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" least for now. Sorry if my three things shocked you, especially the first one, i.e. "play". What are yours?

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