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Stonepeace Old Archives Page 5 of 27

Crossed Paths

A stranger heading straight at you in a crowd is about to cross your path.

You both freeze.
He shifts to his left
and you shift to your right,
which is his left.
No through way.

You both freeze again.
he shifts to his right
and you shift to your left,
which is his right.
No through way.

You get frustrated.
This can happen up to 2 to 3 times more,
before you both fail to synchronise
and stay clear of each other's proposed path.

My question-
Why did you get frustrated?
he was not out to sabotage you.
He was trying his best just as you were.
Be thankful instead- for his efforts.

This poem is written for my self-reflection,
and for the strangers who crossed my path,
for their reflection-
in case
they were frustrated
like I was.

No Coincidence?

When there is a coincidence,
we might say it is just a coincidence.

When a string of coincidences happen,
is it a flocking of coincidences
or one big coincidence
with one big implication, meaning.
You decide.

There is a cause for everything.
But the meaning of an incident's cause and its effect is up to you to intepret.
No one has planned anything for you-
you decide what it means-
you plan the next step.

This is your existential freedom
that is also your existential crisis, your burden.

Form is Emptiness

Yes, conventionally speaking, we are the 5 Aggregates.
But, absolutely speaking, we are not simply the 5 Aggregates-
because they are also the 3 Universal Characteristics-
synonymous with Emptiness.

We are not something fixed-
we are something changing-
so we are essentially not anything.


"Zen is the unsymbolization of the world."

-Ruth Blyth

Because Enlightenment cannot be symbolised by words,
Zen umsymbolizes it as much as possible
by cutting down the usage and thus clinging to words.

Visiting Haunted Houses

Exploring a truly haunted house for fun and not to help the restless spirits is like having curious kids entering a ward for the chronic sick. It is likely to frustrate the patient, incurring his wrath. You should enter with a good spiritual doctor instead- to heal.

Breaks My Heart

A: It's true- it breaks my heart to know you suffer so. Breaks my heart more that I cannot help.
B: It is silly- let it go. It is not wise to let a situation you can't help to trouble you. Perhaps you should get over it and see if it is possible to get someone else to help.

Monday, July 07, 2003
Sorting Out

Sometimes we live too much too fast.
Sometimes we ought to sit back
and reflect where we came from,
where we are
and where we are going.

So many blogs,
so many thoughts...
I need to find time to sort them out-
these are the precious gems I gathered from my life so far.
I hope you like them.
I hope they make me a better person.
I hope it makes the world a better place.

Stretching the Limits of Your Morality

This is a thought experiment to test how far you will go to observe the precepts. For it to be effective, imagine the situations as vividly as possible and such that you will not be "caught" by anyone (other than karma that is). There is no need to tell your answers to anyone, as long as you are honest with yourself.

1st Precept - Respect for Life : Not to Kill ; To Protect

You discovered the murderer who killed all your loved ones. He is unrepentant and you have at hand the plan for his perfect murder. You can report him to the police, but he might escape. What will you do?

2nd Precept - Respect for Personal Property : Not to Steal ; To be Generous

You discover a bag of 1 million dollars and no one knows it. What will you do with it?

3rd Precept - Respect for Personal Relationships : Not to Indulge the Senses ; To be Content

You discover the girl/guy of your desires (a stranger) trapped, blindfolded and abandoned in a deserted place. She/he had undergone torture and is "used" to it. You think of freeing her/him. But the thought arises that you can fulfill your wildest fantasy before doing so- since she/he and no one else will ever know. What will you do?

4th Precept - Respect for Truth : Not to Lie ; To Be Truthful

You discover that by telling one simple lie, you will be the heir to 1 million dollars. What will you do?

5th Precept - Respect for Mental and Physical Well-being : Not to Take Intoxicants ; To Be Mindful

You discover an abandoned cellar of assorted infamous drugs and liquor. What will you do?


Beauty is only skin deep.


Skin is not very deep.
Is beauty to you only as deep as the skin?


Imagine being happy, being with the most physically beautiful person in the world, someone you lust after. Now imagine the skin on his/her nose suddenly disappears. Will you still love him/her?

If yes, why? Probably because part of your fantasy, he/she is also the most wonderful person in the world- beyond looks- probably the kindest and wisest person you know.

If no, why? Probably because character was never part of your fantasy. You might be an incredibly superficial person?

Take Care

Do you take care of something
because it is yours?
Is this selfishness?

Do you take care of something
because it is NOT yours?
Is this selflessness?

Do you take care of everything
because it belongs to everyone?
Is this equanimity?


Honesty is the best policy
because the Truth you seek on the path to Enlightenment is brutally honest.
Facing the brutally truthful First Noble Truth,
realise that you must be honest that you are not truly happy
or you will never work your way through the other Noble Truths
towards True Happiness.


A friend wants an apology
which I refuse to give
because I was not wrong.

He blames me for not giving in,
he says I couldn't let go of my ego,
since I can't apologise.

I tell him there was nothing to let go,
as I was not wrong.
He was the one hankering,
the one blind.

But of course,
at this point in time,
he doesn't see that he doesn't see-
as he is blind.
And my refusal seems like me hankering on my ego.

I did not even want an apology from him
for wronging me.
I see the irony as clearly
as he does not-
Who is it really who can't apologise?
Who is it really who should?
He or me?

Sad state of things.


If you want new friends to praise your looks,
think about this-
Isn't it better to have friends who never say you look good,
who are your true friends,
because your friendship is not based on looks?
Any praise not based on looks is more pure.

If your close friends are not superficial,
chances are you are not too.
If you are superficial,
you might scare non-superficial friends away instead.

Only the tactless,
and true friends
will tell you you have a bad hair day.
Only they will tell you you look like shit when you really do-
at least, in their eyes.
True friends do not patronise.
True friends are true because they are truthful.


Essentially, we save ourselves from our "selves."

Truth Straight from the Horse's Mouth

I heard this from a colleague- A colleague asks another coleague about whether it is true that I made an ex-colleague get fired. This is very funny to me. Because if one wants to get the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, she should ask me instead. It is incredibly simple common sense. Does she expect the complete truth of the matter about what I did or not do from someone else? For a more dramatic picture of what I'm trying to say- Do Buddhists seek the path of Enlightenment from the non-Enlightened?

Why Did You Do It?

An example of the failure of languange in bringing out irony.
(The bracketed is Chinese)

Q: What does it mean? (Shen3 Me4 Yi4 Shi4)
A: It has no meaning. (Mei2 Shen3 Me4 Yi4 Shi1)
Q: Then why did you do it?
A: Just for... (Yi4 Shi4 Yi4 Shi4 lor)

Search for Meaning

Perhaps man's disease is not
NOT seaching for meaning in life,
but in seaching for it,
in not seeing things as they are.

Perhaps man needs to go this big round,
to realise he needs not go in circles.


In our search for the meaning of life,
many of us end up finding what we personally think is meaningful enough,
and live with it-
when it might not be THE meaning of life.

But then again?
Is there THE meaning of life?
It doesn't matter what I say.
What matters is that you convince yourself that
YOUR meaning of of life
THE meaning of life.

What do you live for?

About Schmidt

About Schimidt- is about a man who has what I would call a late existential crisis or late life crisis. But like all existential crisises taken positively, they are better late than never. Jack Nicholson plays with great effect a man who loses his life direction after his retirement and the death of his wife. The opening scene sees him avidly watching the second hand of his office's wall clock, as it inches towards 5pm. It was the last day of his work. He takes a prolonged glance at his emptied office before he closes the door. We wonder what is it he would have missed, and it seems not much. He was counting down to oblivion- in the sense that he had absolutely no idea what to do with the rest of his life.

We see him bumbling about, trying to make up for lost time between his daughter and himself- sadly, with not much avail- as his daughter finds him a sudden nuisance more than helpful, as he offers help for her wedding planning. We see him questioning himself as to who his wife truly was, what he truly loved about her, as he suddenly lives in the moment and realises he had gotten so mindlessly used to her that upon careful observation, he never really understood her. Much of the movie was about his failure to connect to any fellow human being. For instance, we see him losing his best friend over love letters sent to his late wife. His friend sincerely apologises but he hankers on the past instead. And when he somewhat connected to a stranger, he got too intimate and was shooed away instead.

Just when things seem pretty much hopeless, the last scene shows him reading a letter wriiten to him by a destitute African child he had earlier adopted via monthly cheque donations of $26. Throughout the show, he had comically written his many poignant adult lamentations to him, for there was no one to listen to him, of which of course the child would not understand... He unfolds a simple crayon picture drawn by the child personally for him- showing a man holding hands with a happy child. He looks at it, stunned, and bursts into tears, weeping unrestrained, incredibly touched, glad. (This scene made me cry too.) He had found his salvation in connecting to one human being. There was nothing the child could give him in return. And there was no mention of his letters of desperation- but the picture was good enough. The seemingly anonymous and random act of kindness, of helping a child, was the only thing that brought meaning into his life. Yes, like I said about the resolving of existential crisises, better late than never. Compassion will save the world. Let's have the wisdom to connect to all beings, to bring meaning, no matter how little, into each other's lives.


How do we define originality? There is no universal yardstick. So maybe it should not be defined- in the sense that it was never meant to be. There is strictly no such thing a wholly original idea as everything arises in interdependence. Everything arises from everything. Here is an example, With the avallability of the image search function in, anyone can easily pluck an "original" picture off the web and use Photoshop to alter it- substantially beyond recognition of it being of the former picture. Is it now an original work? When does the work cross the line of being shamelessly copied to being skillfully enchanced? As the creator of the "original" picture, which got altered, would you feel that your work was beautifully improved or horribly marred? Would you feel flatterd or insulted that your picture was part of someone else's creative process? Me? If a piece of my work is used to help make the world a better place, why not?

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