Dharma Panel: Finding Our Way Out of Crisis—Part 6

Panel Topic: Finding Our Way Out of Crisis

Ven. Chueh Fan, Abbess of FGS Toronto
Ven. Juewei, Director, Humanistic Buddhism Centre, NTI
Ven. Miao Guang, Deputy Chancellor of FGS Institute of Humanistic Buddhism

Ven. Zhi Yue, FGS Institute of Humanistic Buddhism


We now have some questions from our YouTube viewers. 

Question 7

This question is from Raymond Cheow: Knowledge skilled is wisdom. But the world is full of unwholesome news, how do we differentiate the wholesome and the unwholesome? How do we know we that have right view? 

Venerable Miao Guang

Allow me to anwer Raymond’s question about the world full of unwholesome news. I would just like to address the definition of “wholesome” and “unwholesome.” 

Basically, when you come across something wholesome, you will feel physically and mentally healthy. I came across some wholesome experiences when I listened to Venerable Chueh Fan speaking in such calm, connected, and personal way. That was a wholesome teaching to me, because personally, my shoulder felt lighter, it put a smile to my face, and it makes me feel like when I put her words into action, I actually will be assured that I can bring about better change or more positive energy to the people around me.

In terms of unwholesome news, you can gauge on its “unwholesomeness” by the energy it spreads out. Usually, under the names of anger, fear, selfishness, and arrogance. Your words and actions speak your character louder than anything else. It does not matter how hard you try it, for the way you express yourself is the way you express your heart. So when we are confronted by people who are angry or violent, I think what we need to address is the fear that lies behind the way they express themselves.

As Venerable Master Hsing Yun said, “Every person is like a door. You must find the right key to open that door to kindness.” Addressing the fear somehow gives us the calm in confronting their violent reaction. Secondly, it sparks up our sense of kindness towards that person. You might discover that when you address that fear and give rise to kindness, the fear within yourself somehow starts to go away.

So, reaching into that deeper power by addressing that deeper part of kindness or unkindness, or wholesomeness or unwholesomeness. It is something that can help us navigate our way through the actions of other people.

Again, don’t trust anything that’s posted on Facebook, refer to the official websites to check again what you’re reading. Just the other day, we saw this picture of the Queen wearing purple, green, yellow masks that matches her outfit. Everybody send us these photos and they went viral. When I forwarded them to my sister in UK, she said, “Funny, I don’t see anything on the news over here.” That reminds me to check on the official news on the website to see what kind of news or information that’s coming through us. 

Don’t be shaken by unwholesome news. Look deeper into the message behind that can inspire us. Even if we don’t see anything inspirational, we can learn to address the fact that people who are sending out unwholesome news are also experiencing unsettling moments.


Question 8

Our second question comes from Joanna Chiu: ​My US friend had been battling with anxiety and insomnia and her condition has worsened with the pandemic outbreak. Do the venerables have any advice for her? 

Ven. Juewei

One of our guest speakers, Priscilla, is a medical doctor, and she has recommended Nan Tien Institute Mindful Check-In App to patients who have been suffering from insomnia, and it has proven to be helpful. You can give this a try. 

I know anxiety happens to all of us, even in us. Before coming on this panel, I was very anxious too. But I keep telling myself, “I’m not alone. I’m not alone in this. I know it’s very difficult to deal with what’s ahead of me, I can call on help.” It’s for us to open our hands out and reach out and ask for help. We are in this interconnected community, someone, some bodhisattva, some invisible hand will pull us out of the mud, and we can become the lotus growing towards the sunshine.


As our time is coming to an end, I would like to pass the mic to each of our panelists to share some words of wisdom to sum up today’s discussion.
Venerable Chueh Fan Thank you for having me. I’m honored to join everyone here. Throughout the session, I would like to remind myself again, if we are facing any fear, we have to acknowledge it, accept it, and then practice in action. Bring out your inner peace to help not just yourself, but your family, community, and nation.

Venerable Juewei

During the pandemic lockdown, I did a paper cut of a rainbow over Nan Tien Temple and Nan Tien Institute. This is a reminder that there is a way out, there always will be a rainbow. We have to grasp the moment. Remember, our way out can be motivated by the 3C: Creativity, Compassion, and Capacity. Best wishes to everyone.

Venerable Miao Guang

The three Chinese characters behind me means “I am a buddha (我是佛).” I would like to share with everybody who’s joining us today: in moments when we despair, in moments when we feel uncertain, in moments when we feel helpless, what we need to do is never stop believing in ourselves. What lies within that self is, first of all, a buddha that will draw a rainbow over your sky, it will shine a ray of hope over you. What also lies in ourselves is the whole world of sentient beings who are connected with us. With the buddha and the whole world of sentient beings that lies within us, we believe in this togetherness. Remember, you will always have someone to reach out to. In moments when you don’t know what to do, think of all the people around you. When you don’t know what to do for yourself, why not think about what we can do for others? Since there’s nothing we can do for ourselves, find something else to do. You might find that in your effort to become creative, and fill with the capacity to do something for others, suddenly you find a way out again. Please never stop believing in yourself, because there’s so much more within that self. 


Thank you, Venerable Miao Guang, our panelists, our Zoom guests. Thank you so much for discussion the Noble Eightfold Path and how this can help us find a way out of crisis, no matter if it is the pandemic, or the bushfire, or current protests in America. Or, it just be applied on a personal level, whether if it is a personal crisis or not. These are very important teachings for us to keep in mind, especially during this trying time. 

Before we conclude the session, it’s also very important to dedicate the merits and cultivate the compassion and kindness to all sentient beings. We would like to invite Venerable Chueh Fan to lead us in a dedication of merits and brief prayer. Let us join our palms together to send our good wishes to all beings.

May kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity pervade all worlds,
May we cherish and build affinities to benefit all beings,
May Chan, Pure Land, and Precept inspire equality and patience,
May our humility and gratitude give rise to great vows.
May this Dharma panel bring light and peace to all,
May this world be free from turmoil of the outbreak,
May we respect and embrace all,
May each and every one of us be safe and well.
Namo Sakyamuni Buddha

Thank you everyone for joining us today. We hope that this session has been helpful. Please subscribe to the channel and join us again next weekend for another one of our regular sessions of Fo Guang Shan English Dharma Services.