这篇访谈主角为四十三岁的佛教比丘尼 Venerable Manko, has been a nun for 20 years. She was based in a Bhddhist temple in Sydney for several years and now counsels and teaches Buddhism at the Fo Guang Shan temple in Paya Lebar.

这些好宗教的一个共通点,就是鼓励信徒以乐观积极的心态,解决生活中无止尽的挑战与难关,勇于面对,而非逃避。因此,我着实瞧不起那些被无知与仇恨泯灭了良心,假借  神的名义犯下舐血罪行的极端分子。  神如果容许信徒犯下这样泯灭人性的罪,那根本是撒旦,不是  神!我从此要成为无神论者。

这让我想起最近被处死的 Saddam Hussein。看他在法庭上一副正气凛然、舍我其谁的模样,开口闭口就是 “阿拉真主”,着实令人倒尽胃口,我都不晓得原来  阿拉是支持种族屠杀的,  真神眼中的人原来都有阶级区别嘛?

当他在地洞中被美军发现时,所说的第一句话是 (用英文哦!不是母语哦!):I am Saddam Hussein, President of Iraq.  I want to negotiate.

Negotiate for what?! 但他总算是聪明的,眼看大势已去,还是好好维护自己的英雄形象吧。他的女儿们观看电视转播的行刑过程后,表示非常地骄傲,爸爸这么勇敢面对邪恶。。。Alamak!!!(马来感叹语,好比 “天啊!”) 果然是 Children learn what they live

一些欧洲人权分子纷纷表示抗议,在审讯过程大做文章,认为不人道、不公平。我不敢苟同,因为他还有在法庭上叫嚣的机会,而当年那些受害者 (无论是种族屠杀,或是利益冲突的政敌),非但完全没有说话的机会,完全没有 "negotiate" 的机会,死前还受尽各种残酷的折磨。这样一个死不认错,口口声声都侮辱了  神的人渣,二十分钟的死亡过程,挺仁慈了。

其实,他多半也预料到自己的下场。曾经,他对一个受害者家属说,你最好还是收下 blood money,不要妄想可以等待报仇雪恨的机会;因为真有那么一天的话,我们早就尸骨无存,根本轮不到你。。。

我一点都不同情这个死不认错的暴君。没有凌迟,太便宜他了。

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THERE is indeed strife and tragedy in the world, but we must not let that drag us down. We have to understand why things happen.

Natural disasters and calamities such as tsunamis, earthquakes and typhoons are the work of Mother Nature, they are beyond our control. It is our karma for not protecting our environment. But we can help to make sure that they do not happen so often:do not kill so much and do not destroy the environment. Plant, nurture and make things grow instead.

Our selfishness is the root of all the world’s wars and conflicts. Man can be greedy. We often want and covet things, even those which do not belong to us. We can also be self-centred, we sometimes think ourselves better than and more superior to others. We cannot tolerate opinions different from ours. These can lead to clashes.

Greed and ego can breed hatred which can lead man to take misguided courses of action.

Even though a lot which happens in this world gives us grief and sorrow, I think the world is beautiful and full of hope. I have faith that human nature can be changed.

To attain peace, man must not harbour greed or envy. He must also try to cultivate compassion, magnanimity an respect for others.

Dialogue is important to make sure we have peace — dialogue between countries, dialogue between religions and dialogue between men.

People can have different points of view and opinions, but we have to be bound by a similar agenda — to help those less fortunate than us.

I am comforted that the world is trying to do this. There are various regional and world summits.

In Buddhism, we come into this world full of hope, and while here, we also live with the hope that the world will get even better.

Being human, I sometimes feel sad too, because a lot of the suffering I see is self-inflicted.

But I prefer to look on the bright side. I prefer to concentrate on helping others do the same. I want to work harder to counsel, advise and help people unite knots. It gives me great joy when people come to this temple with a burden, and leave with a smile on their face. I get peace, knowing that what I have done in the day will allow me to sleep well at night. I get peace, knowing that what I am doing now will not give me grief or regret in my old age.

My happiness depends on my fellow human beings. I derive joy when I see that fewer people are suffering.

Looking back on 2006, many things make happy. The economy is batter. Many Singaporeans are going abroad, because their talents are in demand.

I’m also happy that the Government has scrapped the EM3 scheme for the weakest students. It takes a lot of stress off children and parents.

I’m happy that the Government has announced more health benefits for patients with chronic illnesses. Many of these people need help.

Seeing the loss of thousands of human lives in disasters and accidents gives me great sorrow but I try not to dwell on grief. I have to swing into rescue mode — how can we help? What do the victims and survivors need? We just need to forge ahead.

I’m personally happy that our new Fo Guang Shan temple in Punggol will be ready in the later part of 2007. We hope it will be a place where people can come to get rid of burdens, find peace and experience tranquillity.

In his lecture, Harmony And Peace, at the United Nations International Conference Centre in Geneva in June, Venerable Master Hsing Yun stressed four Buddhist precepts to attain "harmony with others, world peace".

First, tolerance. If human beings help each other, give each other space and practise understanding and tolerance, there will  be peace.

Second, we have to find our "non-self" — break away from "me" because "me" is not real. It is breakable and always changeable.

Third, equality. We are all on this earth. We should treat each other equally. Then peace will result.

Finally, compassion. If we do things out of pure compassion and love, with no expectation of reward, we will bring about peace.

My advice for people in 2007 is this:Don’t let vanity consume you, don’t covet, be compassionate, and keep your feet firmly planted on the ground.

~ By Wong Kim Hoh, The Straits Times, 23-12-2006