Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Penultimate Day of Prostration retreat

Today, we have (almost) finished our Prostration Retreat at Kechara House. After 10 weeks of prostrations without a break - some days, we did a few hundred, some days we did three, but everyday, we would make at least three prostrations. And finally, we have (almost) completed 100,000 as a group retreat.

I keep saying almost because tomorrow evening, we will be officially completing the retreat at Ladrang with Rinpoche. All the retreatants are quite excited about tomorrow. We are quite an excitable bunch anyway but to have the blessings of the Lama at the end of our retreat is stupendous.

The whole experience was quite amazing. We went through ups and downs - changes in personnel, changes in our office, personal changes etc. And we made it!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Eight Verses (again)

Today I meditate on the Eight Verses (again)... focusing on slapping my ego down and giving the victory to others. In the end, it doesn't matter who's right or wrong but how to work together harmoniously. Especially in Dharma, I have to be more Dharmic. Sigh.

Focus. Focus. Focus.

In all actions I will learn to search into my mind
And as soon as an afflictive emotion arises
Endangering myself and others
Will firmly face and avert it.

I will learn to cherish all beings of bad nature
And those pressed by strong sins and sufferings
As if I had found a precious
Treasure very difficult to find.

When others out of jealousy treat me badly
With abuse, slander, and so on,
I will learn to take all loss
And offer the victory to them.

When one whom I have benefited with great hope
Unreasonably hurts me very badly,
I will learn to view that person
As an excellent spiritual guide.

That's why it's called practice.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Update on Prostration retreat

It's our 10th week of prostrations, and our total so far is 96042. We still have to complete 10% extra to make up for any prostrations which were not done properly, so roughly we need to do another 15000.

Despite only getting 2 hours sleep last night, I managed to do 150 prostrations, bringing my personal total to 5247. That averages at about 500 a week, so if I continue at that rate, I will complete my prostration preliminary in about another 190 weeks!! Argh. That's like 4 years!! To be more realistic (and optimistic), I did 1370 prostrations last week, so if I can do 1000 a week, that's another 95 weeks, which is roughly 2 years.

Anyway, back to the KMP retreat, the members of our prostration group has changed somewhat. Joe and JJ have left KMP and joined Ladrang. Joey has left KIT and is being looked after by Fat Monk. However, JJ and Joe are still contributing their prostration count towards our retreat. So everything is on track as we hope to complete our 100,000 before we go on our Nepal trip in a couple of weeks.

So we need to madly prostrate away. I guess I have a lot to purify anyway.. so bring it on!

Why Buddhists talk about suffering and death

Last night, Rinpoche said that one of his Gurus, H.E. Lati Rinpoche, was once asked why Buddhists were so morbid, always talking about death and suffering. Why not talk about positive things? The answer was that it's not whether it's morbid or not but it's the truth. Positive or negative, morbid or not, all these are merely perspectives which can change instantly, depending on our mind. Also when we meditate on the impermanence of life and the imminent coming of death, we would be inspired to do more Dharma - or activities that would benefit others. If you had one day left to live - what would you do for that day?

This morning, Rinpoche said "I live everyday thinking when will i die. My time is soon. I wish i can do more. Time is short. I am not paranoid about it, but VERY AWARE ABOUT IT. It's scary sometimes. What i hate about life is death."

Rinpoche also added, "the sad thing is that the positive things, if you look closely, are really not positive at all and are based on self cherishing and leads to more self cherishing. That is the problem. Self cherishing....."

How true. Everything we hold dear, everything we fear, everything we love, everything we worry about - it all comes from the self-cherishing mind. To not want to face the ugly side of life is a form of cowardice and simply playing ostrich.

The irony of life is the inevitability of death and that every second and every minute, we are moving towards that finality. So I guess I'd better get my arse in gear and do more!