Three new pastors and 58 new refuge takers commemorated His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche’s 47th birthday. The Gompa was filled to the brim!
All seats, from the main prayer hall to the walkway outside Kechara House, were filled with over six hundred guests for the evening. An excited day it was, as Kechara marked Rinpoche’s birthday with daylong activity. Members and friends of Kechara participated in the animal liberation in the morning in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, where 668 birds were released.
The activities in the afternoon were centered in Kechara House. Tents were set up outside for guests to make offerings and donations. Another tent displayed Rinpoche’s latest pictorial postcards. Contemporary designs breathe new life into ancient wisdom Dharma quotes – the postcards showcased Rinpoche’s recent photo shoots in the streets of Kuala Lumpur. In the Gompa, a Lama Chopa prayer was held to seek the blessings of the Buddha on the auspicious day.
A vegetarian buffet spread courtesy of Kechara’s vegetarian restaurant was served in the afternoon before the main ceremony started at 7pm in the evening. Guests, staff and members of Kechara were seen in every corner of Kechara House mingling and sharing light moments, anticipating Rinpoche’s Dharma talk in the evening. A video presentation of the new pastors and the various projects Kechara has been pursuing were screened to the delight of the guests.
The guests of honor that evening were members of the sangha from various temples and long time students of Rinpoche. Also provided was a live-streaming of the event to the guests who did not get a seat in the Gompa and to audiences worldwide through the internet. At nightfall, Rinpoche arrived in the Gompa, making offerings to the Buddhas. As soon as Rinpoche was on the teaching throne, Rinpoche cut quickly to the highlight of the night – pastorship ordination. The new pastors are Professor Choi, Madam Han Nee and Dr Lanse.
Rinpoche spoke about pastorship and the significance of the pastors’ role in upholding the Dharma. Prayers and mantras were recited to officiate the ordination as the new pastors changed into their pastor attire. Besides taking up the pastorship, Professor Choi was also given a set of novice nun vows by Rinpoche. The novice vows are a stepping stone to full monk/nun ordination.
Rinpoche also advised Professor Choi that the set of novice nun vows were part of her preparation to be ordained in Gaden Monastery in India. Professor Choi will be Kechara’s first ordained nun in time to come. It was a well received ceremony as the whole of Kechara witnessed the ordination of its new pastors.
Rinpoche then moved on to the refuge taking ceremony. Dressed in white, the refuge takers were told to hold their refuge vows well as Rinpoche recited prayers. It was a concise and meaningful refuge taking ceremony.
The evening came to an end as Rinpoche made a dedication prayer. Guests, encouraged by Rinpoche’s teachings and discussions about the latest development of Kechara Forest Retreat, were still abuzz as the guests left Kechara. With three new pastors on board and a wider audience reached, Kechara is set to pursue its endeavors – with Rinpoche’s teachings in mind.