Saturday, February 28, 2009

Funny Thought: Descended from Monkeys?

Are we divinely created?  Or are we descended from monkeys?

I recently heard that the Dalai Lama has a very cool answer.

According to Tibetan legend, once upon a time, an ogress fell in love with a meditating monkey god and asked him to marry her.  Eventually, after consulting with the Goddess of Mercy, he said yes.  The monkey god and the ogress gave birth to a  large tribe of monkeys, and eventually, the monkeys evolved into the Tibetan people of today.

So, according to the Dalai Lama, people are BOTH creations of god, and descendants of monkeys.  At least the Tibetan people are.  (His joke, not mine).

Friday, February 13, 2009

Funny Thought: Simple Man

I realized that I'm just a simple, unambitious man.

I have no personal ambitions.  All I'm trying to do is to save the world, and make $1.1 billion while doing that.

And I'm such a simple man.  All I ask for is perfection.  That's all.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Funny Thought: Dude, Where's My Bell?

Twice this week, I forgotten my meditation bell when leading meditation.  Not once, but twice.

I deserve the No-bell Prize.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Funny Thought: Letter of Recommendation

Ke told me that in China, it's common for graduating students to write their own letters of recommendation in the names of their professors.

If I get to write my own recommendation in the name of my prof, it'll look like this:
Meng is, by far, the best student I've ever had. In fact, he is the smartest person I've ever met. It's hard to imagine someone so stunningly handsome can, at the same time, be so brilliant. I admire him so much even his mere shadow inspires me. It is my professional opinion that anybody who doesn't hire him is an idiot. If you don't hire him, I'll personally beat you up.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Funny Thought: Superhero

When President Obama was asked earlier today who his favourite superhero was, he said, "Spiderman and Batman".

I was surprised.  I thought every President wants to be The Decider when he grows up.

Funny Thought: Vegetarian

I don't know why, but people keep asking me if I'm vegetarian.

Well, of course I'm a vegetarian.  In addition to being a vegetarian, I also eat meat.  I'm a vegetarian++.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Random Thought: Acceptance

"Acceptance" is an important topic in Buddhism.  Like most other important topics in Buddhism, acceptance is a simple concept that turns out to be very hard to fully understand.

Acceptance is a state of mind that is open to all experiences and phenomena.  Yet, at the same time, acceptance is not necessarily the same as granting permission.  You can fully accept something, but at the same time, strongly aspire to change it.  A good example is social injustice.  One with an all-accepting mind can fully accept experiences or observations of injustice, but still want to fight it with all of one's might.

This sounds like a paradox, of course.  How can you fully accept something that you aspire to change, and vice versa?

I recently developed an insight about acceptance.  I think acceptance is:
  • Not being afraid to look at myself in the mirror.
  • Not being afraid to suffer.
So, fundamentally, acceptance is fearlessness.  When one becomes decreasingly afraid of embodying ones own inner monsters and imperfections, or of experiencing suffering, one increases one's own capacity to accept all phenomena.  And when one becomes fearless, one becomes all-accepting.

Understanding acceptance this way breaks the paradox between acceptance and aspiration for change.  In fact, we may even come to the conclusion that acceptance is a necessary condition for great change.  You can't effect fundamental change if you don't fully understand a phenomenon, you can't fully understand a phenomenon if you're unwilling to experience it fully, and you can't do that if you're not willing to fully accept it.

But where does fearlessness arise from?  I think that fearlessness arises from confidence, and confidence arises from ease, and ease arises from embodying Dharma.  When one lives the Dharma, one's mind eventually arrives at a state of ease (even in action), and when the mind is at ease, a deep inner confidence arises, and that confidence leads to fearlessness.  But that's a topic for another day.