Saturday, January 29, 2011

a poem from Tsongkhapa

"If... you knew how hard it is to acquire,
Living the average life would be impossible.

If you saw its great benefits,
You would be sorry if it stayed meaningless.

If you thought about death,
You would make preparations for your future lives.

If you thought about cause and effect,
You would stop being reckless."

this poem really speaks to me. it is really quite impossible for me to live the average life now. i sometimes joke to close friends that i am leading 'half an ani (meaning nun in tibetan) life' now (still very much attached to my long beautiful hair... oops not shy.. hahaha). joking joking... a modern yogini's life maybe...

next tues i am leaving for nepal to take my first year thangka exam!! oh girls wish me luck... i have learnt everything i need to learn for the exam, which consist of: 8 items (leaf, bud, lotus, 2 types of clouds, fire, decorative pattern, and draping) plus 3 Buddhas (one close-up face, one full body meditation position without robes, one with robes). the most difficult one would be Buddha without robes, thats when the teachers can check to see if you get all your measurements right, and the proportions accurate. ooh... just writing about it, i feel nervous... last night i even dreamt that i took exam and drew the wrong thing, and i forgot to bring my most important ruler or something! haha... this is one of the final-year exam pieces (6th year exam). right now, my exam is only on pencil lining. no need to colour. phew....

i am going to use 30 days to get into the peak of 'meditative-drawing' mode, haha and sit for exam before tibetan new year (which is 5 Mar) then i will leave for delhi to attend Geshe-la's teaching and then straight to Dharamsala to learn tibetan. this trip i will try to stay there for at least 2 months. i have 1.5K sin to survive for 2 months in dharamsala. it would be a challenge. i have made all contacts with my tibetan friends to see if i can bunk in with any family, or friends at a very very cheap rate.

i am also looking to stay at dolma ling nunnery near gyuto tantric college. with a quiet place, i hope to do at least my first serious 10-day retreat, to start my 'ngondro' (preliminary practises) to kick off the inner preliminaries which consists:

1. taking of refuge in the three roots in conjunction with the performance of 100,000 prostrations (purifying pride)
2. cultivation of bodhicitta (purifying jealousy). In some formulations this is included under 1.
3. 100,000 recitations of Vajrasattva's hundred-syllable mantra (purifying hatred/aversion)
4. 100,000 mandala offerings (purifying attachment)
5. 100,000 guru yoga practices (purifying delusion)

sounds very technical? haha... its ok. i hope to complete the above list within 3 years. maybe this time i will start with prostrations and recitations first. i will have to consult my teachers first. any serious retreat should be done under the guidance of teachers.

OK! let me go pack my small luggage, its filled with instant noodles x15 pack, beehoon x10, tea bags, coffee packs, seaweed, soya sauce (the light sauce in nepal and india tastes wierd), my father's home-made chilli, mini cooking pot, haha.. my mom said this time i looked like i am 'zou nan' (walking disaster), i am a very tight budget, quite fun yeah! haha....

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

something to invoke in-depth thinking

''Most of us are afraid to be alone. Do we ever go out for a walk alone? Very rarely. We always want somebody to go with us because we want to chatter, we want to tell somebody a story, we are all the time talking, talking, talking; so we are never alone, are we? When one grows older and can go for a walk alone, one discovers a great many things. One discovers one's own ways of thinking, and then one begins to observe all the things about one - the beggar, the stupid man, the clever man, the rich and the poor; one becomes aware of the trees, the birds, the light on a leaf. You will see all this when you go out alone. In being alone you will soon find out that you are afraid. And it is because we are afraid that we have invented this thing called religion.... '' read more

i used to read a lot on j.krishnamurti. and guess what? yesterday my teacher emailed to say that he will be giving a talk on 'J. Krishnamurti:You are the World. Education and Secular Ethics at Delhi University on the 9 and 10Mar. i am thrilled... i wonder if he will be speaking from buddhist point of view or in a non-secular way. anyway i really look forward to attending.

i remembered how i was exploring on my own spiritual path vigorously (especially in the last 3 years). and in 2009, i narrowed my search (of zhuang zi tao-ism to hinduism to jainism to carl jung to darwin to osho to sri ramana maharshi) down to the final two: J.Krishnamurti (no religion) and HH Dalai Lama (tibetan buddhism) as the last 2 contenders to take me on the journey. haha..... so it would be extremely interesting for me to listen to Geshe-la speak on J.Krishnamurti.

this is taken during the last night of the Kagyu Monlam, light offering. it was exceptionally moving chanting with so many people from all over the world. may the light of wisdom be instilled in all sentient beings.

Friday, January 14, 2011

hello i am back!

hello girls! how is everyone? sorry i have not been writing becos the lifestyle in nepal and india really doesnt promote the internet. haha.. whenever i am there, i just dun feel like using the internet. i use only to check my emails like once a week. we have received many emails asking us about kyurii. we also miss interacting with you girls. thank you so much for your care and concern. we are deeply appreciative of it.

so yes, now i am in singapore after spending 40 days in bodhgaya, india. the holy place where Buddha was enlightened. this is the mahabodhi temple, literally meaning 'great awakening temple'.
'A Bodhi Tree is to the back of the temple and between the Bodhi Tree and the temple is the 'diamond throne' where the Buddha attained enlightenment.' this is the bodhi tree!! this is taken about 6am in the morning, last week in bodhgaya it was extremely cold and very foggy throughout the morning.
this is the Buddha statue in the inner temple. it is truly very special. the moment one sees the statue, its as if all thoughts are silenced. one can only bow in respect and pray for blessings on behalf of all sentient beings.
this is the spot where Buddha was enlightened.

ok i went there to attend the KAGYU MONLAM aspirational prayer for world peace led by HH the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje. besides the continuous 8 day prayers, i also attended HH Karmapa's 3 day teaching on 'Atisha's The Lamp to the Path of Enlightenment', a text that has greatly inspired me. after that, i attended Mingyur Rinpoche's meditation class 'Joy of Living' which has been truly beneficial to my daily life. Mingyur Rinpoche will be coming to singapore next month, those who are interested to attend some of the public talks, find out more here. highly recommended, Rinpoche's method of teaching meditation is very practical and across all religions. the other highlight of this trip is definitely attending my own teacher, Geshe Dorji Damdul's teaching on Nagarjuna's Fundamental to the Middle Way. Nagarjuna (150–250 CE) is one of the most important and influential Indian philosopher who founded the Madhyamaka (Middle Way) school of Mahāyāna Buddhism. it was an intensive 7 day course held at the root institute, a beautiful place for anyone who is interested in a retreat. here is meixian and dave posing at root institute. to be able to start the new year by attending my teacher's teaching (from jan 1-7) is really a gift for me this year. and to be able to do koras with my teacher round the mahabodhi temple, sit under the bodhi tree to pray and meditate is a precious opportunity and one that is deeply inspiring. this photo taken in singapore last nov where Geshe la was teaching 'Heart Sutra' at tibetan buddhist center. the response was fantastic and therefore Geshe la (who is the english translator of HH The 14th Dalai Lama) has been invited again to come and teach in singapore very soon. oh this photo is taken before i left for the airport for bodhgaya. so obvious i teared... so touched by the kindness that our teacher showed towards us all. those who have met him will truly experience this.
bihar, the state which bodhgaya is located is the poorest state in india. this has to be the dirtiest place i have ever been so far on the globe. beggars everywhere sleeping on the streets in rows with thin blankets, with the cows, dogs, goats, chicken, wild boars rummaging through the pile of rubbish, little kids with fleas in their hair running around barefooted asking for money, holding onto your hands, following you relentlessly asking for biscuits with smiles on their faces until you reach the gates of the guesthouse,

handicapped beggars trying to catch your attention by swinging their broken leg across the dirty floor as they make their way towards you on their hands, these are all common sights. if not for these sentient beings, this trip wouldnt have been so impactful. my prayers wouldnt have been so strong.... the suffering that i see here makes me feel that no matter how tough we think our situation is, we are not alone. somewhere out there, there is someone with the same or even more intense level of sorrow, hurt, poverty, hunger, cold, homeless...

a trip to any third world country helps open up our narrow views directed only at our own suffering, however when we can simply think of millions out there in a situation much more adverse than our own, and try to put away that self-concern but instead extend that very same concern towards others, immediately our unhappiness will turn into a kind of courage and strength. whatever 'bad' situation we perceived ourselves to be in, will still be there. however now, we have the courage to go through it, with a heart full of love and compassion.

this basic goodness is what my teacher has been consistently showing us through his own actions in this one year that we know him. this genuine all-embracing affection and kindness which is becoming extinct in this fast developing city, is ironically what all of us are searching for and need most. let us try to keep it going. 'keep on going, never lose heart.' Geshe la always says. by the power of whatever little merit that is accumulated through this writing, may all sentient beings everywhere be free from fear and suffering and the causes of fear and sufferings and be quickly led to enlightenment.

Monday, October 04, 2010

second birthday spent in nepal

my birthday was spent:
trying to sit under the bodhi tree to get enlightened!! and then rubbing Buddha Maitreya tummy in hope to find some sponsors for this 6 year course..... flera and i, 2 poor thangka students. we walked up to the surrounding hills to get away from the boudha crowd. and our favourite place has to be pullahari monastery, to look at the best wall painting in kathmandu. this is where we find most inspiration and peace.... slowly slowly.... we hope to become good thangka artists to help pass down the karma gadri style of thangka painting. in the evening, we walked back to boudha back to the big stupa just in time to join in the tibetan crowd for the daily kora. we did 7 rounds today and offered 3 butter lamps each. look! there are mandalas everywhere. the buddhas and bodhisattvas are all around us. it happened to be dakini day on my birthday this year. so many people are doing light offering. and this is my big special birthday cake. haha.. no i am kidding. this is shechen monastery all lighted up.
last oct was my first trip to the thangka school. its been a year since i know all my school mates. cant believe it! and every of my trip, i am so lucky to have the company of a lovely friend, first trip was marieke from netherlands. second was kim from hong kong, third was hazel also from hong kong and this trip is flera from latvia. all my thangka buddies whom that i love dearly. life is amazing.

NEW IN at!

hi girls, we are currently featuring 'TIGER AND HARE' (from melbourne) on kyurii website. one of the creators of this beautiful series of accessories and baby jumpsuits is actually my ex-school mate, amanda. we studied design together. we are so happy to have them on our website. please check out their really cool stuff. i just heard that the flower brooch is sold out. you can see more of their items now at! you can also find 'TIGER AND HARE' on too! really nice stuff!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

the most happening thing in boudha now must be the presense of HH Sakya Trinzin Rinpoche. HH is here for a month or so to give empowerments and conducting prayers. so last fri we 'skipped' school with our teacher, miss yangzom and went to attend the guru rinpoche empowerment. there were so many people, the whole of the tibetan community at boudha must be there. after the empowerment, all of us lined up to received blessings from HH.. omg... sardine packed... and the tibetans have no concept of queueing. it was a mess but a friendly one. everyone was pushing and smiling and laughing at the same time. haha.. what a pity. i didnt have a camera with me. this month must be the month of blessings for me. i received blessings from the head of the 3 out of the 4 main lineages of tibetan buddhism. HH Dalai Lama (gelup), HH Karmapa (kagyu) and now HH Sakya Trinzin Rinpoche (sakya). when it was my turn, i bow and looked up at him and he was smiling so warmly to me. oh... i feel so happy.

saturday was spent lazily. after school at about 11:30am, flera, my classmate and i went for lunch. she wants to tan her face. haha... funny how the westerners love the sun so much while we asians tend to sit in the shade. it feels so nice to just hang out and talk and do nothing....

Thursday, September 23, 2010

5 days with my teacher

hi girls, i am missing the days spent with Geshe la and also Sonam la. it was such a memorable trip. while i am having question and answer session with Geshe la at the dining table, dear Sonam la would be busy cooking away in the kitchen. so nice.... and its the best food i had during the entire trip.. nutritious home-cooked dinner for 2 nights in a row. Sonam la (left) is HH Dalai Lama's translator so he will be going to the states with HH this coming oct. Geshe la is one of Sonam la's teachers. and Geshe la had been HH Dalai Lama's translator for the past 5 years and is now teaching at delhi university. i met both during last year teaching in dharamsala where Geshe la was the translator and Sonam la was acting as his assistant.
after my friends left, everyday i go to Geshela's house breakfast at 7:30am (sonam la made bread, omelette and milk tea) on the rickshaw!
happily taking in the fresh morning air.... until it comes to the expressway!! then i start holding on tight and stop taking photos.. cant even smile... that huge bus! and we are actually going to cross the expressway to get to the other side.. phew.. safe and sound. dun tell my mom.. hee.. yeah! i am here. after breakfast, more private tuition or reading in geshe la's library then go to tibethouse for teaching (Geshe la gave a 5 day teaching on Buddhist Psychology). so interesting! i extended 2 more days in delhi to complete the class. and good news for friends in singapore, Geshe la has been invited to give a teaching in singapore later this year! i will update you when the dates are confirmed. this would be a fantastic opportunity.

happy birthday to miss tenzin yangkyi

hello girls, how is everyone doing? yesterday was mid autumn festival, its also miss tenzin yangkyi's birthday. early morning she reminded me i have to go buy chocolates with her so that she can give it to her classmates and teachers. i pulled myself out of bed at 6:30am (so tough being a part time mom.. let alone a full time one with more than one kid), wash then we went to a nearby provision shop to buy them at 7am. shops here open really early.

after school, i went to collect the cake. tenzin yangkyi was so happy and she has 2 cakes! one more from noemi (a homestay girl from italy) but guess what? we both bought the same cake from the same cafe (saturday cafe which serves really nice organic cakes, muffins and stuff where foreigners like to frequent. the cakes from the local shops are so dry and hard). haha... here with miss tenzin's aunty. too bad uncle tenzin had some work and was late for the cake. haha so naughty, miss tenzin trying to get some cream on her mother's face. kids are so happy on their birthdays. she reminded me everyday since i arrived from hong kong, and then when i came back from delhi. 'suyin, my birthday 22 Sep.. 22 Sep.. 22 Sep' haha... and when uncle tenzin arrived, miss tenzin is already fast asleep... she always just 'passed out' after dinner. haha.. ooh.. i feel really tired. suddenly bombarded with school, taking care of my now 8yo 'daughter' who needs so much attention, working on kyurii during lunch break, trying to digest all the teachings i received over the last 2 weeks, trying to find some quiet time.... solitude is vital. i think i need to wake up earlier like 6am to have some time to practise before i step out of my room into miss tenzin's world. then to school at 8am till 5pm. then internet, or kora, then study, meditate a bit, evening prayers then go out and entertain miss tenzin yangkyi at 8pm. only at 8pm i shall come out of my room! a quality hour before dinner. haha.. by 9:30pm i should retreat into my room for a bit more study, chant then sleep at 11pm. oh i need to set up a strict routine. i skipped school this morning to catch up with my school homework and to reply emails.
ok now i am done with lunch and internet. going back to school at 1:30pm. see you girls later! dont forget that KYURII FINAL CLEARANCE SALE is going on now! DO NOT MISS IT!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Kyurii Final Clearance Sale

hello girls! kyurii clearance sale is taking place now! we are trying to clear as much stocks as we can, so please give us your support.
the future is unknown. what we truly know now is only now. at this moment, we are not sure how we are taking kyurii to the future. whether kyurii will continue to exist or not. what is the next step for kyurii. neither me nor leekeng has an answer. however there are some new ideas we have in store for kyurii, to turn it into a fun 'marketplace' where we help you sell your things. it would be exciting! so any one of you have some things to sell, feel free to email us at: and tell us all about it. we would love to see if we can feature your products on kyurii website.

so for now, please give us your fullest support at this final clearance sale! thank you so very much. love you all. big hug.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

back in nepal from india

tashi delek girls, after spending 7 days in dharamsala for HH Dalai Lama teaching and another 7 days in delhi with my teacher, Geshe Dorji Damdul, i am now back in kathmandu (arrived yesterday afternoon). it has been a most precious experience. beyond words. setting off in our 12 hr ride to dharamsala! beautiful sunset in dharamsala. after the teaching on the last day, there is usually a photo taking session. group by group. usually its a mad rush to be as near to HH as possible. this time, as our group is called, everyone seems to be still standing around (maybe they didnt hear the announcement). HH is already seated there so i just walked up slowly and gracefully (haha) and i got to kneel down besides HH for the the group photo. haha. so happy and HH held my hand. oh.... i feel so so fortunate. everything is happening so fast as there were like a dozen groups of like a few hundred people waiting for their turns. after the photographer snapped, i turned around and said a very soft 'tashi delek' to HH, he looked so kindly with a warm smile and nodded. the moment is so touching..... faith and i at Namgyal Monastery (HH Dalai Lama's monastery) the day after teaching. during teachings, we are not allowed to bring any cameras or handphones. the secruity check is very strict. during the stay in dharamsala, i also had 2 private audiences with the HH the Karmapa to talk about my thangka class and also, i needed some oral transmissions of some text and mantras. so again, i feel so fortunate. here i am in chuba with maggie, at Gyuto Tantric Monastic college (Karmapa's residence)

i feel so happy.. such joy that is beyond the normal pleasures. and the next 7 days in delhi with Geshe la, is incredible. Geshe la gave a 7 day teaching on 'mind psychology from buddhist point of view' at tibethouse in delhi. such perfect timing. more teaching for me. yeah!

and we are so fortunate to be accompanied by Sonam la (who is apprentice HH Dalai Lama's english translator, going on his first tour with HH later in oct to the US) whom we got to know last year. since he is also going to delhi for visa, we invited him to ride along with us to delhi.

following my teacher around, gave me the greatest opportunity to learn by simply watching how Geshe la interact with everyone whom he comes across with. from the auto (tuk tuk) driver, to someone serving him tea from the restuarant, to his students, to people he met for the first time, always with so much compassion. on the last night, i told Geshe la i feel so happy following him around. i felt like his attendant except that i am not in robes. he laughed saying that he is very happy to hear that. hahaha... being around my teacher for like 12 hours a day is something i truly cherish in this trip. i feel such tremendous joy and so many moments where i feel a natural spontaneous sense of compassion arising in me, just by experiencing his compassion to people around him. it is as though its being transmitted to me. so many moments i had to control my tears especially when listening to Geshe la talks about the bodhisattvas and being compassion with the glow in his eyes. even now as i am writing, the tears come. there is nothing more important for me to do now than to study and practise well.