At the invitation of the Buddhist community in Medan to propagate the Dhamma, a group of local devotees extended an invitation to Ajahn Keng Khemako and Bhikkhu Lee to deliver Dhamma talks from October 8th to 12th 2016.
Brother Hing Seng Huat, Sister Suriaty “Sue” Simon, Sister Clara Tan and I accompanied them for the trip. Brother Om Zacks, Sister Anna Jap and Sister Juliati Lim played hosts to the entourage in Medan. Brother Om Zacks also chauffeured the entourage to the various venues.
We would like to accord our token of appreciation to Brother Stiven Widjaja who was the translator for the Dhamma talks conducted in Mandarin, English and Hokkien to Bahasa Indonesia.
Ajahn Keng Khemako, Bhikkhu Lee, Brother Hing and I lodged at Ananthapindika House, specifically catered for visiting bhikkhus is administered by the Medan Charity Group. It was opened on July 17th 2012 and incidentally, Ajahn Brahm was the first guest of honour to reside here on March 19th 2013. Visakha House adjacent to it is a residence for visiting bhikkhunis.
Sister Suriaty “Sue’ Simon and Sister Clara Tan resided at Sue’s residence.
The monks went on alms round or pindapata at 7:00 am around the vicinity for their meals. Although within a small parameter, more than a dozen householders and devotees offered alms throughout our stay. Living up to tradition since the time of Lord Buddha, the sangha goes on alms round bare footed.
Upon returning to the monasteries or centres the sangha members would wash their feet before settling down for their meals. Likewise sangha members travelled bare footed and upon acceptance of invitation to visit an abode would also wash their feet before stepping into the house.
“And the Exalted One robed himself, took his bowl and other things, went with his brethren to the rest house, washed his feet, entered the hall, and took his seat against the centre pillar, with his face towards the east. And the brethren also after washing their feet, entered the hall and took their seats round the Exalted One, against the western wall, and facing the east.” (DN ii 85).
October 8th 2016
Metta Padma Orphanage
We arrived at Medan in the evening and visited orphans from Metta Padma at Ananthapindika House and brought joy to them. There are 14 of them with ages ranging three to teen agers.
October 9th 2016
Programme at PUVB
At the invitation of Persamuhan Umat Buddha Viriyadhika Majelis Buhhdayana Indonesia (PUVB), a whole day programme lined up at the auditorium of Microskills Building. The activities conducted in Hokkien were Dhamma talk, meditation, followed by luncheon sanghika dana and rounded up with questions and answers session from the floor.
Group photo of PUBV members with Ajahn Keng and Bhikkhu Lee.
After the lunch break a Dhamma talk in Hokkien was delivered by Ajahn Keng with translation to Bahasa Indonesia by Brother Stiven Widjaja.
The event for the day rounded up with questions and answers session from the floor.
October 10th 2016
A visit to Taman Jetavana
While in Medan, we kept a lookout for favourable venue for meditation retreat. We visited Taman Jetavana, a meditation centre still under construction. A preliminary evaluation of it shows a positive venue for meditation retreat.
Dhamma talk at Tamil Buddhist Temple.
In the evening, the entourage visited a Tamil Buddhist Temple and offered blessing and chanting services. Ajahn Keng delivered a Dhamma talk on happiness to the Tamil Buddhists and also distributed goodie bags to these folks at a lower echelon of the community.
October 11th 2016
The entourage was invited to a wedding where Ajahn Keng provided blessing service to a newlywed couple as well to the congregation. He also advised the couple as well as the congregation on Buddhist aspect of harmony in family way.
A Visit to Pubbarama Centre
Evening Dhamma talk at Vihara Maitri (Mahayana Temple)
It was indeed enlightening for a Mahayana establishment to extend an invitation to a monk from the Theravada tradition to deliver Dhamma talk to its devotees.
October 12th 2016
Dana lunch at Green Bamboo Restaurant
The devotees and well-wishers offered dana lunch at Green Bamboo Restaurant with a turnout of more than 30 persons. After the dana offering, Ajahn Keng held a Dhamma sharing session with the devotees and well-wishers from the Medan Buddhist community.
The Buddhist community that made up of the various denominations or traditions in Medan practise true Buddhism in harmony without any sign of elitism or discernment. Ajahn Keng, a Theravada monk was invited to give Dhamma talk at a Mahayana temple.
“True Buddhism needs all three: Buddhas, arahants, and bodhisattvas. It needs Buddhas to discover and teach the path to liberation; it needs arahants to follow the path and confirm that the Dhamma does indeed lead to liberation, adoring the teaching with examples of those who lead the purest holy life; it needs bodhisattvas to bring forth the resolve to perfect those qualities that will enable them at some point in the future, near or distant, to become Buddhas themselves and once again turn the unsurpassed Wheel of the Dharma.” (“Arahants, Bodhisattvas, and Buddhas”, by Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi)
It was indeed a very satisfying and fulfilling trip to Medan to have the opportunity to propagate the Dhamma in the most populated Muslim country in the world.
Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!
NB: Text and photos by contributor who takes responsibility for any inadvertence, factual or otherwise.
Contributor: Chin Kee Thou
Date: October 27th 2016