Saturday, December 3, 2011

December Blabbering

Been very busy with work lately that I wasn't even able to start reading the books that I bought months ago. All this striving for sales and recruitment is so feeding the mind with poisons haha, better be balancing with some Dharma reads.

Lately had a brief conversation with a friend who practices yoga and felt relieved. Through the past 4 years the only places where I could talk (write) about meditative experiences and insights are here and sgforums, hardly was there anyone in my circles whom I could have a decent conversation on these. While it's true that everyone walks alone in this journey of discovery, sometimes it's good to be able to speak insanity with a fellow insane, so to speak haha. 

Time stand still so fast we're into Christmas again, still feel the same longing as usual . Was having dinner with my buddies 2 nights back at Orchard and took some pictures of the Christmas lighting, really wonderful lighting this year. And the crowd, amazing how this festive season always draws so many people to Orchard. Likewise this year I hope that Christmas can be a festive season for everyone who's suffering around the world. 

Take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. 

May all be well and happy. 


Thursday, August 11, 2011

The King's Questions


It once occurred to a certain king, that if he always knew the right time to begin everything; if he knew who were the right people to listen to, and whom to avoid; and, above all, if he always knew what was the most important thing to do, he would never fail in anything he might undertake. And this thought having occurred to him, he had it proclaimed throughout his kingdom that he would give a great reward to anyone who would teach him what was the right time for every action, and who were the most necessary people, and how he might know what was the most important thing to do. And learned men came to the King, but they all answered his questions differently.
In reply to the first question, some said that to know the right time for every action, one must draw up in advance, a table of days, months and years, and must live strictly according to it. Only thus, said they, could everything be done at its proper time. Others declared that it was impossible to decide beforehand the right time for every action; but that, not letting oneself be absorbed in idle pastimes, one should always attend to all that was going on, and then do what was most needful. Others, again, said that however attentive the King might be to what was going on, it was impossible for one man to decide correctly the right time for every action, but that he should have a Council of wise men, who would help him to fix the proper time for everything. But then again others said there were some things which could not wait to be laid before a Council, but about which one had at once to decide whether to undertake them or not. But in order to decide that, one must know beforehand what was going to happen. It is only magicians who know that; and, therefore, in order to know the right time for every action, one must consult magicians.
Equally various were the answers to the second question. Some said, the people the King most needed were his counselors; others, the priests; others, the doctors; while some said the warriors were the most necessary.
To the third question, as to what was the most important occupation: some replied that the most important thing in the world was science. Others said it was skill in warfare; and others, again, that it was religious worship.
All the answers being different, the King agreed with none of them, and gave the reward to none. But still wishing to find the right answers to his questions, he decided to consult a hermit, widely renowned for his wisdom.
The hermit lived in a wood which he never left, and he received none but common folk. So the King put on simple clothes, and before reaching the hermit's cell dismounted from his horse, and, leaving his body-guard behind, went on alone.
When the King approached, the hermit was digging the ground in front of his hut. Seeing the King, he greeted him and went on digging. The hermit was frail and weak, and each time he stuck his spade into the ground and turned a little earth, he breathed heavily. The King went up to him and said: "I have come to you, wise hermit, to ask you to answer three questions: How can I learn to do the right thing at the right time? Who are the people I most need, and to whom should I, therefore, pay more attention than to the rest? And, what affairs are the most important, and need my first attention?" The hermit listened to the King, but answered nothing. He just spat on his hand and recommenced digging.
"You are tired," said the King, "let me take the spade and work awhile for you." "Thanks!" said the hermit, and, giving the spade to the King, he sat down on the ground. When he had dug two beds, the King stopped and repeated his questions. The hermit again gave no answer, but rose, stretched out his hand for the spade, and said: "Now rest awhile-and let me work a bit." But the King did not give him the spade, and continued to dig. One hour passed, and another. The sun began to sink behind the trees, and the King at last stuck the spade into the ground, and said: "I came to you, wise man, for an answer to my questions. If you can give me none, tell me so, and I will return home."
"Here comes someone running," said the hermit, "let us see who it is." The King turned round, and saw a bearded man come running out of the wood. The man held his hands pressed against his stomach, and blood was flowing from under them. When he reached the King, he fell fainting on the ground moaning feebly. The King and the hermit unfastened the man's clothing. There was a large wound in his stomach. The King washed it as best he could, and bandaged it with his handkerchief and with a towel the hermit had. But the blood would not stop flowing and the King again and again removed the bandage soaked with warm blood, and washed and re-bandaged the wound.
When at last the blood ceased flowing, the man revived and asked for something to drink. The King brought fresh water and gave it to him. Meanwhile the sun had set, and it had become cool. So the King, with the hermit's help, carried the wounded man into the hut and laid him on the bed. Lying on the bed the man closed his eyes and was quiet; but the King was so tired with his walk and with the work he had done, that he crouched down on the threshold, and also fell asleep--so soundly that he slept all through the short summer night.
When he awoke in the morning, it was long before he could remember where he was, or who was the strange bearded man lying on the bed and gazing intently at him with shining eyes. "Forgive me!" said the bearded man in a weak voice, when he saw that the King was awake and was looking at him.
"I do not know you and have nothing to forgive you for." said the King. "You do not know me, but I know you. I am that enemy of yours who swore to revenge himself on you, because you executed his brother and seized his property. I knew you had gone alone to see the hermit, and I resolved to kill you on your way back. But the day passed and you did not return. So I came out from my ambush to find you, and I came upon your bodyguard, and they recognized me, and wounded me. I escaped from them, but should have bled to death had you not dressed my wound. I wished to kill you, and you have saved my life. Now, if I live, and if you wish it, I will serve you as your most faithful slave, and will bid my sons do the same. Forgive me!"
The King was very glad to have made peace with his enemy so easily, and to have gained him for a friend, and he not only forgave him, but said he would send his servants and his own physician to attend him, and promised to restore his property.
Having taken leave of the wounded man, the King went out into the porch and looked around for the hermit. Before going away he wished once more to beg an answer to the questions he had put. The hermit was outside, on his knees, sowing seeds in the beds that had been dug the day before. The King approached him, and said: "For the last time, I pray you to answer my questions, wise man." "You have already been answered!" said the hermit, still crouching on his thin legs, and looking up at the King, who stood before him. "Answered how? What do you mean?" asked the King.
"Do you not see," replied the hermit. "If you had not pitied my weakness yesterday, and had not dug those beds for me, but had gone your way, that man would have attacked you, and you would have repented of not having stayed with me. So the most important time was when you were digging the beds; and I was the most important man; and to do me good was your most important business. Afterwards when that man ran to us, the most important time was when you were attending to him, for if you had not bound up his wounds he would have died without having made peace with you. So he was the most important man, and what you did for him was your most important business. Remember then: there is only one time that is important--Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power. The most necessary man is he with whom you are, for no man knows whether he will ever have dealings with anyone else: and the most important affair is to do him good, because for that purpose alone was man sent into this life!" 


Shared by AtlasWept @ http://sgforums.com/forums/1728/topics/435847

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Perfect Dream



The dream is already perfect,
Even Though it's just a dream.
Through the door of suffering one awakes,
And Then there's just this perfect dream.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Am I really kind?

A friend commented yesterday that I'm a kind soul.

Almost immediately this statement rang an alarm within, and this thought recurred throughout the night, stirring up an unease that cannot be dispelled. So during the sitting last night I had to examine how this statement had such a tremendous effect in my psyche.

Subtly, an effort to do good may well be for our own egos. An attempt to feel good about ourselves, an ideal that we strive towards; these are just some of the reasons why we try to do as much good as possible. Then in the face of personal judgement, there's no place to hide. 'Am I really doing that wholly to help another? Why then isn't this extended to everyone?'

The unease felt was a result of guilt. A guilt that stems from the fact that there's still a personal want in all the things done. With the understanding that this want is also a selfless manifestation of conditions, we rest in stillness to allow it and the feeling of guilt to pass. And in the process of this we will see guilt for what it is: a physical response to a failure to upkeep to the ideal. Just by watching this recurring response, we can note how it creates a personal story of I and reinforces our grip on an ideal that never existed.

The Bodhisattva Path of relieving all sentient beings of their sufferings before one is truly the most noblest. In order to tread this journey, one is required to examine, again and again, the intent of one's actions. The point of doing this is to cultivate a unified compassion for all sentient beings. In doing this, we can all know Nirvana in this Samsara experience.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Torched

One moment, cloud nine;
the next burning depths.
What logic is there
in opinion as fickle as the seasons?

How did it change?
From one season to another.
Do we really have a say
in the way nature wield it's sword?

Cling not.
The masters advise this.
But what can cling on to anything
when it doesn't exist?

So wherein does the fire arise,
that burns everything to dust.
And grabs on to every next
desire as its food.

Sitting,
observing,
noting the cycles.
While the fire burns away.

Burn the desire.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Self-Liberated Appearances, Self-Arisen Wisdom

http://www.starsofwisdom.info/page/self-liberated-appearances-self-arisen-wisdom


Outside the three realms are shining in freedom
Inside the wisdom, self-arisen, shines
And in between is the confidence of realizing basic being
I’ve got no fear of the true meaning—that’s all I’ve got!
In this verse Milarepa sings about his realization of the true nature of reality. To realize the true nature of reality, the necessary outer condition is for the “three realms” to be “shining in freedom.” The three realms refer to the universe and all of the sentient beings within it. Sentient beings inhabit the desire realm, the form realm, and the formless realm, so these three realms include all the experiences that one could possibly have, and they are shining in freedom—they are self-liberated.*
“Self-liberation” in one sense means that appearances of the three realms do not require an outside liberator to come and set them free, because freedom and purity are their very nature. This is because appearances of the three realms are not real. They are like appearances in dreams. They are the mere coming together of interdependent causes and conditions; they have no essence of their own, no inherent nature. This means that the appearances of the three realms are appearance-emptiness inseparable, and therefore, the three realms are free right where they are. Freedom is their basic reality. However, whether our experience of life in the three realms is one of freedom or bondage depends upon whether we realize their self-liberated true nature or not. It is like dreaming of being imprisoned: If you do not know you are dreaming, you will believe that your captivity is truly existent, and you will long to be liberated from it. But if you know you are dreaming, you will recognize that your captivity is a mere appearance, and that there is really no captivity at all—the captivity is self-liberated. Realizing that feels very good.
The term “self-liberation” is also used in the Mahamudra and Dzogchen teachings, which describe appearances as “self-arisen and self-liberated.” This means that phenomena have no truly existent causes. For example, with a car that appears in a dream, you cannot say in which factory that car was made. Or with the person who appears in the mirror when you stand in front of it, you cannot say where that person was born. Since the dream car and the person in the mirror have no real causes for arising, all we can say about them is that they are self-arisen, and therefore they are also self-liberated.
When we apply this to an experience of suffering, we find that since our suffering has no real causes, it does not truly arise, like suffering in a dream. So it is self-arisen, and therefore it is self-liberated. Since the suffering is not really there in the first place, it is pure and free all by itself. And apart from knowing self-liberation is suffering’s essential nature and resting within that, we do not need to do anything to alleviate it.
Thus, Milarepa sings that what one needs on the inside is to realize self-arisen original wisdom. This wisdom is the basic nature of mind, the basic nature of reality, and all outer appearances are this wisdom’s own energy and play. Original wisdom is self-arisen in the sense that it is not something created; it does not come from causes and conditions; it does not arise anew, because it has been present since beginningless time as the basic nature of what we are. We just have to realize it. The realization of original wisdom, however, transcends there being anything to realize and anyone who realizes something, because original wisdom transcends duality.
How can we gain certainty about and cultivate our experience of this wisdom? Since wisdom is the true nature of mind, begin by looking at your mind. When you look at your mind, you do not see anything. You do not see any shape or color, or anything that you could identify as a “thing.” When you try to locate where your mind is, you cannot find it inside your body, outside your body, nor anywhere in between. So mind is unidentifiable and unfindable. If you then rest in this unfindability, you experience mind’s natural luminous clarity. That is the beginning of the experience of original wisdom. For Milarepa, original wisdom is shining. It is manifesting brightly through his realization of the nature of the three realms and of his own mind.
In the third line, Milarepa sings of his confidence of realizing the true nature of reality, the true meaning. There are the expressions and words that we use to describe things, and the meaning that these words refer to—here Milarepa is singing about the latter. He is certain about the basic nature of reality, and as he sings in the fourth line, he has no fear of it, no doubts about what it is. He is also not afraid of the truth and reality of emptiness. When he sings: “that’s all I’ve got,” he is saying: “I am not somebody great. I do not have a high realization. All I have got is this much.” This is Milarepa’s way of being humble.
One can easily be frightened by teachings on emptiness. It is easy to think: “Everything is empty, so I am all alone in an infinite vacuum of empty space.” If you have that thought, it is a sign that you need to meditate more on the selflessness of the individual. If you think of yourself as something while everything else is nothing, it is easy to get a feeling of being alone in empty space. However, if you rememberthat all phenomena, including you yourself, are equally of the nature of emptiness, beyond the concepts of “something” and “nothing,” then you will not be lonely; you will be open, spacious, and relaxed.
In the context of this verse, it is helpful to consider a stanza from the Song of Mahamudra by Jamgön Kongtrül Lodrö Thaye:
From mind itself, so difficult to describe,
Samsara and nirvana’s magical variety shines.
Knowing it is self-liberated is view supreme.
“Mind itself,” the true nature of mind, original wisdom, is difficult to describe—it is inexpressible. And from this inexpressible true nature of mind come all the appearances of samsara and nirvana. Appearances do not exist separately from the mind. What appears has no nature of its own. Appearances are merely mind’s own energy; mind’s own radiance; mind’s own light. And so appearances are a magical display. To describe the appearances of samsara and nirvana as a magical variety means that they are not real—they are magic, like a magician’s illusions. Appearances are the magical display of the energy of the inexpressible true nature of mind. When we know this, we know that appearances are self-arisen and self-liberated, and that is the supreme view we can have.
* Most sentient beings, including animals and humans, inhabit the desire realm, so named because desire for physical and mental pleasure and happiness is the overriding mental experience of beings in this realm. The form realm and the formless realm are populated by gods in various meditative states who are very attached to meditative experiences of clarity and the total absence of thoughts, respectively. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Ensō

The Ensō.

A symbol of completeness: of coming home in a full circle to where we are, looking at the world through the lens of one. The understanding is complete, that there has never been any separation at all in the first place; the perceived persona but a mirage of the conscious mind, as sensations come and go the feelings that one is in existence. Yet in the full circle, it doesn't matter, for there is no circle to begin with but a curious mental game that is played on its own.

So Live on, while the mind chatters, and the beauty fades. The circle goes on. And there is Freedom.



A poem found on Youtube

A poem inspired by the zen calligraphy ichi en so by shingai tanaka.

Where does the circle begin?
Is it a line you guess with your pen?
Is the passage of time
just a spin of a dime
along crooked line
to a finishing sign?
If you go on and on
feeling lost, feeling numb,
will you find what you want
in this meaningless hunt?

Where does the circle begin?
Is it the distance you run from your sin?
Is your knowledge of past
what sustains you to last,
what you've seen,
what you've done,
under moon
under sun?
If you keep looking back
on your life in the black
will you see what you want
in this meaningless hunt?

Where does the circle begin?
Is it the distance you mark from a pin?
If you run round the edge
on the cusp of the ledge
searching bush, searching hedge
in the seas that you dredge
if you look for the one
under heaven and sun
will you find what you want
in this meaningless hunt?

Where does the circle begin?
Can you trace another thats been?
If you copy your father,
your mother,
your brother
will you find your true self
or will you still suffer?
Is there a template for you
to know what is true?
Can you find what you want
in this meaningless hunt?

Where does the circle begin?
I'll tell you, I've seen it, I've been!
It is born in the sound of the voice of the ground
and the moon and the stars
and the sky that is ours
and the compulsion to ask!

And though I stand on the sand
With my heart in my hand
I can hear there's a sound
In the darkness I found

For there is infinite possibility
In the depths of my limits, see
From a seed grows a tall tree
And the knowledge we're born free!

And in the sound that I found
In the voice of the ground.
And the resonant art
Of my hand and my heart

Where does the circle begin?
Its easy, its drawn from within!

by Dan Osborne




Sunday, June 12, 2011

Hooked

Interesting to note a single thought of attraction recurring over and over again these few days. Yet the knowledge that this thought is recurring immediately releases it's energy. 

And so it continues to swing to and fro, until it runs through its full course. Till then.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Mindfulness is Wisdom

Mindfulness is, at the same time, wisdom. By wisdom we do not mean some particular faculty or philosophy. It is the readiness of the mind that is wisdom. So wisdom could be various philosophies and teachings, and various kinds of research and studies. But we should not become attached to some particular wisdom, such as that which was taught by Buddha. Wisdom is not something to learn. Wisdom is something which will come out of your mindfulness. So the point is to be ready for observing things, and to be ready for thinking. This is called emptiness of your mind. Emptiness is nothing but the practice of zazen.  - Shunryu Suzuki "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind"

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Transcendental Experiences

http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2007/07/bernadette-roberts-interview.html

Here is an interview with a modern Christian contemplative who shares with us her experience.

Transcendental experiences happens to practitioners of all faith, be it Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and so on. It is important to query the experience and realize that however blissful or exceptional the experience is, they are still conditional upon our senses.

In short, any transcendental experience is a human experience, and will eventually fall away. When this happens, notice the tendency of the mind to cling, to want the experience back. Once we see through the nature of these experiences, further insights may arise and again we need to question.

I have not discussed about meditative experiences so far in this blog, and do not intend to do so yet as these discussions tend to have a misleading effect on other practitioners if right view is not established.

On a light note, was just watching this mtv so decided to add this in. Love this song :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tongue Tied

Typing, backspacing.
Fingers fixated, thoughts flying.
Nothing to express, but full in expression.
A blank sheet, speaks more than what's written.

What's there left to be said?
Words 
mean 
Nothing.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Smile at Fear

Change is Perfection

There is a natural tendency for us to want a happy occasion to last longer, and we usually like to take pictures during these occasions to relive the moment.

This tendency is here because subconsciously we know that we can't hold onto anything. We know that the memories will fade, that people will change, that the happiness is just a fleeting sensation. And this is what makes this life beautiful. Change is that which gives meaning to every moment of this life.

What we need to accept is change. Change is this life. Change is what creates this persona in this world. Without change this world will cease. Impermanence is the nature of this world, and it's what this life is about.

By seeing this, we know there is perfection in the imperfections.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Missing

What is this longing?
A sensation, persisting.
A memory, circling.
A tear, pain.
A smile, bliss.
Left wanting, as it fades
into thin air.
Running after a bubble.

Translation

世道平行益当利,权衡一切程可依


Follow the way of the world, let benevolence replace personal profits;
Balance in everything, and one can depend on the journey.

The Buddha


"The Buddha" English Subtitle from KMSPKSMEDIA on Vimeo.


5 pairs of free tickets to be given away at http://kmspks.org/news/free-tickets#wpcf7-f2-p1573-o1

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Random Thought

Is it so hard to see through the veil? What does it really takes, the door of Dukkha? This world needs to awaken.

Only one truth, and this speaks of Love. A love that is selfless in nature.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Random Quotes

‎"When neither something nor nothing 
Remains to be known, 
There is no alternative left 
But complete non-referential ease." 
- Shantideva

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Reminder

The subtle fears we feel within, in the wake of the catastrophic event in Japan, is just a reminder.

A reminder to us that we are not separate from this Earth, that the transient nature of life is calling out to us, and that we must then learn to love with open hearts to dissolve the fears.

Time to pay attention; there's a need to be awaken.

With metta to all in Japan, and the World.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Dedication to the quake victims in Japan



May the survivors find strength in the human spirit and rebuild their lives.
May the vanquished see the Dharma and be liberated.

May all be well and happy.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Seeing

Courtesy of AEN


1. seer........ seeing......... seen

2. seer ------> seeing <------ seen

3. seeing

4. seeing = seen
5. | seen |    | seen |    | seen |
6. | seen |    | seen |    | seen |

Sunday, March 6, 2011

What is a Buddhist?

Stumbled upon this from twitter. Funny short clip, not to be taken too seriously too!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Reflections

一切因果,出于自心。
看清思索,自心了结。
静观其变,逍遥自在。
所谓因果,烟消云散。

Some reflections which I've written in a Chinese verse. Dunno how, but the words just came out.

This week have been a changing week, a sense of ease has taken over and feels refreshed. Letting go finally of a predominant attachment thought in the past 2 months have been refreshing. The sense of ease has carried on to my daily disposition and behavior. It seems like I've traveled back in time to a younger year and am more carefree, but with a twist of endowed honesty.

Dualistic thoughts still surfaces from time to time, some even suggesting conflicts. However the clarity is obvious, and the traces are allowed to pass.

Count on the breath.

Friday, March 4, 2011



劉德華- 
电影《新少林寺》主题曲 

作词:刘德华 作曲:赵钦


无量心 生福报 无极限 
无极限 生息息 爱相连 
为何君视而不见 规矩定方圆 
悟性 悟觉 悟空 心甘情愿 

放下 颠倒梦想 放下云烟 
放下 空欲色 放下悬念
多一物 却添了 太多危险 
少一物 贪嗔痴 会少一点

若是缘 再苦味也是甜
若无缘 藏爱 在心田
尘世 藕断还丝连 回首一瞬间 
种颗善因 陪你走好每一天 

唯有 心无挂碍 成就大愿 
唯有 心无故 妙不可言 
算天算地 算尽了 从前 
算不出 生死 会在哪一天 

勿生恨 点化虚空的眼
勿生怨 欢喜 不遥远
缠绕 欲望的思念 善恶一瞬间 
心怀忏悔 陪你走好每一天 

再牢的谎言 却逃不过天眼 
明日之前 心流离更远 
浮云霎那间 障眼 人心渐离间 
集苦连连 不断的出现 

无量心 生福报 无极限 
无极限 生息息 爱相连 
凡人却视而不见 规矩定方圆 
悟性 悟觉 悟空 心甘情愿 
简简单单 陪你走好每一天

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Thought

It was not too long ago,
that the contractions felt so real.
That the longings were pushing
their ways through.

That actions were undertaken,
and now they end in naught.
For now what is left,
is just a figment of thought.

Arising every moment,
laid to rest at the same time.
A thought is all it is
that cycles through the lifetimes.

So see through this facade
and the beauty beckons.
a beauty that never dies,
for it was never born.

Monday, February 28, 2011

What are you really afraid of?

Reposting this as there seems to be some error in earlier post, dunno how to remove the white background. Anyway timely to revisit this now.

A well written essay exploring the false-ego and Dhamma of Anatta.


What Are You Really Afraid Of?

David R. Loy argues that our true fear is not of dying but of not existing in the first place.

By David R. Loy

For the most part, we experience ourselves as stable and persistent beings, apparently immortal; yet there is also a sneaking awareness of our impermanence, the fact that “I” am growing older and will die. The tension between these two conflicting perceptions is essentially the same one Shakyamuni Buddha himself felt when, as the myth has it, he ventured out of his father’s palace to encounter for the first time an ill man, an aged man, and finally, a corpse. While most traditional religions resolve this tension by claiming that the soul is immortal, Buddhism does the opposite. Not only does it accept our mortality in the usual sense, but it also emphasizes the doctrine ofanatta, or “no-self.”

Anatta is central to Buddhism, and is closely connected to another fundamental Buddhist idea: dukkha. Dukkha is usually translated as “suffering,” and is understood more broadly as frustration or unhappiness. Although psychotherapy today has more specific insight into the dynamics of our mental dukkha (repression, transference, etc.), Buddhism points more directly to the root of the problem: it is not death that underlies our deepest fears and mental suffering, but the more immediate and terrifying suspicion that anatta gives rise to—that “I” am not real right now. This suspicion appears in us as a sense of lack and motivates our compulsive but usually futile attempts to ground ourselves with a fixed, unchanging identity. Traditionally, religious institutions reassured us that this sense of lack will be resolved, and local communities provided a social home and role that made us feel more comfortable with ourselves. Today, our more individualistic culture means it is my own responsibility to ground myself—hence the ferocious competition for fame, money, sex appeal, and other things that, it is believed, will make me “more real.”

How is it, then, that we make this mistake, and where does it lead us? Buddhism, it turns out, both describes the problem and offers a solution.
According to buddhist teachings, the sense-of-self breaks down into sets of impersonal mental and physical processes, whose interaction creates the illusion of self-consciousness—leading us to believe that consciousness is characteristic of a self.

But consciousness is like the surface of the sea, dependent on unfathomed depths that it cannot grasp because it is a manifestation of them. The problem arises when this conditioned consciousness wants to ground itself—to make itself real; it cannot succeed, however, any more than a hand can grasp itself, or an eye see itself. Its perpetually unsuccessful effort is shadowed by a sense of lack, which we experience as the feeling that “there is something wrong with me.” In its purer forms, lack appears as what might be called a generalized guilt or anxiety that gnaws on one’s very core. For that reason such guilt tends to become guilt for something, because at least then we know how to atone for it. And free-floating anxiety becomes a fear of something, because that way, we have something to defend ourselves against. Often, we look for objects—material wealth, status—in the outside world to protect ourselves against the invented causes of our distress.

But the problem is that no object can ever satisfy us if it is not really an object that we want. When we do not understand what is actually motivating us—according to Buddhism, our desire to become real, which is essentially a spiritual yearning—we end up compulsive, grasping repeatedly at what cannot fulfill us. According to Nietzsche, someone who follows the biblical admonition literally, and plucks out his own eye, does not kill his sensuality, for “it lives on in an uncanny vampire form and torments him in repulsive disguises.” Yet the opposite is also true: those of us who think we have escaped such a spiritual drive are deceiving ourselves, for the drive to escape our lack and become real still lives on in uncanny secular forms that obsess us as long as we do not know what motivates us. Even fear of death and desire for immortality symbolize something else: they become symptomatic of our vague intuition that the ego-self is not a hard core of consciousness but a mental construction, the axis of a protective web spun to hide the void. Thus, those whose constructions are badly damaged, the insane, are uncomfortable to be with because they remind us of that fact. We turn away from what is in front of us.

As Ernest Becker wrote, “The irony of man’s condition is that the deepest need is to be free of the anxiety of death and annihilation [lack]; but it is life itself which awakens it, and so we must shrink from being fully alive.”
According to otto rank, contemporary man is neurotic because he suffers from a consciousness of sin just as much as premodern man did, but without believing in the religious conception of sin, which leaves us without a means to expiate our sense of guilt. Why do we need to feel guilty, and accept suffering, sickness, and death as condign punishment? What role does that guilt play in determining the meaning of our lives? As Norman O. Brown remarks in Life Against Death: The Psychoanalytic Meaning of History, “The ultimate problem is not guilt but the incapacity to live. The illusion of guilt is necessary for an animal that cannot enjoy life, in order to organize a life of nonenjoyment.” Even a feeling of wrongdoing gives us some sense of control over our own destinies because an explanation has been provided for our sense of lack. We need to project our lack onto something because only in that way can we get a handle on it.

In contrast to the Abrahamic religions, Buddhism does not turn the sense of lack into an original sin. The Buddha declared that he was not interested in the metaphysical issue of origins, and emphasized that he had one thing only to teach: how to end dukkha. This suggests that Buddhism is best understood as a way to resolve our sense of lack. Since there was no primeval offense and no divine expulsion from the Garden, our situation turns out to be paradoxical: what ails us is the deeply repressed fear that our groundlessness, or no-thing-ness, is a problem. But when I stop trying to fill up that hole at my core by making myself real in some symbolic way, something happens to it—and therefore to me.

This is easy to misunderstand, for the letting go that is necessary is not something consciousness can simply do. The ego cannot absolve its own lack, because the ego is the flipside of that lack. When generalized guilt is experienced as the feeling that “something is wrong with me,” there seems to be no way to cope with it, and usually we become conscious of it as the neurotic guilt of “not being good enough” in this or that particular way. The Buddhist path challenges us to respond differently. The guilt expended in these situations is converted back into the simple feeling of guilt, and rather than find an object for it, we simply endure it, and do not invent stories about ourselves to protect ourselves from it. The method for doing this is simple awareness, which meditation cultivates.

Letting go of the mental devices that sustain my self-esteem, “I” become more vulnerable. In that state, there is nothing one can do with the guilt except be conscious of it and bear it and let it burn itself out, like a fire that exhausts its fuel, which in this case is the false sense of self. If we cultivate the ability to dwell in it, then ontological guilt, finding nothing else to be guilty for, consumes the sense of self and thereby itself, too. From this Buddhist perspective, our most problematic duality is not life against death but self versus nonself, or being versus nonbeing. As in psychotherapy, the Buddhist response to such dualisms involves recognizing the side that has been denied. If death is what the sense of self fears, the solution is for the sense of self to die. If it is no-thing-ness (the repressed intuition that the self is a fiction) that I am afraid of, the best way to resolve that fear is to become nothing. The thirteenth-century Japanese Zen master Dogen sums up this process in a well-known passage from Genjo-koan:

To study the Buddha way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things. When actualized by myriad things, your body and mind as well as the bodies and minds of others drop away. No trace of realization remains, and this no-trace continues endlessly.

“Forgetting” ourselves is how we lose our sense of separation and realize that we are not other than the world.

This type of meditation is learning how to become nothing by learning to forget the sense of self, which happens when I become absorbed in my meditation exercise. If the sense of self is an effect of self-reflection—of consciousness attempting to grasp itself—such meditation practice makes sense as an exercise in de-reflection. Consciousness unlearns trying to grasp itself, real-ize itself, objectify itself. Liberating awareness occurs when the usual reflexivity of consciousness ceases, which is experienced as a letting go and falling into the void. The ninth-century Zen master Huang-po wrote, “Men are afraid to forget their minds, fearing to fall through the Void with nothing to stay their fall. They do not know that the Void is not really void, but the realm of the real dharma.” Then, when I no longer strive to make myself real through things, I find myself “actualized” by them, says Dogen.

This process implies that what we fear as nothingness is not really nothingness, for that is the perspective of a sense of self anxious about losing its grip on itself. According to Buddhism, letting go of myself into that no-thing-ness leads to something else: when consciousness stops trying to catch its own tail, I become no-thing, and discover that I am everything—or, more precisely, that I can be anything. With that conflation, the no-thing at my core is transformed from a sense-of-lack into a serenity that is imperturbable because there is nothing to be perturbed.
David R. Loy, a professor in the faculty of International Studies at Bunkyo University in Japan, is the author of the forthcoming book The Great Awakening: A Buddhist Social Theory (Wisdom Publications, July 2003). This essay is an adaptation of material that originally appeared in his book A Buddhist History of the West: Studies in Lack.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Right View

my post in http://www.sgforums.com/forums/1728/topics/415738 on the right view of Anatta.


just half a cent worth.
the term used commonly, no-self, will be discerned differently.
on the literal front, it points to the annihilation of the self; the non-existence of a person. this is the view of the logic mind, and the subjective view is the basis from which such an understanding arises. 
when the process is first seen, there is a sense of detachment from phenomena, in the form of a witness observing the arising and falling. 
onwards, it is observed that even the witness is just a mirage, dependently arisen from the different thoughts that arised, in turn arisen from the conditions that are present. there's a sense of freedom in knowing and allowing the sense of self to come and go. sometimes this sense stays longer, depending on what we're doing on hand, as well as the habitual tendencies. but generally the view can be 'accessed' with ease.
in a sense, one can intuit that the sense of self is already no-self, in all aspects of the language.
feel free to add pointers, correct this view if it's wrong.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Teacher and the Student

What roles do we play in any relationship with another person? 

I mean if we were to randomly pick any person and consider the roles that are being played in that relationship, the emotions present in that relationship, the strength of that relationship, what can we say about purpose or usefulness of that relationship? 

Can we pick out certain roles that are inherent in every single relationships, considering communication patterns, influences, environment.

In my practice, I've come to realize that with every single person I come into contact with, I'm playing the roles of both the student and the teacher.

Every relationship reflects the inner state of our minds. When hateful actions are directed at me, it means hateful thoughts have arise in the my mind. In knowing this, I am the student, carefully observing the actions and thoughts that are present at this moment. In my response, I am the teacher. The response I choose will represent the lesson that the student in front of me can learn.

How are lessons from these interactions learnt?

They are best learnt when the ego is allowed to get out of the way; when we see through the illusion of self projected by our thoughts. When this is not done, any communication is just another soliloquy playing itself out in our minds then carrying out into our response.

My response of choice is the Truth. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Who Am I?

Here I'm going to attempt to write on this topic which will sound like cryptic nonsense to many people. However it is true that nothing ever happens by chance, and so if you are reading this I'm pretty assured in time to come this will make sense like a lighted bulb in a dark room.


An important note here:

There's nothing nihilistic or escapist in this understanding. This simple practice of questioning 'Who am I?' will inevitably lead one to realize the inseparability of this life and the world. A sense of radical freedom will result, and one will, upon maturing of insights, engage the world with a more positive mind frame. This, I guarantee. 



Who am I?

During the first year of my practice. I constantly asked this question every day; in the car when driving, walking, Meditating, taking a shower. Whenever this question was asked, the automatic response will be ' I am Nick', without a doubt. And following on will be this response 'No I'm not!', I had been reading extensively and chanced upon some zen verses with the phrase 'not I, me nor mine' and literally took this into the practice.

Honestly, when viewed with conventional lenses, here was one crazy bonker walking around questioning his own identity and existence. Relying only on faith and intuition, I carried on this exercise for quite awhile.

I shall not continue to describe the course of events and experiences for it will take forever. However I will instead like to write on the significance of this question.

Do we really know who we are? Or the person beside you? Or that irritating person we do not like? The person I love now? How very sure are we?

Looking at this screen on my writings, who is it that is giving rise to the thoughts 'This is nonsense'? Where did these thoughts come from? Did YOU write these thoughts consciously?

If not, then who was it that was thinking these thoughts? Is there another man in the head working in a cockpit controlling this Mind and Body like an aircraft?

Does our intuition tells us there is something bigger here. Something that is only accessible if we can allow all the chatterings in the head to ease for awhile. But NO, the chatterings will Not stop. The more you want them to, the more they come along. Is it really Me thinking thoughts, or thoughts thinking Me?

So. Admit it. You are not in control of thoughts. We can direct them in a certain direction when needed, but most of the time they direct us.

So if we can't control our thoughts most of the time, WHO is controlling them? Is there anyone else controlling my thoughts against my will?

What if?

What IF, there is Nobody here. No Inherent, Independent Personality existing within this body that is in control.

That this feeling of Me which I am feeling now is a mirage projected by the thoughts, and are not substantial in any way.

That,

In Thinking, only Thoughts, no Thinker,

In Listening, only Sounds, no Listener.

Everything we can feel, hear, see, taste smell and think are dependently arisen with external/internal conditions without a separate agent in this body controlling. Empty of inherent existence, yet Full in experience.

Emptiness in Form, Form in Emptiness.

Everything is already Anatta in nature, perfect in their conditions within this seemingly imperfect world.

So 'Who am I?'

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Empty Boat


If a man is crossing a river and an empty boat collides with his skiff, even though he is a bad-tempered man he will not become very angry.

But if he sees a man in the boat, he will shout at him to steer clear. If the shout is not heard he will shout again, and yet again, and begin cursing. And all because there is somebody in the boat.


Yet, if the boat were empty, he would not be shouting, and not angry.

If you can empty your own boat crossing the river of the world, No one will oppose you. No one will seek to harm you....

Such is the perfect man:
His boat is empty.
Chuang Tzu

Thanks to Sinweiy for posting this in the forum.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Rubbish

if i were to count the number of items i throw away everyday as rubbish, i believe the number will be astounding. at work, at home, on the streets; items that were used, useful yet unwanted. we throw most of these away. some (for some most) items are of particular sentimental value, usually despite of their expiration. these are stashed at home and proudly declared as my personal collection. they serve no purpose other than as triggers for fond memories of a past, or as reminders of a misfit. im happy to see that i have less of such items now, slowly one by one as i clear my room they get their goodbyes and transmigrated. 

Most thoughts that arises during our waking moments are like these items. The useful thoughts are soon forgotten and thrown away, leaving behind the useless ones that stick like superglue. And these are the nasty ones. They invoke the wrathful emotional sensations that leads to endless ripples in the mind frame, as they take their places happily in the deepest trenches of our inner psyche. They become conditions for actions that are more often than not redundant, irrational, or at it's worst drastic and harmful. To throw these away is not easy, more difficult than to delete that old photograph. And when I felt they are no longer featuring in this motion picture anymore, they spring a surprise ambush as a stern reminder of our humanity. At least the photograph I threw away won't return and laugh at my pitiful state. I'm happy to see that I have less of such thoughts now, as one by one I embraced them and allow them space to stage their playful acts. 

The mind is one big rubbish dump, and the act of throwing away unwanted rubbish is meditation. In this simple breathing exercise, I've clearly seen the items clinging on for their dear lives, in a last ditch attempt to reassert their existence. Yet they have no substance, and are just a mirage that fades away when attention is focused on them. This process has to be repeated until one by one the rubbish run out of resources. 

Just as I refrain from buying new items and accumulate more unwanted items, there is a similar refrain from acting that will lead to new traces of unwanted thoughts. The volition is strong, and some items have yet to expire. They will just be allowed to run their full course into oblivion.

At this point, one clinging item is in the limelight after a peaceful settlement with a previous attachment rendered it powerless. In these past few years, it has gone one big circle and is now at the starting point again, ready to spring off the grid. 

After it has completed it's race, still it will be back to the dump. But meantime, it's allowed to stay as long as it wants.

This Heart's last stop shall be here. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Noah Levine

A good sharing by Noah Levine. He's put it across spot on: Buddhism is not a religion, nor is it a philosophy. Buddhism is a life experience.

Thanks to Dean Crabb for sharing this on his blog.

This is the first time i see a Buddhism teacher with a hell-biker look, quite refreshing i must say haha.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Attachment

first contact in a long time,
and familiar memories arise.
only now they are seen through different eyes,
so pain just passes by.
there is knowledge of this subtle attachment;
a knot to be untied.
yet all are already perfect the way they are
in this very imperfect life.