05 Nov 2016, Saturday.
It was a wet day, with the drizzles started from the morning.
I was walking along the familiar street towards the office to get my motorbike gears as I had to attend the practical lessons.
I wasn’t excited, in fact, I was feeling discouraged after the first practical lesson, when I realized myself getting old and having problems with all the hands and legs coordination.
Sometimes, I do wonder why I have made such a decision to learn motorbike. Is it for fun, for ease of transport or any other unknown reasons?
I have begun to learn to look within myself for answers. Elaine was against it, Kok Keong advised me not to, and all those who love me will disagree as well.
The rain droplets fell on my head, my glasses and my face. It was cool, and my heart was not as bad as the previous day.
The lesson went well and was drizzling throughout the class. I have learned to move the bike in first, second and third gear, but I had difficulty in coordinating myself when it came to stopping.
After the lesson, I decided to proceed with my plan to go to Phor Khak See Monastery for my photoshoot. Somehow, something was calling upon me for the past few days, and I knew I wanted to visit the temple for a reason, although I did not know what to expect in that place.
Fortunately, the drizzle has stopped by the time I reached the place, and I was pleasantly surprised with what I saw. It is Singapore’s biggest temple with a few buildings in the location. It was quiet as there weren’t many people around and I had the luxury to really take a slow walk around the place.
Then I came to this open place where a huge Kuan Imp Bodhisattva statue stood, and around her were many small statues of little monks standing, sitting or lying down. When I saw that, I couldn’t help but to put down my backpack and camera and knelt down on the walkway facing her and began to pray. Tears of peace and gratitude rushed to my eyes.
Then I knew what has been calling me, it’s Bodhisattva.
For years, I have thought that I believed in Buddhism, till this year when my emotions was like going through roller coaster, and I could feel myself screaming and screaming, but no sound coming out from my mouth. Then I turned to Buddhism for help, just to realize that I have never truly believed in it.
I made vows and prayers that I thought Buddha / Bodhisattva can hear, not realizing that my thoughts are the ones that really count. Whether or not my prayers and vows are heard is not important at all.
For the past 2 months, I drowned myself in books of religious and zen studies. I picked up books on self healing, so that I can continue with this life journey.
Have I been enlightened? No, I’m still far away from it, for I am a commoner and I don’t intend to attain enlightenment. But I have begun to feel a sense of peace within myself, though I am not sure is it due to “suppression” or I have truly understood the meaning of life.
Life is a journey of practice, that was what I wrote in one of my recent essays. Practice refers to the “way” or “path” however we want to call it. And everything that we have experienced, is just a “tool” to make us better. I used to think that I was the one created to help others, not knowing that it is the other way round.
Buddha / Bodhisattva / God (if there is any in this universe) has created a path for me to attain my way. It is a tough journey, but it was planned and meant to be that way.
Many people (my parents, my siblings, my family, my friends, my colleagues and almost every one) have come into my life to teach me the truth of life that nothing in this world is forever.
Just like what Buddha has said, forever, is as short lived as Cereus blooming in the night (昙花一现). I begin to understand this statement not long ago. There is no forever, or forever is only when it was mentioned at that point in time.
That’s how I will interpret “forever” now.
As I began to look at things from another perspective. I constantly remind myself that things happen for a reason, and everyone has come into my life to lead me towards the “way”.
That day, I looked into Kuan Imp’s eyes and found some of my answers.
Year 2010 was hell for me, when I went through one of the toughest year in my life. As I picked myself up from the fall, I thought I have attained slight enlightenment and began to dare to dream. I told myself to be what I was, and shall not allow anyone around me to go through what I have been through in the 10 years before 2010 and 3 years after 2010. And I did fulfill some of my dreams.
Back in 2011, I went to Hong Kong alone and visited the big Buddha. I bought a Buddhist wristlet with words carved on each and individual beads. I love it very much as it gave me the sense of peace I was looking for then. Unfortunately, I lost it a year later and when I visited Hong Kong again, I was determined to get the same thing.
I did and the wristlet has always been with me, except that for some reason, I stopped wearing it, and stopped practicing Buddhism. I prayed and ate vegetarian only when it’s 1st and 15th of each lunar month, totally forgetting that Buddhism has walked with me through one of my hardest years.
Then I realised…
Bodhisattva has a greater plan for me.
Bodhisattva wants me to know what true love is.
Bodhisattva wants me to know what life really is about.
Things changed but I didn’t.
I thought I know what life is, but I didn’t.
There are so many things that I think or thought I know, but I was wrong, totally wrong.
Saturday was the day I felt peace for that few hours when I was in the Monastery. I am not sure has this got to do with the daily chanting, praying and the meditating.
It’s a bright day today. The sun has finally come out after a few wet days, and the sky was blue as I stood under the shade, smoking and thinking about life after a quick lunch. The sky was beautiful.
This morning, I heard a statement that I have been hearing for the past 2 months, except that today’s statement is more on the “negative” aspect. I was waiting for my half boiled egg at the eatery near my office. Then the coffee stall helper came to me and said: “Wow, I almost couldn’t find you. You have “shrunk” so much that I couldn’t recognize you from the back. Brother, don’t shrink further, ok?” I smiled at him and said nothing. But my heart was touched that even an outsider like him will be concerned about the way I have lost my weight.
Every now and then, I would be receiving comments from different people around the office: “Hey… you have slimmed down a lot ya?” or “you look so small now”. I do not know how to respond to them, but deep inside my heart, I know that I look horrible not because I’m slim or fat, but it’s an overall impression that I am giving to others. And then I asked myself: “Have I loved myself?”
I didn’t. But I will from now onwards.
Anyway, as I left the monastery on Saturday, I looked at Kuan Imp and prayed and vowed with new promises for the last time, and what did I pray? No one knows…
Now, I have a new dream but it is not conceptualized yet. It’s a bigger dream, a dream that is an uphill task and may not be fulfilled at all. But I will not give up.
May Bodhisattva bless all human kind…
08 Nov 2016 13:00