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During a tea session on Friday, my friends asked about the trip, two of them went there just for a day in April earlier this year.

“So any ghost encounter?” Mr Ng asked…

“Do you know the forest is actually haunted?”

“You sure.. nothing happens.”

And I mentioned Robin passed me an auspicious object for “protection”, borrowed from a friend, well it was better to keep it with you, whether you believe it or not. When we reached Temoh at around 5:30am. .. the street was basically without any light, for the shophouses, more than half was unoccupied. Do look scary…. we had our breakfast in a cool envirnoment while waiting for pick up.

*Female dormitory on a hill, which was away from the main meditation hall, quite a walking distance, that can be pretty dark at night.

*Used by monks to meditate in the forest, by adding a mosquito net one can sit on the stone throughout the night, but I think the heavy dew will probably soaked it.

So Mr Ng told me the story of a monk’s stay, what he encountered on the first night. Staying in kuti (hut) inside the forest, meditating at night and got disturbed by “spirits”, “ghosts”…. his story was posted on the monastery website in pdf, as a personal account. So I read it last night, found it funny, a couple of strange death around the area, just laugh it off.

So the first question the Venerable (we call him Bhante) will ask every new guy in the morning was: – “How was your first night in the forest?”

Anyway we stayed in the male dormitory above the meditation hall. We were given the choice to select and choose the later. In the morning it is a beautiful place, at night, if you think about it… can be pretty scary. Dogs barking now and then, plus the loud cricket sound throughout the night.

It was true that a boy was drown in the mining pond a few years back, somewhere near our location in Ipoh. Bhante had mentioned it before, he had been there for so long, so he knew all the happenings. The boy returned to look for his parents a few days later. Somehow the boy just stood at the gate crying and didn’t went into the house. So traumatized, the parents moved out shortly, the boy ghost returned again that night and went beserk when he discovered his parents were gone, Bhante was involved and told us the whole story.

I had the opportunity to understand more on meditation, and had a brief conversation with one monk (they don’t talk much, unless you ask them something).. on why they delicate their whole life meditating. I knew why they prefered to stay away from the world we are in.

For us, we meditate for the calm, tranquility, peace, happiness… for the monks it is to get out of samsara (the wheel of rebirth).

Well, I probed more … when death came.. at the very instant moment, the last thought is very important. So they perfect their practice diligently.

How long is a person’s life?

Human life exists only between every single breath 🙂

Beyond the light (NDE)

http://www.nderf.org/beyond_light_pmh.htm

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.



I will be away for a meditation retreats on 3 July together with a good friend.

For 7 days, we will be living in a secluded monastery in Malaysia. The water supply is from the hill top (by which we will be travelling up to see the water supply), food is provided by villagers and lay people.

One meal a day.

Wake up at 4 plus am everyday.

Lights off at 9pm.

and other set of rules to follow.

I will bring along my digital camera to capture the quiet solitude of the forest.  🙂