Wednesday, 1 August 2018

1 August 我没白来

One year ago today I gave you these flowers for your birthday. It was my first time giving flowers to you and I never knew it would be my last. 

Was busy the whole day today with guests and meetings in the office. Only when they have all left at 5pm, then I saw the video of your funeral. I broke down, again.

Although I had been close to you following you wherever you went, helping you to carry the stuff which you bought, I was mostly shy and you too were photo-shy, so I did not really have that many photos taken with you. 

But I did snapped many many photos when I was with you, the places we went, the meals we had, the activities we did during Dharma work. I only realised I have so many memories of you, with you, after your passing. When I searched through years of photos stored and backup in my laptop, I found so many photos which I took when I was with you........

Like the time we went HK cha chan teng for lunch because you said you were very hungry. I enjoyed my yuan yang milk tea while you ordered takeaway fried rice for your son. 

Like the time you bought this piggy for Jamie and after posing for this photo, you said, "don't post ok?" 
Like the times when you always shared with me about your Gurus, also my Gurus.  It was from you I learned about guru devotion. 

Like the times you would be in the centre very early everyday at about 7am plus and this was the most familiar sight to me as we chit chatted over your favorite 2-in-1 coffee.

Like the time we came back from the market and you have bought so much food for the volunteers which lasted us through breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Like you would take things upon your own hands when cleaning up the new centre.
Like the time you were so happy with your purchase of this Kipling bag and pouches, just because it was orange, your favorite colour.

Like the time when I took this sunrise from our monastery guest house and you were so enamoured with it. You asked me to remember this 'rush' colour.

Like the time you gave to the elderly street performer. You would often gave money to the poor and beggars, the tissue aunty at the hawker centre or the elderly folks selling vegetables or provisions.

Like the times when you would order so many dishes for us when we dine out. To you, there was no such thing as 'too much' when it comes to ordering food for others. The reason was, as you told me, you did not have much when you were young, so you did not want others to go hungry too. 
Like the time you bought necklaces in bulk in order to support an elderly street peddler. 

Like during CNY I would go with you to Chinatown to buy decorations and snacks for the centre. You were big on decorating the centre for CNY. 

Like the time you searched for something for your daughter the emcee to wear every Grand Puja. Even up until days before your passing, you were still trying to find pyjamas for your daughters for the coming lunar new year.

Like the time you were very serious in preparing notes before each of your Dharma-sharing and meditation classes.
Like the times you would share with us during volunteers briefing the importance of each Grand Puja.
Like the time we rushed out to buy more flower offerings in Little India for the Naga puja. I remember that was a memorable puja for me.

Like when you commented you liked this simple nasi lemak because the chilli sauce was freshly cooked in a boiling pot. 

Like the times when I attended your classes and wished I really can attain the same knowledge as you, but always realising my ignorant self still had a long way to go.

Like the times you would pick and choose special crystals or accessories with good energy for us. 

Like those times when you cooked sumptuous meals for us.

Like the few times we had picnic at the beach, you would cook curry chicken for us and you were so happy to see Lhamo frolicking in the water.

Like the numerous times you always took care of our Guru and all the monks of Gaden Shartse Monastery. You loved them and was always concerned about them.

Like the time you asked me, "do you know I love my Lhamo very very much?". Your youngest daughter. 

This photo which I took is poignant memory for me. This was 17.7.2017, during the opening of new GSDPL. After many months of painstaking search for a place and then going through the renovations, it was a huge relief and milestone for you. You did look tired. I could see it in your face. 


I have wanted to write a proper tribute about you, but the pain is still raw, that I just cannot make myself do it.... yet. It is as if you are still alive. It is as if you are away on your usual retreats which normally lasted a few months.

It has been almost 6 months. At the back of my mind, I still feel you are very much alive. It seems you are just away from Singapore. I am half expecting you to suddenly appear anytime, like you always did. I am half expecting you to call me any moment, "Stumpbo, where are you? Come, let's go buy durians!"

Your eyes always brighten and shine when you buy/ eat durians.

At times when you were upset with me, I know you ignored me because you wanted me to learn my lesson, to transform my mind to be a better person. But the egoistic me was still stubborn. But you were patient and forgave me again and again, as if nothing had happened. When no one believed me, you did. You helped me rid of the demons in me, metaphorically and literally.  

I may not be your family, but the pain I felt in losing you is no less heart-wrenching. You are after all my mentor and inspiration for my Dharma practice these past 7-8 years. We had spent so much time together. Besides sharing your knowledge of the Dharma, you have also shared with me personal stories, the good and bad experiences, the people you have met and those whom you have helped, and why you made some decisions which you did. Now when I encounter certain problems, I would always think if you were around, what your advise would be and how you would have handled the situation. 

We had little conversations here and there, and your last words to me were, "We must have a pure mind in Dharma. We must always check our mind and it is our job to help one another. I like to help those who like to practise Dharma. You can do it too because you are also trying your best to help others. We are working for Dharma. We must work hard. All Gurus and Buddhas will help us too. In this lifetime, if we cannot go to Buddha's Pureland yet, but if our motivation is correct, then we can still come back to GSDPL for future practices. This is because we have already planted the seed (of affinity) with the Centre. Thanks a lot for helping and please continue to serve the Monastery and Centre. I believe if a teacher has the right motivation, the student will have a good mind too. I am very happy to have met my Root Gurus in this life….. 我没白来".  

Yes, in Buddhism I learn about impermanence and I know I must learn to 'let go'. It is all too easy to say in theory. In practice, it is just so hard. We celebrate your life. We know who you were and your purpose in this life. However the flesh, bones and blood in me still cannot get over the changed situation now, that you are no longer around. I know time will heal but may I never forget what you have done for us.  May I be able to emulate your learning spirit and to continue the path which you have shared, taught and shown us. 

A couple of months back, on the 101st day of your passing, I had a very very brief dream at dawn. It was rather misty and I did not know where I was. Suddenly you appeared a few meters away. You waved and called "Stumpbo!" as if beckoning me to you. You were wearing your usual checkered shirt, in dark blue and red checks. Maybe I was surprised to see you, so I did not move. Instead you walked towards me and when you reached me, you extended your arms and gave me a tight hug. It was a long big hug. You did not utter any word. Me too. I dwelled in the comforting silence of your presence. Then I woke up. It was 6am. The dream was so vivid and clear. It felt that you had indeed been there. I teared. 😭

A friend said, "Maybe Mama knows you miss her, so she came into your dream to hug you". 

I had mentioned to that friend shortly after your passing that I regretted not giving you a final hug the last time before we parted ways on Li Chun. I think due to your clairvoyance, you knew my thoughts. That was why you came into my dream to give me that final hug. To bid good bye. 

Miss you so much, Mama. Thank you for the memories and thank you for this affinity and friendship with you, having connected with you in this lifetime. May you continue your Dharma work in benefiting many sentient beings in all your future lifetimes, just as you have always aspired to. 

May we meet again soon. I promise I'll help you carry your stuff again and let's continue with Dharma work again. 💕

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