Unseen 2

See unseen fresh and currently unarchived blogs in this section
by Shiqin, Zlyrica, Zyrius & Zeph.
This is the no frills section without pictures and dates.
Comments are welcomed at

201) First Joss-stick

I see on TV, Chinese jostling to be the first to stick the first joss-stick in the incense burner of a popular local temple - in the belief that it will bring superior good luck. Some guys get burned by sparks flying over their heads in the process. How ironic - getting bad luck from trying too hard to get good luck. In fighting for peace, peace is lost.

200) One Work

Look for the one single powerful mission you wish to undertake in your life. And put all your heart into accomplishing it. Branch out only when ready. And do not change the agenda unless you really must. I'm talking about spiritual purpose - do not mix it up with mundane ones - for they do not ultimately get you anywhere. Yet at the same time, be aware that you might need mundane work to support your spiritual work.

199) Charity Auction

One has to be careful of one's spiritual motivation when participating in charity auctions - or they can become ego trips - because you can give a big fat cheque silently and anonymously before or after the auction, if you really just want to do charity and need neither the auction item or the limelight.

198) Freak Accidents

It is no freak accident if freak accidents keep happening. Then again, there are no freak accidents in the first place. Everything happens according to the then present causes and conditions.

197) Attachment to Places

It is important not to be attached to a place, even if it is a temple, as one is unlikely to be able to be at one's favourite place when dying. If you are attached, then ironically, your yearning for a place for peace of mind will disturb our mind.

196) Testing Patience

Zlyrica: The subway train broke down again. I feel like I am being tested on my patience recently.
Zeph: The moment we feel impatience is the moment our patience is tested. Not giving in in the moment will we pass the test. The test is in the moment - you don't have to think of it as a long difficult test. As suddenly as the train broke down can it resume operation.

195) First Question

Before you asked your question, there was no question.
So question why you have the question first.

194) Leadership

A good leader does not merely remain a good leader. A good leader creates good leaders who creates more good leaders who create more... The Buddhas are thus the perfect leaders, who reveal to all their Buddha-nature - spiritual leadership qualities.

193) Distracted

Because he lost mindfulness, he got distracted, so much so that he did not realise he was distracted. That was how he strayed off, following his stray thoughts... till the meditation session was up.

192) Ignorance

In Milan Kundera's Ignorance, is a tale of two people who revisit the land they came from, which they missed, who discovered themselves forgetting details of the past as it was. I didn't read the book, but I can imagine the agony of the realisation or non-realisation of lost or muddled memories. One would be suffering from loss of identity and personal history, living on groundlessness. But then again, it means the freedom to live life anew unencumbered by the burden of the past. A double-edged sword really - for it also means having to relearn painful lessons. Ignorance, ignorance. Samsara is a series of recurring lessons learnt and forgotten - existential senility. Let's learn well one time this time, and get it over with.

191) Missing Sickness

I miss being sick - it ironically made me more alive, more appreciative of life. It reminded me that life is a form of sickness, even in wellness - because of impending sickness, death and rebirth. It slowed me down, made me pay attention to details. It was a kind of mental wellness though it was physical unwellness. Made me see clearly that the mind can indeed be well despite the body's ailments.

190) Only Necessary Rule

Always do the necessary things
and never do the unnecessary.

189) Real Generosity

A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime.

But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman. "I've been thinking," he said, "I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone."

-Buddhist story from the Yahoo Club

Generosity is always more precious
than the most precious object of generosity.


188) Anger

Anger is the real destroyer of our good human qualities;
an enemy with a weapon cannot destroy these qualities, but anger can.
Anger is our real enemy.

-His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Being angry at your anger will not rid it.
When Loving-kindness arises, hatred falls.


187) Classics

I thought of having a classics or favourite section for my blog. But every article is a classic - or it won't be blogged. I don't believe in blogging the useless - wastes my writing and your reading time. As in the Zen story of the meat-seller who replies to the question, "Which is the best part?", "Every part is the best part."

186) Absolute Path

In webdesigning language, the absolute path leads to the absolute page, truth. And the relative links lead only to relative pages within its context.

185) Species-ism

I have love for the footless,
for the bipeds too I have love;
I have love for those with four feet,
for the many-footed I have love.

-Anguttara Nikaya II, 72 (The Buddha)

The Buddha's love is so universal that not only is it anti-racism, it is also anti-species-ism.

184) Spillover

The problem of existence is not that the world exist,
but that we do, and that in our interaction with the world,
it appears as if it is that which gives us problems,
when we merely spillover our ill effects to it,
as rebounding effects spill back to us.

183) Finding

I don't know when to stop finding.
Because I don't know if I'm close to finding.
Though what I'm not sure if it is there,
or that it can be found.

I was talking about things like the meaning of life,
and the perfect house, job, life partner...
This is our existential crisis.
So maybe we should stopfinding and start living and see what happens.

182) More Time

Q: Does the Buddha have any teaching on finding extra time?
A: The Buddha said time is a measurement of change. This means if nothing change for something or someone, that thing is timeless. So I guess... if you want more time, you need more change - and the best and easiest is to change spiritually instead of physically. So, ironically, to find more time, you should spare some time to charge up your spirituality...

181) Moon Myth

There is a mysterious myth about pointing at the moon. I searched for it briefly on the net without much avail. Seems like a very Singaporean phenomenon. When I was a kid, adults used to say that if you point at the moon, your ear might be cut. Personally this happened to me too. I pointed the first time in the spirit of rebellion. And the next morning, I woke up with a slight red slit around the ear. Some years later, I pointed in the spirit of disbelief. And the same thing happened. Only less than a year ago, I did it again in the spirit of confirmation - but nothing happened.

The best answer to the phenomenon is this stigmata theory I found online "Maybe it's because kids really believe what adults told them. They believe that their ear will really be cut, hence the body reacts to the belief and produces the mark. It is well-known that the human mind is capable of producing scars on the body." -Mathwizard

My theory is that there might be unseen devas around who wish to teach the kids a lesson on humility and respect for the unseen forces of nature.

180) Like-minded

The ultimately like-minded will be like the Buddha and Mahakasyapa smiling at each other silently - no more words and ego seeking or seeing differences.

179) Communication

In a world without corrupted and imperfect language, it is pureland with pure and exact communication of pure Dharma. In our world, language is a necessary "evil" for approximate communication.

178) Time

Time is on our side -
only when we lose track of time -
in meditation -
as we gain insight into the illusion of time.

177) P

Ignorance is bliss...
for the time being...
as your good karma wears out,
as your bad karma rears its ugly head.

176) Mourn

The ignorant mourn the death of others;
the wise mourn that they are alive with their delusional sense of self.

175) Onus

It is a matter of fact that the ignorant miss the truth as the wise get it.
And the onus lies on the wise to help the ignorant see it.
Undertaking this burden is compassion in action.

174) Sleep

Our existential crisis is our reluctance to sleep or die when it is time,
our reluctance to wake up or see the light when it is time.

173) P

When we are dead to the world in unmindfulness, we live in a dead world.
When we awaken, everything around springs to life.

172) Trivialised

When sex gets trivialised, Samsara becomes a playground where the Dharma gets trivialised.

171) P

The classic existential dark night of the soul is only good for one thing - that there is no soul experiencing it. This is much more liberating than harrowing.

170) Live Sharp

If you hurry, you live in the future.
If you procrastinate, you live in the past.
Live only this moment sharply.

169) True

When you are true to yourself, you are true to everyone else.
No self-rationalisation and no pretense.

168) Ditto

SMS from a friend. Good idea :

Before 2003 ends, I would like to seek your forgiveness for any wrong done to you via my speech, thoughts and actions. Thanks for being with me in 2003. =)

My reply:

Ditto! Amituofo!

167) Prince

Wi: Why did you give me the book "The Little Prince" back then?
Mi: That's for you to find out.
Wi: Okay. Maybe I know... Little Prince... Maybe I'll find out more if I read the story again :>

(Actually, I had no particular message for Wi.)

166) P

Translated and sent via SMS for a friend from Chinese:

The mind (thought) arises (is born) and all phenomena (dharmas) arises.
The mind ceases and all phenomena ceases.
Negative karma (afflictions) ceases with the cessation of the mind.
The mind arises and there is rebirth of this body (life).
Ceasing the mind liberatees this life (body).

The many parentheses sugguest the complex mutli-meanings of the Chinese language.

165) Politics

To what extent is the voice of the government that of the people?
To what extent is the government the people themselves?
To what extent is the government a body governing a people,
   and not the people governing the people?
To what extent does the government care about the government more than the people?

Because of these questions and more, politics is very confusing to me - too complex to even just read a report on, or even all the reports available. What is politically correct and what is correct? It does seem to make a lot of sense to steer politics away from spirituality - unless one is spiritual enough to handle political complications.

164) Critic

Yup... each person is his or her own critic with personal perception, likes and dislikes... while he or she thinks he or she has the unique perspective to the one Truth, or to at least some aspect of it. Does this mean to doubt all or to respect all, or to both doubt and respect all? why not?

163) Stereotype

This is to remind me to write a story of a person stereotyped by the society he lives in, who leaves for another place where people know him anew, where he is free to be himself... till he becomes stereotyped again. It's a story of the curse of stereotyping - which even makes him stereotype the world as full of only people who stereotype him - until he realises he is actually like everyone else in some sense, and that everyone is like him in some sense. Okay, that's it. The story has been written - as above.

162) Universe Club

About the Chinese's debut successful sending of a rocket to space succesfully in 2003, I just heard on TV someone commenting that the Universe belongs to all of humankind and not just the Americans or Chinese. He added that we should welcome anyone's entry into the "Universe Club."

This is funny because who are we to claim the Universe belongs to us humans only? What about thr birds and the trees? What about the aliens, if any? And if the universe belong to all, is not Earth part of it? If so, does America belong to China and vice versa too? Where is no man's land? Anywhere unmarked and unterrestrial only? As the space race extends beyond Earth, it will be interesting to see how man's ego and greed extend accordingly to "conquer" the rest of the universe. And er... we are all already in the Universe Club - membership is free - and you don't have to be an astronaut or have a rocket to join.

161) Door Closing

I see people rushing for the subway train when the door-closing chime has not even started sounding yet. The anxiousness was unnecessary. Maybe these folks have not noticed the purpose or even existence of the chime. Suffering can come from not reading the environment properly and being too one-tracked minded for one's goal only. The sad thing to me is that some might never notice the chime in their lifetime despite taking the train day in and out. What other lessons are there before us that we continually miss, life after life?

160) Blocked

You will always know when you are blocked by people in your path. But unless you are mindful enough or if someone lets you know, you will never know when you block others behind. As readily as you forgive yourself for unknowingly blocking others, so too should you forgive others for blocking you.

159) Forever

Like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, we are forever running out of time (as the length of time is uncertain), while we have all the time in the world (as rebirth when unenlightened is certain). Our existential dilemma is what to do now.

158) Real Job

Is your day job your real job? Or does your day job support your other job - whatever it is - that you are driven to do after work? Whatever it is, whatever you are doing in the moment is the real thing. In that moment, nothing else matters. Am sure Bruce Wayne works hard for Wayne Enterprises as the boss, just as he works hard as Batman - or he would not be successful at either - as each job works makes the other possible.

157) Nose

"By the way, you kept touching your nose during your talk." It is amazing how mindful we can think we are while we are not. I did not recall that at all! It helps to have helpful friends who tell you what you are missing.

156) Thanks

Thanks for the tea,
for seeing me off,
for the love.

155) Shave

I don't shave unless needed to - out of hygiene and courtesy when I need to meet people who don't know me well, up close and personal. I consider my shaving for any other reason vanity. To continually grow hair that is unessential that needs tending - it's a small part of my routine Samsara haha.

154) Crap

Don't grow to distrust the crap that life dishes you, but grow to trust that you did the crappy to deserve crap. Cold but true. If you would rather believe in chance, then there is no one to blame.

153) Photogenic

Photos only capture moments - posed and unposed. The photogenic are not necessarily beautiful in real life and the unphotogenic not necesarily ugly in real life. A picture of reality in a moment is not reality. Reality is changing-ness - it is moments in motion.

152) Karmic Hyperlink

With net links, we are karmically hyperlinked together - at least, in a more visible way - for we are all still inextricably interlinked, even without the net.

151) Giving

There is only one ultimate act of generosity that opens the floodgates of limitless generosity - offering yourself - giving up your illusion of self - so that you can be of selfless service to all.

150) Save for What?

I see comic book heroes working hard, at the risk of their lives to save people and the world in colourful adventures. I see them going through continual tumultuous trials and tribulations. But for what? Saving a life is incomplete. Is meaning of life (and death) understood by the ones saved? Is the meaning realised ultimate enough? And I almost got addicted reading on and on about these adventures... from comic books borrowed from the libray. All this reading... for what? What's the point?

149) Suffering

Life is painful. Suffering is optional.

-Sylvia Boorstein

It struck me that this popular liner is a combination of the first and third noble truths. The first line corresponds with the reality of the first truth and the second with the third truth - because it is ultimately about the alternative - Nirvana.

148) Read Halfway

I do not often leave a book half-read. Sometimes I want to finish it just for the sake of doing so. Is this wise? Sometimes I take it to be a test of will to finish a difficult book. But sometimes it is a game of ego. The moment I know it's ego at play, let me close the book in mindfulness and leave it aside to come back to again... without the ego, to decide it deserves more of my time later.

147) Fresh Meat

There is only one kind of fresh meat - the kind that that is alive and kicking, that runs, swims and flies free - not the recently slaughtered. All other kinds of so-called fresh meat are carcasses in the various stages of decay, commercially hampered by freezing.

146) New Definition 1

Step: A low wall.
Stairs: A set of staggered low walls. Or a single high wall staggered forward in sections upon each other.

New Definitions: For seeing the world anew asit is without past perceptions.

145) Sign

It's a sign! Of a coincidence that I do not make any sense out of... So I'll just let it be... though nothing happens by random chance, things do not have to be strung up with similar threads of meaning anyway.

144) Greed for Speed

Flugg's Law (?): The slowest checker is always at the quick-checkout lane.
Zeph's Law of Speed: Any human-conceived shortcut is often the long-cut in the long run.

The rule is 10 items or less for the checkout counter only. And somehow the queue there tends to be one of the longest - because everyone wants speed - which makes the normal lines ironically faster at times. Everyone wants to take the highway, so everyone clogs it up together. A person can be queuing with more than 20 items... with his family or friends cutting in later to divide the load by 10 when it's his turn. The complexity of human behaviour and greed always make human-made rules useless to some extent.

I was dicussing this with Zlyrica, who had a preconceived idea that the quick-checkout lane should be the shortest and fastest. The truth is out - the speed lane is not always the speediest - especially during peak hours, when it ironically should be the speediest. Likewise, any human-conceived shortcut is often the long-cut in the long run. This is the world of chaos created by greed. But the universe's way of balancing the problem is that greed for speed will hamper the speed which the greed was after in the first place.

143) Wit

Wit and wisdom, wit and wisdom...
Do not mistaken wit as wisdom...
Though true wit will have true wisdom...
Though many laugh at witless wisdom and unwise wit.

Because wit and wisdom can co-exist, often with greater effect than by each alone, I don't see why entertainment and enlightenment can be presented together in good taste!

142) Arbitrary Time

The bus you wait for will arrive at a totally arbitrary time - especially if you have never noted it for its punctuality or schedule. Is there then, a need to note the bus's arrical pattern? Not for me. I do not wish my life's schedules to be dictated by a bus schedule. And I can enjoy any waiting time reflecting or chanting, or just enjoying the wind, sun and scenery. You have a choice not to feel you are wasting time by not fretting about the bus, by doing something spiritually fruitful, while training your patience. I consider these arbitrary periods of time as breathing spaces for collecting myself in the moment too, and treasure them. Hmmm... better not become attached to wanting time to enjoy this waiting time - especially since it is but an arbitrary period - like the length of my life - which will be as long as I deserve it - which will not be affected by my longing for more or less of it.

141) Mental Health

Read in Time magazinne about more and more children and young adults using drugs to curb mental problems such as depression. There was a two page spread of the popular drugs and their possible side-effects. Found it scary. Should the world continue looking for physical cures for mental problems? Even if science explains mental problems to come from physical chemical imbalances, it does not trace the origin of these imbalances to being caused by the mind itself, whether in this life or a previous one. Mental problems are best solved mentally - eg. through meditation. For those with tendency to hallucinate, they should try chanting. Side-effects should be virtually non-existent if these practices are done under the guidance of good teachers.

140) Deserts

You are your just deserts, who continually create more deserts for yourself.

139) Rabbit Horn

If you think there is something troubling you, you are right. If after reflection, you still think there is something troubling you, though you can't pinpoint it, you are still right - because thinking you are troubled is itself trouble, Just be sure you were not searching for a rabbit horn or tortise hair - something which does not exist - like a phantom worry.

138) Tension

Sexual tension between friends and strangers can be easily eased with Loving-kindness, which is neither the extreme of physical love with attachment, nor the other extreme of distant uncaring coldness.

137) TV

It's ironical when I see someone who was one minute listlessly channel-surfing the TV and the next glued to something interesting on the goggle box. It is as purposefulness of life can be found at the flick of a switch. There is a world of difference between watching something purposeful being screened on TV... versus thinking watching something with purposefulness is purposeful... versus doing something purposeful.

136) Bodhisattva Vow Random Test 1

Q: What do you do when you see an injured bird while you are on your way to another place?

A: If you are queasy about holding a bird, have a plastic bag handy in your bag, which should serve as a Bodhisattva emergency kit. Use the bag like a glove to carry it. Postpone your appointment and take a cab to the nearest vet. Nurse it to health at home and set it free. Do not care about the inconvenience of it all; just care for the bird.

135) Vain

I have too much suffering,
and see too much suffering
to be vain,
to live in vain.

134) Peanuts

It is a tradition in Singapore that Mahjong game sets and peanuts are served to visitors during Chinese funerals. I used to think it's because the jolly Chinese want to make death a merry-making celebration to fight the gloom of someone's doom. But it seems, these days, that the Mahjong is to help break the ice and give an extra cause for gathering and socialising. A friend says it helps to kill the blues at the 5-day wake. It's deeply ironical to me - because death is a time for silent reflection, not jovial celebration. And the occasion which marks the absent "host's" running out of time is contrasted with the living with too much time to kill.

133) Scenery

I take only a minute or two to breathe in and soak in the magnificence of the scenery of most scenic places I go to - even if the view is spectacular. Right after that, I feel ready to move to the next location. Maybe that's why I'm not as readily eager as others to go on tours. Not because I find awesome places boring, but because I so easily detach myself; I don't get easily attached to places. I do enjoy myself - in fact, I suspect, much more than most people - because I breathe in the breathtaking-ness in the moment. I find it a blessing though, not a curse at all, that I'm not compelled to travel as much - though I have been many places, in my opinion.. It means I'm not so restless. Anywhere is good... enough.

132) Art's Value

Were with some friends who were chatting about the seeming inanity of some of Damien Hirst's art works in a London museum. Suddenly, I felt glad that in general, art's value is more arbitrary than measurable, more priceless than priceable. Why so? Because if art's value can be measured exactly on scales, then it becomes another worldly commercial commodity without spirituality. It is the spiritual aspect that makes art art afterall. Yes, there are artists and art dealers who treat artworks as commodities - to make a living. I only hope they do that on a minimal level of need though.

131) Moby Dick

Ah, God! What trances of torments does that man endure who is consumed with one unachieved revengeful desire.

-Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Saw an old movie of the novel on TV last night. Never really knew the story, and wanted to know the gise of it. Personally, to sum it up, it's a tale of man (Captain Ahab) exploiting nature (whaling) out of greed. And when he loses something personal (his leg) to nature, he vows vengeance (at Moby Dick) out of egoistic pride and hatred (instead of being humbled) and drives others and himself to destruction. Ahab symbolises the inner Mara who revolts against Dharma (nature), spelling doom and hell - while nature was only being natural.

130) Arguable

I think it is arguable...
because what of samsara
is not a way out of samsara,
(directly or indirectly)
if not, also a way deeper into it?

129) Timeless

The entries here are neither dated or with time. Because I'm lazy, and because many of them contain timeless lessons. Why then, are the entries elsewhere with time and date? Well, to make it look like a blog - that's all.

128) Looking for Sex

I once commented to a friend that when the average person on the street flips through a lifestyle magazine, he or she is looking for sex. You know what I mean - looking for text and pictures related to it. I know that is a generalisation. What do you look for when you browse a magazine? When you browse a lifestyle magazine, you are looking for the corresponding in your life - somewhat. Or are you browing with an empty Zenny beginner's mind?

127) Lust & Laziness

I see it so clearly. There are two major things inhibiting me from taking up the Bodhisattva precepts - subtle lust and great laziness. I see it clearly too - that I should give these up. I see it clearly too - it is definitely possible. Phew! In case you are troubled by the above, well, you can do it too.

126) Get Well Soon

I don't get sick very often. But when I do, I usually do not recover very quickly, as I am reminded of the following:

1. Being sick makes it harder to practise the Dharma, as it is easy to become preoccupied with being miserable. This is the test - to struggle between working harder or giving up.

2. I am mortal. I will die. And as long as I am alive, I am thoroughly physically falliable.

3. Just as I am uncertain of when I will recover, I am uncertain when I will die. This does not mean I should treasure my moments of wellness, but sickness too.

Get well soon. I mean, get really well.

125) Plain Truth

I don't like important truths sounding like mysterious cryptic puzzles. Truth should be clarified if spoken or written about, not further mystified. Plain English please, for the plain truth..

124) Self-Conscious

The "self-conscious" are usually not conscious enough that they are "self-conscious." How words fail to descibe sometimes.

123) Generalisation

Of what use is generalisation of anybody if there is no easy way to tell that the next person you meet is a general man on the street?

122) Relative Truth

Words on paper:
The sentence on the other side is false.

Words on other side:
This sentence is false too.

Absolute truth is nothing relative.

121) Reflect

The cloud did not want a reflection in the lake,
which did not want to reflect the cloud.

What do you want to be reflected of you?
Why do you want to reflect anything?

120) No Compare

Because true comparison of something is with something else,
which is in turn comparative with something else...,
there is no point comparing anything.

119) Best Question

Zen dialogue:

Q: What is the best question to ask?
A: What is the best question to ask?

The question is the answer.
Dukkha and Nirvana are not two.

118) Recycled

I'm a 100% reborn, physically and mentally recycled green Buddhist! Totally biodegradable too!

117) Peace

Wanting enlightenment is like fighting for peace.
Giving up enlightenment is like forsaking peace.
Neither wanting nor giving up enlightenment is being peace.

116) Proof

A: I havn't seen proof of tomorrow all day.
B: I havn't seen proof of all day all day.
C: Guess all we are sure we have is now.

115) Meant to Be

Student picks up snail on pavement to move aside.
Master: What are you doing?
Student: Someone might step on him!
Master: Isn't it meant to be where it is? Aren't you interfering with its karma?
Student places snail back on pavement.
Master: Isn't it meant to be where it is? Aren't you interfering with its karma?
Student: ???...!!!

Q: Maybe it's meant to be.
A: But what if it's not?

We don't know the karmic destiny of any being. We should just do what we can with the best of our compassion and wisdom, while ensuring the duo increase in good time!

114) Other Side

Zen dialogue yelled across a river:

Student: How do I get to the other side of this river?
Master: You are already on the other side of the river.

Since the relative is only relative, anywhere is good enough. Dukkha and Nirvana are not two. Do we really cross the sea of suffering? Or do we only have to realise we are already standing on the other shore, while thinking we are drowning?

113) Here Now

It's pointless being thinking of there and later
when you are here now.
Be where you are,
physically and mentally,
and live fully here and now,
and make the best of here and now,
and enjoy here and now -
even in times of adversity.
When even adversities can be savoured, you are free.

112) Defrag

While defragmenting my harddisk, I could not do anything else with the computer - as it would disrupt the process. I felt a sense of helplessness. Suddenly, I remembered that truth that we can only do one thing at a time anyway - since our mind can only hold a thought in the moment. While we can usually set a computer to multi-task, we don't truly multi-task - because we still handle one matter at a time, tough we might appear to be multi-tasking when we drop task A to do task B and C before coming back to A.

111) Butterfly

Chuang Tzu had a dream. In the dream he was a butterfly. When he awoke, Chuang Tzu was unsure if he was a man who had dreamed that he was a butterfly or if he was a butterfly who was dreaming that he was a man. In truth Chuang Tzu was neither man nor butterfly and yet was both.

-Butterfly (The Matrix Comics) by Dave Gibbons

The last line was an additional intepretation by Gibbons. What is Chuang Tzu then? Change.

110) Living Hell

I know what hell is. It's not lakes of burning oil, or brimstone and devils poking you in the ass with pitchforks. Hell is not knowing. The cerebral torture you put yourself through, wondering questioning, pondering, your past decisions, over and over again, trying to decide if what you did was the right choice. If that's the case, I truly am in hell. Eternal hell.

-A Life Less Empty (The Matrix Comics) by Ted McKeever

The real evil is ignorance. All hell come from ignorance, which make us greed and hate, propelling us into deeper hell. Hell in our world need not be brimstone and fire - it can be mental torment. We bring oursselves into hell, and keep ourselves there. It's not eternal - only taking as long as you take to stop punishing yourself, to absolve your own misgivings.

In this comic short story, a woman was offered the blue and red pill by Morpheus. Taking the blue represents the choice not to wake up from the matrix and taking the red the choice to experience reality. The character's pain is from having rejected reality. There is a picture in the story, of her wearing a pair of coloured glasses, with one tinged blue, and the other red. Reminds me of 3-D movie glasses. Maybe the meaning of that portrayal is that to have total vision, one must be able to see both one's delusion and the truth - only then do we see things as they are - in three-dimensional reality. Likewise, the enlightened see both Samsara and Nirvana clearly.

109) Good Thing

Too much of this delicious pasta is just too much. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing... but then again, whether something is good or bad, says who?

108) Honesty

Imaginary opening words of a psychiatrist about to interview a patient:

Only honesty to yourself uncovers your dishonesty.
Only admitting the lies we tell ourselves lead to the truth.
Simple common sense, but we all are dishonest to some extent.
To know the truth about yourself, first know the untruths about yourself.

107) Speeding

I see a speeding traffic police motorcycle going after a speeding sports car. With the right motivation, breaking rules can guard rules. The difference between the speedster and the policeman is the motivation. The motivation creates the karma, be it good or bad.

106) Doorman

I thought of being a doorman for a while, of having brief relationships (not affairs!) with strangers, for observation of countless aspects of human behaviour as they pass through, to better understand humanity, and myself, through my interaction with them. Why not be a waiter, you might wonder. Well, I want a job where the chief job is easy, so that observation can be easier done. Then I realised... maybe I can have a third-party point of view by observing how doormen interact with guests instead.

105) Worldly

When you provide others and yourself with worldly or mundane happiness, you should always be mindful of the purpose of doing so. If the intention is entirely worldly, in the sense that it does not lead directly or indirectly to a supramundane purpose, perhaps it should not be done.

104) Happy

When you toil to make the world happy at the stake of your own happiness, you can never make the world a happy place - for you are part of the world too. When giving, give happily. There are no unhappy Bodhisattvas.

103) Nihilist

When one does not place oneself or any one particular person on highest priority, one is usually a nihilist or a Bodhisattva.

102) Consecration

We make religious objects holy through consecration prayers, through seeing them with sacred reverence. Why then, do we not consecrate everyone and everything we come across?

101) Miracle

Even if you meet a miracle-man, you need miracle karma.

100) Gas

Sometimes you feel too full from overeating, yet are unaware that you are, as you feel an unnameable form of general discomfort. Suddenly, you burp or fatulate and there is sudden release of pent up gas, and you feel the sense of normalcy returning just as suddenly. I think this is a good analogy for the great relief we will feel whenever we relieve ourselves of our pent up "crap" of greed and hatred.


When was the last time you did something for the first time?

-Emirates TV ad (of two grown men seemingly excited by falling snow)

When was the last time you did something for the last time?


98) Bargain

Just because it is a good bargain does not mean it is a bargain that will do you good. Watch how marketing makes you think you need that which you greed for. See how the mind transforms wants to must-haves.

97) Eating

It is not by overeating that we show appreciation for food, for it only shows greed. Overeating is overeating afterall. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Too much is too much afterall. You appreciate your food more when you don't overeat or undereat. Every mouthful becomes sacred, precious, savoured as it it, without wanting excess mouthfuls. This is the Middle Path of Eating.

96) Slip Your Mind

It will slip your mind
this will slip your mind.

This is unmindfulness.

95) Sympathy

In watching Infernal Affairs III, which concludes the best Hong Kong movie trilogy is years, we are reminded at the end of the movie again, of the result of doing great evil, by a quote from the Ksitigarbha Sutra of hellfire. I think, in the true Buddhist sense of compassion, the trilogy succeeds because it clearly portrays the good in the evil and the evil in the good, the greyness of morality, how the pivoting point which defines the deeds we do to be good or evil to be our intention. It is as if we are all victims of our demons of greed and hatred - such that we should even have sympathy for the devil.

94) Butterfly Effect

"The butterfly effect is the idea that in a chaotic system, a very small change to the system applied at a certain point in time makes the future change in a very dramatic way.
Something as small as a butterfly flapping its wings now might affect the weather system on a global scale six months in the future."

Why then, is there not absolute chaos all over the place since even a butterfly can do so much harm? Thoretically, because everything has the propensity of creating chaos, they proabably cancel each other out, creating a new kind of chaos - order. But we all know there is no real chaos, even according to the chaos theory - chaos is just a web of complex interconnected cause and effect. Physicists call this phenomenon chaos only because they fail to see how this interbeing works down to the minutest details. The Buddha has already told us that karmic workings, which are of cause and effect, are extremely difficult to fathom.

93) Publicity

Why do you create a website and not publicise it?
Is it your secret personal ego trip?
Why do you create a website and publicise it so?
Is it your open personal ego trip?

92) Info

The invention and use of the Internet shows to us clearly that all the information or knowledge in the world placed at our easy retrieval by a few clicks of a mouse does not make us more readily happy people, but only busier. The Internet is not enough - because we yearn for reality, not just the virtual. And as long as there is greed for having sensory stimulation in the form of text, sights and sound., there will never be satisfaction. Just lke any other thing extraneous, the world wide web is just not enough - to fulfill us spiritually. .

91) Mass-Karma

Technology only makes it easier to create good and bad karma on a massive scale which spreads exponentially. An example if the creation of email viruses which are mass-emailed both intentionally and unwittingly. At the same time, news of the virus cure are mass-emailed too. Goes to show that teachnology is neither inherently good nor bad.

90) Shiny

I see street hawkers on Orchard Road selling shiny flickering glow-in-the-dark lights - in the form of lightsticks, luminous wristbands and pin buttons to shiny happy people... This extremely urbanly christmassy area is already lit up with countless lights for the season. I wonder what's the fascination with shiny lights. To me, it only reminds me that Christmas flickers for a while, just like the ups and downs of any celebration. Like a flash in the pan. Am I being a wet blanket for this season of merriment? No - but not being a warm blanket either - just seeing it as it is. Merry Christmas.

89) Sneeze

Zeph: (Seeing Zlyrica seemingly stifling or bracing for a sneeze) Going to sneeze?
Zlyrica: I'm waiting to see if theis sneeze is going to be real or not.
Zeph: Well?
Zlyrica: Don't know.

88) Accessories

Are ornamental acccesssories we use to dress up Christmas trees and ourselves during Chrsitmas excess embeliishments? While they spice up life, do they also not hide its original flavour?

87) Check it out

Too many similarities... no need to work out.
Too many differences... won't work out.
Just the right mix of similarities and differences... check it out.

86) Loopholes

The fact that there are always internet security loopholes,
the fact that there are always hackers exploiting these loopholes,
means the world is inter-imperfect.
in designing the virtual world due to ignorance,
in wanting to hack it due to greed and hatred.

85) Retro

When fashion becomes so "advanced", it goes retro. I fond it somewhat Reminds me of Nietsche's theory of eternal recurrence, the Buddha's teaching of rebirth.

84) Affair

A friend's Mum thinks his Dad is having an affair, and rants on and on to him when his Dad is not around about the sins of the father - sometimes with a generous pent-up spread of curses and swears. But when his Dad comes home, she reverts to her usual self. He listens... because he understands her need for at least one person in the family to hear her otherwise unheard grievances of being stuck in a loveless marriage.

Whenever he asks for evidence for her accusations, she would say she does not have any, but yet am dead sure. He would offer to hire a private investigator, but she would decline the need to waste money, since she was so sure, and that she doesn't want to risk jeopardising the marriage, in case his Dad discovers.

Maybe it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. Maybe it's exactly because of her suspicions that drove him to have an affair, if he is indeed having one. Maybe not being suspicious and being more trusting and loving will solve the problem. But it takes two to tango. Maybe each thinks the other is hopeless. If both indeed have this inner confirmation within themselves, the future of the relationship is bleak indeed.

The suggestion of confrontation through a direct calm and honest dialogue about the problem is also turned down - because of the fear of incurring wrath, because of the need of his Dad's money to sustain the household.

The crazy thing is that if both are in this sense dishonest to each other, with their own stakes to guard, they are living a life of compounding lies. Even if none really has the intention to lie to or hurt each other, both assume both are doing so? My friend wonders if he too is part of this lie if he does not do anything about it. It saddens him that he still has not found a solution to the problem. Since he is more distant to his Dad, I suggested that he should perhaps warm up to him to understand him more, while encouraging his Mum to frankly voice her concerns to his Dad.

Am sure his Dad would have detected his Mum's nagging suspicions by now, but yet he chooses to remain silent. The only amiable way out of suspicion and lies is to openly tell the truth, and to seek the open truth, with love and not hate - even if there is betrayal involved. When you confirm doubt of someone's integrity based on mere unproved suspicion, you yourself have already lost your integrity in the relationship. And if you doubt someone's trust in your integrity, but play along based on their willingness to be silently long-suffering, you too would have lost your integrity in the relationship. A relationship is a partnership of love and trust afterall, not of secretly seething hate and silent distrust, or of taking advantage of each other such that the love only wears thinner and thiner.

83) People Change

I think you forgot one thing - people change.
Please don't assume you still know me.
I will be trying hard to know you anew too.

82) Phantom Pain

As I was walking up the stair,
I met a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today.
I wish, I wish he'd stay away.

-Hughes Mearns (Antigonish)

It was a little creepy when I found the above listed as a nursery rhyme in a children book. Some refer to it as a problem that physicists have with the weight of physical emptiness, and people with the weight of patterned lingering consciousness. Sometimes people with an amputated limb still feel a phantom pain in the phantom limb, feeling as if it is still there with its old aches. The funny thing is almost all our pains are phantom pains in the sense that they are only as real as we hold them to be, especially our mental anguish. Even physical pains' effects are largely affected by our mental attitude towards them.

81) Trust

I think it is unfortunate that the uneducated elderly learn from the media not to trust any stranger, in case they are con-men pretending to be kind souls. I think it is unfortunate that they learn to to trust the radio and TV more than their human friends - for how can the media alone be a friend, when it only tells and does not reply, suggests and does not help? Am not saying all strangers can be trusted, but if we do not give them a chance as we grow old, do we not run thin on friendship and wither up in loneliness and suspicion? And we are not even talking about spiritual friendship yet.

80) Tom Strong

Quotes from the comic "Tom Strong Book 1" by Alan Moore et al:

Dhalua : Tell us what the springtime was like on Venus, my husband.
Tom: It was silent. Oh, there were breathtaking vistas and beautiful sunsets, but it all went unobserved. It's only life that gives meaning to the stars and worlds, my sweet. Life... or something very much like it.

The mind defines. There is even no meaning to the word "meaning" if it does not. Makes you think hard about the nature of "meaning"... though the catch is, you do it still with your mind. Is "meaning" then, not intrinsically meaningless and empty? An existentialist all for the absurdity of it all would yell "Yes!" Unfortunately or fortunately, we are discerning creatures who seek meaning, who have to make peace with both meaning and meaninglessness. This is our spiritual struggle.

Tom: The Ozu say, "Existence in endlessly wonderful."

Reminds me of the Buddhist saying, "True emptiness and/is wondrous existence." Does this means we should be endlessly amazed and entranced? Does this not mean we will be endlessly trapped? Or should we not realise existence's underlying truth of emptiness directly, so as to liberate ourselves from its assault on our senses?

Moctecuzoma: ... Of course, we were helped by our gods... although in our case, we created our gods, rather than the other way round. The Quetzalcoatl-9 program is an artificial quantum intelligence...

Yes... technology is the new God. All hail the omnipresent omnipotent omniscient Internet. Well... almost omni... but definitely far from perfect. All hail our Buddha-nature instead!

79) Naughty Boy

The horrid toddler nephew you have is your just desert -
don't forget that.
Are you going to treat him with detest?
It is rejecting your bad karma.
It is creating more bad karma when you reject bad karma -
a vicious cycle...

Learn to love him!

78) Predetermined

The only thing that is pre-determined in this world is that with our Buddha-nature and determination, we can all become Buddhas.

77) Sigh

Read these words in a blog, "Two of my best friends so incredibly in love, it makes me happy. Sigh." While I understand the feeling, I can't help feeling it is often that sigh at the end of our rejoicing in the happiness of others that taints our genuine appreciative joy with tinges of jealousy. Sigh. Let us learn to stop at the rejoicing and not develp wanting due to comparison.

76) Typing Blindly

wjkherbalife2001@yahoo.com : Looking letter by letter and copying while typing, we forget the words as we type what seems to be nonsense without understanding. Only halfway through keying the fictitious email above do I realise there are 4 intelligent component words in it - the initials w.j.k. , herbal, life and the year 2001. This is a lesson in needing to see the whole picture instead of only being engrossed in minute details.

75) Watch that Gap

Had a weird surreal dream that was more astonishing than frightening, because its meaning seemed so obvious that I digested the lesson as it happened. I was lying in my bed in the afternoon when I woke up normally, but feeling something stuck in my mouth. I put my fingers in and pull out a string of staples (thank whatever it they were closed ones). It went on and on for about a metre and a half. What does it mean to me? When my spoken words "staple" others as in hurt them, even like pinpricks, I might, in time experience this same pain, one by one. But sometimes, only when bad karma is experiences as a "chain" of ill events do we wake up. It's speech karma. Watch that gap! Watch that trap!

74) Quiet Mind

Huike: My mind is troubled. Please make my mind serene.
Damo: Let me see your unsettled mind and I will pacify it.
Huike: (pauses to use his mind to seek and see his mind) I cannot find it.
Damo: There! Your mind is now at peace.

-Dialogue between the First and to-be Second Patriarch of Chinese Zen

Quieten your mind
Nothing binds it
You are free

-The Buddha (Dhammapada: Translated by Thomas Byrom)

73) Dukkha

All life is sorrowful.
You can't change that.
But you can change your attitude toward it.

-Viggo Mortensen (Aragon in "The Lord of the Rings")

It's surprising how the four noble truths, however incomplete, pop up here and there.

A Buddhist Prayer

Who is responsible for all the suffering in the world?
If I do not take responsibility,
and neither do my neighbours,
is it no one's responsibility?

It is useless to point fingers
at the rest of the world
which points back at the rest of the world.

Let me point at myself.
I am responsible for not aspiring enough
to relieve my suffering and others' suffering.
It is nobody else's fault.

May I practise the Buddha's teachings well
to perfect my compassion and wisdom.
May I be a Bodhisattva to help one and all.

71) Philosophical

I don't really like philosophy, because it is often too speculative. When people tell me I'm philosophical, it always leaves me puzzled. When they think I'm saying something highly vague and theoretical, they say I'm philosophical - but it's something clear and practical to me. I don't like the abstract, but the exact. Perhaps, these people's thinking is too abstract - so much so that they miss the exact stuff I mean?

70) Touch

Zyrius: I apologise for this series of bickering mails. May we practise well and genuinely touch each other.

69) Namo

Sophie: Namo Buddhaya.
Namo to the Buddha in you and me too. : )

68) Point

What's the point of knowing everything, but doing nothing about it?

-Some guy on TV's "Dark Angel"

What's the point of having wisdom, but not having compassion to use and share it?


67) Comic Bodhisattva

He'd (Confessor) sacrificed himself - knowingly and willingly - to save the world. And nobody new. But for all I wanted to scream at everyone - to shake them until they understood - I knew he wouldn't have minded. It wouldn't have bothered him. It was the doing that was important - not people knowing what he'd done.

-Altar Boy/ Confessor 2 (Astro City: Confessions)

Now... who still says all comics are for kids only?

66) Point

What's the point of knowing everything, but doing nothing about it?

-Some guy on TV's "Dark Angel"

What's the point of having wisdom, but not having compassion to use and share it?


65) Enough

Z: Never do more than enough.
G: Why?
Z: Because enough is enough.
G: How do you know what is enough?
Z: That is the tricky part.

64) Patty

At a talk on vegetarianism with Zlyrica, there was this man in the audience who gave a lengthy explanation of the random vegetarian burger patties he make. At first, as he went on and on about sometimes using this ingredient and that ingredient, it sounded funny. There were at least twenty possibilities of "mashing" different stuff like bean sprouts... Then Zlyrica remarked that he made a lot of sense; he was not sprouting nonsense - since meat matties are mashed animals, why not mash the many goodness of vegetables, seeds and nuts together? What is the moral of this story? What seems like utter rubbish at first might make total sense.

63) Disagreeable

Always be open to disagreeable people - for agreeable ones only teach you agreeable things. The disagreeable often point out our blindspots as clearly as we clearly blind to them.

62) Z Names

PS: Can you tell me the meanings behind the names Zyrius and Zeph.
Z&Z: Zyrius says his name has no particular meaning. "Zeph" is abbreviated from "zephyr" which means "cool gentle breeze." Like a zephyr, he wishes his writings to be a breath of fresh air to readers :-]

61) Aim

Fundamentally the marksman aims at himself.

-Eugen Herrigel (Zen in the Art of Archery)

Thank you for aiming at me.
Thank you for reminding me to aim at myself.

60) Freedom

Here is why, as free people, we should work towards freeing others:

When we demand the rights and freedoms we so cherish, we should also be aware of our responsibilities. If we accept that the others have an equal right to peace and happiness as ourselves, do we not have a responsibility to help those in need?

-His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

59) Karma Cards

From two "good karma promotion cards" found at http://www.mommymommy.com/karma.html :

You didn't have to help me, but you did... How cool is that? Please keep this card as a reminder that, on this day, you made a difference in my life. Thank you. Thank you."

"I truly enjoyed sitting next to you on the plane/ bus/ train. I suspect we will never see each other again - isn't that weird in a way? - So I just want to say: Have a great life! (seriously)"

Here's my take:

"I hope you truly enjoyed surfing this webpage. I suspect you might never visit here again - isn't that weird in a way? - So I just want to say: Have a great life! (seriously)"

58) Blog Leave

Q: Long leave? Going retreat?
A: I have too much leave to clear haha... No formal retreat - but will meditate more at home daily. Will also be spending time clearing backlogged fermentations on my mind into words for moonpointer.com -
there are just some things I have to write about.

57) Impersonality

I consider the below a reverse inkblot test question. It's one of the questions from an Emode personality test. The funny thing is our personality over time, goes up and down like b, c and d, doesn't it? Only true equanimity is choice a. What is the expiry date of a personality test? Guess it depends on our personality, or rather, impersonality.

Q: If you were to draw your feelings, they would be in the shape of:

a) A flat line
b) A slight squiggle
c) Valleys and peaks
d) A four-year-old's scribbles


not what you see, is what you get.

55) Poison

A drop of poison in a glass of pure water might or might not renders it all poisonous - so it is better to play safe and not drink it, or filter the posion. In the Dharma-ending age, it is prophesized that worms (unorthodox teachings) ride on the lion (true Dharma) and eat it alive bit by bit. The attack is inside out. Thus, to safeguard the pure Dharma, beware of the extraneous elements that seep into Buddhism.

54) Repentance

What is wrong is not rectifying the mistakes we know. All the repetance verses we chant daily is lying if we do not repent through real action.

53) Friendliness

"If you harbor negative feelings towards others,
and yet expect them to be friendly to you, you are being illogical.
If you want the atmosphere around you to be more friendly,
you must first create the basis for that.
Whether the response of others is positive or negative,
you must first create the ground of friendliness.
If others still respond to you negatively after this,
then you have the right to act accordingly.

-from The Dalai Lama's Book of Love & Compassion

Q: I couldn't comprehend the last sentence. Why should we even act then? One should be simply drop the matter at that moment and don't even bother to react.
What's your view?

A: From "accordingly", I don't think it means "negatively". Just do the right thing (positive thing) to address others' negativity. Even when you have to appear negative", express wrath skillfully, but retain positive motivation.

52) Excuses Excuses

Clyde: My colleague said she's on diet and don't want to eat anything when I asked whether she wants lunch. But for a couple of days already, I see her eating what another colleague bought. Strange.
Zeph: Maybe she got him to buy a bit of food and that's enough?
Clyde: Nooo... he said she's NOT eating.
Zeph: Maybe the food was bought already, so she might as well finish it? Or maybe she couldn't resist her favourite food? Or maybe her dieting resolution tends to expire after some time daily?
Clyde: Hey! You so free to think of so many excuses huh? Haha.
Zeph: Well, like Isaid, think of countless excuses for others' bizarre behaviour, but give no excuses for our own. Haha.

51) Family

Selfishness - "I need to spend time with my family."
Is it for family's sake or yours?
And we all have families too.
And aren't we one big family ultimately?
Okay, we have our social conventional families to take care of.
Why are we segregated so much into distinctly different ego-based families?

50) Buying Meat

Q: If I would like to follow a vegetarian diet but not my family, do I create the same negative Karma for buying fish, pork etc. from the market for my family?

A: Karma is created by intention. When we want to buy meat from the market, we have intention - is there greed, hatred and/or ignorance behind the buying? Should you be part of the process of sustaining greed for meat even if you have no intention bu eating it? Are you comfortable with it? Can the family members who want the meat buy it themselves instead? This is for you to reflect on and decide.

49) Nature

All beings are by nature Buddha,
as ice by nature is water.
Apart from water there is no ice;
apart from beings, no Buddha.

-Hakuin Zenji, "Song of Zazen"

Ice is by nature water.
Water is by nature ice.

Water is by nature clouds.
Clouds are by nature water.

Nothing has fixed nature,
except the nature of being not fixed.


48) Let Down

Karmically speaking,
no one in the universe can ever let us down-
we are the ones who let ourselves and others down.
All that we are suffering is the results.
So be brave yourself, for yourself, because of yourself.

47) Open Communication

You don't have to do the nasty things you feel like doing to someone when someone lets you down.
But you can always tell the person that you feel like doing those things.
You can always tell him that he had hurt you badly.
There is no need to hide feelings from those you love.
This is part of open communication.
If you can't tell your love your hurt, you probably don't have true love for each other.

46) Smell

Wen: Boss eating lunch with meat. The smell is overwhelming.. :@
Zeph: It's okay - just don't hate the smell and you'll be fine.

45) True Love

Elsie is getting married so that she'll have a big house for her many pets. More so than out of love for his boyfriend... But hey - that's just true love... of another kind?

44) Scolding

Even negative verbal feedback is karmic payback.
So can you ever be scolded unfairly?
I would instead, open my ears wide, listen for any truth in the words,
reflect and repent, even if it's utter nonsense.
But of course, I'll speak for the truth too, not for myself, as much as I can help it.

43) Why Wait?

What will you ask the Buddha if you see Him?
Will you be ready to ask for teachings for YOUR earliest possible Enlightenment?
What's holding you back?
Why are you not asking the best Dharma teacher you can find for these teachings?
What are you waiting for?

I will ask for the fastest way for both of us to be enlightened at more or less the same time.
If I can't ask that, I will ask Him to tell me what I need most.

42) Thanks

I would have felt much...


Thank the Buddha for the Dharma!

41) Children

An example of greed -
wanting what does not exist yet -
wanting to have children and their children (grandchildren),
to love, to have and to hold.
Do we justify our existence by bringing others into existence?
Or beyond existence? Beyond life and death? Enlightenment.

40) Insect

I see a delicate but intricate-looking insect, which I had never seen before, with long spindly legs, half floating and half gliding onto the table, before taking off. The universe is a strange place indeed. Just when you think you had seen it all, you realise you ain't seen nothing yet. But there are too many curious things to study. I wasn't even very interested in it, some to think of it. Am I losing curiosity, or just getting my priorities right? well, I was blogging the previous entry... and I did not see it as it was, but as a distractiion.

39) Amazing

Ancient Indian saying - The most amazing thing in the world is that man lives as if he will still be alive tomorrow. My take on the second most amazing thing is that he lives as if the ones he love will be around too, with him, tomorrow. One of "todays", one of the above won't be true, and it almost always comes faster than expected.

38) Renounce

I don't believe in becoming a monk for a short while. Because it means renouncing the worldly, but yet taking it up again. It feels spiritually hypocritical and theoretically impossible - How can one vow to renouce, while knowing one will "un-renounce" later? Maybe I'm thinking too much here- it's just a retreat with a head-shaving ceremony? In retreats, we renounce the world too, for the duration we are in it, at least.

37) Retreat

Ideally, one should go to as few spiritual retreats as possible. What am I saying? Ideally, one exits from a retreat with the attitude of maintaining one's silent mindfulness beyond it - such that one does not really leave the retreat. The Buddha was the perfect example - He entered a six year retreat the very moment He left his kingdom as a Prince, right till He attained Enlightenment. It was a retreat for life, beyond life.

36) Day Job

Is Batman's real job as a caped crusader masked vigilante? Is his day job as Bruce Wayne not his real job? Does he feel the divide? In many of the comics, it seems he does. But both his jobs are equally real. His enterprise make money for charity and his crime and weapon research. It enables him to sustain his secret job. I hope you see your day job as your real job too. What is the purpose of your real job? Is it as or more noble than Batman's?

35) Pastime

Many wives without children comment that it's easier to pass time if they work. It's bizarre to me - since when is life for passing time? If life a pastime? Is there something else to do? Is their real lives that only when their husbands come home? I know there are some women who look for happiness in love - only, while they fantasize about their Prince Charming, awaiting his arrival. It's not a happy fairy tale to me - it's a tragedy - for happiness is to be found within, not gotten from someone else.

34) Blessing

No need to pray for blessings if your aspiration is good.
The pure aspiration is already a blessing.
Just further bless it with your efforts in realising it,
and the Enlightened will naturally bless you more.

33) Love

A samsarically spiritual prayer I wrote for a friend-
May my merit thus accumulated aid me in finding the best spiritual friend and partner.
May we both be able to help each other attain Enlightenment.
" Amen!"

32) Thanks

Q: If we make a wish at the sacred Bodhi tree and things turn out okay, do we need to say thanks? How?
A: Just go and make offerings as you would to the Buddha, and say thanks and make a resolution to practise the Dharma more diligently, including generosity. Just as the Buddha was generous with the Dharma and in helping you, he hopes all beings will help each other too.

31) Relax

When you see a stiff shoulder as a problem,
it is when you should relax,
by not seeing it as a problem.

30) Happy

Practise the Dharma well and share it with more people -
there is nothing else we can do to make the Buddha happy -
not that He had not already attained true happiness.

29) Virtual

Where there are net devils, there are angels too.
Welcome to the world wide web of good and evil.
It is a really virtual and virtually real aspect of Samsara,
just as Samsara is equally really virtual and virtually real.

28) Dyed Hair

"Too" many folks with dyed hair these days.
It's becoming so in that it will be out.
Normal hair colour will be so rare and rebellious
that it will be so in, again.
When anything veers towards the an extreme,
it begins to become its opposite.

27) Unread

I was marking my roughly read but unreplied emails unread,
till I noticed I was unmarking almost all.
There and then, I realised not marking the mails unread
can be considered a way of "marking" them so.
There is no fixed language for anything,
as long as you can read its meaning.
There is also not fixed message or implications for anything you read.
Are you reading what others intend you to read of matters and people?
Do you have to?

26) Highway

To become a stream-winner is to enter the highway. Even at a crawling speed on this highway, the maximum time needed to reach Arahantship is seven lifetimes. If you are stuck, and crawl in the cluttered streets, the ETA is unpredictable.

25) Stupidity

If you can't laugh at the humour of the joke, laugh at its stupidity.
It was, afterall, well intended, meant to make you laugh?
Subtle compassion for the lame joke(r).

24) Love

SMS Messages:

Sent: If you love him and he's nasty, but cannot change him, live with it. If you can change him for the better, do it. Otherwise, just walk away and save both of your time and the unnecessary misery. If you think you are good enough for him but he thinks you are not good enough, both of you are with the wrong person. A TV which breaks down occasionally is essentially a faulty one? A person who gives only materially probaby only sees you physically. Do you love him or his nice gifts? Are you as shallow as him. How deep and unconditional is your love for each other?

Received: I get the drift. however it's him that I like. Perhaps it's the thrill of trying to tame someone like him. Anyway, thanks for waking me.

23) Journey

Deciding to take a walk to the nearest subway station after dinner, we discovered ourselves to be halfway equidistant between two stations. We decided to take the more scenic path less travelled. Given the same distance either way, it suddenly became so clear that it's the journey, the sights and sounds along the way, that count, more than the destination itself, which was arbitrary. It is how we get anywhere that matters more than getting there.

22) Core

The core of your net of delusion (views) which traps you is your illusion of self.
If there is no self, who is trapped?
Self IS the delusion.

21) Store

Life has in store for you whatever you stored (in your store consciousness).
You experience your store now.
You are your store.
What are you storing up now?
Any "savings" for a rainy day?

20) Last Bus

There is no last cab -
even if you miss the last bus.
The Bodhisattvas are the late night cabbies ferrying us.
They work 24/7 actually.

19) Prayer

An impatient Pureland prayer -
May I go Pureland quickly,
to return to Samsara quickly,
to save all quickly.

18) Beautiful

Zeph: If good looks is true beauty, then all we need of beautiful people in our lives are life-sized pictures of them. But no, true beauty comes from kind people who make the world a more beautiful place. May all be beautiful.

Sophie: May you meet many beautiful people :>

17) Letdown

When we think the universe has let us down,
we have let it down,
by not understanding its unbiased law of karma.

16) Tricky

Deciding what is the right way to meditate is tricky
because it is using a deluded mind
to find a way
to make it undeluded.

15) Knowing

The end of the fetter of doubt in the Dharma
is not just the end of disbelief;
it is the end of belief -
the beginning of knowing.

14) Essential

Ironically, the most essential thing
to teach in the Dharma-ending age
is the hardest thing to accept -
the truth.

13) Digress

I see housewives discussing recipes enthusiastically. I wonder if they are as zealous about matters of life and death - the meaning of life, when we all have to die. I sincerely hope so. Countless sentient beings have been having countless digressions for countless lives from the one truly important goal - liberation.

(For Moonpoint)

Whoever through desire, hate or fear,
Or ignorance should transgress the Dhamma,
All his glory fades away
Like the moon during the waning half.

Whoever through desire, hate or fear,
Or ignorance never transgresses the Dhamma,
All his glory ever increases
Like the moon during the waxing half.

-Digha Nikaya 31

12) Zen Diet

When you eat the Zen way, you can't skip meals -
though you might skip breakfast, lunch or dinner.
What do I mean?
Well, you eat when hungry - only - no more, no less!

11) Groundhog Day Matrix

Watching the GD movie with Zlyrica, she remarked that maybe Phil (Bill Murray) in the movie happens to be the only person
to realise he was living in cycles. The rest of the town just wasn't mindful enough. Gasp! We are these folks?! We are the ones still stuck in the Matrix despite the "end" of the Revolutions! The director Harold Ramis said that some Jews paraded around a theatre in 1993 when the movie was screened, with placards asking, "Are you living the same day over again?" Simple question, but food for thought. Even cosmic stuff like planets are only going around in ellipses around the sun - apparently always going somewhere, but actually going nowhere. Welcome to your cosmic Samsara.

10) Groundhog Day (Again)

An important lesson from GD:

You have all the time in the world (you can live countless Groundhog Days),
but you are also running out of time (you only have Groundhog Day).

So what do you really want to do?
So what should you really do?

You have forever,
but you forever have only now.

Happy Groundhog Day, today.

9) No Need to Laugh or Cry?

Famous Zen story with a new twist:

Part 1:

Old woman cries when it rains,
as her washerwoman daughter can't dry the clothes she wash.
Old woman cries when it shines,
as her umbrella-selling daughter can't sell her umbrellas.

Part 2:

Zen master comes along and tells her:
Why don't you rejoice when it rains, for your second daughter?
Why don't you rejoice when it shines, for your first daughter?
Old woman agrees, and laughs happily whether its rain or shine.

Part 3:

Zen Master comes along again and tells her:
Why aren't you sad when it rains, for your first daughter?
Why aren't you sad when it shines, for your second daughter?
Old woman becomes expressionless... enlightened in equanimity.

8) Universal Compassion (1)

May we remember the suffering of our loved ones
and not cause suffering to anyone,
who also have their loved ones,
who will suffer like we do,
when our loved ones suffer.

7) Universal Compassion (2)

Zlyrica: The fish in the tank died, sob... So sad... May he be well and happy now.
Zeph: May all fish living, passing and passed away be well and happy. May all their caretakers be well and happy too.

6) More Vegetarians

I'm not that unrealistic in hoping there will be many vegetarians overnight; I just hope there will be more having their fill with more vegetables in their meals, such that they will spare more animals.

5) Free Range

I don't eat free range farm animals;
I eat free range farm vegetables.
At least the plants get to live a more normal life
than caged and free range farm animals - before slaughter.

4) Miracle of Silence

Zlyrica: It's a miracle! There's actually a moment when there are no cars at this hour on this heavy traffic road!
Zeph: Have you ever been in a classroom, where everyone chatters away before the teacher arrives. Suddenly, for no apparent reason, there is total silence - as everyone stops talking... And the teacher isn't even here yet. Everyone would feel puzzled as they look out to see if the teacher was here.
Zlyrica: Yeah!
Zeph: It appears totally bizarre. But it's simply such that everyone happened to have finished saying his piece in the moment! The causes and conditions for stuff that happen can trick us into experiencing what seem to be inexplicable miracles. I guess that was the case for the empty road!

3) Comics Overdose

Having easier access to a public library these days, I discovered it to have a wide variety of comics available for borrowing. I find myself borrowing and reading them voraciously. So much so that the pleasure was lost. It's a bizarre feeling. I can only enjoy this moment, but I was racing to finish enjoying this moment, so that I can "borrow" more comic books for further "enjoyment." Racing made me lose the moment, and thus the joy, that was right in my hands, in the comic book I presently hold.

2) What They Seem

Things are not what they seem.
Neither are they otherwise.

-Lankavatara Sutra

I see a brat of a kid whining on the packed bus, lying on a bench seat at the back, where I was about to sit. His mum asked politely if I could sit elsewhere, to make way for him. I said no - to teach her and the kid a lesson of being considerate. The kid even kicked me a little for being in "his" way. I glared at him, trying to look intimidating. And he whined on to his mum, as I looked away. I planned to give him a smack on his head on the way out later - without the mum seeing of course - to teach him a lesson for being physically rude to strangers.

Later, the mum apologised to me about her kid. I told her she should not always let him have his way, that it spoils him. She says she knows, and that she is runiing out of ways to discipline him. She had given him spankings in public before - till there were scars, but it didn't seem to help. Suddenly, I become unsure of my judegment and disgust for both the kid and his mum. What am I trying to say here? See the quote above... This incident does not fuly exemplify the message of the sutra quote of course, but it is a simple mundane example.

1) Superheroes

It is conveniently explained away, how comic superheroes derive their powers, through radioactive radiation accidents. Think, the likes of the Incredible Hulk, the Amazing Spider-man, Daredevil, Fantastic Four... The heroes to be would be unwittingly subjected to great physical and mental pain in the beginning, but invariably outgrow it, and thus become personal champions of their misfortune, and champions of justice - heroes that is. What can we learn from their triumphs? We can derive great strength and power from great tragedies. To me, a good superhero comic are like good Jataka tales (Buddha-to-be's birth stories as a practising Bodhisattva, wherein he helps many beings) of imperfect beings fighting their inner demons as they fight to save others. No child's play at all, these comics.