Walking around the old lanes of tough memories.
Suddenly I found myself parking my old car around the corner of the row of old townhouses where I spent several years growing up as a teenager. Luckily it was a public holiday so all the roads were quiet and most shops were closed. So, I had plenty of parking space and the privacy of walking around without a single person around the area. That made the atmosphere more poignantly melancholy and time seemed to be standing still.
These townhouses used to be very modern some sixty years ago as they were spacious with at least four floors. They were all built with similar design as the construction company actually own all the land on this few square miles and the owners came up with a very profitable real estate project which sold like hot cakes to rising Chinese middle class people. That was how our family upgraded from working class area to booming middle class neighbourhood.
Life’s really funny! Later on, I had a new circle of friends and found out that one friend was the actual school girl I often saw at the big house in the corner. Her uncle who owned the whole housing project also used to live there several years. Then, they all moved to a really big mansion in the upper class area of Bangkok. Her family was very famous and well known as they used to own one big bank! Several old neighbours moved away to a much bigger house after making so much wealth during the booming decades. I used to know them all as I started a campaign which needed all the residents’ signatures. The old wealthy Chinese adults were very impressed by my boldness and we became friends. I even had incredible job offer with enormous amount of minty from a tycoon; but I was too stupid to know it was for real.
How could a humble and simple youngster take the fantastic offer seriously! Later on, I read all the news about this Chinese tycoon looking like an old businessman; his biggest export company of seafood and other businesses, including his political connections. Later on, I met his nephew who went to my old college overseas in an alumni party. It seemed I had the habit of running into Chinese tycoons and Thai royalties throughout my life. But I was happy that things turned out as it has been. I could never imagine myself being happy in a chauffeur driven car, having to wear black suits and having meals in five star restaurants everyday. The catch was that I knew they all expected me to bring in profits and progress to their companies. I wasn’t willing to work that hard to have a successful worldly career. That Chinese gentleman sold the big block of townhouses nearby and had his own high rise buildings and more new factories.
My parents and sibling thought I had gone mad from studying too much. They all vowed never to let their children study too long overseas. I had lots of good memories with my Chinese neighbours who were quite intrigued by my personality. Most of their children all had been educated in America so they could verify that I had certainly been abroad. I was often invited to have meals and drinks with my neighbours but I had to politely declined as I was half vegetarian. So, they had Chinese vegetarian food cooked by their chef packed in stacked food carrier for me during the Chinese vegetarian festival. My siblings couldn’t believe their eyes. There was so much competition, rivalry and comparison in my family that I had to isolate myself from their circles. I grew up in the old townhouse with lots of pains and disappointments as they often inflicted hurtful feelings on my memories.
My safety valve was to walk around the area in the evening and making friends with old Chinese people who came out to gather in front of their houses in cool the evening. The old bank building nearby used to have a big pond where lots of people would do their walking exercises. That’s where I would be learning Chinese language by chatting to some elderly people. Some houses would sell fast food during working day so I became their regular customer. I even had a friendly unisex hair salon who would cut my hair at a special price for years. Some elderly Chinese ladies had their own restaurants nearby, so I got invited to have dinner too. Life was so much fun and interesting outside my house.
I missed these old people and used to drop by to tell them that I had moved to a new place. They would be very happy to see me but they would tell me how one of the members in their group had passed away. Nowadays, I couldn’t find any of these old Chinese friends around, though I searched for them and spied on their houses. I could only see the younger generations inside these houses. My good old days of friendly chatting in Chinese language were no more. It was hard trying to take photos of these townhouses without emotional conflicts erupting inside myself. I knew things always change and I had to let go.
Some people sold their block of townhouses to wealthy new comers who replace the old houses with modern designed buildings with lifts! These people seemed cold and very mean as they would not allow me to park my car by the roadside neat their houses. In the old days, people used to quarrel about parking spaces in front of their houses; they would put barrier to prevent others from parking their cars. I was quite dismayed by the quarrel my siblings had with the neighbours over parking spaces. So, I had a peace talk with my neighbours abs we became friendly. The whole deal worked out very well; our staff would allow them to park in front of our house but when we needed to park our car, they would move their cars for us, and vice versa. This had shifted my siblings’ mode of thinking and stop the unnecessary arguments among workers.
Small misunderstanding led to bigger lies and conflicts as some of my siblings began to get me out of my share of my inheritance. That was the last straw which decided on my fate and a sudden move had to be initiated. My uncle told me to get out fast for fear of my safety. My heart was crushed in disappointment and pain for they were never grateful for all my effort to solve all the conflicts with our neighbours. So many things had happened and I had to always rescue some of my siblings from being sued and put in jail. I was known as a good negotiator and they often wondered how I got along with all the difficult and powerful people. I am afraid ‘money sickness’ had gone to their brains.
It dawn upon me that they were not practicing Buddhist teaching at all; they had become very materialistic and tried to join the upper class circle and high society. They had their priorities all wrong and were too stubborn to admit their mistakes and faults. Karmic rules really frightened me when I started to see their bad karma taking affect years later. Luckily my father had past away many years, or else he would be blaming himself for all the consequences. I was very lucky to be the black sheep of my family; this made me surviving and avoiding several dangerous situations.
The old townhouse reminded me of the most challenging and difficult period of my life: being rejected by my own family and having to fight for my legal rights on inheritance. But I had to back down from the criminal procedure for the sake of my mother. She was too weak to speak her mind; she’s been under the guidance of my siblings. So, the family has been utterly broken because of greed and money. Had I not been a practicing Buddhist teaching, I could have retaliated with my anger in order to teach them a hard lesson. But my heart would never find peace. So, I had to get my priorities in right order.
Good karma and positive thinking brought me to new places and new friends. Life continued to be challenging but not as painful as those years in the old townhouses. An old friendly astrologer used to read my horoscope for me after I just came back from overseas. He honestly warned me about my siblings as the horoscope indicated that they were my enemies who would try to destroy me. I dismissed his reading and told him that’s impossible. Years later, after talking to a friendly monks and having a vivid dream, I realised that I took everything from my siblings in the past life. My wish to know the reasons behind my siblings’ vengeance was answered in my horrific dream.
I was a high ranking leader who ordered soldiers to plunder all the enemies’ houses, to gather all their goods and valuables with all their animals and rounding these prisoners back to our city. They became like servants and workers in the fields; they had all their properties confiscated and their children being others’ properties. They were full of anger and wanted revenge. They swore to be born or lived under the same roof as me one day and to take all my belongings as a revenge for what I had done to them. I woke up with my heart pounding loudly and lots of resentment for my past actions.
I felt it was good to pay back all my debts in this lifetime so that I would have a more peaceful life in next reincarnation. I thought they couldn’t have realised why they had this incredible drive to be against me in every turn during our childhood. They had caused me a lot of pain since I was a kid; making my parents to blame me for everything. So, I made peace with the past and let bygones be bygones. I have intended this lifetime to be my reincarnation before my final reincarnation in next life, so I have to worked diligently towards my goal of enlightenment in my next lifetime.
I think we could never have everything as we would wish for. There’s a higher authority or powerful guardian who makes sure there’s a balance in everything. Most of my wealthy friends often had problems which money became useless so they had to resort to mediums, magicians, monks or astrologers. When it’s a matter of life or death, they would ask for my advice or help. I could hardly afford a new car or camera, yet my friends offer me the use of their cars, condos, seaside holiday home, etc. So, I had been offered land, a house, a car, free use of holiday homes in the mountains or by the sea by several friends. I thanked them all for their kindness and trust but I had to stick to my basic gardening lifestyle.
I shouldn’t be distracted from my lofty goal for my next lifetime, for this is a holy quest for me. I could feel that many guardians or spirits are watching over me and wanting me to be successful. That’s probably why strange things often occurred around me and my friends noticed there something mysterious about. I just wish more people would realise that there’s so much energy out there in the universe; something sacred with healing power waiting to be tapped into. But you couldn’t have a dirty glass to receive wonderfully pure energy. The spiritual path is the only way to be in touch with the other which could never be perceived by thinking.
Wishing you peace, good health and prosperity.
Stay strong and cheerful.