Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Love and learn from our children

Read the news recently about a man who stabbed his wife, pushed her out of the car, then proceeded to stab his own 2 years old daughter repeatedly until the knife is lodged in her head after a fierce quarrel with his wife while driving on the highway. His daughter is now in "extremely critical" condition as at press time. This news shocked me till my spine. Imagine a man so overcome by blind rage that he couldn't stop stabbing his own daughter till he could no longer pull the knife out of her head. What kind of man could do that? What kind of upbringing or socio-values that could lead a man to do something as horrible as this? Imagine his 2 years old daughter thoughts as she endured such extreme pain from her own father. Is this even imaginable at all? I thought of this poor girl and I thought of my own daughter Angelina who happens to be 2 years old now and I felt so disturbed and perplexed why anyone would have to endure this kind of pain and suffering, esp. an innocent 2 years old girl. My Buddhist belief would point this to her past kamma. But I learned something more important: instead of speculating and rationalising, value each present moment I spend with my daughter and loved ones.

Before this news even fade from my mind, my good buddy Alex told me that his 9 years old niece Demi has been killed in a car accident few days back. The impact of the accident was so great it threw her quite a distance away and cracked her skull. This is how fragile and unpredictable life can be. This is why we need to make the present moment counts. It would be perfect if we could all have the maturity of adults but retain the innocence of children who do not discriminate, judge, lust, envy, greed and becomes angry easily. Their vivacious giggling and ever forgiving attitude are all we need to heal this selfish and broken world.


16-JUNE-1997 TO 21-SEPTEMBER-2006

Thank you for your love and care. Like a cute little hare, I've moved on to another lair, Don't be sad or ask why and where. For all the joy & laughters we've shared, I'll be cuddling in good care.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Good intention and swift action

Went shopping around for a mini aquarium yesterday. As I walked out of the shop, I noticed a female dog barking furiously around and at me. I felt strange that a stray dog would barked at me. When I reached my car, my instinct told me to look around and sure enough, I saw a puppy trapped in a huge drain near my car. The drain is deep and long, and the puppy was running along the whole drain yelping helplessly trying to find a way back to his mother. I thought for awhile and said to myself: "Oh what I can do? Just let it be...".

Then another thought came to my mind: "C'mon, do something to reduce his suffering, can' be that hard" (boy was I wrong). I jumped into the drain and slowly crept my way to the pup. What I did not expect was the pup's reaction to my rescue attempt. He was so scared that he ran further and further away as I tried to catch it. When I managed to close in, he growled and snapped at my hand which was trying to catch him.

Now I'm frustrated. I'm trying hard to rescue this poor fella but instead he ran then snapped at me. I climbed back up and by now, few people across the road was staring at this funny fella (yours truly) climbing out of the big drain. I paused and observed the pup running up and down the drain, all wet and yelping desperately while his mother barking nearby but only could hear him.

My mind told me to forget the whole thing and just jump in my car and drive home. Somehow I hesitated and kept thinking should I try again. I knew I would not be able to rescue the pup if he keeps running away from me. Then an idea came to me, why not seek the help of the young Myanmar worker in the aquarium shop I just visited. He would come from one direction and I wait in another so the pup could be caught by either of us: brilliant!! I hesitated again; how to ask, why would he help me, would his boss allow it and am I being a nuisance etc? I spent about half an hour trying to overcome my fear of asking for assistance. Silly me.

The shop where the young Myanmar worker came to rescue the injured pup. It's located in Bandar Puteri Puchong. Please consider buying your aquatic stuffs from these fine folks.

Finally I mustered enough courage, walked to the aquarium shop and asked the lady boss if she can spared her worker to help me rescue a pup outside. To my surprise she told me that her worker had already pulled the pup out of the drain yesterday. Nevertheless, she asked her worker to help me and both of us climbed back into the drain. As he scooted the pup towards me, the pup froze then snarled ferociously at him (man this is one angry pup), so the Myanmar youth have no choice but to use his slipper to press it down then caught the pup's ear and lifted him up to safety in one swift move. Bravo!! This is the kinda determination I should have earlier. I tried to give money to this good youth for his effort but he just smiled and refused.

I felt glad that I stuck around long enough to see it through. I've learned I should never hesitate in asking for help or trying to do good. The Myanmar youth taught me one thing: good intention must be backed up with swift action.

The pup after the rescue near the drain. I hope he doesn't fall back into it again.

Monday, September 4, 2006

Easy on the speech fellas

Spent some time this weekend reading quite a few interesting blogs, and I noticed something "disturbing". I know blogging is a great outlet for youngsters to express themselves and share their thoughts with people all over the world but I didn't realised that there were so much angst, frustration and sadness out there. Aren't there any better ways for us to deal with our anger and depression?

I used to mouth-off a lot too in the past. But know what, it didn't help one bit addressing my feelings or problems then. The little satisfaction you felt when shooting off profanities aren't satisfaction at all, you are just clogging up your mind with dirt, like a jammed filthy drain. Do you know how the leper felt after he stratched his skin so hard till it's bloodied? He felt satisfied, but in reality he's not any better, because his bloodied skin can cause more health complications (like infection, gangrene - amputation or worse, septic shock - death) - wow, I sound like House (which happens to be my fav TV show). Well at least he certainly won't look pretty. Try seeing people seething with anger mouthing off, you wanna be around them?

I know sometimes you act in certain ways when you are with certain friends. This is one of those time when advice like "When in Rome, do like the Romans do." won't work. I was like that. When I was young, I thought it's cool with mix with rude & wild friends, and as I grew older, I couldn't care less (my mind was already clogged - big cleaning required) how people see me, or how my words affect others. Well I realised now what a jerk (another word almost fill this place) I've been, firing offensive words everytime I get irritated, frustrated and angry. If you disagree with me, try this experiment: Got a MP3 Player with voice recording (if you don't, you are more outdated than me)? Put it on record mode when you feel like mouthing off or when you are with the wild bunch. Then when you are calm and alone, play it back and hear yourself. Now ask yourself: do you REALLY like yourself sounding like that?

I don't profess to be any expert but I think there are many ways to express oneself positively even when faced with a lousy mood. Or do nothing. Just wait it out. It'll pass, some faster, some slower; but for sure it'll pass - nothing is permanent. Me, I just exercise, work the bags or spar with the guys in the gym. Of late, I find being mindful, chanting and meditating useful (this is a slow learning process for me considering I've made myself into a caveman in the past). My last words (actually won't be the last ;) to you is: be nice and gentle to yourself, guard your ever fluctuating mood or one day you'll wake up seeing an apeman on the mirror.

PS. Apemen are NOT gorillas. Gorrilas are gentle animals. ;)

Sunday, September 3, 2006

Reflection of The Chief Reverend

Who do you see when you look at the mirror? Is that really you?

Who do you see when you look at Ven Dhammananda? The Buddha and His teachings.

Now who do you see when you look at the mirror again? The result of those teachings.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Ooi. Thanks Jeff.

Saturday, September 2, 2006

Pics of Ven Dhammananda funeral

Despite a late appointment and a procrastinating mind, I dragged my lazy legs (no disrespect intended, just goes to show how the deluded mind can play games with the noble heart) to Ven Dr K Sri Dhammananda funeral last night.

I arrived around 9.30pm and to my surprise, people are still flocking in to pay their last respect to The Chief Reverend. There are no parking available yet people parked their cars far away and walk to the Buddhist Maha Vihara temple. Fortunately we have RELA members standing by to direct traffic and manage the crowd.

I reached the front gate and I saw dozens of volunteers from Tzu Chi Merits Society welcoming me with their hands clasped together saying "Amithabha". I felt slightly awkward since this is a Theravada temple but nevertheless I remembered The Chief's words of goodwill and compassion above religions and labels. And this is one occassion where every single labels/differences will be put aside to honour a man whose teachings help us live peacefully and happily; and in the process, make this world a better place for everyone.

Long line of visitors waiting to pay their last respect to Ven Dhammananda.

Most stay to reflect, radiate Metta, chant and meditate.

When it's my turn to pay homage, I knelt down, bow three times then walked to the late Ven Dhammananda casket. I just closed my eyes and said "Thank you. Thank you very much for teaching me how to live my life. Thank you for everything." I walked away after that and at the point, I couldn't help it but tears just flowed down my eyes. I walked outside to the tents to compose myself. I felt kinda embarrased because nobody around me was crying. The Buddha have taught that it's useless to cry and wallow over the dead. Death is a natural thing for all conditioned beings in Samsara. Having calmed down, I walked back into the Main Hall and then sat down behind the other visitors to hear the chanting and reflect. Streams of visitors are still pouring in even though it's after 10pm. I closed my eyes, chant then took refuge in the Triple Gem.

After awhile, I took some pics with my handphone and line-up to pay my homage to the late Ven Dhammananda again. This time I managed to go near the casket and take a final look at the late Ven Dhammananda. He look so serene, calm and peaceful. My heart is finally at ease, having seen the man whose teachings changed the way I lived my life and interact with those around me. It's a real pity I never get to meet him personally when he was alive. Oh well, be contented (another Chief's famous words) - at least I'm well and happy now, more than I could ever be if I had not learn and practice Buddhism.