My Recent Tour in Malaysia
This year's holiday was a special and spiritual one, some of my fellow students and I went to Malaysia for the Seven-Day Amitabha Chanting Retreat. Many laities and us, monastic members concentrated in Amitabha Buddha name recitation every day. We do this in order to be reborn in the Pure Land.
After the initial spiritual journey in Than Hsiang Temple, Penang, we embarked on a leisure tour before coming back to the college. We visited Ipoh, Taiping and the Cameron Highlands in a state called Perak in Malaysia.
In the Cameron Highlands, there is a great number of tea plantations. Many mountains are covered by tea trees and there are many forests which I have never seen. The crystal clear water and scenic mountains reminded me of home. It was as if I had returned to my country. They were so beautiful and many other travelers went there at the same time as us, too.
I was happy that there were many kinds of tea for sale, and I bought some for my classmates. Cameron is a beautiful place. If you ever go to Malaysia, you should visit the Cameron Highlands. The majority of inhabitants in Cameron are Chinese descendants of Chao Zhou ethnic from GuangDong, China.
We had a good dinner together in Cameron that night. Venerable Zhen Chan shared with us how he became a monk. He likes those mountains and waters in Cameron. Venerable Zhen Chan visits the Cameron Highlands every year and has been there many times. He also shared with us many of his fond memories of Cameron, as the locals would name the place.
The next day, we went to a temple in Ipoh which belongs to the Pure Land School. There are many mountains in Ipoh which are similar to those at Gui Lin in China, in fact, Ipoh is called the Small Gui Lin by people. There are also some beautiful caves in Ipoh. After lunch, we visited the abbot of the temple and snapped some photographs.
We then proceeded to Taiping which is a special place. The name itself is from an old story. The British occupied Malaysia and ruled in Taiping a long time ago. So, the majority of people there can speak English, even little children. Taiping is also a beautiful place.
There are many mountains and there is a lake which is named Taiping Lake. There is a meditation centre not far from the lake. Many people were practicing meditation when we went to visit. This is a Theravada meditation centre. It is a very comfortable and conducive place for one to meditate. There is also a famous master in charge of the centre. When I saw many practitioners there, I was happy because Buddhism will live in the world forever.
During the holiday, we visited an old Bhikkhu who is the most interesting and the best person we met in this trip. He is the abbot of a temple named Fabao Mountain Temple. It is also a meditation centre but of the Mahayana tradition. There were a few Bhikkhus and some disciples who practiced meditation when we went there. This too is a peaceful and beautiful place. The abbot's name is Venerable Wen Jian.
Most venerable Wen Jian taught us how to practice Buddhism in daily life while we were drinking tea with him. Everybody listened to him attentively. He is a wise and approachable master. Everyone was happy and we also took some snapshots with him. We remained in Fabao Mountain until dark. Finally, we ended our tour and went back to Than Hsiang Temple in Penang.
This is the first time I spent my holiday abroad, it is a special holiday because I learnt a lot of things during the holiday. I will study harder with the inspiration I had during the holiday.
Edit by Ven. Zhen Man