Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2010

Sometimes everything seems to make sense.

Other times, I'm just confused as hell.

Haha, that's life.

More to come.

2010.

Have an awesome year ahead!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Season's Greetings!

Home at last!

May you have a blessed Christmas! =D

Friday, December 18, 2009

Maxim 28

In polite society everybody notices if a man's hands are dirty. He'll be stared at contemptuously. Why, the fellow will be wretched until he washes his hands.

But isn't it funny how a man can character that's defiled by greed and hate and nobody will pay the slightest attention? He'll move about in perfect ease. Evidently, a dirty character isn't worthy of notice as a dirty hand.

It's so simple to restore dirty hands to a state of purity. Just wash them. But what about corrupted character? That's quite another problem...

~ Han Shan ~

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Self-Reflection

P/S:
After re-reading this, I realize
that I really suck at poetry.
Ah whatever.

Sitting on my bed at 7am Finally home
Can't sleep
Jet lagged

Lots of thoughts
Come and go
I'll take this opportunity
To reflect on the past quarter

I know I keep saying this
So stop reading if you must
But I am truly grateful for this last quarter
It ended up as the best one yet

So much happened
Both good and bad
Yet through it all
I was so happy

Met new friends
Re-ignited old ones
Let go of dead branches
Nourished live ones
Had many wonderful moments
And some scary ones
Still
Through all that
At peace I was

Events of the past
That once haunted me
So grateful I am for having them
They have helped me grow
In ways
I couldn't have possibly imagined

Thanks to them
I found myself again
I realized what I really want
I rediscovered the Dharma

The painful and scary moments
I had this quarter
Were no biggie
Or at least not for long

They still hurt of course
But thanks to the past
I was able to deal with the present
In a much better light

I guess
Realization knocked on my head
Of what's truly important
And what's not

This quarter was marvelous
Full of laughter and joy
Enjoying each moment as it presents itself
The choices we make
Do change our lives

And yet I know
This is only just the beginning
There are more obstacles to come
For I never believe that life
Should or would
Be smooth-sailing

Yet
I also know
That despite this
There is much more joy
On the way

This is only the first step
I have much to learn
Much to experience
Much more to discover

Of course
This journey would not be complete
If it were not for you
Yes
You, my friend
You

I keep saying this
Perhaps you're numb already
But I don't care
I'll say it anyway

Thank you
Your presence
Your time
Your support
I will cherish our moments
Always

Monday, December 14, 2009

Thugs Violate Monastics in Phuoc Hue Temple

I felt so sad when I watched this
Thugs threatening monks and nuns
Mobs grabbing monastics and throwing them out
Shouting at the abbott and threatening to kill him
Apparently paid for doing so

They even went as far
As to send women in
To grab the private parts of monks
So that they had no choice but to leave


And what were the monks and nuns doing?
While they were suffering all this anger and hatred
While they were thirsty, hungry and cold

Did they fight back?
No they did not

Instead
They remained seated
Invoking the name of Avalokitesvara
The Boddhisatva of Compassion
Radiating forgiveness towards the very people
Who were mutilating them


Imagine how it would feel
If mobs of people went into your place of worship
Yelling swear words and molesting people by their privates
Throwing innocents out

Worse still
Imagine if you were one of these victims
Imagine if you had nowhere to go
Because that is the only home you have

That is how it feels

What is coming to this world?
Have people truly become so blinded
By hatred, anger and greed?

It doesn't seem fair does it?
But what can we do about it?
Do we punish the perpetrators?

No we cannot
For violence only leads to more violence
We can only forgive them
Understand them
Guide them
Pray for them
And hope that they change for the better

Namo Avalokiteshvaraya

Maxim 27

I glean what the harvesters have overlooked or rejected. So why are their baskets empty while mine is bursting with so much good food? They just didn't recognize their Buddha Nature when they saw it.

Everything in life depends on the choices we make.

~ Han Shan ~

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Maxim 26

Everything in the universe is subject to change. There's only one exception: death always follows life. Isn't it strange that people haven't noticed this, that they conduct their lives as though they're going to live forever, that death is nothing to worry about?

Of course if they want to live as long as they obviously expect, they'd best pursue the Dharma. Life, death and change itself are transcended in the Dharmakaya.

~ Han Shan ~

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Maxim 25

People think that if they possess worldly knowledge they know everything. But that's not correct. Even when subjects are mastered there's always room for error. And if the finest archers can miss their targets occasionally, what about the mediocre ones?

When we know the Dharma, we have all the information we need. No matter what the other facts we acquire additionally, our storehouse of knowledge, though very deep and wide, is already full.

~ Han Shan ~

Friday, December 11, 2009

You

How dare you judge others
when your own understanding is not yet perfect?

Then again
who am I to be judging you?

Maxim 24

If men can't even evade the demands of their father and emperor, what can they do when Death gives them an order? They may protest bitterly and scream at heaven, but they've got to obey. The man who howls the loudest is the one who thinks he has just reached the pinnacle of worldly success.

The enlightened understand life and death. They always live well and never complain.

~ Han Shan ~

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Mind is Buddha

Daibai asked Baso, "What is Buddha?"

Said Baso, "This mind is Buddha"

Under blue sky, in bright sunlight,
One need not search around.
Asking what Buddha is
Is like hiding loot in one's pocket and declaring oneself innocent.

馬祖、因大梅問、如何是佛。
祖云、即心是佛。

青天白日
切忌尋覓
更問如何
抱贓叫屈

Maxim 23

By successfully concealing his crimes, a person can't consider himself honorable. He knows he's done wrong.

By constantly bragging, a person can't claim to be famous even if he hears his name mentioned everywhere he goes.

By affecting the manner of holy men, monks may receive veneration, but a pious demeanor never made anyone a saint.

What are true honor, true recognition and true piety? They are internal qualities, not superficial acts or appearances.

When a man's conscience is free from stain, he is honorable.

When his reputation for integrity precedes him, he is famous.

When humility and reverence for the Dharma flow naturally out of his character, he is esteemed.

~ Han Shan ~

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Realization

The hidden book
The closed room
They are all the same
And yet, they are not

The Buddha
The Dharma
A way of life
A way of death

The Dharma, a pile of books
The Dharma, singing in the bathroom
The Dharma, a load of dung
Where is the Buddha?

Makers of our own destiny we are
Yet, are not
Do you see what I see?

Maxim 22

The rich are admired because they have saved money. But what's been saved can be spent. The admiration goes with the money. A king receives loyalty because his people regard him as noble. If they decide he is acting badly, he may lose more than his throne. Those who are in rich in the Dharma and noble in the Buddha's Way always retain their wealth and the fealty of the people.

~ Han Shan ~

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Maxim 21

There are people who, having accomplished nothing, connive to receive great honors or high positions of authority. Well, people who gain high rank without having earned it are like rootless trees. They live in fear that even the slightest wind will topple them.

Undeserved honor is a preface to disgrace.

~ Han Shan ~

Monday, December 7, 2009

Maxim 20

What are the two most common goals for people who live in the world? Wealth and fame. To attain these goals, people are willing to lose everything, including their health, mind and spirit. Not a very good exchange is it?

Worldly wealth and fame fade so quickly that we wonder which will last longer: the money, the fame, or the man.

But consider the goal of enlightenment, of attaining the wealth of the Dharma. Those who reach this goal are vigorous in body, keen in mind, and serene in spirit... right into eternity.

~ Han Shan ~

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Presenting to You...



... Poison Ivy.


Introducing:

Lead Vocalist - Augustine


Lead Guitarist - Francis


Bassist - Zhen Hao


Keyboardist - Lemon


And of course...

Adrian, the bad-ass drummer


Coming to a town near you...


... Poison Ivy.


Maxim 19

People are always looking for the easy way. The hard way - the way learned by difficult experience and painful realizations - doesn't interest them. They want a short cut.

True Dharma seekers are afraid of short cuts. They know better. They know that without effort, there's not sense of accomplishment. It's that sense that keeps them going.

People who don't appreciate the struggles of climbing lack understanding of where they've been, awareness of who they are, and determination to continue climbing. That's why they never attain the Dharma.

~ Han Shan ~

Keep up the good fight guys!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Maxim 18

It is easier to do the right thing when we know what the right thing to do is. We can't rely on instinct to find the Way. We need guidance.

But once we're shown the path and begin to climb it, we find that with each step up, we grow in wisdom and fortitude. Looking down, we see how many of our old desires have fallen dead on the wayside. They look so feeble lying there that we wonder why we ever thought we lacked the courage to resist them.

The Mountain of Wisdom is different from other mountains. The higher we climb, the stronger we grow.

~ Han Shan ~

Friday, December 4, 2009

Maxim 17

Look at people who keep tigers as pets. Even while they're laughing and playing with them, in the back of their minds they're afraid their pet will suddenly turn on them. They never forget how dangerous tigers are.

But what about people who lust after possessions, indulging themselves with one acquisition after another? They remain completely unaware of any danger.

Yet, the tiger can only eat a man's flesh.

Greed can devour his soul.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Maxim 16

Why are certain material objects so treasured? A gem is virtually useless and a gilded scabbard is no better than a plain one.

Man decides that gold is valuable because it is rare and enduring and brilliant. He then thinks that if he possesses gold, he himself will become rare or unique, that his individual worth will endure, and that he also will be considered a rather brilliant fellow. So obsessed he may become with these foolish notions that in trying to obtain gold, he will destroy the very life he is trying to embellish.

In the darkness of delusion the unenlightened believe that they can glorify themselves by reflecting the qualities they have assigned to their possessions. Those who live the enlightened life readily discern that the qualities of an object are not transferred to its possessor. They can see right through them.

Gold in the pocket is not gold in character.

~ Han Shan ~

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is the fragrance that the flower leaves on
the heel of the one who crushed it.

~ Mark Twain ~

Maxim 15

Great accomplishments are composed of minute details. Those who have succeeded in attaining the Whole have attended carefully to each tiny part. Those who fail have ignored or taken too lightly what they deemed to be insignificant.

The enlightened person overlooks nothing.

~ Han Shan ~

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Maxims 13 & 14

The heart's weather should always be clear, always sunny and calm. The only time the weather could turn bad is when clouds of lust and attachment form. These always bring storms of worry and confusion.

A single speck in the eye blurs good vision, we see double or triple images. A single dirty thought confounds a rational mind. Many errors in judgement can arise from it.

Remove that speck and see clearly! Remove that dirty thought and think clearly!

~ Han Shan ~

Monday, November 30, 2009

Maxim 12

Those who pursue money are always rushed, always busy with urgent matters. Those who pursue the Dharma, go slow and easy.

"Boring" you say? Maybe. Maybe it's downright dreary to stop and smell a flower, or to listen to a bird. Maybe a glint of gold is really more dazzling than the sight of one's Original Face.

Maybe what we need is a better definition of "treasure".

~ Han Shan ~

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Maxim 11

Put a fish on land and he will remember the ocean until he dies. Put a bird in a cage, yet he will not forget the sky. Each remains homesick for his true home, the place where his nature has decreed he should be.

Man is born in the state of innocence. His original nature is love and grace and purity. Yet he emigrates so casually without even a thought of his old home. Is this not sadder than the fishes and the birds?

~ Han Shan ~

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Maxim 10

What do people strive for? Money, or fame, or successful relationships, or the Dharma. Well, one man may become very rich but be hated by his family. Another man may be loved by everyone but not have a penny to his name. Still a third man may be hailed as a hero by his countrymen and then find himself with neither funds nor loving family.

Usually, so much effort is put into achieving one goal, that the other goals cannot be obtained. But what about the man who strives to obtain the Dharma? If he succeeds, he has gained in that one goal far more than the other three combined.

He who has Dharma lacks nothing.

~ Han Shan ~

Monday, November 23, 2009

Maxim 9

With one small fulcrum, a lever can move tons of weight. With one greedy thought, years of integrity can be corrupted. A greedy thought is the seed of fear and confusion. It will grow wildly.

The material gain that a greedy act brings is a small gain indeed. To act without greed and lose some material benefit is also, therefore a small loss. But to lose one's integrity! That is an immense loss!

The enlightened person stands in awe of the fulcrum.

~ Han Shan ~

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Maxim 8

There are times when we act with unshakable faith in the Dharma even though we don't understand the situation we are in. There are other times when we understand our situation but are afraid to be completely faithful.

In one instance, we have heart; and in the other, we have mind. We must put these two together. Understanding AND faith!

~ Han Shan ~

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Maxim 7

Our mind and body are by nature pure; but we sully them with sinful thoughts and deeds. In order to restore ourselves to our original purity, we need only to clean away the accumulated dirt. But how do we proceed with the cleansing process?

Do we put a barrier between us and the occasions of our bad habits?

Do we remove ourselves from places of temptations?

No.

We cannot claim victory by avoiding the battle. The enemy is not our surroundings, it is in ourselves. We have to confront ourselves and try to understand our human weakness. We have to take an honest look at ourselves, at our relationships and our possessions, and ask what all our self-indulgence has gotten us. Has it brought us happiness? Surely not.

If we are ruthlessly honest, we'll have to admit that it was our own foolish egotism that soiled us. This admission is painful to make. Well, if we want to melt ice, we have to apply heat. The hotter the fire, the quicker the ice melts. So it is with wisdom. The more intense our scrutiny, the quicker we will attain wisdom. When we grow in wisdom, we dwarf our old egotistical self.

The contest is then over.

~ Han Shan ~

Friday, November 20, 2009

A letter from an INFJ

Thank you. :)

***

You're a puzzle that I will never be able to piece no matter how much I try. I know this and yet I try and I will always try. I scold you sometimes when you haven't really done anything wrong. It's because I don't understand you and I'm angry with myself, not you.

You are stimulated by social interaction whereas I am stimulated by solitude. You even go as far as doing things for attention, just so people look at you. But I have come to realise that this isn't just for your benefit. You want to make people smile, laugh if possible. To you a day is wasted if there is no laughter.

You don't take things seriously. Life's a party is your motto. You put things off until the last minute, sometimes you put them off all together. I thought this was because you were lazy and uncaring and it mad me angry. But I realise that you are not as self-assured as you make out. Sometimes you put things off because you don't think you can do them. It's easier to spend your times laughing and making others laugh. It's how you cope I suppose.

You can be selfish. I nicknamed you diva, remember? I realise that you don't mean this and that you care deeply about others as when you are faced with the realisation that you have hurt someone you are mortified. I forget sometimes that you are not as observant as I. In my little head I sometimes find it hard to understand why people wouldn't act the same as me in a given situation. And sometimes that leads me to believe that their method must be wrong. But you are not wrong. You are just different. Always be different. Always.

Maxim 6

In the ego's world of illusion, all things are in flux. But continuous change is constant chaos. When the ego sees itself as the center of so much swirling activity, it cannot experience cosmic harmony.

For example, what the ego considers to be a devastating hurricane is, as far as the universe is concerned, a perfectly natural event, a link in the endless chain of cause and effect. The universe, having no ego, continues its existence without rendering judgments about hurricanes or ocean breezes.

When we are empty of ego, we too, can carry on in calm acceptance of life's varying events. When we cease making prejudicial distinctions - gentle or harsh, beautiful or ugly, good or bad - a peaceful stillness will permeate our mind. If there is no ego, there is no agitation.

~ Han Shan ~

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Maxim 5

True Dharma seekers who live in the world use their daily activity as a polishing tool. Outwardly they may appear to be very busy, like flint striking steel, making sparks everywhere. But inwardly, they silently grow. For although they may be working very hard, they are working for the sake of work and not for the profits it will bring them.

Unattached to the results of their labor, they transcend the frenetic to reach the Way's essential tranquility. Doesn't a rough and tumbling stream also sparkle like striking flints - while it polishes into smoothness every stone in its path?

~ Han Shan ~

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Maxim 4

What is the best way to sever our attachment to material things?

First, we need a good sharp sword, a sword of discrimination, one that cuts through appearance to expose the real. We begin by making a point of noticing how quickly we become dissatisfied with material things and how soon our sensory pleasures also fade into discontent. With persistent awareness, we sharpen and hone this sword. Before long, we find that we seldom have to use it. We've cut down all old desires and new ones don't dare to bother us.

~ Han Shan ~

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

You Have Inspired Me So Much




The universe may one day perish,
yet my vows are eternal.

虛空有盡 我願無

~ Master Sheng Yen ~

Maxims 2 & 3

There are also those who, claiming enlightenment, insist that they understand the non-substantial nature of reality. Boasting that the disease of materialism cannot infect them, they try to prove their immunity by carefully shunning all earthly enjoyments. But they, too, are in in the dark.

Neither are they correct who dedicate themselves to exposing the fraud of every sensory object they encounter. True, perceptions of material objects give rise to wild desire in the heart. True, once it is understood how essentially worthless such apparent objects are, wild desires are reduced to timid thoughts. But we may not limit our spiritual practice to the discipline of dispelling illusion. There is more to the Dharma than understanding the nature of reality.

~ Han Shan ~

Monday, November 16, 2009

Maxim 1

When we preach the Dharma to those who see only the ego's illusory world, we preach in vain. We might as well preach to the dead.

How foolish are they who turn away from what is real and true and lasting and instead pursue the fleeting shapes of the physical world, shapes that are mere reflections in the ego's mirror. Not caring to peer beneath surfaces, deluded beings are content to snatch at images. They think that the material world's ever-flowing energy can be modified into permanent forms, that they can name and value these forms, and then, like great lords, exert dominion over them.

Material things are like dead things and the ego cannot vivify them. As the great lord is by his very identity attached to his kingdom, the ego, when it attaches itself to material objects, presides over a realm of the dead. The Dharma is for the living. The permanent cannot abide in the ephemeral. True and lasting joy cannot be found in the ego's world of illusion. No one can drink the water of a mirage.

~ Han Shan ~

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

They Come and They Go

Last night I came across an old song
That brought back lots of memories
Lots of emotions
Emotions that I cried with
That I hurt with

I remember how overwhelming it felt
Knowing I had lost someone forever
At that moment in time
I felt that these emotions would remain
That they would never go away

I'm glad that I went through them
For these emotions have helped me understand others
What others have suffered
And what they are going through

I wouldn't want to live in a world without sorrow
For without sorrow, there can be no understanding
And without understanding, no love

Yet now I also know
These emotions
They come and they go

Just like footprints
On a sandy beach