Friday, October 31, 2008

Miniature Holy Places

Here are some pictures of the Holy Places at Dong Zen Buddhist temple in Klang. Miniature versions of the actual ones in India.

My Water Bowls

Yesterday after I counted my mantra accumulations, I realized that I have crossed the 200,000 mark earlier this week. Nothing much had happened to mark this occasion...

.… till this morning when my wife excitedly called me to come see “something”. I was getting dressed to go to office, when she came into my room and grabbed my hand. I was puzzled. I did not know what she was up to. She took me to our home shrine. She told me to look inside the water bowls I had there.

And what amazing things I saw there! Inside the water bowl, I saw tiny little droplets that look like tiny shining crystals. I did not use anything to touch the “droplets” but they are probably little pockets of air bubbles. And not just a few… there are so many inside. They appear not just inside one bowl, but ALL the bowls I had on the altar. The thing is, I had been doing water bowl offerings for more than a year, and had never seen anything like this before. I have been offering the water bowls daily, same bowl, same way I do it, yet not seen anything like that before, definitely they look beautiful. I guess it really does not matter what had caused the “bubble crystals”, but my motivation now is just to offer the beautiful “tiny shining crystals” in the water bowls to Rinpoche- my Guru, Chenrezig, all Buddhas and Arya Beings!

It is beautiful things like these that really make my day wonderful! Take a look at the stars sprinkled into the water bowls!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A reminder to myself

Dear myself,

Please take heed of Lama Tsongkhapa's advice to first develop the foundation practices strongly. Then only think of taking the higher tantric practices. Just like building a tower, if we donot have a strong base and foundation, and if each level is not build strong, then the levels above it, may just crumble and the whole structure will fall. We will have failed in our endeavour in that case. So, don't be in a hurry. Take time to develop each level one by one.

It is extremely important. There are cases of tantric practitioners who have not yet developed their emotional stability and burst out in anger, scolding and reacting violently against another person who was the first to "act violently", saying words that he normally donot say. And then he realised what he is doing and regrets it. But it is too late. All the previous practices are as good as destroyed. And we donot want cases of tantric practitioners involving in murder, for example, out of one moment of anger. Or, involving in rape or molest case, due to one moment of lust or desire. If that is still possible in you, I suggest you strongly develop the Mind of Renunciation and developing the Minds of Loving-Kindness, and Impermanence and Loathsomeness of the Body first.

Don't think of loafty ideals that you are not capable of keeping or living up to. Are you sure you can live up to the ideals of a Highest Yoga Tantric practitioner? First ask yourself this question.

Take care and Remember your Guru always!

Yours sincerely,


Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Jade Buddha For Universal Peace

This is the magnificent Buddha statue that hopefully will be unveiled in Singapore in January 2009. I look forward to it coming to Malaysia soon after that.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Golden Light Sutra - my interpretation

I would like to share with you some interesting facts on The Golden Light Sutra from my own observation and analysis.

1. This is the sutra in which we learn the practice of animal liberation is extolled. There are 2 chapters on this: one, Chapter on Hungry Tigress, and Chapter on the Thousand Fish. In the chapter on thousand fish tells us there are 2 types of animal liberation: mundane (saving them from death by putting more water into the lake) and supramundane (releasing them from their animal state by sinking himself into the water and reciting the name of the Tathagata; the fish all died but they became gods in the heavenly realms).

In the chapter of the hungry tigress, the tigress did not have to kill to eat. Anyway, it was too weak to hunt. Mahasattva did not want to let the tigress incur more bad karma of killing if he jumped down and did not die. So, he made sure he actually will die upon jumping down. Preventing animals from having to kill for their meat, i.e. give them dead meat, is a form of animal liberation since you are preventing them from incurring more killing karma.

2. This is the sutra that involves all the 6 types of sentient beings – from humans (all the human kings mentioned in the stories, the merchant, the medical doctor, etc), higher Heaven gods (Goddess Shri, Goddesses Saraswati), the lower Heaven gods (the Four Heaven Kings), the ghosts and spirits (represented by the Ghost Kings mentioned in the sutra), and the animals (whole chapter dedicated to animals, eg fish and tiger. Elephants are also mentioned). Hell-beings are not able to but the bodhisattva named Mahasattva was ready to go there by doing the utmost self-sacrifice, ie. by committing suicide he will be reborn in hell for aeons. All these 6 types of beings are mentioned in the Chapter on Confession. This chapter sort of purifies the negativities of all samsaric beings.

3. Ultimate Bodhicitta is mentioned by the Vajrayana Masters as gladly staying in samsara for aeons and aeons to develop our full Buddha qualities and gladly taking suffering upon ourselves for the sake of others. Many people know by sacrificing himself to the hunger tigress and her cubs, is a compassionate activity. But the point many people miss is the fact that the prince will go to HELL for committing suicide. Committing suicide will result in rebirth in Hell, even though his intention is good. But by doing that, he completely destroyed self-cherishing. I quote from The Golden Light Sutra, “ In this way, for the sake of just one being I have happily remained in the hell realms for eons.” Kstigarbha Bodhisattva actually symbolizes this spirit of willingness to remain in hell realms. I realize that this is the intention of practising Bodhicitta - ultimately destroying our grasping on the wrong mode of existence. Only by complete self-sacrifice can Buddhahood be perfected. So, lately I realize bodhictta is not just being compassionate. Many of us are not even willing to give way to others in a traffic jam; not to say of “going to Hell for you”? We will say “No, way! You go yourself…” So, this chapter should be about destroying the grasping of self and phenomena.

4. The Chapter on "Healing Illnesses" is an exhortation to practice Aspiration and Action Bodhicitta.

5. The Span of the Tathagata’s Life is a symbol of the wisdom of conventional and ultimate truth (Emptiness) according to one interpretation I have read regarding the length of the Tathagata’s life also mentioned in the Lotus Sutra.

6. With the detail descriptions of the teeth, the eyes, the tongue and nose, etc, the chapter on Lotuses is an encouragement for us to practice Samatha.

7. Chapter of “Confessions” is an exhortation for us to engage in purification practices.

8. After accumulating merits, and purifying our negativites, with the right practice of Samatha, we can understand the correct view of Emptiness, in the chapter on Emptiness.

Hence I find that the reason this sutra is so powerful is because it actually is a strategic road map to Buddhahood for all sentient beings. We must really see it in this manner, beyond just about stories and dreams and goddesses. But this is only my personal dharma sharing. Again I stand to be corrected if it is wrong.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Not Progressing At All

I am disappointed in many ways nowadays. When the guru comes, everyone rushes to greet him, to touch him, to get his blessings, and also, in very subtle way, probably to show him how devoted we are to him compared to others. Throughout the year we go to this lama’s teaching, that rinpoche’s teaching, go here, go there…. But the moment a car comes along in front of you, you hone him like you will go crazy. Or, the moment, you receive an email or hear words we don’t quite like, or does not think it concerns us as Buddhists, we respond or reject it in a negative way. We narrow down our animal liberation activities to only buying animals to release them. That in itself is not something wrong, but do we have to stop people from participating in petitions for animals? We even have cases of politics within many Buddhist organizations, and “shouting matches”…. and we think everything we are, are nice and good, but we don’t see the worms that are infesting inside. Sometimes we turn into subtle “monsters” and we are not even aware of it.

All the teachings we hear through the year, all the devotion we show to our guru… becomes merely a “show” – an ornament for admiration and self-ego. When we attend to big dinners, we don’t care about compassion, and say things like, “oh, this fish is so delicious”…or, “I want more of this lamp chop”, “this chicken is not cook enough, they should have fried it even longer”… even if we don’t pray for the fish/chicken, whatever meat before we eat it, we don’t have to create more negative karma from our speech. I know because I have been careless too sometimes. Also, throughout our working career, we most likely have offended many people and animals …and spirits, ghosts, nagas... and we don’t even know. If these people cannot retaliate, they will likely curse us for our quick death. Dogs generally don’t go around biting people, unless they are mad dogs! Same for humans, spirits, ghosts, nagas! There is no effect without a cause. If there is a cause, there will be an effect.

The problem is we create negative karma in many ways we are not aware, and when bad things happen to us, we say it is not fair. We say it was created in our previous life, and to suffer it in this life is not fair because you don’t remember the bad things we have committed. However, if we really think seriously of all our bad habits we have now, we probably had them even in our previous lives. So, even if we are born with the physical defect, we cannot say, “oh, the baby did not do anything wrong”. Don’t look at others – think of ourselves. If we have cancer at an early age, think whether we have had negative thoughts or not on others? Have we got angry with anyone? Have we been jealous? Most likely the answer is “yes”. And that is an indication, of our bad habits since beginning-less lives. So, we don’t have to look at previous lives to know why we are suffering whatever we are suffering from now. Our imperfections are very clear in this life, …unless we choose not to see them. And a lot of us do choose not to see our own imperfections.

Hence, even after "practicing" the dharma for more than 10, 20 , or 30 years. we don't progress at all on the spiritual path. We only delude ourselves that we have progress, but if we check the amount of ignorance, hatred/anger and attachments, it would be considered good if you manage to maintain the level, and not increase it. But majority of us, let's not kid ourselves - most likely they have all increased! Unfortunately, the three roots of evil are not something that can be measured in a tangible way, otherwise they will be our spiritual KPI (Key performance indicators).

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sundararupaya - Sathya Sai Baba darshan

My incredible Guru!

May all who see this video be blessed wherever you maybe!

Sathya Sai Baba's Heart will Go on and on...

...and on for all sentient beings!

Thank you, my dearest Guru!

Sai Baba

One very important Guru of mine. He taught me how to see the guru as divine. To see him as divine was quite easy. Easy or not, it laid the foundation for my spiritual path. So, I am deeply grateful to Him!

My deepest love and devotion to Him!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Chandrakirti's Seeds and Shoots

Referring to my earlier post on "Simile of a Tree", it is ironic that today I went to a friend's house and heard teachings on Chandrakirti's Madyamakavatara... specifically verse 9-13 where he talked about seeds and shoots (sprouts). It cannot be more ironic than this. It is too much of a coincidence!

So, Chandrakirti was saying that if people think that a tree comes from a seed, then it means you are assuming they are the same. And if they are the same, how come the colour, texture, taste, etc are so different? And if seed were to become tree, then the tree would necessarily disappear just like the seed. Or, conversely, the seed need to be visible just like the tree. You got what I am saying? I don't have the text with me right now , so I cannot quote here but if you read the text, you know what I am talking about. Or, rather... I hope so. In the beginning even with the text, I took a little while to get what Chandrakirti was trying to say. So, don't worry if you don't understand at this point. It is far better to prepare your mind by doing the preliminaries well. Start with realising the different stages of Lam Rim.

O-my! I tell you this emptiness thing is mind boggling! In the end, the Buddhist Master was trying to show people that ultimately you cannot say that a "self" or "phenomena" is self-arising, nor can it be arisen from other sources external from itself, nor can it be both... nor neither! So, how? Hahahaha.... check it out yourself, my dear friends! I understand why I had those "streams of thoughts" that early morning when I woke up. The simile of the tree now makes sense in light of Chandrakirti's teachings. And also I think
it is Buddha's way of telling me it is time to go study this teaching on The Middle Way of Emptiness such as the text written by Chandrakirti and Nagarjuna's texts.

THANK YOU, GURU-BUDDHA for giving me so much blessings spiritually... even though materially I just discovered my investment has dropped so much due to the drop in the market forex rate. However, this kind of spiritual blessing is Priceless!

What a strange coincidence! Believe it or not!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

New Post in September month

I posted a new blog on "Precious Human Rebirth" in October, but appeared under September. This was because I started writing it in September 08 but kept it in "draft" form till it was completed recently. It took me so long to reflect myself as I was writing it. So, you might want to refer to it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Former Ganden Tripa Stays on 'Thukdam' for 18 Days

Effects such as below can only be done by someone who have years of practice. It doesnot come in just 1 or 2 days of practice. As long as we keep on creating the circumstances for ignorance, anger and greed to fester within us, that is as long as illnesses and problems will return to haunt us again and again... even as we seek cures for them again and again. Only when the root of the problem is overcome, then we have some hope of overcoming illnesses and problems forever. But by that time, if we have any real bodhicitta, we would gladly wish to take on problems and illnesses from others. So, illnesses and problems will never go away, will they? How do you suffer it, with ignorance or enlightenment? :)

And after overcoming the root of the problem, hopefully eventually when we die, we will die just the way of HH Ganden Tripa and the way of many other lamas as well, who have died in this manner too!!


[Tuesday, October 07, 2008 12:38]

Dharamshala, October 6 – Doctors and researchers at the Drepung monastery were amazed to witness a rare spectacle in the south Indian Tibetan settlement of Mungod. His Eminence Lobsang Nyima, the former Gaden Tripa, who passed away on September 14, stayed in Thukdham for 18 days, till 1st October.

Thukdham, as per Tibetan Buddhist Tantric practice, is explained as a stage in which a highly learned lama or practitioner with his life time practice of meditation is able to meditate on the ‘Clear Light Stage’, an ultimate process of inner dissolution of five elements and consciousness. The practitioners, while in Thukdham, are able to control their body from decomposition and to maintain the internal body heat.

Tenzin Namdul, a Tibetan doctor at the Men-Tsee-Khang, and Dr. Yangzom Dolker of Delek hospital, were sent to Mundgod, South India to scientifically investigate the effect of Thukdham on Trisur Rinpoche's body. Thukdham project was initiated last December in collaboration with Dr. Richard Davidson's brain imaging laboratory at University of Wisconsin under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, says Dr. Namdul. The doctors measured the effect of Thukdham on Rinpoche's body through EEG, ECG and body temperature using latest scientific equipment.

Tibetans as well as Indians thronged Drepung for Rinpoche’s blessing. A team of researchers and scientists from Swami Vivekananda Yoga Research Foundation from Bangalore arrived to witness what they later termed as a "scientific breakthrough in the effect of intense meditation". Another team of senior doctors and neuroscientists from Belgaum’s KLES Prabhakar Kore Hospital where Rinpoche breathed his last also arrived to witness the spectacle.

“The doctors commented this is something they need to see to believe and now that they have witnessed it, they said they are simply surprised and speechless. Both the team expressed strong desire in initiating a collaborative project on this important and complex subject”, Dr. Namdul said.

Some say that longer period of meditation will prolong the arrival of his reincarnation. Dalai Lama had asked the attendants of Gaden Trisur to allow the mediation to continue. Earlier, the Tibetan leader had said that scientists should examine the state of thukdham of Tibetan masters and Lamas.

Under guidance of Dalai Lama, Trisur Rinpoche's body will be mummified so that people can have his audience and be blessed by his presence, Dr. Namdul said.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Nine Emperor Gods and Buddhism

The Nine Emperor Gods Festival is celebrated in much fanfare in Penang, Malaysia, especially the local chinese people who are both Taoists and Buddhists. For me, I used to pray to them too even though I place more emphasis on Buddhism. But nowadays I no longer pray to them the way I pray to the Buddha. Instead I requested them to protect and spread the dharma or at least ensure virtue spreads among the people in this land! I also requested them to protect my gurus and their lineage masters. And I am a vegetarian on the 9th day not because of them, but because of the benefits to sentient beings. And in return, I offered them some incense and other puja stuffs... just like the Tibetans do to their protector deities.

In short, I am turning them into protectors of the Buddha dharma and turning this into a Buddhist practice! Hence, instead of abandoning my chinese cultural and religious heritage due to the Taoist elements, Buddhists should adapt them within the Buddhist contexts. That was how Buddhism spread to the world from its native land anyway!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Simile of the Tree

Last morning I had a very strange dream. Or was it more like a stream of thoughts that came suddenly? Anyway, it went like this...

A tree grows because of 5 important ingredients that come together, namely the plant seed (or seedling), the soil, water, air and sunlight. Without one of these, the tree/plant would never grow. If we equate these 5 substances or things to the 5 aggregates (Sanskrit: skandas) that is supposedly to make up the "self", we can also draw to the same conclusion that if one of these aggregates are missing, then a "self" would not come into being. Rebirth would not take place. Similarly, our seed of ignorance is so thick, that even though the 5 aggregates disintegrate upon death, it "regroups" together through the forces of karma and delusion to form another being. The tree example shows clearly the dependent origination of a "being" (and in fact, any other thing or phenomenon). Hence, a tree is empty of an inherent nature, i.e. it doesnot exist by itself. It came about through factors or substances that come together.

What happens when a "being" is liberated from samsara? It means the 5 substances doesnot come together and thus, the tree doesnot grow anymore. Or, the tree is uprooted. Once separated from the soil of delusion, the tree is deprived of its nutrients and thus cannot survive any longer. The seed has been destroyed. So, where has the tree gone to? Perhaps, there is none in the first place. There was just air, water, soil, sunlight and the seed that came together, and produces a "being" or "self". But before the tree is gone, it would spread its seeds elsewhere and thus produce more trees in the future. One tree produces many, many other trees. So, even though one "being" is liberated, many more "beings" are produced, i.e. through ignorance. Therefore, samsara will never be any lesser.

After the tree is gone, where are the other 4 substances that makes it? They are still everywhere. Air, water, soil and sunlight - these continue to benefit nature and all "beings".

So, this ends my stream of thougths. By then, it must be 9 or 10am. But it is so tempting to slide back to sleep since the air is still cool after the night's heavy down pour. :)

However, I still wonder whether all these makes any sense. ???