Blogger Recognition Award

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A day ago, I was nominated by a kind blogging friend, Ena of the prettyplusandproud blog for the Blogger Recognition Award. I feel extremely honored and I thank her very much! Moreover, I commend her dedicated social advocacy.

The Rules of the Award are as Follows:

  1. Thank the blog who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  2. Write a post to show the award.
  3. Share the experience that prompted you to start blogging.
  4. Give a piece of advice to new bloggers.
  5. Nominate 15 other blogs and personally inform them of their nomination.

How Pure Land Sutras started:

I started translating Chinese Mahayana Pure Land Buddhist sutras in 2014 after realizing that many important  sutras and scriptures that I had long taken for granted were mostly unavailable in the West. What had begun as a project for a short tractate turned into a delightful three year odyssey of translations, essays, poems, discussions  and correspondence with new friends. All of my posts, articles, translations, poems and essays are free and in the Public Domain, and I encourage other authors to donate their works into the Public Domain as well. In October of last year, a Dharma friend encouraged me to start a blog to serve as a doorway to my translations, and that is how this blog started.

Advice to New Bloggers:

My advice is that one should give voice to those who deserve it most: People in need, worthy causes, small non profits and so forth. It does not matter if you receive only 1 follower or 10,000 followers, as long as a worthy thing is being said, great merit will result.

I Nominate:

https://essenceofbuddhism.wordpress.com

https://dailyhealthpoints.wordpress.com

https://inavukic.com

https://rothpoetry.wordpress.com

https://herschelmann.wordpress.com

https://yassy66.wordpress.com

https://seenorway.wordpress.com

https://danielpaulmarshall.com

https://bitesizedhamma.com

https://kannonsmercy.wordpress.com

https://pnco.wordpress.com

https://afarminiceland.com

https://fauxcroft.wordpress.com

https://runningtozen.org

https://anonymouslyautistic.net

I would like to thank all the visitors and followers who have shown my blog so much support since its inception, I am truly touched by your kindness!

 

The Moral of Gattaca (1997)

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Sterile waters have no fish, and pedants fail to see the big picture

Maxims of the Sages

Personally, I consider the film Gattaca (1997) to be among the finest films ever made. The relevant story, beautiful demeanors, moral message, retro aesthetic ambience and foresight perfectly weaves together to form a thought provoking and classic film that has stood the test of time.

For those who have not seen it, the film centers around the determined and mentally gifted protagonist Vincent Anton Freeman’s quest to overcome a world rampant with genetic discrimination—where the best embryos are genetically enhanced for a price (and the imperfect ones discarded) ; a not too distant future where job interviews consist of only a blood test to peek inside the applicant’s genetic profile. The best jobs go to the “valids” (i.e. those whose health and genetic profile are favorably above the threshold) while the rest (such as Vincent) are identified as “invalids” due to medical conditions or hereditary illnesses etc., and are relegated to the underclass of menial laborers.

I won’t go further into the plot details as reviews, clips and synopsis are freely available on the internet. I strongly recommend watching it.

However, I feel the film excellently embodies the moral maxim cited at the beginning: “Sterile waters have no fish, and pedants fail to see the big picture”(1)

Life is not about intolerance or pedantic prejudice and discrimination, but of broadmindedness and discernment. Success and sturdiness comes from using different people in accordance with their inclinations. To allow people’s strengths to shine while making allowances for their weaknesses.

In the Qunshu Zhiyao Volume II (3), it is recorded that even wastrels and scoundrels when given a post that suits their talents could become surprisingly constructive people.

On the other hand, pedantic selectiveness or partiality begets only one thing: Extinction.

According to Liao Fan’s Four Lessons (2):

Narrator: Next, we will see why Liao-Fan has no children. Liking cleanliness is a good thing, but it can become a problem if one becomes obsessive about cleanliness. There is an old saying, “Life springs from the dirt of the earth and water too clean often harbors no fish.”

Liao-Fan: The first reason why I feel I do not deserve a son is that I am overly attached to cleanliness, resulting in the lack of thoughtfulness for others…

Narrator: …harmony is the cultivator of all life.

Liao-Fan: But I have a quick temper and easily become angry….

Narrator: …loving-kindness is the basis of reproduction and harshness is the root of sterility.

Liao-Fan: I overly guard my own reputation and cannot sacrifice anything for the sake of others.….”

Thus harshness, pedantry, pride, discrimination, over selectiveness and prejudice will lead only to extinction through attrition. We must emulate Heaven and Earth, which is used as a metaphor to describe the all-embracing and boundless in Eastern thought. The petty mind will sacrifice a lot of positive potential that could otherwise have bloomed into wondrous fruits had the chance merely been bestowed.

Therefore, I believe  we ought to be tolerant in our lives, and wisely shepherd the strengths of others and skillfully tolerate their weaknesses. We should shun pedantry and consider the big picture.

To finish off, I would like to recommend Alfred Brendel’s passionate and sublime rendition of Schubert’s Impromptu Op. 90 No.3, which is the same piano piece used in the movie’s beautiful concert scene:

This blog post is released into the Public Domain

Sources:

My Public Domain posts on

(2) Liao Fan’s Four Lessons 

(3) Ancient Eastern Philosophy

(1) My free and Public Domain translation of Maxims of the Sages

Unite For Sight

I just wanted to introduce everyone to one of my favorite charities: Unite For Sight. They provide sight restoring surgeries and eye care to patients in Africa, India etc. who live in extreme poverty.

According to their FAQ section:

“I don’t have much money. Can I still help?

Yes! The average cost of a cataract surgery is $50 at Unite For Sight’s partner eye clinics. Small donations of even $10 or $20 make great impacts on the lives of patients living in extreme poverty. Larger donations make a very significant difference to the patients whose eye care you sponsor.”

http://www.uniteforsight.org/how-to-help/donation-faq-volunteers

I feel that if for such a small amount of money, we could give someone’s sight back, then it’s certainly worthwhile. Moreover, I like that:

“100% of all donations go to providing eye care for patients living in extreme poverty, and the 0.9% of total costs that are administrative costs or general expenses is funded by other sources.”

http://www.uniteforsight.org/what-we-do/financial-model

Thus, if anyone is interested, check out their website here:

http://www.uniteforsight.org

 

Unite For Sight

Eyes so bright

Let the blind

Cast woe behind

And open eyes

To wondrous light!