Simple Year End Reflection


As 2013 draws to a close, some of us may clearing their last quarter accounts for their work while others are wrapping up the year with some sale grabs.  For those who are working today, thank you for working to bring the rest of us life’s simple conveniences so that we may cross over to the next year with ease.

While the western calendar year end and New Year is not celebrated with as much festive fanfare as the Chinese New Year, in a way, it marks the closing of a chapter.  As the year draws to an end, take a deep breath and really let it fill your very being.  See how much you can take in and just hold it there for a moment.  And then let it out.  Let the breath out.  Feel it.  Go ahead.

We survived 2013.

For some of us, we experienced the joy of a new born in our family, for others the challenge of a new job, and yet for some it is the doldrums of every day life.  Together, we all saw several events that awed and shook the
world.  From the meteors over Russia, to the resignation of Pope Benedict and election of Pope Francis who champions frugality; from the Snowden leaks to the haze that brought Singapore into a frenzy for N95 (not the phone!); from several freakish once-in-50-years torrential rains to breakdowns in MRT lines … … what a year!

We were devastated by nature through the typhoon “Haiyan” that hit our brothers and sisters in Philippines and Vietnam even as China conquers it by launching and landing on the moon in December, their Chang’e 3 (嫦娥三号) robotic lander spacecraft and Yutu (玉兔, Jade Rabbit) lunar rover.

Some of us lost our loved ones, others welcomed new ones into their fold.  Not all of these appear in the news, but all these matter to us nonetheless.  I’ve been privileged to be present with some of you, to accompany you through those tough moments, and I want all of you to know that we are here for you.

2013 was also especially tough for some of us who may have suffered injustice or hurt.  Regardless of how much hardship or wrong we have experienced, let us try and find forgiveness for those who may have harmed or hurt us, intentionally or unintentionally.  For forgiveness removes the weight in our heart and frees us from the burden of grudge.

The other burden is that of guilt.  Maybe we are the one at fault, then apologise and make peace.  Sometimes it is not possible to do so, then start with coming clean with a family member, a close friend or confidant, your spiritual teacher or guide, or whichever divinity your heart speaks to.  Reflect on how our past actions are less than ideal or plain wrong and also consider how we acted in those ways given certain habits, mindsets and circumstances.  We do this not to give ourselves excuses but to know deeply that we are capable of more than that.

We are capable of change.

Part of making peace with our past is really to make a firm resolve to change ourselves so that we don’t repeat those acts again.  Instead of simply feeling guilt-stricken or remorseful to the point of depression, identify the factors that led to those deeds and resolve to first change one’s mindset, avoid those factors when not yet ready, then apply effort to not repeat those actions even when the circumstances present themselves again!

And lastly, look back at the achievements we have had this year.  Reflect on the conditions and individuals who made it possible.  Be thankful!  Consider the very simple things in our life, and reflect on how our simple life is made possible through the inconveniences of many many others!

A grateful person is a happy person!

Wishing all good health and peace for the new year!  Happy 2014! ^.^


Happy Mothers Day!

Happy Mothers Day dear friend!

Today, people all over the world shower their mother with love, cards and flowers to express their love and affection for them.  Tomorrow, please remember the cards, the flowers and affection you expressed.  Remember to love your mother by being considerate to her, being appreciative of her, be loving to her.


The Buddha described our mother and father as “Brahma”, as “early teachers” and “those worthy of veneration” [1].

“Living with Brahma are those families where, within the home, mother and father are respected by their children. Living with the early devas are those families where, within the home, mother and father are respected by their children. Living with the early teachers are those families where, within the home, mother and father are respected by their children. Living with those worthy of adoration are those families where, within the home, mother and father are respected by their children. ‘Brahma,’ bhikkhus, is a term for mother and father. ‘Early devas’ and ‘early teachers’ and ‘those worthy of veneration’ are terms for mother and father. For what reason? Because mother and father are very helpful to their children, they take care of them and bring them up and teach them about the world.”

Mother and father are called
“Brahma,” “early teachers”
And “worthy of veneration,”
Being compassionate towards
Their family of children.

Thus the wise should venerate them,
Pay them due honor,
Provide them with food and drink,
Give them clothing and a bed,
Anoint and bathe them
And also wash their feet.

When he performs such service
For his mother and his father,

nThey praise that wise person even here
And hereafter he rejoices in heaven

Care for her.  Pour her a glass of water.  Accompany her when she goes to the market.  Spend time with her.  Listen.  Look at your mother in her eyes, and listen with your eyes and your heart.

Do it today.  Do it tomorrow.  Do it everyday.  Do it for as long as you love your mother.

Happy Mothers Day!

Photo of a mother walking in the rain while her son is sheltered by umbrella [2]


Happy Vesak Day 2556!

Tomorrow is Vesak Day 2556!  Yes, you didn’t read it wrong.  It is 2556 years since the Buddha’s final passing into Mahaparinibbana (Sanskrit: Mahaparinirvana) and 2601 years since his Enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree.

Buddhists around the world celebrate the Birth, Enlightenment and Mahaparinibbana of the Buddha around this period.  Some countries such as Japan has evolved into a flower festival, said to have developed over time with the offering of flowers to Buddha in Buddhist monasteries and later developed into the former.

While commonly seen as a Buddhist celebration, it is significant to all people, all sentient beings.  The celebration marks the conquering of our common human state of unknowing, of delusion, of ignorance, of worry, of anxiety, of stress, of suffering.  Of transcending the extremes of sensual pleasure and extreme ascetism.  Of going beyond words and petty differences, and seeing how things truly are.  Of fulfilling the maxim of human potential, Nirvana, Arahanthood, Buddhahood!

This potential is in each and everyone of us, whether we believe or subscribe to it or not.  That despite our faults and flaws, we can cultivate wholesome mental habits and attain to Perfection.  That while we look so different, speak different languages, think and act so differently, we share the common human experience of wanting happiness.  And if we start cultivating in ourselves love (metta 慈), compassion (悲) and wisdom (智), we can slowly but surely overcome the defilements of greed, hatred and delusion.

We can and we should strive towards this goal.  For this is our birthright as sentient beings.  For all sentient beings have Buddha Nature, the potential to become a Buddha, to be free from defilements, free from Cravings and Attachments, free from Suffering.

Happy Vesak!