Friday, October 20, 2006
Took my 90+ grandma to perform Kathina last Sunday in the Maha Vihara temple in Brickfields. My grandma, who took care of me and my sis when we were young, is a very rigid but caring person, esp. to us. She has been suffering from some form of senility and memory loss but could still recognize us, although she sometimes confused me for my father. She came from China in her teens to escape a forced marriage and to build a new life in Malaysia. Coming from such a poor and harsh background, naturally she was very frugal and sometimes may even be seen as selfish. Nevertheless, she brought up my mum and us very well and taught us how to save for the rainy days.
I do not know how to share my exposure to Buddhism with her considering her mental condition but I know I must do something for her at her advance age and health. She stills uttered Amitabha and pay homage to many holy images whenever she can. It was a touching moment for me to be able to assist my grandma to perform the Kathina together with my family. It rained heavily that day but but deep down my heart, I'm thankful to be given the chance to bring my grandma to perform this meritorious deed.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Once everything have settled down, it's time to find out who's the culprit who braked suddenly almost causing a 5-6 cars piled up. Someone must have banged a car in front. I overtook the "almost-pile-up" line and as I drove by, I did not see any accident. The first car was a Perodua Myvi driven by a young girl who was looking desperately outside her car window. I then noticed another young guy with a sullen face walking away from this young girl's car, in the middle of the highway!! Then it dawn upon me: apparently these two must have got into a heated quarrel and the guy probably walked out the car in anger, causing the girl to stop abruptly. To make things worse, she didn't bothered moving her car, she continued "parking" in one of lane while she looked out of her car trying to coax her boyfriend(my guess only) back in. Can you believed that - she almost caused a piled-up accident and now she just disrupt traffic by stopping her car in one of the highway's lane!
I felt annoyed and frustrated initially but it was replaced by a feeling of sadness and pity for this couple. I recalled the times when few "passengers" in my car almost caused accidents when they lost control of their emotions and acted out in anger while travelling with me. These episodes were enough to convince me the evil of anger. How anger can bring all kind of negative repercussions upon us (including death). Why we need to train our minds to prevent anger from arising and if they have arisen, resist our urge to act on it. With this premise in mind, I'm sure the world would be a happier place with fewer crimes of passion.
Sunday, October 8, 2006
As I wondered about what's our world coming to, when people address their frustration, depression, anger and hatred by killing others, a friend of mine post an article in a forum I frequent. What I read cheered me up that despite all the doom and gloom I felt about today's uncaring society, there are still many people who are capable of performing magnanimous deeds. The Amish, whose many children were either coldly executed or seriously injured by a sole gunman, apparently forgave the shooter, and even said his wife would be welcomed to their children's funeral! Read about their noble act HERE.
Few key sentences come to mind:
"They talk about Monday's school shooting only in terms of forgiveness."
"... believe they need to love their enemies, which may be beyond the ability of most people..."
"...ability to grieve together, forgive as a community and realize they must move on."
Although many might find the Amish way of life strange or "unacceptable", I think we should just put our differences aside, rejoice and learn from their noble acts of forgiveness and equanimity (calm acceptance of dire situations). To me, what they did was very magnanimous when today most of us cannot even forgive those who jump queue or honk indiscriminately. Some might be interested to find out how they managed to reach such a level of patience, tolerance and forgiveness.
IMHO, I think it's coz the Amish are less self-absorbed than others. When one live in relative simplicity and does not seek comfort/pleasure constantly for the self, naturally the self-wanting diminishes and care/concern/focus for others increases. Something akin to reducing selfishness to clear the mind so we can see what's really important in life. This will often result in much inner peace and happiness to one's life. Such peace allows a person to perform deeds that may seem so magnanimous to others.
The Buddha have taught that hatred cannot be countered by hatred (such as taking revenge). Hatred can only be overcome by loving kindness. One might find it hard to forget, but it's good for everyone if one finds the way to forgive. The pain might still be around, but at least it will not fester into depression, anger or hatred. This is the wholesome way of addressing whatever "wrongs" others have done to us, something I'm still trying hard to learn and practice. Little acts of forgiveness and saying sorry have given me much peace and happiness.
The Amish way of living and noble act of forgiveness is another case in good point for those pursuing the "spiritual" path: for those who CHOOSE to live in isolation, take vow of celibacy, vow of silence, a life devoted to helping others (like Mother Teresa and volunteers of so many charities), become a monk, nun and etc. May their lives be a constant beacon of light to us.