Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Nyung Nay Retreat June 2014....

This is my second Nyung Nay Retreat. Deepest appreciation to the great kindness of  Khentrul Rinpoche which I did both my retreat with him leading. This is the first time the Sakya College nuns come to Singapore and it is their efforts that touched my heart.

Practicing Buddhists know that Nyung Nay is a fasting retreat and the main deity is Avalokiteshvara. We are doing the Thousand arms from Bhikshuni Palmo. The purpose of me doing this retreat is for purification. Let alone the benefits that this retreat will bring, I hope to enhance my compassion. It is beneficial to do 8 sets or more and I hope I have the opportunities to do so with my health. Life is short and I want to make the most out of it now when I am able. 

The retreat ended well although bodily I am tired from the 7 sessions of prayers and prostrations. Waking up at 3.30am and sleeping on hard floor is something this fat and pampered me need to get accustom to. Sharing the same wash area and waiting for my turn, sleeping in a big hall with people whom I do not know and with different sleeping habits is to check my tolerance. I thought the fasting of no food and not even swallowing one's saliva is the hardest however due to faith, all these are overcome easily.

This is Saka Dawa month and our retreat day ran into a few auspicious days making it even more meaningful. In this we practiced all the offerings which some of us did not get to do on our own. I have broken my vows along the way and this is the opportunity to confess and accumulate wisdom at the same time understand the suffering of beings from various realms is something I must do. We are achieving not just for our own sake, but for the sake of many beings.

Beautiful pictures taken by Norsang. If you ask me "how do you know your retreat is well"? What I can say is the happy faces you see in the pictures and the determination to come back for more said it all.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

"African Leaves"...非洲叶

I do not know the botanic name of this plant that produces these wonder leaves. If you walk around housing estates, you will probably find them growing but you have to know them to identify the correct tree. (See picture)

“African leaves” or the Chinese named it “Fei Zhou Ye” is a medicinal plant. The attributes and wonder of leaves from this plant is circulated by words of mouths from people who have tried it and benefited from it. Once again because of health, I chanced upon this plant and think I should share it here.

So what so good about these leaves? You can try consuming this leave. I took it because of blood sugar and of course cholesterol and it did showed results when I went for my check-up. It lowers…

- Blood sugar and good for diabetic patients 
- Cholesterol 
- Blood pressure
- Detoxification
- prevents cancer, etc 

How to go about eating these leaves? 

1) These leaves can be eaten raw after you plucked it from the tree. One leave a day, keep chewing and I have to warn you that it is super bitter. It is bitter than bitter gourd and the bitterness lingers in your mouth for a long long time. However there are people who reported that their blood sugar went down to normal…. OR 

2) Plucked the leaves and wash it clean. You lay newspapers on the floor and wind dry the leaves (you cannot sun it). You know when it dries because it curled up. Store them in a box neatly and every night before you go to bed, take 5 leaves, pour boiling water and soak it over night. Next morning when you wake up, drink a cup empty stomach. You can still taste the bitterness but not so much as you chew it fresh. 

Other than those mentioned, looks like it will also help to wash down fats and help in weight loosing. People who have joints pain due to urea acids said it helps to reduce the pain too. These leaves are good for prevention of stroke or people who have recovered from stroke. There are many more effective results for various illnesses i.e headache etc. So much for these magic leaves. 

I have not seen people selling these leaves in Singapore. In actual fact you need not buy because you can take a stalk and plant it. It grows readily and anyone who grows it will be willing to let you have some leaves. I have a picture of the plant above. The tree itself won’t die after you plucked the leaves. I plucked about 200 – 300 leaves and until I went back for more, the leaves are all grown (there are other people plucking from this tree too so you can see the leaves grow very fast). 

Add this to your medicinal plant knowledge. If so many people eat it and did not die from it, me too so it is consumable. Do the portion as mentioned and don’t overdo it. If you are already sick, it will gradually heal. If you are well, take it for prevention purposes. Nothing is magical overnight, it needs time…so let African leaves get you back to health. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Saga Dawa Düchen ....

Today marked the Tibetan calendar of Saga Dawa - 13 June 2014. It celebrates Buddha Sakyamuni's birth, enlightenment and also his passing away. This is an auspicious day to the Tibetan and also those who are practising Vajrayana Buddhism.

Actually the whole month of June 2014 is consider a holy month. All meritorious activities are 100 millions times multiplying and therefore try to do good and avoid doing anything with negative karmas.

Today is also Amitaba's day which makes it even more holy. Therefore I pray for the safety of all Beings. I pray for World peace. I pray for the happiness of all Beings. I pray for the long life of my Guru, Tempai Ningyma Rinpoche and all Gurus whom I have affinity, whichever way we are connected. I pray for Gurus who passed on that they may return swiftly for the benefits of Beings. I pray and thank all Protectors, both seen and unseen and may they attain enlightenment. I pray for those suffering in this World or World Systems and may they be liberated from sufferings. I pray for those sufferings in the three (3) lower realms, may all of them be free from sufferings on this auspicious day and may they gain insight to the kindness of all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and have thoughts of regrets so to free themselves from suffering engagements and be born in a better realms. I pray for all Beings in the Bardo stage and may they take better rebirth. I pray that the Triple Gems remain in Samsara and not disappear for the benefits of all Beings happiness and liberation.

I pray for Sharmapa Rinpoche who passed on to nibbana yesterday morning. May he remains in clear light and all those that connect with him directly or just saw or listen to the news of his passing receive blessings so that their Dharma practice remains unshakable. May Rinpoche quickly return and continue to benefit Beings _()_ _()_ _()_

Here is a beautiful recitation of OHM AMIDEWA HRI dedicated to Rinpoche and the well being of all Sentient Beings!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Rice Dumpling....

It is here again, once a year Rice Dumpling Festival or we locally call it Bak Chang Festival. It is today, as in the lunar Chinese month and day : 5th month 5th day

The yummy delicious rice dumpling comes in a varieties of flavor - for those who love savory and for those who love it sweet. There are others which are bland and you eat it with sugar or syrup.

Different ethnic Chinese make their rice dumpling with different fillings. The Cantonese love to fill it with beans (mung beans or soya beans) and pork belly meat. When you break open the rice dumpling, the fragrance of the beans and fat meat fill your nostrils and fire you taste buds. You do not need any dressings to go with it, it is simply delicious on its own. The Teochew's will have chestnuts, mushrooms and lean port meat. They are marinated with black sauce and therefore the dumpling is dark in color. The Nonya's rice dumpling is one of the favorite because of the spices. Mum used to make Pillow Rice Dumplings, some also called it Cantonese rice dumplings. I do not know the origin but some say it is HongKong style and this rice dumpling is huge (it is like a small pyramid) . In it you will find roast duck, roast port, roast meat, mushrooms, chestnuts and salted egg yoke. You can try eating it yourself or you can share it with another person.

Preparations to make this takes weeks. My mum used to buy glutinous rice, sort out the husks and soak them in water. Mum will also buy all the ingredients and have them marinated and ready for the wrapping. This rice dumpling will not take shape without the rice dumpling leaves and grass strands. Nowadays people use nylon strings which is cheaper but I still think the grass strands are more natural and give out a natural scent. You need one leaf to make one bak chang or if the leaves are smaller you will need two. This again will depend how big you want your bak chang to be.
How do you go about making a bak chang? You take a dumpling leave, twist it into a cone, fill it with some rice, add in all the ingredients like meat, mushrooms, chestnuts and top up with rice again. When you feel it is enough, wrap the balance leave over the rice and tie it with grass strands. You need to secure it tightly or else the rice will spill out once you put it into boiling water. People normally tie 5 BakChang in one bundle, it is easier to count the quantity.

The other type of rice dumpling are the ones we locally called it KeeChang. KeeChang is made from a different type of glutinous rice. Not many young people love KeeChang because of its blandness however it taste good with sweeten read bean paste. Some of my friends eat it with durain puree. These KeeChang are half the size of the BakChang or they are only bite size.

This festival is to celebrate DuanWu. In places like China and HongKong you will still see Dragon Boats competitions but Singapore no longer celebrate it with such activities. DuanWu is a Chinese culture type of festival tie to a folklore. You can read it online.

Today also reminds me of Mum, if Mum is around it is her birthday.