Powers come; powers go. None can match the Timelessness of Love’s quiet glow.
May all sentient beings be blessed by the faithfulness of the full moon light, and find their footing in the timelessness of compassion, wisdom and courage, during these uncertain times of health threats, societal differences and power struggles.
On the eve of the Solar Eclipse I raised a small butter lamp for someone who had exited this world painfully just a week ago.
As a language teacher whose main work has been about redirecting the powers of the mind for the best answers and therefore the highest good, I care how the mind works.
I’ve always taken for granted that the mind can figure anything out. So the abrupt ending of a brilliant mind belonging to someone I admired greatly despite not knowing him personally, bothered me.
That night after lighting the butter lamp I had a dream that went like this:
Some goods from Tibet had arrived for me 6 months late.The whole consignment was dropped off by a helicopter onto the roof top of a commercial building in Chinatown.
I had to go and pick up the goods myself.
I stood at the traffic junction outside Chinatown Point and looked across the street and up the building where my challenge stood.
As I explored options on how to get access to the goods, I found myself being able to direct the consignment to move just by thinking about it.
The whole process felt like I was simply using a cursor to shift files around on my computer. I watched the bulk lift and swing down gently as if an invisible crane was doing all the work.
This newfound skill didn’t make me feel superior or anxious.On the contrary it felt very egoless & peaceful.
When the consignment from Tibet finally landed, I found sacks of rice, food items and a knife. I was delighted to know that I was to distribute all the edibles to others, but not so happy to learn that the knife was meant for me.
“What kind of an omen is this? Am I supposed to kill myself with it?” Questions rose in my fearful mind as I looked at the shining metallic blade in my hand.
“No, the knife is to help you cut through all the bullshit,” came the reply, strong and clear as daylight, and as if someone was talking directly into my ear as I opened my eyes.
In Buddhism iconography, Manjusri is an enlightened being of wisdom that transcends knowledge & concepts. He holds a sword in one hand and a lotus or sutra in the other. The sword cuts through the mind’s illusions and ignorance (aka bullshit). The lotus holds the Heart Sutra, the home of compassion.
I remember reading a few years back that Manjusri is the guardian of those born under the zodiac of the Hare. And my zodiac sign is the Hare.
Sharp and metallic objects especially knives and blades make me nervous. I don’t even like seeing a pair of scissors lying about.
But this dream of a knife gift has created a mind shift in me. While a knife can certainly cause injuries and even death, it is also absolutely essential for cutting loose a noose to save a life.
So I wish to dedicate this post to all who are troubled with issues that look and feel hopeless. May they be given Manjusri’s sword to cut through all attachments that are directing their mind towards harmful paths. And may the sword help to make a clearing in their mind, where they can feel safe & heal in their own time. 🙏
In mid April 2020, in the midst of lockdowns and stockpiling frenzy, a friend’s beloved dog passed away in the Middle East.
In her grief, my friend found lighting tealights, butter lamps and candles deeply comforting. She was also a little concerned that her supply was running low. Travel restrictions and curfews also made it hard for her to make purchases.
On 23 April I mailed her a box of butter lamps. My intention was for them to lift her spirit from the darkness of loss and to light a path for her departed Nepalese dog child.
It took a long time for the parcel of light to reach her. It had to first leave Singapore to go to the USA, and from there, it then made its way to the Middle East.
Two days ago, more than a month later, the butter lamps finally arrived at my friend’s home in the desert.
When she opened the parcel, it was also Day 49 of her dog’s passing.
Today on full moon eve and on the Tibetan holy day of Saka Dawa, my friend in the Middle East raises one butter lamp from Singapore for her Nepalese dog son. She puts it in a holder that has followed them from his country of birth.
I like to think that the butter lamps that I sent out on account of a humble dog must have blessed many postal workers and handlers as they passed oceans and deserts in time for his 49th day observation.
And I couldn’t have asked for a more auspicious timing for my friend’s gloom to be lifted as she celebrates her beloved companion’s entry into the full moon and into Saka Dawa.
May we continue to be Bearers of Light for one another, regardless of what forms we take and what kind of crossings we make.
Today is new moon and also World Turtle Day. A critically endangered hawksbill turtle was sighted coming onto Singapore shore to lay her eggs.
She spent about 2 hours on the East Coast Park beach before covering her contributions with sand and swimming out to sea.
This evening I received gifts of fruits, bread, noodles & soup.
Around this time in 2011, Ron and I took our first trip to Nepal.
It was the mango season then.
It is not something to be taken for granted that the same friend who lugged mangoes back to our hotel that day sent me mangoes this evening 9 years later.
I remember vividly Ron & I eating mangoes by the dusty window of Hotel Harati in Thamel in silent gratitude as cars honked madly on the street below.
This stay home imposition has provided me the grounding I need to recall & process lots of stuff.
May the new moon open our eyes to see our own buried past clearly, so that we can gather compassion & wisdom to move forward. And as the scales fall off our eyes in the new moon light, may we develop the courage to look at our own movies, instead of just the ones on Netflix.
May the new moon also refresh our ears even as our mouths are masked shut, so that we can listen better to ourselves and to others, before we speak.
With the nation wide restrictions on human movements and activities, I wasn’t sure if flowers would still be available at the supermarket near my home.
Medical safety aside, getting dressed and donning a mask to make that walk in our humid weather did threaten my flower offering practice.
But I finally made the flower trip while being fully aware that it might turn out to be a “wasted” one.
Outside the supermarket, the styrofoam box that was used to contain the jasmines was empty except for the crushed ice that was meant to keep the flowers fresh.
The bouquets on sale were too large for the vases at home and it looked like I was going home “empty handed.”
Oh well…at least I got to buy new sponges for the sink and some bread, dried fruits and nuts, I thought to myself as I reluctantly accepted the reality of my unproductive trip.
As I made my way home, I turned to take one last look at the bouquets, hoping I could perhaps find a smaller one.
It was then I spotted a burly man showing great interest in the empty styrofoam box, much like what I did earlier on.
Burly Man wore dark clothes and had industrial shoes on. He looked like one of those container truck drivers, not someone you would associate with flowers, especially jasmines.
He gesticulated at the cashier with great familiarity to ask where the jasmines were. The latter made a quick dash to someone inside the supermarket.
Before long, a young male staff appeared, cradling a large bag of packed with little packets of jasmines & showed them to Burly Man. Both men smiled widely at the treasured florals & exchanged pleasantries.
By then, Burly Man knew I was also looking to buy jasmines and garlands, if they were available.
As the packets of jasmines rained down into the styrofoam box, Burly Man helped me sort out the garlands which were in limited supply from the unstrung ones, while picking a few packets for himself.
I paid for the garlands for Ganesha, for Avaloki and for St Francis, and thanked Burly Man for getting the jasmines out of cold storage for me.
Burly Man will never know he had played such an important role in a stranger life’s yesterday.
His timely appearance assured me that making “inconvenient journeys” without the certainty of their outcomes, except that they be a gesture of commitment, must be done even when things don’t pan out the way I hope or want.