Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How doing nothing is the best way to save the environment

From time to time,
we hear about many green movements
calling for environment protection,
amidst the worsening global warming.

While I fully rejoice with all these great efforts to
prevent further pollution on Earth;
I also notice that
no matter
how many celebrities are invited to speak in public,
how many international summits are held,
how many passionate pledges are made,
these movements have hardly generated sufficient impact so far...
(pardon my prejudice, but I need to say this to make the point below)

Simply because:

At one moment, we read on the newspaper
about how traveling by air wastes so much fossil fuels,
the next moment,
we rush online to catch the "irresistable"  offer by
budget airlines advertised just on the next page.

At one moment, we learn on a TV documentary
about how the meat industry
has become the biggest pollution contributor;
the next moment, we are already planning for
a weekend buffet with family and friends,
when a credit card dining offer advert flashes on the TV screen.

At one moment, we gathered that 90% of what we purchase
ends up in the trash after 12 months;
the next moment, we dashes into a telecom retail
to ask for a new mobile phone
when there is a "zero-dollar" mobile phone plan.

Like a snail easily slides back two inches
after making a big effort to climb up just an inch;
environmental protection effort to-date is still considered sluggish.
Strictly speaking, the best way to protect the environment is
to do nothing at all.

It sounds controversial.
But the above proposal is based on a basic dharma teaching
which explains that
all matters in the universe arise from
our ever-spinning restless mind.

In other words,
pollutions arise because our mind
have been thinking too much about our own self-interests.

Hence the natural solution to reduce pollution would be
to think less and to do less of our own self-interests.

When we do nothing about
finding the cheapest way to travel long distance for holiday,
we save fossil fuel and create less CO2.

When we do nothing about
searching for the best buffet deal in town,
we reduces the demand for flesh and waste less resources on Earth.

When we do nothing about
pursuing the latest model of mobile phone,
we prevent metals and plastic from being incinerated.

Many of us have been focusing too much on the surface of
the environmental issue and
forget that the root of the problem actually
comes from our endless demand for luxuries and short term pleasure.

Once a Zen Master mentioned:
what we truly need isn't that much
but what we want are always overwhelming.

This may draw some debate,
but seriously,
gratefulness and contentedness are the only
antidotes to the deteriorating Earth surface.

When one is grateful and contented with one's good life,
there is no need to do anything to save the environment.
We feel there is thing to do because we know we have done some damage.
-- but when damage is done, it's usually too late to fix.

With metta,
Kee Yew

{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}

Monday, January 18, 2010

Delicious Vegetarian Eateries in Downtown Kuala Lumpur

I was showing a few friends around in Kuala Lumpur
in conjunction of a USANA convention, a week ago.

As most of us are vegetarian,
we searched high and low for vegetarian outlets.

To our pleasure, we found quite a few in central Kuala Lumpur
and they are also very delicous ones!

I couldn't help listing them out here, as they are so good,
and in case you are in downtown KL one day.. kekeke..

VegeGood Restaurant
Lot13-15, LG, Low Yat Plaza
57100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +6012-3833809
** near Jalan Bukit Bintang, try Seaweed Fried Rice!**

Gopala Vegetarian Restaurant
59, Jln Thambipillai, Brickfields,
50470 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603-22741959
**near Monorail Brickfield Stn, try the Indian Yong Tau Fu!!!**

Woods Bio Marche
Lot G-02, Ground Floor,
Wisma Bukit Bintang,
28, Jalan Bukit Bintang,
55100 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: +603-2143 1636
**organic and healthy place, next to Tzu Chi's Cafe, opp. Federal Hotel, try the Laksa!!**

Pure Mind Vegetarian Restaurant
102 Jalan Imbi,
555100 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: +603-21410376
**near Jalan Bukit Bintang/Jalan Imbi junction, try the Grilled Korean Mushroom!**

Bon apetit :P
Kee Yew

{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Piecing the Peace Together (4)

Organic living is the last clue I gathered
that may contribute to inner peace.

In most people's perception,
organic living is about healthy eating.
While it's a valid statement,
organic living when defined in depth,
refers to a lifestyle that give lives.
-- the term 'organic' is related to living things,
in biochemistry context.

When one leads a lifetyle that
offers or gives rise to lives,
one needs to be considerate, compassionate and forgiving.

For example, in organic agriculture,
no pesticides or any chemicals are used because
such a practice
- takes into consideration of the health of consumers;
- it is also being compassionate to small animals,
  by not taking their lives;
- and by sharing part of the harvest with some small animals
  it's a gesture of forgiving.

When one leads an organic living by
putting interest of non-self in the first place,
the inner peace naturally emerges.
This is simply because,
when one puts too much interest onto oneself,
endless calculations, worries and fears arise;
and vice versa.

In one perspective,
the depth of inner peace could be directly proportional to
the degree of selfless-ness.

Kee Yew

{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}

Piecing the Peace Together (3)

When I decided to step out of my depression
some 10 years ago,
religion did occassionally popped up as a possible solution.

Perhaps due to childhood exposure to some buddhist texts and
simple buddhist teachings (mostly via TV programs!),
I had stronger inclination to seek for the answer to inner peace
in Buddhism.

When my dad passed away,
my mum specifically wanted my dad's wake to be done
the Buddhist way (tho' he's a Taoist, strictly speaking).

During my dad's wake, there were several nights that
I slept in the sofa in vicinity of my dad's coffin,
listening to Amitabha chanting.
(from an automated chanting device 念佛机).

Believe it or not,
it's one of my calmest moment in life!

I guess it's the chanting that did the 'magic' and
I had an even stronger affinity with Buddhism since then.

The following few years, I enrolled in Buddhism classes,
and watched a lot of Buddhism VCDs.

Then on, I started to practice
Metta Visualisation
Amitabha Chanting.

My life has since transformed,
by the strength of inner peace and a clearer mind.

I gathered, Buddhism is another vital factor in search of
inner peace.

With metta,
Kee Yew

p/s: this series of blog is dedicated to a few friends who are affected by depression and my teacher's son who recently passed away due to depression.

{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Piecing the Peace Together (2)

As I continue to walk the path towards inner peace,
I slowly came into realisation that the true happiness
could be attained when we offer happiness to people.
(by the law of reciprocation?)

When I first stepped out of my depression,
one thing I could remember was a humble line from
our primary school text:
(literally, the root of happiness is to help people)

This was another early hints
on how I could find inner peace and happiness.

So, as soon as I settled with a job in Singapore when I graduated,
I went look out for some volunteering opportunities.

I started with the Chinese Buddhist Association (中华佛教会),
visiting old folks at Kreta Ayer every Sunday morning.
Then slowly my volunteering scope expanded to
manning booths in charity/education fairs,
helping the Vegetarian Society of Singapore to organise activities,
later on, managing some charity projects at the Kampung Senang,
and eventually coordinating youth programs at Dharma Drum Singapore.

The path of volunteering was a tough one,
but it truly pays off with a lot of happiness and satisfaction =)

This is because, during the course of volunteering,
one interacts with all sorts of people
and is compelled to view things in all sorts of perspectives.
From there, one observes the world in a more comprehensive manner
and is able to gain a more complete picture of the universe
(hence the wisdom to attain inner peace/happiness).

A wise Chinese saying advises that
to travel a thousand miles
is more helpful than to study tens of thousands of articles.

The same principle above applies
when putting compassionate acts in practice,
rather than merely reading up on how to achieve inner bliss =)

With metta,
Kee Yew

{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}

Piecing the Peace Together (1)

I was teaching a vegetarian cooking class
a few days ago and
one of the students asked a very frequently asked question:
-- why do I go veg?

While many may think I go veg
because of the influence of my religion,
-- as I am a very vocal budhhist,
I actually became a veg before even I was a buddhist.

Some close friends may know that
I went through some minor depression phase
during my university days.
-- nothing made me happy (I mean truly happy from within).
My mind was constantly spinning,
my emotion was heavily suppressed (to pretend to be strong)
and my physical health was deteriorating slowly (in my early 20s)...

Towards the end of my undergraduate days,
I made a vow
that I would step out of that kind of depressive life
to search for the true happiness
-- the inner bliss, the inner peace.

But the path wasn't easy in the beginning.
Soon, my brother ICQ-ed me that my dad was diagnosed with cancer,
my family went chaotic subsequently.

When my dad eventually passed away,
my mum ordered the family to go vegetarian for one week.

Then, an unexplainable inner peace emerged.
My body was light, unburdened and my mind was clear.
Despite the loss of my dad, my emotion was more stable than before.
I attributed that peaceful experience to the vegetarian diet that week.
-- I was thinking, the vegetarian diet must have conferred
some kind of biochemical change
in my physical body and hence the emotion and the mind.

That was how I slowly piece together the essential factors
for internal peace.

Vegetarian could be the first step, I gathered.

When I decided to go vegetarian, I justified that
if I treasure inner peace so much,
I shall not continue to kill animal for their flesh.
In other words, how could I ever be in peace
if I see animals going through suffering and horror?

The general answer to people
on how I became a veg
was that I wanted to be more healthy and save animals.

But deep down, it was my wish for a peaceful world
out and within,
that motivated me to kick start a "special" diet.

With metta,
Kee Yew

{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}

Monday, January 4, 2010

Celebrating 2010 in peace

I was at this 3-Day Meditation Camp
organised by the Dharma Drum Singapore
over the New Year long weekend.

There was no great party to welcome
the arrival of the brand new decade, obviously.
We were in fact 'banned' from speech and
all channels of communications (handphones confiscated!).

But, it's the truest and most honest form of celebration,
I feel.

It's an artistic form of celebration:
Like how the brightness of a white dot is amplified
by a contrasting pitch-black background;
sitting in total silence during the 3 days
contrasted the gratefulness of being alive
-- a good enough reason we celebrate for.

Another reason to celebrate the new year 
in peace and silence was:
growing up.

At the camp, we were taught principles and methods
to sort out our troubles in life,
to tackle the very culprits of sorrow, misery, fear and vexation:
-- wandering thoughts and attachment (妄想与执着).

Tho' we were all physically grown up now,
our inner souls seldom have any advancement,
as one of the venerables mentioned in the camp.

I couldn't agree more. Often I think:
we were actually tied up with the very same troubles in childhood,
except that the troubles now take a different shape and colour.
-- because we haven't grown up spiritually.

At the camp,
Venerable Chang Yuan and Venerable Guo Qi,
with their utmost compassion,
pointed out that
to attain inner peace,
we need to "place our mind on where our body is".
(身在那里 心就在那里)

At every session,
be it crossing our legs on the cushions, walking, practising yoga, eating, sleeping..
we were constantly reminded on
keeping a clear mind on what we are doing right at the moment.

Venerables also taught us
two very interesting techniques
to complement the principle above:

1. MoZhao (默照)
> when there are too many confusion going on at the same time,
instead of escaping,
capture all the info that are received via all the five senses,
acknowledge their presence,
observe their changes, but
do not make any interpretation.
Peace shall then emerge.

2. HuaTao (话头)
> when there are too many wandering thoughts,
instead of suppressing the thoughts,
distract oneself by contemplating on a universal (answer-less) question:
e.g.1 -- this is eery, but effective!-- who is maneuvering over your dead body?(拖死尸的是谁?)
e.g.2 -- if I am not myself, then who am I?(我不是我,我是谁?)
e.g.3 -- what is 'empty-ness'?(什么是无?)

The 3 day meditation camp was a blissful and enriching experience.
What could be better than immersing in gratitude and personal growth
to mark the beginning of a new decade? =)

Kee Yew

{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}
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