Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Yes, I'm moving...

After trying to maintain two blogs while I explored typepad, I have decided to defect. Mostly because HE Tsem Tulku Rinpoche is on typepad and it'll be easier to follow him if I'm on there too.

I will still maintain for as long as I can because of my archives (which i haven't figured out how to transfer over to typepad yet). I'm quite a technoretard so this may take awhile.

In the meantime, please follow me over at

Thanks for joining my continuing journey..

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

His Eminence Kyabje Lati Rinpoche Enters Clear Light

I've received many teachings, audiences, divination results, and persoanl advice from this incredibly eminent master. He was one of the greatest living Buddhist treasures left in this century. He was tulku (reincarnated master) and also Kensur (Abbot Emeritus) of Gaden Shartse Monastery. He was the guru to thousands around the world with several books out. He was the pillar of Gaden Shartse Monastery. One of the reasons for the success of Gaden Shartse is Lati Rinpoche. He took birth to benefit others in Kham Tibet in 1922.
Please read HE Tsem Tulku Rinpoche's touching tribute to his Guru HE Kyabje Lati Rinpoche who has passed into clear light earlier today.
Tsem Tulku Rinpoche is the perfect embodiment of Guru Devotion. He never wavers from his Gurus teachings and instructions and keeps all the commitments he has made to his Gurus all through his life. 
I am so grateful to Lati Rinpoche for asking Tsem Rinpoche to come to Malaysia and gift us with the Dharma. May Lati Rinpoche swiftly return to benefit more beings. Lati Rinpoche's blessings will continue and be amplified through the Dharma teachings and work of his eminent disciples who are also highly attained like Tsem Rinpoche.

May Tsem Rinpoche's vision of KWPC manifest smoothly and quickly.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Taking from the homeless...

This evening, I went on the Kechara Soup Kitchen Petaling Jaya route, with Mr. Lim driving, Clifford and Joyce in the car. It started pouring just as we headed out and many of the homeless were nowhere to be seen. We still ploughed on and Mr. Lim was the hero of the evening, heading out into the rain with our solitary umbrella to look for our usual clients.

At a particular bus stop, we gave some packets of food to a one-legged man on crutches who is one of KSK's regulars. As we left, we saw two big tough looking guys going up to the one-legged man and helping themselves to his food. What kind of people are these who can take from a homeless person who was an invalid? These two guys had a motorcycle, they were wearing watches, they obviously could afford food, yet they had no compunction about taking from the homeless.

We wondered if we should step in but what was the point? Those two looked like they could have us for breakfast. In the end, we just drove away in disgust.

What is the world coming to?

Friday, April 09, 2010

Gifts from Ann Woo

I received a surprise gift from Ann Woo today - a t-shirt and a couple of scarves. So sweet of her. She is truly someone who is all heart. Not just because she gave me a gift but that she is so genuinely caring for others.

Ann is the Executive Director of Nanyang Press Foundation and I met her last year at a Soroptimist talk about fund raising. She has raised millions for charity and said that we have to embrace fund raising rather than do it reluctantly. We often don't like to ask for money but we are not asking for the money for US. So why do we feel bad about it? We are asking for money to benefit others. How Buddhist, I thought.

I found that it such a great and inspiring talk and knew it would benefit Kechara greatly. At first, I was a bit nervous to ask her because I knew she was Catholic and Kechara is a Buddhist centre, but when I asked her, she immediately agreed and said that she liked Buddhist philosophy too.

She couldn't immediately come as there were some work and personal issues, but as soon as those were over, she came to give a talk to Kechara as she had agreed. She also had the opportunity to have an audience with Rinpoche after 'The Legend of the Conch Shell' show last year. She was extremely impressed by Rinpoche (after all, who wouldn't) and she has also been supporting Kechara in her own way.

She will be retiring from Nanyang on 17 April this year and she will be doing her own consultancy. I hope she will have more time to visit us at Kechara!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Quote from HH the Dalai Lama - shared by HE Tsem Tulku Rinpoche

To be aware of a single shortcoming in oneself is more useful than to be aware of a thousand in someone else.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Overheard at the Ladrang

"I can't hear because I'm munching" - David Lai

And in between - a blessing from the Lama

Just after we finished making the tormas and about to begin the Drolchok practice, we were suddenly invited to have an audience with H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche. Excited as always, we went upstairs to see Rinpoche.

First, we had a surprise: Rinpoche unveiled his alter ego: Buddha man (as opposed to Superman)! This was a t-shirt Rinpoche had designed!

We all loved the t-shirt!! Only our Rinpoche is so multi-talented - a true Renaissance Rinpoche! Leonardo Da Vinci eat your heart out!

Then Rinpoche sat down and gave us a brief but inspirational Dharma talk. Rinpoche explained that the practices we were doing came from the illustrious Gaden Monastery, so they are authentic. Monks from Gaden came to teach us and we were the pioneer group of puja practitioners who would teach other lay people how to do the pujas. This would all lead to Kechara World Peace Centre (KWPC) - our future retreat land.

Most of the puja group were full-time Dharma workers or part-time. Rinpoche reiterated the same message which he has been giving for a long time - do not quit. Never quit. If we leave and wish to come back, things will be different already. Rinpoche also talked about Vajrayogini - that if we do not fulfil our commitments or finish work we have promised, when we get Vajrayogini's practice, we will not be able to fulfil her commitments either. Even coming to get the empowerment may not be possible because of the karma we have created. The effect resembles the cause, so we have to create the causes now.

Dharma work is what is ultimately fulfilling and what will give us happiness. Everything else will not make us happy. Rinpoche as usual, spoke with such pure passion for Dharma and uplifted all of us - what a beautiful motivation to begin our Drolchok puja session.

Rinpoche giving a Dharma talk

The Puja group with Rinpoche

Rinpoche and Mumu

Drolchok - Tara Puja - practice

This evening, we had a Drolchok practice (and train the new puja people) session. As with everything in Kechara, everything is speeded up so we were practising today and a 10 day puja session starts tomorrow! Here are the pictures of the group:

Prof Choi, Shirley Maya and David shaping their tormas.

Jamie showing everyone how to make tormas. "It's easy," she says.

moulding away

Adding the decorations

Girlie and Nicholas Lee in deep concentration

David making his torma

Here are the happy torma makers!

Practising in the beautiful prayer hall.

Jamie explaining how the puja was going to go.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Vege burgers at the Ladrang

Some delicious vege burgers which were homemade
by the Ladrang überchef, Justin Ripley

Head Ladrang Liaison JP Thong with a couple of burgers

Want one?

One of the wonderful (and fattening) perks of working at the Ladrang, where the pace is frantic and the pressure intense, is that there's sometimes a minute to spare for some good healthy food! You will never, ever go hungry in Kechara!


I was parked innocently outside Tutti Frutti in TTDI when a car just came and hit me! Luckily the damage wasn't too bad - just scraped up the bumper and knocked it a bit out of alignment. The lady came out grinning and said, "Sorry, I didn't see you!"... oh well. Some purification perhaps.

KMP is moving

Yes, it's time to move out and on. After a couple of months' delay, KMP is finally in the throes of moving out from our lovely, comfortable office on Jalan PJU1/3G to our temporary office just in the road behind.

KMP is vacating our office to make way for our new gompa. We moved in barely two years ago, in September 2008, but as Kechara has grown exponentially since then, the current gompa, affectionately known as KH1, is now too small to accommodate the crowds who attend Rinpoche's teachings.

Kechara has since acquired a few more shoplots, which together with KMP's current office, will be renovated to become our new gompa.

Today, KMP Liaisons start working at the Ladrang because most of the KMP office has had its aircons and lights removed from all rooms aside from two, where the non-liaisons will be working from.

The admin office currently looks like a sweatshop, full of boxes

This was the editors' office - my desk was on the left, closest to the corner. The aircon, lights and built-in cabinets have all been stripped and taken to be reinstalled in our temporary office. We will be in the temporary office for around a year before we move to our next office.

This was a cake we bought to commemorate our moving
- the bees represent the presence of the Sangha
so we thought this was kind of appropriate.

Here's some of the gang. From the left at the back, there's Judy our super admin who tolerates a lot of our nonsense and is developing the siddhi of non-attachments as things are always impermanent at KMP. Next to Judy is Deborah Pereira, our production manager, who is always cool no matter what. May i achieve her equanimity. Then there's me. Below Judy is Dr. Lanse, a qualified medical doctor who decided to devote her time to Dharma, where healing the mind is much more powerful that healing the body, which is impermanent. Next is David, our star writer and author of "There's No Way But Up".

On the right side, there's Fang, our very talented art director, Susan, our ex-intel e-communications manager and last but not least, Allan, our newest addition to the KMP fold - the marketing guy.

We offer the cake to Manjushri first.

David cuts the cake - to also celebrate that his book, "There's No Way But Up", has now been sold out and we need another reprint! Congrats David!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Kechara Soup Kitchen

This Saturday evening, Shirley Tan, Dr. Lanse and her sister Shiau Wen joined KSK's midnight round. We started off at KH2 around 9.30pm to pack the signature plastic bags of food then proceeded to the centre of KL to distribute them to the homeless.

It was a quiet night though and when Nicholas Yu, our team leader, asked some of the homeless we did encounter what happened, we heard that the welfare department had cleared many of the homeless because of the current F1 race in Malaysia. This happens regularly, especially when there are any major public events in KL.

I hope that wherever they are, they are not hungry.

"There's No Way But Up" Book Club

At KMP's book club today, David Lai presented his autobiography, "There's No Way But Up", which relates how he met HE Tsem Tulku Rinpoche and how Rinpoche literally changed his life. Articulate, off-the-cuff, natural and passionate, David shared how he never thought he could write and that it was only through Rinpoche's advice to write and Rinpoche telling him he would be successful in it that he finally decided to write his autobiography.

Of course Rinpoche is never wrong as David's book sold out the first print and David has received great response from readers - not just from Malaysia, but other countries too.

David's writing style is his own and he speaks directly to the reader from the heart, sharing his love for Dharma always.

I am very proud of David - he has matured over the past few years that I have had the privilege of knowing him and I look forward to seeing him fly!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Death Meditation

Rinpoche came in and delivered a stunning Dharma talk - as usual. For me, it just pulled in the focus tremendously. He began by saying that people do Dharma for three different scopes of motivation. The biggest scope was for Enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings. The middle scope was for happiness in this life and other lives. The lowest scope was to improve our business, our family life, relationships. Rinpoche explained that no matter which scope we had, it was still Dharma.

He asked - do we have difficulty choosing Dharma over secular life? Do we have trouble changing our habits for the better? Do we gain intellectual knowledge about Dharma but our minds don't change? If we have actualised death meditation, we would immediately change. We would be kind. We would work in the Dharma.

The reason why we do not choose Dharma over secular, Rinpoche said, was because we have wrongly placed value on Dharma. For something that we see has value to us, we will do anything, climb any mountain, cross every stream. Rinpoche gave a cute analogy. He said, if we were driving on our way to another town to collect 10 million dollars, if we have a puncture, would we just give up? No! We'd beg, borrow or steal something somehow to get over there.

We'd walk if we had to. We wouldn't give up. Because we see value in 10 million dollars.

When we don't know the value of something, when we are ignorant, we quit easily. We are lazy, we run away when things get difficult.

How much Dharma you do and how much you transform is 100% dependent on whether you do the death meditation. Rinpoche explained it very easily like this. We can always debate if God exists, or Buddha exists. Some people believe, some don't. But everyone believes in death. Everyone knows that they will die.

Rinpoche then took us through a death meditation where we imagined our senses closing down one by one, then our bodies being prepared for the coffin. We see ourselves from inside the coffin looking at the four walls around us. We imagine the soil being thrown on top of the coffin until we're fully buried and our bodies will never leave that box ever again.

If we are being cremated, Rinpoche said, then imagine our bodies melting like wax in the furnace. And everything we are just becomes dust.

Believe in death, Rinpoche said.

When you do Dharma work, you benefit yourself, your loved ones and those around you. If you're in Dharma and you experience problems, it purifies the karma for impatience, for failure, for anger. If you are not working in Dharma and you experience problems, it doesn't purify anything. You are just experiencing your karma.

I remember Rinpoche mentioning before about Dharma work where he said if you work in Dharma or if you don't work in Dharma, you will still come across obstacles. The difference is that when you are in Dharma, you suffer to benefit others. When you are not in Dharma, you are suffering to benefit yourself.

Rinpoche also talked about KWPC - our future spiritual retreat land and institution of alternative arts. KWPC stands for Kechara World Peace Centre, and was formerly known as Tsem Kachö Ling (TKL). Recently, the liaisons decided to change the name to be aligned with the Kechara organisation and for the name to be easily understood and not require extensive explanations. Voila!

Kechara will be having a get together with the members and Liaisons to explain the scope and objective of KWPC on April 10th. Rinpoche has a big vision and to achieve it, we all need to be aligned with it. It's really time to give back. We have gained so much from Rinpoche - from gifts to meals to movies to massages and of course the ultimate gift of Dharma. What have we given Rinpoche (except heartache and stress!). It's time to give back.

I won't mention so much of what he said here about KWPC and save it for another day! Rock on April 10th!

Watch this space.

Drama and Dzambala

Wednesday was a bit of a drama.

I was happily in the middle of a KWPC Fundraising meeting when I received a frantic call from Umi, who was picking Sean up from school. Apparently Sean was nowhere to be seen and ALLLLL the kids were gone. All the equanimity, calm abiding etc hurtled out of the window as I immediately panicked.

Fortunately, good old Henry was in the same meeting and his daughter goes to the same school so he promptly called her up and heard that Sean was seen heading back into school fifteen minutes ago. I told Umi to go to the school to look for him and she did find him in the end.

Basically, there was a miscommunication because over the weekend, I had received an SMS which was in Mandarin. Someone translated it for me and told me that it meant Sean did not have tuition at school until 18 April. Sean was supposed to find out about it and get back to me, which he never did. And I forgot to ask.

To cut the long story short, he did have additional class which was why he didn't show up at the bus stop where Umi was waiting for him. So instead of 2.45, his school would finish at 4.30pm. And Wee Liang was supposed to pick him up at 4pm and bring him for Dzambala puja.

Argh. I was tearing my hair out.

We were having a Dzambala Puja that night, which Rinpoche had recommended that we do 108 Dzambala pujas, where each participant would count as one puja. I had wanted to Sean to join in but because of his tuition finishing late, AND that he didn't do his homework the day before *sigh*, I decided that he should stay home and finish his homework. So I had to tell Wee Liang that he didn't have to fetch Sean but could he still please bring Sean's Dzambala set so someone else could use it. You see, only the puja participants with full sets would count as one of the 108.

So off I went to Dzambala puja. We had 54 people with Dzambala sets which meant coincidentally that we could complete the required pujas in one night if we repeated it twice. (Thank Buddha for Sean's set which Anila borrowed)

I do like the Dzambala puja - we get to bathe Dzambala, flick peacock feathers, do mudras - exciting stuff. And of course connect with the Buddha of inner and outer wealth.

After we finished the first round and happily went to wash our ritual implements to get ready for the second round. There was a bit of a commotion. A good one though. Rinpoche was coming over to join us!

But we had to finish our puja first.

So Girlie, who was our Dzambala Queen, galloped through the puja at a cracking pace! I didn't even notice how long it took - the first session took one hour and 15 mins so the expedited one must have taken less than an hour.

Before i could calculate, Rinpoche was there!