Thoughts. Experiences. Inspiration.

Planning for the future

June 26, 2015 0

Back in 2012, a small group of us were staying in Kechara Forest Retreat in shipping containers decked out with beds, standing fans and makeshift showers.


They were really fun times! The power was carried in by wooden poles, hastily erected so our containers would not be in the dark, and it would cut from the main or trip every few hours.

The water was brought in by pipes that we bought and laid ourselves from the local hardware store. With water pressure coming in from the mains being so low, we had to get creative with gravity to increase the pressure in our cabins.

We would help clear the forest, moving by hand the trees cleared by the excavators before cutting them down with chainsaws and mixing up accelerants to reduce them into ashes.

Our shoes sank in the soft, muddy soil and the only vehicles that could make it in that far were 4WDs which quickly became caked in mud. In such times, the showers were Buddha-sent.


I came across these drawings yesterday, made for me by Pastor Moh Mei during this time when we would often go out into the night to fix leaking pipes, low water pressure or a trip or blown fuse somewhere.

She drew them for me to explain our makeshift set-up and to teach me how to troubleshoot problems and supervise contractors without her help. I kept them in my back pocket and never left our cabin area without them – at a time without WiFi, WhatsApp was impossible and we did not have enough walkie talkies to go around. So if I was out somewhere on our land without these notes, and something happened to the pipes or electricity, it would be a looooooong hot walk back to our cabin just to get these sheets of paper.


These drawings were not relevant for long. The construction of Kechara Forest Retreat progressed so quickly that it was only a matter of months before these drawings became obsolete. We soon installed proper electrical, plumbing and irrigation systems that did not rely on a bunch of wannabe contractors to maintain everything hehe

I wanted to share with you these drawings to show you how much being in Kechara widens your knowledge. Not only do we gain Dharma knowledge but we also learn skills like this too. Prior to joining Kechara, there would not have been any reason for me to learn these things.

Admittedly some people who join us find it hard to do. They do not see why they have to do it, they do not see why they have to learn it. What they do not understand is that there is no ‘have to learn’ because no one is going to penalise them for not knowing these things. But for people who wish to embrace the changes, and wish to engage in the progress by making active contributions, the process can be rewarding.

Maybe these skills come in handy for you in the future, maybe they do not. However, in the process of learning these skills, we cultivate the attitude of always learning more to improve ourselves so that we may be of benefit to others. Hence today, you will find in Kechara people doing (and enjoying!) all sorts of things they never thought they would.


And by the way, even without WiFi, our online work still continued! With the weak mobile signal we got in some areas (you could NOT move the second you got reception on your phone!), I would tether my phone to the laptop and still get my computer work done. Yes, even in the middle of the Malaysian rainforest, we were still doing computer work. I think this picture was taken when I got a text from Rinpoche asking me to update on the blog all the works taking place around me immediately haha


It just goes to show you, nothing is ever impossible, even when you’re in the dense Malaysian jungle 😉

Life in Kechara: Behind The Scenes

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