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Reflection: The joy in fixing things

Since it's almost the time of Spring (Lunar New Year), many people would conduct spring cleaning at their homes. Sometimes, we will throw away old things which we do not have use of anymore. More often, throwing things away not only happening during Spring Cleaning, but also every day. However, we are not aware enough to see this happening.

For example, when things break, most of the time we would immediately think of throwing the item away, and buy a new one. This happens very commonly. I think it is because of how our society has changed. Truth to be told, it is not just our society. The entire Earth has changed. With globalization, and the rise of manufacturing and technology, throwing old things away seem to be more common as new things keep coming up. When our clothes become "out of fashion", old, or has holes, we would want to throw them away and buy new ones.

One real life example which led me to write about this was a conversation between a Chan Master and his disciple. This Chan Master only had one set of monk's robes with him. He has been wearing it ever since he became a monastic. And so, there were many holes in the robe as he did not change a new set. All he did was to patch the robe up with a fabric of the same color.

One day, his disciple saw him sewing his robe, and asked him, "Master, we saw that your robe has too many holes. It is broken. We should get you a new one."

The master replied. "There is no need to get me a new one. All I have to do is to patch the holes up. We cannot always take the easy way out and get a replacement every time you see something broken. The value of the item will be lost if you do that".

Hearing what the Chan Master had said, the disciples understood what their master wanted to teach them.

Reading about this story struck me so deep. Most of the time, we don't even know what we are throwing away. We simply just throw because it is so convenient to do that. Food, paper, water, leftovers, utensils, stationery etc. The list just goes on. Therefore we should look after our blessings, and think through again, if the item should be thrown away, repaired, or donated? Of course this is just the superficial understanding of what the Chan Master is teaching.

His profound actions was teaching us to mend our conduct, and look after our blessings. Most of the time, we turn one eye away at something minute, although we know it is not the right conduct. Something small like this becomes a habit once we do it more than 3 times. He is telling us to look after our own conduct, reflect, and change if it is not in accordance to the Dharma.

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