Friday, December 30, 2011

Living Without Guilt and Regret – Ajahn Brahm, 7th Global Conference on Buddhism, 10-11 December 2011

Ajahn Brahm Smile

This is my notes on Ajahn Brahm’s session entitled “Living Without Guilt and Regret”.

If you want to be a better person, do not feel guilty about things in the past. If you keep on thinking about your mistakes in the past, you become a worse person because you lose self-respect and motivation, and you may become depressed. The mistake of the past becomes ball and chain prohibiting you from achieving success in the future.

If you make a mistake, you should:

  • admit it or acknowledge it
  • let it go
  • learn from it

Adopting from modern psychology technique, if you have done bad things in the past:

  1. Bring it up, acknowledge it by writing it down on a sheet of paper, clearly, neatly and in detail.
  2. Write it on toilet paper!
  3. Read it! Because it is written on toilet paper, you tend to associate what’s written there with sh**… past mistake = sh**
  4. Put it in the toilet bowl and flush…let it go!

Feeling guilty and regret is like putting a used toilet paper in your pocket! If you think putting a used toilet paper in your pocket is a very stupid idea, then keeping feelings of guilt and regret in your mind is just as stupid, so let it go!

Learning from past experience

There is a story about a chicken farmer. As a chicken farmer, every day you deal with eggs and poo. You collect the egg, not the poo. [In Indonesia, they collect the poo for organic fertilizer Hahahaha]

Do you want to remember the poo or the eggs? Of course the eggs! That’s why remember what went right, remember from the success in the past, you will feel good, happy and have motivation to do it right again. You learn more from what’s right than what’s wrong.

We need to change how we look at the past. You can’t re-create the past, so it does not help at all to look back all the time. It is a waste of time to look at the past, just let it go. If you keep looking at the past, then you stop attending to the present! Too many people linger too long in the past and they are not paying attention to the present moment.

If someone call you a pig, you simply let it go, just do not remember it. If you keep repeating it in your mind, then you are letting them to do it to you again and again.

Sometimes people have a belief that if we don’t have regret, we don’t have punishment, and then we will not be deterred from making the same mistake. Well, it does not work that way! What we need is inspiration, to be more compassionate, generous and loving. Those good things work!

Why do we feel guilty? We feel guilty because we do not have enough metta, compassion. We need to treat ourselves with compassion. If I can forgive other people, I can forgive myself.

You can only feel one thing at a time, if you feel guilty, then you are not doing anything useful. If you dwell on guilt or regret, you cannot make progress. If you want progress in life, you have to let the past go.

Sometimes we feel guilty because we felt that we’ve done a bad thing, but then again who know whether it was good or bad? So basically, if you feel guilty, remember good or bad, who knows? Perhaps it was not wrong after all.

Remember that we always do what we think is the right thing to do at that time. We make a decision based on what’s the right thing to do at that time. We do not purposely make a wrong decision or do a wrong thing.

Sometimes we make a bad decision because we use too much rational rather than too much feeling. Remember to follow your heart and not just follow your head. If you are in doubt, do a coin toss. To find out what you really want to do, watch your feelings when the coin goes up in the air. Which side do you wish to come up, the head or the tail? If you wish the head to come up, then you know that what you really want is what the head represents.

End of notes.

As we approach the end of year 2011 and new year 2012, let us apply what we have learned from Ajahn Brahm.

Let’s remember the good times, successes and what we have done right this year. Let go our feelings of guilt, regret, anger and hurt. Learn from our experience but let go the emotional baggage, so what we are ready to fly and soar in the coming year!

May your life be full of love, peace and happiness in year 2012!

May all beings be happy!

Inge Santoso, B. Com

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Saman Dance–7th Global Conference on Buddhism, 10-11 December 2011

Buddhist Reborn’s Saman Dance

It was awesome to see the Saman Dance performance by Buddhist Reborn. Although it was their first, it was so good. I believe that there will be more performances to come.

May all beings be happy!

Making the Law of Kamma Work in Our Favor – Ajahn Brahmali, 7th Global Conference on Buddhism, 10-11 Dec 2011

7th GCB (114)

This is my notes on the talk by Ajahn Brahmali. He spoke so fast so I tried to take notes as fast as I could.

What is the law of kamma?

A lot of people often use the word “kamma” or “karma” to describe bad luck or fate. For example, if someone lost his wallet, he would say, “It was my kamma.” It is actually a misunderstanding to describe our kamma simply as our bad luck or fate.

We also often use the word “kamma” to justify other people’s misfortunes. For example, when someone got sick, we would say, “It was his kamma.” If we use it like this, we tend to lose compassion and kindness.

There are a few things that may or may not happen because of what we did in the past, such as:

  1. Weather. Weather changes not because of what we do in the past.
  2. Accidents. If we are born as human, we may have accidents, not due to particular actions in the past. Even death can happen due to accident.
  3. Sickness. Sometimes we are going to be sick. When we go to the doctor, instead of saying that something is wrong, we should say that something is right with us.

When you are born as human being, you can expect suffering, sickness, and problems. We need to understand that there is no alternative, we need to just accept that it’s the way it is. We need to cultivate this kind of thinking.

How to reduce the impact of problems in life?

  • caring; to be careful and do things the right way
  • practicing Buddhist teaching

For example: Ajahn Brahmali told a story how people often asked him to bless their new cars. He said that he agreed to bless the car and the blessing would work on one condition, that they would drive carefully.

The simile of the salt.

If we put a spoon of salt in a glass of water, when we drink the water, it will be salty. If we put a spoon of salt in a pond, when we taste water, there will be barely any saltiness. If the salt is our bad kamma and water is our good kamma. If we want kamma to work in our favor, make sure that we increase the amount of good kamma so that the bad kamma becomes a miniscule problem.

May all beings be happy!

Learn and Grow!

Inge Santoso, B. Com

Friday, December 16, 2011

Meditation for Working People - Dr Wong Yin Onn, 7th Global Conference of Buddhism, 10-11 Dec 2011


First of all, I would like to thank Dr Wong Yin Onn for giving me the slides of his presentation. Please note that: the words in [ ] brackets and blue color are my additional notes, thoughts and opinions. I also changed some of the slides order.

Meditation for Working People, also known as Meditation for Non-Meditator.

In this age of multi-tasking, we never do less than two things at once. We read while we eat, and it works because we get things done. We are Control Freaks. But when it comes to calming our mind in meditation we can’t simply because it would require us to sit still, let go and do nothing.


The real Buddhism is not books, not manuals, not word for word repetition from the Tipitaka, or it is rites and rituals. The real Buddhism is the practice, by way of body, speech and mind that will destroy the defilements, in part of completely…

Though a person may never have seen or even heard of the Tipitaka, if he carries out detailed investigation every time suffering arises and scorches his mind, he can be said to be studying the Tipitaka directly and far more correctly than people actually in the process of reading it. – Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

The Buddha’s Dhamma was a psycho-ethical outline as well as a practical path for experiencing the truth in day to day life.

It had only one problem and one solution. The one problem is the suffering of mankind and the one solution is the attainment of a state where there is no suffering at all. The path is the three stepped middle path of sila (moral precepts), samadhi (one pointedness) and panna (right understanding).


The Secret to Happiness

Formal meditation helps the mind to rest from its usual state of frenzied thought. It does not make life’s problems disappear, but it gives us a much clearer picture of our problems and to respond rationally with wisdom. [Meditation is not about running away from life’s problems, but meditation helps us to be calm and focus on the solutions]

What should we expect from meditation for working people? What is the desired goal? It is awakening. In more detail, the goal is a step by step improvement in our understanding of life, leading to an improvement in our conduct and having peace, happiness and security as we walk this path.

To walk a spiritual path we need to stay centered and at peace within ourselves. Resistance brings up negative energies of anger, hostility, judgment and fear. It is often preferable to “turn the other cheek” and maintain one’s spiritual composure. Many a times, the suffering is not worth the suffering. [I remember my own experience in meditation. Sometimes my legs felt so painful, yet in my mind, I could choose not to suffer from the pain]

Do you want to be right or do you want peace? We can choose to resist evil, strategizing, worrying, being angry, feeling miserable or we can choose to let go.

Certainly there are situations when we have to dig our heels in and stand up for ourselves. But it is important to weigh the cost of putting up a fight against the gratification of feeling victorious or vindicated. To “Lose” is often to “Win”


Meditation trains our minds, allowing thoughts and emotions to pass across our consciousness without lingering to distract us. It is NOT trying hard to empty our minds; it is a seismic change in the way we see the internal and external world.

It is an endeavor where the harder one tries to “do it”, the harder it is to attain. It is NOT what we do, but what we didn’t do that matters! We do not resist emotions or arising thoughts but merely see it and not be entrapped by it. It is present moment awareness, inspect not expect, letting go!

Besides sitting down, closing the eyes and watching the mind, can we ‘meditate’ while attending to everyday business? How can we make Mindfulness as a Way of Life rather than a practice separate from daily living?

1. Minding the mind

We can all benefit from a greater awareness of how our mind works. Meditation here and now, amid the ups and downs of life. If we want to understand our mind, we have to watch it while it is happy, angry, sad, fearful, etc.

The Dhamma encompasses all aspects of life, it is all inclusive. When watching the mind becomes a constant habit in daily life, the cycle of reacting mindlessly to the external environment is broken.

Formal meditation is important but it even more important to extend it beyond the meditation cushion. It is not postures that lead to enlightenment, though it is useful to help the mind quiet down.

In meditation we learn to realize the impermanent nature of things. Realize that there is a huge difference between “There is suffering” and “I am suffering.” Only when we cease to be involved with our emotions can peaceful equanimity emerge; simply watching the emotions instead of being the emotion. We must constantly remind ourselves that “this too shall pass” and sit and watch as it passes away. As we do so, peace and happiness reveal themselves on their own, like the sun revealing itself from behind the clouds.

To experience peace does not mean that our lives are always blissful. It means that we are capable of tapping into a blissful state of mind amidst the normal chaos of a hectic life. [I have experienced this myself. If you want to read about it, please read here]


new brain

To the untrained person, whenever there is a conflict between the rational mind and the emotional mind, the older brain which controls the emotion will win hands down!

Understanding this is very important for those of us who wish to train our minds to be logical and objective, for we are going against the grain of millenniums of evolution. This is why diets fail and men have affairs!

Can we better integrate our three brains? It turns out that meditation integrates the brains. It rewires and harmonizes them. It lets you see through the blandishments of consumerism and much other falsity. Harmonizing one's brain is a slow and patient project. Evolution has not had time to integrate our brains. Meditation is a way of choosing to help evolution reach its moulding hand inside our head. Three brains are swell, but three brains in harmony are bliss.

[If you want to read more about these three brains, go here]

2.  Metta meditation while driving

[Dr Wong told the story how he did metta meditation while driving the long stretch between Johor Baru and Kuala Lumpur. We can practice metta while driving, wishing the cars around us “may all beings be happy”, even those fast cars zigzagging past us (they definitely need our best wishes)]

3. The Game Boy


4. A Modern Gong for Present Moment Awareness


[We can make our watch or mobile phone to beep every hour and when we hear the beep, we just pause and watch our mind for a minute or so]

Present moment awareness is “keeping the body and mind in the same place”

5. Walking

If we can walk, then we can meditate. Just walk slowly in a calm, quiet place like a park. Let the mind be at ease, let go and just be aware of our steps as we walk. Be with the steps that we take, living each moment as we experience it. Please note that it is obvious that we should walk only where our personal safely is not in question.

If you are still struggling with thoughts, do not judge yourself harshly. Simply acknowledge that fact and mentally note, “just thoughts, let it go, just thoughts, let it go” until you really do let it go. And if that does not work the first time, then may be the next time, or the next time. Even if you were stuck in a tsunami of thoughts throughout the walk, you had a good exercise.

6. Mindful eating

Pay attention to what we eat. How many times have we savored the first bite or two only to be swept away by thoughts, planning or worrying? Eat a meal in a quiet contemplative state. Don't push away thoughts when they arise, but don’t let them encompass us, either. Notice the taste of the food, its texture and how it makes us feel as we eat it.

7. Mindful talking

Pay attention to what motivates our speech. Most of the time, we’re taking to someone in auto-pilot mode or fight-or-flight mentality. If we stop to look in and understand “why” we’re about to say what we intend to say, it makes it more likely that we’ll speak with kindness and compassion. When mindless, we often let some really painful or thoughtless words slip.

8. Sleep

A wonderful way to meditate is to spend the 5-10 minutes that we spend lying on the bed before falling asleep in meditation. No pillow talk. Just follow the breath going in and out. Just look at the thoughts that arise and fade away. Was it an “in-breath or out-breath” before you fell asleep?

When we make an effort to turn our attention inwards, we are reconditioning ourselves. (Before this we were only looking outwards!) This looking inward can become habitual; a new conditioning where the minds focuses on itself frequently and regularly.



Where is the balance between worldly and spiritual pursuits?

There should be no boundaries between the spiritual life and daily mundane life.

The foundation of all spiritual practice is to let the Dhamma be the GPS of our lives. We learn to let go of our greed, have contentment and gratitude. We keep our precepts. We must earn a living and have righteous wealth but wealth should not be the one and overriding aim of our lives.

In conclusion,

Mindfulness meditation in daily life brings out the best in us. Its right effort whereby we promote only the wholesome and disconnect the unwholesome from transmission.

Meditation doesn't require burning incense or to sit cross-legged. There
are many alternatives. We could sit comfortably, stand, walk or lay down. Many forms of meditation are based upon the awareness of breath. Through our practice of the different styles, we will find the one
right for ourselves.

Now all that is left to do is set time aside each day to reflect, relax and
meditate. By creating a daily practice, we can expect to achieve greater
clarity in our lives. You will be amazed by life changing results it offers. [As of today, I’ve practiced meditation for 867 days in a row and I certainly enjoy the benefits of this daily practice]

May all beings be happy!

Learn and Grow!

Inge Santoso, B. Com

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Metta Meditation to Overcome Ill-Will by Ajahn Sujato, 7th Global Conference on Buddhism, 10-11 Dec 2011


Ajahn Sujato opened his talk by sharing about a trending “We Are the 99%” movement in USA. While in Buddhism, it is “We Are the 100%”. It is “may ALL beings be happy,” not “may MOST being be happy.”

Buddhism has the ideal of “may all beings be happy”, but in everyday life, it may seem unattainable. That’s why it is important to practice, little by little, and start where we are.

Some points on metta meditation

  1. Get a feeling of our body. Start where we are.
  2. Have a sense of patience. It is not something you can push. In meditation sometimes the slower, the better it is. It is about to experience now rather than wanting to experience the next.
  3. Recognize the emotion that you are feeling. Whatever it is you are feeling, just notice it. It is not about working out where this feeling comes from. Simply feel…what does anxiety feel like? What does happiness feel like? It is not favoring or opposing, but just watch the emotions.

Metta, loving kindness, is a real feeling. We can catch that feeling and hold it like holding a little bird in our hands. Do not hold it too tight; do not hold it too loose.

When you practice metta meditation, the feeling becomes part of who you are and it will stay with you. The more we practice, the more we know how the mind works.

Guided metta meditation session. First, by feeling the body, then feeling metta inside your body towards:

  1. yourself (may I be happy)
  2. loved person (sometimes it is better not to use family members because you tend to have mixed emotions when it comes to family members) (may loved person be happy)
  3. neutral person (may neutral person be happy)
  4. disliked person (may disliked person be happy)

(If you want a copy of the guided metta meditation by Ajahn Sujato, you can download it here)

May this note be beneficial to you all.

May all beings be happy!

Learn and Grow!

Inge Santoso, B. Com

Applying the Middle Path in a Life Full of Conflicting Demands – Ven. Master Guo Jun, 7th Global Conference on Buddhism, 10-11 Dec 2011


This is my notes on the presentation by Ven. Master Guo Jun at 7th Global Conference on Buddhism, 10th December 2011.


How to solve conflicts in life?

  • be optimistic? not to be pessimistic
  • be objective? not to be subjective
  • be rational? not to be emotional

The practice of middle path is to go beyond subjective and objective because objectivity is made of many subjective parts. Ven. Master Guo Jun gave an example about travelling on the plane. When it was stuffy on a plane and the passengers needed more air, they wanted to open the plane door. Although the passengers thought that they were objective in coming into conclusion to open the door, it was actually a collective of subjective opinions. When the pilot did not agree, one against many, the pilot was seen to have a subjective opinion. The solution is not to be objective or subjective, but to be realistic.

Extreme          Middle Path          Extreme

Subjective          Realistic                   Objective

Realistic is to go beyond appearances, to look at dependent origination and to look at cause and effect. The practice of the middle path is to go beyond dualities. The Platform Sutra mentions 36 pairs of dualities. There is actually no definite meaning in reality. For example, if your height is 170cm. Is it tall or short? Tall or short compared to whom?

In the core of all disputes, conflicts and disagreements, there is an attitude of “You are wrong. I am right.” People are attached to thinking that they are right.

There are two types of conflicts:

  • within the self, for example about what to choose, what to do. This type of conflict usually arises because of lack of wisdom.
  • between self and environment/people. This type of conflict usually arises because of lack of compassion.

Problems arise because we tend to have a lot of compassion when it comes to our own faults, to have a lot of wisdom in seeing other people’s faults.

Extreme                       Middle Path                      Extreme

Rational                         Compassion                         Feeling

Logic                              Wisdom                               Emotion

Being realistic = wisdom + compassion

Being realistic starts with the relaxation of the body and mind.

Relaxation creates calm, clarity, understanding and compassion. It is like the surface of a pond, when the surface is calm then it reflects what is outside, too see something as it is. When the water of the pond becomes calm, impurities start to settle and you can see inside the pond clearly.

Understanding comes from deep listening that results in an open mind (wisdom) and an open heart (compassion). Misunderstanding is often caused by not listening, resulting in conflicts.

The session ended with 10-minute meditation accompanied with music.


May all beings be happy

Learn and Grow!

Inge Santoso, B. Com

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fostering Peace in Multi-religious and Multi-cultural Communities–Ajahn Brahmavamso, 7th Global Conference on Buddhism, Jakarta 10-11 December 2011


This is my notes on the keynote speech of 7th GCB delivered by Ajahn Brahm. Please remember that it was written based on my personal notes and not a transcript of the speech.

Since the keynote speech was delivered after lunch, the time when many speakers dread to speak, the graveyard shift of conference, Ajahn Brahm  appropriately opened his keynote speech with a ghost story. Not only the story captured the participants’ interest, but the moral of the story also set off the topic. The moral of the ghost story was that the people who were buried in cemetery, regardless of their race, religion, age, gender, were able to reside together in harmony. If dead people can do it, can we who are alive do the same?

Is there a solution to inter-religious harmony?

To answer this question, Ajahn Brahm told a story from his book “Opening the Door to Your Heart” entitled The Most Beautiful Sound.

An uneducated old man was visiting a city for the first time in his life. He had grown up in a remote mountain village and now he was enjoying his first visit to his children’s modern homes.

One day, while he was being shown around the city, the old man heard an awful noise. He had never heard such noise and he wanted to find its cause. He found that the grating sound came from a room in the back of a house where a small boy was practicing on a violin. When he was told that it was a “violin”, he decided he never wanted to hear such a horrible thing again.

The next day, in a different part of the city, the old man heard a sound that was enchanting. He also wanted to find its cause. Following the delightful sound back to its source, he came to a room in front of a house where a maestro was performing a sonata on a violin.

At once, the old man realized his mistake. The terrible sound that he had heard the previous day was not the fault of the violin, or even the boy. It was just that the young man had yet to learn his instrument well.

The third day, in a different part of the city, the old man heard another sound that surpassed in its beauty even that of the maestro on her violin. What was that sound that moved the old man’s heart more powerfully than anything before? It was a large orchestra playing a symphony. 

It was the same with religion. When we come across a religious enthusiasts causing strife with his beliefs, it is incorrect to blame the religion. It is just that the novice has yet to learn his religion well. When we come across a maestro of her religion, it is such a sweet encounter that it inspires us for many years whatever their beliefs.

When every member of an orchestra was a maestro of their own instrument and they had further learned how to play together in harmony, then it would be the most beautiful sound in the world.

Learn our religion well and let us go further and learn how to play with other religion in harmony together.

Ajahn Brahm continued telling his story about how he was interviewed by a journalist regarding the news of a US marine flushing a Quran down the toilet. The journalist asked, “If someone took Buddhist holy books and flushed them down the toilet, what would you do? Ajahn Brahm answered, “First, I will call a plumber.” The journalist commented that it was the most sensible thing he heard all day. Then Ajahn Brahm continued by saying that you could flush books, destroy statues or vihara, but you could not destroy compassion, forgiveness and peace.

You need to differentiate between the container and the content. Churches, mosques, temples are just container; it’s the content, the people that are important. Buddhist statue is a container, but it is the content such as  peace, virtue, compassion and forgiveness that are more important. What’s important is the Dhamma, not the book. 

Instead of focusing on the container, remember the content, what Buddha actually teaches: virtue, peace and compassion.

Ajahn Brahm also shared his story about his friendship with a Benedictine monk. Once they had a discussion about what do the Buddhist feel about God. The Benedictine monk said that every human being was always searching for God. Ajahn Brahm said that Buddhists were always in search of truth, compassion, peace and virtue. If every human being was searching for the same thing, then God also meant truth, compassion, peace and virtue. In conclusion, seek what’s in common between religions to live in harmony.

In a nutshell, to foster peace in multi-religious and multi-cultural communities, we need to:

  • Learn our religion well and learn how to play with other religion in harmony together
  • Focus on the content instead of focusing on the container
  • Seek what’s in common

May all beings be happy!

Learn and Grow!

Inge Santoso, B. Com

Practicing What We Have Learned


(don’t be offended by the photo Mom…smile! hahaha)

My mother and I entered Balai Kartini’s auditorium to attend the last session of 7th Global Conference on Buddhism after afternoon coffee break only to find that our seats had been taken. Although we were told that we were allowed to change seat after each break, most people did not change seats to keep things convenient. It was definitely faster to know exactly where to go when we came back from breaks.

Anyway, when I found that someone had taken my seat, did I think bad or negative thoughts? Yes, I did. Did I feel negative emotions? Yes, I did. Even after listening for Dhamma for almost two days, negative thoughts and feelings still arose.

These were my initial thoughts and feelings:

  • How dare she take my seat? It was the perfect spot for taking photos. Why did she take mine when there were other seats available on the same row?
  • Why did she create a disturbance? When she took my seat, I had to take someone else’s seat and it just made everybody on that row feel annoyed and uncomfortable?

What happened after I had these negative thoughts and feelings? What did I do? At first I tried to tell her that it was my previous seat and I would like to sit there again. She said that the MC had told us that it was free to change seat, therefore she decided to do just that. Once again I tried to make her understand that there were five of us in the group and moving one seat actually created an inconvenience not to one person but to five people. She stood her ground citing her right to sit there. Since the session was about to start, I decided to just move to other seats that were available in the middle of the row.

What was happening in my mind while I had that conversation with her? I was actually quite aware of my thoughts and feelings during the whole process. I believe that it is my meditation practice that actually helped me to be aware of the rising thoughts and feelings. Since I was aware of these thoughts and feelings, I could analyze and manage them. When I saw the feeling of annoyance rising, I remembered Ajahn Brahm’s advice not to let anything that happened to destroy our virtue, peace and compassion. I thought changing seat was just a small change, anicca, I would not let it ruin my feeling of peace and happiness. I decided to put what I learned from great speakers of the conference into practice!

In addition to deciding to be peaceful and happy no matter what, I asked myself a question to build up my compassion. The question was: “What else can it mean?” Then I started to think about positive reasons why she moved to my seat. These were some of the reasons that I thought of:

  • perhaps she wanted to take better photos of the speakers because my seat was really one of the best spot to take photo
  • perhaps she wanted to have a chance to give respects to the monks by standing in Anjali when they passed the aisle
  • perhaps she had a stomachache and needed frequent trips to the bathroom
  • perhaps the people who sat next to her were stinky and she could not stand sitting beside them anymore HAHAHA

Anyway by thinking these thoughts, I started to have a feeling of compassion towards her and the feeling of anger, annoyance disappeared.

At the end, I was actually grateful to have this experience because I had a chance to practice what I have learned and felt the benefit of the practice. I can especially feel the benefit of my meditation practice in a situation like this, such as being aware of my thoughts and feelings, understanding anicca, and letting go.

What would you think, feel or do in a situation like this? Would you have felt angry? Would you still keep the anger and hatred even until now? Once again, remember what Ajahn Brahm taught us: remember what went right instead of what went wrong. Choose to remember the good times of learning Dhamma from great masters during the conference instead of losing one lousy seat!

I hope this story can help you to choose to think, feel and do the right thing when similar situation arises.

May all beings be happy!

Learn and Grow!

Inge Santoso, B. Com

Monday, December 12, 2011

Living Without Fear and Anger – by Ringu Tulku Rinpoche at 7th Global Conference on Buddhism in Jakarta


On 10-11 December 2011, I attended the 7th Global Conference on Buddhism in Jakarta. The first speaker was Ringu Tulku Rinpoche on the topic of Living Without Fear and Anger.

This is a summary of Ringu Tulku Rinpoche’s talk.


The problem with anger is when we are not able to deal with anger. Anger causes destructions and harms not only to myself but to other people. We often keep the anger and hatred in our heart, thus keeping the hurt and eventually harm ourselves. We also have many regrets after we say or do something in uncontrollable anger.

What is anger? Anger is a disturbed peace of mind. It often creates malevolent feelings and brings an aura of unease.

We often react to a situation with the feeling of anger because we don’t know there is an alternative to anger. First, we need to learn to see the purpose of anger. Anger usually arises when we are not satisfied or something was wrong. Second, we need to transform the feeling of anger so that the purpose of anger is served without causing unhappiness to ourselves and others.

Some people say that we need anger to stand up against injustice. When there is injustice, when something is not right, you can have either anger or compassion. What we need to understand is that the emotion of anger and compassion come from a similar source. The difference is how you look at the situation.

If you focus on the person who does the wrong thing, then you have anger. If you focus on the issue, then you have compassion. If we focus on the issue, there is no need to be angry to the people.

Although some say that anger provides energy and power, compassion actually provides more sustainable energy. Anger is like a flare of fire. It flares up, then it’s over and you lose all the energy afterward. On the other hand, since compassion beneficial to everybody, there’s an enthusiasm to keep going, thus creates more sustainable energy in the long run.

How do we deal with anger? We need to see WHY you are angry, find the issue. Then we find solutions to that issue, solutions that can benefit everybody.

Is it easy to deal with anger? No, it is not easy because we have the habit to be angry.

Sometimes people say that we have the right to be angry. Yes, we have the right to be angry, but we need to remember that being angry does not solve anything. Therefore, it is better to focus on the issue and be compassionate.


Fear is being afraid that something bad is going to happen. Fear is suffering because even when everything is fine in our lives, fear can still bring unhappiness. For example, although work is not stressing us, but when we have fear and start worrying, then it will bring stress and tension.

We need to remember that worrying does not help us. Nobody says that something will not happen just because we worry about it.

What do we need to do? We need to our best to prevent negative things from happening, but since we cannot be sure that we can change everything, then it is not useful to worry. Worrying does not change anything and it only brings pains. Uncertainty is a natural phenomenon. It is a fact and we need to accept it. Just prepare and do our best!

Since having fear and worrying do not change anything, it is wise to learn how to let go of fear.

Some people say that we need fear to survive, to avoid danger. It is not fear that enables you to survive and avoid danger, it is wisdom!

For example, crossing a road in India. IMG_0068

If you want to be able to cross a road in India, you need to be unafraid. You must be clear in your mind and have the presence of the mind. You don’t panic and you walk slowly across the road. In order to survive crossing the street, you must have wisdom and not fear.

In conclusion,

Not anger, but compassion!

Not fear, but wisdom!

Instead of living with fear and anger…live with wisdom and compassion!

Learn and Grow!

Inge Santoso, B. Com

Monday, December 05, 2011

End of Year Evaluation 2011

Yesterday I did my end-of-year evaluation at Excelso, Solo Square. I tried to write down every good and bad things that I did or happened to me in the year 2011. I wrote down more than 75 things good things and less than 10 bad things. The list was not final because I knew there were more but I just couldn’t remember offhand.

Out of the good things that I did or what happened to me

  • 21% related to spirituality, personal development and learning
  • 17% related to meditation and Bali Usada
  • 15% related to seminar, coaching, teaching
  • 9% related to buying things
  • 8% related to writing
  • 8% related to friendship and connections
  • 6% related to travelling
  • 3% related to financial goals
  • 13% related to random things

The negative things were mostly about wasting time for unimportant things such as watching DVD (hundreds of DVDs), playing Zuma on Facebook, Facebooking, and chatting on Blackberry. Then making many poor choices in the area of health, eating too much, not enough exercise. I hope I can improve and do better in these areas next year.

What am I going to do in the future?

  1. Continue doing the good things that I’ve done
  2. Prioritize and make better choices in the area of weakness
  3. Balance things out

I have not decided the theme for year 2012. Do you have a suggestion for me?

Learn and Grow!

Inge Santoso, B. Com

Friday, December 02, 2011

Can You Grow Beyond Your Talent?


According to Daniel Coyle in his book The Talent Code – Greatness Isn’t Born, It’s Grown,  “Skill is a cellular insulation that wraps neural circuits and that grows in response to certain signals.” The more time and energy are put in the right kind of practice, the more skill can be developed. So it is definitely possible to grow beyond your talent!

If you want to know more stories on how people develop their skills through right practice, I recommend you to read the book.

Now…I want to share my personal story on this topic.

As you may know from my previous post, I started learning meditation in August 2009. A few months after attending my first meditation retreat, Bali Usada Tapa Brata 1, I re-attended it with my mother in October. When we came back from the retreat, my parents and I went to see Mr. T who had a “supernatural” power and had a discussion about meditation. He asked me why I would practice meditation because I did not have a talent for it. I told him that I found meditation to be beneficial for my emotional health. He said that it was true, yet he warned me not to be disappointed if I could not be successful in developing my meditation skill to higher levels. Since I practiced meditation mainly for my health, especially my emotional health, I kept practicing diligently despite his warning.

In 2010, I started attending Bali Usada Tapa Brata 2 and learned a great deal more. I learned to be more adept in developing my harmonious mind, as well as practicing deeper techniques. At the end of the year, I met again with Mr. T. He asked me whether I still practiced meditation. I told him that I practiced every day for about 45-60 minutes with the method I learned in Tapa Brata 2. He told me that I had a good progress. He was wondering who my teacher was because the teacher had to be a good teacher to be able to teach me to achieve this kind of progress. I told him that it was Mr. Merta Ada who taught me. He just nodded and told me to keep going. I supposed he was curious to see how I would turn out.

Just before I went to Tapa Brata 3 this year, I met with him once again. He did not say anything during our discussion, but when I was going to walk to my car, he suddenly told me that I had been successful in my meditation practice. He told me that I should be able to succeed in my later practice if I decided to pursue it. I was actually quite surprised when he told me this because personally I did not feel so much different in my practice between now and two years ago when he told me I had no talent for meditation.

From my story, you can see how you can still be successful although someone said that you had no talent for it. Skill can be learned by the right kind of practice!

I was actually glad when Mr. T told me that I had no talent because if I was successful, it was because of my effort and hard work. For most of my life, since I was at school until now, a lot of people saw my success and often told me that it was due to my talents and my parent’s supports. They rarely said that it was due to my own effort! I felt fortunate to have a lot of supports and talents, but sometimes I longed to be appreciated for my effort.

With meditation, I can finally prove how I can also be successful based on my own effort. I do not say that I have no support because I do have supports from my teachers and meditation friends, yet they can’t do the work for me, only I can sit and meditate!

How much effort did I put into my practice? Since I attended Tapa Brata 1, I have practiced every single day! Until today, it has been 853 days. I attended Tapa Brata 1 twice, Tapa Brata 2 three times and recently Tapa Brata 3. I also attended two meditation retreats with different teachers. No easy feat but well worth the effort!

I want to see how it will be like when I hit 10,000 hours of practice! I still have a long way to go but I certainly enjoy this journey.

I hope this story can inspire you to keep practicing, keep going, keep developing yourself. Other people can say that you have no talent, but if you really want it, you certainly can grow your skill beyond your talent!

Learn and Grow!

Inge Santoso, B. Com