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[May 2008]

Living in the Philippines and being exposed to strong influence of Christianity in every-day life, I came to think that I should perhaps reflect on how Buddhism has affected my values and way of thinking.

One of the first sermon given by the Buddha was the Four Noble Truths that talked about a) life as suffering; b) cause of suffering to be greed, hatred and delusion; c) to know the end of suffering; and d) the way leading to the cessation of suffering - that is to have morality, mastery over one's own mind, and wisdom which purifies the mind. Recognizing the imperfection within one's self, we Buddhists seek "the way" throughout our lives, without being ever satisfied with the current state of mind. This truly is my principle in life.

It is also interesting that Japan adopted school of Eastern Buddhism, or "The Greater Vehicle." Unlike Southern Buddhism which focuses on gaining personal insight through internal investigation, Eastern Buddhism emphasizes the salvation of humanity and all other sentient beings. Although my passion for helping others must have originated from the way my Mother raised me for the most part, it is a comforting thought that this is what my religion teaches me too.

Buddhism for me is much more than a religion - the foundation of my morality, philosophy for leading a better life, and the spirit that is built into my DNA, that I'm truly appreciative and proud of.