I promised Yek Ming, I would write about Kalyana Mitra Home, so here is my story. This story started when I was in my first year in University Sains Malaysia (USM). Since the first day of my university life, I had hoped to move out with my friends because initially I disliked the life in the hostel. However, as time went on, I adapted to the hostel life.
During my second year, I decided to move out from the hostel with my friend. I had heard about a Buddhist house from Persatuan Pelajar Buddhist, so I thought it was a good chance for us to stay there as we could apply the Dhamma in our daily life. My friend, however, could not accept staying in a Buddhist house and we ended up renting a room outside USM instead. Then, I started to realize that I had a problem getting along with others. It was a terrible life there. The number of happy days could be count, so few were them.
Later on, I got to know about Kalyana Mitra Home through Seow Hui as we joined a dana group together. When I was in my third year, my room mate decided to move out since we could not find enough people to stay in the house. So I thought this was my chance to move in to Kalyana Mitra Home. I had asked Seow Hui about the life there and I felt that it could be a good place for me to learn the Dhamma. Then I went to visit the place and decided to stay there. At the same time, my room mate suddenly told me that she did not want to move out as the owner agreed to let us stay. I felt bad if I were to leave her alone, so I declined staying at the Kalyana Mitra Home though I really wished I could stay there. I felt quite disappointed. Well, perhaps the time was not ripe for me to stay at Kalyana Mitra Home and I had to accept this fact.
At long last it was my final year in USM. My room mate studied for a three year course, so I was left to myself in my final year. This time, I firmly decided to stay in Kalyana Mitra Home. Here was my chance, that's what I thought. I went to find Yek Ming and sad to say, she told me that the place was reserved for the university juniors and she needed to consult Venerable Zhen Chan first. (Venerable Zhen Chan was the bhikkhu in charge of Kalyana Mitra Home then.)
I was so disappointed, devastated even, when I heard that. I was really scared that I had missed the chance to stay at the Home again. Nevertheless, I understood the situation and prepared myself to accept any decision. Luckily, Yek Ming brought me good news. Wow, I felt really grateful and deeply appreciated the kindness shown to me to be allowed to stay at the Kalyana Mitra Home.
Something was bothering me, however, before I moved in there. I didn't really know all my housemates; how was I going to stay with them? Would we be able to get along? That's what really worried me. Fortunately, things went smoothly when I moved in. I got to know all my housemates slowly and started to build up my friendship with them. Though I just got to know them for less than a year, the bonding that we have is strong.
I just simply love to stay there. The chanting every week helped to calm me down. I also had the chance to join in some of the Than Hsiang Temple's activities. I learnt to share and care. Sometimes, I was being taken care of, especially when I was sick. It really gave me a warm feeling just like being at home. All of the housemates are as close as family members. It gave me the confidence that if I ever encounter any difficulties, kalyana mitra members will be there for me. I won't be alone.
I had repeatedly told myself that, “Aiyah, I should have moved in here earlier!” but what had happened, happened and there was no point in regrets now. It is better to be late than never, that's what I think. I am really grateful to be given a chance to stay there. I had a totally different life in my final year as a university student. Although it was short, it was most meaningful. There is only one word for me to describe my feelings towards Kalyana Mitra Home and that is “wonderful”!
May all sentient beings be well and happy always.
Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!