Friday, December 31, 2010

My 2010 Year-end Message

On 30th Dec, I did 3 malas of Dorje Khadro. For the first time, all the wood burned properly and so did the sesame seeds. And so many of the sesame seeds cracked open and revealed its white "seed subtance" inside. It is like those white kuaci that we eat. Now I understand why they use sesame seed. The black colour outside is symbolic of our negative karma and when it cracked open, it means that it has been purified and that our fundamental nature is pure. For the first time I understood it's meaning. In the previous pujas I did, I didnot quite noticed the substance revealing itself after the cracking sound. Yesterday there were so manyof the seeds that cracked open and the seeds jumped out and revealed the white substance inside. I felt tremendously purified after that. It was good to do Dorje Khadro at the year end to purify whatever negativities accumulated during the year. So, thanks dear Dorje Khadro!

And I would also like to thank my principal protector – Vajrapani – for not giving up on me and for giving me that wake-up call from time to time. I acknowledge your blessings and I humbly repent for the wrongs I did knowingly or unknowingly.

I also would like to acknowledge and thank Kuan Kong who may have a part to play in the successful application. I had a dream of Kuan Kong on the early morning of December 10. And on the same day, later that evening, I got a note from the agency that my application had been successful. There is a statue of Kuan Kong that holds a text, instead of the traditional sword. Students pray to this type of Kuan Kong to help them in their studies. I don’t have an image of this Kuan Kong but I believe there is a huge Kuan Kong holding a text somewhere in Taiwan. I think it is in wikipedia. You can check it out. So, thank you to Kuan Kong again.

And to any other protectors, especially those that I do not know of, I thank you all too and acknowledge your role. To each and everyone of you, I humbly pay my respect! And to cap of a reasonable 2010, let us reflect on a message I heard on the radio this morning. A communication expert was invited to the radio program and a listener called in to share a problem. The expert advised him not to give and that he should follow the adage of “practice makes perfect”. But not only that, he would add that it’s also what and how you practice. Think of the advice from a spiritual context and you will agree with me that this is such a wonderful dharma advice coming from a radio! Dharma comes in inconceivable forms. When we are ready, we can spot them. If not, then it’s just another radio talk show. Reflect on this and Goodbye 2010 and Happy New Year 2011!

Even though we always say Happy New Year but sometimes the year turns out to be sad or challenging for most people. I do not want to appear pessimistic but that's the reality of samsara. We just need to prepare our mind for any eventuality. And I wish you (all my readers) all the best in this regard. I hope I have benefitted you guys in one way or another. And if I have committed any faults in any way, as far as this blog is concerned, I apologise now.

     

Movie Review: The Zen of Tron Legacy

On 30th Dec, I watched Tron Legacy, the movie and I got more than I bargained for. I have always like sci-fi movies like Star Wars, Star Trek and Buck Rogers. I donot know if anyone here still remember Buck Rogers. He has a cute robot that shakes his head. Hahaha...! Well, before the movie I didnot read any review about it... at least not that much. I knew that it was a sequel and it starred Jeff Bridges and that he played two different roles in the movie. But that was more or less about it.

I certainly didnot anticipate the Zen elements in the movie. Other than Kevin Flynn sitting in meditation in various parts of the movie, there were quite a few thing I picked up from the movie that are not so obvious to non-Buddhists, and non-Zen Buddhists.

1. The seshins that Kevin Flynn do seems remarkable. Even in the midst of problems, he was able to do his meditation at certain times. That's what certain Zen traditions do. And this is indicated in the movie by Kevin Flynn.

2. The arrangement in the Headquarters of Kevin Flynn is simple and very Zen-style.

3. I think the quote " Perfection cannot be achieved but yet it is right in front of you" cuts across Zen. This is the very core of Buddhist message and it is a pity that non-Buddhist and I suspect, even most Buddhists may not be able to understand this deep message.

4. There is also this element of another world system within a tiny computer micro chip. Many Buddhist Sutras talk about this. You can find them in Avatamsaka Sutra, Lotus Sutra, and many others.

5. There is also the thing about the illusory self that does not ultimately exist. Everyone of us has a "Clu". The problem is our "Clu" thinks that he exists inherently. Think about it. Emptiness theory.

6. There is also a subtle reference to inter-dependent origination when Kevin Flynn explained the "miracle" of ISO. He said that it's a partial result of his own effort but the rest of it due to causes and conditions that come together.

So, I think Jeff Bridges was smart in bringing the Zen Master Bernie Glassman (Zen Peacemakers Center) to the movie set and incorporating Buddhist elements into the movie. But according to his (or was it his and Olivia Wilde?) interview, they also didnot want the movie to seems to be preachy. Therefore, the Zen messages were only very subtle, and I think they have achieved that.

I didnot expect Tron Legacy to be a Buddhist movie. And no, it is not. In order to be universal and in order to reach many more sentient beings, it is important for dharma messages not seem to be too Budddhistic. And one way to achieve that is through the movies and movies like Tron Legacy appeals to a wide audience. Worldwide audience actually. And I think it is a step in the right direction. We didnot need to spread Buddhism. Just spread the dharma message... like peace, seeking calmness in the midst of turmoil, love and respect for parents, parents love for the children, etc ...these are all universal dharma messages. And these elements are in this movie.

And this movie has also opened my door to what Zen Master Bernie Glassman has been doing all these while. I think he is a very good example of a master who lives the example of what an enlightened master should be doing, i.e. actively engaging with the world. I really find his street retreats interesting and if I have a chance, I would want to do it too. Yes, join his street retreats. This is what I am doing but in another way. I did my guru yoga right in the cinema theatre while watching this movie...and no, I was not distracted nor did I miss much. Jeff Bridges might call that seshin in the cinema. LOL! Indeed, Bernie Glassman is living his wisdom by his actions. And for that, I respect him. In the movie credits, Bernie Glassman is listed as a consultant under "Consultants and Advisors". Check this out: http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1810096458/cast

So, what are you waiting for? If not for the sci-fi, just watch it for the Zen "dharma" elements. See what else you find is Zen dharma in the movie.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Healing by Meditation

In my previous post, I mentioned that in my meditation, I suddenly realised that my body and the Buddha's body are non-dualistic. I was actually having back-ache for a few days prior to that. But on the instance of my realisation, the backache was gone. I did not have to put those traditional medicated plasters anymore.
If you think this is a miracle, you haven't seen anything yet. Mine was really nothing much.

Read this link and you will be equally amazed by the story. So start practising your meditation.
 http://wisdomquarterly.blogspot.com/2010/12/tibetan-lamas-meditation-cures-gangrene.html

Someone should recommend Zsa Zsa Gabor to consult wih HH the Dalai Lama on this type of meditation, maybe it will help her leg that is reported in the news that will be amputated soon. But it's unlikely she will master the meditation technique in such a short time. May Buddha bless her to be strong!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Are You Heading to Buddhahood or the Psychiatric Ward?

Yesterday was a day of reflection for me. Yeah - Christmas Day! I have some very strong desires and attachment but I have been successful in controlling it with some measure of success in the last few days. I understand that Chod practice of Vajrayana Buddhism is also about "cutting", i.e. cutting down our delusions, our anger and desires/greed. And that if we manage to cut it down, sometimes in the post-cutting moment, some realisations may dawn. Realisations are not something special because they are supposed to have been understood by us but due to our own inate ignorance and delusions, we don't understand it. We don't get it. We don't see it even though it may be in front of us all the while. So, this is something I would like to share with you all.

Khenchen Konchog Gyaltsen wrote a long dharma message in verses entitled "Samsara and Nirvana: Two Sides of the Same Hand". While reflecting on Lam Rim and while doing guru yoga, it dawns on me that it is not only the hand. The concept also applies to the entire body. If you use your body and indulge in samsaric activities, especially the ones that perpetuate your samsaric delusions, then you get more and more mired in the deep end of samsara. You won't be able to get out of samsaric sufferings. However, if you use your body righteously and take care of our body properly and use it to do good for the world and our fellow beings, then it is as if we are doing enlightened activities. Then we are more towards the "Nirvana side" of our body. Similarly for our mind. Mostly our mind is the samsaric mind. We indulge our mind in crazy fantasies, and indulge it in endless greed, and desires. We seldom direct our mind towards good. Samsara and Nirvana are two sides of the same hand. The only problem is we donot realse that it is such.

I was actually thinking of how the Tibetan way of Yidam practice and whether Tibetan Buddhists are deluding themselves into thinking they are those yidams that they have imagined. What's the difference between this practice and self-hynosis into thinking you are Superman perhaps? What's the difference between a yidam practitioner and a patient at the mental hospital? It is while thinking of these questions that those realisations that I talked about above came. The Buddha mind and our mind is non-dualistic but it is not the same mind. Our mind is not equivalent to the Buddha mind, just as samsara is not equal to Nirvana. They are at different sides of the hand, remember? Hence our mind is not the same mind as the Buddha mind. One continuum cannot be the same as another continuum. But yet all the Buddha qualities are there latent within. So, we say, our mind and the Buddha mind is non-dualitic. That's the safest way to put it and that is the safest way to prevent the yidam practitioner from becoming similar to the mental patient. It is only the qualities of the Buddha mind that we want. We donot want to become somebody else's mind or somebody else's body.... even if that somebody else is the Buddha. We just want to develop their qualities of the body and mind of a Buddha. You remember that and you won't go wrong in your yidam practice. I remember reading somewhere in the lamayeshe wisdom archive there is a story related there that there are Yamantaka practitioners whose eyes have bulged out like those of Yamantaka. And this is due to incorrect practice of the yidam. Those practitioners have identified to Yamantaka as if it is an inherently existing deity. Due to visualising the deity, your body slowly turns into one. Actually you only want the enlightened qualities of Yamantaka. Just like you and me, Yamantaka also do not inherently exist. That's what emptiness is, anyway, the way I understand it. We are empty but so is the Buddha and yidam. What remains are only the activities that arise and cease. That is why it is important to understand emptiness properly before practicing tantric meditations. It helps prevent going into the wrong path. But I lament that nowadays many people seems too eager to start tantric practice without understanding the fundamentals first.

So, let us think about it on whether what I say here is right or wrong. Let us try to bring out the "nirvana" side of our body and mind and engage them to do more Buddha activities. Only in this way will the Buddha manifest and it is the way to be a emanation of the Buddha, without actually being a Buddha. This is preferable to those fake "emanations" who announce to the world that they are this and that emanation and many innocent ones fall for their trickery. How sad!

So, no matter which path we are practising, it's important to ask ourselves from time to time: Am I heading towards self-realisations of Buddhahood or to the psychiatric ward at the hospital? It does pay to always check where we are heading to. May Buddha bless!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Shinran = the Great Tantric Masters

"Although I too am within Amida's grasp,
 Passions obstruct my eyes and I cannot see him;
 Nevertheless, great compassion is untiring and illumines me always."
 — SHINRAN SHONIN

I think the quote above sums up beautifully the way relative truth relates with ultimate truth and is the same quitessential message of the great tantric masters. No doubt about it. Indeed, his knowledge is equivalent to the Great Tantric Masters. The more I read his works the more I think his deep wisdom is second to none.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Fear the Right Things

A common prayer in Tibetan Buddhism, especially in the Gelug tradition is the ... I think it's called "Three Great Aspirations Prayer" and it goes like this:

Please bless me to constanly fear the burning fires of the three lower realms of cyclic existence,
To take heartfelt refuge in the Triple Gem
And to continue putting enthusiastic effort in the abandoning of negativities and accumulating virtuous deeds.

For quite sometime, I have modified them so that I shift the fear aspects to fearing the actual things that are to be feared, i.e. greed, anger and ignorance. These are the three root vices and are the cause of rebirth in the lower realms. If you are a Buddha or Bodhisattva, going to the lower realms would not arise any fear in you. Going to those places in and by themselves is not an issue. For people like us who cannot as yet control our greed, anger and delusions, the issue should be on creating seeds that could pop up any moment that causes one to take rebirth there. For instance, there were cases of people losing their temper suddenly and do something stupid, such as killing the people they have otherwise loved. It's just in that moment of confusion and emotional mess, that they have done something stupid. And we could be "these people" someday if we do not have control over our actions and emotions. And we better act now if we do not want to be reported in the news for the wrong reasons.

So, I have added some other words (shown in red below) to the prayer above and now, it sounded like this:-

Please bless us to constantly fear the burning fires of the three lower realms of cyclic existence,
That are caused by unfettered greed, desires, attachment, lust, sudden acts of anger, tantrums, hatred, temper, violence and other delusions that are caused by deep ignorance and stupidity,
To take heartfelt refuge in the Triple Gem to uproot all these (causes),
And to continue putting enthusiastic effort in the abandoning of negativities and accumulating virtuous deeds.

Ever since I realise that it is the three root evils that are to be feared, I have since then recited this prayer using my own version as above. I find that it is useful because it reminds me of the proper things to be feared. Fearing the right things is part of spiritual risk management. I hope that this is of use to you and always remember it.

With this message, I am sending to all my readers a "HAPPY SEASONS GREETINGS" and "A HAPPY NEW YEAR 2011".

Friday, December 17, 2010

Gatha of Enlightenment

Hahaha... I am just joking. It is not my gatha of enlightenment. I was on two minds about whether to proceed to a guru puja today or not. In the end I made up my mind to go. It was then that I got these inspiring lines as below.


Seizing the Moon
Withered trees bear no fruit,
In winter, the sun takes a break.
Swiftly moves the sand of time,
Quickly the wise seizes the moon!

At first I did not know what these lines mean but then after thinking for a while, I think that this gatha (i.e. a Buddhist poem in verses)  is full of dharma message and contains the essence of the entire Buddhist teachings. I think it can have many levels of meaning, including non-religious ones, as one of my friends told me. If you have any other way of interpreting this poem, do share.

The first line, "withered trees" refers to a person with no bodhicitta. Trees with many leaves provide shade to many and they are the resting place for birds and other creatures. Such trees also support the earth and the creatures down there in many ways. A withered tree is unable to perform all these beneficial tasks. A sentient being without bodhicitta is the same and cannot win the fruit of Enlightenmnet. That is why bodhicitta is said to be the sole and complete path to Enlightenment. The first line should also remind  a person of the hot hells where the environment is so hot that no tree can survive. The second line, reminds us of the cold hells where it is the opposite of the hot hells. So, these 2 lines remind us not to do negative actions that result in being reborn in the lower realms of hungry ghost, animal and hell-beings. When one accumulates negative action, one cannot receive much blessings, even from the Buddhas. That's also the meaning of the second line "the sun takes a break". We can also associate the first line to being deluded by hatred and anger, symbolised by the hot condition that causes the tree to wither. The second line can be associated to being deluded by greed and attachment, symbolised by the cold condition of winter. And both greed and hatred are caused by deep ignorance that will hinder our attaining the fruit of Liberation. The "Sun" also alludes to the blessing we receive from our Root Guru and its importance in having deep and proper devotion. It is then only that we will receive the blesisngs. Without proper devotion to the Guru and the Triple Gem, there will be little, if no blessings derived from studying/practising the dharma.
The third line reminds one of the preciousness of human rebirth and its short life span and impermanence. At any time, death can occur. Therefore, we should treasure well our precious human rebirth by making full use of our time to practice the dharma and benefit human and others in ways that we can. Those who are not religious can still benefit others in non-religious ways.

If we practice the foregoing, we will be able to develop our wisdom quickly. A person with such qualities will want to practice the concentration meditation and in time will develop insight wisdom. And if he./she is keen on takign tantric practice, then he/she will take guidance from a qualified guru and develop the generation and completion stages. Ultimately,  a wise man who has attain the insght wisdom by doing the concentration and insghht meditations and having all the aforementioned qualities will swiftly attain to the highest goal of BUDDHAHOOD. That's the moon we should quickly grab!

Hence all the points of the Lam Rim are contained in the four lines of gatha. How I wish it was my gatha (Buddhist poetry) of enlightenment!  Hehehe... but unfortunately, it is only an inspiration I received on the way to a Guru puja to be conducted by Ven. Choeden Rinpoche.  But it certainly sounded Zen-like with all the use of the nature symbolism in the lines.

I dedicate this poem to the success of all my Gurus' activities and relief of every suffering and attainment of final Buddhahood for all beings!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Gilbert's "Eat, Pray, Love" vs My Own 3 Things

If we could take a eyar off to do the three things that we want most, what would that be? Have you thought about that? For Elizabeth Gilbert, they are to eat, to pray and to love. There's a movie in 2010 based on her true story. She went to experience the food in Italy which is well-known for its pizza, spaghetti and pasta. Then she explored spirituality. She fin it difficult to adapt initially and found that trying to concentrate even for 5 minutes in a meditation session was quite a chore. But as she slowly lossens up her attachment to her own "concepts", slowly she managed to adapt to the life in the Indian ashram. I find that the part where she was told that her guru was in New York when she had flown all the way from New York to India esepcially ladened with meaning. Then she went to Bali island to fin love or rather to re-kindle it and find the meaning of love again. She was hesitant to love the man she found but in the end she realised that she had been "holding on" too much to her past. She let go and found happiness. It was a lovely movie and I like the part where she said "Ruin is the road to transformation". It is so much in line with what is taught in Buddhism. Even though I have given the gist of the story, it is not that difficult to guess it anyway. Nevertheless there are many other aspects of the movie that you got to see to appreciate it, especially the dharma contents. And I won't relate it here. After watching the movie, I have been thinking, what are the three things I want to do if I could be like her in taking an entire year off from our normal working career. Not thinking of office. Of course, this is purely fantasizing as I am hardly in a situation where i can take a year off... although I would love to take a year off for postgraduate studies.

Anyway, what would be my 3 things? perhaps... meditating, retreat, pilgrimage? being a monk, doing charity work, doing 3 steps one bow? Nah... I'll settle for more realistic and more immediate things that I can do within a year.

Hence perhaps my three things would be:

1. Play

Yes. Play. And I would like to play at Disneyland, and maybe play at Singapore's Sentosa, perhaps even experience a little of  Zoukout... but especially Disneyland. Such happy, fun places simply reinforces my desire for the ultimate Disneyland. Do you know where is the ultimate Disneyland? It is Amitabha's Sukhavati. Recently I asked a Singaporean friend if he is going to the 2010 Zoukout party or not. He answered no. Then I suggested to him half-playing but half serious, that he should try practising his sadhana during the Zoukout party. Or at least to see the emptiness of all the party and fun while in the midst of all that. It's difficult to do, but serious mind practitioners donot remain in remote places for long. They want to test the stability of their mind and achievement. I may not be at that level yet, but I remember what Lama Zopa Rinpoche advised. He said that even in shopping complexes and malls, we can practice bodhicitta and dedicate all the happy and beautiful things we see around us to all Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and all sentient beings. These are simple practices that we can do at these fun places. Buddhists need not be social outcasts. But just remember to take care of the mind. I am not the most successful in these things, so... who am I do advice... hahaha! I am sure my friend did not go. But I just hope I will not be addicted to all the playing until I become attached to it and does not want to go to do the next 2 things below. I cannot blame my friend if he thinks "negatively" of me now. I am sorry if anyone else felt that I have let them down. Perhaps I am also showing a more playful side of "me"? But I also realise that being in such places as Disneyland will also fuel our wisdom in ways if we know how. Recently I went to Air Supply's concert and I find that the more I enjoy the songs, the more I dedicate the joy and fun to my gurus and all sentient beings. I was praying in the conert itself that all sentient beings have the opportunity to experience the same fun and joy and be free of whatever pain/suffering. I also managed to do a guru yoga there in the midst of all the noise. So, that's what I eman by "half-serious" earlier. I was speaking from my own experience. Being in such fun places also will give me a chance to see if I can behave myself, so to speak.... especially my mind aspects.

2. Research

Yes, I would like to do a research paper on something to do with Buddhism and one of the following topics: sustainablity, risk management in religious organizations, governance issues in religious organizations, internal controls in temples and monasteries, and other such issues. Perhaps for this purpose I would like to go to UK and explore the universities there to do my research. I have done a few blogs on spiritual risk management in this blog and I think this is an important aspect that many practitioners miss out. I would like to explore it a little deeper and hopefully more people will appreciate its significance one day.  

 3. Pray

Finally, a similar thing to Elizabeth Gilbert. But I am not going to India. I would like to do a pilgrimage in Tibet and really explore the holy monasteries and holy places there. I would do some serious retreat at some of these places. If there is time I would also go on a pilgrimage to all the holy sites in China.

So, that's it. These are my 3 things, "Play, Research, Pray"...at least for now. Sorry if my three things shocked you, especially the first one, i.e. "play". What are yours?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Kuan Kong dream

On Friday early morning (10 Dec 2010) probably between 4am to 6am, I have had a strange dream in which I was searching for something in an old house with many antique furnitures and old setting like in the 1960s Malaya. I opened one drawer and found it full of miniature Kuan Kong, the Buddhist Protector often found in Chinese Mahayana temples. Previously he was believed to be the General of Liu Bei in the Three Kingdoms period of ancient China. At that time he was known as Kuan Yu. Later he was deified and became known as Kuan Ti or often called Kuan Kong by the common Chinese folks. The miniature figurines are all about an inch in size and the Kuan Kong figurines are in various postures. Some were in the traditional posture of riding a horse and holding a sword in one hand, and some just standing with a sword. One strange posture had Kuan Kong on a boat/ship. Strange, huh?
I donot know what this means but the last protector I had dreamt of was the Eastern Mahayana version of Vajrapani. Not the Tibetan Buddhist version. And I have no idea if this dream has any significance but I will just put it here in my blog merely for record purpose. Recently I dreamt of Tara, a wrathful one, and I found out that Choeden Rinpoche will be coming soon to give a Cittamni Tara initiation and that Khenchen Rinpoche will recite the Tara mantra to help reduce the accident rate in the former Jelutong Expressway (now renamed as Lebuhraya Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu).




Thursday, December 2, 2010

How to Deal with Grief the Buddhist Way?

My computer is continuing to give me problems. It's okay for now. So, today I am able to surf and I found this article on how Shinran deals with grief. I find it a very enlightened approach to grief. It is the Buddhist way. Click and read the link below and hopefully we will be able to deal with these sorrowful situations anytime.

Link:
http://www.shin-ibs.edu/documents/NabeThree.pdf

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Self-evaluation and Inner Transformation

There are so many different views on conventional and ultimate realities among the masters themselves, each claiming to be the right view. In one article by Jackson Peterson (I think), he was critical of Gampopa. This is just one example of the vast divergent views of what is the ultimate reality. So, if great masters cannot even agree, how can “idiots” ….like me…. possibly stand a chance. If you need to study indepth on such topics, it must be because of a higher motivation. Example, by understanding conventional and ultimate reality or by having a better understanding of emptiness, if it can improve our meditation (especially the meditation on yidam) than we have a correct motivation to study and debate on such topics. But if we do that to boost our own ego and merely to prove others wrong, then we fall into a spiritual trap ourselves.   

If you need to point out someone is wrong, do it diplomatically. Don’t use harsh words on others, and never assume anyone is unenlightened. As tantric practitioners, we are supposed to regard others as Buddhas. But yet in our everyday actions, we do the opposite, right or not?  The moment someone honk us on the road, we look who this idiot person is and show our middle finger. Or we honk back. The moment someone parks or his tree grows a little bit into our space, we feel terribly uneasy and want to puncture the tyres or chop down the tree. I think sometime ago in Klang valley there were 2 neighbours who argued over things like that and one of them ended up being killed by the other. So, it is so sad that people become murderers over small petty things. If we don’t control ourselves and how we react to circumstances and/or comments, we will be in deep trouble one day.

There are many examples that happens everyday. And yet we happily put these aside and go on to attend our dharma teaching and put on our best behaviour when meeting with our gurus or when we are at the temples. We become instant angels. There is no inner transformation the moment we step beyond the Buddhist walls. I write this mainly to remind myself. But I would like to share my thoughts with you.
Note that I use the word “we”. It means I am not pointing fingers. I evaluate myself. You evaluate yourself. Evaluating ourselves does not mean we cannot see what’s happening around us, and asking back to ourselves what is proper behaviour and what is not. Self-evaluation on whether we have had any inner transformation is a key spiritual risk management tool and I am categorizing this blog under that label.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tara Mantras to Help Avert Calamities

About last Sunday I have understood what the wrathful Tara dream was all about. Last Sunday I re-discovered the 21 Tara mantras. and it appears that this set of Tara mantra that I first knew of in my secondary school days, are different from those of the more popular ones often recited in FPMT centres. I checked and was surprised that the 21 mantras in the FPMT prayer book I have are different. At that discovery, I re-called the time when I first knew the Tara bak in my schooling days. No wonder when I first read about the mantras in the FPMT center I sort of felt weird. But I didnot think about it much until lately.

Recently in my part of the world, there had been strong winds, heavy rain falls and destructive floods in the northern region of the country. Then there was the volcanic eruptions in Mt Merapi, Indonesia. What has all these got to do with Tara? Well...plenty!

According to this alternative set of 21 Tara mantras, there are specific mantras for us to recite to avert the such calamities. I provide below a few of these relevant mantras relevant for storms, tornadoes, cyclones, floods, earthquake, and volcanic eruptions.

Tara who Averts Disasters (e.g. all kinds of disasters)
Om Benza Tare Sarva Biganen Shindham Kuru Svaha

Tara who Averts Earth-born calamities (e.g. earthquake, tremours, etc)
Om Tare Tutare Ture Mama Sarva Lam Lam Bhaya Shindham Kuru Svaha

Tara who Averts Destruction Wrought by Water (floods, tsunami, heavy rain, etc)
Om Tare Tutare Ture Mama Sarva Bham Bham Dzala Bhaya Shindham Kuru Svaha

Tara who Averts Destruction Wrought by Fire (volcanic eruptions, lightning, etc)
Om Tare Tutare Ture Mama Sarva Ram Ram Dzala Bhaya Shindham Kuru Svaha

Tara who Averts Destruction Wrought by Wind (storms, cyclones, twisters, etc)
Om Tare Tutare Ture Mama Sarva Yam Yam Dzala Bhaya Shindham Kuru Svaha

I also hypothesised that these mantras can help in cases of sicknesses that are caused by the imbalance of the elements such as wind (stroke), fire (fever), water (dehidration), etc. I have not yet tried nor tested my hypothesis but anyone may try it. However the above mantras are not my own hypothesis but which I have came to know about a long time ago but re-discovered recently. If your area is having these problems, you can help recite the relevant mantras. Whether it works or not, depends really on the karma of yourself, the people you are trying to help and the benefit that it would bring if the mantra works and other factors not necessarily known to us.

I felt that Tara may have wanted me to share these mantras to others. Hence, I have included it in this blog. I hope it may be of use. Thank you, dear Tara!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Benevolence of Amitabha Buddha

This is a Japanese legend that shows the benevolence of Amitabha Buddha. He is always thinking of us, always looking over to see if we are still following or if we have fallen behind or have become heedless. For that, I am are grateful. Namo Amitabha Buddha.
____________________________________________________________

There is a legend. In old days, an old man offered an image of Amitabha to the Emperor Court and it had been worshiped by people in the Court. At the opening ceremony of Todai-ji, Nara, the image was handed over to Todai-ji from the Emperor Court. The image had been treasured in a storehouse. Eikan had an opportunity to worship the image and heard an appeal coming from the deep heart of the image. Eikan deplored that the image was treasured, because he believed firmly that the original vow of the image was the salvation of all sentient beings. Eikan's grief was caught by the ex-emperor Shirakawa and he ordered Eikan to retain the image and carry out the services. In later years, Eikan resigned from the head of stewards of Todai-ji and walked to Kyoto with the image carrying on his back. Near Kibata in Kyoto, monks of Todai-ji chased Eikan and tried to take the image back, but they had to give up it because it held fast on the back of Eikan.

In the early morning on February 15, 1082, Eikan was 50 years old and was walking around the platform of the image, praising Nembutsu (Namu-Amida-butsu) as an ordinary religious service in a temple, where the air was freezing cold. All of a sudden, the image walked down from the platform and begun to lead Eikan. Eikan was so astonished that he could not keep walking. At the moment, the image looked back over its shoulder and said "Eikan! Follow me." Eikan saw the holy and merciful pose of the image and desired it to keep the merciful pose for future generations. This is a legend why Mikaei Amida is looking back.

This is the principal image of Eikando, Zenrin-ji, Kyoto, Japan and it is one of the important cultural assetts of Japan. The style of the image shows a moderate way in late Heian Period but the decorative wave of clothes shows that this might be made by a sculptor in Kyoto in early Kamakura Period. The sculptor skillfully arranged the pose by catching up the moment from a static pose to a dynamic one.

The pose of Mikaeri Amida can be interpreted as an attitude:
To wait for the people behind,
To think back on his own position,
To show mercy to neighbors,
To watch the people with mercy,
To pay attention to the people, as a leader to step forward together.
The pose also shows the benevolence of the Amida, who is still worrying about the people who can not come to the front, though the Amida has already taken a lot of people in the front.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tantric or Pure Land Practice?

Student:
I do not think I have any hope to practice the Six Yogas of Naropa or those complicated tantric yogas. I am too old now. Too late to practice those things. I may not even have time for long retreats. But I do like practising Vajrayana. And at the same time, I want a secure path to my liberation if I don't succeed in Vajrayana practice. It seems to me that Pure Land Buddhism seems to offer that security. Master, what’s your advice?

Master:
What is there to hope?
There’s no hope if we try to be too smart,
If you do not know how,
If you are not sure,
If you do not have blessings
To receive proper training by a qualified master,
Why mess with your cakras and bindus?
Just place your trust in Amida,
And naturally allow His Vow to cross us over!
Namu Amida Butsu…Namu Amida Butsu…

But if you do have proper training
From a qualified master,
Ahh! Sweet nectar – that’s blessings from Amida!
Complete your training,
And help cross others over!
But always remember –
Namu Amida Butsu…Namu Amida Butsu
Anchor yourself in Amida’s Primal Vow,
Use mantras to help others,
Whatever is your training.
They are not contradictory!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Monkey God & Pilgrimage to the West (Pt 2)

I'll continue my blog on the Monkey God story.
1. One of the things learned from the white rabbit story, is that one should not harbour any secret, subtle wish, especially those "wrongful" ones such as the White Rabbit Angel's secret thought to eat the Tripitaka Monk's flesh while she was still an angel in heaven. Due to that one thought, the subsequent problems arose and she had had the opportunity to eat the monk's flesh. She only realised her problems was due to that when pointed out to her by Kuan Yin Bodhisattva. So, for those of us, with those one second thoughts to have one night stands, do be careful! It may just come true and bring consequential problems! However, as pointed by Kuan Yin again, it was due to the problems that the reincarnation of her enemy (i.e. the real princess) was able to resolve her problems with her parents, the King and Queen of Sravasti kingdom. So, in this case, problems do bring some good and because of the problems, she had accrued some merits and enabled her to be an angel once more on heaven.

2. In order to obtain the dharma we have to sacrifice something in return. Normally we need to make an offering. When the Buddha instructed the Ven. Ananda and Ven. Mogallana to retrieve the Sutras for the Tripitaka monk and his disciples, the latter monks were surprised when the two elderly disciples of the Buddha requested for some offerings. Zhu Ba Jie (the pigsy) was angry and thought negatively on Ven. Ananda and Ven. Mogallana. However, the Tripitaka monk understood and told the two that he and his three students had already sacrificed their lives for the sake fo the dharma and they was what they had to offer for the sutras and had no money to offer. It seems fortunate to Tripitaka monks and his students that the two of them accepted this offering of theirs and took out the sutras for them. However, on the way back, the sutras were "hijacked" by a giant bird, i.e. the garuda. Monkey tried to gave chase but to no avail. Actually the two chief disciples reported back to the Buddha that they were given the "wordless" Sutras and the Buddha perceived that sentient beings would not be able to understand them. And he instructed the disciples to take the sutras back. When this happened, Tripitaka's students were angry with the Buddha for taking back the scriptures. But Tripitaka monk was sad and understood the meaning of this incident. He understood he had to go back to get the written sutras from the Buddha for sentient beings. This part of the story has deep significance and I leave my readers to ponder what these "wordless" and "written" sutras mean. In exchange for the written sutras, Tripitaka monk offered the golden bowl he had obtained from the Chinese Emperor to Ven. Anada and Ven. Mogallana. He said in order to obtain something that has no price, he had earlier offered something with no price also, i.e. their lives. And in order to obtain something that has a price tag albeit a high price, he also offered something that has a high value, i.e. the golden bowl.

On the journey back, Kuan Yin realised that the Tripitaka monk was one obstacle short. Therefore he and his students had to be tested one more obstacle. This is an indirect confirmation that all the obstacles faced by the group along the journey to the Buddha were all spiritual tests. That's what we should regard all our obstacles along our way to Enlightenment. The sutras dropped into the huge river and became wet. The four of them had to dry them beside the river bank. As Zhu Ba Jie was collecting the sutras back after drying them, he accidentally tore one of the scriptures and the part that stuck to the rock emitted holy lights. It seems that the rock still stands today, but I am not sure where.

3. When Sun Wu Kong achieved his enlightenment at the incident after the sutras dropped into the river and became wet and they were drying them, he just laughed and exclaimed that finally he had understood.Ba Jie and Wu Jing did not know what he had understood but his master, the Tripitaka monk knew. He said, "If you had understood, that's good". What did he understand? Well, back in the early days when he studied under his first Master, Master Bodhi, he was asked 2 questions. One question was : Where is Master Bodhi?'  The second question was : Where is Mount Wu Ling (the place where they were going to, to get the scriptures from the Buddha)? He did not know the answer then but now after having completed the journey, he finally understood. I did not really understand the spoken chinese from the Chinese drama but I understand the answer is the Master is where the peaceful heart/mind is. And Mount Wu Ling lies inside us and not some external place outside. In other words, the journey to enlightenment is an inner journey, or an inner transformation. I think these are very profound words and it makes sense for us to digest these words properly. And it is also significant that at the end of the journey, Sun Wu Kong went back to Master Bodhi's retreat home but he found his master is no longer there. The whole place is now empty. He sat there for a while and bowed to where his master was and reflected deeply his master's kindness. Then he smiled and laughed. Sun Wu Kong finally realised his aim. He was now at peace. He was no longer the agitated monkey that he once was. Then after some silent reflection, he left the place. There is a dharma saying that when the student is unenlightened, there will always appear a master for the student when the time is ripe. But when the student had gone beyond and achieved enlightenment, the student saves himself and no longer need the master. Please reflect deeply on the many points here on the last part of the story. It is also interesting that he thought of his first master after achieving enlightenment and went to thank him, even though the master was no longer there.  This underscores the importance of being grateful to our gurus. And also demonstrated the fact that it is due to our gurus that we are able to achieve every blessings and spiritual achievement in our lives. Both masters was instrumental and important in Monkey's achievement. When he was having problems with Tripitaka Master, he went back to his first master and sought advice from him. So, we must never forget our previous gurus, i.e. those gurus that we have learned dharma from before our present gurus. I feel this is an important point to note even though our previous gurus may be of other lineages or traditions. And it is said in the dharma teachings that even our kindergarten teachers are our gurus.

I think that's all my blog on the story of Monkey God or Monkey King and his journey with the Tripitaka monk and his fellow students to the Buddha's Pure Land to obtain the scriptures. I feel it is more of a journey to enlightenment and self-discovery than an external journey. There are many more points that we could learn than I could possibly write in any blog. What we learn, actually depends on our own karma and dharma affinity too. When the dharma affinity is not there, you can give a direct dharma teaching right in front of the person, but the person will still not get it. He will not understand what is being said. He will miss the whole dharma point or misunderstands it (which could be worse than not understanding it).

Today I just read that the film industry in Hong Kong is going to make a movie of Monkey King and it will be in 3D. It will star Donnie Yen in the title role and there will be other HK famous actors and actresses including Chow Yun Fatt as a mythical Emperor and Aaron Kwok as the Bull King (Yama Raja). Aaron Kwok as Bull King? Interesting? I am somewhat sceptical that this 3D "hollywood style" movie which inclues mega movie stars will ever have any element that stays true to the original storyline where there are many dharma points. I think this China series that I have reviewed here in my blog is a good one for it has tried to stay true to the original story by Wu Chen En as much as possible and I feel the director has ensured important dharma lessons are conveyed clearly through the way it is presented in the movie set throughout the story. Good job. I just fear the 3D movie version will be more of a film to show the special effects ability of the movie makers than conveying any dharma lessons. I hope they prove me wrong.

P/s: I am having internet problems due to my already aged PC. So, if I don't post for a while. please be patient. I guess I need to buy a new PC, and this needs $$$.  Hahaha... hope google can help a bit. :)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Let the bad habits die...

Mahabodhiyana is "dead". He was beaten up by a road bully on October 26, 2010 equivalent to 19th day of the 9th lunar month - Kuan Yin Pu Sa's renunciation day).

Well.. one version has it that Kuan Yin saved him and the road bully manage to control his anger and didnot do any violence. Which version is correct will depend actually. If old habits die hard, he will be resurrected and live again, and the yidam will have no chance of manifesting on his body.

No, I am not sure who I am. Who is this "I"? If it is the impatient, angry, desirous peson that had lived for the alst few decades, then it is Mahabodhiyana again. If it is a gentler, patient, less desires person, then it is more of the yidam taking over. I realise that letting the yidam take over is the purpose when we dissolve it into our body, mind and speech. During that process, your old "self" has to give way to the enlightened yidam to manifest. If after your meditation period, the old habits still persist, then it means you have not effectively transformed yourself into the yidam. "You", as you know it, has to die!

So, on that fateful day, two important lessons learned:-

1. The old self has to give way. I got to let the enlightened energy of Amitabha's Primal Vow manifest and take over me so that I can benefit more people.

2. It is when our lives are at stake that we truely experience the realisation of the precious human rebirth. When our lives are not at stake, the experience of precious human rebirth will not truely sink into our hearts and mind.

So, I have to monitor myself for the few weeks, few months, few years... to check if the old Mahabodhiyana still lives or that he had indeed died. We'll see.

Anyway, I thank the Great Bodhisattva of Compassion of allowing compassion to manifest on that day and saved a life...even though that life is of not much worth. But he will try to make it worthy of your saving his life in the future. And thank you for the availability of the Masters programme. Namo Kuan Shih Yin Pu Sa! Namo Amitabha!

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Conversation between a Christian Evangelist and a Buddhist

This is a conversation between a Christian Evangelist and a Buddhist. Let's just call them Mr C and Mr B respectively. They were sitting next to each other in a plane. All along the trip, Mr B did not know Mr C was a Christian until the plane was just about to land. It was not until Mr C decided to "take his opportunity" against this simple looking guy, that looked probably somewhat naive, perhaps. So, he took out his bait and hope that Mr B would bite it. He opened the conversation with a seemingly innocent question. He might have noticed all the coloured strings or threads around Mr B's wrist, and that seemed perfect topic of conversation to lure Mr B into God's protection instead of the mantra-ed strings given to Mr B. Or, perhaps that was to check if Mr B was not a Christian.

Mr C:  What are those strings that you are wearing?
Mr B: O - these are obtained from the temple.

Mr B seemed peculiar about Mr C's motive. He was sure Mr C knew what those strings were. So, he kept the answer short and direct. He didnot say anything anymore.

Mr C could just muster: I see, you got them from your temple.

Then the conversation between them went dead. Because of Mr B's silence, Mr C's opportunity to turn the conversation into a religious one that would probably emphasise the uselessness of those striongs for protection, did not materialise. I feel Mr B's silence was appropriate since it defused a potential arguement or debate.

Then the plane landed. And as he was preparing to unbuckle himself (as he was sittign on the outer seat, nearest the aisle), after failing to stir an evangelist opportunity, he gave his last shot.

Mr C: So.. good luck to you and remember, Jesus loves you. Come to the church anytime.

The he unbuckled himself and was about to get up.

Mr B thought quickly and I am not sure why he had to even say anything else... but he retorted after some quick thoughts.

Mr B: I am sure Jesus loves me. Did you know that I had a dream of Jesus once?

Mr C's eyes sparkled. That was his opportunity that he must not missed. He grabbed it immediately and his true colours could be seen now.

Mr C: O- then you should come to the church...that's a sign.

Mr B : ...but Buddha also loves me. I also had dreamt of Buddha. And even those of other gods such as Hinduism. I am sure they love me too.

Mr C was stumped. He did not know what to say for a few seconds.

Mr C:  then you must be a good spiritual person.

Mr B humbly said: Hmm...not really. I am a bad person... that why they come to me.

Mr C then asked: What do you work for a living? 

Mr B: Oh, I keep records, etc...

Mr C: ...then you must be cheating on the records.

Mr B knew he meant it as a joke. Mr B did not mind that last bit of salvo from Mr C. It was to save Mr C's face and also to avoid any tension between them. It was not a debate. There's no Mr B's ego to be saved anyway. And they both laughed. Mr B wished Mr C a safe journey as Mr C grabbed his hand-carried bag and walked away.

Mr B felt it was a good conversation. There was something to be learned for Mr C and I am sure for Mr B too. It was blessings from the Buddha and Jesus that his wit was quick at that moment and that turned the conversation around and stopped Mr C right on his tracks. But Mr C was also intelligent and knew he had "met his match" and smartly turned the conversation into a more jovial mood. Mr B must learn this technique too.

On an end note, I am wondering if that's the way Mr C engages in conversation with strangers he meets anywhere. Is Mr C typical of other Christian evangelists? Do they always look for an opportunity to invite people to the church? Anyway... that's their business. On their side of things, that's nothing wrong. But on others' side, being approached by other religions and attempts to convert Buddhists over cannot be looked on as insignificant. And that's because Buddhists who do not know their Buddhism well enough are easy targets of these evangelists. And I understand from Mr B that that was not the first time he had had conversations with other Christians. He had actually previously learned from his past conversations. And that had helped him prepare for any such attempts. I had been told that there are many young Buddhists in Malaysia and Singapore who had this problem with being approached by this kind of evangelists. And they have voiced their concerns in Buddhist forums. That's one of the reasons I decided to relate Mr B's story on the plane here in this blog. Oh.. one more thing. I asked Mr B about his dreams...and it apepars that he did actually had had all those dreams he talked about. They were not lies. He had even dreamt of the Muslim azan (Islam's call for prayer) from a mosque which he interpretes as a sign from the Islam's God.

I just hope there is something useful to be shared from this blog post. Cheers and Namo Amitabha Buddha!

P/s: don't ask me who is Mr B, ok? He had asked his name not to be mentioned. Thanks.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What did you do on 20.10.2010 on 2010th hour?

Yes, Oct 20th, 2010 at 8.10pm, I did the same thing on 10.10.10, 1010th hour. And that is, to take refuge in Amitabha Buddha and aspire to take rebirth in His Land of Ultimate Bliss. I also wished that my family members, friends and others who aspire to reborn there also be successful in their aspiration upon the death fo the current physical body.

I also shared this with a few friends and told them that if there is anyone they know who is sick or having problems, they can take make a special wish for the recovery of these persons and the resolution of their problems. Even if they are not Bddhists, they can pray to whoever is their God on such a moment when the numbers are all in a symetric arrangement.

In Buddhism, when external happenings meets with internal factors or deeds, it will definitely result in a potential karmic seed. I regard it auspicious that my dad had given me his previous Nokia handphone. He had bought a new one. I regard it as his gift to Amitabha, through me. And with the deed done, his aspiration for rebirth in Amitabha's Pure LAnd will have a good causal factor now. Amitabha's Primal Vow never fails to liberate.

You see, what happened was that one day he had informed me that he had brought back a book of blank Heart Sutras in chinese for copying by hand. He just need to use a pen to go over the words. I was surprised that he had done so. He never had any interest in copying sutras or read much Buddhist books before. I am not sure what happened but I regard it as timely. It is very good that hsi good karmic connections with dharma had ripened. He is already over 70 years old and I am not sure how long he has left of his life. So it is good that he has begun copying sutras. When he had completed the whole book, he sms me what next he need to do. Earlier I did tell him that he just need to take the completed book to a temple or library. Or, if he has to burn it, he is to recite "Om Ah Hum" 3 times and visualise all the holy words flies out of the book and goes to the Buddha' Pure Land, before burning it. But my dad might have forgotten about what I had tld him and it was actually very good. This is because this time I didnot reply to him immediately. But I took the time to think. And it occured to me I should take this opportunity to benefit him and commit him to the dharma path inwhat could be his last phase of his life.

A few days later I replied back to him via sms. This is what I texted him. I told him to keep the copy he had completed, and get more sets to copy, i.e. 5 to 10 books. I said that it is believed that if a person can complete another 5 to 10, he will have booked a place in Amitabha's Pure Land. About 2 days later, my mother told me he had already got additional copies of the book and had immediately set out to copy the Heart Sutra, in the hope of securing a place in Sukhavati. I was happy when my mother told it to me. I was at once relieved that what I did worked. Before that, I was worried that it might not work. But then I told myself, what would be the the worst results. If it didnot work, worst is my dad will just stop copying. And I had nothing to lose. Hence, I went ahead and sent him the sms.

My only worry thereafter is his own karma might prevent him from actual rebirth and then he will think that I lied to him. But now that he had made "an offering" to me, through that sincerity, I have now no cause to worry much, but leave it to Amitabha's Primal Vow to take my dad across the sea of samsara. I am just glad he aspires to be reborn there. And a few days ago, my mother said he wants me to get him more books to copy. WOW! Talk about motivation! The causal factor is completed on 20.10.2010 at 2010th hour. So, what did you do at that moment? Nothing? Could not remember? It's okay. No worries if you didnot do anything special. As long as you are still alive, it's still not too late to recite "Namo Amitabha Buddha"!

Monday, October 18, 2010

My Blog Statistics

Statistics from January to Oct 2010 (till to-date)
Total Pageloads – 8211 (average 821 per mth)
Total Unique Visitors – 5223 (average 522 per mth)
Total first time visitors – 4347 (average 435 per mth)
Total returning visitors – 876 (average 88 per mth)

Compare to Jan to Oct 2009
Total Pageloads – 4044 (average 404 per mth)
Total Unique Visitors – 2331 (average 233 per mth)
Total first time visitors – 1851 (average 185 per mth)
Total returning visitors – 480 (average 48 per mth)

Visitors from Elon University, North Carolina (on Yong Vui Kong and Death penalty)
152.33.65.131
152.33.55.232
152.33.45.202
152.33.70.245
152.33.46.176
152.33.74.116
152.33.47.22

Note: Besides Elon University, there is another University in Texas that is interested in my blog on "cloned humans". I believe there are other articles that have been read by an education institution in Japan. Please remember to give credit to my blog. And if you wish to communicate to me, please give me a comment, and if you donot wish it to be published, please indicate. You can give me your email in your comment and i will respind back to you.

Visitors on Mahamayuri (Peacock Queen)
59.189.242.44 (Sgp, 3m 42s)
210.24.212.159 (Sgp, 4m 52s)
119.56.16.4 (Sgp, 9h, 51m 8s)
64.215.209.1 (Texas, 7m 1s)
91.197.171.7 (Ukraine, 16m 19s)
190.198.245.82 (Venezuela, 45m)
124.13.149.38 (Penang, 3m 28s)
116.86.242.10 (Sgp, 27m, 46s)
116.86.242.13 (Sgp, 2h, 39m, 54s)
174.6.79.141 (Canada, 1m 57s)
60.49.89.160 (Penang, 58s)
115.135.59.63 (Penang, 32m, 15s)
114.57.157.241 (Indonesia – 9m 45s)

The below are Stats with visit length > 0 second. I am not sure how accurate it is but I believe some of these people do read my blog even though their length of time shows zero. This is because sometimes I get comments, but when I checked their stats, their length of time shows zero. I am not sure why.

Recent visitors 10 Oct 2010 until 6.30pm
5 from US
3 from UK
1 from Singapore
1 from Mexico
1 from Australia
1 from Busan, Rep. of Korea

Visitors on 11 Oct
UK  - 3m 12s
Elon Univ, USA – 3m 54s,
- 1h 59m 6s,
- 13s

Mexico – 37s
USA – 6m 30s
Penang, Malaysia – 11s
Taiwan – 22h 27m 42s
Utah, USA – 2m 16s

Visitors on 12 Oct
Sacramento, USA – 20s
Moorpark, California – 12m 7s
Folsom, California – 2s
Penang – 1m 3s
Elon University – 3m 16s
North Las vegas, Nevada – 36s
Sgp – 4m 1s
Jakarta – 10m 16s

Visitors on 13 & 14 Oct
Washington, USA – 45s
Unknown (192.168.151.15) 20m 9s
Penang – 10s
-    6s
San Francisco – 4m 48s
Johannesburg, South Africa – 1m 54s
Denmark – 8m 35s
Yahoo (Sunnyvale, California) – 3s
Maharasthra, India – 9s
Sgp (119.74.234.224) – multiple visits (length of time not stated)
Indianapolis, USA – 18m 16s
Manchester, UK – 4m 3s
Norway – 15s
Alberta, Canada – 7s
Victoria, Australia – 17m 57s
Sgp (219.74.45.251) – 10m 16s
Abuja, Nigeria – 35m 16s

Visitors on 15 Oct
Jakarta – 20s
Pennsylvania, USA – 8h 46m 27s
Sgp (203.125.55.22) – 4m 31s
Unknown (172.16.24.198) – 30s
Greece – 4m 15s
Texas A&M University, USA – 1h 6s
Pg, Msia – 8s
Victor Mgmt Info Center, Japan – 1m 27s
Taiwan – 1h 13m 33s
Madhya Pradesh, India – 2m 4s

Visitors on 16 Oct
Michigan, USA – 54s
Birmingham, UK – multiple visits
BM, Pg – 56s
Lithuania – 8m 59s
Colorado, USA – 3m 3s
Canarias, Spain – 7m 2s

Visitors on 17 & 18 October
Taiwan – (114.47.171.164) – multiple visits
Sgp (59.189.146.77) – 42s
Medan, Indonesia – 3m 24s
South Carolina, USA – 22m 46s
Sacramento, USA – 1m 15s
Florida, USA – 15s
New York – 16m 11s
Oakland, California- 2h 30m 14s

Recently I have been exposed to the possibility of monetizing my blog. And this is not because I have suddenly become greedy. I will probably include some advertising banners and place it discreetly at the side and not in a way that will affect readers of my blog. I will probably be selective in the type of advertisement that can be placed. I will do it on a  trial basis and if it affects the blog negatively, I will take it off. However, with the extra money from these ad banner, which is not expected to be much anyway, I can do the following

i. be able to upgrade to a webhost with better features. With the contents in my own web domain, I will be able to do more things than the free blog sites.
ii. any extra I will be able to sponsor visits by lamas, Rinpoches, other Buddhist teachers, or donate for the beneficial projects. I donate quite often to FPMT projects such as their Eye Hospital in Amdo, Jade Buddha for Universal Peace, and I have even sponsored one man for a long term 3 year retreat in a Karma Kagyu center in Germany (if I remember correctly the location). That was through e-sangha before the forum ceased. Or, I can use the extra RM50 or RM100 for printing sutras. I am thinking of printing Amitabha Sutra (english version) for people to copy. In this way, people who cannot recite Amitabha's name will also be able to plant seeds of their rebirth to Amitabha Pure Land after they pass away. Any money from this blog adverts will not be enough for sure but the extra money from the ad banner will certainly help a little. I will see how it goes.

Conclusion: From the above, it appears that my readers are from other countries, rather than Malaysia. Some of my articles have also been featured in search engines such as Ask.com and visited by "stumble" and "yahoo". There was at least once where my article had been translated into another language.  So, it is not really doing that badly, considering only one person completed my poll question. I would like to thank all my readers.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What did you do on 10th sec, 10.10am, 10 Oct, 2010?

So, did you do anything special on 10 October, 2010 at 10.10am, 10th second? If not you still have  tonight at 10.10pm. But technically, 10.10am is better.

Anyway, is the day any special day in Buddhism? Does it have any Buddhist significance? Not that I know of. However, that does not mean I cannot make it special since many people think it is special because of the number 10, which signifies "completeness".

So, I took that opportunity to recite "Namo Amitabha Buddha" at that exact moment and make a wish to be reborn in His Land of Ultimate Bliss when my day on Earth is over. I leave the rest to the power of Amitabha's Vows. Just one recitation with sincerity is enough to enable one to cause one's rebirth there eventually. It is so important that I got a few family members to do it, i.e. by texting them. I am not sure they do it or not but at least I know I did it with someone who lives with me. :)

Anyway I didnot want to go to the Nine Emperor Gods shrine near my place and be there at this special moment. I delayed going there until I had recited Amitabha's Name at that very moment. We must know our priority, right? 10.10.10, 10.10 o'clock 10th second does not come every time, does it?

So, what did you do at that time? Did you let it go by just because it does not have any significance? I think you have missed the chance if you didnot do anything significant at that moment. You could ahve done your yidam meditation then. Or make a wish for the long healthy life of your guru and His Holiness the Dalai Lama? Or, you could have made a special wish for someone who is sick to recover quickly. It is a chance to expand your bodhicitta on such a rare occurence. If you really think, there are so many things you could do to make this moment a special one - something that enhances your dharma practice and benefit sentient beings. Of course, you can do it anytime, but doing it on this rare moment where everything is perfect 10 adds to its significance and will go a long impact in your future dharma practice.

I also received a sms message that says that October 2010 is special because it has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays, and this happens only once in 823 years. And according to the sms, that is supposed to be good fengshui because it indicates money bags. But I checked the calendar and January 2010 also has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays. So much for good fengshui, huh? We should check before we believe in anything, not just blindly believe, right?

P/s: I have updated this post as well as "Monkey God and the pilgrimage to the West" post. I will be away for a few days and won't be able to update my blog for a while. Happy reading.