There was a fire at the Larung Five Science Buddhist Academy on the evening of January 9. The news spread far and wide and generated lots of discussions. The fact is that it was not as serious as some of the versions portrayed on the internet and there definitely were no casualties. Please do not worry, our fellow practitioners. The photo here was taken after the fire.

People often say, “Come what may, we aren't afraid,” but become dismayed by what actually does come. Hence we should have some reverence for the concept of positive and negative causes and effects.

People in general are afraid of death. Some have had this fear since childhood and are troubled by it for life; others wake up in the middle of the night thinking of death and cannot sleep again. This is all due to ignorance about death. We should not helplessly wait for death but instead learn ways to face it bravely.

A man and a dog were locked in a house for five days without any food or drink. The first moment they are released outside, both would pursue the exact same things: food and drink. All their effort would be directed toward this aim. In this value system, nothing else compares with food or drink. None of art, philosophy, or religion serves the purpose. Once well-fed, however, the dog's values would remain the same while the man’s values should somehow evolve.

Although a Buddhist's conduct is governed by precepts, we need not be afraid that, upon studying Buddhism, we will be bound by so many rules that we will lose our freedom and be under tremendous pressure. Mahayana Buddhism never advocates formalities. Rather, it educates by ways of an extraordinarily human and open approach, never by force.

We should promote two forms of charity: material and spiritual, because some of the people around us lack basic living necessities, while others require spiritual sustenance, both just as painful. With money, material charity can be performed; with Buddhist Dhyāna (Zen) such as meditation teachings, spiritual charity can be attained.

As time goes by, many philosophies gradually lose their contemporary relevance. Buddhist philosophical thought, on the other hand, is becoming more and more valuable in the 21st century, because for many people today who feel empty, restless and anxious, it brings about a sense of fulfillment, serenity and happiness.

Standing atop a high mountain and gazing at the landscape from afar, the horizon looks flat, and we would never know that the earth is round. But one day we would discover the truth. Do not dismiss the idea of a spherical earth simply because such a thing is not observable.Exploring life from the standpoint of our mundane senses, we can understand only one phase of life without seeing the entire cycle. But one day we will discover the truth. Do not dismiss the idea of cyclic existence simply because such a thing is not observable.