Kissing A Buddha

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This is Goldie, our pet goldfish with one of our latest additions to her little home where she lives with her guppy and red shrimps friends.

Some of you must be wondering why we have a little Buddha into the tank as a deco. It is more than just for prettifying purposes. I was inspired by Tsem Rinpoche’s aviary where there are Buddha statues all over the huge aviary. Rinpoche’s ever compassionate heart placed the Buddha statues so that the birds in the aviary can fly/circumambulate the statues and receive blessings. This will also help plant seeds of Dharma in them which will sprout when the conditions are right.

As pets are also part of our family, we should wish the very best for our pets. This includes better rebirths and eventual enlightenment. Since animals are not able to learn, understand or practice Dharma the way humans can, as humans who are parenting our darling pets, we can help them by blowing mantras on them or place little Buddhas into fish tanks like this. Those with 4-legged furkids can let them wear Buddha pendants too.

One of the other things I would like to do in the future is to get a lovely weather resistant Buddha statue and place it in our garden to bless all the birds, neighbourhood kitties and other animals who regularly stop by our garden.

#BeKindToAnimals

My ideal garden Buddha. Haha....this is actually the Kamakura Buddha in Japan. Love the pretty cherry blossoms.
My ideal garden Buddha. Haha….this is actually the Kamakura Buddha in Japan. Love the pretty cherry blossoms.

The little “Say NO to sharks fin” advocate

Saying a silent prayer. I wonder what is he praying for
Saying a silent prayer. I wonder what is he praying for

I just love this photo of the little one. Well, not so little now as this was taken about 3 years ago during our first pilgrimage to Kechara Forest Retreat, Bentong.

He has not just grown physically bigger but spiritually too. A strong advocate of anti-finning, he recently fought his urge to have shark’s fin soup at a recent dinner to uphold what he believes in. Believe me, it couldn’t have been an easy thing to do as he loves shark’s fin soup and also given his age. Hey, even adults have problems fighting their own urges.

These days, he is happier slurping his vegetarian shark’s fin soup. After all, it is the soup that’s tasty, not the fins.

How did he become an advocate of anti-finning?

I think he was about 5 or 6 years old when we watched how sharks fins were harvested. That short clip ended with the sharks being thrown back into the ocean, without fins, bleeding and slowly sinking to the bottom of the ocean. The little one, who was at the height of his fascination (and love) for sharks and all sea creatures, said, “The sharks will die, Mommy!! They will die because they have no fins to swim and find food. If they can’t find food, they will die.” The thought of his beloved sharks dying so cruelly broke his little heart. So, I asked him what was he going to do. He said, “I think I will stop eating sharks fin soup. I don’t want the sharks to die.”  There was a moment of slight hesitance as he loves sharks fin soup very much. But after pondering for a few minutes, his love for these creatures and logic won the inner battle.

That didn’t end there. He went up to his father and said with a serious urgency, “Daddy! You have to promise me something.” The hubby was like, “Huh?? Why?” The little one said, “Daddy, you need to stop eating sharks fin soup. You know why? It is so cruel. The fisherman throws them back into the sea after cutting their fins. And the sharks will DIE without their fins because they cannot swim to find food. Promise me, Daddy, that you will not eat any more sharks fin soup.” His passionate plea apparently worked and he got his Daddy to promise to stop.

And then, he went to his older brother who was about 7 or 8 and said more dramatically, “Hayden!! You got to stop eating sharks fin soup! You know, they throw the sharks back into the sea without their fins. They were bleeding and all that. They will DIEEEEE, Hayden! Promise me you will NEVER eat sharks fin again.” This highly dramatic plea worked on the older brother.

That didn’t stop there. When we went back to my parents’ place in Melaka, he went to my Mum and said in serious tone, “Grandma, promise me something.” My Mum was utterly amused by this small tot’s serious tone and looked at me for an explanation. She then said, “Promise what, Sayang*?” He then said in his grave voice, “Grandma, promise me that you will not eat sharks fin soup because the way they are killed is so cruel.” He went on in graphic detail about all the bleeding and finally ending with the dying without fins part. His dramatic plea amused my Mum and he got Grandma to promise too. Happy that he got his Grandma to promise, he went to my Dad to lobby for his cause. My Dad too was amused by this earnest plea. He did not stop there and went on lobbying to my sis and brother too. Hahaha!

This little “anti-finning” advocate has grown into a bigger boy, who is still lobbying for people to stop eating sharks fin, in a less dramatic fashion these days. People say that we can learn from our children. It is true as this little activist taught me to stand up and stick to what I believe in, no matter how hard.

So, people, promise me something. Please stop eating sharks fin soup.

 

*”Sayang” is an affectionate way of calling someone your love and adore. In the Malay language, this means love.

 

 

You would have turned 94 today

You would have turned 94 today. I still miss you very much, Mama. I never thought the day would come when we have to part from this lifetime. But the reality in life where nothing is permanent, the day came on 18 July this year. While my heart bled for losing you but part of me was glad that you are no longer suffering in your old, weary and sickly body. You and grandpa left a gaping hole on my heart but am very thankful to have had both of you as my grandparents in this short life time. The both of you stood in as both parents and grandparents and in a sense, am truly fortunate to have had a childhood filled with love and wonderful memories.

Mama, I inherited more of you that I could ever imagine. I realised  this even more as I looked at your photo that was placed in front of your coffin. I have your smile, high forehead and chin. And I also hope I will have your thick wavy hair that is a nice shade of silver grey in my twilight years. I know that I have inherited your love for flowers, sense of unconventional thinking and stubborn nature.

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Many people actually realised how much I look like you in this photo.

What I hope and pray for is that I have inherited your resilience, perseverance and faith that would carry me far in my spiritual path. While we both chose different spiritual paths, am thankful that you provided me with a solid foundation of what is good and what is bad. Your unwavering faith in your chosen path serves as an inspiration to me in my journey towards my final destination.

In the early years when you embraced Christianity, it was really rough for you and grandpa. I felt so helpless not being able to help you much but I am so glad that I was at your baptism to witness your rebirth into the kingdom of God. It was such a beautiful ceremony that moved me. To be able to see you and grandpa commit yourselves to your God was precious. Years later when I took my refuge vows to commit myself to Buddhism, I wished you could be there with me but I knew that it would have be really tough for you to travel so far.

During your eulogy, I mentioned that one of the things that I will remember you and grandpa is your faith in Jesus and how this has and will continue to inspire me in my own spiritual journey. Although in the earlier part of your journey as a Christian was a huge challenge, you did not give up and chose to rely completely on God. Your faith not only sustained you right till the end, but it deepened and your complete love for Jesus is something not many have. I hope that I have that same faith, commitment and endurance in my own spiritual practice. Just as how you have relied your God to carry you through your darkest times, I too, will rely on my Guru and Protector to carry me through all my challenges in life.

You may have left a huge hole in my heart but you have also left me with a valuable teaching on the importance of spiritual practice and how unwavering faith, is crucial right at the most important part of your life… at the time of death. Your peaceful and serene face was a testament of what a good death should be – free of fear and any attachments.

Happy birthday, Mama! May you be well and happy wherever you are.

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Our last wefie with the “Queen Mother”. “Queen Mother” was Mama’s nickname.