Pilgrimage Through India & Nepal

By | Nov 30, 2016 | Views: 701
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Since my mother had passed away earlier this year, H.E. Tsem Rinpoche advised me to take my dad on a holiday. He suggested several countries like India, Nepal, Burma, Thailand and so forth.

Rinpoche said that we should go to these places to make our holiday a meaningful one because these countries are full of spiritual power places. In other words, we can go to these places to make good prayers, aspirations and offerings that would plant powerful seeds for his future life, especially for someone like my dad who is older. I could not do this for my mom since she had passed away, but I can definitely do this for my dad especially now that he is free and he is still healthy enough to travel.

After talking about it with my dad and my friend Paul, we decided that we should go to Nepal and we could bring Paul’s mom along. In fact, it would be my dad’s and Paul’s mom’s first time to Nepal and I can feel that it would be great. We felt that this was a good time to go and Rinpoche added that we should stop by a Tibetan monastery called Serpom in India to have our parents make offerings to the monks there. It would be great experience for them to collect merit. Therefore, the whole itinerary was revamped to include an extra destination and the visa application required to enter India.

Pilgrimages are basically a spiritual journey to power places in order to connect with the aspirations and energies of that place. These places are charged with the energy of enlightened beings that meditated, resided, consecrated or performed enlightened deeds in that location. Hence, we go to these places to connect with these energies in order to plant powerful blessings into our mind stream. The main places we would be going to in Nepal were power places of the tantric deity Vajrayogini and these are great places to connect with.

Pastor David Lai

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Serpom Monastery

Monks engaging in debate at the courtyard of the main prayer hall at Serpom Monastery

Monks engaged in debate at the courtyard of the main prayer hall at Serpom Monastery.

Serpom Monastery was originally Pomra Khangtsen, a part of Sera Mey Monastery. Due to the Dorje Shugden issue, the monks of Pomra Khangtsen were unable to remain in the monastery. Therefore, the entire Pomra Khangtsen had to separate and establish Serpom Monastery in 2008.

Some say that the very existence of Dorje Shugden monasteries like Serpom shows that Dorje Shugden practitioners have the freedom to practice and that the ban does not really exist. However, the reality of the situation is that the establishment of Serpom was forced upon the monks of this monastery, and that is why the very existence of Serpom Monastery is a living proof of the existence of the ban on Dorje Shugden.

Bird’s eye view of the monks at the main prayer hall of Serpom Monastery while the monks were engaging in the Dorje Shugden puja.

Bird’s eye view of the monks at the main prayer hall of Serpom Monastery while the monks were engaging in the Dorje Shugden puja.

Rinpoche suggested that we visit this monastery so that our parents get to make offerings to the monks personally in order to collect merit. In this manner, we lend our support to these courageous monks for our lineage. Coincidentally, Paul’s mother had set aside some money meant for a puja for her late husband, and my dad had also contributed an amount in dedication to my late mother.

Beautiful tormas were offered to Yamantaka, Dorje Shugden Five Families and entourage.

Beautiful tormas were offered to Yamantaka, Dorje Shugden Five Families and entourage.

Therefore, a large Dorje Shugden puja was commissioned and the torma ritual cakes, tsok food offerings, breakfast of bread and tea for all the monks are sponsored. In sponsoring the puja, Paul’s mother and my father also offered each monk Rs200 as a kuyong or monetary offering. The monastery has approximately 567 monks, and most of them attended the puja.

Paul assisted his mother while she made kuyong offerings to the each of the monks that are performing the Dorje Shugden puja.

Paul assisted his mother while she made kuyong offerings to the each monk who was performing the Dorje Shugden puja.

We arrived in KempeGowda International Airport in Bangalore on the day before the puja. The monastery administrator had arranged for transport to the monastery so we can greet the monastery’s officials before they put us up at a nearby hotel for the night. We came back to the monastery the next day to make the offerings. But before that, we were taken on a tour of the school and library. Upon our return to the main prayer hall, the monks were on a break, and so we were ushered upstairs to have some tea. Not long after, the temple gong resounded, calling the monks to return to the prayer hall for puja.

My dad, Uncle Lai, is excited to be here at the monastery for a chance to collect lots of merits by making offerings to the monks.

My dad, Uncle Lai, is excited to be here at the monastery for a chance to collect lots of merits by making offerings to the monks.

While the monks were in puja, we were ushered downstairs to the prayer hall. We offered three prostrations to the sangha, and we were given khatas to be offered onto the lama thrones, to every large statue and also to the protectors in the protector chapel. Then, we were ushered back upstairs, and at the right moment, we were ushered back to the prayer hall to make the kuyong offerings to the monks. The monks respectfully received the offering with their hands respectfully covered with their zen, which is the loose shawl-like part of their maroon robes. After completing the offering, we were ushered upstairs for lunch.

Uncle Lai and Paul’s mother made pearl offerings to Dorje Shugden at the Protector Chapel.

Uncle Lai and Paul’s mother made pearl offerings to Dorje Shugden at the Protector Chapel.

We returned to the protector chapel after the monks had vacated the temple for another break. We had requested to have the honour for our parents to offer pearl necklaces onto the statues of Dorje Shugden and his emanations at the protector chapel. This was Rinpoche’s idea and had pearl necklaces ready beforehand. So, I guided them with making the right motivation, which was to pray for their respective deceased spouse and family. For my father, I told him to pray to be free of obstacles to be able to do his Dharma work that had been assigned by Rinpoche so he can collect as much merits for his next life. We left the monastery not long after in order to head back to Bangalore to take the evening plane to Nepal.

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Seto Macchendranath

This is the ancient temple of Jan Bahal, where the sacred Chenrezig statue resides within.

This is the ancient temple of Jan Bahal, where the sacred Chenrezig statue resides within.

We arrived in Nepal late in the evening, and we decided to have dinner at our hotel and planned our destination for the next few days. The next day, we decided that it would be good to visit all the nearby destinations, and the first on the list was the nearby Chenrezig and Tara temples.

We took a taxi that brought us close to the temple, but the taxi driver was unsure of the temple’s location. We arrived at Assan Tole, it was an ancient narrow street bazaar, chock-full of Nepalese street vendors hawking flower garlands, vegetables, clay pots and so forth. The street was just crowded with shoppers and passerbys crisscrossing in all directions. We navigated through the crowd, asking for the temple’s direction. Fortunately, Jan Bahal, the home of the Chenrezig statue was easily found.

We offered garlands and butterlamps along with our mantras and prayers to Chenrezig

We offered garlands and butterlamps along with our mantras and prayers to Chenrezig.

The Nepalese call this deity; Seto or White Macchendranath and both Hindus and Buddhists worship this deity. To the Hindus, he is the avatar of Shiva that brings rain and bountiful harvest. For the Buddhists, he is Arya Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion. The Tibetans calls this sacred image Jowo Dzamling Karmo, and he is one of the Four Exalted Brothers. According to legend, this image along with the other three arose from a single Sandalwood tree. One of the images is in Patan and whose face is painted red, and he is known today as Rato or Red Macchendranath. Another one by the name of Phagpa Wati of Kyirong is in the possession of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and the last one is known as Lhasa Lokeshvara that is part of the Potala collection.

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Hence, this Chenrezig statue is really old and the courtyard itself has several old Tara statues enthroned on pillars and the walls of entire temple is covered various forms of Chenrezig. There are even prayer wheels along the way around the temple allowing pilgrims to turn them as they make their devotional rounds. We offered butterlamps, prayers, mantras and even circumambulated Chenrezig by going around the temple.

One of the female temple caretakers looked a little crazy, and I whispered to Paul that at holy places like these, Rinpoche said we should always make offerings to crazy-looking female beggars and not ignore or chase them away because they might be emanations of dakinis. Paul immediately took out a little bit of money and offered it to her. I did the same when I crossed her path later, and she smiled broadly back at me. Before we left the temple; we held hands, closed our eyes and dedicated.

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The sacred face of Chenrezig Jowo Dzamling Karmo

The sacred face of Chenrezig Jowo Dzamling Karmo

 

Itum Bahal Tara

This sacred White Tara statue that flew miraculously from Tibet is in the middle and flanked by Yellow and Green Tara.

This sacred White Tara statue that flew miraculously from Tibet is in the middle and flanked by Yellow and Green Tara.

Our next destination was the Tara chapel of Itum Bahal. Itum Bahal is an ancient 14th century Buddhist monastery and it was not easy to find as we had to ask quite a number of people before arriving at the main temple courtyard. A nondescript chapel to a trinity of Tara statues sits in a smaller courtyard off from the main larger temple courtyard. The central statue is an old statue of White Tara that according to Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche is a Tara statue that flew miraculously from Tibet.

It flew to Nepal to be of benefit to the beings here, and it is also a statue that spoke to great masters who paid homage to her. We offered butterlamps, flower garlands, Tara mantras and circumambulations. However, I advised our parents to pray for long healthy lives in order to engage in spiritual practises. The chapel was really small but popular as we can see that other Tibetan pilgrims are streaming into the courtyard. After dedicating, we left the temple grounds and got back to the main street in order to go back to the hotel for a break.

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Bidjeswori Vajrayogini

This was taken just outside of the Bidjeswori Vajrayogini temple and the pagoda roof you see is directly above the Vajrayogini shrine.

This was taken just outside of the Bidjeswori Vajrayogini temple and the pagoda roof you see is directly above the Vajrayogini shrine.

Our next destination is the Bidjeswori Vajrayogini Temple, and it is also known by a few other names, Bijayaswar or Visyasvari Temple. This is an ancient Newar Buddhist temple dedicated to the Tantric Buddha Vajrayogini or Bajra Jogini in the Newar language. The Newar people are a mixture of Indo-Aryan and Tibetan-Burmese ethnicities and they form the original inhabitants of the Kathmandu Valley. They are the creators of its historic heritage and civilisation in Nepal.

Before heading out to the temple, I went to buy some offerings for Vajrayogini so as to create a powerful connection with her. The temple stands on the west bank of the Bishnumati River not far from Thamel, and it is also believed to be next to the ancient charnel grounds of Ramadoli (Karnadip). The temple sits within a courtyard of stupas and the inner sanctum is a shrine to four sacred Vajrayogini statues. The central image is that of Akash Yogini or the sky-going Vajrayogini. To her left is Phamthing Vajrayogini with her left leg thrust skyward and her right is the celestial dancer Vajravarahi. Then there is a statue placed on the right wall is a statue of the haunting Naropa’s Dakini.

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I unpacked the food offerings onto little plates to be offered and the temple caretaker helped to place it near Vajrayogini as we did our prayers. We made butterlamp offerings and in this temple, I told our parents to pray to have the merits to be reborn under similar circumstances to be near a teacher of authentic lineage of Vajrayogini and to receive her practice again. As we were making these aspirations and offerings, the temple caretaker screamed at Paul for taking pictures so close to the shrine and would not allow him inside. Nepalese are highly sensitive about people taking pictures of their sacred shrines.

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Just before exiting the temple, I offered one of my late mother’s jewelled earrings, and I asked the temple caretaker to help me place it on Vajrayogini herself in order to collect merit for her. I gestured for him to place the earring on Naropa’s Dakini. I prayed that she would be blessed to be connected to the Dharma in her next life and be connected to the Dharma and Vajrayogini.

The main image of Vajrayogini is Akash Yogini or the flying Vajrayogini and on her left is Phamthing Vajrayogini and on her right is Vajravarahi

The main image of Vajrayogini is Akash Yogini or the flying Vajrayogini and on her left is Phamthing Vajrayogini and on her right is Vajravarahi.

Naropa’s Dakini is enshrined on the right wall and it is to this statue that I offered my late mother’s earring.

Naropa’s Dakini is enshrined on the right wall, and it is to this statue that I offered my late mother’s earring.

 

Sankhu Vajrayogini

We made abundant offerings to the Sankhu Vajrayogini.

We made abundant offerings to the Sankhu Vajrayogini.

We hired an SUV to take us up into the hills and into Sankhu because that would be the farthest destination. It is only about 17 kilometres but because the recent earthquake had destroyed the road, the journey felt much longer than 17 kilometers. At Sankhu, we were headed towards Gum Bahal, which is an ancient monastery situated on top of a hill that is power place of Vajrayogini.

On a previous trip with Rinpoche, we had arrived at the bottom of a stairs late in the evening, and we had to climb a flight of stairs in pitch-black darkness with torches in order to get to the monastery. This time around, the driver drove us right up the hill and the road ended right behind the monastery. The monastery itself is a custodian of a special 4-armed Vajrayogini bearing a sword, lotus, skullcup and ritual chopper. This form of Vajrayogini is known as the Khadga Yogini or the sword-bearing Vajrayogini.

The statue in the monastery itself is a life-sized Khadga Yogini that is believed to contain the remains of a priestess of Sankhu that was a great practitioner of Vajrayogini. She was said to have become one with Vajrayogini, and she showed many signs of high attainments. Even at death, her remains bore remarkable signs and hence, they enshrined her within this statue. The local people bring this statue out yearly to parade her around town in a weeklong religious festival called the Vajrayogini Jatra.

Due to the earthquake, the monastery was under repairs, and the statue was brought to a room facing the courtyard while the monastery was being restored. I unpacked offerings of food and apple juice. We offered butterlamps, prayers, mantras and especially an aspiration that I had guided them to make. I told them that in this second Vajrayogini temple, we should pray in future lives that we will always meet Vajrayogini and receive her practice from a teacher of authentic lineage. Then, we will gain great attainments through our Vajrayogini practice and enact the altruistic deeds of a Bodhisattva by benefitting many beings.

A picture with the Sankhu Vajrayogini statue believed to contain the remains of the great yogini who had become one with Vajrayogini.

A picture with the Sankhu Vajrayogini statue believed to contain the remains of the great yogini who had become one with Vajrayogini.

We made a dedication and took a walk around the courtyard of the monastery and down a small flight of stone stairs towards a twin pagoda shrines. At the large of the two shrines, we discovered another very ancient statue of Khadga Yogini is enshrined within and a stupa is enshrined in the other smaller shrine. So, we paid homage to both shrines by offering butterlamps and reciting mantras at these two ancient shrines. I recall that there were some caves nearby that were used by Tilopa, Naropa and the Nepalese Pamthingpa brothers. Unfortunately, we couldn’t visit these caves due to ongoing restoration works.

Paul and his mom were making offerings before the other shrine to Vajrayoigini in the aspect of Khadga Yogini.

Paul and his mom were making offerings before the shrine to Vajrayogini in the aspect of Khadga Yogini.

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Boudhanath Stupa

After Sankhu, we drove back to Kathmandu and went on towards Boudhanath. The Boudhanath stupa is reputed to be the largest stupa in the world. Traditional sources say that the great Boudhanath Stupa was constructed in the 5th Century CE. The stupa is believed to enshrine the relics of the previous Buddha, Kashyapa Buddha.

We arrived at the Boudha Stupa when they were about to re-consecrate the stupa after restoration works. The stupa was damaged during the recent earthquake.

We arrived at the Boudha Stupa when they were about to re-consecrate the stupa after restoration works. The stupa was damaged during the recent earthquake.

According to legend, a long time ago Jadzimo and her four sons built Boudhanath, which is known as Chorten Jarung Khashor with money that they saved from their wages. When the stupa was consecrated, it was believed that 100 million Buddhas dissolved into it, and it has the glory of being filled with sacred relics. It is believed that the stupa was built on top of the cremation ground called ‘Spontaneously Amassed’, which was one of the Eight Great Cremation Grounds.

The name Jarung Khashor refers to another legend of its origin in which a courtesan who wounded the pride of the wealthy and powerful by managing to construct this stupa to the Buddha with the permission of the king. The jealous nobles requested the king to demolish the Stupa over petty reasons, but the king replied that “Once authority to build has been given, it cannot be retracted”, which is reflected in its name, ‘Jarung Khashor’.

Guru Rinpoche while in Samye monastery told another tale of the Boudhanath Stupa. He explained that the aspirational prayers of the benefactor Jadzima’s sons, created the cause for them to be reborn as the principle force behind the spread of the teachings in Tibet – Guru Padmasambhava, the King Trisong Detsen, Santaraksita and Ba Salnang. When they met in Nepal and Tibet for the very first time, it felt like a reunion. Guru Padmasambhava foretold that the Stupa would fall into ruin and a certain tulku with a certain special characteristic would restore the stupa. It turns out that Sakya Zangpo discovered the ruined Stupa in the 16th century and undertook the task to restore it to its former glory. In 1505, he also contributed towards the restoration of Swayambhunath.

Today, the Boudhanath Stupa is a World Heritage Site and Buddhists and tourists from around the world come to visit this ancient monument. Most people who come to visit, would be circumambulating the stupa, and some would be within the walled enclosure of the stupa and performing prostrations towards the stupa. The stupa itself is surrounded by shops filled with jewellery, statues, thangkas and not to mention the cafes, restaurants and monasteries and temples of various Tibetan Buddhist traditions. We came here to look for a place to eat before we did our devotional rounds around the stupa. After circumambulating with the growing crowd as more and more older Tibetan pilgrims came out to circumambulate the stupa in the evening. After our third round, we called it a day and returned back to our hotel.

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Pharping Vajrayogini

This unique Vajrayogini with her left leg thrust skywards is from a pure vision by the Nepalese master Phamthingpa.

This unique Vajrayogini with her left leg thrust skywards is from a pure vision by the Nepalese master Phamthingpa.

Pharping is a good 19km south of Kathmandu city and is a major Buddhist site due to a number of sacred sites. There are three places that are in the vicinity of each other and the ancient Vajrayogini chapel is one of the main reasons we are headed to this place. On my previous trips, we stopped by the Self-arising Tara temple first and then we walk up the stairs to Asura caves and finally descending down another flight of stairs to the Vajrayogini temple.

This time around, the car we rented brought us straight to the Vajrayogini temple. So we approach the temple and walked upstairs to the Vajrayogini shrine, and I could see that the caretaker really cleaned up the place. It was a lot cleaner than the last few times I came. The inner sanctum sits an ancient statue of Vajrayogini with her left foot thrust skywards. This form of Vajrayogini is known as Phamthing Vajrayogini, Uddhapada Yogini or Indra Yogini. Apparently, this form of Vajrayogini appeared to the master Phamthingpa in a vision, and although it is unclear if this statue belong to Phamthingpa or not but this statue is known to have miraculously spoken.

The 11th century Nepalese master Phamthingpa was one of the greatest teachers of his day and was also known as the great scholar Vagishvarakirti. He studied under Naropa for nine years, receiving the transmission of the Cakrasamvara and Hevajra Tantras amongst others. Even his brother, Dukhorba studied under Naropa for five years and his youngest brother Thangchungpa was a practicing Tantrika as well.

Naturally, we brought lots of offerings to be offered to Vajrayogini, which we offered via the caretaker along with mantras, prayers and aspiration. It is at this place that I guided our parents to make the aspiration that upon receiving Vajrayogini in our next life; we master it and become completely enlightened with Vajrayogini’s meditations and practises. It is to master her meditations and practices and thereby proliferate it to others. After everything was done, I took out the other jewelled earring from my late mom and gave it to the caretaker to be placed onto the statue of Vajrayogini. I prayed that my mom would be blessed by Vajrayogini to have the merits to meet the Dharma again and specifically meet Vajrayogini in her next life.

 

Asura Cave

The sacred handprint of Guru Rinpoche is just next to the mouth of his retreat cave.

The sacred handprint of Guru Rinpoche is just next to the mouth of his retreat cave.

Our next destination was a Nyingma monastery built around a single cave called the Asura Cave. This monastery is approachable only on foot by climbing up the hill from the Vajrayogini temple. After a short flight of steep steps, we arrived at the back of the monastery.

When we arrived, the nearby prayer halls were packed and it seemed that Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche was giving teachings. Nonetheless, we managed to enter the cave to offer our prayers, mantras and aspirations. There is a darkened image of Guru Rinpoche, Yangdak Heruka and Vajrakilaya on a shrine with the cave. There is a handprint of Guru Rinpoche by the side of the mouth of the cave, sealing his blessings there. It is believed that Guru Rinpoche achieved high realisations through his practice here and he was able to imprint his hand into solid rock.

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In Guru Rinpoche's cave, is a shrine to darkened images of Guru Padmasambhava, Yangdak Heruka, and Vajrakilaya

In Guru Rinpoche’s cave, is a shrine to darkened images of Guru Padmasambhava, Yangdak Heruka, and Vajrakilaya

 

Self-arising Tara

This self-arising Tara image seems to get clearer each time I visit this chapel.

This self-arising Tara image seems to get clearer each time I visit this chapel.

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In order to get to the next destination, which is the Tara temple, we walked to the front of the monastery where there was another flight of steps downhill. Descending down the steps, we came across a Nyingma prayer hall to the left and a small little Tara chapel on the right and a chapel to the Tselha Namsum or the three buddhas that grand long life – Amitayus, White Tara and Namgyalma.

The Tara chapel is a shrine to a rock and from within the rock, a large image of Ganesh had arisen from the rock. Upon first sight, we couldn’t see Tara but on closer inspection, we saw a small but distinct image of Tara rising from the side of Ganesh. These images were not carved but have arisen from within the rock itself. It is said that great meditators and holy beings blessed the place and hence, Tara had chosen to manifest here. There was a single monk there when we visited and he was doing his Tara recitations. Naturally, we made some offerings to him, offered butterlamps, Tara mantras and rubbed our malas on Tara’s feet, hopefully to glean some blessings into our malas. We didn’t stay very long as a whole group of Tibetan pilgrims came shuffling in and crowding the place up.

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Patan Vajrayogini

The Mahabouddha Stupa is a scaled down replica of the great Mahabodhi Stupa at Bodhgaya, India.

The Mahabouddha Stupa is a scaled down replica of the great Mahabodhi Stupa at Bodhgaya, India.

The next day, we took a ride to Patan which also known as Lalitpur, an ancient city known for its beauty. We were headed to the Mahabouddha, a scaled-down replica of the Mahabodhi stupa at Bodhgaya India. This is situated in the old part of town, not far from the Patan Durbar Square. The stupa is not visible from the road and you have to walk a narrow alleyway between shops till you arrive at a little entrance to the courtyard.

The Mahaboudha stupa is built in the middle of a courtyard which enshrines a statue of the Buddha in it and apparently, the statue was brought back from Bodhgaya itself. The stupa was originally built in the 17th century by the artisans of the city for those who could not travel down to India for pilgrimage. This is a beautiful shrine to the Buddha but this is not exactly our main destination. We were here because there is a Vajrayogini chapel just opposite from the Mahaboudha stupa.

The chapel is accessible through a flight of steps that overlooks the stupa. The main image of the shrine is the flying Vajrayogini statue. We did the same here in this chapel by offering food, butterlamps, mantras and aspiration. This was the last Vajrayogini temple on this pilgrimage and I told our parents to pray to be completely enlightened with Vajrayogini’s practice and to ascend to Kechara Paradise while bringing many beings along. That should be our aspiration just in the same manner of how great mahasiddha who liberated many after they themselves gained great attainments.

This is the Buddha statue that originated from Bodhgaya, India.

This is the Buddha statue that originated from Bodhgaya, India.

Offering beautiful butterlamps to the sacred image of the Akash Yogini or flying Vajrayogini.

Offering beautiful butterlamps to the sacred image of the Akash Yogini or flying Vajrayogini.

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Swayambhunath Stupa

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This is known as the monkey temple due to sheer amount of monkeys living on the hill. This is the second largest stupa in Nepal and perhaps one of the most iconic because it is situated on top of a hill. Unfortunately, the earthquake devastated the temple and destroyed quite a number of its structures and temples surrounding the stupa. The stupa itself had survived the earthquake unscathed.

There were three places we had to go and the first one is Manjushri’s site. This is on one side of the hill that is just a platform with prayer flags and some prayer wheels. This place is believed to be where Manjushri would appear to teach the local gods and celestial beings above the ground. We are unable to see this but those with psychic abilities or attained are able to perceive this. For the Nepalese, this is the site from which Manjushri stood and wielded his great flaming sword to carve out Kathmandu Valley in ancient times in order to drain a great lake. Needless to say, we offered several butterlamps and recited Manjushri’s praise and mantras in order to tap in his wisdom here.

The convergence of prayer flags and prayer wheels is the only thing that identify the location of the site where Manjushri is said to teach the local deities.

The convergence of prayer flags and prayer wheels is the only thing that identify the location of the site where Manjushri is said to teach the local deities.

The next destination was the Swayambhunath stupa itself and we circumambulated the stupa 3 times, while rolling the prayer wheels, and peering into the niches that contained shrines to the Dhyani Buddhas and their consorts. After that, we walked past a group of smaller stupas and stroll down towards an old building. Unfortunately, the earthquake damaged the building so badly that scaffolding was erected to support the structure and prevent it from collapsing. This is the temple of the doors, which is believed to be the doors to the underground system of caverns – the main doorway into the abode of the 16 Arhats known to bestow long life. Hence, we did some prayers and aspirations for long life, especially for our parents. After that, we left Swayambhunath hill.

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In order to tap into the blessings of the Swayambhunath Stupa, we circumambulated the stupa clockwise while reciting mantras.

In order to tap into the blessings of the Swayambhunath Stupa, we circumambulated the stupa clockwise while reciting mantras.

Paul’s mother stands in front of the temple of the doors. It was damaged by the recent earthquake and the entire building is held up by metal scaffolding.

Paul’s mother stands in front of the temple of the doors. It was damaged by the recent earthquake and the entire building is held up by metal scaffolding.

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Naropa’s and Tilopa’s Caves

Taking a sacred picture with Naropa along with a feast of offerings that we have prepared for him.

Taking a sacred picture with Naropa along with a feast of offerings that we have prepared for him.

On the last day, we paid a visit to Naropa’s and Tilopa’s cave near Pashupatinath temple complex. The temple complex is one of the largest Hindu temples in Nepal and one of the most important in the Hindu world. It was built along the Bagmati river and had ancient platform-ghats along the river where the deceased are cremated in plain sight of all who walk pass.

We could see that a Hindu Brahmin priest was preparing an old lady for cremation. Just witnessing the cremation was a contemplation of death and impermanence. We walked across a bridge towards the temple and along the ghats towards the far end of the river where there were some dwellings and caves by the side of the river. Sadhus probably lived in these dwellings for centuries and two particular caves were traditionally attributed to the Buddhist yogins, Tilopa and Naropa.

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Their caves were cemented over and images of both masters were placed in them to commemorate the spot in which they had meditated. Naropa most likely meditated and received visions of Vajrayogini here in this very cave. This was also where he lived and served his guru by begging for alms and washing his clothes by the river below. A story of Naropa’s diligence and devotion to his teacher was appropriately told as it was the perfect story and example of devotion to a teacher. Hence, our aspirational prayer was to develop such devotion towards an authentic teacher so spiritual attainments could easily come.

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Conclusion

The pilgrimage was one that connects the four main Vajrayogini temples along with other power places and the offerings and aspiration generated at these places are very powerful. Hence, at each temple the aspiration is a unique one and it is about praying to meet a guru with authentic lineage, receiving Vajrayogini’s practice, becoming attained through her practice, benefitting many beings through her practice and finally ascending to Kechara Paradise and bringing many beings along to Kechara Paradise. It is hoped that these would plant powerful spiritual seeds for my father and for Paul’s mother as well. Since, they are older and hence closer to death, this would be good preparation for the eventual step that all of us have to take.

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About Pastor David Lai

David is a lay Buddhist pastor of Kechara and a longtime student of H.E. Tsem Rinpoche. Initially a reluctant writer, he now finds himself writing for a living and has published four books including his autobiography, There's No Way But Up and Conversations in Love.

David is a lover of Buddhist art and whenever he can, he shares his knowledge of the Dharma with everyone, giving frequent teachings and writing on his blog www.davidlai.me.
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21 Responses to Pilgrimage Through India & Nepal

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  1. MartinC on Feb 9, 2017 at 2:33 am

    Finally, logic prevails. People who can think beyond gross prejudice are beginning to see the goodness of Dorje Shugden. I came across this comment by Suzy on Rinpoche’s YouTube chanel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl-4lIwxph4&t=11s) and it is such a welcome change from the usual abuse hurled at Shugden people by those do not understand the issue.

    Suzy

  2. Anne Ong on Jan 6, 2017 at 9:27 pm

    Very interesting write up and wonderful pictures about your pilgrimage trip Pastor David. And your explanation about the pilgrimage is very interesting and clear. I love the self Arising Tara place. It’s one of my favorite. I’m rejoice that Uncle Lai to be able to go pilgrimage trip. He looks much healthier and happier 🙂 And you make a very good writer. i love all your articles. I’m sure your Dad and late Mum must be very proud of your achievements. All the best to you,Pastor David and Uncle Lai _/\_

  3. Alice Tay on Dec 24, 2016 at 1:17 am

    Rejoice to Pastor David, Uncle Lai, Paul and Paul’s mother as they have opportunity to have join pilgrimage trip together and made offerings in abundance to many Sangha at Serpom Monastery as well as other temples. This is very blessed and great to collect merit.

    Thank you Pastor David sharing this meaningful pilgrimage trip in details which is very useful as a future guide to those may interested to visit the same holy places.

  4. Samfoonheei on Dec 15, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    Beautiful and meaning pilgrimage journey through India and Nepal.
    Thank you Pastor David for sharing your pilgrimage.Travelling with your beloved dad ,Paul and his mother, was really wonderful.Rejoice.
    Travelling and visiting to those beautiful Holy monasteries was amazing and powerful. It will enaable one to connect with the aspirations and energies of that place.,in order to plant powerful blessings into our mind stream. Well i do hope one day i could go on a pilgrimage too to those Holy places in India and Nepal.
    Thank you Pastor David….a good teaching on pilgrimage and beautiful pictures shared .

  5. Lew on Dec 12, 2016 at 1:40 am

    Thank you Pastor David for such a good travel log. It has indeed brought back many good memories I had when I travelled to these places both in Nepal and Serpom. I have been to Serpom and Nepal on two separate occasions but you did it in one trip! 🙂 Travelling to monastery like Serpom really open my eyes and had a glimpse of the life of monastery.

    I wish one day I can bring my parents to visit holy places while they are still fit to travel…

  6. Soon Huat on Dec 11, 2016 at 12:09 am

    Thank You Pastor David Lai for sharing the beautiful article with all the beautiful pictures. I particularly like the Vayrayogini statues in the ancient temples. I wish I could bring my mother for the pilgrimage of these holy sites especially related to Vajrayogini next year. I will be praying for it daily.

  7. Adeline Tan on Dec 10, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    Thank you Pastor David for sharing your pilgrimage trip to India and Nepal with your dad and Paul and his mom. This certainly brought back all the fond memories after seeing all those beautiful holy photos posted on the blog together with the wonderful write up too. As for Paul’s mom, she was so thoughtful to have a protector puja done for her late husband in the monastry. Rejoice for all of them and may they all have good health and long lives.

  8. Jutika Lam on Dec 8, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    Thank you Pastor David for sharing about your recent pilgrimage to India and Nepal together with your beloved father as well as Paul and his mother.

    Looking through all the photos of all holy and blessed places you visited with your dad is a great reminder of the time where I was lucky enough to visit all the temples, shrines, and monasteries in the article above.

    It is a wonderful thing to do to bring parents on a meaningful vacation to collect merits by making offerings and prayers at these pilgrimage sites rather than going on a holiday our tour purely for enjoyment and pleasure

    Thank you for taking the time to write well detailed information of all the places you visited during your trip, may more people who are planning to go on a pilgrimage benefit from this post.

  9. Darren on Dec 6, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    Thank you Pastor David for the itinerary and sharing on the holy places. Those holy pictures sure a feast for everyone. I was in Nepal few years back but doesn’t has much picture as most of the mini temple doesn’t allow photography.

  10. Ron Wong on Dec 4, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    I think every practitioner should make an effort to visit these powerful places & pay homage to the Buddha & Bodhisattvas to make spiritual connection with them. Through this, we receive blessing & create the cause to be near a guru, receive the dharma & practice the dharma to bring peace & joy to ourselves & others.

    Thank you Pastor David for sharing your spiritual journey with great details. Appreciate very much your clear explanation & guidance on what & how we should be praying for while in these powerful places. These are definitely the places we should visit & pay homage to the Buddha & great Bodhisattvas.

  11. JP on Dec 4, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    Thank you Pastor David for sharing your pilgrimage with your dad, along with Paul and his mother. It’s very touching to read that you and your dad requested the monks to do a puja for your late mother and also offerings made to Vajrayogini for her.

    The best gift to our parents and loved ones is to bring them closer to the Buddhadharma. This is because we help them create the affinity and karma to have a chance towards realizing Enlightenment. What else is greater Enlightenment?

    Our parents and loved ones may not understand the significance but what matters is that we know that seeds of enlightenment have been planted in their mind stream. It will help them in their future lives. I believe this is what unconditional love really means.

  12. KarenC. on Dec 4, 2016 at 12:59 am

    Travelling around the world can help us to widen our perspective, open up our mind. When we understand more Dharma, the purpose of travelling changes. When we travel, it’s not just purely for pleasure but with purposes that is beneficial for ourselves or people who are close to us, in a dharmic way. I rejoice for both families that had the opportunities to visit so many holy sites in Nepal and India, with the great blessings of Tsem Rinpoche. Rinpoche always tirelessly shower love and care to His students through different means, with the sole purpose of benefiting them.

  13. So Kin Hoe (KISG) on Dec 2, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    Thank you Pastor David for writing and sharing the travelogue with pictures of the pilgrimage in Nepal and India. Nepal itself is rich with ancient Buddhist temples with many previous high masters left their enlightened energies at the sacred sites for us to receiving blessings and gain merits whenever we make prayers, offer lights, butter lamps, flowers and other types of offering.

    This travelogue is very a useful guideline for those who have not been to Nepal and through the pictures of Buddha Vajra Yogini, Mother Tara, Buddhist temples and stupas, these pictures can plant seeds in our minds and create the cause for us to be there. With the blessings from Rinpoche, we should grab the opportunities to participate and join the pilgrimage trip to Nepal whenever it is organized by our own Kechara team so that we can accumulate merits to sustain and expand our Dharma works, and at the same time encourage others to join the pilgrimage.

    Dharma does not come to us by chance but through our efforts and good motivation to learn and practice the Dharma supported by the merits we accumulate by doing Dharma works, reciting prayers and mantras, making offerings to the 3 Jewels and participating in the pilgrimage.

    Thank you with folded hands,
    kin hoe

  14. Jacinta Goh on Dec 2, 2016 at 11:57 am

    Thanks for sharing this with us Pastor David. Besides providing info on various places, most importantly Pastor has given us some tips on what we have or should have done when we are going to visit those sacred places. The aspirations prayers are very important to seal the deal.

    Thanks Pastor and very happy for the four of you.

  15. Bradley Kassian on Dec 1, 2016 at 11:49 pm

    Thank you for sharing this article and images Pastor David. It must of been wonderful to visit these holy places make prayers, offerings and recitation of mantras at these sites charged with enlightened energies. It must of been a very meritorious trip! I rejoice for you and everyone who went.

  16. Fong on Dec 1, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    Thank you, Pastor David for the clear explanations for each holy sites visited. Such a precious guide for the next pilgrimage to these sites.

    Both your father and Paul’s mother are very blessed to have Rinpoche to guide them and both you and Paul to assist and make this trip happen.

    May they have stable health and long to continue their dharma work.

  17. Joy Kam on Dec 1, 2016 at 3:47 am

    What a beautiful spiritual holiday trip for Pastor David, Uncle Lai, Paul and his lovely mother. If you could bring your parents on a holiday, why not bring them to a spiritual one that actually blesses them and plant seeds of enlightenment for them.

    What a meritorious holiday this certainly was and I rejoice in their wonderful blessed trip. And beautiful pictures too! Thanks Pastor David Lai for your explanation on the significance of each holy spot. It is amazing how you are able to retained all the stories and information Rinpoche has shared throughout the years with you and hence, now able to share it with others. They give the place a lot more meaning and appreciation when we visit it.

    Going to Nepal is really like stepping into a different realm of spiritual sacredness. I wouldn’t mind living there in a retreat, it is such a holy place, filled with sacred mystical energies. One must go to there to experience it, especially if you are a Buddhist and visit all these powerful holy places!

    Once again thank you Pastor David for lovely post.

    • Joy Kam on Dec 1, 2016 at 3:52 am

      Oh and I especially liked the story you relayed on seeing a female temple caretaker who looked a little crazy, who could actually be dakinis. How mysterious and magical, something we would not know if Rinpoche did not tell us. How blessed you are to have such an encounter and to remember Rinpoche’s advice!

      Uncle Lai looks extremely vibrant and happy too. This is a really good trip for him and Paul’s mother also I am sure.

  18. Choong on Dec 1, 2016 at 12:53 am

    Thank you Pastor David Lai for sharing, it is like being there all over again. The energy is much, the sights spiritual and soothing, the sounds hushed and ethereal, the scents penetrating and lingering. Nobody should miss a trip to Nepal to visit these power places.

  19. Paul Yap on Nov 30, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    Im very glad that we have the great opportunity of going pilgrimage trip together with our parents to holy sites in Nepal, and making offerings to many holy Sangha at Serpom Monastery. This indeed a wonderful experience for all of us.

    Im very thankful that my mum has chosen Serpom monastery in conducting a puja for my late father, instead of following the traditional method of burning incense paper incessantly. I can tell that my mum was very happy during her visit in Serpom and especially during the time of puja. Lastly, i would like to thank the kindness of H.E. Tsem Rinpoche for making this trip possible for all of us, thank you for all the encouragement and advised for my mum. She is much older now, and i think this is one of the good way to repay her kindness and hardship for raising up all her kids.

    • paolorossi on Dec 4, 2016 at 9:31 pm

      Great pictures of nepali Vajrayogini holy places.

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  • Lin Mun
    Saturday, Apr 29. 2017 03:09 PM
    Interesting info and article about werewolves. I never knew about its origins and the various wolves existence until I read this. I have thus far know about werewolves only from the movies and the famous twilight show. But one thing I noticed from the articles is the gruesome manner in killing the person (or suspected werewolves). Some were cursed to be a werewolves. There just so much anger, violence and killing in the whole process, which probably the reason why werewolves are known to kill and hurt human and other animals.

    Anyway, whether we believe the existence of werewolf is true or not, I believe that there are other forms of beings in world. And we should not handle or deal with other beings with violence and anger.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/paranormal/werewolves-the-shapeshifters.html#comment-744320
  • Lin Mun
    Friday, Apr 28. 2017 04:00 PM
    Everything we offer to Buddha is a form of mind transformation and practise our mind to be focus even when doing water offering. When pouring the water into the bowl we have to recite Om Ah Hum (3 times), think positively and pouring it slowly so it does not spill and leaving the space of a grain of rice before reaching the top. After offering we also have to clean the bowls properly without leaving stain. All this is to train our mind.

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing the many benefits and water offering in a simple to understand article.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/making-water-offerings-to-the-buddhas.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Friday, Apr 28. 2017 03:38 PM
    Trolls are assiociates as beings of Scandinavian folklore.A large number of different mythological creatures continue to live on in Scandinavian folklore.They have different shapes,habitat and filthy features . There are also numerous tales of trolls told and retold.Trolls are also believed to have the magigal powers, which were folktales ,posses capabilities that are beyond human .What ever it was a remnant of a long-lost reality for sure. I do believe that there’s a very high chance trolls had existed in the past.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing ,i do enjoyed all the stories in these article even though it just folk tales.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/the-hidden-nature-of-trolls.html
  • Jason
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 11:54 PM
    People always expect return on some contribution being done especially in charity events. When the return was under their expectations then they will feel sad or unhappy.
    As Rinpoche said, Dharma is a teachings to transform our mind to become bodicitta or selfless to benefit others without condition. Once we practiced selfless mind, our mind will not be affected by others people reaction.
    What will be my legacy? I think this is not really important to me anymore once I know Dharma teachings from Rinpoche.
    Thanks Datuk May for sharing to benefit more people.

    Jason

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/guest-contributors/what-will-be-your-legacy.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 08:56 PM
    Amazing miracles true story …of how Rinpoche helped. With Rinpoche blessing during the children baptismal ceremony,this little boy who had not spoken since 9 years old was able to speake again.Incredible….
    Chef Au truly believes been a vegetarian has help him to collects merits for his son.Rinpoche’s care and compassion has benefited many more people.Through these stories hope more people will be inspired to achieve the state of compassion and attainments.
    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Loh Seng Piow for this sharing.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/personal-attendant/the-miracles-of-tsem-rinpoche-true-story-4.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 07:51 PM
    Having fully trust and faith in Rinpoche ,Fat monk’s mother was well again, after been diagnosed with cancerious tumour at the liver.
    Following instructions given by Rinpoche, his mother recited mantras and Fat monk did a series of pujas as told,his mother recovered then.
    Amazing……Miracles do happen.
    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Loh Seng Piow for sharing.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/personal-attendant/the-miracles-of-tsem-rinpoche-true-story-3.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 05:27 PM
    We are no strangers to the creatures called Werewolves. They are often depicted as the Jekyll-and-Hyde-like monsters in movies who are unable to control their animal instincts when they shift from human form to a wolf-like creature, usually during the full moon. Together with the Vampires who can transform into bats, are my childhood imagery villains, who triggered my curiosity on mythical creatures during younger days. They still do, lol.

    It is gruesome to learn that real life werewolves are actually brutal even when they are in human forms. It is a far depict from the movies and fictions, where they are civil and level headed when in human form. I hope one day science or technology can provide more proves the existence of werewolves, and debunk the reason of this mystical shapeshifter.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/paranormal/werewolves-the-shapeshifters.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 05:07 PM
    The miraculous power of Protectors’ practice can heal and shield us from negative karma from ripening. Through the blessings of our Guru, coupled with strong faith and trust, the practices will take effect swiftly and effectively. Rejoice to Steven Lee. May he be guided by the Three Jewels always. Thank you, Pastor Seng Piow for sharing the true story with us.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/personal-attendant/the-miracles-of-tsem-rinpoche-true-story-10.html
  • Lin Mun
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 03:57 PM
    This is a very touching article. I totally agree that dog is a man’s best friend. They are always so loyal to the owner. However it is sad that not all pet owners are such. Some will only treat them literally as an animal and therefore do not take good care of them. Dogs or any other animals are beings that have feeling. There should not be neglected and be abused by us. This article reminds us to always care for all beings and respect them.

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this heartwarming article.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/faithful-dog-chases-deceased-owner.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 02:21 PM
    Its a heartfelt touching article of this faithful dog.Cannot imagine this ,such a wonderful relationship between that dog and the deceased owner.The greatest fear dogs know is the fear that we will not come back for them That i noticed from observing from my pet poodle.In this case this faithful dog knew his owner won’t be back.
    Dogs are loyal, patient, fearless, forgiving, capable of pure love and have feelings too.He must have missed the owner badly that he wanted to accompany the owner all the way to the resting place.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing. May that faithful dog ,continue to serve and well taken, love by the other family members.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/faithful-dog-chases-deceased-owner.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 01:46 PM
    Werewolves are known to be mythical creatures found in fiction instead of lurking in the dark woods,In various parts of the world there were few cases who have gone down in history as real life werewolves Interesting to read it from these post..How far it was true or just legends.,no one really know . Many myths and legends surrounding werewolves .To become a werewolf, it is necessary to be bitten by a werewolf in their form at the time of the full moon. Thats what all of us knew from the movies and from fiction told. Reports of werewolf sightings continued even till this century but mostly in between 1428 and 1447 .The most recent sighting of werewolf sightings in 1972. was in Ohio .but eventually subsided .
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these interesting article which i do enjoyed reading it,
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/paranormal/werewolves-the-shapeshifters.html
  • Valentina
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 01:11 PM
    Join our blog chat session this Saturday 11AM – 12PM (GMT +8) on the topic of:

    Twenty-Four Holy Places & Eight Great Charnel Grounds part 2 – (focus topic: Eight Great Charnel Grounds)

    At one time there was a god by the name of Rudra who was originally part of Mahadeva’s retinue. He was a very fierce being who also had many of his own consorts. Together with his consorts he began to oppress sentient beings, and promoted violence and unethical behaviour. At that time, Heruka once again arose, and in a dance of great compassionate wrath, liberated Rudra and his consorts from their physical bodies, sending their minds to pure lands. The places where Rudra’s body parts fell became charnel grounds. …read more by clicking the following link:

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/twenty-four-holy-places-eight-great-charnel-grounds.html
  • Jason
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 03:07 AM
    This year Wesak Day fall on 10 of May. This day is very special and meaningful to me because I will visit Kechara Forest Retreat(KFR) to join some meritorious event there.
    For me, Wesak is a day to commemorate Buddha Sakyamuni in three aspect( Birth , Enlightened, Nirwana).
    While we celebrate Wesak, we must remind ourselves to learn from Buddha teachings and practice it in order to gain attainment.
    Thanks Rinpoche and Pastor Seng Piow for sharing in order to create more understanding on Wesak Day.

    Jason

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/wesak-day-special-on-rtm-2.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Wednesday, Apr 26. 2017 06:10 PM
    OMG! This is very touching. To see a doggie who never left go of his owner in spite of death. Way more powerful than many who proclaimed “till death do us part.” Just like the human, not all doggies are as loyal as this tear-jerking pet, but I truly believe almost all doggies offer unconditional love to the person who feeds and cares for them. Even when they are stray animals. There was a stray dog who will run two streets from the entrance of the “Taman” until the car stops in front of the house, just to greet me. You can imagine the warm and conviction in my heart that these beings are more than capable of loving than many of us, human! Thank you for this lovely sharing. I miss my doggie, Sherab.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/faithful-dog-chases-deceased-owner.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Wednesday, Apr 26. 2017 06:00 PM
    Thank you, Pastor Seng Piow, for this amazing sharing. There is no doubt about the ability of our Guru, His Eminence the 25th Tsem Tulku Rinpoche. His incarnations have been compassionate and taken rebirth to return and spread the dharma so that sentient beings can benefit and learn some dharma in our short life.

    We shall never doubt our Guru; but must see that He is one with our Yidam and Protector, an attained being. Even if our Guru does not demonstrate clairvoyance abilities, we must never contest our Guru, for he holds the key (dharma) that can liberate us from eternal suffering in samsara.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/personal-attendant/the-miracles-of-tsem-rinpoche-true-story-1-2.html

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The Unknown

The Known and unknown are both feared,
Known is being comfortable and stagnant,
The unknown may be growth and opportunities,
One shall never know if one fears the unknown more than the known.
Who says the unknown would be worse than the known?
But then again, the unknown is sometimes worse than the known. In the end nothing is known unless we endeavour,
So go pursue all the way with the unknown,
because all unknown with familiarity becomes the known.
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Holy Lady Buddha Vajra Yogini\'s blessing can be found when we decide to focus out to others instead of in to only ourselves.
~ Tsem Tulku Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
Holy Lady Buddha Vajra Yogini's blessing can be found when we decide to focus out to others instead of in to only ourselves. ~ Tsem Tulku Rinpoche
His Holiness Vajradhara Kyabje Zong Rinpoche of Gaden Monastery who is the refuge of countless, gives a clear explanation of Dorje Shugden. One is able to hear his holy voice and translation by Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen! Please see here and share: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=122352
2 weeks ago
His Holiness Vajradhara Kyabje Zong Rinpoche of Gaden Monastery who is the refuge of countless, gives a clear explanation of Dorje Shugden. One is able to hear his holy voice and translation by Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen! Please see here and share: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=122352
: This picture says it all. Click on it to enlarge and read and please share.
3 weeks ago
: This picture says it all. Click on it to enlarge and read and please share.
This is a simple chart showing the three main psychic channels used in tantric meditations to control the winds, raise tummo (fire energy), gain higher consciousness and insight and also for gaining siddhis. These channels are used in meditations for controlling the mind, when the mind ejects from the body (phowa) and one\'s death. These three channels are very important. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
This is a simple chart showing the three main psychic channels used in tantric meditations to control the winds, raise tummo (fire energy), gain higher consciousness and insight and also for gaining siddhis. These channels are used in meditations for controlling the mind, when the mind ejects from the body (phowa) and one's death. These three channels are very important. Tsem Rinpoche
I think my cute doggie Oser is actually Tintin\'s dog Snowy!
3 weeks ago
I think my cute doggie Oser is actually Tintin's dog Snowy!
Great Masters of Gaden Shartse Monastery. From left to right: His Eminence Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche, His Holiness Sharpa Choeje Jetsun Lobsang Nyima, H.E. Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche, H.E. Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, His Holiness 101st Gaden Tripa throne holder Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal.
3 weeks ago
Great Masters of Gaden Shartse Monastery. From left to right: His Eminence Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche, His Holiness Sharpa Choeje Jetsun Lobsang Nyima, H.E. Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche, H.E. Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, His Holiness 101st Gaden Tripa throne holder Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal.
 Left to right: Dharma boy, Mumu boy and Oser girl. The three of them are my beautiful and loved Schnauzer dogs. They loved looking through the window to see traffic, people and movement. They loved the smells that drifted through their little noses. I love seeing the three of them together like this. I love them. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Left to right: Dharma boy, Mumu boy and Oser girl. The three of them are my beautiful and loved Schnauzer dogs. They loved looking through the window to see traffic, people and movement. They loved the smells that drifted through their little noses. I love seeing the three of them together like this. I love them. Tsem Rinpoche
Little Mumu boy...he loved balloons. When he saw them, he wanted to get close and perhaps bite them. Cute. I love this picture of Mumu reaching for the balloons. He was young and healthy! This picture captures his energy, enthusiasm, curiosity and high energy. I love this picture of him chasing the balloons. His pictures are always so nice....He was not a pet but family to me. I love him tremendously and always will. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Little Mumu boy...he loved balloons. When he saw them, he wanted to get close and perhaps bite them. Cute. I love this picture of Mumu reaching for the balloons. He was young and healthy! This picture captures his energy, enthusiasm, curiosity and high energy. I love this picture of him chasing the balloons. His pictures are always so nice....He was not a pet but family to me. I love him tremendously and always will. Tsem Rinpoche
Little Mumu boy and myself.. He was not a pet but family to me. I love him tremendously and always will. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Little Mumu boy and myself.. He was not a pet but family to me. I love him tremendously and always will. Tsem Rinpoche
2017-His Holiness the 101st Gaden Tripa, Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal is doing well and 90 years old. His Holiness Lungrik Namgyal is a powerful master of sutra and tantra and practitioner of Dorje Shugden. Currently residing in France.
3 weeks ago
2017-His Holiness the 101st Gaden Tripa, Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal is doing well and 90 years old. His Holiness Lungrik Namgyal is a powerful master of sutra and tantra and practitioner of Dorje Shugden. Currently residing in France.
One of the most sacred statues of Avalokitesvara made of sandalwood housed in Lhasa, Tibet. He has shown miracles also. Every pilgrim wishes to make offerings to this Lord of Compassion.
3 weeks ago
One of the most sacred statues of Avalokitesvara made of sandalwood housed in Lhasa, Tibet. He has shown miracles also. Every pilgrim wishes to make offerings to this Lord of Compassion.
 Sacred Avalokitesvara statue in Nepal. Thousands come to worship this special Buddha as it has conferred wishes in the past.
3 weeks ago
Sacred Avalokitesvara statue in Nepal. Thousands come to worship this special Buddha as it has conferred wishes in the past.
Tsem Rinpoche\'s Vajra Yogini statue and offerings
3 weeks ago
Tsem Rinpoche's Vajra Yogini statue and offerings
Two of my teachers from Gaden Shartse Monastery in South India. Left side is Most Venerable Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen whom I lived with for 8 years in Los Angeles where his centre Thubten Dhargye Ling is located. On the right is the abbot emeritus H.E. Kyabje Lati Rinpoche the scholar and yogi. I was very fortunate to have them in my life and learn so much dharma from them. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Two of my teachers from Gaden Shartse Monastery in South India. Left side is Most Venerable Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen whom I lived with for 8 years in Los Angeles where his centre Thubten Dhargye Ling is located. On the right is the abbot emeritus H.E. Kyabje Lati Rinpoche the scholar and yogi. I was very fortunate to have them in my life and learn so much dharma from them. Tsem Rinpoche
 It is so wonderful to be kind to people, be caring, feed them, make sure they are healthy and share dharma if they are interested with them for their future. But simply to be nice to others is worth getting up and being alive...otherwise why be alive to hurt/use/distrust and hate others? No point living that way..must change that..... It is nice to live our lives to benefit others and be patient even if we have been hurt before because by caring we can heal the hurt and \'defeat\' the ones that hurt us because we don\'t become bitter..... Tsem Rinpoche
4 weeks ago
It is so wonderful to be kind to people, be caring, feed them, make sure they are healthy and share dharma if they are interested with them for their future. But simply to be nice to others is worth getting up and being alive...otherwise why be alive to hurt/use/distrust and hate others? No point living that way..must change that..... It is nice to live our lives to benefit others and be patient even if we have been hurt before because by caring we can heal the hurt and 'defeat' the ones that hurt us because we don't become bitter..... Tsem Rinpoche
Tsem Rinpoche\'s heritage in China. Must read: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=120499
4 weeks ago
Tsem Rinpoche's heritage in China. Must read: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=120499
Thank you Buddhist Pastor Chia for sharing your story on how you met His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche over 20 years ago. We can learn much from your story.~Admin  Please read: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=116928
4 weeks ago
Thank you Buddhist Pastor Chia for sharing your story on how you met His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche over 20 years ago. We can learn much from your story.~Admin Please read: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=116928
Mumu boy is incredibly photogenic. He is beyond cute. Tsem Rinpoche
4 weeks ago
Mumu boy is incredibly photogenic. He is beyond cute. Tsem Rinpoche
 (left to right) Rabten Tulku, Gonsar Rinpoche, Gyume Kensur Rinpoche, Trijang Rinpoche, H.H. Gaden Trisur Rinpoche (France)
4 weeks ago
(left to right) Rabten Tulku, Gonsar Rinpoche, Gyume Kensur Rinpoche, Trijang Rinpoche, H.H. Gaden Trisur Rinpoche (France)
Beautiful 200 roses arrived today for me as a gift from Su Ming. Very kind and thoughtful of her as usual. Tsem Rinpoche
4 weeks ago
Beautiful 200 roses arrived today for me as a gift from Su Ming. Very kind and thoughtful of her as usual. Tsem Rinpoche
It\'s good to be with kind and sincere people.
4 weeks ago
It's good to be with kind and sincere people.
If we are kind, we lose less of ourselves-Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
If we are kind, we lose less of ourselves-Tsem Rinpoche
My Mumu boy didn\'t want to eat. Eating is not one of his favorite activities throughout his life. So I talked to him to let him know why he needs to eat and keep his strength up when this photo was taken. He was listening intently and after my talk with him, he ate. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
My Mumu boy didn't want to eat. Eating is not one of his favorite activities throughout his life. So I talked to him to let him know why he needs to eat and keep his strength up when this photo was taken. He was listening intently and after my talk with him, he ate. Tsem Rinpoche
This is so true. Click to enlarge and understand more about unpleasant people.
1 month ago
This is so true. Click to enlarge and understand more about unpleasant people.
This mahasiddha Kukkuripa is easy to identify as he is accompanied by a small dog whom he loved very much.
1 month ago
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
1 month ago
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
1 month ago
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
1 month ago
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 month 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 month 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 month 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 month 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 month 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 month 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 month ago
The Japanese are very innovative. Tsem Rinpoche
Read this as it will be interesting
1 month ago
Read this as it will be interesting
Recite this before any meal or drinks for blessings of abundance. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month 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 month ago
This sacred statue of Buddha is in Nepal brought originally from Tibet and has spoken on many occasions. Very blessed to see this holy image and keep a picture...bless you always. Tsem Rinpoche
I love Mumu boy tremendously. We went through so much together for so many years. You are a great being to be with. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
I love Mumu boy tremendously. We went through so much together for so many years. You are a great being to be with. Tsem Rinpoche
Dear everyone, I am sharing this beautiful and modern altar to Dorje Shugden in Malaysia. I am glad to see more and more people creating sacred spaces. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
Dear everyone, I am sharing this beautiful and modern altar to Dorje Shugden in Malaysia. I am glad to see more and more people creating sacred spaces. Tsem Rinpoche
Lhamo Karmo, a female buddha form visualized above the crown of one\'s head at the time of death, to encourage consciousness to leave the body via the crown aperture. From my book \"The Female Buddhas.\"- Glenn Mullin
2 months ago
Lhamo Karmo, a female buddha form visualized above the crown of one's head at the time of death, to encourage consciousness to leave the body via the crown aperture. From my book "The Female Buddhas."- Glenn Mullin
The Tibetan female tulku Dorje Pakmo, from a fresco on the wall of the Dorje Pakmo monastery (Samding) in Tibet, near the Turquoise Lake. In Tibet the Dorje Pakmo was ranked with the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama and Sakya Trizin as the four highest lamas in the country.-from Glenn Mullin
2 months 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
2 months 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!
2 months 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
3 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
3 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
3 months ago
This is a good one to read
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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.

  • April 20, 2017 10:45
    Ronnie asked: Dear Rinpoche and Pastors, I'm studying abroad and very far away from home, seeking guidance and advice as I have no one else I can talk to about this. Please read with an open mind, I don't know where else to go for help. I'm pregnant and it's an unplanned pregnancy. I'm stuck between keeping it or letting it go. I'm young and having a child at my age in the society we live in now would be considered taboo. The father of the child thinks I should let it go because it may cause a setback to both our careers and cause major family issues. He thinks we aren't ready to raise a child especially since we're both still in university and his parents think badly of me even though they've never met me or tried to get to know me. I'm sure no one would ever have the heart to take away a heartbeat but it seems like it isn't the right time to have a child now and if we did go through with it, the child probably won't be able to have the best things life can offer looking at where we are now in terms of finance and maturity. I'm lost, confused and unsure what the right thing to do is now. Any advice at all would be helpful right now. Thank you so very much for taking time to read my story.
    pastor answered: Dear Ronnie, I’m sorry to read that you are going through this situation. I can understand that this situation is tough to go through. You are always more than welcome to come here to ask questions. May I suggest that you talk to either someone in your family or your friends to help you come to an appropriate solution? This is because, what you feel, what you are going through, will change from time to time and you would need someone to talk to, someone that you can lean on through this situation you are facing. Depending on where you are in the world, professional help can also be sought to help you make a decision, which will be the best option for you seeking help. From a Buddhist perspective, the taking of a life is not considered a positive act, therefore those on the Buddhist path, would normally abstain taking a life if possible. However, that being said, one must always weigh the decision oneself. Everything we do in life, necessarily involves karma both positive and negative. That is why Buddhists try to overcome samsara in general. Your situation is complicated because you are abroad, but if possible you should really open up to someone you are close to in order to help you through making this decision on a personal basis. When you talk to someone, whom you are able to express yourself more, you may able to come to better decision that is right for you. There may be other options open to you if you seek help. I personally know women who have been in similar situations. One of these women, let the child go and the other went through the pregnancy and then gave the child up for adoption. You may or may not have thought of this option, but it is one that could be open to you, depending on where in the world you are. Any decision we make in life, however big or small it may seem, has far reaching consequences whether in this life, or in future lives. This is just a part and parcel of life within samsara. However, we should weigh the decisions we make clearly given the situation we are in. We cannot always do this weighing ourselves, but need to talk about our options with others we can rely on such a friends, family or professionals. You should consider doing this, which will help you greatly emotionally, and may give you the grounding you need to make the correct decision for you. I hope this helps.
  • April 19, 2017 04:57
    Dongho asked: What is a nyung ne practice? According to Lama Zopa Rinpoche, it's a purification sadhana. However, what are the instructions for this? I'm guessing it's to Chenrezig, but how does it work? Also, from what I have read, Vajrasattva practice is only for broken vows while Akshobhya is for regular misdeeds. Does that mean one has to take the Akshobhya practice to purify bad karma from this life and previous instead of Vajrasattva? As for the purification practices, are some like Vajrasattva and Chenrezig only to purify the bad karma and let it come quickly or is it to prevent it from coming? I am confused in it. As for signs, I recited a mantra of White Yangchenma that a Sakya lama, Lama Kunga Thartse Rinpoche, gave me with the Sakya visualizations I read on, and after one mala, I heard some lady call my Korean name even though no one in my neighborhood knows of my name and my family members weren't in the area. What does this mean?
    pastor answered: Dear Dongho, Thank you for your questions, it’s nice to see you back here again. Nyung Ne practice is a purification practice that centres around Chenrezig. It is a very beneficial practice that stems from a holy nun named Gelong-ma Palmo. It is a two and a half day practice that can be repeated many times over and over again to intensify the purification and build a closer relationship with Chenrezig. As well as its purification aspect, the practice is known to generate vast amount of merit, and also compassion, as the practice centres around Chenrezig, the Buddha of compassion. The practice involves taking the eight Mahayana precepts for the duration, fasting, meditating, prostrating and praying. The practice usually entails empowerment into the practice of Chenrezig, therefore the exact meditations, prayers can only be explained to those who have the empowerment. Vajrasattva practice is not necessarily only for repairing broken vows, etc. That’s why it is advised that you engage in the practice at the end of the day, to repair any vows that you may have broken during that day, as well as stopping any negative karma you created that day from multiplying. This would entail reciting the mantra 21 times, together with the four opponent powers. However, if you engage in this practice more intensely, it definitely has the capability to purify all sorts of karma. That is the reason why in Ngondro, or preliminary practices one engages in before tantra, the practice of 100,000 Vajrasattva mantra recitation is an integral part. You can read more about Vajrasattva and his practice here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/prayers-and-sadhanas/an-important-purification-practice.html. Within purification practices, some of the karma will be purified completely, so you do not feel its effects at all, but when purifying other karma you will need to feel its effects somehow. For example if you have the karma to be in a car accident and get seriously injured, and you are engaging in any practice, but especially the purification practice, since you have purified most of the karma, you will only experience being in a very minor car accident, with only very superficial injuries. Therefore, in this case, the karma has been purified to the extent that it does not affect you as much, but you still need to feel part of its effect. In regards to any signs that you receive which engaging in the practices given to you by one of your specific gurus, you should report the happenings to that particular guru. He will be able to give you more of an accurate answer, as it may be related to the particular practice that he gave to you. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • April 17, 2017 07:06
    Thomas asked: Dear Pastors, When a serkyem set has been used so much and one is ready to get rid of it and replace it with a new one. What is a respecful mode of disposal?
    pastor answered: Dear Thomas, Thank you for your question. Your question shows that you have a lot of respect for offering items, which is very good. If possible, you should try to repair the item if within your means, and doing so make embellishments to make it a better offering item, which can still be used. If this is not possible, then you should dispose of the item with a good motivation. You should think that this item has been used to make offerings to the enlightened beings, but now that it is broken or unusable, you are going to dispose of it, and replace it with a new one. Since it itself is not a receptacle of energies of the enlightened beings, such as a statue, tsa tsa or thangka, it does not require a special dissolution before being disposed of. However since it was used to make offerings, it still requires some form of respect when disposing, and this comes from one’s motivation and the way in which you dispose of it. Usually, when disposing of items in this way, make the motivation that you have used it and that it is now time to dispose of it, and replace it with a new one. When you do this you can dispose of it in a respectful manner. For example, if you are going to throw it away, you do not simply open the trash can and throw it in. You wrap it up in something, like a bag or newspaper and dispose of it respectfully. Another method you can dispose of it is to recycle the object, if the material it is made from can be recycled. That way you are more conscious of the environment as well. I hope this explanation helps. Thank you.
  • April 16, 2017 22:38
    Curious asked: Dear pastors In a recent youtube video something like paying respect to deceased ones, pastor Nirel Patel explained that merits are like the interest and good karma is like the principal sum. So merits always regenerate themselves and hence do not get used up but good karma is like the principal sum so it gets used up. So my question is what are practices that generate merit? And can we turn a mundane daily activity into a meritorious one? Maybe can you provide an example?
    pastor answered: Dear Curious, Thank you for your question. First, to clarify a point, in regards to good karma, you are right, it is like a principal sum in a bank account, but you take away from it when you experience something good in your life, and you add to it when you do good deeds. Merit on the other hand, once accrued never diminishes, therefore when something is based on merit, it is based on the energies of this never diminishing sum, which you could say is like interest. In short, the principal sum when talking about karma is always added to and subtracted from. However, when talking about merit, once you have it, there is no way to destroy it, you will always benefit from it. There are various ways to explain how to generate merit. I will explain a way that I find easiest to understand. In normal life, when we go about performing any sort of activity, be it ‘good’ or ‘bad’ we do so out of ignorance of the true nature of existence, and it is usually self-motivated. For example, we work our entire lives to generate monetary income, so that we have enough money, resources, and materials goods to be comfortable. This is self-motivated, but it is the accepted way the world works these days, and is part and parcel of being bound to samsaric life. On the other hand, the act of merit making can be categorised into three parts: i) motivation, ii) the act itself, and iii) dedication. Let’s start with motivation, when engaging in various virtuous acts, we should have the motivation that by engaging in the act, we have the motivation to alleviate the suffering of someone else, and that may we gain enlightenment so that we can benefit them in the future. The second is the act itself. The third is to dedicate the energy of the virtuous act to gaining enlightenment. These three are what make merit. This may be a little confusing, so let me give an example: giving help to a homeless person. Whereas in ordinary life, this is something praised as a very good deed, it does not create merit without motivation and dedication. In order for this to become merit, one must set the motivation that one is giving help to the homeless free of the eight worldly concerns, to alleviate their suffering and also making the motivation that you will achieve enlightenment for the sake of the person or people you are helping. Then after you have helped them, you dedicate the energy created to the spiritual journey towards full enlightenment to help all sentient beings, while at the same time benefiting as many sentient beings as possible on the way there. This transforms the act into not only a virtuous action but also one that generates merit. On the other hand, if you were to help the homeless without these, you are creating good karma, which although beneficial, keeps you bound to existence within samsara. As it is the goal of Buddhist practice to overcome the cycle of samsara, a Buddhist would want to generate merit instead of good karma. I hope this explanation helps. Thank you.
  • April 13, 2017 11:38
    D.A. asked: If Begtse Chan is not from Mongolia, what are his real origins or story exactly? And which lamas offer his empowerment? As for Manjushri Nagarakshasa, which lamas specifically offer his empowerment and practice?
    pastor answered: Dear D.A. Thank you for your question. Begtse, is also known as Chamsing, or Jamsaran in Mongolian. As mentioned in an earlier sharing with someone who also asked a question about Begtse, the practiced was introduced to Tibet from India by the translator Nyen Lotsawa, and is considered one of the main protectors of the Hayagriva cycle of tantras. According to the scriptures that derive from the Sakya tradition, who incorporated the practice from the translators, and in which tradition Begtse became a very important protector, Begtse in a previous life was born many eons ago. In that particular life, he was born as the younger prince in a royal family. His name was Drag Gye, and his older brother’s name was Drag Den. Over time both princes developed differing religious beliefs, to the point where they could not get along with each as they both held their own religious views strongly. As was the custom during that time, they decided to settle their differences through logical debate, with the loser having to convert to the winner’s religion. This custom was also prevalent in ancient India, and there are many stories of such debates occurring between the great masters of the past and those of other faiths. Drag Gye lost the various debates, but ran away instead of converting to his older brother’s religion. Drag Den caught him, and tried to punish him for breaking the rules of debate and going back on his promise. Drag Gye told his brother that even if he was killed he would not give up his religion, however if Drag Den let him go, that in the future when Drag Den became enlightened, he would protect his teachings. With that Drag Den let him go, and gave him a set of copper armour, a stick, and a bow and arrow. Drag Den also gave Drag Gye a new name: Sog Dag Yam Shi Mar Po. After this incident the two brothers never saw each other again in that lifetime. Many lives after that Drag Den was reborn as Prince Siddharta, who eventually became enlightened and is now known as Buddha Shakyamuni. Drag Gye, or Sog Dag Yam Shi Mar Po, was reborn in a cemetery in the North West direction. His parents gave birth to two eggs, one was a coral-like colour and the other was an agate-like colour. These two eggs flew high into the sky and reached the heavenly realms, there they subdued the gods. Then flying back down to earth, they subdued many nagas. Eventually they even came to threaten their own parents. The parents petitioned the Dharma protector Ekajati for her help, who threw her own staff (khatvanga) at the eggs, and broke them apart. From the coral-like coloured egg came a ferocious man with yellow hair, he proclaimed that his name was ‘Sog Dag Yam Shi Mar Po’. When he emerged he was wearing a set of copper armour, wielding a stick, copper sword, and a bow and arrow. From the agate-like coloured egg came a female who was blue in colour, her teeth were like shells, she had turquoise eyebrows, and her hair was made of fire. She emerged wielding a copper knife, ritual dagger (phurba), rode a terrifying bear and wore an intricate necklace made of agate and lapis lazuli. It was then that Ekajati once again took action, and subdued them, after which they became Dharma protectors. The male figure became known as Begtse, and the female as his sister. When you propitiate Begtse, his sister is automatically included and aids practitioners as well. As for which lama offer his practice and empowerment, most lamas do not advertise which teachings or practice they hold. Therefore you should respectfully approach lamas and ask them if they have the practice and can bestow it, or if they know of any lamas that have the practice, depending on how much you want to practice Begtse. Similarly, this applies to those lamas who have the practice of Manjushri Nagarakshasa. However, this practice is included in the Rinjung Gyatsa series of empowerments. This unique cycle of teachings, includes all 4 classes of tantric practices, and includes the practice of Manjushri Nagarakshasa. Therefore those lamas who have received the complete transmission, and have kept their commitments for this practice, are qualified to pass this on to others. I hope this explanation helps. Thank you.
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