Date: 12/20/2011 3:39:32 PM
Subject: [CASonline] CAS @ LAos !!
CAS flew across the mystical, magical Mekong into Laos ... Land of a Thousand Buddhas.
Laos is a country crippled by decades of disastrous communist-socialist rule and unwitting involvement in the Vietnam War, but whose people never lost their faith in the Buddha and who found true peace and solace in the holy Dhamma.
Like Lord Buddha, the monks went on alms round, in silent dignity, that the world may share merit from their practice and ultimately attain liberation together.
We ran into a huge Dhamma programme at Wat Mixay and were so glad to toil more than 10 gigantic speakers with the novice monks that the Dhamma might be blasted to the bludgeoning masses later that evening.
The Venerable Abbot accepted CAS's offerings of meticulously picked menu ( consisting of pumpkin, beans, leafy veges amongst other delicious and nutricious substances ) so that the holy Sangha might keep their body for continued practice for the benefit of the world.
Holy Green Tara manifested in our guesthouse in Vientienne and this is probably the one and only guesthouse with a Tara statue prominently plonked in the lobby in this predominantly Theravada Buddhist land. As said, Holy Tara doesn't abandon the nice and faithful or even the awful and faithless !!   
Our vehicle into the faraway "wilderness" to help the poor, sick and needy !!  
Far, far, far away to somewhere into the malaria infested villages ....
A local Communist headquarters, with pictures of Marx, Lenin and the Laotian Heads, beaming from the walls.
We were instructed to declare everything we had brought for the poor vollagers and so we splashed our spread of hundreds of panadols, salon-pases, cough mixtures, books, pens all over their very long creaky wooden tables until we were told that enough has been displayed and that we were indeed "cleared" to proceed with our mission !!   
At the first of our stop, a classic "sweatshop" with literally thousands of the poorest villagers huddered together to make Reebok shoes and shirts for a terrible pittance, the Beings @ CAS and our Communist escorts were mopped by the workers who came and pleaded for a myriad panacea for chronic gastric, bloodied coughs, splitting headaches, month-long insomnia and even vitamins for the unborn baby !!
We dispensed and dispensed and dug out even our own asthma medications, our own multi-vitamins, ginsengs and all until we had absolutely given everything away. This, as we were taught, is the beginning of Bodhicitta !!
Over the next few days, Beings @ CAS toured many schools, almost all destitute, but critical for lifting these children and their family out of poverty. The children's cheerful choruses melted more than just the chocolates and cartons upon cartons of nutricious soya milk for nourishment of their little, growing bodies. The Dharma Propagation Fund ( DPF ) @ CAS, once more, heroically overspent ... but Everyone @ CAS applauded.  
A village school after class ....
Schoolbags dropped while eager hands and legs scampered out to kick balls here and there. Sigh ... the story never changes.
Bewildered, shy, curious, happy.
Old school buses donated by the Japanese continued to ferry students and bags to schools.
Desperate poverty exhorts creativity: children are now bellowed from breaks and into classrooms with what was once a tyre ... a teaching on the inter-dependent nature of objects and phenomena !!  
Orphans are dipped into the only flowing tap and scrubbed clean.
The familiar, chaotic maths under the mindful, loving gaze of the Buddha.
A room full of children surrendered into the orphanage by deceased parents, single parent or parents who no longer could afford to feed their own child. Each is a character, utterly innocent and so very cute.
The entire school's staff with our driver ( extreme right ) posing for a heartiest THANK YOU and BYE-BYE  .... for now !!
Next morning, at the coffeehouse, near Holy Tara, in serious, detailed talk with an invited university professor ( one of the very few available who could translate well ) on how to help more the children ...  
As the Lam Rim taught that all beings were our mothers, we simply could not neglect fishes which we are sure even Tara protects and loves.
Emptying this time, whatever our Friends @ CAS donated to our Khensur Dorje Tashi Release Life Fund, many of whom donating with so much trust and hope, and not all are smackingly rich of course, we emptied troughs and troughs of mother fishes, days after days, into the raging, frothing Mekong after struggling them round and round holy temples with dangerously sagging arms while intoning Namgyalma, Kshitigarbha, Medicine Buddha, Kalachakra and who else ... the Biggest Mama of All: Holy Tara !! 
As the Buddha taught in the Heruka Tantra and other holy texts that lamp offerings allow for creation of the greatest merits that could then propel us fastest to Buddhahood, so that we could then, after having become a Buddha, the apex, climax and paragon of everything good and holy in the universe, teach countless and countless mother sentient beings and bring them similarly to Buddhahood, we made it a stubborn point to bathe almost every temple of note with Lord Buddha Shakyamuni in it in golden candle lights, never mind that hot wax frequently dripped and burnt the unmindful fingers or that the heat frequently bathed us in clammy sweat for the rest of the long day.
Thankfully and with great happiness, we inevitably bring in the excited novice or village children to help out the hapless, devotion-gone-crazy pilgrims from a foreign land, in lighting the hundreds of hot candles. Now, everything is brighter and has become even brighter !!
Wat Ong-tul Maha Wihan: Seat of the Vice Phra Sangha Lat or the next-in-line Head of the Sangha of Laos.
As the Buddha taught in the holy sciptures of the immaculate virtues that arise from flowers offered with faith and for the benefit of others ( never for ourselves ), the Beings @ CAS ordered and plotted for the acquisition of the most exquisite flowers, perfectly, flawlessly manicured to offer to the Teacher of Gods and Men and who showed the path to happiness to all ....  
Sweets for the dirty, little paws .... packed secretly within are our endless wishes that they will do well in this life and the next.
The haunting whinings of an ancient street musician ....  
Could we not share our LAotian delicacy with him, so cold and forsaken amidst trampling tourist legs ??
But, hungry still, we ordered one more plate for ourselves, this time, tomato vegetarian fried rice.
The local brew of Laotian coffee turns skimpy beings into roaring machines. Mix these machines with Bodhicitta, they sometimes chugged louder, stronger and hopefully with more kindness .....
Eyes peaked with coffee could see a vendor sister keeping her baby brother in makeshift tent to keep out the sucking mospuitoes.  
So, hands peaked with coffee dug into the wallet to acquire some of the loveliest-ever-seen objects, if only to support the vendor sis and her baby bro in blue tent.
Of course, other less cute but really quite fantastic artworks can also be found by eyes peaked with coffee.
When we returned late at night, we found out that, besides Mama Tara, Heruka Chakrasamvara had actually also been present all along. Only that it had kept quiet and silently watched us from a hidden notch just near the lift landing.  
Hence, we pledged to either die or drink more LAotian coffee to honour our "sadhana commitments" of the day. We chose the latter.
Very happy with CAS and the legions of generous Frens who pumped money, hopes and wishes into the DPF and release life fund named our precious, holy late Guru, a Protector Guardian betrayed his glee when he thought no one was watching or taking pics.
We got him.



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