Ethical Shopping (My First Purchase After A Year-long Book Detox)

During my gap year/spiritual journey in 2011-2012, I found the dharma talks given by Ching Kung master (a Chinese Buddhist monk) so enriching that I didn’t feel like reading anything secular, except for teaching purpose (like the poems and short stories covered in the syllabus of HKDSE English Literature).

During that period of time, it was kind of a guilty pleasure for me to buy this book called Bonjour, Happiness. To be honest, I didn’t even need this book, as I considered myself quite qualified as a French in most aspects of my lifestyle. If it doesn’t cover anything that I don’t know already, why did I buy it?

Well, I spent half an afternoon reading in an air-conditioned, well-lit and spacious bookstore, so it would be morally wrong to walk out of it without leaving anything behind aside from a few strings of hair from the mindless brushing and twirling while reading… I am kidding!

The true reason was, I wanted to be an ethical buyer. As a minimalist, I believe I bear a certain degree of responsibility in supporting the ideas of finding happiness in a less materialistic approach as preached by the author Jamie Cat Callan.

Before that, I hadn’t really picked up a book and walked to the counter for nearly a year. There was only this one time when I wandered around a nearby district and discovered an underground used bookstore with over ten cats lying and jumping around.

I don’t want this place, the home of those cats, to close down but I know it probably will someday as people are less inclined to paperbacks. I want to help with the rent, even by just a few pennies. Besides the boss kindly directed me how to get to my destination. In return I bought a few used books there.

Another example of ethical shopping was I bought a packet of baking soda for $10 at a bakery supply store when I could get the exact same box for $9.5 at a chained supermarket. To which store my money goes to matters because each dollar speaks for what I support. I wanted to support a local store which specialised in baking so I opted to spend my money there.

Compared to this guy here in Hong Kong who started his one-man campaign of not buying things from corporation chain stores for a year, I am only doing so little.

I hope by sharing how little we can do to implement the notion of ethical shopping that more people will join the league and make this world a kinder place.

📿修行 📿雙親是真修者最好的老師








📿修行 📿沒有脾氣是修行功夫的指標






📿修行 📿肉眼

肉眼受制於物理。儘管科技容許我們透過電子錄像追溯過去,或收看遠在他方的畫面,we can only view one thing at a time。




📿修行 📿自命清高

末學第一次自修佛法時 ,有一個很大的毛病:自命清高。








其實看到不如法之事,不過因為自己不夠清淨。若自己的榜樣做得夠好, 身邊的人也會開始改變吧。

Writing Diary Can’t Save You (a 2012 blogpost)

This is a blogpost I wrote on 15/16th September, 2012. It’s titled “Writing Diary Can’t Save You”. Back then, I was using the standard style of diary writing and I didn’t really experience journal writing. Therefore, my diaries were mostly scribbled out of either anger or fearfulness. I seldom went through the entries in order to find any repeated theme or keyword in them, which was a therapeutic technique introduced in the book The New Diary. For the record, I don’t write in such traditional style of diary anymore. and I have to strongly disagree with what I wrote in this four-year old online entry. Over the past three to four years, I have been implementing the principles introduced by a Japanese author Nobuyuki Okuno (奧野宣之). I discovered just now how similar some of his ideas were to those in The New Diary, which I recently reread. (Click the link for my book review.) I am sharing this blogpost with you all just to show how my perception of whether diary writing should be considered a therapy has changed. Hope this is useful or at least inspiring in some ways. 


Went to a bookstore yesterday to check if a certain new book from an acclaimed writer was in stock. While it was not, I stumbled upon another book, quite a thick one actually for a subcultural topic — diary writing. As a diary keeper for over ten years until last year when I decided to quit the habit of recycling my negative emotions in forms of words and self-pitying by shredding all my diaries, I was intrigued and quickly gleaned from the book the seven new approaches of diary writing before leaving to catch the shuttle bus. Though I had enough cash, the sanity in me reminded me of how diaries had got me in bad loops in life, so I didn’t buy the book.

I still kept track of my thoughts but it was more like a inventory of my Buddhist practice than one that is filled with complaints and doubts in life. I fear that diary keeping will do nothing other than to shake my new found belief. To avoid that, I restrict diary writing to reflections upon my inappropriateness which may violate the rules that I have sworn to keep for my religion, such as holding onto certain desires.

Desires aren’t real. But they still have their effect if one is not conscious enough to notice their effect, or when one follow its effect willingly. I am not sure which one has a stronger force: my decade old habit or my willfulness but my repressed desire to express in form of writing has drawn me to this book (The New Diary). This person is quite daring to write a book like this. Who keeps diaries these days? I have read plenty of books on illustrators’ journals or bankers’ schedules, but diaries? How many copies did s/he expect to sell? Well, I don’t know, but there are certainly enough to have it translated from English to Chinese.

To find out more about this intriguing book, I have done a google search online. It has nothing to do with sour grapes, but I do think some points made by the author are exaggerating, which is quite normal for practical books alike and it does fit the 20:80 theory by putting 80% of his ideas in 20% of his book. The book speaks in the voice of all those “bestselling” “writers’”, pushing their words and hard selling them. Yea, we all know keeping a diary is therapeutic, so are many other things. Chocolate makes our belly fat and shopping makes our wallet thin. Our own words are toxic in some way when the positive effect reaches its plateau. It’s just like the Law of Diminishing Marginal Returns.

No disease can be cured unless it is uprooted. If you don’t want to be overweight, eat less and exercise more. Likewise, if you don’t want to be miserable, complain less and say thanks more. I appreciate the effort and the gratitude the author dedicated to unfolding the myths of diary writing, but having kept diaries for almost a dozen years, I feel obliged to let hopefuls know that a journal may work just as much as an antidepressant. You can try it, but don’t expect it to save your life.

It is not exactly the reality when people say that keeping a diary help you as an emotional outlet. Those people giving such irresponsible advice should have interviewed me, a diary keeper for at least ten years, because I know the truth. We don’t write and relax. We write and replay. Even if the page is to be discarded the moment you are done, there are tracks of thoughts in your mind that take times to be flattened out. If one scratches constantly, the marks will stay there. To leave this unhealthy cycle, I stopped blackmailing myself with my own words.