Chinese KL Pilgrimage 2009

9 July 2009 - 4:34am Comments Off

Chinese KL Pilgirimage 2009


I was invited by Liaison Paul Yap to help out with the Chinese pilgrimage although I hardly spoke a single word of Mandarin. I was a little apprehensive at first but he said he needed an extra pair of hands to help out with the logistics. At an ungodly 6.30am on the Saturday morning of the pilgrimage, I was roused from a beautiful dream by Paul to go to KH’s Buddha Oasis to prepare for a briefing. Paul had even less sleep as he had just returned a couple hours ago from a marathon 3-day Liaison’s meeting.

Paul leads the pilgrims on their first tour destination Kechara House

At KH’s Buddha Oasis, there were light refreshments of baked cookies and butter cakes, home-made by Liaison Jamie Khoo’s kind mother, Datin Jennifer. The pilgrims which consisted of mainly newbies gathered at 8 am for an early light breakfast and then sat down for a briefing. Liaison Paul gave the pilgrims a rundown of what to expect for the whole day of adventuring through Kechara organization. Armed with little booklets explaining the day’s itinerary, they filed out of Buddha Oasis and headed for Kechara House’s main prayer hall. Paul brought the pilgrims on a tour of the hall with explanations of the statues, thangkas, thrones and offerings. They made their prostrations and obeisance, filed out and went towards Tsem Kacho Ling’s (TKL) office. Liaison Henry was there to give a good introduction to our upcoming massive retreat center, TKL. There was a made-to-scale model of the retreat center and this elicited a lot of enthusiasm, questions and laughter. Clearly, many were impressed at the scale of this project and were excited about it.

Tsem Kachö Ling

Off to KMP to meet with CEO Li Kim

Chinese KL Pilgirimage 2009

The visit to TKL’s office woke everybody up, as they were ushered to Kechara Media and Publication’s office where the Head of KMP, Phng Li Kim and the KMP Liaisons were there to greet everybody. Associate Liaison Yek Yee, who was already part of this pilgrimage took them around and explained the functions of the various rooms and introduced the people who worked there. After admiring the beautiful office of KMP and the tremendous publication work that they do, the pilgrims prepared to board the bus.  Before that, the perennial photo-taking session took place right in front of Kechara House. Then, they headed towards the new Ladrang that was in the midst of construction. The main structure of the Ladrang was so massive that it dwarves all the nearby mansions and took the pilgrim’s breath away. Head Ladrang Liaison JP Thong with complimentary gifts from Ladrang was there awaiting to speak to awe-struck pilgrims and explained the Ladrang’s layout and purpose in our Lama’s works.

Onsite tour of the new Tsem Ladrang

From the Ladrang we headed towards Heruka House, which is my home. It was a brief visit with Paul explaining the purpose of Dharma houses and Rinpoche’s plan for it to become the basis for the model community that will be transplanted onto TKL. Our next destination was the highly-anticipated Kechara Paradise’s visit. The newly refurbished outlet and great explanation by Apprentice Liaison Chia made everybody even more in the mood to do some shopping. Of course they lingered longer as many decided to cave in to their shopping desire before walking down the road to Kechara Saraswati Arts (KSA). Liaison James Long was there to greet them in his charismatic explanations of all things to do with what KSA does best – statue painting, mantra rolling, thangka sewing and the sewing of statue’s hat and clothes.

Kechara Paradise, SS2 branch and Kechara Saraswati Arts

By then, the famished pilgrims were brought to lunch at Kechara Oasis for a delicious vegetarian meal. The restaurant’s director and founder, Irene Lim was awaiting to introduce the restaurant as the waiters were serving the food. The sumptuous lunch was definitely a unanimous crowd-pleaser and everybody had very good comments about the delectable dishes. With stomachs full, the pilgrim crowd filed up onto the bus and headed to our Kechara Paradise store in Bangsar. Shopping resumed but before that, Liaison Chia related the history of the store. Liaison May Woo was so busy throughout the time that the  pilgrims there helped to serve the customers and kept the cash register busy. Satisfied with their purchases, the pilgrims left on the final leg of their journey to TKL land.

Yummy Kechara Oasis lunch for our pilgrims to enjoy

Through the main highways, we passed the Batu Cave steps and large Hindu statue and sped past into the mountains that led towards Genting Highlands. Through a few twist and turns, we finally arrived at TKL land. Paul took them onto the land and related the vision of what is to become TKL retreat center. Now the little scaled-model retreat center that we saw earlier was superimposed over the green trees and mountains using the power of our memory and visualization. We recited Lama Tsongkhapa’s Migtsema and dedications to seal the blessings onto the land. Then, I followed a few intrepid pilgrims to climb the grassy slopes up towards a plateau that had a panoramic view of the surrounding mountains and probably the spot where the massive Lama Tsongkhapa temple will be built. We took some photos and returned to the awaiting bus.

Making prayers and dedications at Tsem Kachö Ling

The long day and exciting day came to an end as all of us returned to Kechara House feeling tired but happy. A presentation of the photos to recap on the places we have visited and gifts of group photos were handed out as memorabilia of this exciting pilgrimage. Some have mentioned that they really had a great time getting to know the organization and they don’t mind going for another round of pilgrimage. What started as a brainchild of His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche’s two years ago has now turned into a great way to bring new members and friends closer to Kechara House.

Chinese KL Pilgrimage 2009 @ Tsem Kachö Ling

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