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.

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