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On Humility & Equanimity

“Humility is the solid foundation of all virtues.”

Confucius

“Common looking people are the best in the world: that is the reason the Lord makes so many of them.”

Abraham Lincoln
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Day 2

After working in the forest on the 1st day, I started to get weak, not conditioned to taking 1 meal a day. We woke up at 4 am, under a heavy thunderstorm throughout the night, I would have gone back to sleep! (waking up at 4 am or earlier happens only when there is a road race) The group meditation starts at 4:30am and ended at around 7am (everyday – 7 days a week).  After meditation, we had our breakfast (exactly 19 hrs since the last meal on the previous day).

My stamina and endurance are still alright, however I am not used to carrying heavy stuff, my weakness is the lack of strength, probably need to train more by lifting weights. My body temperature was exactly 37C (luckily Robin had bought along a thermometer, plus panadol).  Because of the heavy rain, we were excused from Day 1 task, so we were now in-charge of all the toilets till the day we left (9 cubicles ++ ) 🙂 We were required to wash the toilets exactly after lunch, we don’t mind at all, calling ourselves Toilet ICs!  Anyway, we still find time reading in the library, before the 4pm meditation.

It is never easy to stay in a monastery, in Mandarin, we called it 道场 “training ground”.

Shortly, I gained back some strength and the body temperature was back to normal.

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Grateful for all the people who had given us food during the past week, we followed the precepts (a requirement in monastery/retreats). We only eat because it sustains the body, because it’s our duty to keep the body reasonably healthy.

There was this friendly Malay family of 3 (a bit amazed), who had brought us food during one lunch and again after our 4:30 am meditation on the second day. Thank you, the only thing I can give to the Muslim friend is a smile 🙂 And he returned the smile.

At that moment, I thought of all the good Malay friends I had in Singapore, especially those I knew in NS days. Now I appreciate & understand my friends more, during Ramadan, the fasting month.

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Day 3 – pindapatha

After breakfast, we followed 2 monks for an alms round at around 8am, we took a van out with a driver, we stopped half-way and walked towards the small town, we walked bare-footed for more than 1 km, houses to houses, the small pebbles on the road hurts everytime I took a step, the floor was wet and hard, came across a couple of dead frogs with flies circling over their bodies (crashed by passing vehicles), being mindful, I watched every steps, not to step on any rubbish, especially broken glasses if any.

Shortly we walked to the market place, standing behind my teacher, we waited for the villagers to offer us food, it was an unforgettable experience. When he received the food, he will turn around and pass it to me, so his bowl will be empty.

I get in touch with my true self, I kill my pride, ego. Non-self…

An enlightening moment, just that 15 mins standing bare-footed in the market, in slient.

Everything seems to freeze.

The food collected was enough to fill the back of the van, the lunch was shared among 20 over people in the monastery, just barely enough (our only meal, nothing is wasted, the workers were the last to eat everyday, any leftover were brought back by them). The lesson on not wasting any food!

Alms Bowl

My teacher’s alms bowl… he went out everyday to collect food, for the last 10 years.  A day experience for us is sufficient & wonderful. One of the tradition for more than 2,500 years… however I think some of the things are difficult to substain in this modern world.

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The Seven factors of Enlightenment –

Mindfulness, Investigation, Energy, Rapture, Tranquility, Concentration, Equanimity.

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No, I’m NOT enlightened. Finally, I came across this clip which I like to share 🙂

This post is just a personal experience. I seek the highest truth through exploration, investigation & experiences, I am not here to convert anyone. During this trip, on the library shelves, it included the Bible & Quran (under world religion category) as the respect for all religions.



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