Baoding Shan Rock Carvings-Nic!

Apr 14, 2013 | Views: 1,253
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At Dazu, Chongqing

The Baodingshan cave is located 20km northeast of Dazu. The site is about 500m long from west to east in the shape of a hairpin, with about one kilometer total length of sculptures. The carved areas which are between three and 15 meters tall are believed to have been carved under the direction of monk Zhao Zhifeng during the Southern Song Dynasty, between 1179 and 1249 AD. However, Some Daoist images date the carvings to the Qing Dynasty and later.

These reliefs and sculptures reflect a diverse school of Esoteric Buddhism that highlighted the faction of Liu Benzun (855 – 907), a pious layman of Sichuan province who became venerated for his asceticismand spiritual perfection. The three traditions Huayun, Pure Land and Zen are represented, blended with Confucianism. Shakyamuni’s birth and death, the Wheel of Reincarnation, Hell Punishments, and popular deities are also featured.

The reliefs are like illustrated sermons in stone, being interspersed with copious quotations from the sutras, which show that the intention of these reliefs is variously devotional, sermonic and in the pursuit of transcendence. As expressed by Zhao’s signature text:

Even if one spins a burning hot iron wheel on top of my head,

No matter how excruciating the pain is,

I will not relapse from the mind of enlightenment.

Many of the reliefs are lively, realistic and of high artistic quality. The reliefs were parables or teaching devices for the common people and elite persons of the time by depicting scenes of ordinary people and situations. For the monks who trained at the site, the reliefs illustrated Zhao’s spiritual doctrine in a concrete and memorable way, and remains so for visitors today.

The sequence of reliefs effectively amounts to a manual on ultimate liberation. Zhao promotes the Mahayana ideal that everyone can be saved through various means i.e. reflections on Shakyamuni’s life (the Parinirvana and Birth reliefs) and the doctrine of Karma (the Wheel of Reincarnation), encouraging good acts (reliefs of Parental and Filial Kindness), discouraging evil acts (Hell reliefs), promoting various kinds of worship (Huayun, Pure Land, and Esoteric reliefs) and contemplation (Oxherding Parable).

Below are some featured carvings and statues in Baodingshan caves:

[Images and captions extracted from: http://www.art-and-archaeology.com/china/baoding/ba02.html]

 

Prowling Tiger

This sculpture stands at the entrance to Baodingshan, where it symbolizes the dangers to be overcome on one’s spiritual journey.

 

Nine Dharmapalas

Nine Dharmapalas (Protectors of the Law) guard the entrance to the Baodingshan. More often there are eight Protectors rather than nine, but the augmented number apparently comes from a sutra that was popular around Dazu during the Song Dynasty.

The features of the Baodingshan guardians often seem grotesque or even comical, rather than fierce, at least to modern eyes.

The guardians carry different implements, including sword (right), fan (middle), and spear (left, now missing).

The left end of the relief includes a pair of servants with human bodies and animal heads. This convention usually symbolizes humans who have been reincarnated as animals in order to pay off a karmic debt, as in the Dong Yue Miao in Beijing.

 

Wheel of Reincarnation

The Great Wheel of Rebirth summarizes the Buddhist doctrine of karma: an endless cycle of reincarnation into higher or lower forms of life according to one’s past deeds. In this sculpture the demon Mara, personifying existence, holds the wheel in his jaws and arms. The wheel is supported from below by personifications (l. to r.) of greed (an official), evil (a soldier), foolishness (a monkey), and lust (a woman). Six Buddha-rays emanate from the wheel, signifying that enlightenment, the goal of all Buddhist practice, enables the seeker to escape from the eternal cycle of birth and death.

According to Howard, the meditating figure at the center of the wheel is Zhao Zhifeng. The rays, emanating from Zhao, partition the innermost ring of the wheel into the traditional six realms of reincarnation. Proceeding clockwise from the top, these are the realms of gods, men, hungry ghosts, hell, animals, and demigods (asuras). The middle ring illustrates the chain of causes, technically called “links of dependent origination,” in Buddhist philosophy: ignorance, sickness, death, old age, desire, etc. The outer ring illustrates various reincarnations of men and animals.

Detail of Foolishness (symbolized by a monkey) and Desire (symbolized by a woman) are seen supporting the Wheel of Reincarnation.

 

Cat and Prey

This delicate vignette of the natural world shows a cat menacing its treed prey. It is located near the Wheel of Reincarnation.

 

Vast Jeweled Pavilion

Three figures, identified by Howard as Zhao1 and two disciples, meditate in a bamboo grove on the legendary continent of Jambudvipa. Behind them, the Vast Jeweled Pavilion manifests as a result of their efforts. The characters “Bao Ding Shan” are inscribed from right to left below the relief. These translate as “Treasure Peak Mountain,” or as Howard’s title has it, “Summit of Treasures.”

1 None of the figures conforms to the “standard type” figure of Zhao. Chinese scholars have identified the figures as Zhao in youth (right), middle age (center), and old age (left). While this is certainly possible – the age progression in the figures from right to left is evident – the central figure is not dissimilar to Liu Benzun himself. This might actually be a triad of Liu, rather than Zhao, in the three stages of life.

 

Three Worthies of Huayan

The Three Worthies are Manjushri (left), Vairocana (centre), and Samantabhadra (right), a triad venerated by the Huayan (Jp. Kegon) School of Buddhism.

 

Precious Relic Stupa

This relief depicts a reliquary stupa, with Buddha images carved in rondels on each level. Many such stupas were built, after the Buddha’s death, to enshrine fragments of his cremated remains. The image seen here is a symbolic reference to this “Division of the Relics.”

 

1000 – Armed Avalokiteshvara

In this stunning devotional relief, the thousand hands of Guanyin (Avalokiteshvara), which give him the power to save sentient beings everywhere, have been shaped into an aureole surrounding the deity. The lady and official flanking the image may be donor statues.

The relief is 7.2m high by 12.5m wide. Someone has actually counted the hands: according to Howard, there are 1,007 of them.

 

Parinirvana

The 31m long reclining statue occupies the east end of the Baodingshan; it illustrates the death of Shakyamuni, attended by Bodhisattvas and other attendants. The Buddha’s lower body and legs were omitted from the statue, so as to create a larger bust than would otherwise have fit into the available space. An offering table is positioned towards the bottom of the sculpture. Above this, a platform supports effigies of the Buddha’s relatives. The emphasis on Buddha’s family – here and elsewhere at Baodingshan – reflects the Chinese “family values” which had been adopted by Buddhism in order to thrive there.

Bodhisattvas and officials symbolically attend the Buddha at the moment of his death. The inclusion of Song officials and disciples, as well as the Buddha’s colossal length, construes this sculptural group as a devotional tableau, rather than a historical description.

As with the reclining Buddha, the lower extremities of the attendant’s bodies are absent. This adjustment brings them closer to the ground, and to the viewer. Odd as they seem at first, their legless bodies (including that of the Buddha) successfully combine the divine and human scales in a scene that includes the viewer as witness and participant.

This figure of an attendant Bodhisattva exemplifies the fine carving of these sculptures and their contemplative, devotional intent.

 

Head of Buddha – Parinirvana

The colossal head of Buddha, with eyes very slightly open and a blissful expression, is attended by Zhao Zhifeng (left) and Liu Benzun (right). Since Zhao is the monk who supervised the construction, his features may be taken as a portrait. A student copy in clay rests on a table to the left of Zhao’s portrait bust.

 

Zhao Zhifeng and Liu Benzun

As mentioned previously, Zhao is the creator of Baodingshan and Liu is Zhao’s spiritual father. While there is no doubt of Zhao’s sincerity, this was also an astute move in terms of religious politics, since Liu had long been revered in the area around Dazu. The 300-year gap between the two men is bridged here by the placement and orientation of the statues that show Zhao contemplating the figure of Liu and the other attendants. By placing himself at the head of the line, and bearing some signs (curly hair, urna) of a Buddha, Zhao clearly means to claim for himself the status of an enlightened being; he simultaneously expresses his spiritual descent from Liu, and his devotion to the Buddha, at the pivotal moment of the Parinirvana.

 

Guardian Official – Parinirvana, Baodingshan

A weaponless guardian, with determined expression, rises from the ground with half-formed legs to protect the head of the reclining Buddha.

Our final example of the Parinirvana sculptures is this striking Bodhisattva at the foot of the Buddha, who balances the guardian official at the Buddha’s head, almost like a pair of bookends. Holding a ruyi scepter, his expression of authority is emphasised by his frank stare, narrowed eyes, and the stern, almost mask-like lines of his brow ridges and cheekbones. This is an active and protective, rather than a contemplative, deity.

 

Birth of Shakyamuni – Baodingshan, Dazu

Maya, the Buddha’s mother, appears as a crowned Bodhisattva with ruyi. Her son, Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha’s birth name), appears beside his mother as an oversize child, alluding to his miraculous birth from the side of his mother.

Maya’s shalabhanjika posture and her attendant maid are retained from the original Indian iconography. However, in deference to Chinese sensibilities, she grasps the tree with her arm decorously extended, rather than provocatively raised.

 

Nagas Bathe Shakyamuni

The young Buddha is lustrated by nagas, in this magnificent scene that owes much to the imagery of Southeast Asia. The sculptors channeled a natural stream to issue from the principal naga’s mouth. The Birth Scene is just to the right.

It is probably no accident that the three scenes illustrating Buddha’s life on earth are placed together (Birth, Death, and Lustration), although technically the Lustration is out of sequence.

 

Mahamayuri

The cult of Mahamayuri was widespread in Sichuan, although this deity – the only female Vidyaraja – seems little-known outside of that area. She rides the peacock, an enemy of snakes, to symbolize her power against snakebite. She also granted protection against drought and many other evils. Her inclusion at Baodingshan is explained not only by her regional popularity, but more particularly by her local title of Buddha’s Mother: in esoteric doctrine, Maya was considered to be the mother of Buddha only in respect to his physical body, while Mahamayuri was the mother of Buddha in respect to his metaphysical body.

 

Vairocana Pillar

This pillar is the centerpiece of grotto no.15, which represents the sacred abode of Vairocana. In Huayan doctrine, Vairocana is the supreme god who presides over an infinite number of universes, in each of which a Shakyamuni Buddha is born to preach the Dharma. The idea of multiple universes has deep roots in Hindu thought, and finds a distant echo even in contemporary scientific cosmology.

The walls of Vairocana’s grotto are decorated with Vairocana Triads; their repetition reinforces the idea of multiplicity that is a centerpiece of Huayan doctrine.

 

Parents Bestowing Kindness on Their Children

The statues illustrating parental kindness are laid out beneath a line of seven Buddhas (Shakyamuni plus six other Buddhas of the past). This relief incorporates a homiletic Confucian message about family values, under nominal Buddhist auspices. This answered Chinese critics who had censured Buddhism as indifferent, if not actually hostile, to the claims of family.

 

Asking Buddha for Progeny

In the center of the relief, parents ask the Buddha to grant them children. This was an overriding concern for Chinese families. Children were considered essential to carry on the work of the clan, to continue the family line, to support their parents in old age, and to care for their spirit tablets after death. The people in this relief are commoners, not kings and princes; ordinary viewers could easily identify with the family values depicted here.

 

Parental Kindness

In a part of the relief called “Protecting the Child in the Womb,” the mother-to-be (seated, blue robe) takes nourishment for the child in her womb from a standing servant who is holding a bowl. Below sits Zhao Zhifeng, wearing a rosary. To the right, “Forgetting the Pains of Childbirth and Raising the Child,” the mother (standing) has now given birth; she supports the child on her shoulder, as the father looks on dotingly.

“Placing the Child on the Dry Side, Lying in the Wet” sees the kindly mother supporting the child on the dry side of the bed that the child has just soaked, while she lies in the child’s urine. She does not want to disturb the child, not even by getting up to change the bedding.

On the other side of the relief, the mother, standing and heavily pregnant, endures the “Pain of Childbirth” while supported by a servant; a midwife kneels in front of her, as the father looks on hopefully.

The seated mother at right is “Chewing the Bitter [food, for herself], Spitting [out] the Sweet [for the child];” left, the mother is “Breast-Feeding the Child.” An accompanying text (not shown) enjoins all parents to follow these precepts of kindness.

 

Spirits of Wind, Thunder, and Lightning

The next relief, around the corner, honors the non-Buddhist weather gods that were so important to an agricultural community. Spirits of Wind (right, with bag of wind, like Aeolus in Greek mythology); Thunder (middle); and Lightning (left) are shown here. Wind and Thunder in Japan are known as Fujin and Raijin.

 

Spirits of Mist and Rain

Spirits of Mist (right) and Rain (center, riding dragon) are carved into the rock; the figure on the left is one of Rain’s assistants. Below, a weathered homiletic text (not shown) calls down the wrath of the elements upon evildoers, while promising that it is never too late to mend one’s ways.

 

Shakyamuni Repays His Parents’ Kindness

The colossal statue of Shakyamuni, seen here, overlooks a relief that illustrates twelve instances of Buddhist filial piety, taken from various sutras and jatakas, including the sutra titled “With Great Skillful Means, the Buddha Repays [His Parents’] Kindness” (Da Fang Bian Fo Bao En Jing). The relief is both moralistic (to illustrate the benefits of filial piety) and propagandistic (to prove that Chinese Buddhists can be as filial as anyone else).

 

Ananda and the Dutiful Son

This story relates the origin of the Baoen Jing sutra. Buddha’s disciple Ananda (photo left) encounters a dutiful son who is laboriously carrying his aged parents in baskets suspended from his shoulders (center). Also present are some Hindu Brahmins (photo right), who praise the filial son, and disparage Shakyamuni’s own filiality by comparison. Ananda reported this encounter to the Buddha, who preached the Baoen Jing in response.

 

Scene #18, bottom right side

This view of the Ananda scene illustrates two Brahmins to the right of the dutiful son; the Brahmin in front is pointing out the son to his companion. Beyond them is a group of foreign entertainers, playing musical instruments and dancing, beneath a flute-player in an alcove.

 

Scene #18, bottom right side (detail)

This detail captures the determination of the son, pointed out by the arm and hand of the Brahmin at the photo right, as he transports his aged parents.

 

Flute Player – Scene #18, bottom right side

A flute player provides musical accompaniment to the foreigners dancing below. The figure to the left of the dancing foreigner is playing a clapper; his feet are also in a dancing pose. Depictions of foreign entertainers were common in China from the Tang dynasty onwards.

 

Parables of Filial Piety – Scene #18, upper right side

Lower left, the child Prince Subhuti accompanies his royal parents (standing) into exile. The father rests one hand on his sword while his other arm supports the boy. Subsequently (not shown), the Prince offered his own flesh to feed his starving parents. Lower right, Prince Mahasattva sacrifices himself to feed a hungry tiger and her cubs. His distraught parents examine their son’s remains on a table beside the tiger. Upper right, a farmer releases a filial parrot who took grain from the farmer’s field in order to feed its parents. Beside this figure, Prince Kshanti (right corner) sacrifices his eyes and bone marrow to make a medicine for his father (at table, upper right). Upper left, Shakyamuni (kneeling) reveres his parents (seated above).

 

Shakyamuni Carries His Father’s Casket – Scene #18, lower left side

Top left, the dying Shyama asks his slayer to look after his blind parents. Top center, a king (praying) sacrifices his flesh in order to reach enlightenment. Top right, Prince Good Friend kneels as he offers a curative jewel (cintamani) to his parents. Bottom center, a householder throws himself down a mountain in order to attain enlightenment, while India (kneeling) and an ogre (standing, actually Indra in disguise) look on. Bottom left, Shakyamuni (left) comforts his dying father (King Shuddhodhana, stretched out on table). The two enlightenment stories are exceptions to the general theme of filial piety that is displayed here.

 

Western Pure Land

The Western Pure Land (Sukhavati) unfolds around a triad consisting of Amitayus, Avalokiteshvara, and Mahasthamaprapta. The right-hand side of the relief, surrounding Avalokiteshvara, is imaged here.

 

Western Pure Land, right side

The Bodhisattva of Compassion, Amitayus’ chief assistant, overlooks the Western Paradise with a kindly expression. Avalokiteshvara (Ch. Guanyin, Jp. Kannon) displays a standing image of Amitayus in his crown (a variant; typically the Amitayus is seated in meditation). His right hand holds a lotus stem (absent), and his left supports a bowl.

 

Western Pure Land, Center

In theory, there are four Buddhist Pure Lands (paradises), one for each direction of the compass. Each is ruled by its own Buddha. In practice the cult of Amitayus (Ch. Wuliangshou, Jp. Amida), Buddha of the Western Pure Land of Sukhavati, was by far the most popular. Devotees could expect to be reborn from lotuses in Sukhavati, attaining one of nine degrees of bliss, depending on the degree of merit they had accumulated in their earthly life.

Amitayus’ hand gesture combines elements of vitarka (thumbs touching index fingers) and dhyana (hands together, palms up, fingers bent).

 

Western Pure Land, left side

Amitayus’ other helper, Mahasthamaprapta (Ch. Dashizhi, Jp. Seishi) appears here on Amitayus’ right side (viewer’s left). The usual emblem in his crown is a vase, although none appears in the crown of this figure. His typical gesture is to hold a lotus bud, but here he appears to be making the dhyana/vitarka gesture (see previous page) with his right hand, while his extended left holds an unidentified object. Unlike Avalokiteshvara, Mahasthamaprapta never developed an independent cult following; he represents the power and wisdom of Amitayus, as Avalokiteshvara represents the compassion of Amitayus.

 

Western Pure Land, left side (detail)

This scene illustrates the rebirth of happy souls in the Pure Land. They are greeted by various deities as they emerge from lotus plants, the symbols of purity.

 

Six Roots of Sensation

The figure in this relief is Fu Dashi (Jp. Fu Daishi, 497-569), a Zen master who taught that the senses deceive the mind. Here the six senses are personified by animals, who are tethered to Fu Dashi’s platform: Sight, a dog; Hearing, a crow; Smell, a snake; Taste, an unidentified animal; Touch, a fish; and Passion, a horse. The master cradles a monkey, personifying Mind, in his lap.

 

Hell Punishments, right side

This elaborate hell relief vividly illustrates the deities and officials in charge, and the punishments meted out to sinners. The standing figure at photo upper left is Jizo, who releases souls from hell. He carries a tall Buddhist staff and jewel.

 

The Hell of the Boiling Cauldron

In this hell, a horse-headed “hell warden” boils sinners in a cauldron. In spite of their horrific punishments, the hells are not eternal; in fact they are more like the Western concept of Purgatory. While it is always better not to sin in the first place, you can avoid the hells (or at least shorten your stay) by repenting, invoking the proper deity during your lifetime, and by being prayed for after your death. Otherwise, you must suffer in them until your full karmic debt is paid.

 

Hell of Excrements and Impaling

In these hells, sinners are beaten into a vat of excrement, while others are impaled alive by ferocious “hell wardens.” These employees of the hellish bureaucracy are merely doing their job, and should not be confused with the malicious fallen spirits (devils and demons) of the West.

 

Hell of Impaling

The sinner is bound to a post, where he is impaled in the stomach by a hell warden. His sin was eating meat (the sutra-writers, from whom these punishments are derived, were serious vegetarians). The vividness of these images was calculated to make them highly memorable and easy to understand to anyone who saw them.

 

Hells of the Iron Wheel and Boiling Cauldron

Just to the right of the Impaling Hell, a helpless sinner is ground to pieces underneath a heavy toothed iron wheel that looks like an oversize tea grinder; his sin was eating rabbits, like the woman seated at the table above. Meanwhile another sinner, guilty of evil speech, is picked up like a slab of meat and tossed into a boiling pot. The monkish figure at the right, in front of the three-tiered stupa, is Zhao Zhifeng; his captions advocate the pursuit of enlightenment as the best way to avoid suffering.

 

Hell of Breaking the Knees

The evils of drunkenness are illustrated, in a very Confucian way, by their awful effects on the family. In the scene, a drunken son seduces his own mother, and in turn is speared by his mother’s lover. The punishment of everyone involved is illustrated. The seated figure at bottom is wearing a cangue around his neck, while awaiting his turn to have his knees broken by the hell warden at left. The cangue, a kind of yoke around the neck upon which a person’s transgression was inscribed, was a common punishment in China.

 

The Ten Austerities of Liu Benzun

As mentioned previously, Liu Benzun, who lived 300 years before Zhao Zhifeng created these grottoes, was Zhao’s spiritual ideal and inspiration. Liu’s deliberate damaging of his own body is shown in this relief. Liu is the large central figure in the photo, and his austerities (acts of harming himself) are shown to either side upon the upper ledge.

Asceticism, also known as penance, austerity, and “mortification of the flesh,” has deep roots in India, Christianity, and many Native religions. The practice aims to achieve a spiritual state by sacrificing one’s physical being; physical and sensory deprivation or pain can, under favorable circumstances, lead the prepared mind to a realm of religious and visionary experiences that seem compelling to the practitioner. Although rejected by the historical Buddha (who advocated the Middle Way after earlier austerities), asceticism was incorporated into early Chan (Zen):

The Second Patriarch, who had been standing in the snow, cut off his arm and said [to Bodhidharma], “Your disciple’s mind is not yet at peace. I beg you, my teacher, please give it peace.” (Mumonkan, no.41.)

There is no evidence that Zhao himself practiced self-harm, but the theoretical importance of asceticism to Zhao is attested by his epigram quoted earlier:

Even if one spins a burning hot iron wheel on top of my head,
No matter how excruciating the pain is,
I will not relapse from the mind of enlightenment.

Liu’s Ten Austerities are: Burning the Index Finger, Burning the Ankle, Cutting the Ear, Burning the Top of the Head, Burning the Genitalia, Burning the Knees, Cutting the Arm, Burning the Chest, Gouging the Eye, and Meditating in the Snow.

 

Cutting the Ear – Ten Austerities relief, left side

Liu Benzun, not content with already having gouged out his right eye (shown missing, in photo), cuts off his left ear in this relief.

 

Smelting the Genitals

Liu Benzun commits what would be, for most of us, the ultimate sacrifice: burning off his genitalia.

From the left bottom side of the relief, below Liu Bnzun’s austerities, we see Hayagrigva (left.) and Trailokyavijaya (right.); source: Howard, pp. 60-61.

Acalanatha (left.), and Yamantaka (right.) are displayed here (Howard, pp. 60 – 61).

Continuing from the back side to the center, we see Yamantaka (left.), and Ucchushima (right.) (Howard, pp. 60-61)

 

Da Huiji

Ten Vidyarajas (Wisdom Kings, Jp. Myo-o) are displayed in the lower register of the relief. The Wisdom Kings, fierce protectors of Buddhism, were introduced to esoteric Buddhism from India. In this photo Da Huiji, a Wisdom King whose name is not known in Sanskrit, occupies the central place below Liu Benzun.

 

Vidyaraja Kundali

Kundali Vidyaraja (Ch. Daxiao, Jp. Gundari) is placed just to the right of Da Huiji (previous page). According to some mandalas, he is an emanation of Ratnasambhava (Frederic, p. 209).

 

Vidyarajas

These Vidyarajas are identified by Howard (p. 61) from left to right as Aparajita, Mahacakravajra, and Padanakshita respectively.

 

Daoist Images

The Daoist reliefs at Baodingshan are a modern addition; they date from the Qing dynasty and later. On the left, a female deity is paired with a crowned male deity who rides a tiger and carries a parasol. The figures on the right are the Three Purities.

 

Daoist Gods and Goddesses

On the left, we see a paired male and female deity. On the right, a fierce multi-armed god rides a tiger, paired with a bald and bearded figure who is riding a different animal.

 

Bust of Vairocana – Liu Benzun Perfected

Liu Benzun is poised between two rays that emanate from Vairocana’s crown, a startling elevation of Liu to the status of an emanation of the cosmic Buddha. The repairs to Vairocana date to the Ming Dynasty.

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9 Responses to Baoding Shan Rock Carvings-Nic!

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  1. Anne Ong on Mar 22, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    This is simply amazing! I love all the rock carvings that has a story and meanings behind it. The carvings still look new eventhough it has been around for so long. Some that caught my eyes are…Shakyamuni Repays His Parents’ Kindness.Smelting the Genitals.Cutting the Ear – Ten Austerities relief, left side. Bust of Vairocana – Liu Benzun Perfected.Shakyamuni Carries His Father’s Casket – Scene #18, lower left side. Thank you very much Rinpoche for sharing this wonderful and meaningful article._/\_

  2. Sean Wang on Aug 1, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    This is simply amazing. It is hard to find a praise that matches this beauty. They are all carved with such detail, this is what is to be expected of the chinese craftsmen. I want to visit this place so badly. My favourite carvings are the ones of the hells because it reminds people that their negative actions will reap negative results.

  3. Jessica Yap on May 1, 2013 at 9:40 am

    Such a magnificent place.. Each piece of work are so detailed and meaningful..the people whom helped build this place must’ve collected tremendous merits.. 🙂
    I haven’t heard of this place before. Hehe hope I’d be able to visit one day. My favorite pieces are the ones of Avalokitesvara and the Holy Stupa..

    Thank you for sharing, Rinpoche!

  4. Lim Han Nee on Apr 18, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    These reliefs or carvings of Baoding Shan Rock present a rich,colorful and interesting diversity of themes and religious and philosophical traditions. There is the contemplative and the profound, side by side with the esoteric. In a way it reflects the hotch-potch of beliefs and superstitions of the Chinese mind.

    The Western pure land affords some relief from the disturbing scenes of Hell and the self-mutilations of Liu Benzun. The 1007 arms of Avalokitesvara are a spectacular sight.

    Nonetheless, taken in total, it is an interesting and unique presentation of such rich diversity- a place from the past worth visiting.

  5. Andrew chiam on Apr 16, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    Rinpoche, thanks for the sharing. Although i do not read much at the present, i felt peaceful and still strongly connected to buddhism though buddhist art. This place is a treasure house for buddhism art.
    Thank You Rinpoche.

  6. Wan Wai Meng on Apr 15, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    Real practitioners to do not sway away from difficulties until they reach their goals.

    • David Lai on May 13, 2013 at 5:56 pm

      I would not take Liu Benzun’s 10 austerities literally as something to be emulated but the spirit in which he has performed them is to be followed. The outcome of any action is determined not by the action itself but by the intention of the action. However, there’s still a limit to austerities as our bodies are frail and when the ‘will’ is stronger than the body, it would be better to redirect it towards learning, contemplation and application of the Dharma instead. True enlightenment is achieved through the mind and not the body.

  7. Sharon Saw on Apr 15, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    This is a fantastic guide with detailed descriptions and explanations to the Baoding Shan rock carvings… i would love to visit and print this out for reference! The Buddha statues are spectacular.. i particularly like the 1000 (or 1007!) arm Chenrezig and the 31m reclining Buddha. I find the Hell realms sculptures very disturbing and reminiscent of the paintings by the Flemish artist, Pieter Brueghel the younger. It certainly implies that hell imagery crosses religions. I also thought the depictions of the self-mutilations by Liu Benzun as disturbing and contrary to the Buddhist teachings that i know of also. As is rightly said though, that Buddha rejected extreme asceticism in favour of the middle path! Anyway i guess all these stories of hell and severe self-mutilation are meant to inculcate a sense of fear of wrong doing in order to cultivate virtues.

    I hope one day i can see these sculptures in person! Thank you again for sharing the many pictures and descriptions.

  8. Cliff on Apr 14, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    Amazing! Its incredible how they are all carved with such detail, considering that it was done between 1179 to 1249 AD. I would love to visit Baoding Shan Rock one day. I was extremely astonished by the size of the 1000 arm avalokiteshvara, its incredible how under the supervision of Zhao Zhifeng they managed to realistically put all 1007 arms on avalokiteshvara. It must be really striking in real life. I also liked the wheel of reincarnation and buddha shakyamuni’s passing laying on his side with his eyes slightly opened i really like that detail, it made buddha look really peaceful and compassionate. The wheel of reincarnation really strike me with awe considering the size, details and colours of the statue. My other favourite was Da Huiji, he looks like a really fierce protector of buddhism. It really caught my eye with its presence. Thanks for sharing these lovely photos Rinpoche. Must be a thrill to visit there one day.

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Blog Chat

BLOG CHAT

Dear blog friends,

I’ve created this section for all of you to share your opinions, thoughts and feelings about whatever interests you.

Everyone has a different perspective, so this section is for you.

Tsem Rinpoche


SCHEDULED CHAT SESSIONS / 中文聊天室时间表

THURSDAY
10 - 11PM (GMT +8)
5 - 6AM (PST)
星期五
9 - 10PM (GMT +8)
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(除了每个月的第一个星期五)
SATURDAY
11AM - 12PM (GMT +8)
FRIDAY 7 - 8PM (PST)
SUNDAY
9:30 - 10PM (GMT +8)
4:30 - 5AM (PST)

UPCOMING TOPICS FOR MARCH / 三月份讨论主题

Please come and join in the chat for a fun time and support. See you all there.


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KECHARA FOREST RETREAT PROGRESS UPDATES

Here is the latest news and pictorial updates, as it happens, of our upcoming forest retreat project.

The Kechara Forest Retreat is a unique holistic retreat centre focused on the total wellness of body, mind and spirit. This is a place where families and individuals will find peace, nourishment and inspiration in a natural forest environment. At Kechara Forest Retreat, we are committed to give back to society through instilling the next generation with universal positive values such as kindness and compassion.

For more information, please read here (english), here (chinese), or the official site: retreat.kechara.com.

Noticeboard

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  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Mar 26. 2017 04:15 PM
    Very clear explanation of what is Vajrayogini’s left foot stepping on. Each time when i have a look at the beautiful statue of Vajrayogini this question will comes back to me. i am glad came across these blog by chance, i saw and read to understand better.A clear explanation ..stampling left and right foot significant of desire ,hatred and ignorance that cause us to be in samsara and she she able to control.Vajrayogni’s practices is so powerful in heliping us and that is the reason Rinpoche always ask us to start now.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these short explanation in the video and the interesting story of Mahadeva.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/facebook-question-what-is-vajra-yoginis-left-foot-stepping-on.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Sunday, Mar 26. 2017 02:44 PM
    Rejoice to all the families who had setup a Buddhist altar at home and conducted a house blessing puja. There are diverse benefits of conducting the house blessing puja, which ranges from bringing well-being on all levels – in one’s health, relationships, business, and family – to purifying the home. The puja ceremonies will purify the environment which helps the people who live there and people who are visiting there to experience general well-being. The puja can be personalised based on the request or need of the individual. Thank you for sharing with us the many photos of the beautiful altar of these families, it is very heartwarming to know that they will always be blessed by the Three Jewels.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/10-amazing-house-blessings-by-kechara-pastors.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Sunday, Mar 26. 2017 02:24 PM
    Thank you for sharing this mindfully planned itinerary for everyone who is interested in visiting Kechara Forest Retreat. Kechara Forest Retreat has different facets that showcase different elements of spirituality and Tibetan Buddhism in this wholesale venue. One can enjoy the flora and fauna of Mother Nature, or embrace the contemporary architectures that feature many magnificent Buddha statues and authentic Himalayan decorations. Not forgetting to mention, in Kechara Forest Retreat sits the largest Dorje Shugden statue in the world! This is a holy place we must never miss to pay homage for blessings from the Three Jewels.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/go-bentong.html
  • Pastor Shin Tan
    Sunday, Mar 26. 2017 01:07 PM
    金泽“财王”护法殿

    在禅修林的入口处的左边有一间小佛堂,是全天候二十四小时开放给大众的。这间佛堂的一砖一瓦都是由不同善心人士捐增的。也因为他们过后发了一笔小财,所以在大马文东,金泽护法一般被简称为“财王“。

    根据佛陀教诲,五蕴是组成众生的五个方面,分别是色、受、想、行、识。证悟者如多杰雄登能将五蕴分别化现成不同的本尊。金泽是多杰雄登“受”蕴的化现,作用是协助我们增长世俗和修行上的财富。“受”蕴是我们对愉悦或不悦感受的认知。我们执着于愉悦,避免不悦,而这正是导致我们受困和造下各种业,继而产生痛苦的因(此段原文: http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_6d7edf5f0102x1n6.html)

    来到这里,我们首先要上香。做生意的朋友可要趁此机会拜拜,供养一个大的莲花蜡烛,上三根大香,祈求今年一帆风顺哦。

    摘自“GO BENTONG!与菩萨有约”
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=120808
  • Lin Mun
    Saturday, Mar 25. 2017 11:02 PM
    Can’t imagine that a priest actually stabbed Pope John Paul. How can he do this when he as a priest is suppose to be compassion and love everyone but kill the religion leader. he should remember that he carries the name priest and hence must show good example and behaviour to others but instead took another person’s life.

    I respected Pope John who continued his trip even though he was injured. That shows the determination he had to teach so it can benefit others. Always put others first more than our own needs.

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this article.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/pope-john-paul-stabbed-by-priest.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Saturday, Mar 25. 2017 08:13 PM
    It is admirable for Sine Lindholm & Mads Ulrik Husum to place their design as open source for everyone to download and copy to manufacture. This shows how farsighted they are in propelling self-sustainability. The first step is always the hardest, and I believe what Sine and Mads had done is towards the right direction. In this way, people from all the around the world who genuinely are passionate and interested in growing own vegetables will be able to start on their own. Without needing to rely on middleman or manufacturer who might end up making the brilliant idea a commercial white elephant. Thank you, Rinpoche for this sharing.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/build-your-own-growroom.html
  • Alice Tay
    Friday, Mar 24. 2017 10:05 PM
    Many companies especially in overseas are very considerate and allow their employees to bring their dogs to work. I personally think that this is a very good practice where the employees no longer have to worry about leaving pets at home alone. The work environments that cultivate loving kindness, caring and compassion create a much more positive and productive place to work. Besides, it may influence everyone especially those who do not have pet to be more kind to the animals.

    Nevertheless, the employer and employees may have to work together to maintain the safe and cleanliness work place such as reduce odour, provide clean air and many others.

    Thank you for this interesting article as a reminder to us to love and be kind to animals no matter where we are.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/inside-the-worlds-most-dog-friendly-office.html
  • Lin Mun
    Friday, Mar 24. 2017 07:06 PM
    Superb idea and very creative. Home farming in the cities ! Appreciate all the hardwork and ideas to produce Growroom. It’s just like putting a big puzzle and making the whole process so much easier to plant in cities where we always have limited spaces.

    We should support more people to come up with such ideas so we can eat our own food and cultivate self sustainability.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/build-your-own-growroom.html
  • Pastor Shin Tan
    Friday, Mar 24. 2017 01:40 PM
    When on the hospital bed nearing our last breath, nothing matters except for the practice and transformation we have done in dharma in our lifetime.

    Our money, wishes, houses, clothes, jewelry, reputation, spouses, desires, dreams, greed, anger, possessions, explanations will be of no use at all. It will in fact even be a hindrance scratching at our mind’s energy to let go and we cannot.

    Since they are no use at that momentous event, we should continue that thought now and understand what we should truly cultivate now. This thought must translate into action not just scholastic thoughts and meanderings of the mind for self deception or imitation spiritual satisfaction. This is what I think daily and everyday as part of my meditations on death and impermanence according to first chapter of Lam Rim.
    ~H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche

    Learn more here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/the-dying-process.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Friday, Mar 24. 2017 12:11 PM
    Amazing and very creative architecture designed space for our home grown foods.It is a good idea for those living in the cities.The Growroom is beautifully produced made it convenience which enables people to connect with nature surrounding with plants. The smell of herbs and plants makes cities dwellers to live in happiness and healthy.
    Its takes alot of effort and determination for anyone to build a growroom.Well they can do it,if they have the will power….hoping someday KFR will have one too.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/build-your-own-growroom.html
  • nut
    Friday, Mar 24. 2017 01:39 AM
    Lazynnes ,negative karma!and mends samajas …ITS very very , inderdependent motivations lewwels of awareness Teacher’Quality &sangha quantity ,first when samajas ARE pure Empowerment full blessings later?so give less Empowerment ITS OK.ccTR IS Wise.
    [no sender]
  • nut
    Friday, Mar 24. 2017 01:32 AM
    http://www.aikidosydneycity.com/interview-with-takeda-shihan-by-aikikai-hombu-dojo/ yes yes sumikiri!i m sure HE practice martial arts in many previous lives AS well AS have family’karma conected with ai!ki flow,,,so NEUTRAL his re:for attacks ARE.,above normal fighter skills!___and i m skull in maya astro,fine and wanth share:#####paranormalTSEMsection on:::: antarctica aliens& JFK ,Peru as egg skulls.________________have a good day&nice PRactICE.____THE LIGHT be?or just show options that can be used.
    [no sender]
  • nut
    Friday, Mar 24. 2017 01:23 AM
    For example B_LOCK can be neutral karma ,butRE_PLAY reactions can make diferent results in second person?
    [no sender]
  • nut
    Friday, Mar 24. 2017 01:22 AM
    NEUTRAL karma not make good ,not bad result!but ITS STill karma so IS not done from lewwels of acomplishment where IS NO NEW karma acumulations.
    [no sender]
  • nut
    Friday, Mar 24. 2017 01:16 AM

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CREDITS

Concept: Tsem Rinpoche
Technical: Lew Kwan Leng, Justin Ripley, Yong Swee Keong
Design: Justin Ripley, Cynthia Lee
Content: Tsem Rinpoche, Justin Ripley, Pastor Shin Tan, Sarah Yap
Writer: Pastor Loh Seng Piow
Admin: Pastor Loh Seng Piow, Beng Kooi

I must thank my dharma blog team who are great assets to me, Kechara and growth of dharma in this wonderful region. I am honoured and thrilled to work with them. I really am. Maybe I don't say it enough to them, but I am saying it now. I APPRECIATE THESE GUYS VERY MUCH!

Tsem Rinpoche

What Am I Writing Now

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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.
~Tsem Rinpoche

Photos On The Go

Click on the images to view the bigger version. And scroll down and click on "View All Photos" to view more images.
Click on picture to enlarge and see what Milarepa says. Profound.
7 days ago
Click on picture to enlarge and see what Milarepa says. Profound.
We are always trying to get somewhere, try something new, find some friends, get some entertainment and in the end we end up in the same place. Time to really practice Dharma seriously and stop wasting time we don\'t have. ~Tsem Rinpoche
7 days ago
We are always trying to get somewhere, try something new, find some friends, get some entertainment and in the end we end up in the same place. Time to really practice Dharma seriously and stop wasting time we don't have. ~Tsem Rinpoche
March 20, 2017-Mumu is just so adorable with his bright eyes.
7 days ago
March 20, 2017-Mumu is just so adorable with his bright eyes.
More and more people inviting Lord Dorje Shugden home to connect with on their shrines. I am so happy to see this as it will benefit them and their families so much. That is the purpose to be alive which is to benefit others as much as possible. Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
More and more people inviting Lord Dorje Shugden home to connect with on their shrines. I am so happy to see this as it will benefit them and their families so much. That is the purpose to be alive which is to benefit others as much as possible. Tsem Rinpoche
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
1 week ago
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
1 week ago
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
The Japanese are very innovative. Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
The Japanese are very innovative. Tsem Rinpoche
Read this as it will be interesting
1 week ago
Read this as it will be interesting
Recite this before any meal or drinks for blessings of abundance. Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
Recite this before any meal or drinks for blessings of abundance. Tsem Rinpoche
This sacred statue of Buddha is in Nepal brought originally from Tibet and has spoken on many occasions. Very blessed to see this holy image and keep a picture...bless you always. Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
This sacred statue of Buddha is in Nepal brought originally from Tibet and has spoken on many occasions. Very blessed to see this holy image and keep a picture...bless you always. Tsem Rinpoche
I love Mumu boy tremendously. We went through so much together for so many years. You are a great being to be with. Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
I love Mumu boy tremendously. We went through so much together for so many years. You are a great being to be with. Tsem Rinpoche
Dear everyone, I am sharing this beautiful and modern altar to Dorje Shugden in Malaysia. I am glad to see more and more people creating sacred spaces. Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
Dear everyone, I am sharing this beautiful and modern altar to Dorje Shugden in Malaysia. I am glad to see more and more people creating sacred spaces. Tsem Rinpoche
Lhamo Karmo, a female buddha form visualized above the crown of one\'s head at the time of death, to encourage consciousness to leave the body via the crown aperture. From my book \"The Female Buddhas.\"- Glenn Mullin
2 weeks ago
Lhamo Karmo, a female buddha form visualized above the crown of one's head at the time of death, to encourage consciousness to leave the body via the crown aperture. From my book "The Female Buddhas."- Glenn Mullin
The Tibetan female tulku Dorje Pakmo, from a fresco on the wall of the Dorje Pakmo monastery (Samding) in Tibet, near the Turquoise Lake. In Tibet the Dorje Pakmo was ranked with the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama and Sakya Trizin as the four highest lamas in the country.-from Glenn Mullin
2 weeks ago
The Tibetan female tulku Dorje Pakmo, from a fresco on the wall of the Dorje Pakmo monastery (Samding) in Tibet, near the Turquoise Lake. In Tibet the Dorje Pakmo was ranked with the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama and Sakya Trizin as the four highest lamas in the country.-from Glenn Mullin
Dharma boy, Mumu boy and Oser girl checking out the scene..cute
4 weeks ago
Dharma boy, Mumu boy and Oser girl checking out the scene..cute
My Dharma boy has such a cute expression here. He is a good boy!
4 weeks ago
My Dharma boy has such a cute expression here. He is a good boy!
February 9,2017-My Mumu boy and Oser girl are just relaxing together..super cute
2 months ago
February 9,2017-My Mumu boy and Oser girl are just relaxing together..super cute
Click on the picture to enlarge and see what Suzy from Hawaii commented on the Dorje Shugden issue after much research. She is very candid and honest. Refreshing. Original is posted here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl-4lIwxph4
2 months ago
Click on the picture to enlarge and see what Suzy from Hawaii commented on the Dorje Shugden issue after much research. She is very candid and honest. Refreshing. Original is posted here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl-4lIwxph4
This is a good one to read
2 months ago
This is a good one to read
Mumu is silly and cute and funny
2 months ago
Mumu is silly and cute and funny
Mumu\'s hair is messy and he looks funny
2 months ago
Mumu's hair is messy and he looks funny
I am in the process of creating beautiful Dorje Shugden and Kechara Forest Retreat watches at this time. So we can take precious protector and Kechara Forest Retreat wherever we go and be blessed everytime we see what time it is. 
I am perfecting the designs with a great team and will update when done but these are just some samples that arrived. 
Feast your eyes! 

Tsem Rinpoche
2 months ago
I am in the process of creating beautiful Dorje Shugden and Kechara Forest Retreat watches at this time. So we can take precious protector and Kechara Forest Retreat wherever we go and be blessed everytime we see what time it is. I am perfecting the designs with a great team and will update when done but these are just some samples that arrived. Feast your eyes! Tsem Rinpoche
                        Pick the practice, devotion and precepts of Vajra Yogini\'s path over everything and anything in samsara. Samsara has nothing of value and nothing lasting to offer. You are born in suffering, live in suffering, die in suffering and enter bardo and future lives expecting more sufferings. This is not a negative way of looking at things but the truth. If the truth is negative, so it is the truth. Devote oneself to the guru, dharma work, dharma practice and bringing dharma to others compassionately. Choose to practice Vajra Yogini now with the preliminaries. You can start right now: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/starting-on-vajra-yogini-now.html  Much care, Tsem Rinpoche
3 months ago
Pick the practice, devotion and precepts of Vajra Yogini's path over everything and anything in samsara. Samsara has nothing of value and nothing lasting to offer. You are born in suffering, live in suffering, die in suffering and enter bardo and future lives expecting more sufferings. This is not a negative way of looking at things but the truth. If the truth is negative, so it is the truth. Devote oneself to the guru, dharma work, dharma practice and bringing dharma to others compassionately. Choose to practice Vajra Yogini now with the preliminaries. You can start right now: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/starting-on-vajra-yogini-now.html Much care, Tsem Rinpoche
Message to Tibetans in English
3 months ago
Message to Tibetans in English
Message to the Tibetans
3 months ago
Message to the Tibetans
Left to right: Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche, Sharpa Choeje Jetsun Lobsang Nyima, Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche, Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, 101st Gaden Tripa Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal. Great lamas of Gaden Shartse Monastery
3 months ago
Left to right: Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche, Sharpa Choeje Jetsun Lobsang Nyima, Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche, Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, 101st Gaden Tripa Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal. Great lamas of Gaden Shartse Monastery
A beautiful Indian rendition of Gyenze Dorje Shugden manifesting in wealth form
3 months ago
A beautiful Indian rendition of Gyenze Dorje Shugden manifesting in wealth form
This is my thoughts and determination to share with you. Please open and read. Thank you for your time. Tsem Rinpoche
3 months ago
This is my thoughts and determination to share with you. Please open and read. Thank you for your time. Tsem Rinpoche
Nepalese King Birendra receives His Holiness Panchen Rinpoche in Nepal
3 months ago
Nepalese King Birendra receives His Holiness Panchen Rinpoche in Nepal
Guess what Zava Damdin Rinpoche did in Mongolia recently with 7,800 people??? Very interesting and it is a must read:  http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=116206
3 months ago
Guess what Zava Damdin Rinpoche did in Mongolia recently with 7,800 people??? Very interesting and it is a must read:  http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=116206
This huge Buddha in Korea is magnificent
4 months ago
This huge Buddha in Korea is magnificent
The very first oracle of Dorje Shugden in trance statue. I have commissioned this.
4 months ago
The very first oracle of Dorje Shugden in trance statue. I have commissioned this.
Such a old and ancient thangka painting of Dorje Shugden. He has been around in Tibet practiced for hundreds of years.
4 months ago
Such a old and ancient thangka painting of Dorje Shugden. He has been around in Tibet practiced for hundreds of years.
One of the "Four Exalted Brothers" Avalokiteshvara statues, Phagpa Wati of Kyirong, which is now with H.H. the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala.
4 months ago
One of the "Four Exalted Brothers" Avalokiteshvara statues, Phagpa Wati of Kyirong, which is now with H.H. the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala.
Kyabje Zemey, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and Kyabje Pabongka Choktrul Rinpoche
4 months ago
Kyabje Zemey, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and Kyabje Pabongka Choktrul Rinpoche
My Oser girl and Mumu boy are so adorable
4 months ago
My Oser girl and Mumu boy are so adorable
Wow this meditator in his cave in front of a painting of Yamantaka draped with a white khata of respect. He sits among bones to remind him of impermanence and our future. The bones inspire him strongly to let go of all attachments in this life and focus on dharma, meditation and liberation and he is doing so. Very beautiful and inspirational. Tsem Rinpoche
4 months ago
Wow this meditator in his cave in front of a painting of Yamantaka draped with a white khata of respect. He sits among bones to remind him of impermanence and our future. The bones inspire him strongly to let go of all attachments in this life and focus on dharma, meditation and liberation and he is doing so. Very beautiful and inspirational. Tsem Rinpoche
Tenzing Norgay found this in Nepal. Guess what it is?
5 months ago
Tenzing Norgay found this in Nepal. Guess what it is?
Sir Edmund Hillary
5 months ago
Sir Edmund Hillary
Halloween is my favorite holiday. Wild natural plants and flowers are my favorite offering. Buddha\'s teachings on meditation and Yidam practice bring the ultimate results and happiness. ~Tsem Rinpoche
5 months ago
Halloween is my favorite holiday. Wild natural plants and flowers are my favorite offering. Buddha's teachings on meditation and Yidam practice bring the ultimate results and happiness. ~Tsem Rinpoche
Previous lives do resemble current lives especially if they are a recognized incarnation. If notice how similar the previous and current Trijang Rinpoche looks. The eyes, bone structure, expression, long neck, thin and overall look. Beautiful. I\'ve seen this phenomena over and over in many Rinpoche incarnations. Especially when you compare them with pictures of previous and current lives at around the same ages. Something powerfully karmic about this. Tsem Rinpoche
6 months ago
Previous lives do resemble current lives especially if they are a recognized incarnation. If notice how similar the previous and current Trijang Rinpoche looks. The eyes, bone structure, expression, long neck, thin and overall look. Beautiful. I've seen this phenomena over and over in many Rinpoche incarnations. Especially when you compare them with pictures of previous and current lives at around the same ages. Something powerfully karmic about this. Tsem Rinpoche
It\'s nice to have monks visitors and resident monks in Kechara
6 months ago
It's nice to have monks visitors and resident monks in Kechara
                         Taken in Lake Champlain in Canada. A huge water monster...neat...
6 months ago
Taken in Lake Champlain in Canada. A huge water monster...neat...
Beautiful! His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang has always been good friends with His Holiness Karmapa. No wonder H.H. Karmapa never spoke against Dorje Shugden. Two reasons perhaps: One is he knows the qualities of Trijang Rinpoche who is a attained being. And Karmapa himself has clairvoyance to perceive the true nature of Dorje Shugden directly. I love to see great beings like this manifesting closeness. When I see, I just want to prostrate to them and thank them for sharing such good examples to someone like me. Praise to the ego-less mind! Tsem Rinpoche
6 months ago
Beautiful! His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang has always been good friends with His Holiness Karmapa. No wonder H.H. Karmapa never spoke against Dorje Shugden. Two reasons perhaps: One is he knows the qualities of Trijang Rinpoche who is a attained being. And Karmapa himself has clairvoyance to perceive the true nature of Dorje Shugden directly. I love to see great beings like this manifesting closeness. When I see, I just want to prostrate to them and thank them for sharing such good examples to someone like me. Praise to the ego-less mind! Tsem Rinpoche
Serkong Dorje Chang on the left and his son Serkong Tsenshab Rinpoche on the right.
6 months ago
Serkong Dorje Chang on the left and his son Serkong Tsenshab Rinpoche on the right.
High lamas in France September 2016
6 months ago
High lamas in France September 2016
༧གོང་ས་ཆེན་པོ་སྐུ་འཕྲེང་བཅུ་བཞི་པ་མཆོག་དང་རྡོ་རྗེ་ཤུགས་ལྡན། - Interesting relationship between 14th Dalai Lama and Dorje Shugden:   http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=109757
6 months ago
༧གོང་ས་ཆེན་པོ་སྐུ་འཕྲེང་བཅུ་བཞི་པ་མཆོག་དང་རྡོ་རྗེ་ཤུགས་ལྡན། - Interesting relationship between 14th Dalai Lama and Dorje Shugden: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=109757
Dalai Lama Says We Can Practise Dorje Shugden Finally! Read more on this development--- http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=109777
6 months ago
Dalai Lama Says We Can Practise Dorje Shugden Finally! Read more on this development--- http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=109777
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    ཁྱེད་ཀྱི་བཀའ་སློབ་དོན་སྙིང་དེ།།གང་གི་རྣ་བར་བདུད་རྩི་མོད།།འོན་ཀྱང་འགའ་ཡི་རྣ་ལམ་དུ།། བྲག་ཆ་བཞིན་དུ་འགྱུར་སྲིད་མོད།། ཚང་མས་ཚར་རེ་གཟིགས་རོགས།། Kyabje Denma Gonsa Rinpoche telling people that it is important to have guru samaya. It use to be that way in the great monasteries. We should not create problems and schisms. If we want to practice a protector, then do so, if not it's okay, but don't make trouble. One should just practice the Buddha Dharma well. To do good practice. If you have faith in Dorje Shugden and trust all the way, he will definitely help you. But most important is to practice the dharma. This is his advice in short here. It's good to let more Tibetans hear this holy speech and appeal by this very senior Rinpoche. TR

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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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  • March 27, 2017 04:19
    Dongho asked: I have been reading on the tunes of certain sects and would like to ask on this. From what I've read, there are certain tunes to each sect and school of certain chants. Exactly where can I find the sheet music for these percussion and horns with the chants, such as to the one for invoking Kache Marpo or Dorje Shugden? Would it be possible to use school instruments for this?
    No reply yet
  • March 26, 2017 02:14
    Kunga asked: Does the Gelug have Begtse a protector? If so, could you please provide a sadhana for him here?
    pastor answered: Dear Kunga, Yes the Dharma protector Begtse exists within the Gelug tradition. He is also known as Chamsing. Begtse’s practice stems from India and was introduced to Tibet and therefore Tibetan Buddhism by the translator Nyen Lotsawa. Marpa Lotsawa also practiced Begtse, and so the practice exists in the Kagyu traditions. This practice was eventually transmitted to Sachen Kunga Nyingpo, the first of the five patriarchs of the Sakya tradition, who were the founding fathers of that tradition. Over time the practice of Begtse was incorporated into the Gelug tradition, founded by Lama Tsongkhapa, and was notably practiced by the 1st and 2nd Dalai Lamas. Over time the practice gained popularity within the lineage, especially when it spread to Mongolia. There the practice became an important one within the lineage as upheld there. Begtse is also affectionately known as the Dharma protector of Mongolia, because his practice is so popular there. If I am not mistaken, there is an oracle of Begtse in Mongolia as well. There is a mistaken account that the practice originated around the time of the 3rd Dalai Lama, with the subjugation of a Mongolian war god, but Begtse was definitely practiced before that time in the Gelug, Kagyu and Sakya traditions. While the practice of Begtse is very effective, I have not come across the practice of Begtse in my personal practice, therefore I do not have access to the Begtse sadhana to provide to you. Instead Begtse is propitiated in prayers that incorporate many other Dharma protectors, and Begtse is also considered one of the nine protectors of the Hayagriva (Tamdrin) cycle of tantric teachings. Therefore Begtse is included in the Dharma protector sections of the Hayagriva tantras. Surrounding Begtse are his sister, Sing Ma, and his main minister, Le Khan Mar Po. His inner retinue comprises of eight butchers who wield copper swords in their right hands and skull-cups full of blood in their left hands. They are portrayed as naked and are very ugly. His outer retinue comprises a further twenty-one butchers, who hold copper swords in their right hands, and this time, the entrails of butchered enemies. They wear the skins humans and oxen as clothes, with ornaments made from human bone. While this may seem violent, Begtse is actually a very powerful and beneficial protector, who helps practitioners clear their obstacles and create conducive conditions for their spiritual evolution. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • March 24, 2017 20:12
    Azair asked: Venerable Rinpoche, I am doing a study in Kalachakra Tantra and I've heard from most of the lama's too that if you practice the Kalachakra Tantra, you'll be able to take control of your next rebirth. Ofcourse, it has been said that we will get our rebirth according to our Karma and desires but whether those dreams will get fulfilled will depend upon the actions that we take in this life. Thus, practicing the Kalachakra(till the end) after initiation will give you the opportunity to take rebirth anywhere you desire regardless of your Karma. My question is that, is there some truth in this statement.? Does this statement hold true for other tantra practices, such as Vajrayogini Tantra, Ghuyasamaja Tantra, Heruka Tantra, etc. I would really really like to know. Thankyou in anticipation, regards, Azair
    pastor answered: Dear Azair, Thank you for your question. Yes there is truth to this statement, both from a scriptural perspective and also by example, as the great masters have shown us. This is a unique feature of all Anuttarayoga Tantras or Highest Yoga Tantras, which Kalachakra, Vajrayogini, Guhyasama and Heruka are all examples of. This category of tantric practice can actually lead a practitioner to full enlightenment in this very lifetime. Even if enlightenment is not reached, very high levels of attainment can be reached nonetheless. This includes the ability to take control over your next rebirth. This is primarily engaged in so that the practitioner is born in an environment where they can eventually pick up their practice and further their spiritual path to enlightenment, or in order to be born in a place where they can benefit sentient beings the most, as part of the spiritual journey over many lifetimes. One of the reasons such an ability is very necessary on the spiritual path, is that usual death and rebirth occurs at the mercy of ones karma, specifically what is known as the ‘throwing karma’ or the karma that dictates what sort of rebirth a person is going to take. This opens up at the time of ordinary death, which most people have no control over. During the death process, many of our disturbing emotions will arise. Whichever of these is the strongest at the point of death triggers open a latent karmic potential, which becomes the ‘throwing karma’ and dictates where we are going to take rebirth and if that life will generally be full of suffering or not. Within Anuttarayoga Tantra, one of the key points of practice is to prepare for one’s death. This is done by simulating the dying process during one’s meditations, so that one becomes familiar with it. At the most pivotal part of this process, one practices achieving either the rainbow body or great bliss (in the case of the father tantras); or clear light (in the case of mother tantras). The tantras themselves are not defined in terms of the gender of the central deity, but by the method used to gain enlightenment. This is either the rainbow body/great bliss (classified as male, therefore labelled ‘father’) or clear light (classified as female, therefore labelled ‘mother’). Non-dual tantras such as the Kalachakra tantra can employ either of the two methods, a mixture of both, or alternate methods. In the case of superior practitioners, due to the power of their practice, they can achieve either of these two methods in their current body. Since they have familiarised themselves with the dying process, and a particular method of practice, they can also achieve enlightenment during their physical death. The great Lama Tsongkhapa is said to have achieved enlightenment at the moment of physical death, using the second of these. For other practitioners, they may not be able to achieve this either in their meditations while they are alive, or during the death process. However because they have familiarised themselves with the dying process, they remain in complete concentration at the time of death, not allowing any disturbing emotions to arise. Due to this level of concentration, meditation and awareness during the dying process, they are able to control where they next take rebirth. This is evident in the tantric scriptures themselves, and the life stories of many masters, who can state exactly where, when and to whom they will take their next rebirth, as they are in full control of the dying and rebirth process. There is a type of meditation called ‘thukdam’ which has been translated into ‘death meditation’. This is a final meditation some masters choose to engage in. During this meditation, the master themselves consciously begin the physical dying process themselves, engage in the meditation of dissolving the winds into the heart centre and remain in the most pivotal part of the death process, the mind of clear light of death. During this point they engage in meditations, either the methods of the father or mother tantras as mentioned previously, and or consciously choose where they are to next take rebirth. They can remain in this death meditation for long periods of time, days at an end, in which their consciousness has not yet left their body, although for all intents and purposes they are dead according to medical science, e.g. they have no heartbeat. At the end of their meditation, a drop of blood will be emitted from their nostril, and their head will slump over a little. Masters who engage in this meditation usually sit in full meditation posture, and their body remain supple and soft even though they have passed away from a medical point of view. I hope this brief explanation helps. Thank you.
  • March 23, 2017 23:01
    Brad asked: What is the significance of offering the Seven precious emblems of royalty to the Buddhas and enlightened Dharma Protectors? What are we symbolically offering up?
    pastor answered: Dear Brad, Thank you for your question. The ‘saptaratna’ or seven precious emblems represent on the one hand the ultimate state of temporal power, and on the other hand the ultimate spiritual attainments that we can achieve. By offering these to the Buddhas, we are actually creating the causes to achieve what they represent. Therefore it is good to know the meaning of each, so we can understand what we are creating the causes for by offering them up: Please see below for an explanation of the seven royal emblems: 1. The Precious Wheel: a thousand spoked wheel, representing the universal power of the Buddhas, as well as the teachings of the thousand Buddhas of our aeon. It is represented by the Dharmachakra, symbolising the ‘turning of the wheel’ or teaching of the Noble Eightfold Path. It is a symbol of a universal emperor’s spiritual and temporal power. It is also represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect mindfulness, especially that of our own mind, thoughts, delusions and afflictions. 2. The Precious Jewel: an eight sided wish-granting gem, which fulfils all the needs of a universal emperor. This jewel has eight special qualities: it illuminates the night sky for hundreds of leagues; it is cooling when the temperature is hot and warming when the temperature is cold; it makes manifest whatever the holder wants; when thirsty it causes a fresh-water spring to appear; it has the ability to control the nagas, and other supernatural beings, as well as preventing natural disasters such as storms, floods, etc.; it gives off multi-coloured lighted which heals the various mental and emotional afflictions; it cures all illnesses; and it ensures that one dies a natural death, not an untimely one. It is a symbol of a universal emperor’s spiritual and temporal power. It is also represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect mindfulness, or perfect discrimination, so one knows what to abandon and what to keep in the mindstream during the spiritual journey to enlightenment. 3. The Precious Queen: the most beautiful and virtuous of all women. She is described as a goddess who is the epitome of someone: with devotion; without jealousy; who is the embodiment of fertility; who works for the welfare of all beings; who possess feminine wisdom; speaks the truth; not attract to sensual pleasures or material possessions; and does not have false views. She is adored by all. She also represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect effort. This is necessary to keep meditating until one gains spiritual attainments. 4. The Precious Minister: who has sharp intelligence, patience, and the ability to give wise counsel to the emperor. He is so attuned to the emperor that even before the emperor has spoken, the minister is already carrying out his command. He only wishes to support the Dharma, help sentient beings, and is an excellent strategist. He also represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect joy. This is also akin to the attainment of the first bodhisattva level, because you have come to an understanding of your own mind, which is like pouring ice-cold water into boiling water. The water stops boiling, as does the thoughts, projections, and delusions in the mind. He represents the path of the bodhisattva. 5. The Precious Elephant: who has the strength of a thousand normal elephants. He is white, with the perfect features that an elephant could have. He is majestic, graceful, and gentle, but in battle is fearsome, fearless and unyielding. He communicates with the emperor through a telepathic link. He represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect adaptability. This is important, as one needs to be able to adapt to the various mental afflictions as they arise, and suitably counter them. 6. The Precious Horse: who has all the marks of a celestial horse. Known as wind-horse, he is able to travel extremely fast, and can circumambulate the entire universe three time in just a single day. He is never fearful or startled, never makes a sound when galloping, and has extremely soft hairs on his body. He represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is single-pointed concentration. This is important because without this form of concentration, once cannot engage in the analytical meditations that lead to an understanding of emptiness, and therefore enlightenment. 7. The Precious General: who has mastered the arts of war and always wins in battle. He wears battle armour and holds many different weapons. He tries to avoid battle, but when necessary fights, and never gives up until he has won. He is fearless, and courageous in carrying out the emperors commands and ensures the emperors army carries out their duties. He represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect equanimity. This is because he overcomes all warfare, which is akin to the battle between things were are attached to and things we have an aversion for in our minds. In short, what you are offering up is the highest of all temporal treasures and abilities, as well as the entire path of the Dharma. Doing so creates the causes for you to receive all of this on your spiritual journey towards enlightenment. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • March 20, 2017 10:16
    Grigoris asked: Excuse me, but I would like to ask, what does the prayer to Shangmo Dorje Putri say exactly? I can't read Tibetan, but would like to see the description that the prayer gives. I am not planning to say the prayer or make interaction(as it would be very dangerous), but would like to see what it actually says from the Tibetan text. Here's the link: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/shangmo-dorje-putri-the-bamo-of-sakya.html
    pastor answered: Dear Grigoris, Thank you for your question. Shangmo Dorje Putri is indeed a fascinating unenlightened Dharma protector. Unfortunately at the moment, we do not have a translated copy of the text in English that we can provide. The usual format for such texts, would include an invocation, making offerings to appease them, and then exhortations for them to perform their activities, possibly followed by thanking them for their help. One thing is for certain, due to the nature of Shangmo Dorje Putri her prayer is sure to include violent imagery, just like many other Dharma protectors, such as Achi Chokyi Drolma (who even though has a peaceful appearance, has a lot of violent imagery in her prayers). The reason behind the violent imagery is explained in the post about Achi Chokyi Drolma here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/achi-chokyi-drolma-chief-protectress-of-the-drikung-kagyu.html
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Dorje Shugden
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