Saturday, 27 August 2016

Health is Wealth

For the past few years, I have frequent shoulder pain or back ache.  Doctors or masseurs would always  attribute it to having a desk bound job and working on the computer the whole day. 

Some time back, I went for this therapy massage. That night I had uninterrupted sleep from 1am to 6am. Usually I'll wake up in between before falling asleep again, not sure was it due to my back problem. 

While most people there were screaming away, I was quite alright, not as painful as I thought I had be. Not much pain means a clean bill of health according to my massuer.  He advised me to drink slowly, eat less potatoes, and exercise more! He said for my body type if I were to slim down my muscles would  be taut and not the bouncy soft type. 😅💪 Taut muscles here I come!

Generally the massuer also advised we should cut down on eating too much raw veggies ie. salad and fruits as most are too 'cooling' in nature and anything cooling will cause our system to go haywire which in turn results in ailments and problems. Always keep internal and external body warm and drink more ginger water. 

Luckily I am usually too lazy to eat fruits and salad is only once in a blue moon. I love veggies but I prefer them cooked /roasted.

I had a huge impact fall inside a fast moving bus in Myanmar a few months ago. It crushed my left shoulder /arm and right hip. When it happened, there was a sudden huge force which made me fall flat on my back and left me stunned and shocked for a few hours. That night I immediately went for a massage, but the pain was still raw, and it was agonising. I was in great pain for a couple of weeks after that. Fortunately I didn't break my bones. However until today, my left arm has obviously weakened, not much strength when wearing clothes or lifting heavier stuff.

The episode made me realise I'm not young anymore and the body will get more fragile and unhealthy if I maintain the current lifestyle. I need my body to be in tip top condition in order to continue my practice. 

Recently after a month of diet regime, I've gone down one size although my appearance is still not drastically changed. 😅 I feel lighter and slightly more healthy. 

So now I try to maintain by watching my diet; cutting down on carbohydrates like rice, bread, noodles and biscuits. Also cutting down on drinks with high sugar levels. I don't crave for coffee or coke anymore. 

I also exercise by cycling and going for long walks. Catching pokemons helped too. Haha. 

Is your mind same as your heart?

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

How to heal our illnesses

Garchen Rinpoche was in Singapore recently. I would visit and pay my respect to him whenever he is here and he is a teacher who never fails to make me cry with his overwhelming compassion and kindness.

Garchen Rinpoche describes how the self-grasping mind is like an ice block of our mind, and it is by cultivating love or bodhichitta that we melt this ice block. Once this ice block melts, it becomes one with the ocean of Buddha mind. So by cultivating love and developing bodhicitta, we can actualize our own enlightened mind. We are left not with a mere intellectual understanding of love and compassion, but with a profound inner experience of what love and compassion can actually feel like.

May Garchen Rinpoche live long.

I would also like to share this teaching given by him when he was healing, blessing and praying for the sick. I find this teaching precious and meaningful for us to know, as some Dharma friends have been asking me to blog whenever they see me.  I have been missing from blogging these couple of years and I thought my blog is dead with no visitors, but as i checked this morning, the statistics still show I have at least 8,000 visits per month. So thank you very much, my readers. 

The below teaching is kindly transcribed and shared by a dharma sister Ling Lee (thank you!). It is a little lengthy but it is worth a read and I hope it is useful to you.

Receiving blessings from Garchen Rinpoche
It is said that if you wish to know what you did in previous lives, then look at your body in this life. So in previous lives if we have engaged in actions even with the slightest negative emotion, and now the result of that in this life we experience illness and pain. Or as a result of having spoken negative words, now we experience illnesses of the mind and so on. So, in brief it is because we have engaged in negative actions in past lives now as a result we experience sickness and various types of sufferings. 

And then there are two types of people who are sick : there are those who can be helped through medical treatments and so on..... and then there are others who no matter what one does they cannot be cured. So it is very good to understand the difference between them.

It is said that the causes are negative karma, misdeeds and obscurities ..... what are those karmas and how have we accumulated them ? The Buddha has said do not commit any wrong and with that he meant "Do not commit any of the ten non virtuous actions of the body, speech and mind. Three of the body which is killing, stealing and sexual misconduct. And there is fourth of the speech which is telling lies, slander, idle talk and harsh words. And then there is three of the mind, which is covetousness, harmful thoughts and wrong views. And those three of the minds they basically refer to the emotions of attachment, of hatred and ignorance. 

So as a result of a predominance of any one of them, one takes birth as a child of a certain parent in a certain body. And so in this body they experience different types of illnesses. The three classifications are the imbalance of the wind, of the bile and also phlegm related illnesses. And those three also relates to the three afflictive emotions. And so the wind imbalances relates to attachment .. imbalances related to bile relates to hatred and anger .. and imbalances of the phlegm relates to ignorance. Milarepa was once asked whose emanation are you? And he responded, I am the emanation of the three poisons or the 3 afflictive emotions.

Although we have obtained a human body we still experience various kinds of suffering, because we have created the various causes of suffering in our past lives. However that is something we learn during our refuge vows that we can become protected. And so that does not mean that we can become protected from suffering right now. So if you already experience illness right now, often we cannot immediately become cured from that. And because we have already created the causes so that is why the Buddha said do not commit any wrong and that is do not cause any harm to others. 

So as a result of having caused harm to others, you will experience difficulties in this life. For example as a result of having stolen or taken the wealth of others, we experience the suffering of hunger and thirst and poverty and so on.And as a result of sexual misconduct, you will take birth as an inferior form, even not a human being. Or as a human being then with frequent illnesses and so on. And as a result of having killed, you experience a short life span and so on. So all of these different kinds of suffering come from a certain cause. 

So as a result of having beaten and abused and hurt others, as a result now we experience sickness. If we have stolen or robbed or taken from others then as a result of that we now experience poverty. So during the refuge vows, what we learn is that if we prevent the causes then we will also prevent the suffering. There are some people who in their entire lives do not experience any illness at all and also they are happy in their lives . And that is because if the cause is absent then the result will also not ripen. But if the cause has been created then we cannot prevent the cause from ripening and now in this life we are bound to experience suffering. However there are some who however they do suffer from illness somehow they can be protected. And that is because in the past life they have taken the refuge vow but they have also done negative things and actions. But having done that they regret and felt this was wrong and have confessed in their past lives. And so not all their karma has been purified, a great deal of it has been purified. And so there are some karma left and as a result of that you are now sick but because you have confessed, if something happens, it will protect you or a medical treatment that will cure you. Or if you are poor, some benefactors will come and help you. And that is because you have confessed in your past lives. 

So even if you experience suffering now, if there is a way out then, it is a sign that you have confessed negative actions in a past life. And that is really due to the kindness of having received the refuge vows. So there are some illnesses that no matter what we do, it cannot be cured. That is because in our past lives, we have created a cause for this and have not confessed. For example there are leaders of countries who are protected by bodyguards but still they are assassinated. And then there are the generals of the Second and Third World Wars that have survived the wars and are still alive. And that is also due to karma. So if it is your karma to be killed then even with the countries' security protection and bodyguards can't protect you and you will still be killed. That is the karma created from past lives. 

In terms of illnesses that cannot be cured or treated, in the dharma it also actually says that you should try to cure the illness through medical treatments once or twice. But after a number of treatments, one still cannot be cured and one makes up one’s mind that it is one’s karma to leave this life. 

The Buddha has taught two skillful means to be protected and beneficial in that time. First of all we have to try to undergo treatments and cures for our illnesses but then if we are unable to do so, then first of all we should regard the illness as an encouragement to practice virtue. 

So it inspires us to begin to practice virtue. And then the special quality of the Buddha Dharma is actually to view suffering in a different light that is we actually accept and tolerate our suffering. We see it as a beneficial thing. For example some people think that the hell realm is so negative and terrible. But actually in the hell realm, we are purifying our negative karma and obscurations. So in that sense, the experience in hell realm becomes just like a surgery or a medical treatment... which in the end is also a good thing. So in the same way our illness ultimately also is a good thing because it purifies what is necessary to be purified; that is our obscurations. And the Buddha also said that a single headache purifies the negative karma of thousands of eons in the lower realms. 

And also Milarepa said that if you have an hour of illness in our precious human body, then that purifies our obscurations in the hell realms for thousands of eons. And that actually is a good thing .. and therefore rejoice . In our purification, it also often happens to people who are sick, they enter the dharma and they hear dharma teachings and take refuge vows and so on. And so even though they might not be cured right away this lifetime, they are creating the causes for freedom of illnesses for all future lifetimes. So in this sense actually you begin to change your way of viewing the illnesses and you rather view it as a beneficial and necessary thing. And then also actually various practices are held at centers like this one to help the sick such as mantra recitations .. and especially it is because of love that we really help others who are suffering . And because love really is the antidote to all suffering . And so for example it helps those who have passed away and also those who are alive. The lamas will recite mantras for example and they blow onto an object or the sick person and bless them and they give out various blessed objects and substances and so on to help those who are alive and also practices for those who have passed away. When people cannot be cured or pass away, their mind will never die but the mind follows the karma accumulated. So therefore even though they have died, because their mind have not died, we can actually benefit them and cultivate love and various practices for them. So for example, various skillful means for instance for eating, we give blessing pills, and verbally we recite mantras like the mani mantra and so on. And also there are different objects to wear like liberation bracelets and so on also protects one when one is alive and also protect one from more illnesses arising in the future. So these are all various means that we can employ to heal our illnesses. 

So as a means to cure our illnesses we rely on various medical treatments and there are also various substances that can help someone even if there's nothing to be done like blessed mani pills or other blessing pills. Often people have been cured from incurable illnesses after taking mani pills or blessing pills for an extended period of time. So that is if you really understand this can really benefit. And the power comes actually from the meditation of the deity yoga and mantra recitations that these pills are blessed with. 

So for this reason it is not the amount but even if you just take a small amount of the blessing pill for example the size of a mustard seed... placing it under your tongue and do that every day for an extended amount of time.. then only even such a small amount actually if you really have faith in it , it is sufficient to cure your illness. That is because they have been blessed by the visualization of the deity and the mantra recitation. And so for this reason, methods like visualising a deity for instance can help one become cured of an illness. So therefore, for example if you visualize the deity or an image of a thangka or statue, for example if a sick person looks at a thangka or an image of a deity, and then that diety appears in their mind, that can really help cure their illness. Because when their mind goes to the thangka or goes out to that image their mind actually goes out and converges into space and leaves the sick body. And so you are not focused on the illness in your body ; you will in a way forget about the illness. That is actually my own experience I actually had a lot of bad illness before and that really helped myself . The lamas in the past have said when your mind goes outside, then you won't feel the pain of the illness. And only when the mind comes back then you begin to think again I have so much pain and it will just get worse. 

So therefore it is really beneficial to meditate on the form of the deity and the mind actually goes there to the form of the deity. And then the second thing is mantra recitations that is also very beneficial to cure the illness. And even with regard to that, science will also agree to a great extent. For example it is said that if you recite mantras through the movement of your mouth as you recite the mantra , that actually also cures illnesses related to the stomach and phlegm related illnesses. But when you recite the mantras you should not slur it and you should actually move your tongue and say it out very clearly, well pronounced and in the right speed. So you should not just focus on the numbers of recitations but also the quality of your recitation. 

For example if you clearly pronounce each of the syllables of Om Mani Padme Hung, and when you actually do that, you are tightening your body and tightening your muscles and that repeated moment actually helps stomach related illness and various other illnesses. So this is how the visualization of the deity and the mantra recitation also helps your illness. And most importantly, your consciousness goes out away from the illness. It goes out to a different object which is the deity or the mantra recitation. Otherwise often it is the case that even though we might not have an illness, for example your doctor might tell you that you have an illness even though you don't have it and you think you have it and because you keep thinking you have an illness, then 100% sure you are creating an illness with that kind of thinking. Because ultimately the illness is created by the mind and that is because first of all where the mind goes , that is where the wind energy goes. And where the wind goes that is where the blood goes and that is where it forms an illness. 

So in this way, even though we are healthy in the beginning but with our thinking and grasping, we are creating illnesses that haven't been there before or we are making our illnesses even worse. For example if you don't cling to the illness and don't even think about it, it goes away naturally by not grasping on it. It is just like your hair or finger nails growing out or clouds vanishing. But if you keep thinking about it, the thinking process is what makes you hold on to and clinging on to the illness. So the illness gets worse and worse. So that is why it is very beneficial if you as a sick person visualize the deity and recite the mantra.... and really direct your mind towards that. So in that way you actually forget about the illness and then another method is also to cultivate an altruistic mind, the practice or tonglen (giving and taking). So when you think that I have this terrible illness and I am in so much pain , then you are creating and reinforcing your self grasping mind more and more. And in that way you are increasing your illness and it will only get worse. But if you forget about yourself and rather think about others , then at least half of your mind is already won and half of your illness will slowly disappear. 

For example you think "May I represent all sentient beings .. may I experience this sickness instead of all other sentient beings." So in this way altruism defeats self grasping and that surely will be of great benefit. And the illness will get lighter and lighter. So if you apply these methods definitely they will be of great benefit. And these methods can be applied even though we are told often that the medical treatment actually cannot cure us. 

Garchen Rinpoche, 5 July 2016, Singapore.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Waking up

So when I reached home from work yesterday, I concussed for an hour after my dinner. Then later in the night had a good solid 6 hours of sleep. 

I love the wake up feeling in the morning, always refreshed and calm. If time allows, it is the only time of the day I can just be myself and contemplate on life. That's the only 'me time' before I get busy for the rest of the day. Those moments I reconcile whatever emotions I may be feeling the day before. 

It is weird that many experiences I encounter feel like deja vu to me. It seems like I've gone through them before and they happened again. So was the present encounter more real than the previous encounter? At times we just refuse to accept the reality of things as it is, even though it is obviously in our face.  

Then sometimes I feel like I'm flying, a certain force pushing me up and seeing everything underneath, thinking how transient it is. Then at that moment, whatever joy or disappointment there is, it eventually ceases. 

Actually a new chapter of my life has quietly crept in, without me realising it.....

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

The abyss of temptation

Had a terrible exhausting day at work due to only a couple of hours of sleep the night before. And it was all because I was visibly upset last evening. I tossed and turned, tossed and turned. It didn't helped that I had to be up extra early this morning. Slept at almost 3am and woke up at 5am. The rest of the day was a goner.

I was upset because of a small matter last evening. And I got more upset that I was upset over that small matter. That small matter was nothing to do with me. It was over the action of someone and that made me fumed. 

Often only the person whom we are concerned with is the only one who is able to make us that upset. We often justify our own actions with noble reasons, but we just do not wish to acknowledge the hidden agenda or feelings we feel, tightly concealed under that noble facade. And we don't realise the impact it has on those who really care about us. 

No matter how noble our intentions are, we should not cause harm to others, for example, breaking up someone else's family, breaking up someone else's marriage, breaking up the lives of the kids of that marriage and so on. We go about looking for our own needs, fulfilment and happiness at the expense of others. We go about justifying our actions further. We mindlessly sought what is missing in our life by making up more unnecessary reasons to pursue that relationship, as innocent as it looks. 

I've seen this happened so many times before. The lives of all parties ruined just because you get embroiled in an undesirable relationship. Both parties may be the nicest people on earth but if being in that relationship affects even more parties, and results in more harm than happiness, then I think the relationship should be nipped in the bud before it develops further. Hope we realise we are playing with fire. It sounds so simplistic but we often fall into the abyss of temptation; the temptation of appearance, the temptation of convenience, the temptation of excitement, the temptation of lust, the temptation of wanting to 'feel good'.

I've witnessed it so many times over and over again from real life cases, that I don't wish it upon someone I truly care about. 

And that was why I couldn't sleep last night. 

Friday, 15 January 2016

A little happiness

shouldn't be blogging at this time, when I'm supposed to fly in less than 24 hours' time. I'm due at Chiangmai for meetings for 5 days, but boy, the prep work had already started since I welcomed 2016. Or even earlier. I've been surviving on only 4 hours sleep every night. 

I finally almost wrapped up what I needed to do.  It had been a whirlwind couple of weeks. Among other stuff, I was struggling to complete writing a piece of work, which took me a long time. Not that I couldn't write, I just couldn't focus. In the end, I finished it in a day, while my mind was somewhere else the past 2 weeks. Reminds me of school and exams. I used to dilly dally kept myself busy with everything else except the one crucial thing I was supposed to get done. I'm a 'last minute' kind when it comes to work or studies. Or you can also call me genius. 

Anyway, apart from being busy, 2016 has been awesome so far, with plenty of good news. 

I love my job. I guess shifting to a new office had better feng shui because I am happier, more independent, and the company is doing well. We just closed a big deal a couple of days ago. And it will be another year of travelling for work. Yay for travels, even though it's not vacation.

My guru is already here in Singapore  and I supposedly had to miss his teachings because I would be in Chiangmai. But with last minute changes Rinpoche postponed the teachings until after I'm back. Lucky or what? I'm grateful for the blessings in disguise. 

I'm also thankful the arrival of the different groups of monks have been in quick succession without much hiccups. As long as monks can be there, they are able to benefit so many people with their prayers and rituals. 

This week, my niece turned 17 the day she received her O levels results and what a wonderful gift it was. She scored 4 points, which means she gets to go to any top JC of her choice! I'm so proud of her not just because of her good results, but for being such a kind, considerate and mature girl who never wanted you to spend too much money on her. Such a lovable character and she never has much temper. Time flies. I still remember she was our angelic looking curly hair little girl who loves  to draw. I've kept some of her drawings which she drew for me. When she was a baby, she could sleep like a log and no matter how much we jostled and tried to wake her, she continued to sleep. May she be happy always. 

I've started 2016 with a clean slate of health, after 3 weeks of detoxification and purification, from Chinese medicine and watching my diet. For a start,  I've cut off cold soft drinks (byes, Sarsi and Jolly Shandy) as well as oily food. I replaced it with hot honey ginger instead. I also started taking collagen drink to rejuvenate my dry skin and overall health and it aids sleep too. No more upset tummy and backache. 

I'm the most happy that the emotions I felt in 2015 are left behind. It was a mixed year of bliss yet filled with sadness at times and I tend to dwell on the disappointments. I don't like that helpless feeling. Incidents or people who made upset I tried to close both eyes. Easier said than done, I know.  I resolve to treat these people even better and it works. I got warm-heartedness in return. And those I love, I continue to do so with unshakeable faith and devotion. I always reminds myself of the bigger picture. Don't sweat the small stuff. 

My favourite Chinese song of 2015 should be 小幸运 by Hebe. Beautiful lyrics too. It kinda sums up this year. A little happiness. 

小幸运 A little happiness

認真 呼喚我姓名
離別了才覺得刻骨 銘心
一幕幕都是你 一塵不染的真心
與你相遇 好幸運

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Are you defined by a coffee cup?

So I heard many are upset over the non-chrismassy Starbucks cup this season. Backlash, criticism aplenty online. Even Donald Trump is urging people to boycott Starbucks. 

Starbucks, however, maintains that their holiday cups were meant to be a blank canvas for customers to create their own stories, inspired by the doodles and designs that customers have drawn on white cups for years.

And we get offended and all “Starbucks hates Jesus” because their holiday cup artwork doesn’t include Merry Christmas? C'mon.

Lighten up, people!


That's right. Take for example, if I have been decorating the house to celebrate/usher in Christmas every year, and yet this year I don't feel like doing it, because....
- too busy
- no budget
- going vacation 
- celebrating elsewhere 
- ran out of ideas
- not in the mood to celebrate
- someone/my pet died....

.....does that mean I don't appreciate Christmas and its significance anymore? Does it mean I'm not God-fearing anymore? Will Jesus love me less? 

Christmas should be a time for reflection, giving, loving, being magnanimous (if you have not been that the entire year...), being accepting and all things nice...

On the contrary, if one day Starbucks or any retailer decides to put the Buddha (symbol of Buddhism) or any holy objects as artwork on their disposable cups, I may balk. 

This is because any image of holy objects which symbolises the Buddha, is to be venerated and respected, and definitely not to be thrown away within 30 minutes! I would feel so disrespectful.

One man's meat is another man's poison. 

So there. A different perspective regarding this Starbucks cup hooha. It's all about expectations and different perspectives.

Live and let live.

At least be happy that the cup is still red, ya. ;)

Friday, 23 October 2015

Remembering Choden Rinpoche (1933-2015)

It's been months and thus the cobwebs here. 

In August when His Eminence Ling Rinpoche was here in Singapore, we had the Grand Puja over at MBS. One of my readers approached me at my booth to chit chat and catch up. I was very happy when he shared that he is now working part time as a care taker in a day care centre for the elderly. He is more relaxed and patient. At least he is not as stressed compared to when he was a telemarketer. He was asking why it has been ages since I last updated my blog. I was quite touched he still remember I have a blog. ;) So thank you so much, if you are reading this, and also for the drinks you bought me during the Grand Puja. 

Choden Rinpoche in Borobodur, Indonesia
On 11 Sept, one of my precious gurus, Choden Rinpoche passed away around midnight. I found out the news from a friend who whatsapped me during breakfast. It was the last day in Dharamsala India. I excused myself from the breakfast table and went up my hotel room. Alone, I cried. I was heart broken. The rest of the day, I remained pretty upset and devastated on the flight to Delhi. 

11 Sept was the day which the entire Sera Jey Monastery monks and students were supposed to be there to conduct an extensive long life puja for Rinpoche. It was ironical yet a suitable day Rinpoche chose to leave (and went into clear light meditation), because everyone was present to attend this long life ceremony. 

Choden Rinpoche has always been a special guru to me, even though I did not manage to receive many teachings from him in this lifetime. I only first met him in 2010. He did bestowed me some precious empowerments and teachings. He was the one and only guru whom I first met in a dream even before I met him in real life. This is something special and significant to me. In that dream, I was in a huge crowded teaching ground inside a huge building where the walls were all white and clean. I remember Choden Rinpoche walked in slowly, smiling gently, holding a rosary in his palm. I didn't even know his name or who he was in the dream. 

Also Choden Rinpoche was the first guru who personally agreed and promised to guide me in all my lifetimes until enlightenment is attained. For this, I am very grateful. 

Choden Rinpoche's words of wisdom:

"The future life is more important than this life – this life is just like a dream. Future lives are much more important than this life. 
When we die we don’t just vanish. We have to take rebirth, and we don’t have any choice in that birth, only what our karma determines – whether we’re reborn in the lower realms or upper realms. If you’ve done positive things in this life you can take rebirth in the human realm, and you can enjoy the result of these actions. If you do negative actions, the karma does not vanish; even the smallest karma accumulated you have to experience in the future.

The future is very long, many eons. This life is so short, it’s just fiction, just a dream. Your mind continues infinitely, and when you die in the next life, again it doesn’t vanish, and again you continue to the next life, and the next – many lives you have to go through. So all of these are determined by the present actions. You have no choice. So the present action is very important. This life is so short, perhaps only one hundred years – very small compared to the future lives. This is why the future lives are more important than this life".

May my precious guru return soon to guide me. 

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Happy 50th, Singapore!

We've come a long way since 1965. I just want to wish my readers and all a great jubilee weekend celebrating our nation's 50th year of independence! 


Tuesday, 9 June 2015

How have I been?

I've almost forgotten that I've a blog. Plenty happened these 4 months. 

As busy as a bee. Went on 2 work trips, to Bali and Bangkok. Had a nice break in Bali amidst all the big meetings and Congress. Had a up close and personal meeting with Nic Vujicic too! He was my VIP. In between work, explored Bali a bit but didn't exactly wind down and relax. All because Mr Lee Kuan Yew our founding father of Singapore passed away that week at age 91. The whole nation was in mourning the entire week I was in Bali. Although I could watch Channelnewsasia and bombarded by news of LKY in Facebook and social media, I probably didn't feel the intense sadness until I landed back home. Engulfed by morbid grief and a heavy heart. I was at the same time glad to realise we Singaporean aren't an ungrateful bunch after all, judging from the long queues in rain or scorching weather to pay last respects to a great man. I was very touched. Spent that weekend attending a prayer session specially arranged for LKY and then that Sunday biding farewell to him and watching it all on TV. I know everyone was sad but in retrospect, I prefer to celebrate his life. He is a Bodhisattva, someone who worked to benefit masses of people and made the country a better place in every aspect. And he would definitely return to benefit people again in his next life. 

Quoting Thích Nhat Hạnh....."You would not cry if you knew that by looking deeply into the rain you would still see the cloud. When we remember LKY, everything we see of Singapore today, are traces of him, beyond the memories, beyond the rain and storm, beyond the sun, we see the rainbow in our hearts. He will always be in our hearts.

As life went back to normal, I remember a particular day which made me very down and sad (just wanted to jot this down memory lane). Was one of those days when I came home at 7.30pm and just laid on bed until 10pm without doing anything else. Was also one of those days which I wanted to just cry my heart out, so that I can feel better. The heart was burning and the stomach was curled up in knots. It was one of those days which I stoned at the bus stop for half an hour without knowing if I should go home or elsewhere. I won't elaborate but I was truly disappointed by someone whom I respected a lot, and the treatment I received that day was utterly unexpected. It broke my heart. Although immediately things brightened up the very next day, it reminded me not to take things for granted and that everything will not remained unchanged for long. In short, don't be too happy when you're happy, and don't be too sad when you're sad. Have to keep my feelings and expectations in check. And less of meaningless endeavors.

Then Bangkok work trip came. Was only 3 days and I was mostly in the hotel for meetings apart from going out for dinner. Had one of the best meals in a while, a treat from the business associate. Work wise, things are picking up and more stable. This will be a year of travel. Up next will be the Philippines, India, Chiangmai and hopefully Sydney.  And maybe even Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan, all the countries which my company has a presence in. In fact, plenty to be thankful for. Great bosses. Manageable work load. Independent office environment. So I'm grateful. Now looking forward to a new office space soon. 

Then earthquakes struck Nepal, triggering even more earthquakes in other places. The damage is too scary and the lives of the victims at stake. Funds were raised to help the Nepalese victims. Pray that their lives will return to normal soon and that they won't go hungry. It struck home how vulnerable we are to natural disasters, especially with the Sabah earthquake last week. There were Singaporeans who died in that earthquake, young students. It broke my heart listening to a young victim's father when he was being interviewed. I asked myself what if I was the victim, how would my parents or family have felt. I asked myself if I was the parent, how devastated I would be if my child's life was robbed from me. I asked myself if in any crisis, would I be ready to die. Am I prepared to die? Then it dawned upon me that I was not that worried if I were to die, but I wouldn't want my loved ones and close friends to experience the grief of losing me. I realise being prepared to die anytime is very important. 

At the home front, the situation was pretty tense and stressful because my father was getting weaker and harder to look after his needs. My mom and I were feeling edgy, exhausted, stressed and burnt out. And my father's moods weren't getting better either. Looking after an ailing person is serious business. When I was home to take care of my father, I would feel frustrated at times because he might not be always cooperative, and there were lots of washing and cleaning up. When I was not at home and my mom was looking after him, I would feel guilty too. Not to mention his frequent trips to the hospital for check up and 'check-ins'. Not to mention we had to work too. So most days were not exactly a happy fulfulling day. Not a win-win situation. We were so exhausted and disheartened that we finally decided to get a helper. 

My new helper has been with us for almost 2 weeks now and it is really a big difference to our lives. It helps that she is experienced in taking care of old folks and great in housework. I've heard and seen many horror stories regarding foreign helpers. Many friends keep advising me how best to monitor my helper and cautioning me to be careful in many scenarios. Yes I am wary I might make a wrong choice because I was the one who chose her. Only time will tell if I made the right choice. When I interviewed her, I went with my gut feel. She was calm and asked reasonable sensible questions and didn't provide run of the mill answers which would please a prospective employer. I knew she was not the blur type or pretending to be blur. She is smart and quietly confident. Most importantly she didn't over promise or tried to over impress me. I think I'll still choose to be kind and humane when dealing with the helper. Humans are reciprocal and appreciate understanding and kindness. She is a human too.

So far it has only been 2 weeks, we are truly happy with her work. She has the initiative in her work without much instructions from us. I only drew up a daily work schedule for her and it helps that her English is good. Also, my father likes her (less mood tantrums), she keeps the house real clean, she helps my mom with the cooking and housework. We need not worry about both my father or the housework anymore. I need not rush home in time to fetch my father from the daycare centre anymore. I have hot homecooked meals everyday. My room is impeccably cleaned everyday, bed gets made and clothes neatly ironed. Most importantly I feel instant relief. Redeemed freedom. I've not felt so relaxed for more than a year ever since my father fell ill. Peace of mind is so important. 

So I guess I've been really happy and euphoric. More focused now. Oh, and I've been eating lots of bingsu lately. Hope the days will get even brighter for the rest of this year. 

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Dagyab Rinpoche is coming and Grand Puja at MBS 28 Feb & 1 Mar 2015

My dearest teacher is coming to Singapore again!  After one whole year, the popular Grand Puja @ MBS which everyone is waiting for is here again, happening this coming weekend!  Exciting weekend ahead! 

White Umbrella Goddess Demon-Subduing Grand Puja
Pacify major obstacles, demonic forces & supernatural harassment. Those who own the White Umbrella Goddess khorlos may bring it along for recharge of blessings.

28/2/15 (Sat) 10:00am to 12:30pm

This grand puja is a ritual based on the practice of the White Umbrella Goddess, and is one of the most powerful and sacred puja amongst various Buddhist rituals.  One procedure of this ritual is to consecrate and offer tormas (ritual cakes) to counterattack negative forces such as illnesses, mental disturbances, disputes, enmities, defilements, misfortune, premature death, factors against congenial surroundings and 84,000 bad forces. Hence, this puja is named DUKAR TORTHOG in Tibetan, literally meaning - counterattacking negativities through torma offerings.

By this ritual, we drive away all harms and evils by the blessings of the White Umbrella Goddess and her surrounding deities in the form of tormas (one big torma in the middle representing the Goddess, and surrounded by 33 white flags representing the deities). More than 30 different kinds of ingredients are required for this puja - whereby it serves to offer to specific deities, and seek their protection for different kinds of obstacles. By participating in this puja, one gains the protection from dangers of fire, water, weapons, poisons, malediction, untoward accidents and untimely death. It also pacifies the chances of epidemics, harmful spells, contagious diseases, conflicts and wars. In addition, we also receive the benefit and protective care of a myriad of divine guardians and goddesses.

During the puja, visualize all your obstacles & negativity of your past & present lives are being taken away by the substitute figurine. Throw away your shirt symbolic of obstacle-clearing, and generate in your mind infinite food and money offerings to offer to all your debtors. Once the substitute is being sent out, think you have no more relationship with all these supernatural beings, and all your obstacles are ceased.

Cittamani Tara Grand Cleansing Puja of Immediate Rescue from Poor Health & Danger

28/2/15 (Sat) 3:00pm to 5:00pm

Cittamani Tara Blessing Initiation

28/2/15 (Sat) 7:30pm to 9:30pm

The Cittamani Tara practice is a special method of Tibetan Buddhism to dissipate interferences and to liberate all living beings from any form of fear or danger. And this grand puja is the most extensive ritual amongst all healing pujas, to alleviate the sufferings and bestow blessings to aid recovery of all patients.

This Cittamani Tara Grand Cleansing Puja is especially conducted for people whose force of bad karma is very great. When bad karma ripens, many obstacles arise and we face various problems in our career, family, things do not go smoothly for us in various aspects, and the most disturbing of all is none other than that of our health problems. When the negative karma is heavy and strong, then the obstacle that manifests from its ripening is greater. We require the huge merit and blessings of our daily practice and pujas to overcome all our hindrances.

This puja is especially beneficial towards the purification of the 4 types of obstacles mentioned below:
  1. Serious illnesses, including prolonged medical conditions and strange diseases which doctors are unable to treat / diagnose
  2. Curses and other unorthodox methods / negative actions to instill harm done onto you
  3. Black magic, witchcraft, evil spells
  4. Offended nagas, Landlord Gods and other worldly gods or protectors

The merit and power of this grand puja is inconceivable. It helps us to avoid all sufferings of the health, stay peaceful, auspicious and healthy; and even for patients on the verge of dying, this puja can instantly bring you to safety – just like how a miraculous force of power saves you from falling to your death from a cliff. Unless all conditions for death has fully ripened, otherwise under other circumstances of death due to exhaustion of merit, or premature death, this puja is certain to aid significantly in recovery and redeem back one’s life. In case where the person cannot be saved, especially those who have committed heavy bad karma to be reborn in the animal realm, this puja can help save them from the lower realm rebirths.

This puja text is a ritual from Tantric practice and requires an elaborate set of torma (ritual cakes), human effigies made from dough, special puja offerings and other necessary items to be used during the ritual. And together with chanting of secret mantras and performing mudras, this puja is very powerful.

Cittamani Tara, the Wish Fulfilling Mother, is the embodiment of the heart-jewel wisdom and energy of the Buddha. Of the various types of Tara practice, Cittamani Tara is a unique practice of the Highest Yoga Tantra class, which possesses the heart-jewel method of developing the five deep awareness, or Buddha-Wisdoms. It has a special efficacy for developing the wisdoms of accomplishing activities and overcoming outer and inner obstacles in one's lifespan, clearing obstructions in the path to enlightenment. We are fortunate that H.E. Dagyab Rinpoche has compassionately agreed to bestow upon us the blessing jenang initiation of this practice to all of us.

The Elements Cleansing Healing Grand Puja is ranked second class amongst all healing pujas in Tibetan Buddhism, and Cittamani Tara Grand Cleansing Puja belongs to the first class of healing rituals. These two grand pujas are considered to be the two most beneficial pujas effective and most helpful for the masses, especially the ill. Cleansing pujas are very beneficial as it aids in quick recovery of illnesses. The more cleansing pujas one attend, the greater the benefit towards recovery.

Note:   All participants must attend the puja personally to receive the blessings and effectiveness of the puja. All are required to bring along a small amount of bathed water (water from your own shower) on that day for participation of the puja. There are also specific items that are required for this ritual and this can be invited at an offering of $10 per set at the puja.

Leng Chag Torma Puja to Repay Karmic Debts
Specially to repay karmic debts of past lifetimes, preventing/resolving supernatural harassment.

1/3/15 (Sun) 10:30am to 12:30pm

Since beginningless time, we have been trapped in this uncontrolled cyclic existence of samsara, and have undergone countless reincarnations. Although we are unable to recall what we did in our previous lives, it is certain that we must have committed many acts of greed and hatred out of our ignorance - which explains why we are still unable to be liberated from samsara. It is also certain that we must have accumulated many debts in all these lifetimes, ie. we could have owed someone a sum of money, or even a mere sack of rice, or in serious cases, we could have harmed others or caused their deaths.

When we do not repay such debts and they accumulate, these creditors may one day return to seek revenge against us, especially during times when we are experiencing low luck. They can cause us various obstacles, from illnesses to problems at work, sleepless nights, nothing seems to go smooth, or in worse scenarios, could be even fatal. Through the performance of this Leng Chag Torma Puja - by offering torma (ritual cake offerings) to the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Protectors, and together with the immaculate blessings by the Holy Speech of the Buddha’s texts, we purify the negative karma that we have accumulated over the reincarnations and pay off these incurred debts.

Note: Interested participants may invite the dough offering (to repay karmic debts) at $2 per set at the puja. You may also like to offer on behalf of your family or friends.

Five Dzambalas Wealth Congregating and Fortune Blessing Puja

Invoke wealth blessings of all directions for increase of positive conditions in work and dharma practice

1/3/15 (Sun) 3:00pm to 5:00pm

Five Dzambalas Blessing Initiation

1/3/15 (Sun) 7:30pm to 9:30pm

The five Dzambalas are the manifestations of the compassion of Buddha and Bodhisattvas to guide sentient beings along the path to enlightenment. They have the essence of generosity and represent the activities of increasing benefit.

In Buddhism, fortune and wealth refers to ‘merit’ - because everything good that we possess is established from merit. Every form of success, every piece of happiness, every kind of enjoyment can only be materialized should there be enough merit to support it. To have merit means to have wealth and assets; if there is no or insufficient merit, then one encounters many negative conditions and obstacles. Even in the Buddhist path, you also need to practise and fulfill both merit accumulation as well as karma purification to be able to attain Bodhicitta.

This wealth grand puja summons immense positive wealth energies upon the puja participants, and is a very effective method to invoke positive wealth energy of the universe and its inhabitants. Though getting rich is a result of one’s past actions, participating in such wealth-congregating pujas play a significant role in its own way to change the course of one’s financial situation. With a sincere motivation to accumulate merit, purify our negative karma, as well as make prayers for all sentient beings to be freed from all poverty and all sufferings, without doubt - one will certainly receive the vast blessings and protection of the five Dzambalas.

Note:   Interested participants, please feel welcome to bring along your wealth vases, fortune wands and amulets for recharge of wealth blessings and energies during the puja. Interested participants can invite the Namtose Wealth Incense.

Green Dzambala: Will enable all endeavors to be perfectly accomplished and purify all bad luck and obstacles, prevent theft, bad debts and loss of wealth.

White Dzambala: The compassionate manifestation of the Bodhisattva Chenrezig (Kuan Yin). By practising White Dzambala one can remove the suffering of poverty and sickness, purify non-virtuous karma and karmic obstacles.

Yellow Dzambala: By practising Yellow Dzambala, can remove poverty within the six realms, increasing virtues, life span and wisdom. All material and spiritual needs shall be met.

Red Dzambala: By practisng Red Dzambala, one can attract people, wealth and fame. One will enjoy wealth in abundance and shall be well respected and supported by people.

Black Dzambala benefits the poor and those in solitary retreat. If a person’s mind is always virtuous, Black Dzambala will always take care of him/her.

Wealth Deity Practice with the Correct Motivation
It is a common misconception to believe that one could obtain wealth by making offerings and reciting the mantras of wealth deities. The wealth deities in Buddhism have manifested as Protectors driven by the bodhicitta mind to benefit all beings. Hence should we wish to achieve success and wealth by engaging in their wealth practices, one should be driven by the positive motivation to benefit others, uphold the dharma, make offerings to the three jewels and the like. If it is solely for one’s own self benefit, we shall not be able to receive the blessings of the wealth deities despite extensive effort of practice. With pure motivation to benefit others, dharma practitioners shall receive boundless blessings and protection to achieve both material and ultimate prosperity.

Recently in Dec 2014, during the Jangchup Lamrim teachings bestowed by His Holiness Dalai Lama in Gaden Monastery, Dagyab Rinpoche and the people of Dagyab offered a long life offering to His Holiness.  It was an auspicious and joyous occasion. Here is the context. 

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Winding up 2014

I guess I'm on time in wrapping up this year (last year I dilly dallied my 2013 review until 12 Jan 2013). I won't go into detail how 2014 was. I will try to keep this short and bittersweet. 

What a hell-uva year. 

1. Life, interrupted.
The most stressful year in my life, disrupted by my father's bad fall at the beginning of this year, which made him unable to walk normally again and drastic deteriorated health. Now our family life centers around taking care of him. Total loss of freedom. A few hospital admissions, and numerous A&E visits and follow-ups, we lost track of how many times we visited the hospital. Huge dosage of medicine daily. Constant standby and looking out for infections. His condition has improved but will never be his normal self again. 
Also, lost 2 aunts, a cousin younger than me, and another friend to heart attack and cancer. When I think of their sudden departure, it somehow makes me treasure my ailing father.  As I see his life drifting away, I want to be there for him during the last leg of his life, no matter how tough it is.

2.  She's 90!

Celebrated my grandma's 90th birthday, the biggest celebration this year. I am happy she looks happy and calm and that she still remembers me. May my grandma remain in good health and bliss.  

3. The unspoken.
Made new friends, lost some (sort of). This year, I realise everyone needs a listening ear. That is the reason why each of us sought out friends, to have someone to listen to our problems.  I had this happen to me all the time, friends who ask me out because they need a listening ear/confidante/venting machine. It's good to catch up and mostly, I don't mind being the brunt of their frustrations and verbal diarrhea. However sometimes, I am exasperated that I just want to block out everything I hear, so instead I go out with those friends who like to eat and enjoy a happy relaxing time. Food is music for the soul, no? Haha.

4. Happy times
Group gatherings can be fun, basically chilling out doing whatever activity together and just bonding.  Sometimes I prefer the sessions to be one to one /two, so then can really get to know the person/s better. 

5. We still need to eat. 
Some people complain I post too much food.  I am at the age where I don't care what other people say anymore, just be happy with what I do. Posting stuff online allows me to retrieve/search for them easily when I need to. I still have not learn how to bake, even though I cook a lot.  I like to grill meats and veggies, and boil soups. Also tried to cook more wet dishes so that it is more palatable for my father to chew, like steamed chicken in chicken essence, my multi-ingredients porridge, my first time cooking almost-authentic ramen and also lots of soup dishes and steamboat. 


6.  Lost it.
Just before the year ends, I lost something through my reckless mistake and ignorance. It's a blind stupidity year. It is not convenient to reveal here and something which I will keep to myself. It may not be something significant to everyone, but it is important to me. I lost sleep over the matter for a couple of days. Anyway, it is something material which I will probably get over it in time. It taught me a precious hard lesson though and I will never forget it. All I can say is, I hope justice is served one day. 

7. No regrets
I have said it before and I will repeat again. Despite all the trials and tribulations, I am glad that I am fortunate/blessed enough to meet the Dharma; all the gurus, the teachings and so many spiritual friends whom I learn alot from. Maybe because I am trouble-ridden these few years, it made me appreciate even more that Dharma can help me overcome all the negativities and a tired mind. Or at least I try to view all problems and solve them from the Dharma perspective.

8.  Non existent
Didn't blog much this year. In fact, my blog just past the 10th year mark. A DECADE. 10 years of blogging, and boy, maybe I have become tired.  One thing about blogging, is that I almost never go back to re-read my previous posts. I don't know why, I find it squeamish. I am not sure where this blog will be heading, but I know I will still be hanging around in social media.

So, there. Not a spectacuIar year. Have not travelled too. Missed a work trip to Japan. Missed another trip to India. But no regrets. I have had special moments too, which warmed my heart and which I will treasure forever. 

I will end with this quote which sums up how I feel about 2014. 






No matter how you feel at certain point, be it happiness or sadness, it will soon be just a memory, a dream. So why hold on to such emotions? For it, too, shall pass. 


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