Guan Yin Day

Dec 6, 2016 | Views: 1,322
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I have always admired Chenrezig (Tibetan) or Guan Yin in all her manifestations in Buddhism because of what she represents. When I was younger, I meditated a lot on compassion and recited a lot of mantras, and I can say that Chenrezig is one of the few Buddhas that I always prayed to and worshipped.

Before coming to Malaysia, I always had a fascination with the Chinese form of Guan Yin. I remember having a line drawing of Guan Yin and placing it on my altar when I was still living in the United States. I used to read about Guan Yin in books by John Blofeld. I had no idea at that time that I would end up here in Malaysia, establish Kechara, and share the Dharma amongst the Buddhist community here. I was delighted to find that Guan Yin was so widely worshipped amongst the Malaysian Chinese Buddhist community, and I have since learnt more about Guan Yin, her origins, her history, the background of her worship, and of the celebration of Guan Yin Day.

Hence, I would like to share with all of you some information about Guan Yin, her celebrations, a few of her famous temples, and how you can go about visiting them. It is my wish that this article will direct you toward inviting a Guan Yin home and engage in Her powerful prayers in the future. I hope that with this article, you will develop a deeper appreciation of the festivities surrounding Guan Yin as it is celebrated in Malaysia by the Buddhist community.

Tsem Rinpoche

 


 

The Goddess of Mercy, Guan Yin is regarded by the Chinese to be both a Buddhist and Taoist deity. In the Mahayana Buddhist tradition, she is venerated as a bodhisattva that embodies the Buddha’s compassion. Throughout her various manifestations, Guan Yin is considered the most popular bodhisattva in northern Asian countries that practises Mahayana Buddhism.

The worship of Guan Yin was so popular and efficacious that she was even brought over into Taoist practice, where she is regarded as an immortal and is, by far, one of the most popular Chinese deities. She is often depicted as a lady shrouded in white robes, and her likeness is represented in traditional scroll paintings and white porcelain statues. It is generally accepted amongst the Chinese Buddhists that the deity Guan Yin originated from the Indian male Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, whose worship was brought into China via the Silk Road during the transmission of Buddhism into China. Hence, Guan Yin is sometimes depicted both as a man and woman, which symbolise transcendence over gender, labels and the self-cherishing ‘I’.

 

Lotus Sutra

“Universal Gateway”, Chapter 25 of the Lotus Sutra

“Universal Gateway”, Chapter 25 of the Lotus Sutra

The earliest record of Avalokiteshvara or Guan Yin was mentioned in the Lotus Sutra, which is known as Saddharma Pundarika Sutra in Sanskrit. Guan Yin or Avalokiteshvara was mentioned in the 25th chapter of this ancient Sanskrit text. Within this chapter, her sacred name was explained as ‘The One Who Perceives the Cries of the World’. This reflects the direct translation of her full Chinese name, Guan Shi Yin.

This chapter praises Avalokiteshvara as one of the highest beings in the Buddhist pantheon. Within this chapter, it says “If one were to pray with true devotion to Avalokiteshvara for a moment, one would generate more blessings than if one worshipped with all types of offerings and to as many gods as there are in the grains of sand on the shores of Ganges River for an entire lifetime”. Using this text as a basis, Avalokiteshvara grew to become one of the most important deities within Mahayana Buddhism.

Guan Yin painting in the Mogao Caves, Dunhuang

Guan Yin painting inside the Mogao Caves, Dunhuang

Interestingly, the Lotus Sutra also contains an explanation on the ability of Avalokiteshvara to take on various incarnations in order to benefit sentient beings. Within the text, it was mentioned that Avalokiteshvara had the ability to manifest in the form of worldly gods, including Indra and Brahma, all-powerful Kings or Chakravartin, Dharma Protectors such Vaisravana, any form of Buddha, any gender, age, human or non-human form in order to teach the Dharma to sentient beings.

There are many traditions in China and other East Asian countries that have added many distinctive characteristics and legends to Avalokiteshvara and Guan Yin. Within China, Guan Yin was originally depicted as a male bodhisattva in early Chinese art, and therefore depicted with chest-revealing clothing, and sometimes depicted with a light moustache. Later Chinese art depicted Guan Yin in the female form. Due to explanations in the Lotus Sutra and so forth, some practitioners believe that Guan Yin is androgynous, or perhaps without gender.

 

The Legend of Miao Shan

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In China, Guan Yin was originally worshipped in a male form but eventually came to be worshipped in a female form as the Goddess of Mercy. This transformation into a female deity took place during the Northern Song dynasty (960-1126 CE) and is tied with the emergence of the legend of Miao Shan.

Historically, the cult of Miao Shan first emerged from Xiang Shan Si (Fragrant Mountain Monastery) via an inscription written by Jiang Zhi Qi (1031-1104 CE) in 1100 CE. The Fragrant Mountain Monastery has been known for its magnificent statue of Guan Yin with a thousand arms and a thousand eyes, also known as The Great Compassionate One (Da Bei). In Jiang’s writings, he identifies the Fragrant Mountain Monastery as the location of Guan Yin’s manifestation, where she revealed herself in her Great Compassionate form with a thousand arms and eyes, neatly joining the Miao Shan legend with the image of Guan Yin enshrined in the monastery. He went on to claim that the relics of Miao Shan were enshrined in a stupa, thus establishing Fragrant Mountain Monastery as a popular destination for pilgrims.

According to a written account of that period by scholar Zu Xiu, who wrote a chronicle of Buddhism in 1164 CE, Guan Yin was said to have been reborn as the Princess Miao Shan. Her father was a king whose name was Miao Chuang Yen, while her mother was named Pao Ying, who bore three daughters, the eldest Miao Yen, the second Miao Yin, and the youngest Miao Shan.

When Miao Shan was conceived, the queen dreamt that she swallowed the moon. When the child was about to be born, the earth shook, and wonderful fragrance and heavenly flowers rained down from the celestial realms above. Miao Shan was born clean as if she had already been washed by celestial beings. Her body bore holy marks that were noble and majestic. The people were amazed and some said that these were signs of an incarnation of a holy being. Although her parents were amazed by these signs, they had other plans in store for her.

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The bodhisattva grew up to be a chaste, humble, and saintly girl in court. She was predisposed towards the Buddha’s teachings, and even brought her ladies-in-waiting into Buddhism. Her father, a tyrant king, had plans to marry her off to a rich man in order to dissuade her from her spiritual inclinations, but when he told her that she would be marrying the wealthy man, she replied that she would only obey her father’s command if the marriage would ease three misfortunes.

Out of curiosity, the father asked what the three misfortunes were. She explained that the first misfortune was the universal suffering of old age. The second misfortune was the suffering of falling ill. The third misfortune was the inevitable suffering of death itself. The princess declared that if her marriage could not ease any the three sufferings, then she would rather retire to a life of seclusion and spiritual practice.

Enraged by her terms, the king ordered for her daughter to be put into hard labour at the royal gardens, and her food to be rationed in order to break her. Despite this, she would not give in. Her mother and sisters tried begged her to reconsider, but to no avail. Then, her mother and sisters pleaded with her father, and the king eventually relented and allowed her to enter White Sparrow Monastery, but he also ordered the nuns to ensure that Miao Shan was given the toughest work.

The frightened nuns put her to work on many different chores – fetching wood and water, working with the pestle and mortar in the kitchen, and tending to the temple’s vegetable gardens. Under her care, the vegetables were bountiful even in winter, and a spring miraculously welled up just next to the kitchen. Years rolled by, but Miao Shan was steadfast in her conviction. When the king heard reports of the miracles of the thriving vegetable garden and wellspring, he flew into a rage. He barked for soldiers to retrieve her head and to kill all the nuns.

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When the soldiers arrived at the temple, a fog suddenly appeared and blanketed the whole temple. When the fog cleared, the soldiers searched everywhere, but Miao Shan was nowhere to be found. It was said that a benevolent spirit hid her in a nearby mountain, and the spirit moved her several times before she finally found herself on Fragrant Mountain, where she dwelt, surviving on fruits from the nearby trees and drinking from a stream.

Time passed, and the king eventually contracted a virulent disease until he could no longer sleep or eat. He was in a lot of pain, his body was covered with sores, and the court physician was unable to cure him. A monk appeared and offered to cure the king but his method would require the arms and eyes of one free from anger. The king uttered a sigh of despair as he found this to be an impossible task. The monk then told the king, “On Fragrant Mountain, in the south-west of your majesty’s dominion, there is a bodhisattva engaged in spiritual practices. If you send a messenger to present your request to her, she would definitely comply.”

The king quickly commanded the chamberlain to make the necessary arrangements. When a party arrived and made the request to Miao Shan, she said, “My father insulted the Three Jewels, and he persecuted and suppressed the Sangha when he executed innocent nuns. He is experiencing the negative karma right now.” Then she gouged out her eyes and severed her arms. She offered them to the envoy and she requested that the messenger to relay her exhortation to the king to turn towards virtue and no longer be deluded by false doctrines.

When the two items arrived at the palace, the monk quickly made them up into medicine. The king took the concoction and instantly recovered. He generously rewarded the monk-physician. But the monk refused and told him, “Why do you thank me? You should be thanking the one who provided the arms and eyes for your cure.” Suddenly he was gone and the king realised it was divine intervention. He ordered for his coach and he went with his queen and two remaining daughters to Fragrant Mountain to personally offer his gratitude to the bodhisattva.

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Upon their arrival and before they could even speak, the queen already recognised her own daughter, Miao Shan. They found themselves choking with tears. Miao Shan said, “Does my lady remember Miao Shan? Mindful of my father’s love, I have repaid him with my arms and eyes.” Upon hearing these words, her parents embraced her and wept. Just when the queen was about to wipe Miao Shan’s tears with her tongue, a divine spectacle unfolded before their very eyes. Heavenly clouds encircled them, divine music of celestial musicians could be heard, the earth shook, and flowers rained down from the celestial realms above.

Miao Shan transformed into the Thousand Arms and Thousand Eyes Guan Yin and she hovered majestically into the air. Attendants numbering in the tens of thousands appeared, singing praises of her compassion, and their songs shook the mountains and valleys. Suddenly, the bodhisattva reverted back into Miao Shan as she departed. It was said that the king, queen, and the two sisters made a funeral pyre, preserved the holy relics that emerged, and constructed a stupa on the same mountain to house the relics.

 

Iconography

Guan Yin was popularly represented in male form Chinese religious art before the Song dynasty (10th -13th century CE). The representation of Guan Yin as both genders during this period and after was attributed to the explanation mentioned in the Lotus Sutra, in which Guan Yin could appear as both male or female in order relieve the suffering of sentient beings, along with the unique ability to bestow children on those who are barren.

The older depiction of Kuan Yin as a male bodhisattva with moustache

The older depiction of Kuan Yin as a male bodhisattva with moustache

This exemplified compassion and kindness of a bodhisattva to the ancient Chinese masses. She became known as the mother goddess and patron of expecting mothers and seamen, which led her to become more popularly depicted as the female figure that we are all familiar with today. Today, the Bodhisattva Guan Yin is ubiquitously depicted as a benevolent, white-robed female figure, similar to the graceful Indian two-armed Avalokiteshvara Padmapani or Holder of the Lotus.

Nevertheless, towards the end of the Song period, there were still depictions of Guan Yin as a youthful male figure dressed in Northern Song style robes and seated gracefully. He is usually posed looking downwards, which is meant to symbolise his ever watchfulness upon the suffering of sentient beings. This image has since evolved into the female figure dressed in flowing white robes adorned with refined jewellery to represent her spiritual attainments. She holds a porcelain vase containing sacred water in her left hand, and with her right hand she holds a branch of a willow tree. Weeping willow is a Chinese symbol for compassion, because the branches of the willow tree are soft and yet, they are able to withstand severe thunderstorms that normally uproot other harder and thicker trees. The willow branch is also depicted hanging from the mouth of the vase.

Guan Yin has an image of Buddha Amitabha placed at the crown of her head, signifying the veneration of the spiritual guide. She is usually depicted as a solitary figure, sometimes riding on top of a dragon while traversing the southern seas of China, sometimes accompanied by a white parrot.

In the Precious Scroll of the Parrot, a story is told of the parrot that became a disciple of Guan Yin. During the Tang Dynasty, a small parrot was said to have ventured out in search of food for its mother but a poacher captured it. Parrots were kept as pets during the Tang Dynasty period. When it managed to escape, the bird discovered that its mother had already perished. The parrot grieved for its mother and performed for her funeral. Her death inspired the parrot to become a disciple of Guan Yin. In popular depictions, the parrot is usually white in colour and is depicted as standing to the right of Guan Yin, with clasping either a pearl or with prayer beads in its beak. This parrot has since becomes a symbol of filial piety.

 

Thousand-armed Kuan Yin

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Another popular form of Guan Yin is the Thousand-armed Guan Yin, and her origin can be traced to the Karandavyuha Sutra. In this sutra, Avalokiteshvara is hailed as “The One with a Thousand Arms and a Thousand Eyes”, and is sometimes described as being superior to all the Buddhas and gods in the Indian pantheon.

Another popular Buddhist legend, as narrated in the Complete Tale of Guan Yin and the Southern Seas, presents Guan Yin as vowing never to rest until she had freed all sentient beings from samsara, or the Sanskrit cycle of death and rebirth. After struggling to comprehend the suffering of sentient beings, her head split into eleven pieces. It was said that Buddha Amitabha appeared at this point and healed her by turning each broken piece into a face that perceive the cries of all sentient beings. Upon hearing these cries, Guan Yin attempted to reach out to these suffering beings, but found that her arms shattered into a thousand pieces as well. Buddha Amitabha then appeared again, and gave her a thousand arms to reach out and aid those who suffer.

 

Guan Yin and her acolytes

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Guan Yin is also often depicted as flanked by two children or two warriors. The two children are her acolytes; the girl is known as Long Nü and the boy is called Shan Cai. Shan Cai is the Chinese name for a disabled Indian boy by the name of Sudhana. He travelled to Potala in order to study under Guan Yin, who put him to the test by conjuring 3 sword-wielding bandits who came charging at the bodhisattva. The chase came to an end when the bodhisattva jumped off the cliff and the boy without thinking, hobbled over the cliff to save the bodhisattva. Fortunately, he was saved by Guan Yin, who went on to heal his feet and restore his appearance as well. Guan Yin then taught him the entire Dharma. In another tale, the daughter of a naga king took on the form of a carp, and was caught in a fisherman’s net. Struggling in the net and about to be sold by the fisherman, she let out a cry to the heavens and Guan Yin heard her plea for help. Guan Yin dispatched Shan Cai to bargain for the fish’s release, but he was quickly out-bided by many who guessed that the flesh of this strange fish would grant immortality.

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Guan Yin intervened by projecting her voice, saying “A life should belong to one who tries to save it and not one who tries to take it.” Frightened and embarrassed by their shameful actions, the fish was given to Shan Cai who brought it back to Guan Yin. Guan Yin returned the fish to the ocean and the naga king’s daughter assumed her original form and was reunited with her father.

In gratitude, the naga king sent his granddaughter, Long Nü, to offer a pearl of light to Guan Yin and, overwhelmed by her compassion, she offered herself to be her disciple. Thus, both Shan Cai and Long Nü would often be depicted as acolytes of Guan Yin. This story is also the inspiration for the depiction of the Fujian Guan Yin as a maiden dressed in Tang period attire carrying a basket of fish.

Another popular form of Guan Yin arose along the coastal areas of Southern China and was worshipped amongst seamen and fishermen. This form of Guan Yin, along with others that were catalogued in late 16th century Chinese encyclopaedias, was also depicted in the line drawing of the novel Golden Lotus from the same period.

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In other depictions involving the two warriors, one of the warriors standing with Guan Yin is the general Guan Yu of the late Han dynasty, who is known as Qie Lan or the Bodhisattva Sangharama. He is featured in the Chinese classical epic Records of the Three Kingdoms, and was known to have sworn before the Zen patriarch Zhi Yi (founder of the Tien Tai school) in order to protect the Buddha’s teachings along with its monasteries.

The other warrior accompanying Guan Yin is Wei Tuo or the Bodhisattva Skanda. Wei Tuo is believed to be an incarnation of the Bodhisattva Vajrapani, and was believed to have been one of the generals who protected Miao Shan on her escape from the palace and away from her cruel father. According to one account, both the general and Miao Shan were murdered at the hand of Miao Shan’s cruel father and he became a bodhisattva to continue protecting Guan Yin.

 

Guan Yin as the attendant to Buddha Amitabha

Buddha Amitabha is depicted in the middle with Guan Yin on his right side and Bodhisattva Mahastamaprapta on his left side

Buddha Amitabha is depicted in the middle with Guan Yin on his right side and Bodhisattva Mahastamaprapta on his left side

In Chinese tradition, Guan Yin is also one of the bodhisattva figures popularly depicted alongside Buddha Amitabha along with the Bodhisattva Mahastamaprapta. This trinity is known as the Three Saints of the Western Pure Land, and they are depicted as the central figures in the pure land of Sukhavati. In addition to that, she is also depicted alongside other bodhisattvas and buddhas, sometimes flanked by the two previously-mentioned warriors, who manifest as bodhisattvas to protect the temple and the faith.

 

Kuan Yin Day

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There are generally three celebrations associated with Guan Yin: her birthday, the day of her enlightenment, and the day she left home. Her birthday is celebrated on the 19th of the second lunar month, her enlightenment day is celebrated on the 19th of the sixth lunar month, and the day she left home is celebrated on the 19th of the ninth lunar month.

On Guan Yin’s birthday, devotees observe a vegetarian diet in remembrance of her compassion and kindness. They visit temples or major shrines to offer incense, flowers and food – usually fruits, special festive cakes or vegetarian dishes. Another popular offering is to add oil into the oil lamps on Guan Yin’s shrines in order to keep the flames burning. Devotees seeking to have a child would offer prayers, incense and offerings to the Guan Yin, and when they do get a child, the child would be placed at the feet of Guan Yin to be spiritually adopted by her, as it is believed that she will bless the child with longevity.

As for people from monastic orders, they celebrate the day by reciting the Universal Door chapter of the Lotus Sutra. This chapter is an extensive praise of the bodhisattva’s boundless compassion and kindness, of her ability to liberate sentient beings from the seven types of calamities, her ability to grant the two types of requests, and her ability to transform herself into the thirty-two manifestations.

 

Guan Yin Temples in Malaysia

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After Islam, Buddhism is the second largest religion in Malaysia, with 19.2% of Malaysia’s population identifying themselves as Buddhist. However, some estimates push that figure higher to 21.6% when the figure is combined with other Chinese religions. Buddhism is mainly practised by the Malaysian Chinese population in Malaysia, as well as by other ethnicities, such as Malaysian Indians, and Malaysians of Siamese Burmese, and Sri Lankan descent.

The majority of Malaysian Buddhists are great devotees of Guan Yin and have established great Guan Yin temples throughout Malaysia. The following are a few examples of Guan Yin temples in Malaysia.

 

Kuan Yin Temple Kuala Lumpur

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This temple was built in 1888 by the Chinese community and dedicated to Guan Yin. The temple architecture is evidently Chinese with a touch of Baroque, and while it has been recently refurbished, many of its older elements remain. In the main prayer hall stands the statue of Buddha Sakyamuni on the main shrine, with a statue of Guan Yin of the Southern Seas on his right, and the Thousand Armed Guan Yin on his left. Other statues on the shrine are the Kshitigarbha, also known as the Earth-store Bodhisattva, and Di Zang. Opening Hours are between 7am to 5pm daily.

Historically, this temple started as a Hokkien Chinese place of worship. Stories tell of a Chinese cemetery built near the grounds of what is now known as Stadium Merdeka, and the temple offered a place of solace for visitors to the cemetery. Around 1920, the British administration declared the temple as a place of worship, and ceded the rights over to the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Hokkien Association. Unfortunately, it suffered damages from two fires in 1963 and 1989, but was renovated and restored on both occasions.

 

Getting to the Kuan Yin Temple

The temple is located across from Bulatan Merdeka and is situated next to Stadium Merdeka at the tail end of Petaling Street. One can get to Petaling Street, and then park and walk over to the temple. The Maharajalela Monorail Station is conveniently nearby, and offers more easy access to the temple.

Kuan Yin Temple

Address:
Jalan Maharajalela
50480 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia

 

Places to stay near the Kuan Yin Temple

  1. Cosmic Boutique Hotel
    Address:
    No. 21 & 23
    Jalan Maharajalela
    Chinatown
    50150 Kuala Lumpur
    Malaysia
    Phone: +60 3 9226 3339
  2. OYO Rooms Maharajalela Monorail Station
    Address:
    21 Jalan Maharajalela
    Chinatown
    50150 Kuala-Lumpur
    Malaysia
    Phone: +60 17 7584 3417
  3. Grid 9 Hotel
    Address:
    9 Jalan Maharajalela
    Chinatown
    50150 Kuala Lumpur
    Malaysia
    Phone: +60 3 9226 2629

 

Kun Yam Thong Temple, Kuala Lumpur

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Kun Yam Thong Temple is also known as the Dharma Realm Guan Yin Sagely Monastery. This temple was built in 1880 and was originally named Deng Bi An Temple until it was taken over by the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association in 1993, and then renovated and reopened in 2006. High-rise office towers, hotels and shopping malls surround the temple, making it a quiet oasis in the middle of the bustling city.

The main prayer hall, called the Great Jewelled Hall has a shrine with three giant golden Buddha statues, each weighing one tonne. They are the Buddha Shakyamuni, the Medicine Buddha, and the Amitabha Buddha. Aside from the shrine, there is a famous food hall at the back of the temple that serves healthy and tasty vegetarian meals for a nominal fee. The temple also has a library and bookstore for those seeking a little bit of knowledge.

 

Getting to the Kun Yam Thong Temple

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The temple is located on Jalan Ampang right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. It is between the Citibank tower and KLCC shopping centre, just a stone’s throw away from the MCA building. You can also get to the temple via the Ampang Park LRT station.

Kun Yam Thong Temple

Address:
Menara Citibank
165 Jalan Ampang
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
Phone: +60 3 2164 8055

 

Places to stay near Kun Yam Thong Temple

  1. Corus Hotel Kuala Lumpur
    Address:
    Jalan Ampang
    Hampshire Park
    50450 Kuala Lumpur
    Malaysia
    Phone: +60 3 2161 8888
  2. Le Apple Boutique Hotel (KLCC)
    Address:
    160 Jalan Ampang
    Kampung Baru
    55000 Kuala Lumpur
    Malaysia
    Phone: +60 3 2179 3777
  3. GTower Hotel
    Address:
    199 Jalan Tun Razak
    50400 Kuala Lumpur
    Malaysia
    Phone: +60 3 2168 1919

 

Kuan Yin Teng Temple Penang

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The Kuan Yin Teng Temple, or Kong Hock Keong temple, is one of the oldest Chinese temples in Georgetown, Penang, and has Guan Yin as its central deity. It was built in 1728 at the cost of 4,000 Spanish dollars, a huge sum for its time. It was one of the most magnificent Chinese buildings in Northern Malaya of its time, as most of the other Chinese temples of George Town had not been built by the various clans to rival it yet.

There are several accounts surrounding the Kuan Yin Teng Temple, although very little have been documented in official records. For example, during World War II, the Japanese dropped a bomb on the temple to destroy it. Through sheer luck or perhaps divine intervention, the bomb landed in the courtyard instead, and the temple was left unscathed. Other accounts described how a large number of Penangites took shelter in the Kuan Yin Teng Temple during the war as well.

 

Getting to the Kuan Yin Teng Temple

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The temple is located in Georgetown, at the intersection of China Street and Jalan Kapitan Keling (formerly known as Pitt Street).

Kuan Yin Teng Temple

Address:
Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling
George Town
10200 Penang
Malaysia

 

Places to stay near the Kuan Yin Teng Temple

  1. Palm Mansion Boutique Suites
    Address:
    76 – 88 China Street
    Georgetown
    10200 Penang
    Malaysia
    Phone: +60 4 261 3609
  2. Red Inn Court
    Address:
    35 B&C Jalan Mesjid Kapitan Keling
    George Town
    10200 Penang
    Malaysia
    Phone: +60 4 261 1144
  3. Queen’s Hostel
    Address:
    20 & 22 Queen Street
    Georgetown
    10200 Penang
    Malaysia
    Phone: +60 13 489 6218

 

Kek Lok Si Temple Penang

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The Kek Lok Si Temple (also known in Penang Hokkien for ‘Temple of Supreme Bliss’ or ‘Temple of Sukhavati’, and pronounced in Mandarin Chinese as Ji Le Si) is a Mahayana Buddhist temple situated in Air Itam in Penang. The temple complex faces the sea, giving it an impressive vista, and is one of the best-known Buddhist temples in Malaysia. It is also said to be the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia.

It is an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists from the region, as visitors come from Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore and other countries in Southeast Asia. The temple complex was built over a period from 1890 to 1930, and was an inspirational initiative by Beow Lean, its Abbot. The most striking feature of the temple is the seven-storey Pagoda of Rama VI, also known as the Pagoda of Ten Thousand Buddhas, with its 10,000 alabaster and bronze statues of Buddha, and a 30 metre (99 ft) tall bronze statue of Guan Yin.

 

Getting to the Kek Lok Si Temple

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At the corner of Jalan Air Itam and Jalan Pasar in Georgetown, you will see a big sign pointing towards the temple. Just follow the sign down Jalan Pasar, and when you come to an intersection, turn left. Not far down the road, you will see a small alleyway path to the left, and that leads to a set of stairs, which in turn leads to the main walkway. You will then have to walk up a set of staircases and corridors that are all surrounded by a series of souvenir shops.

Kek Lok Si Temple

Address:
86 S Jalan Kampung Pisang
Ayer Itam
11500 Penang
Malaysia
Website: http://kekloksitemple.com
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +60 4 828 3317

 

Places to stay near the Kek Lok Si Temple

  1. Vstay Guesthouse
    Address:
    134-K 1st Floor Jalan Paya Terubong
    Ayer Itam
    11600 Penang
    Malaysia
    Phone: +60 16 422 6879
  2. Fang Zu Ming Concept Guesthouse
    Address:
    1228 N3 & P3 Jalan Paya Terubong
    Air Itam
    Penang
    11060 Malaysia
    Phone: +60 19 477 7661
  3. Fastbook Hostel
    Address:
    1228L-3 Jalan Paya Terubong
    Ayer Itam
    11060 Penang
    Malaysia
    Phone: +60 19 477 7661

 
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  1. wan wai meng on Jan 22, 2017 at 1:20 am

    The bodhisattva ideal as displayed by Guan Yin, was one of those factors that sparked my interest in the dharma. I think growing up in a Chinese family and environment,I have heard of Guan Yin possibly even earlier than even Buddha Shakyamuni.

  2. Vivian Ong on Jan 14, 2017 at 11:48 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this article about Guan Yin. My late grandmother has been praying to her since I was small. We have been praying at the Guan Yin temple in Ipoh near the Kinta River for many years already.The temple has been there since 100 years ago. My sister and I took refuge in Guan Yin. At my home in Ipoh, my mum has a Guan Yin statue on the altar which she offer incense and water offering everyday to Guan Yin. I find this article very interesting to read as there are many of the histories and stories of Guan Yin that I have never heard before.

    With folded palms,
    Vivian

  3. freon on Jan 11, 2017 at 11:57 am

    Dear Rinpoche,

    Guan Yin have a long history in China’s culture. Seem, Guan Yin have actually melt into the local culture and bring dharma to many people. Many of Guan Yin story are related to daily life, such as save the fish and taught people to be kind towards animals.

    At Malaysia, many chinese families have pray to Guan Yin for many generation. Even though they do not know much about Dharma, but, to them Guan Yin is important and essential when come to make important decision in their daily life. Some people have even become vegetarian on the Guan Yin anniversary day. Guan Yin play an important part in daily life of Chinese could be seen on the temples they build, the temples years can be as early as chinese settle in Malaysia.

    Thank you Rinpoche for this article.

    With Folded hand,
    Freon

  4. Anne Ong on Jan 8, 2017 at 9:20 pm

    Thank you Guru for this wonderful and meaningful story about Kuan Yin. It’s truly meaningful to me because I was spiritually adopted to Mother Goddess Kuan Yin since i was born with so much health complications and karma problems. And it was Goddess Mother Kuan Yin who answered my prayers to find Peace and met with Dharma practice through our kind and helpful dharma brother from Ipoh. Thank you once again Rinpoche for this meaningful reminder to me _/\_

  5. Stella Cheang on Dec 27, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Guan Yin is a personality we are very familiar with from young. There are many tales and legends about the Guan Yin Bodhisattva that describe Guan Yin as the immortal Goddess of compassion, and Guan Yin is popular because of her compassionate nature. As we study more about Guan Yin, we will understand that Guan Yin is also known as Avalokiteshvara, and he is depicted in the Lotus Sutra as one of the highest beings in the Buddhist pantheon. How fortunate for us to have this article here sharing with us about Guan Yin so that we can understand more about this important deity within Buddhism. As well as the list of popular Guan Yin temples in Malaysia. My favourite is Kun Yum Thong Temple as it is nearby my office area where I can pop by during lunch time, plus the vegetarian meals there is a crowd puller. Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

  6. Darren on Dec 13, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    There is so much information on Guan Yin but this article provided a detailed and much easier to understand. Nice temple in Malaysia and a must visit for everyone.

  7. Sharon Ong on Dec 13, 2016 at 2:06 am

    I have heard about Guan Yin manifesting in a male form previously but didn’t know much about this form. From this post, I learnt that this male form of Guan Yin was commonly featured in religious art during Song dynasty (10th -13th century CE).

    Another useful info I learnt from this post is the 3 important Guan Yin Days ie her birthday, the day of her enlightenment, and the day she left home.
    – Her birthday is celebrated on the 19th of the second lunar month.
    – Her enlightenment day is celebrated on the 19th of the sixth lunar month.
    – The day she left home is celebrated on the 19th of the ninth lunar month.

    Thank you for this informative post, Rinpoche.

  8. Uncle Eddie on Dec 12, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    I wish truly to thank Rinpoche whole heartedly for the sharing of this very informative, interesting and wonderful Guan Yin Pusa Blog-post. It really did enlightened me up with so much new knowledge and teaching that I have not heard before, like what Sock Wan has depicted in her blog comments! Like Sock Wan has said , yes in Buddhism, Buddhas appear in different physical forms depending on the local culture. But I would think that if, “until we are free from our Karmic obscurations, even if all Budhhas descended in front of us, we have no fortune to see the Holy body, adorn with the Holy sign and examplifications. Like one Lama whom I met some years ago did say, “We certainly do meet Buddhas, bodhisattvas, dakas and dakinis. It’s just that our heavy ordinary appearances and strong belief in our view block our seeing that they are Buddhas, bodhisattvas, dakas or dakinis, and because our mind is impure, our view of someone ordinary doesn’t prove that in reality they are like that!” Now back to our “most Holy, Supremely Peaceful and Meditative Guan Yin Pusa”. In all reality she truly shines with Bliss of virtue and she is often praised as “The Mother of all Buddhas”. She heals, blesses and averts grave dangers by the power of Pacification. Her all-forgiving softly smiling eyes always invoke instant faith and the deepest trust. On Guan Yin Day, one would witness scores of devotees generally observe three Celebrations i.e. (i) Guan Yin’s Birthday (ii) The day of her Enlightenment, and (iii) The day she left home. On Guan Yin’s Birthday, all devotees will observe a vegeterian Diet in rememberance of her Compassion and Kindness. They will also visit Temples, major Shrines to offer incense, flowers and food – usually fruits, special festive cakes, vegetarian dishes and performing the pouring of oil into Oil-Lamps on Guan Yin’s Shrines to keep the flames burning for long lives! As said, for people from Monastic order, the recitation of the Universal Door chapter of the long Sutra will be performed to protray an extensive praise of the Bodhisattva’s Boundless Compassion and Kindness etc., and her ability to transfer herself into the thirty-two Manifestations. May all sentient beings be blessed by Guan Yin Pusa saving Powers and be happy for all Eternity! OM MANI PADME HUNG.

  9. Sock Wan on Dec 11, 2016 at 1:08 am

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing with us the story of Guan Yin (Chenrezig or Avalokiteshvara). In the past I have always thought Guan Yin is a female until I saw the depiction of Guan Yin in Tibetan Buddhism and also how Guan Yin was depicted in male form during Tang Dynasty.

    In Buddhism, Buddhas appear in different physical form depending on the local culture. For example Buddha Shakyamuni depicted in Thailand, China, Tibet, Japan, Korea etc are different. However, the iconography is always the same. Guan Yin in Tibetan culture may be male, in Chinese culture may be female but both represent the same quality. The Buddha can appear in different forms in different time and place but still representing the same quality. Guan Yin’s manifestion as a princess in China is not a folklore but it was mentioned in the Buddhist scripture. This has proven that a Boddhisattva has gone beyond gender or physical look, it will appear in any form with the sole motivation to benefit people.

    If we want to practice to be a Boddhisattva, we have to learn to be open minded and not fixated by gender or physical appearance. It is the mind that matters, not the physical form.

  10. Joy Kam on Dec 10, 2016 at 2:05 am

    Thank you for this lovely blog post especially the tales on Kuan Yin is most fascinating. I have heard of the story how Kuan Yin sacrifice her eyes and cut her hands for her father. We were told this and many other stories about her when I was a kid by my mom. It seems most mothers are familiar and very close to Kuan Yin. So even though my mom was of Catholic faith, she respected all other religions, have always taught us to do so and would even allow us to pick which religion we’d like to follow when we grew up.

    She would bring is to all the temples, Buddhist temples and Hind temples to visit and pay our respect. So reading this story of Kuan Yin again really bring back many nice fond memories of what my mom used to also tell us about her. She was like Mother Mary to my mother as both are female form and compassionate.

    After reading the story of how Kuan Yin sacrificed herself in the end eventhough her father was so cruel to her, is a huge lesson/teaching on forgiveness and true compassion. Only a Boddhisattva can do that. Also I now know more about her depiction in Chinese traditions; the significant two children. Now I know why the Nagas love and appreciate Kuan Yin; she saved their child from being killed! I also know now what the willow leaf in her vase symbolises, and why she has a thousand arm and multiple faces.

    Thank you so much for this blog post Rinpoche. I am sure there are many more legends and stories of Kuan Yin to inspire and teach us as she has been around for such a long time, and her/his stories are always inspiring and increases our faith another notch.

  11. Andrea Lai on Dec 10, 2016 at 12:40 am

    My mom adopted me to Guan Yin since I was a toddler. Never have I thought, I have strong faith with her.I dreamed of her many times. I could only remember her first appearance in my dream and the last.

    When I was young, I used to have wet dreams.It was once I have very horrible wet dreams.She appeared with her 2 acolytes. I remembered she murmured something and holding a small brunch and flick, then she disappeared leaving her 2 acolytes.

    The last time I dreamed of her was 2 days before my grandmother passed away. She came as an old lady with long white hair and white robes.It was my first time encountered her face to face. The moment I look at her, I knew she is Guan Yin and she replied back with a smile. I remembered then, we have a very, very long conversation but I can’t recalled what are our conversation about.

    Thank you Rinpoche, for sharing this lovely story of Guan Yin.It helps me gain more knowledge of this compassionate deity.

    With folded palms,
    Andrea

    • Joy Kam on Dec 10, 2016 at 2:13 am

      Thank you Andrea for your comment. Wow that is very interesting to know that you have dreamt of Kuan Yin several times! She/He is a Buddha that is famous for showing clear signs to people all the time. Other Buddhas famous for giving signs are Tara, Lama Tsongkhapa, Setrap, and Dorje Shugden. So I am not surprised you had those blessed dreams, but still it is quite intriguing. Thanks for sharing. It goes to show that these enlightened beings really do exist!

  12. Thomas N on Dec 9, 2016 at 3:54 am

    Must see: Guan Yin movie (Chinese/English)
    https://youtu.be/8SD8nOGBA6k

  13. Jason on Dec 9, 2016 at 3:42 am

    Very sacred Guan Yin images. Mostly Chinese temples in Southeast Asia did worship Guan Yin.This meant Guan Yin already penetrated as a most popular deity. Most of Guan Yin statue appeared in female forms yet origin is male forms. Anyway, Guan Yin can manifest whatever forms to help all sentient beings.

    I really like thousand arm Guan Yin. She look very fascinated and magnificent. This can’t be expressed by words but I just got the strong feelings when I saw Thousand arms Guan Yin.

    Thank you Rinpoche shared the Guan Yin article. This is very informative articles.It really gain extra knowledge on Guan Yin after read this article.

    Jason

  14. Jen on Dec 8, 2016 at 10:30 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for writing this article. I enjoy reading the story of Princess Miao Shan and learn about the different forms of Guan Yin Boddhisattva. This article also makes me learn more about Skanda because in temple in China, Skanda is enshrined at the back of Maitreya Buddha together with Four Heavenly Kings at both sides in the same hall. Somehow Skanda is related to and served as a general to protect Miao Shan.

  15. Pastor Han Nee on Dec 7, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for bringing together, in this lovely article, the different stories and legends about Guan Yin, and how she is worshipped in this country. Most Malaysians, especially of the older generations, who are Buddhists have been brought up to revere Guan Yin as the Goddess or Deity whose compassion for all is as great as that of a mother for her child. Hence, we had grown up seeing her as our Divine Mother.

    In fact, many of us, Guan Yin devotees, had actually been “adopted” as Spiritual Children by Guan Yin.We were told by the nun who conducted the ceremony, that Guan Yin would be our Spiritual Mother until we reach the age of 18. The abbess of the Guan Yin temple in my hometown had explained that our adoption by Guan Yin meant that she would be very close to us as our Guardian and Protector all the way until we became adults.

    I love the stories and legends about Guan Yin’s compassion. The Legend of Princess Miao Shan, and her boundless compassion, sacrificing her eyes and her arms to cure her tyrant of a father, illustrates vividly the nature of the compassion of a Bodhisattva, be it Guan Yin/ Chenrezig or Manjushri or their emanations. I love hearing again and again the story of Avalokiteshvara’s head splitting into 11 pieces and his arms splitting into 1000 arms, through the force of his great compassion. Buddhas in their great compassion can emanate as male or female, and in different realms in samsara, wherever there is a need for them to relieve beings of suffering.

    I remember visiting Guan Yin temples on her three feast days of the year, and I still visit her temple whenever I travel to Penang with my husband , who to this day , is a Guan Yin devotee. Yes, the tradition of topping up the ever -burning oil lamps in the Guan Yin temple still holds strong to this day.

    I keep Guan Yin in my heart daily as I recite I mala of Om Mani to Her. My Guan Yin statue on my altar at home travelled to Sydney Australia to be with my best friend’s sister in the last days of her life. She died chanting Om Mani on her lips, as her mum and sisters and brothers here in Malaysia joined her in the chanting over skype.

  16. TekLee on Dec 7, 2016 at 1:20 am

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this beautiful article. Since young age, I came across Guan Yin. It’s a very popular Buddha among the Chinese. I’m always attracted by her grace and compassion look. I remember I watched Hong Kong series about Guan Yin also. But I never really read about Guan Yin. This article is beautiful and informative, as Rinpoche tells all the different stories about Guan Yin. I can feel her great compassion in the stories, especially the one that she cut off her arms and took out her eyes for her father. Now, knowing that anyone, friends and relatives has passed away, I will chant The Great Compassion mantra for them. As I joined Kechara, it allows me to know more about Chenrezig, and now read more about Chenrezig. It really gives me a feeling to invite Guan Yin / Chenrezig home. Thank you again Rinpoche, the story of Chenrezig is very beautiful. _/\_

  17. Samfoonheei on Dec 6, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    Good sharing and informative blogs of Kuan Yin temples in Malaysia.
    Origins of Kuan Yin been explained too. I do not know so much about it till i read these post…i only knew Kuan Yin as Goddess of Mercy.When i was young i used to follow my mother to temple to pray without knowing much..just as one one of a deity.On Guan Yin’s birthday, devotees observe a vegetarian diet in remembrance of her compassion and kindness.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these beautiful post .

  18. Datuk May on Dec 6, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    Guan Yin is a deity which almost all Malaysian Chinese will know off whether they are Buddhist or Taoist or even Christians. When I was young, my grandmother would spend the 3 special Guan Yin’s days in meditation and silent retreat and would be vegetarian for a week before she would embark on the retreats.

    She would tell me to always pray to Guan Yin for mercy. And that she is known as the Goddess of Mercy.

    My mother also prayed to Guan Yin and she had a beautiful statue of Guan Yin wearing a colourful cape. This statue is made from porcelain. The statues are normally in white, as such I asked my mother why the colourful cape and her reply was she is a Guan Yin who travels. Indeed she did as my mother brought her with her when she migrated to Australia.

    Whatever legends we have heard so far are dots which this article joins and make whole.

    Thank you, Rinpoche for such a beautiful article on the most popular deity among the Malaysian Buddhists.

  19. Fong on Dec 6, 2016 at 10:56 am

    I remember growing up my mother would religiously bring me along to the local Guan Yin temple for prayers and offerings of light, incense, fruits and flowers on the 1st and 15th day of the lunar calendar. And she would always give some coins to drop into the donation box. It was always very busy and smoky on these days.

    This article has just brought back all those memories when my mother had the time to guide me in paying homage to Guan Yin Pusa, and to hold me by the hand so that I would not be swept away by the sea of people.

    Thank you, Rinpoche for the background on Guan Yin Pusa that we may understand how compassionate and kind she is. It’s interesting too how the practice of Chenrezig, in male form changed to Guan Yin Pusa in female form as this most compasionate of Buddhas, moved from Tibet to China.

  20. Bradley Kassian on Dec 6, 2016 at 9:34 am

    Thank you Rinpoche for writing about Guan Yin. I’ve heard stories & sutras coming from tibet and India, but I never heard of the background of Guan Yin in China. It’s nice to read up on the bodhisattva/buddha of compassion. So highly honored and revered in so many cultures. I honestly never heard of Guan Yin Day. It’s not commonly celebrated across the water here. I like how On Guan Yin’s birthday, devotees observe a vegetarian diet in remembrance of her compassion and kindness.

    Namo Guan Shi Yin Pusa!

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  • Pastor Shin Tan
    Monday, Mar 27. 2017 06:42 PM
    According to the Buddhist teachings, we all have a unique blend of karma that determines where we are born, the circumstances of our birth and the quality of our life. Naturally, this is due to the actions that we performed in previous lives. Karma also dictates our characteristics and traits that determine how we act throughout our lives, which in turn leads to certain outcomes in this life and a determination of where we will take rebirth in the future.

    Karma, however, is not set in stone. We can change our circumstances through our own efforts – purification of karma and accumulation of merit. Tibetan astrology, based on these Buddhist principles, provides us the methods to ensure success in this life and a good rebirth in the future. Tibetan astrology can also predict what will happen to us in this life and our next rebirth based on the time of our birth.

    Discover your traits according to the Mewa, or Magical Square system of Tibetan astrology below, and find out how to purify your negative karma to improve your life!

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/tibetan-astrology/tibetan-astrology.html
  • Tsem Rinpoche
    Monday, Mar 27. 2017 05:24 PM
    Very interesting:


    Radin explained in his book: “For a Western-trained academic, the mere existence of, say, telepathy would be considered supernormal and thus wildly extraordinary. But for an experienced yogi, it’s just a boringly normal minor siddhi [a Sanskrit term for a meditation attainment, or power]. A skeptical scientist, not having the benefit of thousands of hours of practice in yoga and meditation, would require repeatable, rigorously obtained experimental data showing odds against chance of a gazillion to one. The yogi merely requires his own experience.”


    Very interesting read: http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/2157904-supernormal-abilities-developed-through-meditation-dr-dean-radin-discusses/?sidebar=morein
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Mar 27. 2017 01:45 PM
    Its indeed a beautiful place …..away from the city hectic life to visit and could stay over night too.Just to get away from work to relax ,get some fresh air ,do meditation and so forth .At Kechara Forest RetreatI,Bentong is where the largest Dorje Shugden statue in the world situated and we can receive blessing,make offering to the Buddhas as well as enjoy the tranquility of the beautiful gardens.I have recomended my friends and relatives to visit such a beautiful place at Bentong.
    Thank you Paul Yap for sharing.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/go-bentong.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Mar 27. 2017 01:15 PM
    Well…all pendants are beautifully designed,hand crafted to match each and every sacred images on it to suit all occasion for the wearer.I can see a lot of hard work for those involed in desgning and making of it.
    All pendants are very unique, modern, timeless and also sacred ,thats all i could describe it.Hope more people will be wearing these beautiful pendants to get connected with the Buddhas.Thank you Rinpoche for sharing and Kechara’s Louise Lee for creating Dharma art in in the form of jewelry
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/timeless-and-sacred.html
  • Tsem Rinpoche
    Monday, Mar 27. 2017 12:41 PM
    This Mahasiddha is Kukkuripa (the dog lover). He loved dogs so much. When he meditated in the cave he had his doggie with him. She had kept him company for years in his cave. They shared bedding, food, water and company. When he gained high attainments, the Dakinis came to take him to Kechara Paradise. He was hesitant to go but the Dakinis insisted and he went with them.

    He arrived at Kechara (Paradise/Buddha abode of Heruka and Vajra Yogini) and enjoyed teachings and feasts up there and they asked him to stay longer if not forever…. But he kept thinking about his doggie left alone in the cave. He felt guilty and missed her. Kukkuripa would use his psychic powers to see his poor doggie alone and hungry waiting for him at the cave while enjoying the attention of the Dakinis and feasts. The cave was dark and had no food. The doggie had to go out and find small tiny scraps of food and was getting skinny. Kukkuripa saw this and it pained him. Worried she was not getting enough food. He use to share the offerings of food he would get from people with her. Doggie and him would delightfully eat the food together. Kukkuripa had no attachments to ‘clean’ or ‘dirty’ in regards to sharing food with his dog. He had overcome this in his meditations. In ancient India, people would not co-habitate with a dog. It was considered unclean and filthy, but Kukkuripa had cast away those notions and loved his dog as she loved him. But he felt guilty to leave her alone while he was ‘enjoying’ himself in Kechara and could not stop thinking about his beloved dirty smelly dog in his cave alone…so he left Kechara Paradise and all it’s ‘delights’ for his doggie. He couldn’t abandon her. The Dakinis implored him to stay, but he was firm to return. The Dakinis said you will give up this paradise here for a mere dog???!! You can advance further in your meditations if you stay in Kechara and then help the dog later they attempted to persuade him. But Kukkuripa would not stay, he was loyal to his little dog as she had kept him company for many years in the lonely dark cave. She was loyal to him and how can he abandon her now. He couldn’t and he wouldn’t listen to the Dakinis. He left to join doggie. He never forget her companionship and loyalty. All the wonderful things in Kechara could not tempt him against his loyal friend the little doggie. He left everything for her.

    So he finally left Kechara to the Dakinis dismay and went back to his cave to be with his dog so she won’t be alone. Doggie was delighted to see her master and wagged her tail so much!! She licked him and he hugged her! She was skinnier for not eating well these few days he noticed. He fed her and hugged her and loved his doggie…He went back to his routine of meditation, receiving food offerings and sharing his food with doggie. They were happy together. One day, when he was scratching her in her favorite place and she licked him so his eyes were closed, when he opened his eyes she had suddenly turned into a Dakini shimmering with lights! The brilliance of the lights lit up the whole cave in front of Kukkuripa!! Kukkuripa was astonished to behold the splendourous lady in front of him! Of course this Dakini must be the Queen Herself he realized, as Vajra Yogini which was Kukkuripa’s main Yidam he had meditated on her for years in the cave. And She said to Kukkuripa, “Well done, you gave up paradise to be with just a dog..it shows you have given up attachements and projections of pleasant and unpleasant, now your Dakini will give you the final paradise (enlightenment)!”

    Kukkuripa attained full enlightenment blessed by Vajra Yogini by releasing the final subtle attachment to the non-existent self! After enlightenment his fame and name grew and many came to see him and he gave teachings to countless and benefitted many before he finally ascended to Kechara the second and final time. He was forever known as Kukkuripa the dog lover.

    I love him so much!!! This is one of my favorite Mahasiddhas along with Badrapa, Shantideva, Ghantapa and a few others. I wanted to share this story with you. I wanted you to know that there are many great true stories like this one about Kukkuripa that are true and can be applied to our lives. To inspire us.

    Tsem Rinpoche
  • Tsem Rinpoche
    Monday, Mar 27. 2017 12:29 PM
    The great and illustrious master Sonam Tsemo at the end of his life was described by an old woman who witnessed Sonam Tsemo depart. Standing on a rock at the holy spring near Sakya area known as Chumik Dzingka, his body ascended gracefully into the sky, still holding his dog. He loved his dog very much. Even today the footprints of Loppon Sonam Tsemo and the dog can be clearly seen in the rock, left for the benefit of living beings as a field from which to accumulate merit. It is a sign of a holy being when they can leave their footprints in stone for future generations to witness and make offerings on that spot to collect merits. This holy site was decorated by the great master Mantradhara Ngawang Kunga Rinchen later on. Other accounts say that he ascended from Gorum Library near Chumik Dzingka spring. A stupa containing his holy relics was erected there. Sonam Tsemo was a powerful practitioner of the Lady Buddha Vajra Yogini and at the end of his short life he ascended with his very body to Kechara paradise. He was 40 years old. Kechara is the sanksrit name of the special abode of Vajra Yogini. Those who practice Vajra Yogini to the highest level can ascend her paradise with their very bodies. Sonam Tsemo the great master of sutra and tantra was seen by an old woman flying off holding his beloved dog to ascend Kechara paradise. No one every found his body and his room was empty.
  • Lin Mun
    Monday, Mar 27. 2017 12:27 PM
    Congratulations to Mitra for his first dharma teaching in Nepali to the expats. So glad that Dorje Shugden practise can reach out to many in various languages and to different people. Mitra has done a good job in introducing Lama Tsongkhapa lineage and guided them on the benefit and iconography of Dorje Shugden.

    May Lama Tsongkhapa lineage and Dorje Shugden practise continue to grow and benefit more people.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/mitra-teaches-bhagwan-dorje-shugden-in-nepali.html
  • 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

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

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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Animal Care Fund
  Bigfoot, Yeti, Sasquatch

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.
This mahasiddha Kukkuripa is easy to identify as he is accompanied by a small dog whom he loved very much.
yesterday
This mahasiddha Kukkuripa is easy to identify as he is accompanied by a small dog whom he loved very much.
Mumu taking a rest in the turquoise room. Over the years, I always feel very satisfied when I see him covered with a blanket, safe and sleeping. I always wanted to make sure he was safe from harm, illness and distress. I wanted him to have a happy and loved life. Tsem Rinpoche
yesterday
Mumu taking a rest in the turquoise room. Over the years, I always feel very satisfied when I see him covered with a blanket, safe and sleeping. I always wanted to make sure he was safe from harm, illness and distress. I wanted him to have a happy and loved life. Tsem Rinpoche
I wrapped my little Mumu boy up in my blanket and propped him up on my bed. He didn\'t move or wiggle and just looked at me. He is one funny entertaining little guy. Tsem Rinpoche
yesterday
I wrapped my little Mumu boy up in my blanket and propped him up on my bed. He didn't move or wiggle and just looked at me. He is one funny entertaining little guy. Tsem Rinpoche
March 2017-Coaxing my little Mumu boy to eat his meal. He was not well and therefore not hungry. Tsem Rinpoche
yesterday
March 2017-Coaxing my little Mumu boy to eat his meal. He was not well and therefore not hungry. Tsem Rinpoche
Click on picture to enlarge and see what Milarepa says. Profound.
1 week 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
1 week 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.
1 week 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
2 weeks 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
2 weeks 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
3 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
3 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...
Click on "View All Photos" above to view more images

Videos On The Go

Please click on the images to watch video
  • Please watch this video, it's heartbreaking to see how people have to suffer.
    1 week ago
    Please watch this video, it's heartbreaking to see how people have to suffer.
  • Lady saves puppy from potential abuser
    2 weeks ago
    Lady saves puppy from potential abuser
  • Mr. Denzel Washington is a very intelligent man. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 weeks ago
    Mr. Denzel Washington is a very intelligent man. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Dear friends, please see this educational video on suffering for the sake of others.
    2 weeks ago
    Dear friends, please see this educational video on suffering for the sake of others.
  • A very neat footage of Bigfoot captured by Patterson-Gimlin.
    3 weeks ago
    A very neat footage of Bigfoot captured by Patterson-Gimlin.
  • [11/02/2017] Mumu darling is a very good boy.
    1 month ago
    [11/02/2017] Mumu darling is a very good boy.
  • [11/02/2017] Mumu wants to go bye bye!
    1 month ago
    [11/02/2017] Mumu wants to go bye bye!
  • [11/02/2017] I love you mumu boy
    1 month ago
    [11/02/2017] I love you mumu boy
  • [11/02/2017] Mumu and Oser eating together.
    1 month ago
    [11/02/2017] Mumu and Oser eating together.
  • Great spiritual rock carving in Tibet
    2 months ago
    Great spiritual rock carving in Tibet
  • You will Never be Ready
    3 months ago
    You will Never be Ready
    Dear friends, watch this video and ready, if we keep waiting till we are ready, that day will never come. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Stop asking for Easy
    3 months ago
    Stop asking for Easy
    This video is powerful because it's the truth. It applies to anything. It applies to our dharma practice. Watch the video and share it. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Must Watch this Video!
    4 months ago
    Must Watch this Video!
  • Sacred Tibetan Incense - Nyimo County, Lhasa, Tibet
    5 months ago
    Sacred Tibetan Incense - Nyimo County, Lhasa, Tibet
  • Kyabje Denma Gonsa Rinpoche on Samaya
    5 months ago
    Kyabje Denma Gonsa Rinpoche on Samaya
    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

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.

Scroll down and click on "View All Questions" to view archived questions.

  • March 28, 2017 09:11
    Lia asked: If the ushnisha is actually supposed to be a bump, then do we change the visualization of the top knot and replace it with a bump covered in hair or do we keep the ushnisha as the thangkas show?
    No reply yet
  • 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?
    pastor answered: Dear Dongho, Thank you for your question, it is good to see you back and asking more questions. Yes you are right, there are differences in the tunes and chants between the lineages. The differences can vary significantly between the traditions, for example the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism is known for its extremely deep throat singing which is very powerful and is characterised by a low, booming voice, in contrast to the other traditions. Even within a particular tradition, there can be slight variations as to the manner in which the chants and tunes are performed. For example those monasteries are which are affiliated with Gyume will have one way of throat singing, where those affiliated with Gyuto will have another. As far as I am aware there is no professional sheet music for the rituals, most probably because the music is actually an integral part of the ritual itself. Therefore the music, tunes, and chants are all taught at the same time the ritual and prayers are. The tunes, and use of the instruments all have specific meanings, because they are considered to be offerings to the deities in the form of sound. The monasteries would not have copies of sheet music either, because sheet music is western practice. The use of ritual music within Tibetan Buddhism is more of one based on memory. In the Kechara organisation, the puja team was trained in such ritual instruments at the same time they learnt the particular ritual from monks from the monastery, such as the puja of Dorje Shugden. From what I saw of the training, the musical tunes, and use of instruments was not written down but taught experientially at the same time as the chanting. I have not come across any other instruments being used in pujas apart from the traditional ritual instruments, because even the instruments themselves have a specific meaning. That is not say that school instruments cannot be used. This is because, as long as the offering is sincere, the Buddhas and enlightened deities will accept it, and in turn you will generate great amounts of merit. Offerings should be made to the best of our ability, therefore if you do not have access to the ritual instruments, or do not know how to play them, but you know how to play other instruments, and use these instruments as offerings to the Buddhas during pujas, the amount of merit you generate will be the same. This is because you are sincere with your offering. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • 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.
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