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.

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