Gratitude Series #29 – Bali

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A few years ago, H.E. Tsem Rinpoche took a group of us to Bali on a mission to look for outdoor Buddha statues. A group of Kechara Paradise staffs led by Pastor Henry were already there sourcing for new merchandise for our Dharma store. So Rinpoche had a spontaneous idea to explore Bali for its famous outdoor Buddha carvings. From this trip, Rinpoche would create a trend, encouraging many to start having outdoor Buddha gardens that blesses the environment. I was so lucky to be invited and sponsored to join this trip by Rinpoche. This is because at that time Kechara Saraswati Arts (KSA) department, which I was part of, had just completed renovations and we were looking for a unique stone Buddha Saraswati for the department’s shrine.

During this amazing trip, one of the main things that really stood out and what I am most grateful for is learning a powerful yet simple meditation on our 1st morning there. Rinpoche had invited us to his room to teach us a short relaxing meditation that creates awareness, gratitude and generosity in us. One thing I noticed was wherever Rinpoche travels, Rinpoche will always bring along a portable Buddha altar and would set it up in His room with beautiful offerings of flowers, candles and incenses. Making offerings to the Buddhas is always a priority.

As we gathered in Rinpoche’s room, He guided us to a simple meditation where we’re asked to close our eyes, breath and to be aware of our surroundings, to listen carefully with our ears; the sounds of birds, nature, to smell the fresh air, to feel the breeze and comfort of our environment; the soft bed we were sitting on, and then slowly opening our eyes to see the beauty around us; the flowers, trees, the mountains etc. Being present and aware of all this with our 5 senses, Rinpoche asked us to generate gratitude in our hearts, to feel fortunate we are to be able experience all this with our perfect complete 4 senses, and with that in mind, without attachment to them, we offer it all up to the Buddhas. By offering all these up to the Buddhas, we cut our attachments and create generosity. With this meditation Rinpoche guided us with some mantra chanting and ended with dedication. We did this daily throughout our trip before starting our day. It brought a sense of grounding, peace and appreciation that I have never experienced before.

Rinpoche said that if we did this meditation every morning upon waking, cup with refuge and mantra recitation (it can be any mantra we like; Mig Tse Ma, Tara mantra, Manjushri mantra, Chenrezig mantra and so on) we would generate great awareness, gratitude for this precious human life and how fortunate we are to be in Dharma, on top of that collect tremendous merits by offering these sensory offerings up to the Buddhas. And anyone can easily do this practice and even if you are broke or poor, you can still make offerings to the Budhas everyday anywhere, any time. How fortunate we are, I am, to have a Guru who is so kind,  patient and compassionate to teach us all this!

I wish to thank Rinpoche for inviting me for this trip to find Buddha Saraswati which we did, but most importantly for giving me these wonderful experiences; to be able to travel and serve Rinpoche closely and to receive the Dharma directly is truly a precious gift hard to come by. I will always remember this fun yet spiritual trip to Bali with Rinpoche, because it was filled with Dharma motivation from beginning, middle and end. No doubt, whenever we travel with Rinpoche, it is always induced with Dharmic purpose which makes the trip even more meaningful. Hence, instead of another self-indulgent holiday, it becomes a meritorious holiday. Thank you Rinpoche for these precious teachings and memories I will always treasure!

We spotted the perfect Buddha Saraswati for Kechara Saraswati Arts department shrine.

Spotted the perfect Buddha Saraswati in Bali for Kechara Saraswati Arts department shrine.

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