I am thankful and grateful to the many ‘pusas' who encouraged me to take part in this retreat, especially Bro. Sanghaloka, who practically begged me to accompany him and be novice participants. My thanks also go to Peng Theam who registered on my behalf. Of course, I must not forget my most supportive family members.
I am truly grateful to the members of the Sangha, who lead this retreat. They actually worked the hardest. If we have to wake up at 5.00am , I am sure they are up earlier to prepare the necessities and sound the gong to wake us. Actually, their work started way before we even reported in; for example, processing the application forms, planning and preparing the schedule and logistics. During the retreat, they tirelessly lead the chanting and Buddha-name recitation, especially the “wei lor” fashi who has to constantly keep on while we, the participants, get to rest in between.
Likewise the ‘pusas' who prepared our meals and the “attendants” (sing tang pusa), who served us our meals.
Thinking or contemplating on all this, dare I be lazy, or rather steal time or even partake the food mindlessly or critically? Some how reflecting on all this, the food was especially tasty and filling. I did not even feel hungry although I had no solid food after the noon meal. It must be because the food was prepared with such care and love. In fact, I hardly dare have more than what was placed on the bowls because I was counting my virtues and what I was given was more than enough to cover them.
Looking at my fellow participants, each and every one was in better condition than me. They were either older or younger than me, but there you are, all of them were so hard working and serious in their chanting and recitation while my monkey mind ran wildly from this to that, so easily was it distracted by movements and sounds around me. One pointedness of mind is still very, very far away from me that is for sure, but dare I say awareness is sprouting in me? If being aware of one's weakness can be counted then at least I have achieved something these past two days, otherwise hopefully I have planted a seed somewhere for it to germinate in the future.
I have no particular reason to give for joining this retreat except to learn to harness my thoughts and actions and hopefully to learn to be more disciplined a person.
Whatever merits accrued, I wish to transfer to my father, who played an important part in my joining Than Hsiang Temple, my mother-in-law and all sentient beings and last but not least my karmic creditors. May they be well and happy and quickly find salvation and be free from sufferings.