The rainbow introduces children to colours and students to science. In turbulent times, the rainbow is a symbol of promise, hope, equality and continuation of love.
I love Singapore’s founding father’s speech where he exhorted us to follow that rainbow and find our pot of gold.
But my favourite rainbow is found in the “Song of the Windhorse” by Venerable Sangharaksita.
“I am the Windhorse! I am thought at its clearest Emotion at its noblest, Energy at its most abundant. I am Reverence. I am Friendliness. I am JOY. Plunging or soaring, I leave behind me A rainbow track.”
Last night I asked the new moon to strengthen our mind so that our thoughts & emotions may have the clarity for us to act wisely & compassionately.
And the Windhorse must have heard my prayer too. 😊
Like the shell’s iridescence remains unaffected by its outward cragginess, may the full moon lend us her light so that the benefits of deeds performed in honesty and with wisdom will continue to shimmer long after the performers are gone. 🙏
Of all the lanterns that were bought for me in my childhood, I remember the rabbit lantern best for the following reasons:
Firstly, my dad bought it. Secondly I was born in the year of the hare. Thirdly, its frame was wrapped in shredded white crepe paper to simulate fur. Fourthly, and most importantly, the whole lantern was set ablaze as soon as the candle that was meant to light it from within tilted, causing fire to meet paper.
Did the wire holding the candle in place not do its job? Or was my dad too clumsy in the lighting ceremony?
You can imagine the shock & pain of a 5 year old seeing her beloved rabbit lantern which she had been hugging all afternoon going up in flames and turning into ashes in seconds.
I was inconsolable. My young dad was traumatised.
In the mid-autumn festivals that followed, he would buy only battery operated lanterns for my brother and I. And no more crepe paper rabbits!
This evening I was pleasantly surprised to find that the lantern design that I loved half a century ago still exists!
The current model now has wheels, presumably for greater stability to minimise accidents like mine.
Come tomorrow night, I’m sure somewhere in some homes celebrating mid-autumn, paper lanterns will still catch fire and go up in flames.
There will be tears over the destruction & loss of a much loved and perhaps even irreplaceable design, but that shall not keep us from seeking solutions to continue the celebration.
Recently, a child who loves her late cat dearly drew this sunflower. Mrs Ghosh of Harmony Gems gave me the tourmaline, clear quartz & selenite to bring to the shelter cats & dogs on my next visit. A friend taught me to make delicious millet porridge like hers. The plate that holds all these gifts together belonged to my late dog who loved EVERY single meal of his life till the end.
May the new moon tonight refresh our mind and heart, to see clearly & love deeply, regardless of how fleeting our experiences may be.
One of the first gifts from my dad when I was a kid were 39 tiny conch shells.
In my late 40s I would learn that the couch plays a very important role in Hindu and Buddhist practices.
When a conch is blown, it makes an OM sound, believed to be the primal sound of creation, and from which other sounds emanate.
Of late I keep seeing similarities between the curvature of the conch and the fluidity of the drapes on the robes of Buddhist monks and nuns.
So I started reading up on the robes that had been on my mind for sometime.
At Boudha I was always entralled by the waves of maroon robes on monks & nuns as they circumambulated the Stupa.
But only today I learnt that in Buddha’s time, the robes were made from discarded rags found among trash. Monks would pick up rags, wash and dye them before stitching the pieces together to form a robe.
In “Buddha’s Robe” written 26 years ago, Noelle Oxenhandler says, “…the robe made from a discarded rag is the lotus that grows in mud.” ♥️
May tonight’s full moon on Buddha’s Enlightenment Day guide our mind to see the fullness within each being, so that we too may learn to turn the worthless to the priceless.🙏
This is the main entrance to the Boudha Stupa. Yesterday my friends at Street Dog Care posted this picture. Road repair works have begun.
I’ve stood at this entrance 8 times in my life.
Each time when I looked at the Stupa for the first time, I would feel tears welling at my heart and making their way up my eyes.
At the same time in the midst of the surrounding chaotic traffic & commercial activities, I would also experience a profound quiet that was unshakeable.
“You saw your mind,” my Taiwanese friend who lives at Boudha told me when I narrated my encounter to her.
She went on to elaborate that when the mind is unfettered by judgements or desires, it is clear and free.
So perhaps I had tears in my eyes because at the Stupa entrance I caught a glimpse of how my mind could have been were it not shackled onto fixed patterns of ignorance & pride.
These days I think I learn to suffer less because I try to watch my mind before thoughts become words and deeds.
While the well trodden path to Boudha Stupa is being repaired on this auspicious day of enlightenment, may I take this opportunity to wish my friends and all sentient beings divine guidance as they forge their own paths to liberation. 🌈🙏🐾