DAY FIFTEEN: Sunday, 4th April 2010
My mind has been most pre-occupied with the death meditation lately.
It’s been in my mind since Rinpoche’s talk. And this weekend is Qing Ming – Chinese All Souls Day, where by all families will visit the graves of their ancestors and pay their respects. This is a yearly event, in remembrance of those dearly departed. So, a lot of Chinese people are spending their time at the cemeteries today and I had returned for the first time in ages to Kechara Manjushri’s Class. Ages in this context means years.
The lovely surprise is that today’s class is taught by my dear author friend, David Lai. Usually, the class is conducted by Jamie aka Paris. But she was unwell, so David took over the class this time.
Actually, the very first Manjushri class that I attended eons ago, was also conducted by David. And I remember very clearly – David talked about the Four Noble Truths. That was in year 2004. So now you know how long I have been missing in these Manjushri classes.
Tsk, tsk, tsk - bad, Shirley - I know.
Coincidentally, today I find myself sitting in David’s class again. This time, I can truly see how much David has blossomed into a capable and adorable Dharma Teacher of his own. He has the unique ability to remember exactly how our own Guru, H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche expounded the Dharma. It was sheer joy watching and listening to him. At the same time, we also had 7 other attendees who joined the class via the internet’s LIVE STREAMING.
Just before David wrapped up the class, we get to ask David all sorts of questions and even shared some of our own personal experiences. David always likes it when the audience participates and shares. This makes the learning fun and relevant.
In this class, I especially enjoyed it when David shared a scene from the movie: Little Buddha, which starred Keanu Reeves as the Buddha. David talked about the last few moments just before the Buddha had to face himself in order to gain Enlightenment. There was this scene that David highlighted in which the Buddha saw his own image arose from the mirror-like water on the ground before him, and the Buddha proceeded to have a dialogue with this other Buddha that had appeared. In essence, the Buddha was facing his own EGO. Finally, the Buddha killed his own EGO or his own self-cherishing mind, and gained Enlightenment.
I had forgotten all about this particular scene even though that “Little Buddha” movie is one of my all time favourite.
I agree with David – it is a most emotionally intense scene.
And it relates to the Death Meditation resting upon my mind over the last few days. Hence, this is why I wrote an earlier blog post entitled, “The Death of A Queen”.
So, it was indeed a meaningful afternoon.
Now, this is DAY FIFTEEN :-
Weight: 54 kg (I know, I know, I know)
No. Of Prostrations: 30 (increased from 25)
Daily Sadhanas: Check and Done with Death Meditation and Dzambala Mantra.
Physical Exercise: Nil.
Daily Reflection from "IF NOT NOW, WHEN?" – Ok, here it is. My eyes are closed my eyes and I picked out page 103.
Quote from Page 103 for Day Fifteen:
“Everything that we have is only for a very, very short time. And the most important thing in our lives are the people who care about us – these are the people who have loyally stayed with us and who have been by our side through our bad habits, bad temper, bad words and anger. It is these people – who have stayed with us over time – who are important. In the end, we might lose everything except these people.
Serve your parents, drive them around, feed them, call them, take care of them, massage them, make time for them, listen to them, listen to them tell the same story 5,000 times, smiling and happily ask them what happened again and again and again. Do you know why? That is all that is left. And when I speak about parents, I mean anyone who has been kind to you.”
Personal Thoughts and Feelings:
I must confess, I am not the best daughter or sister. I may not even be a good mother either.
I have more patience for strangers and friends than I do for my own family members.
I cannot sit through my mother’s complaints about her maid for the 2nd time, let alone the 4th or 5th. Yet she needed a sympathetic ear because she has no one else to talk to about these things, so she looks to her daughters to console her. This is the only comfort she can give herself. Yet in the past, I would not tolerate it. It drove me up the wall, down the road and I wished I was also in the car, driving away too.
I had zero patience. And it was impossible for me to spare some or any to my own mother.
Same goes for my dad. I had no patience to sit through and hear him lament about how he had worked all through his youth and still has to work to this day. He yearned to retire but he could not bring himself to really retire because he still worries about us all.
Nope. I would not sit through another second of his laments.
My sisters basically have learnt to leave me alone and not bother me at all.
My daughter truly deserves a better mother, if only she herself could “refund” me in exchange for something much more caring.
Whining and whinging are things that drive me insane. They are like the death knells to my sanctity. Hence, you can see exactly how much I totally enjoyed being a hermit and lived blissfully in the vicinity of my room, with no one to disturb the silence.
Now, you can start to appreciate the amount of work Rinpoche had to put in order to help someone like me from the very beginning. Rinpoche said that it was I who taught the full meaning of patience. And I couldn’t agree more.
If I had to face a student such as myself, I rather kill myself or have myself arrested and put in a mad house where I don’t have to see this student ever again. Happy, happy, white walls and straight jackets are better than dealing with this unholy mess of a woman! No joke.
Now, my family may not even notice and they may not even realise it but Rinpoche has always urged me to care for my parents first and foremost. Then it extends from there.
If I could not even bring myself to show most compassion to those who gave me life, comforts and care through my life on earth, then there is no way I could care for anyone else. At least, not genuine care. It would be shallow, if not, fake.
This and more, I do sincerely and openly confess.
I did not know how to be a daughter, sister and mother. On some days, I could not even bring myself to be a good friend either.
Putting aside what I like, what I want, in the way I like it or want and to the degree it is to be served to me, and by whom – has never been easy. Then on top of that, I have to think of others first and foremost – that was complete torture to my very self-centred existence.
Yet, no one gave up on me. In fact, they continued putting up with me, with sincere care.
Honestly, I have much to pay back and make up.
I shall have to spend the rest of my life making up and paying back in thousand folds.
I do not wish to live in regret and bitterness, knowing that I could have done it all very differently and much better but I didn’t because of my own selfish mind.
And so, if I have to ‘kill’ this Self-Cherishing Egoistical Shirley, then I just have to do it.
In fact, the very first time that I had killed her was in January 2009, and I wrote all about it in my blog post, “The Vomit Of Society”.
There will be many deaths, so to speak, as this self-cherishing ego has many faces and guises. And it goes into many layers and depth. I cannot be too lax or take things for granted. Until the Queen of Sloth and Decadence is dead and gone, I will not rest in peace.
I will continue to search for her, or any remnants of her and HUNT HER DOWN.
In the meantime, I must do more for those I love and even more, for those I do not love.
Until I am sincerely smiling at hearing my mother’s maid complaint story for the 1000th time and I am still calm and happily showing concern and care, then and only then, I would know, the Queen no longer resides in the kingdom of my mind.
Have a lovely evening.
(Day Sixteen is up next)