Four Seals Introduction
As a monk, I get many queries about Buddhism from people from all walks of life. Some of the questions are just out of polite interest, while others are serious about finding out the truth behind Buddhism. Some of the typical questions are ‘What is a Buddhist?’ ‘What do Buddhists believe?’ and ‘What did the Buddha teach?’ These are not easy questions to answer because the Buddha’s teachings are extremely profound, and as vast and deep as space. This is one of the reasons people ask such questions. They are confused about what Buddha really taught, and I can understand why. They travel to Japan and see Zen Buddhists sitting staring at a blank wall, they go to China and see monks doing kung-fu, and in Tibet, they see monks, wearing brightly coloured costumes, blowing horns and banging drums. All these are very skilful means to help the Buddhist practitioner along the path of Buddhism. However, they do not expound on the core teachings of the Buddha.
In this book, I will attempt to answer the above questions and give the reader a clear understanding of the Buddha’s teachings.
I will also try and point out some of the pitfalls that can easily distract us from the essence of the Buddha’s teachings.
Before I start to answer these questions, I would like to mention who this book is aimed at. Firstly, the book is written for my mother, not just my mother in this life, but all my mothers in all my lives. It is most certainly because of their kindness and compassion that I am able to write this book. Secondly, it is for all the non-Buddhists out there who are asking the question, ‘What do you people believe?’ Finally, and most importantly, it is aimed at today’s Buddhists. People nowadays have a tendency to ‘just go for it’ and ‘jump in at the deep end’. This may be fine in some fields of study, but it certainly isn’t the best way to go as far as Buddhism is concerned, as it will just lead to more confusion and misunderstandings.
Read this book slowly, making sure you contemplate each and every point. Question what I say, please don’t blindly accept my
words. If they ring true, then meditate on them. If not, discuss and debate them with your teacher or spiritual friend.