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)

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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

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

(Re)telling the tale of the white parrot

Oh little parrot

Why do you cry?

Asked the Bodhisattva

Although (she/he) already knew the answer


Dear Bodhisattva

While searching for healing fruits

For my sick mother

I have been poached by

By vicious hunters

Now here I am

Prisoner of this golden cage

Forced to sing poetry

And entertain

Officials and the Tang Emperor

When I sing well

They throw me a bowl of cherries

I used to enjoy it

But now I feel like


All the cherries I’ve eaten


I’m sick of this

Please help me Bodhisattva

I want to go home

And see my mother


Oh little parrot

Your filial devotion

Touches my Heart

I’ll free you

Go home

But be ready


I’m home

But where is everyone?


Where is my parrot mother?

Where is she?

Oh no, why?

Why am I

So unfortunate

Not fated to meet my mother again

Death seems less painful

Than my present suffering

So much pain

Stabbing me

I wish I was the one dead

Instead of my beloved ma


Help me Bodhisattva

Please help me

Compassionate One

Please guide me

Ease me from my terrible suffering

Save my mother’s soul


I’m here for you

Little parrot

I’ll assist your parents to Pure Land

Let go of your pain

Worries and worldly desires

And become my disciple


Come to the South Sea

And follow me

Cultivate the Dharma

Dwell in the Prajna-Paramita

Sing if you feel like

Little parrot

Listen with your Heart

Can’t you hear peoples’ cries of suffering?

Your work has just begun

Let go of all

Fly, little parrot, fly

Fly and go ease peoples’ sufferings!



ps. If you would like to read the actual tale just search for “Tale of the Filial Parrot”, it’s an inspiring old Buddhist tale.

Parents Endmiration


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,


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!

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,