A Tweet a Day Keeps the Obstacles Away!

26 May 2010 - 9:57am Comments Off

Due to popular demand, we brought back to Manjushri Class a sharing session on His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche’s “tweets” – short 140-character quotes from the online new-sharing portal, Twitter. These short but powerful quotes have affected people in many different ways, and have been essential to connecting many people from around the world to Kechara.

In last Sunday’s Manjushri class, people once again took turns to pick a random tweet out of a bowl and read them out, before having a discussion with the rest of the class. Participants shared their personal accounts about how Rinpoche’s words have impacted on them, and discussed how we can each relate to these wonderfully inspiring quotes ourselves. Here are a few of the tweets we shared in a session facilitated by Susan Lim.

 

#1 Sharing by Stella Loh

“Holding on to permanence, situations, people or surroundings leads to the greatest amount of immediate and long term suffering.”

Stella shared her view regarding money: we can’t deny money is important in our lives, but we must also remember that it’s not everything because in the long run, it brings only disappointment if we hold on to this wrong perception. Money comes and goes; nothing is permanent. There’s no satisfaction in the end, no matter how much money we have amassed and we can’t take it with us when we die. If money brought real happiness, then the more money we had, the happier we should be. However, we constantly see examples of rich people who are more miserable than the poor! So holding onto the perception that money is the answer to lasting happiness only brings more suffering in the end.

At the core of all Dharma teachings is the understanding that suffering and dissatisfaction originates in the way our mind responds and reacts to life’s circumstances. Buddhism in particular teaches that our mind causes us suffering by being attached to permanence and constructing a separate entity when in fact neither exists. Be it people, circumstances or situations, once we put a tag of permanence on something, suffering, frustrations and anger ensue. The reality is that things are always changing. Success and failure, gain and loss, comfort and discomfort – these all come and go. If we can accept that all phenomena are impermanent, we would be much happier people in life.

 

#2 Sharing by Lily Chew

“Loving and forgiving people who hate and harm you is a step in the right direction if you wish real Dharma insight.”

Lily agrees but says it is not easy to do. This is not our normal reaction towards people who have harmed us, especially concerning people we don’t know or those who we perceive as enemies. Having her own business, Lily related an account of a competitor who was slandering her company and causing many problems. She had been thinking of retaliating in the same way but eventually refrained from doing so. Recently, she found out that this person now has cancer and has sold her company. It made her feel all the more relieved for not having retaliated. Before knowing Dharma, she was very unhappy about this situation, but after reading and watching Rinpoche’s books and DVDs, she is glad she did not retaliate, as it would only create more negative karma. Now, she is applying what she has learnt to her family and business.

People who hate and harm us actually help us to practise patience, just as in the story of Lord Atisha, an 11th Century Indian Buddhist scholar and saint who was invited to Tibet to teach the Dharma. When he travelled from India to Tibet, he deliberately chose to bring with him an unpleasant old monk who hated him and criticised him all the time. He chose this monk to accompany him so he could further his own practice of patience. This went on for 13 years, right up until the time of the monk’s death.

Unlike Atisha, we mostly run away from unpleasant attitudes and situations. From the point of view of karma, we learn that we must have created the karma to meet these people who harm us. Instead of running away or retaliating, we should look for ways to purify this karma by going through the situation patiently, and learning to love the people who harm us.

 

#3 Sharing by Ron Wong

“What is the best way to stop eating meat? Very quickly!”

Ron has been a vegetarian for a month now and believes that not eating meat helps to purify negative karma. He is also doing this as a cause for his daughter’s good health and well-being. Listening to Rinpoche’s teachings has further fuelled his determination to go vegetarian and now his whole family, including his seven-year-old daughter, are also trying to become vegetarian.

There are many benefits of not eating meat. First of all, we must realise firmly that the meat we eat is a result of killing an animal; we then contemplate what the animal has to go through just to satisfy our palate. By not eating meat, fewer animals will die and just by changing our diets, there will be less suffering in the world. Watching videos on how animals are treated and slaughtered is one of the quicker ways for us to see and realise what they go through, which can prompt us to stop eating meat. As one of the Buddhist precepts observed is to abstain from harming all living beings, we should strive to take responsibility for the effect of our actions so that our lives result in as little harm as possible, and in bringing as much benefit as we can to others.

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