Monday, February 12, 2007

Part 12: Going back home and picture gallery

On the last day of retreat, it lasted till the next day. By the time Rinpoche finishes giving blessings to each and everyone, it was nearly 4am. We slept only for a couple of hours. But I think most of us could hardly sleep anyway. Everyone was still excited - not because of it being the last day. Rather it was the long marathon teaching by Rinpoche and ended with the giving of precepts and refuge. There was new found joy in suddenl;y getting new brothers and sisters of this extensive FPMT family. And we were happy also for the meditative effects of Maitreya sadhana had on our minds. I think it made everyone think more of kindness and compassion. By the time we got to bed, it was 4am, but still some people were still lighting lamps and candles at the Maitreya statue outside in the cold night. They slept later. Nevertheless there are people who could not sleep and they are those who will be leaving the home life on NEw Year's Day. One guy from France in my room was shuffling in and out of the room. I could sense his uneasiness. Later I found him in the monk's robes and then only I knew. The Root Institute spiritual coordinator told us that we could go witness the ordination ceremony because Rinpoche had allowed us to. It would be early in the morning before Rinpoche leaves Root Institute.
When the ceremony started with Rinpochge inside the gompa, I went in the gompa too for a short while. Then I had to hurry to Bodhgaya market to get some stuff I need before I leave India. I hurrried there and got back as soon as I could not sure whether I had the chance to still see Rinpoche leave Root. I was fortunate, because when I got back, Rinpoche was still inside the gompa. It was way past 9am on 1 Jan 2007. It was only about 11 am that Rinpoche left Root Institute after blessingand receiving kata from the long queue of Buddhists/admirers. I gave kata twice - the additional one being for my mrs. I showed Rinpoche the picture my mrs and I took with Khenrinpoche. He was happy. And while waiting for Rinpoche in the long line, we saw a dog who stayed at the center and William from LDC commented that the dog was said to be a monk in a previous life. He must have done something wrong, but because of his connnection with the dharma, he was still able to be born at a place where there is dharma. Nevertheless, being a dog he now could not understand the precious dharma. That kind of underscores the importance of the precious human rebirth. DON'T SCOUNDER AWAY YOUR LIFE AS A HUMAN BEING!
Immediately after Rinpoche left, I had to leave too with Chung Han and Mr and Mrs MK Sen and their LDC group. I hitch-hike on their 4WD to the Gaya airport. I was reluctant to leave, considering all the pleasant experience with Rinpoche and the Sangha here. But then, ... "non-attachment, non attachment"! ha!ha!ha!
At the airport manned by Indian military personnel, we were checked so throughly (and so manually because there was no computer systems) that we felt like we were terrorists suspects or something. They even use the handheld metal detector to scan my shoes!
And the other interesting thing that happened at the airport was I met the Hing Kong actor named Wu Chen Ee. I didnot know him prior to that until William Foong of LDC asked me if I knew him. He asked me because I was talking to him earlier. He thought I knew him. Later I went to get his autograph in which he wished me a happy 2007 year!
And the rest of the journey back is boring stuff, till I arrived at Bangkok for a one night stay overnight. On arrival, I was told by the taximan that there was bombing somewhere near the hotel I would be staying. So, I should not wander around too much. Goodness! When I was planning for this trip back in December 2006, I had thought of arrival in Bangkok a day earlier. But due to the retreat not expected to end early on 31 December (expected to finish late , which it did!), I re-scheduled the flight back to Bangkok to 1 December. I donot know what would have happened had I reached Bangkok a day earlier. I can only see it as a blessing from Rinpoche that I was safe and sound throughout the journey.
So, this has been a long series of my blogs on the Maitreya Retreat. I plan to go for this retreat again at the end of 2007! Long live my Guru!

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