Monday, May 19, 2003

Bad Dreams

Q: I have bad dreams a lot. Please advise.
A: I recommend you to learn and practise Loving-Kindness (Metta) meditation. One of the benefits of practising Metta meditation is that it eliminates bad dreams or dreams totally. If there will be any dreams, they will be pleasant. This is because you your mind is soothed by the Loving-kindness you give yourself.
B: Bad dreams according to Chinese medicine is due to bad blood circulation.
A: Metta I think can stop bad blood circulation.
B: After practising, I hardly got dreams... just occasionally some weird ones. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply

Friday, May 16, 2003

About Dharma

The stuff I write I try my best to cater to everybody-

1. Those who know nuts about Dharma
2. Those who know some about Dharma
3. Those who know tons about Dharma

I always believe in this- Dharma should be E&E- Entertaining and Enlightening! Fun but serious. Practical but profound. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply
Striking Lottery

4D- Name of a Singaporean lottery system whereby you win if you bought the right string of 4 Digits, ranging from 0000 to 9999.

When you don't strike 4D, you don't strike 4D. You either get a match or you don't. You don't "almost" strike it. Too often do I hear friends lamenting they "almost" struck 4D because they either missed by a digit or got the order of digits slightly wrong. Karma works in an exacting, not estimating way. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply
Original Nature

Some sages (not perfect) said our original nature is good, while some think it is evil. The real sage (the Buddha) teaches that our original nature is Buddha-nature- it is empty; it is emptiness itself. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply
The Middle Path of Communication

Without most of us somewhat more or less observing the Middle Path, everything falls apart, in terms of civilisation, communication... Here is an example how. For the number of languages there are in the world, there are more different accents for them. Yet for each accent, it should only deviate so much from the standard pronunciation before it becomes unintelligible to the people of the same language. Deviating too far, it literally becomes another language in its own right! If each of us speak with over-deviated accents, whether of the same language or another, verbal communication between any two people would be impossible. Globally, we have an international language- English. Likewise, we can only have so much arbitrary deviation so much before the world would fail to understand its citizens from other countries.

Relating to sutra translation and mantra pronunciation, the Middle Path too has to be observed. We have to keep checking against the original, to avoid the overriding of cultural slangs or pop culture. how much deviation is allowable? Because none of us really know, as none of us unenlightened ones can really tell, no deviation is better than any deviation. And minimised deviation is better than much deviation. But how much is little or much deviation? Once again, as none of us really know, let us do our best not to deviate at all. Do you choose to deviate by yourself, to join those who embrace and perpetuate deviation or to uphold and share the true? Without the upholders of the Truth and those who genuinely practise realising it, the Truth will cease to be "readily" available in our world. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Intent of the Sutras

Inspired by Bro.Vajiro Chia

The sutras are not for scholarly debate over its words. They are records of enlightened experience and how to attain them, and should be attempted in the conversion back to experience for verification. The more the words are argued over, the more one drifts away from the original intent of the sutras. Perhaps this is the divide between the overly theoretical scholars who lack sprititual practice and the overly practical practitioners who lack scriptural verification in their practice, deluding themselves to have attained what they have not. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply
Know-ing No-ing

There is no love, only loving.
There is no love to hold on,
treasure only the loving.

There is no life or death, only living and dying.
There is no life or death to hold on.
Relish then, only this moment...
in which you are living, dying and loving all at once. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply
Quality or Quantity?

I often see many fellow Buddhists holding on to strings of prayer beads (mala). They chant either out loud or silently. Sometimes I see the obvious lack of substantial mindfulness as they hold on the beads while attempting to multi-task other stuff. It makes me wonder whether their objective is to

1. "clock" a high quantitiy of chants (without regard for quality), or to
2. "clock" high quality chants (without regard for quantity), or to
3. "clock" a high quantity of high quality chants

I write this not to criticise the inefficacy of chanting the way many do. I only sincerely hope we all work towards point 2 or 3. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply

If you are calculative to the world,
the world will be calculative to you.
The world is a mirror.

The wise are generous and
not calculative about the good they do to others,
not calculative about the evil they receive from others,
only mindful and thankful of the slightest good others do for them,
only mindful and cautionary of the slightest evil they avoid doing to others.

But karma is calculative-
about everything you do,
even about your calculating-ness or lack of it. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply
A Tit for a Tat

The common man is
stingy to the stingy, generous to the generous,
hateful to the hateful, lovng to the loving...
but the wise is generous to all, loving to all.
The common man gives a tit for a "tat",
but the wise gives the best to all "tat" crap-
to touch, to transform...
out of compassion and wisdom. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply

In concentrating on the details,
do not forget the big picture.
Do not over-gloss on the matters throughout the day and
miss what is to be achieved at the end of the day.
Remember the details serve only to fulfil the big picture.

In concentrating on the big picture,
do not forget the details.
Do not over-gloss on what is to be achieved at the end of the day
and miss the matters throughout the day.
Remember the the big picture is fulfilled by the details. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply

Sunday, May 11, 2003

Art of Art

The brilliance of the spiritual artist is in being able to see the special-ness in the common, to create the extraordinary from the normal, even if it means simply realising an enlightening truth about the mundane. You might think thus when you see art pieces, "Hey! I can do that!" Yes, maybe. But the difference is that you did not do it, much less conceive the idea of doing it, or even the mere possibility. And even if you did it, you might not have the unique vision or motice behind the work. Inspired works must be inspired to the artist- more so than inspiring to his audience. This is what differentiates the artist and the non-artist, the art-connoiseur and the non art-connoiseur. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply
Just for the Record

If it is not thoroughly forgettable, it could be totally memorable, and perhaps we should record it, if it is recordable. "Let's make a film out of it!" It is an insightful short story in itself! Alas! For it is impossible to film all the significant in our life? Not! For nothing is ever lost in the scheme of things, the journey of life. On your deathbed, your whole life flashes by- missing no detail. What will be the insight that sticks out as the key scene of your life? Tragicomedic? More tragic or more happy? JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply
Tip of the Iceberg

What you see is just the tip of the iceberg-
there might be more of the same thing lying beneath.
What you see is just the tip of the iceberg-
there might be something else lying beneath. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply

The truth about fiction is that it is only good for one thing- the illustration of non-fictional truths. For any purpose otherwise, it is used in vain. Mythology might seem to be downright mystical or even absurd, but it delivers timeless truths about the human psyche. The rise and fall of the ancient gods reflect that of man. Do you see the airy-fairiness in the fairy tale or the moral of the story? JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply

Is that just a dent in the car
or the manifestation of a dented ego,
since you have to drive around in the car?

Do you just drive the car
or are you driven by it,
by your ego,
letting your car be an extension of it? JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply
Toilet Discipline

If you have two rolls of toilet paper in your loo, you will never run out of the "only" roll. But it takes discipline to maintain two rolls in the first place. If you have the discipline to maintain two rolls, you don't need the two rolls. The best contingency plans (for incontingencies and otherwise!) are for accidents or lack of discipline. Ironical isn't it? At the same time, let us realise the importance of discipline. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply
Fool Yourself

Why try so hard
to look this way or that?
Who are you trying to fool?
The world or yourself? JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply

Ridiculous is not seeing the ridiculousness of life and death. Unfortunately, those who do not see this think seeing this is ridiculous. The fools and the wise both think they are wise themselves and the other foolish. The compassion of the wise is the only bridge that closes the gap, that separate the duo. This is why compassion is important- it helps to reveal the Buddha nature within us, the foolish or not so foolish. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply

Prevention is better than cure- prevent being born into a next life this life; instead of trying to cure yourself of the problem of rebirth in your next life. Procrastination will get you closer to nothing other than your next life. Prevention in this case is the real cure. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply
Better Late than Never

Better late than never,
Better say sorry than never.
There is never closure,
repentance, that is too late.
Even dying without repentance is only too late...
for that lifetime, only. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply

The three universal characteristics are the only true guideposts of the Buddha's teachings. But interestingly, they interweave to form the stand of no stand. They simply state that all things are empty in the sense that they are insubstantial (anatta) because they are changing all the time (anicca). This is the core teaching of emptiness. But there is a humane or rather, sentiently empathetic aspect to this seemingly bleak truths. It is the truth of dukkha, which states that it is because we do not realise anicca and anatta that we suffer. Realising dukkha in this way is the simultaneous realisation of Nirvana. In this sense, dukkha is nirvana- not that the first leads to the latter, but that they are the same ultimately. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply
Sudden Death

The SARS virus takes 10 days to incubate before symptoms break out. And you are not supposed to be able to know whether you got it till 10 days later. This virus is still going around. This is interesting because it means 10 days or less after today, you might find yourself struck with a deadly disease. This brings death so much closer. But is death really closer because of SARS? No. Because death is always closer than you imagine. On a cab home last night, we stopped on the highway to help a driver pinned in his smashed up car. No. We don't need SARS to bring death closer- accidents happen- accidentally, unpredictably, occasionally, suddenly. On the continued journey home, we passed by National University Hospital, which ws the nearest hospital. The driver remarked a horrible irony. He said that NUH being a SARS zone, the injured driver might catch it there- just as some patents have caught the virus at other hospitals. For a moment, death suddenly seemed closer, as we zoomed by the hospital. With or without SARS, sudden death can come, with or without the form of a virus. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply
Sweet Disappointment?

Box of sweets found on my train seat- do I leave it there in disgust because it is empty? No- I wouldn't want someone else, be it the next passenger or the cleaner, to suffer the same disappointment. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply
Outdo Yourself

You don't have to outdo everyone;
but you should at least continually outdo yourself-
or you'll continually lose yourself. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply
A Thousand Words

They say a picture tells a thousand words...
But even so, words can only sketch reality,
Roughly, coarsely. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply
Blur Lines

Is a flat and thin french fry a potato chip?
When does a fry become a chip?

Is a fat and fleshy potato chip a french fry?
When does a chip become a fry? JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply
Bathing the Buddha

Why must we bathe the image of baby Buddha during Vesak? The question was wrongly asked- it is not a must to do so. Significance of the ritual aside, it is us who "need" and want to bathe the Buddha; the Buddha does not need to be bathed. Bath clean your inner Buddha-nature- purify. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply
Movie Review- 8 Mile

In the closing climax of the show, "Rabbit (Eminem)" won the rap battle, which was largely a battle of mutual -insulting battle of rythmic wits, by being thoroughly self-effacing, describing how terrible his life was. Being so graciously open and accepting of his situation, his opponent could find no weakness to insult. Thus, Rabbit won by his opponent accepting silent defeat, without retaliation.

To me, the moral of the story is this- when you conquer your ego, you conquer all. Our weaknesses are in beleving the illusion of the ego, wanting to guard it, wanting it to swell. When you let it go, nothing binds you- for what's left to guard? all that is left will be honesty and truth. "Every moment is another chance." That was the tagline of "8 Mile." Yes, this moment is your chance now- for a (im)personal breakthrough, to break free of yourself, like Rabbit did... and more. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply
Good Service

Had bad customer service at a phone shop recently. The shop assistant was so coolly mechanic and efficient that the service felt metal cold. Just as I was suspecting he was a robot, he turned around and talked to a colleague in a thoroughly human and warm way. He even smiled generously. Who needs more warmth? A customer or a friend? Perhaps we should treat a friend like a customer and our customers as friends? What am I saying? Do we have to differentiate at all? Let's be as equanimous as we can to all. Can we treat everyone respectfully and warmly at the same time? Everyone is our friend and customer- especially to the Bodhisattva or Bodhisattva wannabe. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply
Tell the Right Person

Person A is unhappy with B, but he complains to C. Is A afraid to tell B? Or does A think it is useless to tell B? Does B get the message that he was wrong, and that he should change? Or do things only worsen if B discovers A was speaking behind his back? Too often do we tell the wrong things to the wrong persons. Even if B continually does not open to advice, the patient try and yet again, without complaint to anyone else. Telling anyone else should only for seeking advice to how to help person B be open to advice.JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply
Happy Faces

I never saw as many happy faces as I did today... in the obituary section of the papers. They were faces of gladness, humble joy. I realise that most of these pictures can't be recently taken. In this sense, I can't be sure they died happy. Yet if they lived happy days most of the time, chances are they passed away just as happily. Yet at the same time, complacency of our current happiness might have its price- too late. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply
Soap (Themes- Purification, Buddha-nature, Emptines)

Is there such thing as a dirty bar of soap?

1. The dirt stuck to the surface the bar is not the soap itself- it is just dirt on it.
2. The dirt embedded within the bar is not the soap itself- it is just dirt in it.

Thus, the soap cannot be dirty or dirtied. That which has cleansing or purifying abilities cannot be impure or putrefied. It is purity itself. This is an analogy for our Buddha-nature. When you break the soap, you cannot find anything within that is not soap itself. There is nothing in the soap that is not soap. It is itself, in itself. But when you further break down the soap to its molecular level, you will discover it to be composed of various elements, each of which by itself is not soap. In fact, these elements can be found in various places in nature. This means soap is empty of a fixed self-nature- there is no one thing that is soap by itself. Likewise, Buddha-nature is emptiness itself- it is not a dead unchanging thing- it is dynamic yet still- it is the truth of constant change itself- the truth that does not change. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply
Share with the World

The more you share with the world, the more the world shares with the world- because you are part of the world. Because of the illusory ego, we segregate ourselves from the world and see ourselves as separate entities. This is why when we mention the word "world", we tend to think of "the rest of the world"- something mutually-exclusive from us. Due to this illusion, we become selfish. The end of this illusion is the realization of selflessness. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply

You see fragments of yourself in the world here and there, in facing the people and matters you encounter. Think of the world as a giant broken mirror. Every intepretation and reaction reflects your personality. Through every experience, you see a facet of yourself, as if catching a glimpse of yourself in a fragment of a full body mirror. The more you see the world, the more you see yourself. In this sense, you can run from yourself, but you can never hide. Everywhere you go, you bring your personalised set of karma with you- what you experience is karmic, and how you react will be the creation of fresh karma. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply

If you believe the world to be confusing, you will confuse yourself and see it confusing. Seek instead the essence that lies unchanging within this confusion. The confusion is the swirling storm and the unchanging the calm eye of the storm. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply
Movie Review - 15

If you observe 24 hours or a complete day in the life of the seemingly most evil person in the world, you might see the sad side of his life, and suddenly realise that his misgivings are forgivable, and that he is the person most lacking love, most deserving love, in the world. It is because we see only bits and pieces of a person that we pass judgment unnecessarily, wrongly. As long as we are unenlightened, our judgment will always miss the mark, and no one is absolutely good or evil. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply
Connecting the Heart & Mind

A friend could not practise Loving-kindness for a whole... His heart felt numb. His meditation teacher discovered that his heart and mind were disconnected. He knew about Loving-kindness and wants to cultivate it, but his heart was too hurt to send love.

Connect your heart and head (mind), feel what you know and know what you feel. Only then are your reason (Wisdom) and emotion (Compassion) in sync. In the Chinese language, "heart" and "mind" are represented by the same character- "xin". Perhaps the ancient were wise enough to know that they are one, or meant to be one.

Interestingly, the term for happiness is "kai xin"- which can mean "open-hearted" or "open-minded". When either heart or mind is closed, it ceases to be connected to the world, to others' hearts and minds. This rings true as since we are all interdependent, how can we be truly happy if we do not connect to the very ones whom we are dependent upon? JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply
Infinite Crisis

Prince Siddhartha's (the Buddha-to-be) existential crisis was infinite- it was the sum of infinite beings' existential crisises. Yet His life was full of meaning before and after Enlightenment- as He multiplied the meaningfulness of His life infinitely by wanting to find and share the meaning of life with infinite beings. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply

There might be a last train
but there is no last cab-
unless you can't catch one.

One way might not work,
but there might always be another way,
which always works-
following the Dharma. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply

zL: Loaded with work... bored.
Z: Get immersed in the work! Work super fast- treat it like a game- see how fast yet mindful you can be! Challenge yourself! It's not boring at all! Ready! Steady! Go! JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply

Those who come to the world for all beings are Bodhisattva.
Those who come to the world for themselves are ordinary people.

-Dharma Master Cheng Yen

Only fools and Bodhisattvas rush into Samsara-
the latter to save the first.
Why are YOU rushing?

-Stonepeace JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply

Here is the best example I can think of relating to being in a relationship, treasuring it, yet without attachment- The Buddha Himself- treasures His disciples, wife and child,
but He is not attached to them. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply

Q: What is the most desirable thing?
A: What you want NOW is the most desirable thing. And because what you want NOW keeps changing, there is no single truly desirable thing. The unenlightened keeps desiring endless things to be happy; missing the truth that the bliss from the stopping of desire is real lasting happiness. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply

When there is grasping, the grasper
Comes into existence.
If he did not grasp,
Then being freed, he would not come into existence.

-Nagarjuna, "Mulamadhyamaka-Karika"

When you let go of everything,
including letting go of everything,
you free yourself from everything.

-Stonepeace JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply
The Way You Are

You are the way you are....
for now...
only. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply

That was then; this is Zen.
Then again, it's always Zen. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply

Because "I" am your strength,
"I" am "my" weakness-
for "I" depend on an "I" which does not really exists.
"My" life is not even a fragile house of cards-
it is a castle of cards built in the air-
with no solid foundation-
as dreamy, as ethereal as a cloud, a dream. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply

When you most unfortunately pigeon-hole people,
people might also most unfortunately pigeon-hole you
as one of those unfortunate ones who pigeon-hole people.

We are all as unique as no two snowflakes are similar.
Our kamic imprints are as unique as our thumbprints. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply
Direct Path

Do you see the direct path from point A to B,
or do you see only the indirect paths leading from A to B?
How conditioned are you by the paths drawn out "for" you?
How often do you see THE path within paths? JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply

I craved pizza
but i was too full.
But i still craved pizza though the craving lessened.
Then I realised I craved craving for pizza.
I did not crave to enjoy pizza-
how bizarre. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply

I feel sorry more than rage
for those who do not feel sorry for what they had done
when they should- for they ARE blind.

I feel rage more than sorry
for those who do not say sorry
when they know they should- for they are NOT blind.

But most of all, I feel sorry and rage for myself
for feeling rage, for wanting "sorry" from others...

Just say my piece in peace, and let go-
for the rest is beyond my control...
till a better time,
till Compassion is increased,
till Wisdom is increased,
to help all truly see,
to help all truly repent...
including the sorry self who wrote this. JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply

Hopefully Somewhat Enlightening & Entertaining Thoughts... Stuff discovered on the path to the natural unshakable peacefulness of a stone...