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Happiness Under Attack


Today is the tenth anniversary of 9/11.  All this week, we have seen the stories of 9/11 being told on the news media, evoking different emotions in different people.  Some of you don’t want to see it, others feel very sad seeing it, and still others find a lot of questions in mind as you witness the extent of evil human beings could commit.  9/11 is a defining moment for this generation, just as the assassination of John F. Kennedy was the defining moment of the previous generation.

A couple of the slogans you hear frequently these days are “Never Forget” and “United We Stand.”  Have you ever thought about what these slogans really mean to you?  How do we never forget 9/11?  In other words, how do we remember this day so that it will honor the lives of the innocent victims, the lives of those who died heroically in the attempt the rescue those who were trapped in the towers—the firefighters, civic leaders and law enforcement officers, and the sacrifices of our service men and women in the subsequent wars against terrorism.

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What If There’s No Hell? Really?


The recent Time magazine cover story What If There’s No Hell? stimulated debates in the media as well as within the Christian community. Maybe because I was raised in a Buddhist context, or maybe it is an innate problem within the Western way of thinking (i.e. reductionism), I just couldn’t help but see a serious fallacy in both sides of the debates on the subject of hell.

All these debates come out of an assumption—that this world is a neutral place and there is hell below and heaven above, and that God decides to send some to hell and others to heaven based on their beliefs. In order to avoid getting stuck in the same framework, let us look at the issue afresh through Buddhist eyes to begin with.

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The Stones Will Shout Out


When I became a U.S. citizen, I was filled with great excitement and hope for this great nation. I was convinced that we have a great government system that was designed to ensure the balance of power, the rule of law, and the freedom of press to keep the leaders accountable.

However, recently I have come across some information that is somewhat disheartening, starting with watching the documentary movie, “Inside Job,” which tells the story of what led to the market crash in 2008, which carries on into the current recession. I also came across a program put together by John Stossel called “Freeloaders,” telling how some Americans are freeloading at different levels of life, and how those at the top are freeloading big time.

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Love Divine - An Orange Without Seeds



When my wife and I started dating in college, she was still a Buddhist. Many things that she said surprised me, and one of them that I still vividly remember was, “I hope my love won’t become a sacrifice.” I didn’t understand what she meant. It sounded poetic to me, but growing up as a Christian, I always understood love as a sacrifice.

I always thought love has only one universal definition, but over the years I learned that it is defined differently by different people, different cultures, and different religions. It’s definitely defined differently between Christians and non-Christians.

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The Joy of Relational Intelligence


A family friend told me recently that his 42-year-old daughter was going through a midlife crisis and a difficult time in her relationship. He was busy helping her through this tough time, but, being a father, he felt awkward to help an adult daughter, “We are too close to help each other on issues like this.” He wanted her to find a professional counselor to sort things out. In the end he said, “Sam, separation is the worst thing in life. I wish there weren’t such a thing as separation. I wish she didn’t have to go through it.” I think he is right.

Each time when I reflect on my life, about the joyous days and miserable days, I realize that they all have something to do with relationship. The most joyful days in my life were when I lived in harmony with my family and friends—when love became a reality. And the worst days of my life were when I encountered broken relationships—whether it was simply a dispute or dishonesty, from my side or the other.

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What is a Fruitful Life?


A fruitful life is a life filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  These are the elements of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). Therefore, in order to be fruitful, you must be in the Spirit and cultivate your spiritual formation.

Living a fruitful life is “heaven on earth” because it is the manifestation of the kingdom of God in your life, since the kingdom of God is being “in the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 14:17)

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Is My Pursuit of God’s Kingdom Self-serving?


After reading my previous post, you might question whether it is a proper motive to pursue the kingdom of God with the expectation that everything we need would be given to us as well. I have encountered some critics that said that Christians often do good with the expectation of being rewarded in heaven, and that it is not a pure motive, but self-serving. I thought they had a good point, and I felt guilty for expecting being rewarded by God for the good deeds I have done. But now I have realized that that guilt trip was not spiritually correct at all.

God created us with the desire to be rewarded. Whatever we do, we do it for a reward. The problem is not whether we are rewarded, but how we are rewarded. When I tried to do good without expecting a reward, I get rewarded to impress my critics, or myself. The underlying motive behind not to be rewarded in some way for doing good deeds is pride. It’s true that we should not expect a return or reward from the person we do the good deed to, but expecting reward from God in some way is in fact a refusal to play gods ourselves. Doing good deeds for rewards from God is just being human.

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The Pursuit of the Kingdom of God


Happy New Year everyone! What’s your New Year resolution? Mine is to take Matthew 6:33 to another level in my life, hopefully to the ultimate level.

The NRSV translates, “But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Most commonly, we hear “seek first” rather than “strive first.” So I studied the original Greek word “ ζητ?ω” to find out what it really means. After some research, I feel I would rather translate it as “pursuit.” Seek seems weak, strive sounds laborious, but pursuit appears exciting to me, just like “the pursuit of happiness.”

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Cultivate Your Life

Only a cultivated life becomes fruitful, only a fruitful life glorifies God, and only a God-glorifying life is worth living!" ~ Sam Stone

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