WHEN Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche visits Chokyi Gyaltsen Centre (CGC), Penang, next month, he will be happy to see the vast improvements at the centre.
The centre was set up by Rinpoche to benefit the Buddhist fraternity, especially in terms of spiritual development.
He will be visiting CGC from March 14 to March 28, as well as its sister centre, Losang Dragpa Centre in Petaling Jaya from March 28 and Rinchen Jangsemlin in Triang, Pahang, from April 7.
In Penang, Rinpoche will give a teaching on the Three Principal Aspects of the Path from 3pm to 6pm on March 19 and 20.
This is followed by the Most Secret Hayagriva Initiation at 4pm on March 25, 26 and 27, both events at Penang Caring Society Complex in Jalan Utama.
Rinpoche, who is the spiritual director of Foundation for the Preservation of Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), foresaw a growing need for Buddhists in Penang and those staying in the northern states to learn more and practise the Dharma.
Thus, Rinpoche requested Dr Daniel Yeoh and some founder members to take the lead to help set up CGC in 2006, which started as a discussion group.
From its humble beginning at a dilapidated small petrol station in Kelawei Road in 2008, CGC expanded after two years to its present building in Lorong Zoo 1, Air Itam.
Rinpoche first sent Ven Osel, a young Malaysian nun from Rawang, Selangor, to become CGC’s first resident sangha.
She organised many Dharma activities and programmes there for the next 18 months.
Subsequently, she was asked to become director of an FPMT centre in Taipei, Taiwan, where she was tasked to “rejuvenate” the centre.
Rinpoche then requested Geshe Tenzin Deyang, who was then attached to Sera Jey Monastery in Southern India, to come over to CGC to become its first resident teacher.
Geshe la, as he is affectionately addressed by members, has a Larampha degree, which is equivalent to a PhD. Within a short period of four years, Geshe la helped develop the centre, including teaching Lamrim which is the graduated path to enlightenment.
With the help of sponsors and benefactors, Geshe la added several altars to the CGC.
When it first started, it has an altar for Shakyamuni Buddha and an altar for Medicine Buddha.
Today, CGC houses some of the most beautiful holy statues such as Arya Je Tsongkapa, 21 Tara, Guru Padmasambahwa (Guru Rinpoche), thousand-armed Chenrezig (Kuan Yin), Maitreya Buddha, Hayagriva Buddha, an Enlightenment Stupa and an altar for Zhambala.
Besides presiding over many pujas, Geshe la also spends time teaching the proper way to learn and practise the Dharma.
Yeoh said: “Penang people are so blessed and fortunate that we have a nice centre to learn and practise Dharma from a highly respected and renowned resident teacher.”
For more information, please visit www.facebook.com/chokyi.gyaltsen.center.