You Receive What You Give

 In Ornamentation

This shot was taken at one of the most iconic place at Chinatown in Singapore. It is called the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. There are many exterior shots by great photographers of this place but the interior of the temple is equally impressive. The architecture of the temple is based on the Tang dynasty style but it was only completed recently in 2007. This temple houses sacred artifacts of the Buddha and one of them is the Buddha Tooth Relic housed in a giant stupa weighing 3.5 tonnes and made from 320kg of gold, of which 234kg were donated by devotees.

I was most attracted to the golden light atmosphere of the interior and there is so much details within. No wonder this place costs S$75million to set up.

As a human being, a creature of the senses, we are so attached to the external world that sometimes whatever is happening on the outside controls our lives, so much so that we are not even aware of it. Just a bit of solitary time with ourselves will allow us to turn inwards and notice that absence of time spent with oneself; sometimes closing the door to one’s room will allow you to see the contents of the room clearly, whereas if people are coming in and out of the room, one will be too heavily distracted to even notice what is in the room. When we realized the truth behind who we are, outside forms will start to fade and lose its grip on us in our daily lives. When that happens, you will become aware that whatever gifts you have given is totally yours to give and whatever gift you decide to receive from the world, you get to keep.

“I know what I have given you…
I do not know what you have received.”

Antonio Porchia

I have heard a story of the Buddha that had a profound effect on me. Even the Buddha is hated by some and loved by others. Once, the Buddha had traveled long distances and had arrived near the gates of a village looking for rest and shelter. The villagers had heard that the Buddha is arriving and for some reasons, they hated the Buddha and his teachings. Before the Buddha could enter the village, he was greeted by rows of people spitting and insulting him by the gates. He remained calm, so calm that it began to spike the curiosity of the villages. One of them asked,”why is it that we have insulted you, spit at you and curse you in so many ways and yet you are untouched?” The Buddha replied,” if you were expecting some retaliation from me, you are late. A few years back I would have been infuriated. You see, there was a village that I had come across just before yours, those villages were so full of love and devotions that upon knowing I will be arriving, they prepared baskets of flowers and sweets to welcome me. I was also untouched then by their gestures. “Why?” The man was getting more curious. The Buddha asked him, “what do you think they have to do with the presents that I did not accept?” The man guessed,” they will either have to eat the sweets themselves or share the flowers with one another.” The Buddha replied, “that is precisely the reason I did not accept your anger and frustration, you get to keep them and share it among yourselves.”

You reap what you sow and you receive what you give.

Be nice since life is short. Being nice to others is being nice to yourself. Getting angry with the world just ends up hurting yourself the most. I have experienced that in the most depressing moments of my life. There will come a time that we will have to wake up and realized our circumstances is totally made up of our own choices in life. Imagine getting angry and shouting at a wall, all it does is reflect what you gave to the wall back at you. If you punch it further, you just hurt yourself more. When you are nice to people, it is easier for them to reciprocate with the same kindness you have given them. Even if they don’t return the favor, it is fine. You just gave yourself and others a chance for the possibilities of loving each other as fellow humans. Leave the rest of the outcomes for the universe to decide, that is all we can do. When we are angry, it just becomes natural that we will repel and push people away. Imagine this enraged bull running loose on the streets, people will just naturally evade and run for their lives, or they might just shoot it; when you are angry, people either ignore you or retaliate with more anger. It is hard to talk peace with a charging bull. There is also another saying,”when you laugh, the whole world laughs with you but when you cry, you cry alone.” It sounds crude but as you get older, maybe only your best friend will be a shoulder to cry on and even best friends drift apart with time when one of them is always crying. You are all you have at the end. Only you can decide what you would like to receive by choosing what to give.

If you decide to take on opinions and advice from others, know that this will only end two ways—they can either lift you up or pull you down.

Most of the gifts that controls you actually comes from well-meaning people in your life such as your family, friends or people of authority. They come in the form of opinions and advice. They sound like a great gift but actually, these gifts might hurt you the most. Nobody can know you better than you. All opinions are an assumption that you are going to experience what they have experienced. Since no two moments are ever the same and no two people are exactly alike, how can anybody know exactly what experience or outcome you are going to have? Every life is unique. Only by walking your own path then you can experience and see your own truths. If you decide to take on opinions and advice from others, know that this will only end two ways—they can either lift you up or pull you down. Lift you up when you think their advice helps you to be on track, pulls you down and you start blaming others for their bad advice. Stay in the middle and be untouchable by the ups or downs and you end up picking your own path. Whether it is right or wrong, there is no regrets because the path is the reward in itself.

Be aware that the mind is dominantly negative. Look at how many unhappy people there is and you will see. I have recently experienced the negative pull of the mind myself when my recently bought television started to display a green line down the edge of the screen. It is like pretty much only 1mm in thickness but a weird thing happens. When you start to notice the imperfection, you cannot not see it again and that 1mm of imperfection starts to ruin the experience for me. What about the other 99 percent of the screen that is working? It overshadows all that. It is like when a hundred people lift your ego by telling you how great you are, you take it for granted but just one person is needed to say that you are a loser, he takes over all your attention and your whole world along with it. In worst case scenarios, you will go into a spiral of deeming yourself not worthy. May it be praise or insult, both are the different sides of the same coin. It is either you embrace the whole coin or you don’t pick it up.

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