How Much Do You Value the Dharma?

14202538_10154516287727774_7937529873651710576_nThe words of Heruka and Manjushri, spoken through their Nirmanakaya (སྤྲུལ་སྐུ) emanation. Holy words that wise men paid a hefty sum for just one syllable, now brightens my desk. A reminder of my motivation.

As time pass, and information is easily available, it is easy for us to forget the true value and difficulty of listening and reading the Dharma. What we have now is something people of the past had to travel great distances to receive, sometimes even at the cost of their own lives.

When Lama Atisha was invited to Tibet to turn the wheel of Dharma, the great King Yeshe O made requests but Lama Atisha never agreed. In the end, through his nephew Jangchub O, at the price of his life, a large sum of gold and the genuine humble request that Atisha teach the people the Dharma, Lama Atisha made the trip to Tibet, revitalizing Buddhadharma in the region.

This examplary story as told in the Lamrim, as told to us students by HE Tsem Rinpoche, is a great reminder that the Dharma we receive today is through the kindness and hardships of countless selfless Bodhisattvas.

Its not about giving up ones life, for if we place our life above the Dharma then only worldly concerns fills our mind. Its not about the heaps of gold, for if we place items of relative value as supreme then our focus is not for Dharma.

Its about our attitude for Dharma, and the genuine pursuit of the absolute truth, at the cost of our ignorance, ego and attachments.

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The Buddha and The Moon

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The nature of Buddha can be simply seen by the nature of the moon.

When the moon sets for the day, people say the moon has disappeared. When the moon rises, people say it has appeared. But the truth is, the moon never appeared or disappeared, it continued to shine in the sky at all times.

People give names to the phases of the moon… from the crescent to full moon. But the truth is, the moon is always round, neither waxing nor waning.

The moon follows us everywhere, regardless of what we’re doing, where we go, or what we think. From people’s point of view, their thoughts of the moon may change. But truth is, the moon does not change.

And so, one can say the aspects of the Buddha can be explained by looking at the moon.

The Buddha does not appear nor disappear, but only does so out of compassion and as lessons to be learnt.

He may seem to change in appearance, but in truth he does not change for enlightenment is not bound by physical appearance.

He follows us and guides us in this world in all of its ever changing circumstances. But his essense never change.

Whether one believes in the Buddha, or whether the Buddha is present or appear not to… His existance is independant of our thoughts and belief, filling every corner of the universe, existing forever.

Did You Really Met the 3 Jewels?

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One can be near the Lama, near the most beautiful Buddha statue, near the most elaborately decorated stupas, and near the hundreds of volumes of the Kangyur and Tangyur. But without practice its as if one has never met the Three Jewels.

Just as sitting infront a bowl of rice without eating it does not make one full, so it is similar as one sitting infront the Lama but partake no Dharma.

What is mindfulness?

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I have seen many times, people use this word freely… Often, under-valuing the spiritual sense of this word in the effort to look spiritually rich.

Take for example, if someone accidently poured water on the table… That is not lack of mindfulness! That’s just plain carelessness! Or perhaps just a momentary muscle spasm!

And this is how we downgrade something as important as this… To merely refering things that are going on in the outside or our surroundings.

But then, what really is mindfulness? The shortest way to explain it is our ability to look within and observe the unconscious experience we produce under varied circumstances. How we perceive things directly affects our actions and emotions, so being mindful is not only about serving a cup of tea without dripping tea everywhere… Its about how aware you are about the roots of your reactions.

So, the next time someone tells u that u lack mindfulness for spilling some tea… Rejoice that ure mindful enough to not give him/her a nice slap across the face, because u have identified ur ego and decided to perceive it differently. Hahaha

A jar of happiness?

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Very often, I feel like this girl in the picture… Feeling safe within my own space, in control of what comes in and out of my world.

Remaining oblivious to the world around me means I dont need to think too much that is beyond what I perceive necessary. And its comfortable… It is safe… And for a long time, I thought I’m creating my own happiness, in that tiny jar.

But eventually… it gets suffocating. When u lock yourself up so tight in that jar, and if u do it long enough, the lid gets sealed tighter with ever passing minute… Until eventually, nothing can come in, and u cant get out. And it doesnt matter if u have a million toys to play with inside that jar… Eventually, everything rots and you’re left with nothing.

There really is nothing eventually, in our own self created world and what we thought brings happiness, doesnt really work if we’re still stuck in that tiny space.

So, loosen that lid… Get out of that tiny space. Once you’ve done that, only then u can truly be free.

Pursuing a divine relationship.

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Every moment and effort spent to get closer to you, is time well spent.

Your very being, brings out my true goodness, the epitome of a beneficial relationship.

I wish to know you in this life, and may through the merits from this closeness formed… Take me home to your paradise.

Sarah Yap