Amazing Angkor: A Guide to the Buddhist Temples of Siem Reap

May 13, 2018 | Views: 289
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As the country with the largest majority of Buddhists in the world (97% of Cambodians are active practitioners of Buddhism according to the ‘Global Religious Landscape’ report by the Pew Research Centre), Cambodia is a nation rich with spirituality. Called ‘wat’ in Cambodia, Buddhist temples can be found everywhere and one cannot walk down a street without passing a saffron-robed monk.

Another indication of how deeply spirituality is intertwined with everyday living in Cambodia is that three of the country’s most important annual holidays are big Buddhist festivals:

  • Meak Bochea’ or ‘Magha Puja’, commemorating the auspicious occasion of 1,250 Buddhists coming together spontaneously to venerate the Buddha at Veluvana bamboo grove, is celebrated on the day of the full moon every third lunar month;
  • Visak Bochea Day’, the Cambodian name for ‘Wesak Day’, celebrates the birth, Enlightenment and parinirvana of the Buddha;
  • The 15-day long ‘Pchum Ben’ also known as ‘Ancestors’ Day’ or the ‘Hungry Ghost Festival‘ culminates in a three-day public holiday.
Cambodia 01 - Meak Bochea

Monks in Cambodia celebrating Meak Bochea, one of the biggest holidays of the year. Held on the full moon of the lunar calendar in March, Buddhists celebrate with a candlelight procession. Image credit: Flickr

Cambodia is where the world’s largest religious structure ever built can be found — Angkor Wat, the greatest legacy of the mighty Khmer Empire. Meaning ‘Temple City’, Angkor Wat was originally constructed as a Hindu temple but gradually transformed into a Buddhist one commencing from the late 12th century.

A visit to Angkor Wat is an experience of a time in our history when spirituality influenced every facet of society, from living ethics and the arts to the government and building architecture. Early in 2017, Angkor Wat was voted “the world’s most popular landmark” by travel portal TripAdvisor. This is not the first time either; Angkor Wat was also ranked the “#1 sight in the world” in 2015 by the largest travel guide book publisher in the world, Lonely Planet.

Cambodia 02 - Visak Bochea

Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia was named the world’s most popular landmark in 2017 by the popular travel website Tripadvisor

 

VIDEO: The #1 sight in the world, as voted by Lonely Planet

Or view the video on the server at:
http://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/Cambodia-V1a-Lonely-Planet.mp4

Cambodia is also home to ancient Angkor, one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World”. In its heyday, it was a megacity the size of present-day Los Angeles and was home to hundreds of thousands (and estimated at up to three-quarters of a million people when the Khmer civilisation was at its peak).

Cambodia Khmer Stele

A rare inscribed sandstone stele with a figure of the Buddha and finely inscribed on all sides. (Khmer, Baphuon Period, 11th Century) 33½ in. (85 cm.) high. Image credit: Christie’s

Influenced by the Mahayana Buddhism of the great Nalanda University in India — regarded as the world’s oldest university — the Khmer kings established a civilisation with a foundation based on Indian Shaivite and Mahayana Buddhist cosmology that produced progressive life and social sciences, cutting-edge building technology and an empire that stood for 600 years.

The province of Siem Reap is where most of Cambodia’s ancient Khmer temples can be found. The wats of ancient Khmer which make this country so popular with tourists, also make it a top choice destination for Buddhist pilgrims to reconnect with their Buddha-nature and to pay homage to the spiritual awakening which inspired some of the world’s greatest monuments ever built by man.

Siem Reap is also the location of Cambodia’s most sacred mountain. Mount Kulen or ‘Phnom Kulen‘ is a distinguished pilgrimage site for local Hindus and Buddhists containing many historical shrines such as Preah Ang Thom, a 16th-century Buddhist monastery which houses Cambodia’s largest reclining Buddha statue carved from solid rock. Siem Reap has also been named by TripAdvisor as “The Top Destination in Asia” and placed second in the list of “Traveller’s Choice Top 25 Destinations in the World” for 2017.

Cambodia 03 - Siem Reap TripAdvisor Top Destinations

For 2017, TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel website, placed Siem Reap as the second most popular destination in Asia.

 

Siem Reap: An Overview

In the north-west of Cambodia, close to the borders of Thailand, Siem Reap Province was the seat of the ancient Khmer Empire at Angkor — the source of Cambodia’s rich spiritual history. The capital city of the province, also called Siem Reap, is the second largest city in Cambodia and the gateway to over a thousand of Angkor’s temple structures.

Attracting millions of visitors in recent years, Siem Reap is a buzzing cosmopolitan city (and the country’s most developed) catering to every kind of traveller — from guesthouses for backpackers to boutique hotels, diverse world-class cuisines, spas, shopping, and a creative cultural scene that includes artisans, contemporary art galleries and museums. It is also home to the famous Phare, Cambodia’s leading circus known as the “Cambodian Cirque du Soleil.” The city’s airport is the second biggest international airport in Cambodia.

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Once a laid-back river town that served as the gateway to Angkor Wat, Siem Reap has since become a destination entirely of its own

Cambodia 05 - Phare Cambodian Circus

The Phare Cambodian Circus is a contemporary circus in the tradition of the Cirque Du Soleil with a cast of talented young Cambodian performers accomplished in acrobatics, contortion, aerial ballet, balancing, tightrope walking, fire dancing, vaulting, juggling, music, dance, drama, mime and comedy.

 

VIDEO: What to do in Siam Reap, Cambodia

Apart from Angkor, Siem Reap has its own allure, with enticing dining options, stylish shops, genial residents and a laid-back river town ambiance.

Or view the video on the server at:
http://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/Cambodia-V2a-What-to-Do-in-SiemReap.mp4

 

VIDEO: Things to Do and What to Eat in Siam Reap, Cambodia

This insightful travel vlog looks at Food and Beverage social enterprises in Siem Reap — restaurants and cafes that serve highly-rated cuisine along with contributing valuable resources and time to the local Cambodian community.

Or view the video on the server at:
http://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/Cambodia-V3a-Food.mp4

 

Angkor Archaeological Park

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1992, Angkor Archaeological Park is a 400-square kilometre site containing the magnificent remains — nearly 40 temple structures — of the Khmer Empire. Gradually built over half a millennia from the 9th to the 15th centuries, Angkor is now known to be the largest pre-industrial city in the world.

The most iconic monuments at Angkor Park are the Angkor Wat Temple and the Bayon Temple at Angkor Thom with its giant faces of Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of Compassion, carved in stone.

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Laser surveys conducted in 2012 and 2015 revealed that the temples in Angkor Park were once surrounded by a sprawling urban network spread over an area larger than modern-day Paris. Image credit: © flickr user: chrisjunker, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The early temples of Angkor were built as Hindu temples but became Buddhist in the 12th century when Jayavarman VII converted to Mahayana Buddhism. Following his conversion, this Khmer king commenced on an ambitious era of sophisticated development including the building of the new capital city of Angkor Thom containing the monumental Buddhist temples of Bayon, Ta Prohm and Preah Khan. The rule of Jayavarman VII is regarded as “the golden era” of the Khmer.

Cambodia 07 - Angkor 2 (Map)

With over 150 significant monuments, Angkor was the crown jewel of the Khmer civilisation. Apart from being an outstanding cultural heritage site, it is also an ecological site with reservoirs (the famous barays), ponds and canals as well as forests and rice paddies. Home to around 130,000 local inhabitants scattered over 112 villages, Angkor is a living heritage site. Moreover, it is a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists both from Cambodia and from abroad who come regularly to pray, organise sacred ceremonies and worship their deities in the pagodas inside Angkor Wat, in front of Bayon Temple as well as in Bakong and Lolei. Monks still live in pagodas and monastic life continues as it was in the past. Due to its outstanding universal values, the 401 sq km site has been included on UNESCO´s World Heritage List since 1992. Source: Official Angkor Park website, http://www.angkor.com.kh

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Cambodia 09 - Angkor 3 (Lidar)

In 2007, an international team of researchers using satellite photographs and other modern techniques concluded that “Angkor had been the largest pre-industrial city in the world,” with an elaborate infrastructure system connecting an urban sprawl of at least 1,000 square kilometres to the well-known temples at its core. Angkor is considered to be a “hydraulic city” because it had a complicated water management network, which was used for systematically stabilising, storing, and dispersing water throughout the area. This network is believed to have been used for irrigation in order to offset the unpredictable monsoon season and to also support the increasing population. Although the size of its population remains a topic of research and debate, newly identified agricultural systems in the Angkor area may have supported up to one million people. Source: Wikipedia; Image credit: Damian Evans/Cambodian Archaeological Lidar Initiative

After the Mahayana Buddhist rule under Jayavarman VII and his son Indravarman II, the Khmer Empire reverted to Hinduism for a short period but eventually returned to becoming a Buddhist kingdom until its fall to the Thai kingdom of Ayutthaya. Many of the remaining temples in the Angkor Archeological Park, originally built as palatial dwellings for the gods, continue to be holy pilgrimage sites for Cambodians and foreign visitors, including monks.

The Angkor Archaeological Park registered two million tourists last year and entry into the park is via a ticketing system. Visitor details along with tips for pilgrims to Angkor Park and the temples in Siem Reap are listed in the section below.

 

VIDEO: A clip on Angkor Wat from the documentary ‘Prajna Earth’, the second part of The Journey Into Buddhism ‘Yatra Trilogy’ series.

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http://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/Cambodia-V4a-PrajnaEarth.mp4

 

Angkor Wat

The only man-made building to have a place on a country’s national flag, Angkor Wat is the pride of Cambodia. Surrounded by moats and built in the “temple-mountain” style, Angkor Wat is a highly symbolic mountain-like building topped by five towers. Called ‘gopuras’, the five towers represent the five peaks of the mythical Mount Meru.

“Grander than anything left to us by Greece or Rome” was the judgment of young French explorer Henri Mouhot when he first stumbled across Angkor Wat in 1858. He described the complex as “a rival [to the temple] of Solomon, erected by some ancient Michelangelo”.

Cambodia 10 - Angkor Wat 1 (Henri Mouhot)

In 1858, Henri Mouhot, a French naturalist and explorer, travelled to Indochina to conduct a series of botanical expeditions. An English version of his travel journal was published in London in 1864. In it, he introduced the Temple of Angkor to the western world, and this publication, with his exquisitely detailed engravings, helped to popularise the now famous complex of ruined temples. Image credit: A drawing of Angkor Wat by Henri Mouhot from 1864

This temple, originally dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, was built by King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century and remains the largest religious complex in the world. Unrivalled in scale and grandeur, the temple’s five gopuras rise above a 400-acre precinct — four times larger than Vatican City. The period when Angkor Wat was built also marks the beginning of the golden age of the Khmer Empire. Later in the century, Angkor Wat was converted into a Buddhist temple by King Suryavarman II’s successor, Jayavarman VII.

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A statue of Buddha Shakyamuni at the entrance to the inner sanctuary of the central tower of Angkor Wat

Although Angkor Wat’s precious statues and art were targeted for destruction by the Khmer Rouge during their violent reign in the late 70s, and were looted and sold on the black market in the following decades, there still remains many archeological treasures to be viewed and admired. Glorious to behold even with their heads removed, Buddha statues sit in meditation along the corridors of Angkor Wat as a silent reminder of both Cambodia’s past glory and its violent history.

Constructed in the form of a mandala and positioned to align with astrological events, Angkor Wat has long corridors and open galleries with 1,700 devatas (deities) and 1,200 square metres of Hindu epics carved into the bas-reliefs decorating the temple’s walls. The most renowned is the creation epic ‘Churning the Ocean of Milk’ depicting the beginning of time and the creation of the universe in an equally epic 49-metre-long wall carving — Vishnu commanding a giant naga to be pulled back and forth by 108 devas (gods) and asuras (demons), churning the primordial ocean for a thousand years until ‘amrita‘, the nectar of life develops. It is a tale that represents the divine paradox where the forces of dark and light work relentlessly together for one’s spiritual awakening.

Country: Cambodia Site: Angkor Wat Caption: Churning of the Sea of Milk bas relief, long view Image Date: c1996 Photographer: John Stubbs/WMF Provenance: Site Visit Original: from slide collection

View of the 49-metre wall with its intricately sculpted bas-relief ‘Churning the Ocean of Milk’ at Angkor Wat.

The place of the Khmer kings in Angkor Wat has long passed down the corridor of time but for the Buddha, it is still ever present. Like most of the temples in Angkor Park, Angkor Wat houses many active Buddhist altars and shrines complete with larger-than-life Buddha statues carved from stone which are cared for by local monks from nearby temples and the laity with daily venerations and offerings of candles, joss-sticks (incense sticks), flowers and fruit. One of the most popular sites in Angkor Wat, with many shrines for veneration, is ‘Preah Poan’ — the Hall of a Thousand Buddhas.

One of the best times of the year to visit Angkor Wat is during any one of the three big Buddhist holidays. On Magha Puja and Wesak Day, Angkor Wat becomes a sea of saffron as thousands of monks converge on the temple grounds to offer devotional chanting and recitations, pray and meditate. During the 15-day-long Cambodian Ancestor’s Day Festival called ‘Pchum Ben’, the altars and shrines in Angkor Wat are a venue of feasts, as long lines of food, cakes and fruits are laid out in front of Buddha statues together with incense, flowers and other offerings, to appease and relieve the sufferings of the deceased in the afterlife.

Cambodia 13 - Angkor Wat 4 (Visak Bochea)

Monks from all over the country and region gather for the annual Visak Bochea or Wesak Day festival

 

Angkor Thom

Sited after Angkor Wat in the archaeological park is Angkor Thom — the last capital of the ancient Khmer — built progressively over a few centuries by successive kings but mostly (including the iconic Bayon Temple) by the Buddhist King Jayavarman VII. Unlike Angkor Wat which was built as a temple, Angkor Thom was a whole city comprising of temples, palaces and other buildings for civic use including hospitals. Meaning “Great City”, the magnificence of Angkor Thom is in the sum of its parts, right from the entry bridge which is flanked by 54 devas and asuras on each side.

While wooden palatial and civic buildings only have their foundations remaining today, the buildings that are still standing after centuries are the ones worthy enough to have been constructed from stone — the temples built to house the divine.

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Angkor Thom was a fortified city enclosing temples, monasteries, residences of palace officials and the military, as well as buildings for administering the kingdom

 

The Bayon

Set in the centre of the ten square kilometre city of Angkor Thom, all the buildings in this last (and most impressive) capital of the Khmer Empire radiate outwards from the iconic Bayon Temple. Dedicated to the Buddha of Compassion, Bayon has 37 peaks containing more than two hundred stone faces of Avalokiteshvara. Each larger-than-life face is ten feet in height.

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The magnificient Bayon Temple is located at the centre of Angkor Thom

Much smaller in size than Angkor Wat but no less impressive, Bayon is composed of three enclosures with tightly spaced galleries. The main gallery is on an upper terrace and, similar to Angkor Wat, all of Bayon’s gallery walls are filled with superbly carved bas-reliefs.

Uniquely, the bas-reliefs found in Bayon and many of the temples of Angkor Thom also feature depictions of important events and everyday living in this great ancient city. These ‘snapshots’ carved into the stone walls of the outer enclosure are an invaluable window looking back hundreds of years, documenting the people of the ancient Khmer civilisation and their lives.

Cambodia 17 - Bayon 2 (Bas Relief)

The well-preserved bas reliefs of Bayon Temple depict scenes of major events and Khmer life from the period between the 12th and 14th centuries

Although built as a Buddhist temple, the Bayon, like most ancient temples in Southeast Asia, contains tributes to Hindu cosmology — the inner enclosure has walls with reliefs of scenes from the popular Ramayana and Mahabharata epics.

The Bayon’s main gallery on the top level is where the famous “face towers” of the temple can be found. At the centre of this gallery is the central gopura with a sanctuary that, during the time of the Khmer, was the original location of the famous Buddha statue of Bayon — a 3.6 metre tall Buddha in meditation pose, sheltered from the elements by the flared hood of the serpent king Mucalinda.

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The famous “face towers” of Bayon

This statue was thought to be lost but then was found in 1933 at the bottom of a well. The magnificent 12th century Buddha has since been restored and is now on display in its own pavilion outside the Bayon. In the sanctuary today, sits a newer statue of Buddha Shakyamuni.

Cambodia 19 - Bayon 4 (Original Bayon Buddha)

The famous Bayon Buddha sits in meditative equipoise on the trunk of a naga coiled three times to serve as a throne, and whose seven heads spread into a hood to shelter the Enlightened One. This statue was originally located in the central sanctuary of the Bayon temple but is now housed at Vihear Prampil Loveng (Wat Prampei Loveng)

Besides the central gopura, the inner galleries and smaller towers of the Bayon also have sanctuaries and chapels. Some still house the original Buddha statues as centrepieces while others feature more recent replicas. All of these are active shrines of worship and, from time to time, serve as temporary chapels complete with a variety of Buddha statues and altars for making devotions and offerings.

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The many shrines in Bayon Temple make these ancient ruins an active site for Buddhist devotion. Shrines like this can also be found in many other temples in Angkor Park

 

Baphuon Temple

Older than Angkor Wat, Baphuon is said to have been one of the most spectacular of Angkor’s temples during its heyday. Located north-west of Bayon, it was also constructed as a pyramidal representation of the mythical Mount Meru.

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The Baphuon, one of the largest and oldest temples at Angkor Park, lay in hundreds of thousands of pieces for decades, interrupted by the civil war. Restoration works commenced in 1995 and the temple was reopened to the public in 2011.

The temple of Baphuon was the centre of the old Khmer capital that existed before the construction of Angkor Thom. When first built, Baphuon was the state temple of King Udayadityavarman II and was dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.

Later in the 15th century, the Baphuon was converted to a Buddhist temple and a massive 9-metre-tall by 70-metre-long reclining Buddha was built into the wall on the west side.

Cambodia 20 - Baphuon 20 (Reclining Buddha)

When the Baphuon was converted into a Buddhist temple in the 15th century, a massive 70-metre-long reclining Buddha was built into the side of the west wall

When it was found, much of the temple had collapsed and restoration efforts were challenging, particularly after the Khmer Rouge came to power in the 70s and all archaeological records marking the positions of the stones were lost. Nicknamed “the world’s largest jigsaw puzzle”, a team of archaeologists started in 1995 to reassemble the temple from 300,000 stones! After 16 years, the Baphuon Temple was fully restored and reopened its doors to the public in 2011.

 

Terrace of the Elephants

Named for the carvings of elephants on its eastern face, the Terrace of the Elephants was used as a royal viewing gallery for Jayavarman VII — a platform for the Khmer king to view his victorious returning army — and for public ceremonies.

Attached to the Phimeanakas Palace, it also served as a base for the king’s grand audience hall. It is a 350-metre-long stage famous for its life-size reliefs of garudas and lions, and facing either end are marching elephants complete with mahouts.

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During the heyday of the Khmer Empire, the Terrace of the Elephants was the stage for royal processions and ceremonies

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Preah Palilay

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The Buddha statue in the pavilion at the entrance of Preah Palilay was missing its head until the early 1930s when it was found entangled in the roots of a tree

Set in a forested location a short walk from the Terrace of the Elephants and the Phimeanakas Palace is Preah Palilay, a small Buddhist temple. According to Khmer folklore, Preah Palilay takes its name after the Parileyyaka Forest that features in the stories of the Buddha.

Surrounded by towering trees, this temple is highly regarded for having many Buddhist carvings largely intact and in better condition than those vandalised and destroyed in other Angkor temples, first by the Hindu Khmer revival under Jayavarman VIII then by the Khmer Rouge.

Under a pavilion at the front of the temple grounds is a large Buddha statue that was missing its head until it was found entwined in the roots of a tree in the early 1930s. Sitting serenely on a lotus, Buddha Shakyamuni, in the iconic “calling the earth to witness” mudra, greets visitors at the start of a cross-shaped terrace with seven-headed naga balustrades leading to the main entrance of the temple.

 

VIDEO: Cambodia Preah Palilay

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At the doorways of the gopura of Preah Palilay are exquisite carvings with scenes from the life of the Buddha. One scene with elephants, monkeys and peacocks is believed to be from “The offerings of the animals to the Buddha in the forest of Parileyyaka”. Other scenes include the offering of rice-milk by Sujata and the subjugation of the elephant Nalagiri. These scenes also feature exquisite carvings depicting a reclining, seated and standing Buddha in each.

Close to the site is a Buddhist monastery, and the regular presence of monks and nuns at the temple provide Preah Palilay with a living spiritual energy. The temple also has on its grounds the remains of two guardians called dvarapalas and a lion.

 

Tep Pranam

Consisting of little more than an elevated cross-shaped terrace, Tep Pranam was once the base of a pagoda. Although it is listed as one of the least impressive structures in the Angkor Archeological Park, Tep Pranam is undoubtedly an important temple to visit for Buddhist pilgrims.

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To this day, the Buddhist shrines at Tep Pranam carry great religious significance for many Cambodians who come here to pray and make offerings

Tep Pranam means “the adoring God” and this temple is home to two enormous 16th century Buddha statues which have been restored in cement from their original sandstone blocks. The first, towering at 6 metres in height, is Buddha Shakyamuni seated on a lotus in the “calling the earth to witness” mudra. The other has the Buddha standing at 4 metres tall in the “absence of fear” mudra with both palms facing outwards. Each magnificent stone Buddha statue is under a gazebo with shrines for devotions and many Cambodians visit to make prayers and offerings.

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A Buddha statue sitting in the lotus position in Tep Pranam. The 6-metre-high statue dates back to the 16th century, but was restored in 1950

Cambodia 25-26 - Tep Pranam 2 (Combined)

The Standing Buddha at Tep Pranam has been reconstructed with a mixture of concrete and its original sandstone pieces. Standing at over 4 metres in height, the Buddha’s hands are in the “absence of fear” mudra. Right image credit: National Museum of Cambodia. Left image credit: travelvideophoto.com

A stele found near Tep Pranam has inscriptions on its four sides telling of an ancient Buddhist monastery or “asrama” founded by King Yasovarman at the end of the 9th century. The inscriptions also describe the various rules of asrama. It is quite common to find monks and nuns living in retreat in wooden huts on the wooded fringes of Tep Pranam.

 

Preah Khan

One of the largest temple complexes in Angkor, Preah Khan was built by Jayavarman VII in the baroque Bayon style with many finely carved bas-reliefs. More than just a temple, Preah Khan was founded as a Buddhist university housing more than a thousand teachers, monks and nuns along with royal residences. The monastic complex is older than Angkor Thom and it is believed that this may have been a miniature city that served as a temporary capital while Angkor Thom was being constructed.

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Cambodia 29 - Preah Khan 2

Built as a monastery for Buddhist learning, Preah Khan is not to be missed for anyone making a pilgrimage to Angkor

A large stone stele at Preah Khan provides detailed historical information of its founding and role as a centre for Mahayana Buddhist worship and learning. The inscriptions on the Preah Khan Foundation Stele start with invocations to the Three Jewels, Lokeshvara (Avalokiteshvara) and Prajnaparamita. The stele also describes Preah Khan to be a dedication to the king’s father, Dharanindravarman, who is represented by a statue of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara constructed in his likeness at the temple’s central sanctuary.

Cambodia 30 - Preah Khan 3 (Stele)

Extracted from ‘The Stele Inscription of Preah Khan, Angkor Text with Translation and Commentary’ by Thomas S. Maxwell, University of Bonn

Cambodia 31 - Preah Khan 4 (Bas Relief)

Many of the magnificent bas-reliefs on the walls of Preah Khan are very well preserved

Cambodia 34 - Preah Khan 7 (Stupa)

In the central shrine of Preah Khan is a stupa where visitors and pilgrims can make offerings and perform devotions

Cambodia 32 - Preah Khan 5 (Prajnaparamita)

A replica of the kneeling Prajnaparamita statue from Preah Khan is on display at the National Museum of Cambodia in Phnom Penh

At its height, Preah Khan once had shrines devoted to 430 secondary deities, but nearly all of the Buddha statues and images were either completely destroyed or defaced by the Hindu revivalist, Jayavarman VIII, including the Avalokiteshvara statue in the central sanctuary. In its place today is a stone stupa that is also the main shrine for devotions at Preah Khan.

One of the finest Khmer statues found at Angkor Park was from Preah Khan — a kneeling Prajnaparamita, the Bodhisattva who represents the “perfection of wisdom”. The original is presently at the Musée Guimet in Paris and a replica is on display at Cambodia’s National Museum in Phnom Penh.

 

Ta Prohm

Most famously known as the “Tomb Raider Temple,” Ta Prohm provided the location in the blockbuster movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider starring Angelina Jolie. Unlike most Angkor temples which have had their sites cleared and structures restored, Ta Prohm has been preserved almost exactly as it was found — a temple reclaimed by nature complete with tentacled roots and large trees growing out of the ruins. It is this fantasy-like enchanted forest atmosphere that makes Ta Prohm one of the most popular temples at Angkor.

Cambodia 35 - Ta Phrom 1

Ta Prohm achieved international fame for being the location set for the action-adventure movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider with Angelina Jolie as the main star

Originally known as ‘Rajavihara‘ (meaning “Monastery of the King”), Ta Prohm was a Mahayana Buddhist temple built in the 12th century by Jayavarman VII who dedicated it to his mother.

Shrines at Ta Prohm

As with Preah Khan which had the likeness of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara dedicated to his father, the great Buddhist Khmer King dedicated Ta Prohm to his mother in the form of the Bodhisattva Prajnaparamita.

The temple was an important Buddhist monastery and university, and was home to over 10,000 people including thousands of monks and nuns. It also contained a stele which provided detailed records of its construction, purpose and maintenance.

400 years after European explorers rediscovered Ta Prohm, the temple’s appearance is not so different from when it was found. It was decided that Ta Prohm should remain exactly as it was to show the conquering power of nature over man.

Cambodia 36 - Ta Phrom 2 (Shrine 1)

Inside Ta Prohm’s dark maze-like corridors and galleries, pilgrims will find some of the most magical-looking Buddhist shrines in Angkor.

Many Buddhist scenes can also be found here including a bas-relief illustrating the “Great Departure” of Siddhartha from his father’s palace and a scene from the Jataka Tale of Prince Vessantara who, after giving away his two children as servants, poured water into the hands of the Brahmin Jujuka as a symbolic act of renunciation in order to practise the virtue of charity.

Other reliefs are of devatas, meditating monks and ascetics, and dvarapalas (temple guardians).

Cambodia 38 - Ta Phrom 4 (Bas Relief)

Ta Prohm was built by King Jayavarman VII in honour of his mother, whose image was used for the main statue of the temple, Prajnaparamita, a symbol of wisdom in Mahayana Buddhism. Image credit: passenger6a.com

 

VIDEO: Journey Inside the Ghostly Temple of Trees

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Neak Pean and Krol Ko

100 metres from each other, Neak Pean and Krol Ko are two temples in Angkor with symbolic representations of Buddhist cosmology in accordance with Mahayana tradition. Meaning ‘twin nagas’ or ‘entwined nagas’ — ‘neak’ being the Khmer word for naga — Neak Pean is a small but astounding temple. It is set on an artificial island built on a small lake with a central gopura encircled by a pair of nagas, claimed to be Nanda and Upananda of Lake Anavatapta. According to Buddhist cosmology, Anavatapta is a mythical lake at the centre of the world in the Himalayas with waters that can cure illnesses and remove suffering.

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Neak Pean is a small temple built on a man-made island on a lake with shrines that reflect Buddhist cosmology

Neak Pean was built by Jayavarman VII as a hospital and place of healing dedicated to the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. Once, four sculptures stood on the bed of the lake but the only one remaining today is that of ‘Balaha’, Avalokiteshvara emanating in the form of a horse. This sculpture of a flying horse rising from the water with a group of men holding onto its tail recounts the tale of Balaha rescuing merchants at sea from an ogress.

Out of four statues that previously arose from the lake, the last remaining is that of Balaha, an emanation of Avalokiteshvara in the form of a horse

From the shores of the lake, visitors get to Neak Pean either via a long wooden walkway or by boat. The temple structure itself contains pools of water with four small chapels at the corners. Inside are carved stone heads — a king, lion, horse and elephant respectively — that serve as waterspouts. The water is channeled from the central pool to smaller basins in each chapel. At present, all the chapels in Neak Pean are active shrines housing small stone Buddhas for devotions, and devotees also come here to collect the healing waters.

Cambodia 41 - Neak Pean 3 (Shrine)

Neak Pean, originally built as a centre of healing, continues to attract visitors and pilgrims from all over Cambodia. The waters from the shrines are also sought after as they are believed to contain healing properties.

Krol Ko, a small temple structure a short distance from Neak Pean is believed to be the chapel for the hospital. On its grounds are pediments with intricate reliefs of both Hindu and Buddhist origins — among the most famous is the restored pediment with Avalokiteshvara.

Cambodia 42 - Krol Ko

Krol Ko means ‘Shed of the Oxen’ in Khmer. The temple is located northwest of Neak Pean, 100 metres from the road. The well-preserved stone carvings at Krol Ko feature scenes with Avalokiteshvara and make this small temple worth visiting.

 

Ta Som

Relatively smaller than most of the temples in Angkor, Ta Som is a compact temple consisting of a single shrine enclosed by walls and entrance gopuras that have well-preserved towers. Although clearly built as a Buddhist temple in the Bayon style, with each tower featuring the four faces of Avalokiteshvara, little is known about the temple’s history and purpose.

Ta Som was built by King Jayavarman VII at the end of the 12th century, dedicated to his father Dharanindravarman II.

Like its more famous counterpart Ta Prohm, Ta Som is a temple that has been reclaimed by nature. It is most famous for its east entrance which has a gopura completely enveloped by a giant Bodhi tree. Its doorway, which appears as an opening through the tree’s long flowing roots, is also one of the most photographed sites in Angkor.

Another must-see at Ta Som is a large lintel with exquisite reliefs depicting Avalokiteshvara surrounded by a crowd offering devotions. The temple is also rich in architectural detail with finely carved stone sculptures of nagas and garudas.

For a long time, Ta Som remained in a state of advanced ruin but it has since been recently restored.

 

VIDEO: Ta Som Temple

Or view the video on the server at:
http://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/Cambodia-V7a-TaSom.mp4

 

Banteay Kdei and Srah Srang

The next in the long list of temples built by Jayavarman VII is Banteay Kdei, a Bayon-style monastery constructed between the 12th and 13th centuries. Often overlooked by tourists, Banteay Kdei, which means “A Citadel of Chambers”, has gopuras crowned with towers featuring giant carvings of Avalokiteshvara’s face on all four sides.

Cambodia 44 - Banteay Kdei 1

Banteay Kdei is the Khmer name meaning “A Citadel of Chambers” or “Citadel of Monks’ Cells”

It is widely believed that this monastic complex was dedicated to the prolific Khmer King’s Buddhist teacher. Built as a residence for monks, Banteay Kdei is filled with Buddhist-themed bas-reliefs and stone carvings. While much of it has been defaced, there are still many in relatively good condition including a giant Buddha Shakyamuni statue in meditation position at the central shrine. Another well-preserved Buddha image can be found at the entrance to the moat.

Up until the 1960s, monks were still living at Banteay Kdei. In the late 90s, archaeologists unearthed a large cache of nearly 300 Buddhist statues and artefacts — these have since been taken off-site for study and archival purposes.

Built as a monastery, Banteay Kdei was occupied by monks at various intervals over the centuries until the 1960s

Banteay Kdei is also recommended as an alternative site to watch the sun rise over Angkor, away from the hordes of visitors at Angkor Wat especially during peak season. It offers a quiet but no less magical view of the sun rising and reflecting off the mirror-like surface of Srah Srang.

Located by the Banteay Kdei Temple, Srah Srang, the “Royal Bathing Pool” or “Pool of Ablutions” was built by an earlier king and later renovated by Jayavarman VII. This massive 20,000 square feet pond was used only by the king and members of the royal family. The sides of the pool are decorated with delicate carvings and stone statues of lions and nagas. A wooden temple once stood on a small man-made island at the centre of the pond; however, all that remains today is its stone base.

The long promenades lined with naga balustrades are a quieter but no less magnificent alternative to Angkor Wat for watching the sunrise

 

Prasat Bat Chum

Less popular with the average tourist, Prasat Bat Chum, a small temple consisting of three gopuras at the top of a terraced hill, will hold interest for the Buddhist pilgrim. Built in the 10th century by the predecessor of King Jayavarman VII at a time when the Khmer Empire was still Hindu, it is the first Buddhist temple ever built in the Angkor region.

Prasat Bat Chum is considered to be the first Buddhist sanctuary in Angkor. Its three towers were dedicated to the Mahayana Buddhist trinity of Buddha Shakyamuni (central gopura), Avalokiteshvara (southern gopura) and Prajnaparamita (northern gopura)

There are Buddhist inscriptions on the doorjambs of Prasat Bat Chum, crediting the ‘architect’ or official in-charge of the construction of the temple. This individual has been identified as the same person also responsible for building Srah Srang. Records also show that there were once houses and a Buddhist monastery located near the temple but these structures were made of wood and are now long gone.

During the excavations in the 1950s, flagstones showing yantras were found. These were later reconstituted to match the Buddhist divinities mentioned in the doorjamb inscriptions.

 

Other Temples to Visit in Angkor Park

Koh Ker, Kbal Spean, Phnom Bakheng, Phimeanakas, Banteay Srei and Prasat Phnom Kron are among the more significant temples to visit, particularly for their Hindu Khmer art and architecture. The Roluos group of temples is a remote collection of structures and another of the Khmer Empire’s early capitals before Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom were built. All the temples in the Roluos group were built for Hindu devotions, while two modern pagodas can be found at Prasat Bakong and Prasat Lolei. Both are very popular places of worship for the local Khmer and Cambodian population.

Cambodia 49 - Roluos 1

The Roluos group, built in the late 9th century, is the oldest site in Angkor Park that is open to visitors

The carvings on the temples of the Roluos group is, according to some prominent art historians, “the most beautiful of all Khmer art”

 

Getting to Angkor Park

 

VIDEO: Before You Visit Angkor Wat, Here’s What You Need to Know

Or view the video on the server at:
http://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/Cambodia-V8a -Before-Visit.mp4

 

Opening Hours

Angkor Park is managed by the ‘Authority for the Protection and Safeguarding of Angkor and the Region of Angkor’ (APSARA Authority). Its operating hours are from 7.30 am to 5.50 pm, except the following temples which open earlier and close later for sunrise and sunset views:

  • Angkor Wat and Srah Srang: Open from 5.00 am to 5.30 pm
  • Phnom Bakheng and Pre Rup: Open from 5.00 am to 7.00 pm

 

Getting In: The Angkor Pass

To gain entry into Angkor Park, an entrance ticket — called an ‘Angkor Pass’ — must be purchased beforehand. There are three types of passes with prices as follows:

  • 1-Day Angkor Pass: USD $37
  • 3-Day Angkor Pass: USD $62 (any three days within seven days from purchase date)
  • 7-Day Angkor Pass: USD $72 (any seven days within a calendar month from purchase date)
Cambodia 53 - Angkor Pass

Entry into Angkor Park is with an Angkor Pass

Angkor Passes are only issued at the official ticket office (open from 5.00 am to 5.30 pm daily), operated by Angkor Enterprise for APSARA Authority. It is located on the corner of Street 60 and Apsara Road, the road to the West Gate entrance, which is the entry gate closest to Angkor Wat. Every private car rental or tuk-tuk driver knows where it is.

Cambodia 51 - Angkor Enterprise 1

Cambodia 52 - Angkor Enterprise 2 (Ticket Counters)

Angkor Enterprise Ticket Office

The Angkor Pass requires a photograph of the visitor, which is taken at the ticket counter during the time of purchase. Every visitor is required to be present in person for the pass to be issued.

There are strict dress codes which apply to all visitors, men and women alike, forbidding exposure of knees and shoulders and revealing clothing. If you are not dressed appropriately, you will not be issued a pass.

All Angkor Passes are non-transferable and fines are severe, from USD $100 up to $300 if you lose your pass while in the park. So do remember to keep your passes safely on your person at all times!

With every Angkor Pass purchased, USD $2 goes to the Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital Fund — a non-profit hospital which has treated 18 million children since 1992. Kantha Bopha operates solely through donations and gives treatments to Cambodian children for free.

Cambodia 52 - Angkor Entrance Tickets Regulations

Angkor Entrance Tickets Regulations. Click to enlarge.

Visitors who meet the following conditions are exempt from having to purchase a pass to enter the park:

  • All Cambodian nationals
  • Foreigners of Cambodian birth or whose parents are Cambodian (either father or mother). A ‘K’ type Cambodian visa is required.
  • Foreigners who have been granted Cambodian citizenship. A national identity card is required.
  • Children aged 12 and below. Proof of age with either passport or national identity card is required.

Angkor Passes can only be purchased with cash. The ticket office does not accept credit or debit cards. ATMs are available at the office premises but it is recommended that you prepare all the necessary cash beforehand because queues for the ATM can be very long (and slow!) during peak hours, especially in the morning with crowds of visitors rushing to get in for the sunrise.

For the latest information, visit the APSARA official website: angkor.com.kh

TIP: Avoid morning crowds and purchase your passes after 5.00 pm on the day prior to your visit, especially if you are only getting a one-day pass. Tickets sold after this time are valid for the following day, plus you will be able to enter the park on the evening of the purchase to catch an extra view of the sunset!

 

Getting Around

 

Tuk Tuks

Also called ‘remorks‘ or ‘remorques‘, as they were known by the French, tuk tuks are said to be the best way to get around Angkor Park. These open-sided two-wheeler carriages pulled by motorcycles seat two people comfortably and are a breezy enjoyable ride. They are cheaper than hiring a car and driver. Plus, they allow you to get closer to where you want to go, which can be a temple, a restaurant or even an elephant!

Tuk tuk rates generally start from USD $8 for a standard 8-hour day to USD $20 for the entire day (before sunrise till after sunset). Hotels in Siem Reap are usually happy to make tuk tuk bookings for you but the rates may be higher than if you were to organise it on your own. Learn more about getting around by tuk tuk at http://www.movetocambodia.com/living-in-cambodia/transportation/getting-around-by-tuk-tuk/

Cambodia 54 - Tuk Tuk

Tuk tuks are the most popular mode for getting to and around Angkor Park

 

Hired Car and Driver

If you are travelling in a group or with elderly companions, or if you just like the comfort, then an air-conditioned car or mini-van is easy to hire in Siem Reap. In particular, when it comes to visiting temples outside Angkor Park such as Beng Mealea or Phnom Kulen, hiring a car and driver is highly recommended as the journey to these remote locations can take several hours on bumpy roads.

Most hotels will be able to arrange a hire car and driver which generally starts from USD $30 to $40 a day and more for bigger cars like mini vans or luxury models.

 

Motorcycle Taxis

If you’re travelling alone and are the adventurous sort, then hiring a motorcycle taxi — called ‘motodup’ in Cambodian or ‘moto’ for short — is just the thing for you. Motos are zippy rides and can go off road which means you’ll be able to see places and sights most travellers in tuk tuks and cars may not be able to. The downside is that it’s not as comfortable especially during the rainy season — be sure to have a poncho with you if you choose to get around by moto.

Motodups are usually hired for an entire day and cost only USD $8 from before sunrise till after sunset.

 

Bicycles

For the super adventurous with lots of time to explore the park at leisure, bicycles can be a really enjoyable mode of getting around Angkor. Bicycle hires start from as little as US $2 to $3 a day for a basic bicycle and between USD $6 to $7 for a mountain bike.

REMINDER: If you are planning on cycling in Siem Reap and Angkor, make sure you have travel insurance and take all necessary safety precautions — wear a helmet, get a bike light, etc. — because roads in Siem Reap and to Angkor are heavily trafficked and road accidents are common.

 

Getting a Guide

Because Angkor is an enormous park with many temple sites, it can be an overwhelming experience especially for first-time visitors. Therefore, hiring a local guide to help you plan which temples to visit, to help you get around and to learn more about the temples is an option worth considering.

Official Angkor guides, trained and licensed by the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism can be hired through your hotel or travel company.

Cambodia 55 - Official Angkor Guide

Hiring a trained guide is highly recommended for first-time visitors to Angkor Park

The price for hiring a guide can range from USD $25 to $40 a day for just the guide and up to USD $70 for a package which includes a guide, an air-conditioned vehicle with driver and bottled mineral water.

RECOMMENDATION: For visitors planning on making a proper Buddhist pilgrimage, allocate a minimum of three days (if you can) at Angkor Park. For the first day, hire a guide to help you get oriented with the many temples in the park and identify the ones you want to spend time in prayer at. Then return on your own the following two days to visit or revisit those temples.

 

Angkor Park Official Code of Conduct

Besides Angkor Park’s archeological and historical value as a “living heritage”, this UNESCO World Heritage Zone is still home to over 130,000 people living in 112 villages throughout the region. Many of the park’s temples are still daily places of worship for Angkor residents and visiting Buddhist pilgrims.

The Angkor Code of Conduct released by APSARA Authority ensures that visitors to the park maintain appropriate decorum and modesty in dressing that will not offend the religious and cultural values of the place and its people.

 

DON’TS:

  • Don’t dress inappropriately, meaning don’t wear attire that shows too much leg, shoulder or back. When visiting the park, do not wear shorts, short skirts (skirt-lines above the knee) and tops that are revealing. This includes shoe-string straps, halter-neck tops, bikinis for women, and going shirtless for men.
  • Don’t touch the monuments or handle statues or carvings. These are centuries-old artefacts and can be easily damaged.
  • Don’t talk or laugh loudly because it is not in the local culture to do so. Cambodians speak with soft tones and it is considered disrespectful to have loud conversations or raised voices.
  • Don’t violate Angkor Park rules at all times. For visitor safety as well as to show respect to the site, do not enter restricted areas, climb the outside of temples or over stones.
  • Don’t smoke or litter. Smoking is banned throughout Angkor Park and strict smoking and littering penalties are imposed to ensure the park’s environment is clean and safe for all visitors.
  • Don’t buy items being sold by children or give them money. Impoverished families often send their children to the park to sell a variety of goods from souvenir trinkets to devotional items. The Cambodian authorities wish to discourage this practice so that the children will remain in school.
  • Don’t act disrespectfully to monks. Everywhere in Cambodia and especially so in Angkor, monks are often present. Monks observe very strict rules of etiquette and visitors are reminded to be respectful when they are present — do not get close to or touch them and especially, do not take photographs either of or with them without first asking their permission.

 

DOs:

  • Wear modest clothing that is not revealing — trousers or skirts should not go higher than the knee and tops should not be sleeveless. For comfort and protection from the sun, opt for light-weight clothes that are loose and comfortable — cotton or linen is ideal. Put on comfortable shoes for walking and stay away from heels. You might also want to bring these items with you – a hat, sunglasses, sunblock, mosquito repellent, a towel and/or wet wipes.
  • Be mindful not to touch, hold or knock on walls, stones, sculptures and carvings.
  • Keep your voice down and speak with soft tones.
  • Observe Angkor Park rules at all times. Angkor is one of the world’s most important historical complexes and, while it is important to keep it open for the public to learn from, it is equally as important that visitors take heed of the rules so these beautiful structures can be preserved for posterity.
  • Carry your disposables with you until you find a rubbish bin.
  • Support impoverished families and children by contributing to the various groups and organisations working to improve the lives of these people.
  • Revere the Sangha. Bowing to monks is considered very respectful. And it is recommended to seek permission before approaching or speaking with them.

The Angkor Visitor Code of Conduct issued by APSARA Authority. Click to enlarge.

 

VIDEO: Angkor Visitor Code of Conduct

Or view the video on the server at:
http://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/Cambodia-V9a-Visitor-Code.mp4

 

VIDEO: Sampeah Etiquette in Khmer

Greetings are important in Cambodia. The style of greeting called “Sampeah” in Khmer language is performed by placing both palms together in the manner of praying, accompanied by a slight bow of the head. It is similar to the Thai ‘wai’.

Or view the video on the server at:
http://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/Cambodia-V10a-Sampeah.mp4

 

When to Visit

The peak season to visit Angkor Park is from November till February when the weather is cool and windy, almost Mediterranean-like. This time of the year is known as the Cambodian ‘winter’ but bear in mind that you’ll be competing with hordes of other visitors to view the sights. Prices for goods and services like tuk tuks are also higher, driven by demand.

March and April, although dry, are the hottest months.

The low season coincides with the monsoon season, which runs from May until September. However, as rainfall is intermittent with heavy downpours lasting around two hours at most, many travel sites recommend this period as the best time to visit Angkor Park, as the jungles are lusher and landscapes more verdant. It is also far less crowded and pilgrims will have fewer tourists to contend with in the temples and around the shrines. Prices are also lower with hotels and travel companies offering discounts or value packages during the rainy season.

From October onwards, Angkor (and Siem Reap in general) starts to get crowded again.

If you don’t mind a bit of rain, the monsoon season allows visitors to explore Angkor Park without the peak season crowds

 

Useful Links

 

Beng Mealea

Located a significant distance away from the Angkor Archeological Park, Beng Mealea is one of the oldest temples, built in the classical Khmer style identical to Angkor Wat. It is in a state of advanced ruin and, like Ta Prohm, is covered in vegetation.

Cambodia 59 - Beng Mealea 1

Travel guide Lonely Planet lists Beng Mealea as a ‘top choice Buddhist temple’ and describes it as “the ultimate Indiana Jones experience”.

Meaning “Lotus Pond”, Beng Mealea is surrounded by mystery and the purpose of the temple is still unknown. Many sections of the temple have collapsed into massive heaps of sandstone rubble but, unlike the temples at Angkor Park, visitors are allowed to climb them. Official temple guides are present in most parts of the temple and they also act as safety guides, advising visitors where it is safe for climbing and where it’s not. In recent times, a raised walkway was built to allow less-adventurous tourists to navigate through the various sections of the temple.

Cambodia 60 - Beng Mealea 2

Until today, the history of Beng Mealea temple is still unknown

The temple’s ruined condition was further damaged by looters over several decades towards the end of the last century. The looters used dynamite to access high value antiquities — fine stone sculptures and relief carvings — from amongst the twisting tree roots and piles of stones. More recently, a well-preserved naga balustrade was found buried deep underground.

At present, Beng Mealea is an active archeological site and carvings showing legends of Vishnu, Shiva and the Buddha have been discovered. Although there are no active shrines, Beng Mealea remains a popular local pilgrimage site for both the monastic community and laity.

 

Getting to Beng Mealea

Beng Mealea is an adventure entirely on its own as is the 80 kilometre journey to get there from Siem Reap (1.5 to 2 hours by road). It is advised that visitors set aside at least half a day to visit this temple. Entry into Beng Mealea is not included in the Angkor Pass and an admission fee of USD $5 is payable at the ticket office by the main entrance.

Although it is possible to get to the temple by tuk tuk, be warned that the journey there is via bumpy (and dusty) backroads. The best way for pilgrims and tourists to get to Beng Mealea is to hire a car and a driver. A trip to Beng Mealea combines well with a visit to either Phnom Kulen or Banteay Srei.

RECOMMENDATION: Hire a car and a driver for the day and visit Beng Mealea as well as Phnom Kulen. Departing by 6.30 am from Siem Reap for Beng Mealea will allow you more than sufficient time for a thorough visit, and you can arrive at the gates of Phnom Kulen in time to enter. The road up to Phnom Kulen operates on a contra-flow — one-way traffic up the mountain is only until noon, then the traffic flow switches to downhill only from 1.00 pm until the road closes at night.

 

Useful Links:

 

Phnom Kulen Mountain

No pilgrimage to Cambodia is complete without a visit to Phnom Kulen, which literally means “Mountain of Lychees”. Considered the most sacred mountain for the Khmer, it is an important place for the faithful to make devotions on weekends and during festivals.

Phnom Kulen is the most sacred mountain for the Khmer in Cambodia

The mountain also has symbolic and historical importance as this is where Jayavarman II declared independence from the Javanese Empire and proclaimed himself a “devaraja” — a god-king with the title “chakravartin”. As the birthplace of the Khmer Empire and Angkor, this first and once-mythical capital city known as “Mahendraparvata” meaning “The Mountain of Great Indra”, is believed to have been as big as Angkor.

Cambodia 62 - Phnom Kulen 2 (Mahendraparvata)

The ancient city, Mahendraparvata, includes temples hidden for centuries by jungle, many of which have not been looted. Click to enlarge.

The mountain is also a protected natural and cultural reserve, designated as Phnom Kulen National Park. The Angkor Pass does not include entrance into the park and foreign visitors entering the site have to pay an entrance fee of USD $20.

Today, Cambodians along with foreign pilgrims visit Phnom Kulen to make devotions at the temple named Preah Ang Thom at the peak of the mountain (home to Cambodia’s largest reclining Buddha), the shrines at Chup Preah and the “Bat Cave”, a meditation cave and hermitage for monks.

 

VIDEO: Discover Phnom Kulen National Park, Cambodia

Or view the video on the server at:
http://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/Cambodia-V11a-Phnom-Kulen-National-Park.mp4

 

Chup Preah

Best known for its waterfalls, Chup Preah is also a pilgrimage site. Wat Preah Chup houses a tall Buddha statue along with several smaller ones and reliefs that date back to the 16th century. These statues are housed in shrines close to the famous 15-metre-tall Cham Pa tree. With a trunk that is seven metres wide at the base, this tree is regarded by the Khmer as the guardian of this sacred valley. Local land spirits propitiated by the Khmer, known as “Teak Na”, also have shrines here.

Cambodia 63 - Phnom Kulen 3 (Wat Preah Chup)

Local Cambodians trekking up the holy mountain of Phnom Kulen often stop at Wat Preah Chup to make prayers and request blessings for safe passage

Cambodia 64 - Phnom Kulen 4 (Chup Preah Waterfall)

The famous Chup Preah waterfalls at Phnom Kulen

 

Preah Ang Thom

A 500-year-old monastery at the peak of the mountain, Preah Ang Thom is the main pilgrimage site at Phnom Kulen. It is home to a massive 17-metre-long reclining Buddha carved out of a giant sandstone boulder in the side of the mountain, the largest such statue in Cambodia.

The gold-painted reclining Buddha is one of the country’s most venerated monuments, and members of the Cambodian royal family and dignitaries have made pilgrimages here to offer devotions and receive blessings from resident monks.

Cambodia 61 - Phnom Kulen 1 (Sleeping Buddha)

The massive 17-metre-long reclining Buddha in Preah Ang Thom

Cambodia 65 - Phnom Kulen 5 (Preah Ang Thom 1)

The Buddhas at Preah Ang Thom, the main pilgrimage site atop Phnom Kulen

At the beginning of the long stairway leading up to the temple are sacred shrines with reliquaries such as a footprint of the Buddha, a holy lingga (a symbolic phallic representation of the Hindu deity Shiva) and a Dharmachakra wheel. The top of the temple offers magnificent views of the surrounding countryside and nearby caves also function as holy hermitages.

REMINDER: When visiting Preah Ang Thom, you must remove your shoes and hat (or any head covering). The same dress codes and rules of conduct for Angkor Park also apply to those visiting Phnom Kulen.

Centuries-old intricate carvings adorn a cave on Phnom Kulen

Cambodia 68 - Phnom Kulen 8 (Preah Ang Thom 4)

Phnom Kulen attracts thousands of visitors each year, both pilgrims and tourists

 

Bat Cave Hermitage

The ‘Bat Cave’ of Phnom Kulen is a remote and secluded cave which is popular amongst tourists for being home to thousands of bats! This cave is also a holy Buddhist site with many shrines and a meditation cave as well as a hermitage.

The Bat Cave on Phnom Kulen is a secluded cave which is home to thousands of bats. It is also a meditation hermitage for monks and lay Buddhists.

Strings of colourful prayer flags welcome visitors at the well-camouflaged, moss-covered entrance. The small cave opening leads into narrow passageways that open into several larger chambers.

Apart from monks, the cave also attracts devotees who come from all over Cambodia as well as from neighbouring countries to spend time here in ascetic meditation, and to learn and practise Dharma with the monks in the cave.

 

Other Places of Interest in Phnom Kulen

Other sites of interest in Phnom Kulen include Kbal Spean, the “River of a Thousand Linggas” where hundreds of linggas and yonis are carved into the sandstone riverbed and rocks on the sides. Visitors come here for the water, which is believed to have potent blessings to aid with fertility.

Cambodia 70 - Phnom Kulen 10 (Kbal Spean)

Another popular site in Phnom Kulen is Kbal Spean, the River of a Thousand Linggas

Srah Damrei or the “Elephant Pond”, with its life-sized stone animal carvings well over a thousand years old, is in a hard-to-find but very scenic location in the jungle. The highlight is a massive four-metre-long elephant standing at three metres tall. The site offers spectacular views across the plains below.

Life-sized stone carvings of elephants and other animals are some of the sights scattered all over Phnom Kulen Mountain. These are pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that is the ancient city of Mahendraparvata.

Prasat Rong Chen, identified as one of the first temple-mountains, is believed to be the temple at the centre of the lost city of Mahendraparvata, and the site of Jayavarman II’s historical proclamation. It is a tiered pyramid not dissimilar to ancient Mayan pyramids in a clearing hidden deeply in the jungle.

Believed to be the temple at the centre of the lost city of Mahendraparvata, Prasat Rong Chen has been described as “the centre of the Khmer universe”.

 

Getting to Phnom Kulen

Getting to this sacred mountain of the Khmers takes at least two hours (usually more) by road from Siem Reap on steep and unpaved roads. Phnom Kulen is too steep for tuk tuks so the only options are with a guided tour, a hired car with driver, or on a motodup.

For the young-at-heart and adventure lovers, a motodup provides thrills and fast travels to the sights on Phnom Kulen.

The going rate is double that of Angkor Park. A moto will cost about USD $20 and car hire comes with a surcharge, starting from USD $50 onwards, depending on the type of vehicle and the number of other places you want to visit.

TIP: Remote places such as the Bat Caves, Srah Damrei and Prasat Rong Chen can be quite difficult to reach, particularly during the wet season. Hence, you may have to hire a specialist guide. You can ask your hotel if they can organise one for you or check if your hired car driver can.

 

Useful Links

 

Tips for Pilgrims Visiting the Temples of Siem Reap and Angkor Park

Unlike conventional holidays, the aim of going on pilgrimage is for the betterment of our spiritual practice. Spiritual power places are charged with sacred energy from the presence of enlightened beings or attained masters who have resided there, or accumulated over time from virtuous and beneficial activities performed there.

Thus, when we visit these power places, show reverence, make offerings and aspirational prayers, we create the direct causes as well as generate merits for us to attain the same state of compassion, awareness and qualities of the enlightened beings.

To help you make the most out of your pilgrimage to the temples of Siem Reap and Angkor Park, here are some tips:

1. Plan your trip well
Research the places you want to visit so you can plan what practices you want to do at each site. Be sure to allocate sufficient time so you are not rushed.

2. Set your motivation
Make the aspiration for your journey to be a reminder and a homage to the noble enlightened qualities of the Buddha; with the result from the pilgrimage being purification of negative karma and accumulation of merit to advance your spiritual practice for the benefit of all sentient beings.

3. Prepare for your practices
There are many practices you can engage in while on pilgrimage. Some of the most popular are circumambulations, making offerings, reciting prayers, mantras and sutras, and even prostrations. Engaging in such virtuous activities while immersed in the blessed energies of holy pilgrimage sites will plant powerful seeds in your mindstream and open up your imprints to further your spiritual path.

Here are some recommended practices that can be done at the temples of Siem Reap and Angkor Park:

  • Make offerings of food, flowers and incense to holy Buddha images
  • Offer robes and dana to the Sangha
  • Recite mantras. The mantras of Shakyamuni, Migtsema, Chenrezig, Manjushri and Dorje Shugden are recommended because many of the Angkorian temples were dedicated to Avalokiteshvara and Prajnaparamita. Your yidam and your guru’s mantra are also excellent to recite.
  • Circumambulate Buddha statues and the stupa at Preah Khan
  • Recite the King of Prayers at the conclusion of your pilgrimage.
  • Engage in the preliminaries such as prostrations and mandala offerings

 

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3 Responses to Amazing Angkor: A Guide to the Buddhist Temples of Siem Reap

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  1. cc on May 18, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    Thanks for sharing.

    Cambodia is a great place to visit.

    Full of historical and amazing architecture and love the place alot but unfortunately alot of Buddha’s head were missing.

    Is a great place for backpack and retreat.
    Alot of walking and climbing and is super sunny.

  2. Samfoonheei on May 15, 2018 at 3:23 pm

    Siem Reap is the major tourist attraction in Cambodia, as it is the closest city to the world famous temples of Angkor. Truly amazing………Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world and one of the seven Wonder of the world. It was built in the first half of the 12th century and most known iconic temples which took about 30 years to build. It seems to be an impressiveness greater than that of the Pyramids, an artistic distinctiveness as fine as that of the Taj Mahal in the recent survey. Angkor Wat is an architectural masterpiece and well preserved for its amazing sculptures making it as one of the finest monuments in the world. I have not been there before ,will make a trip to see for myself the beauty of this Seven Wonder of the world.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this interesting post.

  3. Datuk May on May 15, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    Cambodia is a country that had suffered atrocities and violence to her own people during the reign of the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970’s.

    However, Cambodia and her citizens had survived and has inherited the iconic Buddhist temple complex called Angkor duly anointed by Unesco as a world heritage. Many have visited and all are totally mesmerised by the grandeur of the Buddhist Temple complex.

    What really stands out for me is how such a holy place can adapt to being a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu to current Buddhist temple dedicated to Shakymuni Buddha and the Dharma.

    Besides being an iconic Buddhist centre, the history of Angkor is testament to the “goodness” of pure religions that no wars nor blood need to be shed in migrating from an Hindu centre to that of Buddhism. That is the true essence of perfect wisdom and acceptance of the best for human beings.

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  • Stella Cheang
    Thursday, May 24. 2018 09:52 PM
    The article about Walter Evans-Wentz is an interesting read. His greatest work, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, which he collaborated with Lama Kazi Dawa Samdup, had been an acclaimed publication and important book on Tibetan Buddhism in the west for decades. The Tibetan Book of the Dead is based on the sacred text called Bardo Thodol, a teaching given Padmasambhava and written down by his Tibetan consort and student, Yeshe Tsogyal. The text is “meant to be a guide for the deceased person to navigate through the experiences of the consciousness in the bardo, or the intermediate state between death and the next rebirth. This text also includes chapters on the death process and a ritual to be performed just before death and after it has taken place.” It is a pity that the translation of this important book from Tibetan to English capped by Walter’s limited understanding of the concept and influenced by his prior knowledge in Theosophy and other metaphysical schools. Thank you for this sharing, Pastor David.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/walter-evans-wentz-american-pioneer-scholar-on-tibetan-buddhism.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, May 24. 2018 12:46 PM
    The freedom to choose a religion without interference from one another. We have our rights to choose what we like to pray and beliefs. All religions, cultures, and beliefs deserve the same amount of respect, even if they are different from your own. All teachings must have a lineage, once we understand and have accepted it we go all the way. May the Dorje Shugden controversy be resolved soon.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this clear insight article and those beautiful and rare pictures of great Masters.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/i-pray-to-what-i-want-to.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, May 24. 2018 12:44 PM
    Buddhism teaches us love, compassion ,tolerance, forgiveness , and so forth. Once we have choose our guru, then we should go all the way out on the spiritual side.. We should not criticise or make negative comments if we decided not to follow a Guru. What ever ,happen never ,never ever bad mouth one another , just let go and let it be. Its always a case how much or great we do ,there is always people saying some thing when they are not satisfied but when we are spiritual we will think twice .As it stated clearly in Fifty Verses Of Guru Devotion, no matter how much we practice, study and meditate we will gain no attainments without purifying our karma.
    We are fortunate to have met our Guru H.E the 25th Tsem Rinpoche and guiding us and learning the Dharma teachings .
    May Rinpoche live long ,good health and continue turning the Dharma wheel to benefit all sentient beings.
    Thank you Rinpoche with folded hands

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/are-you-secular-or-spiritual.html

  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, May 23. 2018 08:13 PM
    Dorje Shugden been practiced for 300 years by many great masters not until the ban instituted by the Tibetan Leadership (CTA.) Only now ,suddenly that Dorje Shugden is negative, harmful and will hurt HH Dalai Lama. Ridiculous ….to say that for four hundred years so many great lamas and practitioners were wrong in their practice. If Dalai Lama says all his Gurus were wrong, what make Dalai Lama right? HH Dalai Lama, has previously practiced Dorje Shugden and even wrote a praise to Dorje Shugden. How can it possible Dorje Shugden could have harmed him.
    Our Guru Rinpoche has this practice bestowed by his root guru who practiced for his whole life. The ban of Dorje Shugden is illogical and should be lifted for the harmonious o the people. The Tibetan Leadership (CTA) has instituted this ban against Dorje Shugden for the last 20 years. Many families are torn apart and lamas ,monks and practitioners had to break away from their monasteries. Many has suffered discrimination and segregation due to that. The Tibetan leaders should have a peaceful dialogue to resolve this issue once for all. May HH Dalai Lama please lift the ban.
    Thanks Rinpoche and Pastor David Lai for such an informative article for us to understand more on Dorje Shugden’s ban.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/our-lama-vs-the-dalai-lama-the-underlying-reasons-for-the-ban.html
  • Lin Mun
    Tuesday, May 22. 2018 10:02 PM
    Every human is unique in their own way. It’s an interesting article to learn about human behaviour and how our mind function. Psychopath is apparently inherent brain. If so I wonder can drugs help them? While psychopath can be good or evil then how can we help those who are evil? I believe we some how we inherited certain behaviour from our previous imprint and therefore portraying it in this life. I guess it about understanding ourselves better, accept and keep transforming to be better.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/why-some-dont-think-of-the-long-term-damage.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Tuesday, May 22. 2018 09:37 PM

    Li Gotami is an extraordinary woman with incredible talents. She documented Tibet and Buddhism at the time and space where it remained out of reach to the world at large. Her work left us with valuable books, art and photographs. It was the same period of time when acclaimed contributors to Tibetan Buddhism, like Lama Anagarika, Walter Evans-Went, John Blofeld actively unveiled Tibet from a religion and cultural perspective. Thank you for this informative sharing.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/li-gotami-the-woman-who-dedicated-her-life-to-the-arts.html#comments
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, May 22. 2018 06:52 PM
    Is very heart breaking to read about the way the practitioners been treated and sufferings felt by the Tibetan people who lack religious freedom to practise how and what they want. The unfairness, discrimination and so forth since the ban on Dorje Shugden instituted by the Tibetan Leadership (CTA). Despite there is enough evidence showing that there is a ban on Dorje Shugden practice yet many supporters of the Tibetan leadership continue to insist that there is no ban. If there is no ban, why is H.H Dalai Lama imposing rules on Dorje Shugden’s practitioners. Dorje Shugden practitioners are denied medical care, education, services, employment and so forth. Its really sad, they have suffered for too many years, the ban should end for the better furture.
    May H.H. the Dalai Lama please lift the ban on Dorje Shugden.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/dorje-shugden/the-dalai-lama-speaks-clearly-about-the-dorje-shugden-ban.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, May 22. 2018 06:51 PM
    Interesting description of a great Master……….Lama Yeshe by his student Champa Legshe. Lama Yeshe received the teachings of both sutra and tantra from a long line of erudite masters such as Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, Kyabje Ling Rinpoche to name a few. Through his establishment of Kopan Monastery, in Kathmandu, he started spreading Buddhism among the westerners. Described by his student as humble, down to earth caring and loving teacher, friendly and many goodness of a highly respected attained Lama for his different approach and modern interpretation of Buddhism. From what I understand after reading Champa Legshe description , Lama Yeshe is definitely a great teacher . And Rinpoche has all the qualities and characteristics as Lama Yeshe … caring, loving, jovial, good- humoured, way of teaching Dharma to his students.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/lama-yeshe-the-great-mahasiddha.html
  • Lin Mun
    Monday, May 21. 2018 10:12 PM
    The ban on Dorje Shugden practitioners are so apparent in those places. And how can the CTA said there is no ban and discrimination? They are creating so much fear among the people which we can clearly see in the videos. Question is being a committed government, they should take care of the welfare of everyone regardless of their belief, race and colours. There should be no discrimination and segregation among the communities. I hope the ban will be lifted and the people in “Little Tibet” can regain their basic human rights that is freedom of religion very soon.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/dorje-shugden/they-said-no.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, May 21. 2018 01:48 PM
    Great news for Tibet befriending China. Time has changed and finally the Tibetans leadership has made the right choice to amend ties between the two countries. China has transformed itself becoming the largest economy in the world in no time. The world economy is rapidly changing, China’s economy will become more significant and will surpass America soon. Many countries in the world is making friend with China. With this meeting Tibet and China’s friendship in long term will benefits both sides. In time may HH Dalai Lama have dialogue with China to solved the controversy on the Dorje Shugden ban for the benefits of the people . Dorje Shugden has nothing to do with China. Because of the Tibetan Leadership political agenda, many has suffered and divided. Its more than a year since the workshops ,nothing has improved. Do hope both countries friendship will continue to pave way for more meetings. May HH Dalai Lama then solve the long controversy.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/dorje-shugden/the-importance-of-tibet-befriending-china.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, May 21. 2018 01:46 PM
    Even though it’s a old post, which I came across , still it’s a wonderful moment many had invited home this beautiful Setrap statues. Dharmapala Setrap is the enmanation of buddha Amithaba and highly enlightened beings. For 600 years hundreds of thousands of great masters, lamas and practitioners have since relied on Setrap as their principle protector. Rejoice to those who have invited one as family protector.
    Thank you Rinpoche for bringing this Powerful Dharmapala Setrap to Malaysia.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/more-people-invite-setrap.html
  • Lin Mun
    Sunday, May 20. 2018 10:12 PM
    Rejoice for Hecelus to engage in retreat during school holidays. What a great way to spend instead of indulging in video games, movies and hanging out with friends. I am sure he will inspire more teenager to engage in retreat as this is a cool way to spend their holiday too.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/letters-cards-gifts/hecelus-wants-to-do-more.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, May 20. 2018 01:30 PM
    Our faith and religion is our choice. We choose what we want to practice . That’s our choice. We should respect each other choice and should not be biased, segregate, discriminate or hurt any one of a different faith to have a better environment to live in. Those who believe in Dorje Shugden should be treated equally and respected as others too. Politics is politics and has nothing to do with religion. Once mixed it s become harmful to another and used by another for political agenda. Tibetan leadership(CTA) should stopped contradicting itself and discriminating based on faith, for the benefit of Tibetan people. The ban instituted by the Tibetan Leadership (CTA) has created disharmony and disunity among their communities. There are more than enough evidence to prove that there is no religious freedom or true democracy and discrimination against Shugden people within. May the ban on Dorje Shugden be lifted soon and they have the freedom and rights to practice freely.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/dorje-shugden-people.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, May 20. 2018 01:28 PM
    The Tibetans in exile….. after leaving Tibet does not seem to improve much all these years in India. Since the establishment of the Tibetan leardership nothing was done for the welfare of the Tibetan people. The situation now is still the same as before. More and more Tibetans are speaking up and moving out or back to look for better jobs opportunities else where. The Tibetan Leadership has caused Shugden practitioners much suffering and hardship ,all these years . It is heartfelt to see situation like these, the Tibetans are being torn apart and divided . Even after 50 years, there is nothing that has changed and the CTA did not amend the ties between the CTA and China. Time has changed for the better everywhere, the CTA must change. Thank you Tibet Lover for your comment, hopefully more people will speak up against the wrong-doings done by CTA . May the Tibetans living in exiles have a peaceful and happy solution solved someday. May the ban on Dorje Shugden be lifted soon

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/tibetan-refugee-youth-speaking-up.html
  • Lin Mun
    Saturday, May 19. 2018 07:28 PM
    All religions emphasis love, compassion and peace. If there are violence imposed, I believe it most probably are the wrong view of the practitioners. Hence it is NOT right to impose violence in the name of moral principle. Having the right understanding is very important to mold a peaceful and harmony world. For a start we as individual have to understand, accept and practise it in our daily life. No point talking and not putting it into action.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/violence-in-the-name-of-moral-principle-is-very-sad-the-dalai-lama.html#comment-785925

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The Unknown

The Known and unknown are both feared,
Known is being comfortable and stagnant,
The unknown may be growth and opportunities,
One shall never know if one fears the unknown more than the known.
Who says the unknown would be worse than the known?
But then again, the unknown is sometimes worse than the known. In the end nothing is known unless we endeavour,
So go pursue all the way with the unknown,
because all unknown with familiarity becomes the known.
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There are many very interesting articles on Bigfoot/yeti/sasquatch as well as videos. Please enjoy yourselves: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/category/yeti-bigfoot-sasquatch
1 week ago
There are many very interesting articles on Bigfoot/yeti/sasquatch as well as videos. Please enjoy yourselves: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/category/yeti-bigfoot-sasquatch
Environment is stronger because when you are in a spiritual environment with other spiritual brothers and sisters, the chance to learn and transform is much higher. If we rely on our own willpower and go at it alone to practice spirituality, very small chance we can succeed. Because most of the time we don\'t have the willpower and our willpower does not sustain us. That is why we have monasteries where clusers of people live together spiritually to enhance each other and the whole for thousands of years. That is why we have spiritual communities like Findhorn and Kechara Forest Retreat so that we are in a spiritual environment and being in this type of environment encourages us to grow inwardly. It gives us strength and support and in turn we give others strength and support. Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
Environment is stronger because when you are in a spiritual environment with other spiritual brothers and sisters, the chance to learn and transform is much higher. If we rely on our own willpower and go at it alone to practice spirituality, very small chance we can succeed. Because most of the time we don't have the willpower and our willpower does not sustain us. That is why we have monasteries where clusers of people live together spiritually to enhance each other and the whole for thousands of years. That is why we have spiritual communities like Findhorn and Kechara Forest Retreat so that we are in a spiritual environment and being in this type of environment encourages us to grow inwardly. It gives us strength and support and in turn we give others strength and support. Tsem Rinpoche
I like this White Tara image. It is very basic but has an appeal in this style of art.
2 weeks ago
I like this White Tara image. It is very basic but has an appeal in this style of art.
He was so excited to bring this sacred statue home to install in his family shrine.......
2 weeks ago
He was so excited to bring this sacred statue home to install in his family shrine.......
Daily do your prayers/mantra to Lord Manjushri as it\'s a powerful blessing on a daily basis. It is so important to have sharp mind, good memory and quick wisdom and Manjushri can bestow this. I have heard many tell me that Manjushri\'s practice is very effective. We must also do Manjushri\'s intensive retreats at least twice a year. It would be very beneficial. Sacred mantra of Manjushri: Om Ah-Ra Ba-za Na-Dhi
2 weeks ago
Daily do your prayers/mantra to Lord Manjushri as it's a powerful blessing on a daily basis. It is so important to have sharp mind, good memory and quick wisdom and Manjushri can bestow this. I have heard many tell me that Manjushri's practice is very effective. We must also do Manjushri's intensive retreats at least twice a year. It would be very beneficial. Sacred mantra of Manjushri: Om Ah-Ra Ba-za Na-Dhi
It is nice to see a friend in Nepal receiving a beautiful Bhagwan Dorje Shugden gift from myself. I wish him well always. Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
It is nice to see a friend in Nepal receiving a beautiful Bhagwan Dorje Shugden gift from myself. I wish him well always. Tsem Rinpoche
What my mom shared with me as a young boy that I carry with me till now. She was very caring and giving when she was well: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=160069
2 weeks ago
What my mom shared with me as a young boy that I carry with me till now. She was very caring and giving when she was well: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=160069
A beautiful painting of the enlightened protector Dorje Shugden in the very rich tradition of Aztec art of South America. I wanted to commission something in this rich tradition which is filled with spiritual journeys into other worlds, magic, purification, the supernatural, astral visitations, gods and other dimensions and it has manifested. I have successfully combined the divinity of Tibet with the rich artistic tradition of the Aztecs. The artist we had is amazing. We have many more beautiful art pieces here for you to enjoy and download: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=144924

Remember those wonderful Carlos Castaneda books? I use to read them many years back in my room back in New Jersey as a kid. His learning journey with Don Juan was amazing! Those books inspired my commissioning of this beautiful Aztec Dorje Shugden. May you be blessed. Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
A beautiful painting of the enlightened protector Dorje Shugden in the very rich tradition of Aztec art of South America. I wanted to commission something in this rich tradition which is filled with spiritual journeys into other worlds, magic, purification, the supernatural, astral visitations, gods and other dimensions and it has manifested. I have successfully combined the divinity of Tibet with the rich artistic tradition of the Aztecs. The artist we had is amazing. We have many more beautiful art pieces here for you to enjoy and download: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=144924 Remember those wonderful Carlos Castaneda books? I use to read them many years back in my room back in New Jersey as a kid. His learning journey with Don Juan was amazing! Those books inspired my commissioning of this beautiful Aztec Dorje Shugden. May you be blessed. Tsem Rinpoche
H.H. the Dalai Lama’s sudden change of mind about China-backed Panchen Lama is incredible and stunning. His Holiness\'s new stance will bring more harmony, peace and understanding. I thank His Holiness the Dalai Lama very much for this. Humbly, Tsem Rinpoche (Please read here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=159261)
4 weeks ago
H.H. the Dalai Lama’s sudden change of mind about China-backed Panchen Lama is incredible and stunning. His Holiness's new stance will bring more harmony, peace and understanding. I thank His Holiness the Dalai Lama very much for this. Humbly, Tsem Rinpoche (Please read here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=159261)
Sculpture demigoddesses Singhini (lioness goddess) on the upper terrace in front of Nyatapola temple in Bhaktapur, Nepal.
1 month ago
Sculpture demigoddesses Singhini (lioness goddess) on the upper terrace in front of Nyatapola temple in Bhaktapur, Nepal.
How fortunate I am to be sitting in my room, with a rosary in my hand reciting the mantra given to me by my compassionate guru and to meditate in developing a compassionate heart and purifying my karmas. How fortunate I am to be able to spend my time in such a meaningful manner. Tsem Rinpoche
2 months ago
How fortunate I am to be sitting in my room, with a rosary in my hand reciting the mantra given to me by my compassionate guru and to meditate in developing a compassionate heart and purifying my karmas. How fortunate I am to be able to spend my time in such a meaningful manner. Tsem Rinpoche
Comic drawn by Tendor, a prominent Free Tibet activist-Every Tibetan knows that although His Holiness the Dalai Lama says he is retired from politics, he is in full control of the Tibetan government in exile. No member of the government will dare carry out any decisions without His Holiness\' approval. He is retired for the sake of the west so he does not look like a dictator.~Tenzin Damchoe
3 months ago
Comic drawn by Tendor, a prominent Free Tibet activist-Every Tibetan knows that although His Holiness the Dalai Lama says he is retired from politics, he is in full control of the Tibetan government in exile. No member of the government will dare carry out any decisions without His Holiness' approval. He is retired for the sake of the west so he does not look like a dictator.~Tenzin Damchoe
It would be wonderful if everyone can recite these two mantras 100k each focusing on Shakyamuni Buddha and His powerful healing energies. Not collectively but each person 100k each of each mantra. Praise to Shakyamuni the Sage who showed us a permanent way to bliss.
3 months ago
It would be wonderful if everyone can recite these two mantras 100k each focusing on Shakyamuni Buddha and His powerful healing energies. Not collectively but each person 100k each of each mantra. Praise to Shakyamuni the Sage who showed us a permanent way to bliss.
In Tibet Shannan area Riwoche Ling Monastery, devotees are putting Tsem Rinpoche\'s photo inside the cabinet together with the Buddha he loves - Dorje Shugden
在西藏山南日乌曲林寺,信徒们把詹杜固仁波切的法照和他最敬爱的多杰雄登护法像摆在一起
3 months ago
In Tibet Shannan area Riwoche Ling Monastery, devotees are putting Tsem Rinpoche's photo inside the cabinet together with the Buddha he loves - Dorje Shugden 在西藏山南日乌曲林寺,信徒们把詹杜固仁波切的法照和他最敬爱的多杰雄登护法像摆在一起
Please read this..thank you.
3 months ago
Please read this..thank you.
A beautiful Dorje Shugden depicted in Druid and newage style. There are many more here and free downloads in high file: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=144924
3 months ago
A beautiful Dorje Shugden depicted in Druid and newage style. There are many more here and free downloads in high file: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=144924
Here, His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche (left), one of the tutors of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, confers one of the many countless tantric initiations on the Dalai Lama (right). You can see a young Dalai Lama bowing in this picture with Trijang Rinpoche blessing him. Trijang Rinpoche is therefore undoubtedly the Dalai Lama’s tantric master. A great master at that. Tsem Rinpoche
4 months ago
Here, His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche (left), one of the tutors of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, confers one of the many countless tantric initiations on the Dalai Lama (right). You can see a young Dalai Lama bowing in this picture with Trijang Rinpoche blessing him. Trijang Rinpoche is therefore undoubtedly the Dalai Lama’s tantric master. A great master at that. Tsem Rinpoche
This is a very sacred statue of Buddha Chenresig (Avalokitesvara/Kuan Yin) that manifested many miracles in North India. Read and see more pictures and understand the background here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=153802
4 months ago
This is a very sacred statue of Buddha Chenresig (Avalokitesvara/Kuan Yin) that manifested many miracles in North India. Read and see more pictures and understand the background here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=153802
Wonderful updated version of The Promise book is out! Please get your copy. Much more new information included.
4 months ago
Wonderful updated version of The Promise book is out! Please get your copy. Much more new information included.
\"Bhagavani, source of all wonders, Vasudhara, Goddess of splendour and fortune, bestower of auspicious mental desires; homage to the Goddess Wish-fulfilling Wheel.\" (Sakya liturgical verse).
4 months ago
"Bhagavani, source of all wonders, Vasudhara, Goddess of splendour and fortune, bestower of auspicious mental desires; homage to the Goddess Wish-fulfilling Wheel." (Sakya liturgical verse).
Beautiful and sacred Vajra Yogini in Pharping, Nepal. The caretaker said it was owned by the Great Marpa the translator who was the guru of Milarepa. Wow.
4 months ago
Beautiful and sacred Vajra Yogini in Pharping, Nepal. The caretaker said it was owned by the Great Marpa the translator who was the guru of Milarepa. Wow.
In the Lankavatara Sutra, Lord Buddha says: \"For innumerable reasons, the Bodhisattva, whose nature is compassion, is not to  any meat. Thus Mahamati, whenever there is the evolution of living beings, let people cherish the thought of kinship with them, and thinking that all beings are [to be loved as if they were] and only child, let them refrain from eating meat.  Mahamati, meat is not eaten by anybody for any reason, there will be no destroyer of life. Thus, Mahamati, meat-eating I have not permitted to anyone, I do not permit, I will not permit.\"
4 months ago
In the Lankavatara Sutra, Lord Buddha says: "For innumerable reasons, the Bodhisattva, whose nature is compassion, is not to any meat. Thus Mahamati, whenever there is the evolution of living beings, let people cherish the thought of kinship with them, and thinking that all beings are [to be loved as if they were] and only child, let them refrain from eating meat. Mahamati, meat is not eaten by anybody for any reason, there will be no destroyer of life. Thus, Mahamati, meat-eating I have not permitted to anyone, I do not permit, I will not permit."
At times I have to be a trendsetter in spirituality as opposed to just being a follower and that is why I take chances and try. I may not be liked always for it, but I have to do it. In this way I have been introducing Dorje Shugden to the world. I know Shugden is good and will help so many and that is why I do it.
4 months ago
At times I have to be a trendsetter in spirituality as opposed to just being a follower and that is why I take chances and try. I may not be liked always for it, but I have to do it. In this way I have been introducing Dorje Shugden to the world. I know Shugden is good and will help so many and that is why I do it.
Courage is doing something you know the majority will not agree with and perhaps even some will scorn you for it, but you do it anyway because you know it\'s right and will benefit people at the cost of your own reputation. That\'s how I feel when I share Dorje Shugden\'s practice with the world.
4 months ago
Courage is doing something you know the majority will not agree with and perhaps even some will scorn you for it, but you do it anyway because you know it's right and will benefit people at the cost of your own reputation. That's how I feel when I share Dorje Shugden's practice with the world.
Courage is doing something you know the majority will not agree with and perhaps even some will scorn you for it, but you do it anyway because you know it\'s right and you are true to yourself.
4 months ago
Courage is doing something you know the majority will not agree with and perhaps even some will scorn you for it, but you do it anyway because you know it's right and you are true to yourself.
At times I have to be a trendsetter in spirituality as opposed to just being a follower and that is why I take chances and try. I may not be liked always for it, but I have to do it. In this way I have been introducing Dorje Shugden to the world. I know Shugden is good and will help so many and that is why I do it.
4 months ago
At times I have to be a trendsetter in spirituality as opposed to just being a follower and that is why I take chances and try. I may not be liked always for it, but I have to do it. In this way I have been introducing Dorje Shugden to the world. I know Shugden is good and will help so many and that is why I do it.
Courage is doing something you know the majority will not agree with and perhaps even some will scorn you for it, but you do it anyway because you know it\'s right and you are true to yourself.
4 months ago
Courage is doing something you know the majority will not agree with and perhaps even some will scorn you for it, but you do it anyway because you know it's right and you are true to yourself.
Courage is doing something you know the majority will not agree with and perhaps even some will scorn you for it, but you do it anyway because you know it\'s right and will benefit people at the cost of your own reputation. That\'s how I feel when I share Dorje Shugden\'s practice with the world.
4 months ago
Courage is doing something you know the majority will not agree with and perhaps even some will scorn you for it, but you do it anyway because you know it's right and will benefit people at the cost of your own reputation. That's how I feel when I share Dorje Shugden's practice with the world.
Beautiful Buddha built in Sarnath, India. Sarnath was the place where Lord Buddha first starting teaching the sacred Dharma. Tsem Rinpoche
5 months ago
Beautiful Buddha built in Sarnath, India. Sarnath was the place where Lord Buddha first starting teaching the sacred Dharma. Tsem Rinpoche
 This is so good. I need to remember this and not allow people to do this to me anymore. Being kind is one thing, but when they are doing it and it harms, it is not a matter of kindness anymore but taking advantage.
5 months ago
This is so good. I need to remember this and not allow people to do this to me anymore. Being kind is one thing, but when they are doing it and it harms, it is not a matter of kindness anymore but taking advantage.
Incredible Lama Thubten Phurbu and His Activities - http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=150927
6 months ago
Incredible Lama Thubten Phurbu and His Activities - http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=150927
Huffington Post has just released their SECOND EXPOSÉ of the Dorje Shugden issue. You can read about it here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=151328
6 months ago
Huffington Post has just released their SECOND EXPOSÉ of the Dorje Shugden issue. You can read about it here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=151328
Please read what Kyabje Trijang Choktrul Rinpoche says about people\'s religion.
6 months ago
Please read what Kyabje Trijang Choktrul Rinpoche says about people's religion.
A gorgeous Dorje Shugden painted in traditional art style of China. Chinese art has flourished for over 5,000 years and highly sought after. This form of Dorje Shugden is sitting on a seat as you see painted in his chapel (Trode Khangsar) in Lhasa, Tibet. Dorje Shugden can be on a seat or Lion.  More downloads here.  http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/downloads/buddha-images.html
6 months ago
A gorgeous Dorje Shugden painted in traditional art style of China. Chinese art has flourished for over 5,000 years and highly sought after. This form of Dorje Shugden is sitting on a seat as you see painted in his chapel (Trode Khangsar) in Lhasa, Tibet. Dorje Shugden can be on a seat or Lion. More downloads here. http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/downloads/buddha-images.html
Dear friends, The Dorje Shugden oracle of Gaden Shartse Monastery was authorized and blessed by both Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. He was a favorite among high lamas for his smooth trances and clear prophecies. This video is a one-of-a-kind where you see the Choyang Dulzin Kuten oracle take trance of the peaceful form of Dorje Shugden wearing the robes of a high lama giving teachings, blessings and transmissions. Very sacred and rare video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pawS1TMOe8k
6 months ago
Dear friends, The Dorje Shugden oracle of Gaden Shartse Monastery was authorized and blessed by both Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. He was a favorite among high lamas for his smooth trances and clear prophecies. This video is a one-of-a-kind where you see the Choyang Dulzin Kuten oracle take trance of the peaceful form of Dorje Shugden wearing the robes of a high lama giving teachings, blessings and transmissions. Very sacred and rare video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pawS1TMOe8k
Beautiful contemporary art piece of Dorje Shugden for free high res download here:  http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/downloads/buddha-images.html
6 months ago
Beautiful contemporary art piece of Dorje Shugden for free high res download here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/downloads/buddha-images.html
The Huffington Post extensively covers the Dorje Shugden issue. I had no idea that this article was being written. I was not contacted, not asked for an interview or asked for any comments, and then it was published and my students alerted me to it. So it was a very, very pleasant and encouraging surprise to read such balanced coverage from such a reputable news website. You can read it here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=149806
6 months ago
The Huffington Post extensively covers the Dorje Shugden issue. I had no idea that this article was being written. I was not contacted, not asked for an interview or asked for any comments, and then it was published and my students alerted me to it. So it was a very, very pleasant and encouraging surprise to read such balanced coverage from such a reputable news website. You can read it here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=149806
དེ་རིང་ང་ཁྱེད་རང་ཚོ་མཉམ་དུ་བོད་མིའི་ཆབ་སྲིད་ནང་གི་བློ་མགུ་ནུས་པའི་མངོན་འགྱུར་ཞིག་ཞུའི་ཡིན། གང་དག་བོད་པའི་སྤྱི་ཚོགས་ནང་ཆོས་ལུགས་ཁྱད་པར། དབྱེ་འབྱེད། ཕྱོགས་རིས་ཐོག་ལ་གང་འདྲ་སྟངས་འཛིན་བྱེད་དགོས་ཀྱི་སྐོར་ངེས་གཏན་སྣུན་ཤུགས་བྱེད་ཐུབ། http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/dorje-shugden/tibetan-mp-tenpa-yarphel-speaks-up-against-nechung-tibetan.html
6 months ago
དེ་རིང་ང་ཁྱེད་རང་ཚོ་མཉམ་དུ་བོད་མིའི་ཆབ་སྲིད་ནང་གི་བློ་མགུ་ནུས་པའི་མངོན་འགྱུར་ཞིག་ཞུའི་ཡིན། གང་དག་བོད་པའི་སྤྱི་ཚོགས་ནང་ཆོས་ལུགས་ཁྱད་པར། དབྱེ་འབྱེད། ཕྱོགས་རིས་ཐོག་ལ་གང་འདྲ་སྟངས་འཛིན་བྱེད་དགོས་ཀྱི་སྐོར་ངེས་གཏན་སྣུན་ཤུགས་བྱེད་ཐུབ། http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/dorje-shugden/tibetan-mp-tenpa-yarphel-speaks-up-against-nechung-tibetan.html
བོད་པའི་དབུ་ཁྲིད་ཚོའི་རྡོ་རྗེ་ཤུགས་ལྡན་བསྟེན་མཁན་ཚོར་མ་ཉེས་ཁ་ཡོག་གི་བརྙན་ཕྲིན་གསར་པ། http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/dorje-shugden/tibetan-leaderships-new-anti-shugden-video-tibetan.html
6 months ago
བོད་པའི་དབུ་ཁྲིད་ཚོའི་རྡོ་རྗེ་ཤུགས་ལྡན་བསྟེན་མཁན་ཚོར་མ་ཉེས་ཁ་ཡོག་གི་བརྙན་ཕྲིན་གསར་པ། http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/dorje-shugden/tibetan-leaderships-new-anti-shugden-video-tibetan.html
(Drepung) Dear friends, In the effort to be creative about something as holy and beneficial as Dorje Shugden, we\'ve come out with these new and realistic depictions. One is Dorje Shugden visiting the Potala Palace and the other is Dorje Shugden arising from Drepung Monastery where he lived in Zimkhang Gangma Ladrang as a high lama. Please enjoy and be blessed. Sincerely, Tsem Rinpoche (High resolution downloads: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/downloads/buddha-images.html )
6 months ago
(Drepung) Dear friends, In the effort to be creative about something as holy and beneficial as Dorje Shugden, we've come out with these new and realistic depictions. One is Dorje Shugden visiting the Potala Palace and the other is Dorje Shugden arising from Drepung Monastery where he lived in Zimkhang Gangma Ladrang as a high lama. Please enjoy and be blessed. Sincerely, Tsem Rinpoche (High resolution downloads: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/downloads/buddha-images.html )
Dear friends, In the effort to be creative about something as holy and beneficial as Dorje Shugden, we\'ve come out with these new and realistic depictions. One is Dorje Shugden visiting the Potala Palace and the other is Dorje Shugden arising from Drepung Monastery where he lived in Zimkhang Gangma Ladrang as a high lama. Please enjoy and be blessed. Sincerely, Tsem Rinpoche (High resolution downloads: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/downloads/buddha-images.html )
6 months ago
Dear friends, In the effort to be creative about something as holy and beneficial as Dorje Shugden, we've come out with these new and realistic depictions. One is Dorje Shugden visiting the Potala Palace and the other is Dorje Shugden arising from Drepung Monastery where he lived in Zimkhang Gangma Ladrang as a high lama. Please enjoy and be blessed. Sincerely, Tsem Rinpoche (High resolution downloads: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/downloads/buddha-images.html )
I had this painting commissioned. Please read more here on this great master-
 http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=146195
7 months ago
I had this painting commissioned. Please read more here on this great master- http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=146195
How can all the high lamas of Tibet and all the protectors not be able to defeat Dorje Shugden? This is food for thought: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Bj0254UG-Y
7 months ago
How can all the high lamas of Tibet and all the protectors not be able to defeat Dorje Shugden? This is food for thought: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Bj0254UG-Y
致全世界的华人:这是我一份小小的心意:一幅富有古中国传统艺术的作品。希望你们会喜欢! http://bit.ly/2zLOjnK
7 months ago
致全世界的华人:这是我一份小小的心意:一幅富有古中国传统艺术的作品。希望你们会喜欢! http://bit.ly/2zLOjnK
“One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
7 months ago
“One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
Download for free this high res photo of Lord Shugden: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/downloads/buddha-images.html
7 months ago
Download for free this high res photo of Lord Shugden: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/downloads/buddha-images.html
Whatever we can do to spread the teachings of our Guru, we should do so.
7 months ago
Whatever we can do to spread the teachings of our Guru, we should do so.
 These three (Dharma, Oser and Mumu) are super adorable.
7 months ago
These three (Dharma, Oser and Mumu) are super adorable.
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Videos On The Go

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  • Monthly Dorje Shugden Puja Performed at Nagu Monastery, Dechen, Yunnan, China for Tsem Rinpoche
    2 weeks ago
    Monthly Dorje Shugden Puja Performed at Nagu Monastery, Dechen, Yunnan, China for Tsem Rinpoche
  • His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche with his student Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
    2 months ago
    His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche with his student Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
    His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche of Gaden Shartse Monastery was one of the teachers of Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. Here in this beautiful video is Geshe Kelsang Gyatso showing his centre to Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, then proceeding to sit down to receive teachings. For more information, please go to http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/category/kyabje-zong-rinpoche
  • Super neat footage of Patty the Bigfoot!
    2 months ago
    Super neat footage of Patty the Bigfoot!
    In 1967, Bob Gimlin and Roger Patterson stumbled across an incredible sight whilst out in Bluff Creek, in the California wilderness. At a creek which had been freshly washed-out by recent floods, they witnessed a female Bigfoot swiftly traverse the rugged landscape. Since their filmed encounter with the Bigfoot, who has since been nicknamed Patty, many have disputed the authenticity of their recording but no one has been able to successfully prove that it is a fake. Credits for this video goes to entirely to windvale for the original footage.
  • Adorable Tibetan kids wishing Happy New Year 2018
    3 months ago
    Adorable Tibetan kids wishing Happy New Year 2018
    The children and their little well-wishing voices are adorable!! It is a must listen. They recite prayers to Dorje Shugden to invoke blessings for everyone for the New Year 2018! At one point, they sprinkle some of the drink into the air as per tradition as an offering to Dorje Shugden. Shugden's practice in Tibet has been strong for four hundred years and is continuing to grow. Happy New Year (Losar) to everyone. May everyone have peace. Sarva Mangalam!
  • Dogs are super intelligent. This dog was trained as a service dog to help his owner who suffers from seizures. It even goes to the extent whereby he will lie under her head when she has a seizure, to protect her head from banging on the floor.
    3 months ago
    Dogs are super intelligent. This dog was trained as a service dog to help his owner who suffers from seizures. It even goes to the extent whereby he will lie under her head when she has a seizure, to protect her head from banging on the floor.
  • Beautiful Tibetan children wishing Happy New Year!
    3 months ago
    Beautiful Tibetan children wishing Happy New Year!
  • Ven Lobsang Jigme of Tsem Monastery in Yara, Tibet is passing out pictures of Tsem Rinpoche to the locals.
    3 months ago
    Ven Lobsang Jigme of Tsem Monastery in Yara, Tibet is passing out pictures of Tsem Rinpoche to the locals.
  • (3) Khenpo Lobdroe blessing the public at Magon Monastery in Drayab.
    3 months ago
    (3) Khenpo Lobdroe blessing the public at Magon Monastery in Drayab.
  • (2) The trance took place in Drayab Magon Monastery.
    3 months ago
    (2) The trance took place in Drayab Magon Monastery.
  • (1) Young monk taking trance of Dorje Shugden in Drayab, Chamdo Tibet.
    3 months ago
    (1) Young monk taking trance of Dorje Shugden in Drayab, Chamdo Tibet.
  • A new megastar in Bollywood! Must see!!
    3 months ago
    A new megastar in Bollywood! Must see!!
  • This is very inspirational
    5 months ago
    This is very inspirational
  • A Mother’s Love
    6 months ago
    A Mother’s Love
    A mother's love is made up of a deep sense of care, of sacrifice and pain as a mother's heart is always with her children. Watch this touching video.
  • Dorje Shugden & Ministers
    6 months ago
    Dorje Shugden & Ministers
    Dorje Shugden and his two ministers, Kache Marpo and Namka Barzin. Vajrasecrets.com
  • Cham Dance
    6 months ago
    Cham Dance
    Cham is sacred dance. A dance that enacts the life story of a holy being. By participating in Cham, one is blessed to see the sacred life story of a being celebrated. This is a cham on Dorje Shugden. It\\\'s a short clip but interesting none-the-less. Tsem Rinpoche
  • The great Gautama Siddhartha meditating intensely is protected by the King of Nagas during heavy rains
    6 months ago
    The great Gautama Siddhartha meditating intensely is protected by the King of Nagas during heavy rains
    The King of Nagas knows this great being Siddhartha will soon become the Buddha. By offering his own body as shelter to the Buddha to be, he honours the state of enlightenment which will be won and gains merit for himself for his future lives although he is a naga now. The pre-eminent Buddha is an object of perfect offering gaining great merits for all beings. Tsem Rinpoche
  • This topic is so hot in many circles right now.
    7 months ago
    This topic is so hot in many circles right now.
    This video is thought-provoking and very interesting. Watch! Thanks so much to our friends at LIVEKINDLY.
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    7 months ago
    Chiropractic CHANGES LIFE for teenager with acute PAIN & DEAD LEG.
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    7 months ago
    BEAUTIFUL PLACE IN NEW YORK STATE-AMAZING.
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    7 months ago
    Leonardo DiCaprio takes on the meat Industry with real action.
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    7 months ago
    Do psychic mediums have messages from beyond?
  • Lovely gift for my 52nd Birthday. Tsem Rinpoche
    7 months ago
    Lovely gift for my 52nd Birthday. Tsem Rinpoche
  • This 59-year-old chimpanzee was refusing food and ready to die until...
    7 months ago
    This 59-year-old chimpanzee was refusing food and ready to die until...
    she received “one last visit from an old friend” 💔💔
  • Bigfoot sighted again and made it to the news.
    7 months ago
    Bigfoot sighted again and made it to the news.
  • Casper is such a cute and adorable. I like him.
    7 months ago
    Casper is such a cute and adorable. I like him.
  • Dorje Shugden Monastery Amarbayasgalant  Mongolia's Ancient Hidden Gem
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    Dorje Shugden Monastery Amarbayasgalant Mongolia's Ancient Hidden Gem
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    7 months ago
    Don't you love Hamburgers? See how 'delicious' it is here!
  • Such a beautiful and powerful message from a person who knows the meaning of life. Tsem Rinpoche
    7 months ago
    Such a beautiful and powerful message from a person who knows the meaning of life. Tsem Rinpoche
  • What the meat industry figured out is that you don't need healthy animals to make a profit.
    7 months ago
    What the meat industry figured out is that you don't need healthy animals to make a profit.
    Sick animals are more profitable... farms calculate how close to death they can keep animals without killing them. That's the business model. How quickly they can be made to grow, how tightly they can be packed, how much or how little can they eat, how sick they can get without dying... We live in a world in which it's conventional to treat an animal like a block of wood. ~ Jonathan Safran Foer
  • This video went viral and it's a must watch!!
    7 months ago
    This video went viral and it's a must watch!!
  • SEE HOW THIS ANIMAL SERIAL KILLER HAS NO ISSUE BLUDGEONING THIS DEFENSELESS BEING.
    8 months ago
    SEE HOW THIS ANIMAL SERIAL KILLER HAS NO ISSUE BLUDGEONING THIS DEFENSELESS BEING.
    This happens daily in slaughterhouse so you can get your pork and Bak ku teh. Stop eating meat.
  • Beautiful Buddha being sculpted from clay.
    8 months ago
    Beautiful Buddha being sculpted from clay.
  • After a while, you are are numb and you just keep doing it. You don’t know what you are doing and you don’t see it for what it really is. Tsem Rinpoche
    8 months ago
    After a while, you are are numb and you just keep doing it. You don’t know what you are doing and you don’t see it for what it really is. Tsem Rinpoche
    Please share this as much as possible. Please care. Please help: http://www.patreon.com/weanimals
  • OSER GIRL IS SO SMART AND CUTE AND EVERYONE LOVES HER
    8 months ago
    OSER GIRL IS SO SMART AND CUTE AND EVERYONE LOVES HER
  • It is a very painful process before the animals are finally dead.
    8 months ago
    It is a very painful process before the animals are finally dead.
  • If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.
    8 months ago
    If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.
  • Take a look at what singer Nicki Minaj did.
    8 months ago
    Take a look at what singer Nicki Minaj did.
  • Animals are enslaved to do a human’s job, this must stop.
    8 months ago
    Animals are enslaved to do a human’s job, this must stop.
  • This is how the chickens are killed in the farm, they die a very horrible death.
    8 months ago
    This is how the chickens are killed in the farm, they die a very horrible death.
  • America likes to police the world but their own record of civil rights is not on track. Watch this video from people of color in the US.
    8 months ago
    America likes to police the world but their own record of civil rights is not on track. Watch this video from people of color in the US.
  • Important video to watch and learn.
    8 months ago
    Important video to watch and learn.
  • Bigfoot’s voice captured on tape.
    8 months ago
    Bigfoot’s voice captured on tape.
  • Amazing video that you will not regret watching.
    8 months ago
    Amazing video that you will not regret watching.
  • Norma Jean
    9 months ago
    Norma Jean
    These are the heartbreaking scenes we see over and over again, that we share in the hopes of telling the stories of those who otherwise would have suffered and vanished from this earth without a trace. This is Norma Jean. Free for a little over five months, she knew more happiness than millions of her sisters ever will. But she couldn’t escape the fate genetically programmed into her as an egg producing machine. She seemed more lethargic than usual this morning, so we brought her inside to administer fluids and antibiotics in the hopes of pulling her through until we could get her in to see our vet. She couldn’t hang on. She died this evening shortly after this video was taken, severely infected from the rotting egg yolk adhered to various organs throughout her abdominal cavity. Like virtually every single one of her sisters, caged or free range, rescued or not, she paid the ultimate price for eggs (from FB)
  • If you want to change the world, start of by making your bed
    9 months ago
    If you want to change the world, start of by making your bed
    If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart

ASK A PASTOR


Ask the Pastors

A section for you to clarify your Dharma questions with Kechara’s esteemed pastors.

Just post your name and your question below and one of our pastors will provide you with an answer.

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CHAT PICTURES

KSK Penang team redistributed 360.60kg worth of surplus food and 235 pcs buns to the needy families in Flat PPR and Flat MBPP. Thank you to all the dedicated volunteers benefitting these families who are facing long term difficulties. Thank you Tesco for doing your part to help the less fortunate community! Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
2 hours ago
KSK Penang team redistributed 360.60kg worth of surplus food and 235 pcs buns to the needy families in Flat PPR and Flat MBPP. Thank you to all the dedicated volunteers benefitting these families who are facing long term difficulties. Thank you Tesco for doing your part to help the less fortunate community! Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Recently we had a bird liberation on Medicine Buddha Hill. The practice of animal liberation benefits not only the animals, but also those who contribute towards this meritorious activity, offering the benefits of healing, longevity and purification of negative actions. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 hours ago
Recently we had a bird liberation on Medicine Buddha Hill. The practice of animal liberation benefits not only the animals, but also those who contribute towards this meritorious activity, offering the benefits of healing, longevity and purification of negative actions. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
More pictures of the surplus food collected from hotels and restaurants to be redistributed to the needy. Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
2 days ago
More pictures of the surplus food collected from hotels and restaurants to be redistributed to the needy. Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Last night in KL. Surplus food collection from hotels and restaurants around town. Thank you very much to the following hotels: Sunway Resorts Hotel Hotel Stripes KL The Majestic Hotel Impiana KLCC Concorde Shah Alam Al Amar Pavilion Grand Hyatt KL Concorde KL MSU And not forgetting the wonderful volunteers. Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
2 days ago
Last night in KL. Surplus food collection from hotels and restaurants around town. Thank you very much to the following hotels: Sunway Resorts Hotel Hotel Stripes KL The Majestic Hotel Impiana KLCC Concorde Shah Alam Al Amar Pavilion Grand Hyatt KL Concorde KL MSU And not forgetting the wonderful volunteers. Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
The collection from surplus food helps prevent food wastage; we redistribute to the needy families. Thank you to Tesco for this surplus food and also grateful to the volunteers for helping!!! Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
5 days ago
The collection from surplus food helps prevent food wastage; we redistribute to the needy families. Thank you to Tesco for this surplus food and also grateful to the volunteers for helping!!! Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Mr. Cheah Fook Wan has offered lights and incense on behalf of KISG in Ipoh. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
5 days ago
Mr. Cheah Fook Wan has offered lights and incense on behalf of KISG in Ipoh. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
KISG has carried out prayer recitations to Mother Tara in Ipoh today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
5 days ago
KISG has carried out prayer recitations to Mother Tara in Ipoh today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
The close bonding between teacher and students in Sunday Dharma Class. Lin Mun KSDS
6 days ago
The close bonding between teacher and students in Sunday Dharma Class. Lin Mun KSDS
Teacher Kien leading the prayer session before we start the class lesson. Lin Mun KSDS
6 days ago
Teacher Kien leading the prayer session before we start the class lesson. Lin Mun KSDS
Teacher Alice share the guidelines and lay out the class rules before start of lesson. Lin Mun
6 days ago
Teacher Alice share the guidelines and lay out the class rules before start of lesson. Lin Mun
Andrea and Chloe always very participating during the Q&A session. Lin Mun KSDS
6 days ago
Andrea and Chloe always very participating during the Q&A session. Lin Mun KSDS
Animal liberation is held every 2nd week of the month in Kechara House. Sunday Dharma School students will also join this meritorious session. Lin Mun KSDS
6 days ago
Animal liberation is held every 2nd week of the month in Kechara House. Sunday Dharma School students will also join this meritorious session. Lin Mun KSDS
Dedication will be done after the dharma lessons and activities were ended. Alice Tay, KSDS
6 days ago
Dedication will be done after the dharma lessons and activities were ended. Alice Tay, KSDS
Teacher Kien is very passionate to help the students in art decorations. Alice Tay, KSDS
6 days ago
Teacher Kien is very passionate to help the students in art decorations. Alice Tay, KSDS
Teacher Asyley asked students to pay close attention to the video teaching. Alice Tay, KSDS
6 days ago
Teacher Asyley asked students to pay close attention to the video teaching. Alice Tay, KSDS
Teacher Alice explained the classroom rules to the children. Alice Tay, KSDS
6 days ago
Teacher Alice explained the classroom rules to the children. Alice Tay, KSDS
KSDS students learn to use mala during Manjushri mantra recitation. Alice Tay, KSDS
6 days ago
KSDS students learn to use mala during Manjushri mantra recitation. Alice Tay, KSDS
Thank you for your kind food sponsorship Jade Choong and happy birthday to you! Thank you for doing this on your birthday! Bring a lot of meaning and joy to everyone on the streets. The clients love it especially when we are serving fruit juice! Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
7 days ago
Thank you for your kind food sponsorship Jade Choong and happy birthday to you! Thank you for doing this on your birthday! Bring a lot of meaning and joy to everyone on the streets. The clients love it especially when we are serving fruit juice! Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
133kg of vegetables were redistributed to 41 families in Orang Asli village here in Bentong yesterday. Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
1 week ago
133kg of vegetables were redistributed to 41 families in Orang Asli village here in Bentong yesterday. Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Majlis Pelancaran Bulan Bermakna, launch Tesco Food Drive for the holy month of Ramadan to be channelled to our food bank and Food Aid Foundation to be redistributed to the poor families. Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
1 week ago
Majlis Pelancaran Bulan Bermakna, launch Tesco Food Drive for the holy month of Ramadan to be channelled to our food bank and Food Aid Foundation to be redistributed to the poor families. Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Photo from antoinette kass
2 weeks ago
Photo from antoinette kass
Learn, Play, Grow together at Kechara Sunday Dharma School. Every Sunday 9am to 10.30am. Come Come join us!!!We have alot of Fun By Asyley Chia KSDS
2 weeks ago
Learn, Play, Grow together at Kechara Sunday Dharma School. Every Sunday 9am to 10.30am. Come Come join us!!!We have alot of Fun By Asyley Chia KSDS
Learn, Play, Grow together at Kechara Sunday Dharma School. Every Sunday 9am to 10.30am. Come Come join us!!!We have alot of Fun By Asyley Chia KSDS
2 weeks ago
Learn, Play, Grow together at Kechara Sunday Dharma School. Every Sunday 9am to 10.30am. Come Come join us!!!We have alot of Fun By Asyley Chia KSDS
Learn, Play, Grow together at Kechara Sunday Dharma School. Every Sunday 9am to 10.30am. Come Come join us!!!We have alot of Fun By Asyley Chia KSDS
2 weeks ago
Learn, Play, Grow together at Kechara Sunday Dharma School. Every Sunday 9am to 10.30am. Come Come join us!!!We have alot of Fun By Asyley Chia KSDS
Learn, Play, Grow together at Kechara Sunday Dharma School. Every Sunday 9am to 10.30am. Come Come join us!!!We have alot of Fun By Asyley Chia KSDS
2 weeks ago
Learn, Play, Grow together at Kechara Sunday Dharma School. Every Sunday 9am to 10.30am. Come Come join us!!!We have alot of Fun By Asyley Chia KSDS
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