Monday, July 24, 2006

The Cherry Blossom at Your Request

The season has been long gone, but at the request of the wise man “Emotionable,”
I’m posting these images of the “Cherry Blossom.”
They were taken at the end of March, 2006.
Hope you enjoy the blossom

Posted By: Kee
Date: Thursday, 20 July 2006, at 7:37 p.m.

Saturday, July 08, 2006


When I picked up my camera to take their pictures, it seemed as if these innocent children were crying for help. But no one heard their cries. I closed my eyes and placed myself in their shoes. I began to feel pain. I silently asked myself, “Why, why would they hurt them?” In the chamber of death, who wouldn’t be terrified? The Buddha says, “All beings tremble before violence. All fear death.”

Observe the very nature of human beings. We are possessed with three most dangerous weapons: greed, hatred, and ignorance. All reside in the mind. All are diseases. The three lead man to destruction, annihilation, for himself, and the world. With greed, we amass nuclear bombs, to kill whom? With hatred, we intentionally hurt each other. With ignorance, we do not know that by harming others, we harm ourselves.

In a place where there is hate, there is hell. If you had and loved your child, would you hurt him? If love were to truly exist in one’s heart, there would be no intention to hurt others. Only hate creates harms. Imagine there were no greed, no hatred, and no ignorance. There would be no hell. We would be living in a peaceful world.
Regardless of your doctrine, one thing you should know is that intentionally injuring your fellow beings is wrong.

Source of quote:
Photos taken at Toul Sleng – Kee Music – John Lennon

I looked deep into their eyes and felt great pain in me.
They were our brothers.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

How Long Will It Last? - by Kee

Thanks to all of you, BE, Dan, MINH, nitecrew, Pery, Rithirong, and SN, for sharing your thoughts on the poem of the Buddha I posted earlier. There seemed to be a misinterpretation of this four-line saying. It is true that a glass of water sitting on a table can be interpreted in different ways by different observers. Words may also be interpreted in different ways as well. It’s a relative truth.

The poem:
“All composed things are like a dream,
A phantom, a drop of dew, a flash of lightning.
That is how to meditate on them,
That is how to observe them.”

What it is telling us is that nothing lasts in this world. We should keep in mind that all things are impermanent. All things are in constant change, and the rate of change is as fast as a “flash of lightning.” Regardless of who you are, endowed with physical beauty, or mental agility, you will come to a point of great disappointment. Your body now is not the same as it was ten years ago. Ten years from now your beauty will disappear, like “a drop of dew” evaporating into the atmosphere. In due time, your physical form will become a “phantom,” the shadow of death.
It is not a message of hopelessness as our friend Dan said. It is a message of seeing the true nature things.

It is a message of accepting things the way they are. And what is the benefit of seeing the true nature of things? It is fearlessness. We won't fear change. For our friend SN, you are right that we should not meditate on perishable things. That is what the poem is telling you. It is telling you and me to not worry about and grasp things that don’t last. Can we hold on to an ice cube?

When you see a drop of dew, keep in mind that you are not different from it. Eventually, you will disappear. So live life today, not yesterday or tomorrow. Breathe this breath, not the next or the previous one. Be content.

The source of this article

Friday, May 12, 2006

Parinibbana of Lord Buddha

Je ne parle France

English version:

Mara the Evil One said to the Buddha: ‘Lord, may the Blessed Lord now attain final Nibbana, may the Well-Farer now attain final Nibbana. Now is the time for the Blessed Lord’s final Nibbana.’

The Buddha replied: ‘You need not worry, Evil One. The Tathagata’s final passing will not be long delayed. Three months from now, the Tathagata will take final Nibbana.’
Ananda cried knowing that Tathagata was about to pass away. The Buddha then uttered:
“Enough, Ananda, do not weep and wail! Have I not already told you that all things that are pleasant and delightful are changeable, subject to separation and becoming other?”
The Buddha spoke his last words, “Now, monks, I declare to you: all conditioned things are of a nature to decay-strive on untiringly.”

Then the Lord entered the first jhana. And leaving that he entered the second, the third, the fourth jhana. Then leaving the fourth jhana he entered the Sphere of Infinite Space, then the Sphere of Infinite Consciousness, then the Sphere of No-Thingness, then the Sphere of Neither-Perception-Nor-Non-Perception, and leaving that he attained the Cessation of Feeling and Perception.

Then the Venerable Ananda said to the Venerable Anuruddha: ‘Venerable Anuruddha, the Lord has passed away.’ ‘No, friend Ananda, the Lord has not passed away, he has attained the Cessation of Feeling and Perception.’

‘Then the Lord, leaving the attainment of the Cessation of Feeling and Perception, entered the Sphere of Neither-Perception-Nor-Non-Perception, from that he entered the Sphere of No-Thingness, the Sphere of Infinite Consciousness, the Sphere of Infinite Space. From the Sphere of Infinite Space he entered the fourth jhana, from there the third, the second and the first jhana. Leaving the first jhana, he entered the second, the third, the fourth jhana. And, leaving the fourth jhana, the Lord finally passed away.’

Source: The Long Discourses of the Buddha. A Translation of the Digha Nikaya. By Maurice Walshe, 1995. [Photo-Kee (taken from a poster)]

Like A Dream ! - by Kee

“All composed things are like a dream, A phantom, a drop of dew, a flash of lightning. That is how to meditate on them, That is how to observe them.”
--The Buddha

“All composed things are like a dream, A phantom, a drop of dew, a flash of lightning. That is how to meditate on them, That is how to observe them.”
--The Buddha

Friday, January 06, 2006

Who is your enemy?

Posted By: Kee Date: Monday, 2 January 2006, at 5:39 p.m.

Happy New Year to everyone, friends of all faiths. Hope that the New Year brings a new freshness to your life and family. Do you know who your enemy is?

I walked through the National Museum of Cambodia in Phnom Penh and delighted in many old ancient Khmer sculpture, including the head of Jayavaraman VII. But the most delightful of all was the proverb of the Buddha that reads: Ignorance is the enemy of a lifetime.

I’d like to relate my small personal experience to this very powerful saying. When I was about 10 years old, my friend and I took a leisure walk outside the village out of boredom. It was a hot sunny day and the rice paddies were already dry. I began to feel thirsty as we walked under the hot sun. I couldn’t control my thirst and told my friend I wanted to have a drink. We found a small water hole in one of the rice fields and without thinking; I scooped the water up in my two hands and drank. The water was hot.

A few minutes later, I started to feel some pain in my stomach. It got worse later on. As we were walking, my right hand continued to massage my abdomen. It did not seem to cease, but the pain intensified. My friend and I decided to head back to the village. As soon as I got home, I threw myself onto a bamboo bed. I rubbed my stomach with two hands and nothing helped.
My 94-year-old great grand ma noticed something was wrong and she came to help. I could no longer control the pain and began to cry. The pain was extremely sharp as if someone had violently cut my stomach open and pulled out the intestine. There was no ER. Villagers normally applied traditional medicine and practiced Animism. My mom attempted to perform a traditional coin scraping on my belly. But it only exacerbated the pain as the coin put pressure on the pain area. I never stopped crying and turning my body against the rough surface of the bed.

My cry was quite loud that some of my neighbors and kids came and stood watching me twisting my half-naked body like a crocodile turning its body to feast on a killed. Mom was worried and prayed to the spirit of the dead with burning incense. But it was to no avail. My life was now completely at the mercy of my own Karma. The fruit of my own action had immediately ripened and no gods, deity, or divine beings could interfere with the law of Karma. The bacteria from the water I drank were eating me alive.

This is what it means to be “ignorant.” One can only hear the word but does not realize the truth behind its meaning until he experiences it himself. The teaching of the Buddha is best when one learns it, practices it, and experiences it to feel the truth. I was too young at age ten to know the depth of the Buddha’s teaching. Ignorance is one of the causes of human sufferings. First, I craved for water. But with the complete lack of true knowledge about the water, I drank. Then came suffering, and it was I alone who experienced the suffering. No one could share my own pain, or pleasure. My friend, who did not drink the water at all, was free from stomach pain.
The remedy to remove “ignorance” is wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to see the true nature of things. Wisdom helps guide a person to right action, and right action leads to right results, which bring safety and happiness. If we cannot remove “ignorance,” it will remain our enemy for a lifetime and suffering does not cease. Learning from our past mistakes is self-awakening.
For further reading:

I have re-written the Buddha’s proverb in both Khmer and English above.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

So Hard to Climb, So Easy to Fall

Here is a poem from Somdach Preah Songareach Choun Nat:

Posted By: Kee, Date: Friday, 8 July 2005, at 9:11 p.m.

One man came to this country empty-handed. With diligence and right effort, he worked his way up to the top. He realized his dream and became a donut king. In the realm of wealth and great pleasures, he relished his harvest.

But as he over indulged in pleasures, the donut king drowned himself in the flood. He forgot where he came from. He forgot the way, the path that took him to heaven. At the end, he fell back down. His negligence led him to his own downfall. It took the donut king years of hard works to build up his wealth and fame. In just a brink of an eye with unguarded mind, everything was gone.

You too came a long way. Always be mindful. Danger awaits your misstep, like a stork patiently waits for a fish to catch an air. There may be no tomorrow. Life is unpredictable. The world is full of slippery slopes. One misstep can mean death.

“Death overtakes the man
Who gathers flowers
When with distracted mind and thirsty senses
He searches vainly for happiness
In the pleasures of the world.
Death fetches him away
As a flood carries off a sleeping village.”
--The Buddha

The Temptation !!!

Guatama Buddha being tempted by Mira, the god of pleasures. [Mir pjanh preah]

Posted By: Kee Date: Saturday, 12 November 2005, at 7:57 p.m.

Who, born in this plane of senses, is free from sensual desire? No one. And who, among the many, is willing to cut free from this ultimate pleasure? Only a few.
At the age of 29, a human is at his prime, full of beauty, energy, and sensual thirst. But one man from a Sakyan clan fought a battle within. Guatama Buddha had already won the war over wealth. He gave up everything. Now he was facing another war; it was the war between him and Mira.

Mira is the god of pleasures. In isolated jungle thicket during meditation, Mira appeared in exceptional beauty, trying to entice Guatama from achieving his goal. But he knew what Mira was attempting to do. Guatama ignored the sensual body displaying before him. Soon, Mira disappeared in dejection for he was unable to distract the sage.

A virtuous and holy man is worth of respect, reverence, and offerings. A monk in yellow robe, if properly following the 227 rules, has truly won a battle that is so hard to win. Such a holy man deserves praise.

“Better than a hundred years of worship,
Better than a thousand offerings,
Better than giving up a thousand worldly ways In order to win merit,
Better even than tending in the forest A sacred flame for a hundred years--- Is one moment's reverence For the man who has conquered himself.
To revere such a man, A master old in virtue and holiness,
Is to have victory over life itself, And beauty, strength and happiness.”
--The Buddha
------------------------------------ Photo – Unknown artist.

Harming the Harmless !

Harming the Harmless
Posted By: Kee ( Date: Wednesday, 28 September 2005, at 7:41 p.m.

"He who harms the harmless Or hurts the innocent, Ten times shall he fall--
Into torment or infirmity, Injury or disease or madness, Persecution or fearful accusation, Loss of family, loss of fortune.
Fire from heaven shall strike his house And when his body has been struck down, He shall rise in hell."
--The Buddha
From The Dhammapada - The Syaings of the Buddha (pp. 57) by Thomas Byrom.

The harmless or innocent refers to all living beings, humans or animals.
Photo - Kee.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Dhamma Reflection of Life's Reality

Life is a mirage, an optical illusion like a shadow that hurries.

Birth is suffering for soon it meets death.

Beauty is an illusion for soon it will be decayed.

Health is separated by disease.

Beauty is separated by decay.

Life ends in death.<br>

The Drama of Life, Reflections Upon Truth
Posted By: Kee ( Date: Saturday, 17 December 2005, at 11:31 a.m.
Life, when we view it from a micro side, is wonderful. This is even so when one has attained wealth, status, fame, beauty, health, and all six sense faculties are satisfied. If you have a good job, good income, house, car, etcetera, and gratifying sensuality, life is nothing but wonderful. But what if you are unemployed and broke, homeless, relationship is deteriorating, children are scattered, or sensuality is not gratified, is life still wonderful?
From a macro point of view, life is nothing but an illusion. It comes and goes through stages of change that brings both pleasure and pain. If this cosmic world were to remain constant, then the rich, the beauty, the fame, the youthful, the healthy, will remain at the top. The poor, the ugly, the old, the sick, and the hungry will remain trapped in the realm of human hell. The cycle of birth and death (Samsara) gives life a chance to renew itself from round to round.
During this process of change, we will face the ultimate pain, death. And it is perhaps the hardest thing in life to say good-bye to your loved one for good. Moments before her last breath, my elder sister pulled my hand and placed it on her chest. It was hot like a flame as her heart was racing against time. Then minutes later, it no longer showed sign of movement. Her eyes began to slowly close. The blood-pumping organ completely stopped. I placed my hand on her chest again; it was as cold as ice. She was gone, for good.
I burst into tears, no longer was able to hide my own sorrow. I had cared for her for so long. I bathed her, fed her, and washed her dirty clothes every day. We had struggled together in one of the harshest regimes. The Khmer Rouges were just gone. But she couldn’t make it to the shore. Her body was lying flat on a small mat directly attached to earth underneath an open stilt house. I didn’t know what to do. But the people of Battambang were very kind and compassionate. They gave me all the help I needed.
My sister was wrapped in only a few bamboo strips, with some of her belongings, torn clothes, and the old mat she had been sleeping on. She was buried not far from the village beside a bamboo bush. While the people were gone back to the village, I still wondered around her tomb. I looked up and only saw branches oscillating in the clear blue sky, a wide empty space. That was how I felt, empty. The feeling of fear, anxiety, and uncertainty all ran into my blood. I wondered where my sister would be. I slowly walked on a sandy ox path back to the village. A new chapter in life now began.
I also recalled a story of a friend. He had a wife and a young baby son about six months old. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with a stomach cancer. They cut 75% of the stomach to remove the cancerous part. He could not eat. A feeding tube was inserted into his throat to stay alive with only liquid food. He died at the age of 23. I still remember his words he said to his son, “Please don’t change. I love you the way you are.” He was carrying his baby as much as his strength could allow, and be with him as much as he could before he left.
I was speechless to see such a tragic death. His mother from Canada couldn’t stop crying. She grieved and sorrowfully lamented, “Why here?” She meant to say why not in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge period while food was scarce and medical care didn’t exist. This is the way it is. This is the drama of life. Death does not discriminate and does not know if it is in the United States, in Cambodia, or anywhere else. Regardless of who you are, what you have, we all merge to one ending. This is what the Buddha called the First Noble Truth, life is suffering.
This world is such a cruel place. Health is separated by sickness. Happiness is struck down by sorrow. Beauty meets decay. And life ends in death. Nothing lasts. Even the toughest steel corrodes and vanishes. It is a world of illusion, fast moving like a shadow that hurries. It is a life drama for all living beings.
The Buddha shows five simple truths that when truly reflected upon will bring calmness and erases fears. Here are the five truths expounded by the Buddha:
1. Old age is unavoidable. One should often reflect, “I am subject to aging, have not gone beyond aging.” Thma anh min arch kich phot pi ayuk jass barn leuy.
2. Sickness is unavoidable. One should often reflect, “I am subject to illness, have not gone beyond illness.” Thma anh min arch kich phot pi jum ger rokia barn leuy.
3. Death is unavoidable. One should often reflect, “I am subject to death, have not gone beyond death.” Thma anh min arch kich phot pi sach kdey slap barn luey.
4. Separation is unavoidable. One should often reflect, “'I will grow different, separate from all that is dear and appealing to me.” Thma anh min arch kich phot pi ka baek jak ney roboss dael kloun sralanh barn leuy.
5. Kamma is the cause. One should often reflect, “I am the owner of my actions, heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and have my actions as my arbitrator.” Thma anh trov totorl phal dael kloun barn tver jia ka thomada.
When we acknowledge these five truths, often reflect upon them, we have no fear, no sorrow, and no anxiety. We are not afraid of unwanted changes in life. We accept our responsibilities and blame no one. And we die in peace, not in the state of confusion.
-------------------------------------------------- Source: Upajjhatthana Sutta
Photos – Kee.