Ripples Following Ripples ~ RESUMED TALKS

There were long queues at the Immigration desks in K.L. (usually, you can just go straight to the desks), but finally, I was through and greeted by DV, who was beginning to wonder where I was. We were soon back in Malacca, another trip over. DV’s daughter, Katrina, had moved in, temporarily, with her little brother, vacating her a/c room for me.

I spent 2 weeks in Malacca, during which I got a round-trip ticket to Kathmandu valid for a year, and made my booking, but then decided to delay the flight and make a short speaking-trip up the east coast, which I’d not done for a few years. I emailed Ching Wei ~ my old translator in K.L. ~ and asked if he could arrange it. After some days, he replied saying that not only had he arranged talks for me in 2 places on the east coast ~ Kuantan and Kuala Trengganu ~ but also in Kelang and K.L. Well, I’d not expected or wanted him to arrange so much, but agreed, and left Malacca at the end of August. DV dropped me at the bus-station, and while waiting for my bus to Kuantan, a young woman came past and put her hands together in greeting; she then came and sat beside me and started to talk; we got into Dharma, and she soon started to cry, but her tears were of joy. If only I could meet someone like this every week ~ every day, it would be too much! It gave me a real boost!

Anyway, I gave 3 talks in the big, new and beautiful Kuantan tem-ple, the first of which was the best; attendance at the others was much diminished; maybe my presentation was not suitable for them. Well, sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose.

From Kuantan, I proceeded on to Kuala Trengganu, five hours away. There, I was accommodated in a house the temple had rented while it was being rebuilt; I had space and time to myself there, and gave two much-better-received talks.

From Trengganu, I flew to K.L. rather than take the bus, and was met at the airport by Ching Wei, who was very happy to see me again. He conducted me to Port Kelang, where he’d arranged for me to stay in a small Tibetan Buddhist Society, and give a talk that night. With his able translation, this went very well. My stay there was also alright, but there was no phone, as they were afraid of visiting lamas making long international calls, as had happened before; so I wasn’t able to send email from there, but had to take my laptop to someone’s home for that; it was a bit in-convenient, but what to do?

The next night, I gave a talk to a large group of English-speaking people at another center, and this led to other things. After that, I gave more talks in other places, including the Maha Vihara at Brickfields. All but one of them went very well.

There is an active Buddhist center in K.L. by the strange name of W.A.V.E., which stands for Wisdom Audio and Visual Exchange. They print huge numbers of books for free distribution, but almost all are strictly Theravada, and most are very dry. Although aware of my views about Theravada, whenever they knew I was in town, they invited me to talk there, and I generally got a good hearing, apart from the house-holder’s wife, Pearly, who was somewhat of a fanatic, while he, Eric, was just the opposite. Anyway, this time, too, a talk was arranged for me there, and while I didn’t speak as eloquently as at other times, it was still alright, and I enjoyed it. Afterwards, a young man asked me to bless him, and I asked him if he didn't have enough blessings already that he wanted more. I agreed to do it, however, and sat there concentrating and send-ing him good vibes ~ which to me is what it is all about ~ while he sat on the floor in front of me. After a couple of minutes or so, I opened my eyes, and asked him if he felt better. He then opened his eyes, which he'd closed, and said he hadn't heard anything, to which I replied, "I didn't say anything". Everyone laughed, includ-ing him. "There," I said, "you got it".

A talk had been arranged for me at Brickfields Maha Vihara, and Mr. and Mrs. Lim ~ the couple who ran the Center where I was staying in Kelang ~ offered to drive me, but concerned that the traffic might be heavy, as it often is, we started early, and got to K.L. with much time to spare. To use it up, they took me to a shopping-mall to eat and drink something; I’d already eaten, so had just a cup of tea. Then, Mrs. Lim went to the toilet, but was away so long that we decided to leave without her, as it was al-most 8 o’clock; Mr. Lim handed a note to the waiter for her telling her to get a taxi to follow us, but just then she reappeared; she’d been shopping, and not merely to the toilet! I was not impressed! We got to the temple just on time, and Dhammananda preceded me into the hall where a large audience was assembled, and in-troduced me. He sat beside me throughout ~ to monitor me, I knew, as that is his way ~ but I didn’t care, and started my talk by apologizing for being a bit late, and said we’d got lost in a toilet. Not elaborating on this, I went on with my talk, but hadn’t got very far when he interrupted me and spoke for 20 minutes or so. I did not object to what he said, as it was quite good, but later, when he tried to do it again, I said, “No; you’ve hijacked my talk, and you can talk anytime”. Everyone laughed, because they could see what had happened, of course. He didn’t interrupt me again, and was uncharacteristically quiet afterwards. He’d done the same thing the last time I’d spoken there, so I was prepared this time. I’m sure no-one had ever spoken to him like this before, but he certainly needed it. If you invite someone for a talk, you should let him talk and finish, and then you may say something.

Being so near, I had to visit Dr. Soo, who had greatly helped me twice before, so I went to his clinic without first calling him, and he was not only surprised to see me, but excitedly told me that he'd finally become a Buddhist since we'd last met 5 or 6 years before; he was from a staunch Catholic family, you see, but always leaned towards Buddhism, and had finally committed himself. Knowing that he’d studied in Kashmir, I asked if he’d like me to bring him anything back from my forthcoming trip, and he said, “Just come back safely.” Nice man.

About this time, I got an email from someone by the name of Yen Ha Chau, who had come across one of my books in a doctor’s clinic, and enjoyed reading it so much that she decided to write to me on the email-address inside. Thus began a lively exchange which continues until I write this. She lives in Adelaide.

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