Monday, July 19, 2010

The X-Tour: Taiwan ‘2010

This Taiwan trip came all too suddenly. In late 2009, we made a trip to Sabah, Malaysia. While we had yet to recover fully from the shocking experience of some British soldiers who died in the World War II coming forward to seek help for soul deliverance, we were wondering what would be the next exciting extraordinary tour planned by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

Initially we planned to go to Seattle in the US, to visit one of my root gurus, H.H Living Buddha Lian Sheng (Grand Master). But suddenly, I had an urge to go to Shandong in China instead, to see the peony blossoms in April, and the cherry blossoms too. Dancing with the cherry blossoms is a dream in my life that has yet to be realized.

Early April 2010, I had a dream. In my dream, Grand Master told me not to come to Seattle, for he would be leaving Seattle to return to the place where he planned to finally pass away. So, we dropped our plan to visit the US. At the time, Dharma Sister Zhou suddenly said she wished to visit Taiwan. I agreed, partly because the last time I visited Taiwan was about 18 years ago, that I was curious to find out how Taiwan had changed after all these years, and I recalled the special Ginger Duck (a local delicacy) which was popular in the winter seasons.

When Dharma Sister Chan informed the rest via sms about our plan to visit Taiwan, Dharma Brother Shao thought it sounded very much like a very ordinary and casual tour. At that juncture, he suddenly ‘saw’ the Four Heavenly Kings descending from space, indicating their readiness to support the Taiwan trip. He least expected this to be yet another X-tour!

Few days later, Dharma Sister Chan informed me of the breaking news on the True Buddha School Net, reporting Grand Master’s sudden decision to return to Taiwan for good. My dream had been proven right again. We could now celebrate the birthday of Grand Master, with Grand Master, his family and thousands of True Buddha practitioners in Taiwan. It would indeed be an extraordinary experience!

So, 36 of us set off for Taiwan (in 2 batches) on 20 Jun 2010, with the tour ending on 28 Jun 2010. We would be creating a new chapter of X-Tour, this time, in Taiwan. One week before the tour, after a group practice, I told the rest that this time we would be making contacts with friends from the Tibetan Buddhism and Taoism in Taiwan. Later, I received 2 phone calls, one after another. The first one was made by Dondo Rinpoche (the author of “Wingless Garuda”) from Nyingma Kathok in Taiwan. He told me about his plan to visit Hong Kong in May, to attend a Buddhist ceremony presided over by H.H Mocha Rinpoche. He asked me if I planned to visit Taiwan in the near future. He invited me to attend a ceremony that he would be conducting in Taiwan. But I told him that I would not be able to make it due to my heavy work schedule. I told him of our Taiwan tour in Jun. 2 hours after he called, Dharma Brother Lian Kui called from Taiwan, asking me if I was going to Taiwan, as H.E Danzhen Longduo Nima Rinpoche from Nyingma Dzogchen in China was visiting Taiwan, presiding over a Buddhist ceremony. I told him of my plan to visit Taiwan in Jun.
During this mind-training tour, we visited Taipei, Yeliu, Jiufen, Wulai, Gaoxiong and Taizhong. Everywhere we went, rainbows awaited our arrival in the sky. No matter rain or shine, rainbows awaited our arrival, welcoming us. On our way back to Singapore, there were even 2 rainbows vertically descending from the sky below the clouds, clearly visible from our plane soon after it took off from Taiwan airport. It symbolized the perfect arrangement meticulously planned by the Buddhas and the Bodhisattvas, and the Dharma Protectors, for this exciting mind-training tour. When we were setting off the sky-lanterns in Shifen, mother nature seemed to work with us in perfect harmony. There was a heavy downpour in Shifen when we arrived, which stopped immediately before we set off the sky-lanterns; and then the heavy downpour resumed immediately after the sky-lanterns were set off completely……

When we arrived at Qijing, our tour guide was introducing the place to us while we stood next to a Ma Zu Temple. At the time, a slight drizzle started. Surprisingly, the rain only fell on one side of the road, leaving the other side completely dry! How strange! After which, I went into the temple to pay my respects to Ma Zu (a taoist deity). This was my first encounter with Ma Zu in Taiwan.

Our schedule was fully packed. We planned our dinner every night at several famous night markets including Shiling Night Market, Danshui Old Street, Ximending, Jiufen, Shenkeng Old Street and Wulai Old Street in Taipei; Liuhe Night Market in Gaoxiong; and Fengjia Night Market in Taizhong. We hunted for the famous local delicacies such as the stinky beancurd that we had been longing for, oyster “me sua” or oyster omelette.

I originally thought that we could at most just make a phone call to greet Dondo Rinpoche during our trip in Taiwan. Out of my expectation, he actually invited us to his centre in Gaoxiong – Khatok Rainbow Dharma Centre in Gaoxiong. Due to some slight miscommunication, when we reached his centre around 5pm, he had already gone somewhere else trying to receive us. When I walked up the stairs and met the person-in-charge of the centre, she told me that Dondo Rinpoche had already gone out to receive a Rinpoche from Singapore. I was in casual attire at the time, so I simply smiled and told her that we could wait for Dondo Rinpoche to return. 15 minutes later, Dondo Rinpoche rushed back to the centre. He immediately offered me a khatak when we met. The person-in-charge of the centre looked slightly embarrassed, for how could she tell that this ordinary looking man was actually a reincarnation of a Tibetan Rinpoche?

Later, Dondo Rinpoche invited me to sit on a high throne, joining the rest in a Vajra Kilaya Prayer. I did not expect Dondo Rinpoche to appear again in Taizhong, where he treated us to a delicious dinner of Italian pasta. After which, we visited his centre in Taizhong – Tibetan Buddhism Dondo Dharma Centre in Taizhong.
When we finally returned to Taipei, he was there too, inviting us on our last day to visit his centre in Taipei – Wish Fulfilling Temple. We did a few rounds of smoke-offering prayer, including a Green Tara prayer.

As I sat on the high throne, wearing the dharma crown and dressing in a lama robe, the rest of the practitioners came forward to prostrate before me and presented their offerings to me. Suddenly, I had a feeling of déjà vu that I seemed to be still sitting on the floor in the Lei Zang Temple during the prayer on that day, with my mind fully immersed in bliss…. For there is no difference between sitting on a high throne and sitting on a floor, doing prayers. Spiritual connections that pervade the universe are far more important.

There was yet another inconceivable spiritual connection awaiting us. I expected Dharma Brother Lian Kui to introduce some Taoist friends to me this time. But he did not make that arrangement. There was a silent arrangement being made by someone else though, in the spiritual world.

After the completion of the Maha White Lotus Bodhisattva Prayer in Lei Zang Temple, we left the temple by walking down the road leading to the foot of the hill. Our coach could not come up to the temple as the road was narrow and the crowd was huge. On our way down, Lian Kui suddenly pointed to someone sitting behind a car parked by the roadside. He asked me if I could remember her. Of course I could! She was the daughter of the former abbot of the Wanshou Temple at Tuchen (Taoism). Her name was ‘Xiao Cui’. Old memories resurfaced in my mind. I remembered more than 20 years ago, late Master Lian Xuan made an acquaintance with the lady abbot of Wan Shou Temple, Lin Jin Ying. Her daughter, Xiao Cui, even came to Singapore to pay a visit to the late Master Lian Xuan. I remembered her very well, albeit she knew nothing about me.

I even knew about her family’s migration to the US. Lian Kui introduced my Rinpoche title in Nyingma Dzogchen of Tibetan Buddhism to Xiao Cui. She then extended her invitation to us to visit her mother at the Ma Zu Temple in New Peitou, to renew our connection. I agreed to her suggestion without thinking too much about it. But our schedule was too full when we had yet to squeeze out some time to visit the centre of Dondo Rinpoche. The rest must have thought that I was not too serious about the promise, and that the visit to her temple would just be impossible!

On our way returning from Taizhong to Taipei, our tour guide told us that the weather in Taiwan was becoming sunnier. It had been raining cats and dogs almost everyday since our 1st day of arrival till the 8th day. According to our itineraries, after visiting the Daxi Floral Farm, we should be visiting Qingsui Master Temple, Sanxia Old Street and Yingge Ceramics Street. However, heavy downpour started during our lunch at the Daxi Floral Farm. We had to cancel the rest of the itineraries for the day and go straight to the Fishermen’s Pier.

We arrived at the Fishermen’s Pier at around 5pm. When I reached the Fishermen’s Pier, immediately I ‘saw’ a dragon king appearing before me, asking me to help the sea beings killed and stranded in the spiritual world. So, I performed a soul deliverance prayer to help the sea beings. Later, we proceeded to the Danshui Old Street for dinner. At that juncture, I made an impromptu decision to go for the meeting with Xiao Cui. 7 of us went for the meeting by taking a sub-way train. At the time, it was still drizzling, and, again, a rainbow quietly appeared in the sky…….

The rest must have assumed that I could not make it for this meeting, but deep in my heart I knew that this was yet another very unusual connection; the arrangement would have already been made by the spiritual world……

In fact, Xiao Cui was a reincarnation of Ma Zu (妈祖). What then was the connection between Acho and Ma Zu in their past life? Xiao Cui could forget about Acho, but Acho had never forgotten about this past connection that had gone beyond time and space……. Acho visited the Ma Zu Temple in New Peitou at night and offered the blessing, for there was a secret hidden in the heavenly realm that could never be spoken…….

7 Jul 2010  

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