Ooi Beng Kooi

6 June 2009 - 10:05pm Comments Off

I joined Dharma work because I wasn’t finding real satisfaction in leading a successful ‘normal life’. There was a sense of emptiness in me that I tried to fill with friends, activities and experiences but after the initial high, I was back to square one.

Ooi Beng Kooi, 32
Liaison to H.E. Tsem Rinpoche
Personal Assistant & e-Division Tsem Ladrang

Trained as an electronic engineer, Ooi Beng Kooi was a researcher and consultant in the automotive industry for seven years. Beng Kooi was raised in a Taoist-Buddhist environment and her parents were interested in religion; her family altar featured both Christian and Hindu deities alongside the usual Taoist and Buddhist ones. Given her upbringing, it was only a matter of time before Beng Kooi began to look into spirituality to answer the questions she had about life. As a Liaison of Tsem Ladrang, Beng Kooi is H.E. Tsem Rinpoche’s correspondence and divination secretary, as well as his personal assistant. She is also the Head of Tsem Ladrang’s e-Division.


How would you describe yourself, Beng Kooi? What were you doing before you came to Kechara?

I’m a very easy-going, laidback kind of person, someone who doesn’t talk very much. Life before Kechara was routine – I worked in the UK, backpacked all over Europe, had a successful career, a happy family life, great friends… in terms of achieving worldly life goals, I never had anything to worry about.


So having achieved normal worldly goals, why would someone with a successful career join Dharma work? Why did you join Dharma work?

I joined Dharma work because I wasn’t finding real satisfaction in leading a successful ‘normal life’. There was a sense of emptiness in me that I tried to fill with friends, activities and experiences but after the initial high, I was back to square one. I felt life had more meaning than that, and Dharma work offered me an opportunity to really make a difference and help others. I want to do as much as I can now, instead of thinking that I can do it later… after all, what if I die tomorrow? I want to stop wasting my life away.


What attracted you to Kechara? Why did you choose to stay and do Dharma work with Kechara?

I had previously been interested in Buddhism and had volunteered at a temple in Kuala Lumpur, intending to learn Dharma while volunteering. However, no one there could give me logical answers to my questions. Then I met H.E. Tsem Rinpoche at my first Kechara book club in 2007. What Rinpoche said was logical, extremely applicable and sincere, backed up with examples and proof that was irrefutable despite intense scrutiny from many angles… so I stayed!


Before coming to Kechara, what questions were you asking about life? Where were you looking for your answers?

I asked myself, “Why are we here?” I wanted to know what happens to us when we die; I wondered why there is so much inequality, why some people are ‘luckier’ than others. I was searching for the answers in spirituality, which I’ve never viewed as a one-stop, fix-it-all shop. I see spirituality as the process of developing ourselves to be better people, and to make a difference in the world and to other people’s lives.


What do you like about Rinpoche? What about him inspires you?

I admire and am inspired by Rinpoche’s care for others, regardless of who or what they are. His care is unconditional, unlimited, uncompromising. Rinpoche has the ability to be in any situation and look at what’s missing in terms of care; he thinks constantly about what can be done to ensure someone is better off… and he immediately does something about it. Rinpoche’s boundless creativity in finding new ways to help people transform really inspires me.

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