Friday, 18 April 2014

“I am Karmapa, remember?”

I read a wonderful sharing below of the previous His Holiness 16th Karmapa from "Intimate Encounters with the Buddha Karmapa" by Trinley Gyatso.  

"We were in Lahina in Maui, browsing around the shops right before a big Vajra Crown ceremony at a Japanese Buddhist temple. I mentioned that we were going to be late and I urged His Holiness to get going. As the driver, I felt it was my duty to get to the next event on time. He just looked at me with astonishment and said, “I am Karmapa. Remember? I know when it’s time to go.” 

He went on shopping, fascinated by all the red coral in Hawaii. Finally we got into the car near the Pioneer Inn. As I was turning the car around, a straggly old hippie came up to our brand new shiny Cadillac. It was the best car you could get in 1975, and this old hippie guy was knocking on my window. “Hey, I hear there’s some dude up the road, giving some kind of religious ceremony. I’d like a ride."  I said, “Excuse me, sir” and motioned him to go away. 

As Karmapa’s clean-shaven, short-haired driver wearing the new suit he had bought for me, I felt embarrassed by the incident. I rolled up the window and drove on. Karmapa asked me what the man wanted. I said he wanted a ride. Karmapa said, “Let’s give him a ride then.” Karmapa and Jamgön Kongtrul were in the back seat and Joel Wiley and I were in the front. I turned the Cadillac around and the hippie got in the front seat between Joel and I. As soon as he got in, he seemed a bit stunned perhaps from being in the same small space with Karmapa.   

Then as we were starting to drive to the temple for the Crown Ceremony, Karmapa touched him on the shoulder and said, 'om mani padme hung'. Joel turned to him and said, “I think Karmapa wants you to say, 'om mani padme hung'.” So he started to try to say it, but he could barely get it out. Karmapa asked him what he did for a living. I felt he was a little embarrassed to say he worked at MacDonald’s or somewhere like that. 

Karmapa told him to go on saying 'om mani padme hung'. By that time, we had almost reached the Japanese Buddhist temple where the Vajra Crown was to be held. We arrived as the jalings were sounding. This was the biggest event the Karmapa ever did in Maui, the Vajra Crown ceremony by the ocean with hundreds of people present. His Holiness Karmapa got out. Then the hitch-hiker got out. Karmapa turned to him and said, “As a result of getting into the car with us today, all your bad karma from your previous lives has been erased.”

While the horns were blasting that deep eerie sound and throngs of people were bowing to Karmapa, he made his way through the masses. The hippie stood there completely awestruck by the entire experience, like someone experiencing a total mind transformation. I was also overwhelmed by the realization that Karmapa had the power to alter an individual’s karma and assist them to wake up instantly to a higher purpose."


We are often impressed by miraculous deeds of the great masters. We love to hear of miracles, or testimonies of wonderful stories, perhaps to strengthen our faith in our spiritual beliefs. Indeed, can we erase our bad karma? From the Buddhist point of view, we have to account for our own good deeds or the bad actions, we have to face the results when the cause and conditions ripen and we 'reap' or 'suffer' the effect of whatever we have done since many lifetimes before. Yes, we can try to purify our negative karma through engaging in various meritorious deeds, but ultimately, when the right conditions ripen, we still have to face the music, whether we like it or not. We cannot erase our bad karma. Only the Buddha and the enlightened ones can help us.

This story reminds me of one special initiation which Lama Zopa Rinpoche gave a few years ago. After the 2 days empowerment, at the end of it, Rinpoche told those who were present, that by the blessing and having taken the initiation and teachings, our negative karma since beginningless times have been purified and exhausted. I was awestruck. However, I felt how much we had benefited from this, depends purely on our mental development and how well we had understood and visualised during the initiation. While we are responsible for our karma, I fervently believe that only the Buddha and great masters have the power to help lessen or erase. But, moving forward, we still have to be mindful of creating and committing new karma, and we are still responsible for our own mind transformation. To be liberated and enlightened, only we can help ourselves. Not even the Buddha can. 

Om mani padme hung. 



Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Dope I am

Time can really change many things. A couple of days ago, I had this inexplicable realisation, one of extreme bliss and happiness. I don't know why. I know it's such a contrast to my earlier posts. Alas such is all-pervasive suffering  (as taught by the Buddha). 

Often we are made to feel happy, or sad or many other forms of emotions by the mere thought of something, someone or just anything. I realise that's terrifying. For example, I thought of a dearest friend, and I'm filled with extreme joy everything regarding this friend. Then I can also feel frustration or anger whenever I thought of another person who caused me such distress merely because of a tiny incident. I have such intense inclinations to emotions that I know they are not helping me at all, all these extreme moments of joy and sadness. I'm forever searching for that certain equilibrium which has been eluding me. What have I been searching for in order to feel 'neutral'? In order not to be so fixated at extreme ends of my moods. This task of searching for this inner me, is perhaps the most intense lesson I've experienced for zillions of lifetimes. And the very reason that I'm still searching. It is understanding and finding the most innermost me, the mind. Not the merely labelled me but the innermost me which has been struggling for eons and yet been such a failure in overcoming all the emotions. 

That day, when I felt that certain elated bliss, I realised that whatever negative thoughts and emotions I've been having were simply just silly. Whatever thoughts I had, I will eventually rid of them. They will never stay too long. Along with this realisation, also accompanied by regret of the actions I've done with those mere thoughts. Even at the point of committing such thoughts and acts, I knew it was wrong yet I still allowed myself to feel thus. That's the most regretful. I'm such a dope. Haha. 

An excerpt from the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying: 

"How hard it can be to turn our attention within! How easily we allow our old habits and set patterns to dominate us! Even though they bring us suffering, we accept them with almost fatalistic resignation, for we are so used to giving in to them. We may idealize freedom, but when it comes to our habits, we are completely enslaved.


Still, reflection can slowly bring us wisdom. We may, of course, fall back into fixed repetitive patterns again and again, but slowly we can emerge from them and change."


Ok I'm done. Just wanted to pen the above flying thoughts aka realisation aka inspiration of the moment. 



Monday, 7 April 2014

What makes me happy


Perhaps a cliche subject but I'm going to try to come up with as many as possible. Because...... just because I had the worst past few days lying in bed (in between work, very brief errands and prayers) with cough, stuffy nose, fever and excruciating bodyache. So I got to cheer myself up by thinking happy thoughts.

1. Having late night suppers with friends, in fact any meals with friends. I used to hang out in Old Hong Kong with my BFFs for supper and we had chat till past midnight because they were open 24 hours (I mean the cafe, and my friends too! Haha!)

2. Witnessing friends who show random acts of kindness towards strangers. I've a friend who always touched me with her kindness and compassion towards old people, ie. she always walk up to the elderly person who is peddling some stuff on the street or selling something in a stall, she had just drop in some cash. So she's my source of inspiration and model.

3. Happy photos. Naturally I like to remember the good times of the photos I've taken, with people/animals I care about or had fun with. Sometimes seeing even photos of the food I had with some friends makes me happy (some friends do not understand why I should snap photos of food every time or they do not like their photos to be taken). But precisely because most photos are taken when one's happy and not when one's in a lousy mood. And it is often the company that matters, happy photos, happy times, happy imprints. 

4. When gurus remember me. A little narcissistic but anyone would feel happy when someone whom you admire or in awe of, recognises you and remembers you through his huge smile and excited eyes. So what more, when my very own guru, whom I hold dearly as the Buddha, talk to me, blesses me or knocks his head gently on mine, and ask how I am. 

5. Winning 4D/Toto or any forms of cash/gifts. I'm being practical, haha! But let me assure you it's shortlived (although I still dream of winning a car or condo one day, haha). When I received cheques from Google, it's a reminder that my dying blog is still being appreciated. In fact I'm just thankful it's still consistently garnering more than 1000 hits per day. I think it's auto pilot now. 

6. Chubby little kids, especially little chubby baby boys. I don't know why but I love their innocent eyes and so pinchable cheeks and their baby smell. I had my share of babysitting my younger cousins and niece and nephew and those moments still bring back lovely memories. 

7. Reading something and it suddenly hits me with some understanding /realisation (eureka! moment). Especially so regarding the Dharma. I may not be the most intelligent person around, I'm not an outspoken person and I don't ask lots of questions. In our society of assessing people by their outspokenness or smart quips, I think I'm a dying breed. I just prefer to put my thoughts into writing rather than spontaneous outbursts/blurbs. 

8. Divine help. Naturally if one believes in the divine, one would be blissed out. Take for example, the other day, I was late for an appointment and decided to take a cab.  I saw the spot which was usually quite easy to flag a cab (not a taxi stand) had two guys already there waiting. And right at that moment another 3 ladies arrived and chose to wait for a cab right before me! My initial thought was 'shit!' but decided to pray for divine help from a certain Dharma protector. I had decided to pray that those 5 people in front of me quickly get their cabs fast so that I might be able to get mine too. Just barely a minute after I muttered my prayers, one cab came and the first guy got in. Another cab also arrived, and while the other guy and the 3 ladies before me were flagging furiously, it went past them and stopped right in front of me. Prayers answered (I've often tried this and it worked 90% of the time). ;)

9. Going places. The destination doesn't have to be somewhere in another country, as long as it's a place which brings back nostalgic happy memories. But I think travelling always makes one happy. I am in awe of holy places in India and Nepal. I always remember trips with friends to Turkey, Dubai, and nearby Bangkok and Malaysia. And I'll never forget family trips to the entire Europe, China and Australia. 

10. No airs. no flares, an equal society. Ideally in an equilibrium state of society, we do not wish the see the ugliness and suffering of mankind manifesting. I would very much like to see that in any organisation, or social scene, but sadly it's not to be. However at rare times I do see that it does exist. Take for instance, when my father was hospitalised for more than a month in Tan Tock Seng Hospital, the medical team as well as the support staff took excellent care of him physically. Despite limited resources of the hospital at times, whether the patient is rich and influential, or poor, he/she receives the same equal amount of care and attention with no biasness, no flare ups, no inconsistencies. This is what our world should be about, something I hope to witness more. 

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche - The golden mountain and its radiance



I was particularly touched when I watched this footage of His Holiness Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (1910 - 1991) who was a great Vajrayana master, scholar, poet, teacher and head of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism from 1987 to 1991. He was also one of His Holiness Dalai Lama's main gurus. 

In fact, every time I watch videos of him, I would start to tear.  I did not have the affinity to meet the previous Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche in this lifetime. I wish I did. His teachings have some how touched me. Perhaps I find him endearing because of the way he gave brilliant analogies in his teachings as well as coupled with beautiful poetic flair. 

Below are some random excerpts of his teachings I picked: 

On true spiritual friends
"Spending your time with true spiritual friends will fill you with love for all beings and help you to see how negative attachments and hatred are. Being with such friends and following their example will naturally imbue you with their good qualities just as all the birds flying around the golden mountain are bathed in its golden radiance."

On devotion
"Devotion is as precious as having a skilled hand that can accomplish all crafts. It is like a great treasure which fulfills all needs, the panacea which cures all illness. Entrust your heart and mind to the Three Jewels like throwing a stone into deep water." 

On practising Dharma
"If you truly put the teachings into practice, as the Dharma takes birth and grows in your mindstream, all your faults will naturally diminish and all your positive qualities will spontaneously blossom, just as the sun, as it rises higher in the morning, gradually spreads increasing light throughout the world." 

On practising Dharma
"Do not waste a single moment, like a warrior who, pierced to the heart by an arrow, knows he has only few minutes to live. It is now, while we are in good health and in possession of all our physical and mental faculties, that we should practice Dharma."


On faith and devotion
"Without being concentrated by a magnifying glass, dry grass cannot be set alight by the rays of the sun, even though they bathe the whole earth evenly in their warmth. In the same way, it is only when focused through the magnifying glass of your faith and devotion that the all- pervading warm rays of the buddhas’ compassion can make blessings blaze up in your being, like dry grass on fire."

On abandoning attachments
"If we cease to have strong clinging to our body, possessions, and relatives, we will naturally stop feeling aggression toward those we consider as our enemies and compulsive attraction toward those we consider as friends. A true bodhisattva makes no distinction between a person touching one side of his body with a silken scarf and someone cutting his flesh on the other side."

On the absolute truth
"When your realization of emptiness becomes as vast as the sky, you will gain an even greater conviction about the law of cause and effect, and you will see just how important your conduct really is. Relative truth functions inexorably within absolute truth." 

On renunciation
"A prisoner locked in jail thinks all the time about different ways of getting free - how he might climb over the walls, ask powerful people to intervene, or raise money to bribe someone. So, too, seeing the suffering and imperfection of samsara, never stop thinking about how to gain liberation, with a deep feeling of renunciation." 

On renunciation
"A bedridden patient only thinks about getting well again. He or she has no wish to remain sick forever. Likewise, a practitioner who yearns to leave the miseries of samsara behind will make use of all the ways in which that can be done, such as taking refuge, generating the mind set on attaining enlightenment for the sake of others, undertaking positive actions and so on, with a firm determination to get out of samsara constantly in mind." 

On death
"Mindfulness of death is a nectarlike medicine that restores you to health and a sentinel that watches over the discipline of your practice, never letting it stray into distractions." 

On emptiness
"Once you have understood the union of emptiness and the dependent arising of phenomena, you will see clearly how deluded and deceiving the ways of the world really are, and, like an old man forced to play children’s games, you will find them very tiresome." 

On emptiness
"When sunlight falls on a crystal, lights of all colours of the rainbow appear; yet they have no substance that you can grasp. Likewise, all thoughts in their infinite variety - devotion, compassion, harmfulness, desire - are utterly without substance. This is the mind of the Buddha. There is no thought that is something other than emptiness; if you recognize the void nature of thoughts at the very moment they arise, they will dissolve. Attachment and hatred will never be able to disturb the mind. Deluded emotions will collapse by themselves. No negative actions will be accumulated, so no suffering will follow."


The Boudanath Stupa in Nepal was continuously lighted with 100,000 butter lamp offerings near Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche's monastery during the 49 days of his parinirvana in 1991. _(i)_ 
HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (1910-1991)




Saturday, 5 April 2014

Be unshakeable like a vajra


《清明》
清明时节雨纷纷,路上行人欲断魂
借问酒家何处有,牧童谣指杏花村
-- 杜牧


Today is Qing Ming. It always rain on Qing Ming day. I heard it's been so for thousands of years.

I think this is going to be an emo post. 

I've been coughing for like almost a month, almost recovered and yesterday it got worse. So I went to see the doctor again who gave me antibiotics this time (earlier visit doctor refused to prescribe them). 

A day before, I visited two temples for Qing Ming prayers to my ancestors and grandparents. This year was the first time I went alone as I told my parents to stay home. My father is still recuperating at home, and my mother is also tired, so in order to reassure them and to make them happy, I told them I had go on their behalf. As a Buddhist I believe my ancestors had long taken rebirth. Burning paper items and offering food to them might not help much. However, doing prayers as well as making special incense offering and dedicating the merits to them would help them as well as other beings even if they are reborn in the higher realms or stuck in the lower realms. I wonder how long this Chinese tradition will last though, if it has become a 'chore' or 'duty' to the younger generation. 

I don't mean to sound like a baby, but I've not been in good health recently, plus I encountered quite a number of unfortunate  incidents in between. Blows after blows. Physically, I feel breathless and limp, never have I been like this before as I'm usually strong, fearless and healthy. Nowadays  I feel easily cold that I've to wear a scarf almost all the time! Moreover I have been sleep deprived for a few months. Although it is not that serious yet, but if this carries on, coupled with my cough, I just cannot imagine. 

Not having good physical health has its impact on mental health too. That's why I've been emotional, sad, frustrated and disappointed on many occasions. I feel that I just want to get out of this suffering state and leave. I asked some friends, why I always meet so many obstacles which are manifesting non stop, despite all the good virtuous deeds I try to do. Despite trying to study and practise the Dharma. Even then I meet problems still.  I often observe, many are richer and privileged, they are enjoying good reputation and social status and in the good books of their bosses and organisations, and they might not be even keen on charity work to benefit others. I know there is no point for comparison. The Buddhist point of view attributes all these to their good karma, something they've done right in their past lives to enjoy the present. I know it is not right to feel slighted in this way but when times are down, I still cannot help but be shaken and very discouraged. I would not know what is fair or not until samsara ends, as the cause and conditions always change. 

I hope I'm still planting some good seeds for my future lives. Anyway I just know that I need to get out of this current rut very soon. It's about time. 


Friday, 4 April 2014

Around my old neighbourhood

I am nursing a bad cough. After more than 3 weeks of self medication and both Chinese and Western medicine, my cough still persisted. So I went back to my usual clinic in my old neighbourhood as they have my longest medical records plus list of drug allergies. And it was nostalgic visiting the place again...

First stop straight to the doctor's. Looking at their primitive software and old dot matrix printer over the counter,  I remember my first ex boss was the pioneer in the medical industry to develop a clinic software about 20 years ago, a system which could alert drug allergies of individual patients! I was the sales person in those days talking to specialists and GPs to computerise! Haha!

After seeing the doctor, I chanced upon a mobile nursery ! So interesting. I supposed it was owned by one of the stalls selling plants and flowers in the market. But it is a good idea to be able to have a mobile lorry/truck ferrying common plants around whenever you want to buy some for home. How wonderful if they could come to your door step and you pick and choose plants from what's available or you 'pre-order' the types of plants you are interested in before they come. Save transport and delivery costs. 

For old times sake, although I was going to the wet market for my brunch, I went to a coffee shop selling my favourite char bee hoon and black noodles. I ordered a packet to takeaway. Their noodles for breakfast are very popular in the morning and no where else comes close in terms of the taste. And they top the char bee hoon with fried tau kee. I could eat the noodles plain without any additional ingredients, just green chilli will do. 

Everytime I came back to my old neighbourhood I would order the fried carrot cake from Kim Lee. 

Still my favourite fried carrot cake with lots cai por and garlic and a little moist and fragrant soft with egg, only $2 a plate. 


A few stalls away from Kim Lee carrot cake stall, is the soya bean drinks stall which is still very popular and run by a few brothers. I always order their warm soya bean drink to go with my fried carrot cake. Still prefer the old traditional tau huay (soya beancurd) they are selling  than those soya bean pudding type popular nowadays. 

The Yong Tau Foo stall caught my attention, their variety of items very fresh and fast moving. They also serve in variety of soup; clear soup or dry, tomyam soup, laksa gravy, as well as others like ban mian and fish soup and fried chicken rice/noodles. 

I was greedy. Although I was full I ordered and tried a bowl of dry Yong Tau Foo with a few items without noodles. Yummy! 

Next stop, the Muslim stall to pack lunch for my father. Wow I always judge the popularity of a Muslim food stall with the variety of dishes served and they looked so fresh, delicious and inviting, plus a constant flow of customers. If my stomach could still take in, I would definitely order more! 

They wrapped the takeaway rice like a ball and the usual dishes I order would be the Sambal cuttlefish, begedel (fried potato), stirfry long bean/tempeh/fried beancurd, or fried chicken wing or mutton. Yums!

Chanced upon an old key duplicate shop and did extra keys. Anytime more friendlier than those commercialised shops in shopping malls. :) 

And in the midst of the crowd eating in the hawker centre there was a guy singing just outside the toilets. Playing the electronic organ with sound system and microphone, he belted out English oldies for entertainment and hopefully for some tips. 

By the way, my old neighbourhood is in Sims Drive, a small housing estate near Aljunied MRT station. 

Monday, 31 March 2014

Homecooked goodies

It's been a long time since I shared my homecooked dishes. 

First homecooked meal of the year were Bak Kut Teh, fried fish and favourite veggies Nai Bai.

Sambal long beans with sotong and ikan bilis, preserved mustard pork ribs soup and awesome Muar otah.

Curry chicken, Herbal pigtail soup, Spinach and brown rice.

Bak Kut Teh dinner. First time adding chia seeds on rice and dish - broccoli with prawns, chinese mushroom and enoki mushroom



Steamboat goodness with instant noodles and egg and everything thrown in. It was CNY and we had all the ingredients in the fridge....



Homemade fish porridge with organic mushroom and wolfberries cooked in scallop soup stock.


Lunch in the office, cooked by mom and packed in tiffin carrier.... Thai stir fried pork with basil leaves and mixed veggies of cauliflower/broccoli/mushroom/carrot.


Brown rice and stir fry broccoli/capsicum/mushroom, fried egg with power herbal soup.

I cooked ABC soup, Tomato ketchup Salmon, Braised 'bitter' veggies with mushroom/luncheon meat, Fried Eggs..

Dinner highlight: Stuffed Kimchi Sotong. Sotong stuffed with kimchi, pork bits, and capsicum, and lightly grilled.  Together with Lotus root soup and sambal kang kong.
Bon appetit! 

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Month of March

Here's how my month of March went.

My guru Dagyab Rinpoche left Singapore after a month of teachings and initiations and CNY celebrations with us. I'm really grateful this time, Rinpoche taught something which I had wanted to ask and which he clarified through his teaching. I'm also blessed to have received from him a particular initiation I've been waiting for for a long time. 

A blessed long life puja offered to Dagyab Rinpoche. 

A new lease of new life after shifting to new office with a view. 

This period I particularly miss Lhamo very much. 

Celebrated my father's birthday after more than one month of being hospitalised. Hope he will recuperate well to be normal again. 

I have a liking for big breakfast set. Found a small joint selling hot dogs selling a whole day breakfast Big Brekky set for about $10. 

My cousin in Thailand got married with a beautiful grand wedding. May she and her hubby have a blissful marriage filled with love, happiness, and kindness. 

I'm beginning to like interesting pants. Here is a chequered one, haha. 

My all time favourite supper - Seng Kee kidney mee sua. I love to have supper with friends for a midnight chit chat over the weekend. 

Really grateful to this batch of monks from Gaden Shartse Monastery for being here this time. They were very hardworking, dedicated and very skilful in their pujas. 

Singapore is really beautiful in a different light at Marina Bay Sands. Recently in Huffnington Post,  MBS was listed by them to be one of the 19 places in Southeast Asia that will actually change your life. Haha! I laughed at this incredible claim but nonetheless we are so lucky to live in a clean city in Singapore. 



Saturday, 29 March 2014

A flash of thought

Finally the so-called 'busy' happening period is over. So much realisations this first quarter of the year, not all good or bad, just that life goes on. Perhaps I've encountered much tribulations these few years that if anything happens, or gets any worse, I am actually immuned to it. Maybe 'numb' or 'stoned' would be a better description. Knowing it's karma and remaining not resigned to its workings should be a positive move forward. Karma can change and if we change, it will be better in future, or tomorrow. We don't know what we did in the past to deserve what we did now, but we can always strive to improve for the future.

I've been trying to bounce back to my younger days of being happy-go-lucky and carefree, with the freedom to do whatever I like, going wherever I like, but I realise it's a thing of the past. It's not possible. Because the different experiences I had are different from what I had experienced in the past. Turning back the clock would not guarantee you could avoid all the unhappy stuff from getting to you, but rather it might be worse; maybe another set of unhappy events would arise instead. So it's back to square one. 

Many of us like to protect ourselves from being hurt, from our so-called enemies or perpetrators, and would find ways just to prevent others from getting into our comfort zone. However we are often most hurt by those closest to us. 

One positive way of looking at disasters or unhappy episodes is to view all these from the perspective of the other party. To me, I guess this helps me to understand better where the other party is coming from. Whether I am agreeable to the method adopted is another question. It doesn't matter. Each of us has our own process of staying grounded to our beliefs. 

I think I'm fortunate in a way that I always have people looking out for me all the time, helping me in both worldly and spiritual matters. Whenever I'm in trouble, people will appear to comfort me, help me in all ways possible and even dedicated prayers to me. Some just merely by their presence. I always know I have the blessings and protection of the Gurus, Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Protectors. They appear to me in different forms, and mostly as the human form, through the benefactors I meet. 

Recently I did one of those online tests which asked you to identify a crystal which you are most drawn to and the meaning behind the chosen crystal represents your inner self. I was most drawn to a crystal in the chart called Chrysocolla and what they said about my choice was pretty accurate .... 

"A natural healer, you prefer to retreat to a quiet place undisturbed by problems and worries when things and people upset you. Others do not often understand your need for reflection and solitude, but these attributes and aspects are necessary for you to fulfill your purpose here. When you are in a more social mode, you are charming, given to deep emotions and have a highly-developed sense of intuition. Trust your instincts more, and your thoughts and purpose will follow."

That's right. It's true, and all quite accurate. I'm reminded to trust my instincts more. My intuition or gut feel rarely fails me. And yes, I need to retreat to be by myself at times to reflect, to recharge, and to reconnect back. But when I'm with others at a social setting I can be charming or chatty. But I always listen to what people have got to say, because most want to be heard. 

Anyway, I'm reminded to trust my own instincts because my own inner gut feel or intuition knows better than my gross outer self. Continue to do good, continue to help others, continue to do what I think is right (and care less of what others think). Continue to trust those who I love and have faith in. Continue to contribute and accumulate merits through virtuous deeds. It's only when my 'box' of merits is full then will I be able to eradicate or purify all the unfortunate circumstances. The method is pretty straightforward and simple. There's no 2-ways about it. 

I'll end with a quote by Thich Nhat Hạnh which I found touching:  

I know that for thousands of lifetimes,
You and I have been one,
And the distance between us,
Is only a flash of thought.


Coming from Thich Nhat Hạnh, it is part of a spiritual message and not of any romantic connotation whatsoever. Think of who has been the 'one' with us for eons of lifetimes. I think I know who. Do you? 




Monday, 24 March 2014

How else should the rest of us behave?

I was from Christian schools from primary school all through secondary school and junior college.  So I am not unfamiliar with stories of lepers in the Bible and how Jesus healed them. This was one of the miracles Jesus performed to instill faith in the followers. Leprosy was very foreign to me, even in those days.  

So when I read news of His Holiness the Dalai Lama visiting leprosy patients in New Delhi a few days ago, I did not realise that leprosy, being one of the oldest known diseases to mankind, is still quite prevalent in India.  The purpose of his visit was to boost the morale of the leprosy patients and their families and to help people overcome their prejudice against the affrected. It was so touching seeing His Holiness getting close and personal with the patients, bowing low, touching them, blessing them and healing them too.  (I must say they are so so so fortunate to be touched and blessed by His Holiness, the Living Compassion Buddha, 1000-Armed Chenrezig/Guan Yin).

His Holiness Dalai Lama said, "People who spend money on luxury are foolish. They should spend money for the needy. If you believe in God or Buddhism and spend your money on the needy you will accumulate good Karma."

Another thought came to me .... 

"Even the highest of all teachers shows such humility, compassion and equanimity towards anyone, everyone. How else should the rest of us behave?"
   



Monday, 17 March 2014

Day of Miracles

Yesterday was a very special day, Chotrul Duchen, the ‘Day of Miracles’ which commemorates one of the four great deeds of the Buddha. It occurs on the full moon (the fifteenth day) of the first Tibetan month. The first fifteen days of the New Year (Losar) celebrate the fifteen days on which, in order to increase the merit and the devotion of future disciples, Buddha Shakyamuni displayed a different miracle.

I share here some of the photos posted on the Day Of Miracles by friends in Facebook. 

Long life prayers and offering a special statue for His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala.

Fog in Margate, England. 

Baby deer finds warmth in a bird nest. 

A great shot by a friend Esther holidaying in Norway. Here she was dining by the wharf Fiskekompaniet, Tromso.

The 23 year old McDonald's in King Albert Park closed at 11.59pm. It was a place with many fond memories for many Singaporeans. Here is one photo with my classmates umpteen years ago. 

On this auspicious full moon day, children painted their faces and for the adults taking a yoga meditation course in Pokhara Buddhist Meditation Centre, Nepal. 

A rare but beautiful photo depicting the harsh life in Afghanistan. 

It is even more incredible when you realise this was taken in light-polluted Singapore.

The whole world awaits news of the missing MH370, amidst bomohs, coconuts, conspiracy theories, conflicting stories and much astonishment and disbelief. 

End of Losar celebration in Kopan Monastery, Nepal. Here is the school building where the monks study. 

Full house during puja in Dro Phen-Ling, obstacle-clearing, empowered blessings for many during Losar period. 

The little miracle... welcomed heavy rain across the island after 60 days of 'drought' and haze in Singapore on this Day of Miracles. 

PM Lee Hsien Loong urged Singaporeans to be more gracious and kind in his post yesterday. Indeed, as Bob Ferrey puts it, "Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and the most underrated agent of human change". 

Last but not least, me with the late His Holiness Kyabje Trijiang Dorje Chang on this Day of Miracles. 
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