I will never forget the time when we had nothing big or fancy, Kechara was just a small little cosy Dharma store on the 3rd level in a suburban retail area called SS2. It was our 1st ever Dharma store, and Rinpoche named it Kechara Paradise (KP). It’s a quaint and a warm little shop where I spent a lot of time browsing, shopping, and volunteering. Unlike any other shops, it had a certain kind of peace and good vibes that makes you just want to hang out there. Perhaps it’s because of the walls that were filled with Buddha images and great masters. Who knows, but whatever they were, that was where everything first started. All Kechara’s 13 departments were born from here, and so did Kechara Paradise outlets, growing from one to 4 outlets.
There was one particular time, when we were discussing about creating more awareness for Kechara Paradise and our Dharma items, Rinpoche had this brilliant idea to get a few of us to set up a stall in Melaka’s Jonker Street weekend bazaar. Rinpoche’s motto was to always “try”, it is better that we tried and fail then to never try at all and we fail by default anyway. So every weekend, if I’m not mistaken it was every Saturday; we would pack up selected items from KP and head on up to Melaka to set up our little KP stall on Jonker. We did not really make a lot of sales but from there we connected people to Kechara, we learnt what people liked and what their interest was. We also learnt how to skilfully talk to people, how to share the Dharma with them. This also helped in testing our knowledge as well as our “ego”, because though there are some who were curios, there we also some who wanted to ridicule and debate. Overall it was a great fun learning experience and we even got a local shop selling some of our incense.
Most importantly, I think the most valuable part of this whole experience for me was learning how to work as team harmoniously for the same goals. All of us come from diverse backgrounds and age groups, but it was quite amazing how Rinpoche got all of us working together for the same mission – spreading Dharma in a non-conventional way. So every night after we’ve finished we would do a little dedication prayer and head back to Kuala Lumpur. Our dear kind Irene was our designated driver, driving us up and down with all the items, thank you Irene!
I am grateful for all these experiences and I wish to thank Rinpoche for giving me all these different opportunities to learn and grow from. In a normal worldly sense, these activities would simply be just another worldly activity for self-gain. However, when we set a Dharma motivation, although it is still the same activity, the energy becomes different and a more positive one that is bigger than the self-cherishing “I”. The work becomes more purposeful and virtuous, that is what Rinpoche always teaches, emphasizes and reminds us each time we do any type of work. I am very grateful to have met Rinpoche and to be in Dharma today as I have found a greater purpose in life and learn to serve others.