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On 19-21 September 2019, the 10th Kagyu Monlam1, organised by Kagyu Monlam Singapore (supported by Buddhist Life Mission (Singapore), Benchen Karma Cheoling Singapore, Zurmang Kagyu Buddhist Centre and Gangkar Samdup Buddhist Association) was held at the Singapore Federation Clan Association. The Presiding Master was Palchen (Ba Jin) Rinpoche. After this 3-day grand puja, Palchen Rinpoche also accepted an interview with For You Information, on the theme of “forming goodwill and affinity with others”.

Right at the beginning, he used the proverb “Fragrance clings to the hand that gifts roses.” He followed by explaining how when one gifts someone else a rose, the fragrance of the rose leaves an imprint on the gifting hand. This act not only benefits others, but indirectly creates a positive impact on self too, especially so if done with altruism. And this is the key to forming good affinities with others – for the purpose of benefitting all sentient beings. This is the core and key element of compassion, and Rinpoche further explained that since Buddhism speaks of compassion, we must be mindful in what we do with our body, speech and mind, and always have considerations for others.

Forming Goodwill and Affinity

Buddhism also talks about cause and effect, and reincarnation, the Buddha said in Brahma Net Sutra (Bhramajala Sutra), “All men are my father; all women are my mother, and I am born from all. Therefore, all beings in the six realms are my parents." So, from beginning-less time, all sentient beings have been one’s own parents. Therefore, every Buddhist should benefit all sentient beings through the forming of good and positive affinity with others (with goodwill), so that the world becomes a pure land of peace without any conflict. In life, a smile, a good thought, a good deed, and even being steadfast in learning from others are all different ways to form goodwill and affinity. As a Buddhist, every time you give alms or offering; every time you dedicate your merits; every time you give rise to Bodhicitta; and every time you uphold The Five Precepts and The Ten Good Deeds; is an opportunity and also a skilful way to build goodwill and affinity. To make this even more complete, one can plant the Buddha Dharma seed with those with affinity, by sharing Buddhist teachings and concepts such as The Triple Gems, cause-and-effect, the benefits of making aspirations, and leading them with knowledge and wisdom.

Making Life More Complete with the Buddha Dharma

Rinpoche also said that Singapore is a treasure land – peaceful, inclusive and prosperous, with most people living here able to experience various forms of stability. He hopes that the disciples in Singapore can better promote the Dharma, and one of the ways through which they can try to do so is to connect the Dharma with the present science and philosophy, so that everyday mundane living can be enriched by spiritual nourishment to make life even more complete, beyond the material sense.

Approach Everything with Ease

In relation to modern pace of life and its demands as well as spiritual aspirations, Rinpoche shared his personal perspective: whether it is work or life, even spiritual practice or meditation, he emphasised that one should not be too nervous, anxious or eager to seek success. One should always be relaxed or be in a state without tension – this is crucial as only when one is at ease, in balance and without feeling pressure, one is able to experience one’s true nature – the Buddha nature.

Let Clarity Emerge

Lastly, Rinpoche used the imagery of a cup of water clouded with sediments and impurities, when the water is constantly stirred or disturbed, it will remain murky. But if you allow the water to settle, over time, little by little, the sediments and impurities will settle to the bottom and the water will soon be clear. Similarly, when your mind is constantly in tension, you will never be able to see your true nature, but once, but once it is quiet, there emerges the self, like the clear water.

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