Rinpoche’s teaching and constant reminder to us that life is impermanent has had the biggest impact on me. It made me realise that if I didn’t join Dharma now, I could not be sure when I would or could join.
Paul Yap, 36
Liaison to H.E. Tsem Rinpoche
Department Head, Kechara Discovery
Department Head, Kechara Saraswati arts
After graduating from the University of Otago, New Zealand, Paul Yap garnered eight years of experience in the finance industry as a member of the Malaysian Institute of Accountants. Starting his career in an international public accounting firm, Paul then became the Senior Finance Manager in a manufacturing company. Now Liaison of Kechara Discovery, Paul arranges pilgrimages to holy Buddhist sites, and works to create and bring affordable, high-quality Buddha images to the world.
When did you start Dharma, and what attracted you to Kechara?
I started Dharma in 2005 when I met my Guru, H.E. Tsem Rinpoche. I was attracted to Kechara because of Rinpoche; I really enjoyed his teachings because I found that he gives us explanations and good examples. As a result, I was attracted to Kechara because the organisation gave me more direct access to Rinpoche’s teachings.
Why do you like Dharma? What do you like about Kechara’s approach to Dharma?
I like Dharma because it teaches the truth on how to lead a good life to achieve happiness. In particular, I like Rinpoche and Kechara’s approach to Dharma because they make it applicable to modern-day living. They find various ways to help people understand and implement the teachings, for example by setting up the 12 departments.
Before you joined Kechara, were you asking any questions about your life? What were they?
I wanted to know if there was more to life than having a big house, driving a nice car, etc. I wondered if life was about spending hours travelling to and from work everyday, to earn promotions and make money for my boss. Although my boss is wealthy, I didn’t want to end up like him – under stress and looking older than his actual age.
Having become a senior manager at such a young age, why did you leave a promising career in finance to join Dharma work?
I joined Dharma because I didn’t want to end up like my boss! I wanted to seize the opportunity to practise Dharma. I wanted to do something more fulfilling than working and making money for other people. Some might think I lost career prospects but I don’t think I lost anything; I gained much more because I gained the opportunity to bring meaning and purpose into my life.
Of Rinpoche’s teachings, which has had the single largest impact on you?
Rinpoche’s teaching and constant reminder to us that life is impermanent has had the biggest impact on me. It made me realise that if I didn’t join Dharma now, I could not be sure when I would or could join. Another of Rinpoche’s teachings that has also had an impact on me is his teaching to let go of attachments, do what you think is good and right, and not make excuses.