Alexandra David-Néel

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Alexandra David-Néel was a woman with the “wind beneath her feet”. She was a Buddhist, Orientalist and writer born in France and dedicated her whole life to studying Asian culture and religion, and sharing it with the Western world. In fact, most of her books focus on practices within Tibetan Buddhism. As a Western woman, her dangerous travel to Lhasa, Tibet, which at the time was closed to foreigners, created worldwide renown for her. Here is a short overview of her life and travels.

 

Background and Childhood

Alexandra as a child

Louise Eugénie Alexandrine Marie David, later known as Alexandra David-Néel, was born on October 24, 1868, in St. Mandé, close to Paris, as the only child of Louis David and Alexandrine Borghmans.

Her father Louis David, born in 1815, was a teacher by profession but became a journalist to express his political ideas. He was 53 years old at the time of Alexandra’s birth. By religion he was Protestant, but rebelled against the government. He had to leave France during the coup d’état of Napoleon III in 1851 and was sent into exile to Belgium. It was there that he began giving French language lessons to the sons of a Flemish major in Louvain, which was where he met his future wife.

Her mother, native to Brussels, had mixed Dutch, Norwegian and Siberian ancestry. She was the adopted daughter of the Flemish major and was a devoted Catholic. She was 36 years old at the time of Alexandra’s birth, but strongly hoped to give birth to a boy who would become a high priest. Extremely disappointed by the birth of a daughter, she did not show much love and affection to her. Her parents give her the nickname “Nini” which is the short version of Eugénie. Her father, passionate about politics, instructed his daughter on the governmental repression at that time.

A teenage Alexandra, who had her imagination carried away by the books she was so fond of reading

At that time, Paris was undergoing political upheaval, which ended with 30,000 victims, the last of which were shot dead at the Père Lachaise cemetery. Wanting his daughter to know about the atrocities of humankind, he brought the 2 ½ year old Alexandra to the Père Lachaise cemetery (Alexandra David-Néel shares about this experience in a letter dated December 19, 1913).

In 1873, the family moved back to Ixelles in Belgium, a suburb of Brussels, where the young Alexandra preferred to flee to the imaginary realms of books. It was then that Louise Eugénie Alexandrine Marie David adopted the pen name of “Alexandra” even though very young in age. She first used the name Alexandra Myrial, which she used during her singing period.

As Alexandra grew older, she spent her time writing and reading, as she is seen doing here in her home

Dolls and dresses bored her and she would ask for books of faraway places during her birthdays. She ran away to Switzerland, crossing the Alps. Her mother brought her back from Italy but it was difficult to punish Alexandra. She was not bothered with hardship and she even hated being comfortable. Before the age of 15, she had already experienced, in secret, several austerities such as fasting and physical torture. She was inspired by different biographies of ascetic saints and slept on a bed of wooden planks. At the age of 15, she began to study music and singing privately.

 

Adult life

In 1889, Alexandra received the first prize in “French theatre chanting” after studying for three years at the Music Conservatory in Brussels. It is was her only diploma. During that period in history there were only two choices a woman could make: marriage or joining a convent. Alexandra however chose a third option, liberty. This was a brave choice as women had to fight to be allowed higher education, or were forced into becoming wives and mothers or maidservants.

With the help of her father, Alexandra continued her education in what mattered to her – Orientalism. Attracted by exotic stories of adventure, Alexandra longed and planned to visit India. With the financial help of her parents she left for the United Kingdom in 1889, to improve her knowledge of the English language and to satisfy her unquenchable curiosity for mysteries surrounding all things and beings. She stayed in London at the Supreme Gnosis club for a few months, studying many philosophical and religious works concerning India and China in the Supreme Gnosis club’s library and the library of the British Museum, and she met members of the Theosophical Society. Through her study of oriental translations Alexandra discovered that learning Sanskrit, the classical Indian language of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism allowed her a deeper understanding.

At a time when Western women had to fight to receive a higher education, Alexandra took matters into her own hands, travelling on her own to the Far East

At 21, she left for Paris, staying in a guestroom at the Theosophical Society for three years. She used her time following classes on various civilizations and oriental languages at the Collège de France, the Sorbonne and at the École des Hautes Études, but she never passed any of the exams. She also spent time at the Guimet museum and joined occult meetings.

In the 1890s, Alexandra decided to visit some of the temples in the region of Ceylon to discover Buddhism. She visited Madura (the sacred Brahmin city), Adyar (to visit the Theosophical Society) and Benares, where she was shocked to find a starving population.

Alexandra was also shocked at the extent of the animal sacrifices performed by the Hindu population, especially during the feast of Durga during which millions of buffaloes were sacrificed. She was even more shocked that even humans were victims of certain rites, especially women who were not spared by some sections of society, as some were condemned alive to join their late husbands on the funeral pyre.

Her first goal was to gain a better understanding of the three branches of Hinduism:

She read a lot, bought texts, learnt and met Swami Bashkaraanda, an old ascetic who lived naked in a rose garden. He accepted her as a student, and gave her some philosophical knowledge and classes in Sanskrit. During each of her stays in Benares, she went to meet him in his rose garden. As for Buddhism, Alexandra was at that time more interested in the Theravada traditions rather than the Mahayana or Vajrayana traditions of Tibet and Mongolia.

Back in Europe, due to bad investments, the family now earned less, and Alexandra had to earn her own keep. In 1893, at the age of 25, she began singing on stage in Belgium and later in Paris. In 1895, Alexandra was hired as the lead singer in operas in Hanoi and Haiphong in Vietnam. During this time, she took the opportunity to visit the Indochinese Peninsula and South China to learn about local Buddhist practice. In 1900, she was hired by the Municipal Opera of Tunis, Tunisia, where she met her husband, Philippe Néel.

 

Her travels

Alexandra was passionate about exploring from a young age. At the age of four or five, she ventured out on her own to explore the woods of Vincennes, an eastern suburb of Paris, but was later brought back home by the police. In 1887, at the age of 17, she ventured out to hike the Saint Gotthard Mountains, but was found by her mother who brought her home.

Taken during Alexandra's first trip to India where she explored her interest in the Eastern religions like Hinduism

Through her work as singer, but also her interest in writing articles on the political situation, she followed her passion and visited countries in Europe (Spain, Italy, United Kingdom and Greece), in North Africa, and in Asia (India and Indochina).

In India, in the 1890s, she was especially attracted to the character of Annie Besant, who became a disciple of Helena Blavatsky, the founder of the Theosophical Society. Annie Besant was a leading figure and eventually became president of the Theosophical Society after the founder’s death in 1891. Alexandra formally joined the Society the following year, staying with Besant in London, followed by a lengthy stay at the Theosophical compound near Adyar, India in 1893. After returning from her first trip to the East, she continued to ask advice from Besant.

Alexandra on her travels

On August 9, 1911 Alexandra left her hometown Tunis in the direction of Ceylon (modern day Sri Lanka). Alexandra only returned after having visited Lhasa in Tibet in 1925. On her journey, she would visit cities in India first. In early 1912, Alexandra found herself in the little kingdom of Sikkim where she met her future spiritual teacher for the first time, the Gomchen of Lachen, who made a big impression on her. It was not until many years later that he would accept her as a student.

In December of 1912, Alexandra visited Nepal where she was received by the Maharaja in the Valley of Kathmandu. At that time, Alexandra favored Hinduism as opposed to Buddhism. It was in Nepal where she explored Brahminism, as the precursor to contemporary Hinduism. She liked to learn and explore the ideas of people’s rather than buildings and monuments.

Alexandra (far right) and her adopted son Lama Yongden on the road

After visiting Lumbini and Kapilavastu in Nepal (where Buddha was born and raised), she made her way to Benares in India and to her friends in Sikkim, where she was allowed to meet His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama. In Sikkim, Alexandra stayed in a cave near her teacher’s cave at about 4000m above sea level. She would remain in Sikkim until 1916.

Alexandra outside her retreat cave

Over the years, Alexandra tried many times to reach Lhasa, Tibet but was always discovered by the authorities and stopped. She was finally successful in her attempts in 1924 where she remained until her return to France in May 1925.

In 1937, Alexandra left France again, this time heading towards China. She would only return home in June 1946.

 

Tibet

Alexandra with her adopted son Lama Yongden. He followed her since he was 14 years old.

Tibet during Alexandra’s time was a forbidden land. No foreigner was allowed to enter Tibet and even the population of the country and those bordering it were forced to refer all foreigners to the authorities, who would stop them from entering Tibet and reaching Lhasa, its capital.

The first time Alexandra entered Tibet was in the summer of 1916, when she was successful in reaching Shigatse. Travelling via Sikkim, she would come to meet the Tashi Lama (also known as the 9th Panchen Lama Lobsang Gelek Namgyal) during this trip. The Panchen Lama invited her to stay in Tashilhunpo Monastery but she declined as she had left all her luggage behind in Calcutta. Alexandra returned to Sikkim after a few days.

In the succeeding years, Alexandra would make many attempts to reach Lhasa but was sent back time and time again. In this way her successful attempt to reach Lhasa in 1924 was an enormous achievement on the part of Alexandra and her adopted son Lama Aphur Yongden, whom she had met in Sikkim and had first taken on as an assistant. Lama Aphur Yongden was a young monk from the Karma Kagyu order, who came to consider Alexandra as his guru over time.

Alexandra (third from left) on a yak in Tibet

Alexandra’s multiple attempts to enter Tibet and reach Lhasa helped her to gain a lot of experience, including the enormous hardship in trying to overcome Himalayan Mountains, distances of hundreds of kilometers of difficult terrain, wars and bandits, financial difficulties, difficult hygienic conditions, climates with drastic changes in weather, harsh winters and rainy seasons, sunstroke and precarious rope bridges.

Alexandra (right) travelling with Yongden

She became an expert in disguising herself as a native; only the equipment they carried exposed them as something other than pilgrims. On their last and successful trip to enter Tibet, they left behind their Western equipment and didn’t even take a camera. Alexandra only took a few compasses, and a number of rough map drafts to find her way. She chose a path through previously unexplored territory but was well-prepared.

Eventually forced to leave her horse and much of her luggage behind, and dreading that they would be caught, they eventually entered Tibet via the sacred mountain of Kha Kharpo. There, among some bushes she found an old hat worn by women, which turned out to be a lucky turn of events, as she wore it while being questioned by an officer shortly afterwards. Alexandra asked him for donations for her supposed pilgrimage in Tibetan, and showed him her tongue as was the Tibetan custom. Alexandra played her role well, pretending to be a mother accompanying her ordained son, Lama Aphur Yongden.

Alexandra with Tibetan nuns

It was during this trip that she gained valuable information regarding Tibetan culture that was unknown of outside Tibet. However, her stay in Lhasa did not remain undiscovered. The chief of the police from Darjeeling, who knew her from her stay in Sikkim recognized her. Known for his strict adherence to the law, he would have reported her to the Tibetan authorities if not for holding Alexandra in high esteem, knowing full well her sincere interest in Tibetan Buddhism.

Later in her journey, having become seriously malnourished and suffering from influenza, Alexandra and Lama Aphur Yongden decided to visit the three great monastic institutions of Gaden, Sera and Drepung. Of all the schools of Tibetan Buddhism, Alexandra was especially interested in the Gelug tradition. In fact Alexandra had already met His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama in Kalimpong in 1912.

Alexandra recognized him from his portrait: a slightly stooped figure with wide open, riveting eyes, slightly evasive, a waxed mustache, and enormous ears (a sign of wisdom), wearing a peaked yellow cap and maroon robes. She pressed her palms together before the heart in salutation. Someone slipped a white silk scarf into her hands and she presented it but forgot the proper words. He wasn’t very tall and, a trifle unwillingly, the rebel bowed her head, whereupon the Dalai Lama reached out to bless her.

As the two conversed, the Thirteenth wondered aloud how the Frenchwoman, alone in her faith in a foreign land, could have become a practicing Buddhist without a master. To himself he must have questioned whether she was a Buddhist at all. The Christian missionaries, fond of disguises, would go to any lengths to convert his people. But David-Neel’s knowledge ran deep, and she soon satisfied him on that score, even made him smile. She tried to ignore the officious chamberlain who continued to interrupt. However, she had to admit that those Europeans interested in Buddhism were generally of the older, Theravadin school.

– The Secret Lives of Alexandra David-Neel: A Biography of the Explorer of Tibet and its Forbidden Practices

On their return, the two pilgrims paid visits to the monasteries of Samye, founded by Padmasambhava and Santarakshita, followed by Mindroling in Tsetang and the monastery of Dorje Phagmo at Samding. Alexandra wanted to see as many places as she could, since she believed these she would never return again. In June 1924, Alexandra returned to India.

 

Her practices

Alexandra had received many Buddhist practices from masters in Sikkim and Tibet. These she details in her book Magic and Mystery in Tibet.

One of her masters was the Gomchen of Lachen, Nga-Ouang Rinchen (the abbot of the monastery of Lachen). She met him for the first time in May 1912 but it was not until years later that he accepted her as his student.

On death meditation she notes:

Starting with the idea that ‘method,’ the ‘savoir-faire,’ is of an essential importance, the Lamaists think that after having learned the art of living well one must learn the art of dying well and of “doing well” in other worlds.

Initiates acquainted with mystic lore, are supposed to know what awaits them when they die, and contemplative lamas have foreseen and experienced, in this life, the sensations that accompany death. They will, therefore, neither be surprised nor troubled when their present personality disintegrates.

She also learnt the tantric practice of tummo, or inner heat, from her teacher Lachen Gomchen Rinpoche. This practice she describes in some detail, including conditions one should practice and the actual method of practice. It is said that the yogi-saint Milarepa used this practice when he was surrounded by snow without sufficient provisions and a proper shelter, to keep himself warm. She narrates that practitioners even had competitions during which a wet cloth would be placed on a student’s shoulder and he was supposed to dry one cloth after another till the break of day, through the practice of tummo.

Gomchen Rinpoche gave her the name Yeshe Tome, meaning ‘Lamp of Wisdom‘. This proved very useful as she became known by this name to Buddhist authorities throughout Asia:

He had never been to Lhasa nor to Shigatze, nor travelled anywhere in Tibet and knew nothing of the world outside his cave. His master had lived there for more than thirty years, and when he died the present hermit had walled himself in.

Alexandra had a fondness for Buddhist debates, which she enjoyed due to their philosophical nature:

Both junior and senior students of philosophy hold discussions at regular dates. Often the latter take place in the open, and in all large lamaseries a shady garden, surrounded by walls, is reserved for that purpose.

Ritualistic gestures accompany the controversies and are a lively part of it. There are peculiar ways of turning one’s rosary around one’s arm, clapping one’s hands and stamping when putting a question: there are other prescribed ways of jumping when giving an answer or replying to one interrogation by another.

Later in her book she describes in detail a member of the Lung Gompa, who had developed the extraordinary ability to travel great distances at speed, through tantric means:

By that time he had nearly reached us; I could clearly see his perfectly calm impassive face and wide-open eyes with their gaze fixed on some invisible far-distant object situated somewhere high up in space. The man did not run. He seemed to lift himself from the ground, proceeding by leaps. It looked as if he had been endowed with the elasticity of a ball and rebounded each tine his feet touched the ground. His steps had the regularity of a pendulum. He wore the usual monastic robe and toga, both rather ragged. His left hand gripped a fold of the toga and was half hidden under the cloth. The right held a phurba. His right arm moved slightly at each step as if leaning on a stick, just as though the phurba, whose pointed extremity was far above the ground, had touched it and were actually a support.

While a tantric practitioner herself, she was well aware of the difficulties practitioners faced, and even mentions this in her description of tantra:

As for the method which mystics call the ‘Short Path,’ the ‘Direct Path,’ it is considered as most hazardous. It is – according to the masters who teach it – as if instead of following the road which goes round a mountain ascending gradually towards its summit, one attempted to reach it in straight line, climbing perpendicular rocks and crossing chasms on a rope. Only first rate equilibrists, exceptional athletes, completely free from giddiness, can hope to succeed in such a task. Even the fittest may fear sudden exhaustion or dizziness. And there inevitably follows a dreadful fall in which the too presumptuous alpinist breaks his bones.

 

Books by Alexandra David- Néel

  • Pour la vie. 1898
  • Le Philosophe Meh-ti et l’idée de solidarité. 1907
  • Les Théories individualistes dans la philosophie chinoise. 1909
  • Le Modernisme bouddhiste et le Bouddhisme du Bouddha. 1911
  • Souvenirs d’une Parisienne au Thibet. 1925
  • Voyage d’une Parisienne à Lhassa, à pied et en mendiant de la Chine à l’Inde à travers le Tibet. 1927
  • Mystiques et magiciens du Thibet (Magic and Mystery in Tibet). 1929
  • Initiations lamaïques. Des theories – des pratiques – des homes. 1930
  • La Vie surhumaine de Guésar de Ling le héros thibétain, racontée par les bardes de son pays. (avec la collaboration du lama Yongden). 1931
  • Au pays des brigands gentils-hommes. Grand Tibet. 1933
  • Le Lama aux cinq sagesses – Romain tibétain. 1935 (par lama Yongden et A. David-Néel)
  • Le Bouddhisme – Ses doctrines et ses méthodes. 1936
  • Magie d’amour et magie noire. Scènes du Tibet inconnu. 1938
  • Sous des nuées d’orage. 1940
  • A l’ouest barbare de la vaste Chine. 1947
  • Au Coeur des Himalayas. Le Népal. 1949
  • L’Inde. Hier – Aujourd’hui – Demain. 1951
  • Astavakra Gîtâ. Discours sur le Vedânta advaïta (traduit du sanscrit). 1951
  • Les Enseignements secrets des bouddhistes tibétains. La vue pénétrante. 1951
  • Textes tibétains inédits. 1952
  • Le Vieux Tibet face à la Chine nouvelles. 1953
  • La Puissance du néant (par lama Yongden). 1954
  • La Connaissance transcendants d’après le texte et les commentaires tibétains. 1958
  • Avadhuta Gîtâ de Dattatraya. Poème mystique Vedânta advaïta. 1958
  • Le Bouddhisme du Bouddha, ses doctrines, ses methods et ses développements mahâyânistes et tantriques au Tibet. 1960
  • Immortalité et reincarnation. Doctrines et pratiques. Chine-Tibet-Inde 1961
  • Quarante siècles d’expansion chinoise. 1964
  • L’Inde où j’ai vécu. Avant et après l’Indépendance. 1969

 

Published after her death by Marie-Madeleine Peyronnet:

  • En Chine – L’amour universel et l’individualisme integral – Les Maîtres Mo-Tsé et Yong-Tchou. 1970
  • Le sortilege du mystère – Faits étranges et gens bizarres rencontrés au long de mes routes d’Orient et d’Occident. 1972
  • Journal de voyage – Lettres à son mari (11 august 1904-27 – 27 december 1917)
  • Vivre au Tibet – cuisine, Traditions et Images. 1975
  • Journal de voyage – Lettres à son mari (14 janvier 1918 – 3 December 1940). 1976
  • La lampe the sagesse (Thoughts and maxims of Alexandra David-Néel found in her notebooks and her correspondence). 1986

 

Old Age

Aged 78, Alexandra David-Néel returned to France to arrange the estate of her late husband, and began writing from her home in Digne, where she worked tirelessly. It was on October 7, 1955, Lama Aphur Yongden passed away, leaving Alexandra alone. His ashes were kept safe in the Tibetan oratory of Samten Dzong, awaiting scattering in the Ganges river, together with those of Alexandra after her death.

Alexandra in her old age

As she aged, she suffered from articular rheumatism and the discomfort of the increasing paralysis in her legs and deformation of the hands. In April 1957, she left Samten Dzong in order to live in Monaco with a friend who had been typing her manuscripts. She decided then to live alone in a hotel, moving from one place to the next, till June 1959, when she was introduced to a young woman, Marie-Madeleine Peyronnet, her new personal secretary.

Marie-Madeleine Peyronnet would stay with Alexandra until the end, watching over her like a daughter over her mother. Alexandra David-Neel even nicknamed her ‘Turtle’.

Marie-Madeleine on the far right, who would stay with Alexandra until her death in 1969

Alexandra David-Néel passed away on September 8, 1969, almost 101 years old. In 1973, Marie-Madeleine Peyronnet took her ashes to Varanasi to be scattered with those of her beloved adopted son, Lama Aphur Yongden, into the Ganges.

 

For more interesting information:

 

 

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About Pastor Antoinette Kass

Antoinette first came across H.E. Tsem Rinpoche through his teachings on YouTube and found them very helpful, meaningful, clear and easy to understand. After her first visit to Kechara during her holidays in December 2011, she took refuge in October 2012. Today, Antoinette is an aspiring nun-to-be and has been a full-time volunteer in Kechara since December 2013.
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  1. Anne Ong on Dec 10, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    Thank you Pastor Antoinette for sharing an interesting story about the adventurous life of Alexandra David Neel. I really admire for her independant mind at a very young to wandering off alone. And strong courage,brave and determination to travel all the way to Tibet to pursue spirituality. Definitely an awe inspiring read and should be an encouragement for me and everyone to overcome my easy obstacles to reach higher spiritual goals.

  2. Sock Wan on Nov 24, 2016 at 11:24 am

    Thank you Pastor Antoinette for sharing with us the life of this adventurous woman called Alexandra David-Neel. It is For a woman in her era, it must have been difficult for her having a different thinking from the ‘normal people’. She liked to explored and she took the courage to explore to far east, to countries she had no idea how they were like. She was never restricted by her gender or her age, I read that at her very old age, she was still writing books.

    She has left behind so many information about Tibet and Buddhist practices, back then it was something very remarkable. She must also have heard a lot of people telling her she cannot do this, she cannot do that, but she did not listen to them and went ahead anyway. We all have our potential, do not let others discourage us. What they don’t want to do or cannot do, does not mean we would not be able to do.

  3. Wan Wai Meng on Jul 29, 2016 at 1:58 am

    What an interesting article about this lady who travelled in search of knowledge and she was not afraid of any kind of hardship. Thank you for this lovely article a most eye opening, Western take at learning about spirituality.

  4. Sofi on Mar 30, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    Thank you Pastor Antoinette for the wonderful write up on Alexandra David Neel. I am absolutely amazed at her courage to fulfill her wanderlust and spiritual exploration. She must have very strong imprints from her past lives to have that urge to seek spiritual although faced with so much obstacles, especially during the times where women either marry or join the convent. She display extraordinary observations and memory, remembering from as young as two years of age, when her father brought her to the cemetery to witness death.
    Her journey of discovery sounds so like an adventurous story book but I am sure it had been fraught with danger and hardship, which she took on as a challenge to be overcome. I certainly would be enthralled at her feet listening to her life.
    Definitely an awe inspiring read and should be an encouragement for me to overcome my easy obstacles to reach higher spiritual goals.

  5. Datuk May on Mar 5, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    I have never heard of nor read about Alexandra David Neel, but reading it now through the contribution of Pastor Antionette, I am both amazed at her feat to study and learn Buddhism.

    Imagine what she had to go through to achieve her knowledge in her faith during the 19th Century when airplanes were non existent. I admire her tenacity to achieve enhancement to her faith. Her affinity and imprint of the Dharma must be huge.

    Today for many of us, we can study the Dharma from the internet and all that is needed is to sit down and do so. It is with this ease that I rejoice and that the Dharma will be learnt by many more people.

    • Pastor Antoinette Kass on Mar 14, 2016 at 8:19 pm

      Dear Datuk May,

      Indeed it is amazing how determined Alexandra David-Néel was. The situation for women was already difficult at that time but she found her way even through the Himalayas and to Tibet. She put a lot of effort to study and share about her travels and the practices she had learnt when very few from the West have travelled so far.

      Thank you for your comment.

  6. Sarah on Mar 3, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    I enjoyed reading this article very much. Thank you Pastor Antoinette. I love reading about spiritual journeys like this one about Alexandra David-Neel. She was indeed a deeply spiritual person and she led a fascinating life. It is said that she was the first woman to interview the 13th Dalai Lama. The first eye-witness account of a lung gompa that reached the Western world came from the graphic description she gave in her book “With Mystics and Magicians in Tibet”.

    Another interesting traveler and researcher of Tibetan culture was Lama Anagarika Govinda who, in his autobiographical work, “The Way of the Clouds”, wrote about Alexandra David-Neel’s work and experiences in Tibet. In 1932, when he was in Gangtok, Sikkim, he stayed with a Sikkimese nobleman called Enche Kazi. He said that he stayed in the same house Lama Yongden had lived as a young boy, serving the family to earn his livelihood and education, since he came from a poor family. It was in Enche Kazi’s house that Alexandra David-Neel met Yongden and decided to take him with her with the Kazi’s consent. According to Lama Govinda, this decision completely changed Yongden’s life as well as her own, and helped to make Tibet known to millions of readers all over the world.

    • Pastor Antoinette Kass on Mar 10, 2016 at 8:11 pm

      Dear Sarah,

      You have inspired me to research and write about Lama Anagarika Govinda. Please see here: http://bit.ly/1RBuKyX

      Thank you for your kind comment.

  7. JP on Mar 2, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    I have never heard of Alexandra David-Neel. But having read this article of her, it gave me an insight of how this curious and determined lady bull dozed her way to learn and quench her curiosity. I can imagine how tremendously difficult it must have been for her to travel alone in a time where it was unheard of for a lady to go to distant places in Asia, let alone Tibet in pursuit of spirituality.

    We have it much easier compared to her when it comes to learning the dharma and other religions. Everything is on the internet and a flight away. So there is really no reason why we can’t dedicate some time to learn and practice any form of spirituality.

    Alexandra had the good merits and fortune to meet HH The 13th Dalai Lama and Panchen Rinpoche. It is through accounts written by people like her that we can get a glimpse of how life was back then in Tibet when Tibet was prohibited from foreigners.

    • Pastor Antoinette Kass on Mar 10, 2016 at 8:01 pm

      Dear JP,

      Indeed her determination was very strong and she benefited so many people by bringing Dharma to many people all over the world.

      Thank you for your comment.

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KECHARA FOREST RETREAT PROGRESS UPDATES

Here is the latest news and pictorial updates, as it happens, of our upcoming forest retreat project.

The Kechara Forest Retreat is a unique holistic retreat centre focused on the total wellness of body, mind and spirit. This is a place where families and individuals will find peace, nourishment and inspiration in a natural forest environment. At Kechara Forest Retreat, we are committed to give back to society through instilling the next generation with universal positive values such as kindness and compassion.

For more information, please read here (english), here (chinese), or the official site: retreat.kechara.com.

Noticeboard

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  • Jason
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 03:07 AM
    This year Wesak Day fall on 10 of May. This day is very special and meaningful to me because I will visit Kechara Forest Retreat(KFR) to join some meritorious event there.
    For me, Wesak is a day to commemorate Buddha Sakyamuni in three aspect( Birth , Enlightened, Nirwana).
    While we celebrate Wesak, we must remind ourselves to learn from Buddha teachings and practice it in order to gain attainment.
    Thanks Rinpoche and Pastor Seng Piow for sharing in order to create more understanding on Wesak Day.

    Jason

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

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

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

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/personal-attendant/the-miracles-of-tsem-rinpoche-true-story-1-2.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Wednesday, Apr 26. 2017 05:50 PM
    Thank you, Pastor Seng Piow, for the illustrated miracle story on how Rinpoche guided Cynthia and Marici away from danger through protector’s practice. The unseen exist, whether we like it or not. Some of them are malicious and have the affinity or karma with some of us. Hence they can cause harm and disturbance. By engaging in Protectors’ practice like Dorje Shugden and Setrap that have been practiced by the high lamas of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism, we are protected and guarded against harm.

    Rinpoche is compassionate and only want the best for us. His teachings are not meant to show off the power of the divines but offer us a way out from our desperate samsara conundrum that binds us from engaging in deeper spiritual practice. Rinpoche always teaches us to focus on mind transformation and Tsongkhapa practice. How fortunate we are to have met Rinpoche in this lifetime. We must not let this rare and precious opportunity go to waste.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/personal-attendant/the-miracles-of-tsem-rinpoche-true-story-12.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Apr 26. 2017 04:30 PM
    Miracles do happen,when we have faith and trust in our Guru.What is important is to follow Rinpoche’s advice and do as instructed by our Guru to clear the osbtacles all the way.Angie and Herry were so fortunate to have meet Rinpoche.Its because of Rinpoche ‘s compassion and caring for his student Angie’s life was saved.Infact Rinpoche has helped many people through his intervention, advice and instructions.
    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Loh Seng Piow for sharing miracles stories which i enjoyed reading.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/personal-attendant/the-miracles-of-tsem-rinpoche-true-story-2.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Apr 26. 2017 02:45 PM
    WOW….interesting a miracles true story. Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Loh Seng Piow for sharing.Reciting mantras by family members and doing 20 pujas done at the monastery to help the baby. These proved that pujas, which have been done for hundreds of years in the monasteries are very powerful methods for us to overcome difficulties, create huge amounts of merit and for protection, good health and long life.This show us how powerful pujas can help us when we have trust and faith in our Guru.And with Rinpoche divination,the baby was born and now a healthy boy.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/personal-attendant/the-miracles-of-tsem-rinpoche-true-story-1-2.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Apr 26. 2017 12:47 PM
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these powerful teachings.Its a privilege
    to do Dharma work to benefits other,do it with motivation and a good attitude when engaging ourselves It will be guide line for me.When we serve others to do Dharma work together at Kechara Forest Retreat ,we will improve ourself , purify our negative karma and to benefit others too.I will be sponsoring to the healings bricks soon and i will cherish every moment in supporting KFR.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/me/dharma-work-attitude-tdl.html
  • Lin Mun
    Wednesday, Apr 26. 2017 11:06 AM
    Bigfoot is just another beings living in this world although not commonly seen and live in the deep jungle in high mountains. There were many evidences that people from many parts of the world sighted this beings. Whatever shape they are I think importantly we are all sharing this world and therefore need to have mutual respect and not intervene each others.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/its-in-the-scriptures-they-exist.html
  • Alice Tay
    Tuesday, Apr 25. 2017 04:26 PM
    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Adeline sharing this interesting post about Bodhidharma, a great master favoured meditation and introduced the Lankavatara Sutra to Chinese Buddhism.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Han Nee for this article.

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

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/interesting-signs-of-reincarnation.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Apr 23. 2017 08:29 PM
    Thank you Rinpoche for your teachings.
    Always be generous and kind in what ever we could do even its little help.It’s the little things in life that bring the greatest happiness. Its between us and our Buddha ,so we would not bother what the receipient thinks and say of us. What ever was said ,should not deter our motivation to do Dharma work.
    (It will change people’s lives in one way or another. It will change your life for the better.)….well said by Rinpoche.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/its-not-between-you-and-the-recipient.html

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

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CREDITS

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

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

Tsem Rinpoche

What Am I Writing Now

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The Unknown

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

Photos On The Go

Click on the images to view the bigger version. And scroll down and click on "View All Photos" to view more images.
Holy Lady Buddha Vajra Yogini\'s blessing can be found when we decide to focus out to others instead of in to only ourselves.
~ Tsem Tulku Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
Holy Lady Buddha Vajra Yogini's blessing can be found when we decide to focus out to others instead of in to only ourselves. ~ Tsem Tulku Rinpoche
His Holiness Vajradhara Kyabje Zong Rinpoche of Gaden Monastery who is the refuge of countless, gives a clear explanation of Dorje Shugden. One is able to hear his holy voice and translation by Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen! Please see here and share: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=122352
2 weeks ago
His Holiness Vajradhara Kyabje Zong Rinpoche of Gaden Monastery who is the refuge of countless, gives a clear explanation of Dorje Shugden. One is able to hear his holy voice and translation by Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen! Please see here and share: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=122352
: This picture says it all. Click on it to enlarge and read and please share.
2 weeks ago
: This picture says it all. Click on it to enlarge and read and please share.
This is a simple chart showing the three main psychic channels used in tantric meditations to control the winds, raise tummo (fire energy), gain higher consciousness and insight and also for gaining siddhis. These channels are used in meditations for controlling the mind, when the mind ejects from the body (phowa) and one\'s death. These three channels are very important. Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
This is a simple chart showing the three main psychic channels used in tantric meditations to control the winds, raise tummo (fire energy), gain higher consciousness and insight and also for gaining siddhis. These channels are used in meditations for controlling the mind, when the mind ejects from the body (phowa) and one's death. These three channels are very important. Tsem Rinpoche
I think my cute doggie Oser is actually Tintin\'s dog Snowy!
3 weeks ago
I think my cute doggie Oser is actually Tintin's dog Snowy!
Great Masters of Gaden Shartse Monastery. From left to right: His Eminence Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche, His Holiness Sharpa Choeje Jetsun Lobsang Nyima, H.E. Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche, H.E. Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, His Holiness 101st Gaden Tripa throne holder Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal.
3 weeks ago
Great Masters of Gaden Shartse Monastery. From left to right: His Eminence Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche, His Holiness Sharpa Choeje Jetsun Lobsang Nyima, H.E. Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche, H.E. Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, His Holiness 101st Gaden Tripa throne holder Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal.
 Left to right: Dharma boy, Mumu boy and Oser girl. The three of them are my beautiful and loved Schnauzer dogs. They loved looking through the window to see traffic, people and movement. They loved the smells that drifted through their little noses. I love seeing the three of them together like this. I love them. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Left to right: Dharma boy, Mumu boy and Oser girl. The three of them are my beautiful and loved Schnauzer dogs. They loved looking through the window to see traffic, people and movement. They loved the smells that drifted through their little noses. I love seeing the three of them together like this. I love them. Tsem Rinpoche
Little Mumu boy...he loved balloons. When he saw them, he wanted to get close and perhaps bite them. Cute. I love this picture of Mumu reaching for the balloons. He was young and healthy! This picture captures his energy, enthusiasm, curiosity and high energy. I love this picture of him chasing the balloons. His pictures are always so nice....He was not a pet but family to me. I love him tremendously and always will. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Little Mumu boy...he loved balloons. When he saw them, he wanted to get close and perhaps bite them. Cute. I love this picture of Mumu reaching for the balloons. He was young and healthy! This picture captures his energy, enthusiasm, curiosity and high energy. I love this picture of him chasing the balloons. His pictures are always so nice....He was not a pet but family to me. I love him tremendously and always will. Tsem Rinpoche
Little Mumu boy and myself.. He was not a pet but family to me. I love him tremendously and always will. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Little Mumu boy and myself.. He was not a pet but family to me. I love him tremendously and always will. Tsem Rinpoche
2017-His Holiness the 101st Gaden Tripa, Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal is doing well and 90 years old. His Holiness Lungrik Namgyal is a powerful master of sutra and tantra and practitioner of Dorje Shugden. Currently residing in France.
3 weeks ago
2017-His Holiness the 101st Gaden Tripa, Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal is doing well and 90 years old. His Holiness Lungrik Namgyal is a powerful master of sutra and tantra and practitioner of Dorje Shugden. Currently residing in France.
One of the most sacred statues of Avalokitesvara made of sandalwood housed in Lhasa, Tibet. He has shown miracles also. Every pilgrim wishes to make offerings to this Lord of Compassion.
3 weeks ago
One of the most sacred statues of Avalokitesvara made of sandalwood housed in Lhasa, Tibet. He has shown miracles also. Every pilgrim wishes to make offerings to this Lord of Compassion.
 Sacred Avalokitesvara statue in Nepal. Thousands come to worship this special Buddha as it has conferred wishes in the past.
3 weeks ago
Sacred Avalokitesvara statue in Nepal. Thousands come to worship this special Buddha as it has conferred wishes in the past.
Tsem Rinpoche\'s Vajra Yogini statue and offerings
3 weeks ago
Tsem Rinpoche's Vajra Yogini statue and offerings
Two of my teachers from Gaden Shartse Monastery in South India. Left side is Most Venerable Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen whom I lived with for 8 years in Los Angeles where his centre Thubten Dhargye Ling is located. On the right is the abbot emeritus H.E. Kyabje Lati Rinpoche the scholar and yogi. I was very fortunate to have them in my life and learn so much dharma from them. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Two of my teachers from Gaden Shartse Monastery in South India. Left side is Most Venerable Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen whom I lived with for 8 years in Los Angeles where his centre Thubten Dhargye Ling is located. On the right is the abbot emeritus H.E. Kyabje Lati Rinpoche the scholar and yogi. I was very fortunate to have them in my life and learn so much dharma from them. Tsem Rinpoche
 It is so wonderful to be kind to people, be caring, feed them, make sure they are healthy and share dharma if they are interested with them for their future. But simply to be nice to others is worth getting up and being alive...otherwise why be alive to hurt/use/distrust and hate others? No point living that way..must change that..... It is nice to live our lives to benefit others and be patient even if we have been hurt before because by caring we can heal the hurt and \'defeat\' the ones that hurt us because we don\'t become bitter..... Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
It is so wonderful to be kind to people, be caring, feed them, make sure they are healthy and share dharma if they are interested with them for their future. But simply to be nice to others is worth getting up and being alive...otherwise why be alive to hurt/use/distrust and hate others? No point living that way..must change that..... It is nice to live our lives to benefit others and be patient even if we have been hurt before because by caring we can heal the hurt and 'defeat' the ones that hurt us because we don't become bitter..... Tsem Rinpoche
Tsem Rinpoche\'s heritage in China. Must read: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=120499
3 weeks ago
Tsem Rinpoche's heritage in China. Must read: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=120499
Thank you Buddhist Pastor Chia for sharing your story on how you met His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche over 20 years ago. We can learn much from your story.~Admin  Please read: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=116928
3 weeks ago
Thank you Buddhist Pastor Chia for sharing your story on how you met His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche over 20 years ago. We can learn much from your story.~Admin Please read: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=116928
Mumu boy is incredibly photogenic. He is beyond cute. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Mumu boy is incredibly photogenic. He is beyond cute. Tsem Rinpoche
 (left to right) Rabten Tulku, Gonsar Rinpoche, Gyume Kensur Rinpoche, Trijang Rinpoche, H.H. Gaden Trisur Rinpoche (France)
4 weeks ago
(left to right) Rabten Tulku, Gonsar Rinpoche, Gyume Kensur Rinpoche, Trijang Rinpoche, H.H. Gaden Trisur Rinpoche (France)
Beautiful 200 roses arrived today for me as a gift from Su Ming. Very kind and thoughtful of her as usual. Tsem Rinpoche
4 weeks ago
Beautiful 200 roses arrived today for me as a gift from Su Ming. Very kind and thoughtful of her as usual. Tsem Rinpoche
It\'s good to be with kind and sincere people.
4 weeks ago
It's good to be with kind and sincere people.
If we are kind, we lose less of ourselves-Tsem Rinpoche
4 weeks ago
If we are kind, we lose less of ourselves-Tsem Rinpoche
My Mumu boy didn\'t want to eat. Eating is not one of his favorite activities throughout his life. So I talked to him to let him know why he needs to eat and keep his strength up when this photo was taken. He was listening intently and after my talk with him, he ate. Tsem Rinpoche
4 weeks ago
My Mumu boy didn't want to eat. Eating is not one of his favorite activities throughout his life. So I talked to him to let him know why he needs to eat and keep his strength up when this photo was taken. He was listening intently and after my talk with him, he ate. Tsem Rinpoche
This is so true. Click to enlarge and understand more about unpleasant people.
4 weeks ago
This is so true. Click to enlarge and understand more about unpleasant people.
This mahasiddha Kukkuripa is easy to identify as he is accompanied by a small dog whom he loved very much.
1 month ago
This mahasiddha Kukkuripa is easy to identify as he is accompanied by a small dog whom he loved very much.
Mumu taking a rest in the turquoise room. Over the years, I always feel very satisfied when I see him covered with a blanket, safe and sleeping. I always wanted to make sure he was safe from harm, illness and distress. I wanted him to have a happy and loved life. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
Mumu taking a rest in the turquoise room. Over the years, I always feel very satisfied when I see him covered with a blanket, safe and sleeping. I always wanted to make sure he was safe from harm, illness and distress. I wanted him to have a happy and loved life. Tsem Rinpoche
I wrapped my little Mumu boy up in my blanket and propped him up on my bed. He didn\'t move or wiggle and just looked at me. He is one funny entertaining little guy. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
I wrapped my little Mumu boy up in my blanket and propped him up on my bed. He didn't move or wiggle and just looked at me. He is one funny entertaining little guy. Tsem Rinpoche
March 2017-Coaxing my little Mumu boy to eat his meal. He was not well and therefore not hungry. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
March 2017-Coaxing my little Mumu boy to eat his meal. He was not well and therefore not hungry. Tsem Rinpoche
Click on picture to enlarge and see what Milarepa says. Profound.
1 month ago
Click on picture to enlarge and see what Milarepa says. Profound.
We are always trying to get somewhere, try something new, find some friends, get some entertainment and in the end we end up in the same place. Time to really practice Dharma seriously and stop wasting time we don\'t have. ~Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
We are always trying to get somewhere, try something new, find some friends, get some entertainment and in the end we end up in the same place. Time to really practice Dharma seriously and stop wasting time we don't have. ~Tsem Rinpoche
March 20, 2017-Mumu is just so adorable with his bright eyes.
1 month ago
March 20, 2017-Mumu is just so adorable with his bright eyes.
More and more people inviting Lord Dorje Shugden home to connect with on their shrines. I am so happy to see this as it will benefit them and their families so much. That is the purpose to be alive which is to benefit others as much as possible. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
More and more people inviting Lord Dorje Shugden home to connect with on their shrines. I am so happy to see this as it will benefit them and their families so much. That is the purpose to be alive which is to benefit others as much as possible. Tsem Rinpoche
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
1 month ago
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
1 month ago
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
The Japanese are very innovative. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
The Japanese are very innovative. Tsem Rinpoche
Read this as it will be interesting
1 month ago
Read this as it will be interesting
Recite this before any meal or drinks for blessings of abundance. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
Recite this before any meal or drinks for blessings of abundance. Tsem Rinpoche
This sacred statue of Buddha is in Nepal brought originally from Tibet and has spoken on many occasions. Very blessed to see this holy image and keep a picture...bless you always. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
This sacred statue of Buddha is in Nepal brought originally from Tibet and has spoken on many occasions. Very blessed to see this holy image and keep a picture...bless you always. Tsem Rinpoche
I love Mumu boy tremendously. We went through so much together for so many years. You are a great being to be with. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
I love Mumu boy tremendously. We went through so much together for so many years. You are a great being to be with. Tsem Rinpoche
Dear everyone, I am sharing this beautiful and modern altar to Dorje Shugden in Malaysia. I am glad to see more and more people creating sacred spaces. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
Dear everyone, I am sharing this beautiful and modern altar to Dorje Shugden in Malaysia. I am glad to see more and more people creating sacred spaces. Tsem Rinpoche
Lhamo Karmo, a female buddha form visualized above the crown of one\'s head at the time of death, to encourage consciousness to leave the body via the crown aperture. From my book \"The Female Buddhas.\"- Glenn Mullin
2 months ago
Lhamo Karmo, a female buddha form visualized above the crown of one's head at the time of death, to encourage consciousness to leave the body via the crown aperture. From my book "The Female Buddhas."- Glenn Mullin
The Tibetan female tulku Dorje Pakmo, from a fresco on the wall of the Dorje Pakmo monastery (Samding) in Tibet, near the Turquoise Lake. In Tibet the Dorje Pakmo was ranked with the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama and Sakya Trizin as the four highest lamas in the country.-from Glenn Mullin
2 months ago
The Tibetan female tulku Dorje Pakmo, from a fresco on the wall of the Dorje Pakmo monastery (Samding) in Tibet, near the Turquoise Lake. In Tibet the Dorje Pakmo was ranked with the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama and Sakya Trizin as the four highest lamas in the country.-from Glenn Mullin
Dharma boy, Mumu boy and Oser girl checking out the scene..cute
2 months ago
Dharma boy, Mumu boy and Oser girl checking out the scene..cute
My Dharma boy has such a cute expression here. He is a good boy!
2 months ago
My Dharma boy has such a cute expression here. He is a good boy!
February 9,2017-My Mumu boy and Oser girl are just relaxing together..super cute
3 months ago
February 9,2017-My Mumu boy and Oser girl are just relaxing together..super cute
Click on the picture to enlarge and see what Suzy from Hawaii commented on the Dorje Shugden issue after much research. She is very candid and honest. Refreshing. Original is posted here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl-4lIwxph4
3 months ago
Click on the picture to enlarge and see what Suzy from Hawaii commented on the Dorje Shugden issue after much research. She is very candid and honest. Refreshing. Original is posted here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl-4lIwxph4
This is a good one to read
3 months ago
This is a good one to read
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ASK A PASTOR


Ask the Pastors

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

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

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

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

Art expression using chalks and papers is an avenue for young children to cultivate positive perspective of life and connect with their artistic or creative side. Stella, KSDS
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Art expression using chalks and papers is an avenue for young children to cultivate positive perspective of life and connect with their artistic or creative side. Stella, KSDS
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Senior students of the children class of Kechara Sunday Dharma School had their class in the ghompa every Sunday. Stella, KSDS
Besides young Karlson and Ern Ern, there are new faces in Kechara Sunday Dharma School 2-4 years old. Stella, KSDS
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Teacher Laura guided the students do meditation. Alice Tay, KSDS
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Dorje Shugden
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