Parents Endmiration

Parents,

Majestically standing,

Glamorously dressed,

Shining tears into my eyes.

Filling my heart with honor and gratefulness

For being born as their child.

 

So hard-working,

Self-sacrificing,

Filled with parental love

That I cannot understand nor grasp.

For I have no kids,

No mouths to feed,

No dirty clothes to wash,

No business to keep,

No burdens to carry until

I fall flat on the floor.

Stripped naked of all accumulated wealth.

Pillaged by flesh eating worms.

 

Dear beloved parents,

Thank you for giving part of yourselves to create me,

Raise me into the person I am today,

For softening the crusted earth around me

So a tiny sprout can grow and joyfully dance with the wind.

 

It might be that you expect me to

Grow tall and big

To give you shade as you age,

as your skin wrinkles and peels itself burned by the Dharma Sun.

 

Desperately, you tried to shelter me from the skin burning Sun.

In darkness I stayed yet its rays would always sneak through the curtain covered windows

And tickle me little by little until I realized Its Existence.

 

As I grew upwards into the clouds,

Always striving to fulfill your expectations

To become that utopian perfect child that I imagined I could become,

I lost my self-image.

Until I decided to find myself in the mirror,

All I saw in the reflection was a rag doll mended with hand sewn patches.

Rebelling, I decided to break the mirror and pull up the curtains,

So I could see my own true reflection through the glass window.

 

Zas! Curtains up! Blinded. Skin burned by the sun.

In the midst of suffering,

I looked outside into the window and saw no reflection of myself,

Only children joyfully playing,

Emerald trees dancing in the wind.

Birds feeding from the earth.

Transparent rivers strolling in zig-zag.

All under the Dharma Sun in the sky.

 

Majestically standing,

Glamorously dressed in gold.

Shinning tears into my eyes.

Filling my heart with love  and gratefulness

For being born as Its child.

 

I bow to you Dharma Sun. If I ever find the path out of worldly suffering, may I return and liberate you my beloved parents!

Short Story – Foolish Dreams

As I was writing this story, I was listening to this inspiring mantra. If you enjoy spiritual songs, I recommend that you check this song out as you read this short story. Enjoy!

“Stop dreaming, you’re just fooling yourself” – says a boy’s father. This kid, he keeps dreaming so high, I’m worried that the world will bring him down and disappoint him. I need to wake him up to the real world so he doesn’t suffer as much as I did.

Outside, the rain stops. Confused and sad, the boy goes for a little walk. He has big dreams. He dreams of a world in which animals, all types of it, insects, pigs, chicken, all live in harmony with humans. For him, humans need to stop factory farming animals and devouring them. He hopes for a world with no wars, no poverty and no pollution.

Walking along the road, he wonders. Am I dreaming too much? If everybody starts to believe in a better world, the world would soon become a better place. I don’t know. Maybe my father is right. The world cannot be changed. It is too hard for a kid like me to try to change the world.

On the semi-wet road, the boy sees little moving black dots on the pavement. He looks closer and realizes that these black dots are actually flying ants lying on their backs. Their wings are stuck on the wet pavement and they frenetically kick their tiny legs in an attempt to flip themselves around. And for the ants that are not stuck, as they try to flip their wings and fly away, they become stuck to the wet pavement just like the other ants.

This view of life astonishes and saddens the boy. Compassionately and without thinking, he puts his finger out so the insects can climb to it and fly away. Some insects climb right up and fly away. Some ants climb into his hand and stay there, not wanting to leave. And some ants are already dead when the little boy tries to help them. The boy spends a long time doing this over and over again without getting tired.

While the boy works hard, the sun starts to shine and teaches the boy that eventually the sun would dry up the pavement and free these ants. All this suffering is impermanent as the infinite love from the sun will eventually set these ants free. He thought, my job is to speed up this process of love from the sun.

As he is about to liberate the last flying ant, his father appears from the back and uses his hand to help out this ant. The boy looks up in surprise and sees his father in tears. The father tells the boy, “I’m sorry for all the tough words I said to you before. Never stop dreaming. I am the only fool here because I have given up on my dreams. As you liberated these flying ants, you also liberated me. From now on, I will always be there for you and I will help you accomplish whatever dreams you have. I love you son.”

Poem Earth Mother

Part I: Mother’s Suffering

To those who are fortunate enough to have been raised by a loving mother,

We learn that when our mothers suffer,

us children suffer.

 

When our mothers cry in physical pain,

us children wish that this pain was ours.

For she brought us into this world,

burdening herself with immeasurable pain,

Within.

 

Our mothers love us,

and we wish to re-pay this infinite given love,

back into their emptied hearts.

We wish the best for our mothers.

 

Dear brothers and sisters,

Above our beloved mothers.

lies the Earth Mother,

Sick and Crying.

She cries because of the suffering that us children have caused her.

Sickly, she still attempts to feed us,

nurture us with love,

whisper us the secret path to eternal happiness.

Yet most of us consider ourselves ‘too busy’ to listen to her sweet voice,

too important to care about these little things of life;

for we believe that what is crucial is to make a living,

not live the life that was given to us.

 

She cries and cries.

Her sweet river tears flow on to become salty.

The same salt that stings our wounded feet at the beach,

and cleanses it.

She cries cold and frozen tears atop the mountains,

yet we melt them away

because our bitter hearts have allowed the spread of an evil fire.

A system that consumes and consumes

Everything that our five senses can capture.

 

ps. I will be posting five more parts of this poem over time. All together this poem explores the suffering of the Earth Mother and the relationships between different elements following Wu Xing theory and Taoism. Thank you for reading! More will follow…

A Family Rain Day…

Droplets of sounds,

Harmonically fill my ears.

Sounds of gentleness hugging the hard ground.

A mother’s embrace from above to the trees.

Needles of love sting the soil,

It hurts but heals.

 

This process of love makes me think of home.

The gentle, hard and loving home.

I realized how much I miss my brothers, my parents and aunt-cles.

I miss the feeling of living with no worries because I know,

They are and will be with be.

 

Oh that innocent laugh! It haunts me…

Yet everytime I reach for it, it fades.

Will I ever reach it?

I hope I will someday.

And I hope my little brother won’t lose his.

 

I wish I could be there for him.

My quest for dreams has dragged me far away.

Yet my string of love still remains,

Connected, day and night,

Sometimes consciously,

Sometimes subconsciously,

But it is there – quietly and lonely.

 

I dedicate this poem to my family.

The love of my life.

Please don’t think I forgot you,

Because I didn’t.

My strings are still there,

Shaking with every vibration of love you send.

 

With love,

Jie

A Searcher’s Dilemma

Static, I feel.

Enslaved by my inabilities.

Thus I am striving,

I am pursuing.

 

Pursuing dreams,

Dreaming for a better life,

Living for the chase,

Chasing but not finding.

 

Down and desperate,

I sit and wonder…

 

Suddenly, jolts of Buddha Dharma strike me.

 

Am I really static?

No, indeed I am impermanent.

Like a flowing river heading towards the sea.

Dynamic and ever-shifting, I am.

 

Being static is a mere illusion,

Like clouds it gradually fills my mind.

Thus I meditate on the wind like impermanence.

And realize that the wheel of life is always turning.

Whether I want, feel, sense it or not.

 

Then I realize that my inabilities,

Don’t actually enslave me.

But my incessant striving does.

It prevents me to flow with the currents of the river of life.

 

Why swim against these currents?

It is an attempt doomed to failure.

Just stop, take a deep breath and let the currents propel you.

Into your unknown true path.

Poem Knowledge is Like a Boat

 

Knowledge is like a boat.

Man-built,

artificial,

yet useful.

 

It carries us to places we want to go,

yet it doesn’t tell us how we got there.

And once we reach our destination,

we become content.

 

We praise ourselves,

our boats,

and our geniuses for building such a tool.

An useful tool but with small cracks.

 

Luckily this boat still floats.

It floats in calm waters,

wild waters,

blue waters and red waters.

Wherever and whenever our minds decide to drift away.

 

We drift and wander for days,

for months,

for years.

Still no firm land to step on.

 

All that is around is water.

Soft, transparent, emotional water.

It dances full of happiness,

with a slight touch of mockery.

 

Its soft voice gently calls us to dance with them

but we are too scared to do so.

Thus, we attach ourselves to this boat.

This boat we built with our own hands.

 

This boat has worked for us for so long.

It took us to places we wanted to go.

Why should we abandon it?

Why should we step outside, in the water, and drown?

 

Oh that tricky water,

that mysterious water,

that dances and mocks me.

I dislike you yet I want to be just like you.

 

So free,

so happy,

so naïve,

so unpredictable!

 

One day I will step out,

dance with you,

and be happy like you.

But for now I will stay on my boat and wander because I am afraid of you…

 

(This poem was written after getting inspired by the book Dao De Jing by Lao Tse and Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse. Both of these authors write about the hidden teaching from observing different element from the natural world -like water and rivers. After reading these books, I started to realize how water and rivers have a sacred and spiritual component within. It can teach us many lessons only if we observe and listen carefully. I invite you to read these two books if you want to learn more about the teachings in which this poem is rooted on. Here is a free link for Lao Tse’s book:

http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/core9/phalsall/texts/taote-v3.html)