To gain, one must let go – Part 1

Three years ago, the Joyous Insightful Praise Class was launched. The target audience was non-Lamrim students.

As my aunt knew that I love to sing, she used this skilful medium to get me to sign up for the class and return to the somewhat familiar society, which was not my first class here. In 2010, I attended a Lamrim class after a few months, but gave it up due to my busy work schedule amongst other reasons.  

We did not have many students in the Joyous Insightful Praise Class. The class enrolment was less than ten. Nonetheless, in the three years of our course, six of us took up Lamrim courses. Over time, some of us even successfully introduced our family members or friends to take Lamrim classes.

This could be attributed to the structure of the Joyous Insightful Praise. During the lessons, not only did we sing melodious Insightful Praises, we learned more about the Dharma weaved within the lyrics. We too learned about the efforts of Master Jih-Chang and Teacher in propagating the Dharma.

Like all classes, we too had two classmates who stopped attending as they had to serve their “National Service” at home to care for grandchildren.

In the three years, our course curriculum evolved. We added time slots for watching short video clips from the Enlightenment Program on the LucidiTV Channel. 

These clips included the series from “A Spiritual Dialogue with our Virtuous Practitioner” and “Protect your Life in Just Three Minutes”.

We too enjoyed the weekly treat of yummy guava, shared our little virtuous deeds and takeaways of experiences gathered on our Dharma Seeking trips and spiritual expeditions.

In 2016 and 2017, nearing the Lunar New Year season, we even had two outreach activities to the community by performing action songs: “Thank You for your Compassionate Heart” and “Fill the world with Loving Trees” for the residents at the Man Fut Tong Nursing Home. 

This year, knowing that our monitor, Sister Neo Sor Kheng is going to set up an “Auspicious Paradise Studio” booth at the 2017 Auspicious Vesak, I too felt that this was a very good form of entertainment for non-Lamrim students as well as providing studio services to BWM members. This would capture their joyous moments with their family and friends at our Vesak event. 

Thus, six weeks before the event, we started to do research and conceptualise the props that we want to create for the photo booth. As our Monitor Sor Kheng has always given her best in caring for our class, the class in return also puts their best foot forward for the plan.

Together, we aspired to make our offering in time and effort to the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and benefit all sentient beings. We are not craft experts, but we learnt from the internet. At times when we failed to create crafts as beautiful as those in the demo videos, we improvised.

After hearing news that some committees are keen to use our props after our event, we had an even stronger drive to produce our props. As a class, we learnt a lot. As envisioned by our Master Venerable Jih-Chang, our pathway to enlightenment will not be a lonely one as we have virtuous friends and practitioners to walk with us.

When facing challenges which is expected in the process, I have always tried to keep in mind the sincere motivation of benefiting all sentient beings and seek resolutions. Even in times of tiredness and tight schedule, our class forged ahead courageously. When facing the challenge of props storage after the event, I had agreed to keep the props in my residence till August after the monastery is ready.

However, a bigger challenge awaits. News came that there is no transport for all the props and their fate may be to have them being thrown away. When I heard that these props which the class has painstakingly created over six weeks will be thrown away straight after the event, I was stunned and lost for words.

Immediately, I reached out to a family member who has transport, but he has a work assignment and my Plan A could not work. Thankfully, another cousin gave me a Plan B of calling for a larger capacity taxi via a taxi application. That gave me some consolation.

Thankfully, Buddha gave me an even better Plan C. I was able to locate two BWM members who would like to adopt the photo booth props for their future events and thus would transport them back after the event. I was so thankful that my prayers were heard and answered.

Though the props had finally found their respective homes, I reflected to ask myself: “What is my learning from this incident?”

My answer: ATTACHMENT! I can only gain by letting go.

Why do I say this? Let me continue to share my learning journey in the next release.


放下就能得到(上集)

三年前,欢乐赞颂班为福友而开班。阿姨于是邀请喜欢唱歌的我参加。2010年我因工作太忙和其他理由,读了几个月的《广论》就溜掉,后来在2015年我又回到这个既熟悉又陌生的地方,由此机缘我再次进入团体学佛。

当时欢乐赞颂班的同学并不多——还不到十位。不过,透过一起唱赞颂,了解日常师父与老师的一些法语,在三年里共六位同学加入了广论班。他们都是同学带家人或朋友的成功实例,其他两位还是因为家里得“国民服役”——照顾孙子,才不能继续的。

三年里,除了唱赞颂,我们也一起观看《与善知识心灵对话》、做《三分钟护一生》的健康运动、吃着美味的番石榴、分享我们的善行及请法经验。在2016/2017年我们两度在过年期间,到万佛堂老人院以手语为老人家表演《谢谢好慈心》和《爱心树遍人间》。

今年,知道梁淑卿班长要在浴佛法会筹办《吉祥乐园》相馆,我觉得这是一个很好的娱兴活动,又能够让与会者留下难忘的回忆,所以在法会的6个星期前我们就开始找资料、构思道具。因为这三年里淑卿班长对我们欢乐赞颂班费尽心思,所以同学们都很乐意为供养佛菩萨、为教法全力以赴。其实起初我们也不知道该从何着手,后来透过观看网上视频,一直重复看、重复跟着做,再不可以又尝试不同的方式,才做到可以的。尤其听到法会过后有几个组织会采用这些道具,我们更加努力配合,从中学了很多,更确信师父所言: 一群人走在菩提道上,不会寂寞!

一直以来我是以一颗护持教法、利益众生的心来排除万难,无论再累再忙也要与善友并肩勇悍而行。浴佛法会后听说这些同学们用心制作、供养给佛陀的道具会被“丢掉”,让我当下措手不及,哑口无言,最后答应先把道具暂放在我家至八月兀兰新寺院落成。这时,最大的考验来了!我该怎么运载这些道具回家?我尝试打电话向有车的家人求助,可是他又有工作在身。哎!这条路行不通啊!我又再次陷入无助的处境。幸好表弟伸出援手,建议帮我电召一辆大行德士,然后答应一起和阿姨帮我把道具搬回家。眼看这是一条可行之路,顿时心中燃起一线希望,心也渐渐踏实了。这时候出乎我意料之外佛菩萨也派风派雨派雨滴予以援助,让我在法会现场找到两位有意"领养"这些道具的师姐,令我万分感恩佛菩萨的护佑!问题虽然得以解决,道具也有了两个“家”,可是此事却引发我开始思考这次面临的考验到底师父要我学些什么?我想这堂课师父要我学习 “放下"……

此话从何说?请静待下集的发布日,让末学继续为您分享学习的心路历程。

李宗矜(Irene Lee)笔