Overcoming Obstacles

10 May 2009 - 8:49am Comments Off

Mee Cheng is a long-time student of Rinpoche and a great supporter of many Dharma activities and projects within Kechara House. Though she lives in Melaka, she remains closely connected to Kechara House and is always there to lend her support for our events and Dharma work.

September 9 2008: I thought that this was the most unlucky day for me in year 2008. At 8.30 pm, my handbag was snatched by a man just as I wanted to enter my car. Besides the usual stolen items – identity card, driving license, credit cards, I also lost other many valuable un-replaceable sentimental things and also Rinpoche’s photo! A woman’s handbag definitely can contain all sorts of nonsense and important items. Count me lucky that I had my treasured handphone in my hand and the first important person on my mind to contact was my Dharma sister, Irene Lim, my Kechara House contact in any case of emergency! Instead of consoling me for my predicament, she really gave me a lecture for missing her very important call earlier on. She told me the good news that I was invited by Rinpoche to go for a pilgrimage to Nepal together with about 50 people.

“NEPAL!!” I thought. “Oh my god, oh no, I just can’t squeeze in any more time – we just recently went to Japan and Australia and I am going to Canada in November. All my jobs are all hanging and kept full in the safe cabinet and now with this robbery, I just don’t know!” I told Irene.

“Don’t talk so much. Just go.” Irene said to me.

One hour later she called me back and told me the really good news – Rinpoche had said that this robbery was obstacle removed for me to go on a holy pilgrimage to see sacred Vajrayogini in Nepal. It was a good sign for me. Anyway, deep in my heart, I knew somehow that I wouldn’t miss this good opportunity; by hook or by crook I would go because I did not want to regret not going for the rest of my life. The last time I went for a pilgrimage with Rinpoche was already two and a half years ago to Gaden Monastery in, India.

It was definitely such a “coincidence” that exactly one month later, on October 9 I boarded RA 416 with Rinpoche and 60 other people from all walks of life.

The five days we were in Nepal was definitely beyond my imagination. During the day time, the weather was extremely hot and sunny and as I was so used to air conditioning in my office, it was terribly unbearable hot during the first two days. I heard that it would be cool so I even brought turtleneck sweaters which I didn’t have the chance to wear at all! However, I eventually got used to the natural hot environment and did not complain much about it.

To go on a holy pilgrimage with Rinpoche was really very fortunate and I am sure each and every one of us felt very blessed. His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche took so much effort in making sure we visited all the holy places in Kathmandu, even until nightfall. I am sure a number of us have never climbed so many steps in our lives! I for one never had!

On Friday, the second day, when the sky was already dark, we had to climb 480 steps to reach a Vajrayogini Chapel in Sangkhu monastery. I was panting and told Irene, “I just can’t make it to the top.”

“Just continue” she told me.

I told her that I thought I was going to have an epileptic fit and I was suffering very difficult breathing. Only then did she finally allow me to rest! When Rinpoche heard that I was unwell, he insisted that I stay where I was (only two more flights of steps to the top), take a good rest and stop going up to the chapel.

In our group, there was a very experienced, kind, compassionate, caring doctor and after taking some medicine he gave me, I felt much better. With the doctor and Irene’s help, I told myself that since I had come so far, I would finish climbing the balance steps to the chapel. I knew that I would regret it otherwise, when I returned to Malaysia. The Vajroyogini was very beautiful and was worth all the steps we climbed in the dark! She seemed so familiar to me. Had I seen her in a past life before? Rinpoche was delighted to see me as he least expected it and he told me that it was a very good sign of purification of my negative karma as it happened in a holy place. I really felt much at ease and much better after listening to Rinpoche’s advice.

The next day, again at nightfall, we climbed many steps to visit the Naropa and Tilopa Caves. It was very dark, and it affected me very much when I saw a woman with four kids standing outside a dark house with no electricity and with many wild dogs around. It was very sad seeing people there living in such a state and we should count ourselves very fortunate to be able to stay in our warm, cozy home with water, lights and even air-conditioning… and yet, we are always still not satisfied with what we have!

Rinpoche took so much effort and was so compassionate to allow each and every one of us into Naropa’s Cave, to let us take a look at the cave where Naropa had meditated on Vajrayogini and served his guru Tilopa. Rinpoche explained, blessed us and also took photographs with every one of us.

On our way down the steps, again my epileptic fit occurred and this time it was very serious. I feel very agitated and somehow I need to release, cry, scream out and I felt like fainting. Many people were very concerned, advised me to keep meditating and reminded me that Rinpoche was nearby and knew of my condition. I thanked everyone (especially Dr. Chong) in one way or another for giving me a hand, guiding me and for the three strong guys who helped to carry me down!

My epilepsy started more than 40 years ago when I was very young, when I was given an unsuitable jab during a fever. I didn’t think it was possible for it to occur for two days consecutively and especially, in a holy place! I must have been very blessed for to have this chance to purify so much of my negative karma. I felt very fortunate that Rinpoche was doing prayers for my recovery in order to clear my obstacles.

During the five days we were in Nepal, I was very surprised that I could feel so serene and look forward everyday to our audience with Rinpoche and his Dharma talks. He continually stressed the topic of tolerance, not to think only of ourselves – “I, I, I, Me, Me” – to be compassionate, to think of others, to contemplate impermanence and other subjects. This had such a huge impact on my mind.

I found that I was able to sit on dirty floors, walk without shoes in the ancient temples, visit so many holy temples and sites and see what it was like to live in a poverty-stricken country. I didn’t think I would be able to do these things, had I not met Rinpoche who introduced me to Dharma and made me realise that I am so much more fortunate than so many beings.

When we recited The Eight Verses of Mind Transformation, I could now understand and accept the contents much more easily. At many of the holy sites, Rinpoche also got us to hug the next person beside us and to congratulate each other. This was to help us open up and rejoice at our fortune. Initially I was quite shy but luckily I finally got used to it.

What was most meaningful for me during this pilgrimage was Rinpoche’s personal advice to me – to forgive all those who had hurt me. I promised Rinpoche that I would try my best to do so. I would like to specially thank Irene for her patience and care, Yek Yee and Sio Chian for their concern, all liaisons and everyone I met for making this trip a memorable one for me. Also I wish to thank Rinpoche for trusting me, guiding me, and giving me all the care, love and concern as no one has done before.

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