PETALING JAYA: On the occasion of Wesak Day yesterday, theSun interviewed three Buddhists on what the teachings mean to them.

The Venerable You Deng said it has been 12 years since she was introduced to Buddhism by her uncle, and is so attuned to the Buddha’s teachings that she has no regrets on the path she has taken to become a monk.

“There is a vast difference between before I followed Buddhism and after. I was never content with what I had before and I wanted more even though what I achieved back then could be considered a significant accomplishment. Some might say that wanting to achieve more is a great thing, but the greediness within me chipped away my peace little by little.

“Learning Buddhist teachings made me accept and appreciate what I have. I still do want to achieve great things, but through Buddha’s teachings and not to the point where I sacrifice my peace for it,” she told theSun.

However, You Deng said just going to a temple and chanting prayers would not solve problems.

“When one is sick, one has to take medication to get better. The same applies to Buddhist teachings. One cannot expect the Buddha to help when one hasn’t done anything to help himself.

“In Buddhist teachings, one has to listen, understand and apply the teachings to truly appreciate what Buddhism is all about,” she said, adding that it teaches the different stages of life and how it fits in the universal plan.

“The teachings may seem illogical to some, but it explains why incidents happen in a certain way. We learn about the life we lived before embracing Buddha’s teachings, and how one’s previous life contributed to the way we now live.”

Josephine Cheong, 70, has been a Buddhist for 10 years.

“My husband was a true Buddhism follower, but I often felt annoyed whenever I heard him chanting prayers.

“However, when he passed away, I regretted behaving in such a way, so I started to go to the Buddhist temple just to remember him.

“I can’t point to exactly when I became a committed Buddhist. But one day when I was listening to the chants, all of a sudden, I started crying. It wasn’t tears of sadness, but more of relief.

“Since then, my mind has been tranquil and the more I learned about Buddhism, the more I felt at peace.”

Cheong also said she has changed a lot for the better since embracing Buddhism.

“I was a hothead. Every little issue would end in an argument and because of that, my relationship with my children was distant.

“But now, I have learned to be calmer and thanks to that, I feel more relaxed and can solve any situation without arguments.

“One thing that everyone should understand is that getting angry and having a grudge against someone is easy. But maintaining it will not hurt anyone but oneself,” she said.

Daniel Lim Ka Keat, 46, said the most significant of Buddha’s teachings that he remembers and follows religiously is that everything has its causes and effects.

“There was a time when I did not get what I wanted although I put a lot of effort into it. In such a situation, it is easy for one to just give up.

“However, knowing that there is a reason for everything made me realise that perhaps I did not get everything I wanted not because I am a failure, but because it was just not meant to be. My efforts were not a waste,” he said.