Little Friendly Friend

Tears in my eyes!

We watched a documentary programme on animal and their caring nature, where a little dog was so caring for sick people and as well as for its owner from doing household chores from collecting mails, opening door, picking up a phone when it rang and even an attempt to take the washing out of the washing machine. They say the dogs are man’s best friend and here this was clearly demonstrated.

This little creature’s compassion was second to none as it was taken to a cancer hospital where it helped by providing company to terminally ill patients. How can such a little dog show such sensitivity, caring and loving that even some human struggles?

Truly awesome animal, capable of dispensing unconditional love and one that anyone would be happy to have as their best friend.

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Why do you blog?

I ask this question “Why do you blog?” or “Why do anyone blog?” for that matter and the answer I get is not always as simple as you might think. We instinctively assume the blogs are written for others to read. From my experience of writing few blogs and reading several over the last few years, they are generally written for various reasons either for social, commercial or personal.

As English is not my first language and not even my third spoken language, it helps me to write and express what I think and how I feel. Most of what I often write are for my own reference sake as it is a lot easier for me to find everything in one place and available to access them across multi-devices and on any internet connected computers. Not everything I write is published and may never be published as I use writing as a therapy to get through whatever challenges life may present.

This way of writing for personal, social and commercial reasons are not uncommon now and being able to do this on the go has become so easier in the last few years with free and easy to put together blog pages along with smartphones and easy to use apps. These days you don’t even have to write or type as the voice to text apps are widely available and can produce anything on the go with few editing afterward.

It is true that generally, when we write blog pages on any topics, one of our primary objectives is to write for others to read. Whilst I create and curate my blog pages I am thinking and writing them for my own purpose first and foremost but I am naturally happy if others find any of what I write useful too. Perhaps this outlook of how I curate my blogs may change later as I do wish to write and share my experiences to help others and therefore my writing may also change too.

I first started my blog pages primarily to keep a record so that I can use it for reference as and when required. Now it has become like an organized note keeping of all sorts of things and some examples of what I keep are included below:

Holiday Journal – When I went home to Bhutan I decided to keep a journal and wrote about my experience traveling home after a long time away from almost twenty years. I wanted to capture the first-hand experience of what has changed in all that time.

Various useful web links – I find it easier to store web links in one place as opposed to saving them to favorites which can only be accessed on a device you saved it.

Course Notes  – It is a good way of keeping course notes all in one place for easy access whenever required.

Recipes – I have created this page to compile Bhutanese recipes that I cook and my families love eating.

Dharma blog – I am a Buddhist and love collecting and sharing the teachings of Buddha.

Writing Notes – I often use writing as a therapy to vent off frustration and then delete it afterward.

Creating and learning to build web pages – I like learning how to create web pages and keep a record of links, pages I create.

Podcasts links – I compile links to all the podcasts show notes I listened to for reference and to share with others.

YouTube links – It is helpful to have links to all YouTube in one place.

Educational Materials – Any web pages I come across which are useful for personal development.

Hints and Tips – for various login details (not published and I know you are not supposed to write them down but they are in cryptic clues)

Journal Diary – Keep a note on journal diary as and when I have something interesting to write and access it from any internet-connected devices.

Family Tree – Great way to share and collaborate with all the families across the globe to update and maintain the family tree.

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Tiger’s Nest in Bhutan known as Taksang

Taksang the literal translation in English is the Tiger’s nest is one the most sacred, most visited and most photographed temples in Bhutan. In fact, this temple is one of the most revered and sacred temples for Tibetans and Bhutanese all over the world.

Legend has it an Indian Guru in the 8th century called Padmasambhava known mainly by everyone as Guru Rinpoche flew to this place on a flying tigress from Tibet to spread Buddhist teachings and also to subjugate all evil demons in the regions.

There are several caves you can see where he is believed to have meditated for three years, three months and three days locally known as Losoom Chosoom. The main cave is not accessible to the public as it is under lock and key but you can still see it nonetheless to offer your prayers and receive blessings.

There is also a brilliant view of the waterfall from the main temple where you can see the imprint left from his sitting position and also the imprints of both knees just below it from his consort Khandro Yeshe Tshoghayl. The story goes whilst meditating the string from his prayer beads broke and his consort kneeled down in an attempt to catch them hence the imprints of knees. Legend has it the beads were made of glass, I guess like marbles and when the string broke, the glass beads went flying down the cliff and as such the waterfall is named appropriately as”Shekhar Chu” meaning the glass beads water (correct me if I am wrong).

My sister told me if you have accumulated good merit you can see the shape of glass beads falling down the cliff. In three winters I have been there as a child spending my winter vacation with my dad in his retreat, I have only seen a rainbow and never the falling glass beads. The locals believe seeing the rainbow is a good omen even if you don’t see the falling glass beads.

It is a very peaceful place and a stunningly beautiful view of the Himalayan mountain ranges from up there. I would say it is one of the must see places and definitely one to add to your bucket list if you haven’t already.

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Aspirational & Actualizing Bodhichitta

This is the summarised extract of what I have read from one the teachings by a renowned Tibetan teacher on the four immeasurables (tsedmed shi).

longchenpaLongchenpa who was a Tibetan teacher in the thirteenth century explained that the entire conduct of the bodhisattva can be summarized into two aspects of aspirational bodhichitta and actualizing bodhichitta. He went on to explain that the aspirational bodhichitta is actually based on the Four Immeasurables of Immeasurable Love, Immeasurable Compassion, Immeasurable Joy, and Immeasurable Equanimity.

Through the deligent practice of these four immeasurables, it is possible to become the cause of the actualized bodhichitta.

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De-Mystifying Mindfulness

Over the last several weeks I have been diligently watching, reading, writing and taking part in the Mindfulness course offered by Leiden University through MOOC on De-Mystifying Mindfulness. This is an area which has always fascinated me over the last few years and since then I have been looking to explore further. Fortunately, this course has come up in the right time and presented to me what I have been looking for. This course is a kick start for me to research and learn more about the meditation and the mindfulness practice.

gautam-buddhaThere are so many different methods being deployed in the efficacy of mindfulness Practice, I am fascinated to learn and discover this new interest. It has been an eye-opener for me in many ways learning and finding out about the mindfulness practice, particularly the evolution and adoption of it in the west and how this ancient eastern concept has been seen as the revolution in the clinical therapy treatments. Two most notable were mentioned during the course which are MBSR (mindfulness based stress reduction) and MBCT (mindfulness-based cognitive therapy). I have no doubt these techniques are born out of this popular eastern Buddhist teachings and philosophies; embedded into the western secular and commercially minded cultures.

Furthermore, this has given me the opportunity to rekindle my birthright beliefs which have remained dormant all these years. For me, the Buddhist teachings and my root where I come from has always been an integral part of my upbringing which has molded me into the person that I am today. I believe a mindfulness practice is a choice everyone should make whatever your religious conviction to develop the mental awareness and the clarity; so essential to the well-being of self and that of our modern contemporary societies.

I love this teaching on the wisdom, one of the six paramitas which can be and should be included in all mindfulness practices to cultivate and realize its transcendent value. Here is the extract from a book The Heart of Compassion by a renowned Buddhist teacher and a scholar Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche where he writes “In the absence of wisdom, perfect enlightenment cannot be attained through the other five perfections alone. Therefore, to cultivate wisdom combined with skillful means and free from the three concepts is the practice of a bodhisattva. The paramita of generosity, discipline, patience, endeavor and concentration can help you to accumulate merit, but they are still associated with concepts. Only wisdom can perfect the accumulation which leads you to realize primordial awareness free of all concepts. Generosity, discipline, patience, diligence and concentration could be likened to five blind men who, without the eyes of wisdom, would never be able to find their way to the citadel of liberation. Indeed, only when accompanied by wisdom do they deserve the name paramita, transcendent, literally “gone to the other shore”-the shore across the ocean of suffering and ignorance, beyond the concepts of samsara and nirvana.”

Finally, I want to say this again that how much I have loved this course and it has made me more aware of our human incarnation, what we go through and how mindfulness can help. I am inspired to explore further and will continue to try and practice mindfulness when I can. It has reminded me, through this practice it is possible to learn to live in the present moment.

All the best with your practice.

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Buddhist Wisdom on Anger

I like this quote from Buddha on anger which is so profoundly true and appropriate to reflect upon our actions particularly anger in this case and you could replace an anger with hatred to get the same meaning.

coalhand“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

We all know our emotion such as an anger or hatred are not the quality one would wish to display, yet in the heat of the moment we forget and often resort to either physical or verbal abuse. We don’t like when our loved ones and friends get angry with us or hate us and likewise, the same emotional pain as we go through is experienced by others. No sentient beings on this earth love to be hated, shouted at or abuse of whatever nature, thrown at them indiscriminately yet we are all capable of dishing out so much emotional and physical pain in so many different ways. 

We have the infinite capacity to demonstrate wisdom and compassion to all beings particularly to ourselves yet more often than not we lack such wisdom and judgement. This is all because of our sheer ignorant and deluded mind which according to Buddhist teachings is fueled with the five poisons of attachment, anger, delusion, pride and jealousy. This is so true, if only we can somehow learn to discard these poisons from our mind, we would be able to cultivate loving-kindness, compassion, joy and so forth which are the innate good qualities of all human beings. In cultivating such good qualities to become a better person than you already are will open the window to your heart to see others need before your own. Buddhist believe by helping others one help themselves to accumulate good merit for now and for future lives.  

One of the ways to discard these poisons is by being mindful of our actions and by our own endeavour to reflect and change whenever these negative feelings arise in us. We can train our mind by practicing some reflective and contemplative meditation where we allow our heart to open up to accept all the wrongs and learn to reconcile with our negative thoughts and unintended actions. If we allow this to happen and that we are committed and disciplined, we are capable of achieving whatever goal we set but this has to come from within.

As saying goes “patience is a virtue” and you cannot achieve these valuable qualities immediately. You will have to work at it over and over and over until you begin to see some changes in you.

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5 Reassuring Quotes of Wisdom

I found some quotes online which are so reassuring to read, I would like to share here for everyone. Next time when you feel lost or need some words of wisdom, remember and reflect on these quotes.

sometimes-the-bad-things1. “Sometimes the bad things that happen in our lives put us directly on the path to the best things that will ever happen to us.”

One of the most important lessons in life that we must learn is how to accept the good times, along with the bad times, in our lives. Sometimes, the bad things that happened to us, happened for a reason, giving us a new path to go on for newer and better things. It may be hard, but find that new direction to embark on, take it, and never stop moving forward.

2. “Sometimes you need to step outside, get some air, and remind yourself of who you are and where you want to be.”

quote-16This is pretty self-explanatory. However, there are times where the answer is not always clear, reminding us of who we are, what we love doing, and where we would rather be right now. Sometimes the answer for a new direction or path is usually the obvious one right in front of us.

3. “If you don’t like where you are, move. You are not a tree.”

today2If you are not satisfied with where you are living, then be that change you so desire. Find the place that is just right for you, and stop at nothing to achieve those dreams and goals. If there is nothing holding you back and you have the means to go and fight for what you want most, do it. Follow your gut instincts!

4. “Sometimes you need to talk to a three-year-old just so you can understand life again.”

threeyroldThis means that sometimes adults too often let the serious things in life suck all the joy and fun away from their lives. Sometimes we need to have a quick chat with the younger side of ourselves to revisit what it means to live again. Let yourself be a kid every now and then, not everything needs to be so critical all of the time.

5. “Always remember that your present situation is not your final destination. The best is yet to come.”

a20d637e5d5ef2a311dcb867101893bcRemember that not everything is permanent. Being temporary can actually be a very beautiful thing. There is always another path that can lead you to something much better or something that you’ve never experienced before. Be open to the limitless possibilities of the world around you!

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