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Petaling Jaya and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — June 19 – 21, 2010
From Ven. Roger Kunsang:
On the third day of the Yamantaka initiation, Rinpoche starts at 8 p.m. We go through the night with two pee-pee breaks and finish at 8 a.m. Nice! Before getting off the throne for breakfast, Rinpoche says we can start the long life puja in one hour at 9 a.m. I have a quick word with Rinpoche, mentioning that it might be a bit tiring after all night. Rinpoche gives me a sharp reply, “No, we do! We do!”
Then, as we are walking away to breakfast, Rinpoche says to me, “I want to offer lunch to the Sangha and then we can take a boat ride on the lake and bless the water and fish, and offer them food.” (The owner of the hotel has a very large lake created on the grounds and uses it for releasing fish, etc. He is a very kind and generous Buddhist.) I remind Rinpoche that the whole day is filled and that we have a big fundraising dinner starting at 7 p.m. with 500 people, so there is no time for rest. This time, the look I get is, well, it has a nice touch of wrath, more like a fierce smile.
The day goes on and we are at the dinner in the evening — an excellent evening with the teenagers of Losang Dragpa Centre’s 16 Guidelines group offering great entertainment. The evening is to raise funds for the Sera Je Food Fund that Rinpoche initiated 20 years earlier. The evening finishes a little after midnight and we go back to the hotel where we need to pack nine large suitcases, four trolley bags and four backpacks, as well as find people who are going to the USA to take things back, and people going to Hong Kong (the next stop) as we always have too much! Most of the luggage are texts and gifts. The packing is an art. It’s complex and highly technical, and requires a great deal of patience as there are so many things. It really takes a lot to figure out how to get all of it from one place to another. I always end up debating with Rinpoche that we are going to be way overweight … and we always are! Maybe I’m exaggerating … no, not really.
At the airport, while checking out, we find we are missing a bag! Where did it go? We try to stay out of an argument with the airline people, as they say we only have eight bags checked in.
“We gave you nine!” We search everywhere and can’t find #9, so the airline must have it.
They even search down where all the bags are getting loaded onto the flight: “No, not there.”
“Where is #9?”
“Did you have nine bags?”
We go over it again: “Yes, we had nine, so where could it have gone!”
It goes back and forth for 90 minutes!
We negotiate with the airline and I think we get them convinced that they have it and somehow they didn’t register or tag it. I start to think, “We have to go … let’s hope it turns up in Hong Kong. I’ve never lost a bag in the last 25 years of doing this … I’m always on the road … I’m a real roady, how can it be? My reputation! I don’t want to think of which bag it is … what if it’s one of the bags that is full of texts!”
Rinpoche always spends time thinking about what gifts to buy and for whom — we absolutely have to have gifts. At the airport in Kuala Lumpur, we go shopping and Rinpoche buys a few hundred dollars worth of gifts for the next stop. Rinpoche puts a lot of thought into it. We have to have nice gifts for people, the right things for the right people. This time, Rinpoche bought lots of pure silk scarfs and two hand-beaded purse. It takes time.
We then spend over an hour reading/browsing different books in the bookshop. Then, we suddenly have to rush for the flight. We are the last on the flight to Hong Kong! We get three and a half hours to relax before we are greeted by many students at the Hong Kong airport and the Hong Kong schedule begins.
“Where on earth did bag #9 go? Will it be in Hong Kong?”
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