After a more than 13 hours flight, we finally arrived at the air space of Canada. Through the window I see snow mountains surrounded by clouds, blue ocean and green forest, what a gorgeous country!
Local disciples in Vancouver await us at the airport. They have been requesting my visit every year for the past 5 years, today this is finally happening. It is indeed a pleasant moment.
The weather is nice in the morning, we are enjoying the view of the ocean in White Rock, where is located next to the USA border. I am still having a bit of headache because of the jet lack. Several volunteers took us for a ride, we went to look for a suitable conference place for our group practice. After seeing a few places that did not fit our requirements, we finally decided a hotel, coincidently; it is also the same hotel where Khenpo Tsultrim Lodrö gave his teaching a year ago.
This is the first time I come aboard, so we are going to prepare some introduction in English for many local practitioners. We are working late to prepare these.
Day 2. In the morning, leaded by local Dharma friends, we visited the historical downtown of Vancouver, and the landmark, Pan Pacific Vancouver. In the hotel we watched the 4D introduction movie of Canada. We had lunch in the biggest forest park in downtown, in the afternoon we visited another sightseeing place, which is similar to the 798 forest park in China. At dawn we had supper in a restaurant on top of a mountain, where we can see snow mountains reaching the sky rim, the forest is so green and vivid that it makes the entire city look like a park itself.
Day 3. We got up early in the morning and had a road trip to the USA, the neighbor of Canada. We went across the border. Before noon we visited the Boeing company, a manufacture of giant air planes. In the afternoon we visited a few Dharma friends in the USA. At night we returned to Vancouver.
Day 4. We took a shuttle boat to the Vitoria Island. The boat is big enough to allow four vehicles park side-by-side in its chamber, it is carrying hundreds of cars onboard. The Victoria Island is where the headquarter of the Vancouver government located, a beautiful island city. After visiting the government building, we went to a garden that is built over the foundation of an old mining site. We had hunch over there, and came back to Vancouver in the afternoon.
Day 5. We went to see the boat and the dock that are scheduled for our life release event coming in a few days. This dock is in a very convenient location, with a big parking lot nearby. We have been catering the same boat for the past few years, whose owner managed to find a bigger boat for us, because in this event, we are having more participants. We took a look at the big boat, and arranged the seats, video equipments and planned the entire event. When all these are done, we went back to Burnaby, and had dinner at a renounced local restaurant. Surprisingly, I met a dharma friend here that has lost contact with me for more than 20 years. Later when we returned home, that Dharma friend finally remembered who I am, and he contacted me and asked if he could see me again. We decided to meet again at the coming life release event.
Day 6. In the morning, some local Dharma friends came see me, some of them have not taken the refuge vow, and knew little about the Buddha dharma, however, they have been participating our life release for several years, under the guidance of our local team leader. They started as a small group of 3 people, and now has become the biggest life release organization in Vancouver. Also, they have formally registered our Buddhist organization this year. To them I have given the opportunity to take the refuge vow, and some basic Dharma teachings. In the afternoon, we met some Dharma friends from the USA, to whom I answered their questions as well. In the evening we prepared some Dharma books and gifts, to be given to Dharma friends in the event tomorrow.
Day 7. We came to the dock with everything prepared. Our volunteers were busy with uploading the living creatures that are going to be set free, and welcomed everyone aboard. We took off on time after all members arrived, sailing towards the ocean. I briefly introduced the merits of life release and the treasure bottles, as well as the history of our local Dharma association. It is like when a drop of water dissolves into an ocean, the water drop would become inexhaustible, in the same way, a person's merits would become inexhaustible too if he joins a benevolent team - who have completed releasing 15 billions of captive animals to this day. Next, the team leader in Vancouver has given her speech: a few years ago, she wanted to organize a life release association in this city, and she went through many obscurations, finally this became successful with the supports from Dharma friends all over China. She expressed her gratitude to everyone's support. Her wish has finally came true - her teacher visited Canada at last, after the team's five years of preparation. She is very rejoiced, so is everyone onboard.
After completing the life release, in the same evening we took a flight to New York city.
Day 8. Around 6am, We arrived at New York. We settled down in a hotel in downtown. After a short rest, we began our tour around the city. Statue of Liberty is our first stop; afterward we visited the Monument of 911. In the evening, we took a walk around the Time Square, enjoying the beautiful scene of this city. To me, New York somehow looks similar to Hong Kong, they both have narrow streets and aged buildings, but comparatively New York gives me a more condensed feeling of history. The neon lights here at night is same as Hong Kong, turning all the skyscrapers into a world of illusion. People coming by here have different skin colors and dresses. Among them, my saffron monastic robe did not attract anybody's attention, it seems "multi-culture" is the way this city is supposed to be.
Day 9. We are still enjoying the tour around New York, we visited the famous Empire State Building, and Madame Tussauds New York.
Day 10. We joined a gathering in New York and the next day visited a country site of New York.
With great joys in mind, we took a flight back to Vancouver in the midnight.
Day 12. After finishing our trip with a tight schedule in the USA, we decided to have a meeting with our regular volunteers in Vancouver, I gave them some teachings on the Guru Rinpoche's offering Sadhana, and arranged all volunteers' schedules in the entire event. We are carefully planning for tomorrow, because it will be our first time holding such a big Dharma gathering in Canada. We pre-played all the video clips that is going to be played for the gathering, and adjusted the timings of all the audio files, trying to make everything perfect. We packed all equipments in the evening, and loaded then into our vehicles, getting ready for the next day.
Day 13. We arrived at the hotel early in the morning, and started setting up the stage. We are not familiar with some of the local equipments, therefore we spent some time to adjust them. The volunteers are preparing text books and offerings items, these took us the entire morning to prepare, until all the participants have arrived at the hotel at noon. The conference place is full of Dharma friends, together we recited the offering prayer. I gave them some teachings regarding the Guru Rinpoche's offerings, and explained the profound meaning and merits of this Sadhana. The gathering is completed at 5pm. All Dharma friends rejoiced at this event, and wished for more opportunities to do this Sadhana together in future.
Day 14. After visiting Thrangu Monastery, we completed our journey to Vancouver.