Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Affirmation


This song randomly appeared on my YouTube homepage last night and whew, I just went for a 90s music "roadtrip" on YouTube haha. Well this is more of late 90s, but Savage Garden is definitely one of my favourite bands of the 90s. And this is probably my favourite song from them. Followed by Animal Song. Kinda funny how back then, I love this song because of its beat and melody, but now I love this song for its lyrics! Which is really really lovely and powerful I must say.

I wish we can go back to 2000. Me playing Transport/Roller Coaster Tycoon on my computer with this song blasting through the speaker. Not much to think about the future. Apart from getting scolded by my parents for playing too much computer games. Well, time moves on as always!

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Diamond Cutter


Right, lets do another book discussion, probably the last one for Blogtober 2020. Today's book is Thich Nhat Hanh's The Diamond That Cuts Through Illusion. This book is Thay's explanation and commentary on the famous Buddhist Sutra, Vajracchedika Prajnaparamita Sutra, or also known as the Diamond Sutra. And it is also one of the most difficult sutras to understand! Even up till now, I still haven't fully grasped it haha. I think I will give this book another read one day.

I once read this sutra in the temple once. And of course it's made more complicated with the fact that I read it in Chinese hahaha. This book cleared up a lot and wow, this is truly a wonderful sutra. I used to wonder why it's called the Diamond Sutra. Turned out the real name is actually the "Diamond Cutter" sutra. And the reason why it's called a cutter, is because it cuts through our illusion!

What illusion you might ask? It's the illusion of self. I'm happy that I read this book after I read Mingyur Rinpoche's book, cause it helped me clear a lot of things about non-self haha.

Once again, it's rather a difficult book to explain fully in a blog post. But Thay, as usual, has made the commentary on the Sutra into something very pleasant and easy to comprehend text. I read his commentary on the Prajnaparamita Sutra too and it's very enlightening as well.

Personally, I think the sutra has been wonderfully summarised into this passage in the book:

"Whatever a bodhisattva thinks, says and does can give rise to limitless virtue and happiness, but he or she is not caught in this. When we volunteer to wash the dishes, if we think that our work will bring us some happiness or merit in the future, we are not true bodhisattvas. We only need to live joyfully in each moment while we wash them. After they are washed, we don’t need to tell everyone that we have just finished washing their dishes. If we do that, our work will have been a waste of time. Washing the dishes just to wash the dishes, on the other hand, brings us inestimable virtue and happiness."

I think this passage talks beautifully about doing things without a "self". Via washing dishes. How often do we actually do this? To do things for the sake of doing it. Not because we dread it, not because we "love" to do it, not because someone wants us to do it. If we can practise doing this, I think we will be able to "freely" do many things without being chained into the torments of egoism. 

We shouldn't just limit this to doing good deeds, but hmm, possibly, everything!

Monday, 26 October 2020

In Love With The World


Hello again! Writing today with another Book Discussion, this time round with this wonderful book by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche titled "In Love With The World". This is a book telling the story of Rinpoche's experience of wandering retreat, and how he almost died during this retreat. This books tells about that part and it's really quite an enlightening book. From a Buddhist monk, where impermanence is the core teaching in Buddhism, to experience life and death first-hand, is something quite endearing.

I think for non-Buddhists this book might be a bit tough with the Buddhist terms, but don't worry, they are explained in the book. In fact even me as a Buddhist learn a lot from this book too!

Personally I enjoy this book a lot because it taught me a lot about emptiness. And the 2nd principle of existence in Buddhism - Anatta, or non-self. To me this principle is the hardest to understand, and most difficult to practise, simply because it involves the dissolution of our own ego. The name says itself, non-self. But this book taught me deeper into it, and I kinda understand it better now.

It's kinda hard to explain this book, you have to read it for yourself I think. Cause it really talks about our "self" and its empty nature. I think you gotta experience it yourself! With almost every page turn in the book, you will learn something rather mind-blowing and enlightening. So please do read!

I will end this post with my favourite quote from the book. And most enlightening too:

"That’s the way suffering always works – our misperceptions turn us into targets. In Tai chi, for a martial arts master, the opponent’s blow has no place to land. The same is true with a master of the mind. The more rigid our sense of self, the more surface we provide for the arrows to hit. Who is receiving these arrows? Who is offended by these loud noises? You asked for this!" 

"The more rigid our sense of self, the more surface we provide for the arrows to hit" This line hits my heart like an arrow hahaha. My ego has been attacked! Hjalp!

Sunday, 25 October 2020

Earthquake

My sleep was pretty screwed up last night thanks to an earthquake! Haha. Can't really blame the earth for shaking things up a bit. But anyway so yeah, I have fallen asleep last night (or this morning) when I got woken up randomly, and went to drink some water. As I was about to drink my water, I realised that the water was swaying slightly. I thought it was me but I realised I haven't touched the cup, or my table.

Then the windows of my room were rattling and I knew it was an earthquake. And surely it did keep me afresh and awaken hahaha. And I couldn't sleep till 10 AM. And I woke up at 1 PM. With only four hours of sleep I was feeling really weird the whole day. I did catch some afternoon nap, though it was only for 40 minutes, and earlier at night for about 30 minutes. Now as I'm blogging, I'm not that sleepy. Weird.

Feeling kinda annoyed cause somehow my insomnia is back. Even though back in September I was sleeping rather fine.... It's such a weird pattern and I couldn't really find it! I was just having insomnia again back in the past 2 weeks or so. Hopefully I can get back to normal sleeping pattern.

Alright that's all from me today. This week is going to be a short week cause there's gonna be a holiday on Thursday. Apparently the governmental bodies and financial sector is going to have a really long weekend starting from Wednesday till Sunday. That's crazy! Well we're not affected by it tho so yeah haha. Okay have a great epilogue to October everyone. Damn, we're left with 2 more months to 2021!

Saturday, 24 October 2020

Keepin Me Under


Finally got my hands on this 10" Debut EP from one of my favourite discoveries of 2020: Rayowa! This is their debut EP Keepin' Me Under and I love this EP! Discovered Rayowa from Spotify back in the beginning of the year from their song "Chance". And wow I'm hooked. I love every song that they have released so far, and I'm definitely looking forward to more music from them soon!

Friday, 23 October 2020

Songbirds


Just finished reading this fantastic prequel to The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins last night and it's such an amazing book! I think it's such a wonderful prequel. If the trilogy lets us see The Hunger Games from a district member, this books lets us see it through the eyes of the Capitol, AKA the creator of the games. I still disagree with the games but.... I kinda understand why the Capitol wants it.

I won't talk about the story and please read it for yourself mwahaha. But essentially this is a story of how Snow became President Snow. I thought the capitol is really really evil but after reading this book they're VERY evil haha. But like I said, I see it through their eyes now. But I still disagree okay!

I feel that Snow and Sejanus (a character in this book) are both a manifestation of the constant battle between good and evil that we have in this world. How sometimes the good deeds we do may actually do more harm to others. And also how the bad deeds, even though in the most subtly evil way, may actually do good. But at the end of the day, we will never see what is good and bad because each and everyone of us see through a different lens. We're all in a different head, somehow.

The book is super exhilarating, with lots of twists and surprises. I hope that the book will be adapted into a two-part movie. I can totally imagine this as a movie and it'll be good mwahaha. I actually love The Hunger Games series. I managed to read the book (although just 1st and 3rd heh) and that's why I was so excited when I found out that Suzanne is releasing this prequel. And yup like mentioned in my previous post, this is probably my first fiction book in a long time!

And I think I should read more Fiction books now. Thinking of the Maze Runner series :P

Also reading this book inspires me to actually write a fictional story haha. Maybe I will do it as part of my blogtober series? I have a few ideas and storyline actually mwahaha.

Alright wishing you a happy weekend! :)

Thursday, 22 October 2020

Maze Runner

Alright back here again with a movie review! Not exactly a review but yes, another discussion. This time round it's not a documentary but a trilogy, The Maze Runner (TMR) series! Ever since I got Netflix, The Maze Runner was somehow the first movie that shows up in the house page heh. And since I haven't watched the movie, I decided to watch it. And I finished the series in three days haha. The first movie was released in 2014 so that's when I was already back home, and thus no cinema, yep.

A few of my friends recommended me to watch the movie when I was talking about The Hunger Games series. And well I'm 6 years late to the part but here I am anyway haha. They also recommended me to read the books and I might do that. Or I might just read the prequels.

Anyway I think TMR is a great and exciting trilogy. Lots of heart-pumping actions, lots of sad scenes, lots of gruesome scenes. But perhaps watching Game of Thrones the past few years have prepared me for them. Losing my favourite characters and all the gruesome scenes haha. I won't talk much about the plot but there's a theme that I really love about the whole series, especially the first movie.

I might be looking well too deep into the story but I think the theme of "we're here for a reason" resonates loudly inside the movie. Somehow every action we do will lead us to a place, an action, a reason and so on. We might not know what but one day we'll understand. One of the exciting things about TMR is the idea that the series is divided into three parts and we're just left hanging with every series. Not much of a cliffhanger because somehow, I'm just drawn into the next, and the next.

The movie started with Thomas, a boy whose memory has been wiped, landing in a mysterious place he doesn't know of. And then it develops slowly with him slowly regaining his memories, then the arrival of Teresa and him solving the maze and so on. Somehow I feel like this is a depiction of our lives? We may not know where we are now, and why we are here. But slowly day after day we will learn why. 

Then in The Scorch Trials, how he met Aris and how Aris somehow puts trust in Thomas, which leads them leaving the WCKD compound and then meeting the Right Arm. Initially when I first watched the movie I kept on asking myself how will the story turn out, what will happen, and so on. But as I go along the way, everything patches up nicely! Somehow a serendipitous reminder that every character is put for a reason, and every character went through something, for a reason.

And suddenly I'm reminded by life itself. How the things that we go through may sometimes don't make sense to us. But eventually, I think we will understand. And we will also understand why we meet with a certain group of people, and their purpose of crossing paths with us. 

Okay I might be reading too deep into the line but yeah. I hope you get what I mean. I feel like TMR has done a great job in this aspect. The story unfolds so crazily wonderful, that I didn't even think of it. But what I find most beautiful in the story is this feeling of how everything patches up nicely!

Alright that's all from me in this 3rd Movie discussion. Mocussion? Haha. I will come back with more discussions. Just finished another book and I think I'll talk about it soon. See ya!