A lot of things that matters to me in the past (money, career, assets etc) didn't matter so much now. A lot of things that I neglected or taken for granted (doing good/charity, family time, showing care, relatives, friends, watching my words & actions etc) matters a lot now. Hua Li passing in Jan 2005 have spurred some very drastic change in me, changes that I never thought I would do in the past. Looking back, I think I would have been a much better person if not for my selfish desires. I like who I am now, even if it's at the expense of being outcast by a few "friends" because we no longer share the same "wavelength" or interests. I guess vice really is vice to me now; not fun, excitement, satisfaction or the various other tags I use to justify indulging in it.
Some of the major changes I underwent are:
1. Stopping profanity, harsh speech or cursing others.
2. Being more caring to others, esp the less fortunate.
3. Doing charity and giving to the needy.
4. Stopping alcohol or any intoxicating substance.
5. Stopping pornography and preventing lustful thoughts.
6. Trying my best to stop lying. If the truth is hurtful, I'll keep silent - this is the hardest thing to do.
7. Being more tolerant and patient.
8. To think first before I act or react.
The Lotus flower grew up beneath mud and sand to blossom above the water. Any drop of dirt on it will drip off into the water. A majestic sight indeed.
Amazing how a painful event in life can spur such a drastic change in a person. I recalled the day when my staff Kelly told another staff Kenneth that he should see the Charles she knew in 1999, he utter profanities often and definitely would not tolerate scolding from dealers without mouthing off and firing back. I remembered tolerating harsh words, curses and abuse from a certain loved one, at an intensity that I would never have tolerated say 5 years ago. Hearing and reflecting these comments from people who see me daily are truly refreshing and encouraging. To me, it meant I've really changed, for the better.
I like who I am now, and even though at certain times I felt the need to be the "old Charles" in order to belong, I've managed to resist it so far. And who must I thank? My greatest and most benevolent teacher, The Buddha. For opening my eyes to the value of my life and the lives of all those around me. For teaching me the 4 Noble Truth.
PS. Thank you Vince for the words I used as the title above.