I think this has been the longest I’ve gone without blogging. I took so long to pen something down for a couple of reasons. First of all, it’s, of course, having a writer’s block. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say – I always do, it’s just that kickstarting the engine again after a hiatus is tougher than I thought. As vocal as I am on my Instagram page, I feel a lot of inner peace, so there was no impetus to write. Secondly, I’ve found a new hobby – gardening and I’m busy tending to my plants. I’d rather talk to vegetables than your Category 4 BaZi chart-holder.
I know I’ve been shitposting a lot on Instagram, but I don’t want anyone, especially those new to my page or blog, to think that I’m all about that or that’s all I can do. It’s entertaining to treat Instagram like a brain dump page and throw shade at the obvious morons giving Chinese metaphysics a bad name.
This year’s Chinese New Year was, without a doubt, my busiest. I know say the same thing every year, but my reach grows wider with each passing year, and the spikes get crazier. I usually take a break after Chinese New Year, only to return to a backlog. Next thing you know, I get burned out again and it’s been two months since my last entry. That said, I need to get into the groove of writing again – something I thoroughly enjoy and will never get tired of doing.
As you may or may not know, I was in Bhutan in March. It was my birthday trip. I make it a point to leave the country whenever my birthday is here, as it’s usually when I’m done with my Chinese New Year spike of BaZi readings, and also because Singapore is boring.
Bhutan was chosen due to a series of events culminating in a final push to just YOLO scoot there. A few friends took a trip there; an ex-client also visited Bhutan and sent me a message out of the blue with a picture of Tiger’s Nest one day, only for me to bump into him in person a few days later. You could say some “signs” pushed me to go there. Of course, there were some personal reasons too, but I don’t wish to go into the details of that other than to say that being an astrologer doesn’t mean I’m Heaven’s favourite child and that I don’t go through what any human being goes through.
I do still go through suffering – all sorts of it. I’m human too. But when I suffer, I do my best not to spread it, deal with myself the best I can, and ask for help if needed.
Anyway, it’s been almost six months into my new 10-year phase, so it’s a good time to look back at the past decade and set the tone for the current one. I wanted this trip to be memorable. I went there without any expectations, and my mind and heart were open to any experience that would come my way.
Bhutan is a country I’ve always wanted to visit. I didn’t know Bhutan existed until I found myself being the exchange buddy for the prince when he was in Singapore in 2007. He is the younger brother of the current king. Bhutan is the happiest country in the world, and anyone would be interested to see what warrants such a reputation. Bhutan being a Buddhist country, where 97% of the population is devoted to the faith, also made it a huge draw for me.
I don’t think this needs to be said: I was a Buddhist way before I was an astrologer.
Suck It – I Did Not Change After My Trip
I know what some people think: I will suddenly become this mild-tempered, nice, and embodiment of compassion after reconnecting with my Buddhist roots. I’m sorry (not sorry) to disappoint, but that’s definitely not the case.
Yes, I did experience inner peace while there because you’re so insulated from the hustle and bustle that is Singapore, but I find myself reverting to my old self the moment I get back to Singapore. Bhutan is 33 times larger than Singapore, but Singapore has ten times its population. In other words, the chance of you bumping into an idiot, boomer, doughnut, dickwad, or Karen – is much higher. I still absolutely abhor Category 4 BaZi chart-holders, which will never change because for what reasons do you have to exist other than to be the cosmic fertiliser for the world? Because in a world where a grown man is shoving cigarettes into the mouth of his fiancée, or someone who has schizophrenia, married a sex offender, and is studying to be both doctor and astrologer, there is nothing to not detest about these individuals who think that life has imbued them with a special status when they’re actually cosmic garbage.
I will be honest with everyone and say that I did not change after the trip. But it doesn’t mean every single thing is the same. Some things are different, and I did come back with bountiful returns.
I do feel calmer and a lot more at peace. I did let go of a lot of anger and resentment. More importantly, I am now fully comfortable and at peace with who I am and what I’m meant to be. Of course, I don’t mean it in the sense that I’m finding excuses for my flaws. I mean it in the sense that I know why I exist.
For the longest time, I’ve been torn between being the conventional interpretation of being “nice” or politically correct and simply being what my soul tells me to be. Of course, there needs to be some balance, which I’ve always been doing. I can’t be unhinged all the time. But I am now at peace with the “not-so-nice” side of me. I am perfectly cognizant of the consequences of this side of me and am fine with it because the consequences of rejecting this side of me will likely make things worse.
You don’t like me? Well, screw you. I don’t exist for you. Get off my website because you’re causing me to lag for my streams and games. You don’t exist for me either, so as much as I might have an opinion of you, you need not care what I think of you.
The readers and clients who understand me know that underneath the “not so nice” side is someone trying to do the right thing, albeit through unconventional means that haven’t existed in my industry before. I don’t think I need to remind anyone that throughout my career, I’ve been calling out malpractices and errant ‘practitioners’ for the longest time. I won’t go into the details of what they’ve done again because all those are in my older blog posts and some Instagram posts. However, I will mention that the issues I’ve been addressing have shifted from the commercial to the spiritual. In the past, it was about Feng Shui items, black-hat SEO, and buying fake social media followers. Now, it’s spiritual narcissism which, in my opinion, is way worse.
If there’s one thing I cannot stand, it’s people who pretend to be nice when they are actually not.
It’s been almost ten years since I came out as a professional, and has anything changed? No. Then again, I’m not expecting it to. I’m not naive to think that I can change how things are in my lifetime. And when I’m dead, it’s no longer my problem unless I reincarnate again to become an astrologer in another lifetime, and I pray that I come back exactly the same.
Now, before I digress too much, let’s move on to the crux of the post. What happened in Bhutan, and what did I learn?
A Buddhist Before An Astrologer: Reconnecting With My Buddhist Roots
It should be obvious that I grew up as a Buddhist, even if I did not explicitly mention it. You would have heard me mention concepts like interdependent origination (Pratītyasamutpāda), which is a very Buddhist way of viewing reality.
Buddhism helped me way before astrology helped me. You would have heard the saying, “Buddhism is a way of life.” I agree with that statement. That said, it’ll be a pity if that’s all that can be said about the religion, especially when the people who usually say this still happily show up for a buffet or Hai Di Lao, throwing a live prawn in a boiling hotpot and, yet, telling me Buddhis is “a way of life”.
I’m not the best person to speak of Buddhist philosophy, but I guess you could say I know enough to apply it to some level of proficiency. Thankfully, some of my followers are well-versed in Buddhist doctrine and share their learnings with me. Whatever I share here is just my personal experience with the religion, or should I say “school of thought”, because a part of me doesn’t want to see Buddhism as a religion per se, and any true Buddhist will tell you the label… Does. Not. Matter.
I survived and got so far in my life because of Buddhist thought. Astrology only came in later to enhance my life, provide a framework for looking at the world, and put food on the table. It also made me realize some people are born to be morons and dips***s. I sometimes wonder if studying astrology at the beginning would have made things different or prevented a few things, but I’m guessing it wouldn’t have. I got exposed to astrology when I was 18 after all, and all I wanted to learn from astrology was really trivial stuff.
Buddhist philosophy and, in fact, all forms of philosophy provided an excellent foundation for my practice of astrology. Without it, my practice of astrology would be shallow and unimpactful, and I would just be mouthing off things you can get online.
Buddhism brought some sense of peace during my younger days, and I constantly told myself whatever I was going through was some form of karmic cleansing that I needed to go through before good things came. True enough, after around thirty years of karmic cleansing and what seems to be lessons of several lifetimes jammed into one, life did become better.
It’s not just Buddhism but both Eastern and Western philosophy that helped me get through the earlier parts of my life.
Do I believe in karma, aka cause-and-effect? Of course, I do. As a Buddhist and astrologer, I have to, and I don’t mind subscribing to the doctrine of karma. To me, cause-and-effect has always been common sense that people conveniently forget. For something to happen, there is always an initial impetus or force behind it – which is why it’s just common sense. However, the word “karma” gets thrown around to spite or curse people, which Category 4 chart-holders love to do to comfort themselves. I kid you not, but the people who love throwing the word “karma” around are usually Category 4 chart-holders.
Don’t become one of those dickwads that throw the word “karma” around flippantly. Not even I do. I only speak about it because it’s my job, and it is the law for how astrological charts unfold. If you truly believe in karma, one of the best things you can do as a layman is to STFU and worry about your own.
Buddhism Makes Me Feel Better Being An A-Hole
Whatever I say here are just my experiences growing up as a Buddhist. I am in no position to speak for the religion or claim that I’m qualified to teach its doctrine or philosophies.
The annoying thing about growing up with Buddhism in Singapore is that the understanding of it, in my opinion, is shallow. To many, being a Buddhist is just about going to the temple to pray. What makes it even more laughable, and I’ve written about this before, is that people go to the temple to pray for a windfall, a perfect spouse, and pray for their desires to manifest some way, somehow, without even putting in the effort as though something is just supposed to happen magically.
I really don’t know what else to say other than to point out how shallow, naive, and utterly stupid that is, and I hope I don’t have to explain why (just read the post above). Our parent’s generation of naïveté and superstition makes everything worse because if you continue reading this post, our parents didn’t teach us the crux of Buddhism. We were taught we could not eat beef, but we would happily chow down on black pork like pigs deserve to die. Wait till you see what’s on the menu in every restaurant in Bhutan – because beef is served in every restaurant there.
Growing up, we were taught to do good and do and speak no evil – and that was it. There was no in-depth discussion on what “good” or “evil” means, its grey areas, nuances, and how appearances can be deceiving. I cuss, I berate, and hence I must be evil.
I’m familiar with the different schools of Buddhism and their differences. Mahayana, Theravada, and Vajrayana. I grew up in a Mahayana environment since, well, I’m Chinese. But I’ve always been more fascinated with the Vajrayana school due to the artwork and mantras involved and the aura of mysticism behind it. At a point in my life, I was actively meditating and chanting mantras. I don’t do those anymore as I eventually grew to appreciate that anything can be a form of meditation. Profanity also became my new mantra. A “You Have A Lucky Forehead” scammer once had the audacity to utter “namo thassa” to me, but in my head I was “namo thassa cào nǐ mā” as I felt that would enlighten him even more.
Most of us have seen some Tibetan Buddhist artwork of deities and Buddhas. Some of the artwork portrays a compassionate, soft looking diety like the Green and White Taras, and then there would be some wrathful-looking ones.
One of the first few things I can’t reconcile was why Buddhism allowed portrayals of anger or wrath because we were brought up to see Buddhism as peace-loving, pacifist, and non-confrontational. That’s the first question.
The other question is, why the hell are there people having the living shit stomped out of their orifices by these wrathful deities. Every single wrathful deity would have humans beneath their feet. Sometimes, it would be demons, although humans and demons aren’t that different sometimes.
I remember looking at the artwork and statues in Bhutan, going, “What the f***? Isn’t Buddhism about compassion?”
A quick Google on wrathful deities, what they represent, and what they are trying to achieve will quickly answer the question of why they exist and are portrayed this way:
I don’t know how else to put this but to say that I finally found the peace I was looking for, and there was no more doubt in my mind. If the gentle, pleasant way doesn’t work. Well, there are always other ways. Your partner left you? Well serves you right because you weren’t fortunate enough to have good people tell you you’re the bitch. Am I wrong to say that? You know I’m not. It’s just really politically incorrect to say such things, and you would call a bigot in such a situation. But hey, it works. This is karma, or cause-and-effect, because you being a bitch drove your partner into the bosoms of another person, and you cannot fault your partner for that.
If your partner left you, please consider the possibility that it’s because you’re the bitch, or the a**hole. If you’re such a good partner, let me tell you something – good partners have self-awareness.
Would you be surprised if Buddha once compared Brahmas with dogs and that Buddha engaged in satire too?
I didn’t know about all these because clearly, I didn’t read as much as others. The above snippet was sent to me by one of my followers, and it was a very enlightening read. If you are seeing this, please know that I’m grateful for your sharing, and keep them coming!
The cherry on top was that while I was in Bhutan, I was introduced to Drukpa Kunley, also known as the “Divine Mad Man”. He was a saint, and his meditation was women and wine, and he brought people to enlightenment using his “Flaming Thunderbolt of Wisdom”, which refers to his phallus. We visited the temple dedicated to him, and never in my wildest dreams did I think a golden
dildo figurine of a penis the size of a jackfruit in a Buddhist temple would be used to bless me?
Imagine this. I grew up praying to the Mahayana portrayal of Avalokiteshvara, aka Goddess of Mercy, who is, in all her grace, feminine and motherly. I was taught to watch what I do and say my whole life, only to head to arguably one of the most Buddhist countries in the world to see deities trampling the living shit out of people and getting blessed by a massive, golden cock.
Existential crisis? Naw! F*** me sideways because enlightenment really does come in all forms and can be reached in all ways. And I love the path I’ve chosen. Screw joss sticks, and get me a giant, golden dildo.
What Does This Have To Work With My Work?
I’m not sure what kind of image comes up with people think of astrologers or Chinese metaphysics practitioners. Most people would picture astrologers as being soft-spoken, uplifting, and compassionate. In some ways, I do agree. Some great astrologers are like that and remind you of Santa Claus. If I were a Western astrologer born in the 1970s, I might have ended up like that, but I suppose fate had different plans. I would rather be Pai Mei from Kill Bill.
Why did I become like that? I don’t know. I was born to be like that, and it feels natural. You might do better asking an orange why it became an orange.
I don’t think anyone would disagree when I say I am currently the most irreverent, abrasive, vulgar practitioner practising Chinese astrology out there, if not in Asia, then maybe at least in Singapore. I would be lying if I said I didn’t think about whether this was the right way to introduce people to Chinese metaphysics, and I questioned my approach to it. Then again, current ways of introducing Chinese metaphysics or BaZi to people are no better – because look at the mess we have in the industry when everything is reduced to superstition, malpractices, and downright scams. Everything is nothing but an insult to the human spirit and intelligence, and I have spent the past decade talking about these issues.
Knowing that wrathful deities and divine madmen exist makes me feel better about myself. Because if they are trampling on morons for the greater good, holy f***, sign me up because I dig it.
Of course, because this needs to be said for the insufferable people with below-average IQ: I am not saying I am anywhere near what deities are or represent. I aspire to be like them, and at the same time, I am watching out for the pitfalls such as spiritual narcissism and whatnot. I find it comforting to know that wrath can be used for good too, and enlightenment doesn’t mean you can’t offend anyone. Because if you don’t get angry or worked up when witnessing evil, then what? Am I supposed to be polite and endearing, then?
I always knew how I conducted and approached things came from a good place, albeit controversial. Finding some backing from the religion I grew up with makes things even better. In another life, in another job, perhaps I would be soft-spoken, gentle, and whatever adjective you wish to use, but not in this lifetime. As I said, I tried the friendly, soft approach long ago – but it doesn’t work for certain individuals.
Like I said, if I wanted to make things easier for myself, I would be selling Feng Shui items that cost five figures, and there would be enough suckers out there who would buy them. I would then show off my Patek Philippe watches while declaring on social media how many people I’ve helped become wealthy while you continue to rot away while pretending I’m trying to help you. But no, I am here, writing these things, hoping the people who need to get it will get it. Perhaps I shouldn’t use the word “suckers” because you couldn’t relate to my anger – these people are the vulnerable, misled, and lost individuals being taken advantage of, and they are your family and friends.
So, tell me, in all my wrath and irreverence – am I the evil one here?
Remembering The Pillars Of Buddhism: Anattā & Śūnyatā
Two pillars in Buddhism are the Anattā theory and Śūnyatā theory.
Anattā refers to the doctrine of “no self”, whereas Śūnyatā refers to the “emptiness” or “vacuity” you often hear in Buddhism. I was introduced to these theories in my late 20s and slowly got to appreciate why studying and understanding what they mean is useful, and how it brings clarity to one’s mind and the way reality is perceived.
Appreciating these two theories needs time and requires, well, a lot of rumination. You may not find an immediate application of these theories when you first study them, but you will, eventually. A lot of modern-day authors also convey Anattā & Śūnyatā differently. It’s just that you don’t realise it.
Anattā Or “No Self”: Is Your Astrological Chart “You”?
Anattā, or “no self”, is not difficult to understand. I will not attempt to paraphrase or put things in my own words, so I’ll just put the link here and encourage you to read it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anattā.
It’s not difficult to appreciate the state of Anattā. If you have a hobby and find yourself so engrossed with it that, for a moment, you forget who you are, your past, your name, and all you have been through – that, to me at least, is a state of Anattā. One of the reasons why I particularly enjoyed Kendo and Goe/Weiqi was because these do require a state of Anattā to be done well. After all, if you get your ego and emotions involved, you lose control, are easy to read, and likely lose the fight or chess game. I have witnessed and experienced this personally many times.
This is just trivia: The concept of Anattā was brought up in the comic Demon Slayer, but I will not spoil it for our fellow anime fans.
If you’ve not experienced this state before, you are missing out and I also feel a tad sorry for you because it is, arguably, a very blissful state. It’s the reason why we have hobbies. It’s also why we enjoy being “lost” in activity, although some forms of activity aren’t exactly healthy – such as scrolling TikTok mindlessly.
Buddhist doctrine and philosophy can be hard to appreciate due to how it was passed down. It feels similar to the “Socratic Approach”, also known as “cooperative argumentative dialogue”, which is meant to challenge presuppositions in hopes that we can understand something better.
Some parts of my blog, especially in recent posts, talk about Anattā, although I didn’t use the word “Anattā” explicitly. What I did say was to “not cling on to an identity”, where “self” and “identity” refers to the same thing. As much as I don’t like using myself as an example, I will do so for convenience and ease of understanding.
At different points in my life, I was:
- An innocent child who just wanted to grow up happily.
- An abused child and teenager
- A university student who wanted to be a banker
- A lonely young adult who felt there was no way someone would love him
- An astrology hobbyist
- A vulgar, crass, irreverent astrologer who cusses all the time
Who am I? I am all of the above, and at the same time, I am none of it. Because what I am really is changing with the flow of time, and who I am also depends on the situation and who I am with. This is not to say that we shouldn’t or can’t have personalities. We definitely should because that’s what makes life interesting.
People often confuse “self” with “personality and preferences”, thinking that Anattā means it’s wrong to have a personality.
I am saying that if you, or rather, I, were to have clung to a particular identity or sense of “self”. Can you imagine what that would do to me? Suppose to this day, I am still telling myself that “I am an abused child.” would you think I would have the life I have now, with a job I can connect with and a blissful marriage? I would have probably developed some unhealthy coping mechanism to deal with the pain that, subconsciously, I still refuse to let go of.
Is an “abused child” part of my identity? Yes. Is it my entire identity? No.
What is my entire identity, then?
Because if it can be so many different things at different points in time, you will realise there is no real identity here for you to cling to or blame for the mishaps in your life. Even one’s identity is “empty” or “void” and subject to dependent origination.
Perhaps to use an example more relatable to you: Do you have a friend who you know isn’t that wealthy, and frankly also not very good-looking, always trying to pose like he or she is a model, with some branded item that isn’t his/hers? The easy way to end the debate is to say, “This person is a dips****.” The proper way is to ask what kind of identity this person is clinging to and why? Have you ever wondered why some people work so hard in a shitty company while knowing it is shitty when a better life is just a mouse-click on LinkedIn away? It’s also because of an identity they cling to that you are a valued employee. No, you’re not – you are a cog in a machine. Are you really that valued? Have you not seen what’s happening in the tech industry?
All this is not to say that what we go through has no meaning or does not matter – it does. The discussion of Anattā or “no self” is such that it opens up the possibility of being even greater, or happier for that matter, than what we think we can be.
Some people cling to the notion of a perfect identity or unchanging sense of self, only to hate it when they get there. You’ve become CEO, but you lost your family. Or you could be someone who can never be satisfied with what you have, who you are, or how you look, and you need to constantly get aesthetic surgery done until your chin touches the floor when you look perfectly fine.
If I may say so, people with mental struggles, and narcissists, cling to a particular notion of “self” so strongly that they can no longer function properly. The slightest challenge to how they view themselves will send them into a meltdown. Narcissists are the best examples of this because of the identity they cling to, that they are grandiose and special.
The above are just some of the ways I view Anattā and apply it for myself, which has worked well. You would remember that I recommended a book called The Power of Now by Eckhart Toelle. As fluffy as it sounds, it comes from an understanding of Anattā, but people think it’s fluffy because it’s deliberately conveyed in a way anyone can approach it.
You don’t want the fluffy, easily understandable layman version, but neither do you want the dry, technical version. So what the hell do you want?
So you might ask, “What is Sean’s identity now?” Do you even need to ask?
I’m an a**hole – and I’m here to kick bubblegum and chew ass, and I’m running out of ass.
What is your identity, or sense of self, then? Or what are you clinging on to? We don’t ask ourselves that enough.
Śūnyatā Or “Emptiness”: How It’s Relevant To Chinese Metaphysics
The more interesting thing to talk about, in the context of Chinese metaphysics, is Śūnyatā theory. This is the “interdependent origination of reality” that you will always hear me talk about and how Yin and Yang must come together to give birth to dualistic reality.
To put things into perspective and give an example: The state of being rich and poor cannot exist without each other; the state of warmth and cold cannot exist without each other; and the list goes on. Your experience of something or a phenomenon cannot exist on its own. A table is a table because there is a chair accompanying it, but if you sit on the table, does the table become a chair then, and does it still exist? Or is the quiddity of the table depending on the existence of the chair?
If you feel thinking about these things is pointless and stupid, you are, unfortunately, the foolish one here because the person who got the world thinking about “all these things” for millennia is the founder of a religion that brought peace to countless people. And what are you again?
To me, Śūnyatā theory and Yin-Yang theory do have some parallels. Your experience of something comes from two phenomena that cannot independently exist. Its dualistic, contrasting nature gives you the perception of reality.
The most immediate benefit to studying such philosophies is that they teach you not to cling to things – because what exactly are you clinging to if things don’t have intrinsic existence, and whatever you perceive is simply a passing thought in your mind, and your mind is within your control (or so we like to think).
Now, you might ask, “What does this have to do with Chinese metaphysics?” Good question.
It goes back to my disdain for ‘practitioners’ selling Feng Shui items and spiritual narcissists who think they were born from a Lotus Flower or that Mother Earth shat them out from some mystical cave and that everything is the universe speaking to them.
If this needs to be said, the above screengrab is not from my Instagram because I would never say something pseudo-spiritual such as “What is the universe trying to tell me?”. The only thing I want the universe to tell me is next week’s lottery numbers.
The real question that anyone should ask upon seeing the above image is, “What in the flying motherf*** are you smoking, dips***?”
The above screengrab is someone else’s sent to me by a follower and ex-client, and thank you for always sending me such amazing stories that inspire the hooliganistic poet in me. Please don’t ask me who this person is because, as much as possible, I don’t even want to know myself when such stories are sent to me because I don’t want to put a face to these stories that come to me.
Here’s the story: So someone or some Feng Shui master steps into a room during a Feng Shui audit, sees a picture of a mushroom that got flashed randomly on a screen, and immediately concludes that it’s a sign from the universe that the client has health issues.
First of all, everyone has health issues. An anal fissure because your s*** was too big is also a health issue. A jock itch is also a health issue.
Secondly, you could have just bloody asked the client about their health issues instead of grandstanding yourself as some spiritually gifted doughnut.
Thirdly, to be able to draw a link between mushrooms and health issues is beyond me. Is it because it’s a vegetable? To be fair – it’s a fungus, not a vegetable.
Now, let’s talk about mushrooms.
I love mushrooms because I grew up playing Super Mario, and you need to grab one so that you don’t die the moment you touch, well, a monster mushroom known as a Goomba. I also love the taste. When I think of mushrooms, I think of the following:
- Super Mario
- Parasites and decaying matter
- Vegetables, or rather, fungi, and health
- Morrels because I like to be a snob about food
- A penis
Please don’t make me stick a picture of a mushroom that looks like a penis here. Ah, screw it:
Everything in the list above has some relationship with mushrooms – the penis included and I insist. To link it to health is something I can perfectly understand because that’s the world we live in. But why not death and decay? Or why not a penis? All other options are also valid.
Why can’t a mushroom represent a penis? Because let’s all admit it – it really does look like one.
Why can’t walking into a room and seeing the image above means the couple will pork tonight? Perhaps the house owners have an STD because the mushroom can mean both health and a penis! Oh, good gawd! The universe speaks in such profoundly mysterious ways!
If the argument is that the person seeing the image is some special
needs person with psychic abilities, then I guess we can end the conversation here. Let’s start a religion for this person and bask in the glory of this enlightened individual’s birthright so that Netflix can make another documentary someday.
An interesting thought experiment that can now come into the picture is when we bring in Śūnyatā theory. If we understand Śūnyatā theory, then we know the mushroom and the idea of it cannot exist on its own, and it relies on another phenomenon to give rise to it. “Dependent origination” has to come into the picture.
Is the mushroom because of the way it looks? If that’s the case, is an umbrella a mushroom, then?
Your idea of a mushroom exists because it’s food and health-related, which is logical and isn’t wrong per se. My idea of mushrooms being associated with death, decay, parasites, and asexual reproduction is not wrong either. The point here is to understand that on its own, the idea of what a “mushroom” is cannot exist, and its meaning is dependent on other phenomena, which is why they call it “dependent origination”.
If the idea of a “mushroom” cannot exist on its own, or it could mean so many different things because its existence is conditional on not just one but so many other things, then who is to determine a picture of mushrooms absolutely has to mean health? At the end of the day, whatever an object represents is whatever your mind wants to project onto it. It’s as simple as that.
If Everything Is “Empty” – Why Study Feng Shui & Astrology?
This is an excellent question and there are a few ways of addressing this.
The first way is this: If you are an enlightened being and you perceive reality through the Buddhist teaching of “emptiness”, you don’t need astrology in the first place. Because whether you are rich, poor, smart, stupid, etc., it won’t matter to you at the end of the day because the dualistic nature of reality no longer binds your mind. You perceive reality for exactly what it is, and you are in a state of inner peace and calm. In modern-day terms, this is simply called being content.
The second way is this, and I know what you’re thinking: If everything is empty, why do we assign specific meanings to planets and elements? The answer to this is simple: planets and the 5 Elements are also expressions of duality, which is why you have sayings like Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus or why the Sun (太阳) and Moon (太阴) are viewed as a pair and much more. Another way to look at this is that there are also things that transcend duality and have intrinsic existence. These intangible things that transcend duality make us human and allow us to appreciate notions like justice, abundance, and love.
The fact of the matter is that reality still has to exist as a duality. If it doesn’t, you and I wouldn’t even be around. Just because we understand what “emptiness” is doesn’t mean we must reject what is in front of us. The reality of rich vs poor, wise vs stupid, and other dualities will still exist regardless of whether you recognise “emptiness” or not. Knowing “emptiness” is not about having a nihilistic of the world and finding everything meaningless. After all, astrology still has practical uses, like identifying health issues and when they might manifest.
If your counter-argument to everything I said above about Mushroomgate is that “Sean, so everything does have some form of meaning attached to it after all.”, then you have to break it down further into its fundamental form and tell me what the duality of a mushroom is. If duality is expressed as masculine vs feminine, what of a mushroom? Because for me to perceive something’s meaning, there needs to be a Yin-Yang duality to it to bring it out of its “empty” form, hence the saying 「无极生太极，太极生二仪，二仪生四象，四象生八卦。」
If you cannot find the duality of “mushroom vs ‘something'”, the argument that mushroom represents health does not stand. If you somehow find that there is more than one duality where “mushroom vs ‘many things'”, the argument that mushrooms represent health also does not stand because you can no longer say that mushrooms, in the laws governing the universe, solely represent health.
Divine Moments & Synchronicities
I believe in divine moments and synchronicities, but this topic will take up another 10,000-word blog post. I’ll do that in the next one and not digress too much.
A few quick comments on synchronicity and thought experiments, though:
Suppose you walk down the street, and it just so happens that there is really someone with schizophrenia who comes up to you and utters some cryptic gibberish about what’s going to happen to you – is that divine to you since nothing is a coincidence and everything is a message from God or the Heavens? Is this synchronicity?
For now, I’ll say that you shouldn’t let anyone else define what a synchronous or divine moment is or isn’t for you. You decide it for yourself because your relationship with whatever governs this stupid world of ours is yours alone – no one else has the right to come to tell you what he or she experienced is a divine moment for you. Not me, not Mushroomgate lady, and definitely not the schizo you bumped into.
Letting other people define what a divine or synchronous is for you is no different from taking life advice from someone with severe schizophrenia because it’s no longer about blurred lines – it’s practically the same thing.
If the motherf***ing universe wanted to send me a message, why the hell could it not tell me directly instead of doing it in the worse way possible – through another human being, which is the source of all problems on our God-forsaken Earth? To take the irony up another level, it’s also a human being going around telling people, “I’m here to send you a message because I am special.” Do you think the universe wants to be a cocktease? Do you think the universe is interested in your cock? And likes being a tease? You’re not special.
If I have constipation, it just means I have constipation – I don’t take my god-damn constipation and turn it into life advice and tell you that you’re uptight when it’s my shit that’s up and my a**hole that’s tight. We live in a world where the logic of someone having a bad shit means you have character flaws, and if you don’t see what is wrong with that, please reincarnate as a vegetable and make that root vegetable so that you’re buried underground and no one sees you.
The special needs ‘practitioner’ who posted the story feels that it was a divine moment where God literally sent a message through a Google Nest Hub and that the image that flashed on the screen is a sign of God saying, “Your client has a health issue.”
Then my question is this.
The image above was also sent to me by a client at random, and since nothing is a coincidence, is God or the Heavens speaking to me? What is the universe trying to tell me, then? I don’t need God or Heavens to tell me when I see a moron – I can perfectly identify one myself. But if God or Heavens wants to tell me, “Hey, look at this f***ing moron.” I am perfectly fine with that too.
This begs the question, “Which is the real divine moment here?”:
- The special-needs Feng Shui master saw the image upon entering the room and concluded it was a sign of health.
- The vulgar, irreverent practitioner who saw the image within an image upon opening Instagram and concluded it was a sign of the clients going to pork tonight?
Both are random, coincidental, and unexpected. Why is my message less divine? I know what you’re thinking… I must have been worshipping Satan my whole life, and I clearly did not eat enough vegetables, which is why the message differs.
There are a few questions everyone needs to ask yourself (and I can’t bloody believe I’m using a mushroom as an example):
- As stupid as it sounds, where does the meaning of the mushroom come from? How do you account for different interpretations? Does the mushroom have intrinsic existence?
- How do you define a ‘divine moment’ when the universe speaks to you? If the special-need Feng Shui master says that moment is divine because nothing is a coincidence, then why can’t my version be divine because that image sent to me is not a coincidence?
Suppose your counter-argument is, “Well, Sean, you’re not that one there that day! You missed the divine moment!” You know what? Try hanging out with someone with schizophrenia, and let their every thought and action be a divine moment to you – because nothing is a coincidence, yea?
When you start to appreciate that everything is intrinsically “empty” and its meaning cannot be derived independently, you will understand why Feng Shui items are nothing but a scam and why special-needs individuals are posing as enlightened beings. Do I need to remind everyone that people like them exist?
If you haven’t watched the documentary on Netflix on cult leaders and spiritual narcissists, I implore you to watch it to understand how scary human nature is and how low someone can sink.
If the way we interpret signs and meanings is so ridiculously shallow and lacks rigour, then our Muslim friends cannot drink water because 亥 represents the Pig zodiac, and 亥 is a water element.
What is a divine, synchronous moment that can be used meaningfully to give meaning to your experiences, or forecast your life, will open up a debate that can never be finished in one lifetime, but for now, keep these experiences to yourself. Don’t let anyone’s mental episode tell you it’s a forecast of your life. Because if you don’t, you better send me papayas and pray that I have a terrific shit every morning.
Astrology, in a way, is a study of the divine and the laws governing the universe. If someone is serious about this field, be it astrology in general, Feng Shui, or Chinese metaphysics, there is no need for pictures of mushrooms to even come into the picture. Just read the chart, analyse the house, and stop being a buffoon.
I’ll be candid here, but over the last few months, I did cross paths with a few mentally ill individuals and I unfortunately let my guard down because they are so good at playing the victim and pretending to be the nice ones. As much as I hate to say this, they are a different species of Category 4 people that I’ve never dealt with before, but boy, it opened up a whole new world of seeing things and I learned a hell lot dealing with them.
Why I’m Always Using The Word “Stupid”
I know I use this word a lot, and it’s generally not a nice word to use on someone. No one likes to be called “stupid”. People in Singapore are especially sensitive to this word because being called “stupid” is akin to being from a lower social class, and one’s future is bleak.
Perhaps I could use another word, such as “ignorant”, although that might make me look like I’m virtue signalling or moral postulating. But I guess I chose to stick with the most basic word, “stupid”, because it does the job, and there is no room for misinterpretation. The bonus here is that it strikes deep into the recesses of one’s mind.
Whether I use the words “stupid”, “ignorant”, or “lack of self-awareness” doesn’t make change the core message, which is, “What in the hell are you thinking?” If you have to ask questions like, “Do I need to work hard to be rich?” I’m sorry, but the bacteria in cow dung probably have more cerebral activity than you do.
Did your mother drop you as a baby when you concluded that pictures of mushrooms appearing on someone’s Google Nest Hub are a sign from Heavens? And what the hell were you thinking by believing someone who said that?
I must clarify that when I use this so-called taboo word on someone, it is never about their educational level, social-economic class, or whatever. My point is this: Everyone can do stupid things, think stupid ways, and be stupid in general. Myself included. You could argue that calling people stupid is a stupid act in itself. No matter who you are, where you are from, how much you earn, or how old you are – we all do things that people can’t fathom.
Do I feel bad using this world when I have to? I really don’t. If you cannot understand why, may I invite you to head to this Instagram post and tell me whether I should feel bad after reading it?
Stupidity, to me, is not an intellectual defect. It is a moral defect, and I couldn’t agree more with Bonhoeffer’s Theory of Stupidity. Because if you are always doing stupid things, you are not making it a point to learn and work on yourself. I have seen people with PhDs do really, really stupid things.
Stupidity, to me, was never about your mental or cognitive agility or your social class. It’s about your morality – you owe it to yourself and even the people around you to be better because if you don’t make it a point to be better, you will start harming people eventually.
Why Buddha Didn’t Encourage Astrology
Simple. Because Buddha probably thought most people were stupid and couldn’t use it properly. Look at what we’re dealing with now. Buddhism did acknowledge astrology’s existence, and there were even sutras on it, so why discourage it when it can be useful?
Yes, a good amount of people are stupid. And yes, that’s all for this section.
I mean, what other reason could it be?
Impermanence & Memento Mori
Firstly, if you don’t know what “Memento Mori” means, stop being a lazy ass prick and Google it.
As morbid as this might sound, what I got reminded of the most during my trip was my mortality. And no, I wasn’t diagnosed with any illness, and it wasn’t what sparked the need for a pilgrimage trip. If I’m dying of anything, it’s usually the insufferable stupidity of other people. I have always been a realist. You could argue that it was due to Buddhism that I’m a realist, or you could also attribute it to how I grew up.
One other pillar in Buddhist philosophy is impermanence, which everyone should be familiar with now.
I bought the book above on my last day in Bhutan as I wanted a souvenir. I’d highly recommend the book above if you want a more nuanced view of Buddhist philosophies in a very digestible manner.
As everyone should know by now, I ruminate a lot. One core principle I was reminded of was “impermanence”, which I don’t think I need to elaborate on. You ought to be an idiot if you don’t know what “impermanence” means, not just as a word but also what it means in real life.
I am already 37. The first time I started penning down my thoughts on this website, I was 28 and a budding astrologer that Category 4 chart-holders love to take advantage of and trample over. It’s been almost ten years, and I can’t believe how quickly time has flown. Soon, I will hit 40, and you could say it’s the halfway mark. I don’t think I will live that long, and if I do, I hope there will be good reasons for me to. As much as I am grateful for the life that I have now, I know it’ll come to an end at some point.
I don’t say all these to sound morbid and try to package myself as someone wise – I do think about these things during my spare alone time. I will die someday, and this website will be lost. If I wish to ‘immortalise’ myself, I will write a book and it’s something on my bucket list. No, I’m not the morbid, pessimistic sort, and my friends and those who met me in person will know. I’m just seeing the world and life for what it is, and I make it a point to be very, very real and consistent throughout my life.
I didn’t use to think about such things when I was younger – I don’t think most young people would. But there will come a point when the reality of our limited time hits us, and I am at that point in my life. I must admit that it’s somewhat of a privilege to have time to think about such things, but even if I didn’t have that time, I know I’ll want to make time for it.
The human mind works in funny ways because the thought that all this might end one day makes you want to lead a meaningful, fulfilled life. Getting reminded that my time left here is limited and that I’m almost at the halfway mark makes me want to make the most of what’s left of my life. As for what “making the most of life” means: That’s different for everyone, and I have my notion of what it means.
I took risks and got to where I am today; I did my best to live with a sense of purpose and mission; I have a comfortable life and a great marriage, and I am surrounded by people I love and who love me back. I am grateful for what I have today, but I can’t help but feel like it can be better. Not that I’m discontent, though.
Knowing that I’ll die someday doesn’t scare me. It makes me grateful I get a chance to have a consciousness to experience whatever I’m experiencing.
On Compassion & Wisdom
Of course, no discussion on religion and the meaning of life will be complete without “compassion” and “wisdom”. These are two virtues that any self-respecting, dignified individual should have and appreciate.
I think about compassion and wisdom a lot because, and I’m sure everyone would agree, these are fundamental virtues that any human being should have, leading to a good life. I’ve not written about these topics much because this blog is on astrology, but over the years, you’ll realize the practice of astrology cannot be done without other virtues.
I used to head to temples a lot during my younger days, and whenever I prayed, I always prayed for compassion and wisdom, although I was clueless on how to get there until my own Saturn Return hit me. I know you are chuckling at the fact that I used the word “compassion” when I’m the prick constantly berating Category 4 chart-holders.
I often ask myself what does it mean to be “compassionate”? Do I need to feel all soft, warm, and fuzzy, and that I cry for every little thing I encounter? If being compassionate means crying and feeling a lot of things, then I have a suggestion:
Grab a hammer; hammer your balls. If you don’t have balls, hammer something else. You will cry; you will feel a lot of things; you will feel very, very soft. I can guarantee it. And as your family jewels are suffering from utter decimation via verberations with consequences that will last many generations and reincarnations – think of all the suffering in the world and feel compassion well-up from deep within you
r balls. There’s your compassion. Why be an ascetic? Be a flagellant (with a hammer)!
We live in a world where compassion means you must upload a video of yourself crying because you witnessed poverty. If crying is going to change the world, please hammer your balls and at least distract me from the mundanity of life and my eventual demise because of my 37 years in life – I’ve not seen anyone perform that feat.
By all means, if you feel something, then feel it. I’m not going to invalidate your emotions. But I don’t get the need to upload it onto TikTok to show everyone how emotional or ‘compassionate’ you are. Does it solve anything?
What’s better? Crying and uploading the video of you crying onto TikTok? Or doing something that alleviates poverty, such as a social enterprise or running a business well so people have jobs? I get that some people are more emotional. If you want to cry, cry. There is no need to upload a video of it to virtue signal.
I think the way my life has moulded me to be, the years of writing, and the work persona I developed due to the state of the industry have made many people perceive me as someone void of compassion. I don’t blame anyone for feeling this way because I know myself pretty well.
It feels a tad reductive if compassion is just about deep emotions that make one cry. I hate to say things that would add to the impression that I am void of compassion, but if crying and feeling emo is all that one can do, I would deem that person pretty useless in the grand scheme of things.
Is compassion even an emotion? Or an aspiration?
Buddhism has a good way of putting what compassion means: to want others to be free from suffering. If alleviating suffering is as simple as crying or feeling emotions: Like I said, I guess I could hammer my balls, feel many things, upload a video of me hammering my balls and crying, and show the world how compassionate I am.
We live in such a complicated world that you might even have to kill in certain situations to be compassionate. This is a story I just got to know of yesterday because I met someone who was on this flight for dinner. If you remember this recent incident:
Do you know what the fighter jets there are for? Do you think it’s to help the plane land safely as though fighter jets were designed to help commercial places land safely? How do you suppose they’re going to do that? Touch tips?
The reality is this: If there is a threat of the plane being crashed into any government or residential building and potentially more lives will be lost, the protocol is for the fighter jets to shoot the plane down. Ask any person in the airline industry or who was in the military, and they will tell you it’s not a strategy, nor an option, but protocol. PRO-TO-COL. The planes aren’t there to escort the commercial plane – it’s to prevent an even bigger disaster.
If you live in a world where compassion means to cry at the sight of poverty while you’re on holiday and then proceed to upload it to TikTok to virtue signal, I’m glad you have a cosy life as a simpleton, but I hope you also have a useful, dignified life.
I will not discuss what wisdom means for now because it should be implied by now, and you should exercise your own judgement regarding what’s wise and what isn’t.
Religion Astrology’s Role In Religion & Vice Versa
Despite the heading, I think the question is whether religion even needs to play a role in astrology and vice versa. There is no rule or imperative that these two separate fields need to have a role in each other, although historically, you will find that they appear together sometimes. Synthesizing both fields of knowledge can be useful, in my opinion, although it’s not going to be easy.
In some ways, astrology, to me at least, is like a religion. It used to be offered in universities way before everyone was born, only to be stripped of its status when hard science and The Scientific Method came into being. I sometimes view astrology as a religion, or rather, a way of looking at the world, because we seek guidance from things we don’t fully understand and can only relate to through our experience and consciousness.
I cannot speak for other religions, but I can say that Buddhist philosophies, like astrology, are a handy tool for understanding oneself and a framework for understanding and engaging the world. Religion has its challenges; unfortunately, some of the world’s sufferings stem from religion. The same can be said for astrology.
Again, I don’t like to use the word “religion” because it involves a group of people coming together to try and figure things out. When you get a group of people together, there’s bound to be some political drama.
My relationship with religion has always been very personal. If I have questions, I ask for an opinion. If there’s something I don’t know, I read. If the teacher is qualified, I am even happy to be guided. But never will I let someone tell me what I should or shouldn’t believe in, such as seeing pictures of mushrooms means I have a health issue or telling me your dreams are prophetic. I will still make the final call at the end of the day. I’m sorry that this sounds politically incorrect; if you are schizophrenic, don’t tell me what to do with my life. Get help, and mind your own business. I will give you my empathy and sympathies, but in return, please don’t be a destructive force in the world.
The heartening thing about Buddhism is that it has always acknowledged the existence of astrology. I even visited the College of Astrology in Bhutan. Alas, astrology was never a large part of Buddhist doctrine because so what if you know astrology? Yes, it is a tool to understand ourselves better, but it is not meant to be wielded by everyone, and those who do have a chance to utilise it through someone else are not ready to hear what it has to say. One weakness of astrology is that the mere study of it on an intellectual level doesn’t tell you what you need to do to make up for the weaknesses of your chart – that’s when wisdom comes in, and that’s something that cannot be imparted that easily, if at all.
Sometimes, people with absolutely shit charts ask me, “What should I do?” I really want to go, “How the hell would I know? Figure it out!” because I will never know what being them is like. Then again, perhaps therein lies the secret. Which is to… Figure. It. Out. It is as natural as knowing you must wipe your ass when, or rather, after (not “when” because imagine what happens), you take a shit. Most people don’t even bother to figure it out because it is painful to figure it out. After all, when you look at a Category 1 or 2 chart-holder as a Category 3 or 4, you only get reminded of your lack of will to grow.
A good life is a lot of common sense. Are you not progressing in your career? That’s because you’re scrolling TikTok thinking it’s a replacement for a degree and proper acquisition of knowledge, you tedious imbecile.
Astrology can address some things Buddhism, as a religion, can’t. Similarly, there are things about Buddhist doctrine that astrology doesn’t even touch, such as the concept of Anattā & Śūnyatā.
Be it religion or astrology – it’s fair to say that it aims to help us live better, more effectively, and find peace. It shares the same goal of getting closer to the divine and understanding the laws of the universe. If one’s birthday and time can determine so many things about one’s life, Buddha wasn’t bullshitting us about karma. Because if Chinese, Vedic, and Hellenistic astrology can all tell me the two individuals who gave birth to me are garbage, then I must be garbage in my previous life too.
Transcending charts one’s astrological chart is a topic I’ve written about long ago and it’s always a hot topic because who wouldn’t want a life where you can simply manifest with positive thinking? I need to reiterate here that transcending charts does not mean you can live however you want. I also don’t think anyone would argue that religion is a means of living however you want. If anything, religion helps us accept the way our charts are and be at peace with it.
The misconception that most people have is to think that simply having a religion means you get to transcend your chart. As an astrologer and Buddhist, I can’t tell you how wrong that is. If anything, I would think religion gets us to accept what our astrological charts are. Whether you choose to enhance your life through astrology or religion is entirely up to you. I’ve met people whose lives are profoundly uplifted by both fields.
What is the point of this post? I don’t know. Because this post is a bit of a brain dump to get me into the groove of writing again, if the tool you wish to yield is religion, go ahead; if it’s astrology, also go ahead. Both are splendid.
The last thing anyone would want is religion and astrology to have them get in the way of a happy, fulfilled life.
As such, if you speak to any Buddhist scholar, he or she will tell you this: If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.
And if you meet an astrologer, he or she will tell you this: If you meet Sean on the street, your brain better not be in your ass.