Tuesday, 28 February 2012

In her own quiet world

I have always enjoyed meeting people during big events, especially Dharma events, because people from all walks of life appear before my eyes. And I always like to think they have to be connected to me somehow in previous lives and in this life, we are making the connection again.

Over the weekend, while helping to raise funds for the monastery, it was very heartening to have met several kind and generous souls offering to donate some money to help the Sangha and the various merit-making projects. Most importantly, I am so glad they made the connection with the Triple Gem.

One old lady left such an impression on me that I had to put this down here. Just after the puja, before dinner, a very old lady approached me. She was such a small built, thin and fragile-looking lady with hair almost all white. Her face and hands were very wrinkled. She was wearing a checkered blouse which was over-sized and crumpled, in fact quite shabbily dressed. Speaking in Mandarin, she said she wanted to donate some money to feed the monks and she fumbled in her bag for a long while and finally took out a couple of tens. She told me she could not hear what I was trying to say, and I too, at the same time, realised she was quite deaf on both ears. I had to shout on top of my voice so that she could hear me. Even then she did not seemed to understand and we had to resort to using sign language. She said it had been a long while since she had stepped out of the house. 

After she made her donation, she walked off, only to come back within seconds to ask if there was any place nearby she could find vegetarian food. I told her I was not sure. She was coming back after dinner for that evening's blessing initiation. She said if she could not find food, then it was ok, she would just skip dinner that night. As she walked away I was feeling very uneasy. I went to check the corner where they usually put volunteers' food. Our dinner for the evening has not arrived yet.  However I saw a few devotees eating packets of food which were leftover extra packets from lunch time, and which were offered to them. I also saw some trays of vegetarian dishes, also leftover from the afternoon lunch for the monks. So I quickly ran to chase after that old lady. She had almost reached the gate. I asked her if she minded some leftover vegetarian dishes  (there was no more rice though...) and brought her to the table.  She vehemently refused and said it was meant for the volunteers. I had to assure her that there was enough food. Those few younger devotees sitting around the table eating our volunteers' food did not even bother to offer her their rice or chairs. I scooped up some dishes for the old lady (she kept telling me 'enough, enough') and had to lead her somewhere else on the cement floor landing to sit down. I also gave her a packet of mineral water. 

She left such a deep impression on me and really humbled me. Compared to the many younger, well-dressed devotees who came and asked lots of questions and did not make a donation, I could feel this old lady's sincerity, even though she was definitely not well-off. She reminded me of my own grandma who is also hard on hearing. I wonder if she could hear the prayers chanted by the monks or the announcement made by the compere during the sessions. I was quite sure she could not.

Anyhow I am so happy she came to participate in the prayers and initiations, and to receive blessings from Rinpoche. I am grateful to her for teaching me yet another precious lesson/experience in life. She touched my heart. May this beautiful old lady with the biggest heart be in great health as long as she is alive and may she be blessed by the Three Jewels in all her lifetimes. 

1 comment:

  1. What a heartwarming post! Very happy that you had this chance encounter. Sometimes, we learn the biggest lessons in the smallest ways. Tashi delek.


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