Wednesday, December 31, 2008

...cherishing hearts : everlasting memories...

memories of 30th INCOVAR Dhamma Camp
...cherishing hearts : everlasting memories...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My experience in the 30th IDC in Kuantan!

Dear readers,

I am grateful to be given the opportunity by Sis. Mei Joon to describe my experience attending the 30th INCOVAR Dhamma Camp in Kuantan Buddhist Association, from 11 to 14 December 2008.

It is now 1.28am, 29 December 2008, and I feel this is the last opportunity I have to properly describe 30 IDC from the heart, without distractions, as my time spent attending lectures later on (first day of a new semester) might dilute the beautiful memories of INCOVAR which are still vivid and comfortable to reflect on for now.

At first, I felt quite reluctant to join IDC this year, because Pahang seemed to be unfamiliar ground to me. But, I ended up registering anyway, two days late in fact. (Thanks Keng Yan!) The first thing that comes to mind about Incovar is that I have no regrets attending the camp at all.

On 10 December, a group of participants gathered at BGF, before we headed off to Kuantan. Playing mafia in BGF was a good icebreaker! The bus trip to Kuantan was delayed, but our spirits were kept up by constant friendly chattering and an impromptu singing performance by our Thai friends, as well as Malaysian friends.

The first thing that amazed me the next morning was the beautiful scenery! Formerly a mining ground, the lake, which was surrounded by trees and rocks, and minimally decorated, projects a calming energy, especially to busy city-dwellers. Looking down and across from the balcony of the third floor, the miles of greenery seen all around is equally soothing.

The theme for the camp this year was the Five Ennobling Virtues- Love, Sharing, Contentment, Kindness, and Mindfulness. As in 29 IDC, these ennoblers, being the message this time around, were conveyed clearly to us as we experienced how they can be fitted into our lives, through the activities and workshops planned.

Although I cannot remember all the activities, games and workshops throughout the four days offhand, I did make an effort to be present (body and mind) for each activity, and at each moment. Bhante Kumara accompanied us throughout the camp as well, and I developed interest in his sessions, because of his ability to understand how our mind works, with all its twists and turns, and teach us many things by simplifying complicated concepts and ideas. Datuk Dr. Victor Wee also livened us up with his musical talents, optimism, and open-mindedness.

Also, we had the opportunity to learn how to think out of the box with Uncle Bugs Tan and his amazing creativity, and his discovery of applying Buddhism to his talent of inventing new things. Besides that, Kar Wei was also very generous in enlightening us with tips on photography, and allowing us to have hands-on experience taking photos of scenery in the temple. Shalyn’s giant board game workshop (with equally giant Styrofoam dice) provided some physical action to the camp, and I really admire how the game was planned, with the five different tasks, and coordination of six groups playing all together.

In fact, I feel that every activity and each moment lived its place in the camp. Ranging from the real-life Facebook, Light & Easy (the most relaxing time of the day), Xiao Thoong’s workshop, to Wei Loong’s spaghetti, IXP, and so on, I appreciate every one of them, each in its own special way.

Also, our Thai friends graced us with their culture, language, sincerity, and willingness to form friendship bonds which may seem different at first, but are unique in their own ways. Thank you, Oil, Oam, Pinky, Champ, and all of you!

Last but definitely not least…being in the Lanun group, even thinking about the Lanun group helps me generate mixed feelings of happiness, friendliness, trustworthiness and…lame-ness too. Haha! Our very “special” flag and equally “Lanun-ish” group cheer will always have their places in my memory.

One of the best parts about INCOVAR is making new friends and getting to know people better. By attending this camp, I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to interact with new and old friends, and experience the instant friendliness that Incovarians always generously offer.

Another happy thing to do is keeping in touch after the camp has ended- through Facebook and MSN, and through any other possible means! Concerning Facebook- commenting on photos, giving people nicknames and engaging in any other random idea which pops up helps me relive the spirit we shared during the camp, and also activate new areas of myself- especially towards being less quiet and reserved.

All in all, to me, 30 IDC was less intense and physical than 29 IDC, but encouraged more thinking and mental processing. I am also re-learning how to have fun again (without over-thinking), an effortless but vital skill which I have almost lost in the process of chasing through life. I learnt things which I never knew I never knew, and this experience as a whole forms a lasting and comfortable memory to reflect on.

However, at times, things did not proceed as smoothly as expected. But it is this very impermanence which provides both beauty and balance to life, as well as learning experiences.

Finally, to ALL of my Incovarian friends- participants, camp organizers, committee members, everyone- I sincerely thank all of you for a wonderful camp! (Thank you Mak Mak!) Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhu!

Goodness in Buddhism has always inspired me, and I am thankful for the chance to learn and be reminded of the Dhamma through these contemporary means.

As the wise claim, the gift of Dhamma excels all gifts. So, INCOVAR, please continue to inspire!

With metta,

Ming-Yi ^_^
(a.k.a mykhoo/mycool)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Upcoming Activities at BGF before the end of 2008!

Dear friends,

It is our pleasure to invite you to the following events at BGF before the end of the year 2008!

Date : 27th December 2008, Saturday
Time : 8.00pm

Sharing : Bro. Roland of M.O.D will conduct a'Sharing through Music' Feel free to bring along some fruits and flowers for Puja offering. Most importantly, bring your family and friends along to experience a joyful musical Saturday evening.

~* DHAMMA TALK by Ven. Ariya Nani *~
Date : 29th December 2008, Monday
Time: 8.00 pm
Topic: What is Freedom?

The history of men has been a history of people’s struggle to become free. Generally, people think of freedom as the license to do what they want, to speak what they want, and to think what they want.

In response to people’s struggle for freedom, the Buddha offered the Dhamma. With the Buddha’s teaching one can get free from the oppressing and tormenting states of mind which are the cause of suffering and dissatisfaction. The freedom the Buddha speaks of is an inner autonomy of the mind to do what is good, wholesome, and beneficial.

Venerable was born in Switzerland. She started to practice meditation during her training as a music and dance teacher at the conservatory in Zurich (1980-1984). In 1992, she went to Burma and ordained as a nun. Since then she practiced vipassana and metta meditation under the guidance of the renowed meditation master Ven. Chanmyay Sayadaw. She has translated Sayadaw U Indaka's book on Metta Meditation from Burmese into English and German.

~* BGF Year End Potluck Sharing & Gathering *~
Date: 31st December 2008, Wednesday
Time: 7.30pm - 12 midnight

Let's gather together to celebrate ushering the new year 2009 - BGF style! Firstly, there'll be a potluck dinner with sandwiches, vegetarian tomyam noodle, fried rice, curry chicken, fruits... (*please call sis. Mei Joon 012-3517615 to inform the dish you're bringing*)

After the 'buffet' dinner, we will transform BGF centre (with all your help) for Maha Buddha Puja, complete with candles-incense- flowers offering by YOU!

Datuk Dr. Victor Wee will lead us in the Sutta recital, thereafter he'll give a short Dhamma sharing. Lastly, countdown with igemz! (*would you like to make a song request or dedication?* )

What better way to spend the new year's eve countdown, which is to spend a cosy quality time at BGF, than being stuck in the jam around the city?

23rd EFFECTIVE SPEAKING COURSE 2009 is now Open for Registration! Commencing on 14 February 2009 & limited to 25 pax only, so don't miss out on this wonderful opportunity to sharpen your skill in public speaking! (*or overcome your phobia of public speaking!*) Call sis. Jacqueline 016-6969799.

Have you registered for the Metta Meditation Retreat? Lead by Datuk Dr. Victor Wee to be held at Chin Swee Temple in Genting Highland from 7th February 2009 to 9th February 2009 (Saturday to Monday). Call sis. Doris 012-3110294.

Happy New Year! May your aspiration be fulfilled for the year 2009!

Buddhist Gem Fellowship
w :
e :
BGF Centre : 60A Jalan 19/3, 46300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Moment to moments of awareness

Many at times, we tend to reflect the relevance of the Buddha Dhamma. How often do we Experiment and experience the Buddha Dhamma ourselves?

The Buddha had mentioned clearly that one should experiment the truth, experience the truth by ourselves, to taste the fruit of fruition.

There is very little significance if we just follow blindly although that results in good deed. We have to move forward, take the step ahead of us, to realize the path of fruition.

In our daily lives, we tend to distinguish distinctively between the various practices known to us. How do we choose? A question of yes or no, an inquiry into right or wrong. How do we decide.

Through proper understandings, one will be able to realize the path. How? With the emergance of various practices, we tend to fall into the situation of confusion, and many at times ignorance.

Look at things the way things are. How things (matter) arises. The Buddha Dhamma is about cause and effect. What are the causes? what are the effects.

Have you ever encountered a time where you experience the effect of a cause which we are not aware of it? Some of you may not as your practice is strong. How about those who are not?

Look into the matter, identify your choices. See the effects. This is awareness. This is moment to moment of awareness. Note it. Allow your mind to see the arising of causes. allow your mind to note the changes that is taking place. How it rise and how it fall. A process of rising and falling.

Does this sounds like meditation? Yes! Mental cultivation is a practice not confined to a certain way nor a condition. Yes. When we are in a condition, an environment conducive for practice, the mind has the ability to develop and strenghtens in the foundations of mindfulness.

Now, what happens when we are out of the conducive environment? Are we still able to have moment to moment of awareness? Yes its good if you can. But, how when we cant?

Look into the aspect of practice. As practice make a person strong and well versed. Once you are, you will be able to cope when changes happens, and thats the time you need it. Practice makes perfect.

Below is a reflection:

Moment to moments of awareness gives
Moment to moments of hapiness.
Moment to moments of hapiness gives
Moments of enlightenment.
May one realize the Buddha Dhamma
with pure mindfulness.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha :: Friday Full Moon Musical Puja

This message is only for those who couldn't make it to Kuantan, there's another event you can join!! >>

On this coming Friday, how would you like to spend a nice, relaxing and spiritual evening at BGF? Let's join in the Full Moon Musical Puja.

Date: 12th December 2008, Friday
Time: 8.30 pm
Speaker: Bro. Wong Mun Yee
Topic: Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha

Bro. Mun Yee will be sharing with us about his experience participating in a novitiate programme held in Bodhgaya recently, lead by Ven. Mahinda. With picture slideshow presentation of the holy site where Buddha attained Enlightenment, perhaps you too will be inspired to visit the sacred holy sites in India.

We would be inviting Bro. Nathan for a warm and sweet sing-along session. Feel free to bring along some fruits and flowers for Puja offering. Most importantly, bring your family and friends along to experience a spiritual happy Friday evening.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

30th INCOVAR Dhamma Camp

We would like to announce that Online registration will be closed at 11.59 PM on 2nd December 2008.
We thank you for your interest and active participation.
To those who have registered, congratulations and see you at Kuantan!
::Breaking Convention, Beyond Incovation::