Earlier this June, 14 Kecharians had the wish to do something more for their spiritual growth and as an expression of gratitude to Tsem Rinpoche.
They decided to go on a Migtsema retreat, with a target of 300,000 recitations of the Migtsema mantra to be completed by September 2012. The merits accumulated will be dedicated to Tsem Rinpoche’s long life and good health, the swift and smooth development of Kechara Forest Retreat (KFR) and Kechara World Peace Center (KWPC), and to the swift transformation of Rinpoche’s students for the benefit of more sentient beings.
Before they went on retreat, the Kechara Pastors conducted a number of briefings with the group to educate them on what a retreat is and the correct motivation for going on retreats. The Kechara Pastors also explained the altar set up during a retreat and went through the retreat prayers to ensure everyone was on the right page.
The 14 Migtsema retreatants are:
- Victor Phang
- Melissa Lee
- Gary Tan
- Jill Yam Loo Fun
- Tan Jen Ni
- Lucy Yap
- May Ong
- Wai Queen
- Jack Ng
- Andy Tan
- Karen Leu
- Lilyn Tan
- Kwan Wan San
- Sam Chiong Hong
Curious to know what went on in these people’s minds when they committed to 300,000 Migtsema mantra recitations? Read on below!
1. Victor Phang
2 weeks after taking refuge with Tsem Rinpoche, I was thinking how should I do more in Dharma? Every day I saw how much Tsem Rinpoche works and how much time he spends to teach us Dharma? Even though I have been going for pujas and volunteering at Kechara, I did not feel satisfied with my spiritual growth.
I felt I needed to do more now before it is too late. Furthermore I really hope to see the perfect completion of KFR and KWPC in this lifetime. With the consideration of my work commitments, I felt that a retreat such as this Migtsema retreat would be the next best option for newbies like me who wanted to achieve more mind stability to practice Dharma. I thought that there are probably other people who have a similar wish, so I thought of organizing a group retreat so that each of us can support and encourage each other during the retreat.
I sought Pastor Yek Yee’s advice and she was really happy with and supportive of the idea. She has been guiding the group all the way since that moment on. Initially we were thinking of enlisting 5 members to join the retreat as it is a serious practice and required certain level of commitment in order to be effective. However after sharing the concept of the retreat to a few members, we received about 20 inquiries from interested participants who got to know about this retreat by word of mouth.
After about 2 weeks of preparation involving organizing retreat briefings, developing retreat guidelines based on material from Tsem Rinpoche’s blog, printing Buddhist Swastika and searching for Kusha Grass for all the participants, we started our first retreat “rehearsal” on 1 June 2012.
I am so happy that there are more people than expected who are willing to take this opportunity and commitment to learn and practice dharma together!
2. Melissa Lee
Since joining Kecahara for slightly less than one year, I have been doing my daily sadhana to pray to Setrap to clear my obstacles and I felt that Setrap had always been close to help me and guide me through whenever I had difficulties. I felt that now it is time for me to create the cause and closer connection with Lama Tsongkapha since Lama Tsongkapha is our main yidam. I also hope that by engaging in this Migtsema retreat, I can prepare myself for more serious practices in the future like the preliminary practices. At the same time, as I have taken refuge under Tsem Rinpoche, as a student I hope to dedicate the merits to our guru for his long life and good health so that he will continue to teach and guide us on our spiritual path, to help us transform our minds for the benefit of others.
3. Gary Tan
I had never done any retreats before, so I really want to commit my time and do it sincerely. I believe such retreat would benefit me in bringing me closer to my spiritual practice. We are able to gain merit, purification, generate powerful memory & concentration, listening, awareness & focus. How wonderful that so many can join in this collective Migtsema retreat!
4. Jill Yam Loo Fun
I have always wanted to engage in a retreat but I am not sure how to go about it. So when this opportunity came, I hopped on it immediately as I wish to engage in this retreat and take it as my preliminary practices. From reading the book on Tsongkhapa’s practice, I understand that Migtsema is a powerful prayer of the Guru Yoga practice whereby it contains the blessings of Lama Tsongkhapa and his Guru, Master Rendawa. May the merits generated from this retreat be dedicated to Tsem Rinpoche for his good health, long life and for KFR and KWPC to manifest swiftly. May we transform our minds immediately to benefit more sentient beings.
5. Tan Jen Ni
Since I’m sitting for my IGCSE this year, my mother encouraged me to do this retreat as she said it will help me in my studies and increase my memory. I have actually engaged in a prostration retreat last year with my mother and it really helped me a lot in my concentration, awareness, memory and recalling what I have learned. The prostration retreat also made me realize what I was actually doing with my life. So I hope this Migtseam retreat will help me again and hope I can make much more difference after the retreat.
6. Lucy Yap
This is my small commitment to Tsem Rinpoche and Kechara by participating in this holy retreat. I want to be a part of it because first and foremost it’s dedicated to Tsem Rinpoche’s long life and the manifestation of KFR and KWPC which is very dear to my heart.
7. May Ong
I want to do this retreat as I believe it will help me to transform into a better person, to remove personal obstacles so that I may do more to help Tsem Rinpoche’s work, to purify my negative karma, and to create the cause for Tsem Rinpoche’s long life so he will continue turning the Wheel of Dharma.
8. Wai Queen
When Victor Phang asked me whether I wanted to be part of the group retreat to reach 100,000 Migtsema in time to dedicate to Tsem Rinpoche for his birthday, I was like “That’s a really cool idea!” However Pastor Yek Yee very kindly reminded us during her briefing: “Do you really think that this is for Tsem Rinpoche’s benefit? Do you think as a living Budda, Tsem Rinpoche really require the merits from your retreat?” That really caught me off-guard, I haven’t been thinking again. My reason now for doing the retreat is to purify, as much as possible, my accumulated negative karma and to generate good karma and create the cause to be able to understand more of Tsem Rinpoche’s teachings.
9. Jack Ng
I believe that be engaging in a retreat, I am able to allow myself an opportunity to reflect on myself. I wish also to learn as much from Lama Tsongkhapa and follow his guidance towards true happiness. With this retreat, I’m dedicating it to Tsem Rinpoche’s long life so he could stay on for a long time to continue to teach us Dharma. Secondly would be to the swift manifestation of KFR and KWPC, as I realize the importance of these two projects in assisting dharma practitioners on their spiritual journey.
Lastly, I hope to better myself to be able to serve everyone of all backgrounds and in all situations. May I have the wisdom, knowledge, skillful means and the strength to carry out our Lama’s wishes with full devotion and without interruptions.
10. Andy Tan
When I chant the Migtsema mantra during pujas, I realized that my mind turns into a calm state where it feels light and peaceful. I want to do this retreat because I want to be able to develop a calm mind so that I will know how to react wisely with obstacles instead of always reacting with anger and anxiety.
11. Karen Leu
It all started with Victor ringing me up to ask whether I’d be interested to participate in a Migtsema retreat for Tsem Rinpoche’s long life and manifestation of KFR and KWPC. I thought that this will be a meaningful retreat as the motivation is to benefit others. This is not my first time engaging in a retreat, but my motivation when doing the first retreat was to clear my own obstacles in life. So, by setting a non-self-centred motivation when doing this retreat, it is a good way to train my mind to move away from the ‘me’, ‘is mine’, ‘for me’ thought-pattern.
12. Lilyn Tan
The purpose of taking this retreat is to strengthen my spiritual practice.
13. Kwan Wan San
This is a joined group retreat so it motivates me even more to engage together. This is considered as one of the preliminary practices in Buddhism and I wanted to seize this opportunity which has been given. I was also inspired by Hecelus who have been doing retreats since he was 14 years old! He still goes on retreat even though he has a major exam to sit for at the end of the year. If he can have the discipline to do it, why can’t I?
I also wish to purify the negative karma that I have accumulated in my past lives and to remove obstacles so that I can engage in dharma practice more effectively. This retreat will also give me a dedicated time to take stock of the things I have done with my life thus far, and to reflect on what I wish to change in order to benefit myself and others. Ultimately, I see this retreat as a chance to transform myself to benefit more of others in the future.
14. Sam Chiao Hong
I hope to dedicate the merits from this retreat to Tsem Rinpoche for Tsem Rinpoche’s long life and very good health and for KFR and KWPC to materialize as soon as possible to benefit more people. I have never done a retreat before and I hope to experience my first retreat and dedicate this to Tsem Rinpoche. At the same time, I hope to gain inner peace and clarity of mind during the retreat and to transform at the end of the retreat.