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Stonepeace Old Archives Page 8 of 27

Tip of the Iceberg

What you see is just the tip of the iceberg-
there might be more of the same thing lying beneath.
What you see is just the tip of the iceberg-
there might be something else lying beneath.


The truth about fiction is that it is only good for one thing- the illustration of non-fictional truths. For any purpose otherwise, it is used in vain. Mythology might seem to be downright mystical or even absurd, but it delivers timeless truths about the human psyche. The rise and fall of the ancient gods reflect that of man. Do you see the airy-fairiness in the fairy tale or the moral of the story?


Is that just a dent in the car
or the manifestation of a dented ego,
since you have to drive around in the car?
Do you just drive the car
or are you driven by it,
by your ego,
letting your car be an extension of it?

Toilet Discipline

If you have two rolls of toilet paper in your loo, you will never run out of the "only" roll. But it takes discipline to maintain two rolls in the first place. If you have the discipline to maintain two rolls, you don't need the two rolls. The best contingency plans (for incontingencies and otherwise!) are for accidents or lack of discipline. Ironical isn't it? At the same time, let us realise the importance of discipline.

Fool Yourself

Why try so hard
to look this way or that?
Who are you trying to fool?
The world or yourself?


Ridiculous is not seeing the ridiculousness of life and death. Unfortunately, those who do not see this think seeing this is ridiculous. The fools and the wise both think they are wise themselves and the other foolish. The compassion of the wise is the only bridge that closes the gap, that separate the duo. This is why compassion is important- it helps to reveal the Buddha nature within us, the foolish or not so foolish.


Prevention is better than cure- prevent being born into a next life this life; instead of trying to cure yourself of the problem of rebirth in your next life. Procrastination will get you closer to nothing other than your next life. Prevention in this case is the real cure.

Better Late than Never

Better late than never,
Better say sorry than never.
There is never closure,
repentance, that is too late.
Even dying without repentance is only too late...
for that lifetime, only.


The three universal characteristics are the only true guideposts of the Buddha's teachings. But interestingly, they interweave to form the stand of no stand. They simply state that all things are empty in the sense that they are insubstantial (anatta) because they are changing all the time (anicca). This is the core teaching of emptiness. But there is a humane or rather, sentiently empathetic aspect to this seemingly bleak truths. It is the truth of dukkha, which states that it is because we do not realise anicca and anatta that we suffer. Realising dukkha in this way is the simultaneous realisation of Nirvana. In this sense, dukkha is nirvana- not that the first leads to the latter, but that they are the same ultimately.

Sudden Death

The SARS virus takes 10 days to incubate before symptoms break out. And you are not supposed to be able to know whether you got it till 10 days later. This virus is still going around. This is interesting because it means 10 days or less after today, you might find yourself struck with a deadly disease. This brings death so much closer. But is death really closer because of SARS? No. Because death is always closer than you imagine. On a cab home last night, we stopped on the highway to help a driver pinned in his smashed up car. No. We don't need SARS to bring death closer- accidents happen- accidentally, unpredictably, occasionally, suddenly. On the continued journey home, we passed by National University Hospital, which ws the nearest hospital. The driver remarked a horrible irony. He said that NUH being a SARS zone, the injured driver might catch it there- just as some patents have caught the virus at other hospitals. For a moment, death suddenly seemed closer, as we zoomed by the hospital. With or without SARS, sudden death can come, with or without the form of a virus.

Sweet Disappointment?

Box of sweets found on my train seat- do I leave it there in disgust because it is empty? No- I wouldn't want someone else, be it the next passenger or the cleaner, to suffer the same disappointment.

Outdo Yourself

You don't have to outdo everyone;
but you should at least continually outdo yourself-
or you'll continually lose yourself.

A Thousand Words

They say a picture tells a thousand words...
But even so, words can only sketch reality,
Roughly, coarsely.

Blur Lines

Is a flat and thin french fry a potato chip?
When does a fry become a chip?
Is a fat and fleshy potato chip a french fry?
When does a chip become a fry?

Bathing the Buddha

Why must we bathe the image of baby Buddha during Vesak? The question was wrongly asked- it is not a must to do so. Significance of the ritual aside, it is us who "need" and want to bathe the Buddha; the Buddha does not need to be bathed. Bath clean your inner Buddha-nature- purify.

Movie Review- 8 Mile

In the closing climax of the show, "Rabbit (Eminem)" won the rap battle, which was largely a battle of mutual -insulting battle of rythmic wits, by being thoroughly self-effacing, describing how terrible his life was. Being so graciously open and accepting of his situation, his opponent could find no weakness to insult. Thus, Rabbit won by his opponent accepting silent defeat, without retaliation.

To me, the moral of the story is this- when you conquer your ego, you conquer all. Our weaknesses are in beleving the illusion of the ego, wanting to guard it, wanting it to swell. When you let it go, nothing binds you- for what's left to guard? all that is left will be honesty and truth. "Every moment is another chance." That was the tagline of "8 Mile." Yes, this moment is your chance now- for a (im)personal breakthrough, to break free of yourself, like Rabbit did... and more.

Good Service

Had bad customer service at a phone shop recently. The shop assistant was so coolly mechanic and efficient that the service felt metal cold. Just as I was suspecting he was a robot, he turned around and talked to a colleague in a thoroughly human and warm way. He even smiled generously. Who needs more warmth? A customer or a friend? Perhaps we should treat a friend like a customer and our customers as friends? What am I saying? Do we have to differentiate at all? Let's be as equanimous as we can to all. Can we treat everyone respectfully and warmly at the same time? Everyone is our friend and customer- especially to the Bodhisattva or Bodhisattva wannabe.

Tell the Right Person

Person A is unhappy with B, but he complains to C. Is A afraid to tell B? Or does A think it is useless to tell B? Does B get the message that he was wrong, and that he should change? Or do things only worsen if B discovers A was speaking behind his back? Too often do we tell the wrong things to the wrong persons. Even if B continually does not open to advice, the patient try and yet again, without complaint to anyone else. Telling anyone else should only for seeking advice to how to help person B be open to advice.

Happy Faces

I never saw as many happy faces as I did today... in the obituary section of the papers. They were faces of gladness, humble joy. I realise that most of these pictures can't be recently taken. In this sense, I can't be sure they died happy. Yet if they lived happy days most of the time, chances are they passed away just as happily. Yet at the same time, complacency of our current happiness might have its price- too late.

Soap (Themes- Purification, Buddha-nature, Emptines)

Is there such thing as a dirty bar of soap?
1. The dirt stuck to the surface the bar is not the soap itself- it is just dirt on it.
2. The dirt embedded within the bar is not the soap itself- it is just dirt in it.
Thus, the soap cannot be dirty or dirtied. That which has cleansing or purifying abilities cannot be impure or putrefied. It is purity itself. This is an analogy for our Buddha-nature. When you break the soap, you cannot find anything within that is not soap itself. There is nothing in the soap that is not soap. It is itself, in itself. But when you further break down the soap to its molecular level, you will discover it to be composed of various elements, each of which by itself is not soap. In fact, these elements can be found in various places in nature. This means soap is empty of a fixed self-nature- there is no one thing that is soap by itself. Likewise, Buddha-nature is emptiness itself- it is not a dead unchanging thing- it is dynamic yet still- it is the truth of constant change itself- the truth that does not change.

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