Julia Tan

8 June 2009 - 12:34am Comments Off

I have been given the chance to practise now, so I have taken that chance. Dharma has made me stronger and I want my loved ones to experience that benefit too.

Julia Tan, 35
Associate Liaison to H.E. Tsem Rinpoche
Hon. Secretary Kechara House Buddhist Association
Treasurer Kechara Soup Kitchen

Julia Tan is a busy woman. A devoted single mother of two teenagers, Julia is a gemmologist who runs her own jewellery business in Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong. Although her business requires her to travel frequently, Julia makes Dharma her priority – she is committed to Kechara as an Associate Liaison to H.E. Tsem Rinpoche and the Treasurer of Kechara Soup Kitchen, a community action group which distributes food and basic medical aid to the homeless and urban poor of Malaysia.


Business woman, frequent traveller, single mother, and now Associate Liaison! Incredible! When did it all begin, how were you introduced to Kechara?

My spiritual journey began in 2007, when Liaison JP Thong invited me to attend one of H.E. Tsem Rinpoche’s book club sessions. My first impression of it was that a Dharma talk could be fun! Rinpoche’s talk piqued my curiosity and interest in Dharma and from that day, I have never looked back.


Your comments echo that of many others who say Rinpoche’s charisma attracted them to the Dharma. What is it about Dharma that convinced you to become committed?

Dharma brings me peace of mind by teaching me the truth of life, which is that nothing is permanent, including things we are not happy with. Knowing this, I have learnt to forgive and let go, to accept and move on. Looking at things from a Buddhist perspective has created a very peaceful energy in and around me.


Is the peace that it brings to you the reason why you joined Dharma work? What about Dharma work do you like?

Dharma has changed my life. I have come to understand that whether I like it or not, life is short and unpredictable. I looked back and asked myself, “Is this all I have to show for my life?” I have been given the chance to practise now, so I have taken that chance. Dharma has made me stronger and I want my loved ones to experience that benefit too.


We know that Rinpoche has inspired many to commit themselves to Dharma. For you, what is the most inspiring thing about Rinpoche that you have seen?

His enthusiastic, tireless guidance of the 12 departments is the most inspiring thing that I have seen. I am constantly amazed by Rinpoche’s kindness and his use of skilful means to push his students to transform. He never gives up and even when he is sick, he is always thinking of ways to encourage us in our practice.


So where do you see yourself in five years’ time? Where do you see Kechara going as an organisation, and will you have a role to play in its growth?

As my children become more independent, the time I commit to the Dharma will increase. For the time being, by nurturing them, I wish to inspire my children to serve the Dharma too. In five years’ time, due to Rinpoche’s kindness, our retreat centre, Tsem Kachö Ling, will have manifested and Kechara Soup Kitchen will be based there, ready to feed and help the hungry and homeless of the world.

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