Take Some Time Out and Visit a Temple

If you love the culture and spiritual heritage of other countries, you will be sure to enjoy visiting some of the temples in Bali. Once you’ve found a private villa, you can set off to visit some of the closest ones straight away – unless you have arrived at night, of course. You may also not realise that most of the temples are uninhabited unless there is some kind of spiritual festival about to happen.

There are many temples scattered throughout Bali, not just in the main cities so wherever else you go to do your sightseeing in Bali, it is highly likely that a temple will be there too. This will give you the chance to visit some of the less popular ones and perhaps see something that most other people missed out on. However, the popular temples are that way because they are easier to access than most others, so tourists tend to choose them first.

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Living the Dream Part III

I had always prided myself on my ability to make good choices and I thought this was one of them. A lifelong quest for the secrets of happiness; the years of studying and reading about attaining goals, human behavior, spirituality and psychology, had helped prepare me for this moment. And yet, I still did not have an answer.

I decided to sit at one of the beachside cafés and ponder the question. It occurred to me that a book I had recently purchased called Practicing the Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle, was in my bag. I took it out and flipped through the pages, hoping it would give me a clue. I came upon this passage:

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Living the Dream Part II

The fantasy soon faded as the viciousness of this crime forced me to recognize the polarities of Dominican Republic. Everyone was talking about this senseless act and adding their own incidences they had either experienced or heard about; robberies at gunpoint, misconduct by the police, medical mistreatment and others.

My perspective on my new country was rapidly shifting from positive to negative. This new reality was hitting me like an oncoming train. The six-month honeymoon with my new home was now over. My dark feelings were self-perpetuating, and what’s worse, I didn’t know how to stop them. It was a downward spiral, as each negative thought attached to the next negative thought like links on a chain. The more links, the heavier the chain and before I knew it, I was a prisoner, captive of my own feelings.

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Living the Dream Part I

A memorial was held at my daughter’s school to honor the short life of one of her schoolmates, a fourteen-year-old boy named Marc El Wafi, who was shot in the head while defending his friends. The memorial described a child who sounded like a living angel. Friends and teachers shared their stories about his acts of kindness, his wonderful sense of humor, and his jovial spirit.

In just eight months at the school, he had touched their hearts deeply and made an imprint that would last a lifetime.

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The Path

Many people have asked me why I’m still a monk after almost 3 years, while initially the plan was to be a monk for just 3 months.

In fact, to me monkhood is nothing much, it’s just wearing a different uniform, from Dockers’ pants to saffron robes, or like working in a different firm.

What’s more, being a monk is what’s made an individual like me change.

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The Simplest Way to Take Back Control of Your Mind

Have you ever found yourself feeling fine one moment, and suddenly lousy the next? Has a rotten memory ever come up for no good reason, and made you feel bad the whole day? Have you ever wondered why you sometimes irrationally imagining how badly the future could turn out – and wish you could stop doing that?

Your Mind, Your Body & a Thing

A lot of us use a computer almost everyday. It helps us get things done, communicate with people and learn new things. It is a source of pleasure but also pain. But you know when a computer breaks down, you wouldn’t say that ‘you’ were broken. (more…)

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Thai Sojourn: Vipassana Part 3

So what did I get from 10 days of keeping absolutely quiet, without any books, TV, internet connection and writing materials, sitting in meditation from morning till night?

Without any external inputs and any way to output my thoughts, I was forced to observe. Forced to observe me, my own thoughts and feelings.

I saw the inordinate amount of rubbish that went through my mind every day, and I found a way to be aware of it and be pulled along unawares. I saw old mental patterns emerge and new perspectives on old misgivings. (more…)

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Thai Sojourn: Vipassana Part 2

My Mind Fights Back

While the days inside the Vipassana center blurred into each other, I remember that day 3, 5 and 7 were especially difficult for me.

While there were days of deep concentration and peacefulness, these were days when my mind’s old habits fought back to re-assert themselves. Doubts, agitation, aggression, my mind threw everything at me to rebel against this insistence on quietude and focus. (more…)

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Thai Sojourn: Vipassana Part 1

The next stage of my journey saw me heading to the Vipassana center in Prachinburi. After reaching Bangkok from Udon Thani, Paiboon and I parted ways as he was going to another Vipassana center.

While waiting for the bus, I wasn’t quite so sure what to expect. 10 straight days of meditation, starting at 4:30AM in the morning, without any books, music players, TVs or writing materials allowed – not to mention no talking at all?

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Self Reference vs. Ego Reference

Most of us go through our entire lives reacting to our own interpretation of the happenings and events in our lives. We live in fear, we fall asleep in quiet desperation and we do anything we can to protect what we think is ours. Under the guise of personal power, we falsely believe that we are able to control everything in our lives by holding the things we cherish most so tightly that we are never threatened by their loss.

Your False Ego Makes You Afraid

In the Vedic scriptures, this is referred to as ‘False Ego’. It is our desire to lord it over everything in our lives in order to maintain security, control and a false sense of power over our material existence. It is completely fear-based and referenced from our perception of events in our pasts. It is unreal, yet perceived as real and therefore given the power to manipulate our life experiences. (more…)

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Take the Time to Just Be

A traditional Japanese tea room is exceedingly simple, with a bare minimal of decoration, helping the participants of the tea ceremony to focus on just what is at hand. In other words, the room and the ceremony are made to help people just be.

I think there is great value in this being. Lately, I’ve noticed myself getting more and more anxious, more and more worried that certain things wouldn’t go well, that things just weren’t good enough. (more…)

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Good Men Must Die, But Death Cannot Kill Their Names

Today I mourn the loss of a dear friend, a good brother who never failed to warm your heart with his cheerful disposition, lend a helping hand when you were down and give generously to those in need. He inspired me through his actions, his accomplishments and his struggles against all odds, to be a better person. Therefore I beg your indulgence for a few moments as I share with you my personal impression of him.

I remembered that during one of the difficult periods in my life, he was there encouraging me. He would say, “E, you’re still young, you have plenty of good things waiting for you, so don’t let this thing bog you down, never give up on yourself”. (more…)

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The Monk Talks: How Understanding Death Teaches Us To Care

(Alvin’s Note: Our dear fellow Life Coach, and passionate personal development extraordinaire, Paiboon Busayarak, has embarked on a 3 month initiation into Buddhist monkhood in his native Thailand. He just sent me this post via email sharing the conversations he’s had with his teacher. The words are his, the grammar tweaking is mine 😉 Enjoy!)

The death of a friend or of a loved one changes our life forever. Even the deaths of those we don’t know, such as the thousands who died in the Tsunami at the end of last year, alters the way we think. Death is a fact of life and, when understood, teaches us how to care.

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What Would A Modern-Day Magician Say About God?

As a student of the esoteric science, specifically the western mysteries, I come across interesting questions from close friends regarding what I do and what I believe in.

One of the most recent questions posed to me was an age-old popular one: do I believe in God and is there a ˜divine plan™? It™s a loaded question that requires some clarification instead of a œyes or œno answer. (more…)

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The Monk Talks: How To Have A Harmonious Marriage

(Alvin’s Note: Our dear fellow Life Coach, and passionate personal development extraordinaire, Paiboon Busayarak, has embarked on a 3 month initiation into Buddhist monkhood in his native Thailand. He just sent me this post via email sharing the conversations he’s had with his teacher. The words are his, the grammar tweaking is mine 😉 Enjoy!)

It is said that there are three rings to a marriage: the engagement ring, the wedding ring, and the suffer-ring!

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The Monk Talks: What Would Buddha Do When Bored?

(Alvin’s Note: Our dear fellow Life Coach, and passionate personal development extraodinaire, Paiboon Busayarak, has embarked on a 3 month initiation into Buddhist monkhood in his native Thailand. He just sent me this post via email sharing the conversations he’s had with his teacher. The words are his, the grammer tweaking is mine 😉 Enjoy!)

If you find one thing boring,

You’ll find everything boring.

Dogen, ‘Guidelines for Studying the Way’

Boredom lies in our character, not in the world. “If you’re bored,” I’ve heard it said “you’re boring”. Think about this. (more…)

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The Monk Talks: What Would Buddha Do When A Loved One Dies?

(Alvin’s Note: Our dear fellow Life Coach, and passionate personal development extraordinaire, Paiboon Busayarak, has embarked on a 3 month initiation into Buddhist monkhood in his native Thailand. He just sent me this post via email sharing the conversations he’s had with his teacher. The words are his, the grammar tweaking is mine 😉 Enjoy!)

What Would Buddha Do When A Loved One Dies?

Not through weeping and grief do we obtain peace of mind. We increase misery; we increase misery; we harm our bodies. We become thin and pale, destroying ourselves by our own power:

Sutta Nipata 584

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For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also

This is weird. I went to a friend’s beautiful wedding last Saturday, and first heard the proverb “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Mathew 6:21)

On Friday night, I saw it in big bold letters on the building across from the seat I’d randomly managed to secure in the food-court, plastered in shining letters as part of Christmas decorations (CK Tangs, for those of you in Singapore. You can’t miss it on the front of the building).

Now, just reading through my RSS feed, I saw it mentioned in the comments of The Happiness Project’s post on a major epiphany about the nature of happiness.

Maybe there’s a message in all of this.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.“

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How To Deal With Someone’s Anger

(Alvin’s Note: Our dear fellow Life Coach, and passionate personal development extraordinaire, Paiboon Busayarak, has embarked on a 3 month initiation into Buddhist monkhood in his native Thailand. He just sent me this post via email to share the insights he’s gleaming from this unique experience. The words are his, the grammar tweaking is mine 😉 Enjoy!)

Other people will sometimes get angry with you, even your loved ones. It happens to all of us. Some people even got angry with the Buddha!

So what can you do when you are on the receiving end of someone else’s anger? The answer can be found in the following story: (more…)

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Who Binds You?

This Zen parable is for someone for whom I’ve been talking for a while.

A man once went to a Zen master and asked; ‘Master, I must seek liberation.’

The teacher asked, ‘Who binds you?’

The student answered; ‘I do not know. Perhaps I bind myself.’

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