If I have a Special Power

cropped-IMG_20150422_085951.jpg

A friend asked me what I would like to have if I can choose any special power.  Anything at all.  Here’s what I would like to have:

I would like to be able to just snap my finger and have all sentient beings be completely, perfectly free from suffering, to be perfectly awaken, to be perfect, to be Buddha!

But alas!  No one can make others enlightened.  We must work on our own liberation, we must do the cultivation ourselves.  Enlightenment is not granted or or conferred.  It is not given.  It is through our own humanly possible effort that we work on shortcomings, flaws, faults, defilements and agitations in the mind.  To work on the habitual tendencies that compels us to repeat our mistakes.

Until one day, we cut the fetters that bind us.

That may seem bleak to some, that no one is there to save us, that we have to do it ourselves.  The good news is that we are not alone in doing this.  We have the teachings of the Buddha as our guide and instruction manual if you will.  What it means is that we are responsible for our happiness and no one else.  It also means that we are in charge and do not have to submit to someone else’s whims and fancy, to placate or please, to cajole or beg for liberation.

Two weeks from now, we celebrate Vesak in Singapore.  We celebrate this conquering of suffering through humanly possible effort.  We celebrate this potential, this Buddha nature, that is in all of us, in every sentient being, regardless of our race, language or religion.  Or for that matter, species.

May all beings be free from fear, free from harm,
May all be well and happy!

PS: So my friend, what super power would you like to have? 😉

Reference

Dhammapada XX: Maggavagga 275 – 276

275. Walking upon this path you will make an end of suffering. Having discovered how to pull out the thorn of lust, I make known the path.

276. You yourselves must strive; the Buddhas only point the way. Those meditative ones who tread the path are released from the bonds of Mara.

Volunteers’ Appreciation Dinner 2014 – Some reflections for the evening

Got back from the retreat at noon, had a parents’ class, followed by children’s classes.  The day ended with the KMSPKS Volunteers’ Appreciation Dinner 2014! (Address by my shifu and my reflections down below)

The whole dinning hall on the 2nd floor of Venerable Hong Choon Memorial Hall is filled to the rim with volunteers tonight!

 

The night started with shifu’s address, emphasising on gratitude towards the volunteers’ contribution to the Buddhist community and the monastery.  He also highlighted how while lay buddhists come and volunteer, it is a form of giving (dana, 布施), and we should contribute happily.  And by happily, it means we must learn the Dharma (Buddha’s teachings) so that we can overcome our defilements (烦恼), which is the aim of Buddhism.

He then urge all to continue to serve the community and at the same time learn more of the Buddha Dharma, by attending the Dharma classes and talks, and concluded once again with much thanks and gratitude for the support and effort by the volunteers.

 

Performance by our monastery choir starting off the evening’s programme.  Feeling a crooning humming?  Come sign up with us http://youth.kmspks.org

Second performance by the lovely children from the Saturday Sunday School in KMSPKS ^.^

Our volunteer teacher instructor for their dance performance … wow!

More performances by our youths!!  woo hoo!! ^_^

 

And here comes the finale performances.

TIL* that instagram video capture requires you to press … AND HOLD!!  *face palm* myself. -.-“””

So the only video clip I took of the ACC performance during the KMSPKS Volunteers’ Appreciation Dinner was three short spurts … … o_O

TIL – Today I Learn

But what a night!  One thing that the students from ACC said about their choice of the song “龙的传人” touched me.  They heard that many Singaporean Chinese do not speak Mandarin, so they wanted to come here and share with us the Chinese song, to encourage us, that if they being Africans can sing the song “龙的传人” those “gan-dang” among us can also learn and appreciate Chinese language and culture.

Shifu used to be “gan-dang” too.  But after ordaining as a monk, I had to learn Chinese from scratch.  Sutras are in classical Chinese and all lessons were in Mandarin, taught by my late compassionate ordination teacher, Master Miu Jing.  Over the years, lugging around thick dictionaries (for Mandarin and Buddhist technical terms), and much much support and guidance from senior venerables, I’ve managed to shed my “gan-dang”ness to become more bi-lingual. ^_^ (y)

So, take up the challenge today!  Come learn Chinese, and unlock the marvel and wisdom within the Chinese culture and the Buddhist sutras (scriptures) translated by our lineage Masters!

 

The Little Moth and the Candle

There was once two friends, a Little Moth and a Candle.  They were not exactly the most likely pair, but somehow they were drawn towards each other.

Little Moth would fly long distances to see the brilliance of the Candle.  Together, they would dance on and on.  Seconds turn to minutes.  Minutes turn to hours.  Hours turn to days.  Days turn to years.  Time ceased.

It was Magical.  But it was not to last.

Over time, Candle found that Little Moth was becoming weaker and unwell.  Little Moth was burning itself up in the Candle’s flame slowly.    Candle decided that something must be done.  He called a good friend, Water, for help.

“Your flame and brilliance will be gone Candle!” Water said.

“I know.  Please my friend.  Please help me.  This is the only way. ”  Candle pleaded.

 

The next morning, Little Moth danced happily to find Candle to play.  When Little Moth arrived, all there was … was a cold extinguished candle.  No brilliance nor sparkle nor warmth.  Little Moth settled over the candle mound and cried.  Cried for days and nights.  But the candle was no more.

“He told me to tell you something” Water said.

“What is it?  What happened?  What did Candle have to say?”  Little Moth shot back.

“Tell her that ‘I love her with all my heart but will not be able to offer brilliance, sparkle nor warmth no more.’ ”  Water replied.

 

Little Moth’s health recovered over time.  It fluttered in the spring air, and from a distance, can be mistaken for a lighthearted dance.