A Birthday Call to Action

8 November 2011 - 9:18pm Comments Off

The Buddha Vajradhara himself said that during degenerate times (Kaliyurga), the Buddha himself will appear amongst people in the form of Gurus.  What other reason for Buddhas to take rebirth in this world than to bless and to benefit.  Their every word and action is to help and to heal. They exist solely to teach the path; even their bodies are used to serve powerful lessons. In addition to transmitting the teachings and practices and being the perfect guide, the Guru is so kind in that the opportunity to serve and make offerings to him allows us to gain vast amounts of merit.

This era is described as degenerate because it is so difficult to uphold the pure dharma. Either we are so caught up with having to solve the mess of problems of this age or too engrossed with indulging in the pleasures of our “success” to find purpose in spiritual practice. There will come a time when the conditions are not conducive so even Buddhas do not appear anymore and the teachings become lost.

With reverence and gratitude, we celebrate the significance of this day on which our Guru took rebirth in this world 46 years ago. Kechara House conducted an animal liberation event and a Lama Chopa puja. H. E. Tsem Rinpoche chose to take rebirth during our time and upheld the dharma despite countless setbacks during his whole lifetime. Rinpoche’s remarkable life and experiences are a shining example for us, chronicled in his new autobiography published by Kechara Media and Publications and launched today.

With skillful means, Rinpoche reached out to touch our mind stream in many unconventional ways through modern media such as the blog , YouTube and print.  He demonstrated that spirituality can be cultivated through all aspects of our lives be it in the arts, cuisine or travel .But the core teachings and practices passed down from Buddha Shakyamuni, through Lama Tsongkhapa and now through our Lama, are preserved through these media and the center, Kechara House. All these different approaches have provided a connection to the dharma that can cultivate the seed of enlightenment in our mind stream.  The existence of the Kechara organization is solely for this purpose.

First Pastor Ordination in Malaysia
Today marks another first for Kechara in that four of its members had the fortune to be ordained as Buddhist pastors by H. E. Tsem Rinpoche on the auspicious occasion of his birthday.  Rinpoche explained that in this day and age, it is very difficult for people to take on the discipline of a monk, to overcome their internal attachments and become fully ordained.  If sangha members dwindle in numbers, the dharma will die.  The Buddha said, at any place where there are four ordained Bhikshus who genuinely practice, the dharma will grow.  Therefore to pass on the lineage and preserve the teachings, Rinpoche recognized the need to develop the system of pastorship, suitable for today’s conditions.

Four senior students of Rinpoche, Mr. Ngeow Voon Chin, Ms. Susan Lim, Mr. Chia Song Peng and Ms. Kok Yek Yee became the first pastors after having received their vows from Rinpoche, had a snippet of their hair cut, received their uniforms blessed by Rinpoche and a Buddha Shakyamuni pendant that signifies fortitude.  The pastors would become lay dharma teachers, be trained and empowered by Rinpoche to conduct marriages, funerals, house blessings, consecrations, dispelling negative energy, do counseling and eventually pass initiations.

Kechara World Peace Centre
Birthdays are supposed to be joyous occasions when we anticipate many more to come.  However, this time, joy collapsed into sadness when Rinpoche announced that he had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and only 1-3 years more to live. Is our collective merit so lacking that we could suffer the loss of our Guru so prematurely?  Gurus appear to any public that requires their assistance for the specific purpose of benefiting them. They do not remain for no reason. So if they leave, it could mean that there is nothing more to teach as whatever has been taught has not been applied well.  We would be the biggest losers.  Thus due to the negative karma impacted from many lifetimes of non-virtuous action remaining unpurified, it becomes an obstacle and students are unable to receive any more dharma. It is not the fault of the teacher but of the student, for the Guru is the doctor who dispenses the medicine (dharma) but it is the patient (student) who needs to take the medicine (apply the dharma) in order to be healed.

The biggest obstacle of our time is that achievement of worldly success deceives us into believing that we are happy and this “happiness” will last forever.  Spirituality becomes just a hobby, self is placed above others.  Good times eventually run out, like everything else.  What have we done to prepare?

Rinpoche’s next goal of establishing the Kechara World Peace Centre depends on our commitment and dharma practice.  Something never arises out of nothing, so for KWPC to arise and Rinpoche to live long, students and all who have benefited from Rinpoche’s teachings must not waste anymore time but commit and contribute to make it happen.

When time is running out, petty squabbles and a little discomfort should not be of importance anymore.  There is no more time for despair, hopelessness, lethargy, inaction, resistance or passing the buck.  Every single student and all who have benefited, whether in Kechara our abroad, must now take responsibility and ownership, repair broken samayas, make good on promises, apply what Rinpoche has taught, and most importantly, do dharma work with enthusiasm and good motivation and dedicate the merit of our effort and practice to Rinpoche’s long life.  Let us contribute in any way we can, commit more than before, and demonstrate our dedication to practice.  Then Rinpoche would have cause and reason to remain, and we and countless others are the direct beneficiaries.

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