Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pop Heart Sutra

I really love the Heart Sutra, it is this Sutra that brought me home to Buddhism. Imaging my surprise to see this interesting video. I am sooooo happy... WoW..

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Notes on Ven Thubten Chodron talks (Oct 2010)

Ven Thubten Chodron was in Singapore recently and gave a serial of talks which I benefited a lot. I missed one of the talk and deeply regretted it as I found gems in each of her talks.

Below are notes I took during the talks which I hope may be useful for readers.

1. People want to love but their anger is pushing others away.

2. If you have a plan that is just one more way you know that things won’t turn out as you planed.

3. Accept reality; accept what is and not what if. Have an open mind when you approach new things / teaching etc.

4. Learn to dance and laugh with the problems.

5. Let go of how you think things should be like.

6. Self-pity and being upset is a complete waste of time. We do not know when we will die; spend what limited time you have wisely.

7. Self-pity and critical self-talk only feed our ego and sense of self important. We think that we are so important that we can influence things. Self-pity always center on me, me, and me.

8. When we are having critical and unjustified self-talk, we have to ask ourselves if it is that way, if it is true. E.g. “No one love me”. Really? Really there is no one in the world who doesn’t love you? How can you be so sure about this? Even if no one love you, the Buddha love you.

9. Anger and delusion burn up merits.

10. Help others like hand and foot. When there is thorn in the foot, the hand will remove the thorns immediately.

11. If we are attached or crave for a single thing thinking that it can bring us happiness then we are narrowing our vision and thinking that nothing can bring us happiness. But if we drop this thinking we will open up to a wider view of possibility to love and enjoy the company of whoever we come into contact with.

12. We do our meditation thinking that everyone want happiness and do not want suffering. That we depend on the kindness of others in order to live in this world, we are unable to live alone. Others do things that I cannot do or I don’t want to do so that I can do the things I can or want to do. In this way, they are kind to me.

13. Taking up precepts and practice mean no double standard and hypocrisy.

Reply from my inception post

I guess people may do things with a good intention but it is perceive negatively by others, in this case I think my ego is kind of hurt as one of my friend forwarded my email to "someone" and that person start to pinpoint all of my points.

Well, I was angry at that time but I did not reply in anger. But I found that there were some changes between my interaction with this friend. Anyway I am feeling less ego about this and think I will post the reply so that readers can benefit from another view.

Reply (1)

My Dhamma experience based on the movie "Inception"

Inception: Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) was betrayed by one of his teammate, after which he gather his team before the start of his new mission.
Tathiya: It takes a long time to know a person, do not assume that you will understand a person fully. We are inter-dependent on others and each person can complement the strength and weakness of others.

Inception: An idea (seed) can be planted by others or oneself. The only way to change a deeply held belief is for the person to convince him/her self. Others can only lead them along a path.
Tathiya: We are exposed to idea everyday, so we have to guard our mind very carefully as small seeds planted either by ourselves or others, once allow to grow will come into effect. While the Buddha can show us the way (plant seed), in order for us to truly believe it, we need to convince ourselves.

Inception: Dom Cobb showed Ariadne that she can create anything in the dream. She leave the team for a while but returned later due to her attachment to the ability for creation in the dream state.
Tathiya: Well, we all want to be God and create thing but since we cannot do so in the real world, we do it in our mind / dream. We create thoughts about how something / someone should be in our head and once those things / person does not meet our expectation, our internal world come crashing down.

Inception: To change a deeply held belief, the inception team need to go down to the deepest level of the target's belief system.
Tathiya: Each level in our mind will have a different belief system, to change a belief we have to search each level to see if changes can be made at a particular level, if not we need to go deeper so that any changes or planting of seed can have lasting effect.

Inception: Dom Cobb "trap" his memories of his wife at the deepest level of his mind. Also his wife always appear at the wrong time to ruin his plan.
Tathiya: Holding onto past memories only brings suffering, we must learn to let go; we can only block out so much negativity, there will be opportunity for those negative feeling / thinking to surface at the wrong time to ruin us unless we root it out at the deepest level; we must learn to let go.

Inception: For the team to "escape" a level, they will need an external event to shock them out of their dream state.
Tathiya: My Dhamma experience came from this. I was having some negative thoughts when an old friend suddenly called out to me, I was literally shock out of my negative thinking. It is like the Zen story of throwing a rock into a bamboo forest and hearing the sound which break the thoughts process of the listener and encourage them to come back to the moment. Thus the lesson is, when we are corner by thoughts, we need an external event / we be aware of it in order to break the cycle.

Inception: At the end of the movie, the spinning top does not give an indication of whether Dom Cobb is back in reality or still in a dream state.
Tathiya: Life should be live in reality but some people cannot distinguish between what is real and what is a dream. As reality can be painful, there are some people like Dom Cobb and wife who decided to escape into the dream state to avoid facing the truth.

Inception: Dom Cobb planting of a seed in his wife valve that suggest that in order to be alive, she has to die in her dream world. Never did he thought that this seed was carried forward to the real world and this was what caused his wife to commit suicide in the real world.
Tathiya: Cause will have effect, even a gesture did with kind intention may not always turn out fine. Thus we have to be very careful with our thoughts, speech and action.

Inception: Once you dies in your dream, you will stay in limbo for an indefinite amount of time. Dom Cobb at the end of the movie save Saito from limbo. We also saw what sort of dreams Saito have.
Tathiya: It is like a person who cannot escape from thinking about his past or are fantasied by his "idea" world / state, like a mad person who are stuck to his way of thinking. They stay in limbo in their thoughts unless they / someone else come and bring them out. And guess what......for us Buddhist it is the Buddha who show us the way but it is ourselves and our experience that will truly liberate us from Samsara.

Reply (2)

The ending of the film seems to suggest that the dream state as depicted by the unceasing spinning top prevails over reality. Evil acts beget evil results even in a dream world. In this film it is celluloid illusion that stretches the imagination.
DH Lawrence was more realistic and poignant on dreams:
"All people dream,but not equally,
Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their mind,
Wake in the morning to find that it was vanity.
But the dreamers of the day are dangerous people,
For they dream their dreams with open eyes,
And make them come true."

Fortunately the characters in the film dreamt in deep induced sleep so it transgressed into make-believe Hollywood world of greed,hatred, and delusion.

The Buddha was more sanguine with mental and not a dream state:
"We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world."

What would become of human existence if our thoughts can be replaced with "seed" dreams?

There may be different interpretations of the film if without a reading of the actual plot. The intention it seems is to tweak the mind of viewers to go into a fantasy world like what some romantic poets wrote whilst taking opiate...of Kublai Khan and his palace dome of sensual pleasure. :-)