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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Kalachakra Process - from the Teachings of Sri Kaleshwar (1st draft)

I attended the Kalachakra Process facilitated by two of Sri Kaleshwar's students, Jonathan D. Rosen and Alx Uttermann, who came to Singapore over the weekend of 17-18th March 2007.
"Kalachakra" in Sanskrit literally means "wheel of time".
It is said that once we have gone through the process, then "time cannot bite us that easily"; and that when we know the beauty of the Kalachakra, we will be on our way to fix the blocks, our illusions, and our heartbreaks... among other benefits.
The central activity of the process was to draw the Kalachakra Yantra and etch it onto a copper sheet. Copper is chosen because it could absorb vibrations very well when it is charged during the fire homa. The Yantra is beautiful and I felt a therapeutic escape etching it on the copper sheet - reminescence of the good old days in art class in school.
The Process took about 12 hours. I was a little tired when we finished as it was very humid being in a room in the tropics without air-conditioning, with 20 people. The fire homa smoke was also choking and uncomfortable, though the facilitator said that it was purifying to the soul.
The day after, I felt a strange kind of fatigue, as it was neither a physical nor mental one. It was as if something deeper inside is tired, but don't know where. We were warned about this fatigue the day before, and that this is merely the purification of the soul. Along the fatigue, I also experienced the bliss, just like when I did after the 7-Day Transformation Journey. I was so blissful, I didn't even want to talk, preferring to enjoy the silence.
My friends who attended the Process had the same feeling about the bliss. Nothing seems to matter much anymore. In my drive back home the following evening, there was a thunderstorm with poor visibility and a traffic jam on the highway, but I was unperturbed. Instead, I was enjoying the sounds of the numerous raindrops hitting the car. The sounds of the peter-paters come to me in such high-clarity. It's like I have upgraded my cheap AM radio to an expensive hi-fi set. Everything just looked and felt so beautiful, well synchronised like part of a universal orchestra! A feeling and thought that fascinates even myself and can be understood better by experiencing it.
I am now into the 14th day of chanting the mantras. We have to chant 108 times for 101 days. On the first day of chanting, I slipped into a deep trance... time virtually stood still till I came back to the 'foreground' I was already three or four beads away from the 108 counts of chanting (we count with a Mala (beads)).
So far, friends who sees me comment that I look very radiant. I feel more relaxed and events seems to flow smoothly. We shall see how the Kalachakra manifests itself further after the 101 days of chanting. 101 days sound like a long time right now, but I intend to stay the course! Watch this space!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Bucky Group 2

"Does humanity have a chance to survive lastingly and successfully on planet Earth, and if so, how?" Buckminster Fuller
Finally found a Sunday (18th March 2007) that I am free to attend the Bucky Group session at MacRitchie Reservoir in Singapore. The Bucky Group is a group of people from varied walks of life like technologists, managers, marketeers, entrepreneurs, retirees, ...etc. The Bucky Group members have been meeting up to jog, walk, exercise and discuss chapters of books written by Mr Buckminister Fuller for the last 12 years.
Anyone interested in the works of Bucky can just turn up at 7.30am every Sunday morning to join in.
For this Sunday, we discussed parts of Chapter 2 "The Music of the New Life" from the the book, "Utopia or Oblivion - The Prospects for Humanity". In the chapter, I am particularly impressed with his paragraphs about "Up" and "Down". To Bucky, there is no 'up' and 'down', but only 'in' and 'out', since the world is round.
He also commented on his experience in the 1950s when he heard MIT scientists admiring how beautiful the sunset was to their loved ones. Whilst Bucky said that he wouldn't think of it much if those words would have come from lay people, but as scientists they have not brought the scientific discovery that the world is round into the reflex. So after 500 years, since the discovery, scientists had yet to gear their minds into their own theories. Without which they will be unable to correct conceptual realisations by the child. They were apparently ignorant of the fact that the child can most easily learn to see things correctly only if he is spoken to intelligently right from the beginning - that's the ultimate lesson I learned from the morning's reading and discussions.

For this Sunday, I snapped some pixs instead of doing my usual jog on the juggle trails.
This nature reserve is primary forest that has not been covered by the last ice age and is home to more plant species than the whole of North America has.

This is a sluice gate station. It regulates the water level in this reservoir.

err... I mean we are revolving towards the sun :).

I don't know the name of these plant, but in the army, we called them "CB" leaves.
We were warned not to use them for camouflage because it will make us look like a walking Christmas tree! :)

Close up of the leaf.
In the 50s and 60s, food hawkers used these leaves to wrap cooked food
There were also people harvesting these leaves from the wild
to sell them to the street side hawkers.
"In the old days, we didn't need money to start a business",
as one old man said when he saw these leaves in the wild

It is again one of those Sundays when one of the members bring loads of orchids to give to all of us. I grabbed some of the purple and white ones.

As in most activities Singaporean, we usually either start or end with some 'makan' (eating), usually at hawker centers.
Unfortunately they don't use "CB" leaves to serve the food on anymore.
Nowadays, they use styrofoam boxes. *sigh*
This Sunday's session was a little bit shortened, as some of the members were rushing off to help in a charity event. Chris and I were also in a hurry to leave for the Kalachakra course conducted by Sri Sai Swami Kaleshwar's students.

Lastly, I have a video shot of some creatures at the Reservoir fringes... :)

Previous post on the Bucky Group, click here
Related articles: More than Just A Haircut

Saturday, March 10, 2007


If we buy a cup of coffee and get charged for the coffee and also for (the act of) drinking the coffee, then we are being charged twice! We won't accept that and no sane cafe owner would dare charge you that way!

However, when we borrow money, we accept being charged twice. Once, for the payment of principle sum and second time for the privilege of using the money (interest).
The Wikipedia defines usury as "charging a fee for the use of money". However, as it is now common practice in modern commerce to charge interests, usury is more commonly referred to as "excessive interests charged".

I used to think that only Islam forbids the charging of interests, but this is not so.
"Usury (in the original sense of any interest) was denounced by a number of spiritual leaders and philosophers of ancient times, including Plato, Aristotle, Cato, Cicero, Seneca, Plutarch, Aquinas, Muhammad, Moses, Philo and Gautama Buddha." [Wikipedia].

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus emphasizes lending without concern for a return - or even repayment:
If ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest, for he is kind to the unthankful, and to the evil. (Luke 6:35)

The Quran says the same thing:
The usury that is practiced to increase some people's wealth, does not gain anything at God. But if people give to charity, seeking God's pleasure, these are the ones who receive their reward many fold. (Ar-Rum 30:39)

Aristotle wrote:

"Usury is detested above all and for the best of reasons. It makes profit out of money itself, not for money's natural object... Money was intended as a means of exchange, not for increase of interest."

Buddhist teachings on the Eightfold Path taught by the Buddha over 2500 years ago, includes “the right livelihood,” which says that one ought to avoid treachery, deceit, usury, exploitation, or other harm to humans or animals.

Even Jews were forbidden to practise usury to other Jews, but are allowed to do so beyond their community, ie. to non-Jews.

So it is surprising that the mainstream financial systems that are practised today are mainly interest-based. This is easy profits, and compound interest is accelerated easy profits that grow exponentially! :) To exacerbate the matter, in modern banking, monies are represented as mere electronic digits. Which means that it takes the same effort to count one billion dollars as it is to count ten dollars. So, for the same effort, banks make more money transacting a billion dollars, since computers don't wear off very much (if at all) counting bigger numbers. Hence, it is safe to opine that profits are good in modern banking! Besides, it is the borrower who bears most of the risks, not the lender, as loans are almost always collateralised.

Islamic banking is an attempt to level this playing field. In Islamic banking, both the borrower and the lender share the risks and profits, without the involvement of interests. They are also to fund projects which are for the greater good of both investor and investee, the community and the environment and not for profit maximisation. Islamic banking will not fund haraam activities, ie. activities that are considered detrimental to society, like gambling. In recent years, Islamic banking has gained popularity rapidly, and more surprisingly, among non-Muslims and countries without Muslim majority.

Let's hope this growth happens for noble reasons, since it would be tempting to disguise conventional banking beneath a thin layer of Islamic banking for profit maximisation.

Islamic banking also forbids the trading of financial risks, as it is considered as 'gambling', and gambling is a 'haraam' activity.

That said, big financial institutions and hedge funds have made financial risk management into a fine art. With big capital flows, clever algorithms, market research and computerisation, these institutions are capable of giving huge returns with great certainty in their trades.

Actually, it is faster for institutions to make money in the financial markets than in direct investments. This is not healthy as it means that good startup technologies and businesses will not get the investments needed to create tangible wealth. Sometimes businesses with noble objectives to bring society to a higher good are unable to take off without investments.
With attractive returns from the financial markets, investors will be more motivated and tempted to multiply their money in there. Also, financial markets are zero-sum games. That means, when one wins, some others have to lose. And when big institutions win big, many small investors will have to lose. This does not help with wealth distribution.
Communist countries have attempted state planning to distribute wealth which had failed miserably. I think communism was a noble ideology that could not overcome human greed and selfishness. What we need badly is a new way of distributing wealth, without destroying the fabric of society, freedom and the dignity of people.
This gives rise to a new breed of entrepreneurs who call themselves 'social entrepreneurs'. Social entrepreneurs set out with noble objectives to improve the community sustained through profits. Some examples of such enterprises deal with providing clean drinking water, converting domestic garbage to energy, providing micro-loans to rural villagers, promoting eco-tourism, ecologically sustainable housing,... etc.
Social enterprises focus on what value they bring to the society in the long term. So, typically, it won't be interested in businesses whose sole aims are to encourage more people to send sms messages on their mobile phones; or for the distribution of more chemically preserved fast food to the masses. Social enterprises will definitely not charge you twice for your cup of coffee. Instead, it might set up cooperatives among coffee growers so that they can sell their crops at a better bargain and have their proceeds used to set up village schools or better access roads to their plantations, benefiting everyone in the long term.
There is a social enterpreneur who told me that in social enterprises, there are no exit strategies. He cited an example in a project in a village in Nepal where they succeeded in piping water to the hilltops and learned that the 3 hours up and down from the hill to the rivers made by the womenfolk each day was the only time they had away from their mother-in-laws. So, you see, there is still no exit strategy! When old problems are solved, new ones emerge! :)
Whichever method that will become vogue, be it is Islamic banking, social enterprises, or otherwise, there is a need to balance the globalisation and the cut-and-thrust of the market economy. I am glad that there are many kind souls out there doing their part in this balancing act. Many of them unsung heros and silent achievers, without which many communities would have collapsed into more sufferings.
With this balance, we would be living in a "capitalism with a human face". Though sounding stark in contrast to Gorberchev's "Socialism with a human face", they both seek to achieve the same - that is, to love people and to move money to where love is.

Friday, March 09, 2007


A friend of mine, emailed me this inspiring article, which I would like to share with you all:
PARADOXES ON THE PATH - 4/3/07 by Mike George
Clear Thinking
If you are receiving and reading Clear Thinking each week it means you are interested in self-understanding, self-change and self -empowerment. These are the foundations of self-mastery. They are essential aspects of the journey back to being spiritually whole and complete. They are necessary steps on the path to being your authentic self. You will likely have noticed that on your journey 'home' to your authentic self, the path is riddled with paradox. Paradoxes are statements which appear contradictory but hide a deeper truth e.g. the paradox that standing is more tiring than walking.
The seeing and the realisation of paradox can set us free from the constraints of what appears to be illogical thinking. It seems illogical to think that standing is more tiring than walking, but it's true. Behind what seems illogical lies a truth that if unrealised and not integrated into your life will result in the creation of tension, confusion or an imbalance, while never really knowing the reason why. For example we may be aware that our relationships are defined by a dynamic of giving and receiving at a variety of levels (things, ideas, attention, time etc) but the inherent paradox in this dynamic is that giving is receiving and receiving is giving. In order to receive you have to give, and in order to give you have to receive. At first sight this can appear illogical but behind the illogic there lies a deeper truth. At the dualistic, material level if you don't give it means you will be 'busy wanting'. It means your thoughts and your attention are trapped in what you want.
At the spiritual level of giving and receiving the paradox takes a slightly different form. It is only when we give with love that we feel the love that already lives within us. In essence, only by giving love can you know and receive the love that you are. By giving to others you are receiving from yourself. And conversely, to be fully open to receiving the love of others 'gives' them the opportunity to receive and feel and know themselves as love. No surprise then that someone once said, "Through the gates of paradox you shall find the truth". Paradox lies in wait at every turn.
Staying in the territory of relationship another paradox shows up at the level of understanding. In order to know and understand others it is first necessary to know and understand your self. Often we demonstrate our perplexity when we claim, "I just don't understand them. I thought I knew them, but now I realise I don't". What we don't realise is that the underlying cause of our inability to connect and resonate with others is our ignorance of our self. You cannot read and understand the emotions that others are feeling until you learn to fully feel and identify the emotions that you feel within yourself. The psychopath has no ability to empathise with others because they have spent their entire life avoiding their own feelings. People are like books but we cannot read them until we learn to read ourselves at all levels from intention to belief, from emotion to attitude. Which is why the best way to get to know and truly understand others is to spend a lot of time with yourself.
We cannot see or feel unity and oneness in the world around us because we still 'believe' in division and separation. And that is because within our self there is fragmentation and division. When you resolve your inner fragmentation (the voices of many identities) you will see and know the underlying oneness of 'us all'!
A similar paradox exists within the intention to raise your consciousness, which is not possible unless you remain grounded! Many make the mistake of isolating themselves from the world and putting all their time and attention into mystical and meditative practices with the hope of simply 'rising above it all'. They then wonder why progress is fleeting and slow. Then one day they realise that the real lessons that need to be learned and integrated in order to 'rise above' lie in everyday places, everyday interactions with people, and the everyday practicalities of living. When people, places and practicalities are not dealt with accurately, and with love, they become a burden carried by our consciousness, a form of 'unfinished business' which weighs us down making it impossible to raise our self above the mundane. You cannot check out of the supermarket without learning the price of each item and paying the bill. Only then are the groceries fully owned by you, and only then can you see.
Question: Which of the above paradoxes did you find most relevant to your life now?
Reflection: To resolve a paradox you need to go beyond thinking about it to 'see' it. Hence the purpose of meditation is to quieten the thinking mind and watch what arises from the heart.
Action: In what ways could the seeing of each of the above paradoxes change the way you 'live your life?'
a) giving and receiving
b) understanding others
c) unity and oneness
d) rising above?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


I have just read a tiny free booklet I picked from a shelf in town about what real Love is. It is dense in content and speaks about how we live our daily lives and our interactions with other people.

In it, one of the phrases struck me deeply...


"It is possible that we see clearly how people are wrong, without seeing that without love we are not right either."

This means that even when we are criticising others, we have to do so with the love of the other persons. Otherwise, the criticisms will not have the desired results. This made me realise how often I have criticised not only without love but with absolute anger! *blush* Angry that silly things are done because of the doers' selfish benefits; office politics; corrupt government officials; risk averse bureucrats;...etc.


I think I am very guilty. :) How about you?