Bhante Ti Lakkana and Bhante Cakkapala were invited by devotees Sister Anna Jap and Sister Juliati Lim to visit Medan from the 3rd to June 7th 2016. Incidentally, Bhante Cakkapala is the former student of Bhante Ti Lakkana. They graciously accepted the invitation and in keeping alive the spirit of propagating of the Dhamma delivered Dhamma talks to congregations at three monasteries.
‘The Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus: “You are too free from all the shackles whether human or divine. Go now and wander for the welfare and happiness of many, out of compassion for the world, for the benefit, welfare and happiness of gods and men. Teach the Dhamma that is good in the beginning, good in the middle and good in the end, with the meaning and the letter. Explain a holy life that is utterly perfect and pure. There are beings with little dust on their eyes,who will be lost through not hearing the Dhamma. Some will understand the Dhamma, I shall go to Uruvela, to Senanigma to teach the Dhamma.” ‘ (Vinaya: Mahavagga, 1:11.1).
Brother Hing Seng Huat and l were honoured to be appointed as kappiyas to accompany them for a noble cause in the spread of Buddhism in Indonesia, the country with world largest Muslim population. The understanding of right practice is essential in our daily life and what could be a more appropriate occasion to associate not only with a wise teacher but also with the teacher’s teacher, a rare opportunity indeed. “Not to associate with fools, but associate with the wise and to honour those who are worthy of honour.” (Sutta-Nipata, 2, 4.2).
Indonesia Theravada Buddhist Centre and pindapata
We stayed at Indonesia Theravada Buddhist Centre (ITBC) and had an opportunity to accompany the sangha on their alms round or pindapata leaving at 6:30 am traveling a route of about 5 km with alms givers lining along the road to offer food to the passing sangha. The act of dropping the food lumps into the alms bowls of the monks is known as pindapata. (Vism 1.89)
A monk on alms round “is content with any sort of alms food and speaks in praise of such content. For the sake of getting alms food he resorts not to what is unseemly and unbecoming. If he gets not alms food he is not dismayed threat; and if he does get it he is free from bond of selfishness, of greed, of craving for it.” (AN 4:28).
This tradition still practised in some Buddhist countries like Thailand, Myanmar and Sri Lanka, just to name a few. In Singapore it is frowned upon as “begging” and prohibited as legislated.
When the monks walked past, alms givers dropped the food into the alms bowls. “He gives what is pure and excellent, allowable drinks and food at the proper time: he gives gifts to fertile fields of merit, to those who lead the spiritual life. He does not feel regret, having given away many material things. Those with deep insight praise the gifts given in this way. Having thus practiced charity with a mind freely generous, one intelligent and wise, rich in faith, is reborn in a pleasant, unafflicted world.” (AN 8:37).
In keeping with the tradition, devotees washed the feed of the monks upon return from alms rounds to the centre before settling down for puja and breakfast.
Chantings and Blessing for all beings – Living and Departed
While in Medan, we were invited and visited many households and temples to render blessings and chantings for all sentient beings, young and old and the departed as well.
Bhante Ti Lakkana and Bhante Cakkapala delivered four Dhamma talks at three different centres, namely: ITBC – two talks and one talk each at Vihara Loka Shanti and over a luncheon gathering.
Temple Visits and Sight seeing
During our stay we made detour to visit temples and monasteries of the different Buddhist traditions and Taoist temples and learnt that they strive harmoniously without any disparagement.
We visited a tourist sight, Taman Alam Lumbini also known as Mini Swedagon.
It was a hectic but memorial trip to be able to visit a Muslim country to see Buddhism thrives harmoniously with Islam and the other faiths.
We returned home safely on June 7th 2016 and touched down at Changi Airport at 1:30 pm.
Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!
Contributor: Chin Kee Thou
Date: June 13th 2016.