On 26th August 2017, we visited KYCO (Kuan Yin Contemplative Order) at Petaling Jaya in Malaysia with Konde Rinpoche and Acho Rinpoche. Master Tony Wong is the founder of KYCO and he is the teacher of Sister Sherwin. She arranged this wonderful meeting among the three Buddhist masters. On our arrival, Konde Rinpoche and Acho Rinpoche presented the sacred objects to Master Tony, who is 78 year-old, praying for his longevity and health for the benefit of the sentient beings. Later, Master Tony told us about his spiritual journey on how he was converted from Christianity in his early days to a Buddhist teacher today.
In the 70s’ Master Tony prayed to Kuan Yin (Avalokiesvara) to save his brother who was struck by cancer. One day, Master Tony was possessed by a high spirit who claimed himself to be “Lord of the North”, who came to help him based on the request of the “Lord of the East”. As a Christian, Master Tony was completely clueless of what happened. He could not control his actions although his mind remained calm and composed. The high spirit blessed his sick brother through him. His family members brought in two Taoist practitioners in an attempt to help him in vain. Instead, the high spirit ordered the two Taoist practitioners to just sit down on the floor while watching “him” blessing the sick man. Actually, Master Tony’s prayer to Kuan Yin was heard and the Lord of the North was therefore dispatched to help him (he found out later that the Lord of the North was actually Celestial Emperor Xuan Tian). Since then, Master Tony came under the tutelage of the immortals - Xuan Tian and Ji Gong (crazy monk). Gradually, he learnt the teachings of the Buddha. However, one day, they told him that he actually belonged to Kuan Yin and they would hand him over to Kuan Yin for his personal tutelage next.
Master Tony was an English educated Chinese who knew nothing about the faith of Kuan Yin at that point in time. However, Kuan Yin advised him not to read any books in the market as none of the books could accurately describe who Kuan Yin truly is. In fact, Master Tony made a promise to Kuan Yin when he prayed for his cancer-stricken brother that he would serve Kuan Yin if Kuan Yin could save his brother. So, Kuan Yin gave Master Tony personal teachings and the latter recorded all the teachings received over the years in writing. Kuan Yin advised Master Tony to practise on his own first for a period of time before teaching others. Kuan Yin also selected his students by allowing only the qualified ones to come under his guidance. Kuan Yin also prophesized that there would be many practitioners, Buddhists and practitioners of other faiths including the Tibetan Buddhism practitioners, coming to meet Master Tony in future, who will assure him of his path of practice being the right one.
In the 80s’ H.E Tai Situpa of the Karma Kagyud of Tibetan Buddhism visited Malaysia for the first time. On his first meeting with Master Tony, the former requested to meet the latter for dinner. This was how the closely-knitted relationship started between the two. Ever since, many more Tibetan Buddhist masters and monks came visiting Master Tony. His students are mainly English educated Chinese like him who could hardly read Chinese. It was indeed amazing that the teachings of Kuan Yin could be so well transmitted to the English educated, thanks to Master Tony who took on the responsibility to do so. The teachings of Kuan Yin recorded by Master Tony are indeed infused with the wonderful flavor of the Buddhadharma.
Sister Sherwin became acquainted with Konde Rinpoche when she sought his help to deliver the soul of her late mother. When Master Tony met Konde Rinpoche, the former felt a sense of familiarity with the latter. Master Tony felt that he must be a student to Konde Rinpoche in his past life. He knelt before Konde Rinpoche and requested the latter to perform a “powa” practice for him in future, when he passes away. It was indeed a very touching moment. However, Konde Rinpoche told the audience that he would not want to perform “powa” for Master Tony but instead, pray for his longevity and hope that he would live till 108 year-old.
Master Tony told the audience that he read Acho Rinpoche’s book entitled “Dancing in the Sky” several years back. He felt rejoiced when reading the book and wished to meet the author one day. He felt very happy meeting Acho Rinpoche today and felt a similar sense of familiarity with the latter; he believed that the three of them must be spiritual brothers in their past lives. Acho Rinpoche told the audience that he found similarities in the spiritual journeys between Master Tony and his. Acho Rinpoche was also a Christian from young but he became a Buddhist later and had numerous inconceivable experiences throughout the years too.
When Acho Rinpoche was still a child, there were Taoist master, Christian pastor and Buddhist monk who came to his house, asking his mother to let them take him a way – to be their successors in their faiths. When he was studying in the university, he started searching for answers to the many problems in life and went through many schools of philosophy and religion, searching for the right path. Finally, he settled down in Buddhism. Ever since, he has been a serious Buddhist practitioner. In the early years, someone brought him to a place with many believers. When the abbot was giving him blessing, he felt scared and started chanting the Great Compassion Mantra silently in his heart. However, the spiritual guide (spirit) left the abbot forever since that moment. Later, someone else brought him to another place and the abbot spent at least two hours trying to find out his true identity in vain, through his spiritual guide (spirit). The spiritual guide was unable to tell the true identity of Acho Rinpoche as the latter was clearly much higher in his spiritual attainment; the spiritual guide told the abbot that he could only see a ball of light!
In the 80s’ Acho Rinpoche visited Japan under an ASEAN-Japan Exchange Programme, and he was being arranged to stay in the house of a doctor, Akiyoshi, in Saga Prefecture. However, Acho Rinpoche spent most of his time reading, doing his prayer and meditating instead of touring around the place. Doctor Akiyoshi found it strange and recommended him to meet a good friend of his, who was a senior abbot of a temple in the area. However, this abbot was very famous and had many appointments made in advance. They were told that it would take two months for their appointment to be made. So, they decided to just give it a miss and would visit the temple on their own. When they arrived at the car park of that temple, to their pleasant surprise, the abbot was standing near the car park – awaiting their arrival. The abbot told Akiyoshi that last night he was instructed by Kuan Yin to cancel all his appointments tomorrow and wait for the arrival of a very important person. He said that Acho Rinpoche was just the person because he “saw” Kuan Yin appearing above his head. The abbot invited them to enter his shrine and then started chanting some mantras and blessing Acho Rinpoche. Suddenly, Acho Rinpoche started chanting a mantra and blessing the abbot instead. The abbot was very surprised and he invited Acho Rinpoche to enter his personal shrine this time. There was a very huge statue of Acala being enshrined in this shrine, about two-storey tall. The abbot requested Acho Rinpoche to bless the Acala statue. Later, the abbot told Akiyoshi that Acho Rinpoche was actually chanting a very ancient version of Acala mantra, which would only be transmitted to the senior abbots in the Japanese Vajrayana Buddhism. The abbot also wrote a line on the paper which read “green dragon has manifested”. Acala Practice is the highest practice in Japanese Vajrayana Buddhism. “Green dragon” is the emblem of Acala. The abbot said that when Acho Rinpoche was blessing him, he saw the former transforming into Acala! The abbot was obviously shaken by the unexpected experience and he felt very touched. On this very first meeting between the two, the abbot presented a full set of sacred objects representing the lineage transmission to Acho Rinpoche which included a robe, rosary, crown etc., signifying that Acho Rinpoche has obtained the lineage of Japanese Vajrayana Buddhism.
Acho Rinpoche also told the audience about his connection with Konde Rinpoche. Konde Rinpoche is the abbot of the Horthang Monastery in Qing Hai Province of China. He met Acho Rinpoche in Singapore. One day, Konde Rinpoche dreamt of his root guru, Lama Ajun Toden Lodoe Gyatso, instructing him to offer a Guru Rinpoche’s crown to an important person. So, he prayed to Ejakati (One Knot), the most important Dharmapala (protector) of Ningma, for a clearer instruction on who this important person would be. Then, Konde Rinpoche had a vision of Acho Rinpoche in his meditation. He sought further advice from a few more seniors including Kade Rinpoche of Horthang Monastery, all of whom confirmed that Acho Rinpoche was indeed the reincarnation of the former abbot of Horthang Monastery. Acho Rinpoche told us that actually, before he was being recognized by Konde Rinpoche as a reincarnated Buddhist master, he already knew his true identity. He had frequently seen himself in a lama’s attire in either his dreams or meditation. He often found himself flying in space during his sleep, and saw the numerous sentient beings seeking his blessing below. He returned to the Western Blissful Pureland of Amitabha Buddha in his dream once and saw the numerous high beings seated on their lotus thrones.
Lastly, KYCO presented a birthday cake to Acho Rinpoche, celebrating his birthday which happened to fall on the same day. Finally, Master Tony showed us around his center (which was designed by Kuan Yin), bringing this auspicious meeting to a perfect closure.
Reported by Sun-moon KFS in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 26-8-2017