Ripples Following Ripples ~ RESUMED
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
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.