Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Meeting Dzongsar Khyentse

I received an sms from an old friend, Min Seang, who said his 'high profile guru was having a low profile talk in KL'.. the last i heard of it, he had told me his guru was none other than the high lama, Dzongsar Khyentse. Naturally i was quite excited and immediately asked Susan if she could ask Rinpoche if we could go and hear the talk. Susan then replied that Rinpoche said it was ok for us to go. Wow. We had studied Dzongsar Khyentse in the DVD 'Words of my perfect teacher' during book club and we were going to meet him!! There was barely any time to get ready. Then Susan told me Rinpoche wanted to come but only if he could be incognito as he did not want to detract from Dzongsar Khyentse. I tried to contact Min Seang, but he was unreachable. So I called Mr. Chuah, the host of the talk, who was so friendly and welcoming on the phone. He was actually driving when i called so the conversation was brief. I basically asked if I could bring a couple of friends and he agreed. So I relayed this back to Susan and it was decided that Rinpoche, Seng Piow, Susan and I would go. Simply because if other people found out who Rinpoche was, he would not be just with two females. Fine by me. I was thrilled that Rinpoche was coming too. Then at the last minute, Joe was also invited so we all piled into my little toyota and headed over.

I imagined a small terrace house and wondered how many people could fit. I don't know why I thought the house would be small. We drove past a huge mansion lit up like a Christmas tree.. and that was the address we wanted.

Rinpoche, ever humble, stayed in the car while Joe and I went to hunt for Min Seang and see where we could sit. We bagged some cushions right at the back of the hall which was already filling up with people. It was around 7.45pm by then. The talk would start at 8pm sharp, Min Seang had assured me.

Around 7.50pm, Susan smsed me to ask if they should come in and I said yes. I went outside to look for them and the lights in the house then went off! How auspicious! The electricity flickered on and off several times and we were starting to think that the talk might have to be conducted in candle light. Finally, everything turned back on and we all came in and settled down.

There were about 100 people in the hall. Dzongsar Khyentse emerged on time and it was lovely to see him. He looked rather tired, and I had been told that he had been travelling for the past few days and was going off to US first thing tomorrow morning. How kind he was to spend the evening with us when he had every valid reason to be resting.

He started by asking if anyone had any questions. He seemed to be waiting for someone to arrive said he'd take 5 questions in the meantime. The questions posed were quite vague - like what is Enlightenment? What is Dzogchen? To which he answered very wittily, please read the first two pages of the Tao Ter Ching and come back in three years!

He then started his talk at 8.30, on the subject of 'aspirations'. He first talked about wishes - how we wish each other happy birthday, good bye, safe trip etc. These are all prayers, he said. And the opposite being curses. He asked rhetorically if these prayers worked. He said when people receive birthday wishes, they get happy, so those prayers must work!

He also talked about bigger aspirations, for example, if one of your neighbour's house was on fire, a small aspiration would be if you prayed that your house wouldn't catch fire. A bigger aspiration would be that the neighbourhood didn't catch fire. The bigger aspiration would encapsulate the smaller one, because if the neighbourhood didn't catch fire, your house would automatically be safe. Joe pointed out later that the story also illustrated the interdependency of life.

After the talk, Rinpoche had a brief meeting with DK and presented him with some gifts. We then went to Starbucks for coffee and a chat about the evening. Rinpoche shared his exciting future plans for KMP (watch this space!) and how he felt it his personal responsibility to look after the people working there to spread the Dharma.

The evening ended earlyish - around 2am - after Rinpoche bought ice-cream for the hardworking people still at KMP. On the way home, I was exchanging smses with Ruby and shared that we'd just seen DK and didn't think much about it. Only when I got home, Susan said that I shouldn't have said anything because I should have let Rinpoche tell the story.

I panicked and smsed Ruby back but of course, she'd already told Rinpoche :( Luckily she was the only one I told. Sigh.

That kinda spoilt the rest of an otherwise fabulous evening for me. Sometimes I'm so stupid, I stun myself.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Peace Through Yoga

Woke up this morning at 5.50am for the Peace through Yoga event, organised by Carol/Iza (Oh i can't get used to her new name!). It was still dark when we arrived at KLPAC and several people were already there helping to set up.

Kim, our SIPJ President, had fallen down a couple of days ago and was in tremendous pain. As President Elect, yours truly had to fill her rather large shoes. Being one who always shys away from the limelight (why be President Elect then, you may ask... that's another story), I was not looking forward to it but was just resigned to reading Kim's speech and hoping I didn't make too much a fool of myself (my ego overfloweth). I also had not practiced any of the yoga moves as I did NOT expect to have to do any on the day. I had expected to just help out in the background and sit and watch everyone else do the yoga. Kim being out of action meant I also had to fill in for her in doing the yoga - and not just doing the yoga, but doing it up front! I didn't know whether to be more nervous about the speech or the yoga and fortunately that dilemma made me less worried about both!

We were quite short-handed so I ran around helping out. By 8am, when we were officially supposed to start, I was high on adrenaline. The Deputy Minister of FInance I, Datuk Dr. Ng Yen Yen, arrived quite punctually and the day began. Fortunately, I didn't feel too nervous by then and managed to deliver my speech, then I sat down next to Datuk and found that my social retardiness reared its ugly head. I simply did not know what to say to the Deputy Minister. Susan said afterwards that I did what I usually did when I was nervous, which was sit there with a stupid grin on my face. Kim sat on my left and apparently she was grimacing in pain but trying to smile and then there was me with the glassy grin. Hmmm.

Anyway, the morning breezed by and soon it was all over. It was a tremendous effort from all - especially the volunteers and Carol/Iza. You can see photos at the SIPJ website.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Oh my God!! (said in the best Yek Yee manner.. nevermind)

I was idly watching 'The Queen" dvd which is starring Helen Mirren, and suddenly I saw my old school mate, Helen McCrory as Mrs Cherie Blair!!!!

What can I say except......... WOW!!! Way to go, Helen!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Joe's birthday, kitchen and house warming party

It is Joe's birthday party today so we threw him a surprise bash... we also decided to celebrate Seng Piow aka God's birthday too since it's a few days away. I also thought I'd continue my birthday celebration too... why not!

I woke up early to go marketing, buying roast pork, vegetables, chicken etc. The theme was RICE - i.e. all things chinese, since Joe is a chinaman at heart. So I made tumeric chicken, Umi made roast chicken, fried veg and mustard green soup, Kim and GL bought roast duck, Heruka House (David, Paul, JT) brought red bean soup and chick kut teh.

In the afternoon, I also got myself a present, courtesy of my dad of course - a hitachi plasma TV, which looks absolutely fabulous in my living room. Together with the latest pioneer surround sound system, I can really say my living room ROCKS! Of course I have some Dharma motivations e.g. we can show Rinpoche's teachings much better on the bigger TV although Susan helpfully reminded me that most social events will be held at Buddha Oasis when it's ready.

Anyway, when the guests started trickling in, we put on a Laura Fygi DVD (not pirated, of course!) to try out the system. It was fab!

Jamie made cupcakes for Joe - stacked up like a mandala, which worked out quite well and much cheaper than the RM3,000 we were quoted for making a mandala cake.

We opened a couple of bottles of champagne to celebrate our new kitchen and repainting of our house too.

Any reason to celebrate!

Pat's birthday

Pat invited Susan, Sean and I to Tony Roma's at the Curve for dinner on Saturday to celebrate her birthday. QQ, Pat's ex, was in town and coming to dinner too! I was really looking forward to meeting QQ after hearing so much about her.

We went to the Curve which was PACKED! Tony Roma's was PACKED and I really wanted to have ribs :( ! We then trudged around looking for another place to eat. Actually, if we had just stayed put, we would've gotten our table the time it took us to walk around and settle at Marche! And we'd have bumped into Rinpoche! But our merits were obviously not enough.

Josephine also joined us for dinner, which was nice. It was her birthday the day before, so we got her a gift too, which was a fridge magnet making kit. For Pat, we gave her 'The Good Heart' which is HH Dalai Lama's perspective on Christianity, and a can of Oolong tea.

Susan and I had rib eye steak and shared a fondue. It was soooo yummy. We really ordered and ate like there was no tomorrow. QQ bought dinner too! Though I don't think she expected it to come up to RM380!!

After dinner, we adjourned to Starbucks at Centrepoint. QQ came in our car and Audrey was at Starbucks waiting for us.

Pat came soon after she drove Joshua and Sean back to TTDI and dropped Josephine back to her dad's. We had some pleasant banter then I can't remember how the topic came up, I think Pat was telling us about Anne and the baby and suddenly QQ told Pat that she shouldn't be doing what she was doing. That the baby would be affected. Of course Pat believes that she is just loving the child as an auntie, but I did think that aunties don't usually sleep with the child's mother. Gender is irrelevant really. Pat could be a man, and if he/she was sleeping with the child's mother, while the mother was still married to the father, it would be a very complicated relationship.

QQ had earlier said she hadn't smoked for 11 years and suddenly she picked up a cigarette and smoked quite a few!! Her hands were shaking - she was so emotionally against what Pat was doing. QQ was very into the family unit and she felt that Pat was intruding on the family and she should stop having a relationship with Anne and boot Anne off to China to be with her husband. Of course Pat disagreed.

Previously, I had thought that if anything, Pat was old enough to look after herself and if she chose to make bad choices, it's none of my business. I hadn't thought about it from the child's perspective until QQ brought it up. She said that if the family unit broke up, the child would hate the mother and hate Pat. If the family unit didn't break up, there was no where for Pat to feature in the family picture.

So it was a lose-lose situation.

I felt quite sorry for Pat - to be mentally whacked round the head so thoroughly by QQ. On her birthday too. What a birthday present. But then I thought, only QQ may be able to talk some sense into her and if she managed to talk an ion of sense into Pat, then that really would be the greatest birthday present she could give Pat.