I'm joining Service Space because ... noble friends :)
A good day to me is when ... I have taken a small step on the path.
My hero in life is ...any pilgrim.
My favorite book is ...Dao De Jing.
One thing I'm grateful for is ... this human life!
Aug 12, 2017, 6 comments, 14 smiles There have been people who have asked us: “Who are you to change the monastic codes made by the Buddha?” Our answer is always: “We are the children of the Buddha. We are his continuation, and we are practicing to carry out his wishes." […] For Buddhism to remain a living tradition, the teaching and practice should remain relevant. […] We are certain that the Buddha counts on the insight, intelligence, and courage of his descendants to continue making the path of liberation accessible and open to our current generation. Therefore, revising the teaching and the practice is truly necessary. -- "Freedom Wherever We Go: A Buddhist Monastic Code for the Twenty-first Century", by Thich Nhat Hanh I never expected that I would feel so disoriented and uncomfortable in a Buddhist monastery -- much more so than during a previous week in Taize, a Christian monastic community. After all, I have spent ... Read Full Story
Aug 10, 2017, 6 comments, 12 smiles Seeking reconciliation and peace involves a struggle within oneself. It does not mean taking the line of least resistance. Nothing lasting is created when things are too easy. -- Brother Roger’s unfinished letter It was Sunday again in Taize. That time of the week when some people come, and some people go. Actually, it is thousands who come to spend a whole week in this small "village" in rural France. During peak summer months, up to six thousands people -- mostly youth -- come from all over the world to Taize each week. That’s over 100,000 pilgrims every year. They've been coming for over half a century -- and are still growing. People -- from the Pope to politicians wishing to capture young hearts -- have been wondering for decades why the youths keep coming to Taize. Nobody really knows. In fact, materially, Taize has little to recommend itself. The food is ... Read Full Story
Jun 28, 2017, 1 comments, 15 smiles It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair… -- A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens Well, it was also a summer in England. What Dickens wrote over 150 years ago applies too aptly to our current time. Judging from the headlines, the past month was certainly among "the worst of times" for England. Multiple terrorist attacks, horrific high-rise fire, ugly election… There were no shortage of "foolishness, incredulity, darkness and despair". However, when we tune out of the internet and tune into the inner-net, there is a totally different story unfolding in ordinary living rooms and in many open hearts. I feel fortunate to join in half a ... Read Full Story
Jun 20, 2017, 8 comments, 19 smiles "It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us… There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved." -- Origin of Species It was an unusually hot summer day. It was a Sunday. Father's Day. There were International Yoga Day celebrations. For at least one couple, it ... Read Full Story
May 30, 2017, 3 comments, 10 smiles All of these ten realms—a single thought-- Are not apart from your present thought. If you can awaken to that thought, You'll arrive immediately at the other shore. -- Master Hua This past month, the journey has taken me three quarters around the globe, from US to China to UK. But somehow, it feels like home everywhere. I have to look at each "stranger" doubly, because they seem so familiar. Perhaps, with open and reverent heart (I'm trying), one would belong anywhere in the Dharma realm, and encounter "familiar strangers" at every turn. Below are some stories along the way. Three-steps-one-bow on Earth Day Earth Day 2017. It was the closing day of the inaugural Spiritual Ecology Fellowship, as well as my last full day in the US (at least for a while). In the spirit of gratitude and celebration, the Fellows hosted a circumambulation around Mt. Tam, the sacred mountain of the Bay Area. We were fortunate to ... Read Full Story
Apr 04, 2017, 11 smiles To arrive where we started This Spring, I found myself back at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas for four weeks. Interestingly, I was here exactly a year ago for an overnight visit, at the very beginning of the bicycling pilgrimage around the world. Back then, I was simply pulled by a strong intuition to make CTTB the first stop of the pilgrimage -- not really knowing why, nor having any clue that this place will be such an important part of my journey. As they say, We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time. Certainly, I am not anywhere near "the end of all my exploring", but I am grateful to occasionally "arrive where we started", and to begin to "know the place for the first time" -- both inner and outer -- as the pilgrim returns the light inward, again and again. It has ... Read Full Story
Apr 04, 2017, 2 comments, 13 smiles Last Sunday, on the first day of the 3-week bowing repentance session at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, we are blessed to welcome a dear Dharma teacher and Gaian elder, Joanna Macy, for a day's visit. The 88-year-young Joanna has long wished to visit CTTB, a place she has heard so much about from friends and from reading the book Highway Dharma Letters. Our affinities have finally ripened. "We are parked right next to a peacock", said Joanna on the phone as she arrived in the City. Well, that description doesn't quite narrow the location down in CTTB :) We toured the campus, soaked up the bowing session melodies and energies in the Buddha Hall, enjoyed a delicious vegan meal at the volunteer-run restaurant, walked by the boys' and the girls' schools, and had tea in the Dharma Realm Buddhist University. All along, we shared stories of Master Hua's unshakeable vows and skillful teachings, the ... Read Full Story
Mar 28, 2017, 4 comments, 24 smiles Today, the Girl's School at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas had a "secret special guest" as part of their annual celebration. Brother Nimo took the 5-hour round-trip drive to share one hour of pure joy and magic with the hundred bubbly students through Empty Hands music. At one point, Nimo asked the girls, "Where can you practice kindness in your life?" A kindergartner's hand shot up. She said, "In your heart!" As Nimo invited everyone to join the final song, this happened. The youngest girls, sitting closest to Nimo, spontaneously formed a group-hug circle (actually two), swaying to the rhythm of "Being Kind", giggling and waving. As tears rushed down my face, my heart could only hear one song: there is hope! there is hope! :) Thank you, thank you!
Jan 25, 2017, 13 smiles I had not plan on being there as part of the Pilgrimage, and certainly not for that long -- seven weeks at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas (CTTB). It was a spontaneous decision, or perhaps a response to a deeper prayer, so deep that the conscious mind was not even aware of it. I went in without any particular expectation, but came out with some of the most significant gifts a wayfarer could ever receive -- recognizing one's Teacher, making lifelong vows, learning to read the original sutras, exploring various dharma-doors (techniques of practice) and resolving upon one's own path… And the subtler impact of the seven-weeks at CTTB might take years -- or lifetimes -- to reveal itself. The student feels an overwhelming grace and overflowing gratitude, and wishes to harvest some of the fruits as an offering to all :) A western pure land The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. There is simply no ... Read Full Story
Dec 03, 2016, 5 comments, 9 smiles It has been half a months since I returned to the US. It had been two months in India, and four months in Asia in total. And, it has been nine months since the start of the pilgrimage. Almost enough time for a baby to be fully formed in a womb. Yet I remain curious as to what is to be born :) Now the pilgrim is back at "where it all started" -- the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in Ukiah, California -- for 6 weeks, to be part of the Dharma study and Chan session here. Before it is too late to salvage the precious memories, here are some fond recollections and honest reflections from a deeply inspiring and nourishing second month in India. Double rainbow at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas :) Second month in India: lost and found Jayesh bhai, a "chief ladder" of Gandhi Ashram shared an analogy when I first landed in Ahmedabad: ... Read Full Story