On August 26th 2012, a group of student members from the MVBT Mandarin and English Dhamma Class, devotees and Bhante Raja embarked on a humanitarian day excursion to Johor Bahru. We visited the Amitabha Centre Charity Orphanage, Love Foundation – Home for the Handicapped Children and Metta Lodge Pusat Buddhist Johor. The programme was orchestrated by Brother TC Lim, a student member who resides in Johor. He is an active volunteer and also a member of Buddhist Lodge Pusat Buddhist Johor.
Visit to rumah anak yatim (orphanage)
The Amitabha Centre, a Buddhist charitable organisation supported by public donations runs an orphanage, old folks home and a dialysis centre. The rumah anak yatim or orphanage houses seventeen children of various races in a three-storey building. The youngest resident , an infant of 5 months was the centre of attraction, while there are others as old as 12.
Members of the group entertained them by telling stories on the Life of Buddha followed by a quiz. Prizes such as biscuits and candies were given as rewards for correct answers. In the end every child received a prize and a goodie bag. The exuberant children in the midst of boisterous activities created a warm and loving atmosphere that permeated and gladdened our hearts.
The 5 month-old baby was not neglected but was the ‘darling’ of the visitors. Maternal instinct overwhelmed many ladies who took turns to carry and cuddle him.
Bhante Raja shared the stage with the children and conducted puja followed by blessing. As with any Buddhist establishment, propagating the Dhamma is the way of life and sharing with others is the practice.
Lord Buddha after attainment of Enlightenment and having observed the first vassa-residence at Isipatana, Migadăya, sent forth the sixty disciples to go on missionary work:
“Bhikkhus, go out in all the eight directions for the mundane and supramundane
welfare, prosperity and happiness of the many beings , such devas, humans and
Brahmas. Let not two of you travel together for each journey, ………………………..
“Bhikkhus, teach the Dhamma that is full of virtuous qualities in all its three phases,
namely, the beginning, the middle and the end; and endowed with the spirit and
the letter. ……………………..
“Bhikkhus, there are many beings, such as devas, humans and Brahmas, who have
little dust of impurity in their eyes of wisdom. Through not hearing the Dhamma,
they will suffer a great loss of the extraordinary Dhamma which is the Path and the
Fruition.” (Maha Vegga, 19 – 20).
Visit to Love Foundation – Home for the Handicapped Children
Next, we visited Love Foundation – Home for the Handicapped Children which cared for about 40 children. The age ranged from infants to teenagers and most of them are mentally challenged. A few of them suffered physical deformity as well and are bedridden.
We showed compassion for their miseries and provided comfort through physical interactions like cuddling the infants and played “London Bridge is Falling Down”, a game many of us played during our childhood. Two people made an arch with their arms and everyone marched under it. When the rhyme was done, whoever was under the arch was ‘captured’ and dismissed.
As the centre is funded by public donations from well-wishers, the sense of empathy tugged at our heart-strings and we gladly joined in and dana a total of RM$1,100.00.
Metta Lodge Pusat Buddhist Johor
Metta Lodge is a Buddhist association in Johor Bahru that was officially registered with the Registrar of Societies on 7 January 1982. It was initiated by a few lay Buddhists who were eager to learn and practise the Buddha’s teachings more diligently. During its first five years of existence, it did not have its own premises and had to move from one house or rented premise to another. In 1987, Metta Lodge finally acquired its own permanent premises, a double-storey bungalow, in Taman Melodies. The current Chairman is Heng C.T. and Vice-Chairman Patrick Tan.
We made a detour to visit Metta Lodge to rekindle our ties, established by our late Bhante, Venerable M.M. Mahaweera Maha Nayaka Thera who was the lodge’s former Founder and Religious Advisor. The Buddha image in the shrine hall was a gift from our late Bhante.
Our ties across the causeway extended beyond the State of Johor to Malacca where a sapling from the Bodhi Tree, a gift from Mangala Vihara was planted in Seck Kia Eehan Temple on 5th September 1956. See the post “A Visit to Alokarama and Seck Kia Eehan Temple in Malacca” (http://edhamma.net/?p=1324 ).
A Thank You note
We would like to register our thanks to Bro TC Lim who gave us the opportunity and an additional avenue to enhance our practice in the learning of the Dhamma. Classroom lessons are for knowledge while experience and living with the Dhamma are achieved only through practice. Lord Buddha’s dispensation in Verse 19 of the Dhammapada aptly says:
“Though he recites much in the Sacred Tests (Tipitaka), but negligent and does
not practise according to the Dhamma, like a cowherd who counts the cattle of
others, he has not share in the benefits of the life of a bhikku (i.e., Magga-phala)”.
Conversely, in a layman colloquialism, “action speaks loud than words,” Verse 20 says it in succinct terms:
“Though he recites only a little of the Sacred Texts (Tipitaka), but practices according
to the Dhamma, eradicating the passion, ill will and ignorance, clearly comprehending
the Dhamma, his mind freed from moral defilements and no longer clinging to this
world or to the next, he shares the benefits of the life of a bhikku (i.e., Magga-phala)”.
We will organise more trips in the future for the benefit of our student members and devotees to enhance their practice. Meanwhile, I would encourage readers to join the Outreach Programme of MV Dhamma Fellowship to visit lonely old folks living at Block 1 and 2 in Eunos Crescent on the fourth Sunday of each month
For those who are keen to visit the lonely old folks at Eunos Crescent, you may contact Ms. Cheng Seow Eng at firstname.lastname@example.org .
For those who wish to join the Humanitarian trip to Johor Bahru please contact:-
Mr Yeap – English Dhamma Class
Mr Hing – Mandarin Dhamma Class.
Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!
Contributor: Chin Kee Thou