Vigorously Fulfilling the Wishes of All Buddhist Monastics on Prince Edward Island
Tributes to our great neighbor Mr. Lorin Panting
Also see P.E.I. Buddhist community gives tribute to neighbour — Guardian’s coverage by Mr. Steve Sharratt (Published on December 08, 2014)
When our Spiritual Teacher decided to establish a Buddhist center on Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada, as the basis of preserving and promoting Buddhist Teachings, we followed along. When we first arrived we knew nothing about this place and did not have friends. We did not even know where to get groceries. Lorin was like the thousand arms and thousand eyes of our Teacher. He seemed to have known that we were coming and thus was ready to help us once we arrived. Lorin was an ethical, warm-hearted man always willing to reach out and help people. Everyone who knows him trusted him. The Panting’s Garage is like a local information harbor. He kindly, vigorously and continuously helped all of us in the Monastery in every aspect of our life on PEI.
Acknowledgement: Thanks to all the inputs from Dharma Masters and supporting staff in the Monastery, including Venerable Yuan-Li, Venerable Xing-Yun, Venerable Xing-Ze (Wen), Dr. Peter Wu, etc., for sharing the memories of Lorin’s merits and kindness so that we were able to complete this tribute. All monastics at GEBIS can thus remember, pay gratitude, pray and dedicate merits to Lorin.
– Settle down in PEI to learn Buddhism-
Providing inexpensive produces (it’s really expensive to buy from Toronto)
Potatoes sold in grocery stores cost $3 per lb. Luckily, we were able to get potatoes in bulk (50lb bags) from Lorin for only $5 per bag! Those potatoes were usually of the best quality, too. Lorin got them from local farmers who had had big harvests. He not only helped us but also the local farmers.
When the apples are in season, Lorin learned that local apples were of superb quality. He offered a large quantity of them to the Monastery. He also led us to the location to pick the best apples on our own. Later when we wanted to make apple sauce, Lorin immediately handed us the family recipe for delicious apple sauce.
Lorin guided our supporting staff on how to wear proper winter clothes for people in the Monastery. Our old way of battling winter coldness was to wear many layers. However, it was really bulky. In addition, one would have to take off some layers when staying indoors. However, if one forgot to put them back on before going out, one can easily catch a cold. Lorin kindly shared with us how local people dress for the winter: one should wear long underwear underneath as well as a heavy-duty coat and hat on top; and snow boots are a must.
Connecting us to winter clothes manufacturers
Initially, we did not know where to purchase winter clothes in large quantity. Lorin dug out phone numbers of clothes manufacturers for us. He even called them directly to help us with purchases.
Emergency fire alarm system
Lorin’s elder brother Frank is a former chief engineer on the ferry. He is very familiar with emergency fire alarm systems. He warned us multiple times that we need to pay attention to potential fire hazards. However, we were quite oblivious initially. However, soon after we had a corridor fire, we began to realize the significance of those warnings.
Experiences in how to survive the winters in PEI
Lorin cared a lot about us. He knew that we had no experience whatsoever in how to survive the winters in PEI. To make it even worse, we were quite ignorant of the potential difficulties we would be facing. However, Lorin managed to find a really nice way to educate us. He somehow found a photo of the severe snowstorm (old-fashioned winter) happened 30 years ago. The photo showed that the snow accumulation almost covered the top of a barn! It immediately attracted our attention and interest. Then Lorin gave us a comprehensive introduction of what the winters in PEI would be like and how to prepare for it, including how to make emergency food storage, react to power outrage, evaluate various situations of snowstorms, etc. He was such a skillful and wise teacher. He got us hooked up first, and only then he taught us what we needed to know.
Renting decent houses
When it comes to house rentals, the Monastery usually values more on how well the environment in and around a house can help the monks uphold their precepts (behavioral codes), than the actual condition of the house. One time we needed to find at least two decent houses in a short time, because some of our teachers were about to come from abroad to PEI and give teachings. However, we did not know how. One day, we told Lorin about it in the morning. In the afternoon of the same day, Lorin already found us three houses to choose from. One of them is his neighbor’s. The neighbor lives in Ontario and visits PEI once every year to see families. Lorin even coordinated with him and kindly asked him to come to PEI earlier that year so that he can set up the house rental with us.
The Monastery had some several special requests in terms of cellphone plans. In particular, we needed a “group plan”. Lorin referred a friend who is a manager at one of the mobile phone companies. Later on, it went really smoothly when we actually finalized a special group plan.
Expanding the campus
The Monastery planned for campus expansion. However, we had some difficulty in getting in touch with one property owner. When Lorin heard about this, he voluntarily took on this task without any hesitation. He tried many ways to locate the person. He sincerely considered our problems as his own.
24/7 Roadside Assistance
We frequently ran into all kinds of unexpected vehicle problems. Most of them happened at unusual times, such as before dawn when people were still asleep. Our vehicles sometimes got stuck in mud, sometimes in snow, sometimes rolled over into ditches, etc. Whenever we called, Lorin always came to save us. In fact, Lorin had a knee problem. When it worsened, he could not even walk up and down stairs freely. However, he never complained or got upset when he had to do the heavy-duty towing work for us. He was also never mad at us, although sometimes he knew it was our own mistakes that got us into trouble. He always cared about our safety. He always cared about whether we had necessary training for properly handling and driving our vehicles.
After having towed and repaired our vehicles for several times, Lorin observed that we needed to learn more about vehicles and build up better driving skills. Thus he looked for opportunities to teach us how to drive safely, how to properly maintain our vehicles, as well as how to drive under hazardous (such as snow) conditions, etc. He reminded us to change to winter tires after the first snow came in. He also taught us how to avoid rolling into ditches.
Purchase used cars
In addition to roadside towing, the Panting Garage also offers mechanical checks for used cars. Lorin knew a lot about cars. After we got more and more familiar with him, we began to ask him to help us find used cars. Lorin was very sharp when he looked at cars. He could get a reasonable ballpark assessment of a car by only looking at it briefly. More importantly, he also observed the owner of the car when he did his checks. He usually could say something about the car’s condition from the owner’s personality and behaviors. He had a clear idea of our needs. He always used his expertise to help us find vehicles that last longer, rather than only cost less.
Whenever our volunteers saw something unfamiliar on the shopping list or had no idea where to get it, they all knew who to go to – Lorin! Lorin was definitely more reliable, informative and efficient than Google!
Small/medium size construction
Sometimes the Monastery needed to do some small/medium size construction work. Since the scale was not big enough, most vendors would not want to do business with us. Every time we turned to Lorin for help, he was always able to help us find the most reliable company who best fits our needs and offers quality services.
Before our sewage system was in place, we had leakage issues, which led to pollution of ponds in the neighborhood. Lorin came to us and helped us with our situation until we completed the installation of the sewage system. Because of the sewage system, the monks were able to stay focused and concentrate better on their Buddhism learning and practices.
Liaison between the government and us
At the initial stage of GEBIS, the Monastery encountered significant difficulties when applying for construction permits, visas, certificates, etc. Lorin had helped facilitate the communication with the government officials, and thus, our interactions with the government indeed have become much smoother afterwards.
Praising the merit of the Monastery
One time, the monks repaired one of the vehicles all by themselves. Lorin was amazed by our efforts when he saw the car. Whenever we drove that car to the Panting’s Garage, Lorin always asked others to come and take a look. He praised the merit of the Monastery from time to time, which had helped us fitting in and being part of the community.
Dispel rumors and misunderstandings
Lorin always tried his best to clear the misunderstanding by others about us.
–Fulfill our Teacher’s wishes–
– Release captive animals
Lobsters sold in grocery stores would cost more than $7 each. If we could buy directly from fishermen, we would be able to buy more lobsters and set them free. Lorin introduced us to a fisherman he knew. Then we were able to buy lobsters at a much lower price. Lorin also help us find a proper location to release the lobsters.
Find horse-raising land and horse-raising knowledge
Our Teacher felt the Animal Sanctuary was too far away from the campus and hoped to move it to a closer location. The volunteer who was in charge of the project also encountered difficulties with raising horses. Lorin immediately introduced him to a horse-raising expert. Soon after meeting with the expert, we reached a mutually beneficial deal. The volunteer found the new location for the animals and was able to fulfill our Teacher’s wishes. He also learned many horse-raising tips from the expert.
When we first set up the animal sanctuary, we grew our own hay and hired people to make haystacks so that we could feed the horses in the park throughout winter. However, the haystacks had all gone rotten before the winter ended. Lorin observed how the haystacks were made and kindly taught us the correct way of making them. In addition, Lorin introduced us to a farmer who grows good quality hay at a reasonable price.
Our Teacher would like us to develop a farming plan. We needed to find suitable farm lands and farmers to work with us. Many of the farmers and land owners were introduced to us by Lorin.
Lorin’s eldest son Robert is our landlord while Lorin’s elder brother Frank is a former chief engineer on the ferry familiar with fire-prevention matters. Lorin’s daughter Gloria used to work in the courthouse and taught us how to complete many of the legal matters. Lorin and his son Doug ran the garage together and helped us numerous times in fixing our automobiles. His many other relatives also helped in many other things.
Treating people equally with a warm heart
Lorin was a pious Presbyterian, but he did not refrain from making friends with our group of Buddhist monks. He was completely willing to help with his heart and soul. He had visited the monastery and paid respect to Buddha with candlelight. He even studied Buddhist philosophy for more than six months and had introduced his friends to come and study Buddhism with us. He worked in his garage and was willing to help anyone seeking help, no matter that person is old or young, rich or poor. He treated everyone as if they were his good friends and helped them equally. He was always willing to share with everyone any good things of his, and he was always ready to send a helping hand when anyone faced difficulty.
Supports for new volunteers for the Monastery
These monastic volunteer works can be both heavy and complicated. In addition, we relied on a rotating system. Frequently, when someone has gotten familiar with the works, they are also due to go back to their home countries, resulting in the new support people having to re-learn the whole process. This is both difficult and time-consuming. One of our most helpful support persons in these works was Lorin—it was a must for all volunteers to get to know Lorin. Therefore, all new support people would be first brought to the garage to have coffee with him and be introduced to him.
Car inspection that was more than a car inspection
Everyone enjoys bringing vehicle to Lorin for car inspection, even for people from other provinces. Actually, people really just wanted to come to chat with Lorin. They either would have a joyful chat with Lorin, or they would simply sit quietly in the same office with him. Either way, everyone likes to come to the garage to have a heart-to-heart exchange with Lorin.
The decade-old knee problem gone
Lorin suffered from a long-time knee problem and was not able to raise his feet. After seeing the doctor the Monastery introduced Lorin to, Lorin showed everyone that he was able to raise his feet without using his hands to help. He told everyone that he was really happy that this long-time problem was cured so quickly.
– Great guardian angel —
For the monks at GEBIS, one of the first and critical things is that they have to have a place to settle and everything needs to be started over from the beginning here in PEI. Lorin was like a know-it-all, literally knowing the solution to every problem that anyone might have. He was like the entry-pass in PEI. It was as if everything that Lorin introduced came with a guarantee, that he would find the most suitable solution to every one of our problems. And other people who knew that it was Lorin who introduced them to us would also always be willing to offer a helping hand.
The broad and wide connections and contacts that Lorin had, as well as the fact that many local residents had a great respect and trust in him, these are not things that can be achieved in a short time. It took years and years of good deeds. Lorin delighted in helping others and in caring about others. These characters also did not arise over a short time. He was always happy to interact with the monks at the monastery and was happy to tell the local community about the good things happening at the monastery and the good works done by the monks. Although it seemed like such a wonderful coincidence that Lorin lived right next to the monastery, in Buddhism we believe nothing arise without a cause. After our Teacher started the monastery and led the monastic community to study here in PEI, many incredible and positive things have happened and helped the monastery to grow and develop, including many of the things that Lorin helped us to achieve.
We would like to express our heart-felt gratitude to Mr. Lorin Panting in helping the Buddhist community to settle in PEI. We can see Lorin’s foot-steps and helping influence in every little thing. He was such a helping force in making it possible for us to follow our Teacher in studying Buddhist teaching here in PEI. Without him, all that we have today could have been very different. We thank Lorin with all our hearts.