This year’s Grand Setrap and Dzambala Puja (GSDP) might not have entered the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest number of people in one place, or the greatest amount of candle offerings burning at one time but it was a very significant milestone for Kechara. 2011′s GSDP was the first time the Puja was held at Kechara’s own gompa. Thus it was the perfect opportunity for those new to Kechara to get to know the organisation and our spiritual guide, His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche, a little better.
To correct the misconception that Kechara House is only opened to registered members, this year’s GSDP also served as a chance for our neighbours in SunwayMas to get to know Kechara better.
GSDP in 2011 was conceptualised to be more than a conventional religious event; it was conceptualised to incorporate community activities like an animal adoption drive, a recycling programme and flea market (to name a few!) so that everyone and anyone could get involved with great ease. The direction of the event was definitely a success as many people living in the surrounding neighbourhoods dropped by to participate…2011′s GSDP definitely marked the start of Kechara House stamping an impact in SunwayMas and, from here, spreading to the rest of Malaysia.
For the past two years, the annual GSDP was held at the Kuala Lumpur Chinese Assembly Hall, many miles away from our gompa in SunwayMas. Although those previous years’ events did attract a lot of people (and some stayed on to join Kechara full time!), the majority only got to experience Kechara once a year. No doubt the main purpose for the visits was to receive blessings but unfortunately, they were only able to do so once a year. With our larger gompa now up and running, people from all walks of life can now visit our gompa all year round to receive blessings.
From the community, for the community
Kechara’s goal is to move beyond giving annual blessings, and to become a community partner and a source of knowledge bringing people the wisdom and secret to ultimate happiness.
On 12 and 13 February 2011, Kechara hosted GSDP in our newly-built prayer hall, much to the delight of many new visitors. This hall houses a 12-foot Lama Tsongkhapa statue and also 8-foot statues of Lord Setrap and Vajrayogini, all of whom serve to promote harmony, and bless the environment and anyone who lays eyes on them.
Guests were entertained by performances by our very own Kecharians – the two-day event showcased a Vajrayogini dance by Margaret Lee, children’s performances by the Manjushri Kids’ Class (MKC), as well as traditional lion dance and dragon dance performances by sponsored troupes.
In fact, the lion dance performances on both days of the event attracted a lot of passersby and residents from the local neighbourhood. Children, adults, families, old and young all gathered together at the gompa to watch the outstanding performances. It was the perfect opportunity to promote an event that always brings the community together…recycling! Many brought with them recyclables to drop off at the Kechara Earth Project recycling point, before stopping at the Kechara Soup Kitchen booth to see what other community work the Kechara organisation has been up to.
This team, led by media darling President Dato’ Ruby Khong, were there to show the public exactly where their donations go to. This included an example of a typical bag of food distributed by volunteers every week…and an average of 1,300 of these bags are distributed each week!
Nearby, beautifully-designed pendants by Kechara Discovery were selling fast because there was a 40% discount on all products. Besides guests, volunteers and staff also rushed to buy pendants of their liking during their free time. Other popular items at GSDP include Yangchen Rilbu pills (to enhance memory) by Tsem Ladrang, ice-cream from Kechara Animal Sanctuary and special pens from Kechara World Peace Centre…word on the street is that they are lovely to write with!
After filling themselves on the herbal tea eggs at Kechara House, many people stopped by Kechara InMotion‘s (KIM) booth to have their photo taken. From Dzambala to Tsongkhapa to Shakyamuni, and even a very life-like Vajrayogini (oh wait, she was actually real!), the supermodel wannabes could have their picture superimposed with a Buddha image of their choice.
Those who could not attend the event had the opportunity to watch it live online. The entire GSDP was livestreamed so that Kechara’s international friends could join the fun and gain blessings along the way. It was made possible through the efforts of Tsem Ladrang’s e-Division team, who had also put the offerings up online so that those who could not attend the event could make offerings through the Internet!
It was indeed a fantastic two days for all of us here at Kechara. Last but not least, we wish to thank everybody for their efforts, and to have a prosperous Year of the Rabbit full of blessings, protection and wealth from Dzambala and Lord Setrap…we will see you next year, when GSDP will be back, bigger and better than ever!