Friday, September 18, 2009

As temporary as dreams…

Happiness in this world is temporary. So is suffering. But they have one difference. We have to strive to create conditions (karma) that will guarantee good birth, and thus happiness. But to have suffering, it will come without any hard work. It is guaranteed. And you will find yourself so easily inclined towards actions that will create karma to cause you to be reborn into lower births.

No matter how beautiful a girl or a boy is; no matter how powerful a man is; no matter how wealthy someone is; these are all temporary. They are like dreams too. I have seen rich people suddenly suffer in downfall. I have seen poor ones rise in times to come. So nothing is permanent. Things change. People run in fear of accepting this change but it catches us no matter where we try to run to. And I feel sad to see that despite all the easy visible facts, we are still wishing things were permanent.

Death is as temporary as dreams. So is life. We don’t cry when a newborn comes into the world with a cry of joy. But when someone dies, we feel the world crumbling on us. We feel that our life is shattered into pieces with that one death of our close relative. But it is temporary; it comes to everyone. Why aren’t we crying when we see an insect die? Why don’t we even cringe in pain when we clap mosquito dead? I know we will argue tooth and nail about how it is different despite one stark truth of similarity—of death. But I will not argue on that just now.

I am in shambles myself. I’m only trying to convince myself that if we cry for the death of a person, we must cry for the death of an insect. As I see so many people I know die, I have come to fear living itself. I want to run away, just so that I don’t have to see loved ones die. But where could I run?

The Endless Questions

L but death is something that tears you apart, inside out.

K: Yeah I know, even when we know that it is natural.

L: I fear the worst at times.

K: …I told him that I would remember all this closeness, each in close detail and I would dread to live.

L: And now I fear myself as a victim one day

K: I was telling him if I would be able to come out of this fear if I tried to leave this life. That is what Bumo. I used to tear myself inside with that fear when I was studying.

And now I sometime wonder if those were the worries that never let me put on weight.

L: I get this fear constantly and also the same magnitude of fear of I not being back home.

K: You will come home L. You will be here soon and without problem.

L: I see life slipping off like from a fall. I am growing skeptic se.

K: It is true that we worry about what hasn't even happened.

L: Do you find it silly that we think way too much?

K: That is what Buddhism teaches us. That we waste our time worrying about what hasn't even happened. Sometime it can really hamper us to the extent of making us mentally unsound. So we have to control ourselves.

But when I am away from home, even when I am on tour only as far as Punakha, I dream of my mother and worry to death.

L: RIght

K: One morning, I dreamed of her hitting her head on the stone wall and I woke up calling her. I had to go to her room to see if she was fine.

L: I go lunatic at times

K: And now after this uncle passed away I have begun to worry more. It isn't yet a year since my mom was operated.

L: I find this life itself so mundane now. I understand the worry Bumo.

K: This fear, it tears me apart. I mean it is like it is leaving me naked in the crowd where I haven't got anyone to get me a dress.

L: Oh yes, exactly the same feeling

K: The fear that you get from this is something like a very trembling, dizzy feeling over your skin. Is that how you feel too?

L: I do feel the same and I go crippled. I tend to ignore those flashes of fear but then you remain hapless in your thoughts at times.

K: But we have each other to understand at least. Think of people who probably feel the same and haven't got a friend to share it to.

Even while I sleep, this fear cripples me. I feel like someone is watching me or someone is stroking my face with this fear. So I have to cover my face to sleep.

It is driving me crazy si. That is what was happening to me when my father passed away. I thought I wouldn't be able to live if I didn't leave this life and started to get into some monastery, but here I am now. Look at how we all try so hard to adapt to the life that we are bestowed with, without making the slightest effort.

L: Oh yes, that is the best thing to have someone your way of understanding. Read my latest blog I added last night.

Despite the pains in your heart, you realize a reason for this longing. And I was somehow told that my existence demanded a better survival

K: I know. How we have craved for it for so long.

What I think is that when this inner desire of wanting to follow the truth lingers, we must do justice to it by giving a little effort to see if it makes us feel any better.

L: If only we had the strength to analyze it better

Strength in weakness, right?

K: We should have the strength. We aren't going to be the first ones to have done that.

Sometime I wonder what it is that is really stopping us.

You see, we say, we have our parents to worry about. We have to look after them. Then we have our younger siblings, nieces, nephews we have to worry about. But would that end?

L: Never!

K: And if we left this life and started becoming a non-materialistic follower of Buddhism, would our relatives curse us that we left them?

L: I am so fatigued worrying for the things I am hapless at. I don't know, I am not going to judge myself from others' points of opinions. I think I am done with what people think of me.

K: Then what is stopping us? What is making us not leave home right now and go find a tsa wai lam, sit in front of him and pledge our body, mind and soul?

L: Ask me not now Bumo. I won't have an answer to satiate your quest or mine.

Me: I feel like crying now. I don't know how many more times I have to cry before I find the answer.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Jo gey Chharo, sho jogey

PowerPoint Presentation

Two friends are walking, arms in arms. And they are singing this song, ‘come friend, come here, let us go together.’

I am still feeling as if I want to rush over to a friend and give her a hug for no reason at all. I am feeling so lively and inspired, so full of energy that I could run a mile and not get tired. I wish there was a better word I knew that would describe exactly how I’m feeling right now.

Tshoki and I are the guests at the Changzamtok School. They have this storytelling programme. They have called parents to come and tell stories to students. The principal introduces herself with an exuberance of energy that catches you and puts you in her track. I can’t help smiling. I’m smiling as I watch the students buzz around. The noises fill you up and you are in a completely different world. Class PP students come together to take the table to the other end of the corner like an army of ants. I am smiling all along. I know I have been their age once upon a time. But I see one difference. These children are not shy. They are ever so ready to come forward and do anything. They greet their teachers looking right into their eyes. They look at Tshoki and me and shout, 'Good afternoon madam.” We smile and greet them back.

I am only supposed to be an observer but as I sit with these children, I can’t help wanting to tell them stories. So I go to the front, become their entertainer for a while: and there I go, narrating stories of ‘Bumo Sing Sing Yangdonma’ and another story I heard from Khenpo Jangsem Tashi about the virtue of having a kind heart. I stand in front of them, looking straight into the eyes of each student—and I enjoy this gap I can keep them holding their breath, waiting for another word I would say. It is like you are walking on a single rope stretched between two tall buildings. I like building the suspense as they watch me. And it is such a big joy to see them sit there in such big attention as if what I’m gonna say is going to change their life forever.

And now, I itch to be a teacher. We come back talking at the highest pitch about what a big, jolly, inexpressible experience it is.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

For all I care, I have found a good friend

I felt so down and low. I had no place to be. I had no friends around. The friends I had didn’t seem to share my mood. I had to find a place for my own—where my emotions would be better understood; where my feelings would be interpreted without judgment.

And my only resort was to look for a friend online. Sometime it is the best haven. I didn’t need to introduce; I didn’t even need to care about whether I looked the right way to meet someone. It is nothing like—you are going for a date for the first time with a guy you have liked for a long time. In that world, you don’t have to care if you are wearing the right make-up; or if you are wearing the right dress.

You just show up, and speak out your mind, ruthlessly straight. I did just that, that evening. I found a friend already, even before I had time to catch a glass of wine. (I know this is my imagination carrying me again. I would never be in a party hall where I would be so majestically standing, holding a wine glass and talking to a good-looking stranger.) We didn’t care to introduce—there was no need for that. The conversation went on so flawlessly smooth that we forgot night had set in and we had to tend to our own set of responsibilities. He had to go home. He had an hour drive ahead. I had to go for dinner. My friends were waiting. But that moment, nothing seemed to matter more than having each other to talk to.

As we bid goodbye, finally our responsibility call winning over our emotions, I was jumping in joy. I shouted at my friends who didn’t share my mood earlier that, “I found such an interesting person. Goodness, I’m so light and happy now!” Their eyes twinkled because they wondered who in the world could completely scrap out sorrow the way snakes shed their skin. But I was all set for this official dinner now. I felt my eyes twinkling. I felt my lips twitching in smile. But that was it. I was glad the unhappiness doesn’t last.

And now, this friend that helped me shed my sorrow by simply talking to me without the questions of wanting to know who I was, where I worked, how I looked, or whether I was married or single still sees me in the good skin of human; though, there are times when I go a little crazy and speak things beyond my mind. I’m not falling in love. No, I’m not. I’m in my right mind. But I want to read a love letter. Say I want to see how this guy writes. And he says, “I love you.” He says, that is the only way he can express himself. And then he asks, “Are you happy now?” Should I be happy now? I don’t know.

But for all I care, I have found a good friend.

For dreams to land

I hate being emotional sometimes but I think that is what I am. I sometime wonder if people reading my blog find me weird, because I write everything here, as if it were my personal diary.

But then, I don't seem to care.

I get carried away in my own thoughts. I seem to carry hundreds of dreams in my head, each one rushing to be let out first. But there is always a fear...a small fear that can stop them from gushing out at free will. And they seem to have no other safer place than my own head. So I beg them to stay there until I find a good place for them elsewhere. But there are times when each one burst out and scream until I have to close my eyes and say, 'yes, here, today I will listen to your request. Now you sit here and be a good girl.'

It is so true that our life and happiness therein depends on the people we meet and not really on how successful we are. I meet a person and even when I have not seen him/her quite well, I can have the whim of my imagination carrying me to the extent of having his/her image etched in my head. I see more their character there and their lips than their face. And then, I make conversations with them in my head and there another element gets in and my head expands.

The dream grows. The imagination grows. And there are more noises and more demands and less space to let them out. I am still looking for a safe place for my dreams to land. Until I find one, I'm on the search...

This is Bhutan

I moved to Adelaide, South Australia 10 months ago. This decision was driven by my belief that family has to be together and pursuing your c...