Lam Rim Retreat – to be in Book of Records!
Soon Kechara House will be having a Lamrim retreat in our gompa. At my request, Liaison Yap Yoke Fui has very kindly brought together a committee to organise this retreat. The goal is for 8000 recitations of the Lamrim to be completed by the first quarter of 2012.
The Lamrim is not just any book. It actually came from a text called A Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment which written by Atisha and offered to his abbot as an apology. Atisha had travelled to Tibet to revive the Buddhadharma there. However, because of wars on the border of India and Tibet, he could not return during the time he had promised his abbot. He stayed in Tibet disseminating the Dharma for 13 years blessed by his Yidam Tara who spoke to him directly and guided his works.
So from Atisha’s attainments he wrote A Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment, and offered it to the abbot of Nalanda Monastery, where he came from. The abbot received the text then requested all of the great scholars and Masters of Nalanda to debate on the text. There were thousands of these erudite scholars and monks, who were highly highly qualified and they could not find a single fault in it, so the book was entered into the monastic education of the Sangha. It became an astounding classic in ancient Nalanda.
The teachings from this book was passed down from one master to the next until finally it reached Lord Tsongkhapa, who practiced it, mastered it and combined it with his own sacred commentary….. The teachings were then passed down again until finally they reached His Holiness Pabongka Rinpoche who was very famous for making the Dharma accessible to lay people. Pabongka Rinpoche according to Kyabje Zong Rinpoche has become one with Heruka and is fully attained.
In 1921, H.H. Pabongka Rinpoche gave these teachings for 24 days to over 700 people. You have to remember, in those days they didn’t have microphones or speakers or sound systems, but everyone could hear Pabongka Rinpoche clearly. So Pabongka Rinpoche had definitely attained the power of speech.
Anyway, he taught for 24 days and amongst his students was His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche. After Trijang Rinpoche left Tibet in 1959, he was afraid that the precious teachings would be lost forever so he wrote them down, because he had remembered the teachings perfectly. That is the text that we are now reciting and studying from in Kechara House, which is called ‘Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand’ or the Lamrim. As you can see the Lam Rim comes from a powerful source with a perfect lineage.
So you please keep in mind, the Lamrim text is immensely beneficial. Even reciting Lamrim blesses ones body, speech, mind, environment, possessions, and dharma practice. The sound of the Lam Rim penetrating one’s own being and the environment plants the seeds of all the qualities of the Buddha within oneself. It has been checked out by many many masters, and comes from a great lineage of many enlightened beings. It is one thing to write a commentary, but it is another thing to write a text that can bring you enlightenment. Not just enlightenment, but also all the side benefits that happen beforehand – the Lamrim can help you if you are depressed or unhappy, or scared. It helps us to develop compassion for others, and also to control our rebirths, and teaches us wisdom, effort, equality, respect, gratitude and forgiveness.
If one studies the Lam Rim thoroughly, it encompasses the full teachings of the Buddha fully condensed into one book. Remember Buddha gave 84,000 teachings during His lifetime. Studying and practicing the Lam Rim will bring one to higher states of mind, collect tremendous merits, correct erroneous thinking on life and bestow great accomplishments. It is said, if someone is dying or passed, it is very good to place the Lam Rim on their head and recite prayers. This action will help them to take good rebirth. The benefits are countless. For lay persons, it is the definitive book to study and practice.
This is the text that Kechara House will be reciting 8000 times in dedication to our beautiful centre and organisation, and also for the peace of beautiful Malaysia, and the stability and harmony of everyone. The committee who have been put in charge of this wonderful retreat, I thank them from the bottom of my heart for their hard work. These people are:
- KH Ng – Head of the Lamrim Committee, and also in charge of Sponsorship / Finance
- Ngeow Voon Chin, who is also a Liaison and Head of the Education Committee who is the advisor on this retreat
- Yap Yoke Fui, who is a Liaison and COO of Kechara House, and in charge of the accounts and refreshments for the retreatants
- Janice Kwok – in charge of English-language marketing
- Kok Yek Yee and Kevin Tan – Chinese-language marketing and press
- Tan Gim Lee – in charge of the venue and making sure the offerings are nicely done and everyone is comfortable
- Ms Han Siew Fong, who is a Liaison and Head of Kechara inMotion so she is taking care of audio-visual for this retreat
- Doreen Teoh is in charge of all the administrative work
- Wong Kwok Wai who is a member of Kechara Soup Kitchen, is in charge of the security for this retreat
The retreat is going to be held from 27 June to 3 July (2011) and it will have a spectacular finish because they are attempting to set a record in the Malaysian Book of Records! It is wonderful this recitation retreat can be recorded in the book of Records. No Lam Rim recitation has been recorded in Southeast Asia as far as I know till now. Kechara will be the first.
The committee have decided to have two timings for the retreat:
In-House Retreat (1st session)
Mon 27th June (8pm- 10pm)
Tues 28th June to Friday 1st July (1pm- 10pm)
Malaysia Book of Records Event (2nd session)
Sat 2nd to Sun 3rd July (8am to 8am)
To qualify as part of the record attempt, you must recite a minimum of eight hours over the two days. You’ll get a certificate for your efforts!
Even though the Committee have decided to take this unique approach to make the Lamrim well known, the retreat itself will have an authentic lineage and practices that come from the monastery. And because it is authentic it means it will have all the blessings when we recite this sacred text. So EVERY DAY during the retreat, they will recite all of these prayers first BEFORE they start reciting the Lamrim! So it is not compulsory that you follow the procedure below but it is recommended:
- Refuge (click HERE for the prayer)
- Migtsema which is Tsongkhapa’s holy mantra (click HERE for the prayer)
- Lamrim Prayer (click HERE for the prayer)
- Recitation of the Lamrim: start on Chapter 1 and then when you are finished, move on to Chapter 2, then Chapter 3, and so on. If you recite until you have finished the Lamrim, return to the beginning and start again on Chapter 1
- Yongten Shigyurma (click HERE for the prayer)
- Short serkym to Lord Setrap (optional) (click HERE for the prayer)
- King of Prayers (at the end of the whole retreat) (click HERE for the prayer)
- Water offerings will be made throughout the retreat
If you are overseas or you cannot make it to the retreat, you can also participate from your home and take part in this retreat (although not for the record attempt!). That is why I wanted to publish the procedure here, so you can also recite Lama Tsongkhapa’s holy text and do this sacred retreat with everyone in Kechara House.
So if you can, I really really encourage you to join this retreat because it is not just for you but for your loved ones, and everyone who cares about you and everyone you care for. AND you’ll be a part of Kechara history!!
These are some of the hardworking people who are making this Lamrim retreat happen…
Participating at home
P/S: For those of you who wish to participate in this retreat at home, OF COURSE you may do so. I sincerely rejoice in your aspiration to engage in such a holy practice!
If you want to do the retreat, you just follow the retreat procedure as stated above. Start on the day that we start at Kechara House, and end on the same day we end…so that means from 27 June, EVERYDAY you should set up your altar very nicely and make your water offerings. Then you recite refuge first, followed by Migtsema and the Lamrim Prayer. Then you do your recitations of the Lamrim text – the version that Kechara House uses is by Wisdom Publications.
And you can also end your retreat on the same day as Kechara House, which is 3 July. On that day, you just follow the same as before BUT YOU END WITH THE KING OF PRAYERS ON THIS DAY. So the King of Prayers is an extra which you only do on the LAST DAY of the retreat.