16 October 2014

Last workshop volunteer @ rotary family centre

During the Wednesday night a few SPBS members volunteered themselves to help taking care of the children at the Clementi Family Service Centre. At 6.30 p.m. The volunteers were briefed and had light snacks before welcoming the parents and their children. The volunteers were split in two groups; one will be helping out the facilitation of the bento making activity while the other group will teach the children how to solve puzzles.
When the children arrived, we welcomed them with great hospitality and proceeded to know the names of the children and their hobbies. Then children were then divided into two groups and were led to two different rooms for the activities. The games provided by the puzzle solving group are ring puzzle, origami and rubrics cube. Our SPBS members tried out the ring puzzles beforehand and were pleasantly surprise at the simplicity of the puzzle design and yet complex in its solution.

Nonetheless, we mastered the puzzles and were able to teach the children to solve the puzzles as well.
On the other hand, some of our members have been tasked to take care of the children as they attempt to make their own bento boxes. It was a fairly challenging duty especially when the children are rowdy and they can make a pretty big mess if not careful. It was a fun experience as our members were able to get to know the children and in the process having fun with them as well.
It was a very rewarding journey and we learnt a lot, not just the ways to take care of children but also the responsibility of an elder person to the younger generation as well. We realized that young minds are malleable and we must exert care when interacting with them to bring out their very best.
Overall, it was a night filled with laughter and knowledge.

Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu.
Pei Xiang

14 October 2014

Ulu Tiram trip : To santi forest

Today trip was started off with a ~18 seater mini bus and we were all sleeping off at our trip there as all of us were very tired very tired. (got the earliest waking up of all activity award today 4am meet up)
When I reached there, my first impression of it was scary because our bus is moving into a very rural villiage and it is going in to a more rural place inside the rural villiage. Imagine a mini bus going through a path with no road lights around and there is no one on the surrounding early in the morning when the sun has not yet risen around 5am its creepy right? 
But when we reaching santi forest, my impression changed a little bit as I start to see a huge plot of land filled with many tourist bus and cars ( imagine a soccer court filled with vehicles, yeah that much). I was surprised because I thought it is somewhere isolated to the point where the monks have to build roads to join up the path to the rural villiage ( I heard its because there’s a monk who wish to go to the forest with no people around and do his own training there so he went to santi forest) but it really surprised me with the number of people whos so dedicated to come from different part of Malaysia and other neighbouring countries that will take like more than 6 hours of travelling trip by bus to come here? Wow

Its around 6am in the morning we started by having our breakfast there. Ehhh buffet breakfast to be exact. There are 71 stalls there with different food of different culture there and it is all FREE! Its really like an internation street food buffet to me. I heard those food stores are set up voluntarily by lay people and some are stalls their supporters had bought it for a day so everyone can eat their food for free.

We went to put our food offering after that. And wow! Its totally different scale compared to what we can see in sinapore. The offerings were all put on the floor to form a row of line and its so long to the point where we have to walk for like 20 minutes to see the end of the line from the start!

The monks took about an hour to receive all the offerings from the lay people (LOL)
We went to the main shrine after that as we were told to gather there for the main event of the day. We had to do some chantings with the monks there and  kathina ceremony after that.

our afternoon street food buffet after the ceremony  (yep all for free! many more but too full to try all)

We also got some books to add into our SPBS library. I would recommend " 16 predictions of the Buddha" which is a book contains some forecast by the buddha. Some of the forecast he made can be seen in today's world. One of it was about people getting married and start a family in their young age. (To people that live 2500 years ago may find it ridiculous but in modern days....) If anyone interest in any of the book you can contact me ^^

With Metta,
Lee Xun

11 October 2014

After today's Paper

Hi everyone, I am Justin Leong and I am writing the review for today’s activity “The Test Day”, hope you guys will enjoy my review. So, I would like to start by asking everyone, what does Buddhism mean to you? In my opinion, Buddhism is a direction/guide for me as I live through various life situations and challenges. It is something that I can trust and will allow me to become a better person. For some, they would want to work hard and achieve the state of enlightenment, but what does enlightenment really means to each and everyone of you. True happiness? End of suffering? But isn’t this life? Life is meant for us to taste the various “tastes” of life – suffering, happiness, anger, sadness, etc. As what I’ve learnt today from our Senior Xin Hao, he said something about “perception”, that is why we have various schools for Buddhism. So, if everything lies in our perception, why can’t we see life as an enjoyment, an opportunity for us to experience the various “tastes”. Sometimes, suffering may not be a negative experience, we people went through suffering so that we can learnt and allow us to become stronger and better in various aspects. This is my perception of life and anyway I am not here to influence anybody but just sharing my point of view. So, as for today’s activity, we’ve taken a test which tested our knowledge regarding to Buddhism and through the detailed explanation from Senior Xin Hao I’ve learnt quite a lot like the diet of people who practice Buddhism and various causes bringing different effects. It is really a pity for those who didn’t attend today’s activity as I think it is really a valuable one. Thus, I hope there will be more of such interesting talks to educate us. Last but not least, I would like to thank Lee Xun for giving me the chance to write this review and Senior Xin Hao for teaching us a valuable lesson. With that, I wish everyone to be well and happy. J
Justin Leong

01 October 2014

Her first Rice Pagoda Day Experience

It was a very fulfilling day to Wat Palelai event for us, here are some accounts of what we have done there. It was Wat Palelai Rice Pagoda & Charity Day yesterday, the moment we stepped into the temple we realized we forgotten to buy offerings for the monks when we saw everyone was sitting with their offering a mat on the ground. We quickly head down to a convenient store to buy a few biscuits and drinks. During the offering, we didn’t know that there would be many monks and we had already offered all our alms to the first few monks, we felt so embarrassed to have nothing in our hands to offer when other monks and even our spiritual advisor walked by us. A lesson learnt, we should have divided the offerings into the amount enough for every monks who is walking by to collect. After the collection all the rice and provisions are distributed to various charity homes.   

After the offering of alms to the monks, everyone went into the main hall with a very huge pagoda build with packets of rice and we do the chanting of the Five Precepts and a lot others which I personally do not know how to chant them at all but I just followed with the crowd. We were given a an hour plus break after that and we went to explore the temple and we found a meditation hall with a very peaceful vibe and natural cooling air ventilation and we sat there for a long time just chatting.

As the bell chime, everyone gathered to an area few floors below the meditation hall to offer lunch to the Sangha. During the offering one of the monk talk to us about the cessation of sufferings. He emphasized to us that one of the causes of suffering is countless thoughts of the mind and that thinking too much and unnecessary would inevitably bring sufferings and that chanting actually helps to shift our attention away from the unwanted thoughts and stilling our active and scattered thoughts mind into wholeness. When we do, we will start to realized many things that we couldn’t see in the past when our mind aren’t whole and fully utilized due to our mind scattered attention and also detachment of unnecessary thoughts and prejudice we previously had that were interfering with our perception of events. He recommended us to do chanting every now and then when we can, we can also do so when doing things which does not required much thinking like our monotonous daily routines.