July 27, 2014

Walking the path

“Knowing is not enough we must apply, willing is not enough we must do”, said Bruce Lee. True to his words, we learn only to excel in test and forget it afterwards.  We draw inspiration from charismatic figures, watch educational movies very often, and read a great deal of books. But what have we done after drawing inspiration, watching educational movies and reading books? How many of us learn and practice, aspire and inspire in everyday life. These are the questions that we hardly ask ourselves.

We fail to be pragmatic. Still, we dream of becoming great like Albert Einstein and be remembered for infinity.

Although, it is too inappropriate to compare, the least that we can do is tread on the remnants of path trodden by them. I am sure the path they travelled was not in the sky, it’s the same path and it is in every one of us. It is just a matter of to do or not to do.

Last weekend was a fulfilled one. Perhaps a dream come true. A plan projected since long time could be accomplished fruitfully. We moved out of our mundane weekend routines of lazing around. It was, indeed, a decent opportunity to practice what we have learned once upon a time in Dzongkha class- The act of giving by awakened ones.

Clothes, bags, kitchen-ware and foot wears were gathered from various source. Quite a bulky load we could amass. Though few were secondhand, majority of the stuffs were as good as new. Few not even used once. Anyways, it made a good collection.

Right after the lunch, we headed uphill towards the shacks where maximum of them inhabited. As anticipated, many of them were preparing hard for the afterlife voyage, circumambulating around the stupa with an over smoothed prayer beads. Wow! What a pacific sight it was. For a minute or two, I was soaked in a complete hush of the day. Their face were spiritually contented and had no time to fret about materialistic objects.

The interruption followed when one of us told about the purpose of our visit. Soon we were ushered in with brimming smiles and prayers in unison. Then we undid the loads and made the distribution- fair and just. The joy proliferated in leaps and bounds.

What more can be asked when it was already a boundless happiness from the other end. We celebrated the moment of bliss together. As a courtesy, they blessed us with good life and happiness in future. Good things eventually came to an end with a realization that no religion was higher than making someone happy.

We pledged that we would come again next time with other charitable things. It was a day unlike other ordinary days, yet full of extraordinary fulfilment.

I would like to leave the following lose translations from the book- The way/act of Bodhisattva:
If one wishes to seek Buddhahood by sacrificing their own body
Then, there is no question of giving up worldly possessions’
After all, giving generously without expecting in return is the act of Buddha.

July 13, 2014

Even Rajnikanth wouldn't do what aunty did

Whose shop would not want to get rich and hoard piles of money when the question of sustainability is right below our nose? In a cutthroat world of business, even Rajnikanth would fear to thrive on paltry wages unless it is a well to do store. And in a pricey city like Thimphu where money is everything, who would dare to ward off customers and keep away bunch of money. After all, it is the money that every tom, dick and harry is after.

But not all shops are alike as we may think.

Few days before, I was out with my friends to purchase vegetables from a nearby average grocery. Bit later, a group of youth showed up in the same shop. The shop was also licensed to run a bar. Few of low quality brandies were topping the list in the rack. What my instinct had is that the bar was famed mainly for those elderly people who are not very used to superior qualities.

Hardly had I finished clearing the bill than the group placed their order for the night. Maybe they don’t want to get drunk from expensive bars because getting drunk from expensive taverns would also mean fat wallet. I was one step away to exit when the shop owner did something which I haven’t expected and seen in last many years. Initially I thought aunty was going nuts.

She was reluctant to serve their order. Her face bore the looks of suspicion. Not that they would take French leave after the round, but she thought the customers were juvenile. Immediately, the notice on the sale of alcohol to those below 18 became her subject. I felt foolish for not understanding her genuine concern.

I was mentally absorbed in the scene. However, I didn’t poke my nose fearing that I might add fuel to the already charring fire. But If I were to umpire them, I would straightaway give red card to the group. Only two or three of them seems to qualify for drinks but certainly next year. Since I am sufficiently exposed to “give no damn” stance of our young people, I was not impressed by their bravery and fight backs. It was, in fact, a pitiful sight of them for not accepting the law.

Although the quarrel perpetuated after my leave, I only wished that aunty didn’t lose her side.

I know Auntie’s valor caused her own loss. The money fetched from the boys could have helped her pay the rent or invest in her child’s schooling or fuel up the car if she had one, otherwise. But more than the money, she earned the highest degree of honor which money can’t buy.

While it may sound absurd for many others, what aunty did is, indubitably, a global concern and take home message to all the shop keepers out there. If we have more of responsible shopkeepers like aunty, Bhutan would have the finest generation today, tomorrow and always. 

Let’s remind bar owners what they have for today’s youth before recklessly pouring liquors of any kind, to students or drop outs below sweet 18.