Wednesday, 1 August 2018

1 August 我没白来

One year ago today I gave you these flowers for your birthday. It was my first time giving flowers to you and I never knew it would be my last. 

Was busy the whole day today with guests and meetings in the office. Only when they have all left at 5pm, then I saw the video of your funeral. I broke down, again.

Although I had been close to you following you wherever you went, helping you to carry the stuff which you bought, I was mostly shy and you too were photo-shy, so I did not really have that many photos taken with you. 

But I did snapped many many photos when I was with you, the places we went, the meals we had, the activities we did during Dharma work. I only realised I have so many memories of you, with you, after your passing. When I searched through years of photos stored and backup in my laptop, I found so many photos which I took when I was with you........

Like the time we went HK cha chan teng for lunch because you said you were very hungry. I enjoyed my yuan yang milk tea while you ordered takeaway fried rice for your son. 

Like the time you bought this piggy for Jamie and after posing for this photo, you said, "don't post ok?" 
Like the times when you always shared with me about your Gurus, also my Gurus.  It was from you I learned about guru devotion. 

Like the times you would be in the centre very early everyday at about 7am plus and this was the most familiar sight to me as we chit chatted over your favorite 2-in-1 coffee.

Like the time we came back from the market and you have bought so much food for the volunteers which lasted us through breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Like you would take things upon your own hands when cleaning up the new centre.
Like the time you were so happy with your purchase of this Kipling bag and pouches, just because it was orange, your favorite colour.

Like the time when I took this sunrise from our monastery guest house and you were so enamoured with it. You asked me to remember this 'rush' colour.

Like the time you gave to the elderly street performer. You would often gave money to the poor and beggars, the tissue aunty at the hawker centre or the elderly folks selling vegetables or provisions.

Like the times when you would order so many dishes for us when we dine out. To you, there was no such thing as 'too much' when it comes to ordering food for others. The reason was, as you told me, you did not have much when you were young, so you did not want others to go hungry too. 
Like the time you bought necklaces in bulk in order to support an elderly street peddler. 

Like during CNY I would go with you to Chinatown to buy decorations and snacks for the centre. You were big on decorating the centre for CNY. 

Like the time you searched for something for your daughter the emcee to wear every Grand Puja. Even up until days before your passing, you were still trying to find pyjamas for your daughters for the coming lunar new year.

Like the time you were very serious in preparing notes before each of your Dharma-sharing and meditation classes.
Like the times you would share with us during volunteers briefing the importance of each Grand Puja.
Like the time we rushed out to buy more flower offerings in Little India for the Naga puja. I remember that was a memorable puja for me.

Like when you commented you liked this simple nasi lemak because the chilli sauce was freshly cooked in a boiling pot. 

Like the times when I attended your classes and wished I really can attain the same knowledge as you, but always realising my ignorant self still had a long way to go.

Like the times you would pick and choose special crystals or accessories with good energy for us. 


Like those times when you cooked sumptuous meals for us.


Like the few times we had picnic at the beach, you would cook curry chicken for us and you were so happy to see Lhamo frolicking in the water.

Like the numerous times you always took care of our Guru and all the monks of Gaden Shartse Monastery. You loved them and was always concerned about them.


Like the time you asked me, "do you know I love my Lhamo very very much?". Your youngest daughter. 

This photo which I took is poignant memory for me. This was 17.7.2017, during the opening of new GSDPL. After many months of painstaking search for a place and then going through the renovations, it was a huge relief and milestone for you. You did look tired. I could see it in your face. 

........

I have wanted to write a proper tribute about you, but the pain is still raw, that I just cannot make myself do it.... yet. It is as if you are still alive. It is as if you are away on your usual retreats which normally lasted a few months.

It has been almost 6 months. At the back of my mind, I still feel you are very much alive. It seems you are just away from Singapore. I am half expecting you to suddenly appear anytime, like you always did. I am half expecting you to call me any moment, "Stumpbo, where are you? Come, let's go buy durians!"


Your eyes always brighten and shine when you buy/ eat durians.

At times when you were upset with me, I know you ignored me because you wanted me to learn my lesson, to transform my mind to be a better person. But the egoistic me was still stubborn. But you were patient and forgave me again and again, as if nothing had happened. When no one believed me, you did. You helped me rid of the demons in me, metaphorically and literally.  

I may not be your family, but the pain I felt in losing you is no less heart-wrenching. You are after all my mentor and inspiration for my Dharma practice these past 7-8 years. We had spent so much time together. Besides sharing your knowledge of the Dharma, you have also shared with me personal stories, the good and bad experiences, the people you have met and those whom you have helped, and why you made some decisions which you did. Now when I encounter certain problems, I would always think if you were around, what your advise would be and how you would have handled the situation. 

We had little conversations here and there, and your last words to me were, "We must have a pure mind in Dharma. We must always check our mind and it is our job to help one another. I like to help those who like to practise Dharma. You can do it too because you are also trying your best to help others. We are working for Dharma. We must work hard. All Gurus and Buddhas will help us too. In this lifetime, if we cannot go to Buddha's Pureland yet, but if our motivation is correct, then we can still come back to GSDPL for future practices. This is because we have already planted the seed (of affinity) with the Centre. Thanks a lot for helping and please continue to serve the Monastery and Centre. I believe if a teacher has the right motivation, the student will have a good mind too. I am very happy to have met my Root Gurus in this life….. 我没白来".  



Yes, in Buddhism I learn about impermanence and I know I must learn to 'let go'. It is all too easy to say in theory. In practice, it is just so hard. We celebrate your life. We know who you were and your purpose in this life. However the flesh, bones and blood in me still cannot get over the changed situation now, that you are no longer around. I know time will heal but may I never forget what you have done for us.  May I be able to emulate your learning spirit and to continue the path which you have shared, taught and shown us. 

A couple of months back, on the 101st day of your passing, I had a very very brief dream at dawn. It was rather misty and I did not know where I was. Suddenly you appeared a few meters away. You waved and called "Stumpbo!" as if beckoning me to you. You were wearing your usual checkered shirt, in dark blue and red checks. Maybe I was surprised to see you, so I did not move. Instead you walked towards me and when you reached me, you extended your arms and gave me a tight hug. It was a long big hug. You did not utter any word. Me too. I dwelled in the comforting silence of your presence. Then I woke up. It was 6am. The dream was so vivid and clear. It felt that you had indeed been there. I teared. 😭

A friend said, "Maybe Mama knows you miss her, so she came into your dream to hug you". 

I had mentioned to that friend shortly after your passing that I regretted not giving you a final hug the last time before we parted ways on Li Chun. I think due to your clairvoyance, you knew my thoughts. That was why you came into my dream to give me that final hug. To bid good bye. 

Miss you so much, Mama. Thank you for the memories and thank you for this affinity and friendship with you, having connected with you in this lifetime. May you continue your Dharma work in benefiting many sentient beings in all your future lifetimes, just as you have always aspired to. 

May we meet again soon. I promise I'll help you carry your stuff again and let's continue with Dharma work again. 💕


Monday, 28 May 2018

The Essence of Dharma


His Eminence Tokden Rinpoche gave the teaching on the "Essence of Dharma" on 26 and 27 May 2018 in Gaden Shartse Dro-Phen Ling, Singapore. I would like to share his teaching here. 

The below are my own notes transcribed during Rinpoche's teachings and if there are any mistakes, they are due to the ignorance on my own side.

Part 1

The essence of Dharma is the three principles of the path: renunciation, bodhicitta and wisdom. The best and most important is bodhicitta. Whether you are practising sutra or tantra, bodhicitta must be your main guide. This is the backbone of Mahayana teaching. Avoid causing harm to sentient beings. Bodhicitta makes your mind more kind and noble. Your transformation in this human life will make your life meaningful.

The most kind mind is bodhicitta, extracting the essence of Dharma. All of us do not wish for suffering. We experience physical and mental suffering. When we experience this, we have to ask why. Where do those things come from? These are due to our afflictions.... jealousy, pride, ego, those activities we do which create negative karma. We should change from the negative to a positive mind. A noble mind results in positive karma, both physically and mentally. Then once you have extracted the essence of Dharma, know that we have afflictions, and think if we can remove them. Recognise that they are only incidental and that they can actually be removed. The nature of the mind is not polluted. So now when we have obtained the precious human rebirth in this life, we meet the gurus... now is the time to take the essence of Dharma into practice. We find that we are constantly engaging in worldly activities. It is like the beard, we keep shaving yet it keeps growing. So the thing for us is we must be aware of that and be conscious of engaging in worldly activities.

Know the meaning of Dharma and that it is important to practise. The Lamas and the great masters say it is the entry into the path and the Dharma is your guide. When you are walking in the path, you will need someone as your guide. You need something to sustain you. The path is a very long road. We need the Dharma and it is our provision along this path. In order to reach the goal, it is true there are many worldly activities which we have to take care of. But we must also think about the next life. Will this activity help me in my next life? Will this activity contribute to my enlightenment? If there is no future life then you can be excused. It all depends on us. If we practise positively then the result will come. As you go along in daily life, keep this in mind what you will bring to the future.

Part 2

All sentient beings wish for happiness. They do not want suffering. When you achieve the complete state of perfect happiness, there is no other attainment, which means there will be total freedom from suffering. This is ultimately the state of Buddhahood which is established by causes and conditions. The state of Buddhahood does not come just like that. There is a lot of effort but we must follow the path that leads to Enlightenment. This includes training in the small, middle and great scope. We must have training in both sutra and tantra. We must practise tantra. The path is very important. The next question is which path? What is the essence of the path?

Yesterday we talked about the essence. We must generate a kind mind which is bodhicitta. Besides bodhicitta, in order to achieve the state of Enlightenment which is beyond great compassion, you need the 3 principles of the path. One of the 3 principles is Renunciation - the wish to leave samsara. We must examine the faults and shortcomings of samsara in a structured manner. Lama Tsongkhapa's method is to contemplate and to remind ourselves of death and impermanence. We need to reflect on this preoccupation of this life. So that we can overcome attachment in our future life.

It is important to generate renunciation. We must train in renunciation in order to overcome attachment to this life and to overcome attachment to future life. At the same time, we should remember death and impermanence. The first step of how to do this is to value our precious human rebirth. Recognize that the precious human rebirth is so valuable, like a gem. Unless you recognise it is a gem, you might not treat it as a gem. Likewise, once you know the essence, you would want to extract the essence. This comes with a full set of the 18 qualities; the 8 freedoms and 10 endowments.

To have these 18 qualities, you have to consider what a fortunate situation this precious human rebirth is. That state is not achieved unless we train in the mind of renunciation. This life of a precious rebirth means we have the ability to achieve ultimate goals by practicing. Train well in the common path with sutra and tantra, and this precious human rebirth has the potential to bring about one's enlightenment within one lifetime. We have the 6 elements which make up our physical basis for practising tantra and to reach Buddhahood within one lifetime. There are many great practitioners who actualized Buddhahood in one lifetime, such as the great master Milerapa, and great practitioners like Lobsang Dodrup. How did they achieve that? They have a body just like us. They have achieved the type of rebirth that we have. What was exceptional was the amount of effort, determination and practice that they did. We are not lacking the body, we are not lacking the opportunity. What we are lacking in, is the effort.

The 3 conditions for a precious human rebirth are:
1. Immaculate morality 
2. Practice of 6 perfections
3. Stainless prayers

The truth is we have found the precious human rebirth now. We must have worked very hard in our previous life due to these necessary causes for a human rebirth. What will happen from now if we do not practise well? Recognise the result you have established in the previous life. The state you have now is due to the kindness of your past life. Once you understand this, you will want to extract the essence.

Then the next thought is we should begin practice today. We must remember death and impermanence. Death is certain but actual day of death is uncertain. Death can happen anytime. No one escapes death. Even the Buddha dies. All of us have to die. Every being born will die. Depending on what practice we did in our previous life, it will determine what we practise in this life. At the time of death depends on the karma we created at the end of life. If we had created good karma then we will have good rebirth. We do not want negative karma. At the end of life, status and fame will be of no benefit to you. Whatever happens, your experience of suffering is yours alone. It is not transferable. We should create as many good imprints in our mind as much as possible. Wherever we go, we will carry with us these imprints. By considering death, we must practice the Dharma now. We must try to make this life as positive as much as possible. Keep in mind we want a good rebirth and we want enlightenment.

How do we achieve this? To work towards enlightenment, the first we need is a good rebirth. Through causes and conditions, we need more virtues than non-virtues. Do your best to establish virtues through the 4 antidotes. We must take refuge in the 3 jewels. We must engage in the training, understand what should be done and what should be abandoned. We are talking about the law of cause and effect. How rare it is to get this life. It is important to arrive at our death, with as much virtues as possible.

By observing these we can be sure of a human rebirth. However, even if we have this human rebirth, we are still in samsara. There is no pleasure at all in samsara. We have to contemplate on the 3 types of suffering......
1. Suffering of suffering.
2. Suffering of change. 
3. All pervasive suffering.

Aggregates are created through karma and afflictions. As long as we have our aggregates, we are carrying a very heavy load. They are the nature of suffering in this life and also suffering in the next life. Only you can rid of it and be free from that suffering. By considering the third type of suffering – pervasive suffering – renunciation becomes the essence of the path.

Lastly the third principle of the path is correct view, which means the understanding of emptiness. What is the mechanism? It is karma and affliction. The root of it comes from ignorance and grasping at self. Basically, it is a misunderstanding merely imputed by the mind. We think they exist by itself. We see them established in their own side. Thus, it is very important that we engage in training. The 3 higher types of training are: 
1. Higher training in Pure Morality
2. Higher training in Concentration 
3. Higher training in Wisdom

Emptiness can destroy the root of suffering. Training is important. Recognise that emptiness is important, and that the object is established from its own side. The self does not inherently exist. As long as we do not recognise this, we will remain in cyclic existence. Thus, it is important to realise emptiness.

Welcome Tokden Rinpoche to Singapore!

Long time no blog! :P

His Eminence Tokden Rinpoche 
Tomorrow is Vesak, and I am so happy to have a great master visiting us during this period to celebrate Vesak / Saka Dawa as well as to bestow teachings for one whole month. He is Tokden Rinpoche from Dagyab.  

During the old days in Tibet, Tokden Rinpoche had received many teachings and empowerments from H.H. Kyabje Trijiang Dorje Chang and the H.H. Kyabje Yongzin Ling Dorje Chang, both the tutors of His Holiness 14th Dalai Lama.

74 year-old H.E. Tokden Rinpoche is the Abbot Emeritus of Ratö Monastery, Drepung Loseling Monastery as well as the Gyütö Monastery in India. As an ex-Abbot of Gyütö, Rinpoche is in the line of teachers who would eventually rise to the throne of the Gelug head, becoming His Holiness Gaden Tripa Rinpoche. Currently, there are 3 senior ex-Abbots ahead of Tokden Rinpoche in the line.

H.E. Tokden Rinpoche used to live and give teachings in Manjushri Center (FPMT) in London, as well as Georgia USA for a few years. Rinpoche is a very skilful teacher and gives regular teachings in the Himalayan regions, Thailand, Taiwan and other western parts of the world. Rinpoche is highly-respected not only within the three great Monasteries of Drepung, Sera and Gaden - but also deeply revered amongst the community of Rato & Tashi Lhunpo monasteries and nunneries. Today, Tokden Rinpoche belongs to one of the most capable teachers who has the major transmissions of the lineage, and is known for his pure accomplished practice.

On and off, I receive emails from readers asking and checking with me if certain great masters / Rinpoches are practitioners of Shugden. The reason is the Shugden website usually posts many photos of great practitioners of the Gelug lineage and especially those teachers hailing from Tibet in the old days. They claim that these teachers are practitioners of Shugden. 

My teacher, Dagyab Rinpoche, had talked about this issue in 2014 dispelling rumors regarding Shugden(you can read it here). I feel that it was a very significant statement, and necessary in order to stop the unhealthy and misleading information which has been circulating by people both online and within the Tibetan Buddhist community in Singapore. It is an important message to all Dharma practitioners, to be mindful of their speech and conduct, to maintain religious harmony between Buddhist centres, as well as to preserve the pure teachings of the Buddha Dharma.

Recently, again there was a reader asking if Tokden Rinpoche is practising Shugden.  I replied him that in the old days many of the old  monks/masters did but they stopped after His Holiness the Dalai Lama's advice. However the said website still made use of the names of those masters to promote Shugden. So it misleads many people online with deception. Imagine the bad karma they are creating for themselves by this action. 

His Holiness Dalai Lama with Tokden Rinpoche, photo taken in Jan 2018.

As Dagyab Rinpoche said, "As a Buddhist practitioner, one needs to have certain responsibility. I am quite sure those people who are talking about this must have also taken Bodhicitta vows and Tantra vows. They need to think very carefully the result of committing such a downfall and samaya vows. Talking (spreading rumours) in this way, they must have certain intentions. I suspect they just want to separate Dharma brothers and sisters. This is really not nice. This is not the way to behave as Dharma practitioners".

Hope this clarifies.

Enjoy the teachings which Tokden Rinpoche is bestowing this one month. Check out his programme organised by Gaden Shartse Dro-Phen Ling. In my next post, I will share my notes transcribed during Tokden Rinpoche's teaching on the "Essence of Dharma" the past weekend.

Happy Vesak to all!  May all be auspicious! 





Friday, 6 October 2017

The last place on earth (part 2)

Day 6

Super sleepy this morning. Just merely chanted the mantra with not much visualization.



My palm has healed from the bee sting. No more itchiness, numbness and being swollen. Just a little pain. Thanks to the antihistamine pill from Chris.



A walk in the morning enjoying the coldness. Loved it. :)

Silence is golden. Again. My other fellow retreatants are really very well behaved. They do not talk, they do not give you eye contact, they just go about doing their own thing. I don't mind either. We have 4 sessions each day ; 5-7am, 9-11am, 3-5pm, 7-9pm. In between intervals 7-9am breakfast, 11-3pm lunch and rest, 5-7pm dinner.

If we cannot finish our mantra, some stayed back during the night or in between intervals to continue. One day, a friend could not finish so she stayed back skipping lunch. The rest of us who finished lunch, brought her some noodles and an apple. 

I really love the meals in Kopan. Let me spam you with some of the meals. I'm truly impressed. 








Lunch is usually more heavy with rice and many types of dishes to choose from. For dinner, it is lighter which can be something soupy, thukpa, thentuk, thick potato tofu broth, fried noodles or fried rice. There are all sorts of bread too; flat bread, the hum chin peng, mantou, chips etc.




After lunch and during the afternoon break, G and I stole a few minutes inside the main gompa which was out of retreat boundary. Bumped into one of the IC coming down from the office and hoped that she won't snitch on us. Haha. 



This evening after dinner, I went up Lama Lhundrup's room again. Stayed a long while to listen to the nuns conducting round the clock Vajrayogini puja. Elsewhere at the main gompa, the monks were conducting Yamantaka puja.


View from the rooftop of Lama Lhundrup's room. 


View from the other side of Lama Lhundrup's room, facing the retreat huts.


Paying respect to Lama  Lhundrup. One of the nuns Nangtong was there. She asked J and I if we wanted a drink. I wanted something cold and J wanted something hot. In the end Nangtong gave us boiled hot orange juice! Haha. 


Again I was free to view his relics. 

Super sleepy again during the last session. Just wanted to go back to my room, shower and sleep. 

Day 7

Today is the 49th day of Lama  Lhundrup's passing. Woke up by the sound of chanting by the monks in the nearby main gompa at 4.30am.



Today we were going to skip a session to attend Lama Lhundrup Puja in the late afternoon. So frantic counting and rushing of chanting mantras. 



It was a grand grand Heruka lama chopa puja for Lama Lhundrup. All 900 monks and nuns and visitors attended. Kunkhen offered mandala and offerings to all gurus and sangha. 



I teared when I offered khata and angpow to Lama Lhundrup throne. In death then I know he was supposed to be a close guru. How very sad to find out too late. I left 2 angpows on his throne, just like the dream I had a few months ago during his cremation. 

Kopan was so crowded today with many visitors. 



Kopan nuns were seated on the grass outside the gompa during lunch and dinner break while the monks ate inside the dining hall. 

Had a nice intimate sharing with someone.

Saw all the 3 little reincarnate lamas, Phuntsok, Kundol, Rinzin. Phuntsok Rinpoche was very shy and turned to face to the wall when devotees greeted him. But at least he turned around, tapped and blessed my head. 



Had a photo taken with Rinzin Rinpoche who was so smiley and friendly, very mature and wise for his age, probably 10 years old. I really like him, very good natured. In his past life he was the good friend of the Lawudo Lama, who was Lama Zopa Rinpoche's previous life. Cave friends, yogi friends.

Day 8

Continued with our retreat. I have grown to love this gompa. It's so full of blessed energy and cosy.





Did I mentioned we have been taking turns in groups for daily karma yoga? We took turns and each is us was put on roster to clean and mop the gompa as well as changing the water bowls and to put up new offerings each  day. We had to do it during our break time. Quite fun actually.

Today was my turn. Got up extra early  at 4am because needed to change water bowl offering. :O

Then after that was laying out the food offering. We brought boxes of snacks and chips and biscuits from Singapore. We also brought a big box of orchids too. We also needed to sweep and mop the gompa floor. Very busy!



At a corner of the gompa there was a small photo of LZR and Phuntsok Rinpoche which I offered my mala to. 

Day 9

Finally we have completed the retreat around lunch time! Khenrinpoche asked us to prepare for the fire puja in the late afternoon.

We were so relieved and happy and rejoicing at the same time. We took a group photo in the gompa and we each went up to offer khata to Khenrinpoche Geshe Chonyi and received blessings. 



Late afternoon we gathered outside the gompa for the fire puja

Khenrinpoche and 7 monks conducted the fire puja. I've attended fire puja many times but to experience it in chilly weather was the first. Sitting on the grass on the hill overlooking Kathmandu valley below it was so memorable. Rejoiceful mood! Super elated considering that a number of the retreatants had encountered some obstacles before or during this retreat. Some got sick /injured even before the trip and couldn't come. So I was truly happy everyone pulled through. 

Day 10

Super excited because we were finally getting out of Kopan monastery and going down the hill to Kathmandu valley! We were going to the Bodhanath Stupa today. 

Khenrinpoche treated us buffet lunch at the Hyatt Hotel. So luxurious after so many days in retreat. 

We finally reached Bodha Stupa.





We circumambulated the huge stupa, the biggest stupa in the world. We were  basically left to roam around the area, for shopping and to eat. 

My friends went missing and I was with J. We walked around the shops. I was busy snapping away. I love street photos. I fed the pigeons. I look at thangka paintings. I bought water bowls to bring home. I bought gifts and souvenirs for friends. 

J suddenly had a tummy ache and was frantically looking for a toilet but there was none nearby. Finally a Nepalese man asked us to go into an empty shop as there was a toilet there. J  rushed into the toilet which has no door. I waited inside the dusty shop which was dark and in a sad state. The man came in with a monk and sat down, seemed to be waiting for us. He closed the shop door too. I felt uncomfortable and shouted in Teochew to J if she was done with her business. We thanked the man and quickly left.

When we finally reached Kopan, J asked if I wanted to go to visit Phuntsok Rinpoche. Of cos I want! Together with JY we walked to Phuntsok Rinpoche house. 


There were so many photos of Rinpoche and his past life Geshe Lama Konchog. They were many relics of Geshe Lama Konchog too. I felt so blessed to be there to browse. We waited a while because Rinpoche was having his meal as he just came back from school. I was so excited. This was the second time I was seeing him, the first was when he came to Singapore at the age of 4-5. 



Phuntsok Rinpoche gave us blessings as I presented to him some sweets and offering. He was polite, with his elderly Amala and Anila his aunt looking after him. Wish I had brought him some Lego to play with. 

Kopan Nunnery offered us dinner. So we walked down the hill to the Nunnery. Took about 20 minutes. The evening was cold and I absolutely loved it.



There was a new gompa still under renovation. Khenrinpoche showed us the gompa, the ceiling had many mandalas of different deities already painted. Great energy! When many photos came out there were so many orbs. There were also new rooms which would be available soon for retreat. We also saw some nuns having debate at the courtyard. I was so happy to be there. 


Day 11



The last day of this trip and we drove all the way up Nagarjuna Hill. It was bumpy and at times the path was narrow as we meandered slowly up the hill.  It was said the hills were holy because many enlightened beings like Nagarjuna and masters meditated here in the caves eons ago. 



We finally reached after 2 hours drive. What a great view!


We had some prayers and meditated here for a while before our stomach were calling. Kopan Monastery had prepared a picnic for us, we brought food and had a thoroughly enjoyable lunch up on the mountains.  Also bonding time to get to know each other better, some of us were strangers for the past 10 days during the retreat because no talking. 


We shared some ideas for future retreats. So fun and heartwarming. 


There was a little house which had Guru Rinpoche statue inside. I was so happy i quickly offered khata and lights. I even offered my turquoise mala to Guru Rinpoche. Can you see it ? 


Another reason we were up Nagarjuna Hill was to hang prayer flags.  So colourful and delightful seeing the flags moving with the cool wind. 


Made offerings everywhere to the holy objects. There is always that something so appealing going on pilgrimages and retreats.  I returned home the next day, full of gratitude and bliss.


"One instant of total awareness is one instant of perfect freedom and enlightenment."
- The Wisdom Deity, Manjushri. 


Epilogue:

This Nepal trip was years ago when I became a Tibetan Buddhist for only about 5-6 years at that time.  I had always prayed that I would be able to go on such a retreat from Day One.  The opportunity came after much hardship, difficulties and obstacles on my part, because it is not everyday that such an retreat is made available, and it is not everyday I could go to a place which I have always wanted to. They say, when the time is right, the teacher will appear.  I would like to add that, if the student is not ready, the teacher will never appear. We have to create the causes and conditions to continuously plant the karmic seed to meet the holy beings in our future lives. May I be wise and wiser like the wisdom deity, Manjushri.

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