Kechara will be holding a Buddhist Pastor Ordination Ceremony on 17 April 2014, on the auspicious Wind-Wind day according to the traditional Tibetan calendar, at the Kechara Forest Retreat. Four new pastors will be ordained: Pastor Niral Patel, Pastor Loh Seng Piow, Pastor David Lai, and Pastor Henry Ooi.
Kechara’s pastors are special people who have chosen to dedicate their lives towards their spiritual journey, bridging the gap between the lay practitioner and a fully ordained person. Conceptualised by H.E. Tsem Rinpoche, pastors are empowered to give blessings, perform rituals, confer teachings, and provide spiritual guidance and counselling.
Pastorship is subject to renewal on a yearly basis, and all requests for pastor ordination should be submitted to Kechara’s Board of Directors.
1.00pm – Registration
1.30pm – Pastor Ordination Ceremony
3.30pm – Photo session and complimentary refreshments
4.30pm – Event ends
For enquiries or to RSVP your attendance, please contact us at 03 7803 3908 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet the new pastors
Pastor Niral Patel (sangha to be)
Niral was born and raised in the UK, having graduated with a BA in Anthropology, he was working as a Financial Administrator for a Serviced Apartment & Hotel company as well as a Management Services company before stumbling across His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche’s Youtube channel, entirelyby accident. It was through His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche’s teachings that he began to understand the importance of practicing the Dharma, in order to benefit himself and others around him.
Having been in contact with one of Tsem Rinpoche’s long time students in the UK, he was encouraged to visit Kechara in late 2012 for a 10 day visit. At the end of the visit Tsem Rinpoche requested Niral to come to work at Kechara, to which he agreed.
Niral moved to Malaysia in February 2013 to work as an education coordinator at Kechara House, assisting the Education Division in the creation and implementation of the new education syllabus, teaching teenagers during the Kechara Sunday Dharma School. Ever since meeting Tsem Rinpoche, he has always been encouraged by Tsem Rinpoche to do more Dharma work and strive to better himself. It is with that in mind, that Niral has requested monastic ordination.
It is Niral’s motivation for full ordination to better himself, learn the teachings of our lineage in order to preserve them for future generations. He wishes to benefit others, just as he has benefited and is still benefiting from Tsem Rinpoche’s explanation of the Dharma.
Pastor Loh Seng Piow (Pastor-in-training)
Back in 2001, Loh Seng Piow had no inkling of just how involved in Dharma he would become. As a Masters degree-holder in Engineering, Loh Seng Piow was working as a research engineer in Singapore when he met His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche. Rinpoche’s talk left a strong impression on him and after a few encounters with Rinpoche, Loh Seng Piow started developing websites for Rinpoche and Kechara.
Loh Seng Piow was trained in science, but soon realised that there were many questions that science could not answer. At the same time, he also felt that science and technology are not the solution to human problems, as humans are much better off compared to thousands years ago, yet the problems in this world are still the same, if not more, and we do not seem to be happier than our ancestors.
Loh Seng Piow soon realised that the Dharma is the ultimate solution to human problems, and that the methods used by His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche are very suitable for this modern era. Loh Seng Piow developed a strong wish to help Rinpoche in spreading the Dharma to the world. With that determination, Loh Seng Piow chose not to pursue his PhD degree in Cambridge University (for which he had been offered a place), resigned from his research job, and joined Tsem Rinpoche as full-time Dharma worker, and has never looked back since.
Meeting Rinpoche was a very refreshing experience for Loh Seng Piow, as he never knew Dharma could be so unconventional yet maintain its essence. As Rinpoche’s personal attendant, Loh Seng Piow has had many incredible moments with Rinpoche and considers himself extremely fortunate because he sees real Dharma in action, both on and off the throne. It challenges him to practice Dharma 24/7. In this way, Rinpoche has blown away his old and persistent way of thinking, which was very much focused on the outer rituals of Dharma.
Having seen that Tsem Rinpoche truly embodies what he teaches, Loh Seng Piow is convinced beyond doubt that it is possible to develop our minds to a higher state, and ultimately achieving enlightenment. All these factors have propelled Loh Seng Piow to take a step further in his Dharma career to become ordained as a pastor in order to be even more effective in sharing and disseminating the Dharma to benefit others.
Pastor David Lai (Pastor-in-training)
David Lai has been a student of His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche for over a decade now and was one of the founding members of Kechara. He joined Kechara as a full time staff in 2005 and has been working in various departments beginning with the Kechara Paradise outlets.
Right from the beginning, David had been advised by His Eminence to go into writing. Overcoming various hurdles, David finally began his literary career with the publication of his first book and autobiography, There’s No Way But Up in 2009. The book charts his spiritual journey from his childhood and culminates in the meeting with His Eminence.
The positive feedback from this book led him to write various other publications like Vajrayogini and Other Power Places in Nepal – a pilgrim’s guide of Nepal, Tales My Lama Told Me – a book on short stories and Conversations in Love – a book on relationships. These books continue to inspire and bring people onto the Dharma.
Besides writing, David has found his passion in sharing the Dharma since his earlier days working in the Kechara Paradise outlets. Over the years, David has received innumerable teachings from His Eminence, ranging from public teachings to personal instructions and advice. He is known to passionately share these teachings whenever he can and to whomever he meets. In 2014, with a sincere wish to benefit others, David decided to be ordained as a Buddhist pastor to continue serving the spiritual needs of the organisation.
Pastor Henry Ooi (Pastor-in-training)
Born in 1952 in Penang, Henry moved to Kuala Lumpur in search of work after he finished his Form Five studies in 1969. He worked at different types of jobs and it was when he was jobless in 1997/8 that he met His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche at the house of his cousin, Ruby (now Dato’ Ruby Khong), when Rinpoche was giving a dharma teaching. At that teaching Henry was awed by how Rinpoche taught Dharma with simple yet profound explanations.
With the kind guidance, teachings and Dharma practices by Rinpoche including instruction to engage in their first spiritual retreat, Henry and his wife Angel started a small business that soon became profitable. A few years later after Kechara House Buddhist Association was founded, Rinpoche started to enrol students as liaisons and that was when Henry and Dato’ Ruby offered themselves. Later more students were elected as liaisons that saw the birth of Liaisons Council. The Liaisons Council is now known as the Board of Directors of which Henry is one of its members.
Currently Henry is the Project Director, overseeing the construction and completion of projects in the Kechara Forest Retreat. Prior to this appointment he was the Head of Department in Kechara Paradise retail outlets of which he served for about ten years. He still remains as its company director as well as director for most of the companies within Kechara. He served one term as vice president of Kechara House Buddhist Association from 2012 to 2103.
After following Rinpoche as a Dharma student for all these years, learning and practicing the Dharma, Henry knows the importance of the pastors’ role in Kechara founded by Rinpoche. He wants to become a pastor to serve Rinpoche, to serve Kechara, and to serve the public. As he aspires to be a monk as he grows older, being a pastor of Kechara will pave the way for his aspiration. Henry believes that as one gets older in life, one should have already prepared for the imminent, death. And what a beautiful death it will be, to die in Kechara Forest Retreat in a monk’s robes. This is the kind of death that Henry wants. But before the imminent death happens, Henry wants to continue working in Kechara Forest Retreat, serving the community and whoever comes into it in whatever way he can. And when he is not physically anymore to serve others, he will request instructions from Rinpoche to enter into retreats in Kechara Forest Retreat.