Monday, March 29, 2010

Retreat @ Lucky Valley

Never in any retreat did I cry and cried so much. This retreat I took was a cleansing process for me. I did not know what program was planned and what I need to do until I arrived at destination.

I heard Shangpa Rinpoche sang this song as gratitude and tribute to all mothers. He probably did this for his own Mum. However the CD did not bring out much feeling in me until I sang it, read the text and understand the meaning.

From the Pagoda, we started too sing this prayer. Many started to tear. We were so immersed into the singing until we probably moved the Devas. We felt sprinkle of water. Initially it was a little here and there but subsequently it was like sprinkling from an outlet. We felt heavy sprinkling and yet we were not wet. These were blessing water from the Devas. No, it was not rain drops. If it was we will be wet and have droplets on our face and hands but there was none.

Because we brought the rain therefore we did not go back to the Pagoda for prayers. We have to move into the Pyramid. This pyramid structure is very unique and the energy field is very strong. When I started to meditate and pray, I am able to focus and concentrate. The singing of the text here was perfect. All our voices unified as one. The feeling was awesome and wonderful. I believed we all felt it and so did Shangpa Rinpoche.

The energy fields and magnetic fields around the Pagoda and Pyramid was magnificent. This setting is with nature and therefore it is healing as well. We have been walking up and down and never felt tired. I took some shots of the place and one picture turned out that molecules were seen. Again these molecules are different from that of what we saw in spiritual places. Spiritual molecules has no colors in it and mostly we can fadely see Dharma Wheel. However these magnetic molecules do not have Dharma Wheel but are specks of colors if I magnified it. Again there is no superstition and neither am I talking about some high and mighty attainment. These are common and many people have pictures of such.

Back to the prayers. It took us back to giving gratitude to our mothers, remember our mothers and reflecting on our self. As I was a given away child, I do not have much caring for the mother that conceived me. She was distant and I knew her as 'Aunty'. However by reciting this prayer, all the more I appreciate my natural mother. I thank her for giving me life, thus giving me chance to practice the Dharma. I thank her for giving me away to parents who love me and I grew up with parents who did not stop me from practicing Dharma and instead following me to do so.

I have never been a mother and I do not know the pain, danger and joy in conceiving a 'life'. After that, the guiding, looking after, worrying, naturing, feeding and many things that a Mum worried about her child which I have not experienced. Now by reciting this prayer, I see clearly that the becoming of ME actually are the fruits of both Mums and what they have done for me. Even if I carry them on my shoulder and run around the Universe a million times, I am not able to pay back my gratitude to them.

Thus I thank Shangpa Rinpoche for guiding us and showing us this prayer. I thank him for teaching us how to sing this prayer. It was a tune created by Rinpoche so we have to sing it a few times before we got the rhythms.

Thank you to the third Karmapa for this wonderful, meaningful and well wishes text to our mothers. It reminds us to go back to think of our 'being' and the process of our coming and growth to what we will be. Many people choose their Path of Life, and I have chosen Buddhism as my guiding Light.

Ohm Mani Padme Hum ...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


The retreat that we took with Shangpa Rinpoche included an early morning hiking program. We gathered at 6am before sunrise and set out for a 4 hours mountain hike.

The group of people were around 60. When we started we were walking one after another. As we proceed, the group started to break off. Those that were fit and full of energy followed Rinpoches. As for us, we fell behind. This was due to my sister Judy who had a leg surgery not too long ago and she was not able to walk as fast.

We knew nothing of the terrains and started a walk which we never expected to be slippery, dangerous and some of the slopes was like about 90 degree. We made our way up and down, waded across small streams and hoping to make it fast to ending destination. However, we realized that we were falling more and more behind. Initially we were able to see some people in front of us but subsequently, we were all alone.

This walk and hike made me reflect about life. When you started life journey, there is no turning back. You do not know what is ahead of you but you have to push on until you reach destination. The up slopes and down slopes are like all the ups and downs in life. Some of them are dangerous and you have to walk carefully. However you know, you are not alone because there will be some Bodhisattva who will walk with you, encourage you along the way, hold out to you when you come to a dangerous crossing so that you do not fall and hurt yourself. They stopped to give you a slip of water, they picked up dried leaf to fan you and took out tissues to clean off the sweat on your brow.

When we knew that we will never be able to catch up with those that have gone ahead, we started to relax and walked at our own pace. Isn't this like our spiritual journey? Some walk so fast and some fall behind...but...the destination is the same and we will surely reach the same goal.

As we walked along, we started to make merry instead of worrying what was ahead. We started to look at all the vegetation around us. We took pictures of durian flowers, leaves that we use to wrap our carrot cake, we saw wild jackfruits, we admire wild flowers... I saw a lizard basking in the morning sun. We looked at the opposite terrain with rolls and rolls of palm oil plantation. We stopped under shade to rest and carry on walking.

We laughed at our jokes. We started singing 'Lama Cheno'...calling of the Guru from afar. I am sure all the mountain animals and spirits must have heard these. We sang the Heart Sutra. We sang love songs and all these made our hike so meaningful and gratifying.

I wondered those who walked so fast, did they have the time to look and admire the landscapes? Did they saw what we did? I am sure they saw different things. Isn't it like our lives? We looked at the same thing but the understanding and perception were different.

We came to a junction after 3 hours and the guide said there was a shortcut back to camp. We decided against it. We wanted to walk the path that Rinpoches walked. As Rinpoches walked along, we were sure they made prayers along the way. We do not want to deviate from the Gurus. In real life, we pray we do not deviate from the Gurus' teachings. So we happily walked on.

Reaching destination was a joy. Another 100m to Canteen. One Bodhisattva waited with a car along the road to pick us up just in case we can't walk anymore. Instead, we decided we have walked thus far, what is another 100m? As we walked, we sang 'Lama Cheno'.

What a meaningful hike. We live in the now, experience the now and be with each other now. What is past is gone...what in future is yet to come.

The beauty was...we all reached our destination without casualties.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Back to basic....

Left for retreat in Pahang, Malaysia with the VISION Group to a place named Lucky Valley. We were told that it is a resort. Being Singaporean and spoilt, I expected it to be like one with proper hotel standards set-up. I also expected it will have a Mama Shop or a basic coffee house but I was very wrong. is really back to basic. This place is in the middle of nowhere and I doubt whether Malaysian knows of its existence.

This particular place is a 500 acres of fruits, vegetables and herbs gardens. There is no place for R & R except for the Pyramid and the Pagoda. There is only the canteen and your meals are basic vegetarian - meaning no frills. You can forget about all those fancy-named dishes and fake meat and fishballs is just vegetables fried with vegetables, beancurd in soya sauce and the only luxury is egg omelette.

Because the setting is with nature, so I expected mosquitoes. I brought with me spray, stick-on, cream, mosquito coils and think that I am equipped. NO, I am wrong. There are ants and because rain was coming and they were 'moving house' into our bedrooms and toilets, walk-ways and fortunately they did not climbed onto the bed. I, as Buddhist avoid killing but they were every where and I probably have to sit on the bed and not walk at all. I have to comfort myself by thinking 'No, I am not killing with a purpose. It is the ants' Karma and pray they take better rebirth.'

The next insect that did not even occurred in my mind is...Bed Bugs. Goodness, how in any home can we tolerate these 'blood suckers' that caused many patches of bites on my back, sides, legs etc and caused me to scratch and it itched. These insects are so smart, I got bitten and there were no trace of them. So I have to think 'I owe them blood last time, so now is pay back time'.

If you are looking for luxury, this is not the place for you BUT why did we chose this place? It is actually renowned for its magnetic fields, energy fields and oxygen molecules. Who will love this place... people practicing Yoga, Taichi, Qiqong and spiritual groups like us.

I realized that the group basically has very simple needs. They fell into the routine lifestyle of waking up early, set time for breakfast, lunch, teatime and dinner. All the pre-planned programs were changed due to heavy rainfall. The road was muddy and we have to walk from one place to another for teachings. Some carried umbrella and lazy me shared umbrella or 'tompang' Malaysian friends who came in cars.

Electricity here is ran by generators. You can forget about air-condition but there are ceiling fans. There were a few instances we were left in the dark because the generator was out of fuel. DARK means you cannot even see your hands in front of you. There were those who carried torchlight and I benefited. However, with such pitch darkness, the night sky was so beautiful. There were so many stars, big and small and they were like hanging just above your heads. It mesmerized me.

We were gathered here for a spiritual retreat. We were happy just to have Shangpa Rinpoche, Tempai Niyma Rinpoche, two lamas and two anis with us. This was surely a cleansing spiritual journey with Shangpa Rinpoche. We cried a lot these few days. We experienced a lot these few days. We shared a lot of food, drinks, tidbits and care with each other.

Spiritual journey is not an easy path. There are lots of internal cleaning to be done. Over lives we have accumulated bags full of rubbish, holding it dearly and all these weigh heavily on our back. We are learning to acknowledge, throw and see the beauty of Buddha's Teachings of Compassion and Bodhicitta.

So you ask me..."What spiritual journey did you undertook these few days?". I will tell you the next round, part by part.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

One's Health...

Lately I was busy running around in and out of hospital because my brother was taken ill. It happened all of a sudden after his trip to Malaysia. He came back and vomited and everything that came out was black in color. He also had bad stomach and all that came out was also black. He looked pale and was breathless. With the little medical knowledge that I had, I knew it must be internal bleeding. He went to see a GP and later when it did not get better, he saw a Chinese Physician. In the middle of the night he woke me and I saw that he was really bad. I rushed him to hospital. He can hardly walked and was breathless even for that few steps he took.

Doctor was not sure what was it but took some blood for testing and made him rest in the Observation Ward. However I gave a thumb-up for the Doctor who took care of him. He was decisive and fast. He gave my brother blood transfusion and immediately sent him for Endoscopy. He allowed me to follow him to the Operating Room where Endoscopy was performed to wait for my brother.

Sitting in the waiting lounge area, I looked around me. The lights were off, no one was working and the whole place was silent. I can hear my heartbeats. Thoughts rushed through my mind. What will the Doctor find? Doctor confirmed it was internal bleeding and anything to do with blood internally can be life threatening. What will the diagnosis be?

I sat and prayed. Fortunately I did not panicked and thanks to the faith I had in my Religion and my Guru. I had faith in my brother who is always kind and compassionate. I understand the law of Karma. If anything bad is to come, I will have to face it. I am prepared for the worst. The half hour wait was like centuries. I continued to chant Ohm Mani Padme Hum.

The Senior Medical Officer came to see me. He said it was stomach ulcer and had caused internal bleeding. The did the scan but because there were still food in the stomach, they were not able to see the whole stomach. They stopped the bleeding but my brother needs to be warded. They will perform another Endoscopy for him in the morning to make sure that there was nothing else. I was relieved it was not cancer but still internal bleeding is not something to be taken lightly. The Doctor who took care of my brother came to see me. He told me the same thing and he was very reassuring. I thanked him for putting me at ease and yet told me the seriousness. I sent my brother to ward, saw him settled down and left him in the good hands of the nurses on duty.

By the time I reached home, it was 3.30am in the morning. As I entered the house, the place was dark and the house was quiet. I showered and sat on the sofa all by myself. I wished I could call somebody but I knew that everyone is sleeping. I did not want to call any friends, as a matter of fact I did not call my sister, Judy too. Why do I need to alarm her when everything was settled.

I realized that in time like this, I can only fall back on my religion, the teachings I had from the Buddha, the goodness I had done...not denying I had done bad as well. Others may not have the time for me and by calling them at wee hours is like disturbing them. I shouldered all these and it is my problem and not others. Moreover we are not family and I do not know what will they think. People are so complicated and I learnt it the hard way.

I realized now why there are so many suicide cases. There are people out there who need help but WHO, WHOM and WHERE? Instead of calling all the help lines which you may not have the numbers on hand, you will call the first person that comes into your mind. I am surprised, my mind is blank. There is no one I wanted to call.

Therefore health is very important. You must know your body. Do not take your body for granted. Do not take any symptom of feeling sick lightly. Eat is not the size nor the is the health.

Take care.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Growing Up...

How time flies. I ran into an old secondary classmate and the whole story came flooding back into my memory.

I remembered my Mum told me in my growing up years as well as when I started working. She said that if I misbehaved and got myself pregnant, she will not allow me to walk out of the house. She will make sure I crawl out of the house. She said I do not deserve to be treated with respect since I do not know how to respect myself, my body and my family.

Young kids now a day do not know the consequences and seriousness of ‘SEX’ and got themselves into deep water. It brought them tremendous mental stress, shame and guilt. Abortion is a no joke process. I saw an educational video. It showed how abortion was done and I can feel the pain in my lower abdomen. I cried when I saw the fetus being torn apart.. it is a life…it was is murder. I told myself if I am ‘not careful’ and landed in this situation, I will not abort the baby!

I recalled my secondary school days. There were three of us who were best friends and classmates. One Chinese (Me), one Malay (Ani) and one Panjabi (Kuldip). It was ‘hip’ to have a boyfriend so two of us did. Ani with Mus from another class and me with Johnny. Kuldip is Panjabi and her parents were strict on issue like 'boyfriend' so she was the good one among us.

On birthdays, Valentine Days and Christmas Days, we got presents, chocolates and roses from these boys. I recalled we went for a concert arranged by the school. It was late after the show and our boyfriends saw us home.

A few months passed and we realized Ani has put on some weight. She had a tummy and we laughed at her saying she ate too much. One day we were called into the principal’s office. We were asked where did we go after the concert? That was a few months ago but we remembered we went home. Ani was there too and we looked at her with inquiring eyes like “What happened?". We were asked to leave after the interrogations. We waited outside school and when Ani appeared, we rushed up to her and asked “Hey! What’s wrong?”. Ani was silent and we walked home together. Deep in me I knew we were in trouble..but WHAT trouble? Kuldip went home when we reached the crossroad because we all lived in different directions. I continued to walk with Ani. I intended to walk her to her house but halfway to her house, she said “Honey, I am in trouble!. I am telling you but you got to keep it a secret. I will be leaving school soon. My parents will be sending me overseas. I will not be able to contact you and Kuldip again because my parents do not want anyone to know where I am. I am having a baby..and it is his!”. I was overwhelmed! Tears were rolling in my eyes . The thought of losing a friend was a shocked...and she was having a baby. We hugged each other and cried. We bid good-bye and I walked home. Instead, I turned and ran all the way to Kuldip’s house. Her Mum invited me in for a drink and gave me ‘chapatti’ for lunch. We made polite conversation but I was dying to speak to Kuldip alone. Quickly I finished my food and we both went into her bedroom. I told Kuldip what happened! We both sat on the floor speechless and Kuldip was crying. It was too much to just ‘pluck’ a friend away.

The next day we went back to school, Ani did not turn up for class. We knew she was gone. During recess, Mus and Johnny came to see us. Mus was shocked when Ani told him she was leaving school and did not tell him why. In my heart I was thinking ‘Don’t you know what you have done...walau? ‘. Now when I think back, he probably doesn’t. Probably it did not occur to him that he fathered a baby.

After 9 months or more, one day Mus and Johnny came to see me and Kuldip again. We were at different schools because we went on to ’A’ level. Mus said that Ani’s Mum sent a baby to his home and told his parents that the baby was his. They did not want to keep the baby and Ani was not coming back. It turned his whole family chaotic! His Mum and Dad were so upset. They begged to talk to Ani and apologize. They wanted the two kids to get married but Ani’s Mum was adamant about it. Mus searched for Ani high and low and everywhere. He tried all kind of means but he did not reach her. Mus's family has no choice so his Mum took the baby and said that it was hers….instead of father and son, they were brothers! Ani’s Mum did not tell us where was Ani. She just said that Ani will be getting married in a month’s time.

Today, I am in Singapore. Kuldip is married and followed her husband to Australia. Where is Ani?

In life, along the way, we lost things…we lost friends…but we did not lose our memories…of our young days and the happy time we shared! We blundered along the way, hopefully the mistakes we made is a learning point. I pray that life for Ani is a happy dearest friend.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Nothing lor.....

Actually I am one person that finds it very difficult to conform to a certain routine type of activity. I tried and do my best to faithfully follow but I feel tied down. There are many ways to Buddhism to suit one's ability. Some are very devotional and they can follow a master, serves him and do every little thing for him. Some are very intellectual and they study all the Sutras and Teachings by Great Teachers and Buddha.

Being devotional is wonderful and I rejoice at those who are selflessly serving the master. However in the long run, one tends to associate and got carried away. If the master is someone of highly venerated status, one thinks one is the chosen one. One began to see others as inferior. Nothing is wrong with this because we are human after all. It happens if one happened to have some people of higher, richer and influential status within one's master circle. However to me, all these 'Big Guns' or 'Millionaires' has nothing to do with me. They are useful to propagate the Dharma but not for my enlightenment. I stay in the background. Another thing is... even if I get near to my master...what do I want from him? I rather sit far away, watch him, rejoice at all the blessings he transferred to all the devotees, rejoice at him selflessly giving himself and his time to all those running to him for every little problem and seeing them going away happy and blessed. He is doing Buddha's job when we don't have a physical Buddha during this time.

In actual fact, I do not know what to ask of my master. Talk to him about Dharma? He is so busy with so many activities for the benefits of sentient beings. I realized that...I have to work on my enlightenment myself. I felt that everything asked and said to but words if I do not understand.

As for the intellectuals, they read and think they understand everything that is in the books. Some became proud. Some think that they are intellectual and therefore they are higher than those who are less educated and devotional. Intellectuals may know all those that are in the books but again, all the books are just books if one do not have wisdom to understand the teachings. When one knows the books and still go around acting like any other beings with anger, jealousy, pride, unfeeling towards what good are all the books? To me the books are like a boat, it helps one to understand and give one directions BUT if one gets on the boat and forget why one is on no time one just go for a tour and end up in the wrong destination.

Because I am a free spirit, I like to ponder and think. I like to think about the verses in the Sutra, and why it was written that way. I rather not read any books on these...NO!...I am not smart or what...but what is in the books is someone else's wisdom and understanding, it is not mine.

I think I am also more Zen than anything. Zen has no words to it. When Buddha pick a flower and Maha Kaspa smiled and others just watch on not knowing what transpired. Therefore in the crowd, such understanding and energy flows between Buddha and Maha Kasapa are only for this group of people.

There is Buddha's teachings in a cup of tea and the tea leaves floating in the cuppa. There is Buddha's teachings when you touch the flowers, hugged the tree, smell the air etc. There is Buddha's teachings when you know that you are alive. There is Buddha's teachings in both happy time and adverse time. Universal. It needs no words. Just like compassion and loving-kindness, it is acted out and captured, knowing it is there and yet it is not there. Bodhicitta as well. If you asked 'what is Bodhicitta' and I said "it is the seed of enlightenment" and it is all wrong. Bodhicitta is not a tree so where is the seed?

I still have a lot to work on (mada mada dane!)... I am still gross.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Wise saying....more

More wisdom to ponder..

If a person do not understand what is Life, Life to him is suffering more than joy.

If you intend to change someone, it is easier to change one self.

Wisdom is richness, Richness is not just material things.

People who always forgive themselves will never get forgiveness from know why?

Human are funny, they do not know oneself But always think they know others.

When you are suffering, you know you are chasing the wrong thing.

Good look is but skin deep.

When looking at desirable objects, asked yourself what will it be when it is dead.

Ordinary people are really the extraordinary ones...not those who make themselves look extraordinary.

To the sleepless, the night is long. To the tired, the road is long. To the unwise, the solution is always wrong.

Wrong views, wrong way.

If you think that others is always right, and you are always wrong...will you be unhappy?

If you think you are right, you need not say 'sorry'. If you know you are wrong, why do it in the first place.

A chipped bowl cannot be whole again, but it still can be used unless you discard it.

If there is 'nothingness', so why are people fighting for 'greatness'?

The most precious thing you can have in this world is a good fried, most of the time we doubt our good friend.

We are always being deceived by outlook...and yet we still go for it.

When you pray to Buddha to bless you, it is faster if you blessed yourself with goodness.

People always doubt what they have and the other pasture is always greener.

To Buddha, Sentient Beings are work on it.

I am not keen to be born into the lower realms, I am not keen to be born into Heaven...I just want to be born as a Human so that I can achieve Enlightenment.

Those who laugh last, laugh best.

Watch your heart, it is ever changing. It gives you more pictures than you can capture with a camera. Be it the pictures in your heart or the pictures in the camera - they are illusion.

The Me, You and I...are merely what are we?

Wisdom is acquired over time... it is not inborn.

You can only change people who are ready to change... you cannot force changes.