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Stonepeace Old Archives Page 12 of 27

Saturday, April 05, 2003

"Feeling nothing is the best feeling"
-"Carefree" panty liner ad on tv's slogan.
Haha- somewhat applies to deeper meditation. See how it links? When you feel no feelings, you are more carefree haha. But of course, meditation is not for numbing of our compassion. We have to be careful not to become stone cold by balancing with Loving-kindness (Metta) meditation.

Friday, February 14, 2003

I remember a friend saying it doesn't matter how many items we check out while shopping in a supermarket- what matters is what we check out at the cashier's counter at the end of the day. Likewise, what matters at the end of our life is our final decision, our last thought. Whether we go to a good rebirth or not, or none at all is dependent on it. But of course, what we do now, what we keep doing will greatly affect what our last thought tend to be.


Shyness is not real humility.
It is the subtle but sure manifestation of the ego.
It is the fear of embarassing the self-
taken to be real, taken too seriously.

V Day

On this V Day,
with the V standing for Valentine's, not Vesak,
I visualise myself
offering lovely red roses, with other flowers and all,
to the Buddha...
my ultimate valentine,
the embodiment of true love.
Namo Original Teacher Shakyamuni Buddha!


There is nothing as nice and peaceful as a sound sleeping baby.
There is nothing as nasty and rowdy as a howling baby.
Which is the real baby?
What is the true baby nature?
There is no real baby.
The baby nature is the nature of change.
It is not different from your nature.
Despite growing up,
we do not outgrow changing.
It is changing that enables us to grow,
to evolve or devolve,
for better or worse.


By the way, I don't really "philosophize" about letting go of relationships- but of letting go of attachment in relationships- which is the key thing that ruins relationships. The truth is we have many intricate interdependent relationships which cannot be shaken off as long as we are unenlightened.


"Grasping at things can only yield one of two results:
Either the thing you are grasping at disappears, or you yourself disappear.
It is only a matter of which occurs first."


"All mind and matter change all the time-
the changing cannot grasp the changing."


Attachment to Attachment & Detachment

Zeph: "All that you fashion, all that you make, all that you buld, all that you break... all of these you can leave behind... you got to leave it behind..." U2 (Walk On)
Yah: Can you do it?
Zeph: Trying.
Yah: Not hard if you don't own or build anything. If you want to give up, why have it in the first place?
Zeph: Sometimes we realise that after we have attachment.
Yah: True... Don't get too attached to giving up attachment too, haha.

Should You be a Monk or Nun?

Even if you are a monk,
if your practice of the Way is not intense,
if your aspiration is not pure,
how are you any different from a layman?
Again, even if you are a layman,
if your aspiration is intense and your conduct wise,
why is this any different from being a monk?

-Zen Master Hakuin

If you want to be a monk but hesitate,
let go of that which holds you back...
if you really want to be a monk.
If you want to be a monk but hesitate,
and cannot let go of that which holds you back...
you either do not want really to be a monk,
or are not yet ready.


There is basically only one good reason to be a monk-
to have more space and time dedicated to intense practice.
To know if you are have this dedication or not,
go for a long retreat.
When you decide not to leave this retreat,
which is in reality retreating from attachment, aversion and delusion,
you have already become a monk within.
Decide then, whether you wish to be a monk without.


Sunday, February 09, 2003
Complex Yet Simple

Via SMS to Edna on the train home after explaining complications of a seemingly simple matter:

The world is a complex place haha...
But it can be as simple as the 3 characteristics.
Just to share some thoughts:
The world is a simple place to one who can eradicate the "I" illusion.
Be greed-free, hate-free, delusion-free.
Keep walking on the eight-fold path.
Neither too fast nor too slow.
With progress not stagnation.
Sadhu! (Excellent) to the power of 3!

Sunday, February 02, 2003
Marriage Commitment

I used to think that the custom of holding lavish Chinese wedding dinners, which invite lots of relatives and friends is a way of announcing, not so much of two people's mutual commitment to each other, but to the whole wide world (at least, their social worlds). The more trouble you go through personally to arrange for the dinner, the more you are committed. That was till May gave me an alternative viewpoint. Real commitment need not be expressed in a ceremony. Ceremonies however, can help to foster commitment in the moment. Is that oxymoronic? Commitments are supposed to be lasting; not lasting only for a moment. Well… occasions like dinners might "enforce" commitment unknowingly to the couple! Here we have the paradox of the significance of ritual. The truly committed do not mind commitment rituals. But neither do they truly need them. On the other hand, the uncommitted or half-hearted frets commitment rituals to some extent. If so, should they go through the rituals at all? I guess that is why they need to make that leap of faith in their "commitment to be committed" by going through the test of the ritual… though it is, as we have discussed, not a foolproof test! The rites of life will be important till the day the world is free from unsure hearts- both of those committing themselves and those witnessing their formal commitment. By the way, the above applies to all rituals in life, including taking the threefold refuge.

Victim of Boredom

I am a continual victim of boredom- which is why I blog a lot. I continuously crave for interesting experiences of entertaining and enlightening nature. It is my intellectual experiential misgiving. What are you doing here, spending so much time reading these blogs? I hope you are not like me. Please meditate more. Yes- I'm talking to both of us.

Window Portrait

When I was at Cameron Highlands, I saw a gorgeous view of the mountains from a window at the hotel elevator landing on our floor. The window was divided into quarters by its frame, but it looked like a giant portrait hanging on the wall. A picture of change- as the light of the day changes with the rise and fall of the sun. It was a portrait of a window and a portrait of the mountains at the same time. Thought it would make an interesting piece of installation art called "Portrait of Change." This will leave the viewer stunned for a while, before they realise that I am hinting that no matter how static whatever "scene" through the window is, it inevitably changes.


We cannot depend fully on ourselves to discover our shortcomings-
because we have personal blind spots.
We also cannot fully depend on others to uncover our shortcomings-
because they have their personal blind spots.
Thus we have to continually be open to ourselves and all other views of ourselves.

Some time a year ago, I played a game with a circle of about ten Dharma friends. In it, we balance open verbal praise of each other with "discreet" written views of each other's shortcomings. Here is my summarised list of shortcomings as a reminder to work harder (the "virtues" are left out as I find them too flattering!)-

1. Impatient.
2. Strict on some views. Must be tolerant to others who are at different levels.
3. Flare up sometimes on certain topics of discussion.
4. Must learn to listen to other views.
5. Generally egoistic (my comment)

A Pebble for Your Pocket

Here's a simple article from the book by Thich Nhat Nanh entitled as above. Notice that I seldom put up excerpts. I'm including it here because once I read it, the word "Stonepeace" came to mind!

Sometimes when we become angry during the day, it is difficult to remember to stop and breathe. I know a good way for you to remember to stop and breathe when you are angry or upset. First, go for a walk and find a pebble that you like. Then, go sit near the Buddha, if there is one in your house, or outside under a special tree or on a special rock, or go to your room. With the pebble in your hand, say:

Dear Buddha,
Here is my pebble. I am going to practice with it when things go wrong in my day. Whenever I am angry or upset, I will take the pebble in my hand and breathe deeply. I will do this until I calm down.
Now put your pebble in your pocket and take it with you wherever you go. When something happens during the day that makes you unhappy, out your hand in your pocket, take hold of the pebble, breathe deeply, and say to yourself, "Breathing in, I know I am angry. Breathing out, I am taking good care of my anger." Do this until you feel a lot better and can smile to your anger.

Beauty is Functional

I have a new office laptop. When I first got it, there was a film of plastic on its cover. It has been more than a month but I have yet to remove it. One day, while shutting down the laptop, I realised the plastic wasn't doing justice to the laptop in the sense that it covered up and "marred" its design. I wondered if I was going to keep it on forever. What am I forever protecting the laptop cover for if I am never going to expose it? It struck me that the mere protection of beauty or anything precious with no use of that which is protected is a total waste of time and effort. Anything beautiful which is shielded from the world loses its essence of being beautiful. Anything beautiful must be functional. By functional, it can be subtle but sure. A painting can inspire for instance. Interesting... this must be why inspiration is always beautiful. The best and most beautiful things in life are functional and free for all- the breeze, the singing of the birds, the cooling rain.

Guessing Games

As long as we cannot read others' minds, we can only be sure of our own intentions when it comes to communication. What matters is that we personally uphold the integrity of being truthful and sincere. Much miscommunication occurs due to uncertainty of each party's intentions- leading to both parties playing guessing games. What makes matters worse is when we are sure of our guesses while being miles apart from the truth. They are guesses after all. Even when we think someone is not being sincere, on our part, we should avoid guessing what's on his mind- because these games are endless and pointless. We are not responsible for the guessing games and games of deceit others play but are solely so for those we play.


Why try to hold on when change is inevitable?
Why give yourself grief when you can be happy?



When fellow Buddhists say "May you be well and happy" to each other, it sometimes feel a little passive- hinting the notion that happiness is a wished for thing that may or may not befall one depending on your karma or "luck." I prefer something more personal and direct- "Hey! Remember to be happy okay?" Yes, happiness is your own choice- yours to make anytime, all the time.


In our seeking of safe ground, of certainty, of refuge, realise that there is nothing safe in Samsara, that everything of Samsara is uncertain, only certain to change, not worthy of refuge. This is not hopeless- it means safe ground, certainty and refuge is not of Samsara but in Nirvana. In Samsara, rest in the truth of uncertainty instead of forcing the uncertain to be certain. That the uncertain is uncertain, this is certain. This also means that that the certain is certain, this is also certain.

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