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MoonCentral (Archive : Jun 2005)

Potential : Seed of Possibility



Potential energy might not seem to be energy but it is always there - latent and suspended. Given the right conditions, it springs into action, transforming into various forms of active energy. Think a boulder perching on a cliff. Likewise is the seed of Buddhahood in us as Buddha-nature ever-present - the constant possibility of becoming enlightened, of realising perfect wisdom and manifesting perfect compassion. The worthiest thing to do is to condition this seed to blossom and bear fruit, and to teach others how to do the same. -zyrius

30/06/05 12:02 AM
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Faults : Of Being Not Faulted



When you are in a position such that no one tells you your faults, you are either so good, or such that no one dares to tell you your mistakes. Any falsely perceived perfection seemingly endorsed by the silent masses is the perfect beginning of one's downfall - be it in areas spiritual or worldly. -zyrius

29/06/05 11:24 PM
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Truth : "Weird" Yet Wonderful



Truth is always stranger than fiction simply because Truth is beyond the wildest imagination. But "strange" does not mean "bad", it is actually "wonderful". -zyrius

29/06/05 11:15 PM
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Mistakes : Unrecognised Wrongs



As long as we are unenlightened, we always make more mistakes than we are mindful of, simply because we are not mindful and wise enough. No one is perfect till he is perfected. Humility is thus essential for the unenlightened. For the enlightened, there is no need to be proud either - which is a weakness of one's insecurity of status. -zyrius

29/06/05 11:02 PM
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Love : The True Thing



She tested him by asking him to list why she should remain with him - despite his discovered and repented unfaithfulness. But even after a day's reflection, he could only list all the reasons good for himself... He wants her back because he will miss her smile, her company, her cooking... But that was not what she wanted to hear. All she wanted him to say was, "I want to be with you - because I want to bring you happiness, because your happiness is important to me." He had missed the point of what true love means - unconditional and unreserved giving. Yet she too had forgotten to give true love - she merely hoped for it for herself. Be they make or break, theirs was thus just a worldly, not a spiritual relationship. Sadly, she did not see this. -shiqin

29/06/05 10:40 PM
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Politics : What's the Problem?



Where there are humans
You will find flies
And Buddhas -Issa

When I say I "hate politics", I'm actually saying I dislike dealing with the complexity of real life's complicated mix of outright and often underlying mix of greed, hatred and ignorance (the three poisons). But because unenlightened humans are social animals with the three poisons, politiking is always inevitable. I realise my aversion to politics are based on my lack of compassion and courage in dealing with it for the sake of others, and lack of wisdom in handling it skilfully without breaking losing moral integrity (breaking the precepts). Yes, everything good and bad is a test of how much attachment and aversion we have, respectively, out of delusion.-zyrius

29/06/05 10:14 PM
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Wrong : Misconception of What's Right



One right thing about people, even the wrong ones...
They do not really know they are really wrong -
because really, no one wants to be wrong;
they merely mistaken they are right.
-stonepeace

29/06/05 09:40 PM
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Clinging : How It Doesn't Really Get



Cling on to any one thing - and you lose everything else.
You also lose that you cling to - because everthing changes.
Let go of clinging - and what is not "yours" or "you"? -stonepeace

29/06/05 09:18 PM
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Tag : A Piece of Skin



She wanted to buy the bag as it was made of vegan (animal-free) material. Unfortunately, there is a leather tag tied to it. It wasn't necessary or part of the bag - there merely for branding purposes. To buy the bag means one must get the tag too. Ain't it stupid? Humans don't need that piece of leather skin but the cow to which it belonged to needed it. Sighing, she gave the bag a miss. But that day, she did discover a major shoe brand that uses only PVC and not leather - Americaya. Yes, no need to trample on the sin of late cows at all for the sake of vanity. It is always a challenge to lead a life that is as vegan as possible - from everything we buy and consume from head to toe. It's a constant practice of mindfulness and compassion that's worth all the trouble, which is so much less "painful" than the pains animals go through when forced to provide for us. (above pic is not actual tag) -shiqin

29/06/05 08:40 PM
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Redefinitions : For Breaking Perceptions



Here are some redefinitions of everyday things -

1. Pocket: A hands-free bag worn with one's clothes.
2. Stairs: A tall wall diagonally staggered into units of short walls.
3. Bowl: A large handle-less cup.

But am I breaking old perceptions yet creating more? Is it needed? The point is to realise the emptiness of all perceptions, and not cling to any. -shian

28/06/05 11:25 PM
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Vision : Seeing Through Dead Pixels



If I look at a clear bright background with my left eye, I see a couple of curly hair lines. What's this called medically? I forgot. It's like a human version of dead pixels on a monitor. This subtle barely visible condition prompted me to think - what "dead pixels" do we have mentally, that obscure our perception of reality, that make our field of sight incomplete. There must be so much more. Very humbling indeed. We need to revive the dead pixels. But first, we need to recognise which are dead - by seeing them clearly with our live pixels. -shian

28/06/05 10:53 PM
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Bump : In the Dark



Yesterday, in the pantry of the office with the lights off, I bumped my head on the corner of a hanging wall cabinet. There was a sharp pain for about 10 seconds, as I rubbed my head vigorously to ease the pain - in case I get a nasty bruise or bump. But it felt damp. My hand was smeared with fresh red blood - more than I 'd ever seen from me. I went to the toilet, and used toilet paper to swipe the blood off. Thankfully, it didn't flow on. Looking in the mirror, I see a gash about 5cm long but it was not a gaping one. I went back to my cubicle seat. I wondered if I should ask someone for first aid. But the pain had subsided and I thought it was best to let it clot naturally. I thought of finding a place to lie down, or at least tell someone in my department. But that seemed unnecessary. There was no need to kick up a fuss. I carried on working.

I was a little shocked by my reaction, or rather, my lack of reaction. I didn't even yell a bit. I was unmindful enough to bump my head, yet I was mindful enough to realise a bloody mess does not have to equal pain, danger or panic. It was a bittersweet experience - painful but funny. This human body is so fragile I'm surprised this didn't happen more often in the history of my life so far - by accident of course. Kids, don't try this at home though - it's definitely not the most sensible way to handle a head injury! Clean up, apply antiseptic and bandage. That's what I did later when I got home. If pain persists, see a doctor. I did that today, after the wound did not heal well enough. -shian

28/06/05 10:40 PM
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Work : Its Advantages



On long medical leave from work. Sometimes I don't like to go to work. Because I hate the seemingly inevitable office politics, and how at times I have to compromise my ideals as to how things should be done. Then I remind myself - working regularly is to ensure I'm of constant and disciplined usefulness to society, and hey, I get paid too. It exposes me to all kinds of people and stuff, lets me learn and have material to write on... to share with the world through means I can, to make it a better place... Yes, it's worth it. I needed to write this to sort my thinking out about work - the leave is ending soon. Work is essential for my survival and my spiritual practice, as I better myself through dealing with unpleasant people and matters. So much more advantages than not working. And yes, the problem is not out there. "When the mind is pure, the land is pure." -zyrius

17/06/05 02:19 PM
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Che : The Motorcycle Diaries

<Tagline: Let the world change you... and you can change the world.

Some words from the movie "from" Che, about his coming-of-age wanderlust days of (self-)discovery before becoming a revolutionary. In a letter to his Mother - "What do we leave behind when we cross a frontier? Each moment seems split in two. Melancholy for what is left behind, and the excitement of entering a new land." What about the frontier of life and death? Attachment to life and anticipation of afterlife? All stray thoughts - alternating quickly from thought moment to moment.

To an encountered stranger when asked what they were doing on their motorcycle pilgrimmage to nowhere yet "everywhere", and whether they were working - "We travel just to travel." But do we live just to live? Or to learn? Learn for? Learn what? To learn for the sake of becoming truly happy. To learn how to become so, and to share what we have learnt.



Before the end of the film - "Wandering around our (Latin) America has changed me more than I thought. I am not me anymore, at least not the same me I was." Wandering around Samsara, we will discover change, and we will change. When we see this in depth, our lives change forever. We become kinder and wiser. -zyrius pic:danheller.com

16/06/05 03:00 PM Point | |


Emptiness : Neither This Nor That

Not like this;
Not like that;
All dharmas* are emptiness.**

-Anonymous

*   phenomena of mind and matter
** constantly changing, empty of substantiality

15/06/05 05:12 PM Point | |

This is Your Life : And Some of Its Lyrics


Some harshly true words from the last track, "This is Your Life" of the "Fight Club" movie soundtrack. Excerpted below are the lyrics I agree with...

1. This is your life. Good to the last drop...
    This is your life and its ending one minute at a time.
2. Its only after you've lost everything that you are free to do anything.
3. You have to realise that someday you will die. Until you know that, you are useless.

4. You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.
    You are the same decaying organic matter as everything else.
    We are all part of the same compost heap.
    We are the all singing, all dancing crap of the world.

    You are not your bank account.
    You are not the clothes you wear.
    You are not the contents of your wallet.
    You are not your bowel cancer.
    You are not your grand latte.
    You are not the car you drive.

Thoughts:

1. Good to the last drop, use every drop well. No time to lose!
2. Only when you have renounced all attachments to mind and matter are you all free.
3. If you live as if you will live forever, you will never really live,
4. We are different only superficially. We are all equally mortal, yet with eternal Buddha-nature.
    You are not your wealth, posessions, identity, illness...
    You are not your _______
    You are _______ (fill in the blanks)
Share with us by clicking "Comments"! -zeph

15/06/05 05:00 PM Point | |

Fight : The Right Thing to Do It For



We should not "fight" for any organisation, teacher or his/her followers, or even for ourselves. "Fight" for the truth - for benefitting others with nothing less than the pure teachings of the Buddha. -zyrius

15/06/05 04:05 PM Point | |

Dream : Just a Dream?



"Please... a bad dream is probably just that - a dream." said Professor X in "X-men Evolution" to Jean Grey, when she had a nightmare that Cyclops was in danger. (She was right in this case though.) This is a dream, yet never "just a dream" - it is our "reality" in the moment. It is where we have to wake up from - wake up more to the higher reality. If we do not use this illusion to break free of it, what can we use? See the illusion as illusory and all that is left is the truth. -zyrius

15/06/05 03:49 PM Point | |

Emotions : How Unreal They Really Are

<click... You can only do so much, you must do your best. -Richard Gere

At their first meeting, the Dalai Lama asked him (Richard Gere) about acting.

"He said, 'When you do this acting and you're angry, are you really angry? When you're acting sad, are you really sad?' I gave him an actor's answer. I said, it's more effective if you really believe in the emotion you portray. He looked into my eyes and laughed. Hysterically. He was laughing at the idea that I could believe emotions are real - that I'd work so hard to believe in anger and hatred and sadness and pain and suffering. I should have known, as an actor, that I create those emotions. That is what we all do, every day."

We choose our emotions from moment to moment. We are "actors" who accidentally convinced ourselves that we are our emotions - whenever we get emotionally carried away. But we merely "act" out of habit. -shiqin

15/06/05 03:34 PM Point | |


The Sea Inside : Not Pro-Life = Not Pro-Nirvana


Just watched the movie "The Sea Inside", which is based on the true story of Ramon Sampedro - who fought for some 30 years as a quadriplegic to end his life. Despite being touchingly acted (yes, it brought me to tears) and beautifully filmed, respectully, I can't help disagreeing with him. Ramon in the show repeatedly said that "life is a right, not an obligation." He is totally right. We have the right to end our lives - but it doesn't mean we should, even in the most dire of situations, since what we truly want is True Happiness, not illusory "oblivion".

In Buddhism, any intentional ending of life is murder. Self-consented euthanasia is simply suicide or self-murder. What are some possible ill consequences? It might lead to the loss of an immediate human rebirth for a very long time, due to not treasuring it enough. Not "wearing out" one's negative karma of being ill till natural death, residue karma might surface immediately upon rebirth. One might be reborn with the corresponding ailments carried over from the last life. This means the fruition of negative karma is only deferred in suicide - for no good reason. True Happiness is only delayed, if not made harder to attain when we choose the "easier way" out of Dukkha (dissatisfactions), which does not work, which is actually the harder way. The extraction of, say, an aching tooth. might mean instant relief, but suicide only makes one plunge deeper into the abyss of Dukkha. Unenlightened,y You can't just switch off Dukkha or karma. If you reflect carefully, this pro-life stance is not cold at all; but totally compassionate.

A Catholic priest tries to dissuade Ramon from taking his own life, saying "Freedom without a life is not freedom." Ramon retorts, "A life without freedom is not a life." My take - "Freedom is going beyond attachment or aversion to life or death." Ramon's choice of euthanasia was made out of attachment to his previously active life, and to his belief that death will be the end-all and be-all to his mental suffering (since his body, being numb, did not really suffer.) Vice versa, he had aversion to not being able to live physically actively and thus to life. Obviously, though disabled, Ramon still had his fundamental and most precious freedom - the freedom to choose his state of mind. But he was so attached to physical mobility, that he felt his life was without dignity. Yet the film clearly portrayed him as a warm and loving person, readily bringing joy to those around him, who always treated him with love and respect. He was already living a fruitful life, more so than many others. It breaks my heart that despite this, he spent his last 30 years fretting life more than cherishing it. What he had were 3 decades of golden opportunities to practise and master meditation, to discover freedom of the mind, without the need to fret about caring for the body, which was cared for willingly by others! What good karma despite what bad karma!

His fundamental delusion, it seemed, was similar to the director's view, that just as there was "nothing" before birth, there will be "nothing" after death. Almost nihilistic? In Buddhism, everything physical and mental arises and sustains from the congregation and interaction of causes and conditions. How can something as complex as life simply spring forth from nowhere to only dissolve into nothing? There is constant transformation of everything, even so as we speak. We (d)evolve by our choices and (in)actions. Some life or death decisions are difficult to make. But let us be as brave as we can and make the right ones. May Ramon and his family be well and happy. -shian

15/06/05 01:34 AM Point | |

Groundhog Day Effect : Are You Going Through It?



Da: (After a case of unrequitted love) Now I can feel why some people like the Groundhog Day movie so much.
Zy: We experience the Groundhog Day Effect when we have not outgrown our habits and karma. When we break through, things change.
Da: I was refering to the abilities to go back and change things... to relive and to interact differently. Anyway, got to come back to reality.
Zy: As long as we don't outlive our karma or change our habitual patterns, we are reliving our only reality - which we got stuck in.
-zyrius & da

15/06/05 00:46 AM Point | |

Teacher : Become a Perfect One?



Ideally, ideal Dharma teachers teach and embody perfect teachings of the Buddha. Realistically, many teachers are imperfect in teaching and exemplification of that they teach. This is due to our own karmic imperfections, leading us to lack perfect teachers. Sometimes, beggars can't be choosers. You might have to make do at times, but be very very careful. And why not aspire to become a perfect teacher to be a model example - a Buddha? -zyrius

14/06/05 01:55 PM Point | |

Music : What Makes It Spiritual?

Spiritual music has lyrics of wise reason and tunes invoking kind emotions. -stonepeace

14/06/05 01:21 PM Point | |

Stench : The Mystery of the Reeking Loo



He could not stand the strange stench in the single cubicle toilet. It didn't smell like shit. Yet there was nothing in it which could smell so bad. Every time he went in, he would smell it. Once outside, the smell would disappear. Asking many others about it, no one smelt anything strange. It was like a personal curse of sorts. When he sat on the cleanly flushed toilet bowl, the smell suddenly became more intense. Bending lower to find the source, he realised it was his shoes! In the less compact spaces outside the toilet while standing up, the smell would not be detected. But in the cramped cubicle, it would naturally "intensify". He was carrying his own curse, one that only he would experience - even in a public place! In ways like these, we personalise our own self-inflicted and self-sustained suffering - whether we know it or not. -zeph

06/06/05 01:41 PM Point | |

Warning : Swinging Branch Ahead Above Head



There is a rather big swinging branch on a tree on the roadside. It's almost broken all the way through - looks like it can snap any time. In a worst case scenerio, it might drop on a passer-by's head. Every passer-by who walked by, who was aware of it, counted their blessings that they were not victims. Every other passer-by who did not notice it had no thoughts about it. When the branch does hit someone, who is responsible? Is the accident the responsibility of those who noticed the danger, who failed to report it? Is the accident the responsibility of those who failed to notice the danger, who thus could not report it? On the account of individual karma, it is the fault of the person who got hit. On the account of collective responsibility, I like to think it is the fault of every passer-by who simply passed by. Which kind of passer-by are you? Are you the kind who sees, or who is "blind", or who choose to be "blind"? There are "swinging branches" of some kind above almost everyone's heads if you look carefully. Will you be compassionate enough to warn them? Maybe they will warn you about those above your head too when you do that. Let's keep a lookout for each other, and take care of each other whenever we can. But look above your own head first! -zeph

06/06/05 01:18 PM Point | |

Knowing : Completing It



Overheard questions in a conversation: "Do you understand? How do we know if the other person understood correctly?" Now ask yourself these same questions in another way: "Do I understand? How do I know if I really know?" If I'm not sure, there is more to know. Become more and more enlightened till fully enlightened - the state of pure knowing and seeing, of infinite light of wisdom without the shadow of a doubt. -zeph

06/06/05 01:02 PM Point | |

Customer Service : You are Served by Your Un/Friendly Karma



The checkout counter girl at the supermarket was talking brashly to her colleagues in the midst of her work, though she didn't lose efficiency. She grumbled about work and another colleague with no apparent restraint. Being next in the queue, I braced myself for some super lousy customer service. To my surprise, she was polite, In fact, her service was not "not bad"; it was good, as she served swiftly, answered a question nicely, and even suggested buying something else to get a better deal. All my speculation was groundless. Her ongoing dialogue with her colleague and its contents had absolutely nothing to do with her work performance! Fretting about bad customer service, the only bad customer service I got was that imagined. How foolish! (This is equivalent to one of those unfounded fears of the future.) How often do we judge someone for something from how s/he does something else? How un/accurate can it be? What's really fair is not to judge at all. It's scary that if my mind was not open enough, I could had nit-picked at her to do fault-finding, mindfully or not, thus fulfiling my open prophecy that her service sucks. I'm glad that didn't happen. I should just brace myself for anything but don't expect anything in particular. In this way, I'll always be prepared for surprises, both the nice or not so nice. -shiqin

06/06/05 12:45 PM Point | |

Chilli : Tasting Karma with Eyes & Skin



Something strange happened last night. I was chopping red chiili to add to the noddles I was helping to prepare. After washing up with soap, getting ready to eat, I rubbed my eyes a little. There was a sensation of hotness, much like that from tasting chilli. Luckily, I did not rub too vigorously. It was as if my eyes were tasting chilli. After bathing later, the fingers which touched the chilli felt "spicy" too. It was bizarre because I had already bathed. (I did not feel the chilli's effects on my hand earlier at all!) Similarly, it was as if my fingers were tasting chilli. Are our senses just where they are at the sense organs? Or can they be elsewhere too? Seems like so. What was more amazing was how traces of chilli could last so long upon contact. It was like a silent infection which haunted, having the ability of appearing and disappearing suddenly when the conditions are right - with or without your knowledge or approval. A lot like karma's sure but delayed subtle effects? Chilli karma I'd just been through! -shiqin

06/06/05 11:52 AM Point | |

Accidents : Why There Are None



Just as it is not by chance, due to practising mindfulness and having good karma, that no accidents happened, likewise, it is not by chance that accidents happen, be it due to lack of mindfulness and/or good karma. -stonepeace

06/06/05 11:32 AM Point | |

Open-Ended : Enlightenment's Eventuality



Ours is an infinitely open-ended universe with the only grand finale that is liberation, given enough time, given enough bumming around in the countless rounds of rebirth, as we, even the slowest of learners, eventually learn the lessons of life and death. But why take so long? Do what you can to win Enlightenment as soon as possible - to help yourself and others faster. A way of reiterating the third Noble Truth - "The true happy ending or 'ever-after' is always from the true ending of suffering." -zyrius

06/06/05 11:19 AM Point | |

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