Things I learned last Christmas

This Christmas season was different. We’re not Christians and don’t really observe Christmas but like many of our friends join in the festivities and merry making that also marks the season of the ending of the year.   Normally, our family would go somewhere for a holiday but this year things are different. My 93-year…

Is wishing “Happy Wesak” a display of misunderstanding the Buddha’s message?

Well-meaning people all around the world are wishing their Buddhist friends and acquaintances a Happy Wesak. The conventional wisdom is that Buddhists should be happy as they joyously celebrate the birthday, Enlightenment and death more than two millennia ago of one Siddharta Gautama, the “founder” of Buddhism. There is irony in this, because Siddharta, who…

Brushing up the past

Today, I taught my 12-year old son how to polish his shoes. He was intrigued by the process and pleased with the outcome of eyeing his scruffy shoes looking much more presentable after a coating of bootblack and brushing. Even a small and not too difficult task, I felt good, having passed on to my…

The Monk who gave up (potentially) a few hundred Ferraris

Respect. Ajahn Siripanno looks like one of those rare individuals who either have a huge amount of courage, or are disturbed enough by the dhukka in this world to renounce a life where Daddy’s millions of dollars would guarantee him a comfortable of not lavish life. Of great interest to Unspun is the catalyst that started…

Impressions of Sister Jie Land

Guillin, China, has been a tourist hub for thousands of years. Over the Christmas break Unspun and family thought they’d try to go to somewhere cold but when we got there it was freezing at a daily average temperature of ) to 3 degrees C. The cold notwithstanding Guilin is a fun tourist destination. Things…

A bypass in life III – the postponment

Over the past month in the leadup to my bypass operation, I had been very careful about not falling sick or contracting any infection. But as luck would have it, I ran a fever yesterday, the eve of the operation. The surgeon, on discovering my fever, said he could not operate as it would be…