Curing Cleopatra

17 August 2010 - 11:29pm 1 Comment

A precious photo of Margaret with Rinpoche, taken during that fateful trip


At the end of November 1996, His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche visited Penang, Malaysia. During this trip, Patsy Gooi, now the manager of Kechara Paradise Penang and one of Rinpoche’s long time students, introduced her godmother, Margaret Chin, to Rinpoche.

Margaret is a 3rd stage breast cancer survivor, although outwardly you would never have guessed. Her radiant and dynamic personality does not indicate this at all. At 67 years old today, she leads a full and busy life in Penang, focusing on helping others and she attributes it all to Rinpoche.

Margaret Chin (centre) with her daughter Joyce Chin (left) and goddaughter Patsy Gooi (right)

Margaret’s first impression of Rinpoche in 1996 was that he was very friendly and warm. At the time, due to a mastectomy Margaret had undergone where she had also had her lymph nodes removed, her left arm had become infected. As a result, she had to go regularly to hospital for drips. When Rinpoche learned about her health issues, he conferred Vajrapani initiation to her and also advised that she sponsor quarterly pujas at Gaden Monastery.

Soon after she received the initiation, her left arm recovered and, as Margaret says, so far so good. Since then, even though Margaret has barely seen Rinpoche – the last time was at Patsy’s mother’s wake in 2002 – she has firmly kept up her daily prayer commitments, her annual sponsorship of a monk at Gaden and the quarterly pujas.

Life is like a drama. After meeting Rinpoche, it changed to a new drama. Life is very smooth. My arm infection cleared.

Rinpoche had nicknamed her Cleopatra then – certainly this lady’s powerful energy is formidable.

After I met Rinpoche, my lifestyle changed – I learned to forgive people. In fact, anyone who needs help, I will go…

A regular volunteer and committee member of the Penang Cheshire Home for the past 10 years, she is in charge of rehab for the physically disabled. She is also involved with the Caring Angels for the past seven years, raising funds for them. And that’s not all – Margaret has also been an active member of a cancer patient support group, the Among Friends Wellness Support Group, over the past six years. Here, she and other cancer survivors share their own experiences with cancer patients to give them much needed support.

Margaret's altar, with images of Rinpoche

Last year, she attended the opening of Kechara Paradise Penang and said that she liked the concept of the outlet very much. Rinpoche’s style is very different and modern. Speaking about the most important teachings she received from Rinpoche, she said it was that,

Whatever we have must be shared; we must try to forgive people – we mustn’t be selfish and we should always think of people. We must be able to give, rather than to take. If we have enemies – we cannot change our enemies but we can change ourselves.

Now, she says that her health is okay and her life is very smooth. She has survived for 19 years and is able to do what normal people are doing. Actually, we beg to differ. Margaret is doing much more than what the average person is doing – despite her health issues, she is dedicating much of her life to help others, and that I believe is the source of her joie de vivre and the sparkle in her eyes.

One Response to Curing Cleopatra

  1. Thank you very much for sharing this. I learned that it is by giving that we are given. Focus not on ourselves but others life is not just about ourselves but about others. I wish I can have that kind of energy when I am at her age. I enjoy volunteering because that has made me a happier person. By volunteering, I realised that I am very blessed. It is true that our lives have changes after meeting Rinpoche in person or his teachings it actually opens our mind. In fact many students of Rinpoches finds their lives changes after meeting Rinpoche. My Lord Rinpoche Thank You so very much for choosing to be in this world and most of all to be in Part of the world to share and teaches Dharma. My Lord may be with us for a very time and may all who encounters Rinpoche’s teaching have their mind transformed