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.


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