2015/01/09

Reflections from a 10-day Meditation

Recently returned from a second 10-day Vipassana meditation. If the first 10-day sit was a trailer or teaser, this one finally felt like the first episode. Would like to record some reflections from this second sit, as reminder and seeds.

1. This past year of encountering dhamma (teachings of Buddha, or actually of any saintly beings) has been a most significant turning point. Being among sincere and diligent cultivators, and learning the teachings of wisdom, have filled my hearts with four gifts.

First, gratitude. Hearing the wholesome teachings, and being inspired to walk on the paths of truth, have filled me with such joy and gratitude for the endless people who made it possible. From the saints over the ages and across cultures, to the generations of teachers and practitioners who maintained the teachings and the meditation techniques, to my parents who instilled the values and gave me a moral foundation, to my current community of noble friends, to the people who give me rides to meditation center, to the servers who cooked and cleaned so that I can have a pure and care-free environment to perform deep "spiritual operations"... I owe them so much that I can only pay it forward.

2014/12/16

Science Disolves Self

Read an article about horizontal gene transfer, where "DNA passes from one organism to another generally unrelated one, rather than moving ‘vertically’ from parent to child".
In fact, horizontal gene transfer has happened between all kinds of living things throughout the history of life on the planet – not just between species, but also between different kingdoms of life. Bacterial genes end up in plants; fungal genes wind up in animals; snake and frog genes find their way into cows and bats. It seems that the genome of just about every modern species is something of a mosaic constructed with genes borrowed from many different forms of life.
It seems that genes frequently "jump" from one organism to another for the purpose of perpetuating the genes themselves -- regardless of the opinion of the whole genome. The genomes seem more permeable and dynamic than I had thought, as a layperson to the biological sciences.

2014/12/02

More China Impressions

This round in more depth.

1. Thanks to inspiration from friends, I held the intention of getting to know my grandparents on this trip, and record the "interviews" of their life stories. This is probably among the most meaningful things I have ever done in life. It filled me with awe and gratitude. I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone to ask their grandparents about their life stories and their ancestors. It will surely be an unexpected journey of discovery, remembrance, and thanksgiving.

I am lucky to have all four grandparents still living healthily. They are in their late seventies and mid eighties. Every meeting with them could be the last time I see them. This very real urgency added to my curiosity about their life, their times, and by extension, who I am, and where I came from.