“Online resources, both talks and friendship, are my lifelines!”
Zoe Lim is the only GFR mitra in Singapore. She found Triratna at the Nottingham centre when she was a student, and since returning to Singapore has visited the UK to attend retreats at Tiratanaloka, and travelled to India for the International Buddhist Youth Convention. Liz caught up with her online to talk about her life in Singapore and how online resources keep her connected with the Sangha.
In Singapore life is fast paced, expensive and often stressful. In less than four years since returning to Singapore from the UK, Zoe has had three jobs and moved house five times. Change is part of life:
… everyone is trying to escape from a highly stressful city life, where living costs are amongst the highest and work hours one of the longest in the world. But of course there is no escape, so we end up having high turnovers at work. The dukkha just transfers to the next situation…
Zoe uses The Buddhist Centre Online to keep up with Triratna News, and Free Buddhist Audio to access talks, listening to them in her room in the rented flat she shares with three others, or on the bus or underground on her way to work:
It’s my lifeline. I listen whenever I can. I look for new talks as well as re-listen to older ones, especially Bhante’s. I don’t have a Triratna Sangha here. Even thoughI have friends here who are Buddhist, we don’t quite speak the same language, especially when it comes to Bhante’s unique approach of the five stages in the system of practice, and Triratna’s emphasis on spiritual friendship. So when there is a need to connect I search for key words that relate to the situation I’m in, for instance integration, loneliness, doubt, death, emptiness, and so on.
During our conversation, I realise how much Zoe values communication and connection with others. She speaks Chinese, Malay, English, and three local dialects, including Cantonese. A researcher, she now uses her amazing communication skills in her work for serving and advocating for older people. Her online study group is a way to connect with other GFR mitras. Each Sunday Zoe joins an online group facilitated by Vidyatara in Melbourne, Australia. It’s a truly international group of women from the UK, Turkey, Poland and Zoe in Singapore:
It’s early in the morning for some people. We often have people arriving with a cup of tea! Without this group I don’t think I could live in Singapore … when I do the study group I am different, it pulls me back to the anchor of my life, refocusing me on what is important.
You may be familiar with the TBCO site, but did you know that TBCO team also works behind the scenes, providing platforms for small groups like Zoe’s to share and coordinate their learning resources? Being part of an online group can make all the difference to someone. This is what it means to Zoe:
I really feel supported… I feel like I’m not alone; I have friends…it’s an amazing group of women walking this path together in very different contexts.
The Buddhist Centre Online is part funded by FutureDharma Fund. By giving to FutureDharma Fund you are helping us all connect and build Sangha together. The world needs what you’ve been given. Pass it on.