Sunday, July 18, 2004

our wedding anniversary
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halfway thru the book...

Am about halfway through the book Open Heart, Clear Mind (Thubten Chodron). I was very tempted to give up reading as it's taken me about a month to get this far. Lately it seems like I have trouble finishing a book. Particularly a book that's not something I bought to read because I want to pretend to have an interest in it. In this case, I am actually interested in learning more about buddhism.
Anyhow, fortunately I didn't give up because I'm right at the most interesting parts about rebirth and karma. The previous chapters about being a good person just seemed too impossible to follow when I was frequently stressed about the upcoming wedding, family commitments and an uncertain future. "How I can not lose my temper" was probably the last thing on my mind.
However, reading rebirth and karma has brought about a different perspective. In the chapter titled "Rebirth", the soul is dismissed as non-existent. Instead, we are composed of one part body and one part mindstream. Mindstream being a very subtle consciousness that goes from one body to the next as soul implies a fixed, real and independent entity that is the person. Chodron also tries to explain that there is no initial moment of mind and that it would be pointless to trace your mind to one's first life (since there was no beginning). All very complicated stuff that I'm probably not helping to make it sound any better. heh...
Some issues/theories I found interesting:

  1. A child's aptitude for a certain subject could be explained by rebirth. By this I mean an aptitude that is out of the ordinary, such as a young boy knowing the names of composers of different music even though no one else in the family had such knowledge or interest in music.
  2. "Deja Vu" experiences where we've gone to a place for the first time yet strongly feel that we've been there before.
  3. Friends from past lives - Meeting people and feeling very drawned to them for no particular reason such that we feel comfortable about sharing personal issues with them.
Now I'm definitely interestest in reading more books on past lives. And possibly applying the concept to my attitude towards life eventually.
------ after dinner @ home ------
Kinda want to finish reading the book since I've been holding on to it for such a long time (It's on loan from a ba zi classmate) but still feeling lethargic from my running nose/cold... The skin around my nostrils are pretty tender from all that nose-blowing. Plus was also thinking of running out to buy the second part of a Chinese Martial Arts serial that Wen likes cos I think I saw it on offer at Ginza... sigh...
Yup... just checked the elements for today... definitely confirms for me that I'm staying home since it's a Yang Earth on Earth day... ok so I'm just finding an excuse... hehe


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