Practice Center Activities

A Trip to Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Date:28 Nov 2019 – 1 Dec 2019

Venue :Phnom Penh , Cambodia

Visit Kantha Bopha IV Children’s Hospital in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

On the morning of 28 November 2019, volunteers from Guan Yin Citta Singapore and Cambodia jointly visited the Kantha Bopha IV Children’s Hospital in Phnom Penh, Cambodia to make a charitable donation to the hospital on behalf of Master Jun Hong Lu. The hospital provides free medical care for Cambodian children and treats 1,500 to 2,000 critically ill children every day.  During the visit, volunteers learned up- close about life’s bitterness and impermanence as they see the pitiable sights of young children with bloated stomachs and broken legs etc. Deep in their hearts they know that, only with diligence in Buddhism practice can one be liberated from these sufferings.

Visit Future Light Orphanage in Phnom Penh

In the afternoon, the volunteers headed to the Future Light Orphanage in Phnom Penh to donate essential items on behalf of Master Jun Hong Lu. The orphanage, which was established and funded solely by the mother of the current dean, has been providing for more than 60 children. All the children have been enrolled in government schools and will be supported by the orphanage through high school. Although the donation was just a small act of kindness, it brought joy to the children, who then expressed their gratitude aloud to Guan Yin Bodhisattva and Master Lu. Though short, the visit ended with a tearful farewell. Through these meaningful visits, volunteers further realised that there are still many people out there who need help. Therefore, they should all the more cherish what they have today, and strive to propagate Buddhism so as to help those in need to be truly liberated from worldly sufferings.

Collective Life Liberation (Day 1)

 

On the morning of 29 November 2019, volunteers eagerly participated in a group life liberation for Master Lu. It was a windy day with choppy waves. Initially, there were four baskets to be used for releasing the fish into the sea. However, with more than half of the fishes still yet to be liberated, three of the baskets fell into the Mekong River, disappearing without a trace. The group had no choice but to guard the last basket with great care, slowly liberating the remaining fishes. Unexpectedly, as the ferry trudged along, a basket was spotted floating over from a distance. The group hooked the basket back onto the vessel and everyone cheered happily. The ferry was moving against the wind while the current was flowing backwards. The return of the basket seemed improbable. As such, everyone was deeply moved by Bodhisattva’s blessing and protection. With two baskets, the liberation proceeded quickly and the group was able to liberate three truckloads full of fish before lunch, and they returned back to the Practice Centre filled with dharma bliss.

Donations To A Village By A Landfill

After the life liberation activity, everyone returned back to the Practice Centre. Without taking more rest, the volunteers began packing and loading the goods meant for donation to the settlement at the landfill. Local Buddhist friends had prepared a surplus of living supplies for donation such as rice, noodles, oil, etc. After a quick lunch, the group headed to the landfill of Phnom Penh. The residents lived alongside a landfill filled to the brim with rubbish, eking out a living by scavenging for sellable items amidst the trash. Their houses were ‘constructed’ from pieces of wood tossed together to form a shack. When the volunteers arrived, a crowd had already gathered under the blazing sun in anticipation. With two truckloads of goods, the volunteers quickly set up tables for distribution of these living supplies. Everyone in the village of 400 people were able to obtain the goods. Due to conscientious planning beforehand, the collection process proceeded in an orderly fashion. Many of the villagers smiled and said “ar koun”, or “thank you” in Khmer. Similarly, our volunteers laughed as they returned their gratitude in Khmer with a reply of “ar koun”. It was a scorching hot day, but not a whisper about the grime, heat or fatigue passed the lips of a single volunteer. Everyone was filled with gratitude to be able to contribute to the lives of the villagers.

Collective Life Liberation (Day 2)

On 30 November, the group again, headed to the Mekong River to perform life liberation in the afternoon. With the experience from the previous day, special care was taken with the baskets and not one of them was lost. The fish were liberated very efficiently.

Propagating Buddhism On The Streets

Later in the afternoon, the volunteers began preparing for the sharing session. Hence, the group went around to distribute flyers to propagate Buddhism. Amid the packed schedule, the volunteers also cleaned the Practice Centre. Although it was tough, they were filled with dharma bliss.

Sharing Session

On 31 November, the sharing session was held under the mango tree of the Practice Centre. There were approximately 300 participants, a bulk of which comprised of new Buddhist friends. The headmaster of the orphanage we visited also came for the session. From the first visit to propagate Buddhism in Cambodia in August 2018, there have been 4 sharing sessions to date, and this session was the most successful. Although the session was held outdoors, everyone listened attentively during the 3 hour session and many Buddhist friends even tirelessly video recorded the Buddhist teachings on their phone. After the session, an overwhelming number of people enquired volunteers about how to begin their journey in reciting Buddhist scriptures.

The schedule for this dharma propagation trip was tight and everyone was travel-worn. Nevertheless, the volunteers had no complaints, were punctual and observed the precepts. Both the local and Singaporean volunteers learnt a lot from each other from the trip.

Highlights for the Trip

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