Yungang Grottoes 云冈石窟

Friday, May 27th 2016

From my dwelling place in a hostel in the ancient city of Datong, historically known as Pingcheng, I was brainstorming ways to visit Mount Wutain or “五台山” in simplified Chinese. I really wished to pay a visit to this sacred pilgrimage site associated with the Bodhisattva of Wisdom — Manjushri.

‘What is a bodhisattva?’, you may ask.

A ‘bodhisattva’, although impossible to fully define using words, can be imperfectly explained as an ‘awakened’ being who manifests in a myriad of forms to deliver sentient beings from the sufferings of cyclic existence or ‘samsara’.

As my mind worried itself to finding ways to reach this mountain, the hostel manager Gary told me that there was another person staying in the hostel who was also planning to go visit Mount Wutai. He said I could meet him later in the evening and perhaps we could plan the journey together.

When the scorching sun had set, Gary introduced me to this ‘mystery’ person. His name was Zatko. A tall man, with short curly hair, slightly chubby and spoke a gentle British accent voice that warmly emanated intelligence and peace. He told me he was a traveler and freelanced for travel guides as a job. His latest assignment was to write a section for a travel guide about places to visit in the city of Datong and Mount Wutai.

‘Have you been to Mount Wutai?,’ I asked with scintillating eyes of admiration.

‘Yes, a few years ago. I want to visit again, remember some places and write about them.’ He replied with a kind smile.


‘If you want we can travel together to Mount Wutai. I recommend us sharing a taxi because the bus ride is not very comfortable and the service only runs during certain hours of the day. If we book a taxi, we can make stops on our way and you can visit a beautiful place called Yungang Grottoes filled with ancient Buddhist cave art.’

‘That sounds great. Let’s do that then.’ I tried replying with a stable tone although inside I was bursting with joy and excitement because I had just found a travel companion who really knew how to Travel. I saw Zatko as a manifestation of Freedom — he travelled to places and wrote about his travels for a living. How much ‘Freer’ can you be? I thought to myself.


To be continued… or not haha

but here are some photos of the Yungang Grottoes, enjoy:)

For more information, you can always check…

I don’t know about filial piety

So I was working in my parent’s Chinese restaurant and this stream of words came to my mind and I typed it up and blogged about it…



I don’t know about filial piety

And I’ve been ungrateful to parents


I don’t know about filial piety

And I’ve caused much suffering to parents

Which in turn propelled back to me



I tried to be a filial son

Without knowing what is filial piety



One year later

I still don’t know about filial piety

But I know of bondage


No, I don’t know about filial piety

But I know of attachment

Attachment to parents

To their material wealth and comfort


Not knowing about filial piety

I’ve exploited fellow brothers and sisters

In order to maintain wealth and status

For the family


Ignorant about filial piety

I fixated my sleepy eyes to external wealth

And I’ve tried suppressing

All my inner dreams and desires

In order to be filial to parents


The heart giggles like a child

Seeing the mind searching


What is filial piety?

I’ve tried searching around

I’ve read through the 24 Paragons of Filial Piety

Tears flowed through my eyes

I’ve stumbled upon the Tale of the Filial Parrot

And flew all the way to Mount Putuo

Ending in Mount Wutai

Searching for Compassion and Wisdom

After a long climb up

Flowers blossomed

Swallows flew in circles

Blossoming Flowers Wutaishan.jpg


And the four golden letters ingrained in the wall

edited (2 of 5)

edited (4 of 5).jpg

感恩  Gratefulness

惜福 To cherish one’s fortune

A wise teacher

Once taught me

How love is like a ladder first parents then society

And Love, expansive Love!

What is filial piety without love?


Filial piety without love

Is like pig-like patriarchy masked  with make-up and lipstick to fool foolish children



The childish heart giggles


I still don’t know about filial piety

But I know of patriarchy

I’ve experienced it

I am slowly becoming enveloped by it

As the eldest son of a immigrant Chinese family


Sense of duty!

Obligation and morality!

Male breadwinner

Women in the house

Marrying and having babies

And aging and dying



The childish heart giggles


Down with patriarchy!

Oh Heart break open from your cage

Fill yourself with Love

And gratefulness

And change and Revolution!


Love your parents with all its contradictions

And climb up that ladder of Love

And towards…Death



The childish heart giggles

These clouds gather and go 11.04.16

These clouds

Gather and go


These clouds of ignorance

Come and go

Veiling my beloved Moon


Sometimes the Moon shines

Its lovely light

Sometime it covers herself

With a dark veil

As if death permeates

The whole Universe


These clouds

Gather and go


The warm wind whispers

“The Moon shyly veils itself

In order to give herself to the right one”


My beloved Moon,

This path is long and painful and lonely

In order to reach your Heart


You spin the tides and the waves

To test the traveler.

Once you whispered to me

“Before you strive for Me,

First you have to cross the Ocean”

First step into the dry sand,

Then the waves,

Into the deep-sea,

Until you eventually

Reach the other shore

There we shall meet


These clouds

Gather and go


Down below,these shore waves

Have already battered me half-dead

How can I cross the Ocean and reach you

My beloved Moon?


These clouds

Gather and go


I wonder,

Perhaps I carry too much burden

No I can’t travel this burdened

With luggage from past and future

So much bondage to the things of this world

Still circling incessantly

Wishing happiness and escape from suffering


These clouds

Gather and go


Oh I’ve circled long

I see a sad child

A confused teenager

An over-worked middle aged man

And a lonely old-man

So much suffering


These clouds

Gather and go


I’ve tried some escape routes:


Following the ‘happy’ ones



And following the advice of the Ego

Yet I still suffer much


These clouds

Gather and go


Such is my bondage

To the things of this world:





Oh my Ego and I have fought

A tough fight for these

We kicked and punched and grasped

Running and chasing

As far as India

Until home returned

To fight again

For things of the world


These clouds

Gather and go


We fought a hard battle Ego

It’s seems like it’s time to Surrender

Surrender to the All

For you shall never win a battle against

The One, the Divine Creator

Of you and me and All

Accept yourself as you are

An earthly human

Created in the image of All

Confused and ignorant

Not knowing the path

Foolish and sinful

So Surrender and appreciate this moment


These clouds

Gather and go


These clouds

Gather and go


Sooner or later the clouds shall return again…







The house is on fire

Homage to Lord Buddha and the Fire Sutra,

Homage to the cuckoo messenger,

Homage to the Heart that lights the way,


If I continue let this fire burn

I’ll burn myself to death


If I continue let this fire burn

I’ll burn myself to death


Everything is


From eyes,

To ears,





To the six objects of senses,

To the six consciousness…


If I continue let this fire burn

I’ll burn myself to death


Shit, help…


Such is the urgency

Of stopping this fire

Like a man stuck in a burning house

Fighting its way out


Without anything to lose

Its walls are crumbling

Yes its walls are crumbling

The Heart shall be the light

The little light I see

I shall follow you

My dear



Listen ungrateful child

In dedication to the cuckoo who taught gratefulness,


Oh ungrateful child

You are a tough one

To conquer

See my sword of wisdom

I shall slash you into little little pieces


Go cry for your mother and father!

That little pain you have in your

Back, neck and head

For just working a few hours in the restaurant

That is nothing compared to the twenty years of work
That they endured to send you to school,

College and roaming around the world

You think that you deserve better

With your college educated skills

But can those feed and sustain you?

As of now you are alive

Because of the restaurant

You say you want to change the system

Benefit the workers

But you, privileged one

Leave work before the shift ends


You say you want

To become a writer

Then write

About the contradictions in your life

You ungrateful child

No, life is not that easy

Not at all

This restaurant of yours

Was not easy to build

Can you hear that vicious laughter and mockery

Your parents received

When they had to beg and borrow money?

“You crazy fools!

It will never succeed!”

The ‘shit’ they had to take from

Relatives, ‘friends’ and customers

Would make you weep for days and days

Oh if you heard those stories

Aren’t you protected from the sorrows of the world?

And you are still ungrateful for it?

Change your ways before it’s too late

Redeem your sins and negative karma

Ungrateful fool!

Your reality was projected to you

In order for you to transcend it

Fill your heart with Gratefulness and Love

And you shall overcome it

Yes if you listen and do so

Those encaging walls shall crumble

Those snakes shall be wiped away

Love, teamwork and cooperation

Shall arise

And indeed the world will change!

Change your ways before it’s too late my friend

Listen to my words, ungrateful child

Letting go

Go ego

Let go

You have created me

So much pain


Go away

Or you shouldn’t go?

What would happen to Me?

Would I vanish into thin air


And stop writing?


Am I really the writer?

Or the observer?

Hm am I the narrator?

Or the one silently watching

Life folding and unfolding itself?


I see now

I am the one who takes up the heavy burden

I am the one who carries the heavy rucksack on my back

Oh it hurts so much

On my back, neck and head

I see now

It’s time to let go

Letting go

That is the Path


Really it’s not about taking more in

But of letting go

Flow on with the River


Burden not

Yourself with changing the world

It’s about letting go

Your ego is

The most destructive,






Patriarchal force

In this world

If you let go of it

The world will change accordingly

Sounds simple right?

No it’s quite difficult

But not impossible

This process might take

Lives and lives

But it’s better to start late than never

Just let go


Remember the story of Lord Buddha and the Brahmin

With a flower offering?

Buddha told him

Let go

The Brahmin switched the flower

From his right to his left hand

Buddha told him

Let go

He dropped the flower

Buddha told him again

Let go

Startled, the Brahmin replied

I am empty handed

There is nothing I can let go of

Lord Buddha replied

I did not mean the flower

But of your clinging mind

The Six Dusts, the Six Sense-Faculties and the six Sense-Consciousness

Just let go

And change will come…