Thursday, July 30, 2009

Christmas 2008 - cycling & camerons

Photos of a trip up north, 2days of cycling fr ipoh(malaysia) to betong(thailand) & a short gateway to cameron highlands.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sydney June 2008 (Sydney & Sunnataram)

Date: Sat 7June - Mon 16June
Itinerary: 7-9June (Free & easy, Sunnataram forest monastery -2 nites),
10-15June (Dalai Lama's teachings)

Sydney & Sunnataram

With miles redemption on star-alliance, i got a free return ticket via Singapore airlines to sydney. Over in sydney,i bunked in at my aunt's place, and was pampered with fresh fruits and fresh eggs in the mornings. The resident hen actually lays eggs, n i got to eat some of her

I made a trip to sunnataram forest monastery (this is my second trip), and was re-acquainted once more with the beautiful place by the cliff of bushforest. Phramana and Sayadaw, and Kim were so busy working on new activities and ideas for the Gratitude Pagoda. i soaked in the good country air, and in-between helped with chopping (veg) and washing in the kitchen. One day, we saw such a beautiful sunrise right out of the kitchen window, and Carmen(a visitor/volunteer) commented e kitchen has one of the best views from the building. It was such a brilliant red, she had initially thought it was a forest fire!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sydney June 2008 (HH Dalai Lama's Teachings)

Date: Sat 7June - Mon 16June
Itinerary: 7-9June (Free & easy, Sunnataram forest monastery -2 nites),
10-15June (Dalai Lama's teachings)

HH Dalai Lama's Australia Teachings, Dome@ Olympic Park

HH Dalai Lama's teachings was for 5 days, with a Chenrezig initiation on the morning of the 5th day.
The Teachings were commentaries on "The Stages of Meditation" a 9th century classical text by Kamalashila. The contents were philosphically in-depth. As a balance, there was also a large amout of time for Q&A, often questions were related to our daily lives. HH answers are typically very spontaneous, practical and humourous. The event was extremely well organised, with a quick and efficient security checks. At the teachings i attended in india in 2007, it typically takes security 1-2hours to clear, but at Sydney, it was a matter of minutes. My reckon, best practises gleaned from organising the olympics in 2000 and well-provided infrastructure.

Australians love the Dalai Lama, and with such a warm welcome and genuine enthusiasm to learn, HH would very likely visit and teach in Sydney again.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Stanford: Burghers of Calais

SF Writeup

23-31may: San francisco

Sunnyvale & Stanford
Breakfast at Google(yumm.. choice of fresh fruit juices), the space is amazing. Rhandeev mentioned that its been designed to attract & retain the best talents, & also allow for creative discussions. Spaces were created so that folks could meet along the corridor, find a cosy corner that was private for discussion, yet with a certain level of openess/transparency. The colors were google, bright and cheery.
There was also a massage spa area, laundry room, gym & swim-pool.

Stanford is gorgeous. A very active & enthusiastic volunteer (junior undergrad) took a group of us on a walking campus tour. I am amazed by the energy. Its a very creative place, and has nurtured some great minds.... at the same time, probably some rather arrogant & immatured fellas too. Overall, it strikes as a place of great historical significance, brilliant minds and creative energies.
The rocks of most of the campus are unique. A railway tycoon (Harvard), was one of the main benefactors, and made a line/railtrack specially to a local quary for the rocks, and afterwards removed the track.
The cathedral is amazing too! Its impossible to describe, one has to sit and just absorb the silence and magnificence from within.

I also spent some hours playing with Amiya, Shyan's 2year gal. I am told, Amiya asks about "Auntie Winnie" even today (almost 4 month's since). This toddler sure has a good memory ;)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

San francisco & greengulch farm

More writeup & photos coming up soon.. abt my 4day stint at a zen organic farm 30min drive fr sf :)

Green Gulch =========
I was at GreenGulch for 3 nights, as 50%-guest and 50%-volunteer scheme. Green Gulch is an organic farm built around a zen community, right by Muir beach. Muir woods, a famous conservation grove of giant red wood trees is just 15min drive away. Its a beautiful place, and lots of work is put to make it that way. Herbs, vegetables, flowers, guesthouse and a zen community coexist. Every morning.. i think its abt 5am, there is meditation! This is followed by a short community work, such as cleaning the zendo or temple hall, rearranging the pillows etc. There is a beautiful concept of keeping to time - when the bell goes, everyone stops what they are doing, and finishes there. A bow-out happens, and its time for breakfast. The Guest retreatant program includes compulsory meditation, helping out in the kitchen after breakfast, and/or other allocations such as gardening, guesthouse housekeeping. After lunch, its free n easy for this program, at which i spent the time visiting the beach, muir woods and reading.

* Stop when e bell rings :) . There's a beautiful discipline to this practise.
* Eco-friendly detergents work very well.. Guesthouse is kept very clean & fresh using just vinegar and baking soda. No chemical detergents are used.
* Generosity. A very nice lady named Paula offered to drive me from SF to Greengulch. It seemed way too much to accept. But she said this: just think of it like a buddha giving another buddha a ride :) ! That was so beautiful, and reflects e zen attitude that buddha nature is right there, and we have enlightenment right in our hands, right in e moment. So i accepted.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Nashville musicstreet

It was comfortably warm in nashville, n broadway street has many little cafes & pubs with musicians who play for tips & a chance to be talent spotted.
My new friend, Kevin was a music enthusiast, & we had fun checking out bluegrass music, folksy upbeat with an irish influence. See e photo of e taps in e bars too, at least 20-30taps of fresh beer!
i also met a musician playing on e sidewalk, didnt take any photos of Jerrywager, but definitely enjoyed his music & company. Jerry looks a bit like Mike Jagger..

Continental Cleveland to Nashville

Clouds on a plane ride..

Cleveland : cathedral fr my window

There's a spire of a church fr my window (on e 5th flr), n its so beautiful to see e sun light touch upon e tips of e pinacle in e morning.
Look at e clock for e times in e photos :)

1. first rays (with special effects fr flash, reflection)
2. morning rays afterwards
3. in e evening, before sundown
*see e mini-false windows on near e top of e church spire.. cute & it blends in so well with the design.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Cleveland downtown