Sunday, 12 January 2014

A peek of my 2013

I had wanted to do a round up of my 2013. I did it halfway, before the year ended. However, I did not and could not seemed to be able to complete this post by new year. Something cropped up. Also there were too many photos and too much stuff I would like to include, so had a hard time deciding what to cut off. Anyway, better late than never. It's going to be a long post and look out for my summary right at the end. HAPPY (BELATED) NEW YEAR!  

After an exhilarating end 2012 meeting His Holiness the Dalai Lama, I welcomed 2013 with a steamboat with some friends. Although it was to be a dramatic period, it was unforgettable as well. New Year Eve 小肥羊 homemade steamy was shiok, see the delicious ingredients, my favourites being pork shabu shabu, mushroom and radish, and of course not forgetting grilled scallops. Yums!

Bid Uncle Looi good bye. He was my friends' father. Although I didn't know him for very long but he was very supportive of me, especially very supportive of my blog. And we can chat very well. To him I have gratitude because it is hard to find a supportive reader for a majorly Buddhist blog. I will always remember uncle's message to me, "If you don’t wake up to experience the sunrise, you will miss it!”.  I am very sure he already had a very good rebirth by now. I blogged about him here

During Jan-Feb, had an enjoyable Chinese New Year with my precious guru Dagyab Rinpoche who was here to celebrate the CNY with us. The usual busy period of CNY, the Grand Puja, then the Malaysia teaching, as well as the picnic with Rinpoche. CNY with the monks also happened to be Tibetan Losar (new year), makan and had interesting games. We had a short break with Rinpoche in Port Dickson, Malaysia, after his precious teachings. The picnic with him in East Coast, Singapore, was memorable because it was raining and we were wet throughout, but we still managed to have our stomach filled with lots of delicious food. Rinpoche was very sporting with the games. This year I got to know Rinpoche up close and really appreciate his qualities as well as his powers/prowess! He is really an enlightened realised holy being.  

In March, my another guru, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, finally arrived for the first time since he had a stroke more than 2 years ago. Seeing him walking slowly with a slight limp out of the arrival hall was particularly heart breaking (he did not want to sit on the wheelchair). Many students were especially considerate to him, even the usually long blessings and questions in the airport were shortened, as nobody wanted Rinpoche to be too tired. My guru said, "Although I'm not here (physically), I've never left. I'm always here with you."  

History making day when Singapore's PSI hit 401 on 21 Jun 2013, highest in its history. My take is, there is really no point in finger pointing who is right or wrong. For like all things, this too will pass. Every cloud has a silver lining. I would prefer to view this as a ripening of our collective karma and this obstacle is a purification for us, as are all other obstacles we face throughout our daily life. By encountering/overcoming this obstacle, we may inadvertently be preventing ourselves from even greater harm, for example, a deadly epidemic from taking place.

Then Choden Rinpoche came, not just once but twice in a year, both in April and October. I did not attend all the teachings but I rejoice that Rinpoche would likely be visiting Singapore every year now even though he is already in his mid 80s. Also he now has a new centre here and everyone around seem quite nice. It was special to me during his visit this time, as Rinpoche gave me personal advice and told me, assured me about something which I am very grateful for. May Choden Rinpoche have a long life and continue to turn the wheel of Dharma.

Lati Rinpoche's holy statue was finally ready and arrived in Singapore, in Gaden Shartse Dro-Phen Ling. So this year when we commemorated Rinpoche's anniversary, we could make offerings to his holy statue and holy relics too. At the same time, the holy stupa of Lama Lhundrup was also completed in Kopan Monastery. Waiting for Khenrinpoche's swift return and remembering the guru who said he would be my "personal guru, lifetime after lifetime"

Many students are always missing their gurus who have departed, I would like to say that, one is never separated from one's heart guru, even if he is no longer around physically. HH Trijiang Rinpoche gave this analogy: "If you plant a flower, as long as it’s not covered by stones and there are no obstructions, then even though the sun is very far away, the flower will receive everything it needs to grow". Even if you are not physically near your guru all the time, if you feel close and have devotion, you will constantly receive his blessings. To feel close, you must constantly remember his kindness.

Zong Rinpoche came to Singapore for teachings and Dharma event for the very first time. Although he is young, however he is already manifesting the qualities of a great master, impressing many with his teachings and wise words. After all, he has the qualities of his predecessor, the most Venerable Zong Rinpoche whom many revered in his time. May the Zong Rinpoche of this life be able to continue his magnificent and illustrious deeds to benefit everyone, especially those in Singapore. We look forward to his coming back again as the seed of affinity with Singapore has already been planted. 

I have made some nice Dharma friends. It is always good to have this affinity especially when we did meritorious activities together, eat together, help each other when possible,  learn the teachings of the Gurus together, make more new friends together, create the cause of being related to one another not just in this lifetime but future lifetimes, according to the Dharma. I have met many different friends and different characters over the years. From past experience, although I might have had some unpleasant encounters but compared to the 1% not so pleasant ones, I am thankful there is always the rest of 99% who are friendly and genuine. And in the process of helping others, and learning to be selfless, I have a new mantra .... "Do not just be a hard worker. Be a heart worker too."

Then there are my buddies or BFFs whom I have known for decades. A couple of them since Primary One! We may not meet often but it's amazing we've stayed in contact since 7 years old. I am sentimental, somehow old friends are still the best. They know us best, and there's no need to impress each other. We have been through our individual ups and downs and old friends still stick by you, no matter what happens. I hope we will remain as best of friends till the end of our lives.

In mid September, bid my friend good-bye. I blogged about her here.  It was only recently, 3-4 months after her passing, that I finally managed to clear her Dharma stuff, upon request from her and her family. I only kept one photo of my friend, the one which she was making beautiful offerings, for this is what I will always remember her for. I was asked to share and write in a publication about my friend's passing which should be out soon. I am very sure she would have a very good rebirth. When I finally closed this chapter, I was a little emotional, because it had been a roller coaster ride for me these few months, not because of my friend's passing, but because of other unnecessary unpleasant episodes that spinned off from her passing. It was also a time I learned who my true friends are.

In October, Gaden Shartse Dro Phen Ling conducted a donation drive for the victims of the Haiyan Typhoon. I think the entire Singapore came down to donate their old clothes, blankets and slippers. Some bought and donated new items. It was too overwhelming that the centre could not contain the amount of items being sent in. Even though many truckloads of items were transported out each day, there would be more and more stuff collected everyday, that it piled up the centre until there was no space. For the group of volunteers involved in the exercise, it was quite fun although everyone was really drained out, packing and physically carrying bags and bags of items. There was a long queue of cars, especially on the last day of collection before closing. For myself personally, I volunteered and helped out for 4 full days at the centre. I witnessed many Samaritans who came and gave sincerely as well as the volunteers who helped out without complaints. After this exercise, many volunteers fell ill because of the rain and sun and dust. But it was all part of purification for us too. We hope that the victims get their normal life back as soon as possible.  

Happiness is sending little blessed gifts by post to a friend in Norway, whom I just got acquainted with online. Feels like the old days when the only way to keep in touch with pen pals is writing long letters and sending by snail mail. Although the gifts do not cost much, they have been consecrated and blessed by the Rinpoches, thus each item has special significance, they are priceless.  Then she also sent me handmade gifts too. It was so touching because it is probably the second time someone painstakingly knitted for me (first time was from my mom when I was a baby). My new friend is a nurse/therapist who is very meticulous. She knitted a reddish pink scarf and a pair of yellow socks for me. Perhaps the most touching was her encouraging message in the card..... complete with dedication too....she wrote,  "I found the following dedication in the book - Dakini Power - and I want to share it with you, I think it's very beautiful.... 

May you live long, and realise your fullest potential. 
May your spirits soar high and may you always have the courage to follow the truth.
May all your aspirations be fulfilled and goodness prevail.
May every being on earth find peace and happiness, shelter and refuge.
Don't let anybody tell you it can't be done." 

2013 ended on a sweet note because my cousin from Thailand got engaged. She is marrying her best friend she knew for a while. My grandma, mom and few siblings flew over to attend the ceremony. I'm so happy for my cousin who is a very kind-hearted and helpful girl. May her upcoming marriage be full of bliss and happiness. 

I recall many years ago, about 20 of us in the family went on a vacation together to Thailand. It was so fun and a chance of a lifetime to be able to spend time with almost all your entire extended family abroad.  We were at the ancient city of Ayutthaya and Chiang Mai and the border almost entering Burma, as well as Bangkok. Time flies. Hope we will have another opportunity for such a trip in the future. 

Memorable year to me. Some places I have been, what I ate, what I saw, and the company I was with, will remain as beautiful memories.  All things, good or bad, is just as illusory as our dreams. We should not be too attached to the experiences we encountered for everything is just temporary... temporary memories, temporary acquaintance, temporary happiness. Phenomena is empty. It should instead be the foundation and basis of striving towards what we know as the ultimate happiness. I am grateful to a couple of friends for their advice, and for helping me in my darkest moments. Even if I could not relive such similar beautiful moments again, it will be a lesson to me. We should just embrace change. 

As what HH Karmapa said: "We’re changing in every second, from moment to moment. We might have a problem in the first moment, but in the next moment we have an opportunity to be a new person who doesn’t have that fault." 

I think by now, LOL8 blog would not be complete if there is no sharing of food posts (sorry the resolution of this collection of food photos does not do justice to what the taste buds enjoyed). Food is a big part of our life, especially in Singapore. Although I am not a food blogger, I enjoy eating with friends, who are always on the look out for new makan places. Usually it is for a friend's birthday or special occasion, or just supper or just a simple meal. It can be a new restaurant or a hawker stall. Some places we visited in 2013 are Hai Di Lao, Yayoiken, Palm Beach, Ju Shin Jung, Seoul Yummy, Mookata, Tamoya, Watami, Bangkok Jam, Curry Times, Maduras, Tonkatsu King, Tampopo, Diandin Leluk, Pollen @Garden By The Bay etc....... 

I am in the process of considering a change of direction for this blog. Keeping my fingers crossed....

I enjoy cooking too, just simple dishes. I do not know how to bake so I prefer cooking, more practical because it fills my stomach. Snacks like cake and cookies only make me fat, hehe. 

As Mark Twain puts it..... "Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside." 

My take on 2013 and thoughts....

1. Do you believe me if I told you I didn't watch much tv (almost totally zilch) in 2013? Didn't follow any drama series at all and I do not miss it. In contrast I am forever online, 24/7, almost.

2. To understand each other better, there must always be proper dialogue with sincerity. I rather there be an open discussion than speculation which is so negative for the mind. Problems should be addressed properly and not leave anyone in the lurch. 

3. I've learned that in this worldly existence, when one makes a mistake, no matter what, generally people do not tend to forgive and forget easily. The stain would always remain and never be erased, no matter how many good deeds one has done. 

4. On the work front, my bosses have been kind thus far. I look forward to some good changes and opportunities this year. 

5. 2013 was the year I found myself in unnecessary distress over certain situations which sometimes were not entirely caused by me yet I got the blame one way or another. May I always meet with benefactors and kind helpful friends instead. May I always be able to tell the truth with logic and compassion. 

6. Made couple of great friends who made me realise who my true friends are. The long late night chats and sharing cleared many of my doubts or dissatisfaction over some matters. We may know all by theory how we should behave, but it is the actual practice which will make us become a better person. 

7. There were many special moments too which I felt very very very happy and loved. These moments were indescribable and I will treasure them forever. 

8. I feel trust and loyalty are most important in life, especially to those dear to us. If we can be totally frank and trust each other without reservation, any problem becomes minute. Of course, both sides must feel the same way. 

9. I hope to be able to be in the position to continue to help others who need help desperately, some of which are life threatening.  May I be able to extend a helping hand without meeting any obstacles. 

10. I'm craving for change on many levels and areas. Also thinking how my dharma path can continue to be smooth without worldly and spiritual obstacles. I am known to make drastic changes and decisions so I don't know what 2014 will bring. And I don't like to make resolutions. I would just follow my conscience, on what is right and wrong. 

Hope 2014 will be an even greater year. May I improve in my Dharma practice. May I be able to transform my weakness into strength. May all be happy. May I always have the courage to follow the truth.

1 comment:

  1. thank you for your nice sharing...always waiting for your sharing...Amitofo


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