The Buddhist Kingdoms of Indonesia

By | May 31, 2016 | Views: 2,592
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Wesak celebration at the Borobudur Temple complex, Central Java.

Dear readers,

I am very excited to share with you the history of Buddhist kingdoms in my beloved country, Indonesia. Although today Indonesia is famous for having the highest rate of Muslim population in the world, I would like to take you back to a time when Buddhism played a dominant role in this region. During this period,  most of the Buddhist Kings and Queens ruled with wisdom in accordance with the teachings of Lord Buddha. Buddhist kingdoms in Indonesia also produced some of the most impressive archeological sites such as Candi Borobudur (the Borobudur Temple) and Candi Sewu (the Sewu Temple). I hope this article will provide a depiction of the era when Buddhism thrived in Indonesia. Enjoy!

Sincerely,
Valencia

 


 

Buddhist teachings arrived in the country known today as Indonesia in the 2nd Century CE. Buddhism is the second oldest religion after Hinduism in this region. For the most part, Hinduism and Buddhism co-existed peacefully in Indonesia. Before their arrival, the people in this region believed in animism, the belief in the supernatural power of Mother Nature. They regarded trees and stones as sacred objects and used these for worship to connect with their higher power.

The Buddhist influence was first introduced by the traders and missionaries from Eastern India who travelled to this region via the ancient maritime Silk Road or Silk Route, a route that spanned from China to the Mediteranian Sea and was central to trading and cultural interaction. Over the centuries, for 2,000 years, the traders and missionaries who travelled along the Silk Road played a strategic role in the dissemination of religious beliefs across Eurasia. The traders often built shrines and temples of their own faith during their travels in order to worship their own gods.

Silk Road Map

Map showing the spread of Buddhism across Asia. Click on image to enlarge.

Since its arrival, Buddhism had gathered a vast following in the area that would become known as Indonesia due to its universal message. Buddhism stems from the belief that earthly life is impermanent and full of suffering, but the painful cycle of birth, death and rebirth can end when one reaches enlightenment through the practice of the Buddha’s teachings.

In this article, I would like to provide information about the three main Buddhist kingdoms that existed in Indonesia: Kalingga, Medang and Srivijaya.

 

The Kalingga Kingdom

The Kalingga Kingdom existed between the 6th and 7th centuries and was located on the north coast of Central Java, Indonesia. It was the first Hindu-Buddhist kingdom in Central Java, and one of the oldest kingdoms in Indonesian history alongside the smaller Hindu kingdoms of Kutai and Tarumanagara. The precise location of the Kalingga Kingdom is still debated to this day, but it is generally believed to be somewhere between the present day Pekalongan and Jepara.

Possible location of The Kalingga Kingdom

The possible location of The Kalingga Kingdom. Click on image to enlarge.

The Kalingga Kingdom was described as being surrounded by wooden fortresses, with the King residing in a multiple storied palace covered with a roof made of the leaves of Arengga Pinata trees, or commonly known as sugar palm trees. The kingdom produced commodities such as silver and gold as well as elephant tusks.

Most of the information on this Buddhist establishment can be obtained through a combination of Chinese sources, in which the Kingdom is referred to by the name Ho-Ling, local Indonesian folk tales and written inscriptions such as the Tukmas and Sojomerto. One of the sources of information was a Buddhist monk named Huining who arrived in the Kalingga Kingdom in 664 CE and stayed there for approximately three years. His mission was to reach out and spread Buddhist teachings to the native people. It was during his stay in that region that he translated numerous Buddhist Hinayana scriptures with the help of a Kalingga monk named Jnanabhadra.

The remains of the Kalingga Kingdom

The remains of the Kalingga Kingdom

According to local folktales and the Carita Pahrayangan – manuscript written in the 16th century, the kingdom was ruled by Queen Shima in 674 CE. She was famous for legalizing a law against thievery and her passion for truth and justice. Severe physical punishments were given to those who stole. Due to her firm rule, the people of Kalingga were well-known for their honesty. A story is told of a foreign King who tried to test the people’s honesty by placing a bag filled with gold at an intersection in Kalingga. None of the residents dared touch the bag because they were afraid of the consequences that would follow. The bag was left untouched for three years until Queen Shima’s son, the Crown Prince, accidentally touched the bag with his foot. When the news reached, Queen Shima, she issued a death sentence for her son, but the punishment was later lessened to cutting off the prince’s foot after hearing the appeals from her ministers who pleaded for the Prince’s life.

The present day painting to describe Queen Shima’s ruling with truth and justice

A present day painting depicting Queen Shima ruling with truth and justice.

According to the Carita Parahyangan, Queen Shima was the great grandmother of Sanjaya, the king of the Sunda and Galuh Kingdoms, and the founder of the Medang Kingdom.

There were at least two temples built during the time of Kalingga Kingdom: Candi Angin (the Wind Temple) and Candi Bubrah (the Bubrah Temple). Both temples were located in Tempur Village, the present day Jepara. Candi Angin’s name originated from its resilience against the wind’s pressure although it was located in high altitude.

Candi Angin – The remains of the Wind Temple

The remains of the Wind Temple

Candi Bubrah – The remains of the Bubrah Temple

The remains of the Bubrah Temple

Sojomerto Inscription

The Sojomerto Inscription. Click on image to enlarge.

The Kalingga kingdom is also known to have produced at least two written inscriptions called the Tukmas and the Sojomerto. The Tukmas Inscription was discovered at the western slope of Mount Merapi in the present day Magelang Regency, Central Java, and it is written in the Pallava script of the Sanskrit language. The inscription describes sacred clear spring water that is said to be as purifying as the holy Ganges River in India. The inscription also contains Hindu signs and imagery.

The Sojomerto Inscription was discovered in Sojomerto village, located in present day Batang Regency, Central Java. It is written in the old Malay language of the 7th century. This inscription tells the story of a ruler named Dapunta Selendra, the son of Santanu and Bhadrawati, and the husband of Sampula. Dapunta Selendra is believed to be the ancestor of the Sailendra Dynasty, which would later rule as one of the most prominent Buddhist kingdoms in Indonesia, known as the Medang Kingdom.

 

The Medang Kingdom

The Medang or Mataram Kingdom was a Javanese Hindu-Buddhist kingdom. It was located in Central Java and then later moved to East Java. The kingdom was united by King Sanjaya, a Shivaist who came into power in 717 CE. He conquered the area around his kingdom and his reign was characterized with prosperity and peace. King Sanjaya’s name was first revealed in the Canggal Inscription, which dates back to 732 CE.

The location of the Medang Kingdom

The location of the Medang Kingdom. Click on image to enlarge.

The kingdom reached its pinnacle of power between the 8th and 10th centuries under the ruling of the Sailendra dynasty. The people of the Medang Kingdom relied heavily on rice farming and maritime trading. According to archeological findings and other sources, the people of the Medang Kingdom were prosperous, sophisticated and civilized. The sophisticated civilization can be proven by various temple constructions. The Sailendra Dynasty were known to be enthusiastic temple builders. The most distinguished of these temples are the Sewu, Borobudur and Prambanan Temples.

Although initially the religion of the Medang Kingdom was predominantly Hinduism, they became a Buddhist kingdom when King Sanjaya’s successor, the Mahayana Buddhist King Panangkaran ascended the throne in 760 CE. The shift was said to have caused a split of loyalty within the kingdom between the Hindu-Shivaists and the Buddhist followers.

King Panangkaran ruled the kingdom from 760 CE to 775 CE. He was an ambitious builder who was dedicated to Buddhism. During his reign, he started at least five temple construction projects. According to the Kalasan Inscription (dated 778 CE), the Kalasan Temple was built under the guidance of Guru Sang Raja Sailendravamcatilaka, the spiritual guide of the Sailendra family. The spiritual guide also persuaded King Panangkaran to construct a holy building for the Goddess Tara (Boddhisattvadevi) and build a vihara (monastery) for Buddhist monks of the Sailendra’s territory. King Panangkaran offered Kalaca Village to the Buddhist Sangha in his kingdom.

Candi Kalasan - the Kalasan Temple

Candi Kalasan – the Kalasan Temple

King Panangkaran also constructed Abhayagiri Vihara. The Vihara was initially built strictly for worship, but the presence of gates, ramparts, fortified walls, dry moats, walled enclosures, terraces and building bases suggested that the place may have been used as a fortress or a palace instead.

King Panangkaran was considered the pioneer in constructing the grand Manjusrigrha Temple (The House of Manjushri – the Bodhisattva of Wisdom), the original name of the Sewu Temple complex as suggested in the Manjusrigrha Inscription dated 792 CE. However, King Panangkaran did not have the opportunity to see the completion of this grand project because he passed away in 780 CE, long before the temple complex was completed in 792 CE.

After King Panangkaran’s passing, the Medang Kingdom was ruled by King Dharanindra or King Indra of the Sailendra Dynasty who was ruled from 780 CE to 800 CE. King Indra was hailed as a great conqueror who embarked on foreign military naval expeditions and had won control over Ligor in the Malay Peninsula.

King Indra shared the same enthusiasm as his predecessors in temple construction. He continued the construction of the Manjusrigha Temple (Sewu Temple complex). Today, Sewu Temple complex is the second largest Buddhist complex in Indonesia after the Borobudur Temple. It consists of 249 temples built by the end of the 8th century. The Sewu Temple complex became the most magnificent temple complex of the period and was used as the official state temple to conduct important religious ceremonies. In addition, King Indra also started the construction of the Borobudur Temple, the Mendut Temple and the Pawon Temple. His great influence made him the Maharaja of Medang (the great king of Medang).

Candi Sewu – Sewu Temple Complex

The Sewu Temple Complex

Candi Pawon – the Pawon Temple

The Pawon Temple

Following King Indra’s death, the Medang Kingdom’s throne was passed to King Samaragrawira, who ruled from 800 CE to 819 CE. Unlike his predecessor who travelled to conquer the neighboring kingdoms, King Samaragrawira was deeply inspired by the peaceful Mahayana Buddhist teachings and preferred to focus his attention within the existing area of his kingdom and to continue the construction of the Borobudur Temple. King Samaragrawira was married to Dewi Tara, the daughter of Dharmasetu, an 8th-century king of the Srivijaya Kingdom. This marriage created a political alliance between the Sailendra Dynasty of the Medang Kingdom and the Srivijaya Kingdom.

King Samaragrawira was succeeded by his son, King Samaratungga, who ruled from 792 to 835 CE. Following his father’s example, he chose to focus his effort within his dominion and dedicate his life to the prosperity of his subjects. He was famous for completing the massive stone mandala, the Borobudur Temple, during his reign in 825 CE.

Today, the Borobudur temple is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World and a registered UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Borobudur Temple complex and mountain-like structure resembles a mandala layout, which consists of six square platforms. On the top, there are three circular terraces and 72 perforated stupas. Each stupa contains a statue of a seated Buddha inside the dome at the center. The design of the Borobudur Temple is thought to have followed the life journey of Bodhisattvas. On each level, the walls and balustrades are extensively decorated with 2,672 relief panels. Over 500 Buddha statues are found in the Borobudur Temple complex. In 1814, Sir Thomas Raffles, the British ruler of Java Island, discovered the site after being abandoned in the 14th century following the decline of Buddhism in Indonesia. Today, the Borobudur Temple complex is still visited by many pilgrims and used for the annual Wesak festival to celebrate Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death.

The Borobudur Temple

The Borobudur Temple

A closer look of The Borobudur Temple

A closer look of the Borobudur Temple

King Samaratungga was succeeded by Princess Pramodhawardhani, a Buddhist Mahayana princess who was married to the Hindu-Shivaist Rakai Pikatan, the son of a landlord in Central Java. Rakai Pikatan was enthroned as the King of the Medang Kingdom. During the reign of King Rakai Pikatan, Hinduism and Buddhism co-existed peacefully most of the time, and the construction of the Sewu Temple complex was finalized. Later, King Rakai Pikatan decided to abdicate his throne in favor of his youngest son, Dyah Lokapala who rule from 856 to 880s CE. Rakai Pikatan renounced worldly affairs and became a hermit known as Sang Prabhu Jatiningrat. The reign of King Rakai Pikatan also marked the decline of Mahayana Buddhist influence in the Medang Kingdom as it was slowly converted to Hindu-Shivaist.

King Lokapala constructed the Sojiwan Temple which is a 9th century Mahayana Buddhist temple located in Kebon Dalem Kidul Village in present day Klaten Regency, Central Java. He dedicated the Sojiwan Temple to his Mahayana Buddhist mother, Queen Pramodhawardhani. The temple was built between 842 CE and 850 CE. In 1813, the ruins of this temple were discovered by Colonel Mackenzie, a subordinate of Sir Stamford Raffles. It was not until 1996 the Indonesian government decided to reconstruct the temple. However, in 2006 the reconstruction project faced a challenge when an earthquake destroyed most of the efforts. Despite all the challenges, the temple reconstruction was eventually finalized in 2011. It took them 15 years and approximately IDR 8.27 billion (equivalent to USD 620 thousand) to complete the reconstruction process.

The Sojiwan Temple

The Sojiwan Temple

 

The Srivijaya Kingdom

The Srivijaya Kingdom was a Buddhist kingdom that existed on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia from 650 CE to 1377 CE. It was regarded as an important center for the expansion of Buddhism from the 8th to 12th century. Its existence was relatively unknown and the information gathered in bits and pieces from a number of stone inscriptions written in the old Malay language, such as Kedukan Bukit, Talang Tuwo, Telaga Batu and Kota Kapur Inscriptions.

Srivijaya Empire Map

Srivijaya Empire Map

According to the existing inscriptions, the city of Palembang, Sumatra was probably the center of the Srivijaya Kingdom. This evidence consists of a rectangular enclosure encircled by a moat, forming a fort known as the Bamboo Fort. The inscriptions tell a story of a war chief named Dapunta Hyang, who waged war against his rivals and won. He managed to gather the support from the neighboring cities along the Musi River that led to the formation of the Srivijaya Kingdom. He was the founder and the first king of the Srivijaya Kingdom. The Srivijaya Kingdom and its kings were influential factors in the spreading of Buddhism as they established and spread the religion in the places they conquered like Java, Malaya and so forth.

Portrayal of King Dapunta Hyang, the founder of Srivijaya Kingdom.

Portrayal of King Dapunta Hyang, the founder of Srivijaya Kingdom.

The Srivijaya Kingdom enjoyed prosperity due to its strategic location for maritime trading which provided a link between China, south-east Asia and India. In addition, its close proximity to the estuary of the Musi River had made the soil in the area fertile and ideal for farming. The Chinese often referred to the Srivijaya Kingdom as Jinzhou, or the “Gold Coast” because of the great reserves of gold found in the kingdom.

The Srivijaya Kingdom was also famous for being the center for the practice of Vajrayana Buddhism (the Tantric school of Mahayana Buddhism). According to the Talang Tuwo Inscription (684 CE), the king was a religious ruler who associated himself with the power of a Bodhisattva. Unlike the Medang Kingdom, Srivijaya did not leave much Buddhist archaeological remains, but it had become the Buddhist learning center for the scholars and monks, especially in the city of Palembang.

Evidence of its existence can be traced from the 7th century. A Tang dynasty Chinese monk, I-Tsing wrote that he visited the Srivijaya Kingdom in 671 CE for six months to learn Sanskrit grammar and the Malay language before continuing his journey to study Buddhism at the renowned Buddhist university of Nalanda, in Bihar, India. Upon finishing his 11 years’ worth of learning at the university, he returned to the Srivijaya Kingdom on his way back to China. He stayed in Palembang for two years to translate various original Sanskrit Buddhist scriptures into Chinese. He returned to Guangzhou, China, in 689 CE in order to get some paper and ink because he could not find them in Srivijaya. He returned to Srivijaya in the same year. In 695 CE, he returned to China and brought back approximately 400 translated texts of Buddhist teachings with him. He also wrote two travel diaries entitled Accounts of Buddhism sent from the South Seas and Buddhist Monk’s Pilgrimage of the Tang Dynasty to sum up his 25-year long adventure in the Srivijaya Kingdom and India.

“… Many kings and chieftains in the islands of the Southern Ocean admire and believe in [Buddhism], and their hearts are set on accumulating good actions. In the fortified city of Bhoga [Palembang, the Srivijaya’s capital] Buddhist priests numbered more than 1,000, whose minds are bent on learning and good practices. They investigate and study all the subjects that exist just as in the Middle Kingdom [Madhya-desa, India]; the rules and ceremonies are not at all different. If a Chinese priest wishes to go to the West in order to hear (lectures) and read [the original scriptures], he had better stay here for one or two years and practise the proper rules and then proceed to Central India.”
— From I-tsing’s A Record of Buddhist Practices Sent Home from the Southern Sea.

I-Tsing’s portrayal

I-Tsing’s portrayal

The Srivijaya Kingdom was a learning center for Buddhism that produced notable Buddhist scholars, including Dharmakirti, a Sailendran prince who was born in the 7th century. Dharmakirti was a Buddhist scholar in the Srivijaya Kingdom before moving to India to become a teacher at Nalanda University. He was the founder of Indian philosophical logic and perhaps one of the greatest Buddhist logicians, as says at the beginning of his work, “The wicked persons defeat even the one who argued rationally in debates by employing improper methods. We start this [work on the logic of debate] to repudiate them.” Dharmakirti believed that in every debate, winning was not important. To him, it was more important to correct the misconception on the issues in the arguments. Most of his works were based on the work of Dignāga, the pioneer of Buddhist logic who was very influential among the Brahmans and Buddhist logicians. His theories were actively advocated by his loyal students, and went on to become widely accepted in Tibet and are studied to this day as part of the basic monastic curriculum.

Dharmakirti

Dharmakirti

He created logical guidelines called “The Seven Treatises on Valid Cognition”:

  • Saṃbandhaparikṣhāvrtti (Analysis of Relations)
  • Pramāṇaviniścaya (Ascertainment of Valid Cognition)
  • Pramāṇavārttikakārika (Commentary on Dignaga’s ‘Compendium of Valid Cognition’)
  • Nyāyabinduprakaraṇa (Drop of Reasoning)
  • Hetubindunāmaprakaraṇa (Drop of Reasons)
  • Saṃtānāntarasiddhināmaprakaraṇa (Proof of Others’ Continuums)
  • Vādanyāyanāmaprakaraṇa (Reasoning for Debate)
His Holiness Atiśa Dīpaṃkara Śrījñāna, one of the greatest figures of in Vajrayana Buddhism

His Holiness Atiśa Dīpaṃkara Śrījñāna, one of the greatest figures of in Vajrayana Buddhism

The Srivijaya Kingdom also attracted other prominent Buddhist monks such as Atiśa, an 11th century Bengali Buddhist scholar, who played a major role in the development of Vajrayana, Dharmapala, a professor of Nalanda, and the South Indian Buddhist Vajrabodhi.

Atiśa was recognized as one of the greatest figures of classical Buddhism and had inspired Buddhist thought from Sumatra to Tibet. Atiśa was born as a Pala Empire Prince of Bengal in 980 CE. Being an avid student, he studied almost all Buddhist and non-Buddhist subjects of his time. He was ordained into the Mahāsāṃghika lineage at the age of twenty-eight by the Abbot Śīlarakṣita. It was believed that Atiśa had more than 150 teachers, but Dharmakirti of Suvarnadvipa who lived in the 10th century was considered as Atiśa’s main teacher.

Srivijaya was the most influential Buddhist Kingdom ever formed in Indonesian history.

Vajrabodhi, an Indian Buddhist monk and esoteric Buddhist teacher in China during the Tang Dynasty

Vajrabodhi, an Indian Buddhist monk and esoteric Buddhist teacher in China during the Tang Dynasty

The decline of the Srivijaya Kingdom began in 1025 after Rajenra Chola, the Chola king from Tamil Nadu in South India, launched a series of foreign raids on this Kingdom. He was attracted to the great wealth of the Srivijaya Kingdom. King Rajenra’s continuous attacks greatly weakened the Srivijaya’s domination, and it eventually resulted in the formation of smaller regional kingdoms such as Kediri, which focused their economical activities on agricultural produce instead of coastal trading. The weakened Srivijaya Kingdom was finally defeated by the Majapahit Kingdom, with its predominantly Hindu culture, in the year of 1290.

 

Sources:

  • https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalingga_Kingdom
  • http://www.sridianti.com/peninggalan-kerajaan-kalingga.html
  • https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medang_Kingdom
  • http://epicworldhistory.blogspot.co.id/2012/10/srivijaya-kingdom.html
  • https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yijing_(monk)
  • http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/b/buddhist-pilgrimage-sites-indonesia/
  • https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism_in_Indonesia
  • http://peterkirby.com/dharmakirti.html
  • https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dharmakirti
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atisha

 

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Valencia Suhendra

About Valencia Suhendra

Valencia is a liberal person who highly values equality and freedom in all aspects of life. She believes that all confusion, conflicts and dilemma we experience on a day-to-day basis can be solved through inner reflection, a thought that has brought her to explore the philosophies of Buddhism. New to spirituality, Valencia finds herself deeply interested in the fields of inner development and meditation, which she reads extensively during her time away from family and work.
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  1. Choong on Dec 19, 2016 at 11:11 am

    Indonesia has a very fascinating history in the spread of Vajrayana to the East. Many relics in the form of stupas and statues still survive till this day. I can’t wait for more research and discoveries to be uncovered. I wonder if some of these lineages survive in families today.

  2. Anne Ong on Oct 18, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    Very interesting and great write up Valencia! I have seen this place before in a documentary on television many years ago and found it very fascinating.But it wasn’t in detailed. I love the history,religion background and the temples architectures. Thank you for your great effort in writing about Borobudur in great details!

  3. Wan Wai Meng on Oct 18, 2016 at 2:17 am

    Thank you Valencia really enjoyed reading about the Buddhist kingdoms of Indonesia. All the Buddhist kingdoms has such cool names.

    The Buddhist kingdoms in Indonesia provided much colour and flavour to the history and development of Buddhist thought. Lama Atisha one of the key teachers who brought buddhism to Tibet, have received the full teachings of the method/vast path from Survarnadipa an Indonesian master. In doing so Lama Atisha bravd a 3 month journey via ships to arrive at the Survarnadipa’s location.

  4. Alice Tay on Aug 11, 2016 at 10:36 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche and Valencia sharing this interesting article on the history of 3 main Buddhist Kingdoms in Indonesia: Kalingga, Medang and Srivijaya. Despite the Muslim population recorded the highest rate in Indonesia, Buddhism as one of the important religions which is played an important role since 2,000 years ago, when the traders and missionaries who travelled along the Silk Road and reached Indonesia to build shrines and temples of their own faith.

    Borobudur temple is one of the famous temples had been completed in the Medang Kingdom’s time. Currently, it is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World and a registered UNESCO World Heritage Site. There were over 500 Buddha statues are found in the Borobudur Temple complex. Until today, many visitors would take this place as one of the compulsory places to visit in their itinerary.

  5. Stella Cheang on Jun 22, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    Ancient Indonesia is known for its Hindu-Buddhism connection, this article gives depth to this mysterious heritage through the lens of the 3 main kingdoms, namely Kalingga, Medang and Srivijaya. I am especially fascinated by the map shown in the Srivijaya chapter. We can see that Indonesia at that time, is truly a Buddhism centre that blends Buddhism from Indo-China and India, due to its strategic location. And knowing that Buddhism flourished in this region during those days is an encouraging evidence that Buddhism had been accepted and revered. I truly believe that Buddhism will thrive and expand as long as religious freedom is enshrined.

    “Buddhism has the characteristics of what would be expected in a cosmic religion for the future: It transcends a personal God, avoids dogmas and theology; it covers both the natural and spiritual; and it is based on a religious sense aspiring from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity.” – Albert Einstein. (extracted from Rinpoche’s post titled Einstein on Buddhism)

    Thank you Rinpoche and Valencia on this insightful article.

    Humbly, bowing down,
    Stella Cheang

  6. Sofi on Jun 22, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    Thank you Valencia for this article on the Buddhist kingdoms in Indonesia. Its was well written with lots of interesting histories for each of the Buddhist kingdoms, the Kalingga Kingdom, the Medang Kingdom and the Srivijaya Kingdom. I had always thought that Buddhism was in small pockets within the vast land of Indonesia and now I learn of them actually being kingdoms covering large part of Indonesia. What an amazing rich history in Buddhism.

    Now if we were to have the opportunity to visit these great sites, Borobudur Temple or Sewu Temple, we now have better understanding of the history of the Temples. As I read this article, I kept imagining how far the people of those days travelled from their homes to trade (the time spent on travelling and the way the travelled in) and in the process how religion spread so far. Reading on the monk of China travelling to Indonesia to learn Sanskrit for 2 years before travelling to India to study, I am so thankful that we have our Guru here with us and Kechara the temple from his compassion. And teaching us in English, the language I am comfortable in. How fortunate for us. Thank you Rinpoche. _/\_

  7. Pastor Han Nee on Jun 21, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    Thank you Valencia for this most interesting article on the three Buddhist Kingdoms of Indonesia – the Kalingga Kingdom, the Medang Kingdom and the Srivijaya Kingdom. What interests me greatly is that your article shows that each Kingdom had some features which showed it to be advanced for its time. Today the ruins of temples and artefacts from as early as this period have been discovered. I highlight here points from your article that caught my attention.

    The Kalingga Kingdom is known to have produced 2 written inscriptions – the Tukmas and the Sojomerto, which became an invaluable source of information about this earliest Hindu-Buddhist Kingdom in Central Java. During this period, at least 2 Buddhist temples had been built.

    The Medang Kingdom reached its peak of power between the 8th and 10th century, under the rule of the Sailendra Dynasty Under this dynasty, great temples were constructed. The most distinguished were the Sewu , the Borobodur and Prambanam Temples. The most impressive was the Borobodur Temple, which was actually a massive stone Mandala. It has become a famous pilgrimage and tourist site today. Today, the Borobudur temple is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World and a registered UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    The Medang Kingdom became a Buddhist Kingdom when the Mahayana Buddhist King Panangkaran ascended the throne in 760 CE. The Sailendra Dynasty were great temple builders. It is interesting to note that the Sailendra family had a spiritual guide Guru Sang Raja Sailendravamcatilaka under whose guidance and advice the following were built :
    The Kalasan Temple, a holy building for the Goddess Tara and a vihara(monastery) for the Buddhist monks of the Sailendra ‘s territory.

    The most influential of the 3 as a Buddhist Kingdom was the Srivijaya Kingdom.During its peak, the Srivijaya Kingdom was well-known as a learning center for Buddhism. The Srivijaya Kingdom was also famous for being the center for the practice of Vajrayana Buddhism. Furthermore, the Kingdom also attracted renowned Buddhist monks from other parts of the world, such as Atisha Dipamkara, born as a prince of Bengal, who later brought Buddhism to Tibet in the second wave of revival of Buddhism in Tibetan. He came here and studied and mastered Bodhictta of the 2 lineages under his Guru Suvarnadipa. Later, in Tibet, he was to write the famous “Lamp of the Path to Enlightenment” which became the seminal “ Lamrim” .

  8. Pastor KH Ng on Jun 17, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    Dear Valencia,

    Thank You for this very enlightening article on the history of Buddhism in Indonesia. I am greatly amazed at the 3 Buddhist Kingdom of Indonesia and I think most people will not associate Indonesia with Buddhism.
    I knew of the Borobudur Temple and of Lord Atisa and His main Guru, Dharmakirti of Suvarnadvipa and his teachings on Ultimate Compassion; but did not know of the history of the Kingdoms.
    Now I know the greatness of Buddhism in Indonesia and its history. It certainly opens up my mind.

    Thanks Again.

  9. Sock Wan on Jun 10, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    Dear Valencia,
    Thank you for the writing, you have done a lot of research for the article. I knew about Borobudur and Hindu being the dominant belief in Bali but I didn’t know Buddhism was popular in Indonesia before. Great master like Atisha had also travelled to Indonesia to study from his guru Dharmakirti of Suvarnadvipa for 12 years on Boddhicitta before he went to Tibet. Buddhism must have been so advanced in Indonesia that a Chinese monk, I-tsing who had stayed in Indonesia for many years said for those who wanted to travel to India to study Buddhism should stop over in Indonesia for a few years to prepare themselves before heading to India.

    I have learned more about Buddhism in South East Asia in this article. Thank you for the effort.

  10. Pastor Shin Tan on Jun 10, 2016 at 5:18 am

    Thank you Valencia for this informative article about the 3 Buddhist kingdoms in Indonesia of Kalingga, Medang and Srivijaya. Your article refreshed my memories of some of these kingdoms we have read in schools.

    I’ve shared this with many friends on facebook and many of them like the article very much and in turn, shared with their friends too.

    As our lineage traces its origin back to the Kadampa tradition of the great Indian master Atisha, I rejoice that such great masters like Atisha and Dharmakirti have set food in this region.

    It’s great that some of the remains of these kingdoms still exist today, testaments of the Buddhist Kings and Queens who ruled with wisdom in accordance with the teachings of Lord Buddha. Hope to visit these places one day.

  11. Jason on Jun 6, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    I am so excited when I read on Valencia write up on Buddhism Kingdom in Indonesia. I had been Borubudur temple a couple years ago.That time , I know it was registered as UNESCO World Heritage Site but I don’t know much information on this temple.(I am non Kecharian on that time). I like the structure of this temple especially the Buddha statue in perforated stupas.
    Besides that , sunrise view from this temple is really beautiful. I can see the sun rise up behind the volcano.
    This article really open my mind on Buddhism in Indonesia especially the great Buddhist master Atisa who did major development in Vajrayana was from Sumatra.
    Thank Rinpoche for giving Valencia an opportunity to post her write up here.

    With folded hands,
    Jason

  12. William Chua on Jun 5, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    Thank you Valencia for the interesting article about Buddhist Kingdoms in Indonesia. It shows that Buddhism has spread far a wide across the Asian region long before it deteriorated. Very interesting to note that Atisa was also in Indonesia to learn from Dharmakriti and spread Buddhism.

    It is good to know that Indonesia is preserving, even though the country is predominantly Muslim, the remains of the temples especially Borobudur Temple complex and still an active Buddhist site in the country. I would definitely love to visit this place in the future.

  13. JP on Jun 5, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    Thank you Valencia for the overview of Buddhist Kingdoms in Indonesia. Buddhism was pervalent in South East Asia and has a strong link to Tibetan Buddhism. Buddhist masters such as Dharmakirti and Atisha were lineage masters of Tibetan Buddhism.

    Even Malaysia used to be a Buddhist country. There were artifacts found and displayed in our National Museum. Dharmapala Setrap’s cudgel is from Malaysia as well. It is clearly written in a prayer to Setrap.

    This shows that no matter how great a Buddhist kingdom can be, it will decline. This is an example of the Law of Impermanence. Just like our body we now have, is only temporary.

  14. May Ong on Jun 3, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    Personally I have not visited Borobudur before but has always been fascinated about his history, especially who built this monumental beautiful Buddhist structure in Indonesia and it is even known as a ‘mandala’ representing ‘universe’.

    Just to share a bit more information on Borobudur here. Source extracted from http://www.sacred-destinations.com/indonesia/borobudur

    Borobudur takes the form of a giant mandala, symbolically depicting the path of the bodhisattva from samsara to nirvana, through the story of Sudhana described in the Gandavyuha Sutra, a part of the Avatamsaka Sutra. In total, this massive monument contains over 2 million stone blocks.

    Some scholars think that this massive monument is a gigantic textbook of Buddhism to help people to achieve enlightenment. To read this Buddhist textbook in stone requires a walk of more than two miles. The walls of the galleries are adorned with impressive reliefs illustrating the life of Buddha Shakyamuni and the principles of his teaching.

    Representing the existence of the universe, Borobudur perfectly reflects the Buddhist cosmology, which divides the universe into three intermingled separate levels. The three levels are Kamadhatu (world of desire), Ruphadatu (world of forms), and Arupadhatu (world of formlessness).

    The hidden base of Borobudur was originally the first level, which contains the gallery of Kamadhatu level. It is thought that during construction Borobudur experienced a landfall that threatened the entire building. To prevent the whole monument from collapsing, the Kamadhatu level was closed and made into a new base that holds Borobudur steady.

    This level of Kamadhatu pictures the world of passion and the inevitable laws of karma. The first 117 panels show various actions leading to one and the same result, while the other remaining 43 panels demonstrate the many results that follow one single effect. At least 160 relief panels were carved around this level, based on the manuscript of Karmavibhangga. What is left of these can be seen in the Southeast corner of this level.

    The reliefs of the Rupadhatu level show the stories based on the manuscripts of Lalitavistara, Jataka-Avadana and Gandavyuha. The Lalitavistara reliefs, consisting of 120 panels, tell us about the life of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha. It starts with the glorious descent of Buddha from the Tushita heaven. Born as Prince Siddhartha, Buddha’s childhood was isolated from the outside world’s misery. Accidentally witnessing the misery of sickness, decrepitude and death, young Prince Siddharta decided to escape from the worldly life and commencing his search of freedom from suffering. Siddhartha’s long and painful search finally led him to the highest level of enlightenment and made him Buddha, the Enlightened One. This story ends with Buddha’s sermon in the Deer Park near Benares.

    Just to reiterate what Pastor Jean Ai wrote above, it is HE Tsem Rinpoche’s wish to make Kechara Forest Retreat (retreat.kechara.com), a Malaysia destination for Buddhist pilgrimage, learning and practice in this region, similar to these Buddhist kingdoms in Indonesia.

  15. paolorossi4444 on Jun 3, 2016 at 1:04 am

    Borobodur was built by king sailendra (previous incarnation of Drubwang Lama Gangchen)went in For Three generation.

    • Joy Kam on Jun 3, 2016 at 2:08 am

      Wow that is indeed an interesting fact. Thank you for highlighting that about His Eminence Lama Gangchen Mr. Paolo Rossi! Do you know exactly which of the three Kings during the Sailendra Dynasty was the previous incarnation of His Eminence Lama Gangchen?

      Prof-Lokesh-Chandra-Lama-Gangchen-Rinpoche

  16. samfoonheei on Jun 2, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    Thank you Valencia for sharing.
    This is an interesting article of Buddhism in Indonesia.Its amazing to know of the history of Buddhism in the world most populated Muslim country.I do enjoyed reading it and hope i can visit such a beautiful Borobudur temple someday.
    Thanks again.

  17. Sarah Yap on Jun 2, 2016 at 2:38 am

    Beautiful article about Buddhism in Indonesia. Borubodor, although now from what I heard is pretty much a tourist attraction, it is still a very holy site for Buddhists. It is for this reason that Lama Gangchen and his students have been visiting Borobodur for the last few decades on a yearly basis. And yes, it is a place for Buddhists to make pilgrimage to at least once in this lifetime.

    I was never well versed in history, and finding out that Indonesia once had a strong Buddhist population and ruler was very much a surprise for me. Particularly when I first read the Lamrim about Lama Atisha travelling to Indonesia to receive teachings from Dharmakirti. Thank you very much for compiling all these information.

  18. Martin on Jun 2, 2016 at 2:11 am

    Thank you Valencia. This is an enthralling article and I learned a lot from it. As I read the article, I still find it amazing that Indonesia as it is known today, was once a great source if not centre of the teaching of Bodhicitta. Think about that for a while, and then think about how the once magnificent Borobudur is essentially a ruin today. My point is how true that all things are impermanent and that we should never take for granted that the Dharma will always be there for us. Buddhism went into sharp decline after the fall of the Majapahit empire in the 15th century.

    Today, the Buddhist population of Indonesia is remarkably small and that makes works such as those carried out by Valentina Suhendra, and now Valencia as well, extremely important.

  19. pat ng on Jun 2, 2016 at 1:48 am

    Thank you for sharing this lovely post with lovely photos.I always wanted to visit Borobudur in Indonesia since the day my colleague with her family visited the Borobudur Temple on their holiday and told me that it is very beautiful.
    It is interesting to know that there are over 500 Buddha statues in the Borobudur Temple complex & also the inscription on the rock which describes the sacred clear spring water that is said to be as purifying as the holy Ganges River in India.. Indonesia is considered a blessed land cos there is Buddhism eventhough majorities are muslims. Thank you,Atisha who went to Sumatra ,studied and brought the scripture back to Tibet.
    Hopefully i have the chance to visit soon.

    • Pastor Elena Khong Jean Ai on Jun 2, 2016 at 2:09 am

      Hi Pat,

      Yes Borobudur is lovely and it would be wonderful to visit there. But if we don’t go to holy places with an attitude of ‘holiness’, then it becomes no different to any other place we go on holiday to 🙂 what is an attitude of ‘holiness’? I think for me, it means to go with the motivation that after we leave the place, we will emulate the deeds of the great beings who were there practising before us. After all, a pilgrimage site is just a physical place, and all of them are made out of rocks, stone, cement, mortar, wood, glass, etc. They only became holy and special because of the actions of those who used to inhabit the space before us.

      So how is Borobudur any different to, let’s say, KFR? Wouldn’t it be inspirational if we could create our own Borobudur here in Malaysia, with our own attained practitioners so that hundreds of years later wonderful writers like Valencia will be retelling the stories of our own homegrown practitioners like Atisha? It’s totally possible; just like Atisha, we are sentient beings too blessed with the eight leisures and ten endowments 🙂

      Time for all of us to work hard to accomplish this!

  20. Paul Yap on Jun 1, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    I really like the Borobudur Temple very much, its vast architectural buildings resembling the mandala shows that the society was very advance at that time. People at that time has no advance machinery, and yet they still able to build a huge temple, this is a prove to us the hardship, efforts and most of all devotion that has been put in to complete the temple. This is definitely one of the greatest pilgrimage place for us.

  21. NgJesvin on Jun 1, 2016 at 9:59 pm

    Thank you Velencia for sharing the history of Buddhist Kingdoms of Indonesia.

    I personally like to read historical stories and I would visit these historical sites given the opportunity. This article has widen my knowledge on the Srivijaya Kingdom with I-Tsing and Atisha.🙏

    I had been to The Borobudur Temple in 2013. The place are so sacred until that peacefulness is felt all around this place. It was a joyful experience although having to climb so many staircases to reach to the top. 🙏🙏

    Thank you Velencia, I will make another trip to Jogjakarta again. 🙏🙏

  22. Sarah on Jun 1, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    Thank you for this fascinating article. I enjoyed reading it very much. But I think there could be a confusion with regard to the Indian (Brahman) scholar Dharmakirti (ca. 530-600) and Dharmakirti of Suvarnadvipa “the Golden Islands” (name used for Indonesia during the time of Atisha). Suvarnadvipa Guru was Atisha’s teacher and lived during the 10th-11th century, thus much later than the first Dharmakirti. According to some sources, Suvarnadvipa guru was an Indonesian prince who studied in Bodhgaya under Maha Sri Ratna and remained in India for 12 years. Another source says he studied in Vikramashila for 12 years. When Atisha discovered that Suvarnadvipa Guru held the complete set of instructions on bodhicitta, he went to Indonesia in 1012 to receive the complete teachings from this guru. Pabongka Rinpoche, in his “Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand”, said that it was Suvarnadvipa Guru who advised Atisha to go to Tibet.

    • Valentina Suhendra on Jun 2, 2016 at 2:12 am

      Dear Sarah

      Thank you for catching this confusion. Just do research on this and will make the necessary amendment

      Valentina

    • Choong on Jun 5, 2016 at 5:37 pm

      There are definitely many “dharmakirtis” in dharma. I prefer to use the Tibetan name for Survanadipa Guru which is Serlingpa.

  23. Valentina Suhendra on Jun 1, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    Dear Valencia

    Thank you for this wonderful and informative post. I really enjoy working with you on this article and I learned a lot in the process.

    My favourite is the Srivijaya Kingdom because although they did not leave much monuments, they have made significant contribution to the growth and spreading of Buddha’s teachings. Even the famed Indian prince Dipamkara Atisha who was one of the pioneers of Tibetan Buddhism met his root guru in the Srivijaya Kingdom.

    Thank you again for this article and it was a pleasure working with you

    Valentina

  24. Joy Kam on Jun 1, 2016 at 1:57 am

    Thank you Valencia for writing the Buddhist influence and history of Indonesia. I’ve always wondered how much did Buddhism dominated Indonesia at one point and the story behind Borobudur Temple, now I know 🙂

    It’s interesting to know that whenever Buddhism is at its peak in any country there always seem to be more prosperity, justice and peace. This goes to show that Buddhist teachings bring out the positive qualities of people. However it is clear that we need merits to be able to receive such precious treasure as the Buddha dharma and just like how it happened in India and China, the degeneration and lack of merits to support the dharma will result in the plummeting of Buddhist as a whole. However nothing is permanent – what goes up, must come down and what comes down must go up and that’s the nature of samsara until we achieve enlightenment and get out of samsara.

  25. Valencia Suhendra on Jun 1, 2016 at 1:47 am

    Hi all,

    Thank you for the kind feedback. It was refreshing to write about the Buddhist kingdoms in Indonesia. I especially admired the great architectural design of the temples built during those periods, especially Candi Borobudur. I hope you find this article to be easy to read and informative.

    Cheers,
    Valencia

  26. Pastor Niral Patel on Jun 1, 2016 at 1:41 am

    I knew that Indonesia, especially Java, had a very rich Buddhist history but I had never read a detailed overview of this history before reading this post. Thank you Valencia for sharing this with all of us. I had some inkling as to the rich Buddhist history of Java from passing comments from my mother who studied Buddhist civilization in school but this is really something else.

    Buddhist civilization in Indonesia has produced very great masters who have made a very significant impact to Buddhist practice as it exists today, especially Tibetan Buddhism as influenced by the great Dipamkara Atisha, whose teacher was the Indonesian master Dharmakirti. He is also known as Survarnadvipa Guru or the Guru from Suvarnadvipa. I think that perhaps Survarnadvipa is an old Sanskrit term for Sumatra or another island from the Indonesian Archipelago. Meaning ‘golden island’ it may be due to the gold found on the Indonesian Archipelago that it was named as such.

    In any case it is really fascinating to read about this rich history and see the pictures of some of these fantastic temples. I hope i can visit these places in the future, it will be wonderful to see such holy places of the past.

  27. wooishen on May 31, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    Thank for sharing this amazing buddhist history …

    I looking and searching for this true history for quiet some times…

    • Valentina Suhendra on Jun 1, 2016 at 6:53 pm

      Dear Wooishen

      Thank you for your kind feedback. I am glad that this post is useful for you :). Do come again to this blog from time to time

  28. Pastor David Lai on May 31, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    I remember in High School, we learnt a little bit of the regional history of the Malay Archipelago. Naturally, we learnt of the Sailendra, Srivijaya and Majapahit maritime empires. I loved it although there were not much emphasis placed on the spiritual traditions of these kingdoms and the accompanying legacies unfortunately but they still intrigued me. I am glad to read more of the spiritual legacies and I am fascinated with Borobuddur, Pawon and Sewu candi. Its so neat!

    I would definitely would like to visit and would definitely like to visit particularly Sewu because it is a temple dedicated to the Bodhisattva Manjushri. Too bad there is no surviving images of Manjushri there (I am guessing because I didn’t see any online). Anyway, thank you for revealing a part of the fascinating history here.

  29. Fong on May 31, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    It’s interesting how Buddhism thrived in Indonesia way back in the early centuries. To think that Atisha, one of the greatest figures of classical Buddhism and had inspired Buddhist thought from Sumatra to Tibet was here in Sumatra to learn Bodhicitta from Dharmakirti. According to the lamrim, Atisha’s journey took 13 months which reminds me of Odyssey’s journey in the Greek mythology.

    I like the map showing the flow of the 3 schools of Buddhism through Asia. Didn’t realize that Vajrayana made it’s way so far south, all the way to Java.

    Thank you, Valcencia for a somprehensive and informative article.

  30. Datuk May on May 31, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    Thank you Valencia, for this very comprehensive explanation of Buddhism in Indonesia which is by far considered to be the largest populated Muslim nation in the world.

    I have often known of Borobudur being magical and hope that one day I will have the opportunity to visit this holy divine place.

    I have also learnt that Atisha, travelled to Indonesia and learnt the scriptures and brought them back to Tibet.

    Once again thank you for this well researched work.

  31. Choong on May 31, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    Intriguing. Thank you!

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this article.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/build-your-own-growroom.html

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

CREDITS

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

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

Tsem Rinpoche

What Am I Writing Now

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Animal Care Fund
  Bigfoot, Yeti, Sasquatch

The Unknown

The Known and unknown are both feared,
Known is being comfortable and stagnant,
The unknown may be growth and opportunities,
One shall never know if one fears the unknown more than the known.
Who says the unknown would be worse than the known?
But then again, the unknown is sometimes worse than the known. In the end nothing is known unless we endeavour,
So go pursue all the way with the unknown,
because all unknown with familiarity becomes the known.
~Tsem Rinpoche

Photos On The Go

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

Tsem Rinpoche
2 months ago
I am in the process of creating beautiful Dorje Shugden and Kechara Forest Retreat watches at this time. So we can take precious protector and Kechara Forest Retreat wherever we go and be blessed everytime we see what time it is. I am perfecting the designs with a great team and will update when done but these are just some samples that arrived. Feast your eyes! Tsem Rinpoche
                        Pick the practice, devotion and precepts of Vajra Yogini\'s path over everything and anything in samsara. Samsara has nothing of value and nothing lasting to offer. You are born in suffering, live in suffering, die in suffering and enter bardo and future lives expecting more sufferings. This is not a negative way of looking at things but the truth. If the truth is negative, so it is the truth. Devote oneself to the guru, dharma work, dharma practice and bringing dharma to others compassionately. Choose to practice Vajra Yogini now with the preliminaries. You can start right now: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/starting-on-vajra-yogini-now.html  Much care, Tsem Rinpoche
3 months ago
Pick the practice, devotion and precepts of Vajra Yogini's path over everything and anything in samsara. Samsara has nothing of value and nothing lasting to offer. You are born in suffering, live in suffering, die in suffering and enter bardo and future lives expecting more sufferings. This is not a negative way of looking at things but the truth. If the truth is negative, so it is the truth. Devote oneself to the guru, dharma work, dharma practice and bringing dharma to others compassionately. Choose to practice Vajra Yogini now with the preliminaries. You can start right now: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/starting-on-vajra-yogini-now.html Much care, Tsem Rinpoche
Message to Tibetans in English
3 months ago
Message to Tibetans in English
Message to the Tibetans
3 months ago
Message to the Tibetans
Left to right: Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche, Sharpa Choeje Jetsun Lobsang Nyima, Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche, Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, 101st Gaden Tripa Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal. Great lamas of Gaden Shartse Monastery
3 months ago
Left to right: Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche, Sharpa Choeje Jetsun Lobsang Nyima, Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche, Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, 101st Gaden Tripa Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal. Great lamas of Gaden Shartse Monastery
A beautiful Indian rendition of Gyenze Dorje Shugden manifesting in wealth form
3 months ago
A beautiful Indian rendition of Gyenze Dorje Shugden manifesting in wealth form
This is my thoughts and determination to share with you. Please open and read. Thank you for your time. Tsem Rinpoche
3 months ago
This is my thoughts and determination to share with you. Please open and read. Thank you for your time. Tsem Rinpoche
Nepalese King Birendra receives His Holiness Panchen Rinpoche in Nepal
3 months ago
Nepalese King Birendra receives His Holiness Panchen Rinpoche in Nepal
Guess what Zava Damdin Rinpoche did in Mongolia recently with 7,800 people??? Very interesting and it is a must read:  http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=116206
3 months ago
Guess what Zava Damdin Rinpoche did in Mongolia recently with 7,800 people??? Very interesting and it is a must read:  http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=116206
This huge Buddha in Korea is magnificent
4 months ago
This huge Buddha in Korea is magnificent
The very first oracle of Dorje Shugden in trance statue. I have commissioned this.
4 months ago
The very first oracle of Dorje Shugden in trance statue. I have commissioned this.
Such a old and ancient thangka painting of Dorje Shugden. He has been around in Tibet practiced for hundreds of years.
4 months ago
Such a old and ancient thangka painting of Dorje Shugden. He has been around in Tibet practiced for hundreds of years.
One of the "Four Exalted Brothers" Avalokiteshvara statues, Phagpa Wati of Kyirong, which is now with H.H. the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala.
4 months ago
One of the "Four Exalted Brothers" Avalokiteshvara statues, Phagpa Wati of Kyirong, which is now with H.H. the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala.
Kyabje Zemey, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and Kyabje Pabongka Choktrul Rinpoche
4 months ago
Kyabje Zemey, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and Kyabje Pabongka Choktrul Rinpoche
My Oser girl and Mumu boy are so adorable
4 months ago
My Oser girl and Mumu boy are so adorable
Wow this meditator in his cave in front of a painting of Yamantaka draped with a white khata of respect. He sits among bones to remind him of impermanence and our future. The bones inspire him strongly to let go of all attachments in this life and focus on dharma, meditation and liberation and he is doing so. Very beautiful and inspirational. Tsem Rinpoche
4 months ago
Wow this meditator in his cave in front of a painting of Yamantaka draped with a white khata of respect. He sits among bones to remind him of impermanence and our future. The bones inspire him strongly to let go of all attachments in this life and focus on dharma, meditation and liberation and he is doing so. Very beautiful and inspirational. Tsem Rinpoche
Tenzing Norgay found this in Nepal. Guess what it is?
5 months ago
Tenzing Norgay found this in Nepal. Guess what it is?
Sir Edmund Hillary
5 months ago
Sir Edmund Hillary
Halloween is my favorite holiday. Wild natural plants and flowers are my favorite offering. Buddha\'s teachings on meditation and Yidam practice bring the ultimate results and happiness. ~Tsem Rinpoche
5 months ago
Halloween is my favorite holiday. Wild natural plants and flowers are my favorite offering. Buddha's teachings on meditation and Yidam practice bring the ultimate results and happiness. ~Tsem Rinpoche
Previous lives do resemble current lives especially if they are a recognized incarnation. If notice how similar the previous and current Trijang Rinpoche looks. The eyes, bone structure, expression, long neck, thin and overall look. Beautiful. I\'ve seen this phenomena over and over in many Rinpoche incarnations. Especially when you compare them with pictures of previous and current lives at around the same ages. Something powerfully karmic about this. Tsem Rinpoche
6 months ago
Previous lives do resemble current lives especially if they are a recognized incarnation. If notice how similar the previous and current Trijang Rinpoche looks. The eyes, bone structure, expression, long neck, thin and overall look. Beautiful. I've seen this phenomena over and over in many Rinpoche incarnations. Especially when you compare them with pictures of previous and current lives at around the same ages. Something powerfully karmic about this. Tsem Rinpoche
It\'s nice to have monks visitors and resident monks in Kechara
6 months ago
It's nice to have monks visitors and resident monks in Kechara
                         Taken in Lake Champlain in Canada. A huge water monster...neat...
6 months ago
Taken in Lake Champlain in Canada. A huge water monster...neat...
Click on "View All Photos" above to view more images

Videos On The Go

Please click on the images to watch video
  • Please watch this video, it's heartbreaking to see how people have to suffer.
    1 week ago
    Please watch this video, it's heartbreaking to see how people have to suffer.
  • Lady saves puppy from potential abuser
    2 weeks ago
    Lady saves puppy from potential abuser
  • Mr. Denzel Washington is a very intelligent man. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 weeks ago
    Mr. Denzel Washington is a very intelligent man. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Dear friends, please see this educational video on suffering for the sake of others.
    2 weeks ago
    Dear friends, please see this educational video on suffering for the sake of others.
  • A very neat footage of Bigfoot captured by Patterson-Gimlin.
    3 weeks ago
    A very neat footage of Bigfoot captured by Patterson-Gimlin.
  • [11/02/2017] Mumu darling is a very good boy.
    1 month ago
    [11/02/2017] Mumu darling is a very good boy.
  • [11/02/2017] Mumu wants to go bye bye!
    1 month ago
    [11/02/2017] Mumu wants to go bye bye!
  • [11/02/2017] I love you mumu boy
    1 month ago
    [11/02/2017] I love you mumu boy
  • [11/02/2017] Mumu and Oser eating together.
    1 month ago
    [11/02/2017] Mumu and Oser eating together.
  • Great spiritual rock carving in Tibet
    2 months ago
    Great spiritual rock carving in Tibet
  • You will Never be Ready
    3 months ago
    You will Never be Ready
    Dear friends, watch this video and ready, if we keep waiting till we are ready, that day will never come. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Stop asking for Easy
    3 months ago
    Stop asking for Easy
    This video is powerful because it's the truth. It applies to anything. It applies to our dharma practice. Watch the video and share it. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Must Watch this Video!
    4 months ago
    Must Watch this Video!
  • Sacred Tibetan Incense - Nyimo County, Lhasa, Tibet
    5 months ago
    Sacred Tibetan Incense - Nyimo County, Lhasa, Tibet
  • Kyabje Denma Gonsa Rinpoche on Samaya
    5 months ago
    Kyabje Denma Gonsa Rinpoche on Samaya
    ཁྱེད་ཀྱི་བཀའ་སློབ་དོན་སྙིང་དེ།།གང་གི་རྣ་བར་བདུད་རྩི་མོད།།འོན་ཀྱང་འགའ་ཡི་རྣ་ལམ་དུ།། བྲག་ཆ་བཞིན་དུ་འགྱུར་སྲིད་མོད།། ཚང་མས་ཚར་རེ་གཟིགས་རོགས།། Kyabje Denma Gonsa Rinpoche telling people that it is important to have guru samaya. It use to be that way in the great monasteries. We should not create problems and schisms. If we want to practice a protector, then do so, if not it's okay, but don't make trouble. One should just practice the Buddha Dharma well. To do good practice. If you have faith in Dorje Shugden and trust all the way, he will definitely help you. But most important is to practice the dharma. This is his advice in short here. It's good to let more Tibetans hear this holy speech and appeal by this very senior Rinpoche. TR

ASK A PASTOR


Ask the Pastors

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

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

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

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