Friday, December 10, 2010

India – A Personal Experience, A Journey of Faith

Last month I went to India and Nepal with my meditation friends and Buddhist Fellowship Indonesia group. It was a Buddhist pilgrimage so our itinerary was centered on Buddhist holy places in India like Bodhgaya, Sarnath, Kusinara, Sankassya, Rajgir, Nalanda, Vesali, Kapilavatthu and Lumbini in Nepal.

I’ve never been to those places except Lumbini. I went to Lumbini in the year 2000 on a 46-day China-Tibet-Nepal backpacking trip with Beijing school friends. At that time we planned to continue our trip to India, but there was a big flood so we cancelled our trip to India. My journey to India continued a decade later. After 10 years, I finally set foot in India.

Although I was interested in Buddhism, I was not a Buddhist when I went on this pilgrimage. My motivation was to visit India with my meditation friends and hopefully had time to meditate and feel the vibration of those holy places. Therefore, unlike my Buddhist friends who felt inspired, touched and even grieved when we visited Sankassya, Sarnath, Bodhgaya, I did not have any special feelings towards these places.  Please do not get me wrong, I did enjoy the journey and I felt happy with the experience, but I just did not feel the connection and I thought that I would feel this way during the entire trip.

Then…something happened.

Kusinara – India

On November 14th, 2010, we visited Kusinara where Buddha attained Parinibbana and he laid to rest between two sala trees. Our group quietly entered the temple and knelt down to pay respect. I also knelt down and put my palms together in front of my chest in anjali position like everybody else. After a while, our tour guide, Ki Ananda started to chant “Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammā sambuddhassa” (Honour to Him, the Blessed One, the Worthy One, the fully Enlightened One) I followed his cue and started to chant as well. When I chanted “Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammā sambuddhassa” for the third time, suddenly my tears started to flow; I was so overwhelmed by a flood of emotion that I just could not describe. Then when we continued with Tisarana, Buddham saranam gacchāmi, Dhammam saranam gacchāmi, Sangham saranam gacchāmi and so on, I just could not hold myself together, I was sobbing, tears flowed down my face, my breath became very shallow and my body was shaking. At that moment, I remembered something, I remembered a certain feeling, but I really could not describe what it was. I could not remember a specific memory from the past but I knew in my heart it was true and real. I felt that I have found something very precious to me and somehow a faith arisen.

This trip to India has a significant and precious meaning for me and hopefully my BFI friends also have theirs.
May All Beings Be Happy
Inge Santoso, B. Com

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Do Positive Feelings Improve Results?

Yesterday I was trying to help my university students to identify their feelings towards learning Chinese language. I asked them to write 10 different feelings they associated with learning Chinese as fast as they can. I also asked them to write two or three reasons for each feeling.

The three dominant feelings are proud, stressed and confused. Learning a second or third language, especially Chinese is not easy, so it is understandable that they often feel confused. Most of them feel stressed due to the number of Chinese characters that they have to memorize. Despite the difficulties in learning Chinese, they feel proud because they are seen as being able to take on a ‘hard’ subject. A lot of people perceive them as smart and they receive a lot of praise. 

One thing that drew my attention was how their feelings towards  learning Chinese influenced their performance in class.

There are two classes, Class A and B, with 17-18 students per class. When I tallied the feelings for each class, I found that in Class A, the students have more negative than positive feelings towards learning Chinese. While in Class B, they have more positive feelings than negative ones. Perhaps it is one of the reasons why Class B consistently outperforms Class A.

Does it mean that if we want to be better in something, then we need to have more positive feelings toward it?

Please share in the comments about what you think.

Learn and Grow

Inge Santoso, B. Com

Friday, June 04, 2010

How We Get Our Belief System and Values

Yesterday when I had breakfast at Diamond Restaurant, Solo, Indonesia, I overheard a family having a conversation with the restaurant manager. The family consisted of a father, a mother and a teenage boy; I assumed he was in high school. The conversation roughly went like this:

The manager asked the boy, “Hi. At this age, learning to speak English is very important. Don’t you want to go overseas to study?”

The boy didn’t say a word, but the father answered, “He does not need to go overseas to study. I think Indonesian Universities are good enough. Anyway what’s the point studying overseas if after graduation he still has to come back here and continue the family business?”

The manager said, “There are many advantages of studying overseas. First, you can speak English well. Second, you can meet a lot of people from different countries and have friends from all over the world. Having a lot of contacts can help you expand your business”

The father again said, “Well, I can’t speak English, yet my business is doing well.”

The manager asked, “Sir, don’t you want to expand your business?”

The father answered, “No, I don’t want to expand anymore. I’ve been offered to expand by several of my business partners but I refused. What I have is enough.”

The manager said, “Sir, this is the first time that when I asked that question, the answer is ‘no’. Other people usually answered ‘yes’ when I asked them whether they wanted to expand their business.”

When the food came, the manager left after thanking them for the conversation.

The father continued to ramble about the futility of having the children studying overseas. He even said, “What’s the point if he has an overseas education if I am bankrupt and he has no capital to start a business? Perhaps sending him study overseas makes me bankrupt!”

The mother said, “Don’t speak like that. It is not good to speak about bankruptcy or negative things.”

The father told the mother, “You don’t know anything. I don’t care; I talk what I want to talk about.”

During this conversation, the boy was just nodding his head, agreeing to what the father was saying. The mother looked a bit disturbed because she seemed to want the best for her son.

I know that it is not my place to judge, but the conversation made me feel concerned, especially when I saw the boy kept nodding to what the father was saying. He was agreeing to what the father was saying, taking the father’s belief system and values without realizing or even examining them. Perhaps he even thought the father’s negative attitude was not negative at all.

What I witnessed yesterday is how most people get their belief system and values. They get their beliefs system and values from people who are closest to them, mostly parents, other family members, teachers, coaches or other influential people in their environment.

We rarely question or evaluate what they tell us, we just accept them as truth because that’s what we are taught to do since we are young. We see our parents, our teachers as the ultimate authority, they are ALWAYS RIGHT. There lies the problem, they are NOT ALWAYS RIGHT. That’s why we may need to go back and evaluate whether our belief system and values are helping or hindering us in life.


  1. Don’t just believe everything you hear, see, or even what you think and feel. Examine them again; you may see them differently from different perspectives.
  2. Listen more closely to what other people are saying to discover their belief system and values. You may discover interesting things in the process.

Please share with me in the comments if you have similar experiences as above or even how you changed your belief systems and values after something happened in your life that shattered your beliefs.

Learn and Grow!

Inge Santoso, B.Com

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Meditation Journey Continues… Bali Usada Tapa Brata 2

TB2 Tawangmangu 2 

Happy faces after finishing Bali Usada Tapa Brata 2 in Tawangmangu. The course was held for 12 days from 30 March 2010 to 10 April 2010.

This 12 day Bali Usada Tapa Brata 2 course can really transform how you use your mind. The main objective is to train your mind to become a skillful harmonious mind that can be used to proactively heal and maintain good physical, mental and emotional health.

Before attending Tapa Brata 2, I’ve attended Bali Usada Tapa Brata 1 course twice in the last 9 months and I found them very beneficial for my health, especially for my emotional well being. After attending Tapa Brata 1, I feel more relaxed and calm. I become more aware of my feelings and emotions thus I am able to control my emotion better than before.

I used to struggle a lot with the feeling of anger. Before attending Bali Usada Tapa Brata 1, whenever I got angry, other people suffered. After attending Tapa Brata 1, whenever I got angry, I suffered the most. Why? Whenever I was angry, now I could feel my body was burning inside, it felt so hot. I could feel wild energy shooting here and there attacking my inner organs, very uncomfortable! No wonder wise people say that anger is harmful for your health. After that experience, whenever I feel the emotion of anger rising, I do my best to be aware of it, let it go and never let anger run its course.

I’ve been meditating every day since I attended Bali Usada Tapa Brata 1. I usually meditate 45-60 minutes a day. Sometimes I meditated for 90 minutes because I wanted to prepare myself to attend Tapa Brata 2. I heard from previous participants of Tapa Brata 2 that it was very challenging.

How did I feel about the course? It was tiring mentally, physically and emotionally. It was definitely a very demanding course in terms of mind training. I’ve never used my mind as intensive as this before. I’ve attended many seminars and programs by Anthony Robbins, T Harv Eker, Silva Method and many others and none of those programs can beat Bali Usada Tapa Brata 2 in terms of mind training.

I thought attending Anthony Robbins’ Date with Destiny was demanding because the seminars went well into the night and we jumped, we screamed, we danced, we did a lot of things there, yet I felt more tired just by sitting and concentrating my mind during TB2.

During the course, I felt many different kinds of sensations, feelings and emotions. Sometimes I remembered things in the past so clearly, I felt that I was there. Sometimes I was even astonished to discover my own subconscious thoughts. It was a very interesting experience!

Although I found the course to be very challenging, it was well worth it. I definitely recommend this course for anyone who wants to transform their mind and life to a whole new level. The transformation is not superficial as I have experienced after attending other courses, it is a real transformation. Once you’ve experienced it, you would know it in your heart.

A bit of warning:

I recommend for anyone who is interested in attending Tapa Brata 2 to at least attend Tapa Brata 1 twice and meditate regularly at home for about 60 minutes every day.

After finishing the course, sometimes there may be some bad reactions lingering for a few days. Do not worry, just keep meditating and it will balance itself.

Finally I want to thank Mr. Merta Ada and his assistants, Mr. Suardika, Mr. Budi Waluyo, Mr. Sutedjo who made the course possible. Thank you for your guidance and support. I also want to thank you my dear father, Mr. Djoko Santiko who allowed us to use the villa in Tawangmangu to hold the course. Last but not least, I want to thank you all my friends who attended the course together, Joseph, Hijau Berlian, Wulan, Tining, Jenny, Juniar, and Cha Cha. Thank you for the friendship, love, and support so that we could successfully finish the course. I hope we have an opportunity to attend another course together again.

May all beings be happy!

Learn and grow,

Inge Santoso, B. Com

Saturday, January 09, 2010

The Tallest Building in the World in 2010

Burj Dubai

Burj Dubai is currently the tallest building in the world at over 800m tall. I had a chance to take this photo when I visited Dubai on Dec 26, 2009. If I visit Dubai again in the future, I’ll go to the observation deck on level 124, then I can tick off my life goal of going to the tallest building in the world.

Learn and Grow