Friday, August 24, 2012

Journey to the West

…. is a great classic Chinese literature written around 16th Century. The said author was Wu Chen En and I give kudos to him as to how did he fabricated such an entertaining, magical and successful novel?
When people refer to the title, people cannot help but remember the Monkey God, SiWu Kong. The story circled around a Monk and his three disciples – the Monkey, Pig and Sandy. The white horse is actually a Prince of the Dragon family. 
This Classic has been made into movies, TV series and of course translated into simplified Chinese version as well as English books. It never fails to mesmerize the audiences and the readers with episodes of battles between good and evils. There are many characters in the story of animals spirits that after practicing of hundreds and thousand of years can turned into human and have magical powers. All these creatures craved to eat a piece of the Monk's flesh because it will give immortality.
It was said that the Monk, named XuanZhang did really existed. He was send by the Tang Emperor to India to bring back teachings of the Buddha so that it can benefit the people of China. During those days, travelling is by foot or horse and it takes months or years to move from one place to another.
My friend’s late father said that there are two possibilities and I believe many people think alike. The story was written by XuanZhang. Since he was on a spiritual journey and stopped at many places, he must have met many kind of people – the kind, the wise, the spiritual, the wicket, the cruel, the immortal etc. Instead of directly referring to them, he used different animals to represent these people and weaved a story around them. XuanZhang has a Royal Pass given by the Emperor so he was also the Diplomat of China at that time. He collected stories of various lands, culture and people and these will be stories that he will repeat to the Tang Emperor. To me this possibility is somewhat farfetched. To Buddhists practioners especially monks, they spent most of their time on spiritual learning and meditation so to write such stories is time wasting as it will not bring about Enlightenment. 

On the other hand, I felt that the possibility of Wu Chen En writing it was higher. The Author left his home town for Imperial Examination in the Capital. He was a filial son and his mother who lived her life in the village requested him to record what he saw on the way and tell her when he returned. Apparently the scholar passed the Imperial Examination and became an Imperial Officer. On his way home, he suddenly remembered his promised to his mother and fabricated these stories to entertain her.
Other than the literature, the Theme Song of Journey to the West is another Classic. No Journey to the West does not use this music score. Just by listening to the music/song you know the name to the movie immediately. Like the Classic Theme Song of Butterfly Lovers, this is another fantastic score. 

The title of the Theme Song is ‘May I asked where is the Path’. I love the music and the lyrics. I shall share this irreplaceable song next time when I decided to post music.
“Dare I asked where is the Path…the Path is beneath our feet…..”
The above picture is taken from the Internet and credit goes to the Artists/ Studio who created such beautiful animated character of the novel. Thank you.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Trying to Understand.....Heart Sutra

I  am self reflecting and thus self mutters. You may find what I am trying to reflect familiar and if you do, this means we are walking the same path.

" To Bodhisattva who are at ease with himself, has been practicing wisdom for a long time reflected on the impermanence of the 5 aggregates crosses the river of sufferings.

Sarila..Form is nothing but Emptiness..and..Emptiness is nothing but Form...thus Form is Emptiness and Emptiness is Form, So is Feeling, Thoughts, Actions and Senses are no difference.

Sarila, since all Forms are Emptiness, there is no Arising and Falling; no Impurity or Purity, no Increasing or Decreasing. When there is no Form, than there is no Feeling, Thoughts, Actions and Senses; there is no Eye, Ear, Nose, Tongue and Body; no colors, sound, smell, taste or sensation. There is no vision neither is there perceptions, there is no Ignorant or ending of Ignorant; there will be no Death or ending of Death; there will be no Suffering, The Cause of Suffering, The Ending of Suffering and the Path. There is no Lost nor Gain, since there are no Lost nor Gain, when Bodhisattva is practicing the Paramita, he does not hanker over Obstacles. Since he does not hanker over Obstacles he sees through them and have no Fear. Leaving behind all illusions, he reaches Enlightenment. All Buddhas of the Three Times, by practicing this Paramita attained the Highest Wisdom. The Buddhas know this Paramita is a Great Mantra, is an Enlightening Manta, is an Incomparable Mantra and a Mantra above all Mantras, this is nothing but the Truth. Thus the Paramita Mantra and here it is : Gatte Gatte Para Gatte Para Sam Gatte Bodhi Svaha "

The Heart Sutra has 260 words. It is a Sutra that will lead one to Enlightenment. It contains the Highest Wisdom of the Buddha and also the Essence of the Buddhist Teachings.

I use to chant it is Cantonese and reflect of each sentence. No complicating thoughts, just simply explain to myself. Every time I go back to this Sutra, my understanding is different.

So I pray for the understanding of this Sutra and may I attain perfection for the benefits of all Beings.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Happy 47th Birthday Singapore

It is National Day again. Tomorrow (9.8.2012) we will see a 47 year-old Singapore.

In view of this, I want to say 'Thank You' for people who shaped Singapore, put us on the Map and such a tiny little island yet we stand tall. Thank you to all the old guards (most are no longer around) and LKY and the current cabinets too.

How will the younger generation be like? How are these people going to shape Singapore.? What are their values, their Pride and their Commitment? Noticeably, we saw people from other countries who are now citizens here, they are calling our Country their Home. We welcome them as we need the 'numbers' and the 'head counts'. Singapore is growing older and 'productions' are not working fast enough. Bring in the babies.

My wish for Singapore - May Singapore be blessed, People are Kind, Jobs are Coming, Races in Harmony, Friendship from our Neighbours, Food are Plentiful, Children are Filial and the Country is Safe.

On such a meaningful day, lets our LIONS Roar ! Do not forget the Blood, Sweat and Tears in making of a Nation.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Cyst

I had a growth on my back and it has been causing discomfort and pain for a few months now. Initially when the pain got unbearable, I went to my regular GP hoping that he will cut it out. However I was naive.

My GP was very up front and told me if I want to get it out I should go to the hospital. He was not prepared to do the excise because the growth was big and it was near the backbone. The cut will be long and deep and it needs to be scraped to get the hardened fats out. I was reluctant as I do not want any part of my body cut if I can avoid it. He gave me antibiotic and told me to wait for it to ripen. Again he mentioned that it may or may not ripen and I can still go through surgery.

The growth is actually a Sebaceous cyst. It is actually fatty glands that went abnormal and thus causing this swelling. He also mentioned that when it burst, it will be very smelly.

I carried this extra swelling with me for a few months and suddenly last Monday 30 Jul 2012, it burst without any warning. After I showered and got ready for work, I realized my back was wet. I than saw that my blouse was soiled with blood. My brother checked out and was shocked to see the unsightly oozing out black blood, white/yellowish cheesy looking flow which was smelly. My brother said "the volcano at your back erupted"...ha..a.a.a. so funny and I am in pain.

We went to my GP and he made me lied down. After making all the preparation, he started to squeezed the infected area. The pain was excruciating. I cannot control but screamed and yet embarrassed that I am not able to contain pain. I clenched my fist and my body tensed. My brother was with us the whole session and he told me so much flow and blood was squeezed out. The Doctor keep squeezing until the blood turned red.

There was a big hole and the Doctor inserted gauze into it and than dragging it out. He did it a few times. The pain was so bad that I have no words to describe it. I was amazed that Doctors are brave to see such and realized that they must have seen worst than this tiny wound.

"Lian, I had to insert gauze into the hole and you have to live with it as I need to clean the wound properly.  The wound underneath the hole is as big as a fishball. No bathing your back today. No pain killer but you have one day MC."

Goodness, no pain killer. I was exhausted with pain. I wonder how come I had this thing growing and not know until it became painful. I am also glad it burst. I just hope that it heals properly and I can have my beautiful smooth skin back.

So in life, we really don't know what we will grow next. Our body have a way to detox. Whatever it is, it will find a way to breakout from the body. It will give you pain. Whatever way of detoxing, the most worrying are those that are life threatening, isn't it?

I really hope that I do not grow any such things anymore. When the Doctor was squeezing, I prayed that I take all the pain of Beings who are going through pain and may they recover and be free of sufferings!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Seven Star Needles II - Purple Flower

In my earlier posting of the Seven Star Needles - Orange Flowers, I mentioned about the special Purple Flowers species. 

An Aunt gave me a cutting and she puts it in a bottle filled with water. She mentioned that I can only put it in soil when there are roots growing. She also mentioned that the purple species is not easy to grow. She do not gauranteed that my plant will survive.

My cutting survived. It did not grow into scrub but instead a few branches extended. The amazing thing is it blooms immediately. The flowers of the orange flower and purple flower bloomed differently. Orange flower blooms individually but the purple flowers blooms in a clusters.

This Purple Flower Pereskia Grandifolia is widely researched for its medicinal abilities. It was said that it is very effective for people seeking cure for cancer. I do not really know how true is this but it is definitely a medicinal plants at your backyard. Below is an extract from what I read.

"Both Pereskia bleo (orange flower) and Pereskia grandifolia (purple flower) have been used as natural remedies in cancer-related diseases, either eaten raw or taken as a concoction brewed from fresh plants. Both are believed to have anti-cancer, anti-tumor, anti-rheumatic, anti-ulcer, and anti-inflammatory properties. They are also used as remedies for the relief of headache, gastric pain, ulcers, hemorrhoids, atopic dermatitis, and for revitalizing the body.[35] In Panama, the locals use the whole plant of Pereskia bleo to treat gastrointestinal problems,[6] while in India, Pereskia grandifolia is used to reduce swelling.[78] "

For me, I fell in love with the vibrant purple clusters. It is a joy to see them buds and blooms and became a fruit. I do not really know how to use this plant but I saw many readers coming to my blog reading about this plant - The Seven Star Needles.