Monday, April 28, 2008
Make believe we've landed
On a desert Island.
Bathe me in the waters,
Warm me in the moonlight,
Taste me with your kisses,
Find my secret places,
Touch me 'till I tremble,
Free my wings for flying
And catch me while I'm falling.
Keep your arms around me
Like there's no tomorrow.
Let me know you love me.
On our little Island
Not a soul can see us.
Show me how to love you.
Teach me how to please you.
Lay your dreams beside me.
Only stars will listen
To our cries and whispers.
You were made to love me
And I was made to love you.
Keep your arms around me
Lose yourself inside me.
Make it last forever.
I can see the Island
Shining in the distance.
Now we're getting closer.
Keep your arms around me.
Oh now we're almost there.
On our little Island
Not a soul can hear us.
Fantasies and feelings.
Learning one another
'Till the morning finds us.
You were made to love me
And I was made to love you.
Keep your arms around me,
Lose yourself completely,
Make it last forever.
I can see the Island
Shining there before us.
Now we're getting closer
Just keep your arms around me.
Come my love...
Although it was market day yesterday, i decided to forego my usual trip to the Marikina Market Mall and went instead to SaveMore Supermarket at Riverbanks Mall. The supermarket was chocful of people, being a Sunday. I had to fight my way through the chicken section just to get some fresh chicken breast fillets. Then it was off to the canned goods section for the breakfast goodies and then to Monterey's for the meats. (I found out that my "suki", mang romy, sells his meats a lot cheaper, so i made a mental note to buy all my meats at Mang Romy's instead of Monterey's).
I bought some packed veggies for the "inabraw" or "dinengdeng" which my mom used to make for us for dinner (a dish i can never perfect, but it tastes good just the same). I added some fresh mushrooms and some squash. I also bought some cleaning items for the zendo to be used by our cleaning lady this coming Saturday. I then went to the check out counter, paid for everything, did a little "personal shopping" (a little sunday leisure time for myself) and went home.
I dropped by the Zendo to drop off the cleaning items, but was surprised to see that i had one shopping bag of items missing. I panicked! i double-checked the trunk to see if i just missed seeing it, but it wan't there! Then it dawned on me: i thought i might have left it in one of the shops i visited (i went to a gadget shop to buy speakers for my mp3 player and a cute little tripod for my digital camera). So poor little me had to go back to the mall, pay 20 pesos for the parking and find a good parking space that isn't a million miles away from the mall entrance.
My first instinct was to the gadget shop to ask if i left a bag of industrial strength cleaners in their shop. I got a negative answer, aside from the incredulous look the sales lady gave me. I decided to go to the customer service area of the supermarket, and as i was approaching the counter, I felt my heart beat fast. I was thinking "what if the items are not there?" The items are worth a little over five hundred pesos and if i lost it, i would have to shell out 500 bucks for those items! I went straight to the customer service counter, spoke to the representative, and i showed them my receipt, and to my surprise they said my shopping bag was indeed with them! What a relief!
I went back to the Zendo and dropped the items off, then went home. I felt relieved that i was able to recover the items and decided to treat myself to some coke light. With that, a great weight was lifted from my chest.
I am writing this piece as a backgrounder for those asking about Gentle Gwan Yin. I first encoutnered the story of Kuan Yin (Gwan Yin) in "Tales of a Chinese Grandmother", a book by Frances Carpenter. The content hereinafter is from zennun12_8 of geocities.com. Photo of Kuan Yin on the left is owned by Rodel Banares.
There is still much scholarly debate regarding the origin of devotion to the female Bodhisattva Kuan Yin (also know as Quan Shi Yin and Kwan Yin). Quan means to inquire or look deeply into, Shi means the world of people, or generations, Yin means cries. The Boddhisatva of Compassion was inquiring into the suffering (cries) that has come down the generations. Kuan Yin is considered to be the feminine form of Avalokitesvara(Sanskrit), the bodhisattva of compassion of Indian Buddhism whose worship was introduced into China in the third century.
Scholars believe that the Buddhist monk and translator Kumarajiva was the first to refer to the female form of Kuan Yin in his Chinese translation of the Lotus Sutra in 406 A.D. Of the thirty-three appearances of the bodhisattva referred to in his translation, seven are female. (Devoted Chinese and Japanese Buddhists have since come to associate the number thirty-three with Kuan Yin.)
Although Kuan Yin was still being portrayed as a male as late as the tenth century, with the introduction of Tantric Buddhism into China in the eighth century during the T'ang Dynasty, the image of the celestial bodhisattva as a beautiful white-robed goddess was predominant and the devotional cult surrounding her became increasingly popular. By the ninth century there was a statue of Kuan Yin in every Buddhist monastery in China.
Despite the controversy over the origins of Kuan Yin as a feminine being, the depiction of a bodhisattva as both 'god' and 'goddess' is not inconsistent with Buddhist doctrine. The scriptures explain that a bodhisattva has the power to embody in any form--male, female, child, even animal�depending on the type of being he is seeking to save. As the Lotus Sutra relates, the bodhisattva Kuan Shih Yin, "by resort to a variety of shapes, travels in the world, conveying the beings to salvation."
The twelfth-century legend of the Buddhist saint Miao Shan, the Chinese princess who lived in about 700 B.C. and is widely believed to have been Kuan Yin, reinforced the image of the bodhisattva as a female. During the twelfth century Buddhist monks settled on P'u-t'o Shan--the sacred island-mountain in the Chusan Archipelago off the coast of Chekiang where Miao Shan is said to have lived for nine years, healing and saving sailors from shipwreck--and devotion to Kuan Yin spread throughout northern China.
This picturesque island became the chief center of worship of the compassionate Saviouress; crowds of pilgrims would journey from the remotest places in China and even from Manchuria, Mongolia and Tibet to attend stately services there. At one time there were more than a hundred temples on the island and over one thousand monks. The lore surrounding P'u-t'o island recounts numerous appearances and miracles performed by Kuan Yin, who, it is believed, reveals herself to the faithful in a certain cave on the island.
In the Pure Land sect of Buddhism, Kuan Yin forms part of a ruling triad that is often depicted in temples and is a popular theme in Buddhist art. In the center is the Buddha of Boundless Light, Amitabha (Chinese, A-mi-t'o Fo; Japanese, Amida). To his right is the bodhisattva of strength or power, Mahasthamaprapta, and to his left is Kuan Yin, personifying his endless mercy.
In Buddhist theology Kuan Yin is sometimes depicted as the captain of the "Bark of Salvation," guiding souls to Amitabha's Western Paradise, or Pure Land--the land of bliss where souls may be reborn to receive continued instruction toward the goal of enlightenment and perfection. The journey to Pure Land is frequently represented in woodcuts showing boats full of Amitabha's followers under Kuan Yin's captainship.
Amitabha, a beloved figure in the eyes of Buddhists desiring to be reborn in his Western Paradise and to obtain freedom from the wheel of rebirth, is said to be, in a mystical or spiritual sense, the father of Kuan Yin. Legends of the Mahayana School recount that Avalokitesvara was 'born' from a ray of white light which Amitabha emitted from his right eye as he was lost in ecstasy.
Thus Avalokitesvara, or Kuan Yin, is regarded as the "reflex" of Amitabha�a further emanation or embodiment of Karuna (compassion), the quality which Amitabha himself embodies in the highest sense. Many figures of Kuan Yin can be identified by the presence of a small image of Amitabha in her crown. It is believed that as the merciful redemptress Kuan Yin expresses Amitabha's compassion in a more direct and personal way and prayers to her are answered more quickly.
The iconography of Kuan Yin depicts her in many forms, each one revealing a unique aspect of her merciful presence. As the sublime Goddess of Mercy whose beauty, grace and compassion have come to represent the ideal of womanhood in the East, she is frequently portrayed as a slender woman in flowing white robes who carries in her left hand a white lotus, symbol of purity. Ornaments may adorn her form, symbolizing her attainment as a bodhisattva, or she may be pictured without them as a sign of her great virtue.
Kuan Yin's presence is widespread through her images as the "bestower of children" which are found in homes and temples. A great white veil covers her entire form and she may be seated on a lotus. She is often portrayed with a child in her arms, near her feet, or on her knees, or with several children about her. In this role, she is also referred to as the "white-robed honored one." Sometimes to her right and left are her two attendants, Shan-ts�ai Tung-tsi, the "young man of excellent capacities," and Lung-wang Nu, the "daughter of the Dragon-king."
Kuan Yin is also known as patron bodhisattva of P'u-t'o Shan, mistress of the Southern Sea and patroness of fishermen. As such she is shown crossing the sea seated or standing on a lotus or with her feet on the head of a dragon.
Like Avalokitesvara she is also depicted with a thousand arms and varying numbers of eyes, hands and heads, sometimes with an eye in the palm of each hand, and is commonly called "the thousand-arms, thousand-eyes" bodhisattva. In this form she represents the omnipresent mother, looking in all directions simultaneously, sensing the afflictions of humanity and extending her many arms to alleviate them with infinite expressions of her mercy.
Symbols characteristically associated with Kuan Yin are a willow branch, with which she sprinkles the divine nectar of life; a precious vase symbolizing the nectar of compassion and wisdom, the hallmarks of a bodhisattva; a dove, representing fecundity; a book or scroll of prayers which she holds in her hand, representing the dharma (teaching) of the Buddha or the sutra (Buddhist text) which Miao Shan is said to have constantly recited; and a rosary adorning her neck with which she calls upon the Buddhas for succor.
Images of Avalokitesvara, thus then Kuan Yin, is often shown holding a rosary; describing being born with a rosary in one hand --- not unlike a similar story oft repeated regarding the contemporary Japanese Zen master Yasutani Hakuun Roshi --- and a white lotus in the other. It is taught that the beads represent all living beings and the turning of the beads symbolizes that Avalokitesvara is leading them out of their state of misery and repeated rounds of rebirth into Nirvana.
Today Kuan Yin is worshipped by Taoists as well as Mahayana Buddhists--especially in Taiwan, Japan, Korea and once again in her homeland of China, where the practice of Buddhism had been suppressed by the Communists during the Cultural Revolution (1966-69). She is the protectress of women, sailors, merchants, craftsmen, and those under criminal prosecution, and is invoked particularly by those desiring progeny. Beloved as a mother figure and divine mediatrix who is very close to the daily affairs of her devotees, Kuan Yin's role as Buddhist Madonna has been compared to that of Mary the mother of Jesus in the West.
There is an implicit trust in Kuan Yin's saving grace and healing powers. Many believe that even the simple recitation of her name will bring her instantly to the scene. One of the most famous texts associated with the bodhisattva, the ancient Lotus Sutra whose twenty-fifth chapter, dedicated to Kuan Yin, is known as the "Kuan Yin sutra," describes thirteen cases of impending disaster--from shipwreck to fire, imprisonment, robbers, demons, fatal poisons and karmic woes--in which the devotee will be rescued if his thoughts dwell on the power of Kuan Yin. The text is recited many times daily by those who wish to receive the benefits it promises.
Devotees also invoke the bodhisattva's power and merciful intercession with the mantra OM MANI PADME HUM-- "Hail to the jewel in the lotus!" or, as it has also been interpreted, "Hail to Avalokitesvara, who is the jewel in the heart of the lotus of the devotee's heart!" Throughout Tibet and Ladakh, Buddhists have inscribed OM MANI PADME HUM on flat prayer stones called "mani-stones" as votive offerings in praise of Avalokitesvara. Thousands of these stones have been used to build mani-walls that line the roads entering villages and monasteries.
It is believed that Kuan Yin frequently appears in the sky or on the waves to save those who call upon her when in danger. Personal stories can be heard in Taiwan, for instance, from those who report that during World War II when the United States bombed the Japanese-occupied Taiwan, she appeared in the sky as a young maiden, catching the bombs and covering them with her white garments so they would not explode.
Thus altars dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy are found everywhere--shops, restaurants, even taxicab dashboards. In the home she is worshipped with the traditional "pai pai," a prayer ritual using incense, as well as the use of prayer charts--sheets of paper designed with pictures of Kuan Yin, lotus flowers, or pagodas and outlined with hundreds of little circles. With each set of prayers recited or sutras read in a novena for a relative, friend, or oneself, another circle is filled in. This chart has been described as a "Ship of Salvation" whereby departed souls are saved from the dangers of hell and the faithful safely conveyed to Amitabha's heaven not unlike the Cumeaean Sibyl and her golden bough in Greek mythology.
In addition to elaborate services with litanies and prayers, devotion to Kuan Yin is expressed in the popular literature of the people in poems and hymns of praise.
Devout followers of Kuan Yin may frequent local temples and make pilgrimages to larger temples on important occasions or when they are burdened with a special problem. The three yearly festivals held in her honor are on the nineteenth day of the second month (celebrated as her birthday), of the sixth month, and of the ninth month based on the Chinese lunar calendar.
In the tradition of the Great White Brotherhood Kuan Yin is known as the Ascended Lady Master who bears the office and title of "Goddess of Mercy" because she ensouls the God qualities of the law of mercy, compassion and forgiveness. She had numerous embodiments prior to her ascension thousands of years ago and has taken the vow of the bodhisattva to teach the unascended children of God how to balance their karma and fulfill their divine plan by loving service to life and the application of the violet flame through the science of the spoken Word.
Kuan Yin preceded the Ascended Master Saint Germain as Chohan (Lord) of the Seventh Ray of Freedom, Transmutation, Mercy and Justice and she is one of seven Ascended Masters who serve on the Karmic Board, a council of justice that mediates the karma of earth's evolutions--dispensing opportunity, mercy and the true and righteous judgments of the Lord to each lifestream on earth. She is hierarch of the etheric Temple of Mercy over Peking, China, where she focuses the light of the Divine Mother on behalf of the children of the ancient land of China, the souls of humanity, and the sons and daughters of God.
It was an overcast Sunday and the weather was not as warm as it was the past few days, which made it an "ideal sitting weather". We were joined by Irene Araneta and Alfred Tong, and teisho was delviered by Carmen Sensei.
We thought there would be no lunch, but Carmen Sensei surprised us all when we went to the mess hall. She had Norma, her wonderful, wonderful cook, make her exquisite squash soup and her equally delectable spinach lasagna. The toasted herbed bread was a perfect match to the lasagna, and the turon was very good as well.
In keeping with tradition, the orientees were introduced to the rest of the sangha. It was a fun lunch, with lots of good food and equally good company.
It was a very good vegetarian lunch and an even better Sunday aqt the Zendo.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
THIS NEWS ITEM IS FROM http://www.goodnewspilipinas.com/
If brands like McDonalds and Starbucks can make it big in the Philippines, there is no reason why Filipino companies can't find similar success in other countries.
This is the philosophy behind the aggressive moves of a growing number of local firms to make serious inroads in foreign markets.
One of these is Chowking, the market leader in the Chinese food segment of the quick service restaurant business and a unit of the Jollibee group of companies.
It put up its first branch outside the Philippines in West Covina, United States in 1997. Since then, the network has grown to 12 in the United States, seven in the United Arab Emirates and five in Indonesia.
Four of these were opened just last month--Las Vegas, Abu Dhabi, Kelapa Gading and Karawaci in Jakarta.
Chowking chief executive officer Rafael Dela Rosa says that by the end of the year, Chowking will have six branches in Indonesia, eight in the United Arab Emirates and 13 in the United States, complementing Chowking's local branch network, which has reached 367 as of end-May.
"We are looking to add about six more branches in Indonesia, the Middle East and the United States in the near term," he says.
Chowking is pursuing the expansion of its branches in these countries while preparing to eventually penetrate the massive market of India.
Dela Rosa says going into foreign markets takes more than just putting up a replica of local branches, successful as they are in bringing in customers.
Before the branch in Indonesia was set up, for instance, two years were spent on research and kitchen tests to give Chowking a better idea of what the market wanted.
What's good for Filipinos is not always good for the Indonesians who prefer more spicy food.
Chowking in Indonesia, thus, serves its Chicken Supreme with the Indonesians' traditional sambal sauce. The mixed rice and mami dishes also have a different taste profile to suit the Indonesians' preference.
And because Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim country, Chowking's chopsuey has fish balls instead of pork.
The Indonesians also preferred to have their noodles served separately from the soup stock, not like in the Philippines where the noodles and soup are eaten from just one bowl.
"These are the changes that are dictated by the culture and we have to be sensitive to that," Dela Rosa says.
Dela Rosa says the changes were not limited to just the menu. Small but significant modifications were also done to the look and feel of the store.
In Indonesia, for example, Chowking did away with the bright lights and the plastic chairs because the Indonesians considered Chowking more as a casual dining restaurant and not a fast food joint.
So the Chowking branches there feature faux leather seats, warm lights and more seats were placed near the walls because the Indonesians valued privacy.
Dela Rosa says the plan is to make international operations account for half of Chowking's total sales in five years, and then exceed the sales of the local network in 10 years, with Chowking ending up one of top two players in the Chinese quick service restaurant segment in each market.
If the plan falls into place, it may not take too long before the rest of the world literally get a taste of what the Philippines can offer.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
I encountered some variations in La Union and in Albay. In my mom's town of Aringay, we usually have Igado for breakfast, along with plain steamed rice and fresh mushroom soup (with bagoong isda and ampalaya leaves). In Albay, we have what we call "new look", a variation of the usual daing which i only see in Albay. It is served with sinalamog or day-old cooked rice cooked in pork fat. Another breakfast variation is the day-old inun-on or sinaing na isda (usually yellow fin or tulingan). The inun-on is usually served at dinner time, and whatever is left is fried in hot oil for breakfast. An alternative to the sinalamog rice is freshly cooked rice smothered inf resh coconut milk or carabao milk (yummy).
But the most fulfilling breakfast, although not necesarily pinoy, is the one i had in a Subic hotel a couple of years back. The hotel boasts of its famous Aussie breakfast, consisting of a thick slice of steak, 2 fried eggs, bacon, ham and their version of french toast, plus the usual sliced tomatoes for decoration. It's fat overload, i tell you!
In my memory, my Pinoy Breakfast (the ones my mom used to prepare for the family) varies from scrambled egg with tomatoes, scrambled eggs with mashed sardines, tinned sardines with philippine lemon, rock salt and freshly sliced native onions. Sometimes, my mom would serve us dilis with vinegar and local chili, home-made corned beef (yes, from scratch!), sauted canned tuna and whatever my mother can manage to serve at short notice. Then there's the very simple tapang batangas which she would marinate the night before and serve in the morning. Breakfast was definitely something to look forward to in our family. aysus!
Ikaw, what's your usual or most unique breakfast? Share mo naman!
Monday, April 14, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
The letter below (with contact addresses) is the sad proof of homophobia that only brave souls like Fr. Richard is willing to share to give proof to the fact that HOMOPHOBIA IS ALIVE AND WELL IN THE PHILIPPINES despite all efforts even by gays and lesbians themselves to hide the incidents that they themselves experience.
From Fr. Richard:
You have no doubt heard that I have been evicted for "doing those same sex marriages" by our born-again preacher bigotted landowner. He knew before I moved in, and we discussed it. But his fellow bigots in his church convinced him to not let a sinner stay in his property. I told him Jesus even ate with sinners (which I am not asking him to do). He said, "It's one thing to commit a sin and repent; it's another thing to persist in living in sin."
So that's another moving trauma and expense so soon. I have helped so many people in similar situations. I never dreamed it would happen to me -- in my advanced age. I have told people that I need a place big enough (with an extra large room) to house the George DeCarlo-Ryan Reyes LGBT Library of the Philippines. Friends have helped me find a rather expensive place which is large enough. George and Ryan will take custody of the library when they (move) here in the next few years. Some of my friends want to get 1000 LGBT to come here and stage a noise barrage for my friendly landowner. I told him that, and we negotiated that he may give me back my deposit in cash (to keep the peace) if he rents this place or another unit that is vacant.
But moving is a very large expense. I am just hoping that a large number of our friends can spare P100 each, a few pesos here and there to add up to enough to cover the cost of moving, the truck and the movers. P100 from 10 people is already P1000. In the new place we can have more regular meetings (which have been forbidden here). Can you ask a few people to help out with P100 each, but no noise barrage, -- yet.
In Friendship, Richard
-- "God is Friendship." (St. Aelred, 1110-1167)
--Fr. Richard R. Mickley, O.S.Ae., Ph.D.Abbo
tThe Order of St. AelredSt. Aelred Friendship Society
13 Maginoo StreetBarangay Pinyahan, Quezon City1100
Metro Manila, Philippines
Mobile: 63 920 9034909
Fr. Richard's personal blog: http://richardrmickley.blogspot.com
Dr. Perlas may not be known to many of you readers, but in the medical and psychiatrict profession, he is quite popular. He was the preferred consultant of Secretaries of Health since 1986, a distinction that reflects the esteem in which his colleagues regarded him with. After a psychiatrict fellowship at the reknowned Johns Hopkins in the United States, he returned to Manila as Chairman of the UP College of Medicine's Departnment of Psychiatry.
His love for his fellow countrymen can be seen the numerous projects he either organized or joined. His PSYCHOSOCIAL ISSUES IN DISASTERS became part of the technical monograph of the inter-agency committee for documenting and establishing a database on the July 1990 earthquake, in line with his brainchild, the National Program for Mental Health. His efforts led to the incorporation of pyschiatrict evaluation for victims of natural calamaties in the programs of the NDCC.
In the Zen Center, Dr. Perlas was known for his contagious laughter, but more famous for his strength. Even when he was already stricken with cancer, the most painful kind as i was told, he would still attend the Sunday zazenkai, and he would appear to be at peace. And when any member of the sangha would mention Tony Perlas, it would always be filled with love, longing, laughter... such is the effect he had on others. In the words of one his students, he can make you feel you are his best student, a fact that every one of his students agre on.
Today, even when he has gone to his rest, his laughter continues to echo in the halls of the Marikina Zendo. His smile and his enthusiasm, his discipline for the practice is reflected in every student of his, and even in those whose lives he has touched, directly or indirectly.
Such is the power of Dr. Tony Perlas, who continues to touch lives years after he went into the depth of Great Peace.
Tony Sensei, Gassho.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Monday, April 07, 2008
This Culutre of Hate is very evident in Bishop Oscar Cruz, who makes his hatred known all over media. This type of hate is now being copied by blind catholic faithful who think that Cruz is right. Cruz's blind anger against Gloria Arroyo has made him weak and a liability to the Roman Catholic Church. Christ's message of lvoe and peace is lost on Bishop Cruz, who prefers to bully the government by calling it names and throwing baseless accusations and using the pulpti to demonize his perceived enemies.
This culture of hate, being preached by Anti-Government priests is going to continue because no authority has taken action to prevent the use of the pulpit, the pulit of the Church established by Jesus Christ, to bismirch people's reputations without foundation.