Kechara’s first Lamrim Recitation Retreat for 2011 began with an edifying Dharma talk by His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche, followed by a four-day in-house retreat which culminated in a record title in the Malaysian Book of Records! Kechara House now has an entry in the Book for the Longest Non-Stop Lamrim Recitation, making this yet another historical date for Kechara.
After many months of careful planning by the Lamrim Recitation Committee and with the support of dedicated volunteers, the event took a smooth course for the whole 24 hours. It is most joyous for Kechara to announce the success of such a meritorious event, with a total of 563 registered participants, and 2207 chapters recited as of 6am on 3 July 2011…that is 563 more people who have taken home with them imprints of the Lamrim!
Preparation for the event began as early as Friday, with volunteers pitching in to set up the tents and chairs, and prepare goodie bags. On the day of the event, volunteers flocked into the gompa as early as 6am (some earlier!) to make sure everything was in order. Thanks to the efficient and organised planning (those months were worth it!), the registration, help desk and lounge were all ready to serve our retreatants by 7:30 am, and several marshals had been stationed around the gompa to guide and educate participants on the procedures of the retreat.
At 8am on 2 July 2011, the gompa was already filled with participants, all anxiously waiting for our VIPs and Malaysian Book of Records (MBR) representative to officially start the countdown clock, the signal for the commencement of the 24-hour continuous Lamrim Recitation Retreat. With the clock starting at 8:50am, the retreat was kicked off by VIPs Datuk Dr Victor Wee, Datuk May Phng and Dato’ Ngeow Voon Yean. While retreatants were reciting the Lamrim in the gompa, new guests visited the Kechara Care Gallery for a tour where they learned Rinpoche’s biography, and about how Kechara came to be as well as Rinpoche’s vision on World Peace.
Others went over to the Kechara Care Lounge which remained open throughout the whole retreat, for retreatants to have a place to rest, chill out and have delicious vegetarian meals. Free breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks were served in the lounge for the retreatants who were in fact very disciplined, taking turns to rest and thus ensuring the Lamrim recitation went on continuously for 24 hours.
It was amazing to see so many people taking the retreat seriously, and adhering to the strict guidelines – some even committed to reciting the Lamrim for 24 hours! Many Kecharians were in the gompa for more than 24 hours in fact, with only as little as one hour of sleep throughout the event. At 8:50am on the following day, Kechara officially earned the title from the Malaysian Book of Records – an official presented the MBR certificate to Kechara’s President Datuk May Phng.
The whole gompa erupted with applause as Datuk May lifted the certificate up in the air for everyone to see, exclaiming, “We did it!”
On Rinpoche’s blog, he wrote at 4:36am on the morning of 3 July 11, “I am really proud of the many Kecharians still in the Kechara Gompa reciting the sacred Lamrim text for our recitation marathon. Just another few hours left and it will complete. So many people really commit and fulfill their commitment. That is wonderful. Thank you everyone. TR”
In the Lamrim, it was said that we will come closer to Buddhahood by practicing the instructions that our precious Guru taught us…so everyone, congratulations, you have just started your journey to Buddhahood!