The Buddhist Kingdoms of Indonesia

By | May 31, 2016 | Views: 2,631
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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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  • Alice Tay
    Tuesday, Apr 25. 2017 04:26 PM
    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Adeline sharing this interesting post about Bodhidharma, a great master favoured meditation and introduced the Lankavatara Sutra to Chinese Buddhism.

    Here are a few points I have learned from this post:
    1. Bodhidharma had strong imprints of Dharma from the past and therefore he is interested in Buddha’s teachings and show his great wisdom. at a very young age.
    2. His strong guru devotion and determination in learning and spreading the dharma based on meditation though he confronted with difficulties such as Emperor Wu Di was not impressed by his teachings, being ostracized and rejected and lived as a beggar for many months. Notwithstanding, he continued and never give up to practice meditation in complete silence for nine years in cave wall when he was not accepted by Shaolin Monastery at the beginning .
    3. When Bodhidharma was allowed enter to the monastery, he had put a lot of efforts to help the monks in improving their physical body as well as their mind through the meditation. Then, Bodhidharma continued to develop a system of 18 dynamic tension exercises which were printed as Yi Gin Ching (Changing Muscle/Tendon Classic) in 550 CE. It is known as the Luohan (arhat) 18 Hand Movements today which serves as the basis of both Chinese Temple Boxing and the Shaolin Martial Arts.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/bodhidharma-the-founder-of-gongfu.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Tuesday, Apr 25. 2017 04:10 PM
    Thank you, Grace, for sharing with us the many tips on how to care for and maintain our hair. Personal grooming is important because when we care for our appearance, we are respecting the people who have to deal with us. Caring for our hair, making sure that it is neat and clean should be something we need to take care of since young as it is part of personal grooming. The key is not to be attached to our body and outer-images, that results in spending much time and resources just to make ourselves look good.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/guest-contributors/how-much-do-you-know-about-hair.html
  • Alice Tay
    Tuesday, Apr 25. 2017 03:00 PM
    Thank you for sharing these wonderful and significant photos showed that Kechara Pastors’ tireless efforts to bring dharma to many others and do the blessings whenever is necessary.

    Basically, the pastorship role was conceptualized by our precious guru, H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche, to preserve the Dharma and to give laypeople an opportunity to commit to benefiting others. Kechara Pastors are fully dedicated and selflessly serving others especially in spiritual growth and therefore this is good for us to support the Pastors so that they can focus and spend more of their time and effort to serve others and most importantly Buddhist teachings can be spread and shared to many others. The supports to Pastors including food, lodging, transportation, items necessary for their work, such as ritual items or spiritual gifts for those in need and many others. (If you are interested to know more about Kechara Pastors, please have a good read at http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/support-the-kechara-pastors.html)

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/10-amazing-house-blessings-by-kechara-pastors.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Apr 25. 2017 02:13 PM
    Its such a great blessing for all of us to hear the holy voice recordings of H.H Kyabje Zong Rinpoche a great master..His profound teachings ,got to take seroiusly,more as an important advice on Dorje Shugden’s practice.H.H Kyabje Zong Rinpoche’s explaination was very clear before any of the practitioner’s commitment and receive sogtae.They must keep the lineage practice and teachings no matter what ever happen.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing with us on the important advice by a great master.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/kyabje-zong-rinpoches-advice-on-dorje-shugdens-practice.html
  • Lin Mun
    Tuesday, Apr 25. 2017 11:50 AM
    Thank you Pastor Han Nee for your sharing your thoughts and review about the book “Be Happy” written by Rinpoche. It is indeed not easy to be happy as we all have various expectation in every situation and people.

    We may think having a big house, lots of cash and good career is happiness but this is the wrong perception. Being happy is not about material and everything about ourselves. It is only when we can do more for others and focus out that we gain happiness. I never realised this until I joined Kechara. I think we have such a fixed mindset of what happiness is and when our expectation is not met, we are unhappy.

    Rinpoche has pointed out many ways for us to rectify our thoughts and methods to be happy. Now it is for us to take initiative to change and transform our mind if we want to be happy.

    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Han Nee for this article.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/be-happy.html
  • Lin Mun
    Monday, Apr 24. 2017 12:30 PM
    Many people do not believe in reincarnation and only relates it to certain religion such as Hinduism and Buddhism. However, there were many instances and signs that proven reincarnation exist. As Buddhist we will believe in reincarnation and karma. It is by understanding that everything has its cause and effect that we should learn to live life in the correct attitude and mindset. Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this interesting articles to remind us of karma and the importance of doing dharma practise.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/interesting-signs-of-reincarnation.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Apr 23. 2017 08:29 PM
    Thank you Rinpoche for your teachings.
    Always be generous and kind in what ever we could do even its little help.It’s the little things in life that bring the greatest happiness. Its between us and our Buddha ,so we would not bother what the receipient thinks and say of us. What ever was said ,should not deter our motivation to do Dharma work.
    (It will change people’s lives in one way or another. It will change your life for the better.)….well said by Rinpoche.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/its-not-between-you-and-the-recipient.html
  • Lin Mun
    Sunday, Apr 23. 2017 07:16 PM
    Thank you Grace for this interesting articles about hair. There are just so much info which we do not know previously. Most of the time we may neglect the details, thinking as long as we clean our hair everyday it is sufficient. But there are so many things we need to know for example types of hair, scalp condition, our environment and our physical condition which may affect our hair. Great tips.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/guest-contributors/how-much-do-you-know-about-hair.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Apr 23. 2017 03:31 PM
    Amazing miracles……….its show that the practice of Dorje Shugden is so powerful and will help whoever needs help regardless of race and religIon, far or near as long we have faith and trust. Dorje Shugden is an emanation of Manjushri , arose to protect the teachings of Lama Tsongkhapa. Dorje Shugden helps us to purify our own negative karma and clearing o bstacles .It is a very beneficial practice and we can in turn to help our friends and people in need.
    The two stories told by Datuk May was one of those miracles that Dorje Shugden has helped.
    Thank you Datuk May for sharing these amazing miracles.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/guest-contributors/%EF%BB%BF%EF%BB%BFdorje-shugden-miracles.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Apr 23. 2017 12:19 PM
    Well i do not have much knowledge obout hair till i read these imformative article.Thank you Ms Grace Leong,,,i do enjoyed reading it as i learned some knowledge from it at least i could know what hair type i do have and taking caring of it.Very useful tips too.
    Yes it true,most of us spend more time and money on our face and less on our hair. With your useful tips ,i am sure more people will be taking care of their hair and scalp too .
    Thank again Ms Grace Leong for sharing
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/guest-contributors/how-much-do-you-know-about-hair.html
  • Valentina Suhendra
    Sunday, Apr 23. 2017 09:20 AM
    Pig Slaughter

    When you watch how the poor pig cried for his life in this article’s video, you will understand that animals have feeling too. None of them are willing to be slaughtered to satisfy our taste buds. Please be kind to animals and be vegetarian.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/pig-slaughter.html
  • Tsem Rinpoche
    Sunday, Apr 23. 2017 03:33 AM
    This is a powerful movie. The Tillerman siblings are forced to fend for themselves when they are abandoned by their mother in the parking lot of a shopping mall. Heart wrenching to see. Abandonment is very hard and affects you for the rest of your life. They eventually meet their grandmother (Anne Bancroft), a loner who is reluctant to take them in. The acting is excellent. The plot was powerful. The struggles are believable. The ending was beautiful and everyone should have a good ending. Must watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yN6HQGHVYaA
  • Jason
    Sunday, Apr 23. 2017 02:28 AM
    Dorje Shugden( DS)is World Peace Dharma Protector and he is emanation of Manjushri (Buddha of Wisdom). DS always help anyone to clear inner or outer obstacles in order for us to have a conducive environment to practice Dharma.
    From above miracles cases, we can see that DS really compassion to help layman in samsara to overcome problems or difficulties.
    In return to DS, we must practice Dharma to nurture or cultivate wisdom and compassion to benefits more people.
    Thanks Datum May for sharing her own experiences to us.

    Jason

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/guest-contributors/%EF%BB%BF%EF%BB%BFdorje-shugden-miracles.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Saturday, Apr 22. 2017 04:07 PM
    Thank you, Nicholas, for sharing with us how you started with Kechara. It is very inspiring to learn that Nicholas started volunteering at KSK, no doubt being nudged to do so, but it was with noble and unconditional intention and had gone all the way since then.

    Each and every one of us has unique affinity, hence, different preference in setting our foot out of our comfort zone to start benefitting others. It is because of this reason; Rinpoche initiated many departments so that people with different preference can find an area that calls out to them.

    I hope more people will volunteer their time for a cause, it not only make our life more meaningful but also expand our horizon as well as benefit many people along the way.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-soup-kitchen-ksk/my-first-time-volunteering-in-kechara.html
  • Lin Mun
    Saturday, Apr 22. 2017 02:51 PM
    It is indeed difficult when a person loss his/her pet. It is never easy because for many pet owners they don’t treat their dog/cat literally but as part of their family. Especially for dog and their nature, they are so loyal and the bonding with human is very strong. Hence, it is understandable that pet owners will grieve over the death of their dog. Every pet owners will mourn or grieve at different extent. As family member and friends we should understand the situation and extend our assistance to comfort them.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/why-losing-a-dog-can-be-harder-than-losing-a-relative-or-friend.html

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Messages from Rinpoche

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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

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The Unknown

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

Photos On The Go

Click on the images to view the bigger version. And scroll down and click on "View All Photos" to view more images.
Holy Lady Buddha Vajra Yogini\'s blessing can be found when we decide to focus out to others instead of in to only ourselves.
~ Tsem Tulku Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
Holy Lady Buddha Vajra Yogini's blessing can be found when we decide to focus out to others instead of in to only ourselves. ~ Tsem Tulku Rinpoche
His Holiness Vajradhara Kyabje Zong Rinpoche of Gaden Monastery who is the refuge of countless, gives a clear explanation of Dorje Shugden. One is able to hear his holy voice and translation by Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen! Please see here and share: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=122352
2 weeks ago
His Holiness Vajradhara Kyabje Zong Rinpoche of Gaden Monastery who is the refuge of countless, gives a clear explanation of Dorje Shugden. One is able to hear his holy voice and translation by Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen! Please see here and share: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=122352
: This picture says it all. Click on it to enlarge and read and please share.
2 weeks ago
: This picture says it all. Click on it to enlarge and read and please share.
This is a simple chart showing the three main psychic channels used in tantric meditations to control the winds, raise tummo (fire energy), gain higher consciousness and insight and also for gaining siddhis. These channels are used in meditations for controlling the mind, when the mind ejects from the body (phowa) and one\'s death. These three channels are very important. Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
This is a simple chart showing the three main psychic channels used in tantric meditations to control the winds, raise tummo (fire energy), gain higher consciousness and insight and also for gaining siddhis. These channels are used in meditations for controlling the mind, when the mind ejects from the body (phowa) and one's death. These three channels are very important. Tsem Rinpoche
I think my cute doggie Oser is actually Tintin\'s dog Snowy!
2 weeks ago
I think my cute doggie Oser is actually Tintin's dog Snowy!
Great Masters of Gaden Shartse Monastery. From left to right: His Eminence Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche, His Holiness Sharpa Choeje Jetsun Lobsang Nyima, H.E. Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche, H.E. Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, His Holiness 101st Gaden Tripa throne holder Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal.
2 weeks ago
Great Masters of Gaden Shartse Monastery. From left to right: His Eminence Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche, His Holiness Sharpa Choeje Jetsun Lobsang Nyima, H.E. Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche, H.E. Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, His Holiness 101st Gaden Tripa throne holder Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal.
 Left to right: Dharma boy, Mumu boy and Oser girl. The three of them are my beautiful and loved Schnauzer dogs. They loved looking through the window to see traffic, people and movement. They loved the smells that drifted through their little noses. I love seeing the three of them together like this. I love them. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Left to right: Dharma boy, Mumu boy and Oser girl. The three of them are my beautiful and loved Schnauzer dogs. They loved looking through the window to see traffic, people and movement. They loved the smells that drifted through their little noses. I love seeing the three of them together like this. I love them. Tsem Rinpoche
Little Mumu boy...he loved balloons. When he saw them, he wanted to get close and perhaps bite them. Cute. I love this picture of Mumu reaching for the balloons. He was young and healthy! This picture captures his energy, enthusiasm, curiosity and high energy. I love this picture of him chasing the balloons. His pictures are always so nice....He was not a pet but family to me. I love him tremendously and always will. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Little Mumu boy...he loved balloons. When he saw them, he wanted to get close and perhaps bite them. Cute. I love this picture of Mumu reaching for the balloons. He was young and healthy! This picture captures his energy, enthusiasm, curiosity and high energy. I love this picture of him chasing the balloons. His pictures are always so nice....He was not a pet but family to me. I love him tremendously and always will. Tsem Rinpoche
Little Mumu boy and myself.. He was not a pet but family to me. I love him tremendously and always will. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Little Mumu boy and myself.. He was not a pet but family to me. I love him tremendously and always will. Tsem Rinpoche
2017-His Holiness the 101st Gaden Tripa, Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal is doing well and 90 years old. His Holiness Lungrik Namgyal is a powerful master of sutra and tantra and practitioner of Dorje Shugden. Currently residing in France.
3 weeks ago
2017-His Holiness the 101st Gaden Tripa, Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal is doing well and 90 years old. His Holiness Lungrik Namgyal is a powerful master of sutra and tantra and practitioner of Dorje Shugden. Currently residing in France.
One of the most sacred statues of Avalokitesvara made of sandalwood housed in Lhasa, Tibet. He has shown miracles also. Every pilgrim wishes to make offerings to this Lord of Compassion.
3 weeks ago
One of the most sacred statues of Avalokitesvara made of sandalwood housed in Lhasa, Tibet. He has shown miracles also. Every pilgrim wishes to make offerings to this Lord of Compassion.
 Sacred Avalokitesvara statue in Nepal. Thousands come to worship this special Buddha as it has conferred wishes in the past.
3 weeks ago
Sacred Avalokitesvara statue in Nepal. Thousands come to worship this special Buddha as it has conferred wishes in the past.
Tsem Rinpoche\'s Vajra Yogini statue and offerings
3 weeks ago
Tsem Rinpoche's Vajra Yogini statue and offerings
Two of my teachers from Gaden Shartse Monastery in South India. Left side is Most Venerable Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen whom I lived with for 8 years in Los Angeles where his centre Thubten Dhargye Ling is located. On the right is the abbot emeritus H.E. Kyabje Lati Rinpoche the scholar and yogi. I was very fortunate to have them in my life and learn so much dharma from them. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Two of my teachers from Gaden Shartse Monastery in South India. Left side is Most Venerable Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen whom I lived with for 8 years in Los Angeles where his centre Thubten Dhargye Ling is located. On the right is the abbot emeritus H.E. Kyabje Lati Rinpoche the scholar and yogi. I was very fortunate to have them in my life and learn so much dharma from them. Tsem Rinpoche
 It is so wonderful to be kind to people, be caring, feed them, make sure they are healthy and share dharma if they are interested with them for their future. But simply to be nice to others is worth getting up and being alive...otherwise why be alive to hurt/use/distrust and hate others? No point living that way..must change that..... It is nice to live our lives to benefit others and be patient even if we have been hurt before because by caring we can heal the hurt and \'defeat\' the ones that hurt us because we don\'t become bitter..... Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
It is so wonderful to be kind to people, be caring, feed them, make sure they are healthy and share dharma if they are interested with them for their future. But simply to be nice to others is worth getting up and being alive...otherwise why be alive to hurt/use/distrust and hate others? No point living that way..must change that..... It is nice to live our lives to benefit others and be patient even if we have been hurt before because by caring we can heal the hurt and 'defeat' the ones that hurt us because we don't become bitter..... Tsem Rinpoche
Tsem Rinpoche\'s heritage in China. Must read: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=120499
3 weeks ago
Tsem Rinpoche's heritage in China. Must read: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=120499
Thank you Buddhist Pastor Chia for sharing your story on how you met His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche over 20 years ago. We can learn much from your story.~Admin  Please read: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=116928
3 weeks ago
Thank you Buddhist Pastor Chia for sharing your story on how you met His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche over 20 years ago. We can learn much from your story.~Admin Please read: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=116928
Mumu boy is incredibly photogenic. He is beyond cute. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Mumu boy is incredibly photogenic. He is beyond cute. Tsem Rinpoche
 (left to right) Rabten Tulku, Gonsar Rinpoche, Gyume Kensur Rinpoche, Trijang Rinpoche, H.H. Gaden Trisur Rinpoche (France)
3 weeks ago
(left to right) Rabten Tulku, Gonsar Rinpoche, Gyume Kensur Rinpoche, Trijang Rinpoche, H.H. Gaden Trisur Rinpoche (France)
Beautiful 200 roses arrived today for me as a gift from Su Ming. Very kind and thoughtful of her as usual. Tsem Rinpoche
4 weeks ago
Beautiful 200 roses arrived today for me as a gift from Su Ming. Very kind and thoughtful of her as usual. Tsem Rinpoche
It\'s good to be with kind and sincere people.
4 weeks ago
It's good to be with kind and sincere people.
If we are kind, we lose less of ourselves-Tsem Rinpoche
4 weeks ago
If we are kind, we lose less of ourselves-Tsem Rinpoche
My Mumu boy didn\'t want to eat. Eating is not one of his favorite activities throughout his life. So I talked to him to let him know why he needs to eat and keep his strength up when this photo was taken. He was listening intently and after my talk with him, he ate. Tsem Rinpoche
4 weeks ago
My Mumu boy didn't want to eat. Eating is not one of his favorite activities throughout his life. So I talked to him to let him know why he needs to eat and keep his strength up when this photo was taken. He was listening intently and after my talk with him, he ate. Tsem Rinpoche
This is so true. Click to enlarge and understand more about unpleasant people.
4 weeks ago
This is so true. Click to enlarge and understand more about unpleasant people.
This mahasiddha Kukkuripa is easy to identify as he is accompanied by a small dog whom he loved very much.
4 weeks 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
4 weeks 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
4 weeks 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
4 weeks ago
March 2017-Coaxing my little Mumu boy to eat his meal. He was not well and therefore not hungry. Tsem Rinpoche
Click on picture to enlarge and see what Milarepa says. Profound.
1 month ago
Click on picture to enlarge and see what Milarepa says. Profound.
We are always trying to get somewhere, try something new, find some friends, get some entertainment and in the end we end up in the same place. Time to really practice Dharma seriously and stop wasting time we don\'t have. ~Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
We are always trying to get somewhere, try something new, find some friends, get some entertainment and in the end we end up in the same place. Time to really practice Dharma seriously and stop wasting time we don't have. ~Tsem Rinpoche
March 20, 2017-Mumu is just so adorable with his bright eyes.
1 month ago
March 20, 2017-Mumu is just so adorable with his bright eyes.
More and more people inviting Lord Dorje Shugden home to connect with on their shrines. I am so happy to see this as it will benefit them and their families so much. That is the purpose to be alive which is to benefit others as much as possible. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
More and more people inviting Lord Dorje Shugden home to connect with on their shrines. I am so happy to see this as it will benefit them and their families so much. That is the purpose to be alive which is to benefit others as much as possible. Tsem Rinpoche
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
1 month ago
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
1 month ago
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
The Japanese are very innovative. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
The Japanese are very innovative. Tsem Rinpoche
Read this as it will be interesting
1 month ago
Read this as it will be interesting
Recite this before any meal or drinks for blessings of abundance. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
Recite this before any meal or drinks for blessings of abundance. Tsem Rinpoche
This sacred statue of Buddha is in Nepal brought originally from Tibet and has spoken on many occasions. Very blessed to see this holy image and keep a picture...bless you always. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
This sacred statue of Buddha is in Nepal brought originally from Tibet and has spoken on many occasions. Very blessed to see this holy image and keep a picture...bless you always. Tsem Rinpoche
I love Mumu boy tremendously. We went through so much together for so many years. You are a great being to be with. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
I love Mumu boy tremendously. We went through so much together for so many years. You are a great being to be with. Tsem Rinpoche
Dear everyone, I am sharing this beautiful and modern altar to Dorje Shugden in Malaysia. I am glad to see more and more people creating sacred spaces. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
Dear everyone, I am sharing this beautiful and modern altar to Dorje Shugden in Malaysia. I am glad to see more and more people creating sacred spaces. Tsem Rinpoche
Lhamo Karmo, a female buddha form visualized above the crown of one\'s head at the time of death, to encourage consciousness to leave the body via the crown aperture. From my book \"The Female Buddhas.\"- Glenn Mullin
2 months ago
Lhamo Karmo, a female buddha form visualized above the crown of one's head at the time of death, to encourage consciousness to leave the body via the crown aperture. From my book "The Female Buddhas."- Glenn Mullin
The Tibetan female tulku Dorje Pakmo, from a fresco on the wall of the Dorje Pakmo monastery (Samding) in Tibet, near the Turquoise Lake. In Tibet the Dorje Pakmo was ranked with the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama and Sakya Trizin as the four highest lamas in the country.-from Glenn Mullin
2 months ago
The Tibetan female tulku Dorje Pakmo, from a fresco on the wall of the Dorje Pakmo monastery (Samding) in Tibet, near the Turquoise Lake. In Tibet the Dorje Pakmo was ranked with the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama and Sakya Trizin as the four highest lamas in the country.-from Glenn Mullin
Dharma boy, Mumu boy and Oser girl checking out the scene..cute
2 months ago
Dharma boy, Mumu boy and Oser girl checking out the scene..cute
My Dharma boy has such a cute expression here. He is a good boy!
2 months ago
My Dharma boy has such a cute expression here. He is a good boy!
February 9,2017-My Mumu boy and Oser girl are just relaxing together..super cute
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
3 months ago
This is a good one to read
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ASK A PASTOR


Ask the Pastors

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

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

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

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

Art expression using chalks and papers is an avenue for young children to cultivate positive perspective of life and connect with their artistic or creative side. Stella, KSDS
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Art expression using chalks and papers is an avenue for young children to cultivate positive perspective of life and connect with their artistic or creative side. Stella, KSDS
Children as long as 2 years old are ready to learn up skills and attitude that will help them shape their life. When else will be best to instil them with good Dharma values if not since young? Stella, KSDS
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Children as long as 2 years old are ready to learn up skills and attitude that will help them shape their life. When else will be best to instil them with good Dharma values if not since young? Stella, KSDS
Senior students of the children class of Kechara Sunday Dharma School had their class in the ghompa every Sunday. Stella, KSDS
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Senior students of the children class of Kechara Sunday Dharma School had their class in the ghompa every Sunday. Stella, KSDS
Besides young Karlson and Ern Ern, there are new faces in Kechara Sunday Dharma School 2-4 years old. Stella, KSDS
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Besides young Karlson and Ern Ern, there are new faces in Kechara Sunday Dharma School 2-4 years old. Stella, KSDS
Kechara Sunday Dharma School students 5-6 years old making prostration to Lama Tsongkhapa at the beginning of the class every Sunday. Stella,KSDS
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Kechara Sunday Dharma School students 5-6 years old making prostration to Lama Tsongkhapa at the beginning of the class every Sunday. Stella,KSDS
@KecharaHouse tonite, 48 puja attendees filled the air with a loud chorus of prayer n mantra 2 Dorje Shugden n Setrap!  PHNee
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@KecharaHouse tonite, 48 puja attendees filled the air with a loud chorus of prayer n mantra 2 Dorje Shugden n Setrap! PHNee
A big Thank You to the kind volunteers and to Jace Chong!
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A big Thank You to the kind volunteers and to Jace Chong!
Make your weekend meaningful! Contact Jace Chong to volunteer in Kechara Forest Retreat for the aviaries.
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Make your weekend meaningful! Contact Jace Chong to volunteer in Kechara Forest Retreat for the aviaries.
Thank you to our young volunteer to improve the life of the birds in our aviary!
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Thank you to our young volunteer to improve the life of the birds in our aviary!
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Sunday Dharma class kids learning to take refuge with teacher Alice. Lucy Yap
One of the outdoor activities for KSDS students is to exercise the drawing that near to the nature. Alice Tay, KSDS
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One of the outdoor activities for KSDS students is to exercise the drawing that near to the nature. Alice Tay, KSDS
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Teacher Jesvin explained the camp rules and regulations to the camper. Alice Tay, KSDS
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KSDS teachers and the young participants of WOAH Camp played & have fun together for this game, Self defense and attack. Alice Tay, KSDS
The younger group of KSDS were happy because they're given chance to feel,touch and play the slime. Alice Tay, KSDS
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The younger group of KSDS were happy because they're given chance to feel,touch and play the slime. Alice Tay, KSDS
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Teacher Laura guided the students do meditation. Alice Tay, KSDS
Day break at Kechara Forest Retreat! Sunrise meditation during Inner Reflection Retreat, April 2017
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Day break at Kechara Forest Retreat! Sunrise meditation during Inner Reflection Retreat, April 2017
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Visitors in Kechara Forest Retreat, circumambulating the holy Vajra Yogini Stupa. Picture credit Pastor Gimlee
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