Drawing and artwork

Mind the genie in the lamp

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Mind the genie in the lamp - by CJ

Mind the genie in the lamp - by CJ

There once was a very poor man, who woke up hungry with only 1 rupee left in his pocket. He decides to go to the market and see if his rupee can buy him some left over fruit. At the market he meets a fancy clothed man behind a table with a beautiful oil lamp on it, and a sign that reads “1 rupee”.

The poor man can’t believe his eyes, and asks the man what the catch is.
“It’s true, the lamp only costs 1 rupee,” the man says.
And he explains that in the lamp there lives a genie, who fulfills all your desires.
“Then why do you sell it?”, the poor man wants to know.
“Well, the genie is always active and rather impatient”, it is explained. “And if you don’t pay attention to him, he’ll start taking things away again”.
“Well OK”, the poor man says. “Since I don’t have much to lose I will buy it from you”.

When he arrives back home, he rubs the lamp and the genie appears. “How can I serve you, master?”, he asks.
“Prepare me a meal worthy of a king”, the poor man commands.
Within a second the genie serves an opulous meal with 87 courses.
The poor man is delighted, but when he wants to start eating, the genie asks again – “And how can I serve you master?”
Keeping in mind that the genie can also take away all the goodies, the poor man commands: “Build me a beautiful castle, suitable for a maharadja!”
Only a few seconds pass by, and the man now finds himself in a beautiful palace. He likes to explore it, but there comes the genie again, asking “How can I serve you, master?”
Every wish is immediately fulfilled, and when ignored, the genie takes away everything.

The poor man is annoyed and goes to the village sage, where he explains his problem.
After a silent conversation, the poor man steps to the genie and says: ‘Genie, build me a large pole and stick it in the ground”.
The genie immediately builds a pole and sticks it in the ground.
“Now genie, I want you to climb up and down the pole, over and over again”.
The genie starts climbing right away.
And now the man has time to eat his meal, explore his palace and do other things.

When he and the sage go to see what the genie is doing, they see that he has fallen asleep next to the pole.
“And so it is with the thinking genie of every man”, explains the sage.
“It is restless in its desire to satisfy every desire, and fragments our being.
The pole is a tool called a ‘mantra’.
“By repeating it over and over again, our restless mind is kept busy until it gets so bored that it falls asleep.
And this way our true self can enjoy the world.”


Boiling frog and global warming

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Boiling frog - by CJ

Boiling frog - by CJ

A frog will try to jump out if it is dropped into hot water, however it will stay eventually cooked to death if it is put in a pot of cool water and gradually bring it to a boil. This story is a widespread anecdote, yet will we react like boiling frogs when come to confronting global warming?

Highly regarded scientific organizations worldwide have speculated that there is no longer any credible doubt about the environmental destruction of global warming. We are stoking global warming that may cause colossal damage to nature if, like the doomed frog, we ignore rising temperatures.

Based on the data from Natural Resources and Environment Ministry of Malaysia, our nation’s average temperature has risen by 1.1 degree Celsius in the past 50 years, consistent with the warming of global temperature. The ministry also showed that the sea level in our country is on the increase, at the rate of 1.25mm a year. These factors resulted in changes in the rainfall patterns thus causing more floods in our country.

Based on the climate modeling for the next 100 years, the temperature is expected to rise between 0.7 degree and 2.6 degrees Celsius. The changes are very crucial as the increase of 1-2 degrees Celsius would lead to 30% of flora and fauna to go extinct and threaten our survival.

Furthermore, the ministry stressed that warmer temperatures and greater moisture will favor extensions of the geographical range and season for vector organisms such as insects, rodents, and snails. This in turn might also increase the occurrence of vector-borne diseases such as cholera, malaria and dengue.

In another recent research, Malaysia scientists have discovered that climate change and air pollution are killing off the scent of flowers around the world. Some bees don’t seem to be pollinating flower seeds because of the missing scent trail of flowers. Flowers in colder climates are able to hold onto their essential oils longer, thus insects and bird are also reported as heading to the jungles where the weather is cooler, for their fair share of nectar.

Already we can see the changes of our environment and nature: storms are becoming fiercer and extreme weather conditions like cold becoming colder and hot becoming hotter. Will we stand by and watch while droughts, floods, and famine take over our country? Or will we deteriorate into territorial species struggling for power, land, and survival? It is matter of survival and it is solely up to the people of this generation to decide.

Now we’re like the frog in water slowly heated up to boiling that doesn’t know to escape. However, unlike the frogs, we have the ability, the knowledge, the technology, and the power to save ourselves and respond to global warming. We simply need to find the cohesive willingness to take action and not to contribute to global warming.

Lincoln and the helpless little creature

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Lincoln and the helpless little creature - by CJ

Lincoln and the helpless little creature - by CJ

“I could not have slept tonight if I had left that helpless little creature to perish on the ground.”
– Abraham Lincoln

In reply to friends who chided him for delaying them by stopping to return a fledgling to its nest.

Compassion is how a mother’s tender heart quivers at the pain and suffering of her child when the child is sick. A mother is willing to do anything to alleviate her child’s suffering. As with boundless love, we also develop compassion to all beings who suffer pain and despair. A compassionate person cannot possibly be cruel to any being.

Love is the greatest kindness of all is a mother’s boundless, unconditional and protective love for her child. If we can shower a mother’s love on all living beings, our love would be boundless, unconditional and non-discriminatory. It’s boundless because we are reaching out to all beings. It is unconditional because we do not love with conditions attached or expectations of rewards or reciprocation. It is non-discriminatory, and this means it is given to all and not through selective choice or to one more than the other.

If we realize that all beings are subject to same vulnerability and mortality where all of us suffer from pain and eventual death, and all of us also appreciate being loved and cared for, then it makes sense to extend our love to all beings boundlessly, unconditionally and without discrimination. Just as we love our family and friends, let us widen our circle of love and kindness, and extend these feelings of goodwill and caring to encompass all living beings.

by Chan Kay Yein, Ph.D.

Hakuin and the baby – just the way it is

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Hakuin and the baby - by CJ

Hakuin and the baby - by CJ

There was a monk named Hakuin (白隠 慧鶴) who was well respected for his work among the people.

In the village, there lived a young woman, the daughter of the food sellers. The young woman became pregnant by her boy friend who worked nearby in the fish market. When the parents found out about this, they were very angry and pressured her to reveal the name of the father. She wanted to protect the young man and blurted out the name of Hakuin as the father.

After the baby was born, the parents took the baby to Hakuin. They told Hakuin that he was responsible for the baby and left the infant with him. He responded: “Is that so?” And he simply accepted the responsibility for the child without further reaction.

The monk had no experience with babies. But he began to care for its needs, finding food, clothing, and warm shelter. The other villagers became very angry with Hakuin for his offense and his reputation was trashed. In addition, his disciples left him. These comments did not affect Hakuin, who continued to put his effort and attention into the care of the baby.

After several years, the young woman was filled with remorse. She confessed to her parents the name of the true father –  the real father was not Hakuin but rather a young man who worked at the local fish market. They immediately went to see Hakuin, apologized, and took the baby back with them. Hakuin watched as they returned to there home with the child he had cared for since birth and replied “Is that so?”


“Is that so?” reflects the acceptance of what the moment brings. Acceptance in the sense that one responds appropriately to the situation with a calm mind and spirit. There are no calls of fairness or unfairness, of being experienced in the task or not, of complaining about a lost reputation, of wishing that it were different. The needs of present are simply addressed.

More than the physical situation, it is the spirit of the monk’s mind at the initial instant that the situation arises that makes his actions so compelling. It is not passive acceptance; there is direct action here. The calm mind allows effort to be fully directed to the situation without dispersal of energy.

The same tasks of caring for the baby could also be done with resentment or a turbulent mind. Then, there is room for fairness and unfairness, complaining and wishing it were different. Same tasks, but the energy is completely different.

All of these stories are about the reader, not a fiction story about the monk. The situation may be one at work, home, or with a friend that brings the same apparent unfairness and inconvenience to an individual at the moment. Responding with a calm or turbulent mind makes all the difference.

The calm spirit is within the potential of all humans.


Missing cows

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Missing cows by CJ

Missing cows by CJ

This is the story I read from a book:

A wise man was walking with his students. As they passing by a village, a farmer who seemed very worry and distressed, headed towards them.

He stopped then asked the wise man, “Have you seen a kine cows on your way here?”

“No, sorry to say I did not see any.” the wise man answered.

“Sigh, I am the most unlucky person in this world. These cows are the only assets I have and they are all gone missing now. I have been seeking for days yet I couldn’t find them. How am I going to live on without them?” said the farmer sadly.

“…I am really the most unlucky person in this world. Sigh..” he continued to seek for the cows.

The wise man then turned to his students and said, “You are lucky that you do not own any cow.”

Are you here for peace? by CJ

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Are you here for peace? - by CJ

Are you here for peace? - by CJ

Humming by myself a song of no melody
on the journey with the march enwrapped
camouflage under the blanket
painted in red with blood of nobody

Quenching thirst with endless tear
with my crutch starving to hunt the vulture
yet the smells of the burnt dead
masking the appetite I crave for food

Days ago you lived as a man of the house
before you took the gun and hugged goodbye
for the nation you had to fight
deep in me I know you stood for us

The silent moon bathes the scene
I could hear your whisper, mommy
fear not and sleep tight my child
shall you see me in your dream

My company my dearest pet
your beard reminds me of uncle across the street
smiled always and made delicious toasts
not anymore after the fierce assault hit

Saviour yet foreigner
you are here to take everthing I had
yet you say you come for peace
is it really right to be wrong?