Dearest Friends @ CAS !!
Sacred to death of unforgiving onslaught of work after the Chinese New Year holidays, bb decides to issue another issue of CASonline to last, maybe, into the next month.
Here, we see Bodhisattvas in very interesting aspects as well as the typically, "Buddhistically" blunt and not always welcomed
reminder of the EVENTUAL amidst the celebratory highs.
Live well ** and the Buddha promised Liberation.
bb & creatures @ CAS & Phuntsok Choling
** A Buddhist "lives well" like this:
the BUDDHA section !!
Out of compassion for our world, Lord Buddha descended from Tushita Heaven and manifested full Enlightenment.
Be mesmerized by THE Thai enactment of the Buddha's last birth in CAS's Video on Demand.
Buddhism is one of the 3 world-religions and Buddhists could be found on every continent and country in the world.
See BUDDHISM at CAS's Video on Demand.
the BODHISATTVA section !!
" Huh ??!!"
A Bodhisattva --
C is a Sec 3 student at Camden Education Center, CAS's edu centre in Singapore. She has been with Camden for the past 5 years since when she was in Primary 5.
She is an above average student and is now in one of Singapore's good schools. However, we will not say she is blessed because of the "As" in her report book.
It is her Bodhisattva Mother who is a blessing and a real shining beacon of inspiration and who very fully encapsulates the genuine Bodhisattva
spirit ( with some exceptions ), despite herself probably not being able to give a two hour long learned exposition on Bodhisattvas and not even calling herself a Buddhist in fact !!
C's mummy is a masseuse. She used to work in one of the dimly-lit outlets in
the same building where Camden was. She was usually dressed in tight-fitting mini skirts, ( very ) low-cut top and caked in wow-ful thick creamy cosmetic, generously brushed all over her face, covering every inch while her eagerly pouting lips seemingly eternally etched, ready to please. The black eye liner and red, sharp nails complete the disguise.
When we occasioned to pass by that secluded part of the building, we frequently
see her giggling coquettishly with stalking men of all ages or her counting, giving change to satisfied customers just behind the counter in her dark maroon lighted shop.
C was then too young to understand and a few times after class, C galloped out with all childish innocence to look for her dear mummy to say "bye-bye" at her mother's "office".
We would then have to apologise profusely after her frantic domestic helper or exasperated mother retrieved and returned the impishly gleeful girl.
One day, C came to class with her Filipina maid holding her one hand while the
other holding on to an unidentified Filipina little girl. Upon query, we were told that this unidentified girl was the maid's daughter. What happened
was that the maid was heard crying softly in her room one night by C's mother. The maid had been working in Singapore the past 3 years and have not seen her beloved daughter for so long. The decisively compassionate woman she was in her heart, C's mummy immediately got her maid to call her daughter to tell her that she
would be flown to Singapore to be on holiday with her mother for as long as she
She could stay with her and she could study and eat whatever C studies or eats. Money, she will find.
Afterall, she is not altogether unattractive despite being in her 40s and seems to be really quite popular with her customers !!
On and off, C told her mummy's story. Her mummy is divorced. Her daddy is now working as an odd job man in a central satellite town in Singapore and gets to see her every Sunday morning after her church service. Her daddy was a recalcitrant gambler and never took home a cent for years.
C's paternal grandmother was the one digging out whatever savings she could find
to support C and her mother while her son ( C's father ) was almost permanently absent, somewhere lost in the dirty alleys, vulgar casinos or the fair bosoms of other women !!
Painful but unfortunately, necessary, C's mummy decided to call it a day. She
divorced her husband and told her mother-in-law that she would now "go out to work" to support herself and C. She would no longer tear herself to abject border insanity every night while her hubby loaned chunks of money
to feed his other women and indulge in his own alcohol, dice, cards and chips. C said her mummy was often hopeless and desperate while at the same time, trying
to give her a healthy, "normal" upbringing, struggling to help her in her Math, filling up her water bottle for school, sending her off while returning later
on to her own private hell. If this does not trigger Compassion and Bodhicitta, we don't know what else will !!
True to her word, the Filipina little girl stayed with C and her mummy for 3 months and we believed she must have been fed a few kilograms fatter what with
the potato chips, the bubble tea and sweet goodies we shoved into her grateful little hands everytime
she came with C for class.
Ironically, it appears that C's mummy only resurrected after she walked out of the shadows. Perhaps, it could also be her personal experience, acceptance and understanding of scathing suffering that she now finds the strength to not only creep out of the wailing pile of hopelessness
but to also scale the heights of an honest and practising Christian, knowingly or not, enacting the glorious deeds of a Bodhisattva.
The irony is not lost on us but this is irony gone good.
Her goodness has not ended with her maid. She fed legions of furry things which she picked up from the streets if she saw them
sick or hungry. They are free to jog with her and have somewhat limited access to her house. They got also food and love.
We marvelled at how kind and PRACTICALLY compassionate this woman is !!
Before the story closes, we heard that the Filipina maid returned upon end of her contract with good savings to live an affordable life in the Philippines.
The next maid was from Indonesia. She fell ill 6 months into her job in C's home.
She had grown a tumour under her left armpit. According to the employment
contract, she needs to be dismissed home to wallow in possible slow decline till eventual
death strikes. C's mummy was outraged. How could a human kick another human home to meet such an unceremonious end ??!! No way. The lucky Indonesian girl was sent to one of Singapore's top private
hospitals where she was given full and the BEST available attention and care. The tumour was snipped off and was declared non-cancerous.
She has had C to take care of her while she was recovering over the 1 to 2 months.
When we asked about her health, her tears flowed like a tap burst, wetting Camden's front desk, as we heard her swear fiercely her utter and complete gratitude to her "mum" ( C's mummy ) and how she would pray and work for her till she die !! We almost
expected a Bollywood-style thunder to clap after her pledge although it did not come.
C told us that her mummy had also been warded a few weeks back. She had undergone
breast enlargement surgery after her new live-in boyfriend commented that
he preferred larger cups. She had been running topless on her indoor jogging tracks when he popped the idea and offered to pay. C nearly gagged on
We also heard that C's mummy is still addicted to her massive shopping trips in her luxury edition Toyota Lexus which she bought with her former live-in boyfriend. She is still paying the car off via instalment.
We remember the Avatamsaka Sutra which mentioned of a popular courtesan of ancient India and whom the youth Sudhana paid a visit to learn about the inconceivable Bodhisattva skilfulness-deeds along the line down with the cosmic GREAT BODHISATTVAS like holy Samantabhadra and the Buddha's heart-son, Lord Manjushri !!
In the Theri Gatha, too, we learnt of THAT courtesan who chose to spurn the princes' offer of mounds of gold rather than to give up the opportunity of a lunch offering to Lord Buddha. She later became an enlightened Arahant and her story was eternally
enshrined in the sacred scriptures and read by Buddhists everywhere in the world, even now, milleniums and generations after.
bb will gladly enshrine C's mummy somewhere there, or rather here, in CASonline, rainbows, clouds and all, exposed, shared and very much saluted.
Taiwan’s “Philanthropic Ambassador” - Ms. Chen Shu-chu
She is content with what she has and feels that as long as she "lives a life she wishes for and does the things she
wants, that is good enough.
After the morning hustle and bustle, the atmosphere at Taitung county's Central Market quietens as
every stall shuts for the day and their owners return to the comfort of their homes. A lone lamp shines
on a vegetable stall. With head bowed, Ms Chen Shu-chu silently sorts out the vegetable leaves as she
waits for the occasional afternoon customer.
Decades of hard work have caused the fingers on her right hand to curl and joints to swell; her feet have
deformed slightly. Ms Chen leads her life with a daily routine. Waking up at three in the morning, she
makes her way to the vegetable wholesaler and sets up her stall, which she tends till seven or eight in the evening.
Being the first to arrive and last to leave, the other stall owners have fondly given her the title of "market manager".
In the dark and damp market, Ms Chen, nearing her 60s, holds the stall her father left her dearly.
Yuan-Jin Vegetables is her everything. With her vegetables selling at "a bundle for NT$30 (S$1.30),
three bundles for NT$50", she earns only marginal profits.
Yet, her frugality has allowed her to donate about NT$10 million towards various charitable causes,
including helping schools, orphanages and poor children. The selfless generosity of a woman with such humble income has
placed her under the international spotlight.
In March, Forbes magazine named her one of 48 outstanding philanthropists from the Asia-Pacific region. A month later, Time magazine selected the year's top 100
influential people and she emerged under the Heroes of Philanthropy category.
Fellow Taiwanese and Oscar-winning director Lee Ang wrote her entry personally.
"Money is worthy only if given to those in need," he quoted Ms Chen. He also wrote: "Amazing, but of all she has given
away, her greatest gift is leading by example."
Despite the honour of receiving the Time award in New York, gaining global recognition, and a personal meeting
with President Ma Ying-jeou, all Ms Chen really cares about is her vegetable stall.
If not for President Ma and the Foreign Minister personally convincing her to go, she would not have agreed to
visit New York, as she felt that "this is not a competition and I did not win anything".
Amid the frenzy of applying for a passport and preparing for the visit, her main concern was that her regular
customers would not get their vegetables.
Ms Chen has become a celebrity in Taitung county. The local authorities decorated her stall with congratulatory
posters and banners hailing her as the Pride of Taitung and the Model of Philanthropy.
There are fans who turn up at the stall with a vegetable basket and a camera, hoping for a picture with Ms Chen.
Despite all the attention, she remains humble. "I have done nothing extraordinary and anyone who wants to can do it.
There are many other charitable people; we just don't know about them," she said. Ms Chen, who is unmarried, added:
"I do not place great importance on money. When I donate to help others, I feel at peace and happy, and I can sleep
well at night."
She also feels for the poor, having experienced hardship in her younger days.
Born in 1950, Ms Chen lost her mother after completing her primary-school education. Her mother was admitted to
hospital because of difficulties in labour and the family had to pay an insurance of NT$5,000 before medical attention
could be granted.
Ms Chen saw her father asking their neighbours for money, but it was too late to save her mother. The eldest daughter
in the family, Ms Chen had to grow up overnight.She gave up her studies and dedicated her life to helping at the vegetable stall.
When she was 18, her younger brother fell sick and the illness dragged on for over a year, gradually depleting
the family's savings.Doctors suggested that the family send her brother to Taiwan National University Hospital,
but they could not afford the fees.
Mr Huang Shun-zhong, a teacher at Ren-ai Primary School, started a donation drive.Unfortunately, her brother
could not be saved.After experiencing the kindness bestowed upon her family, Ms Chen made up her mind to help
the poor once she was able.
When her father died 17 years ago, Ms Chen, a devoted Buddhist, generously donated NT$1 million to
Fo Guang Shan Monastery.
In 2000, she donated NT$1 million to her alma mater, Ren-ai Primary School, to set up an Emergency Relief Fund
to help poor children obtain financial help.
SIMPLE LIFE WITHOUT LUXURIES
Assisting in the setting up and maintenance of the fund is Mr Li Guo-rong, who teaches Ms Chen's nephew.
In 2001, Mr Li had a plan to build a library for the school and estimated the cost to be between NT$4 million and
When he approached Ms Chen, in the hope that she might contribute NT$50,000, Li was shocked when she said she
would fund the entire project.
The school was sceptical, but Ms Chen was determined.
In May 2005, the two-storey library was completed and named Chen Shu-chu Library in honour of the "Vegetable Market
heroine" alumnus. She had donated NT$4.5 million.
Ms Chen's ability to donate such large sums of money has led many to ask: How can a mere vegetable seller earn so much?
"Spend only what you need, and you'll be able to save up a lot of money!" said Ms Chen.
Since 1996, she has donated NT$36,000 to help three children in the Kids Alive International organisation.
To achieve this, she explained that she empties her loose change into three little cardboard boxes at home every night.
"This is a simple act that anyone can do, isn't it?" she said.
Ms Chen leads a very simple life without any luxuries. She does not have any desire for material gain nor any form of enjoyment.
Work, she said, is her enjoyment. "I love my work. If I didn't, would I be able to work 16 hours a day?"
All she needs is food and a place to sleep. Everything else is a luxury. She does not buy expensive clothes as "I do
not socialise much, hence, there is no need for such beautiful clothes. The clothes from the roadside stalls are good
enough for me, and, even then, I like to bargain".
Her daily meals cost less than NT$100: a bowl of vegetarian rice and a bowl of noodles for NT$ 80 freeze
whatever that cannot be finished, spend another NT$20 on a can of gluten and add that to the rice with some hot water.
"This becomes porridge and is very tasty," she said.
She also sleeps on the hard floor, a habit from her younger days when she started working at the vegetable stall.
The comfort of her warm bed made getting up early to go to the wholesaler very difficult, especially during the cold
winter months. Hence Ms Chen made up her mind to sleep on the cold floor, where she would not run the risk of being late.
Has business improved after winning the award? "Business is as usual," she said. "I still need to sell my vegetables.
Not much has changed."
Advertisers have approached her to film commercials; financial managers have offered to manage her finances and
other well-wishers have offered to donate money. She rejects these advances politely.
"It is easy to return borrowed money, but difficult to return a favour," she said.
"I have to be very careful in handling money matters," she added. Even when customers tip her, she refuses to accept.
"Buying from my stall is already a form of support," she explained.
The only commercial Ms Chen was willing to take on was for the Bureau of National Health Insurance, in memory
of her beloved mother. She requested all shoots be done beside her stall so as not to affect her business.
The only payment she was willing to accept was a black T-shirt given by the Bureau.
Since her return from New York, Ms Chen has been working even longer hours. She has a new goal: To collect
NT$10 million to set up a Chen Shu-chu Bursary aimed at helping poor children pay for school fees and medical bills,
things she could not afford as a child.
"All I need is to sell a few more vegetables, save a little more money, in addition to a number of insurance policies
that are near the end of their term. A lot of people are also willing to donate. I am sure there won't be any
problems," she said.
Mr Li, who treats Ms Chen like a sister, said that setting up the bursary is actually a good way to let her retire
from selling vegetables and start influencing society with her reputation, in the hope that there will be more generous
As for Ms Chen, she said: "My philosophy in life is simple: If doing something makes you worried, then it must
be a wrong thing. If it makes you happy, then you must have done the right thing. What others say is not important."
( this section courtesy of Lizzie )
the THANK YOU section !!
hi my dearest pal ...
happy new year to u too.... :)
is so glad to hear from you and read your postings.... so inspiring and motivating....
keep in touch and keep going too... :)
bb @ CAS:
Dearest Dharma Friend, we live on with pats and strokes from friends who appreciate your sacrifice and work. Hoping to meet up soon ....
every possible wishes always !! "Namo Amituofo !!"
the GIFT section !!
CAS's Sister in the Dharma, Lilian, has most compassionately offered this precious gift to all our frens @ CAS ....
email Rikzin at firstname.lastname@example.org to request for a piece of the robe worn by this holiest statue of Lord Buddha at Bodhigaya.
"Buddho Sara Nai !!" to dear BB & James @ CAS,
With Joyful Blessings from the Buddha, I am Humbly & Gratefully Offering a length of the Sacred Robe from the Most
Holy Mahabodhi Temple Site that marked the exact Vajrasana seat of Enlightenment of our Lord Buddha during my recent Pilgrimage,
where I participated in =
Kathina civara dana Ceremony @ Mahabodhi Mahavihara Bodhgaya on the 9th November 2010
The Buddha in the Maha Bodhi Temple,
Bodhigaya - India.
the DEATH section !!
For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared.
I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives. People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality.
I learned never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes
were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance.
Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them. When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they
would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again.
Here are the most common five:
1. I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. This was the most common regret of all.
When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled.
Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is very important to try and honor at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late.
Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.
2. I wish I didn't work so hard. This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship.
Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners.
All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do.
And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.
3. I wish I had the courage to express my feelings. Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others.
As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming.
Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result. We cannot control the reactions of others.
However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are
by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either
that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way,
I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their
dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that
they had let golden friendships slip by over the years.
There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away.
People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them.
They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task.
It all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier. This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice.
They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called "comfort" of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives.
Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they
were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again. When you are on your deathbed, what others
think of you is a long way from your mind.
How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.
Life is a choice. It is your life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly.
By Bronnie Ware
我从11楼跳下去，(When I jumped down from the 11th floor)
看见10楼恩爱的夫妇正在互殴…(I saw the loving couple from the 10th floor fighting and quarrelling)
看到9楼坚强的peter正在偷偷的哭泣…(Strong Peter from the 9th floor was weeping secretly)
8楼的阿妹发现未婚夫跟好朋友上床…(Ah Mei from the 8th floor just found out that her best friend is in bed with her fiance)
7楼的丹丹在吃抗忧郁症药丸…(DanDan from the 7th floor is eating her depression pills)
6楼失业的阿信还是每天看报纸找工作…(Jobless Ah Sing from the 6th floor is still flipping the newspaper daily looking for a job)
5楼受人敬重的王老师正在偷穿老婆的内衣…(Well-respected Teacher Mr Wong from the 5th floor is secretly wearing his wife's lingerie)
4楼的Rose又和男友闹分手…(Rose from 4th floor is bickering for a breakup with her bf again)
3楼的阿伯每天都盼望有人来探访…(3rd floor Uncle is hoping to have a visitor everyday)
2楼的lily还在看她那结婚半年就失踪的老公照片…(Lily from 2nd floor is still looking at the photo of her husband who went missing after 6 months of marriage)
在我跳下之前,我以为我是全世界最倒霉的人…(Before I jumped down from the 10th floor, I thought I was the unluckiest person in the world)
现在我才知道,每个人都有不为人知的困境…(Now I know that everyone have their own problems)
我看完他们之后,深深觉得自己过得还不错(After seeing them, I deeply realised that my life is not that bad after all)
所有刚才被我看到的人,现在都在看着我(All those people that I saw earlier are now looking at me)
我想他们看了我以后,也会觉得其实自己过得还不错( I think that after looking at me, they will realised that they themselves are not so bad afterall)
(Everyone's life is almost similar, there are others more unfortunate than ourselves when you think you are unlucky.
So we must learn to treasure and be contented with our life.
Life is like this, being human is like this. Other than happiness and health is your own and will be with you throughout your life,
Other thing will be lost within your control. The mind is a container, there will be no room for happiness if there are too much troubles.
Just let it go, it aint nothing much anyway.)
Remembering Gene Smith
by His Holiness the Seventeenth Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje
From the time the Buddhadharma arrived in Tibet, the translation and production of texts formed a key area of activity, mobilizing and shaping Tibetan culture.
During the mass exodus into exile in the mid-20th century, Tibetans could easily carry the meaning of the texts written in their hearts but had to carry the books on their own backs.
In this process, and in the subsequent years of exile and during the Cultural Revolution within Tibet, texts and wood blocks were scattered, and painfully many were lost.
In such an era, to dedicate one’s life to seeking out, preserving, publishing and digitizing Tibet’s vast textual heritage, as Gene Smith did, is a kindness that cannot be expressed in words.
I do not believe it unfair to say that his life’s accomplishments follow in the example of the great Dharma kings of Tibet.
Gene was not merely a collector of words written on paper. He made all he found freely available to others. He read widely and deeply, and became a vast treasure of knowledge
Of Tibetan history and culture. The fact that Gene preserved texts of all schools of Tibetan Buddhism, without regard to sectarian differences, makes his achievements particularly worthy of our respect and admiration. Gene leaves behind an invaluable resource that will be of great benefit for many generations to come.
As he now moves on to his next life, Gene does not take any books with him. But he does carry an extensive library of merit. He also goes accompanied by my own gratitude and prayers.
( From http://www.shambhalasun.com/news/?p=17583#more-17583 )
CAS's friends owe mountains of debt to Gene Smith and his students for supplying us with all the precious empowerment texts,
Sadhanas with such amazing patience even though so many of our holy precious manifest forgetfulness and kept on leaving their
texts in Tso Pema, Nepal and other such places on earth !!
"Thank you, Prof Gene !!"
We are dead sure you are somewhere with Buddha Maitreya now ... "Amituofo !!"
the SLEEP section !!
the Dharma CLASS section !!
Subject: [ss] [AP] 8/3-10/5: Project Rebirth (Round 2): Rediscover, Reflect, Recharge (10 Basic Buddhism Lessons)
Some Participants' Feedback From Round 1:
'Thank you for the insights and sharing... As a 'newbie' to Buddhism,
attending Project Rebirth has definitely helped to set a good foundation
and provides a basic understanding to Buddhism. The course was well structured
and the notes were very clear and well interpreted. I
enjoyed in particular the various video clips, movies learnings and real life
examples given as
it makes the teachings very 'real' and close to everyday living.
The follow-up emails and readings also help to further my understanding and
provide me great insight on daily Dharma.
It also serves as a great reminder to continue with the learning and application
of the Dharma.' - Shirly
'You are very resourceful. There is a lot of information provided at your
Simple, concise and easy to understand. Thank you very much for your effort...
It is a blessing to know you.' - Irene
'[The teacher] has lots of potential and passion for teaching.' - Rosalind
'I've attended the first class for Project Rebirth last Sun and it was
an insightful experience.' - Emily
'Thanks for the interesting lessons and I look forward to more wisdom,
compassion and happiness from learning the Dharma.
This is my first Dharma course, and I hope to learn more from you and other
classmates... Thank you for sharing the Dharma for the past few weeks.
I enjoyed the classes and appreciate the practical aspects of the teaching.
If the Dharma is mindfully applied to life,
I believe it will bring greater calm and happiness.' - SK
'Thank you for spending your weekends with us to help us find true happiness.
You are a great teacher.
As a beginner, I do find some of the teachings profound at this point but certainly
I leave the class every week a little more enlightened...
I want to share with you that I am so thankful I have taken the first step
to start my spiritual path.' - Heng
'Hi Shi'an, Thank you for the wonderful lessons.
I had been looking forward to each lesson and must say that I have learnt
many things.' - JK
tELL A fRIEND
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