Last night, Rinpoche told Susan that he liked our website for my latest project - Tsem Ladrang to raise funds for building Tsem Ladrang in Gaden. I was so excited, it inspired me to write in my blog!
I've been so busy these few months that I haven't had time to write.. I can't believe I haven't written it since August.. and so much has happened since that I don't even know where to backtrack but.. let's talk about Tsem Ladrang today. Early in November, I had to good fortune to go to Gaden again. The first time I went was April 2006, and that was an incredible one day trip.
This time, I was invited but almost didn't make it.
Joe had asked if I had wanted to go to Gaden, and I said yes I'd love to but I can't make it if it's the first week of November. I didn't tell him that on November 4th, my mother was performing in her annual alumni do, for which I'd designed the invitation cards and had promised that Sean and I was coming. I'd even told Sean's school that he wasn't going to school that Monday since we were going to Penang for the show. On November 6th, I had bought tickets for 'Chicago'.. and invited William for his belated birthday treat too. On November 8th was our grand SIPJ (http://www.sipj.org) fund raising event - i had bought a table for 3k and also had invited supporters of SIPJ's previous events to join. Of all the weeks in the whole year, this was my busiest week. Anyway, I didn't hear about Gaden for awhile then I heard that the group was leaving on November 3rd and returning on the 10th. Almost exactly encompassing the three dates that I had planned. I was still humming and hawing and wondering if I should cancel my appointments. I am ashamed to say that I didn't immediately scream cancel everything and hop on the plane to heaven.
Anyway, I stewed over it for about a day, then I asked Ruby if it was too late to get a visa for India because the others had already submitted their passports for the visa. Ruby said it was probably too late. Then I heard that Jenny may be going and she had to get her visa done so I then quickly decided that I wanted to go. Throwing samsara to the wind, I asked Joe if it was ok. He said yes, but I had to pay my own way since I had said I couldn't make it, he had offered my place to Jamie. That was the least of my worries! Anyway, to cut the long story short, my visa came through, Joe's visa came through and off we went on the most amazing trip ever.
Boy was I glad I decided to go. Even though my mum was a bit disappointed,and I'm sure President Kim of SIPJ was a bit disappointed, I wouldn't have missed Gaden for the world.
I'm in the middle of finishing my book on Dharmapala Lord Setrap.. and when I went into the Setrap chapel at Gaden Shartse Prayer Hall and asked him to help me with the book, I was suddenly overcome with tremendous emotion. I can't even begin to describe the feeling. Even thinking about it now makes me feel emotional.
We also had the fantastic opportunity to meet some high lamas, like the Abbot of Gaden Shartse Monastery and one of the highlights was to personally be there to request a foreword for Yek Yee and my Setrap books (Yek Yee has written one in Mandarin which was launched to a fabulous reception last Saturday) from the ex-Abbot, Kensur Konchok Tsering, who emanate such kindness that it humbles you. And we met Gen Gelong, the ex-disciplinarian of the Monastery, who spoke so highly of Tsem Rinpoche that it made me cry.
From the kindness of Tsem Rinpoche, we stayed at the comfortable house of Kalden Rinpoche, in Gaden Jangste Monastery. There was only a small group of us - Joe, Yek Yee, Jamie, Jenny, Shin and I. If there were more of us, we wouldn't be able to stay at Gaden and wake up the the melodious chants of prayer. We spent three days in Gaden and strangely enough, I didn't miss home at all. Just before we left for Gaden, Rinpoche had mentioned that he wanted a fence built for the land where his ladrang would be built but funds were lacking. When we left Gaden, I felt very inspired to find sponsorship for the fence. And by the time we got home, I wanted to build the whole ladrang.
Tsem Rinpoche is a High Lama of Gaden Shartse and it is high time that his students build a ladrang for him in his home monastery. Please look at the simple site http://www.tsemladrang.com and contribute if you can - you don't have to be a student to contribute, though if you do want to contribute, you probably have some previous life connection already with Rinpoche.
For me, personally, it's a great honour to build a ladrang for Rinpoche, and when Tsem Ladrang in Gaden manifests, many more will have the opportunity to visit Gaden and really have a glimpse of heaven.
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