Another year has gone in a blink of an eye, and 2015 is here. Reflecting back on the many years passed; through the many ups and downs of life in samsara, I’m really really glad that I’m still doing Dharma work! And in such a beautiful place as Manjushri Hill, amidst peaceful Mother Nature at Kechara Forest Retreat (KFR). Looking at the beautiful surroundings, I can’t help but feel blessed and deeply grateful to my Lama, His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche for conceptualising such a conducive environment for us students to do Dharma work.
Manjushri Hill sits on top of a hillock overlooking the luscious greenery around KFR. It was supposed to be Rinpoche’s private residence (Tsem Ladrang) because it has the best view in the entire KFR land, but instead Rinpoche gave this space up for us students to work from. That is how much Rinpoche cares and loves His students. That is how much Rinpoche thinks about others first.
I am humbled to be able to come to work daily in such a beautiful environment with kind spiritual Dharma brothers and sisters. No way would you be able to find such conducive conditions to practice Dharma if you were out on your own, out in samsara. All this would not have been possible if it wasn’t for Rinpoche’s compassionate care for spreading the Dharma and benefiting others. Rinpoche not only expounds the Dharma, teaches compassion, but also shows it through every single action He does. For example, Rinpoche is always very concern about the environment His students will be working in. There are so many times Rinpoche would personally come to inspect the renovations of a certain departments’ office. There are times Rinpoche would even help with the seed money to start up a department. Rinpoche would often give ideas and suggestions to make the office environment nice, comfortable as well as practical for the staffs. Once an office is renovated, Rinpoche would personally purchase a lot of groceries and make sure our pantry is packed with food, not just once, but on a regular basis. Either Rinpoche would do it himself or get assistants to help buy the groceries. Rinpoche would even be as detailed as to check on each and every one of our desks to make sure we have what we need for our work.
Rinpoche does not just teach the Dharma but literally lives the Dharma. It is because of Rinpoche care for sentient beings, people like me are given an opportunity to do Dharma work. Due to Rinpoche’s skilful ability to present Buddha’s ancient teachings in a way that suits today’s modern lifestyle, hence that’s probably why you’ll see a lot of youthful educated spiritual aspirants in Kechara’s Buddhist organisation.
Indeed I’m really fortune to be here in Manjushri Hill; to being given a chance to do Dharma, to do something that is beyond the self-grasping ‘I’. And to do it in such a comfortable environment, while there are some who may not even have a job. What more could I or anyone ask for? There is no way one would be able to go back to samsara, not without much denial and regrets after having experience such a pure land. Just two days ago Rinpoche gave a short and valuable teaching which rings truth, and I must remember especially during my down times; for every hour we are not doing Dharma and instead spend time doing samsara (worldly) activities, is another hour we create being in samsara and being further away from Dharma (virtuous deeds). Thank you Rinpoche for this great blessing for the New Year, and what great gift it is to see Rinpoche again!