Stories of 84000: Ushnisha Ng

Ushnisha Ng – fondly known as Ush – is a familiar face to many volunteers and supporters of 84000. Joining us as a volunteer in 2010, Ush left her job in healthcare the following year to take on the full-time role of Executive Assistant. Ush was instrumental in setting up an administrative system for the organization, and quickly became our Jack-of-all-trades by taking on range of responsibilities from events management to communications to volunteer recruitment. And, we are happy to share that from this year, Ush is now our Operations Manager and doing more than ever. 

Her endearing warmth, kindness, and thoughtfulness leave a deep impression with those who interact with her, and her sense of responsibility and eye for detail has been crucial to the success of our many worldwide events and programs. We are very fortunate to have Ush in our team. 

Growing up in a nominally Buddhist family, I began praying to Guan Yin (Avalokiteśvara) with great devotion from a young age. However, it was around the age of 17 when I picked up a comic book called, “Sayings of Buddha, Teachings on Spiritual Cultivation,” and read a translation of The Three Universal Characteristics of Existence. I remember feeling so utterly impressed by the Buddha, and I was so stoked to learn about the concept of impermanence. I very excitedly went to share my new-found knowledge with my mother, and I was instead reprimanded for talking about “inauspicious things.” Through this experience, I learned that no matter how amazing the wisdom of the Buddha is, one has to share it with skilful means!

After my grandfather passed away, I began learning the Dharma more intently, which helped me immensely in dealing with my grief and loss. A few years later, I had the opportunity to attend Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche’s talk in Singapore. It really hit home for me when Rinpoche said, “Who cares whether you get Enlightened or not, it’s other peoples’ Enlightenment that you should be concerned about.” From that talk onwards, I began reserving all my annual leave to attend Rinpoche’s teachings overseas, and the rest is history. The more I learn, the more appreciative I become of Dharma’s ability to provide insights in dealing with suffering and finding calm in our stressful world.

I feel very blessed to be a part of 84000. I often think about how had I been born 100 years earlier or later, I would have missed the chance to witness this historic movement entirely: It really is such a rare opportunity. And why is this project so close to my heart? It was, after all, a translation in that comic book that allowed me to first hear the Dharmic concepts that altered my perspective so radically. It would be a great loss for humanity if the wisdom to end such suffering disappeared simply because it remained locked in languages we were no longer able to understand. 

One of the great perks of my job is that I have the opportunity to meet and learn from very inspiring, selfless people—from teachers and monks to tech specialists and volunteers—all of whom are dedicated to the same goal. I often marvel how it is possible that so many such people exist, and it warms my heart to know that they do. They have all played a crucial role in both my work and personal growth, and I often feel that I receive more than I give. It is my hope that I’ll constantly improve my abilities so that I can contribute more to the project, and pay-it-forward for all the guidance and help I’ve received. 

Many people think that Dharma is either too profound to understand, or it is not relevant in our daily lives—neither of which I believe to be true. My boss often reminds me that besides enlightenment and meditation, the Buddha also taught ways to deal with more mundane situations—techniques that correspond to versions of financial management, leadership qualities, health and anger management, emotional regulation, and much more. Knowing that my work can play a part in alleviating suffering is probably the greatest source of motivation for me.

Though I know that I will not be able to see the completion of this 100-year project, I hope I will live to see the complete translation of the Kangyur by 2035. I hope that through the collaborative effort of these translations, people will be able to identify the sources of their sufferings and cultivate inner peace. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has journeyed with us thus far: Thank you for all the hard work, all the support, and all the well-wishes towards the continuity and success of 84000. May all be well and happy!

Posted: 5 Aug 2018