Thursday, April 8, 2010


DAY SIXTEEN: Monday, 5th April 2010


It has been a most valuable day.

I have enlisted myself in the learning of the Drolchok Puja, which is essentially the Tara Puja. It is practised by the monks in Gaden Monastery. It is authentic and real, as the monks from Gaden actually came to KL, at the request of our Guru, H.E. Tsem tulku Rinpoche, to teach us the local students.

Rinpoche wanted local students to be equipped with the authentic knowledge and skills of doing these pujas so that we can make prayers for everyone in the near future, and we do not have to send such prayer requests to the monastery in India any more. We can start serving and helping others once we ourselves are able to master these prayers.

So, I became part of the Drolchok Puja Team and we even get to learn how to make the torma offerings for this particular puja. It is such an honour to be learning something so precious that has been passed down from generation to generation, forming the unbroken lineage of Lama Tsongkhapa.

Tormas are made of blended oats, with sugar, honey and butter and we knead it into a dough. Then we proceed to shape them into these tower-like offerings called tormas. See the pictures for a better idea. They taste yummy, by the way. Yes, I did eat some left over bits. Tormas are traditional food offerings to the Buddhas during pujas.

After making the tormas, Rinpoche summoned us all into his private quarters and gave us a short Dharma Talk on the significance of learning this puja and having the authentic lineage Gurus pass down their knowledge to us in this beautiful way.

Tara is a green coloured female Buddha. She is associated with success, healing and swift action – among other things. Her right leg is extended out as if she is always ready to leap in action in order to help us. So, whenever we need swift success, healing and action in helping achieve our projects, exams, recovery from illness or surgery, etc, we can request and sponsor a Tara Puja to be done for us or our loved ones.

There are probably many stories of Tara, but my favourite is this, as extracted from Wikipedia, for your easy reference (just so you know that SHE is legit and I didn’t just make HER up) –

In this tale there is a young princess who lives in a different world system, millions of years in the past. Her name is Yeshe Dawa, which means "Moon of Primordial Awareness". For quite a number of aeons she makes offerings to the Buddha of that world system, whose name was Tonyo Drupa. She receives special instruction from him concerning bodhicitta — the heart-mind of a bodhisattva. After doing this, some monks approach her and suggest that because of her level of attainment she should next pray to be reborn as a male to progress further. At this point she lets the monks know in no uncertain terms that from the point of view of Enlightenment it is only "weak minded worldlings" who see gender as a barrier to attaining enlightenment. She sadly notes there have been few who wish to work for the welfare of beings in a female form, though. Therefore she resolves to always be reborn as a female bodhisattva, until samsara is no more. She then stays in a palace in a state of meditation for some ten million years, and the power of this practice releases tens of millions of beings from suffering. As a result of this, Tonyo Drupa tells her she will henceforth manifest supreme bodhi as the Goddess Tārā in many world systems to come.

Now, we can compare this statement with what H.H Dalai Lama said about Tara in his Conference at Newport Beach, California in 1989 :-

There is a true feminist movement in Buddhism that relates to the goddess Tārā. Following her cultivation of bodhicitta, the bodhisattva's motivation, she looked upon the situation of those striving towards full awakening and she felt that there were too few people who attained Buddhahood as women. So she vowed, "I have developed bodhicitta as a woman. For all my lifetimes along the path I vow to be born as a woman, and in my final lifetime when I attain Buddhahood, then, too, I will be a woman."

So, Tara is indeed very cool like tha. She is the original ultra feminist. This might explain why I like her so much as well. But most importantly, for me, at least, I find that indoing the Tārā meditation is a means of seeing the true face of my mind, devoid of any trace of delusion. I truly appreciate seeing the truth of myself like that and this is why I would continue in doing Tara's prayers, mantras and meditation.

Please do find out more and learn about TARA. SHE is amazing in every way, because SHE chooses to remain as a woman.
Anyways, this is how my DAY SIXTEEN unfolded:-

Weight: 53.5kg (Finally, some bloody improvement. I’ll take the 0.5 as progress, however minute it is!)

No. Of Prostrations: 30

Daily Sadhanas: Check and Done with Death Meditation and Dzambala Mantra.

Physical Exercise: Nil. Major pay back in the next few days!

Daily Reflection from "IF NOT NOW, WHEN?" – Let’s see what today brings. My eyes are closed my eyes and I picked out page 073.

Quote from Page 073 for Day Sixteen:

“Ask yourself, at this point in your life, if you are still trying to win an argument and if that is the most important thing to you. If you are 40, 50, 60, 70 years old and you are still trying to win year after year, you have wasted your life. That may have been what you needed 30, 40, 50 years ago, but why are you still at that level? Why do you still need to win?

Rejoice in the good actions that you have done and increase them. Recognise the faults that you have and work on them. And when you make a mistake, get up and try again. When we do that, respect for people, cultures and religions all arise from our minds as well as acceptance of people and of how they should be. And we come out of our box. Wisdom arises.”

Personal Thoughts and Feelings:

This is somewhat of a prickly issue with me because I was the ‘Empress of Argue-My-Way-Out-No-Matter-What and Die, Die, Also Cannot Give In.”

We should just cut it short and have myself called, “THAT SNOBBY OBSTINATE COW”. At least, the true meaning remains the same.

Ah, yes - my favourite line used to be, “If I bring myself to agree with you, then we would both be wrong.”

Come to think of it, I don’t even remember why I was so stubbornly sure that I was just right ALL THE TIME, and that there was no other way.

I just knew that I wanted to win, had to win, and must win. As if that my being wrong or agreeing with others, would mean me losing in the worst possible way.

In truth, when I could not even accept that perhaps I could be wrong because there was possibly another perspective to the whole equation, or for someone else, it was just different that way - then the one who truly had lost would be me. And most of the time, I am sad to admit that I was just horrid that way.

In all my life, I’ve invested too much effort, time and emotions in saving my own face-value, my pride and my sense of ‘what is right according to me, of course’.

If I had invested the same amount of time, effort and emotions in understanding others’ point of views, their beliefs and point of references, then perhaps I would have gained so much more in knowledge, understanding and empathy. Above all, I would have gained friendship and trust.

I think it is very clear to see when someone cares to listen or cares at all, or when someone is more interested in hearing their own statements. And they were just allowing you, as the audience, to participate in the hearing and only in hearing. They are not interested in your opinions or feelings – as if they have the time for such nonsense! Especially, when they already know that they are right from the start.

They just want you to look at them with your big doe-like eyes and nod occasionally, like you totally agree.

I should know, I have been practising these arts of dismissing and shutting out others since I understood the power of words.

I remember my best or rather worst arguments were with my ex-husband. Bless him for being able to stay sane even after being married to me for less than 2 years. I must have bled him dry each and every time I decided to open my mouth. And yet there he would stand, before me, still caring and gentle, as if not to disturb my train wreck -knowing that if he did not contribute to the whole conversation, I would run out of steam more quickly. How fast he had to learn!

The next person on the list who got it the most from me would be my maids – or rather, my long list of maids and ex-maids, as I went through them like a log through the shredder. Most of them just packed up their bags and ran for their lives, literally.

That was the late Madame Shirley – the original Vomit of the Society.

Boy, am I glad that I had put her through the shredding machine and got rid of her – well, most of her anyhow. She had some good bits – yes, some – after much good will hunting, of course.

So, for the little good that she had, I started using them and building on them. Until one fine day, quite surprisingly so, I began liking myself. More importantly, I began to believe that it was possible, after all – to cultivate a better me.

In the end, we will all come to our end. And I just want my ending to be somewhat worthwhile and meaningful, because, truly, and dearly, everyone around me and the people I have come across have been so instrumental in making me into someone so much more likeable than I could ever become on my own.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the God honest truth.

May Mother Tara bless all of them, always, and keep them close and safe, always.

May Mother Tara hold them in the palm of HER HAND, and bless them every single moment, as they have blessed my entire life.

Have a good night and no more fighting just to win, OK.

Let's all PLAY NICE & FAIR.

It is sooooooooooo tiresome when we argue and fight, don't you think?

In the wise words of the Beatles, “Make Love and Not War”

There is already enough pain and misery in this world today. Everyone suffers to some extent and takes it in different dosage, so we REALLY need NOT add to that.

So, I say it again in closing -
Let us all learn to PLAY NICE & FAIR & JUST GET ALONG.
*With folded hands and a warm smile*
Yes, I am much more user-friendly now and I do not bite - well, not intentionally and without reason, anyhow.
And to all, sweet dreams!

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