Without a doubt, 2020 has been one of the most challenging and unusual year of my lifetime. While some or most of us have experienced fear, anxiety and heightened uncertainty or may even have experienced some sense of isolation, this year has brought about many golden opportunities to reflect upon.

This reflection has certainly dawned on me that I have been blessed in numerous ways by the Triple Gems.
Hence, I am going to walk through this year’s journey with earnest gratefulness — to our lineage masters, Abbot Jing Yuan, the Sangha Community, my family members as well as all my virtuous friends.

  1. The COVID-19 crisis started overseas and rose at an alarming rate in January 2020. Yet most of us was totally unaware then. At that time, I was travelling in Italy and Ireland with my family and remembered seeing many tourists in Italy during my trip. We finally returned back home in late January only to realise the seriousness of this disease. When we reached Singapore, we heard that the pandemic has reached Italy and many were affected and people were dying from it. I remembered how relieved I was to have arrived home safely and felt very blessed.
  1. I am grateful to Abbot and the Sangha community for their constant prayers and dedications for me and my family. The many online Pujas, Dharma lectures, Enrichment classes, Mass Chanting as well as other Dharma events like Joyous Rhapsody etc which I attended during the year has provided me with all the moral support I needed and sustained my sanity as I take refuge in the Triple Gems again and again.
  1. Fear and anxiety for my daughter’s safety gripped me when COVID-19 started to rise at an alarming rate in Europe. At that time she was still studying in Ireland. I was very relieved when she managed to return home safely in March. I truly believe there is no better and safer place than home as we have utmost confidence in our Government’s ability to manage the pandemic. I really am thankful to be a Singaporean and grateful to the government, all frontline workers and many others for their dedication to fight the COVID virus and the help they rendered to keep Singapore and its citizens safe. The pandemic in Europe showed no signs of improvement and fear gripped me again when my daughter has to return back to school in August. I prayed fervently for a miracle to happen and it did! My daughter managed to transfer into NUS to continue her course of study in Singapore, against all odds. I am so grateful to Shifu and the Triple Gems for this miracle.
  1. Due to COVID-19, all Lamrim classes have to be conducted virtually through Zoom. All this while I have not been very well versed with computer but this change has inadvertently forced and propelled me to familiarise and learn more about Information Technology. Since then I have improved tremendously in this area. I am grateful to all my classmates who supported me during these virtual weekly Lamrim classes.
  1. As a result of COVID, I was able to attend Abbot’s 10 discourses on ‘the Great Mahayana path’ as well as the discourses on the Array of Stalks Sutra. If those were physical classes I may not have been able to attend all of them due to tight travelling time and work. I am even more grateful to Abbot for igniting my aspiration to pursue no other path besides this Mahayana path. Thanks to Abbot’s exhortations, I now truly and deeply understand which path I should take.
  1. I am grateful to our Teacher for the Global Lamrim 2 discourses which has deepened my knowledge of the Lamrim with a much better understanding of Master Jih-Chang’s commentaries. She has inspired me to understand the importance of listening, contemplating and practicing correctly in accordance with the teachings. Listening to her discourses daily has helped me to maintain mindfulness of my actions of body, speech and mind throughout each day. Thank you, Teacher.
  1. It is really a blessing for me to be able to learn from the ‘Introduction to Serenity and Insight’ in this lifetime. I pray for all favourable conditions to be able to continue to learn continuously from our Teacher.
  1. I am grateful to my Virtuous friends for giving me opportunities to accumulate merits when they invited me to volunteer in the Lights Festival, in Blossom Seeds event, in Class graduation projects etc….. Connecting with them has been a constant pillar of strength and inspiration to me. I thank Shifu for this condusive environment for Dharma practice.
  1. I am very grateful to be invited by Venerable Zu Guang to host the VenTalk on 14 November together with Sis Siew Chin. I am grateful to Venerable for providing this platform for me to relate and practise my Dharma learning with the challenging circumstances and situations revolving around me. She has not only provided me advice for my spiritual growth but has also given me great opportunities to accumulate merits and clear obscurations especially in this year of uncertainty and unrest. I know that I really needed to accumulate a lot more merits and a lot more faith to ride through these difficult times. My participation in VenTalk: A Recollection on the 26/12/2020 has been the best closure to year 2020 for me.
  1. I feel very honoured to partner up with 11 ladies who are not only beautiful but also beautiful in their hearts. Each and every one of them has volunteered so much of their time in Dharma Propagation consistently and I do feel ashamed that I have not been doing as much as them. This event has given me a great opportunity to rejoice with each and everyone of them and learn from their lessons that they shared in their Ven Talk sessions. They have also inspired me to emulate their good dispositions. Thank you my dear Dharma friends / sisters. I am especially awed by Venerable’s courage to take on Ven Talk in English to benefit the English speaking Dharma practitioners like myself. Her determination and commitment to do each session to her best has been another great learning lesson for me. As what Venerable told me, even if it has been beneficial only to just one person it is still worthwhile. I will hold this dearly to heart in my Dharma practice. Through Venerable and my virtuous friends, I do feel that I have inched bit by bit closer to Buddhahood.

Last but not least, I am grateful that I finally have this opportunity to start learning the Collected Topics this November with the 3rd round Chinese class.

I am deeply grateful to the Triple Gems, Lineage Masters, Abbot and the Sangha community.
May our lineage masters, Abbot and the Sangha community be in good health and live a long live to turn the Dharma wheel.

With Metta,
Nancy Chua