Sunday, May 29, 2011

Distinguishing the Truth from the False

I would like to sound a word of caution that people must be careful when joining any Buddhist society. They may be called "Buddhist Society.... ", and yes, the people in the society talks about the Buddha, they talk about the Eigthfold Path, karma, Bodhisattvas, etc ... BUT, it is not your mainstream kind of Buddhism. I wish I can say something more, but unable to. There are "buddhist societies" that function more like cults. I feel very alarmed about this religious organisations. Throughout my spiritual experiences, I have experienced first-hand some of these "societies" and have distanced myself from them. Of all of these new spiritual masters or living buddhas or living god that appear, so far I find that only Sathya Sai Baba is confirmed to be genuine. The rest (of course I shall not get myself into trouble by naming them), I am unable to give a commitment. Even if I wanted to, something always happen to distance them from me. When I was young, there was this Japanese sect that I went to, explore. But one day, it moved suddenly to another location that still remains a mystery to me until today. I know roughly where it is but do not have its exact location. Dharma protectors at work? When I told a friend of mine today about this particular "buddhist society", she exclaimed, "Oh, you mean like Soka Gakkai?". I said, "Soka Gakkai is more Buddhism than this particular Buddhist Society". At least Soka Gakkai is based on the practice of the Lotus Sutra. But the founder of this particular "Buddhist Society", who happens to be a Japanese too, there are many of their teachings that do not jive with Buddhist teachings. Since they claim they are "Buddhist Society", we have to measure them according to our Buddhist teachings. If they do not claim to be "Buddhist Society", it's not that terrible. But they do claim to be Buddhism and they claimed that their founder is the reincarnation of Sakyamuni Buddha. By examining their teachings closely, they don't measure up, unfortunately. They don't measure up to Theravada. They don't measure up to Chinese nor Tibetan Buddhism. They do not measure up to Zen or Pure Land Buddhism, nor any of the Shin Japanese Pure Land schools.

They have bits and pieces of Buddhism and garnishes those with their own concepts and theories. For example, the group believes in a different cosmology than that taught in the Buddhist sutras. The founder himself is from a realm higher than the Realm of the Buddhas. He said the highest realm (actually they do not call it "realm") belongs only to the this highest Buddha. He equates that position to the Eternal Buddha or God (with the capital "G"). Another "living buddha" of Taiwan is also known to say weird things. He said things such as he is higher than Sakyamuni Buddha and they chatted and had a drink at a Starbucks station or something. I have read this somewhere in his book. It's so weird. Another master have a Kuan Yin technique the person discovered but will disclose to you only if you become a member. And you can become a member only after an initiation rite and an oath of secrecy. The problem with this group is that they are not a tantric Buddhist group where initiations and secret commitments are common. Anyway, the tantric techniques are not something the masters discovered themselves. Sathya Sai Baba never said all these weird stuffs and he did not create his own concepts or new theories of the universe. He also does not copyright any new meditation or yogic technique to be sold or initiated only to to members. That's what sets him apart from all these other "living gods" or "living buddhas". As far as godliness is concerned, most are only pretenders and they fall by the wayside. They lack the qualities that should be a part of their so-called living buddha/god position. Hence believing in a master as divine or Buddha is not merely a matter of personal devotion or belief. It is backed up by facts and qualities that we can check and see with our own eyes or experience with our own minds. With Sathya Sai Baba, we do not have to force ourselves to believe he manifested illness, whereas with some masters, their disciples may need to believe that with blind faith.  What is probably worse is, they do not have an address in Malaysia even though I believe they have operated in Malaysia for several years. Are they operating under a veil? They do not have a Malaysian or Singaporean website (but their branch in Singapore have an address, just not sure where). They have establishments elsewhere in the world, including the USA and Australia. But I am not sure whether in these other countries, whether they operate as a "Buddhist society" or not.

I must reiterate that there is nothing wrong with proclaiming that oneself has achieved enlightenment or claiming that one is a living god. This is because even the Buddha himself did make a self-proclamation more than 2500 years ago. However, if one does not have the qualities to back such claims, one only makes a fool of oneself and the hollow proclamation will be a cause for rebirth in the lower realms.

One Buddhist Master that many disciples regard as a manifestation of Amitabha Buddha is Venerable Master Hsuan Hua. No, he did not claim himself to be one. But from his life story one knows that he had indeed practiced meditation for a considerable period of time and it it not surprising if he has achieved enlightenment during that time (especially during that time when he was meditating at his mother's grave). Even persons who are manifestations of a Buddha need to have a cause for achieving enlightenment. But some people, like the founder of the so-called "Buddhist society" claimed he achieved enlightenment at the age of 24. How did he achieved it? Did he do any meditation? When you talk about achieving enlightenment, in Buddhism it is not like as if some other Buddha or God grants it to you in the same way as Prophets received messages from their God. In Buddhist, no one grants you enlightenment. We have to work it out ourselves. So when we regard someone as a Buddha, we must ask ourselves the question: did he/she work out for it? We must probe into it and not just accept things that are said as gospel truth. The Buddha himself asked us to do that for him, i.e. not to simply believe him, but to always check. Back to Master Hsuan Hua, we can all see that his level of elucidation of the dharma is second to none. He had explained at length even a single syllable of a mantra and wrote verses to accompany it. Who else has the ability to do that? I must say very, very few. Hence, believing Ven. Master Hsuan Hua as not your ordinary monk is not that far-fetched and does have a basis for it. As I said before, it is not a case of my belief vs your belief.

Hence, if you are not sure about any "Living Buddha" or "Buddhist Society", check whether there is a basis for such belief and check with others first (those not from the organisation). Otherwise, stick to the tried and tested. Go for the orthodox ones. You need not criticise them, just stay away or stay silent! I hope this article will be of some use to help people make their own judgement. But ultimately I have to admit, even though a certain teacher is false, that does not mean there is nothing good in all that they do. If it is able to bring some hope to people and bring some order in their lives, I guess there is still some good. The only down side is that they will not be able to achieve real liberation from samsara. Only the real Buddhas have reached the great liberation and only they can teach us how to achieve it.   

I'll end with this short verse of mine:

Unable to recognise the true from the false,
And the false from the true,
One mistakes the boiling oil for
The heavenly nectar...
And the pot of gold for
A bowl of dung...
Alas! How tragic!

If one does not have genuine merits, that's what happens. One is unable to distinguish the truth from the false. That's why before one can have wisdom, one needs merits.

Mark Zuckerberg's dharma lesson

My Comment: Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook co-founder and CEO) may not even be a Buddhist but he seems to be teaching us valuable dharma lessons here. This news article from that appeared in cnet news (dated May 27, 2011) caught my attention. I thought that he was trying to demonstrate a point and I don't think he was trying to condone killing animals personally. I think it may even be more compassionate to bear ourselves the karma of killing for food than to let others do it for us. Like he said, we seems to take it for granted. The issue of meeting the four criterias of eating "pure meat" is stated by the Buddha but he didnot stop us from being more compassionate than that. Hmmm... seems to demonstrate the point that Buddhas and Bodhisattvas can be found everywhere, even in places you never thought there is. Interesting. Well, I am not going to kill, but I am just reducing my meat intake and increasing my vegetarian days. What do you think about Mark's stand on meat eating?   

Zuckerberg takes to killing chickens and pigs (by Chris Matyszczyk)
I would like to paint a picture for you on this Memorial Day weekend. It is of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg chopping off a live chicken's head with a large knife.

No, the chicken is not called MySpace. Nor has anyone ever referred to it as "Privacy."

However, it seems that the Valley's own Scotty McCreery has decided to start killing his own fowl before he eats it. Actually, according to Fortune, he isn't just stopping at fowl. He's into a little pig slaughter too.

You think that I might be offering a little callous besmirchment? Truly, I am no headless chicken in these matters. For Zuckerberg himself wrote an e-mail to Fortune, in which he explained that before he eats any animal, he makes sure it is one whose life he has personally ended.

It's a little, he wrote, like learning Chinese (that was his personal challenge for last year).

This year, he explained, "my personal challenge is around being thankful for the food I have to eat. I think many people forget that a living being has to die for you to eat meat, so my goal revolves around not letting myself forget that and being thankful for what I have."

I would like to paint a picture for you on this Memorial Day weekend. It is of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg chopping off a live chicken's head with a large knife.

No, the chicken is not called MySpace. Nor has anyone ever referred to it as "Privacy."

However, it seems that the Valley's own Scotty McCreery has decided to start killing his own fowl before he eats it. Actually, according to Fortune, he isn't just stopping at fowl. He's into a little pig slaughter too.

You think that I might be offering a little callous besmirchment? Truly, I am no headless chicken in these matters. For Zuckerberg himself wrote an e-mail to Fortune, in which he explained that before he eats any animal, he makes sure it is one whose life he has personally ended.

It's a little, he wrote, like learning Chinese (that was his personal challenge for last year).
This year, he explained, "my personal challenge is around being thankful for the food I have to eat. I think many people forget that a living being has to die for you to eat meat, so my goal revolves around not letting myself forget that and being thankful for what I have."

"He's a nice man at heart," said the goat.

I know there might be some who will have a little difficulty connecting every single dot between gratitude and pig slaughter.

However, Zuckerberg merely stated: "This year I've basically become a vegetarian, since the only meat I'm eating is from animals I've killed myself."

So, is the idea that it is so hard to get oneself to kill a pig that this is a fine way to reduce one's meat intake? Or is the thought that one simply shouldn't eat meat that came from something one didn't, in some way, friend first?

It's hard to judge from Zuckerberg's e-mail. For he revealed the roots of his new behavior this way: "A bunch of people told me that even though they loved eating pork, they really didn't want to think about the fact that the pig used to be alive. That just seemed irresponsible to me. I don't have an issue with anything people choose to eat, but I do think they should take responsibility and be thankful for what they eat rather than trying to ignore where it came from."

He offered to Fortune that his first victim of pleasure was a lobster. He boiled it alive. How did it feel to eat a personally boiled lobster?

"The most interesting thing was how special it felt to eat it after having not eaten any seafood or meat in a while," he told Fortune. But did it feel special because his relationship with the lobster was personal--even if a little lopsided? Was he tempted to tag it on his Facebook account before swallowing it?

Zuckerberg told Fortune that his next step will be to go hunting. And in case you're wondering just how far his animal-elimination had gone so far, Mashable revealed that on his private Facebook page, Zuckerberg had posted: "I just killed a pig and a goat."

The goat was surely a tough one. I've always found them remarkably friendly little things, even if they spawned the goatee.

Personally, I have a lot of sympathy with Zuckerberg's essential logic about meat-eating--well, up to the point at which he expresses his desire only to eat meat that he has killed. Wouldn't just watching some poor lobster being boiled or some pig being poked in the eye be enough?

And shouldn't he accord the same alleged respect for lettuce, tomatoes, and broccoli? Those things are living too, aren't they? So shouldn't he eat only greens that he has personally chopped off or torn asunder at the roots?

I know there will be some amateur (and even professional) psychologists who will feel that the Facebook CEO's innately competitive nature will be stirred by his animacidal exploits.

Many (including some who live on farms and have four legs) will, I am sure, be dying to see whether the more he kills animals, the more he partakes of their mortal flesh.

Those who enjoy crime novels and Jeffrey Dahmer biographies tell me that people who enjoy a little killing tend to get something of a taste for it.

Article from:

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I Completed My Prostrations Commitment

Recently I realised that I have completed my prostrations as refuge commitment under the late Venerable Master Hsuan Hua. When he was alive, he gave this commitment to all those who took the Triple Refuge under him and I am happy that I have finally completed it. I have not heard of any other masters giving commitments to do (much like ngondros) for a Refuge ceremony. Prostrations might seem simple to seasoned practitioners, but not for me. So, having completed those, I am now full-fledged disciple of the late Ven. Master Hsuan Hua. I am so happy. And I guess he has to save me whenever I am in trouble now due to his 18 great vows.....!! In case you did not know, check out what were his 18 great vows in the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas website. I am sure the list is there somewhere. :)

The uphill task now is to complete the practices given by my Lama. O-dear, I am not sure if I ever can finish those!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mother's Day, Teacher's Day and Wesak Day

In my country, we celebrate teacher's day today. So I wish all teachers (conventional teachers, lecturers, educators as well as spiritual ones), a HAPPY TEACHER'S DAY!! Without teachers and educators, we will be like living in a world in total darkness. This is my esteemed tribute to teachers. In Buddhism, teachers are regarded with the same respect as spiritual ones and ought to include them in our merit field during meditative visualizations. 

Mother's Day was last week and the best thing I ever did for my mother was to get her to commit to reciting a particular mantra on daily basis. So I managed to get her to commit to the mantra path this year, in reciting the mantra for reducing chances of getting stroke and increasing chance of recovery. i.e. OM TUMBURI TUMBURI SUKSHU MEME SHIKSHI SOHA. Previously she has not been reciting any mantra on daily basis. Now she recites this mantra 7 times a day. Despite her many flaws, I still love her. After all, who doesn't have any flaws? So HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

Lastly tomorrow we celebrate Wesak Day, which is the Theravada calendar for the day in which our historical Gautama Buddha was born, attained enlightenment and passed into Maha Parinirvana. It's a combination of the Saka Dawa days in Tibetan calendar. In the Chinese Buddhist calendar, these sacred occasions are celebrated on different days of the year. This has always been one of my favorite days of the year. So, HAPPY WESAK DAY!!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lamentations of A Hopeless Being

The leaves turn yellow,
The weed grows tall,
Our hair turns white,
Our beards grow long.
Decades gone by...
Attended so many teachings,
Did so much meditation,
And activities,
But ...still no enlightenment.

Still so much desires,
Still so much hatred,
Still lacking merits,
Still cannot let go.
Unable to distinguish the false and the truth,
Alas, we are still our wretched selves!
Hopeless beings.

note: this is actually an exhortation for people to reflect on themselves, especially your own bad habits and to ask yourself why you cannot progress much on the spiritual path, yet thinking you have so much merits and have such a great "bodhisattva attitude". Even with a fellow dharma brother/sister, you display such tactlessness, how to be a bodhisatva then?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Tower of Maitreya and Thor's Tower of Asgard

If there is any reason for Buddhists to go see this movie it will be to see the Tower of Asgard. The Tower of Asgard is so huge and tall, it will be much, much taller than the tallest building ever on Earth. That's the way we should visualise the Tower of Maitreya in your meditation. The Tower of Asgard as pictured in the movie "The Thor" is almost the same way as the dream my "friend" had of the Tower of Maitreya. The Tower of Maitreya is described as many yojanas in height.

There you go... that's my one reason for going to see the latest movie on Thor.

When is killing justified in Buddhism?

I refer to the above report by LA Times and I am horrified that the Dalai Lama's words have been twisted to justify the killing of Osama bin Laden. From the words reportedly spoken by His Holiness, no where was there an indication that the latter had said that the killing was justified. That's the problem with media reporting, i.e. when it comes to reporting religious or spiritual matters, they lack the knowledge necessary to correctly understand and report what was spoken or done by the religious or spiritual person or groups. Here I attempt to explain a little bit of the karma of killing and whether there is any justification of killing anyone at all.  

Are the words "counter-measure" or "forgiveness does not mean forgetting what happened" so obviously referring to mean "killing Osama bin Laden is justified"? I don't think so. When listening to the words of the Dalai Lama, you need to put your frame of mind within the contexts of Buddhist philosophy of non-killing and compassion, which is not necessarily a straight forward path at all times. To the uninitiated, forgiving someone means forgetting what the wrong had done. To someone like His Holiness, it means more than forgetting. It means taking positive actions to improve relationships between the two parties and instituting preventive measures so that the said wrong action will not repeat. That's the only true way to forgive someone. For example, the security in American cities can be beefed up to prevent planes from being hijacked and used as a suicide weapon of mass destruction like it happened on 9-11 fateful day. Other actions to curb terrorism, which could possibly include capturing Osama, are also what the Dalai Lama probably meant by "counter measures". But people don't get what the Dalai Lama was saying and easily fell into their own opinion trap. Sometimes it is said that you hear what you want others to say, and not listen to what they are actually saying. They thought he meant killing Osama. In Buddhism, we do not kill unless it is done as a calculated action of killing one person in exchange of saving many others. And that also is to be done only if we have concrete evidence that the person we need to kill is in the midst of plotting to kill many others. And that we must consider that after killing off this person, it does not mean there will not be any karma of killing. Are we ready to bear this heavy karma of killing? There will be a karma of killing incurred, not only by the person(s) who did the action of killing but also everyone else who authorized or rejoices in the killing. That is why it is extremely important not to rejoice in the killing of Osama, especially when he was said to be killed deliberately in a raid and was reported to be unarmed at that time. Refer to my writing on "national karma" to get an idea of group karma. Hence this killing might have just created a national karma for all America. However, if the killing was done with concrete evidence that the death have saved thousands of potential lives, then there will be also positive karma generated. But karmas do not cancell each other off, or nett-off like we do in arithmetics or commercial transactions. We suffer each karma distinctly, but not necessarily at separate times, good ones and bad ones. So, we must know what are the consequences of our actions if we are thinking of killing one person to save many others. Killing is still killing no matter what justification, and will result in much unbearable negative karma. As for the lives we have saved, there will be good results, no doubt about that. I believe that even in regards to eating the 4 aspects of pure meat, there may not be killing karma but there will still be the karma of indirectly causing another being to death for its meat. There is some difference in these 2 karma.

Hence HH the Dalai Lama could not have simply said that Osama's death was justified without explaining also the consequences of committing the karma of killing. Subsequently his office was said to have clarified that such counter measures must be those done with compassion. This is a carefully worded statement because being compassionate may also (but rarely) mean that we need to kill one person to save many others. In such circumstances, it means we must have concrete evidence of such evil deed and must be man enough to face whatever negative consequences as a result of the karma of killing. If you do not have any evidence or act on mere hearsay, then the karma of killing is even more serious. Another wrong deed committed does not make right a previous wrong deed. It will only make things worse. And it won't help to bring back those who have died as a result of the first wrong deed. It only soothes you somewhat that the person said to be responsible for their deaths is now dead. Revenge only soothes you somewhat but the cycle of killing actually continues. When can killing stop?

So reporters must be careful when writing their news. It's the same when they were reporting about the death of Sathya Sai Baba. Many of these reporters have never even heard of him nor bothered to understand Sai Baba better first before writing their reports. Without having an understanding of Sai Baba, these reporters can only sensationalised news where there was none. For example, many reports headlined on his "million-dollar empire". Why do they have to use the word "empire"? As far as I know the properties that house the centres in Malaysia are not owned by even the Sathya Sai trust of India, not to mention owned personally by Sai Baba himself. It's so sad to read all those inaccurate reports written on Sai Baba to the point of being ridiculous. It's not possible for me to correct each and every of these false news but I can put up my own writing on Sai Baba on my own blog.  

Back to the topic, I remember when Saddam Hussein was dead several years ago, at that time I was at a retreat with Kyabje Lama Zopa. When someone informed him about it, he immediately stopped his teaching and led us in a prayer session for Saddam Hussein's good rebirth. That's the attitude we, as Buddhists, should have for Osama. We should dedicate merits to him for a good rebirth as a good person in the next life. So, have I answered the question on when is killing justified in Buddhism? I hope so.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sai Baba's teaching on Buddhism

My Comment:
In this world when there have been many wars and conflict fought in the name of religion, Sai Baba came at an appropriate time to preach the importance of harmony and how to appreciate other religions while holding to our core practices. So, in this context, I do appreciate his teachings and accept that if Vijnana is GOD, then so be it. It's just like saying Dzogchen or Mahamudra is GOD. If that is GOD, which Buddhist will oppose? However, it is a different concept of God from the monotheistic religions. And even though he got the order of the Triple Jewels not the usual way Buddhist put them (i.e. Buddhists always regard Dharma as the second one, and not third), it's not a big deal if Sai Baba puts it as the third one to point out an important message. So, take these in mind when you read the below Sai Baba's teachings on Buddhism. During major religious festivals, he will usually teach using teachings familiar to that particular religion. Even though, not everything he said confirms with the way it is taught in our traditional Buddhist texts or by our Buddhist teachers, I hope you can at least appreciate what he had been doing to bring about religious peace.

1. GOD = VIJNANA in Buddhism
The Lord was referred to as Dharma by the Vedas and as Vijnana by Buddha. For in those days, no one liked the word 'Veda', as in the times of the Asura called Somaka, when those who followed the Vedas desisted from calling them 'Veda'; While in mortal dread, such behaviour is passable. Yet, the Buddha was full of reverence to the Vedas; he was ever infused with God. The Buddha is often spoken of as an atheist, a Nasthika! Well, if the Buddha is a Nasthika, who then is the Asthika, the theist? The entire life of the Buddha is a saga of Dharma. Sankara is criticised by some people as opposed to the path of Dharma and Karma. But Sankara opposed only the Dharma and Karma which have fulfilment of Desire in view. He was indeed the Great Teacher who taught the path of Dharma and Karma, of endeavour impelled by the understanding of the basic Truth.

The adherence of Sankara to Dharma and Karma based on Truth, the faith of the Buddha in the essentials of the Vedas can be appreciated only by those who have the higher vision. Without that, one will be led astray in the interpretation. In order to climb a great height, a ladder as tall as the height is needed, is it not?

Whoever subdues his egoism, conquers his selfish desires, destroys his bestial feelings and impulses and gives up the natural tendency to regard the body as the self, he is surely on the path of Dharma: he knows that the goal of Dharma is the merging of the wave in the sea, the merging of the self in the Over-self.


2. Why take refuge in the Triple Jewels?
"Make an effort to see the same divine principle everywhere and in everything, until you realize the ultimate truth, that only the Atma exists, that only the Self is real."

Buddha taught the same great truth, although he may not have made reference to Veda or used Vedantic terms, nevertheless, he experienced and demonstrated the essential spirit of Veda. First he said, 'Buddham, Sharanam Gacchami', meaning, 'I take refuge in the Buddhi, my power of discrimination.' This deals with the individual; it speaks of the limited personality. Gradually, he added, 'Sangham Sharanam Gacchami', meaning, 'I take refuge in the community, I take refuge in the society.' He recognized that feelings associated with individual and personal considerations are selfish and narrow, and cannot take you very far.

You should not consider this individual self as everything; it is only a drop in the ocean. Along these lines, Krishna also commanded, "Arjuna, expand your heart. Become broadminded. Include the entire society within your scope." Society does not have any particular form; it is made up of individuals. When a large number of individuals join together they become a society. Swami often say, 'Expansion is My life'. When you expand individual life to infinity it becomes divinity; that is to say, let individual life multiply and broaden and it will eventually reach divinity. Therefore, Krishna told Arjuna, "Live in the society; serve the society; and develop broadmindedness."

The meaning of society in one country may be different from that in another; and a society or community called by one name may have nothing to do with a society or community called by another name. So, you will find that there are limits even for a society, and that the society by itself will not take you all the way to infinity. Therefore, Buddha added one more step, 'Dharmam Sharanam Gacchami', meaning, 'I take refuge in Dharma, I take shelter in truth and righteousness'. Dharma, as used here, has a very broad connotation; it refers to the one who supports the entire world. When you investigate the general meaning of the word Dharma, you find that it relates to the basic nature of a thing; its essential truth. The 'thing' referred to here is the immortal Atma, the indwelling divinity. Therefore, the deeper meaning of Dharma is found in the true nature of divinity. To take refuge in Dharma is to become one with the attributes of divinity. It has been said that Maya is the body of God, but it is more correct to say that Dharma is the body of God. It is His very form. That is why Krishna annouonced, 'For establishing Dharma I have come again and again.' Dharma reveals the broad nature of divinity in all its glorious aspects.

In a life filled with desires, the pleasures one seeks are inevitably followed by grief and disappointments. All unrighteous actions lead to sorrow. It was for this reason that Buddha emphasised the need for discrimination. The first prayer, "Buddham Saranam Gachami" is a call for cultivating wisdom and discriminations - the Buddhi. But unless the power of discrimination is used for doing right action for the good of society it is of no use. Hence the second prayer, "Sangham Saranam Gacchami" (I surrender myself to society). What is this right action that must be done? That is indicated by the third prayer: "Dharmam Saranam Gacchami" (I take refuge in Dharma). To reach your goal, the royal road is Dharma - Righteousness. It is only when these are combined - Wisdom, Social Service and Righteousness - that there is fulfilment in life.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Photo and Videos of Rinpoche - April 30 2011

Lama Zopa Rinpoche in hospital, with great difficulty putting hands in mudra of prostration.
(Photograph by Ven Holly Ansett)

New videos of Rinpoche:

Note: the pics and youtubes are courtesy of FPMT.

If I were to be in that condition, I would not be able to joke as much as Rinpoche. It shows how special he is. Anyway, whatever are the objectives of manifesting this illness, I hope they are quickly accomplished and he can then stop manifesting the stroke soonest possible. Anyway, for the first time, I had a smooth recitation of the 21 Tara praises (in Tibetan language) yesterday evening. Whenever I recited in Tibetan, I had always got stuck here and there due to the words in Tibetan. But not yesterday evening. I never recited it that smooth before. So, thanks to Rinpoche, I have been able to recite it smoothly. If that was one of the objective of Rinpoche's illness ...oops...manifested illness...then he has achieved his objective. You see what I mean when we try to get sentences constructed as spiritually correct? It's only on an external level, it doesnot reflect the writer's own perception of Rinpoche. Anyway if you seriously think that Rinpoche is only manifesting the illness, it is inconsistent to then wish him to recover. Instead you need to wish that his objectives of manifesting the illness be quickly accomplished, like the way I did above.

And I have started to accumulate the Tara mantra too. It does seem my connection to the Tara mantra is unavoidable. As a kid, I once accumulated it, now I am going back to it once more. It started with the dream I had of the wrathful Tara. Once I have completed a certain number of Tara mantra, a friend dharma teacher had advised that he/she can then specialise on any of the 21 Tara mantras.