Is there any major difference between Buddhism and Hinduism in terms of their respective philosophies and worldviews? The answer depends on which specific schools of Buddhism and Hinduism we are comparing. As a whole, however, there is a big difference between the two in terms of their respective practices of detachment. We can catch a glimpse of such differences simply by looking at the religious imageries and icons. If you do a Google search of the images of Buddha, you are likely to find him portrayed in various meditative poses. Occasionally, you will find the image of the Starving Buddha…


In the gospels, it is recorded that people often questioned Jesus’ identity. When Jesus was asked who he is, he never gave a clear or direct answer. Rather, his answers are often like a puzzle or a Zen koan. In the Gospel of John, there is this interesting story about a conversation between Jesus and the Jews:

The Jews answered him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?”

“I am not possessed by a demon,” said Jesus, “but I honor my Father and you dishonor me. I am not seeking glory for myself; but there…


I recently had a debate with one of my senior Buddhist friends in regard to the authority of Buddhist scripture. As you may know, Buddhists are not one of the “people of the book.” Outsiders might expect that the Buddhist scripture occupies a much less central position to Buddhists than the Bible to Christians or Muslims. Theoretically, there should not be Buddhist fundamentalists or dogmatists. In reality, however, Buddhists are just as human as their theist brothers and sisters. Many Buddhists treat the Buddhist scripture very reverentially and exhibit dogmatist/fundamentalist tendencies. The Chinese term for Buddhist scripture is 聖言量. Literally…


Most people find the Diamond Sutra difficult to understand — for a good reason. In this sutra, we often see this syllogism (i.e. line of reasoning):

A is not-A

Therefore, it is called A.

Such kind of logic is absurd to most people. It violates, for one, the Law of Noncontradiction. How can something be its opposite?

But this syllogism is absurd only to the eyes of those who have not been exposed to Buddhist logic. …


There is a well-known Zen story that is rather difficult to understand. It goes like this:

大梅禪師曾問馬祖禪師:「如何是佛?」

馬祖禪師答得快:「即心即佛。」

後來,馬祖道一禪師遣一僧人入山問候大梅禪師。

僧人說:「馬大師近日佛法又不同了。」

大梅禪師問:「有何不同?」

僧人說:「非心非佛。」

大梅禪師說:「任它非心非佛,我只管即心即佛。」

馬祖禪師知道之後,就說:「梅子成熟了!」

The following is my translation:

The monk, Big Plum, asked his teacher, Mazu: “What is Buddha?”

Mazu replied: “This mind is Buddha.”

On another occasion, Mazu sent a monk to visit Big Plum. The monk told him, “Master Mazu is now teaching something different.”

Big Plum asked, “How is it different now?”

The monk replied, “He is now teaching ‘Neither mind nor Buddha.’”

Big Plum then said, “Let him change his tune. …


Yesterday, I posted something from Bernie Sander’s Instagram in which he remarked that the US is the richest country on earth, and yet half of its population lives from paycheck to paycheck. Bernie proposes that we tax the billionaires. Recently, there was a report which found that many of this country’s billionaires are paying close to nothing in terms of taxes. A Facebook “friend” read my post and was very offended. He replied:

How does giving more money to the ruling class bureaucrats who pay the billionaires going to fix anything? Anything that isn’t voluntary is tyranny, I accept no…


The current issue of our Buddhist magazine is on the topic of the First Precept, which prohibits the taking of the life of a sentient being. In his contributed article, a senior Buddhist friend noticed an incongruence — while virtually all world religions have some prohibitions against the taking of life, the world nevertheless is engaged in constantly killing. It is as if none of the nonviolent teachings matters. The question is why.

I can understand why the killing continues despite what the religions teach. It is particularly easy to understand this in the context of monotheistic religions. Typically, violence…

Kenneth Leong

Published author, Zen teacher, professor, scientist, philosopher, social commentator, socially-engaged human

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