Celebration of Dashain in Kechara Forest Retreat
Kechara Forest Retreat was conceptualised to become a space where a conscious community manifests and matures. Envisioned by H.E the 25th Tsem Rinpoche, a conscious community is one that embraces the following tenets:
- Respectful of all paths so we live in harmony together.
- Values all life because we are dependent on each other.
- Embraces diversity so that we can enrich each other.
- Helps others because they are more important than ourselves.
- Upholds universal values for the betterment of society.
- Awakens the great spiritual potential, to live with passion, joy and purpose.
In bringing forth the consciousness to embrace diversity, the Kechara Forest Retreat Team celebrated Dashain with KB and Ram on 3 October 2014. Dashain is the longest and most anticipated festival of Nepal that falls in September or October according to the lunar calendar. This 15-days celebration emphasizes on family gathering and renewal of community ties. KB and Ram left their homes back in Nepal to be a part of the big Kechara family for a few years. It is never easy to live so far away from family or friends and festive occasions are moments in which we miss home most. So, Kechara Forest Retreat got into the Dashain mood and declared this a “public holiday”.
The day started early with lots of excited preparation to cook up a feast of traditional Nepalese cuisine like bread, black chickpea dhal, green bean curry, pumpkin seed sambal. It was very sweet and heartwarming to see our colleagues welcome us in their home with a homemade sign. We believe it is the conscious effort to respect each other’s culture, tradition and individuality that formed a strong and deep meaning to the celebration. The boys greeted us in a traditional manner where KB put tilaka, which is a mix of uncooked rice grains, yoghurt and red coloring on the forehead of guests as well as a sprig of leaf at the top of our heads as a blessing. Then everyone gathered at the dining table before the meal was served.
As festivities are truly about giving, Rinpoche arranged for a lot of gifts to be presented to the boys all the way from USA. Obviously, the boys are football fans! Kechara House’s President, Datuk May Phng, presented each boy with an Ang Pow (red packet with gift money inside; it is a Chinese custom to gift an Ang Pow at special occasions) and some candies. Pastor Henry also represented the Kechara Forest Retreat Team to present the boys with an Ang Pow while the Gift Team and Green Team presented the hosts with telephone cards for making international calls to their families.
Before the guests relished the delicious meal prepared, the first 2 portions were presented to Tsem Rinpoche and the Buddha. The gesture may seem simple but there is so much significance as it is a reflection of consciousness that they learnt and developed over the years they spent with Rinpoche and in the Dharma. The mindfulness to offer the first serving to the Guru and Buddha is a reflection of gratitude and generosity that is nurtured through the consistent show of kindness by Rinpoche. Although these young men came to Malaysia with the sole purpose of saving money for a future for their loved ones, KB and Ram “earned” a lot more in the form of sustainable personal growth that transforms into conscious actions of body, speech and mind. This is the type of impact that draws many others and us to the vision of Tsem Rinpoche and Kechara.
As we enjoyed the meal and experienced the burst of wonderful flavours of the exotic Nepalese meal, we listened to that colourful conversation of various subject matters as each of us came from such different backgrounds and soaked up the laughter shared at the dining table. A sense of gratitude and happiness arose from within us to be a part of a community like this where we become conscious of the need for acceptance, the interdependence of each living being and the benefit of living in harmony. Each of us is a conscious member of this beautiful community who have had taken the first step to live “differently”… this celebration of Dashain in Kechara Forest Retreat shows us that we are moving towards the right direction.
It is worth mentioning at this point that, it is customary to sacrifice life as offering to the Gods on Dashain. However, because of the teachings by Rinpoche, the sacrifice of animals has been replaced with offering of milk and yoghurt. Not only have KB and Ram adapted their custom to be kind to fellow earthlings, they have shared their learning with family and friends back home. Traditions are precious but we are in the 21st century, adaptation to time with wisdom and compassion is necessary and beneficial.
Phng Li Kheng and Julia Tan
For more interesting information:
- Meditation Under The Stars
- Fresh and Healthy Home Grown Vegetables
- 2D1N Photography Meditation Programme is Back!
- RM2 Feeds A Hungry Bird
- Jalan Chamang Clean Up – Happy Malaysia Day!
Please support us so that we can continue to bring you more Dharma:
If you are in the United States, please note that your offerings and contributions are tax deductible. ~ the tsemrinpoche.com blog team