Sunday, February 14, 2010

For the Benefit of the Dragon Boat Victims

For the benefit of the six victims of the Penang Chung Ling High School 5 students and one teacher who drowned in January last year off the coast of Penang island, I have used my own money and donated to the Festival of Lights and Merits. The money will be used to offer lights to the Maha Bodhi Stupa at Bodhgaya and arranged for the merits to be dedicated to them. Today is the first day of the Day of Miracles and it coincide with the Tibetan and Chinese New Year. It is believed that whatever good deeds we perform during the days of miracle will be multiplied many millions of times. Similarly, for any negative deeds done.

Hence I take this opportunity to dedicated the merits to these 6 victims and take it my personal responsibility to rescue them from the lower realms. Why do I say so? Well, it is difficult to say but I had a feeling once upon waking up one morning several weeks ago that at least one victim had been reborn as a fish and another as a ghost. I am putting myself as if I was their parent... and if they were my sons and if I know they had been reborn as a fish, wouldn't I do something to help? Anyway, even though I am no bodhisattva, but there are things I can still do as a normal human to help sentient beings - death or alive. I am also preparing myself for the role of a major bodhisattva later. Therefore I cannot pass the responsibility to others even if I donot know any of the victims personally. None of them are my friends. But you can shoulder it too if you want to, after reading the blog.

If people only take death as a normal phenomena and don't care about where they are being reborn into, and don't do anything about it, then as mentioned in Berzin Archives, when you achieve enlightenment, you may achieve only the state of "Arhatship" whereby you only liberate yourself and unable to have the strong motivation to "get up" to help others. Your actions now determines what seeds you are planting later for enlightenment -whether it is "Arhatship" seed or "Bodhisattvaship" seed. From what I understand, we could actually be practising the Mahayana path of Bodhisattvas, but if we lack the motivation to actually get up and help beings, we could possibly get so stucked-up during our attainment of bliss-emptiness stage that we downplay on conventional reality and not be motivated enough to leave our blissful state to help sentient beings. So, even though we think we may be walking in the Bodhisattva path by practising Mahayana Buddhism, but in the end we end up in the "Arhatship" path. I put in inverted commas because what is meant here is the theoritical believe that Arhats gets so stucked up in their blissful state that they are not so motivated to help sentient beings. Of course, in reality, the actual Arhats may not be like that. Same with people who are in the Arhatship path. Due to strong compassion, they could actually be walking in the Bodhisattva path. So, we are only talking about the spirit of compassion here, whereby we understand that the difference between the so-called "Arhatship" and "Bodhisattva" paths are not so much the outer practices and geographical demographics or culture, but what happens inside us. It's there somewhere in Alexander Berzin's website. Check it up.

So, I am taking the advice by the Lam Rim masters to take on the personal responsibility to liberate all sentient beings, starting with this small donation for lights to be offered at the Maha Bodhi Stupa at Bodhgaya. The names of the six victims are as follows, in case you want to dedicate merits for them during this Days of Miracles. You can go to or other sites or do other actions. It doesnot have to be this one that I am doing.

1. Chin Aik Siang
2. Goh Yi Zhang
3. Cheah Zi Jun
4. Brendon Yeoh Yuen Khye
5. Wang Yong Xiang
6. Jason Ch’ng Wai Seong

I will end with this verse from the short Lam Rim verse:

Led by this pure thought,
Mindfulness, alertness, and great caution arise.
The root of the teachings is keeping the pratimoksha vows:
Please bless me to accomplish this essential practice.
Just as I have fallen into the sea of samsara,
So have all mother migratory beigns.
Please bless me to see this, train in supreme bodhicitta,
And bear the responsibility of freeing migratory beings.

By doing this I also hope to dedicate this pure act to the long life of Kyabje Lama Zopa who is in Singapore now and other Gurus too. I am not able to go as I am saving my leave hopefully to go to Tibet later in the year. By this pure act may all my Gurus' holy wishes be fulfilled. May all my spiritual wishes relating to my practice be fulfilled too!

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