Sunday, September 30, 2012

One Mile Above (aka KORA) - Review

Watched this last, with MDC people, after the show Xin qin said it's not so buddhistic, which I replied, you can put the analogy of it to the strive for enlightenment.

The quest started from love, from a younger brother's love towards the older brother that he wanted to travel to Lhasa. This is the Bodhisattva's love towards all beings that he undertook the journey to Buddhahood, it's the love of all of us towards all beings, that we journey towards arahantship or enlightenment in this very life. The motivation for the journey.

Then the main character, Shuhao had a row with his girlfriend just to start this journey, signifying the renunciation of the worldly life.

As he enters China, he got conned and ripped offed thousands of yuan. Which he only found out later on as he met a good friend. This kinda tells us to investigate, do not simply believe any religious teacher, but to find out what is it that they teach, etc... as accordance with the Kalama Sutta.

Then he follows this good friend (who turned out is heading for Lhasa too) and asked if he could tag along for the journey. The agreement didn't came immediately, the experienced teacher tested him out a bit, seeing his resolve to bike there. Then the friendship develops.

Throughout the way, the good friend keeps on talking more while he remain unusually silent most of the time. This eventually caused the downfall of his good friend. The test for sincerity came about when they waited for the clouds to disappear so that they can see the ice-covered mountains. This is saying that the intention of Shuhao is not sincere enough, he does yet know what's he is in for.

One of the major possible stumbling block is when they rested at a village early in the day. They found a house of a widow who's supporting kids and elderly, and by virtue of Tibetan's kindness, they allowed him to stay with them. In the house, a kid told him that his mother took a liking for him. And there was even a chance for him to stay in the same room as her. He politely and almost looked reluctantly rejected the advance and with a not-so-light heart continue on his journey. He knew he could had just give it all up, stay and live there. This is the obstacle that sometimes in the journey, we might get sidetracked to want to settle down with a partner. There is of course nothing bad in that, just that it makes it harder for the journey to be completed.

Then came the accident of his good friend. At the hospital bedside, he lamented that maybe he should not had started this journey. Then he saw the ice-covered mountain. He knew that there is the risk involved and it's very real. One has to keep mindfulness, energy, concentration, wisdom and faith at all times to be able to continue on the journey safely. Yet he still has the intention of wanting to do it. He is now sincere as he chooses with wisdom.

Hmm... I may not recall the sequences of these later event accurately. But here goes: then came the road that zig-zagged, he biked down the road, (instead of walking down), and fell off many times. His bike took quite some damage from that. There can be many ways of interpreting this, but I think it's more of patience, if he has just walked down, he could has saved the trouble. Or maybe it means we should slow down a bit and deal with obstacles as they come, and not rush through it blindly.

Then, his bike's tire got ripped, and it rained. Soaking wet and cold at that attitude, he almost gave up and slept dangerously in the middle of the road, whereby a driver almost hit him and came down to punch him. This is the usual, things will go bad, very bad before it gets good. And if you don't care for your own safety, others will beat sense into you.

And then he went and got attacked by a pack of dogs/wolves. They ate his meal pack and he managed to get away. This is the outside hindrances.

Next, he went into town and tried to get his bike repaired. This is a recognition, that we should stop and examine ourselves, if our morality etc... is broken, we abandon the wrong/ unskillful way and adopt the skillful way.

Then he was having food poisoning. Fortunately, he got saved by kind hearted people. This is kinda like internal hindrances, or bodily illness as an external hindrance.

Along the way, he goes and goes on, rejecting an occasional car that drove by, keeping to achieving his goal his own way. This might mean that no one can do the effort of training for enlightenment other than ourselves. No one can and no one may.

The scene where he found a Tibetan pilgrim doing 3 steps one bow, was the discovery of faith, the Dharma. It is the awe that faith can inspire, so much so that the effort of doing that exercise which is obviously harder than a bike can be done. He also learns to interact with the people around him in their own language, seeing and experiencing.

Along the way, he goes and goes on, rejecting an occasional car that drove by, keeping to achieving his goal his own way. This might mean that no one can do the effort of training for enlightenment other than ourselves. No one can and no one may.

Then he got the knowledge that his journey will end soon, this is the streamwinner stage. He strove even harder to get to the top. At the top of the mountain, he stood and surveyed the journey that he has been though, the things that he thrown away (even as one crosses the other shore, he should cast the raft of the Dharma aside, dwelling without attachment).

Then finally at the goal, Lhasa, he relaxed and looked Lhasa in the eye. He is still himself. But he has changed. He is able to get into the crowd, dancing with them, having no concept of a separate self.

Ok, some of this is a bit overrated, but this is quite cool.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Money Money Money (Financial management, Buddhist Point of View and Investments)

Oh right now, this will be based on a visit to Singapore Buddhist Mission Youth Saturday's sharing, featuring Ven. Bodhi and seniors' (some of which are working already) experiences.

So on last Saturday, 15th September, just before the talk on Altruism by Mathieu Ricard and his teacher, I went to the sharing. Ven. Bodhi gave each of us a piece of handout, based on Chapter 10 of the Shrewd Breadwinner, a life that's well founded by Ven. P.A. Payutto.
Look for Chapter 10, it's all in there.

There are 3 levels, first of seeking and safeguarding wealth, second of allocating wealth, third of using wealth.
Ven. Bodhi discussion is that the 4 portions in the allocating wealth part, is not 4 equal portion and that the 2 portion for investment is one for soft (spiritual, skills, edication, help, goodwill etc..) investment and the other hard (material investments) investments. This is logical as it is not really possible to earn a living based on 1/4 of your income used on yourself in Singapore.

Then the investment part must come as even if you put your money in the bank, inflation will cause the value of the money to drop, if the interest from the bank is lower than inflation. So putting it in insurance, etc... would help.

Ze Ming shared that insurance, bonds, stocks, properties, etc are just instruments not investments, the difference between investments, gambling and speculations is in the psychology, blindly putting your money in something is gambling, having a gut feeling etc.. is speculation, research a lot and see long enough, you're an investing.

That's all for now. Thanks!