Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Buddhist Flag

The most prominent colour concept in Buddhism is that of the rainbow body, which is the highest level of meditative achievement wherein the body is transformed into pure light. The rainbow body is the highest achievement other than Nirvana, which is the essential end-goal for Buddhists. Since the “pure light” on the spectrum contains all colors, and is white, to possess a rainbow body means to possess all colors, and to do some means meditating on colors that embody specific teachings.

The principle colors involved in Buddhism are Blue, Black, White, Red, Green, and Yellow, and each — except for Black — are aligned to a specific Buddha. Associated with the Akshobhya Buddha and the healer ‘Blue Buddha,’ Blue represents tranquility, ascension, the infitine, purity, and healing. Over all, the colour represents wisdom, but light and dark blue have different meanings. The light blue that Buddhists meditate upon is said to be no better represented than by turquoise. It speaks of the limitless heights of ascension, but it is opaque as earth, holding the wisdom of the earth and sky within it. Simultaneously, it embodies the duality of living and dying. This colour change this stone undergoes — from light exposure or skin oil — is thus a reminder of human life. Wearing the stone is thought to give the wearer long life, and it is believed to absorb sin.

Black in Buddhism is not so different from Western Culture in that it refers to darkness and hate. Meditating upon hate, anger, and darkness may not seem like the path to peace, but the principle revolves around coming to an understanding. Learning, rather than revelling in the black of ignorance, is the path to clarity and truth. Black is often used as a reminder of conquest by not annihilation, but turning evil into good. Black is most commonly found in black paintings, more specifically black thangkas, which are representations of deities, usually. Gold outlines and vibrant colors against a black background seemed even more capable of portraying other-worldly manifestations than those typically on plain, white backgrounds. Seen to the left is a female Bodhisattva who rids of miseries and disasters.

White is representative of the principles of purity, as in Western Culture, but it is also considered the colour of knowledge and longevity. It is consider a colour of extremes, associated with the cold of snow and the smelting of metal. White is associated with the Buddha Vairocana. According to Buddhist legend, Buddha’s mother, Maya, dreamt of a white elephant touching her right side before Buddha was born. Elephants, associate with rain clouds and fertility, are seen as good fortune, and following that the elephant was white meant purity and learnedness for the child. Because of this dream, seeing a white elephants spells remarkable fortune, which holds truth whether in reference to mysticism or not, as they are quite rare. The white elephant is thought to be Buddha descended from the heavens.

The colour red symbolizes lifeforce, preservation, fire, and sacred things or places. Also riddled with duality, fire can represent warmth and comfort, but can also be a destructive force. Red is associated with the Buddha Amitabha. Throughout Tibetan culture, red is a marker of sacred areas, and a true mark of a Buddhist scared area are the simplistic, tall gates at the entrances. We also see this colour on the garments on the monks. It is believed to be a protective colour, like that of shamanistic wards.

Green denotes youth, vigour, action (Karma), and harmony. Because it is the colour at the middle of the spectrum, it is also represents balance and is associated visually with the lush trees. Green is associated with the Buddha Amoghasiddhi.

Yellow is the colour that possesses the highest symbolic quality because of the saffron colour of the monks’ robes. Previously a colour worn by criminals, it was chosen as a symbol of humility and separation from materialistic society. It symbolizes renunciation and desirelessness. Because it is also the colour of the earth, yellow denotes stability and grounded nature.

Coming to understand the principles represented by these colors, applying that wisdom to life, and being free from desire is how the Rainbow Body, and possibly Nirvana, is achieved.

Original Link

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Dewi Lestari: Kisah retret 5 hari bersama Thich Nhat Hanh di Hongkong

Monday, May 28, 2007

Meniti Jalan Tengah

Sebuah e-mail saya terima bulan Maret lalu, info tentang retreat lima hari
bersama Master Zen Thich Nhat Hanh di Hongkong. Hati saya seketika
terangkat, intuisi saya berkata: pergi. Saya pengagum karya-karya beliau,
tapi tidak mempelajarinya secara mendalam. Bisikan kedua datang dari guru
sekaligus sahabat saya, yang juga berkata: pergi.

Bahkan hingga saya menginjakkan kaki di Hongkong pada tanggal 11 Mei lalu,
menempuh perjalanan satu jam lebih ke Wu Kai Sha, dan meletakkan koper
saya di dalam kamar yang akan dihuni bersama lima orang lain selama lima
hari ke depan, saya masih belum tahu pasti apa yang saya cari, dan apa
yang akan saya dapat.

Tercatat sekitar 400 orang yang menginap di kompleks retreat, 400 orang
datang pulang-pergi, plus 60 anggota Sangha yang didatangkan dari Plum
Village. Ini memang retreat skala besar. Hampir 900 orang berkumpul di
dalam aula setiap harinya. Suasana riuh dan tempo cepat yang membungkus
kami seketika bertransformasi seusai Thich Nhat Hanh muncul dan memberi
orientasi tentang "Five Mindfulness Trainings" yang akan kami jalankan
selama retreat. Tidak hanya dalam bentuk penjelasan tapi juga pengalaman
langsung yang akan dijalankan lewat meditasi berjalan, meditasi duduk,
makan, minum teh, bicara secukupnya, dibantu oleh energi kolektif Sangha
yang hadir membaur dengan para peserta.

900 orang lalu mulai bergerak dalam keheningan, dalam tempo lambat, dengan
bungkukan hormat dan tangan berpose anjali, diiringi bunyi bel yang
sesekali digaungkan untuk mengingatkan semua orang berhenti beraktivitas
dan pulang pada irama napasnya. Lambat laun saya mulai memahami mengapa
saya memilih pergi.

Sungguh, tidak ada kegiatan "luar biasa" yang saya lakukan di sana. Kami
sarapan, bermeditasi duduk dan berjalan, mendengarkan ceramah, makan
siang, istirahat, berdiskusi dalam kelompok kecil saat sore, makan malam,
tidur. Namun hidup seolah-olah ingin menunjukkan bahwa sesungguhnya setiap
hari adalah ritual kesadaran. Dan kita telah melewatkan kegiatan-kegiatan
sederhana ini bagai angin ribut yang menyapu padang bunga. Angin yang
berlomba menuju ruang kosong tanpa tahu banyaknya keindahan yang gugur di
bawah sana. Dan selama lima hari kami dilatih untuk menahan laju angin
badai ini, kembali menjadi udara yang bergerak semilir agar sempat
memetiki bunga-bunga cantik yang selama ini tumbuh tanpa disadari di
padang hidup kita.

Pemamahan itu pun terus membulat dari hari ke hari. Mulai saya mengerti
mengapa guru saya menyuruh saya pergi. Pada bulan Maret, beberapa hari
sebelum info tentang retreat tersebut tiba, saya terlibat percakapan
dengannya, dan Sang Guru berkata: Remember that nature isn't just about
drives and impulses. Reality shouldn't be perceived as all restriction or
compromise, but as a pathway to ensure your safety towards your highest
purpose. And as the middle path walker you should be aware of the dynamic
between your inside and the outside world. To walk safely and respectfully
means you take both realms into consideration. Dan ketika saya bertanya
balik, koridor apa yang harus saya pakai, jawabannya singkat saja: five
precepts.

Lima Sila ini telah digaungkan Sang Buddha sejak 2500 tahun lalu, sekilas
pintas tak jauh berbeda dengan Ten Commandments, atau nasihat standar
orang tua: Jangan membunuh. Jangan mencuri. Jangan berbohong. Jangan
berbuat asusila. Jangan mengonsumsi apa pun yang melemahkan kesadaran. Dan
terkadang, dengan konteks zaman yang jauh berubah, pola pikir yang
memodern dan kian canggih, sungguh tidak mudah mengerti kedalaman
perintah-perintah singkat itu, bahkan terasa naif dan tidak realistis.

Kita sering lupa, bahwa penderitaan dalam kehidupan manusia, begitu juga
kebahagiaan yang didamba semua manusia tetap sama, terlepas dari zaman
Abraham manusia naik unta dan sekarang manusia terbang dengan Boeing.
Lebih riskan lagi, terkadang kita terjebak dalam pencerahan sebagai
momentum. Kita lupa bahwa menjadi tercerahkan melibatkan disiplin dan
praktek yang dijalankan seumur hidup. Kita tersesat dalam "spiritual"
sebagai konsep tinggal telan, dan mengabaikan aspek "spirit" yang tak
lepas dari "ritual".

2500 tahun telah berlalu, guru-guru yang merupakan emanasi dari
kebijaksanaan Sang Buddha telah hadir dan pergi, dan saya bersyukur dapat
bertemu dan berpraktek langsung dengan salah seorang guru yang berhasil
menerjemahkan Lima Sila ke dalam pengertian modern. "Five Mindfulness
Trainings" yang dirumuskan Thich Nhat Hanh tak lain adalah penerapan Lima
Sila dalam konteks zaman sekarang, sebagaimana bernamaskara dijembataninya
menjadi ritual bersyukur pada bumi, orang tua, dan leluhur. Triratna
dijembataninya menjadi ajaran cinta kasih, pemahaman benar, dan komunitas
yang harmonis. Pada saat itu baru saya mampu mengapresiasi apa yang telah
dilakukan Thich Nhat Hanh selama ini. Beliau mampu menghidangkan kemurnian
ajaran Dharma dalam kemasan masa kini, tanpa mengintimidasi, tanpa
kehilangan otentisitas.

Sejak lama saya menerima dan menyepakati ajaran Sang Buddha. Namun
Mindfulness Retreat menjadi titik balik bagi saya. "Five Mindfulness
Trainings" bukan kesaktian atau momen tunggal pencerahan yang
sekonyong-konyong menghajar kesadaran, melainkan komitmen harian dan kode
etik yang, jika dijalankan dengan setia, niscaya akan membuahkan mental
yang bersahaja, bermakna, dan peka. Sesuatu yang masuk akal dan konkret
untuk mewujudkan hidup damai yang didamba semua makhluk­terlepas apa pun
bentuk dan keyakinannya. Bagi saya, koridor tersebut relevan untuk konteks
hari ini dan relevan pada setiap masa.

Hari terakhir retreat. Sejak pukul setengah enam pagi semua peserta
berkumpul dalam aula. Kami, yang memilih untuk berkomitmen pada lima
praktek kesadaran, duduk berlutut. Dan saat saya bernamaskara, mengucapkan
komitmen saya, hati sayalah yang sesungguhnya bersujud mensyukuri
setidaknya tiga hal. Pertama, saya berkesempatan terlahir menjadi manusia.
Kedua, saya berkesempatan mengenal ajaran kebenaran dan kasih. Ketiga,
saya berkesempatan untuk meniti jalan tersebut.

Kita dapat berdiri jauh dari jalan itu, membayangkan untuk meraihnya satu
hari tanpa menggerakkan satu pun kaki. Kita dapat berdiri begitu dekat
dari mulut jalan, tapi kabut tebal menghalangi pandangan hingga kita
berdiam lama tanpa berbuat apa-apa. Kita dapat melancong ke tepi jalan
itu, berfoto sejenak, lalu pergi untuk menambah koleksi tempat-tempat
wisata kita. Dan kita dapat pergi ke jalan itu, menitinya perlahan,
langkah demi langkah, tanpa terbebani iming-iming yang menanti di ujung
sana, dan hanya mengapresiasi komitmen dan upaya kecil kita setiap hari.
Memetiki bunga-bunga mungil yang selama ini terabaikan, menahan laju angin
badai yang senantiasa menggusur kaki ini keluar dari koridor. Jalan Tengah
dicari bukan hanya demi filosofi, tapi bukti untuk dijalani.

Teks "Five Mindfulness Trainings" saya renungkan berkali-kali selama
retreat, bahkan saya menangis jika perlu. Ada keindahan yang tak
tertampung tubuh ketika pemahaman ini mengutuh. Perjalanan hidup saya…
pertemuan saya dengan sahabat sekaligus guru saya… hingga selembar tiket
elektronik yang menerbangkan saya ke Hongkong… tampak sebagai rangkaian
penggalian untuk kembali menemukan apa yang telah tertimbun oleh debu
batin dan waktu: vajra­permata yang bersemayam dalam diri. Terakhir, saya
bernamaskara bagi mereka, bagi kalian, bagi kita, bagi semua makhluk, yang
dengan caranya masing-masing telah menjadi guru terbaik saya.

* Teks lengkap dari "Five Mindfulness Trainings" dapat dilihat di situs
resmi Plum Village: www.plumvillage.org

Friday, May 18, 2007

Da Vinci's Guide to Healthy Living

If you want to be healthy observe this regime.
Do not eat when you have no appetite, and dine lightly,
Chew well, and whatever you take into you
Should be well-cooked and of simple ingredients
He who takes medicine is ill advised.
Beware anger and avoid stuffy air.
Stay standing a while when you get up from a meal.
Make sure you do not sleep at midday.
Let your wine be mixed with water, take little and often,
Not between meals, not on an empty stomach.
Neither delay nor prolong your visit to the toilet.
If you take exercise, let it not be too strenuous.
Do not lie with your stomach upward and your head
Downward. Be well covered at night,
And rest your head and keep your mind cheerful.
Avoid wantonness and keep to this diet.

=Da Vinci=

Friday, March 16, 2007

A True Hero


WARSAW, Poland - Irena Sendler saved nearly 2,500 Jewish children from the Nazis, organizing a ring of 20 Poles to smuggle them out of the Warsaw Ghetto in baskets and ambulances.
The Nazis arrested her, but she didn’t talk under torture. After she survived the war, she expressed regret - for doing too little.
Lawmakers in Poland’s Senate disagreed Wednesday, unanimously passing a resolution honoring her and the Polish underground’s Council for Assisting Jews, of which her ring of mostly Roman Catholics was a part.
Poland’s goverment-in-exile set up the secret organization in 1942 to help save Jews from the Nazi-established ghettoes and labor camps.

Anyone caught helping Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland risked being summarily shot, along with family members.
The resolution honored Sendler for organizing the ”rescue of the most defenseless victims of the Nazi ideology: the Jewish children.”
Sendler, now 97 and living in a Warsaw nursing home, was too frail to attend but sent a letter read by Elzbieta Ficowska, one of the children she rescued.
”Every child saved with my help and the help of all the wonderful secret messengers, who today are no longer living, is the justification of my existence on this Earth, and not a title to glory,” Sendler wrote. ”Over a half-century has passed since the hell of the Holocaust, but its specter still hangs over the world and doesn’t allow us to forget the tragedy.”
President Lech Kacyzinski said in an address to senators that Sendler is a ”great hero who can be justly proposed for the Nobel Peace Prize.”
After smuggling the children out of the ghetto and placing them with non-Jewish families, Sendler wrote their names on slips of paper and buried them in jars in a neighbor’s yard as a record that could help locate the children’s parents after the war. The Nazis arrested her in 1943, but she refused _ despite repeated torture _ to reveal their names.
In 1965, Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial awarded Sendler one of its first medals given to people who saved Jews, the so-called ”Righteous Among the Nations.”
She was given the honor in 1983 after Poland’s communist authorities finally agreed to allow her to travel abroad.
”I think she’s a great lady, very courageous, and I think she’s a model for the whole international community,” Israel’s ambassador to Poland, David Peleg, said after the ceremony. ”I think that her courage is a very special one.”
Poland was once home to around 3.5 million Jews, most of whom were killed in the Holocaust.
After World War II, many Polish Jews suppressed their identities and married into the Roman Catholic majority, fearful of postwar pogroms and the anti-Semitism of the Moscow-backed communist regime.
Allegations of anti-Semitism in Poland have continued to the present day.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The happiest man in the world?


... and you can learn how he does it, says academic-turned-Buddhist monk

By Anthony Barnes
Published: 21 January 2007

To scientists, he is the world's happiest man. His level of mind control is astonishing and the upbeat impulses in his brain are off the scale.

Now Matthieu Ricard, 60, a French academic-turned-Buddhist monk, is to share his secrets to make the world a happier place. The trick, he reckons, is to put some effort into it. In essence, happiness is a "skill" to be learned.

His advice could not be more timely as tomorrow Britain will reach what, according to a scientific formula, is the most miserable day of the year. Tattered new year resolutions, the faded buzz of Christmas, debt, a lack of motivation and the winter weather conspire to create a peak of misery and gloom.

But studies have shown that the mind can rise above it all to increase almost everyone's happiness. Mr Ricard, who is the French interpreter for Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, took part in trials to show that brain training in the form of meditation can cause an overwhelming change in levels of happiness.

MRI scans showed that he and other long-term meditators - who had completed more than 10,000 hours each - experienced a huge level of "positive emotions" in the left pre-frontal cortex of the brain, which is associated with happiness. The right-hand side, which handles negative thoughts, is suppressed.

Further studies have shown that even novices who have done only a little meditation have increased levels of happiness. But Mr Ricard's abilities were head and shoulders above the others involved in the trials.

"The mind is malleable," Mr Ricard told The Independent on Sunday yesterday. "Our life can be greatly transformed by even a minimal change in how we manage our thoughts and perceive and interpret the world. Happiness is a skill. It requires effort and time."

Mr Ricard was brought up among Paris's intellectual elite in the 1960s, but after working for a PhD in biochemsitry he abandoned his distinguished academic career to study Tibetan Buddhism in the Himalayas.

A book of philosophical conversations he conducted with his father Jean-Fran├žois Revel, The Monk and the Philosopher, became an unlikely publishing phenomenon when it came out in France in the late 1990s.

Mr Ricard is to publish his book Happiness for the first time in the UK next month.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The man behind the mission


by NISSARA HORAYANGURA, Bangkok Post, Oct 29, 2006

Bangkok, Thailand -- Who's reading Ajahn Brahm's book? A very mixed
crowd - Germans, Chinese, Thais, any number of people literate in the
eight languages into which his book has been translated. Executives,
students, psychologists, even Christian chaplains.

"Last month, a
Catholic priest in Adelaide phoned me especially to thank me for the
book because he uses it in his chaplaincy work," Ajahn Brahm says,
sounding both delighted and a bit amazed. "When you get praise from
Christians, you think, wow, this book is actually making those bridges
between different religions."

With his knack for presenting Buddhist teachings without being too
"Buddhisty" - conveying their wisdom in universally relevant ways - he
makes a skilful bridge-builder (if an imperfect bricklayer).

Whether travelling around the world giving talks or based at his
monastery in Australia, where only two per cent of the population is
Buddhist, Ajahn Brahm is actively involved in interfaith dialogue,
although he would rather not use the term "dialogue".

"It's friendship, actually," he says.

He tells of a particularly close friendship he has with the Catholic
abbot of a Benedictine monastery just north of Perth. Both being
entertaining speakers, they regularly do public talks together as "The
Two Abbots", a sort of two-man spiritual-comedy act.

The concept is catchy, but also inspiring. "People see a Buddhist abbot
and a Catholic abbot sitting together, talking about similar things, and
being obviously friends. And they love it."

The two abbots' close friendship also makes it possible to have that
"interfaith dialogue" more effectively. Ajahn Brahm observes that at
many interfaith gatherings, one has to "tread on eggshells" out of fear
of causing offence.

"But our friendship has gone way beyond that now. We know each other
well enough that we're not afraid to disagree. He can say whatever he
likes. He's my friend and I refuse to be offended.

"He can say, 'I don't believe in reincarnation!' And I can say, 'I don't
believe in God!' And we both win, because we know exactly what we mean,"
he says with a laugh.

Debates about God's existence aside, another sticking point some
Buddhists - particularly orthodox Theravadans - may have in truly
respecting other religions is their belief that the only way to achieve
ultimate liberation is through the practice of insight meditation, which
is not found in other religions.

When this point is raised, Ajahm Brahm immediately responds, "That's
called conceit."

He then goes on to quote an inarguable authority - the Lord Buddha.
"Once the Buddha was asked that question - 'Can you become enlightened
in other traditions?' And he gave this beautiful answer: 'Wherever
there's an eightfold path, wherever you practise a bit of meditation,
some virtue, some wisdom, there you'll find people becoming
enlightened."'

Still, that watch-word "meditation" was mentioned, was it not? Yes, but
Ajahn Brahm is keen to demystify "meditation". Many times in his talks,
he emphasizes that there is nothing magical or esoteric about it.
Meditation is simply stilling the mind. "It's a fundamental freedom of
all human beings." He likens it to getting out of a speeding car and
walking. When you're riding in the car, you can only see the world
whizzing by through the window, the details blurred. Once you slow down,
once you still the mind, you can see more clearly.

Buddhism has no monopoly on meditation. He points out that meditation is
so popular nowadays that there are meditation groups in Christian and
other faiths, so non-Buddhists can practise it within a tradition
they're comfortable with.

Nor does Buddhism, or any religion, have a monopoly on truth.

"Now, you can actually bottle water and sell it. But you can't bottle
truth and sell it. Religions try to do that. [They say] 'We're the only
ones who've got the truth. So we've got the franchise, and no one else
can sell it."'

Just as water is the same, no matter what bottle it's in (and no matter
what those clever marketers say), so truth is the same, no matter what
religious container it's in - love, peace, harmony, forgiveness,
freedom.

Making that distinction between the containers and the contents is the
key to avoiding inter-religious strife, he says. So much conflict is
instigated when others attack one's own containers - the symbols, texts,
icons of one's religion. But one need not get upset if one can remember
that they are just symbols, and focus on maintaining the contents, the
teachings.

"When the Taliban destroyed the Bamyan Buddha statues, Buddhists did not
allow themselves to seek revenge, because that would, in fact, mean the
Taliban had succeeded not only in destroying the containers, but also
the contents."

Similarly, he says, "A Muslim might say, 'I don't like those cartoons
[referring to the controversy over offensive caricatures drawn of the
Prophet Muhammad], but it's more important that we're friends.
Forgiven.' Wouldn't it be wonderful if that happened?"

Following an incident where US soldiers allegedly flushed a copy of the
Koran down a toilet, Ajahn Brahm was asked what he would do if someone
flushed a Buddhist holy book down a toilet.

"Call a plumber."

Enlightment

"Once the Buddha was asked that question - 'Can you become enlightened
in other traditions?' And he gave this beautiful answer: 'Wherever
there's an eightfold path, wherever you practise a bit of meditation,
some virtue, some wisdom, there you'll find people becoming
enlightened."'

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Grant yourself a moment of peace,
and you will understand
how foolishly you have scurried about.

Learn to be silent,
and you will notice that
you have talked too much.

Be kind,
and you will realise that
your judgement of others was too severe.

= Ancient Chinese Proverb =

Monday, August 21, 2006

Marriage

Since I became a celibate monk, I have married many women.
Part of my job as a Buddhist monk is to perform the religious part of Buddhist marriage ceremonies. According to my tradition of Buddhism, a lay Buddhist is the official marriage celebrant, but many of the couples regard me as the one who married them. So I have married many women and many men as well.
It is said that there are three rings to a marriage: the engagement ring, the wedding ring, and the suffer-ring !
So trouble is to be expected. When there is trouble, the people I have married often come to talk to me. Being a monk who likes an easy life, I include in my marriage service the next three stories, intended to keep the three of us out of trouble for as long as possible.

=Opening The Door of Your Heart=
by Ajahn Brahm

ps: one of the stories is the "Commitment" story i post before this.

Commitment

My view of relationships and marriage is this: when the couple are going out, they are merely involved; when they become engaged, they are still involved, maybe more deeply; when they publicly exchange marriage vows, that is commitment.

The meaning of marriage ceremony is the commitment. During a ceremony, to drive home the meaning in a way peoply usually remember for the rest of their lives, I explain that the difference between involvement and commitment is the same as the difference between bacon and eggs.

At this point, the in-laws and friends start to pay attention. They begin to wonder, 'What has bacon and eggs got to do with marriage ?' I continue.

'With bacon and eggs, the chicken is only involved, but the pig is committed. Let this be a pig marriage.'

=Opening The Door of Your Heart=
by Ajahn Brahm

Monday, July 24, 2006

Everyday is Special Day

Tiap Hari Adalah Istimewa
By Ann Wells (Los Angeles Times)

Kakak iparku membuka laci lemari pakaian kakakku yang paling bawah, lalu mengambil sesuatu terbungkus tissue putih dan mengulurkannya kepadaku sambil berkata: "Ini pakaian dalam yang sangat spesial."

Kubuka bungkusan itu, dan kutemukan sebuah pakaian dalam yang sangat menawan, lembut, terbuat dari sutera, disulam tangan, dengan tali sangat lembut. Tag harga masih tertempel, dengan kode-kode penjualannya yang rumit.

"Jane membelinya 8 atau 9 tahun yang lalu, dan belum pernah memakainya.Katanya ia ingin memakainya untuk suatu kesempatan yang sangat istimewa.Yah, rasanya inilah hari yang istimewa itu," kata kakak iparku lemah.

Ia mengambil pakaian dalam itu dari tanganku, dan meletakkannya di tas tempat tidur, bersama dengan pakaian lainnya yang kami persiapkan untuk dibawa ke rumah duka.
Ia memegang pakaian dalam itu sejenak, dan dengan tiba-tiba ia menutup laci tersebut keras-keras sambil berkata keras padaku:
"Jangan pernah menyimpan sesuatu yang istimewa untuk kesempatan istimewa. Hidupmu tiap hari adalah istimewa."

Aku terus ingat kata-kata tersebut sepanjang upacara pemakaman dan
hari-hari sesudahnya. Saya membantu dia dan keponakan-keponakan saya untuk melewati hari-hari berkabung setelah kematian kakakku yang mendadak. Aku juga terus memikirkan mereka sepanjang penerbanganku kembali ke California dari kota Midwestern di mana kakakku tinggal. Aku juga memikirkan hal-hal yang belum sempat didengar, dilihat atau dikerjakan oleh almarhum kakakku.

Aku juga memikirkan hal-hal yang sudah ia kerjakan tanpa menyadari Bahwa hal-hal tersebut sungguh sangat spesial. Aku terus memikirkan kata-kata kakak iparku, dan sepertinya kata-kata yang ia ucapkan saat hatinya penuh duka tersebut telah mengubah hidupku. Mendadak sepertinya aku telah membaca sedemikian banyak buku tetang kehidupan.
Aku lalu memandang ke luar jendela dan menikmati pemandangan udara yang indah, tanpa pusing lagi memikirkan bagaimana kebun kesayanganku yang telah kutinggal pergi beberapa hari.

Sesampai di rumahku sendiri,aku lalu menyempatkan diri untuk lebih Banyak berkumpul dengan keluargaku dan teman-temanku, dan langsung mengurangi kegiatan rapat-rapatku. Apabila diperlukan, hidup ini semestinya dipenuhi pola-pola untuk pengalaman tentang kenikmatan, dan bukan pertahanan serta beban. Sekarang saya mencoba untuk memperhitungkan waktu dengan lebih teliti dan mensyukurinya.

Aku tidak "menyimpan" sesuatu. Kami bahkan menggunakan chinawares
(piring-piring buatan cina) dan koleksi kristal kami setiap hari, tanpa
menunggu ada pesta, ada tamu atau lainnya. Ketika kami kehilangan uang, ketika kran air bocor, ketika bunga camelia kami mekar, adalah saat-saat yang kami istimewakan.

Saya pergi ke pasar memakai pakaian yang indah, jika memang sedang ingin. Semua kami lakukan tanpa rasa sayang yang berlebihan terhadap barang-barang tersebut. Teorinya, kalau saya kelihatan lebih berada daripada orang-orang di sekitarku, saya juga akan menjadi tidak pelit terhadap diriku sendiri.

Saya tidak hanya memakai parfum kalau pergi ke pesta.

Pelayan di toko bangunan, tukang sayur di pasar, teller di bank, dan
teman-temanku di pesta, memiliki hidung yang berfungsi sama. Kata-kata "suatu hari kelak" ataupun "hari-hari ini", mempunyai makna yang sama bagi saya. Jika ada hal-hal yang layak didengar, ditonton, dibaca atau dikerjakan, saya akan berusaha mendengar, menonton, membaca atau mengerjakannya sekarang juga.

Saya tidak tahu apa kira-kira yang akan almarhum kakakku apabila ia tahu bahwa keesokan harinya ("besok" adalah kata-kata yang tidak pernah kita bayangkan akan tidak terjadi) ia sudah tidak akan ada lagi di dunia ini. Mungkin ia akan menelpon seluruh keluarganya dan beberapa teman dekatnya, mungkin ia akan menelpon teman-teman lamanya dan meminta maaf akan kesalahan-kesalahan yang ia lakukan di masa lalu. Saya bahkan juga membayangkan bahwa ia justru akan pergi ke sebuah restoran cina yang sangat ia sukai.

Tapi semua itu hanya perkiraanku saja. Kita tidak pernah tahu.

Hal-hal tersebut pasti akan membuat aku marah bila belum dapat saya lakukan padahal saya tidak memiliki waktu lagi. Marah karena selama ini saya selalu menunda pertemuan-pertemuan dengan teman-teman baik saya, meskipun Saya sangat ingin berjumpa dengan mereka.

Marah, karena selama ini saya jarang membalas surat-surat yang saya terima. Marah dan menyesal karena selama ini saya jarang sekali mengatakan pada isteri dan anak-anakku, betapa Saya menyayangi mereka. Kini saya selalu mengusahakan untuk tidak menunda atau menahan hal-hal yang sekiranya akan menambah keceriaan, kesulitan atau kesedihan dalam hidup ini. membuat saya tertawa.

Dan setiap pagi, begitu saya membuka mata, saya katakan pada diri saya sendiri, bahwa hari itu adalah hari yang spesial. Setiap hari, setiap menit, setiap nafas, adalah benar-benar anugerah yang indah dari Tuhan.

Jika anda menerima mail ini, pasti karena ada orang yang peduli dan Sayang kepada anda. Jika anda selama ini terlalu sibuk, cobalah berhenti sejenak.

Sempatkan beberapa menit saja memikirkan orang-orang yang dekat di hati anda, teman-teman yang telah memberikan warna pada hidup anda, guru, pembimbing, siapapun. Kalau perlu, forward email ini kepada mereka, just to show that you care.

"Good friends must always hold hands, but true friends do not need to hold hands because they know the other hand will always be there."

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Paradox of Our Age

We have bigger houses but smaller families;
more conveniences, but less time;
We have more degrees, but less sense;
more knowledge, but less judgement;
more experts, but more problems;
more medicines, but less healthiness;
We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbour.
We built more computers to hold more information to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication;
We have become long on quantity, but short on quality.
These are times of fast foods but slow digestion;
Tall man but short character;
Steep profits but shallow relationships.
It's a time when there is much in the window,
but nothing in the room.

- His Holiness Dalai Lama

Thursday, December 15, 2005

How can we be happy ?

When the Buddha spoke to people who were interested in happiness— which some people are — they said, “How can we be happy?” He said, “Well, one way is to understand the law of karma. If you cultivate generosity, kindness, awareness and giving. you will be happy because you’ll learn that it’s pleasant, and also the way that karma works is that your world will become more of a cycling rather than fear and holding.You will discover happiness in this generosity.” He said, “If you’re kind to people, if you maintain a basic level of non-harming — what’s called Virtue — if your words are honest andhelpful, if your actions are truthful and helpful and based on kindness,your world will start to become kind. Inside you’ll feel kinder and happier; outside people will treat you that way. The law of Karma is one of the first things you observe if you practice mindfulness and awareness.This is one thing you can discover through practice.

Siddharta Gotama

Belief

There’s a story of a pious man who very much believed in God.
One day, at the place where he dwelled, it started to rain heavily and it
rained and rained, and a big flood came. He went from the first floor to
the second floor of his house and the water rose until he was on the roof.
Someone rowed by and said, “Get in, my friend, I’ll save you; the water
is rising.” He said, “No, I believe in God; I really have faith; I believe.”
So he sent the rowboat away.

It rained more and the water got all the
way up to his neck. Another rowboat came by, picking up people. “Get
in, my friend, I’ll save you.” “No, thank you. I have trust. I have lived
my whole life. I believe in God; no need.” The rowboat went away. It
got up to his nose so he could just barely breathe. And a helicopter came
over and lowered down a rope.“Come up,myfriend, I’ll save you.” “No,
thank you. I believe, I have faith, I trust.” So the helicopter went away.

It rained some more and he drowned. He goes to heaven after that.
Soon after that he gets an interview with God. So he goes in, and he sits
down and pays his respects, and then he says, “You know, I just don’t
understand. Here I was your faithful servant. I was so trusting, and
prayed, and so believing, and I just don’t understand what happened to
me.” And he recounts all of his circumstances. “Where were you when
I needed you?”

God looks up and kind of scratches his head and says,
“I don’t understand it either. I sent you two rowboats and a helicopter.”

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

INGAT PERATURAN NO. 5

Suatu hari Sang Guru sedang rapat dengan seorang rekan bisnisnya.
Di tengah-tengah rapat, tiba-tiba seorang anak buah Sang Guru masuk ke
ruang rapat sambil tersengal-sengal dan dengan kalut dia melaporkan
sesuatu kepada Sang Guru.
Sang Guru menjawab: "Ingat peraturan nomor 5."
Mendengar ini, anak buahnya kontan jadi tenang, meminta maaf, dan mohon diri.
Sebentar kemudian, seorang anak buah lainnya dari Sang Guru
menginterupsi rapat dan dengan resah mengeluhkan suatu masalah yang
tampaknya membuatnya berbeban berat.
Sang Guru menjawab: "Ingat peraturan nomor 5." Mendengar ini, anak
buahnya kontan jadi tenang, meminta maaf, dan mohon diri.
Sejenak berlalu, lagi-lagi seorang anak buah yang lain dari Sang Guru
menerobos ke ruang rapat dan dengan penuh kekesalan menyampaikan uneg-
unegnya kepada Sang Guru.
Sang Guru menjawab: "Ingat peraturan nomor 5." Mendengar ini, anak
buahnya kontan jadi tenang, meminta maaf, dan mohon diri.
Menyaksikan peristiwa itu, rekan bisnis Sang Guru tidak tahan lagi
untuk mengungkapkan rasa penasarannya.
Ia bertanya: "Apa sih peraturan nomor 5 itu?"
Sang Guru menjawab: "JANGAN SERIUS-SERIUS AMAT LAH."
"Ooo, itu peraturan yang bagus," ujar rekan bisnisnya seraya mengangguk- angguk,
"lalu, apa bunyi peraturan-peraturan lainnya?"
"Nggak ada sih, itu aja!" sahut Sang Guru sambil tersenyum lebar.
Cerita di atas mengajarkan kepada kita banyak hal mengenai kelapangan
hati. Dalam keseharian hidup, kita senantiasa berkecimpung dengan hal-
hal yang membuat kita cemas dan kesal. Andaikata kita bisa meletakkan
setiap permasalahan kita dalam perspektif yang benar-benar esensial dan
bernilai, kita akan bisa berpikir dengan lebih jernih.
Sebuah studi menunjukkan bahwa "penyebab kecemasan" orang-orang adalah:
- hal-hal yang tak pernah terjadi: 40%
- hal-hal yang silam dan tak bisa diubah: 30%
- perasaan takut sakit: 12%
- hal-hal sepele atau kurang beralasan: 10%
- masalah yang nyata/betulan: 8%
Jadi, survei membuktikan: 92% adalah kecemasan semu nan sia-sia!
Seiring dengan tumbuhnya kedewasaan spiritual kita, kita akan semakin
menyadari kenyataan bahwa sehebat apa pun, kita dan segala atribut kita
bukanlah pusat dari alam semesta. Dengan pemahaman ini, tatkala kita
menghadapi kecemasan atau kekesalan, kita bisa mengingatkan diri bahwa
apa yang terjadi pada kita bukanlah hal yang bersifat "personal".
Alam dan kehidupan berjalan secara tidak memihak. Semakin kita mampu
menyelaraskan diri dengan jalannya kehidupan, akan semakin damai dan
bahagialah kita. Kalau kita senantiasa ingat "peraturan nomor 5", kita
akan lebih mudah untuk terus bangkit dan melenggang dalam segala
terpaan hidup.
Be happy!
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Sunday, November 27, 2005

Life

* Hidup adalah kesempatan, gunakan itu.

* Hidup adalah keindahan, kagumi itu.

* Hidup adalah mimpi, wujudkan itu.

* Hidup adalah tantangan, hadapi itu.

* Hidup adalah kewajiban, penuhi itu.

* Hidup adalah pertandingan, jalani itu.

* Hidup adalah mahal, jaga itu.

* Hidup adalah kekayaan, simpan itu.

* Hidup adalah kasih, nikmati itu.

* Hidup adalah janji, genapi itu.

* Hidup adalah kesusahan, atasi itu.

* Hidup adalah nyanyian, nyanyikan itu.

* Hidup adalah perjuangan, terima itu.

* Hidup adalah tragedi, hadapi itu.

* Hidup adalah petualangan, lewati itu.

* Hidup adalah keberuntungan, laksanakan itu.

* Hidup adalah terlalu berharga, jangan rusakkan itu.

* Hidup adalah hidup, berjuanglah untuk itu.

"We can do no great things, only small things with great love. "
--Mother Teresa