On 17th December, another milestone was achieved by Kechara as it staged its first ever stage performance of the life story of Lama Tsongkhapa. Descriptively entitled 'Legend of the Conch Shell', the show was a triumph of talent and determination. After months of gruelling rehearsals by professional dancers and virgin (for stage anyway) volunteers, the show premiered to rave reviews.
Lee Swee Keong, a renowned dance performer, played the central role of Lama Tsongkhapa, while Edward, the ten year old son of Liaison Henry Ooi, played his first stage role as the young Tsongkhapa. The show was narrated in Mandarin with English subtitles (thank goodness for the linguistically challenged like me) and though the set was minimalistic, the effects were well done and I could see that the minimal budget had definitely been maximised.
H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche graced the premiere and at the end, he gave a fabulous teaching on harmony and respecting each other's cultures and religions. By learning about each other's religion and culture, we understand each other better, and when we understand each other better, there will be more harmony. He stated unequivocably that all faiths were good and none were better than the other. He reiterated that although he was a Buddhist monk, he was not there to convert anyone to Buddhism but he wished to encourage everyone to stay in their respective religions but be better practitioners.
My guest, Ann Woo, who is the current Executive Director of the Nanyang Press Foundation, is a staunch Catholic, in the true sense of the word. While she worships God, she supports universal religions and was extremely supportive of what Rinpoche said in his speech that evening.
There was much feedback from many that they enjoyed the performance, with even a suggestion that we take the show to London! Hmmmmm....
Anyway, the show only runs for three days (four shows) but it will live on in our memories for a long, long time. What a way to reach out to people and share this powerful story of the great Buddhist saint, Lama Tsongkhapa!