History of The Kuan Yin Contemplative Order (KYCO)
We have come a long way and the road that we have coursed through since the inception of our Order has been laden with memories, more sweet than sour. For a spiritual centre to celebrate its 25th Anniversary as a solid entity is no common feat and this can only be attributable to the will and blessings of our Divine Mother Kuan Shih Yin P'usa and the Divine Gurus.
The birth of the Kuan Yin Contemplative Order (KYCO) in 1979 was sparked by an inner cry for divine intervention by Tony Wong (Sifu), whose brother Nelson Wong was afflicted with cancer in December 1978. Sifu's earnest cry for divine help was well responded when on the 10th night of the Chinese New Year in 1979, his body was 'taken over' by a Deity who declared Himself as 'The Spirit of The North'. The ensuing moments were a mixture of confusion, perplexity and amazement for all present. When things became calm, the Deity told Sifu that the Lord of the East, Wong Lo Sin See, on hearing his pleading, had invited Him to come down to save Nelson's life. Before departing, He told all present then that Sifu was to be a Buddhist in this life.
Sifu's experience that night was just the beginning of a long series of Divine teachings imparted nightly to him by Taoist Deities notably Guru Wong Lo Sin See, The Spirit of the North and Guru Chi Kung. Soon after they informed Sifu that he belonged to the Lotus Family of the Divine Mother Kuan Shih Yin P'usa, thus began another round of Divine teachings. In the absence of a human guru for reference and guidance, the fledgling years were rather difficult for Sifu. Undeniably, the roles played by Master Yap Cheng Hai and Michael Boey, (fondly called 'Si Pak' by our members) did much to enhance the assurance that what he went through spiritually had nothing to do with the dark side.
The health of Nelson improved with the passage of time and at the prompting of Kuan Shih Yin P'usa, the Kuan Yin Contemplative Order (KYCO) was formed. The 1st Kuan Yin Festival was held on the 19th day of the 6th Moon 1979, but the Order was only formally founded during the 9th Moon Festival of the same year, held at Graphic Press, No. 3 Jalan 225, Petaling Jaya, in the very office of Sifu. The first three disciples to be brought into the Order were Chia Shou Wen, San Peng and Tee Siew Seet. They were later joined by another 12 comprising of Henry Kam Man Heng, Wong Kam Leong, Alan Wong Chee Mun, Hoh Yong Yong, Alex Lee Chuen Foong, Ronald Chong It Too, Wong Cheong Fai, Chin Teh Cheow, Khor Boon Chuan, Chan Siew Kheong, Kiew Cheh and Dolly Lim Kim Huay. Strangely though, Sifu had no hand in the choice of the disciples; they were all selected by the Divine Mother Herself.
What sets the KYCO apart from the other temples, not in a boastful way, is that the Divine Gurus imparted teachings directly to Sifu and from him to the devotees of the Order. Then, as now, there was no lack of miracles that must have drawn many a devotee to the Order. The case of Auntie Cheah, the birth of disciple Henry Kam's son, the unique display of heavenly lights appearing in the sky in front of Graphic Press one night after prayer and the miraculous cures experienced by Nelson Wong of seven threatening relapses of cancer are good testimonials of the great love and compassion that the Divine Mother has been showering upon us.
Small as we are, yet Great Dharma teachers from the various Vajrayana Schools, with prominent names like His Eminence Tai Situpa Rinpoche, H.H. Sakya Trizin Rinpoche, H.H. Drikung Chetsang Rinpoche, H.H. Drukchen Rinpoche, N gawang Gelek Rinpoche, Zopa Rinpoche and Amchok Rinpoche, and the list continues, have made the KYCO their preferred stopover when they visited Malaysia. We have also played host to Dharma Masters from other schools such as Korean Zen Master and Hindu Masters as well.
Of course, not forgetting our beloved Luangpor Thong who in his early eighties, visited our center twice. His vibrant aura and gentleness won the hearts of many KYCO members thus causing the many visits to his temple in Hatyai to pay our respects to Him. His demise was a great loss not only to the Thais but also to many of his devotees in Malaysia. He will always be remembered for his generosity, loving-kindness and also for the times he shared with us, always wanting to listen to our hymns.
In a way that smacks of attachment, we will always remember our original centre at Graphic Press. This feeling of nostalgia is hardly an exaggeration as a predominant number of our members began our spiritual life in this printing company and had witnessed the many miracles and phenomena attributable to the Divine Mother. During the festivals, we were often joined by the Bangsar Sai Baba group headed by Datuk Jegathesan and also the Sun Hoon Keong Temple devotees, led by Sifu Tony Khoo, with the display of spiritual kung fu and other performances.
After spending about 17 years in Graphic Press, it was time to move on. Nothing is permanent except change and it must happen. We moved to 106/l06A, Jalan Kelang Lama on 26th May 1996 with additional activities that included a Tea House, the brainchild of the late Venerable Gelongla, and a Buddhist bookshop both operated under the banner of Dharma House Society (DHS). Gelongla was also instrumental in the successful publication of our earlier newsletter, popularly called "Crazy Wisdom". Five years down the road, we received a bombshell, that the Government intended to acquire the land and DHS building for a road expansion project, thus began a round of frantic search to house our centre.
Fortunately, Dato' Lim Keng Siew came to our aid and offered a bungalow that was recently acquired at No. 2, Jalan Awan Kecil 6, Overseas Union Garden for our use. This timely offer was undoubtedly linked to the unseen hands of the Divine Mother whose boundless love should not be taken for granted. After months of planning, mainly by Sifu, and quite extensive renovation, we moved to this newly transformed premise on 7th December 2001. We are now comfortably settled down in this present place, but again it is time to move on, finally to our permanent home, the Temple of Light and Love.
The moving of our Kuan Yin Contemplative Order to its present premises marked another milestone for our Order in that the "Kuan Family" now has a place we can call our Spiritual Home, the Temple of Light and Love. It is the 7th and final Gift of Love from our Divine Mother, Kuan Shih Yin P'usa, made possible by the generous contributions of more than 20,000 donors from all walks of life, near and far.
The actual date of shifting was preceded by the "Hoi Kong" (Consecrating) ceremony of the three images of our Cho Sees, namely Kuan Yin P'usa, Wong Lo Sin See, and The Spirit of the North, on 12th March 2006, which also coincided with Wesak Day. This simple yet significant ceremony, held at 5:00am, was kindly performed by Mr. Wong Kim Seng, of the Wong Lo Sin See Temple in Cheras. About 30 KYCO members sacrificed the best part of their sleep to attend the ceremony, some arriving as early as 4.30am.
On the whole the moving was seamlessly executed. Organized by the leaders of the various sub-committees formed for this purpose most of the items were already in the new temple weeks earlier, transferred in staggered stages on a daily basis. On the final day of shifting, 21st May 2006, the kind assistance of Curio Pack Sdn Bhd made it possible for us to move the main altar and some of the heavy items. The following week, more than 50 members turned up to clean and clear whatever leftover items in the former temple at Taman OUG. Admittedly, any expression in whatever form is not sufficient to thank Dato' Lim Keng Siew and his family for the use of their property as our Way-place since end of 2001.
The first prayer at our new centre was held on 23rd May 2006, preceded by a symbolic opening ceremony of ribbon cutting performed by Sifu and Simoh. The turn out was overwhelming, filling the ground floor space to capacity. The pleasant appearances of many old devotees and the exchange of greetings brought back sweet memories of the past. It sort of augured well for our Order, a kind of homecoming for some old members.
Although the shifting has ended another chapter in our moving from one place to another, it is the beginning of yet another chapter and a more important one - the real practice in our spiritual journey of life.
In the span of 25 years, the Divine Mother and our Divine Gurus have groomed and nurtured us spiritually in ways unequalled elsewhere. Through Sifu, She has spoken millions of Dharma-filled words and guided us all the way by the mere dependence on Her Holy Mantra of OM MANI PADME HUM. During the 9th Moon Festival of 2002, the initiated devotees took the pledge to enter the “Kuan” family, which is meant for us to live up to its name and qualities. For that our Divine Mother has introduced the 6 qualities of the Mind intended to uphold our character to be gentle, humble, simple, charitable, hospitable and noble. These are supported by the 6 virtues of the Heart with the practice of being kind, caring, helpful, merciful, loving and compassionate. Further 6 qualities of the selfless Nature, comprising the values of being loyal, honest, sincere, courageous, pure and selfless, were introduced a year later in 2003.
Adhering to these 18 qualities will help us in the 10 Steps of Practice of our Order namely, pray, give, sit, care, serve, practice, purify, renounce, harmonizing culminating with a Heart of Love. Taking this further, She also taught us the 10 Steps of Learning through seeing, hearing, experiencing, contemplating, realizing, inner knowing, serving, forgiving, teaching and intuitive learning. These 38 qualities are deemed complete in its entirety.
To walk this spontaneous path as one with a warm and caring heart we need to follow these five practices, which are Aims to be fulfilled, Tasks to be undertaken, Rules to be followed, Challenges to be faced and Goals to be attained. The Divine Mother has showered us with everything that is necessary to walk Her path successfully. Central to all these are the seven gifts that She has favoured us with, which are : the Guru-Yidam, the Holy Mantra, the Sacred Path, the Contemplative Order, the Blessed Teachings, the Kuan Family and finally the Temple of Light and Love. There is nothing more that we can ask of the Divine Mother than what She has already given us. Likewise, She too expects nothing from us except to invite Her into our heart and to practice Her priceless teachings.
That it has taken us almost 27 years to realize this dream of having our own temple came not by accident, but by the design of our beloved Kuan Yin P'usa. We have come a long way, traversing three cycles of 9 years of learning and training, within each cycle another 3 subcycle of 3 years. Much have we benefited from the teachings, exhortations and encouragement patiently channeled through our Sifu by our Divine Mother, Cho Sees and Guru Chi Kung in the daily and the seasons' messages.
May the blessings of the Founding Gurus be showered upon you all.
OM MANI PADME HUM
Khor Kuan Chuan
[Note: This article is an editted excerpt from our Kuan Yin Festival's newsletters issued in November 2004 and July 2006]