The Magnificent Jetavanaramaya Stupa & the Power of Repentance (Sri Lanka)

Jul 3, 2017 | Views: 756
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The magnificent Jetavanaramaya Stupa.

The magnificent Jetavanaramaya Stupa.

The statue of Mahinda Maha Thero, the son of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka and a great monk who was credited with bringing Buddhism to Sri Lanka.

The statue of Mahinda Maha Thero, the son of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka and a great monk who was credited with bringing Buddhism to Sri Lanka.

The magnificent Jetavanaramaya Stupa in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka is considered as one of the most sacred pilgrimage places in Sri Lanka. The stupa was built on the ground where the legendary Mahinda Maha Thero gave a seven-day discourse on Buddhism. Mahinda Maha Thero was the son of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka and a great monk who brought Buddhism to Sri Lanka. It is also said that part of Buddha Shakyamuni’s belt is buried inside the stupa.

King Mahasena (r. 277 -304 CE) of Anuradhapura (King Mahasena) initiated the construction of Jetavanaramaya Stupa and other structures within the same monastery complex to show remorse for his mistakes in allowing and causing the destruction of Mahavihara, a Theravadan Buddhist monastery. When the original stupa was completed, it was considered as one of the tallest structures in the ancient world behind two pyramids in Giza and the Lighthouse of Alexandria. Even today, many modern engineers were amazed at the ingenuity and the sophisticated engineering techniques that were used to build the stupa and the surrounding structures.

Visitors and pilgrims who visit Jetavanaramaya Stupa would be able to pay homage to the holy object inside the sacred stupa and be inspired by the story of King Mahasena, a great ruler who was able to set aside his ego and recognise his wrongdoings. The grandeur and the beauty of Jetavanaramaya Stupa and the surrounding temple complex are the representations of the king’s sincerity in purifying his misdeeds and negative karma.

Tsem Rinpoche


 

History

 

The Power of Repentance

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Mahavihara, a Theravadan Buddhist monastery in Anuradhapura, was the centre of Buddhism in Sri Lanka until King Valagamba (r. 103 BC and c. 89 – 77 BC) built Abhayagiri Monastery in the 104th century BC. The monks of the new monastery followed the teachings of Dhammaruchi Thero, an Indian Mahayana monk who established Dhammaruchi Nikaya Sect. Due to the differences in the Buddhist doctrines that they followed and the necessity of securing royal patronage, there was a great rivalry between Abhayagiri and Mahavihara.

King Mahasena of Anuradhapura (r. 277 -304 CE).

King Mahasena of Anuradhapura (r. 277 -304 CE).

The rivalry between the two great monasteries reached its peak in the 3rd century CE during the reign of King Mahasena. King Gothabhaya (r. 254 – 267 CE) of Anuradhapura, the father of King Mahasena, was a patron of Mahavihara Monastery. The king issued the policies against the monks of Abhayagiri Monastery and forced them to live in exile in India. One of the banished monks, Sangamitta Thero, decided to return to Anuradhapura and turn around the situation in his favour. King Gothabhaya came to trust this cunning monk, and the king assigned him to be the tutor of his sons, Prince Jetthatissa and Prince Mahasena. Upon the passing of King Gothabhaya, Prince Jetthatissa (r. 266-276 CE) became the king of Anuradhapura, and just like his father, he was a supporter of Mahavihara Monastery.

In 276 CE, King Jetthatissa passed away, and his brother, Prince Mahasena, became the king of Anuradhapura. Unlike his father and elder brother, King Mahasena was very close with his tutor, Sangamitta Thero, who used this opportunity to change the royal’s allegiance from Mahavihara Monastery to Abhayagiri Monastery. According to Mahavamsa, the chronicles of Sri Lankan kings that was written in the 5th century CE, Sangamitta Thero said the following to King Mahasena:

The dwellers in the Mahavihara do not teach the (true) vinaya, we are those who teach the (true) vinaya, O king

http://lakdiva.org/mahavamsa/chap037.html

He also managed to persuade the king that the monks of Mahavihara should be prevented from receiving alms from the public because they lacked discipline. As a result, King Mahasena introduced a penalty for his subjects who chose to help the monks of Mahavihara Monastery:

Whosoever gives food to a bhikkhu dwelling in the Mahavihara is liable to a fine of a hundred (pieces of money).

http://lakdiva.org/mahavamsa/chap037.html

The ruins of Abhayagiri Monastery.

The ruins of Abhayagiri Monastery.

Due to this new policy, the monks of Mahavihara fell into want. They had to abandon their monastery and move to Rohana and Malaya Rata. After the monastery was abandoned, Sangamitta Thero, Minister Sona, and several other shameless monks proceeded to loot Mahavihara and transferred the valuable items, including the content of magnificent seven-story assembly hall (Lohapasada), and various building material to Abhayagiri Monastery. The land of the Mahavihara Monastery was then utilised for farming activities. According to Nikayasangaraha, a Sinhalese Buddhist chronicle:

Not being satisfied with the sinful destruction of Mahavihara Monastery, the land was ploughed and planted with a grain called Undu in Sinhalese [Vigna Mungo] or Urad in Hindi.

http://www.mysrilankaholidays.com/jetavana-dagoba.html

Unhappy with the suppression and the looting of Mahavihara, one of the King Mahasena’s ministers and dear friend, Meghavannabhaya decided to rebel. He raised an army and camped near Duratissaka tank. King Mahasena came with his army to face his friend. According to Mahavamsa, one night as Minister Meghavannabhaya was eating his dinner, he thought of his friend, King Mahasena, “I will not enjoy [the food] without my friend the king.” Therefore, in good faith, he went alone to the place where King Mahasena and his army set up their camp. The king had dinner with Minister Meghavannabhaya, and the following conversation took place:

King Mahasena: Why hast thou become a rebel?
Minister Meghavannabhaya: Because the Mahavihara has been destroyed by thee.

http://lakdiva.org/mahavamsa/chap037.html

King Mahasena realised his wrongdoing and pledged to build another monastery on the former site of Mahavihara Monastery. According to Mahavamsa, King Mahasena said, “[I] will make the vihara to be dwelt in yet again; forgive me my fault.” Minister Meghavannabhaya and King Mahasena reconciled their friendship. After the pleasant meeting, King Mahasena returned to the capital, while Minister Meghavannabhaya proceeded to collect the necessary material to build several monastic colleges (parivenas) on the former site of Mahavihara Monastery.

To prevent Sangamitta Thero from influencing the king once again, one of King Mahasena’s wives ordered a labourer to murder the monk who had caused so much destruction to the Theravadan Buddhist tradition. A group of people who were unhappy with the destruction of Mahavihara monastery also made sure that the evil Minister Sona met his end. After the demise of Sangamitta Thero and Minister Sona, the monks of Mahavihara returned to the former site of their monastery to participate in the rebuilding effort.

True to his promise, King Mahasena initiated the building of Jetavanaramaya Stupa and other structures on the former site of Mahavihara Monastery. The stupa construction took between 15 and 27 years to complete. King Mahasena passed away before the stupa was completed, and his son, King Sirimeghavanna (r. 304 – 332 CE) continued with the construction effort. Initially, King Sirimeghavanna offered the monastery to a monk named Tissa. Unfortunately, Venerable Tissa committed an offence and was found guilty. Consequently, he was disrobed and expelled from the sangha community. Subsequent to the event, Sagalika Sect, a branch of Theravadan Buddhism, was entrusted with the administration of the new monastery complex.

Jetavanaramaya Stupa was one of the tallest structures in the ancient world.

Jetavanaramaya Stupa was one of the tallest structures in the ancient world.

According to the legend, Buddha Shakyamuni’s belt was buried inside Jetavanaramaya Stupa. In addition, it is said that the stupa was built on the former site of Nandana Pleasure Garden where Mahinda Maha Thero delivered a seven-day teaching on Buddhism. After the event, the garden was known as Jotivana, the place where the holy one made the true doctrine shines forth. Mahinda Maha Thero was also known as Dipajotaka (Light of Lanka).

In the 6th century CE, Juma, a Sri Lankan merchant, offered a Mahayana book on Dhammadatu that he obtained from Benares, India to King Silakala Ambosamanera (King Silakala) (r. 526 – 539 CE) of Anuradhapura. Upon reading this book, King Silakala initiated an annual Dhammadatu celebration. Unhappy with the Mahayana origins of the event, the monks of Jetavanaramaya boycotted the festival. Fortunately, the conflict ended peacefully when the monks of Abhayagiri Monastery managed to convince the monks of Jetavanaramaya Monastery to participate in the festival. During the reign of King Aggabodhi I (r. 564 – 598 CE), the monks of Jetavanaramaya defeated the monks of Abhayagiri in a public debate. Since then, Jetavanaramaya was recognised as the centre of Buddhism in Anuradhapura.

 

About King Mahasena of Anuradhapura

Minneriya Tank, one of the great achievements of King Mahasena. After he passed away, his subjects believed that he was reborn as Minneriya Deviyo.

Minneriya Tank, one of the great achievements of King Mahasena. After he passed away, his subjects believed that he was reborn as Minneriya Deviyo.

During his lifetime, King Mahasena was known as a great builder. In addition to Jetavanaramaya Stupa, which was the architectural wonder of the ancient time, he restored many ruined buildings and built many other temples such as Manihira Vihara, Migagma Vihara, Gangasenakapabbata Vihara, Dhatusenapabbata Vihara, Thuarama Vihara, Hulapitthi Vihara, Uttara Nunnery, Abhara Nunnery, and a vihara in Kokavata. King Mahasena was also known to have destroyed at least three Brahmanical god temples: Gokanna Vihara, a vihara in Erakavilla, and a vihara in Brahman Kalanda Village.

During his lifetime, King Mahasena made great improvements in the irrigation system in the present-day Sri Lanka. He built a canal, Pabbatanta, and over 17 water tanks:

  1. Mahagama
  2. Manihira
  3. Khanu
  4. Mahamani
  5. Kokavata
  6. Dhammaramma
  7. Kumbalaka
  8. Vahana
  9. Rattamalakandaka
  10. Tissavaddhamanaka
  11. Velangacitthi
  12. Mahagallaka
  13. Cira
  14. Mahadaragallaka
  15. Kalapasana
  16. Challura

King Mahasena had built the finest water reservoirs and irrigation systems in the ancient world, and some of them are still in use today. One of his greatest achievements was the building of Minneriya Tank. The tank was 13 m (42.65 ft) tall and covered the area of 4,670 acres (18.9 km2). The tank could hold approximately 20 billion gallons of water. Due to this achievement, after his passing, it is believed that King Mahasena was reborn as the God of Minneriya (Minneriya Deviyo).

The ruins of King Mahasena’s palace in Anuradhapura.

The ruins of King Mahasena’s palace in Anuradhapura.

 

The Dark Ages

Raja Raja Chola I, the Chola invader who caused destructions to many Buddhist monuments in the present-day Sri Lanka.

Raja Raja Chola I, the Chola invader who caused destructions to many Buddhist monuments in the present-day Sri Lanka.

During the reign of King Mahinda V (r. 982 – 1017 CE) of Anuradhapura, the kingdom was in decline. The king was weak and unable to collect taxes. As a result, there was no sufficient fund to pay the army, and his soldiers refused to follow instructions. Therefore, when the Chola invaders under the leadership of Raja Raja Chola I (r. 985 – 1014 CE) came, Anuradhapura was easily defeated, and King Mahinda V escaped to Ruhuna in 993 CE. The Chola invaders later caught the unfortunate king and transported him to India where he died in prison. Raja Raja Chola I moved the capital city from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa and renamed it as Jananathamangalam.

In 1070 CE, King Vijayabahu I (r. 1055 – 1110 CE) of Polonnaruwa managed to defeat the Chola invaders and re-establish Buddhism as the main religion in the present-day Sri Lanka. In the 12th century, King Parakramabahu (r. 1153 – 1186 CE) of Polonnaruwa made an attempt to renovate Jetavanaramaya Stupa. The king rebuilt the stupa at 71 m (232 ft.), a fraction of its original height of 122 m (400 ft.). However, eventually, Anuradhapura was abandoned as Polonnaruwa became the centre of governance in Sri Lanka, and the ancient city was covered with jungle.

 

Restoration Attempts

Jetavanaramaya Stupa prior to the restoration.

Jetavanaramaya Stupa prior to the restoration.

In the 19th century, British colonialist discovered the ruined city of Anuradhapura that was covered with jungle overgrowth and promoted it as a site for Buddhist pilgrimage. In 1909, Atamasthana Committee, the governance body of the eight sacred places in Sri Lanka that included Jetavanaramaya Stupa, gave approval for a monk from Sailabimbaramaya Temple, Kumbukee Dhammarama, to clear Jetavanaramaya Monastery Complex from jungle shrub. The approval was canceled when Kumbukee Dhammarama decided to settle down. After the failed attempt to restore Jetavanaramaya Monastery Complex, another monk by the name of Palannaruwe Sobita decided to take on the restoration project and obtained the permission from Atamasthana Committee to resume the clearing activities. However, the permission was once again withdrawn for unknown reasons. When Palannaruwe Sobita refused to abandon the premise, Atamasthana Committee initiated the necessary legal procedures to evict him.

In 1981, UNESCO took the task of renovating the Jetavanaramaya Monastery Complex as part of UNESCO-Sri Lanka Cultural Triangle Sites project, which consisted of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, and Sigiriya. The bricks used in restoring the stupa are the exact mixture as the bricks used in the original stupa. Archaeologists who were involved in this project have unearthed artefacts that indicated the existence of contacts and trading activities between Sri Lanka and India, Mediterranean, and other far eastern countries. Until today, the conservation effort to revive the stupa and other structures in the monastery complex to their ancient glory is still far from completion.

The pictures below illustrate the progress of Jetavanaramaya Stupa restoration effort throughout the years:

Jetavanaramaya Stupa in 1994.

Jetavanaramaya Stupa in 1994.

Jetavanaramaya Stupa in 2001.

Jetavanaramaya Stupa in 2001.

Jetavanaramaya Stupa in 2015.

Jetavanaramaya Stupa in 2015.

 

About Jetavanaramaya Stupa

 

Jetavanaramaya Stupa in Anuradhapura

Or view the video on the server at:
http://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/JethawanaramayaAnuradhapura.mp4

At the time it was built, Jetavanaramaya Stupa was the largest monument in Sri Lanka (122 m or 400 ft) and the fourth tallest pyramidal structure in the world behind the Pyramid of Khufu (147 m or 482.28 ft) and Pyramid of Khafre (144 m or 472.44 ft), and the Great Lighthouse of Alexandria (140 m or 459.31 ft).

Approximately, 93.3 million baked bricks were used to build this magnificent monument. According to James Emerson, a 19th century British writer, in his book, Ceylon:

[Jetavanaramaya] Stupa contained a volume of bricks sufficient to raise eight thousand houses each with twenty feet frontage, line an ordinary railway tunnel twenty miles long, or form a wall one foot in thickness and ten feet in height, reaching from London to Edinburgh.

https://lanka.com/about/attractions/jetavana-monastery/

Approximately, 93.3 million baked bricks were used to build this magnificent monument.

Approximately, 93.3 million baked bricks were used to build this magnificent monument.

However, since it was rebuilt the stupa’s height is 71 m (232 ft). The stupa stands on a raised platform with 233,000 m2 (2,508,000 square ft) base-area. There are 9-m wide stairs at each cardinal point to access the stone paved terrace. The front entrances that lead to the sand terrace are called valimaluva, and the inner walls, which in the past had been used to carry four altars and four parts of elephants, are known as ayakas. Jetavanaramaya Stupa was surrounded by vahalkada, the dressed stone-walls that were about 2.4 m (7.87 ft) tall.

The nine-metre wide stairs to access the stone paved terrace of Jetavanaramaya Stupa.

The nine-metre wide stairs to access the stone paved terrace of Jetavanaramaya Stupa.

The length of the stupa is 176 m (576 ft), and the door to the shrine is 8 m (27 ft) tall. The foundation of the stupa is 8.5 m (28 ft) deep. There are stone inscriptions in the courtyard that contains information about the stupa and the monastery complex including the sponsors who donated for the building of the structure.

Address:
Indiya, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
Opening hours: 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Entrance fee: Free

Jetavanaramaya Stupa and the surrounding monastery complex is also known as: Jetavana Viharaya, Jethawanaramaya, Jetavanaya, Jethawanaya, Jetawanaramaya, Jethawana Viharaya, Jetawanaya, Jethavanaramaya, Jetawana Viharaya, Jethavanaya, and Jethavana Viharaya.

The stone inscriptions in Jetavanaramaya Monastery Complex.

The stone inscriptions in Jetavanaramaya Monastery Complex.

In 2004, the archaeologists restored a 10th century stone slab inscription in Jetavanaramaya Monastery Complex.

In 2004, the archaeologists restored a 10th century stone slab inscription in Jetavanaramaya Monastery Complex.

 

Engineering and Construction

 

The Construction Methodology of Jetavanaramaya Stupa

Or view the video on the server at:
http://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/JetavanaramayaConstructionMethodology.mp4

The construction of Jetavanaramaya Stupa marked a significant milestone in the development of Sri Lanka’s engineering techniques. The ancient engineers of Anuradhapura Kingdom had figured out on how to design and develop huge structures such as bridges and stupas:

  1. The methods of laying out foundation were perfected.
  2. The load bearing capabilities of the frame and structures were calculated correctly.
  3. The domes, vaults, and arches were properly constructed.

According to Nimal de Silva, a Sri Lankan architect:

…that in most of the major works, the systems used were unique and indigenous. … the perfect linear arrangements seen in the ancient cities showed that engineering plans had been prepared. Construction work … had been supervised. Labour was paid for, and various necessities, such as food and clothing were provided at the workplace.

http://www.lankalibrary.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=4568

Generally, the ancient architects built stupas on top of a solid foundation such as a bed of rock. The dome material consisted of baked bricks or earth fill or a combination of both. The ancient stupas are usually in the shape of a paddy heap, either round or ellipsoid, because this shape facilitates the necessary load bearing in the construction of a large structure. For example, the shape of Jetavanaramaya Stupa is ellipsoid. According to Mahavamsa, the ancient builders used copper sheets, arsenic, and sesame oil to cover the foundation surface to prevent intrusion from plants and insects for Jetavanaramaya Stupa. Assuming the stupa construction took between 15 and 27 years to complete, hundreds of skilled engineers and labourers (i.e., stonemasons, bricklayers, and brickyard workers) would have been involved in the building process.

As one of the tallest structures in the ancient world, Jetavanaramaya Stupa is a proof of the advanced engineering and construction skills of the ancient Anuradhapura Kingdom. The foundation of the stupa is 8.5 m (27.88 ft) deep and planted on a bed of rock. The 93.3 million baked bricks that were used to build the stupa could withstand 281 kg load/ square inch. The bricks consisted of the following mixture:

  • 60% fine sand; and
  • 35% clay.

One of the bricks’ surfaces was made irregular to trap the bonding material and limit any movement. The dome was made of the combination of earth fill, half bricks, and full bricks. According to Mahavamsa, when laying out the foundation for the stupa, any cracks and opening were filled with stones, and elephants were utilised to stamp down the openings that have been filled. Leather bindings were used to protect the elephants’ feet.

During the building of Jetavanaramaya Stupa, elephants were used to stamp down the openings that have been filled.

During the building of Jetavanaramaya Stupa, elephants were used to stamp down the openings that have been filled.

The ancient engineers used a mixture of sieved sand, clay, limestones, and dolomite as a bonding material. A type of pliable clay was used as an element within the bonding material to accommodate potential structural movements.
After the foundation and the dome had been completed, the surface of the stupa was covered with plaster as a waterproofing measure. The plaster was made from glues, oils, plant resin, sand, clay, pebbles, sugar, syrup, seashells, coconut water, and egg whites.

 

About Jetavanaramaya Monastery Complex

 

The Illustration of the Jetavanaramaya Monastery Complex Before the Fall of Anuradhapura Kingdom

Or view the video on the server at:
http://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/IllustrationOfJetavanaramayaMonasteryComplex.mp4

Since King Mahasena established Jetavanaramaya Monastery Complex in the 3rd century, subsequent Anuradhapura kings continued to expand and improve the monastery complex. The complex stood on 48 hectares of land. Jetavanaramaya was named after Jetvana Monastery in Savatthi, Northern India where Buddha Shakyamuni stayed for 19 years and gave the majority of his teachings and discourses.

The ruins of Jetvana Monastery in Savatthi, Northern India where Buddha Shakyamuni stayed for 19 years and gave the majority of his teachings and discourses.

The ruins of Jetvana Monastery in Savatthi, Northern India where Buddha Shakyamuni stayed for 19 years and gave the majority of his teachings and discourses.

The main structure in the monastery complex was the magnificent Jetavanaramaya Stupa. A string of residential colleges surrounded the stupa. The entrances of these colleges were facing the stupa. In addition to the above, there are four other main buildings in Jetavanaramaya Monastery Complex:

  • To the north of the stupa, there was an assembly hall (sannipatasala).
  • To the west of the stupa, there was an image house (patimaghara).
  • To the south of the stupa, there was a chapter house (uposathagara).
  • To the east of the stupa, there was a canteen or refectory (danasala).

Based on the size of the refectory, it is estimated that approximately 3,000 resident Buddhist monks stayed in the monastery complex at one time. Other than the stupa, the first structure in Jetavanaramaya Monastery complex was built on the northern side of the stupa. However, this area has largely remained unexplored. The buildings and the structures were gradually expanded to the southern and eastern parts of the complex.

The ruins of Jetavanaramaya Monastery Complex in Sri Lanka.

The ruins of Jetavanaramaya Monastery Complex in Sri Lanka.

The ornate stone columns found in Jetavanaramaya Monastery Complex.

The ornate stone columns found in Jetavanaramaya Monastery Complex.

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Four Entrances to the Courtyard

Jetavanaramaya Stupa was built on an enormous raised platform that originally had four entrances (vahalkadas). Currently, two of the four vahalkadas have been excavated, and the southern entrance was the most elaborate with the carving of elephant heads, cobra king (nagaraja) and an unidentified female figure. It is said that:

  • A seven-headed cobra represents a naga god.
  • A five-headed cobra represents a naga king.
  • A three-headed cobra represents a naga queen.
  • A single-headed cobra represents a naga.
The picture on the left shows the carving of the seven-headed cobra that represents a naga god, and the picture on the right shows the carvings of naga and nagini on vahalkada.

The picture on the left shows the carving of the seven-headed cobra that represents a naga god, and the picture on the right shows the carvings of naga and nagini on vahalkada.

Nagas have played an important role within the Hindu and Buddhist religions in the Sinhalese culture. Consequently, there are naga related vocabularies in Sinhalese such as Nagara (the dwelling place of the nagas) and Naagariika (to live like the nagas). It is said that the nagas have yellowish skin colour and flat nose.

In the eastern entrance, there were carvings of graceful female figures wearing elaborate and revealing attire.

The remains of vahalkada, the dressed stone-walls that surrounded Jetavanaramaya Stupa.

The remains of vahalkada, the dressed stone-walls that surrounded Jetavanaramaya Stupa.

Various carvings on vahalkada.

Various carvings on vahalkada.

 

Assembly Hall (Sannipatasala)

To the north of the stupa, there was an assembly hall which functioned as the gathering place for the sangha.

 

Jetavana Museum

Jetavana Museum

Jetavana Museum

Jetavana Museum houses various artefacts from the 2nd century BC to the last quarter of the 3rd century. Most of these objects were recovered during the excavation process such as carvings, of Buddha statues, guard stones, jewellery, ear ornaments, ivory carvings, bangles, pottery, three-tiered urinal pot, precious stones (e.g., amethyst and garnet), imported and local ceramics, over 300,000 beads of various materials (e.g., agate, crystal, stone, glass, clay, carnelian, bone, ivory, silver, gold, shell, and bronze), Hindu and Buddhist ritual objects, Roman and Indian coins, and painted slab of stones.

Beautifully carved guard stones in Jetavanaramaya Monastery Complex.

Beautifully carved guard stones in Jetavanaramaya Monastery Complex.

The pavilion outside the museum contains additional stone sculptures, guard stones, and elephants. Most of the excavated objects are of fine craftsmanship. The archaeologists found most of the artefacts within the clay layer between the base and upper platforms. Due to the many objects that were recovered, the artefacts were nicknamed Jetavana Treasure.

The variety and origins of the objects of Jetavana Treasure such Indian and Roman coins and ceramics from other Asian regions (i.e., West Asia, North Asia, and China) show that in the past, Anuradhapura Kingdom had trading and diplomatic relationship with other foreign countries.

The stone sculptures at Jetavana Museum.

The stone sculptures at Jetavana Museum.

In the 1980s, the archaeologists from Central Cultural Fund (CCF) found approximately 50 perforated animals’ teeth (i.e., crocodile, mongoose, dog, fishing cats, civet, bear, porcupine, and leopard) in Jetavanaramaya Monastery complex. The holes in these teeth suggested that in the past, they had been used as ornaments. The shape of the holes also indicated the sophisticated technology that was used to perforate these teeth. According to Manamendra-Arachchi and Thusitha Mendis from the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Management, Rajarata University, and Anslem de Silva, the former head of Department of Community Medicine, University of Peradeniya:

’[The teeth] may have been used as a necklace, arguably worn by a hunter.’ … Another possibility is that the hunter who had killed these animals may have made a vow and placed these hunting trophies on the offering altar to the Lord Buddha, pledging never to hunt again, they add.

http://www.sundaytimes.lk/130526/plus/giving-teeth-to-crocodile-connection-from-the-past-46059.html

In 2013, the above findings were discussed at the World Crocodile Conference in Negombo, Sri Lanka.

Perforated crocodile tooth that was found in Jetavanaramaya Monastery Complex.

Perforated crocodile tooth that was found in Jetavanaramaya Monastery Complex.

 

Buddhist Railing

Behind Jetavana Museum, there is a three-tiered rectangular fence that represents the three jewels (i.e., the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha). In the centre of each side, there is an entrance. In the past, the railing was enclosed to the image house, and the rows of columns had been used to hold a superstructure.

Jetavana Museum is located on the southern side of Jetavanaramaya Monastery Complex, and it opens daily from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

 

Jetavanaramaya Image House (Patimaghara)

The ruins of Jetavanaramaya Image House (Patimaghara).

The ruins of Jetavanaramaya Image House (Patimaghara).

To the west of the stupa, there was a vaulted Image House and the biggest of its kind in Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa Era. It is said that King Sena I of Anuradhapura (r. 846 – 866 CE) built this image house. The monolithic door to enter this image house was 8.3 m (27 ft) tall, and the building was 15.25 m (50 ft) tall. A lotus base found inside the chamber indicates that there was a huge Buddha statue enshrined in this image house. Considering the size of the building, archaeologists estimated that the statue was 11.3 m (37 ft) tall. The Chola invaders destroyed the image house and the huge Buddha statue within.

A lotus base that was found inside the image house indicates that there was a huge Buddha statue enshrined in that place.

A lotus base that was found inside the image house indicates that there was a huge Buddha statue enshrined in that place.

 

Chapter House (Uposathagara)

To the south of the stupa, there was a Chapter House. This was the place where the monks gathered to meditate, discuss about religious texts, and perform religious rites. The Chapter House also functioned as an assembly hall, where the monks who violated the monastery’s codes of conduct confessed under the guidance of the senior monks.

The ruins of the Chapter House (Uposathagara).

The ruins of the Chapter House (Uposathagara).

 

Refectory (Danasala)

To the east of the stupa, there was a refectory in the form of a stone-paved courtyard. The excavation revealed that there was a large canoe shape trough that was used to serve rice, and a smaller one that was used to serve porridge. The larger trough could fit the rice for 3,000 monks.

 

Monks Living Quarters (Pancavasa)

Monk living quarters were located to the southwest of Jetavanaramaya stupa. A larger building was built in the centre surrounded by four smaller buildings. The larger building was reserved for senior monks, and the smaller buildings were reserved for the other monks. All the living quarters had elegant steps decorated with moonstones, balustrades, and guard stones.

 

The Cremation Chamber of Mahinda Maha Thero

Recently, the archaeologists found a 1 m (3.28 ft) wall made of bricks next to a layer of charcoal and ashes. It is believed that this was the cremation chamber of Mahinda Maha Thero.

The garden in Jetavanaramaya Monastery Complex.

The garden in Jetavanaramaya Monastery Complex.

 

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Anuradhapura is during the dry season between January and October. However, visitors may experience hot and strong winds in the month of June and July.

 

How to Get There

Anuradhapura is located in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka.

Anuradhapura is located in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka.

Anuradhapura city map that shows the location of Jetavanaramaya Stupa and other ancient structures in the city.

Anuradhapura city map that shows the location of Jetavanaramaya Stupa and other ancient structures in the city. Click on the image to enlarge.

Anuradhapura, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is approximately five hours from Colombo by bus, or four hours drive by private vehicles. The A9 highway will lead you in and out of the city. Visitors can also opt to travel to the city by train. Upon arrival in the ancient city of Anuradhapura, visitors can explore the city by foot, or travel by tuk-tuk or local busses. You can get from one end of town to the other within 30 minutes because the town is relatively small.

 

Accommodation

The ancient city of Anuradhapura is another popular tourist destination and despite its relatively small size, has many hotels offering accommodation for visitors. Below are just some of the several places available. It is recommended that you do further research to find accommodation that is suitable for your needs.

1. Heritage Hotel

The hotel, which is located in the heart of Anuradhapura, offers 50 well-equipped guest rooms with a modern touch and comfortable interior.

Address:
Galwala Road | Pothanegama,
Anuradhapura 50000, Sri Lanka
Phone: +94 25 2 237806
Website: http://www.heritagehotel.lk

2. Milano Tourist Rest

The hotel is located in the heart of Anuradhapura, and it offers 16 spacious and comfortable rooms with modern amenities.

Address:
596 /40, Stage 01
Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
Phone: +94 25 2 222364
Website: http://www.milanotouristrest.com

The magnificent Jetavanaramaya Stupa at night.

The magnificent Jetavanaramaya Stupa at night.

 

Sources:

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jetavanaramaya
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atamasthana
  • http://lakdiva.org/mahavamsa/chap037.html
  • http://www.lankalibrary.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=4568
  • http://amazinglanka.com/wp/jethavanaramaya/
  • http://www.srilankatravelguide.lk/index.php/2015/11/24/jethavanaramaya-patima-ghara-the-image-house/
  • https://kingdoms2015.wordpress.com/jethavanaramaya-2/
  • http://www.angelfire.com/in4/anuradhapura/jethavana.htm
  • https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/anuradhapura-sight-seen-jethavanaramaya-thilanka-thamel
  • https://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/jethavanaramaya/
  • http://imagessrilanka.blogspot.my/search/label/Jethavanaramaya
  • http://apurahistory.blogspot.my/2009/10/jethavanaramaya.html
  • https://www.wisdomlib.org/definition/sagalika
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahinda_(Buddhist_monk)
  • http://www.cyriltours.com/destinationdetails.php?id=169
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solosmasthana
  • http://www.sundaytimes.lk/070429/Plus/017_pls.html
  • http://www.sundaytimes.lk/130526/plus/giving-teeth-to-crocodile-connection-from-the-past-46059.html
  • http://tissawewa.com/an-ancient-city
  • http://srilankaembassy.com.pl/en/sri-lanka/national-festivals/duruthu-poya/
  • http://srilanka-almanac.com/sri_lanka_almanac_jethavanaaraama_dhaageba_portal/diagrams_illustrations/plan.html
  • http://www.leisuretravelsrilanka.com/-blog/archives/07-2014
  • http://srilankaancientcity.blogspot.no/p/anuradhapura_14.html
  • https://www.pledgeholidays.com/jethawanaramaya-stupa
  • http://www.mysrilankaholidays.com/jetavana-dagoba.html
  • http://www.sasrutha.com/article/377918/jethawanaramaya-ජේතවන-විහාරය-amazinglankacom/
  • https://lanka.com/about/attractions/jetavana-monastery/
  • https://sreejithv.com/2016/07/24/tallest-stupa-ancient-world-jethawanaramaya-dagoba-anuradhapura-sri-lanka/
  • http://mysltravel.com/place-to-visit/anuradhapura/sights/jethawanaramaya-of-anuradhapura-kingdom/
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMkDREgKZEs
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGCqy9eVJFk
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cCi4-agHX8
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Z83IG-10-E
  • https://weepingredorger.wordpress.com/2015/06/22/jetavanaramaya-anuradhapura/
  • http://amazinglanka.com/wp/abayagiri-monastery/
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahinda_V_of_Anuradhapura
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raja_Raja_Chola_I
  • https://www.cheops-pyramide.ch/khufu-pyramid/khufu-numbers.html
  • http://www.nationalgeographic.com/pyramids/khafre.html
  • http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=125850
  • http://roadslesstravelledsrilanka.com/news/ancient-jetavana-monastery
  • https://nashaplaneta.net/en/asia/srilanka/anuradhapura-dostoprimechatelnosti

 

For more interesting links:

 

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46 Responses to The Magnificent Jetavanaramaya Stupa & the Power of Repentance (Sri Lanka)

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  1. sweekeong on Oct 12, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    At Colombo Harbour there is a unique stupa, Sambodhi Chaithya. The stupa is built on of interlocking arches at entrance of Marina Drive. When you walk or drive through the road you would go under the stupa.

    srilanka-Colombo-Fort-Sambodhi-Chaithya-Temple

  2. सुरज केसि on Sep 11, 2017 at 10:26 am

    Wow it is very nice and histrolical.

  3. Choong on Sep 9, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    The history of this magnificent stupa describes very well the pitfalls of sectarianism. May its lessons stay with us forever.

  4. Joy Kam on Sep 9, 2017 at 4:17 am

    This blog post is interesting because it shows not only the magnificent engineering skills and architecture of Sri Lanka in ancient times. But what I absolutely love the most was the story of how King Mahasena repented after realising what he did was wrong and created this sacred stupa, along with many other holy monuments.

    By the power of regret, remorse and doing the opposite, he managed to purify his negative karma and was said to reborn as the God of Minneriya. This King reminds me of King Ashoka building all the great monuments in India!

    Now that I know more about the sacredness of this Stupa, and many significant holy sites in Sri Lanka, I appreciate the beautiful country even more and makes me wish to go on a longer pilgrimage trip to Sri Lanka one day. It is actually a very calm and relaxing country, low profile and rich in cultural heritage.

  5. Pastor Lanse on Sep 8, 2017 at 5:41 pm

    读过这篇文章,纵然深深为阿努拉德普勒古城的祗陀林大佛塔的宏伟建筑所折服,却也感慨人性的贪婪和仇恨,导致耗时不下二十年,动用无数人力物力辛苦建成的大佛塔几乎从此消失人间。平民百姓的私心和贪欲固然无法避免,那需要长时间的教育和整个社会的推动和影响。但身为君主或领袖,若依然受到私心的影响,重私情多于子民,重仇恨多于大局,加上昏庸无明,易受人挑拨,国家必然走向灭亡。

    宗教与政治看似无关,却息息相关。纵观历史,佛教兴衰自古都受到政治的影响,大至国家政局,小至宗教流派,甚至僧团、信众间的小众政治,都能决定一个宗教在一个国家、区域、寺院、乃至社团中的存活。政治的稳定,则取决于领导者是否英明果断、平等爱民。

    祗陀林佛塔的缘起,始于摩诃斯那国王误受邪师影响,摧毁了另一教派寺院后所做出的忏悔和补偿。所幸国王愿意反思、勇于承认错误,并当机立断做出补偿,才有了这座佛塔。

    文章中有一段文字引起了我的注意,事实上,那是整篇文章中最令我动容的一段文字。

    According to Nimal de Silva, a Sri Lankan architect:

    …that in most of the major works, the systems used were unique and indigenous. … the perfect linear arrangements seen in the ancient cities showed that engineering plans had been prepared. Construction work … had been supervised. Labour was paid for, and various necessities, such as food and clothing were provided at the workplace.

    大意是一位现代斯里兰卡建筑师对祗陀林大佛坛进行了仔细的研究之后,发现佛塔的建筑使用了独特的系统,不但工程事先经过精心策划,施工过程得到良好的监督,工人福利如衣食住行等也都被妥善照顾。

    这位建筑师短短的一段评论,让我们看到摩诃斯那国王在建筑佛塔时,并不一味为了补偿自己的过错和完成目标,强迫和剥削人民帮他完成佛塔工程,好让他可以坐享其成地“补偿”自己的过错。过程中,他确保一切人、事、物都被妥善照顾,以实际行动和用心显示了真正的忏悔之心。提醒我们完成目标固然重要,但更重要的发心和行动。只有言行一致、贯彻始终才可能带来真正的成功。

    佛塔今日虽已没落,但佛塔的历史却足以让我们学习和借鉴。摩诃斯那国王所为完全是贯彻了佛教中四对治力:诚心忏悔、依止三宝、用实际行动净业和补偿、决心不再重犯。正由于国王认真忏悔和补偿的决心,整个在当时几乎是不可能完成的巨大工程才得以圆满竣工。

  6. Cynthia Lee on Sep 8, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    Archaeological wonders such as Jetavanaramaya Stupa that was built without sophisticated physics, mathematics and tools has always amazed me. It appears so that most ancient buildings are built for love and devotion. I wonder and at the same time most certain that without such deep devotion, these buildings may not arise.

    Example with the King Mahasena, his drive to show repent and remorse has resulted in an important Buddhist ancient structure. His devotion to Buddhism kept him tireless in purifying his negative karma. Such stories is inspiring that building a place a worship can indeed help with our next rebirth.

  7. Abby f on Sep 8, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    What the king has done to purify his misdeeds is impressive. For destroying a Buddhist monastery, the building of a big stupa that holds the Dharma is necessary and his action shows no ego. And the king’s remorse is not just merely words but something that is so beneficial that lasts until today and still benefiting people.

    Holy sites gives us faith for practicing the holy Dharma because we know there were the times where the attained practitioners did their practices here and gain attainments, and if we do the same, we will see attainments as well. As Rinpoche said before, going to holy sites to get blessings, the blessings are to open up our imprints of Dharma. The energy at the holy sites definitely have the power to open up our Dharma imprints because the chanting, studying, practicing of Dharma at the holy sites are too overwhelming.

  8. Chon Kong on Sep 8, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    Very beneficial post .The story of huge and spectacular Jetavanaramaya stupa, tells more about how important and powerful to purify our karma. Stupa can purify our negative karma, blessing of the surrounding environment.This largest stupa is a symbol of the power of repentance, it can make the Dharma teaching sustainability.

  9. Wei Theng on Sep 8, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    The photos of this Jetavanaramaya Stupa (祗陀林佛塔) is breathtaking! It is so huge and it is still one of the largest stupas of the world and the Buddhist pilgrimage site for Sri Lanka with Buddha lyrics. There were also once have 10,000 monks staying in there!

    Reading the history of the stupas, it showed me how due to politics and greed for power and material gain, it causes conflicts as well as causing the harm and the destruction of one sect or monastery and also the religion.

    It also stood up to me the power of repentance that King Mahasena realised his wrong doing and build the stupa to purify his karma and he was reborn as the God of Minneriya (Minneriya Deviyo).
    There is so much benefits in making stupas and i am fortunate that I am closed to the Vajrayogini Stupa in Kechara Forest Retreat that I can frequently circumambulate to purify my negative karma as well as collect merits.
    In Rinpoche’s blog post, there is also a post that shares about the benefits of making stupas as well as different types of stupas. http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/10-articles-on-stupas-contest.html

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing the history and story of this stupa and may I able to do pilgrimage there. Hope one day we will also have a huge stupa like this Jetavanaramaya Stupa in KFR that will benefit a lot of people who visit it.

  10. Wah Ying on Sep 7, 2017 at 10:59 pm

    From introducing the largest stupa in Sri Lanka, this blog article tells more about the power of repentance. We all make mistakes, but is as long as we are able to let go of our ego and remorse, with Buddhism’s Four Opponent Powers, we are able to purify our bad karma. In this case, the King Mahensena has destroy the monastery and sangha community. But he managed to purify one of this five heinous crimes (create schism), which would make one reborn in Avici hell, but he took a better rebirth by remorsing over what he did and build the stupa especially. This shows how important and powerful to purify our karma according to the Four Opponent Powers.

  11. Lew on Sep 7, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    There are many articles in this blog of different types of pilgrimage places. I thank Rinpoche for informing us different types of pilgrimage places because we all have different likings and preferences, and out of all the different types of pilgrimage places, the chances of us finding what we like definitely increase.

    Personally I really like ancient cities, ancient aliens, ancient technology, etc. Therefore, I am really fascinated by Jetavanaramaya stupa and the surrounding ancient city. I pray that I have a chance to visit this holy site and make extensive offering here. May I never be separated from Dharma and a qualified guru in all my future lives.

  12. Han SF on Sep 7, 2017 at 10:45 pm

    Very informative and beneficial post. I learned a lot from the history of this amazing Jetavanaramaya stupa. Not only the magnificent structure has make impact to the people when visited the Stupa.
    The Stupa represents Buddha’s holy mind, Dharmakaya, and each part of the Stupa shows the path to Enlightenment. Building a Stupa is a very powerful way to purify negative karma and obscurations, and to accumulate extensive merit.
    Like what Tek Lee had shared “before building such sacred place, one will face huge obstacle. And it’s a great purification before they started something big related to dharma.” Jetavanaramaya stupa construction took 15 and 27 years to complete, its a great scared holy pilgrimage place to purify negative karma and collect merits at the same time, may I have the fortune to visit this holy place.

  13. Sarah on Sep 7, 2017 at 10:42 pm

    The Jetavaranamaya Stupa is very impressive due to its size. It has the shape of an Ashokan stupa and I’ve seen some of these old stupas in India. But this stupa in Sri Lanka is the largest stupa I’ve ever seen. It is the result of a great architectural feat! It is said that to build a stupa earns one great merit and purifies one’s negative karma. This stupa is a symbol of the power of repentance because of the reason why it was built. By building a stupa, one can avoid going to the lower realms! In spite of heavy negative karma, it is said that the king who built this stupa was reborn in a gods realm.

  14. Alice Tay on Sep 7, 2017 at 10:41 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this interesting article. There are some points that stood out to me as follows:
    1. The largest monument in Sri Lanka, Jetavanaramaya Stupa, is also the 4th tallest pyramidal structure in the world behind the Pyramid of Khufu and Pyramid of Khafre. The stupa was built on the ground where the legendary Mahinda Maha Thero gave a seven-day discourse on Buddhism. Mahinda Maha Thero was the son of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka and a great monk who brought Buddhism to Sri Lanka. Also, it is believed that part of Buddha Shakyamuni’s belt is buried inside the stupa.
    2. King Mahasena put down his ego and admitted his mistakes after met with his friend, Minister Meghavannabhaya. To deliver the promise, King Mahasena initiated the building of Jetavanaramaya Stupa, restored many ruined buildings and built many other temples and other structures such as water tanks for the benefit and enjoyment of the People. With his determination and sincerity to mend his mistakes coupled with the good deeds that he had done, it is believed that King Mahasena was reborn as the God of Minneriya (Minneriya Deviyo).

  15. Sharon Ong on Sep 7, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    If King Mahasena did not realise his misdeeds and try to make amends, there will not be such a magnificent stupa today. This architectural marvel is a testament of his sincere wish to right a wrong and to purify his negative karma. Jetavanaramaya Stupa is a sacred site that has benefitted countless and this is only possible to the powers of repentance.

    Thank you for this interesting read.

  16. sweekeong on Sep 7, 2017 at 10:38 pm

    Water is very important resource for living from personal hygiene and agriculture works. I find it interesting that King Mahasena not only repented his mistakes by building stupa and monastery he also contributed to the well being of the people. It is amazing that he initiated construction of more than 17 water tanks and greatly improved irrigation system. This very fact is beneficial to the people because it took care of one of the basic necessity.

  17. bk on Sep 7, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    Two key points stood out in this article:

    Firstly, how politics almost destroyed a particular group of Dharma practitioners. All it took was one influential and powerful person (in this case King Mahasena) to be misled and fooled by his trusted advisor (Sangamitta Thero) who whispered falsehoods into the King’s ear. As a result, the King issued decrees that resulted in the dharma community of Mahavihara Monastery being outcast by the public, left without sponsorship,and forced to relocate to a different place. Worse of course is that their monastery was then looted by the perpetrators of this horrible situation. No wonder the action of creating schism in the sangha is one of the Five Heinous Crimes.

    Which brings me to the second key point. Typically, committing any of the Five Heinous Crimes results in rebirth in the hell realms. However, through the “power of repentance” and his actions of constructing a stupa, King Mahasena not only avoided this terrible rebirth but also took rebirth as the God of Minneriya.

    This goes to show that it is never too late to do something to purify the negative karmas that we have accumulated, no matter how heavy. Even if we cannot build a stupa, there are always tried and tested methods of purification and merit collection available to us, as can be seen in the example of our gurus and our lineage masters. It also goes to show that truly regretting our past negative actions without letting our egos get in the way is part of the purification process, and goes a long way towards the collection of merit as per the Four Opponent Powers.

  18. Kenneth Chan on Sep 7, 2017 at 10:30 pm

    I love how Buddhism has inspired man to create such amazing built environment like this and so many others like it, Nalanda, Ashoka Pillars, Bagan, Borobodur, etc.

  19. Jace Chong on Sep 7, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    Thanks Rinpoche and the blog team for compiling the extensive information on this magnificent stupa!

    The process of the manifestation was through many politics and religious conflicts, fortunately something beneficial arose. It’s amazing to see the planning for the construction is so detailed back then in the era.

    Stupas are very beneficial not only to human, but to animals, insects and to the environment. The hardships of building stupa is something very meaningful and worth to endure as the amount of beings that can be benefited from it is vast.

    I am very fortunate to live and work near a beautiful stupa that was done according to scriptures and consist a lot of blessed items. I hope everyone can come and visit this beautiful stupa in Kechara Forest Retreat 🙂

    Thank you.

    IMG_3844

    • Charlene on Sep 8, 2017 at 3:57 pm

      I agree with Jace that the stupa in Kechara Forest Retreat is beautiful and meaningful. I ever had a magic experience after I visit and turn 3 times of this stupa.

      • Jace Chong on Sep 8, 2017 at 11:40 pm

        It must be something exciting! Please share more on your magical experience 🙂

  20. wan wai meng on Sep 7, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    To destroy a monastery is tremendous negative karma. So I rejoice that King Mahasena, realized his errors after being persuaded by his minister. I felt his minister was indeed a very good spiritual friend.

    King Mahasena committed an act equivalent to the 5 heinous crimes by destroying Mahavihara, such act can lead to a rebirth in Avichi if the karma remains unpurified at the point of death. So happy to know that King Mahasena achieved a god rebirth, which means his act of repentance bore fruits.

  21. CindyH on Sep 7, 2017 at 10:18 pm

    It is interesting that this engineering marvel of ancient times arose due to a dark chapter of King Mahasena’s reign wherein he allowed himself to be led astray and heavily discriminated against Theravada Buddhists. The fact that he can persecute another method of Buddhist teachings, it is not surprising that he is also said to have destroyed at least three Brahmanical god temples: Gokanna Vihara, a vihara in Erakavilla, and a vihara in Brahman Kalanda Village. This drives the point of the danger of intolerance especially by those in power. It also highlights the need for one to really examine for oneself the consequences of one’s action with the teachings of one’s faith properly. Thankfully, King Mahasena was not beyond redemption and actually placed the need for peace above all else. Not surprisingly, due to his willingness to mend the errors of his ways, even those who had previously opposed King Mahasena later rallied around him once more. Considering that many view repentance as uncomfortable as it entails one eating “humble pie” or some form of positive corrective behaviour, King Mahasena’s subsequent actions really spoke volume of his character taking into account the stature given to him by his people at that time (almost God-like).

  22. Esther Goh on Sep 6, 2017 at 10:15 am

    It is so amazing that without the modern technology and sophisticated equipments, the ancient engineers with their ingenuity were able to build the Jetavanaramaya Stupa. This also shows that everything is possible if done with good intentions. It is also worthy to note that King Mahasena despite his position was willing to let go of his ego and repent for his wrongdoings, an act we should emulate.

    Ancient and present times are no difference. Humans are blinded by greed, power and money. To achieve all these they will go through great lengths including harming each other and getting religion involved. We are fortunate that through this degenerate time we are still able to learn Dharma which will guide us to the right path.

  23. Mingwen on Sep 6, 2017 at 8:36 am

    If it’s not about this blog from Tsem Rinpoche, I would never get to know interesting and important things that I would need to know as a human being.

    This Stupa is the world’s tallest Stupa! The stories behind this Stupa were just like drama, full with Ups and downs, in fact, drama is like life, life is like drama. I’m lucky that I ve The chance to know about Dharma in life, which make me accept my drama and do good deeds to make it a better version. The construction materials and knowledge are inspiring and they were out of the box, I guess, they went through lot of trials and failures, until the Stupa was built.

  24. June Kang on Sep 6, 2017 at 8:34 am

    The amazing of Jetavanaramaya stupa structure has make impact to the people mind when visited the Stupa. Although it has gone through so many obstacles but it is worth for it because people collected lots of merits by built it. It really benefits lots of people by just remind people about Buddha and his teaching. To me I always think that building a stupa at that time was a highly difficult works because they do not have the technology we have now. To complete it was a very amazing jobs. it is indeed another magnificent place to visit while in Sri Lanka.

  25. Tek Lee on Sep 6, 2017 at 8:33 am

    After reading the article, I feel that whenever there is human, there is politics and conflict. Doesn’t matter over what subject or what cause, one can easily abuse the power they have. It seems human issue has already started since ancient time, and this is samsara.
    Another thing is, building a sacred place or starting a dharma cause required lots of merits. And, of course if its successfully built, one will gain tremendous merits. Thus, before building such sacred place, one will face huge obstacle. And it’s a great purification before they started something big related to dharma. It is magnificent and impressive that during the ancient time, they could built such a big structure only depending on man power and architecture calculation. This is one place that must visit for pilgrimage. I wish I can visit there one day.

  26. Julia Tan on Sep 6, 2017 at 7:45 am

    What a spectacular super huge stupa. It represent the remorse of the king who had done his wrong to his people by being sectarian. I rejoice for the King to realise his wrong and the negative karma that he committed hence built the huge Jetavanaramaya stupa to purify his karma. Around the stupa there’s a monastery for 3000 monks which showed the rise of the Theravadan Buddhism at that time.

    Sectarianism always exist. It has nothing to do with the religions but the people. Why people choose to destroy each other instead of practicing together harmoniously? In this article it was very clearly explained: “Due to the differences in the Buddhist doctrines that they followed and the necessity of securing royal patronage, there was a great rivalry between Abhayagiri and Mahavihara.” So again, power and money!

    Money is the issue. It reminded me of the ban of Doje Shugden practice. Here we are holding the holy scripture of Buddha, shouting about how good and holy we are by practicing Buddhism yet we discriminating those who are different from us due to our narrow minds. So do we still qualify to talk about loving all sentient beings? How many times in a day we say: “I dedicated my prayer and merits to all sentient beings”? Buddha taught us to love all sentient beings but we destroy each other in the name of His teachings. When can people realise and wake up to understand the true meaning of the rise of all religions?

  27. Pastor Chia on Sep 6, 2017 at 6:36 am

    Jetavanaramaya stupa structure are amazing and make impact for people mind who visiting it. King Mahasena must in peace now by building it and brought such significant sign of buddhism for the future generation. Althrogh King Mahasena has make mistake listen the wrong advice create obstacle for sangha, but by building it able to purify one negative karma. It make me realise when building something holy and bring benifit to many people will to face all the obstacle and challenge and not giving up what had do and keep going until completed.

  28. Pastor Albert on Sep 6, 2017 at 1:40 am

    First thing came into my mind was even during the time that was so close to Buddha Shakyamuni’s time, there are already such big play of politics on Buddhism, moreover now during the degenerate times, people are using religions to attack each other to gain power, money and fame. Whenever there is people, there will always be politics, human’s greed will never stopped and the only way to stop one’s greed / attachment is to follow the Buddha’s path, to reach the state of enlightenment.

    The stupa built was so magnificent, for today’s technology, building this stupa may not be too difficult, but imagine, that is about 2000 years ago, with that technology, people already able to build the stupa is such a big scale, and it even preserved until today, this is one of the great place we should visit that placed such a holy and historical Stupa. Wish one day I could visit too 🙂

  29. Pastor Antoinette on Sep 6, 2017 at 12:41 am

    This is indeed a magnificent Stupa and the remains of the house and surroundings show how much effort and detail was put into this place. The evolution of this beautiful place over time reminds us that everything is impermanent and that even the highest building will not remain as such.

    We can put so much effort into material things but how we make others feel and how we behave has much more impact. The king Mahasena accepted that he did wrong and because of this he changed and did not continue to create harm. So many monks have lived, studies and practiced in this holy place. It is for sure a very good place for a pilgrimage.

  30. Vivian Ong on Sep 6, 2017 at 12:05 am

    Thank your writer’s team for this write up. I am really amazed with the number of bricks that they use to build this stupa. Another thing that I am amazed is how in ancient times people can build such big stupa or pyramid or even monuments. Ancient times’ technology was not so advance like now. King Mahasena realized his own wrong doings and rebuilt back a monastery. King Mahasena is a great builder such as the finest water reservoirs and irrigation systems in the ancient world whereby some of them are still in use today.

    With folded palms,
    Vivian

  31. Andrea Lai on Sep 5, 2017 at 11:46 pm

    The construction of this stupa is awesome and I could hardly imagine it took more than 20 years to complete. Apart of this, what draw my curiosity when the Jetavanaramaya Stupa was found many monks failed appeal for restoration of the stupa. It is understood in samsara, everybody suffer and have karma. Obstacles arises from our negative karma we created, therefore we should obtained into Dharma to collect more merit. Only merit can help lessen or purified our obstacle and guide us pursue the right direction to success or enlightenment.

  32. Pastor Henry Ooi on Sep 5, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    Rinpoche has said that there would be obstacles for the people before any holy place and object could be built or made for dharma to spread. This includes dharma teaching and practice. Because such virtuous efforts would potentially benefit many people at that time and in the future, obstacles would manifest from the people who wanted to or who were assigned for the project. It is vital for the people involved to do and carry on with the work although they were struggling with the obstacles because the efforts and success of such projects purify the karma of those involved and they collect great merit after the completion.

  33. Eric kksiow on Sep 5, 2017 at 11:14 pm

    I was amazed, at that time the stupa construction took between 15 and 27 years to complete, hundreds of skilled engineers and labourers (i.e., stonemasons, bricklayers, and brickyard workers) would have been involved in the building process. And also elephants were used to stamp down the openings that have been filled.

    Wow…. It’s not easy to build a Stupa without any modern technology machines helps.

  34. nicholas on Sep 5, 2017 at 11:06 pm

    It’s sad to see how schism took place and created such suffering within the sangha. Hatred doesn’t choose their victim but we become one when it overruled us. How scary things can be when we let go our mind but fortunate enough through the good friend that make King Mahasena realised and repent his mistake.

    We can see this situation happened similar to Dorje Shugden practice that being suppressed and discriminate that causes much suffering to many Dorje Shugden practitioners around the world. Spirituality is also about respect and harmony rather than emphasising on discriminating the differences.

  35. pammie yap on Sep 5, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    While reading this post, it reminded how similar they were then and what we are facing now. They had their disagreements, obstacles and fights to push for their beliefs and look how the stupa benefit many.
    Likewise now, the ban on Dorje Shugden is making so many people have the same problems but it will also come to the same conclusion, to benefit many.

    The structure and materials used for the stupa is amazing! From the photos and not looking at the information, it looks like any ordinary sized stupa, but the moment I zoomed in, with the people walking around, it took my breath away! It really look awesome. I am glad that after all those history, the stupa was restored to its glory and became a pilgrimage site.

  36. Datuk May on Sep 5, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    Building religious monuments create great amount of merits to the sponsors, builders and all who are involved with such constructions. As these monuments stand to this day, they also serve as powerful places for pilgrimages.

    There were controversies during the ancient time of Sri Lanka’s history of Buddhism between the Theravadan and Mahayana doctrines, at the end of it there arose the Magnificent Jetavanaramaya Stupa. The reason was because being influenced wrongly against the Theravaden doctrine, King Mahasena in repentance built the Jetavanaramaya Stupa.

    At the time of construction the Jetavanaramaya Stupa was the 4th tallest structure in the world.

    Very interesting history on this magnificent religious monument and it is the wish of Buddhist around the world to go on this pilgrimage to see this holy site.

  37. Stella Cheang on Sep 3, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    The story of how King Mahasena was being charmed and misled by his tutor, but later on repented because he had a conscience and he valued the friendship enough to not let his ego overruled him is truly what stood out to me. This is really a great lesson for us to ponder on. Imagine, a king, who realized his mistake and listened to his “friend” and repented. How many could have done this? This is honorable. I think besides all the holy relics, great Buddha Dharma preserved in Jetavanaramaya stupa, I will always remember it as the stupa where King Mahasena had been humbled. Thank you, Rinpoche, for this magnificent sharing.

  38. Wai Meng Wan on Jul 16, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    The Building of structures that benefits Buddhists and Buddhism, do create tremendous merits and purification for the builder of such structures. It is great that King Mahinda realized the error of his ways, to take the sides of one of the prevailing Buddhist factions of the day.

    Not to forget it was the good friend of King Mahinda who made him realize the error of his ways. Without this friend truly being courageous to let the King know then Sri Lank a could have experienced a lot of bloodshed than necessary.

  39. Pastor David Lai on Jul 6, 2017 at 6:25 am

    I really like this stupa upon first sight. I guess the shape of the stupa looks good and awe-inspiring. I think it is also due to the fact that the stupa is well-preserved and is relatively intact. I am not usually a stupa person but this minimalist structure is attractive and engenders devotion, probably due to the fact that it has a modern appeal, a sort of minimalist appearance.

    It’s just too bad that a place of such beauty was once a place of great destruction and that it was due to sectarianism, in much the same way as how Dorje Shugden practitioners are treated. I guess if this was ancient times and people are not as aware of religious and human rights, Dorje Shugden practitioners would have been wiped out. Hence, we live in a time when people cannot easily get away with such shocking violence and discrimination on the basis of sectarian differences that we are able to retain our practice and dignity.

  40. Paul Yap on Jul 5, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    There are numerous benefits of building a stupa. Even for a King, he knew that the benefits of making the stupa can purify his negative karma.

    Benefits of Making a Stupa:-

    1. – One will be born as the child of a great king.
    2. – One will have a noble body.
    3. – One will become very beautiful and very attractive.
    4. – One will have sharp sense faculties.
    5. – One will be powerful and famous.
    6. – One will have a great entourage of servants.
    7. – One will become a leader of men.
    8. – One will be a support to all.
    9 . – One will be renowned in the ten directions.
    10 . – One will be able to express oneself in words and verses extensively.
    11. – One will receive offerings from men and gods.
    12. – One will possess many riches.
    13. – One will obtain the kingdom of a universal monarch.
    14. – One will have long life.
    15. – One’s body will be like a collection of vajras.
    16. – One’s body will be endowed with the major marks and the minor signs (of a Buddha).
    17. – One will take rebirth in the three higher realms.
    18. – One will swiftly attain complete nirvana.

  41. Lim Han Nee on Jul 5, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    It is sad to see sectarianism creep into the practice of Buddhism even in the early years of its history. In the city of Anuradhapura, the rivalry was between the two sects represented by the monks of the Mahavihara Monastery and those of the Abhayagiri Monastery. Fortunately, King Mahasena who had been deceptively conned into destroying the Mahavihara Monastery, was a man of integrity and wisdom. Hence, when he realised that he had committed a terrible transgression by destroying the Mahavihara Monastery, he was full of remorse and immediately sought to restore it.

    The magnificent Jetavanaramaya Stupa was built on the grounds of the previous Mahavihara Monastery . It took between 15 and 27 years to complete. In the ninth century, the country fell into the “dark ages” and the seat of Buddhism was moved elsewhere. Anuradhapura was eventually abandoned and this ancient city was covered in jungle.
    The Jetavanaramaya Stupa, after a few failed attempts, has now been restored under the auspices of the UNESCO.

    Despite a tragic past of destruction and being laid to waste, the magnificent Jetavanaramaya Stupa , today ,stands tall and invincible. Pilgrims who visit to pay homage to the holy object within- the belt of Buddha Shakyamuni , will also be paying homage to a great king, King Mahasena, who in sincere remorse for having destroyed the sacred Mahavihara, had commissioned the building of this stupa. The first stupa was a most magnificent structure of sheer ingenuity and sophisticated engineering.It stood as one of the tallest structures in the world, second only to 2 pyramids of Giza and the lighthouse of Alexandria.

    Much must be said of King Mahasena whose building of this great Stupa is a testimony to the power of remorse and repentance.The stupa represents his sincerity in purifying his transgressions and negative karma. He did not let his ego stand in the way of his sincere remorse and heartfelt repentance.

    Pilgrims who visit the Jetavanaramaya Stupa will also be filled with wonder by the fact that they are standing on the very grounds in Sri Lanka, where the legendary monk Mahinda Maha Thero, the son of King Ashoka, had given a 7-day discourse on Buddha. It has been said that he was the monk who had brought Buddhism to Sri Lanka.

    The Jetavanaramaya Stupa is therefore a must for pilgrims to visit in Sri Lanka.

  42. Choong on Jul 5, 2017 at 10:29 pm

    This era saw the nexus of aristocracy, caste and religious belief resulting in an unpredictable and tumultuous outcome for two subsequently defined Buddhist traditions, both of which were walking the same path of liberation but with a different focus – self liberation with a focus on vows, vs. the Mahayana focus on liberation for the benefit of all sentient beings.

    It was also during this time that Arya Nagarjuna’s ideas about the Bodhisattva attracted the nobility in Sri Lanka as well as the Abhayagiri. One of them was the nobleman Aryadeva from Sri Lanka who became a great disciple of Nagarjuna.

    Aryadeva’s “Hundred Verses Treatise” became one of the three basic texts of the Chinese Madhyamaka school founded by the central Asian monk Kumārajīva (b. 344–d. 413), which accordingly was called the Sanlun (Jpn. Sanron), or “three-treatise” school.

    It is interesting to read about the context in which Buddhism developed, vanished and spread during this tumultuous period. Much of its context can be seen in the “Mahavamsa: The Great Chronicle of Sri Lanka”.

    Thank you Rinpoche for this article. To me it shows that there is no right, no wrong, just karma manifesting. Most importantly it shows how one should learn from experience, in this case, the lesson and power of repentance, the first of the four opponent powers.

  43. Fong on Jul 5, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    It pains me to rad about the unscrupulous sangha like Sangamitta Thero bring about destruction the the stupa with his wily ways. Such bad karma to bring disrepute and destruction to places of worship and reverence. Is this occur throughout history that the greed of man comes foremost?

    The saving grace is that there were still good and religious people to stand up for dharma and Buddhism and all that it stands for; so much so that Buddhism still flourishes today in Sri Lanka.

    Thank you for very soul searching article.

  44. Samfoonheei on Jul 5, 2017 at 12:10 am

    The Jetavanaramaya is a stupa located in the ruins of Jetavana in the sacred world heritage … The structure is significant in the island’s history seem to be the tallest structures in the ancient world. Is a proof of the advanced engineering and construction skills of the ancient. Amazing…..with much renovation done since 1981 on these ruins stupa ,under UNESCO poject still far from completion..Archaeologists have unearthed various artefacts dated 21 centuries BC which is now at the Jetavana Museum.Amazing discoveries and amazing great skillfulness ,techniques used to build the stupa and the surrounding structures.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these interesting post history and very informtive for anyone to visit much easier.

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  • Lin Mun
    Sunday, Oct 22. 2017 08:38 PM
    It is very sad for the Tibetan in exile that after 60 years they are still refugees and not able to have a good environment to develop in any sense. The question is why isn’t the governing body (Central Tibetan Administration) whom has been receiving helps from other countries been able to help the Tibetan in exile in getting good education and get them out of the vicious cycle ? Above article clearly shows that Tibetan living in other countries were given the opportunity to learn and freedom to develop ones talent. I hope the Tibetan in exile understand their position and stand up to fight for their rights and freedom.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/why-are-these-tibetans-successful-without-the-cta.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Oct 22. 2017 05:19 PM
    Very touching…….farmer and his cow for 23 years through thick and thin .A special bond between them even when separated to retirement home we can see how much tears flowing the two of them. True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils.
    After the cow was sent to the retirement home, the cow refused to eat for 3 days till the owner came to show up again. Amazing the cow started eating after met up the farmer. There must be a direct relationship between these two of them.
    Animals have feelings too ,and they needs our care ,love aswell.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/so-touching-you-will-cry.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Oct 22. 2017 05:18 PM
    Is really heart breaking to watch this video ,how horrible and sad how those chickens, turkeys ,cows, cattle ,pigs and died suffering so much pain and abused. I almost in tears how can the slaughter men did it…..so cruel. The chicken is the worst abused animals ,suffered cramped, bitten by the owner before been slaughtered. Having the throat slit alive or scalded alive.
    Cattle horn were piled off, injuries on them left alone. Thousands of cows or cattle were not able to walk before going to the slaughtered house. Pigs suffered the same faith, throw against the wall. Many pigs suffered injuries and so forth. Those who are so sick and cannot made to the slaughtered house were shot dead. Some are burned alive.
    Choose vegetarian ,live healthy and safe those poor aniamals.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/please-watch-leave-your-thoughts-in-comments-for-me.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Oct 22. 2017 05:15 PM
    What I heard is more than the 9;s…. 3 and 6 too from old folks many years back. I was warned on these ….year we odd to be careful and so forth. All those black years has passed by me with up and down. I do not believed of such myth and I don’t quite actually remember much and try not to remember as it’s the past. I have let go all ,just looking forward and now I am glad to have Rinpoche to thank for having learn and practice Dharma. Every day is a new day for me ,learning new knowledge from Rinpoche blog.
    Thank you Datuk May for sharing your thoughts of the 9’s.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/guest-contributors/a-blind-corner-at-each-decade.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Oct 22. 2017 05:14 PM
    Wonderful platform for Rinpoche to share with more people having an account of FB. From there they can have live streaming to express each individual opinion on certain interesting subject. Having these live streaming Rinpoche did a lot of sharing with people of different walks of life ,his biography, his spiritual journey, meeting his Guru and on the practice of Dorje Shugden .It s a powerful way to spread Dharma knowledge through social media. It can be shared by many and since the video is saved ,the viewer could see from time to time to get a better understanding .
    These live streaming lasted for 3 hours with many beautiful comments.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing. We love HH Dalai Lama and we love Dorje Shugden ..Please resolve the Dorje Shugden issue as soon as possible. and please end the suffering, segregation and prejudice.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/h-e-tsem-rinpoches-first-live-streaming.html
  • Lin Mun
    Saturday, Oct 21. 2017 09:30 PM
    This is great move by Gucci and I hope it will encourage more brands to follow suit. We do not need to have animals fur on our body to look pretty and to prevent us from cold. We have many options. Choose one that does not harm and bring suffering to other beings.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/do-you-know-what-gucci-did.html
  • Lin Mun
    Saturday, Oct 21. 2017 09:22 PM
    This is horrible and it is a shame that we human can do such actions that bring tremendous pain to the animals. We should stop using leather products and this will directly stop the demand of leather goods. I hope authority of respective country will implement rules to protect animals welfare. It is only when there are laws that people will stop such act.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/where-does-leather-come-from.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Friday, Oct 20. 2017 10:04 AM
    Interesting someone like Rob Lowe a famous actor actually told he came face-to-face with Bigfoot was with his two sons .No proof and details given to support his encounter. Whether for publicity his coming show no one knows. He was filming his new paranormal documentary series when he said he saw it. It does not matter at least it helps to raise awareness of that Bigfoot do exist. Good in way more people will come to accept it and will further investigate its existence of Bigfoot. It also encourages people to start thinking broadly of possibilities.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/rob-lowe-face-to-face-with-bigfoot.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Friday, Oct 20. 2017 10:03 AM
    Well,I have read news of Bigfoot sightings in the jungles of southern Malaysia before years back. Interesting as our country do have the sighting of Bigfoot too.It seems that Bigfoot can be found anywhere in this world. To many people, Bigfoot is the stuff of nightmarish folklore. Described by hundreds of alleged eyewitnesses as an ape-like creature that stands nearly eight feet tall. There is a number of sighting by the locals and may be linked to environmental changes and the shrinking jungle. This has attracted world attention, having teams from different countries and our local government as well. The research scientists, has been trying to verify Bigfoot’s existence so far none has really performed intensive research on this matter. Historical records show eight claimed sightings of enormous apemen or Bigfoot or oversized apes. Despite numerous sightings, photos and footprints , there has never been conclusive proof that these creatures exist in Malaysia.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these interesting article.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/bigfoot-in-malaysia.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Friday, Oct 20. 2017 10:02 AM
    Alarming height and shocking to know there is microplastic contamination in our drinking water after scientific investigation has discovered that.
    Glad to know scientists are doing more for research on the implications for health. At least we could know more knowledge and more aware of all plastics fibres in our tap water. All this while we have been drinking . Scientists warn microplastics are so small they could penetrate organs. That is bad for our health. Plastic fibres have infiltrated the drinking water of cities and towns all over the world. Our oceans are littered with plastic, which is killing whales and other marine mammals, and contaminating fish. Previous studies have shown when people eat seafood, they are also eating high levels of microplastics, not to mention taking in a lot of mercury as well
    Many people have involved to make a change for a better environment for the generation to come. Educating the people from school children to the people on the streets the safest ways of garbage disposal will be a wonderful start. We should all take responsibility to care for the environment and help raise awareness.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/do-you-know-what-you-are-drinking.html
  • Alice Tay
    Friday, Oct 20. 2017 01:51 AM
    In Buddhism, before become an enlightened beings, all living beings have to experience the suffering in taking rebirth for many lifetimes and each of the rebirth, we must have father and mother. It is possible that our previous lifetime’s father and mother have taken rebirth in other forms such as animals, hungry ghosts and etc in this lifetime. Due to this reason, we should love and treat all sentient beings well as everyone might once been our father or mother in the previous life. We owe them kindness and therefore we should practice dharma and help to liberate them from suffering and lead them to enlightenment.

    I am extremely grateful that I meet and learn dharma from Rinpoche. Rinpoche’s skilful means teachings let me understand that I should not only care about myself, my family and friends but to be kind and compassion to everyone around me. Rinpoche reminds and encourage us to do our commitments and daily sadhana. Later, I realized that when we do prayers, sadhana or pujas, we must begin with Taking Refuge in the Three Jewels and followed by recitation of the Four Immeasurables. Through this practice, it is actually to help us to set a good motivation and generate our Bodhicitta for the benefit of all sentient beings.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/five-ways-to-love-more-by-tsem-rinpoche.html
  • Lin Mun
    Thursday, Oct 19. 2017 10:27 PM
    Rinpoche’s blog has so many interesting topics and articles. Be it heavy and technical or light such as traveling tips, all are very useful and informative to the readers. I appreciate Rinpoche and writers team hardwork in giving us vast information and opportunity for us to learn and improve our dharma knowledge.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/i-am-honoured.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Oct 19. 2017 11:04 AM
    Wow …such a unique island called Socotra which i did not know before or come across . Everything from trees to flowers looks so unique. A place home to a panoply of strange plants and animals uniquely which adapted to the hot, harsh, windswept island. The landscape of this remote Socotra Island looks as if it comes from a sci-fi film.
    From what I see through the pictures this Socotra Island, looks more like Alien place. It’s truly unlike any place on earth and is also called the ‘Lost World ‘ to some of the tourist. I did some research on this island .
    It seem over millions of years, the isolated island in the Arabian Sea has cultivated a unique biodiversity unlike anywhere else on Earth. Twisted dragon’s blood trees and bulbous bottle trees have made Socotra a place of legends, feared by sailors throughout history and believed by some to be the site of the original Garden of Eden.
    Now it seem to be a tourist attraction in Yemen after when UNESCO named it as World Natural Heritage Site in 2006. Its wonderful news as UNESCO recognizes the importance of preserving the island.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these unique island with us.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/travel/socotra-island.html#comment-753145
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Oct 19. 2017 11:03 AM
    Beautiful sacred painting by Rinpoche. Amazing to know RInpoche as a small kid is so talented in drawing and painting . Yet after so many years the painting still looks good condition. Such a beautiful White Tara painting and now Rinpoche still paints.
    Wow interesting stories behind the scared painting of the powerful white Tara. When we have trust and faith that’s how these powerful Tara will help us.
    Thank you for sharing with us.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/me/sacred-painting.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Oct 19. 2017 11:02 AM
    The two beautiful Yeti painting comes a long way from Nepal with love to Malaysia .Specially for Rinpoche……such a beautiful gift and unique .. Knowing Rinpoche like Bigfoot so much. Every gift which is given, even though it be small, is in reality great, if it is given with affection. It is not the gift but the thought that counts.
    Rejoice for Mitra Poudel and Khom Thapa
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these beautiful paintings.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/yeti-bigfoot-sasquatch/from-nepal.html

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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.
Download for free this high res photo of Lord Shugden: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/downloads/buddha-images.html
7 hours ago
Download for free this high res photo of Lord Shugden: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/downloads/buddha-images.html
Whatever we can do to spread the teachings of our Guru, we should do so.
7 hours ago
Whatever we can do to spread the teachings of our Guru, we should do so.
 These three (Dharma, Oser and Mumu) are super adorable.
yesterday
These three (Dharma, Oser and Mumu) are super adorable.
Beautiful Vajra Yogini print.
yesterday
Beautiful Vajra Yogini print.
Beautiful and holy new statues arrived to Kechara Forest Retreat. Please enjoy the pictures: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=146950
yesterday
Beautiful and holy new statues arrived to Kechara Forest Retreat. Please enjoy the pictures: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=146950
Beautiful old thangka of Buddha Nageshvaraja
yesterday
Beautiful old thangka of Buddha Nageshvaraja
Dear friends, This meme is powerful. Who you hang around with and the types of attitude they have is who you will be influenced by many times and who you will become in the future. Look at your friends and the people that always surround you to know who you will become. Tsem Rinpoche
4 days ago
Dear friends, This meme is powerful. Who you hang around with and the types of attitude they have is who you will be influenced by many times and who you will become in the future. Look at your friends and the people that always surround you to know who you will become. Tsem Rinpoche
October 2017, His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal graciously reading our Kechara album and updates as presented by Beng Kooi and Martin. He was very pleased with our progress and offers his blessings. Tsem Rinpoche
4 days ago
October 2017, His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal graciously reading our Kechara album and updates as presented by Beng Kooi and Martin. He was very pleased with our progress and offers his blessings. Tsem Rinpoche
His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche grants audience to Beng Kooi and Martin in France.  Read more on His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche: http://bit.ly/1PlaNNS
4 days ago
His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche grants audience to Beng Kooi and Martin in France. Read more on His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche: http://bit.ly/1PlaNNS
Recently Beng Kooi and Martin on behalf of myself and Kechara was lucky to have audience with His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal of Gaden Shartse Monastery. He lives in around Paris, France. His Holiness is 91 years old and very healthy and alert. He was the 101st throne holder for Tsongkapa and was the head of the Gelugpa school of Buddhism and was very successful during his tenure. He is a strong practitioner of both Sutra and Tantra of Je Tsongkapa\'s tradition and a master of all Buddhist knowledge. He holds steadfast to his protector Dorje Shugden very strongly. So we can see even the highest throneholders who are masters of Sutra and Tantra also practices Dorje Shugden knowing the benefits.

Beng Kooi and Martin brought photo albums of Kechara Forest Retreat/Kechara and updates on Kechara and our works. His Holiness was very pleased to listen and offered some gifts back. 

This is a beautiful picture and the great blessings bestowed on us from His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal.

Humbly, Tsem Rinpoche 
Read more on His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche: http://bit.ly/1PlaNNS
4 days ago
Recently Beng Kooi and Martin on behalf of myself and Kechara was lucky to have audience with His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal of Gaden Shartse Monastery. He lives in around Paris, France. His Holiness is 91 years old and very healthy and alert. He was the 101st throne holder for Tsongkapa and was the head of the Gelugpa school of Buddhism and was very successful during his tenure. He is a strong practitioner of both Sutra and Tantra of Je Tsongkapa's tradition and a master of all Buddhist knowledge. He holds steadfast to his protector Dorje Shugden very strongly. So we can see even the highest throneholders who are masters of Sutra and Tantra also practices Dorje Shugden knowing the benefits. Beng Kooi and Martin brought photo albums of Kechara Forest Retreat/Kechara and updates on Kechara and our works. His Holiness was very pleased to listen and offered some gifts back. This is a beautiful picture and the great blessings bestowed on us from His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal. Humbly, Tsem Rinpoche Read more on His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche: http://bit.ly/1PlaNNS
The meaning and origins of Halloween: http://bit.ly/2egnVrp
*****and****
My Halloween in Salem: http://bit.ly/2zwq6li

Fantastic Reads!!
5 days ago
The meaning and origins of Halloween: http://bit.ly/2egnVrp *****and**** My Halloween in Salem: http://bit.ly/2zwq6li Fantastic Reads!!
The meaning and origins of Halloween: http://bit.ly/2egnVrp
*****and****
My Halloween in Salem: http://bit.ly/2zwq6li
5 days ago
The meaning and origins of Halloween: http://bit.ly/2egnVrp *****and**** My Halloween in Salem: http://bit.ly/2zwq6li
This is so powerful. It is a must read and must share.
5 days ago
This is so powerful. It is a must read and must share.
Beng Kooi meeting with the scholar and teacher Geshe Konchok Gyeltsen lak. Geshe Konchok Gyeltsen has been very active and you can see his youtubes in Tibetan speaking about the benefits of Dorje Shugden practice. He is a direct student of Trijang Rinpoche and Zong Rinpoche.
6 days ago
Beng Kooi meeting with the scholar and teacher Geshe Konchok Gyeltsen lak. Geshe Konchok Gyeltsen has been very active and you can see his youtubes in Tibetan speaking about the benefits of Dorje Shugden practice. He is a direct student of Trijang Rinpoche and Zong Rinpoche.
Martin meeting with Gen Tashi. Gen Tashi is a very devoted and committed activist of Dorje Shugden\'s cause. He is tireless in speaking for the truth. They enjoyed sharing some time together.
6 days ago
Martin meeting with Gen Tashi. Gen Tashi is a very devoted and committed activist of Dorje Shugden's cause. He is tireless in speaking for the truth. They enjoyed sharing some time together.
Martin meeting with the well known strong and devoted Dorje Shugden activist and scholar Geshe Konchok Gyeltsen lak. Geshe lak was very happy to meet Martin and shared so much wonderful information. Beautiful meeting.
6 days ago
Martin meeting with the well known strong and devoted Dorje Shugden activist and scholar Geshe Konchok Gyeltsen lak. Geshe lak was very happy to meet Martin and shared so much wonderful information. Beautiful meeting.
Beng Kooi meeting with friend and strong and devoted Dorje Shugden activist Gen Tashi
6 days ago
Beng Kooi meeting with friend and strong and devoted Dorje Shugden activist Gen Tashi
Another stunning digital print art of Dorje Shugden from an artist in Peru. Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
Another stunning digital print art of Dorje Shugden from an artist in Peru. Tsem Rinpoche
This beautiful Dorje Shugden is from an artist in the Ukraine. Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
This beautiful Dorje Shugden is from an artist in the Ukraine. Tsem Rinpoche
Please never get tired of speaking for those who do not have a voice. If we can alleviate their pain or try our best, why not? Thank you all so much. Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
Please never get tired of speaking for those who do not have a voice. If we can alleviate their pain or try our best, why not? Thank you all so much. Tsem Rinpoche
Pastor Antoinette of Kechara arranged a Malaysian artist to paint this special Dorje Shugden painting conceptualized by myself. She oversaw the process and completed it. Wonderful beautiful Dorje Shugden Malaysian style by Malaysian artist. Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
Pastor Antoinette of Kechara arranged a Malaysian artist to paint this special Dorje Shugden painting conceptualized by myself. She oversaw the process and completed it. Wonderful beautiful Dorje Shugden Malaysian style by Malaysian artist. Tsem Rinpoche
Sometimes after my prayers, reading on sasquatch is relaxing. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Sometimes after my prayers, reading on sasquatch is relaxing. Tsem Rinpoche
This gorgeous outdoor bronze Buddha is in Korea. Would be lovely to pay homage to Him there.
3 weeks ago
This gorgeous outdoor bronze Buddha is in Korea. Would be lovely to pay homage to Him there.
Beautiful old vintage photo of Kamakura Buddha in Japan. I had the good fortune to visit this holy Buddha a few years back. I do hope I can go again with some students. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Beautiful old vintage photo of Kamakura Buddha in Japan. I had the good fortune to visit this holy Buddha a few years back. I do hope I can go again with some students. Tsem Rinpoche
Tsem Rinpoche with Kyabje Gangchen Rinpoche in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during the Medicine Buddha festival.
3 weeks ago
Tsem Rinpoche with Kyabje Gangchen Rinpoche in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during the Medicine Buddha festival.
This is a unique thangka of Pelden Hlamo with Dorje Shugden and Setrap and Nechung. Of course they all get along unlike what Tibetan leadership likes to say they don\'t get along. All enlightened beings get along with other enlightened beings and unenlightened beings. Enlightened beings have no karma to not get along with others. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
This is a unique thangka of Pelden Hlamo with Dorje Shugden and Setrap and Nechung. Of course they all get along unlike what Tibetan leadership likes to say they don't get along. All enlightened beings get along with other enlightened beings and unenlightened beings. Enlightened beings have no karma to not get along with others. Tsem Rinpoche
I love this picture. I wish it will all settle down soon.
3 weeks ago
I love this picture. I wish it will all settle down soon.
 I love this picture of Mumu peeking through the screen and window to see what is going on. He is always been very busy body and active. He has to know what is going on. I love you Mumu.
3 weeks ago
I love this picture of Mumu peeking through the screen and window to see what is going on. He is always been very busy body and active. He has to know what is going on. I love you Mumu.
How would you like to get one piece of this beautiful piece of art?
3 weeks ago
How would you like to get one piece of this beautiful piece of art?
First time PM Tenpa Yarphel speaks up against Nechung. It has created a huge stir. Must read: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=144220
3 weeks ago
First time PM Tenpa Yarphel speaks up against Nechung. It has created a huge stir. Must read: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=144220
I always like my rooms to smell clean, fresh, woodsy and a bit like the forest. my favorite types of essential oils to burn daily or as an offering to the Buddhas are Juniper, Cypress, Black Spruce, Peppermint and sometimes Rosemary. I like the smell of the forest, woods and wooded areas very much. I\'ve been using essential oils in my rooms for years. I don\'t necessarily purchase the brand you see in the picture as I buy any brand as long as it\'s made naturally. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
I always like my rooms to smell clean, fresh, woodsy and a bit like the forest. my favorite types of essential oils to burn daily or as an offering to the Buddhas are Juniper, Cypress, Black Spruce, Peppermint and sometimes Rosemary. I like the smell of the forest, woods and wooded areas very much. I've been using essential oils in my rooms for years. I don't necessarily purchase the brand you see in the picture as I buy any brand as long as it's made naturally. Tsem Rinpoche
In the bitter coldness of Yachen Gar, Tibet, several nuns are practicing meditation. You can see many small single \'huts\' in the background. They do this yearly and throughout the year. It is very inspiring to see people practice even under extreme conditions because they realize how samsara is so full of deceptions. Praise to the Dharma that liberates us with truth and practice. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
In the bitter coldness of Yachen Gar, Tibet, several nuns are practicing meditation. You can see many small single 'huts' in the background. They do this yearly and throughout the year. It is very inspiring to see people practice even under extreme conditions because they realize how samsara is so full of deceptions. Praise to the Dharma that liberates us with truth and practice. Tsem Rinpoche
More than you have....
3 weeks ago
More than you have....
The holiest place for the spiritual seeker is where our guru abides. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
The holiest place for the spiritual seeker is where our guru abides. Tsem Rinpoche
Beautiful flowers offered on my shrine to Sacred Vajra Yogini. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Beautiful flowers offered on my shrine to Sacred Vajra Yogini. Tsem Rinpoche
This is my favorite image of Lord Manjusri. I had this exact same image as a kid in the 1980\'s and treasured it very much. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
This is my favorite image of Lord Manjusri. I had this exact same image as a kid in the 1980's and treasured it very much. Tsem Rinpoche
I love this idyllic painting of a beautiful Buddhist temple in a small town with foliage, natural, blue skies and country living. I can definitely live in this type of environment any time. I love living near nature. I wish I can go inside this picture to start living there now. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
I love this idyllic painting of a beautiful Buddhist temple in a small town with foliage, natural, blue skies and country living. I can definitely live in this type of environment any time. I love living near nature. I wish I can go inside this picture to start living there now. Tsem Rinpoche
Another gorgeous Byzantine style painting. As the crowd is lead to the hill of light, atop the hill is St. Dorje Shugden ready to give rest to the weary. And hope to the hopeless and help to the helpless. Tsem Rinpoche
4 weeks ago
Another gorgeous Byzantine style painting. As the crowd is lead to the hill of light, atop the hill is St. Dorje Shugden ready to give rest to the weary. And hope to the hopeless and help to the helpless. Tsem Rinpoche
Ms Gerbrick was a very special person in my childhood. When I finally found her again, I had lost her - http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=144296
4 weeks ago
Ms Gerbrick was a very special person in my childhood. When I finally found her again, I had lost her - http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=144296
I just did another one. See how it\'s done-
 http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=144259
4 weeks ago
I just did another one. See how it's done- http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=144259
I like this sketch I just did. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
I like this sketch I just did. Tsem Rinpoche
One of my sketches just finished. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
One of my sketches just finished. Tsem Rinpoche
More of my drawings.  Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
More of my drawings. Tsem Rinpoche
See what Linus has to say to Charlie Brown: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/category/dorje-shugden
1 month ago
Plse click on this and read and share. Important thoughts regarding our teacher. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
Plse click on this and read and share. Important thoughts regarding our teacher. Tsem Rinpoche
The stupa dedicated to the great Changkya Rolpai Dorje in 5 peaks of Manjushri - China. Changkya Rolpai Dorje was one of the previous life of His Holiness Pabongka Rinpoche. In that life, he was the imperial tutor to the Emperor of China.  Photo from Karen Chong
1 month ago
The stupa dedicated to the great Changkya Rolpai Dorje in 5 peaks of Manjushri - China. Changkya Rolpai Dorje was one of the previous life of His Holiness Pabongka Rinpoche. In that life, he was the imperial tutor to the Emperor of China. Photo from Karen Chong
Please click on this picture and see what the adorable boy is doing.
1 month ago
Please click on this picture and see what the adorable boy is doing.
Learn a new word and see what Fauvism means here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=143633
1 month ago
Learn a new word and see what Fauvism means here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=143633
Click on "View All Photos" above to view more images

Videos On The Go

Please click on the images to watch video
  • Lovely gift for my 52nd Birthday. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 days ago
    Lovely gift for my 52nd Birthday. Tsem Rinpoche
  • This 59-year-old chimpanzee was refusing food and ready to die until...
    4 days ago
    This 59-year-old chimpanzee was refusing food and ready to die until...
    she received “one last visit from an old friend” 💔💔
  • Bigfoot sighted again and made it to the news.
    4 days ago
    Bigfoot sighted again and made it to the news.
  • Casper is such a cute and adorable. I like him.
    4 days ago
    Casper is such a cute and adorable. I like him.
  • Dorje Shugden Monastery Amarbayasgalant  Mongolia's Ancient Hidden Gem
    1 week ago
    Dorje Shugden Monastery Amarbayasgalant Mongolia's Ancient Hidden Gem
  • Don't you love Hamburgers? See how 'delicious' it is here!
    2 weeks ago
    Don't you love Hamburgers? See how 'delicious' it is here!
  • Such a beautiful and powerful message from a person who knows the meaning of life. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 weeks ago
    Such a beautiful and powerful message from a person who knows the meaning of life. Tsem Rinpoche
  • What the meat industry figured out is that you don't need healthy animals to make a profit.
    2 weeks ago
    What the meat industry figured out is that you don't need healthy animals to make a profit.
    Sick animals are more profitable... farms calculate how close to death they can keep animals without killing them. That's the business model. How quickly they can be made to grow, how tightly they can be packed, how much or how little can they eat, how sick they can get without dying... We live in a world in which it's conventional to treat an animal like a block of wood. ~ Jonathan Safran Foer
  • This video went viral and it's a must watch!!
    2 weeks ago
    This video went viral and it's a must watch!!
  • SEE HOW THIS ANIMAL SERIAL KILLER HAS NO ISSUE BLUDGEONING THIS DEFENSELESS BEING.
    3 weeks ago
    SEE HOW THIS ANIMAL SERIAL KILLER HAS NO ISSUE BLUDGEONING THIS DEFENSELESS BEING.
    This happens daily in slaughterhouse so you can get your pork and Bak ku teh. Stop eating meat.
  • Fishes circumambulate around the sacred Manjushri image at Kechara Forest Retreat-Malaysia.
    3 weeks ago
    Fishes circumambulate around the sacred Manjushri image at Kechara Forest Retreat-Malaysia.
  • Dr Jordan B Peterson reveals this shift in mindset that will make you seize every opportunity.
    4 weeks ago
    Dr Jordan B Peterson reveals this shift in mindset that will make you seize every opportunity.
  • Look what China is doing about meat-eating!
    4 weeks ago
    Look what China is doing about meat-eating!
  • Must watch this brain video... very interesting
    4 weeks ago
    Must watch this brain video... very interesting
  • Beautiful Buddha being sculpted from clay.
    4 weeks ago
    Beautiful Buddha being sculpted from clay.
  • After a while, you are are numb and you just keep doing it. You don’t know what you are doing and you don’t see it for what it really is. Tsem Rinpoche
    4 weeks ago
    After a while, you are are numb and you just keep doing it. You don’t know what you are doing and you don’t see it for what it really is. Tsem Rinpoche
    Please share this as much as possible. Please care. Please help: http://www.patreon.com/weanimals
  • OSER GIRL IS SO SMART AND CUTE AND EVERYONE LOVES HER
    4 weeks ago
    OSER GIRL IS SO SMART AND CUTE AND EVERYONE LOVES HER
  • It is a very painful process before the animals are finally dead.
    1 month ago
    It is a very painful process before the animals are finally dead.
  • After a while, you are are numb and you just keep doing it.
    1 month ago
    After a while, you are are numb and you just keep doing it.
    You don't know what you are doing and you don't see it for what it really is. Tsem Rinpoche Please share this as much as possible. Please care. Please help: http://www.patreon.com/weanimals
  • If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.
    1 month ago
    If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.
  • Take a look at what singer Nicki Minaj did.
    1 month ago
    Take a look at what singer Nicki Minaj did.
  • Animals are enslaved to do a human’s job, this must stop.
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    Animals are enslaved to do a human’s job, this must stop.
  • This is how the chickens are killed in the farm, they die a very horrible death.
    1 month ago
    This is how the chickens are killed in the farm, they die a very horrible death.
  • America likes to police the world but their own record of civil rights is not on track. Watch this video from people of color in the US.
    1 month ago
    America likes to police the world but their own record of civil rights is not on track. Watch this video from people of color in the US.
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    1 month ago
    Important video to watch and learn.
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    1 month ago
    Amazing video that you will not regret watching.
  • Norma Jean
    2 months ago
    Norma Jean
    These are the heartbreaking scenes we see over and over again, that we share in the hopes of telling the stories of those who otherwise would have suffered and vanished from this earth without a trace. This is Norma Jean. Free for a little over five months, she knew more happiness than millions of her sisters ever will. But she couldn’t escape the fate genetically programmed into her as an egg producing machine. She seemed more lethargic than usual this morning, so we brought her inside to administer fluids and antibiotics in the hopes of pulling her through until we could get her in to see our vet. She couldn’t hang on. She died this evening shortly after this video was taken, severely infected from the rotting egg yolk adhered to various organs throughout her abdominal cavity. Like virtually every single one of her sisters, caged or free range, rescued or not, she paid the ultimate price for eggs (from FB)
  • If you want to change the world, start of by making your bed
    2 months ago
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    If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart
  • Canadian PM Justin Trudeau visits a Hindu mandir (temple)
    2 months ago
    Canadian PM Justin Trudeau visits a Hindu mandir (temple)
    While on a visit to a Hindu mandir (temple), Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks on diversity as Canada's strength.

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.

  • October 18, 2017 23:32
    Yen asked: Dear pastor, I am married but have not been blessed with a kid after several years. How can I overcome the pain I am going through? I also like to ask u for guidance to help someone dear to me who have met with an accident and in vegetative state. How do I help the friend suffer less? What can I do to help her overcome this obstacle in life even when doctor seems to have given up hope?
    Pastor Niral Patel answered: Dear Yen, Thank you for your question. I am very sorry to hear of your situation and that of your friend. One thing we need to remember is that the Buddha explained to us how karma works. Everything we experience in life, whether good or bad is due to our actions previously in this life and previous lifetimes. While this may sound unfair in that we need to experience the results of something that we do not remember doing, this is the way samsara exists. They only way to be free of this type of suffering is to attain enlightenment, the state of a Buddha. That being said, we all need help in our daily life, and that is where deity practice can help us. In order to overcome the pain you are going through, may I suggest that you engage in the Guru Yoga of Lama Tsongkhapa. You can find an excellent commentary by His Eminence the 25th Tsem Rinpoche here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/me/tsongkapas-daily-practice-video-commentary.html. You can find the prayers to recite here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/prayers-and-sadhanas/sadhana-prayers.html#19. There is also a practice box set dedicate to Lama Tsongkhapa, which you can order online here if you wish: https://www.vajrasecrets.com/tsongkhapa-boxset-english Lama Tsongkhapa is the emanation of Manjushri, the Buddha of wisdom; Chenrezig, the Buddha of compassion; and Vajrapani, the Buddha of skilful means. As such the practice is extremely powerful and is well-known to help people heal psychical pain, but more importantly the sufferings felt in the mind. You can concentrate on the recitation of the Mig Tse Ma mantra and beseech Lama Tsongkhapa to help ease your suffering. He will surely help. His practice is known for relieving anxiety and even depression. In regards to your friend, on a practical level you can research about your friend’s specific state and see if there are any treatments available that can be effective if you have not done so already. In any case what you can do is to engage in prayers or pujas and dedicate the merits generated to your friend. For example, you can engage in the practice of Medicine Buddha, available here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/prayers-and-sadhanas/medicine-buddha-practice.html, or alternative have Medicine Buddha pujas sponsored here: https://www.vajrasecrets.com/medicine-buddha-puja-fund. Medicine Buddha is excellent at healing on all levels, and provide us with soothing and beneficial energy. Another method that you can use to help your friend is to generate as much merit for her as possible. A vast amount of merit and purification of karma can help even the direst of circumstances. Such activities could involve releasing animals from slaughter or deplorable conditions, feeding the homeless and less fortunate and providing for them, and making vast amounts of offerings to the Buddhas and enlightened beings. If done with a good motivation, and dedicated towards your friend, she will benefit from the virtuous actions, even if you cannot see the benefits at the moment. Coupled with this you can engage in the practice of a Dharma protector such as a Dorje Shugden. You can find the prayers here if you wish to engage in them yourself: http://www.dorjeshugden.org/practice/diamond-path-a-daily-sadhana-of-dorje-shugden, alternatively you can have Dorje Shugden pujas sponsored here: https://www.vajrasecrets.com/dorje-shugden-wishfulfilling-puja-fund. Dharma protectors help to overcome obstacles and conditions that we wish to arise. I understand that it is a difficult situation, but you should maintain your faith in the Buddhas and enlightened beings, and they will definitely help. I hope this helps. Thank you
  • October 14, 2017 13:27
    Ling asked: I have been practising chakrasamvara for over 2 years now and recently during my meditation I feel that during the deity meditation portion that it feel like my entire body is under a heavy water fall. My heart and limbs also feel like flowing water and there is some crawling sensations. What could this be
    Pastor Niral Patel answered: Dear Ling, Thank you for your question. I rejoice to read that you are practising Chakrasamvara for over two years now. This is very good, you should keep the practice steady, keep the vows and commitments well and you will progress on your spiritual evolution. Generally speaking when you engage in higher tantric yoga meditation, the meditations include movement of your psychic winds. Therefore sometimes people will experience strange feelings in the body. When this happens, once should ease off the concentration on that particular visualisation when engaging in the practice. What you can do to lessen these feelings is to engage in purification practices such as the 35 Confessional Buddhas, which you can find here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/the-35-confessional-buddhas.html. Alternatively if you have the appropriate initiation, you can engage in the practice of Heruka Vajrasattva, which would be included in your sadhana text. Engaging in the purification practices would lessen these sensations when you practice, as everything we experience is due to our karma. What I would advise the most, however, is to consult the guru that gave you the empowerment of Chakrasamvara practice. Your guru would be able to better advise you in addition to the above, the methods you can use to minimise the physical effects if they are due to the actual practice. I hope this helps. Thank you
  • October 13, 2017 11:15
    Fearful asked: What does violent shaking all of the sudden and "shrinking" feeling of the head mean during practice mean? I've been practicing the dharmapalas, and this is happening. What does it mean?
    Pastor Niral Patel answered: Dear Fearful, Thank you for your question. There could be any number of reasons for this to be occurring. What you can do when this starts to happen is to stop what you are doing, and take deep breaths, and concentrate on your breath. As you concentrate on your breath, this will have a calming effect on both your body and mind, which should stop the involuntary shaking and strange feelings. In fact focusing on the breath is one of the best known methods of developing a focused, concentrated, yet calm Your practice of the Dharmapalas should begin with either Guru Yoga or deity practice, therefore I would suggest that you engage in these practices more before you begin the actually Dharma protector practice. One of the best practices is the Guru Yoga of Lama Tsongkhapa. This practice is well known for its healing ability on for both the body and the mind. Over time, you should see such occurrences lessen. If this shaking happens regularly and also when you are not practicing, you should consider visiting a qualified health professional just to rule out anything untoward. I hope this helps. Thank you
  • October 8, 2017 20:48
    John asked: Dear pastors, When reciting mantras we are instructed to visualize the deity. However I realize that my visualization is very very fuzzy and very very ever-changing. It is not a still image, there is like thick clouds moving and blocking the visualization then they would clear and block again and clear again and the deity would even change shape. The round part would be more oval one moment and more circle the next etc. In fact, I don't even know if the picture that ends up appearing in my mind is really looking like the deity or not. What if I end up visualizing a monster without knowing it since it's so fuzzy? Is there danger if that happens? What do you advice me to do?
    Pastor Niral Patel answered: Dear John, Thank you for your question. This is a question that people actually ask a lot, but there is no need to worry, especially if we do not have tantric initiation. In fact, the more we practice getting our visualisation stabilised now, the better we will be able to practice tantra when we eventually receive tantric initiation. The issue you are having maintain a steady visualisation is not an uncommon one. This is because we actually have to train our mind to concentrate on what we are doing. One of the major facets of Buddhist meditation is concentration, and this is something we need to develop. We might think that we have a good ability to concentrate, but what the Buddha and the great masters have taught is that we actually do not, but we can obviously develop it. Visualisation itself is a form of concentration meditation, therefore until we achieve a good level of concentration, things like this will happen as we train our minds. What we can do is to focus on a particular aspect of the visualisation, such as the face of the deity, and once that is stable and focused, we can continue onto other parts of the deity’s body, and then the various other aspects of the visualisation. That way, we train ourselves little by little to have a complete visualisation. No in regards to your question about their being danger if something goes wrong or if we make a mistake during our visualisation, this cannot be at our stage of practice. This is because the visualisation is engaged in during the mantra recitation section. Mantras themselves are the Buddhas and enlightened beings in the form of sound. Therefore when we recite mantras we are invoking the holy energies of the Buddhas, which naturally guide and protect us from any harm. The fact that you are facing this issue is in fact a good sign. It shows that are trying to concentrate on the visualisation, but that your mind has not reached a level of concentration powerful enough to maintain the stability of the visualisation. The antidote to this is simple, keep practising. As you continue to practice, you will notice that your visualisation becomes stronger and stronger. If however, you are still worried, you can end your recitation sessions with the prayer dedicated to a Dharma protector to any obstacles, and end with a completion dedication. I hope this helps. Thank you
  • October 6, 2017 22:31
    Wong asked: Hi, i would like to ask about jhana which is the last factor of the eightfold path. How is it being practised?
    Pastor Niral Patel answered: Dear Wong, Thank you for your question. The last factor of the eightfold noble path is called jhana in the Pali language. In the Sanskrit language it is called dyana. This is a state of meditative absorption which culminates in the understanding of emptiness and is the pathway that leads us to attain liberation. Generally this state is achieved through the practice of single-pointed concentration meditation. But within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition once you have achieved stabilised single-pointed meditation, you progress onto the path of special insight meditation. It is at this stage, that one is able to concentrate completely on understanding emptiness and therefore attain enlightenment. This topic is somewhat outside of the scope of this section of the blog. However, Pabongkha Rinpoche in his excellent Lam Rim text, titled “Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand” gives a very concise yet thorough introduction to the topic of meditation. Pabongkha Rinpoche addresses the path to enlightenment, not through the eightfold noble path however, but through the six perfections of a bodhisattva. In essence although on the surface the two ways of structuring the path to enlightenment may seem different, they are actually both the same if one analyses them carefully. If you read “Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand” you will understand how the two structures are interlinked if you have an understanding of the eightfold noble path. You can order a copy of the book here: https://www.vajrasecrets.com/lamrim-liberation-in-the-palm-of-your-hand and the book is also available at Kechara Paradise outlets. Alternatively, you can ask your local book store to order the book in for you if they have that service. I hope this helps. Thank you
  • October 3, 2017 04:11
    jason asked: i have been practicing higher yoga tantra for over two year now and recently i started to get nightmares for three continuous nights now and i think it will continue, What is happening ? did i do something wrong? The first nightmare was me being cut in to numerous pieces , the second was me being visited by a greyish blue female old female ghost with no eyes in eye sockets, and the third was a giant dark brown black centipede encased in a white translucent sac exploding out of my thigh and crawling/ rolling away in to darkness. Im quite worried that i may have done something wrong even though i think i have not.
    pastor answered: Dear Jason, Thank you for your question. I am glad to hear that you have been practising Higher Yoga Tantra for over two years. You should keep your samaya with your Guru pure and intact, as well as keeping the vows and commitments that you would have taken during the empowerment into the practice. If you do this then you will see a definite transformation of your mind and circumstances for the better, which is after all what Buddhist practice is all about. In regards to your nightmares I do not think that you have done anything wrong per se. In this case it could be due to two possible reasons, the first is that your negative karma is arising in your dreams and the second is that you are being afflicted by a spirit. In the first case, when we practice Higher Yoga Tantra properly and sincerely, it purifies a lot of negative karma. As when engaging in any practice that purifies negative karma, this karma can open and manifest under control situations. For example you the karma manifests are nightmares or scary figures or feelings, rather than physically, which would come about through uncontrollable causes and conditions. When karma is purified it manifests in its most mild form, and for you in this case, it could manifest in the form of nightmares. Therefore if we are engaging in powerful practices, or when we concentrate on these practices, such things can occur. Some people may find this sort of situation bad. But this is not correct, because due to the nature of samsara, we are affected by karma in some form or another. What matters here is that karma is purified so that we can progress on our spiritual journey. When you face such difficulties, the key here is continue with your practice strongly and not give up. In this manner, the karma which causes such situations to occur is purified quicker and then we are no longer affected by it. Therefore you should wholeheartedly engage in primary sadhana of your meditational deity. On the other hand, it could be that you are being affected by a spirit or spirits. In this case there are methods of protection that you can engage in which should be included in your Higher Yoga Tantra practice. If you are unsure of what these could be, please humbly approach your initiating guru for more guidance. Another way that can help solve this problem is to engage in the practice of a Dharma protector such as Dorje Shugden. Since you are already practising a Highest Yoga Tantra, you can ask your guru about the particular Dharma protectors associated with the practice. Each of the major tantric practice has certain Dharma protectors associated with it that aid practitioners to clear obstacles and create conducive conditions for practice. You can actually engage in any Dharma protector practice, but it would be best for you to consult your guru as he or she may assign you a specific Dharma protector to practice. Whatever the case may be, it comes down to karma. The Higher Yoga Tantra you are practising should include a purification practice such as Vajrasattva. For example if you practice the Heruka Chakrasamvara tantra, and have received the appropriate empowerment, you can practice Heruka Vajrasattva. You then concentrate on the practice of Vajrasattva to purify the negative karma causing the situation, and over time you will see the situation get better. If you are not sure of the purification aspect of your daily practice, you can recite the 35 Confessional Buddhas. All of these can help, however I strongly advise you to humbly approach your guru and ask for further advice and instruction, as he or she may assign you other practices or even ask you concentrate on specific sections of the sadhana that they passed to you, to help you overcome these problems. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • September 30, 2017 22:31
    kevin asked: hi pastor, I've been very problematic lately and depressed. My plans seem to be always out of place. I read from an article that some problems are caused by negative karma from the previous and present life. I want to know if there is anything that I can do to drain my negative karma. Im very wary now on my actions to others so not to add to my existing karma. Can you suggest a mantra which I can recite and reflect on everyday to help alleviate my problems and drain my negative karma. Thank you very much. Bless you.
    pastor answered: Dear Kevin, Thank you for your question. Yes, according to Buddhist thought everything we go through in life is caused by karma. This can be either good or bad, so difficulties we face in life are indeed due to our karma. Now, one thing about karma that people often forget is that it can be purified. There are many methods within Tibetan Buddhism that are used for the purification of karma. In fact all practices necessarily involve the purification of negative karma and the generation of merit. The most effective of these are known as purification practices, which have the specific benefits of helping us to purify negative karma which leads to all kinds of problems within in our lives. These include Vajrasattva practice, which can be found here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/prayers-and-sadhanas/an-important-purification-practice.html and the practice of the 35 Confessional Buddhas, which can be found here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/the-35-confessional-buddhas.html. You can read more about these practices by clicking on the respective links. These are two very powerful methods of purifying negative karma and have been relied upon by countless practitioners and masters to progress on the spiritual path. They are two very extremely effective methods used within Tibetan Buddhism. Since you are going through many problems, however, you can engage in the practice of a Dharma protector who can help alleviate the obstacles you are facing and at the same provide conditions that are suitable for you. One such Dharma protector is Dorje Shugden, you can read more about his practice here, and his daily prayers here: http://www.dorjeshugden.org/practice/diamond-path-a-daily-sadhana-of-dorje-shugden. The website also has a lot of information about the practice and how it can benefit you in daily life. While it may seem daunting that you have negative karma, you should not be disheartened because negative karma can be overcome by purifying it. What you said is right, you should be wary of creating more negative karma. In fact that is one of the main points a Buddhist lives by, which is not creating more negative karma. People often wonder why Buddhists take vows and precepts, this is actually to stop the accumulation of negative karma. For example a Buddhist takes the vow not to kill, this obviously stops the Buddhist from creating the negative karma of killing because they consciously remember that they should not kill in whatever situation they are in. So it is very good that are checking your actions to make sure that you do not add to the negative karma. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • September 28, 2017 13:18
    Nepal asked: I've noticed that in Nepal, Shugden and his retinue are forms of the worldly protector Za Rahula, or that's what the lamas and sadhanas say. Wouldn't that make Shugden dangerous or wouldn't that make Manjushri a worldly deity or one that is dangerous?
    pastor answered: Dear Nepal, Thank you for your question. Dorje Shugden is an emanation of Manjushri, that is what the high lamas and masters have taught and explained using Buddhist logic. Dorje Shugden as an enlightened being has been practiced by all major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, and was first practiced within the holy Sakya tradition. Similarly, Manjushri is an enlightened being. In fact all Tibetan Buddhist schools and Vajrayana traditions, including those in Nepal, say that Manjushri is an enlightened being, the Buddha of wisdom. Rahula on the other hand is a worldly deity who was bound by oath to protect Buddhism and Buddhism practitioners. You can read more about him here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/dharma-protectors-of-tibetan-buddhism.html#tabs-1. All Tibetan Buddhist schools similarly agree to this point. Therefore to equate Dorje Shugden as a form of Za Rahula would logically mean that Manjushri is not a Buddha. This cannot be since hundreds of thousands of holy masters have relied on Manjushri and gained enlightenment through such beliefs and practices associated with Manjushri. Since from a logical perspective this cannot be the case, and Dorje Shugden is an emanation of Manjushri, it is safe to say that Dorje Shugden is not a form of Za Rahula. You can read more about Dorje Shugden, his history, lineage of practice and benefits here: http://www.dorjeshugden.org. I hope this helps. Thank you.
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Dorje Shugden
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