Yesterday I was at the post office mailing a Scriptures and Ceremonies CD to an estranged congregation member staying in Toronto for the year. While there I noticed a woman mailing two parcels to Singapore and we fell into conversation. “What’s it like”? she asked. “Hot, modern, humid, muli cultural, great shopping, oh and much more”. “Is it green”? “Yes, and very very clean too”! She would soon be finding out first hand about the place. This conversation had me transported back not only to the time I spent in Singapore this year but to the months I lived there in 1979. For some reason Singapore gets under your skin, under mine anyway.
My last week in East Asia was spent in Singapore as the guest of Poh Ern Ssu “Temple of Thanksgiving”. This visit was at the end of two months intensive traveling and it was all I could do to physically and mentally keep going. There was little energy left over to post entries for this blog. Over the next little while I’d like to acknowledge the help and support I received in Singapore by, posting some photos and speaking of a sampling of what happened during my brief visit. I hope Boon will, if needed, help fill in some of the gaps with names of people and temples.
Mr. Boon Lee and his wife Connie were my hosts and mentors while in Singapore. They are pictured forth and fifth from the left. The photo was taken on my last evening in Singapore, June 2005. It had been a long evening and by the time this photo was taken most of the congregation had gone home. The red kesa was one of the many gifts so kindly given to me. I’m holding a blue lapis statue of the Healing Buddha, also a gift.
I bumped into Boon by chance in a shopping center wheeling the temples books to the accountant. I’d just survived a reflexology treatment the like of which I had never experienced before. Painful yet effective, a life saver.
Weaving through those two months in East Asia were meetings with lay Buddhist, in Singapore I was fortunate to spend my time exclusively in the company of lay devotees. They like those met in Taiwan, Malaysia and Japan were an inspiration. I think enough time has elapsed for me to try and convey in words what I learnt from these people. In short they inspired gratitude which is at the heart of giving unconditionally. There is much to be said on this subject, however that will have to come on another day.