Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Year, Layman Pang and Vimalakirti

As the year draws to an end, I am thankful that I am still alive – physically and most importantly, mentally. I had been through a hard time and on the brink of depression towards the end of last year and into this year. Hard times are not yet over for me, but I am starting to count the months when it will hopefully be over. At least one aspect of it will be over. Thereafter it may be another period of uncertainties, but I will worry about that later. The first phase of my “worldly” hardship will be marked by the appearance of my guru. Yes, he will come a visiting! I am looking forward to end of May 2015. Then I hope to quit my job and do a long retreat in Korea before I start looking for a job again. This time my job has to enable me to take long holidays for my retreats and other Buddhist activities if I need to. I do not wish to be confined or restricted by my job again – ever. So that’s my plan. I am not sure how realistic it will be or whether it will materialize or not. 2014 was a bad year. There were 3 plane mishaps that involved Malaysian planes and so many hundreds of people have died suddenly. And then there is the major floods happening currently. Elsewhere in the world, it is no less sorrowful.

So, that was how the last 12 months was. On the worldly level, things are not that good. On the spiritual level, things are not that bad. In 2014, I received critical teachings that I can relate to and it came very timely. It will help in certain aspect of my practice. In Ven. Hsu Yun's teachings, Layman Pang was mentioned. In a very strange (coincidence or not, depends on you), my Zen teacher also mentioned Layman Pang in his reply to me in a Q&A session. I was like - "What? You knew what I was studying lately?" Layman Pang was someone I could exemplify. Later, in a private interview with the Zen Master, he said that a closer lay person in terms of attainment, would be Vimalakirti. That was also very strange remark because in a private thought, the night before, I was thinking that Layman Pang was second to none and equal to the Buddhas and Patriarchs. The Zen Master said Layman Pang was a little attached to emptiness. Just a little. But I would not worry about this. In Tibetan Buddhism, it is very common for one Tibetan master to say another master does not have the correct view on emptiness. Anyway, do you think my Zen Master had read my thoughts, or do you think they are merely coincidences? I personally think there is more to it than just coincidence. 

Generally I pray that 2015 will be a better year for everybody! And I always close the year thanking my protectors! Thank You Very Much! If not for You all, 2014 would definitely be MUCH worse. Namo Amitabha Buddha. Om Mani Padme Hum.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Why "Hua Tou - My Protector"?

Referring to the poem I wrote on "Hua Tou - My Protector", the reason why I wrote it is not because I have such a strong resolve or that my hua tou is already that focused. Actually it is the opposite. I wrote that primarily to motivate myself. The truth is I am weak. I am currently beseeched by my job and other problems that I am not sure if I could handle them. Seriously. So I needed the poem to boost up my determination. I also need to go for a mind re-charging a.k.a meditation retreat. So, perhaps I will see you all next year.... if I don't drop by here again with another post. HAPPY NEW YEAR! MAY ALL BEINGS BE BLESSED!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Earth Store Bodhisattva Is OUR HOPE in DEEPEST SORROW

Lately it dawns upon me that no matter how deep is our sorrow and no matter how painful our suffering or situation, there is always a HOPE out of it. Why so? This is because in every of such situation, there is Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva (Earth Store Bodhisattva) in it waiting for us to tap into him and receive his guidance and blessings to end that suffering. Remember his deep vow to stay in Hell until hell is empty. But Hell is never empty. And never will. That is because we keep on creating hellist situation for ourselves and others. So, it looks like Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva has found a permanent place to accompany us. Hence we are NEVER ALONE in suffering. NEVER. Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva is always there with us. In such deep sorrow, we should try to remember him and recite his Name. We should chant his mantra. HE IS OUR HOPE!

No matter what is your situation or hopelessness - NEVER GIVE UP! Recite his name and he will come in mysterious ways. He will definitely listen, even though it will seem like he isn't. I completely trust in his ability to help us in his own ways. I completely trust Kstigarbha Bodhisattva!