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Stonepeace Old Archives Page 25 of 27

Samsara Song

Be careful when you sing a song of broken love, a song of Samsara.
Just when you think you are relieving yourself of Samsara,
you might begin romancing it.
When the song sticks,
your broken love is replaced by a new love...
and you're it-


Q: What watches the five aggregates?
A: The five aggregates.
Q: What minds the mind?
A: The mind minds itself, giving rise to mindfulness.


There is no waterfall; there is only waterfalling.
Waterfalls do not exist.
When you think you see a waterfall,
what is see is just water falling.

Likewise, there is no river; only rivering.
No writer here or reader here too;
only writing and reading.

There are no solid changes;
there is only fluid changing.
There are no shapes; only shape-shifting.
There is nothing morphed; only morphing.
The world is not the world.
The world is always worlding.

Everything is changing, changing...
leaving no trace of self.
Realise this and be free...
of the world, of your self.
This is true freedom!
For there is nothing else to be free of!

Beauty, Ugliness & Art

In seeing a good portrayal of ugliness, it becomes a beautiful portrayal of ugliness.

In this way, the duality ugliness and beauty are reconciled and transcended smultaneously. These concepts lose their meaning and what you see is what you get. When we see things as they are and are able to appreciate without labelling, without giving rise either attachment or aversion, art becomes a spiritual experience.

Photography, Art & Enlightenment

Still playing with Uen's digicam. She said okay to borrowing it for one more week. I said hooray and she commented i was like a little boy with a toy haha. I am indeed playing with it like a toy, experimenting, using it like a third eye, zooming in and out on intricate details and landscapes. It's like an eye-consciousness cum sight-mindfulness increasing device. Whenever i have it with me, i pay more attention to what i see, and learn to appreciate things as they are more, as i go snapping away.

Photography is not really about creating art; it is about noticing and freezing art which is around us all the time. It is an exercise of mindfulness. A photograph is a freeze-frame of transience- an attempt to capture a moment in time for reflection, an attempt to make the impermament more permanent... though photos yellow too. The more it seems pointless to snap anything anymore is the more equanimous the photographer has become- no longer having attachment or aversion to certain things. The enlightened see all as art, which i define as something "okay in itself or with something else." Sound strange? Enlightenment is the art of seeing all as art. When that is achieved, the concept of art is let go of.

(The difference between a digicam and a normal cam to me is that i can snap away without concern of cost or mistakes- since stored pics can be deleted and downloaded to my notebook as i like it. It can thus be more easily played with like a toy! Will get one soon.)

Romancing the Buddha

I think there is nothing more romantic than the true story of how the Buddha-to-be, Prince Siddhartha, renounced his beloved and kingdom, for the love of all beings. Surely, this is a story infinitely more romantic and touching than a love story between any 2 people. And the beautiful part is that the Buddha's true love for His family did not die. Not only was it perfected, it was extended equally to all other beings great and small without the slightest decrease. His is the ultimate romantic story- a romance of all romances- romantic in every sense of the word.

Saturday, September 07, 2002
Sin of Stereo-Typing

"To generalize is to be an idiot."

-William Blake

At the end of the day, we are individuals, not the general public; though we are part of it. A paradox- no one really thinks he is part of the general public; everyone thinks he is special. Whatever it is, it is important to deal with people and matters on a case by case basis. And because things change, we even have to adapt on a moment to moment basis! When we generalise and stereotype things, we are escaping into the convenience of self-delusion.
The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas help each sentient being differently with myriad skillful means- they are perfect models of perfect customer service!

Trapped By Words

I have a friend who has near perfect language skills. She is incredibly exact in her choice of words due the meanings they imply. But her insistence on being exact overflows to her peers- leading to occasional debates about what each really meant during conversations. That's the problem with words, isn't it? When I say "Sand", a more romantic person might picture sand in an hour glass or on a vast expanse of beach, while a more tech-savvy guy might picture sand-based silicon chips!

I think that she missed the point of the use of language. Language in the end can never be used in a 100% exact way- since the same word has as many meanings as the number of people in this world. And what's more, the most important things cannot be conveyed by language; only self-experience works- be it the experience of Nausea or Nirvana!

She missed the point of language being only an approximate tool for communication. Instead of clinging to words so tightly in the realm of either black or white in concord with the dictionary, she should relax and and learn to see the greyness of words. Only then can she fit more comfortably with the rest of the world. Words should be used only to go beyond them. Yes, you'd heard this analogy many times already- words, even those uttered by the Buddha Himself in sutras, are but fingers pointing to the moon, which represents the Truth. They are mere guides to the destination, not the destination itself. I remember this quote from somewhere, "The map is not the territory."

For my friend, hers is a case of the overuse of language in an absolute way. It reminds me that the overuse of anything leads to the abuse of it- beginning with mental attachment, which causes physical attachment. Yes, cigarettes, alcohol and drugs... and words too! The bare-nakedness and relatively wordlessness of Zen makes so much sense when i reread what i just wrote here!

Same Language

"After all, when you come right down to it, how many people speak the same language even when they speak the same language?"

-Russell Hoban

"You know what Hoban meant?
Or is his language too Zen for you? Haha"


Last Day

Email Dialogue:

Zeph: I am sometimes as sure that today is my last day as you are sure it is not. Who is the fool?
Spencer: We are both fools. Today is certainly your last day, and my last day, until tomorrow.

Tired of Eating

SMS Dialogue:

Sophie: Ever get tired of the need to eat? I do. Wish we didn't have to eat for survival; eat only when we want to.
Zeph: I wish i didn't have to eat, shit, sleep, bathe, wear clothes... haha
Sophie: Haha. At least I'm not so extreme. At least that is 1 less craving I have :p
Zeph: When in Samsara, do as Samsarans have to do
Sophie: That's not true. If we do so, we should indulge ourselves!
Zeph: I meant for survival! So that we can exit Samsara! Incidentally, my wish is not extreme; it is possible- in the bliss of Nirvana, having gone beyond mind and matter!

Super Dharma Missionary

A personal favourite Dharma dialogue exchange-

Punna, a disciple of the Buddha decided to go and live in an area notorious for violence. The Buddha's conversation with Punna illustrates his uncompromising conviction about the power of metta (Loving-Kindness). Punna told the Buddha he was going to live in Sunaparanta:

The Buddha said to Punna: The people of Sunaparanta are violent. What will you do if they insult you?
Punna replied: I will say, how good these people are. They don't throw clods of earth at me.
Buddha: What if they hit you with clods of earth?
Punna: I will say: How good they are since they don't beat me with sticks.
Buddha: What if they beat you with sticks?
Punna: I will say: How good they are since they don't stab me with a knife.
Buddha: What if they stab you with a knife?
Punna: I will say: How good they are since they don't kill me.
Buddha: What if they kill you?
Punna: I will say that, due to Dharma practice, I don't have illusions about the nature of the body.
The Buddha: Good, good, Punna. You will be able to live in this violent district.

Some of us might think Punna was a fool. But he did succeed in persuading some 500 people to follow the Dharma! He is no fool! He obviously knew what he was doing. Wow! My hero. Another account stated that he remarked that if he were to die, he would regard it as a noble worthy death.

Hit the Refresh Button

When surfing a weblog like this, or a live online news web, it pays to hit the refresh button once in a while- in case the page has been updated. Imagine logging on to early in the morning thru cable and never hitting the refresh button even once throughout the rest of the day. It'll be ridiculous, self-defeating to go online for latest news updates in the first place.

Why am i sprouting such simple web common sense? Have you hit the refresh button lately when dealing with people and matters? People change, even if only subtly. But the subtle changes can make a great difference. Ask any broker monitoring stocks and shares online and you will know. We are reborn every second with our changes in attitude- not unlike thousands of weblogs around the world being updated this very second. It is only fair to hit the refresh button on people and matters- to yourself and them. Don't choose to be blind and stare at the static webpages of your life! Learn to let go... of past prejudices- because they were formed in the past. Everything's dynamic! Moment to moment everything changes- for better or worse. Enough said... hit the refresh button now- maybe a new entry just came in! haha

Praying for Well-Being

The point is not to pray so that we can become well when we become sick,
so that we can live long,
or so that we can be reborn in a good realm in case we do not get well.
We pray so that we can live well and long enough to prepare to go beyond life and death now.
But of course, prayer without effort is useless;
and with the right efforts put in, even prayer might not be necessary.

The Bodhisattva Forest

Here is a quotation by Lord Buddha which I came across during an outing with my family at the Singapore Zoological Gardens- fragile forest exhibit:

"The forest is a peculiar organism of unlimited kindness and benevolence, that makes no demands for sustenance and extends generously the products of its activity; it affords protection to all beings, offering shade even to the axeman who destroys it."

-Lord Buddha, 500 B.C.

The above saying, which shows the compassionate side of nature, is one of the few others that are exhibited on the walls of the gallery. Do look out for it when you visit the zoo :)

With metta, Robin

The Secret of the Buddha's Smile

A conversation i had a year ago:

Zeph: What is your answer to the first ever koan of "Why did the Buddha smile while holding a flower?"
Liuguang: He was simply enjoying the present moment, smelling the flower with awareness without attachment. Mahaksayapa saw this and understood- so he smiled back. This might be the Dharma transmission of no transmission! Simple and beautiful- no complications.
Zeph: Wonderful! It's so funny then... that so many of us create convoluted theories of some mysterious secret behind the smile :-)

Meditation Machine

Yan: Hi, i have read about the use of EEG/neuro feedback (machine that measures brainwaves) in meditation . i read in the net that using EEG, one can advance very rapidly in meditation, and research have shown this. What do you think?

Zeph: I don't know if it works- but I think it is best to make meditation simple- without gadgetry- or we might become dependent on them. Meditation is afterall about letting go of things material and mental, so that we can see clearly. Anyway, assuming that it works, is there guarantee a machine will be on standby when you die- so that you can leave in peace in an advanced meditative state? You'll need good karma! And there is no machine to measure if you have good enough karma!

Going for Overseas Dharma Studies

Jas and Ally are going to Taiwan for 3 years of Dharma studies in a Taiwanese Buddhist Institute. We were having a kinda farewell gathering at CityLink's YabaDooba just now.

2 interesting things happened...

1. The girls got into a photo-snapping spree for remembrance... a little emotional. This is totally understandable. But makes me think of attachment (to form, thus pictures) and detachment (to worldly life, as they go for semi-monastic lifestyle)... The duo might join the Sangha in time, who knows? This trip is already like semi-renunciation of worldly life. Best wishes to them.
2. Lynn remarked that should they ever feel demoralised while studying, they should reflect on whether they had genuinely learnt Dharma there. If yes, they should remind themselves that the studies are indeed worth staying for. If no, they should reflect that they had already made it all the way to Taiwan, and should not leave without the Dharma! Haha... smart girl.

What is Spiritual Practice?

A: What is spiritual practice?
B: What is not spiritual practice?
C: What exactly do you mean? External rituals or internal mental transformation?
B: Since the Noble Eightfold Path is for treading upon 24/7, what is not to be part of spiritual practice, be it material or mental, work or play...?

Friday, September 06, 2002
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