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!
Sep 07, 2018, 11 smiles From December 2017 to Jan 2018, the pilgrimage led me on a whirlwind tour in India through five spiritual meccas that are important not only for India, but also for the world: one week in Puttaparthi, the alternative universe of Sathya Sai Baba; 10 days in Auroville, the 50-year-young experiment in human unity; one week in Tiruvannamalai, home to the sacred Arunachala Hill and Ramana Ashram; 10 days at Dhamma Giri, the global headquarter of Vipassana meditation; and three weeks at the Gandhi Ashram ecosystem in Ahmedabad, where the experiment of the Law of Love continues today. In each of these places, I was hosted by the extended ServiceSpace family, a global volunteer community. So, in a sense, despite all the moving around, I had never left the service space and Dharma realm :) Each of these five places were founded by, or made known to the modern world, by a 20th ... Read Full Story
Aug 31, 2018, 5 comments, 13 smiles It was almost one year ago that I landed in Istanbul and started the three-month journey through the Middle East. From Sept 12 to Dec 2, 2017, the pilgrimage led me through Turkey, Iran and Dubai (UAE). Thanks to the daily journal and photos, not all memories are lost :) Here are some belated reflections from that colorful and paradoxical part of the world. Dharma families Before arriving in Istanbul, I knew exactly three people in the entire Middle East -- two of whom I had never met. However, as I enter each country, there awaited a Dharma family to welcome the pilgrim home. In Turkey, it was Aslinur and Marian who opened up their warm apartment in Üsküdar on the Asian side of the Bosporus channel that straddles Asia and Europe. Meeting the young Turkish-German couple for the first time almost took my breath away -- an instant recognition of old affinity ... Read Full Story
Jul 04, 2018, 3 comments, 14 smiles "The thought process that went into building these applications, Facebook being the first of them, ... was all about: 'How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?'… It's a social-validation feedback loop ... exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you're exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology… The inventors, creators — it's me, it's Mark [Zuckerberg], it's Kevin Systrom on Instagram, it's all of these people — understood this consciously. And we did it anyway… It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways. God only knows what it's doing to our children's brains." -- Sean Parker, the founding president of Facebook It's been over two months since I've gone off of Facebook and other social media platforms (Instagram, WeChat Circle, etc). I have almost forgotten about Facebook's existence until it came up in conversation. I do ... Read Full Story
Jul 02, 2018, 8 comments, 15 smiles There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. -- Thich Nhat Hanh In May and June, the Journey has led me through Bhutan, Thailand, China, and Japan, spending from 1 to 3 weeks in each country. None of it was my "plan". I had not intended to travel abroad since returning to China in February. But as karma ripens, the journey continues, even if not on a bicycle :) The cycling part of the pilgrimage might be complete, because now the pilgrim feels ready to walk. Here are some reflections from the past two months. Peace Pole near Punakha Dzong in Bhutan Bhutan: Gross National Happiness Dear friends connected me to a team of Chinese and international change-makers trying to apply the principles of Bhutan's Gross National Happiness to China, especially in the field of education and business. In May, I joined them for a three-week study trip through Bhutan, serving as translator. Visiting the mystical ... Read Full Story
Apr 11, 2018, 1 comments, 13 smiles The pilgrimage around the world has led me to many sacred places. A few of them hold a special place in my heart. Those are the communities that I wish to return to again and again, knowing that I will be welcomed home even if I don't know anyone there. Sathira Dhammasathan is one of them. Sathira Dhammasathan (SDS) is much more than a thriving nunnery in the middle of Bangkok. It is an urban oasis, a Dhamma park, a second home for all, located "in seven acres of trees, with lotus ponds, winding paths and meditative nooks. It is a tiny drop of water, radiating peace and serenity amidst the oceanic mega-city of Bangkok." This personalized card was waiting on my bed before I arrived :) A Dhamma Oasis SDS is an active nunnery that also holds jazz concerts under a Bodhi Tree to raise fund for a holistic care hospital. It is ... Read Full Story
Apr 02, 2018, 7 comments, 21 smiles If you think you are enlightened, go spend a week with your family. - Ram Dass Affliction is Bodhi (wisdom). - Zen saying It has been seven weeks since I've returned "home" to China, after two years on the global pilgrimage, and ten years of living abroad. "Being home" is to share the same space with my parents every day, as we drove through China. "Being home" is to live for a month with my maternal grandparents during the Chinese New Year, caring for them as they are advanced in age. "Being home" is to see our hometown in Inner Mongolia, a place I've only occasionally visited since leaving before the age of two. "Being home" is to get to know China again, a familiar and foreign place, full of possibilities and paradoxes. "Being home" is to continue the heart connections with my global family, and to deepen in daily cultivation. Before two American monks embarked ... Read Full Story
Mar 25, 2018, 8 comments, 21 smiles Yesterday, my parents and I had the blessing to visit Rev. Heng Sure and the team from Dharma Realm Buddhist Association, in the ancient city of culture and abundance, Hangzhou. Dear friend and ServiceSpace summer intern Sophie told me about Rev. Heng Sure's visit to China a few weeks back. When I shared the news with my parents, they both feel moved to visit the beloved teacher, yet couldn't pinpoint any concrete motives :) They are just happy to have the opportunity to be in the presence of the noble sangha and community, pay our gratitude and respect, and be of service if any opportunity arises. With that intention, we drove for 4 hours to Hangzhou, and got to spend a precious 6 hours with the wonderful community. It was a day when the Dharma came alive, the community came together, and life came full circle. Untiring Mind Rev. Heng Sure and team were ... Read Full Story
Mar 08, 2018, 9 smiles (Continued from earlier post.) ----- Day 19: See Value Everywhere 一切是考验， 看尔怎么办？ 觌面若不识， 须再从头炼！ Everything is a test to see what you will do. If you don’t recognize what’s before you, you’ll have to start anew. -- Master Hua I used to think that "reality" is objective, material, and impersonal. But during the pilgrimage, I am slowly opening up to the view that "reality" is a big parable, a manifestation. It is a teaching tool and a testing ground. To put it another way, it is not really important whether or not something is "real"; the key is what we are learnings from it. The focus shifts from outer observation to inner response. With such an orientation, a sick dog on the street is not an eye sore; it is an invitation to practice compassion and metta. The visa bureaucracies are not a nightmare to endure, but an opportunity to cultivate patience and skillfulness. A delicious meal at the home ... Read Full Story
Feb 16, 2018, 8 comments, 24 smiles Past the point of no return No backward glances The games we've played till now are at an end Past all thought of if or when No use resisting Abandon thought and let the dream descend -- Phantom of the Opera Another volunteer at Gandhi 3.0 said it well: "I come this year to volunteer, hoping to repay in a small way the life-changing gift I have received at last year's retreat. But I am leaving with even greater debt of gratitude." Volunteering at this year's Gandhi 3.0 retreat has definitely been a life-changing gift which I could never repay. But before I could think of how to pay forward the blessings, I was blown away by another gift. Before I could even thank the volunteer team for allowing me to join the caravan at the last minute, they had the "insanity" of thanking me. When they handed me the exquisite, hand-made booklet of "21-Day Pilgrim's Challenge", I couldn't ... Read Full Story
Feb 04, 2018, 29 comments, 40 smiles “The men who discovered for us the Law of Love were greater scientists than any of our modern scientists. Only our explorations have not gone far enough, and so it is not possible for everyone to see all its workings. Such, at any rate, is the hallucination, if it is one, under which I am labouring. The more I work at this Law, the more I feel the delight in life, the delight in the scheme of this universe. It gives me a peace and meaning of the mysteries of Nature that I have no power to describe.” -- Gandhi In the heart of Gandhi’s homeland, there is a modern-day experiment of the timeless Law of Love. They call it Gandhi 3.0, where "Gandhi" stands for the age-old principle of leading with inner transformation, and "3.0" represents the many-to-many networks that are popularized by Internet. In January 2018, around the 100th anniversary ... Read Full Story