The earlier days of KFR

28 May


Way back in 2012, I recall these 2 original cabin containers. sitting under these white canopies. The one on the left is where Rinpoche’s cabin is and the one on the right is Rinpoche’s assistant’s cabin. Rinpoche’s sacred cabin is not a focal point in KFR as a holy spot and from where everything began. The two canopies was a bigger space to allow for a kitchen of sorts and access to two containers. The satellite dish bestowed some sort of Internet connection to the cabins but it was slow and choppy. It was such a Kechara thing to remain connected to the Internet!


That’s me doing my work on the computer along with Nicholas and the glamorous Dato Ruby in the picture. I recall when Rinpoche first got me to come assist him in KFR, he actually thought I wasn’t interested. So, he told me to stay back and I did but the next day, he asked me again whether I wanted to go to KFR, I enthusiastically said yes. Only then, was I allowed to go up.


On the first day, I was instructed by Rinpoche to climb up the little hill which at the summit is where the picture above is taken. Then, I was to plant a few grains of rice consecrated by the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden in trance. I was told to make the aspiration that whatever Rinpoche had in mind for this place to manifest. At that time, the plan was for the hill to be the site of Rinpoche’s ladrang or household. However, things changed and today, it is the site of Manjushri Hill offices. Needless to say, this is now known as Manjushri Hill.


During the earlier days, Rinpoche needed more assistants to be staying up with him in Kechara Forest Retreat, especially to oversee the clearing of the land and so forth. Hence, Rinpoche acquired these really neat tents that were erected under the canopies to accommodate the influx of people (mostly boys). If you look closely at this picture, that’s me lying in there. That’s where I sleep! This was dubbed ‘Tent city’ and even this eventually expanded.


Later, a bigger makeshift wooden structure was built to accommodate the tents instead. We had huge industrial fans to cool us off and at night, KFR was actually quite chilly and comfortable. Those were great early memories of our pioneering days.


Rinpoche had this incredible fasting Buddha the focal point of offerings under the canopy. He explained that this depiction of the Buddha during the years he spent in extreme ascetic practices. It represents spiritual perseverance and the inspiration for those pioneering days where there were plenty of issues everything from muddy tracks that traps cars to water and electricity issues.

I am not much of assistance to Rinpoche during those days as I just brought his meals, talked to him, tell him new news and burn firewood in the fireplace outside the tent area to ward of insects. Therefore, Rinpoche assigned me to learn up on the Kalarupa pujas (called Druchuma) and to perform it together with Dorje Shugden each day to clear obstacles for KFR to arise. I would do it daily in front of the fasting Buddha and once, Rinpoche recorded a video of me doing it as well:-

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Looking back at these pictures, a flood of memories comes to me of people and circumstances. It was not easy but it was fun and certainly KFR has completely transformed since that time. Below are some recent pictorial comparisons of the earlier days and recently.

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