A huge shopping spree with His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche taught some Kecharians the valuable lesson of how kindness really does start at “home”.
It has become more and more apparent that there really are no limits to a kindness of our Lama, Rinpoche. While many of us may have grand and faraway ideas of what compassion can mean, Rinpoche shows us how it is done at the most fundamental level.
Concerned for the welfare of the many full-time staff in the Kechara organisation, Rinpoche recently arranged for a giant shopping trip to the supermarket. He was accompanied by 34 Kecharians, both full-time staff as well as volunteers, and they just about bought out the entire store!
For many years now Rinpoche has always quietly gone out to stores in the middle of the night to buy huge amounts of food, snacks and necessities for the different departments within Kechara and the various Dharma houses.
Rinpoche has often explained that he knows how hard many of the students work, that they often work until very late and may get hungry. Rinpoche spoke about his concern that they may not have enough food or the supplies that they need either in their departments or homes, so Rinpoche personally arranges to get the things they need. It is a giant lesson of care, for every minute of the day that people are volunteering in the organisation.
So there we were – everyone gathered in front of Giant Supermarket at Kota Damansara on a Friday evening, lined up in a row like contestants on Supermarket Sweep. Armed with a trolley, everyone then went to attack the aisles for snacks, biscuits, drinks, cleaning materials, toiletries, pet food…just about anything you can think of!
At the same time, Rinpoche personally chose certain items for each department which volunteers collected and delivered to every single trolley – drinks, certain snacks, first aid materials, essential sundries.
Before checking out, Rinpoche “inspected” each and every trolley to ensure that every department and Dharma house had everything they needed. If he heard that someone liked a particular type of food or needed some particular supplies, he would send them off to get “another 5 of these, another 10 of those, 3 each of this and that…”
Rinpoche stopped at every trolley to think of who worked in that department or lived in that house, what they might individually like and any special requirements of that department or house. There was no scrimping on this shopping trip – Rinpoche made sure that everyone had everything they needed and liked, no matter the cost.
By the time we proceeded to the check-out counters, the trolleys were stacked so high, we could not see past them and had to keep stopping to pick up things that were sliding off the giant piles!
The thousands of items were finally checked out, bagged, labelled and trolleyed off to large vans and trucks that had been specially organised to carry all our shopping.
But that still was not the end of the day and the end of Rinpoche’s kindness. Just in case anyone was hungry after all that hard work, Rinpoche took everyone out for a pizza dinner where platefuls of food streamed non-stop out of the kitchen.
Our tummies were full, our cars were stuffed full with enough supplies to survive the whole of 2011 and most importantly, our hearts were full with the amazement of how far a Lama’s kindness can extend. Who would have thought that a Lama would spend Friday night with his students buying them everything from tins of Milo to toothpaste, from stacks of chips to brooms, from soup to dishwashing liquid? There really is nothing that escapes our Lama’s eye when it comes to looking out for his students’ welfare and needs.
So now, do come by any of the departments to visit – we will have plenty of tea, drinks and biscuits to share!