Alexandrite Dharma

7 Jun

gong_liEarlier this year, I was invited to have dinner with Rinpoche, Pastor Seng Piow, Albert and Pastor Niral Patel. It was a fun occasion with Rinpoche and as always, casual dinner and light conversation was always infused with Dharma one way or another. This was no different. We had dinner and in between lots of conversation, jokes, pick games (I have to blog about this another time) and heaps of stories as well.

As we were strolling out of the restaurant, we came by a jewellery store that had a huge light box display that featured a huge multifaceted jewel with its name written in bold letters – “Alexandrite”. The store was closed, so all its jewels were kept hidden away in a safe. In smaller print, the stone was described and as we read the description, all of us were staring admiringly at the stone except Pastor Seng Piow. After several minutes, he spoke up and said, “I just don’t understand why would people pay so much for that? I just don’t get it!”

In response to Pastor Seng Piow, Rinpoche gave a fantastic talk, which I will try to outline the meaning behind the talk here, as far as my memory permits… Rinpoche explained that gemstones are prized as symbols of wealth, especially in the days of old. They were rare, dazzling to behold, and it would take an expert craftsman to fashion them into the most beautiful jewelleries to adorn ourselves with. However, what is a symbol of wealth to you may be worthless to another person. This is just like how Alexandrite is just a worthless stone to Pastor Seng Piow but to a ‘tai-tai’, it is the ultimate status symbol. Why is that?

actual-pic-of-russian-possibly-alexandrite-ring-21369470 (1)

Fine-quality alexandrite is bluish-green color in daylight and changes to purplish-red color in indoor lighting.

It was at this moment that Rinpoche delved deeper and said that ultimately, Alexandrite is just a rock that is mined from the earth. This stone itself has no intrinsic value. It is the value that society, pop culture and people impute on it and therefore, its value in reality is false. Actually, all of us impute false value on different things in our lives. Therefore, we would work very hard, sacrifice and some would even do nasty things to attain it. If we have it and somehow we lose it, we would be very upset.

For example, for someone like Pastor Seng Piow, his Alexandrite would be the latest gadgets and his laptop. For another person, it could be looking good in expensive designer clothes and so forth. All of us have our own version of Alexandrite in our lives and we put so much energy into something that ultimately doesn’t really have any value from its side.

That’s the gist of this talk and I hope I captured its essence. Actually, all of us have an Alexandrite disguised according to our attachment. It is up to us to realize it for what it really is and apply the Dharma to be free.


10 Responses to “Alexandrite Dharma”

  1. Sarah Yap June 7, 2016 at 10:58 pm #

    Thank you Pastor David for this short but meaningful article. It is true, that no matter how we look at the things that surround us, there is so very little that we actually a real opinion of it… if not, none. If we think about it… how did it happened that pink is not the color for boys, but it’s for girls? It’s not something of natural occurrence… but at some point in our life, we were influenced by someone to think pink is the color for girls…and it’s the same for everything.

    From our preferences, to our morale values… they are all influenced by others, and we think that we came up with this glorious idea of our self identity. LOL! It’s funny when we think about it… very very funny…

  2. Sharon Ong June 8, 2016 at 1:28 am #

    A great post to remind me to keep chipping away at my Alexandrites as the happiness derived from these is fleeting and many times, striving to gain these Alexandrites adds to one’s sufferings. Thank you.

  3. Wah Ying June 8, 2016 at 1:37 am #

    Thank you Pastor David for the article on Alexandrite and Rinpoche for giving the teaching. Ya I might think why spend so much money on a little stone? Just like we do not understand why some of our friends spend a price nearly equal to a car to buy a bicycle, where they can only using it during weekend, for a few hours.

    This line of wrting could apply to everyone, no matter what our Alexandrite is — “…all of us impute false value on different things in our lives. Therefore, we would work very hard, sacrifice and some would even do nasty things to attain it. If we have it and somehow we lose it, we would be very upset.”

    All of us who are in the samsara world, would wonder or “laugh at” another person’s choice of Alexandrite — why spend so much time and money on this or that thing. How much effort and time we are willing to spend to gain the Alexandrite we value so much, depends on how much we regard the value of the thing we think is essential to our life, to our happiness. Whether it’s fame, status in society, a property or a super perfect beautiful face.

    Actually who is more unaware of what they are doing is something not going to give them eternal happiness? No matter what we value is diamond, bicycle, super perfect face or body shape,properties or any other things we would “die for” , we all are equally “lost” and in prison by our own kinds of attachment.

  4. nicholas June 8, 2016 at 2:41 am #

    I would have the same thought as Pastor Seng Piow on Alexandrite…. hahaha but I understand the gist of it. It’s all about our perception of value that we impose to our attachment. What make it meaningless is when we precious stuff that is impermanent and we thought it would last forever. Non of those so called precious stone (example) will last forever with us and in fact it will just make us more greed and make us worry for loosing them. It’s an unnecessary attention and effort to waste on. If we give the same value to something more meaningful in our life like learning Dharma which ultimate goal is to bring us the real eternal happiness, it’s much worth it.

    Our perception is very important and especially at this modern age which there are so many fancy stuff out there that will really cover our mind from the true value for our life. Having right understanding of what beneficial for us is really important for not drowning ourselves further and end up trap in a suffering life.

  5. Joy Kam June 8, 2016 at 9:01 am #

    Short and sweet and very profound teaching you shared here Pastor David! I like how you wrote it so animatedly, which made me feel like I was actually there seeing this whole commotion. I can imagine how Pastor Seng Piow would suddenly say something like that so aloud, lol… and how everyone was just busy looking at the gem with their backs against him.

    It always amazes me how at the drop of hat Rinpoche is able to transform a situation into a dharma teaching experience which literally come to life. Yes indeed every singleone of us have our Alexandrite and what is each individuals Alexandrite is very subjective. Hence the truth is there is no real value in anything in samsara because its value is being imputed by us and what we deem a valuable to us, so this is the false value, cause like what Rinpoche said… when we analyse Alexandrite, it just merely a rock that is mined from the earth – that really drove it home.

    Thank you Pastor David… I like these short spurce of teachings you relate. Please do share more 🙂

  6. Jason June 9, 2016 at 1:59 am #

    I am sure everyone has their own so called Alexandrite in their life. Desired to get the Alexandrite will caused sufferings if we not able to get it or lost it. We shouldn’t have too much attachment on Alexandrite which can only bring us temporary happiness and satisfaction.
    We should spend more resources on dharma work which will benefits others and guide us to ultimate happiness.”Root of Suffering is Attachment”
    Thanks Pastor David for the very inspiration write-up.


  7. Yoke Chim Yap June 9, 2016 at 9:57 am #


  8. yikming June 13, 2016 at 10:18 am #

    I guess my Alexandrite is Lego 🙂
    Thanks for the sharing. Do write about the “pick games”

  9. Lew August 26, 2016 at 10:12 am #

    I agree with Pastor David that every moment with Rinpoche is never dull, and any topic or conversation is related to Dharma. It only goes to show that Dharma is part of Rinpoche’s life, and not something He would engage in from time to time.

    It is true that everyone has their own Alexandrite in their life. Sometimes we laughed at others for the “stupidity” of spending so much effort in getting the Alexandrite, only to find that others are also laughing at us for spending so much effort in getting our own Alexandrite.

    I would say that comfort zone is also the Alexandrite of many people. Many of us (me included of course) are so protective of the comfort zone that we would do anything to protect it. We can be lazy, sneaky and even cunning just to protect the comfort zone.

    Thank you Pastor David for sharing such interesting teaching from Rinpoche. Please do share more in future 🙂

  10. Lthium2 July 9, 2017 at 11:46 am #

    I guess everyone has their own share of Alexandrite, for me it would be new and old tools of all kind. As for why do we crave for some of these Alexandrite? My answer is, it could help us to achieve some of our goal in our circle of life. Just as a craftsman couldn’t do his trade without his favorite tools, an universal emperor could not rule without his 7 royal objects.
    A Tantric master couldn’t do away with its ritual implements and students.
    Here a “tai tai” could not blend into her circle of world of tai tai for achieving a certain goal! Each of these will resulted into 3 type of ripening depends upon the owner of the Alexandrite.
    Thank you for sharing PDL.

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