The name's Ben, currently back living in Bogor, Indonesia. I also run a, photoblog and that's all you need to know.
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One has to be a teacher to oneself and a disciple of oneself, there is no authority, there is only understanding.
Jiddu Krishnamurti

Anonymous asked: hi ben, I've been reading your blog for a while and you have such a beautiful perspective in life. life's not always got its best condition but it seems like you enjoy life so much. I'm just curious, how can people enjoy life to that extend, let's say, even when you've hit your lowest threshold? what is the password, so you can enjoy every second of life without regrets ? thank you ben, and have a great day :)

What has been done, has been done. Nothing else can be done about it. What we have is the present, why not enjoy what you have here and now and let the past be the past. 

Come join me and let’s meditate together.

And let’s find out together the secret to living life without regrets.

Anonymous asked: Hi Ben, berbicara tentang memaafkan, menurut kamu bagaimana kita sebagai seorang manusia tau bahwa kita sudah memaafkan orang lain yang sudah pernah menyakiti kita? Yang pernah saya tau dari salah satu agama adalah tentang 'kepahitan', keadaan dimana kita benar-benar merasa pahit dan dendam terhadap seseorang yang pernah melukai perasaan kita sampai yg tersisa hanyalah perasaan benci. If you don't mind, would you please kindly share your thoughts? Thank you. :)

Jika memang sudah memaafkan tidak ada keinginan untuk orang yang telah menyakiti diri kita untuk tersakiti. Tidak ada dendam ataupun amarah maupun benci. Yang ada hanyalah rasa berterimakasih karena telah diberi kesempatan untuk belajar dan mengerti. Karena dengan pengalaman yang menyakitkan dan pahit kita sesungguhnya dapat belajar.

Memparafrase Buddhaghosa, seorang filolog agama Buddha, dia berkata bahwa amarah bagaikan arang panas yang kita genggam dan ingin kita lemparkan ke orang lain, namun pada akhirnya yang terbakar hanyalah diri kita.

Jika sudah mengerti hal itu untuk apa terus digenggam?

Anonymous asked: We call each other Love. We make love. But, we don't love. So what are we doing? And what's love exactly?

We are merely jumping like a monkey from one form of desire and security to another. Can love be made? Or does it arise on its own when you understand what is not love?

Anonymous asked: Hai Kak Ben.. aku mau tanya, menurut kakak ada gak sih hubungannya antara sikap religius dengan kualitas hidup seseorang ? Apakah dengan meditasi bisa meningkatkan spiritual atau kualitas hidup seseorang? Makasih :D

Saya tidak religius maupun spiritual jadi saya tidak tahu hubungannya. Dan saya tidak tahu kualitas hidup seseorang yang kamu cari seperti apa. Kualitas hidup yang saya inginkan mungkin berbeda dengan apa yang kamu inginkan jadi saya tidak tahu. Untuk saat ini, meditasi adalah upaya saya mengenal diri dan hanya itu yang saya cari. Apa yang kamu cari?

Anonymous asked: you don't answer all questions. Maybe you're picky. which is to me another form of discrimination. So, why did talk about tolerance?

I don’t answer what I can’t answer. I answer what I can. Why are you angry of something I can’t do?

Anonymous asked: Hello Forrest, i hit rock bottom in my life and im making my way back up. Im a very kind person and dont like confrontation but to meet people half way i become mean and cold and that it hurts knowing i was being mean and cold. What can i do or learn to go about my life with love and compassion?


From zenmister

If you’re having problems feeling happy, you can forget about happiness. Worrying about what you’re not feeling serves no purpose at all. As you forget about happiness, try not to remember any experiences of happiness that you have had. Remembering happy moments, just brings about happiness, which you need to forget. Happiness is a distraction from the real work of feeling what you’re feeling. When you feel happy, then you can work on feeling happiness, until then put happiness out of your mind.

Happy is a natural way to be, so as you try to put happiness out of your mind, don’t worry that you won’t revert to happiness when you are finished with what you are experiencing instead. What you are experiencing instead is your self. If you’re not feeling happy, you’re imagining that you are something that you are not, so it is important to find out what you actually are. You don’t have to like your self or dislike your self when you experience your self. Liking and disliking just get in the way of knowing. Wishing for happiness also gets in the way. When you have the opportunity to explore your self, use that time to see what it is that you are.

The amazing thing about looking deeply into who and what you are, is that when you notice it, you will be absolutely pleased. You won’t see that you are something radically different from what you are now. You will see what you have always been.  Although this will make you feel happiness again, don’t worry, you will still be able to explore your Self when you are happy.

Step into the fire of self-discovery. This fire will not burn you, it will only burn what you are not.


Sumba & Bali, June 2014.


The most asked question that I often receive through my tumblr inbox is how should I as an individual face this mad world? How should one after witnessing all the chaos, bloodshed, extreme poverty, starvation, murders, death and everything else that comes with it, not go insane? How should one after personally experiencing heartbreaks, failures, rejections, regrets and the lost of someone you love, not go mad?

Sadly, you can’t.

Not only will you experience it but you need to experience it. You need to be mad as it propels you towards being lost. Because when you’re lost, you start looking, asking for directions, searching for an answer. We should be mad, angry, sad, frustrated with this world and yourself because it will force you to question your place here on this beautiful blue globe.

Some will look for mental security in any form they find, perhaps religion, perhaps philosophy, or an ideology. Some will go on being mad and hostile towards the world as it is the only logical way for them to act and secure themselves in this world. While others, those who aren’t easily satisfied will go on looking and searching, as they feel there is more than what one sees, hears, smells, tastes or touch. There is something beyond the senses.


These people may in the end go to themselves for an answer. An inward search.

The issue here is the need and the act of being alone and in solitude as a necessary prerequisite of our inward search. We have been taught that human beings are social creatures, which of course we are, and thus being alone is sometimes seen as a sad and depressing activity. 

In addition with the advent of social networking sites and the easy and constant access of them through our smartphone addiction has sadly diminished the opportunity to be alone with ourselves. Modern life has it seems reduced our ability to reflect. The problem with constantly socializing is the inability to have us reflect on our thoughts, our actions. With no time to reflect, growing old will be just that, just to grow old. Maturity of the self,  as one would expect through the passing of age and which I define as knowing oneself deeper and more wholesome, becomes harder to obtain.

I sometimes worry how people continue to draw an unnerving picture of ageing. To be honest I find growing old quite gratifying, amusing and at times exhilarating. The reason being is I assume that I will spend my coming years getting to know myself a bit closer, a bit better and this will entail a tremendous amount of time being on my own.


What about my relationship with Rara?

I hope if she reads this, she’ll walk on her own path that leads to a similar understanding of how I view this arduous yet joyous thing called life. I hope she sees and understands a similar destination and understands that even though the end goal might be the same, the way towards that end must be done personally, thus will be experienced differently and subjectively. 

Here’s one advice for those walking on this “path” or thinking of walking on this “path”. As a layperson studying Buddhism and its endearing philosophy. The wider the “understanding gap” between you and your partner, the greater the possibility that a deep misunderstanding of each other may occur. You need to study together, you need to share to each other what agitates you and what you have learned, and you both need to find time alone to contemplate. It’s actually ironic that you actually have to disengage with the world in order to engage with the world wholesomely.


Because this is not merely an intellectual interest or hobby in some otherworldly philosophy of a non-dualistic world and emptiness. It is a viewpoint on how one understands life. How it should be lived and what should be done about it. There can be no beneficial relationship if the people within the relationship have different outlooks on life itself, as they may act, react, behave in contrary with one another. A relationship will only be a burden not an opportunity for growth.

I understand that I might have chosen a path that is illogical for some (questioning the world? questioning yourself? the world is actually empty? what?) but if by walking on this thorny path has helped me understand myself and this world a bit more then continue walking I will. I might not be able to stop wars around the world but I more sure than ever before that I can prevent myself from hurting the people around me and prevent myself from hurting myself. And if that’s not a gainful endeavour to undertake, then I don’t know what is.


I want to end this blog post with four quotes. From Einstein, Krishnamurti, Michael Foley and the last from the Zen master Mazu.

The first from Michael Foley on detachment:

What you need is detachment, concentration, autonomy and privacy, but what the world insists upon is immersion, distraction, collaboration and company.”

The second from Albert Einstein on persistence and commitment:

"It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s that I stay with problems longer."

The third from Zen master Mazu on Buddhism:

When a monk asked, “What is the fundamental meaning of Buddhism?,” Mazu asked, “What is the fundamental meaning of this moment?”

And last from Jiddu Krishnamurti on life:

"You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing and dance, and write poems and suffer and understand, for all that is life."

I am 28 years old now and for now I have learned to be less loud, a bit more thoughtful, hopefully a bit more helpful, but definitely much less angry with myself and with the world around me. Although I am pleased with such an achievement, I think it’s time for me to look a bit deeper.

So what to do and where to next? I’ll let that question answer itself when it is time.


There’s a crack on the wall, there’s a tear on the veil.


"Just because we wear the hijab and cover up, does not make us perfect Muslims,"
A comic adaptation from a post on another tumblr blog.
(While the words are from an actual exchange, the situations depicted are purely fictional. Any similarities to persons living or departed are coincidental and no offence was intended.)

(via adjoemoetia)

Krishnamurti Vipassana meditation retreat

Me and Rara will be going to the Krishnamurti Vipassana meditation retreat from the 15-17 August 2014 in Bogor, West Java. The retreat costs about Rp.100.000 ($10) including food (breakfast and lunch, there are no dinners in this meditation retreat) and accommodation. The retreat will start on the afternoon of the 15th and end on the morning of the 17th.

Although the retreat will be done in a Buddhist monastery (Vihara Giri Ratana) all religions are welcome to join, as the meditation itself is mostly done in a secular fashion.

For any of you who are interested in learning a bit about meditation this would be a great opportunity to do so, as talking and thinking about meditation means so little compared to actually experiencing it.

For more information go to (it’s in English and Indonesian).

Hope to see some of you there.


Anonymous asked: ben, aneh ga sih kalau akhir2 *dua bualanan* ini saya galau sendiri tentang kenapa kita ada di dunia, manusia itu apa, kenapa kita melakukan ini itu. pikiran berkecamuk tidak jelas, hari2 tak ber passion, tak fokus, bosan, sepi, hahah. membaca tumblrmu sejak lama membuatku merasa harus share tentang ini padamu, would you mind to give me ur opinion? thanks in advance ben!

At times I am interested in these things you’ve asked and that’s the scholar side of me nodding and questioning, which will probably be beneficial when I continue to do my Ph.D someday. But I’ve also realized that these things are also sometimes unimportant to ask especially when we realize that we as human beings are suffering or perhaps daily agitated by many daily, trivial things (sometimes the usage of the word ‘suffering’ is just way too harsh). As a result looking at the human condition wholesomely and honestly has become a deep interest for me as well.

Like the Buddha (from the Buddhist monk Thich Naht Hanh) once said:

"Suppose a man is struck by a poisoned arrow and the doctor wishes to take out the arrow immediately. Suppose the man does not want the arrow removed until he knows who shot it, his age, his parents, and why he shot it. What would happen? If he were to wait until all these questions have been answered, the man might die first."

You can ask all the questions about life, God, and every metaphysical thing there is to life but you will still be agitated by an accidental spill of your morning coffee all over your new white shirt. And you’ll just assume that’s natural of you. Perhaps it is, but perhaps there is another way to live. Perhaps.

maycrossing asked: Hi Ben. You talked about detaching one's self and looking at emotions from an objective stance, however, when it comes to a person's love for another, is it possible to do so? How do you know that you love a person because of his/her being (similar to Derrida's idea), not because of the comfort and sense of security that the relationship gives?

It is possible to look at things objectively once you’re willing to accept honestly of how you view your relationship or your concept of this thing called love. The more appropriate question is, do you want to look at it objectively? Because to look objectively at love, is to also look objectively at yourself. Your fears and your wants. Why do want to love? Why do you want and perhaps need to be loved?

I don’t know what true love is, I don’t know how to love because of his/her ‘being’ but if we look at how we love, is love really attachment? Is there  jealousy in love? Isn’t jealousy a sign of the our ego wanting something? Is there room for ego in love?

Can we love when we are not love back? If no, isn’t love then a mere trade, like Krishnamurti once asked?

So what really is this thing called love?

Let’s look at it together by first looking at ourselves.

Anonymous asked: Hi Ben, welcome back to Indonesia. I really enjoy reading your blog, you are so thoughtful, your writing is breathtaking and that's what makes me embolden myself to share what's been bugging my mind for years since i've realized that i have SSA. I've read a trustworthy research recently that, well, okay, gay, is not genetical, and what appeals me is that it can be changed. It's so hard Ben, I suffer. anything but SSA please!. i need to love and to be loved back. What should i do?.

and if your answer is that i have to accept being gay, then why should i be. let’s come to think of it, we are bestowed with the ability to choose, what about if i am being tested, and i choose a simple path instead of a winding one. then i will have a big loss. what about if that research is right?. Thanks Ben in advance.

Are you sure being gay is not genetical? There have also been trustworthy research that say it is.

But whatever the scientific community says, you’re the one who’s enduring the day to day life. I can’t make and will not make a decision for you because I’m not living your life. However I do understand that being gay here in Indonesia is undeniably hard and perhaps even dangerous as prejudice runs deep and there’s a huge possibility that you’ll be marginalized or perhaps even persecuted by religious extremists, so perhaps on an intellectual level I can understand your worries.

But again, this is your life. Any decision you make has its consequences, be it the honesty towards oneself or the alienation one has to endure. Which one do you think you’ll be able to handle in the long run?

Back to you.

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