Dhamma of the Candle and the Mango Tree

If you are a keen reader of the Sutta, you will find that mango trees are being used in many of the similes…..

Today, I am not including any sutta in this blog post but would like to use the mango tree to illustrate what a candle has been used so far to represent rebirth…. when the light of a candle is about to go off, its light can continue by lighting a new candle…. only the light is being used to light the new candle, while all other conditions are different.  The wax of the new candle, its wick, the air around and the environment can be all different…. yet, the light is being transferred…

And if you allow yourself to think of a mango tree, you will also find that a ripe fruit of the mango tree could fall onto the ground and its seed can grow into another mango tree.  While the new sprout is still a mango tree, all other conditions are different and the new tree can blossom to be another great mango tree that will bear juicy fruits or it may not grow big at all or will not bear fruits.  Hence while still rooted on the same ground as the mother tree, the new tree and the mother tree are different…. this, I hope, will be able to explain about our kamma…. while we could have been collecting lots of merits this lifetime, it is not necessary that those merits will be carried forward to the next lifetime… coz, we had gone through too many lifetimes that may carry over demerits that are ripening in the new lifetime….

Hence, it would be wise that we are not complacent or confident that we will definitely have a good rebirth next life…. just like the light of the candle… only the light was used to light the new candle, all other conditions are different…. just like the mango fruit which seed became a new tree, it is not the same as the mother tree… to carry on bearing juicy fruits…..

So long as we are not enlightened, we will continue to come back to the cycle of samsara.

 

Whether we came from a spark of light
or a seed from the past
We will be individuals different from
our previous life
There is no continuity of the good or
the bad gathered in just one life
But the ripen of kammas accumulated from
all the previous ones
Only when we find the right path
we will be wise
To do what is right, to avoid all that
the ignorant will do otherwise
Only when we find the dhamma
Only when we find the dhamma

 

 

 

 

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Accepting Death….

“…..You can compare it to household utensils that you’ve had for a long time—your cups, saucers, plates and so on. When you first had them they were clean and shining, but now after using them for so long, they’re starting to wear out. Some are already broken, some have disappeared, and those that are left are deteriorating: they have no stable form, and it’s their nature to be like that. Your body is the same way. It has been continually changing right from the day you were born, through childhood and youth, until now it has reached old age. You must accept that. …”

The above is an excerpt from the article, Advice For Someone Who Is Dying, published in the Lion’s Roar site.

This article, by late Ajahn Chah, was first published on January 1, 1994 by permission of the Abbot, Wat Pah Nanachat, Thailand.

It has been a long, long time since I read Ajahn’s books.  And reading this article now reminds me of all the books that I have collected during my visits to monestaries and temples, which I have read, passed them to some friends or eventually return to temples so that others have a chance to learn Ajahn’s wisdom.

Yes, all that Ajahn had conveyed are the Buddha’s teachings but somehow learning from him gives a different perspective….. which one can relate to …. cups and saucers, chicken and duck… haha… anyone will be able to understand his message, right?

The Buddha too gives lots of similes in his teachings so that he can reach people from all walks of life to understand his profound teachings… and Ajahn too, simplified some of the teachings further to reach the people during his time.

I have no difficulties talking about death.  It is a fact of life that when one is born one is going to die… while everything else is uncertain, death is definitely certain!  Hence, it is true that ignorant worldlings will find joy in birth and pain in death.  I experienced severe pain when I lost my sister in a car accident in 2008.  I started learning Buddhism in late 2013 and with my understanding about the truth of life, my sufferings reduced tremendously when my uncle died in 2016….. I shed no tears… coz I understand better …

I believe all of us need to understand and accept the facts of life… instead of believing that cause of death may be due to a heart attack etc … it is in fact due to the truth that we were born…. While we still take care of our body so that we can “use” it for as long as it is “useable” in a healthy manner that does not give us too much physical sufferings, we will still need to learn to let go of it anytime… coz we do not know when death will occur… so, while we are alive, let’s think, speak and do things that are wholesome which we will not regret… coz every moment of whatever thought, speech and action could be the last…. left behind as memories of us to those still living….

Let’s be reminded of the Buddha’s teachings in Maranassati Sutta: Mindfulness of Death (AN6.20).

 

Saddhā(Faith) Sutta (AN 5.38 )

“Just as at a crossroads on level ground, a great banyan tree becomes the resort for birds all around, so the clansman endowed with faith becomes the resort for many people: for bhikkhus, bhikkhunīs, male lay followers, and female lay followers.”

A large tree with a mighty trunk,
branches, leaves, and fruit,
firm roots, and bearing fruit,
is a support for many birds.
Having flown across the sky,
the birds resort to this delightful base:
those in need of shade partake of its shade;
those needing fruit enjoy its fruit.

Just so, when a person is virtuous,
endowed with faith,
of humble manner, compliant,
gentle, welcoming, soft,
those in the world who are fields of merit—
devoid of lust and hatred,
devoid of delusion, taintless—
resort to such a person.

They teach him the Dhamma
that dispels all suffering,
having understood which
the taintless one here attains nibbāna.

I am a lover of poetic verses and I find the above really meaningful… and if you read it with a brush in your mind, you could also paint the picture of the verses (especially the first verse) … beautiful, right?

Life teaches us many dhammas as we walk the path and our kamma will make us enjoy or endure the joy or pain along the way… if we walk with faith and we keep walking, we will eventually able to see the truth of the teachings.

There is nothing permanent here… what we deem happy can turn sad in a split second… who we perceive as friends can turn into strangers before a thought moment… every second everything is changing; including ourselves… our thoughts change our speech and our actions… and they, will change someone else’s thoughts, speech and actions… we are all dependent on each other … every action has a reaction, every action has a result…. whether the action is good or bad, they will still bear fruits…  and we, the do-ers, must accept whatever fruits our actions bear… and to do it with an equanimity mind ~ not to be too happy and not to be too sad… for, this too shall pass… happy also will pass, sad also will pass… and since we are still worldlings, let’s practise one of my favourite phrase:  We can choose to live a day happy or a day sad – why not choose to live it happy!  Afterall, we already know nothing lasts forever… definitely not this body in this lifetime….

Have faith and keep walking towards liberation… a step at a time… the longer we walk, the more we will understand Buddha’s teachings… the less we will suffer…

May you be well and happy always…

 

 

Bāhiyasuttam (Ud1.10)

Today I came across an article “How to Find Happiness Where You Least Expect It” from the Psychology Today website, which I find the following quote very interesting indeed:

‘As Leonardo da Vinci is claimed to have said, “An average human looks without seeing, listens without hearing, touches without feeling, eats without tasting, moves without physical awareness, inhales without awareness of odor or fragrance, talks without thinking.”

Do you know that Buddha has, in the Bāhiyasuttam (Ud1.10) said:
“Tasmātiha te, bāhiya, evaṃ sikkhitabbaṃ: ‘diṭṭhe diṭṭhamattaṃ
bhavissati, sute sutamattaṃ bhavissati, mute mutamattaṃ bhavissati, viññāte viññātamattaṃ bhavissatī’ti. Evañhi te, bāhiya, sikkhitabbaṃ. Yato kho te, bāhiya, diṭṭhe diṭṭhamattaṃ bhavissati, sute sutamattaṃ bhavissati, mute mutamattaṃ bhavissati, viññāte viññātamattaṃ bhavissati, tato tvaṃ, bāhiya, na tena; yato tvaṃ, bāhiya, na tena tato tvaṃ, bāhiya, na tattha; yato tvaṃ, bāhiya, na tattha, tato tvaṃ, bāhiya, nevidha na huraṃ na ubhaya­manta­rena. Esevanto dukkhassā”ti.

which is translated to:
“In that case, Bāhiya, you should train yourself thus: In what is seen there must be only what is seen, in what is heard there must be only what is heard, in what is sensed there must be only what is sensed, in what is cognized there must be only what is cognized. This is the way, Bāhiya, you should train yourself.

“And since for you, Bāhiya, in what is seen there will be only what is seen, in what is heard there will be only what is heard, in what is sensed there will be only what is sensed, in what is cognized there will be only what is cognized, therefore, Bāhiya, you will not be with that; and since, Bāhiya, you will not be with that, therefore, Bāhiya, you will not be in that; and since, Bāhiya, you will not be in that, therefore, Bāhiya, you will not be here or hereafter or in between the two—just this is the end of suffering.

Yes, we have to learn to be mindful at all times in whatever we do; to be aware of what is going on around us; to be present in body and mind with the people with us and to whatever we are attending to…. all without being attached to them or crave for them.

Before learning the Buddha’s teachings, I have also stopped to smell some flowers… sometimes even getting myself attached to them.  However, after learning and practising the Buddha’s teachings, I have discovered that mundane or worldly happiness is short lived, impermanent and will eventually bring me sufferings coz whatever we rely on to give us joy, we will crave for more of it or them and if we do not find it or them, we will find that the joy we long for will turn into sadness.  We have to either find it or them again or find something else that could provide us with the same level or even more joy than the ones that we have used to create those happy feelings.  Or, we will need to learn to LET GO of it or them; to cut off the sufferings we have due to it or them.

Happiness via our senses comes in all forms; from food to our body to someone’s body to some fragrances or sights or colours or touch or music …. anything that you can think of in this world.

I hope you understand this blog post and if you do not, please re-read the above or leave a comment for me to clear your doubts.  Check the article where Leonardo da Vinci’s quote was extracted and read the Sutta too by clicking on the links.

 

Give it a deep thought
and
you may see things as they really are….
may you be well and happy always….

 

 

TIME…

Time passes whether one is ready
Irrespective what one is doing
or not doing …

Time just comes and it just goes
Not waiting
not pausing …

Time makes history moment by moment
When one is not noticing
and there is no reversing …

Times when one is happy or when one is not
There is no freezing
there is no snap shooting …

We must learn to let go of each moment
for time is not for keeping
if we do not understand the teaching
we are the one who will be suffering …

 

~ 8/9/2017

Finding my pets a new home…

I had lunch with a dhamma sister from Malacca and during one of our conversations, I told her that I was looking for a new owner for my pets; my dog (Blur Blur) and my tortoise (Tortoise).

She paused for a moment and said, “Actually, my family planned to go to SPCA later to get a dog…”

Oh, please adopt mine!!

And they did!  Awesome!  I was ecstatic!  Finally, I got them a family (husband and wife, a pair of twin boys and a girl) to love them!  I really feel blessed and happy for Blur and Tortoise.

After a week, I WhatsApp-ed her to confirm when they will come pick the pets and when she replied either Monday or Tuesday (which was like a few days later), I got emotional after putting down the phone…. yes, there was attachment!  But I got over it pretty fast with meditation.

But they came a few more days later, allowing me to spend more time with Blur and Tortoise… really thankful… but then again, there will always be farewells in our lifetime.  We just got to get used to them and practise equanimity at all times.  There will be good times, there will be bad times ~ however, whatever, with whoever ~ shall pass…. the sooner we are able to let go and move on will be better for us.

The fateful day came last Sunday, July 30th.  The family arrived about 11am.  Blur was still attached to me for a while… but once the children started stroking her and talking to her, she was more relaxed… I have mentally prepared her for today coz I have been talking to her about her new home and family since the day they agreed to take her…. and she seems to understand.

Before putting Tortoise into the container, I stroked it and said goodbye….

I know they will be well taken care of and loved by the new family….

May the family and their pets be well and happy always…..

 

Is it just “me”?

Someone recently made me think if I am an unlikeable person… Personally, I think I am a pretty friendly person and get along pretty well with people… but somehow this person makes me feel differently… 😭

Is it just “me”?  Is it “my” ego?  Why should “I” be affected by this person?

As a practising Buddhist, I understand exactly what is happening to my thoughts but as a worldling, I feel miserable coz I believe I am the only one getting such treatment…   WHY me???

I have advised my friends not to be affected by other people’s behaviours and speeches… yet, I am not able to handle a similar situation… haizzz….  😓

Guess I still got lots to learn and practise… to constantly remind myself of impermanence, non-self and sufferings (Ti-Lakkhana).

This too shall pass
~ whatever I feel now will pass coz nothing lasts forever…

It is not “me”
~ let go of my “ego” to feel that “I” am so important that “I” must be liked by everyone… this body is only a vehicle that this consciousness is borrowing to try walk the path to liberation…

If I continue to torment my mind, I am inducing sufferings to myself…
one should not hurt self with a second arrow (to the mind) if one arrow is already in the physical body, which may not be avoidable… coz the mind can be tamed through meditation…

So, Linda, get over it!  
It is not worth your time and effort to wonder and ponder!
Live in the present and let go of the past!
Focus on what is more important, which can help you one step nearer to liberation ya…
Gambate!!!

Phew!  I feel so much better now!  Now that I have let it out of my chest!  😅

For better understanding of Anatta (Non-self or Egoless), click here ya.