A Day of Light

12 December 2012 - 3:16am Comments Off

On 8 Dec 2012, over 175 people gathered in Kechara’s Gompa to celebrate Lama Tsongkhapa Day – also known as the Butter Lamp Festival – which falls on the 25th of the 10th Tibetan month. Lama Tsongkhapa (1357-1419) is a great Buddhist scholar and saint who founded the Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism, and also Kechara House’s main yidam (meditational deity).

Our guests, including visitors from Johor and Singapore, spent a meaningful afternoon rejoicing in Lama Tsongkhapa’s attainment of enlightenment and his many great deeds, amongst others establishing Gaden Monastery in Tibet and authoring the Lamrim Chenmo; and making abundant offerings of candles and flowers to Lama Tsongkhapa.

Before the start of the Lama Chopa prayers, Liaison JP Thong took time off from his busy schedule at Kechara Forest Retreat (KFR) to update us about the exciting progress happening up in Chamang, Bentong. Apart from having secured more powerful electricity for the land, drainage systems and cement access roads were being built in KFR as JP spoke.

Kechara House President Datuk May Phng reminded us that the process of building KFR and the manifestation of it would serve to benefit not Tsem Rinpoche nor Kechara, but really ourselves and others. Indeed, one would be able to purify negative karma and accumulate much merit by engaging in such an act as building a Buddhist institution. Thus, she invited everyone to contribute to KFR in whatever way possible, be it in the form of voluntary work or donations, regardless of amount. This was met with encouraging response from the audience, who echoed her sentiments that we should all seize this extremely valuable opportunity to benefit ourselves and others.

After that, the audience watched a video about Lama Tsongkhapa; and Pastor Han Nee proceeded to give a short introduction to the Lama Chopa prayers. In her first public speech as a Pastor, Pastor Han Nee very ably explained that Lama Chopa is also known as Guru Puja, and is a prayer where we invoke the blessings of all the lineage lamas in the Guru Tree; from Shakyamuni Buddha extending to our present direct teacher who has given us the teachings. In this case, our guru is none other than H.E. Tsem Rinpoche. This prayer strengthens the relationship between us and our guru through offerings, especially offerings of our practice.

All of Kechara’s Pastors were present to commemorate this auspicious day. This included Pastor Susan, Pastor Yek Yee and Pastor Chia who were ordained in October 2011 as well as Pastor Han Nee, Pastor Lanse and Anila who were recently ordained in October 2012. Pastor Chia was the umze (lead chanter) for the afternoon’s Lama Chopa prayers, which was recited beautifully in Tibetan.

Once the prayers were complete, a dedication was done to conclude the celebrations and while this marks the end of today’s celebrations, it will hopefully be the beginning of renewed faith in our spiritual practice.

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