Sunday, June 24, 2018

X-Tour: In Search of the Birthplace of Holy Mother Mazu


This tour came about because of two individuals – our 17 year-old Dharma Brother Jun Xing and 69 year-old Mdm Lin.   It has a wonderful significance beyond words.
Actually, I met Holy Mother Mazu in my dreams very often since I started my spiritual practice more than 30 years ago. I knew that while I am a practitioner of Vajrayan Buddhism, I have a great spiritual affinity with Mazu of Taosim too. 
I asked Jun Xing when he would be free to join us for a tour this year, over a Chinese Lunar New Year dinner one day. He told me that he could only make it on 11 Jun 2018, during his school holiday. Although Dharma Sister Kan suggested Mtn Wutai as one of the possible places of visit, I told her to contact Mdm Lin of Golden Travel to plan a tour in search of the birthplace of Mazu instead. I kind of remember that Xiamen of Fujian Province was a second home to Mdm Lin, and our trip to Meizhou Island would have some special connection with her too.  Mdm Lin greeted Mazu as her “Great Grand Aunt” when we visited the main seat of Mazu in Meizhou Island, as they were both the descendants of the same Lim Family Tree.
Thus, 40 Dzogchen practitioners rode on an iron bird (airplane) and headed for Xiamen on 11 Jun 2018, touring Xiamen, Quanzhou, Meizhou Island, Wuyi Mountain, Yongding and Anxi of China, creating yet another new chapter of X-Tour.
2 days prior to our trip, US President Donald Trump and the Supreme Leader of North Korea Kim Jong-un came to Singapore, ready to meet each other over a US and North Korea Summit attracting a world-wide attention. When the meeting was being held in the Sentosa Island of Singapore, our group was offering incense at the Mazu Temple in Meizhou Island of Fujian Province in China; there was a very inconceivable relation between the two concurrent events. Secret. Secret. Secret. 
Mr Ke Zheng Hua, the Director General of International Exchange Center of China from Beijing and Mr Meng Jian Huang, a professor from Putian University who specialized in the study of Mazuism, accompanied us on our visits to the main seat of Mazu in Meizhou Island and Xianliang Harbor. We had an enigmatic experience at the Mazu Temple in Xianliang Harbor.
We took a high-speed train from Quanzhou to Wuyi Mountain which took only about 3 hours. China’s high-speed train has indeed become a technology icon admired by the world over. We saw a few ancient tea trees dating back more than 600 years ago which are famous for its scarcity and exorbitant price – Da Hong Pao (Big Red Gown). In 2005, tea leaves harvested from these few ancient tea trees were sold at RMB 5 million per catty. It was indeed astonishing! Wuyi Mountain was famous for its bamboo rafting along its scenic Jiu Qu River. However, a few members of our group were complaining about feeling drowsy or headache during the river cruise, when the sky was fully covered by clouds and there was a cooling breeze. Why so? Actually, there was an ancient cemetery above the river, with coffins hanging high on the cliffs that are clearly visible to us while cruising along the river. This ancient cemetery dated back to 3,850 years ago. Spiritual beings were emerging from the river, as they came forward to seek blessing for soul deliverance!  
On the 5th day, we returned to Xiamen and visited the Chen Jia Geng Museum and his former residential house. We applauded his generosity in helping to develop the educational systems in both Xiamen and Singapore in the past (he was a Chinese citizen who made his fortune in Singapore). When we visited Gulang Island, it reminded us of our own Sentosa Island in Singapore. More than 20 years ago, a friend of mine who was a teacher cum grassroot leader told me that he was considering migrating to Gulang Island after his retirement. He told me that almost every household in Gulang Island owned a piano. That story somehow became ingrained in my mind ever since and I felt a little fondness towards this island with no obvious reason. However, such retirement plan can no longer be materialized today because this island has been transformed into a tourist spot with private cars disallowed on the island. All visitors could only walk on their feet on the island when visiting the Shu Zhuang Garden and Piano Museum. Ha ha!
In the afternoon, we had a vegetarian lunch at the South Putuo Temple. It was famous for its vegetarian cuisine which was touted as “the best in the world”. The dishes were indeed very refined and inviting that we could hardly stop eating. Later, we circumambulated two stupas in the temple commemorating two former abbots. There were many pictures taken during this time showing beautiful auras. When we returned to the Puzhao Building where we had our lunch, we just stood outside the building and chatted.  At this juncture, I could feel the presence of Buddha Lights showering the whole area. So, I told our members to quickly snap pictures of the surrounding, in order to capture the special auras. Indeed, the special auras were captured on both pictures and videos by a few members. The auras appeared in many shapes and forms, including a very clear shape of Buddha Eye. It was just mesmerizing! It was indeed the magical play of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
On the 7th day, we visited the Mud House of Yong Ding. The design of these mud houses had incorporated the elements of the Eight Trigrams which were based on the ancient wisdoms of our ancestors. It was indeed an eye-opening experience.
On the 8th day, we visited the Supreme Master Qingshui Temple in Anxi. When our coach was gradually entering the hilly roads, we noticed that that entire area was engulfed by a thick fog. We travelled amidst the fog for about one hour before finally reaching the temple site. Even the temple was engulfed by a thick fog. Mdm Lin came to this place many times in the past but she said it was the first time that she saw a thick fog engulfing the entire place. Actually, we had entered another space parallel with the physical world, while paying our respect to the Supreme Master Qingshui. When we passed by a sacred spring, I blessed the spring water. Rain started falling at this very moment too, likened to the showering of celestial flowers. Today was the 5th day of the 5th Lunar Month, any rainfall on this particular day is naturally charged by the great cosmic energy and carries great blessing power. Our group and all other people who were present at the time were greatly blessed by the rainfall. At this moment, the main temple right opposite the sacred spring quietly re-appeared from the thick fog, revealing half of its face…
Yet, there was an even greater surprise that happened at this juncture when I was using the sacred spring water to bless our group and when the rain was falling from the sky, that Jun Xing came near me and told me that he wished to take refuge in me. I asked him, “Have you not already taken refuge in me?” He said: “Not yet.” He said he heard someone telling him that if he wants to “return home” (to the Buddha’s Pureland), he must take refuge in me. He said: “Today will be our last day in Xiamen, so I wish to take refuge in you.” Coincidentally, Mdm Lin was standing just beside me and she heard the conversation between me and Jun Xing. She had been thinking very hard about whether she should take refuge in me for quite a while. When she heard the words of Jun Xing, she immediately told me that she also wished to take refuge in me tonight. Finally, Jun Xing, Mdm Lin, Yang Qian (sister of Yang Meng), Hui Yan took refuge in me tonight. Including the mother of Song Tao who took refuge in me the night before, there were 5 new students entering the practice of Dzogchen (The Great Perfection) during this trip. Sadhu! Sadhu!
On the 9th day, we wrapped up this X-Tour and rode on an iron bird, returning from Xiamen to Singapore. Another pleasant surprise awaited us during this flight, with the Dharma Protectors displaying yet another extremely fascinating magical play! There was a rainbow arch appearing on the left side of our plane, our airplane appeared to be encircled by a rainbow light as reflected on the clouds, and a huge sun halo appeared on the right side of the airplane, with numerous luminous dots appearing around the sun that looked like meteorite showers.
Thus, this X-Tour wrapped up timely amidst the colorful display of rainbow lights. My homage to the Sun Moon Light Buddha.

Acho Rinpoche
Mud House of Yongding
High Speed Train
Mazu Temple at Xianliang Harbour
Mazu Temple at Xianliang Harbour
an Impromptu Mazuism Conference held at Xianliang Harbour
Cruising Jiuqu River on a Bamboo Raft
South Putuo Temple

Buddha Lights captured on video at South Putuo Temple

Rainbow Lights captured on video on our flight returning from Xiamen to Singapore
Sun Halo appeared in the sky during our flight returning from Xiamen to Singapore