Henry Ooi

7 June 2009 - 12:12am Comments Off

During the darkest period of my life, when I saw how Rinpoche never left me, that is when I decided to do Dharma work. On more than one occasion, he literally saved my life.

Henry Ooi, 57
Liaison to H.E. Tsem Rinpoche
Board Of Directors Kechara Organisation
Executive Committee Member Kechara World Peace Centre
Director Kechara Paradise Outlets

Henry Ooi first met H.E. Tsem Rinpoche in 1998 and since coming into Dharma, his life has had a complete makeover. After more than two decades in the skincare and cosmetics industry, Henry now brings his business sense to the role of Liaison and Director of Kechara Paradise Outlets. Henry shares Rinpoche’s vision for the outlets to function as satellite Dharma centres, positioned to bring Lama Tsongkhapa’s teachings to the wider public..


You have been a student of H.E. Tsem Rinpoche for over a decade now. Do you remember what life was like before you met him and came to Kechara?

Life before Kechara was very different from life now. Before Kechara, I was involved in the skincare and cosmetics industry for more than two decades. It was an easy and carefree life. Nowadays, I live a life surrounded by and in Dharma… still quite easy and carefree, but with much more meaning and purpose!


If life back then was so easy, why did you join Dharma work? What was it about Dharma that appealed to you?

Dharma appealed to me because it is logic-based. I decided to join Dharma when I saw how Rinpoche never left me during the darkest period of my life. On more than one occasion, he literally saved my life. Devoting myself to reaching out to suffering beings is the only way I know how to repay Rinpoche’s kindness.


How inspiring! We can definitely understand your reasons for committing to Dharma! Having seen Dharma bring so many benefits to your life, what do you understand about spirituality?

Spirituality is about seeking ultimate, unchanging happiness and, in the process, leading a full life. It is about lending a hand to those in need, regardless of their type of suffering. Although the journey to Enlightenment is long, I believe it is definitely achievable with the blessings of our Lama.


Rinpoche is obviously a large inspiration in your Dharma work. What do you like most about him and what is the single most impactful experience that you have had with his teachings?

Everything! Rinpoche is modern yet traditional, fun yet serious, compassionate yet wrathful when necessary. His compassion is limitless – for example, we were once at Swayambunath Stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal and saw a weak, emaciated dog whose mutilated mouth and jaws were infected. Rinpoche lovingly tried to hand-feed the dog but to no avail. That prompted Rinpoche to give a profound talk on the ripening effects of karma.


As you are in Dharma for the long run, what role do you see yourself playing in the manifestation of Tsem Kachö Ling (TKL), and the future of Kechara?

Rinpoche asked me to make TKL manifest and make that my legacy. I am one of five members sitting on the TKL executive committee. With my fellow executive committee members and everyone else in Kechara, we will do what it takes to make TKL manifest and provide future generations with a sanctuary of Dharma teachings.

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