 1pm.  The first two hours were for Buddhist meditation, which is a gross misnomer, because there is NO thinking involved.  Buddhist meditation aims at achieving the absence of thought.  Since there is NO word in English, we "borrow" the Japanese word: Zen.  The Korean word for Zen (absence of thought) is: Seon (pronounced like sun).  There are three main kinds of (or ways to do) Zen.  They are:  sitting Zen, bowing Zen, and chanting Zen.  We did sitting Zen for three sets of 30 minutes with 10-minute periods of walking Zen in between.

The third hour was for listening to a dharma talk by one of the attending foreign monks AND for Q & A.  As monks come from all over the world to practice their religion to the Seoul International Zen Center, there are always quite a few foreign monks residing there.  The Q & A (questions and answers) time may go past the allotted time, and there are often refreshment afterward.  Every day, people are invited to eat in the temple's cafeteria.  There is no fee, but donations are appreciated.  I don't know the meal times, but I believe that lunch is served from 12 noon to 1pm.

The Auras

So, anyways, I would attend every Sunday, religiously, even though I was not a Buddhist.  You don't have to be a Buddhist to attend.  In fact, the whole thing is geared toward the curious non-Buddhist.  It is very basic and elementary.  One day, I was doing sitting Zen (this was before I knew for a fact that I was iron-deficiency anemic, but I knew that I was always sleepy.  I had chronic lethargy).  As, we were doing our sitting Zen, I would often not be able to remain awake.  So, I would pass the time by looking at everyone's auras, well especially the monks' auras.  And, on one particular day, there was a Negroid monk from America.  His aura was the brightest that I had ever before and have ever since seen.  I don't know if it was because of the contrast against his dark skin made it stand out, or if the conditions (such as lighting) were just right, or if he was particularly "bright";  But, it was a powerful experience for me.  I have never forgotten that.

The Tunnel of Light

Another time, I believe I was well rested and was going to make a serious attempt to achieve a mental state of Zen.  I followed the instructions to the "t".  And not long after beginning, the most amazing thing happened to me.  I lost view of the floor and instead saw a tunnel of light.  I felt myself being drawn into the light, at near light speed (I mean it was fast!).  Then, I lost a state of no-thought.  I regained presence of mind and got scared.  As soon as I gained presence of mind and got scared, the tunnel of light was gone.  I spent the rest of the hour trying to re-live the experience, but it was useless, because I kept thinking about it.  Remember:  you have to STOP thinking.  I couldn't stop thinking about it.  I was literally freaked out!  I mean nobody talks about such an experience.  I never had a chance to ask a monk what it might mean.  If anybody knows, please contact me.

The Flying Crystals

Another time, I was finding it hard to focus on the sitting zen and I was sleepy, so I tried to see what I could see in the air, using the focusing that I do to see auras.  I don't know that I expected to see anything special, but what I saw "blew my mind".  I saw these tiny spheres of light, kind of floating around the room.  The room had no artificial lighting, and so it was a bit dark.  And yet, these little spheres were emitting a very bright light in all directions.  Afterward, I told my experience to a friend, and she replied:  "Oh!  You saw flying crystals!"  I asked, "Oh, is that what they're called?"  She said that she didn't know, but that's what her friend called them, who could see them as well.  I have only seen them at the temple, though I've tried to see them in various other places.  One time I went back to the temple, many years later, and not during zen time.  I couldn't see them.  It was amazing though... truly amazing.  I cannot even speculate as to what they might have been, except to say that I felt they were "alive" because they moved through the air unlike anything non-living would move through the air.  It seemed that they had full control over their own locomotion.  Other than that, I have no clue what they could have been.


Here's My Favorite Photo of Buddhist Statues: Showing Buddhist Signs.  This photo comes from China, but I've seen the same thing in Korea.

If you are a Freemason or a Mormon, you will notice the similarity to your signs.


How is it possible that Religions and Religious organizations worlds apart have the exact same signs?

And, nobody seems to know the meaning of the signs.  I've asked some many people.

I've asked Mormon Temple Presidents.  They don't know.

I've asked Master Monks of the Buddhist Temples.  They don't know.

Contact me if you know.

Here's what I think they mean:

Scripture / Sign The 1st Sign The 2nd Sign The 3rd Sign
Bible "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."

Matthew 21:22  (KJV)

"For nothing be anxious, but in everything by prayer, and by supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God."

Philippians 4:6 (YLT)

"[3] But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
[4] That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly."

Matthew 6:3-4  (KJV)

Ask, and ye shall receive.


The Right arm raised, pointing to heaven, means communication with the heavenly realms.


The left hand is in cupping shape, i.e., it is in the act of supplication.

Give thanks.


The left hand is now pointing to the heavens, giving thanks for that which has been received.


The right hand holds that which has been received.

Give alms.


The right hand, which was holding that which was received, is now up-side down, indicating that alms have been given.


The left hand holds that which is retained for self.

Hindu Scriptures “As they come [petition] unto Me, I reward accordingly.”  [Lord Krishna talking].

-Bhagavad Gita 4:11

"Whatever I am offered in devotion with a pure heart -- a leaf, a flower, fruit, or water -- I accept with joy."

-Bhagavad Gita 9:26

"Alms given with thought:  Alms must be given to one who cannot make return, at the right place and time, and to the right recipient--those are alms of purity."

-Bhagavad Gita 17:20








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"Love is all there is;  Everything else is entropy." (Leon)