Thursday, August 31, 2006

May you attain Arahanthood

While having drink with a friend this afternoon, I received a sms informing me that Chief Abbot of Buddhist Maha Vihara in Malaysia, Ven Dr K Sri Dhammananda has passed away at 12.45pm today, on the National Day of Malaysia, 31st August 2006.

"Paradise is open not only to followers of a particular religion. It is open to each and everyone who leads a righteous and noble way of life."
Ven Dr K Sri Dhammananda
18-March-1919 to 31-August-2006

Although I've read about him being admitted to the hospital for stroke at the grand age of 87, I was still hoping he'll recover and continue his good work guiding and helping all of us who are lost and wallowing in samsara. He has taught me and countless others how to cultivate noble values and how to live our lives meaningfully. I felt I've have lost a truly wise and compassionate teacher.

I recalled how his teachings helped me cope with grief when I lost Hua Li unexpectedly almost 2 years ago, how I changed as I began to understand the meaning of my existence, and how much peace and happiness I've gained from his teachings.

Perhaps it's just a concidence that he passed away on our National Day, but deep down inside I hope he has been finally liberated and attained Arahanthood - no more suffering, no more dukkha.

Hope everyone spare a thought and prayer for this extraordinary man.

Feel free to download and read his publications HERE.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Gillian Chung - fought off lust & curiosity

Funny thing happened today. In the midst of many newspapers publishing the sensational news of pop singer Gillian Chung's (one half of the pop group TWINS) semi-nude pictures taken secretly, I received an email from an old friend with the pics attached.

Like any curious and hot-blooded (trying to lower the temp :) male, my first instinct is to open the attachments and view the pics. Then I thought deeper and decided I'll just thrashed it. I ain't gonna feed that lusty and restless mind of mine. Furthermore, it's a blatant violation of someone's privacy.

Ironically, I got busybody later and asked Kelly if she heard about this hot news. She immediately asked me to forward those pics to her, to which I replied they have been deleted.

Later that nite I saw Gillian Chung crying on TV news with her fellow artises behind her denouncing such flagrant intrusion of privacy and violation of common decency. I then realised what if those were semi-nude pics of my mother, sister or wife being circulated. How would one feel then? Guys, please think twice before forwarding any obscene pics, or treat this as a laughing matter.

Lesson 1 - be mindful, it'll help me do wholesome deeds.
Lesson 2 - be mindful, if not that restless and busybody mind will start talking/doing unwholesome deeds again.
Lesson 3 - keep practicing lesson 1 and 2.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Sometimes in April

Humans are supposed to be beings with a highly malleable mind. With all the right conditions and efforts, we should be able to reach enlightenment. Yet history have shown we are capable of extreme malice. Read and you'll see the kind of horrifying pain and suffering inflicted by us in conflicts, both on a personal or mass level. You'll see genocides, massacres, wars, tortures, slavery and violent crimes being committed since the dawn of mankind.

Watching HBO's feature film, Sometimes in April reminded me of one thing: the human mind, once badly defiled, are capable of terrible deeds. See how envy and anger fan hatred till people can simply kill others wantonly. See how greed and lust for power can cause deep seated resentment between fellow countrymen. Read this horrifying account: Massacre at Nyarubuye Church

Above: see how defiled men can become - smiling before brutally killing others.

All the defilements in our mind: ignorance, greed, anger, hatred will rain pain and destruction if not curb and contain. If you cannot relate, try watching the movie above and imagine that it's your own mother, father, bro, sis, children who are being pursued and hacked to death. I tried that and found myself pleading with the bloodthirsty attackers to spare my loved ones, then helplessly watched them being killed right in front of me. So do you still want to complain about your lousy day? Aren't you glad you were not born in some poverty striken countries torn apart by wars and conflicts, and living in subhuman conditions?

It's really so important to cultivate loving kindness and compassion, to overcome and cleanse our mind from anger and hatred. So that ultimately, if not for the pursuit of freedom from suffering, at least we can still recognise ourselves as human beings.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Thank You & Goodbye Hee Boon

Saw an orbituary in The Star last week showing a handsome chap with a blog, FHB adventure. Wanted to read it out of curiosity but forgot. Later The Star came out with an article about the deceased, Foo Hee Boon's very inspirational blog on his experience with multiple cancers.

Went to his blog and what I read really touched my heart. An active and lively person who's committed to conserving the environment and care deeply for his family, Hee Boon's an exceptional person, someone whom I'll probably look up to...

Here are some interesting chapters from his amazing and inspirational blog:
Making meaning
Healing & acceptance
To die suddenly
Carpe Diem!!!
Way it should not be
More will come...

Although I do not know Hee Boon in person, I'm amazed at his wisdom, energy, patience, resolve, lovingkindness and equanimity. We share so many things in common, esp. in outlook andd spirituality. There was a page where he commented on how "unneccesary" is the Buddhist practice of animals liberation because it would encourage people to catch more animals (esp birds) to cater for this "liberation market". That was my sentiment exactly some time ago. It's a wonder how some complete stranger can provide such deep inspiration to me. Thank you for sharing Hee Boon and may you be blessed with a good rebirth to continue practicing the Dhamma till full liberation...

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Supporting friends

Last Saturday afternoon, I rushed to Bidor to delivered some goods, then rushed back to KL to have a wonderful birthday dinner, and by then I was too tired to drive anymore. But on Friday night, my close friend Danny's father passed away in Seremban. Since Danny told me please don't come down, I took that as an "excuse" for me to rest after my dinner.

Then something strange came over me. Although my mind was set to go home and rest, I drove south in the direction towards Seremban. The moment I realised I should steer home, my mind told me to "make it count". As long as I had the strength and will, make it count. This is the kinda wholesome thought I'm working to encourage, and it's pushing me in the right direction now. Of course, the unwholesome thought also arises: risky to drive so long, so late, it's not appropriate for me to attend funeral on my birthday. I'm thankful that learning Buddhism has taught me to discard superstitions and value compassion. I'm grateful to be able to drive down to pay my last respect to Danny's dad and just be there for him.

Whenever I felt lazy or uncaring when others are in need, I recalled Hua Li encouraging me to visit my friend who was assaulted during a robbery attempt. I was so lazy then but she nagged me till I went, and she don't even know him well. I remembered Danny being there for me when my late wife was in ICU despite being out of touch for the last few years. I thank them for inspiring me to care and support my friends better. Every single moment spent supporting others is worthwhile, for we will never know if that's the last thing we are able to do.