Different Boats, Same Journey

19 Aug 2020 (New Moon)

These days the safe entry requirements make me think twice about going anywhere.

Two days back I was running through my mind the logistics of getting flower offerings to celebrate this new moon, and Ganesha Charthurti this Saturday. Would the florists be operating? Would the familiar short cuts I know be blocked?

I was on the verge of saying to Ganesha, “Sorry, there’ll be no flowers for your charthurti celebration this year because going to the florists is getting a bit complicated for me,” when a Muslim friend offered to drop me off at the florists in Little India.

He would settle his errands at Mustaffa Centre and come back to pick me up and send me home when I was done with my jasmine garlands and marigold shopping.

Some time back when mosques were closed because of circuit breaker measures, I was very honoured that he and his nephew conducted their prayers in my home. He also blessed my home and thanked me for facilitating their spiritual obligations.

As we seek to connect with the Divine in our different ways according to our race, culture, history and geography, may we be secure enough in our own beliefs & practices to facilitate the spiritual journeys of others.

Happy New Moon to All Sentient Beings!

May every gesture to harmonise and facilitate for the benefit of all be blessed.

Salem. Namaste. Tashi Delek. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ˜Š

Fallen Ferns for Full Moon Mandala

4 Aug 2020

Strong winds this morning toppled the pot of fern that has been with me since 2012.

Even in their fallen state, there was a certain elegance about the ferns.

I trimmed off the bits that had broken off and put them in the little bronze vase from Nepal. Then I arranged the leaves into a mandala for the full moon, with a painted pebble from New Zealand in the centre to represent animate and inanimate beings.

May the fullness of the moon inspire us to see wholeness even in broken things, to feel belonged even when alone and to be kind even when weโ€™re not in the mood to be so.

Full Moon Mandala Dedication Of Light & Tea Gifts

5 July 2020

Powers come; powers go. None can match the Timelessness of Loveโ€™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.

๐Ÿ™๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿพ๐ŸŒป

A Dream of Mind & Knife

22 June 2020

A sword wielding Manjusri statue in lapis lazuli. Source: Rendition Artifacts.

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. ๐Ÿ™

Lord Manjushri – Arya Nargajuna and the Naga Queen. Artist: Ben Christian

New Moon Mandala on the Solar Eclipse and Summer Solstice. ๐Ÿ™

21 June 2020

May the New Moon renew our zeal for inner alignment like the way the celestial bodies align beautifully with one another season after season.

May we move from shadow into light with effortless feline grace, so that we don’t carry the darkness around and project it on others.

May all Darkness that we encounter be a messenger of Light. ๐Ÿ™โ™ฅ๏ธ๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿพ

A Parcel of Light

5 June 2020

In mid April 2020, in the midst of lockdowns and stockpiling frenzy, a friendโ€™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 friendโ€™s home in the desert.

When she opened the parcel, it was also Day 49 of her dogโ€™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 couldnโ€™t have asked for a more auspicious timing for my friendโ€™s gloom to be lifted as she celebrates her beloved companionโ€™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.

Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi soha. ๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿพ

New Moon Mandala of Mango & Jade on World Turtle Day

23 May 2020

Today is new moon and also World Turtle Day. A critically endangered hawksbill turtle was sighted coming onto Singapore shore to lay her eggs.

Hawksbill Turtle laying eggs at East Coast Park on 23 May (World Turtle Day) Pic courtesy of NParks.

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.

Greeting Ganesha at Harati Hotel in the morning before we set out and in the evening when we returned.

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.

A rushed life makes it hard for us to find grounding. And because of our inability to ground, we collect links and connections, hoping they can somehow protect us even as we get entangled by our attempts. (Street scene in Thamel, Nepal)

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.