Reflection on Death

A close friend once told me this. She shared that when she received the news of an acquaintance’s death, she thought of me.

She thought of how she would not be able to talk to me anymore. Not be able to see me again. How she can try all numbers and there would be no number that she can dial to reach me ever again.

Whether it is the death of ourselves or others, it is inevitable. Death separates us.

This is the way it is.

But rather than becoming morbid, it should galvanise us to really really start living. Living in the present. Being really present with our love ones mindfully. Speaking and treating each other with care and love.

All while knowing that it is not eternal or everlasting. The very nature of change allows for all kinds of possibilities.

While death is inevitable, the Buddha do not advocate suicide. Even for Arahants who has completed what needs to be cultivated and can enter parinibbana without blame, was advised by the Buddha to stay on, out of compassion for sentient beings.

Because death is certain and our passing moment is not, all the more, we want to make good use of each moment, to bring the most welfare and benefit to each other.

Then life is not just about materialistic living for our own present gratification nor morbid worrying about the future impending doom of death.

Rather, it becomes a very active form of living.  Really living.

Relationships are like a garden

Had a counselling session this morning.  Shared a bit about relations.

Sometimes relationships are described to be like a pot of plant.  How well the pot of plant grow and bloom depends on the active participation of all or both parties.  If only one party is actively contributing, the other party will feel neglected or unwanted.  In the long run, it feels like a one-person ride.

I think relationships can be further described to be a garden, with multiple pots of plants contributed by the parties involved.  In the picture above, person A has an ordinary pot of plant (ok looks bare!) and person B has a pot of cactus.  Each person visits the garden to enjoy the plants and eventual flower in it and participate in water the plants.

The type of plants can represent the personality type or the needs-type at that point in time.  So for an ordinary pot of plant, daily watering and tending may be needed while the pot of cactus from person B may only require weekly watering.

Can you spot the problems that may arise?

If person A start watering both pots with equal regularity, pot A will thrive while the cactus may well rot.

Whereas if person B were to water pot A only weekly like the way the cactus only require limited watering on a weekly or monthly basis, then pot A will wither over time.

Similarly, if there is a disparity between the needs of individuals in a relationship, it can lead to miscommunications, anxiety, uncertainty and fear.  Unfortunately, without communications and understanding, then person A may start watering even more and person B even lesser or even resort to draining both pots of water.

This may lead to a vicious cycle that is unnecessary and can well be avoided.

Where the disparity is mild, most couples can deal with it.  If the needs disparity has widen and both party must swiftly communicate and very importantly take simple but active steps to work towards mutual trust and understanding.

Granted, if the pots in the garden have already withered or rotted, then a choice has to be made.  To replace the potted plants with new ones and start afresh together or to find a new garden.

In this day and age, sadly, fewer and fewer people are into repairing things when they are broken.  Most people prefer to just throw them away and get new ones.

So will you simply throw away your pots and find a new garden or work together with your partner to bring in new pots and start afresh?

Inner Peace: How to find peace in this frantic world

An article I wrote for NTU Buddhist Society’s Prajna magazine.

 

This Frantic World

Another academic year has come and gone, let us reflect on how the year has gone and how we can find peace in our life amidst this fast paced frantic world.

As I write this, I recall the recent bombing in Istanbul airport and shopping district in Baghdad.  2015 and 2016 has been pockmarked with so much attacks in public places, one has to wonder if humanity is on its way to write itself out of existence.

And when bombings are not in the news, natural disasters such as earthquakes, droughts, floods and typhoons seem to be the new norm in weather and news reports.

As though man-made and natural disasters are not enough, we see news about the economy and it’s not a pretty sight whether back home or globally.

Even if one can ignore the news, there is the seemingly never-ending cycle of exams.  Is there ever an end to all these?

What can we do about all these?

There are three main areas that we would be looking at.  1) Areas of changes externally 2) Areas of changes internally 3) Areas of acceptance

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