On 27 Dec, I received an email from an old friend, Karen Currie. We were at Queenswood together - a tiny boarding school in Hertfordshire that no one's ever heard of. She was in the upper fifths when I was in the thirds so I didn't really know her well but knew who she was. Anyway, we met up again a couple of years ago, when she joined the Oxbridge society but even then we didn't really get to know each other.
I was delighted to hear from her though and immediately invited her to a dinner cum seminar function on Emotional Intelligence, organised by Shirley, that was happening that evening. The proceeds for the dinner was for KSK - Kechara Soup Kitchen - and there were a couple of spare seats at my table so I invited her. I didn't really expect her to appear as it was such a last minute invite and as the evening started I became wrapped up in other things. So it was a lovely surprise at the end of the day when she showed up.
She liked the short KSK video and when I told her I was in a Buddhist publishing house, she said she was interested in Buddhism and of course, that made me ecstatic. On the spur of the moment, I wondered if Rinpoche was around KMP. That day was also the day of the inaugural KL pilgrimage tour, led by Rinpoche, and if he hadn't reached KMP yet, I wondered if it was possible to just let Karen slip in at the back of the room to have a glimpse of the Buddha. I smsed Susan and Su Ming and there was no reply. So I smsed Ruby and she said she was at KLIA and Rinpoche was at Dame Khang. I then called Ruby and asked if she thought it would be okay for me to take Karen to KMP and see Rinpoche. Not for anything in particular but just to be a part of the crowd and be blessed by his presence. Ruby said that she thought it was okay because earlier, some people met Rinpoche at various parts of the tour.
So Karen and I immediately hopped into our respective cars and tore our way across town - from Shangri-La to Bandar Utama. When we arrived, JP and Su Ming were outside KMP and I asked them if it was okay for us to go in to see Rinpoche. JP aka Harry Potter said that it wasn't appropriate because it was a private function. I must say that at the time, I was rather disappointed - especially after the adrenaline of rushing across town. I had thought that Karen and I could just slip into KMP while Rinpoche was looking around KMP. At that time, I didn't know that Rinpoche didn't go to KMP and that what JP said she couldn't join was the visit to the Ladrang, which was fully understandable. The tour attendees then filed out of KMP and were milling outside waiting to go into the Ladrang.
So I thought I'd give Karen a tour of KMP and she was quite impressed with everything. She even bought a couple of DVDs ("Journey to Gaden" and "Nothing Changes")JP then came by and suggested that I write to request audience with Rinpoche if Karen wanted to meet him so, there and then, I did.
Then on Saturday night, we took her to Kechara Saraswati Arts where we showed her what Saraswati did. The place was buzzing as Raj the tailor was visiting and giving the first class on how to sew a pandit's hat. Eric Choong, head of the Kechara Sewing Dept and celebrity fashion designer was also there. They were filming Raj's work and someone suggested Karen go into the shot so we look very international.
We were really all amazed at Raj's sewing skills and Karen and I even slipped into the group photo which we didn't really deserve to be in, especially as we didn't do anything! But KSA was so generous to include us charlatans.
Karen and I then rolled a few mantras to purify our sins and KMP people - JJ, Jamie, Yek Yee - were all there in KSA, though we hadn't planned on it. Again, Karen was impressed that all these volunteers would come in their spare time and after work and she said she loved the energy of these departments.
Wait til she feels the energy of the Buddha!!
I'll keep my fingers crossed.
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