Ever since the day I shaved my hair for “Hair for Hope”, I have been shaving my hair regularly, keeping it as short as I can. And now I shave my hair every Saturday morning.
It is kind of funny that I will always feel peaceful as I look into the mirror and start shaving my hair. And when I finish shaving, I will use my hand to rub my bald head and smile, feeling satisfied, as if I have shaved away all my worries and problems.
I have had a few encounters when colleagues and friends started to ask me why did I shave my hair. I shrugged and smiled, and told them there’s no particular reason. Sometimes, I would crack a joke with one or two if that person asked me: are you facing some problems, that you want to become a monk? And my response to him or her would be: Yes.
Is there some truth in it? Certainly yes, but may not be because of the problems I am facing. It’s funny that people always think that a person will only become a monk when facing difficulties or after a great mishaps. They fail to see that a monk actually can live peacefully and joyfully in this sentient world.
Since a year back, I’ve always wanted to shave my hair and make myself look like a monk. Perhaps, after reading so much on Buddhism, I have been wanting to have a taste of monkhood, to feel how is it like to live life as a free soul, practising daily on liberation of my own soul.
I know I’m far from liberation, let alone being a monk. But watching movies about those renowned monks, tears always rolled down my cheek as I witnessed them going through the hardships as they walked towards their path with a heart full of compassion for mankind.
Their will were so strong that nothing can bend them from their belief. And in their hearts, peace lives within.
I’ve experienced some peace before, ever since I started practising. But I am after all still living in this sentient world (the red dust as it is called in Chinese), I have my own desires for other things. Much as I try to tell myself that impermanence is the only truth in this world, understanding it and practising it are two different matters at all.
I have my own anger, frustrations, disappointments and not forgetting joy (seeking joy in itself is a desire) and to liberate myself from all these is as good as letting go of all matters in this world. It is always easier said than done and when things that I hold so dearly in my heart begin to fall apart, I found myself feeling lost, not knowing which direction I should be heading.
As I was walking to the bus stop to go to office that day, I chanced upon a few beautiful flowers sitting among the leaves. I stopped for a moment looking at the flowers and thought how I could capture that moment. I took out my camera which I wanted to bring to office and snapped some pictures of the flower.
I angled it in such a way that there is only one nice purple colour amongst all the greens.
I didn’t know how it will turn out to be like but after editing it, I actually love the picture. It’s a simple portrait of a flower surrounded by a bunch of leaves, and the purple colour just stand out in the frame.
From the picture, I also saw the vulnerability of life, as I know that if I am to go back to the same spot, that flower that I snapped would have withered. Such is the life of a flower, blossoming for a short period of time and when the time comes, it will just fall onto the ground gracefully.
Just like my bamboo orchid, I see new flower blossom every day and I see existing flowers withering. Each bamboo orchid can last at most two days before I see its colour fading and the petals starting to form wrinkles.
Life is short and as Buddha has said it rightfully, life is just between an in and out breath. Who knows what will happen tomorrow?
If I’m not able to liberate myself from all the desires in this world, then I have to make sure I live my life fully, pursuing what really matters in my heart, and at the same time, learning how to flow with the water current, and not against it.
Letting go is the hardest part of life, and I’m learning it the hard way. Slowly and painfully, I begin to let go. I know I deserve more than that, and I know I need to love myself before I can love this world and many other things.
There is much to learn in life, and I want to make sure I live my life with no regrets.
Shaving my hair is just an indication of my desire to pursue liberation. Now that I’m more aware of what I truly want in life, I have to pursue it with will. It may be a hard decision but nobody knows what the outcome will be like until things truly happen.
I know I have to walk this path alone, be it liberation or fighting for my own destiny. After all, life is a lonely journey, the moment we came to this world, we are destined to leave this world alone.
Buddha has said, when we are happy, do not forget that it will not last. Similarly, when we are in pain or suffering, it will not last too.
Everything will be fine, for nothing last forever.
Written with a confused heart
自从那次为Hair for Hope的项目剃头之后，我开始了经常剃头，时至今日，我每个星期六都会把头剃的清光。