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?


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

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Woo! Go Brother Phap Lai!

Listen to this. Chanting like you've never heard before! =D

Done in a chorus!

The Refuge Chant

Incense perfumes the atmosphere.
A lotus blooms and the Buddha appears.
The world of suffering and discrimination
is filled with the light of the rising sun.
As the dust of fear and anxiety settles,
with open heart, one-pointed mind,
I turn to the Three Jewels.

The Fully Enlightened One,
beautifully seated, peaceful and smiling,
a living source of understanding and compassion,
to the Buddha I go for refuge.

The path of mindful living,
leading to healing, joy, and enlightenment, the way of peace,
to the Dharma I go for refuge.

The loving and supportive community of practice,
realizing harmony, awareness, and liberation,
to the Sangha I go for refuge.

I am aware that the Three Gems are within my heart.
I vow to realize them,
practicing mindful breathing and smiling,
looking deeply into things.
I vow to understand living beings and their suffering,
to cultivate compassion and loving kindness,
to practice joy and equanimity.

I vow to offer joy to one person in the morning,
to help relieve the grief of one person in the afternoon,
living simply and sanely with few possessions,
keeping my body healthy.
I vow to let go of all worries and anxiety
in order to be light and free.

I am aware that I owe so much
to my parents, teachers, friends, and all beings.
I vow to be worthy of their trust, to practice wholeheartedly
so that understanding and compassion will flower,
helping living beings be free from their suffering.
May the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha
support my efforts.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Leaf

It's night time and that's when I'm most emo
Listening to Yiruma right now
Sitting cozily in my bedroom
Lights are off, with a tinge of yellowness from my lamp

Reflected a lot today
Life is so interesting
So much has happened
And I'm really happy that things turned out this way

This is because that is
This happens because that happens

Went to my favourite place in Chicago today
The Japanese Gardens
So peaceful
So tranquil

Jumped and crunched on dry leaves
*Crunch* *Crunch*
Just like when I was kid

I saw a leaf fall
At that moment
It seemed that time stopped
The whole Universe
Came together
In that one leaf
Preparing itself
So that I would see it descend
Ever so gracefully

Memories from the past
Events of the present
Thoughts of the future
All came together
In that one leaf
As it fell
Onto the solid earth

Looking at the leaf
A smile appears
In that moment
The leaf became me
And I became the leaf

This is because that is
This happens because that happens

Whatever happens
Happiness is there
Love is there
They have always been there
Just waiting
To be discovered

It's A Beautiful Day!

The week has been great!
But I know when enough is enough.
So the answer is no.
Off to the Zen Gardens I go!

Friday, November 6, 2009


Student: "Teach me the way to liberation."
Monk: "Who binds you?"
Student: "No one binds me."
Monk: "Then why seek liberation?"

Our prison, our dungeon, is in us. It's in our own minds, our own thinking. We strap ourselves in chains of our own making, and we do the same to each other. We train our children in the ways of bondage.

All this is based on ignorance. We don't see what we are. We don't see our situation for what it is, nor do we see how to deal with it. As the Chinese philosopher Yang Chu once said, we pass by the joys of life without knowing we've missed anything.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Difference Between Prayer and Meditation

Prayer means
talking to God;

meditation means

listening silently for His answer.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happiness is Freedom

Finding myself
Being myself
No longer a sheep following the crowd

No longer chasing
No more envy
or hatred
or lust
or greed
or anger
I can breathe freely

Awesome friendships
Finding my soulmate
Living in the present moment
Feeling true joy

Doing what I love
Daily exercise
Building my relationship with Him
Constantly improving each day

Expressing myself fully
Not caring what others think
Doing what's right
Being there for others

Thank you
For giving guidance and support
along this path

I am truly grateful
This is the best quarter thus far!

Why I Like Chubby Girls More

They're cuter when they smile.

And they're nicer to hug. =)

PS: Random post.