Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Back to basic....

Left for retreat in Pahang, Malaysia with the VISION Group to a place named Lucky Valley. We were told that it is a resort. Being Singaporean and spoilt, I expected it to be like one with proper hotel standards set-up. I also expected it will have a Mama Shop or a basic coffee house but I was very wrong. Ha.a.a...it is really back to basic. This place is in the middle of nowhere and I doubt whether Malaysian knows of its existence.

This particular place is a 500 acres of fruits, vegetables and herbs gardens. There is no place for R & R except for the Pyramid and the Pagoda. There is only the canteen and your meals are basic vegetarian - meaning no frills. You can forget about all those fancy-named dishes and fake meat and fishballs etc...it is just vegetables fried with vegetables, beancurd in soya sauce and the only luxury is egg omelette.

Because the setting is with nature, so I expected mosquitoes. I brought with me spray, stick-on, cream, mosquito coils and think that I am equipped. NO, I am wrong. There are ants and because rain was coming and they were 'moving house' into our bedrooms and toilets, walk-ways and fortunately they did not climbed onto the bed. I, as Buddhist avoid killing but they were every where and I probably have to sit on the bed and not walk at all. I have to comfort myself by thinking 'No, I am not killing with a purpose. It is the ants' Karma and pray they take better rebirth.'

The next insect that did not even occurred in my mind is...Bed Bugs. Goodness, how in any home can we tolerate these 'blood suckers' that caused many patches of bites on my back, sides, legs etc and caused me to scratch and it itched. These insects are so smart, I got bitten and there were no trace of them. So I have to think 'I owe them blood last time, so now is pay back time'.

If you are looking for luxury, this is not the place for you BUT why did we chose this place? It is actually renowned for its magnetic fields, energy fields and oxygen molecules. Who will love this place... people practicing Yoga, Taichi, Qiqong and spiritual groups like us.

I realized that the group basically has very simple needs. They fell into the routine lifestyle of waking up early, set time for breakfast, lunch, teatime and dinner. All the pre-planned programs were changed due to heavy rainfall. The road was muddy and we have to walk from one place to another for teachings. Some carried umbrella and lazy me shared umbrella or 'tompang' Malaysian friends who came in cars.

Electricity here is ran by generators. You can forget about air-condition but there are ceiling fans. There were a few instances we were left in the dark because the generator was out of fuel. DARK means you cannot even see your hands in front of you. There were those who carried torchlight and I benefited. However, with such pitch darkness, the night sky was so beautiful. There were so many stars, big and small and they were like hanging just above your heads. It mesmerized me.

We were gathered here for a spiritual retreat. We were happy just to have Shangpa Rinpoche, Tempai Niyma Rinpoche, two lamas and two anis with us. This was surely a cleansing spiritual journey with Shangpa Rinpoche. We cried a lot these few days. We experienced a lot these few days. We shared a lot of food, drinks, tidbits and care with each other.

Spiritual journey is not an easy path. There are lots of internal cleaning to be done. Over lives we have accumulated bags full of rubbish, holding it dearly and all these weigh heavily on our back. We are learning to acknowledge, throw and see the beauty of Buddha's Teachings of Compassion and Bodhicitta.

So you ask me..."What spiritual journey did you undertook these few days?". I will tell you the next round, part by part.


  1. What a great experience! I think that getting back to basics reminds us about what is really important in life ... and what is necessary. It helps us prioritize and lead a much more meaningful life!

    Can't wait to hear the rest of your experience!

    Small Footprints

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