After briefly meeting Rinpoche in the year 1999, I did not see Rinpoche again until towards the end of year 2000 when I reconnected with Rinpoche in Singapore. I was going through a transition in life and Rinpoche gave me a few advices. One of them was to join in the Tara pujas (prayer sessions) that was being held in one of Rinpoche’s student’s (Dato’ Ruby) house once a week. This was way back when Kechara House Buddhist Centre had not yet manifest.
I remembered the first time when I went for the puja, I was quite intimidated yet excited as I was clueless as to what to expect. Not having been exposed much in Tibetan Buddhism, and coming from a Catholic background, I was afraid I may not like or understand whatever I was going to experience.
At that time Rinpoche was not yet my Guru and I considered Rinpoche more like a wise ‘holy’ friend. So since I’ve agreed with Rinpoche to go, I conjured up my courage and attended my first ever Tara puja.
When I rang the doorbell of the puja house, I was warmly greeted by a few elderly ladies who graciously welcomed me in. I remembered one of them was Irene Lim. From then on every single week, if I’m not mistaken it was every Friday night, after work I would attend this puja session as Rinpoche advised. I even got a new job that coincidently was within 10 minutes of walking distance to the puja house. It was as if the Buddhas or Dharma protectors really made it easy for me so I had no excuse not to attend! I guess I must have really needed it (lol).
Of course there were days when I felt lazy and I thought of not going. Sometimes the ignorant me would even wonder if it was “effective”. But somehow whenever these negative thoughts came up, another voice or thought would appear to counter and push me to go. Every time I listened to that voice and attended the puja, I would be pleasantly surprised to see Rinpoche there joining us for that night. I would be so relief and delighted that I did not skip the puja that day!
Every time Rinpoche attended the puja Rinpoche would always give a Dharma teaching. Rinpoche would always tell us that the real puja is Dharma knowledge. It is considered the real puja because with knowledge, we can apply them immediately to help ourselves overcome our daily problems. This helps us transform internally by chipping away the self-cherishing habituations when we apply the teachings.
Many people would come to see Rinpoche during those times when Rinpoche attended the pujas. Most often they come to request for divinations to help them with all kinds of problems; e.g. black magic, finding their son, saving a family member, spirit harm, so on and so forth. Basically Rinpoche would end up spending the entire night patiently listening to a queue of people’s self-created problems, and then giving them advice on how to solve them.
It is amazing how tirelessly Rinpoche would do this for years. Most of the time the problems people come with revolves around relationship, health, financial, business or supernatural. It’s very rare you would hear people asking Rinpoche about Dharma practices. Hence this is why Rinpoche would tell us; for us to be able to even listen to Dharma teachings, it’s considered a blessing. This is because we would need merits for us to be able to attend the teachings, sit, listen, absorb understand and then apply it. We often hear about people unable to attend Dharma teachings, yet it’s rather easy to attend any worldly non-spiritual agenda. This is a clear indication that we do not have enough merits to push through our obstacles that stops us from receiving the precious Dharma. This is why doing Dharma work to collect merits is crucial for our spiritual progress.
So every time I followed my intuitive voice and attended the pujas, I would feel re-energised and my faith would grow more. If it wasn’t for Rinpoche asking me to attend these pujas to help clear my obstacles, I’d probably not be here in Kechara today. I would not be doing Dharma work, but instead be stuck in the mundane delusional world; paying bills, chasing for ‘fake’ happiness that never last, thinking that’s how life is supposed to be.
Moral of the story is… never listen to one’s negative thoughts, be patient and diligently follow one’s Guru’s instructions, no matter how difficult it may seem at the time, in the long run it will always pan out well.
Rinpoche’s altruistic intention is to benefit others. Everything Rinpoche does is always for the benefit of the student, and that consistent care has never waver since the day I met Rinpoche right up till now, 12 years later.
With much gratitude, thank you Rinpoche for making me attend those pujas that not only helped me pull through a difficult time in life, but changed the course of my life from the mundane to one with purpose.
Puja – Puja is a Sanskrit word meaning offerings. It is a religious ceremony in which prayers, food and monetary offerings are made to the Three Jewels to request their blessings and invoke their help. When the pujas are directed at certain deities, they help the patron or sponsor to create connections with those Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. The offerings are made not because the deities will be pleased to receive gifts, but rather because the deities rejoice in the virtue of the giver. When the deities rejoice, the puja sponsor creates merits which will fulfil their wishes and purify their negative karma which is the ultimate cause of their particular problem. http://www.kechara.com/kechara-house/pujas/all-about-pujas/
“A ritual set of prayers and offerings (often based on the seven limbs) for clearing obstacles and inviting blessings.” ~ Tsem Rinpoche