Hong Kong, The CUP Magazine, March 2012, Issue 122 (Text: Tong Ming/Photo: Yu Sai-Pui/English Translation: Carol P. Lai) Download PDF version His Eminence (HE), the 9th Kyabje Khamtrul Rinpoche came to Hong Kong to preach Buddha Dharma. In his early thirties, Rinpoche’s talk is filled with words of wisdom and compassionate delight. This personal flair can hardly be found in the Hong Kong generation born in the 1980s who are usually overwhelmed with anger and bitterness.
To be cultivated is not entirely impossible for a young person because it is not conflicting to be both young and mature. By the same token, one can be very young but spiritually dying if lack of wisdom and having no brains.
His Eminence got the feeling that increasingly more youngsters started to care their mind and be concerned with spiritual quest. He discovered that during a meeting with a group of young people born in the 1990s in The University of Hong Kong. It is apparent that people cannot get their inner happiness and satisfaction even though they are constantly upgrading their i-Phone. Perhaps it is the symptom of the so-called ‘scary of darkness once having encountered a ghost’. After the financial crisis, the whole world seemingly has got a glimpse of realization. People wonder why ‘the worst time is also the best time’? When people are obsessed with material quest to an extreme, they will crash. Will this plight then give a chance to open their mind window to spirituality?
Those who have tasted the close-to-death experience may encounter sensuality exceeding normal capacity. His Eminence explained: “In the Buddhist term, this is called ‘Inter-mediate’ stage or ‘Bardo’ which can be quite normal. But this does not only refer to the soul (mind) leaving the physical body. From a boarder perspective, life itself spanning between birth and death is also an intermediate stage.”
Where are we from? Why each individual personality differs starting from the early age of a crying baby? Why someone has got such an appearance in this life? Buddhist karma is not merely the law of cause and effect: “Karma is the result of what we think and what we do; everyone is created by his/her own experience of life. If you were born like that, you might as well die like that. The only difference between life and death is the physical body will perish.”
His Eminence explained, generally speaking, there are three kinds of life view: “Firstly it is of Divine Intervention - all are apparently fated; secondly it is by chance - things happen merely randomly; thirdly it is determined by human. Buddhadharma believes in the third one, which means life is made up by each individual action and thought. Every action will bear fruit even though the result may emerge only after a long period of time.” He advanced the notion: “Society is an assembly of people’s will - don't underestimate your influence, whatever you do will have a bearing on others.”
Collective karma is the collection of the deeds of hundreds and thousands of people - whether the social value is virtual or evil, whether it is of harmony or chaos, whether it is beautiful or ugly. All the current problems of Hong Kong - no matter whether they are of air pollution, traffic congestion, rocketing real estate price, high living pressure, hopeless mentality of youngster, as well as the malpractices of government official – all are not entirely unrelated to us ordinary citizens.
However popular the Hong Kong problem such as materialism and “money craving” has become a universal phenomenon, American consumerism has dominated the global trend for 30 years. Until now, China and the United States have become the “two most dammed countries” which literally mean these two countries have been dominating in terms of possession and monopoly of resources. There is a newly coined word ‘Chinsumer’ which vividly depicted the global phenomena of shopping fanaticism by Chinese people. The more fanatic the shopping has become, the more it exposes the insecurity and voidness of Chinese inner world.
His Eminence currently resides in Bhutan whereby with Nepal, India and Burma sharing the same water origin with neighboring Tibet. However Chinese government in recent years has constructed big dams in the upper part of Brahmaputra River affecting the living streams of neighbouring countries. It begs the question of whether regional instability emerges from people’s narrow mind. “Buddhism does not differentiate among nations, neither does it differentiate ethnicity. It is because I can be a Chinese in my previous life. You were born as Chinese but you could be an Indian, an American in your previous life. If we fight in the name of nation or ethnicity, it is entirely due to the restricted view incurred by our ignorance in this present life.”
The essence of Buddhism is about “awareness”. Ignorance is an obstacle. Because of ignorance, we have created more karma. In order to remove our bad karma, first of all is to remove the obstacle of ignorance. His Eminence arrived Hong Kong on the Valentine’s Day. He did not object youngster nowadays celebrating Valentine’s Day as a trend. He said, “Celebrating love is much better than spreading hate.”
But ultimately what is love? “Blind love is dangerous. Love is awareness; beware of love. In this life, we are all inter-dependent. Human beings and other sentiment beings are all in need of the natural environment. If we know this relationship, we shall know how to act, save and preserve the environment. Love is the act of awareness.”
Buddhism not only emphases on the notion of nation and ethnicity without border, but also believes firmly in equality among all sentient beings. It not only embraces the idea of every one being a global citizen, but also adopts the universal view to treat life on equal footing. Before His Eminence’s departure, he led a life release ritual. “The essence of life release”, he said “is not only for merit accumulation for one self, but it is more about love and preservation of other life.” To benefit for all sentient beings is the greatest worldly love. Perhaps it is exactly why it is worth a while to experience this life.