Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Transitional Period

As I was checking through my old bookmarks last night, I came across this very old defunct website that I had when I first started working. During that time, blogs or social networking like Facebook were not invented yet, so many "too free" people create their own websites.

In this old website of mine, I had included some of the articles that I wrote for Unisains Buddhist during my undergraduate years. Unisains Buddhist was an annual magazine from the Buddhist society I was attached to during that time.

One article caught my attention and it's about transitional period. In a way I am in a transitional period now after resigning from my current company and waiting to join the new one.

Reading through it made me think about how ideal and naive I was..., but at the same time how much "wiser".

So here's the article:


I love pimples. Yah...I know some of you might think I'm nuts but truly, I love pimples. I remember when I just entered this university... which was quite some time ago although it felt like only yesterday. When I first came in here, my face was silky smooth... yes, I repeat , silky smooth. Then my 'beloved' ones started to make their grand entrances and my face which was smooth started to turn into landscape. Hills, mountains, them and you'll find them all. People who knew me started to turn into clowns when they saw me and it really amazed me how a person's face could change into so many expressions. "Oh Gosh! What happened to your face?". How sick I was of that sentence.

This is indeed a lesson on impermanence. Every conditioned and compounded things will eventually change from one state to another. So, I knew that I was actually going through a transitional period....because of my hormones or whatever but that was not the case here.

In our lives, we're always influenced by changes. No matter how we hide or deny, changes will just not leave us alone. It is one of the three universal characteristics, remember ? Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta - Impermanence, Unsatisfactoriness, Non-self. We're changing physically and psychologically every second .... but because of our strong idea of a 'self', we can't see it. I guess it'll take a very cultivated person to realize this and so, I think I better not say anything more.

However changes in our lives could be seen or felt quite clearly. I used to have so many older brothers and sisters in the Dhamma who helped and took care of me when I was in my first, second and third year here. People like Sister Lay Poh, Sister Lai Ngee, Brother Yu Shen and many more who had introduced me to the Dhamma and helped me towards the path were like my natural sisters and brothers. When they left, I was alone...I had no one to turn to. I knew I had to adjust to all these was not at all easy and I'm still trying to adapt myself to my new life: a life of standing on my own feet, a life of looking after the juniors and a life of showing them to the Triple Gem. See...another transitional period.

I guess this period is dreaded by all because it is a very difficult task having to adjust yourself so that you can go according to the flow of changes. If we fail to do so, life will be so depressing and sad. I remember a verse which said "Try to change things that can be changed and accept those that you can't". In other words, if we can't change something, we'll have to change ourselves to accept it. Life will be more wonderful then, don't you think so?

Anicca or impermanence gives rise to what is called the Eight Worldly Conditions - Happiness and Sorrow; Gain and Loss; Fame and Defame; Praise and Blame. All of us only want the Happiness, Gain, Fame and Praise parts and when the other parts take hold of us, we'll start to sing "Why does the sun go on shining, why does the sea rush to shore? Don't they know it's the end of the world....". No wonder this song is such a hit. If we only realized that all these eight are the same, that they are subjected to change, we won't be too proud when we get the good parts and we won't be too sad when we get the bad parts.

Gosh...I just discovered that I'm actually reminding myself. It's very true that I get a lot of the above especially the Praise and Blame. I really had a hard time when I was blamed for the decisions that I've to make as an EXCO of PPB (Persatuan Pelajar Buddhist). However I tried to tell myself that these decisions were made not for my own convenience but for the benefit of the society. Even a perfected person like Buddha was blamed in his time, what more about me who is still very defiled, very impure. I only wanted to say 'Sorry' if I'd hurt anyone because of my imperfections. Hah! Adjusting to the world conditions is also another transitional period. Isn't life a suffering...having so much things to adjust to?

Well, I have less than a year to go before I venture into a world of more sufferings...the working world. It will definitely be another transitional period for me. Haii...more adjusting to do. Working life is surely very different from study life. It's a jungle out there, that's what they say. Everyone will be chasing after material things and I wonder whether there will be anyone with compassion in them. Hearing about the working experiences from seniors who had graduated really made my worst nightmare sounds like a fairy tale. But, things change, don't they?

Coming back to my beloved pimples! Gosh, I really love them. They help me to see that things do change. Oh! I found a new one near my chin. Goody, goody...I can reflect on impermanence again.......

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