Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Actively Shaping Our Destiny

We have reached the end of the year 2008 and I am sure you will agree with me a lot of things and events have happened to us over the past 12 months. If I may say, it was indeed, a very challenging year, me including. Even on a national as well as global level, 2008 has been a rather difficult year for almost everyone. We have seen major changes in our domestic front, both politically as well as economically. It is the same at the international level. Many people were out of job this year and more will be the next year. Even I myself had been affected by these job uncertainties. Through these uncertainties, I have learned that it is we ourselves that shape our own destinies. Our destinies are definitely not carved into our dates of birth or the stars and planets. These are only rough guidelines and we should rightfully be actively shaping our destinies. And not let these overwhelm us. It is important for me to say this because the forecasts in the horoscopes I have read for next year is not too good. If you read too much into horoscopes, you will not be able to sleep peacefully at night, because every year seems to be bad anyway… at least for me, it seems that way.

So, every new year, people would go for “Phor Oon”, or activities that increase blessings. Last year, I was in Thailand and I noticed that the Thai Buddhists make offerings to Sangha during new year (1st January). It is their way of ‘phor oon”. I think that is a very good practice, at least I think it’s better than making offerings for some paper figurines and paper money at a Chinese temple and the person (I’m not even sure if he is a monk or not) would just recite “Li Po Li Po Di, ….” (which I can also recite) a few times over your head and ring the bell and then give you some paper talisman to wear or burn to drink.

Anyway, I hope that people would not be negatively affected by the much doom and gloom forecasted for next year. Karma is not carved into solid steel. Even steel can be melt and re-shaped, right? We can actively create new karma and change our way of thinking and our negative behaviours or habits. Even if you were to go to the Buddha for blessings, it is useless if you do not change your negative actions, negative speech and negative thinking. If we are still remain greedy and still makes 50-100% profit during these economic bad times, don’t you think we are generating a lot of bad karma? When petrol prices increase, people justify increase in their prices due to increase in transportation and fuel prices. The chain effect causes overall prices to go up. However, why is it that the reverse chain effect does not happen when petrol prices go down? Transportation and fuel prices do not go down. The probable answer: human ignorance and greed to sustain their high prices. As a person who knows costing, I know the real cost for example, fried eggs at economy rice food stall. Eggs now cost about 35sen an egg. Add oil and gas and allocation of a fraction of stall rental, it will come to 50sen. They sell at 80sen to RM1.00. That means a 60% - 100% profit margin. This is just an example. You can calculate yourself why things are ridiculously way too expensive beyond their actual costs. I am not saying they should be making losses. No. In bad times, if you have the power to decide the prices of the goods that you are selling and you do not reduce them for the welfare of the people, then that will incur a lot of negative karma. Top management and directors of public-listed companies have even heavier negative karma if they have mismanaged and caused the loss of wealth of their public shareholders. So, be careful if you are selling products to the public or have a public fiduciary duty. If we are involved in the manufacture of un-substandard products intentionally, involved in bribery or corruption, willful mismanagement of the company and wasting shareholder’s funds, then the karma will be very heavy. We may escape punishment in this life but when this human life is over, such persons who have been irresponsible to the public in their duties will be hauled to the chambers of hell. In that place, there is no court of appeal or slick lawyers who can get away with nonsense such as “it looked like me, talked like me, sounded like me …but not me”. You can try that on King Yama and the officers of hell and see what you get! It’s far better to admit your fault while you still can, in this life as a human, and start repenting.

The reverse is also true as told to us in the classic story of Liao Fan. He managed to increase his blessings by very much (and by that, he changed his ‘destiny’ too) by reducing taxes on the citizens. Even reducing by 1% is able to affect so many people. So much happiness is generated. Actually it does not have to be taxes. Your raw materials may be more expensive now, but if you can absorb the higher costs and still make a profit, even though less than you used to, or by maintaining your prices instead of passing the higher costs to the consumers, then you will make huge blessings. In economics we study the chain effects of one price on another item. In Buddhism, this is like the working of dependent arising, where one factor causes another factor to arise. By this example that I give, we can see how our Buddhist teachings of Dependent Arising and Karma happen in our daily life as well as in all aspects of our life (such as economics). Many ordinary Buddhists do not understand this simple point on how to increase their blessings (or ‘phor oon’), and so I try to stress a little bit on this.

So, if you hope to change your destiny in the future, please consider what I have written here, which is just my 2 cents worth of opinion. Sometimes people wonder where they get all the bad karma from. Indeed, it does not necessarily have to be from their past life, which they cannot see. Sometimes it does seem like Buddhists are talking about something that cannot be verified, right? Wrong. Unless you are born with that defect or disease, in most cases, you can reflect on what you have done wrong in this life. And as I have explained, we can see the working of karma and dependent arising in all aspects of our life. And if you can see these as working in this life, then you can be assured that they do not stop working when you die. They continue to work into your next life and thereafter, until you attain release from samsara.

If you feel down and miserable, pick yourself up and have faith in the Triple Gem. Sakyamuni Buddha endured suffering for 3 great eons in order to perfect every single quality and virtue before becoming a Buddha. Because he is free from suffering, he is the only one who can truly help us. Others can merely assist. Therefore, have confidence in the Buddha.

So far I have said much about increasing blessings the Buddhist way, and also driving our own destiny, instead of being controlled by it, which I hope there will be at least one person who finds it useful. In closing this year, I take this opportunity to thank my Guru-Triple Gem for the excellent blessings, my dharma protectors who had done a wonderful job, and to wish everyone a Happy New Year and urge everyone to actively shape their karma for a better tomorrow!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Gompa burned in fire

This Information from a friend's friend in the US on the fire at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa, an FPMT centre in Pomaia, Italy.

The gompa of ILTK was completely destroyed by fire this morning 26 December 2008. Most fortunately no one was hurt. Being Christmas there were very few people in the Institute. Petr and Cinzia, whose room is in the corridor facing the gompa, woke at about 7:30 AM to the smell of smoke. They opened the door of their room to find the corridor filled with smoke. They woke up the few people in the building and called the firemen. Several people stood outside the doors of the gompa and were able to contain the fire with fire estiguishers until the firemen arrived. The fire did not spread but the gompa is completely destroyed, as well as all statues and tangkas (as you can see from the photo). The firemen closed the entire wing of the building down to and including Shine's premises due to being worried about the floor of the gompa collapsing. Dagri Rinpoche arrived during the day and said to everyone that there is no great monastery that has not had big problems and that the fire should be taken as a sign that it is necessary to go ahead with the building of a new gompa. The Italian Buddhist Union has made an appeal for funding to rebuild and the news has been on national television. I myself am in Canada and heard the news from Ven. Raffaello Longo and our housemanager Petr Zon, who found the fire. It is thought that it was caused by a shortcircuit, perhaps in the Christmas lights (there were no candles buring at the time).

Please keep the institute in your prayers.

Before it burned, it looked like this:

More photos of the ILTK:

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Bruce Lee, the reincarnation of Alexander The Great?

pic from historyof &

What do these two persons have in common, other than being heroic icons? One was a kungfu legend without parallel in the last century. The other, a world conqueror (indeed, he would fit the Buddhist term as a wheel turning emperor) who was born in the ancient Greece in 356 BC. Both died at the young age of 32. Both reached the lofty goals they set for themselves. Both of them left such a major impact to the world. Both are my iconic heroes.

Suddenly a family member asked me, "Could it be that Bruce Lee was an incarnation of Alexander the Great?" Hmm, I think that's highly possible given the similarities of their characteristics such as perseverance, pride and stubbornness. See the pictures above - don't they look uncannily similar? Hahaha, or, is it just my imagination...? If he was, then I think he must have had very terrible karma to die at age 32 in every human rebirth. Bruce Lee was great because his martial expertise was genuine, unlike nowadays you see most chinese actors and actresses of the kungfu genre, who had not fought a real opponent before. All the flying and swordsplay we se in the movies and TV drama series are only a figment of the chinese imagination nowadays. No one could do that in real life. However, whatever we see Bruce Lee did in the film, you can bet he can do exactly that in real life, or even better. And I adored Alexander the Great because of his far-sightedness, determination and sheer strength of his leadership -ingredients that are also present in great leaders of today such as Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.

Some facts on Bruce Lee from wiki:-

And some facts on Alexander:-

One conquered the martial arts world, and the other conquered most of the known world then. However, they could not conquer death, and they ended up losing the precious human rebirth they had got. How pitiful!

Still, I do adore these 2 persons because of what they had accomplished in such a short time. On that note, I would like to wish my readers a Merry Christmas. Ho! Ho! Ho! Ho!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

2 Important Events today

I guess I have to go back on my word to stop posting on Buddhist things and come back only next year. Looks like the Buddhas keep coming back. Hahahaha! Anyway, I have to post this.

“O-Guru Triple Gem! I seek your blessings!
Quickly, quickly… come now!
Please, please…I beg of You!”

2 things happened today that made me rejoice.

First, referring to the last paragraph of the "desperate supplication" prayer... well, today I received an important sms. Guess what? Guru is indeed coming! Hahahaha! It's a culmination of everyone who had put in their sincere prayer for this to come true. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed that he'll make it to Malaysia after Singapore. :)

Second, a bird that was most likely going to die because everyone else had given up hope of rescuing it so that it could fly out of the building. It had somehow flown into a high rise building thru an opened window and could not get out. Poor thing was flying here and there and always banging into the transparent glass window. The bird could not distinguish between a glass window and an open window. Reminds me of the suffering nature of being animals. And it was only yesterday that someone told me she like to be a bird because it can fly so freely out there. "Yeah! Be a bird and see what happens now?!"

And when it sees the bright flourescent lamp, it thought it was sun light and flew into it only to find it is not what it had thought it was. It was getting desperate. After so many banging, and flying into hot flourescent lamps, its whole body and head had been hurt badly. Still, it never gave up. It persevered, but could not find a way out. It thought me some important lessons beyond just determination.

Without the guidance of Buddhas in the form of our Gurus, who can guide us "out" from out trap, no matter how much we try, without blessings from Guru-Triple Gem, nothing will come to be. There won't be any spiritual progress.

It was only when I cornered it into a "hole" where it could not escape, that I can go in and take it out with my hands. Still it thought I was a monster trying to harm it, as it fluttered desperately for its life. It didnot know I was going to rescue it. Not harm it. But after sensing it could not get out from its "hole" no matter what it tries, it stopped struggling. It's like that with spiritual struggle, I think. We stop struggling after knowing our worldly efforts are all futile without faith in the Triple Gem.

So, the bird decided to put its faith in me. I held it by the end of the body, and took it out of the "hole" and went near the window. Then at that moment before I let go of it, I thought, "If I let go of it, will the bird just drop down...maybe after so much body pain, and getting trapped in the "hole", it may have some problems flapping its wings". And so I didnot just let it off the open window of the high rise building. Instead I took it to a window with some ledge outside it, and put it there. Thankfully it didnot have any problems flying and it flew away immediately. I am sure it must be relieved. It got another chance to live. And I hope it heard the mantra I recited softly for it all the while as I was coaxing it to go near the window. The bird definitely had good karma. As for me, I have to thank the bird for being my Guru for the day. I learned another important lesson in understanding animal liberation as well as lesson on faith in the Guru. There is also the lesson of never abandoning sentient beings. If we ever hope to be Buddhas one day, that's what is expected of us to do. I was hoping to go home early today, but ended up going back late because of this bird. It took quite a while, but it's worth the wait. Don't you think so?



Drops of water from high above
Gather and congregate
Coming from all directions
On free ticket sponsored by Mother Wind
Listening carefully, the drops form a carpet of white cloud
As Father Sun speaks…and speaks
One, two hours go by
More drops of water meet, and they form more layers of cloud
Soon five hours of fiery speech
By Father Sun …till one drop of water decided
Enough is enough
And walk out of the hall…
Father Sun sees that and goes into rage
And sends bolts of lightning
Faces go black with fear
And each drop of water goes helter-skelter
With assistance by Mother Wind,
They fly at stormy speed.

Meanwhile down on Earth…
Little Eugene got his first drop of water on his head
“Mother…rain’s coming!” he shouts
And runs inside his house.

written on 22 November 2002

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


The caressing wind moves in
Constant perpetuation.
The bright sun shines in
Eternal brightness.
The waving sea shifts in
Patterned curves.
You, Dr. Mahathir –
Are just the same…
You are like the wind
Moving around the globe
Speaking your mind without fear.
You are like the sun
Bringing the light of prosperity
To our beloved Malaysia.
You are like the sea
Shifting our mindset and
Nudging our senses where necessary.
You, Dr. Mahathir –
Are free like the wind,
Are visionary like the sun,
And magnanimous like the sea.
Thank you, my dear Prime Minister!
written: 11 Oct, 2003

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Need More Hands?

I am thinking of giving my Buddhist blog a rest. Perhaps I might post some of those non-Buddhist things I have written, and get back on the Buddhist part later. I am not sure. However there is more to the "My Water Bowl" story actually. But I cannot as yet write it or reveal it clearly. I might be able to write Part 3 only probably sometime next year... because I have to wait for "it" to unfold. Slowly, slowly the picture is clearer. But we'll see how it goes, and in the meantime, I keep my fingers crossed that everything will be okay and goes as "planned".

I am going to leave you with some parting "chat" with Guru- Chenrezig as below (and let you figure out for yourself what this is all about) :-

Human life may be short, but bodhisattvas have got 3 great kalpas to go before achieving Final Buddhahood... unless he uses a consort to achieve clear light. Our Great Victor - Je Tsongkhapa didnot want to resort to using any consort for fear it may give people of this degenerate age some wrong thinking about this practice, so he waited till his physical death before manifesting into clear light using the bardo method.

For me, it certainly looks like I have a long, long, long time to go.... and I certainly can do with more than a pair of hands.

My very dearest Guru-Chenrezig, can I borrow some of your hands?
Guru Chenrezig answers, "I don't mind lending, but I hope they fit into your body."
Yes, Yes,... let me check. Oops, they don't fit yet. I need more bodhicitta.
Guru Chenrezig re-assures," When you have more of those, then I will gladly lend you more of my many hands. So, develop those well".
Ok, I will. Love you, Guru-Chenrezig! I really do.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tibetan Muslims

From the below wikipedia information, we can conclude that generally the Buddhists in Tibet under the Dalai Lama administration took very good care of the muslims... until the China invasion in 1959. So, judge for yourself, whether it was better for Tibet to come under China rule or maintain its own rule. No one should have any reason to suspect the Dalai Lama has come under the influence of the West in his fight for Tibet. The Tibetan Buddhists have produced great mind training techiniques for many centuries and the high lamas are unable to smile and lie at the same time fior sustained periods of time. If you have any knowledge on Tibetan Buddhism, you will know that the Tibetan Buddhist masters, such as His Holiness the Dalai Lama, can be taken at face value, i.e. they mean what they say. They have been given this great mind training and human relationship practices since very young. So, if anyone thinks the Dalai Lama could even be a puppet for the West, it is the result of their own convulated thinking. There is really nothing wrong with the Dalai Lama's motivation to fight for more religious freedom for the Tibetans.

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tibetan mosque in Lhasa
The Tibetan Muslims, also known as the Kachee (Kache), form a small minority in Tibet. Despite being Muslim, they are classified as Tibetans, unlike the Hui Muslims, who are also known as the Kyangsha or Gya Kachee (Chinese Muslims). The Tibetan word Kachee literally means Kashmiri and Kashmir was known as Kachee Yul (Yul = Country).

Owing to their small population, the Tibetan Muslims are scattered throughout Tibet, much of whom can be found in Lhasa and Shigatse. If those not living in the Tibet Autonomous Region are not excluded, ethnic groups such as the Balti and Burig, who are also of Tibetan origin and consider themselves to be ethnically Tibetan, are Muslims as well. These groups, however, are predominantly found in the Indian-controlled Ladakh and the Pakistani-controlled Baltistan.

Generally speaking, the Tibetan Muslims are unique in the fact that they are largely of Kashmiri and Persian/Arab/Turkic descent through the patrilineal lineage and also often descendants of native Tibetans through the matrilineal lineage, although the reverse is not uncommon. Thus, many of them display a mixture of Aryan and indigenous Tibetan features.
Owing to Tibetan influence, they have adopted Tibetan names while retaining Persian or Urdu surnames. However, this is not as common as those among the Burig and Balti. In Baltistan or Baltiyul as the natives call it, youngster Muslims have started naming themselves in local Tibetan language like Ali Tsering, Sengge Thsering, Wangchen, Namgyal, Shesrab, Mutik, Mayoor, Gyalmo, Odzer, Lobsang, Odchen, Rinchen, Anchan, and so forth. Among Khaches, although the majority uses Tibetan for daily communication, Urdu or Arabic are used for religious services.

After the Chinese invasion of Tibet, Muslims were granted Indian citizenship by the Indian Government, which considered the Tibetan Muslims Kashmiris, and thus Indian citizens, unlike the other Tibetan refugees, who carry Refugee Satus Certificates.

The appearance of the first Muslims in Tibet has been lost in the mists of time, although variants of the names of Tibet can be found in Arabic history books.

During the reign of the Ummayad Caliph Umar bin Abdul Aziz, a delegation from Tibet and China requested him to send Islamic missionaries to their countries, and Salah bin Abdullah Hanafi was sent to Tibet. Between the eighth and ninth centuries, the Abbasid rulers of Baghdad maintained relations with Tibet. However, there was little proselytisation among the missionaries at first, although many of them decided to settle in Tibet and marry Tibetan women. In 710-720,during the reign of Mes-ag-tshoms the Arabs, who now had more of a presence in China, started to appear in Tibet and were allied with them along with the Eastern Turks against the Chinese. During the reign of the Sadnalegs (799-815), under Tride Songtsän (Khri lde srong brtsan - generally known as Sadnalegs) there was a protracted war with Arab powers to the West. It appears that Tibetans captured a number of Arab troops and pressed them into service on the Eastern frontier in 801. Tibetans were active as far West as Samarkand and Kabul. Arab forces began to gain the upper hand, and the Tibetan governor of Kabul submitted to the Arabs and became a Muslim about 812 or 815.

The 12th century witnessed a large scale migration of Muslim traders from Kashmir and the Persian Empire to Tibet, most notable was the community that they established in Lhasa. Like their Arab predecessors, these men settled down and married Tibetan women, who followed their husbands' religion. Proselytisation of Islam first took place in Baltistan and the Suru Valley from the 14th to the 16th centuries, which converted the vast majority of the Tibetan Burig and Balti communities.

Especially under the reign of Lozang Gyatso, the Tibetan Muslims led a relatively carefree life, and were given special privileges, in the sense that they were exempted from observing certain Buddhist religious customs. In the 17th century a small community of Muslims flourished in Lhasa working there mainly as butchers.

However, with the influx of Kashmiri immigrants to Ladakh and forced conversions of Buddhists to Islam, isolated conflicts between the Buddhists and Muslims were frequent, especially in Leh. There were even cases when members of the Soma Gompa and Jama Masjid came out to fight, thus resulting in tensions between Buddhist and Muslim members of the same family.
After the invasion of Tibet in 1959 a group of Tibetan Muslims made a case for Indian nationality based on their historic roots to Kashmir and the Indian government declared all Tibetan Muslims Indian citizens later on that year.

As of today, most of the 99% of Tibetan Muslims are followers of the Sunni denomination.[citation needed] Despite the factor of their religion, the Tibetan Muslims have comfortably assimilated into the Tibetan community, while following Islamic traditions. On the other hand, the Balti and Burig have partially adopted Afghan customs. The Balti and Burig peoples mostly follow Shi'ism and/or Sufism.
Especially in music, the Tibetan Muslims have made contributions to Tibetan culture. The Nangma, also known as Naghma in Urdu which means melody, are high-pitched tilting songs that have been popular among all Tibetans. They have also adopted Tibetan customs, especially in the field of marriage, although they have strictly maintained their Islamic customs at the same time.

Tibetan Muslims have unique architectural styles, and this is most notable among the Ladakhi. Mosques, for instance, are built in a quaint blend of Persian and Tibetan styles. This is evidenced in its beautifully decorated walls, sloping walls designed to withstand earthquakes, and even Kada scarfs being hanged at the doorway of the mosques.
Another interesting feature of Tibetan Muslim architecture is that their mosques encompass the Imambara, a small artefact surmounted on the domes of metal sheets.

Special privileges before Communist rule
The Tibetan Muslims had their own mosques in Lhasa and Shigatse, and plots of land were given to bury their ancestors. They were also exempted from taking vegetarian meals, on Buddha's birthday, which is mandatory for all followers of Tibetan Buddhism, and this practice upon the followers of Bön was not excluded. A Ponj (from Urdu/Hindi Pancch meaning village committee or Panchayat) was elected to take care of the affairs within the Tibetan Muslim community.
In addition, Muslims were even exempted from removing their caps to Lamas during a period in a year, when the Iron pole Lamas held sway over the town. Muslims were also granted the Mina Dronbo, a status that invited all Tibetans, irrespective of religion, to commemorate the assumption of spiritual and temporal authority by Lozang Gyatso, the fifth Dalai Lama. However, these special privileges ended with the beginning of the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1959.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Take a good look and be afraid...very afraid!

These are scenes in the hell where the bodies are cut up into pieces.

This is the hell where offenders are hung upside down and toast alive. It is supposed to be for persons who like to barbeque their food, catching fish and cook it alive.

This is supposed to be a scene in hell where the offenders' eyes are gorged out mercilessly due to their own previous karma.

Actually this is supposed to be one type of hungry ghost where their mouth spews fire whenever they try to eat something. The food gets burnt and they end up eating nothing.

This is supposed to be a scene of Hell of Filth where all sorts of filthy "shit" and worms and gnats crawl all over and inside your body. And not to mention extremely smelly.

This is supposed to be one of the presiding kings (sometimes referred to as judges) in charge of this hell. Did I tell you I had a strange dream once in which I stood next to the throne of the king (but the king and the entire place there was empty except for one red haired strange looking security guard holding one long weapon standing near the entrance)?
If you do your Lam Rim contemplations properly especially when you come to the part where you visualise the sufferings of hell, you may experience terrible nightmares and wake up screaming, But don't worry, it is only to be expected. It means your contemplations are starting to sink in. If you donot experience it even after contemplating it for a long time, it means there's probably something wrong with how you do it. So, take the scenes above as a guide.

Thank you, Guru Buddha!

Dearest Guru Buddha,

I offer my sincerest heartfelt supplication to you for your long life. May You live for many many years and May Your dharma activities flourish!

I am here to thank You (representing all my Gurus past and present). I am not sure what happened that culminated in this latest miracle. Thank you for hearing my call. You certainly sent a tide of blessings.

I am happy yet worried. The next 2 years will be crucial. And I am keeping my fingers crossed that the Buddha's will will prevail despite some ill omens. Looks like I am sinking deeper into samsara , but sometimes things may turn out differently than we think. I put my trust in You, Guru Buddha!

Therefore, I pray that the Buddha qualities in me and others will quickly arise! Please also congratulate on my behalf the extraordinary candidate who managed to successfully enter the "mandala of Chenrezig" recently and met his consort. I can't wait to see the result of their union in bliss and emptiness! E MA HO! May Guru Buddha be praised!

With much humble prostrations,
Your son and student.

updated 14 Dec 2008:
Last Thursday was really a scare because my wife compliant of stomach pains and wanted to see the doctor. Thank goodness, I recited the Great Compassion Mantra (i.e. I recited the sanskrit version of the traditional chinese one commonly propagated by Mahayana masters such as the late Master Hsuan Hua). I also recited the praises to Kuan Yin, an extyract of the Lotus Sutra (Pu Men Pin). Thankfully the pain ceased after that. I pray that my prayers will always work.E MA HO! May Thousand Arms be praised!

updated 18 Dec 2008:
My wife had been having some problems with constipation and doctors could not do anything, except tell her to eat more fiber, more fruits/vege, etc. They cannot precribed any medicine because of her "certain condition" that cannot be mentioned here yet. It come to that stage where she felt hopeless and desperate and asked me to think of something to help her. She was worried her constipation may affect her "other body". I also do not know what to do but I took out my mala, that I usually use to recite a certain mantra. I dip the mala 3 times into a glass of luke warm water, and mentally think of the mantra deity for blessing, and asked her to drink it. Within one hour, she could go to the toilet. You may think maybe that was because my mala was dirty and caused diarrhea immediately. Well, if you want to think it that way, I leave it to you. Even though its only a little bit that came out from her "system", she felt a lot relieved of her tension. She have managed to put a smile back to her face, and that is what mattered, even though it is not a permanent cure. It may not work for another person, and may not work a second time. But that thing I did certainly worked the first time for that person. I am happy with that. So, even this is not a serious illness, still nonetheless she is a suffering sentient being. As Buddhists, we must be able to help in such cases to alleviate suffering where we can. We don't have to be major enlightened arhats or bodhisattvas to be able to do what I did. We only need to have some skill in our daily practice.This story is only a small example of many examples I know that actual sufferings have been relieved by using and understanding the dharma. Yes, we may not be fully enlightened Buddhas yet and cannot help in an ultimate sense but slowly, slowly we try to do what we can within our constraints.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Calling the Guru-Triple Gem from Afar

That is the alternative of the name of the prayer in the previous blog entitled, "A Desperate Supplication to the Guru-Triple Gem". It is an SOS to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. To prevent further distortions in understanding, this is the explanation offered by the writer.

The first paragraph is alluding to this paragraph in Lama Tsongkhapa’s Foundation of All Good Qualities:

Seeking samsaric pleasures is the door to all sufferings:
They are uncertain and cannot be relied upon.
Recognizing these shortcomings,
Please bless me to generate the strong wish for the bliss of liberation.

Buddhists also should know that the term “Lion’s Throne” is referring to the state of mind of a fully enlightened Buddha. It’s not a physical throne where anyone can sit. And to explain further, this whole prayer is really about the first principle aspect of the path, i.e. Renunciation. Many Buddhists “jumped the gun” without first developing the mind of renunciation. Without renunciation firmly established in the mind, there will not be any bodhicitta, which is the mind of enlightenment.

It’s importance is well documented by all great masters such as Milarepa, Atisha, Lama Tsongkhapa and others.

Lama Tsongkhapa said:

Those with bodies are bound by the craving of existence.
Without pure renunciation, there is no way to still
The attraction to the pleasures of samsara:
Thus, from the outset, seek renunciation.

It is a strong state of mind that needs to be realized. And how do we know we have achieved the mind of renunciation? Lama Tsongkhapa offered an answer:

Contemplating this, when you donot for an instant
Wish the pleasures of samsara,
And day and night remain intent on liberation
You have then produced renunciation.

Even if it is not consistently demonstrated in your daily behaviour, somehow your mind will be forever subtlely restless, even in periods of samsaric happiness. There is no room for faking such a mind of renunciation. It’s either you have it or you do not. It’s stated that:

“Great Compassion (or mind of enlightenment) is a state of mind where you can absolutely no longer bear to see other beings tormented by the sufferings of life; there’s no way you can achieve it as long as your concern about the way of life torments you yourself is so feeble that it couldn’t blow down a single upright hair. As the famous verse of The Bodhisattva’s Way of Life says:

If people like these have never before
Even in the dreams they dream
Felt such a wish just for themselves,
Then how can it come to them for others?

So, this mind of renunciation must be demonstrated in some ways. Of course when we see the negative violence and deaths and illneses that’s happening around the world, we think it is renunciation. But the moment you step into your office, you have forgotten about renunciation. It’s not reflected in the actions you do in your office. Your so-called renunciation has flown out of the window. That's just an example.

Bye, bye renunciation! See you next when I read the newspaper or turn on the TV. :)

updated: 5 Dec '08
So, we all should seek to develop renunciation properly first.

Yeah, yeah, yeah! Just when I am learning my renunciation, it looks like I am sinking even deeper into samsara. I got "news" on Thursday about 2pm... a happy but yet "disturbing news" from the spiritual sense. To a worldly person, it would conventionally be considered happy news but for a person who's trying to renounce the world, it's not. However, I hope this "news" will result in benefitting sentient beings and I cannot and should not stop it. I hope it will not bring any negative consequences...although I fear "something". One Indian professor said to me that there will be events in my life that even I am unable to control, try as I may. He also said certain things about me that I cannot reveal here. Well, I can only pray that it will turn out well for everyone. This "news" also confirms my suspicion that something is about to happen, esp. after my water bowl incident. Cannot say much of what it is until I get the full "picture".