Tuesday, November 03, 2009

A Night at the Ladrang - giving gifts, Rinpoche-style

It was 11.30pm when Su Ming called. I had had a headache earlier and skipped dinner, trading it in for a nap instead. By 11.30, I was well and ready to go to sleep. Su Ming called and asked where Susan and I were (we were at home) and if Susan and I had any major appointments the next day (we didn't) and if we'd like to come over to the New Ladrang at 12.30am (of course!).

We hadn't had an all nighter with Rinpoche for awhile and I was looking forward to it. Especially in the New Ladrang. A Ladrang is a Tibetan High Lama's household and administrative centre. Traditionally, the growth of a whole monastery hinges on a few large, well run and well supported Ladrangs.

In Malaysia, where Tibetan Buddhism is still very much in its pioneering stage, a Ladrang is extremely rare (personally I am not aware of any other Ladrang in Malaysia) as there are no High Lamas in residence and there is no mass Buddhist consciousness to support it.

HE Tsem Tulku Rinpoche's ladrang is purely to serve others without personal agenda. As the Headquarters of the Kechara Buddhist organisation, the Ladrang supports all 12 departments and as the previous Ladrang was bursting at the seams, a new Ladrang had manifested from Rinpoche's consistent commitment to the Dharma, the hard work of the Ladrang Liaisons and its supporters.

After many months of renovations, the Ladrang was almost ready for occupation and last night (or earlier this morning, rather) several of Rinpoche's students and I had the opportunity to see one of the departments - the Gift department - of the Ladrang in action.

When we gathered in the Gift department, which is a single room, filled from floor to ceiling with gifts, Rinpoche gave a short Dharma talk on the growth of our organisation. He said that as we grow more, our responsibilities will increase and so should our humility. Each of our departments have the capacity to grow and the secret to our future growth was to take responsibility for our work and to not have to be reminded of our responsibilities or of anything we have committed to do. To be harmonious and to care for each other.

Rinpoche then selected gifts with his tireless troop of Ladrang elves, carefully picking out beautiful statues, precious malas (prayer beads), stacks of Dharma books, DVDs, glossy posters, Buddha pendants, t-shirts and caps with Buddhist designs. The gifts were to go to various people from all over the world, who had written to Rinpoche with a sincere wish to learn more Dharma.

He made prayers over them that whoever receives the gifts would open their hearts and minds to the Dharma. The Gift Department of Tsem Ladrang, headed by Liaison Su Ming and her assistant, Kennie Wong, works extremely hard to present the gifts well and they spend thousands on postage and courier fees all round the world to connect people with the Dharma.

At around 5.30am, Rinpoche led us through dedicational prayers and we moved to the dining hall, where we enjoyed a light supper prepared by the Ladrang kitchen. As we relaxed with casual conversation and jokes, it really was a supreme evening - with my extraordinary Guru, and among my Dharma brothers and sisters.


J.V.New said...

I should be at Ladrang!!

Michele De Paris said...

Thank you very much for your nice writing and sharing. It is always so nice to read you and it make me feel like if I was there too.