Books That Are A Must-Read!

Aug 3, 2016 | Views: 1,138
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Set in the midst of lush tropical forest is the Kechara Forest Retreat, a place designed to develop a perfect balance of total wellness – body, mind and spirit.

Set in the midst of lush tropical forest is the Kechara Forest Retreat, a place designed to develop a perfect balance of total wellness – body, mind and spirit.

A special thanks to His Eminence the 25th Tsem Rinpoche and the Kechara Pastors for sharing this wonderful list of books with all of us who are interested in enriching our understanding of Buddhism, whether it is to deepen our own spiritual development and transformation or to master a specific practice.

It is with great honour that I share here with you a recommended list of books featuring erudite masters or experts in the field of Buddhism. These books cover a wide range of topics and they are meant to help spiritual seekers develop stronger faith, cultivate stronger bonds with our teachers and for those who want to commence practising or meditation.

These books are worth reading again and again not only because they candidly recount Buddhist values, but also because they reveal Tibetan Buddhist methods for personal transformation. I hope that you find what you are searching for amongst these books and enjoy them as much as I do in sharing them with you.

Stella Cheang

 


 

Books for novice spiritual seekers

The books listed here are meant as an introduction to Buddhism. These books are the foundation for a more advanced and profound understanding of Buddhist wisdom.

  1. The Awakened One, A Life of the Buddha

The fascinating story of the Buddha’s journey to enlightenment and his teachings.

  1. Life and Teachings of Tsongkhapa

The life story and selected teachings of the founder of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism, affectionately known as the second Buddha.

  1. Introduction to Buddhism, An Explanation of the Buddhist Way of Life

An introductory guide to Buddha’s wisdom and the methods to achieving lasting happiness and contentment.

  1. The Living Buddha Within

An explanation of the mechanisms of life based on fundamental principles of Buddhism.

  1. Compassion Conquers All

Using unconditional love and freedom to let go of our self-centred obsession with our ego.

  1. Food of the Bodhisattvas

A book based on Buddhist scriptures encouraging vegetarianism.

  1. What Makes You Not a Buddhist

In learning about what makes one not a Buddhist, one inevitably learns how to be a Buddhist, the right way.

  1. Dangerous Friend

A study into the intriguing and largely misunderstood relationship between a spiritual teacher and a disciple.

 

Book 1: The Awakened One – A Life of the Buddha

pic2 The Awakened One A Life of the Buddha

Author:
Sherab Chödzin Kohn

Description:
This is a fascinating account of Siddhartha Gautama’s journey in search of enlightenment. Siddhartha Gautama is better known as Buddha Shakyamuni. ‘Shakya’ is the name of the royal family into which he was born, and ‘Muni’ means ‘Able One’. He was a prince and son of King Shuddhodana and Queen Mayadevi. He took birth in 624 BC in a place called Lumbini, which is now part of Nepal. Even as a young prince, Siddhartha Gautama witnessed how all living beings are trapped in a vicious cycle of suffering, thus he developed deep compassion for all beings.

At the age of 29, he left his life of luxury to search for the path to liberation. Knowing he would not receive consent from his father, the King, he bid a silent farewell to his wife and son and set out for the far off forests in which holy men lived. Siddhartha Gautama spent the next six years studying with the most famous sages of the time but he did not find an end to suffering. For years he wandered as a homeless ascetic, practising severe austerities that brought him to the brink of death. Yet again he came no nearer to finding the answer to end suffering.

Finally, he realised that he was getting nowhere. Abandoning asceticism, Siddhartha Gautama sat in meditation under a bodhi tree in the town of Bodhgaya. He sat down and vowed that come what may, he would not move until he found an end to sorrow. Although demons tempted him with images of his past and evil spirits brought nightmares upon him, the prince was firm in his resolve to reach his goal. After a night of deep meditation, his enlightenment occurred at dawn, and Siddhartha Gautama was thereafter known as the Buddha, the ‘Awakened One’.

What people say about this book:
“Kohn’s masterful blend of the life and teachings of the Buddha renders this book a valuable guide for those who would follow the path of the Awakened One.” – Publishers Weekly

“A splendid combination of biography and instruction. Highly recommended.” – Library Journal

Why I think you should read this book:
This is the inspirational life story of the founder of one of the world’s oldest and largest religions. It is a well-researched biography of the Buddha without the heaviness that comes with the usual scholastic narration of Buddha’s spiritual awakening. You can expect an enjoyable, insightful, telling and informative story to learn more about how Buddha discovered the supreme method to attain liberation from suffering for oneself and subsequently how to attain full enlightenment, or Buddhahood, for the sake of others. This is a must-read for Buddhists around the world and across all traditions.

 

Book 2: Life and Teachings of Tsongkhapa

pic3 Life & Teachings of Tsongkhapa

Author:
Prof. R. Thurman

Description:
Lama Tsongkhapa (1357 – 1419) is known as the second Buddha, through his eclectic and analytic studies and meditations across all the major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, he founded the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. He also founded the three great monasteries of Tibet which are Gaden, Sera and Drepung.

The Life and Teachings of Tsongkhapa is an introductory compilation on the life of Tsongkhapa and his teachings. This useful volume covers the breadth of sutra, tantra and insight meditation. It also includes mystical conversations with the great Bodhisattvas and heartfelt spiritual songs in praise of Manjushri, Maitreya and so forth.

In addition to that, this compendium includes a number of intensely moving praises to Tsongkhapa. His immense contribution to Tibetan Buddhism as attested to by esteemed Tibetan Buddhist personalities such as the Seventh Dalai Lama, the Eighth Karmapa, Dulnagpa Palden and Khaydrup Je, among others, cannot be underestimated. Dexterously edited by Professor Robert Thurman, The Life and Teaching of Tsongkhapa satisfies the thirst of Buddhism enthusiasts from both the East and the West.

What people say about this book:
“A wonderful collection of texts by one of the greatest Buddhist philosopher-yogis in Central Asian history. Tsongkhapa is often known as an incarnation of Manjushri, the embodiment of the wisdom of the all the Buddhas, and this volume of some of his poems, teachings, mystical experiences and biographical sketch give readers a great glimpse of his remarkable genius.” – Lorne Ladner

Why I think you should read this book:
Je Tsongkhapa’s life and teachings are a powerful statement of Buddhist practice to inspire us in our practice. It is also a good collection of various texts that give us a good insight into the depth, wisdom and attainments of this great master. This volume overflows with the blessings of Lama Tsongkhapa himself. It also contains a brief and very rare biography of this great master that is a must-read for all devoted Gelug practitioners the world over.

 

Book 3: Introduction to Buddhism – An Explanation of the Buddhist Way of Life

pic4 introduction-to-buddhism

Author:
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

Description:
2,500 years after his passing, the Buddha’s teaching are still relevant and resonates with practitioners today. Beginning with a brief but captivating life story of the Buddha, Introduction to Buddhism is a complete guide that reveals how the Buddha’s extraordinary wisdom contained in his teachings is the unadulterated guide to achieving lasting happiness and liberation from life’s problems.

This book explains the essential principles of the Buddhist way of life and what it means to be a Buddhist. Meditation is explained clearly and concisely as a tool for developing transformative qualities such as inner peace, love and patience. The fundamental principles of Buddhism are elaborated in a manner suitable for both beginners and ardent practitioners.

What people say about this book:
“Geshe Kelsang Gyatso illuminates the very heart of Buddhist thought and practice.” – Booklist

“I love this book. It is written very clearly and simply with examples and stories. It has a gentle tone and is very inspiring. It gives us the confidence to be the best person that we can be.” – Kunden Kelsang

“This book is a wonderful book to begin your journey in exploring Buddhism. The author has written a multitude of books on this aspect of spirituality. The most important detail about this book is that it does not push any beliefs onto the reader. It does not make claims that this is the only way and that you MUST follow this way. It’s a very open and informative way to look at Buddhism…” – Monica Casanova

Why I think you should read this book:
What is so gripping about An Explanation of the Buddhist Way of Life is how the fundamental aspects of the Buddha’s teachings are laid out in a simple and easy-to-understand language for you and me. This book is a great beginner’s guide to Buddhism and how to begin one’s life as a Buddhist practitioner.

 

Book 4: The Living Buddha Within

pic5 the_living_buddha_within

Author:
His Eminence the 25th Tsem Rinpoche

Description:
Within our daily lives, we experience so many ups and downs but there is a perspective that makes sense of this chaos. His Eminence the 25th Tsem Rinpoche highlights this perspective through explaining this life’s journey based on the fundamental teachings of Buddhism.

In his characteristically lucid and straightforward manner, His Eminence introduces the fundamental subjects of reincarnation and karma in a way that anyone can relate to. He also provides practical advice on how we can immediately transform our view and habits so that we can lead a happy and harmonious life and discover the living Buddha within.

What people say about this book:
“This was one of the first books I bought via VajraSecrets. Love this book as it is easy to understand and I found many answers I was seeking. A great read especially for newbies.” – Sharon O.

Why I think you should read this book:
This book sheds light on the fundamental teachings such as right motivation, universal values, reincarnation, karma and so forth. It provides wonderful insight into these profound teachings. Through this book, readers encounter Tsem Rinpoche’s trademark unconventional, contemporary, no-holds-barred approach to delivering the teachings. Thus, this book becomes an instant classic on anybody’s shelf.

 

Book 5: Compassion Conquers All

pic6 compassion-conquers-all

Author:
His Eminence the 25th Tsem Rinpoche

Description:
Compassion Conquers All unravels the heart of Buddhist wisdom in a modern, clear and concise manner, as elucidated by His Eminence the 25th Tsem Rinpoche, foremost in contemporary Dharma.

Unconditional love and freedom can be attained right now if we let go of our self-centred obsession with our attachments. With these teachings, the very life we are living now, with all its problems, ups and downs can become a road to liberation. Our life experience can be our school of transformation. Everybody becomes our best friend. We become our own best friend. Compassion Conquers All is a powerful teaching to transform our daily lives so they become meaningful and beneficial to others while letting go of everything that holds us back.

Within Tibetan Buddhism, one of the most fundamental teachings is to develop equanimity towards all beings. All beings including ourselves want to be happy and completely free from suffering. In this respect, we are all equal. Ultimately, we learn to cherish all beings as precious and to realise that those we perceive as enemies are in fact, our supreme teachers. In this way, the teachings in Compassion Conquers All eventually lead us to discover that we are the light we have been longing for.

What people say about this book:
“Tsem Rinpoche has profound devotion to the teaching. This care comes through on every page of this book. May his passion, dedication and clarity inspire us to walk the path as straightly as possible and gain the fruits that only heartfelt practice can bring.” – Purna Steinitz, founder of The Event Training, New Line Consulting, and Heart Stream Education

“In Compassion Conquers All, Tsem Rinpoche offers us a fresh take on the timeless wisdom teachings on the Eight Verses of Mind Transformation in a way that will benefit truth seekers from all walks of life. Thank you, Rinpoche, for this gift to the world.” – Chris Grosso, best-selling author of Indie Spiritualist

Compassion Conquers All has given me a new way of understanding the way I do things and to make other people the focus of what I do every day. Surprisingly, it has made difficult situations and everyday living so much lighter and full of peace.” – Gillian Hung, President of Malaysian Official Designers’ Association (MODA)

Why I think you should read this book:
This wonderful book by His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche delivers one of the most powerful teachings on mental development in order to generate real compassion. In this book, Rinpoche delivers what is actually a traditional teaching within Tibetan Buddhism – the Eight Verses on Training the Mind. However, it is taught with the sensibility of a modern practitioner. Hence, this book is a powerful teaching that can transform anybody’s life if the lessons are put into practice.

 

Book 6: Food of the Bodhisattvas

pic7 Food of Bodhisattva

Author:
Shabkar

Description:
This book explains vegetarianism from the standpoint of spirituality and morality. From a Buddhist perspective, all sentient beings have an inherent Buddha nature deep within. One way to nurture this Buddha nature in each one of us is to uproot destructive habits. Buddha’s teachings explain how destructive habits can be examined and transformed gradually from within. The aim of this teaching is to develop true compassion which manifests as sensitivity for the suffering of animals and therefore, vegetarianism becomes a natural choice.

In this book, two texts are presented, one of which is an excerpt from Shabkar’s Book of Marvels. It includes sayings from various Buddhist scriptures and teachings from Tibetan Buddhist masters critical of the consumption of meat along with Shabkar’s own commentary. The second text is the Nectar of Immortality. This is Shabkar’s explanation on the importance of developing compassion for animals.

What people say about this book:
“Over the years, I’ve heard all sorts of arguments for and against being vegetarian. One of the qualities I appreciate about Lama Shabkar was his ability to speak with such authority and yet remain non-judgemental. In this book, Lama Shabkar praises the merit of vegetarianism, making his case from Sutra and Tantra. It certainly gives a Mahayana practitioner food for thought!” – Sean M. Sullivan

“Very good book about vegetarianism in Buddhism.” – Lionel Maslard

Why I think you should read this book:
For those engaging in the Mahayana path, vegetarianism is crucial towards the development of real compassion. Hence, Shabkar was particularly opposed to the consumption of meat. This book reflects Shabkar’s sentiment on this matter and he refers to the great masters, the Mahayana texts and so forth to give further credence to this matter. Thus, this book provides some of the best scriptural basis for vegetarianism that all self-respecting Mahayanists should have on their bookshelf.

 

Book 7: What Makes You Not A Buddhist

pic8 What Makes you NOT a Buddhist

Author:
Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse

Description:
This is a book authored by the acclaimed Bhutanese lama and filmmaker, Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse. He has directed three movies revolving around Buddhist themes: The Cup (1999), Travelers and Magicians (2003), and Vara: A Blessing (2013). He is popular among Western Buddhists because of his artistic way of presenting Buddhist themes.

This book explains what makes a good Buddhist by suggesting what a Buddhist is not. Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse explains how a Buddhist will be able to grasp the meaning of impermanence and not be entrapped by emotions that perpetuate the cycle of sufferings. Apart from that, a Buddhist will be able to seek meaning beyond a superficial fascination with beads, incense or exotic people in robes, and reach the heart of what the Buddha taught. The fundamental tenets of Buddhism are presented in simple language with examples that can be easily related to.

What people say about this book:
“Here at last is a crisp new voice in Tibetan Buddhism…There is much food for thought in this short book for Buddhist students and for anyone interested in the ongoing adaptation of traditional Eastern wisdom into postmodern Western settings.” – Publishers Weekly

“A pleasant refresher or an excellent introduction to Buddhism, even for those who choose not to be Buddhists.” – New Age Retailer

“This short, concise book simply rocks! Incredible introductory Buddhist book for anyone with even the slightest interest of understanding Buddhism. Must read.” – Brandon

Why I think you should read this book:
This is a good read for anyone interested in Buddhism but wants to know more than just the usual spiritual rites. Through this book, one realises how being a good Buddhist is definitely not confined to the clothes you wear, the ceremonies you perform or the meditation you do. Neither is it about what you eat, what you drink or who you have sex with. The meaning of being a good Buddhist is ultimately grounded to the tenets of Buddhism taught by Buddha.

 

Book 8: Dangerous Friend

pic9 Dangerous Friends

Author:
Rig’dzin Dorje

Description:
In the Vajrayana Buddhist tradition, the relationship between a teacher and student is the cornerstone for a student to gain attainments. Vajrayana Buddhism may have grown in popularity but this intriguing part of the teaching remains largely misunderstood. Dangerous Friend explores the mysterious and multifaceted bond in a manner never done before.

Attainments are gained by students on the spiritual path through complete trust in the teacher. The teacher himself or herself must be stable, cultivated, wise, patient, honest and have the qualities of a Guru. Once the teacher-student relationship is formed, there will be serious ramifications on the spiritual path of the student if the relationship is broken.

Through reading Dangerous Friend spiritual seekers can find guidance on meeting and recognising an appropriate teacher, understand the gravity of entering the teacher-student relationship, adopt a genuine Buddhist practice and accept the challenges of being truly kind, honest and courageous.

What people say about this book:
“A vibrant, provocative work.” – Tricycle

“One of the best books on Vajrayana I’ve ever read. Not for beginners, though.” – Heidi Nummi

“This book gives the student guidelines in the requirements needed for entering into a deeper understanding of Buddhism. When one is ready to take a deeper training into the customs, Pujas, Sutras of Buddhism, one might need to seek out a teacher who can guide you deeper into these areas. Finding a teacher to enter into this deeper study requires certain conditions to be met. The Student needs to know what they need to do to prepare for this relationship, and the Student needs to know what the Teacher requires; this book helps one to understand what is needed to enter into this important step in ones Buddhist studies.” – Rex McCoy

Why I think you should read this book:
This book demystifies the sacred teacher-student relationship within traditional Vajrayana Buddhism. It prepares the student with the correct mindset towards the teacher. It is a must-read especially if you are serious in advancing your spiritual journey by following a teacher.

Book list for avid spiritual seekers

For avid spiritual seekers, this is a recommended list of books that give detailed and in-depth teachings on Tibetan Buddhism. These books are compulsory references for serious spiritual seekers. Some of the books come with an easy-to-understand commentary or explanation that modern readers can relate to.

  1. Tsongkhapa – A Simple Guide to a Powerful Practice

A comprehensive guide on the lineage and practice of Lama Tsongkhapa.

  1. The Six Perfections – An Oral Teaching

Learn about the six perfections that give rise to complete enlightenment.

  1. Heart of Wisdom: The Essential Wisdom Teachings of Buddha

A humanised account of the deep and profound Buddhist topic of emptiness.

  1. Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand – A Concise Discourse on the Path to Enlightenment

A pivotal text for the Gelug lineage that guides students to enlightenment in an orderly manner.

  1. The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, Volume One – Volume Three

A careful compilation of Buddhist values by Lama Tsongkhapa that is still being used by many Buddhist schools today.

  1. Wheel of Sharp Weapons

A vital text on spiritual training, based on cause and effect and aimed to strike down inner enemies.

  1. The Fulfillment of All Hopes – Guru Devotion in Tibetan Buddhism

Devoting oneself to a spiritual teacher wholeheartedly is fundamental to gaining spiritual attainments in Tibetan Buddhism.

  1. Tsongkhapa’s Three Principal Paths, with Pabongka’s Commentary, The Principal Teachings of Buddhism

A book by Lama Tsongkhapa that condenses the principal teachings of Buddhism into three principal paths.

  1. The Bodhisattva Vow

A concise text for advanced spiritual practitioners on how to take and maintain the Bodhisattva vow.

 

Book 9: Tsongkhapa – A Simple Guide to a Powerful Practice

pic10 tsongkhapa
Author:
His Eminence the 25th Tsem Rinpoche

Description:
A masterpiece by His Eminence the 25th Tsem Rinpoche introducing Lama Tsongkhapa’s beneficial teachings and practice to spiritual seekers everywhere. This book contains a short biography of Tsongkhapa, a complete commentary of Tsongkhapa’s Guru Yoga as well as a clear and concise guide to commence the practice.

Tsongkhapa – A Simple Guide to a Powerful Practice offers potential practitioners the knowledge to understand the history and background of the great Mahasiddha Lama Tsongkhapa, his lineage and the benefits of his practice.

This practice is especially suited for lay people with contemporary lifestyles, who are busy and have many responsibilities, often juggling between work and family. The practice helps to clear illness, lighten depression, reduce loneliness and bring harmony, stability and peace to our homes. With the correct motivation, this practice is a wish-fulfilling jewel that can make our aspirations come true.

What people say about this book:
“Concise, powerful, a treasured companion. From afar I have learned from the great teacher Tsem Rinpoche via his YouTube videos. I recently discovered this guide to Tsongkhapa practice, and have now read it three times, and practiced many times. Just as his videos contain so many treasures, this book is genuinely a jewel. While short, concise and to the point, it is a full practice, commentary and history of the great sage Lama Tsongkhapa. It has helped illuminate my practice and empower my life. Many thanks to Tsem Rinpoche, a great modern teacher. I carry it with me in my day bag, so that I can spontaneously practice anywhere. I read it again when I need inspiration. I highly recommend this book to anyone.” – Derek

Why I think you should read this book:
This book is the perfect guide to commence your meditation practice centred on the wonderful and healing Guru Yoga of Lama Tsongkhapa any time and anywhere. It is a must-read, which can be revisited and re-read on a regular basis to deepen one’s understanding of Lama Tsongkhapa’s practice, meditations, lineage and benefits.

 

Book 10: The Six Perfections – An Oral Teaching

pic11 The Six Perfections

Author:
Geshe Sonam Rinchen

Description:
The six perfections, namely generosity, ethical discipline, patience, enthusiastic effort, concentration, and wisdom are virtues to be practised by Bodhisattva aspirants. The Six Perfections describe the true qualities and nature of an enlightened being, which is to say our own true nature. If they do not seem to be our true nature, it is because the perfections are obscured by our delusion, anger, greed and fear.

The six perfections are to be practised with selflessness and non-attachment, for the benefit of others. Each of the six perfections supports the other five and the order in which the perfections are practised is also significant. Hence this book is a guide to practising the six perfections that give rise to complete enlightenment.

What people say about this book:
“It speaks to the heart and connects with the mind.” – Explorations

“It is one of the most important books I’ve read about Buddhism, and I’ve read a lot of them. I was pleasantly surprised at the ability of Geshe Sonam in explaining the six perfections and how they apply to daily life. Generosity, Ethics, Patience, Concentration, Wisdom and Effort are the six virtues which are most important for developing happiness and inner peace. This book is a must for the spiritual seeker, both experienced or beginner.” – A Reader

Why I think you should read this book:
This is the ultimate handbook on practising and accomplishing the Six Perfections. The comprehensive commentary and explanations contained within help the reader to discover for themselves the benefits of practising the perfections, and be guided to apply them in daily life in a simple, easy and accessible manner.

 

Book 11: Heart of Wisdom – The Essential Wisdom Teachings of Buddha

pic12 the New Heart of Wisdom

Author:
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

Description:
The Heart of Wisdom is a modern exposition of the deep and profound Heart Sutra. The Heart Sutra is the best known and most popular of the Mahayana Buddhist scriptures. It contains the essence of Buddha’s teachings on emptiness and the methods to develop the wisdom that understands this ultimate reality.

In this book, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso explains the Heart Sutra on both an explicit and implicit level. He connects the dots between reality, how the mind works and how both relate to the five Mahayana paths that lead to full enlightenment. He also explains how an initial understanding of emptiness can be used to overcome both internal obstacles such as our own emotions and external obstacles that impede our happiness.

What people say about this book:
“Excellent commentary to two concepts central to Mahayana Buddhism: love and compassion.” – Garydtee

“An amazing book that helps us to better understand the nature of reality and our daily existence. Helps bring clarity to our interactions with the world around us and all of the living beings in it. One of my favorites!” – Elizabeth Jones

“The bullets for this book say things like: Are things as solid and real as they appear? Realize the truth behind appearances. Discover the dream-like nature of our world. Cultivate the wisdom that liberates the mind. I couldn’t resist reading the book after this, and I was not even slightly let down – the author delivers answers. It requires careful reading, but is well worth the effort – showing how we are the architects of our own reality on every single level. Quantum physicists would love this book. So would anyone who is really seeking to understand the relationship between our mind and our world.” – Trudy Jim

Why I think you should read this book:
This book clears any doubts that you may have on the subject of emptiness and the origin of reality. It provides answers instead of creating more questions, and it is an absolute must-read to study and gain a clearer understanding of the Buddhist path. Studying this book deepens one’s conviction in the Buddhist faith. Hence it is a suitable text for practitioners from all traditions.

 

Book 12: Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand – A Concise Discourse on the Path to Enlightenment

pic13 Liberation in the Palm

Author:
Pabongka Rinpoche and Trijang Rinpoche

Description:
A pivotal text within the Gelug lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand presents the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, also known as the Lam Rim. The book is a translated version of the original Tibetan text. Trijang Rinpoche, the tutor to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, recorded and edited his notes from Pabongka Rinpoche’s famous 24-day teaching given in 1921. Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand weaves together lively stories and quotations with frank observations and practical advice to guide readers step by step along the journey to Buddhahood.

This book has become a fundamental resource in classes at Buddhist centres the world over, especially since the teachings within it come from a great lineage of enlightened masters, and has been checked and debated by many masters since its completion by Trijang Rinpoche. Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand is a text that alleviates depression or unhappiness. Through the teachings, you can develop the altruistic motivation for the benefit of others. It teaches correct view, effort, equality, respect, gratitude and forgiveness. Most importantly, this book provides the map to enlightenment.

What people say about this book:
“A comprehensive, accessible, straightforward guide on how to meditate on each step of the path.” – Tricycle

“I feel this guide has given me a friend whom I may consult and appreciate through the years.” – The Reader’s Review

“The richest and most enjoyable volume from the Lam Rim tradition published to date.” – Golden Drum

Why I think you should read this book:
This is the one book you must read to deepen your spiritual knowledge. It is the absolute text that will bring you to a higher state of mind, collect tremendous merits, correct erroneous thoughts on reality and bestow great accomplishments. The benefits of this text are countless. It is concise yet comprehensive, and encompasses all aspects of Buddhism as a path to ultimate liberation. This is the ultimate book for advanced practitioners as well as beginners in the study and practice of Buddhism.

 

Book 13: The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, Volume One – Volume Three (Lam Rim Chen Mo)

pic14 Lam Rim Chen Mo

Author:
Lama Tsongkhapa

Description:
The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment (Lam rim chen mo) is revered as one of the most important sacred scriptures of the world. The author, Lama Tsongkhapa (1357 – 1419), completed this masterpiece in 1402. Since then it has become one of the most renowned works of spiritual practice and philosophy in the world of Buddhism. Tsongkhapa took great pains to base his penetrating insights on classical Indian Buddhist literature, illustrating his points with classical citations as well as with sayings from masters of the Kadampa tradition. In this way, the text demonstrates clearly how Tibetan Buddhism carefully preserved and developed the Indian Buddhist traditions.

  • Volume One covers all practices that are prerequisite for developing the spirit of enlightenment (bodhicitta).
  • Volume Two explains how to train in the six perfections in order to develop the heart of compassion indispensable for any student who wants to put the Dharma into practice.
  • Volume Three contains a presentation of the two most important topics to be found in the Great Treatise: meditative serenity (shamatha) and supramundane insight into the nature of reality (vipasyana).

What people say about this book:
“One of the greatest religious or secular works in the library of our human heritage.” – Robert A. F. Thurman

“A must-read for anyone seeking to better understand the principles of Buddhism as well as an effective manual for spiritual self-improvement.” – Bookwatch Review

Why I think you should read this book:
A three-volume book consisting of Buddha’s 84,000 teachings transmitted directly by the second Buddha, the Great Lama Tsongkhapa. An essential read to deepen your understanding for higher learning of Buddhist principles and applying them in day-to-day practice. This book is suitable for both monastic and lay practitioners of all traditions.

 

Book 14: Wheel of Sharp Weapons

pic15 the_wheel_of_sharp_weapons

Author:
Dharmaraksita

Description:
The Wheel of Sharp Weapons is considered one of the most important and influential texts in the large corpus of Mahayana literature. It deals with the training of the mind on the spiritual path. It was composed by the great Indian Yogi Dharmaraksita. From among his numerous disciples, Dharmaraksita transmitted these teachings to Atisha (982 – 1054) and from there it passed down through an unbroken lineage of great masters. The commentary to the Wheel of Sharp Weapons was given by Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey.

The Wheel of Sharp Weapons lends two perspectives to our spiritual training. One perspective is that of cause and effect, better known as karma; it characterises how selfish motivations lead to the ripening of unhappiness in the future. The other perspective is using the Wheel of Sharp Weapons as a device to strike down our inner enemy. In a nutshell, in practising the Bodhisattva path, one must become similar to a peacock as mentioned in the text. The peacock is able to rake adverse conditions and transform them into springboards for inner transformation on the path to enlightenment.

What people say about this book:
“This is a great read. Straight forward and direct. I enjoyed it immensely. Maybe if I persist in studying it I will understand it one day.” – Rick

“This book is a must read for anyone wishing to deepen their understanding of karma. It is not easy reading, but beautifully written.” – Sandi

Why I think you should read this book:
Reading a text like the Wheel of Sharp Weapons will give you the sense that all the problems created in this life is the result of our self-cherishing mind that possesses strong grasping of the self over others. It gives you a good sense on what and which area to work on so that you will not fall into the same conundrum over again, both in this life and in future lives. A good book for aspirants seeking higher spiritual training as well as for the self-help enthusiast who needs a comprehensive guide to understanding the causes for suffering and the basis for self-improvement.

 

Book 15: The Fulfillment of All Hopes – Guru Devotion in Tibetan Buddhism

pic16 Fulfillment of All Hopes

Author:
Lama Tsongkhapa

Description:
In Tibetan Buddhism tradition, it is of the utmost importance to have a spiritual teacher. Devoting oneself to a spiritual teacher is fundamental to the highest form of spiritual practice in Tibetan Buddhism. Yet guru devotion is largely misunderstood. Guru devotion requires the student to develop total conviction that the guru is a Buddha — a prerequisite for receiving further tantric initiation. Only a guru can show the way as he himself has already gained these achievements. If the student doubts the guru’s competence and ability to guide, it will nullify the spiritual practices and the student will not be able to make any tangible progress.

Ashvagosha’s 50 Verses of Guru Devotion is the most comprehensive summary of devoting oneself to the guru by means of action. The specific commentaries are given in Lama Tsongkhapa’s The Fulfillment of All Hopes, accompanied by the original Tibetan text. Since the 50 Verses of Guru Devotion outlines how disciples should act with their guru, it is customarily taught before a tantric initiation is given. Once a guru-disciple relationship has been established, disciples are taught guru devotion and the common path of renunciation, bodhicitta and the correct view of emptiness.

What people say about this book:
“A book for all truth-seekers!” – EAST-WEST

“How to relate to teachers in the most beneficial way is still a major problem for those new to Tibetan Buddhism, yet is essential for progress on the path. This is a welcome clarification.” – The Middle Way

Why I think you should read this book:
Do you find it difficult to understand the concept of Guru Devotion? Many do. Yet, it is the singular, most pivotal element of practice that determines the achievement of spiritual attainments. This is the book that reminds you of your guru’s kindness in teaching Dharma, and that he confers initiations and transmits teachings of unbroken lineages that come from the Buddha himself. Without the guru, you will not understand the Dharma, and hence will be unable to gain any spiritual attainments. It is only logical because if you do not respect the state of Buddhahood he represents, how can you hope to attain it?

 

Book 16: Tsongkhapa’s Three Principal Paths, with Pabongka’s Commentary, The Principal Teachings of Buddhism

pic17 Principal teachings of Buddhism

Author:
Lama Tsongkhapa

Description:
Tsongkhapa’s masterpiece appears here with a commentary by the illustrious Pabongka Rinpoche (1878 – 1941), generally regarded as the foremost Tibetan teacher of Buddhism of the last century. This work has been translated by Geshe Lobsang Tharchin, one of the last Buddhist masters of old Tibet. The three principal paths are renunciation, the wish for enlightenment (or bodhicitta) and the correct view of emptiness.

When the mind is filled with these three thoughts when practising Buddhism, the practitioner will see a true transformation in their life. This book serves to guide spiritual aspirants to develop renunciation towards worldly affairs and develop an altruistic mind that aspires to become a Buddha for the sake of every living being. When the mind is imbued with the correct view, it will be able to serve as the antidote out of the cycle of life.

What people say about this book:
“This is a highly accessible exposition of the three principal paths of Buddhism, being renunciation, the wish to achieve enlightenment for all sentient beings and the correct view (the wisdom realising emptiness). Based on a poem written by one of the most precious masters of Tibetan Buddhism Lama Tsong-Kha-Pa, the commentary is relatively brief yet lacks nothing in detail. The small size of the book makes it both a wonderful reference work and perfect travelling companion. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Tibetan Buddhism.” – Amazon Customer

“A comprehensive, weighty look at Buddhism from the master who taught the first Dalai Lama.” – Cyndee

Why I think you should read this book:
Generally speaking, people during our time are educated, sensitive, caring, generous and living in abundance. Yet, the availability of so much material wants does not make people happier. Despite the self-help books on the shelves regarding emotional well-being, many still feel confused, lack self-confidence and wallow in self-blaming. The Three Principal Paths teaches us the correct motivation and perspective to develop our minds and achieve sustainable happiness.

 

Book 17: The Bodhisattva Vow

pic18 Bodhisattva Vows

Author:
Geshe Sonam Rinchen

Description:
Bodhisattvas, the great beings of Buddhism, are those who have generated bodhicitta, resolving to gain enlightenment in order to bring about lasting happiness for all living beings. This requires engaging in the marvellous activities of Bodhisattvas. In order to engage in these activities and live the life of an authentic Bodhisattva, one takes the Bodhisattva vow.

The Bodhisattva Vow and the short text known as the Twenty Verses on the Bodhisattva Vow by the Indian master Chandragomin discuss some of the most important details regarding the vow, such as from whom it should be taken, how one should prepare for receiving it, what constitutes transgressions of the vow and how they should be purified.

What people say about this book:
“Tells the reader in a clear and accessible manner about the first steps one should take in order to enter the Bodhisattva practice…Highly recommended.” – Tibet Journal

Why I think you should read this book:
When you study and practise according to the teachings of any lineage, you must always develop the strong motivation of concern for the well-being of all sentient beings. The Bodhisattva vow is the heart of this Mahayana practice that leads you to generate the noble wish to gain enlightenment for the sake of all living beings. Definitely a book that eager practitioners should not miss to study.
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39 Responses to Books That Are A Must-Read!

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  1. Marek on Jan 9, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    bones of the master by George Crane

  2. Marek on Jan 7, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    Buddhist Goddesses of India by Miranda Shaw

  3. Marek on Jan 7, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    Gods of Northern Buddhism by Alice Getty

  4. Marek on Jan 7, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/His_Dark_Materials
    perhaps made more of an impact in Anglophonic countries such as UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand than elsewhere, however, you, dear websurfer can read and write English – so go ahead – you have nothing to lose other than having your curiosity TEMPORARILY satisfied – noone should never have their curiosity completely satisfied

  5. Marek on Jan 5, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    Scepticism Inc by Bo Fowler

  6. Marek on Jan 4, 2017 at 1:22 am

    books by Robert Beer and Keith Dowman, as is Gods of Northern Buddhism

  7. Marek on Jan 4, 2017 at 12:32 am

    Way of Tibetan Buddhism by Lama Jampa Thaye, The Splendor of an Autumn Moon by Je Tsongkhapa, Enlightened Beings by Janice D Willis

  8. Marek on Jan 3, 2017 at 11:47 pm

    also recommend Complete Idiot’s guide to understanding Buddhism, Buddhism for Dummies, The Buddhist Handbook by John Snelling, many books by Donald S Lopez, The Life of The Buddha by Tenzin Chogyel, Buddhism plain and simple by Steve Hagen, Old Path White Clouds by Thich Nhat Hanh (made me cry) – another good source would be to ask at local (non denomintaional) schools what books they suggest on Buddhism when their pupils/students are studying about world religions, local libraries, Universities and of course many Temples/Buddhist Centres often have libraries, also – many Buddhists have been known to sponsor free Buddhist texts for distribution at Temples – lovely

  9. Wan Wai Meng on Nov 24, 2016 at 2:18 am

    Thank you Stella for introducing us to all these books, these are essential topics for us to learn for our spiritual growth.

  10. Alice Tay on Aug 11, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche and Stella sharing this recommendation of books that must read.

    There are 2 books that I like the most, Tsongkhapa – A Simple Guide to a Powerful Practice and Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand – A Concise Discourse on the Path to Enlightenment. In Tsongkhapa – A Simple Guide to a Powerful Practice, we can know the guru and lineage, the brief biography of Lama Tsongkhapa and most importantly it contains Lama Tsongkhapa’s practice. I have read this book in English version and Chinese version too. Sometimes, I will refer to this book to clear my doubts especially in the part of Lama Tsognkhapa’s practice.

    For Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand , it is a very comprehensive teachings given by Pabongka Rinpoche with the practical advice to guide readers step by step along the journey to Buddhahood. Same as Tsongkhapa – A Simple Guide to a Powerful Practice, I have this book in English and Chinese version which I think it is good for me to have these 2 versions for my better understanding. Furthermore, I am grateful that Kechara House held the dharma class and refer to this Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand as the core teaching. This is a good opportunity for us to learn and understand easily the teaching in Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand .

  11. yikming on Aug 8, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    Stella, Thanks for the compilation of the recommended books. Gonna be a chase list.
    Cheers,
    yikming

  12. Pastor KH Ng on Aug 8, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    Dear Stella,

    Thank for the concise compilation of 17 books. These books will definitely enhance our understanding of Buddhism and especially the practices of Mahayana Tibetan Buddhism and the practices of the Gelug School in particular.

    I read some of the book and my favourites must be “Compassions Conquer All”, “Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand” and “Introduction to Buddhism”. The last gave a framework of Buddhism and particularly Lama Tsongkhapa’s path; “Liberation…” of course is the great Lamrim text that is our “bible” which gave detailed dharma and practices while “Compassion…” is precisely Rinpoche’s instructions to students to practice mind transformation, which is our main practice.

    I am eager to read those that I have not; some I have acquired but not read.

    Thank You again and Thank You Rinpoche!

  13. Valentina Suhendra on Aug 8, 2016 at 11:07 am

    Dear Stella

    Thank you for writing this book recommendation. I can definitely see that I have read some of the books you recommended and I agree with you that they are great books that help me a lot in increasing my understanding of Dharma.

    Therefore I trust the remaining recommendations are also great books :). Thank you again Stella

    Valentina

  14. Echeah on Aug 8, 2016 at 2:01 am

    Thanks Stella for the great write-up. They are all definitely must-reads.
    Book 12: Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand – A Concise Discourse on the Path to Enlightenment by Pabongka Rinpoche and Trijang Rinpoche, i.e. the Lamrim, is one that all serious dharma students should have, not only to read but study, contemplate and apply. In it, we learn the actual path to enlightenment.

  15. Fong on Aug 6, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    Thank you for the synopsis and reviews of these books. There are just so very many books to read and don’t know where to start. It helps us to narrow down the list to decide which read first.

    Thank you for compiling this list to help us.

  16. samfoonheei on Aug 6, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    Thank you Stella for sharing the wonderful collection of books for us to read and understand better about Buddhism. There is so many books for us to choose.The description of each book is clearly explain, made it easy for us to choose.I have not got any of those books yet but will try to get it .All these books reminds us of our guru’s kindness in teaching Dharma to us.
    Thanks again.

  17. Carmen Koo on Aug 5, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    Dear Stella,

    Thank you for the recommendations on the books that are a must read for spiritual seekers and aspirants.

    Your list is concise, and your summary, captivating, to draw the attention of the reader to pick these books up.

    I have not finished reading any of these books, but what i’ve managed to read so far, they’re definitely enlightening and gives you much more extension and depths to your thoughts, and guides you to change the way you are.

    For example, Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand – A Concise Discourse on the Path to Enlightenment, also known as the Lamrim, is considered the bible for Buddhists. Following it and practising it, it guides you to enlightenment. Lama Tsongkhapa first wrote the Lamrim Chenmo, which he summarised from various teachings, and then Pabongka Rinpoche gave a discourse on the Lamrim over 24 days. It was said that thousands of people attended the teachings, yet, everyone heard his teachings so clearly, without the help of what we use today – microphones. So the Lamrim is a guided path, comprising of the entire doctrine of teachings, in a book, made for us to read, understand, practice and transform! It is more precious than gold!

    For those who want, some of the books above can be bought online from:

    http://www.vajrasecrets.com

    Carmen

  18. Yin Lin on Aug 5, 2016 at 12:42 am

    A compact list of books that depict the essence of buddism. For those who wish to gain an insight into or even enhance their understanding of buddhism, this is definitely a good place to set out on the journey.

  19. Corinne on Aug 4, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    hi Stella. This is a great article that comes in handy like a compass to many others, like an e-bookstore. I am amazed at the list of books that are available. Great compilation!

    • Stella Cheang on Aug 4, 2016 at 11:26 pm

      Thank you Corinne. These books are suitable for both novice and avid Buddhist practitioners, please feel free to share with others.

  20. Lin Mun on Aug 4, 2016 at 10:42 pm

    Thanks Stella for your recommendation and providing us a review on the contents of each book.

    I am grateful to all the high lamas for writing so many Buddhism books that are suitable for everyone. With the availability of the books, may more people read, learn and transform themselves.

  21. Jill Yam on Aug 4, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    So many books to enhance our knowledge and we learn new things everyday.
    I love the book ‘The Living Buddha Within’. It is easy to understand as Rinpoche explain clearly how karma and reincarnation works. We may not have found our true nature but there’s really a living Buddha within us. It’s for us to discover it.
    The next important book to read is of course the Lamrim which H.H. Pabongka Rinpoche gave these precious 24 days teachings which is also the guide to Enlightenment.
    Some of the other books I have read and now I need to get hold of those that I don’t have.

    Thank you Stella for introducing the above must read books to us.

    Jill Yam

  22. Uncle Eddie on Aug 4, 2016 at 11:02 am

    Many grateful thanks to His Eminence, The 25th Tsem Rinpoche and his wonderful devoted group of deep caring pastors for sharing this useful Name-list of relative books for us to make references or in case of need for our spiritual knowledge of learning and seeking. Yes we greatly appreciate our Guru, Rinpoche for his sincere concern and compassionate caring for our spiritual needs. Rinpoche like all great masters embody what he teaches and preaches! He invites us to learn from his insight expertized teachings and experiences, and encourages us to evolve our own journey of learning in personal growth. Like his well-meant advice always hinted to us: “The Journey is the Destination, the Time is to embark on it – There are no short-cuts on the Path……. No weekend, week long, or short courses to happiness and enlightenment. The Journey is the Destination, and the time to embark on it is the “ever-unfolding present” with its Leadership”. Rinpoche has vigorously advised us to begin this journey with him, being one with great spiritual and religious experiences, and one who had “gone through ‘hell and back’ to help us fulfill our destiny fearlessly with great determination together! OM BENZA WIKI BITANA SOHA.

  23. sonny tan on Aug 4, 2016 at 10:54 am

    Thank you Stella for presenting to us this amazing collection on Buddhism, it must have taken you quite a while to do extensive research and culminating in a very informative insight into basic life of Lord Buddha, Lama Tsongkhappa and many other illustrious teachers of the past and present as well as our own guru His Eminence Tsem Tulku Rinpoche teachings. A priceless treasure if I may add.
    It is indeed delightful to notice some of the more prominent books that many would love to be owner of such as ‘Liberation in the Palm of your Hands’ by Pabongka Rinpoche and ‘A Simple Guide to a Powerful Practice’ by Rinpoche. I would love to purchase all as these are gems too invaluable to miss owning.
    Last week at our dharma class the subject was ‘The Eight Verses of Mind Transformation’ Pastor Han Nee emphasize the importance of owning this book ‘Compassion Conquers All’ by Rinpoche and I find it very penetrative and I am looking forward to add this to my collection.

  24. Sofi on Aug 4, 2016 at 6:40 am

    Thank you Stella for sharing the list of “books that are a must read”. I have read a few books on the list but will need to spend sometime to start on the others. I liked “The Living Buddha Within” as it was interesting short stories and I had given many to people I have met as its light and a good introduction to Buddhism through Rinpoche. Another which we definite must read is “The Lamrim”, the 24 days teachings by H.H Pabongka Rinpoche and written by H.H. Trijang Rinpoche. Hmm the picture and title “Dangerous Friend” caught my eyes and I look forward to reading the book to prepare myself for the correct way to be our Guru.
    May the books bless every reader with the holy words within and may we have the merits to digest and understand the words and meanings. _()_

  25. Karen on Aug 3, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    I like The Wheel of Sharp Weapons. It’s the mirror to our life, it demonstrates how we are the creator of all our of sufferings and problems or happiness. Without understanding the basic knowledge of how karma is formed and how our actions related to it. In The Wheel of Sharp Weapons, we can understand how our specific actions can lead to specific results, and we can learn the reasons for our experiences and what we need to do if we want the unhappiness and dissatisfaction to stop.

    For example in one of the verses, it says when one suffers from great hunger, thirst and shelter, this hardship is created by one cheating others or stealing from others food, shelter, etc. Whatever actions we committed and made others suffered, we have to bear the same sufferings in the future. This makes a lot of sense and logical.

    Below is the talk from Tsem Rinpoche about The Wheel of Sharp Weapons few years ago:

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/the-wheel-of-sharp-weapons.html

  26. William Chua on Aug 3, 2016 at 7:36 pm

    Very concise summary of the books that will widen our knowledge in Buddhism. Thank you Stella.

    The book which I have read “Compassion Conquers All” explains a lot on the eight verses of Mind transformation where we put others above ourselves even though they are our enemies. This is practice which will slowly scrape off our ego. VEry good read and even better when practices.

    The book I am looking forward to read is the Wheel of Sharp weapons. It will definitely enlighten me on whatever we do has effects on on us. It is the law of cause and effect; karma. And we cannot escape from karma.

  27. Wylfred Ng on Aug 3, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    谢谢Stella 的分享。

    在十七本书中, 我读过且最喜欢的就是第九本:《宗喀巴大师–强大力量的简易修行》 与及第十二本:《菩提道次第–掌中解脱》

    《宗喀巴大师–强大力量的简易修行》 所说的就是十四世纪一代大师, 也是藏传佛教格鲁传承的祖师, 宗喀巴大师的生平及宗喀巴大师上师瑜伽法的解释。

    这本书清楚及简单说明了宗喀巴大师上师瑜伽法的重要性, 也清楚解释了七支文的意义及观想。 在很多主尊仪轨里都包含了七支文, 所以这本书的内容不只是单单是宗喀巴大师上师瑜伽法而已, 它也让我们更容易了解其他仪轨。

    《菩提道次第–掌中解脱》 是帕绷喀仁波切根据宗喀巴大师的菩提道次第广论浓缩成二十四天教授, 然后有赤江仁波切集结而成。 我很喜欢这本书是因为这本书简单易明, 也是佛陀讲法的精华所在。

    其他书如果有机会的话也会请购来阅读。

    谢谢

  28. Sock Wan on Aug 3, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    Thank you Stella for sharing with us the ‘Must-read’ book. Even though the books are written by different authors, the teachings are essentially the same, they are all teachings from Buddha Shakyamuni.

    If you are looking for just one book that covers all 84000 teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni, the book “Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand” will be the best book to get. You will be able to learn why do we need an altar, what is karma, the role of the teacher, etc. With better understanding of the “whys” you will be able to practice with faith and see the progress.

  29. Carsden on Aug 3, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    Reading is really a great way to expand one’s knowledge. I have not read any of these books before, but after reading the synopsis of each books, I will definitely grab one (maybe more) home.

    Thank you Stella for this great article!

  30. jerry_sito on Aug 3, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    感谢stella对于这17本书的分享,

    高僧大德们总是透过不同的方式来弘扬佛法,无论是庄严的,轻松的,善巧的,或是以透过声音,或透过文字,都是这些高僧大德们希望我们能够在不同的管道中得闻佛法,并学习佛法运用到我们生活当中。

    在这17本书中,对我印象最深的就是由尊贵的第廿五世詹杜固仁波切的教诲编辑而成的《宗喀巴大师》,我记得我刚接触克切拉时,他们告诉我说要每一年重复读这一本书,将会有不同的理解,或是因为我们常常在忙碌的都市生活中打转,对于一些仪轨,观想或开示我们都会变得模糊甚至完全忘记,而重复读这一本书能够提醒与勾起我们的佛法印记,帮助我们在修持的道路上继续成长,而这一部本书也非常详细地解释了关于宗喀巴大师的修持法的益处,方法,观想等等,是对于我们非常重要的一部书。

    谢谢
    Jerry Sito

  31. Paul Yap on Aug 3, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    Lots of wonderful Dharma books to read, by understanding more dharma knowledge we can benefit oneself, family and friends this life and many lifes time to come.

  32. Joy on Aug 3, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    These are some of my all time favourites!
    – Compassion Conquers All
    – Food of the Bodhisattvas
    – Dangerous Friend
    – Wheel of Sharp Weapons
    – Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand – A Concise Discourse on the Path to Enlightenment
    and everything else here which I am dying to read one day.

    I remembered when I first started and one of the first Buddhism books I read in Rinpoche’s library was Introduction to Buddhism by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso… I thought at that time… wow finally a clear, straightforward, concise book of Tibetan Buddhism that really helped me understood the spiritual in which I was about to embark.

    Anyway, thanks to our dear Dharma sister Stella Cheang… who has done a fab job in reviewing each of these books… now you can have a synopsis before venturing into any of them which is indeed all precious nectar of enlightened wisdom.

  33. Andrew on Aug 3, 2016 at 10:15 am

    Very insightful indeed

    • Pastor Shin Tan on Aug 3, 2016 at 10:30 am

      Dear Andrew,
      Thank you for your comment. Stella and the team did a great job. Perhaps you can share with us by leaving a comment after you have read any of the books. Happy reading!

  34. Rei Xiao on Aug 3, 2016 at 9:51 am

    Thanks for sharing. where can I borrow these books for reading?

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  • Stella Cheang
    Thursday, Mar 30. 2017 12:34 AM
    Wonderful good news to learn about this first of its kind progressive campaign to help the stray animals in Malaysia by the Sultan and Permaisuri of Selangor. While stray animals can be a nuisance to the public at large but bear in mind, the strays do not have a choice, and we have a role to play. Neutering strays is a humane and compassionate ways of resolving the program of stray animals in the long run because it largely reduces the numbers of strays on the streets. Neutering and proving proper shelters to strays can prevent thousands of animals from being born, only to suffer and struggle to survive on the streets, be abused by cruel or neglectful people, or be euthanized inhumanely. I have read somewhere that says spaying and neutering makes a big difference: Just one unaltered female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 puppies in only six years. In seven years, one female cat and her offspring can produce an incredible 370,000 kittens!

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/stray-free-selangor.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Thursday, Mar 30. 2017 12:15 AM
    Humans and animals, as well as other sentient beings within the six realms of samsara, are subjected to the law of cyclic of existence. Karma or generally known as the law of cause and effect will determine where we take our next rebirth. It is extremely rare for sentient beings to take the form of a human body and in perfect condition. Hence we must not let this precious lifetime go to waste by indulging in silly actions and harmful ways. If we are born in the animals realms or lower, there is close to zero way for us to collect merits and get out of that realm.

    From the stories above, I find the story about Dalawong most unusual because he seemed to be able to determine the destination of his next rebirth after he was being killed as a snake. After he had taken rebirth in human form, he continued to remember the incident in his past life. Amazing!

    Thank you, Rinpoche, for sharing these researches with us.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/do-animals-reincarnate-back-as-humans.html
  • Tsem Rinpoche
    Wednesday, Mar 29. 2017 09:42 PM
    If we are kind, we lose less of ourselves-Tsem Rinpoche
  • Lin Mun
    Wednesday, Mar 29. 2017 03:50 PM
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this article about tsa tsa. Didn’t know there are many steps and holy materials used in making a tsa tsa. In addition, the maker of tsa tsa would need to do prayer in the morning depending of what tsa tsa they are making on the day, for example, the maker will do Dorje Shugden practise before making Dorje Shugden tsa tsa.

    Only by knowing the process, we will appreciate the items more. Tsa tsa is a precious item.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/tsa-tsas-are-nice.html
  • Pastor Shin Tan
    Wednesday, Mar 29. 2017 09:28 AM
    Dalawong: A Child Recalls a Past Life as a Cobra in Thailand

    This case was actually researched by the late Francis Story, a British citizen who was fascinated with Buddhism and spent many years in Asia. He was also very interested in the topic of reincarnation and assisted Dr. Stevenson in investigating a number of very important reincarnation cases in Burma and Sri Lanka. Francis interviewed the subject of this case, a Thai boy named Dalowong, along with his father, mother and sister. He also had access to a pamphlet that was previously published regarding the case, which was also summarized in an article in the Bangkok Times.

    Dalawong actually claimed two past animal incarnations. He recalled a past lifetime as a deer, which he said was killed by a hunter. Subsequently, he stated he was reincarnated as a snake, more specifically, as a cobra.

    As the snake, Dalawong remembered that he was in a cave when two dogs entered and attacked him. A ferocious struggle ensued between the cobra and the dogs. The owner of the dogs then entered the cave and killed the snake. Apparently, the snake was able to bite the human invader on the shoulder, prior to succumbing to death.

    The human took the cobra’s body back home, where the snake was cooked for a meal. This man shared the snake meat with an acquaintance, who would become Dalawong’s father in the near future. The man who killed the cobra had the name Mr. Hiew.

    Read more here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/do-animals-reincarnate-back-as-humans.html
  • Alice Tay
    Tuesday, Mar 28. 2017 08:40 PM
    谢谢Paul Yap 为我们介绍马来西亚彭亨州文东必定参观的地方之一~克切拉禅修林。就如照片显示,克切拉禅修林的确是一个环境清幽、山明水秀以及令人有宁静舒适的感觉。

    如果有机会到马来西亚游玩,千万不要错过由Paul Yap介绍克切拉禅修林里的几个优美与神圣的地方,包括:
    1. 金泽”财王”
    2. 金刚瑜伽母佛塔
    3. 绿度母石雕像
    4. 药师佛山
    5. 梦幻文殊菩萨
    6. 詹仁波切的货柜屋
    7. 文殊山
    8. 智慧堂(释迦摩尼佛像和多杰雄登像)

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/go-bentong.html
  • Alice Tay
    Tuesday, Mar 28. 2017 08:09 PM
    The sculpture of Kuan Yin in Macau is simple but elegant. Most importantly, this big Kuan Yin in Macau is built to bring peace, harmony and prosperity to the people.

    I remember Rinpoche mentioned before a big Buddha statue will have positive impact on the environment and plant the Buddha’s seeds in all sentient beings that not only humans but also including animals and many others. Therefore, the bigger Buddha statue the more beneficial to all sentient beings where they can see and be blessed by this big Buddha statue from far.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/art-architecture/kuan-yin-of-macau-city.html
  • Lin Mun
    Tuesday, Mar 28. 2017 03:29 PM
    Krishnan’s effort and hard work in contributing to the society is very inspiring. He is willing to let go of his high paying job to Switzerland and staying back in India to operate a soup kitchen for homeless. On top of that he is willing to accept the hardship of financial restraint every month in maintaining his service for the people living in the street. I hope his good work will bring more awareness and sponsors for him especially when CNN showed the video of his work and awarded him with top 10 CNN heroes.

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/mitra-teaches-bhagwan-dorje-shugden-in-nepali.html

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

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

  • March 28, 2017 09:11
    Lia asked: If the ushnisha is actually supposed to be a bump, then do we change the visualization of the top knot and replace it with a bump covered in hair or do we keep the ushnisha as the thangkas show?
    No reply yet
  • March 27, 2017 04:19
    Dongho asked: I have been reading on the tunes of certain sects and would like to ask on this. From what I've read, there are certain tunes to each sect and school of certain chants. Exactly where can I find the sheet music for these percussion and horns with the chants, such as to the one for invoking Kache Marpo or Dorje Shugden? Would it be possible to use school instruments for this?
    pastor answered: Dear Dongho, Thank you for your question, it is good to see you back and asking more questions. Yes you are right, there are differences in the tunes and chants between the lineages. The differences can vary significantly between the traditions, for example the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism is known for its extremely deep throat singing which is very powerful and is characterised by a low, booming voice, in contrast to the other traditions. Even within a particular tradition, there can be slight variations as to the manner in which the chants and tunes are performed. For example those monasteries are which are affiliated with Gyume will have one way of throat singing, where those affiliated with Gyuto will have another. As far as I am aware there is no professional sheet music for the rituals, most probably because the music is actually an integral part of the ritual itself. Therefore the music, tunes, and chants are all taught at the same time the ritual and prayers are. The tunes, and use of the instruments all have specific meanings, because they are considered to be offerings to the deities in the form of sound. The monasteries would not have copies of sheet music either, because sheet music is western practice. The use of ritual music within Tibetan Buddhism is more of one based on memory. In the Kechara organisation, the puja team was trained in such ritual instruments at the same time they learnt the particular ritual from monks from the monastery, such as the puja of Dorje Shugden. From what I saw of the training, the musical tunes, and use of instruments was not written down but taught experientially at the same time as the chanting. I have not come across any other instruments being used in pujas apart from the traditional ritual instruments, because even the instruments themselves have a specific meaning. That is not say that school instruments cannot be used. This is because, as long as the offering is sincere, the Buddhas and enlightened deities will accept it, and in turn you will generate great amounts of merit. Offerings should be made to the best of our ability, therefore if you do not have access to the ritual instruments, or do not know how to play them, but you know how to play other instruments, and use these instruments as offerings to the Buddhas during pujas, the amount of merit you generate will be the same. This is because you are sincere with your offering. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • March 26, 2017 02:14
    Kunga asked: Does the Gelug have Begtse a protector? If so, could you please provide a sadhana for him here?
    pastor answered: Dear Kunga, Yes the Dharma protector Begtse exists within the Gelug tradition. He is also known as Chamsing. Begtse’s practice stems from India and was introduced to Tibet and therefore Tibetan Buddhism by the translator Nyen Lotsawa. Marpa Lotsawa also practiced Begtse, and so the practice exists in the Kagyu traditions. This practice was eventually transmitted to Sachen Kunga Nyingpo, the first of the five patriarchs of the Sakya tradition, who were the founding fathers of that tradition. Over time the practice of Begtse was incorporated into the Gelug tradition, founded by Lama Tsongkhapa, and was notably practiced by the 1st and 2nd Dalai Lamas. Over time the practice gained popularity within the lineage, especially when it spread to Mongolia. There the practice became an important one within the lineage as upheld there. Begtse is also affectionately known as the Dharma protector of Mongolia, because his practice is so popular there. If I am not mistaken, there is an oracle of Begtse in Mongolia as well. There is a mistaken account that the practice originated around the time of the 3rd Dalai Lama, with the subjugation of a Mongolian war god, but Begtse was definitely practiced before that time in the Gelug, Kagyu and Sakya traditions. While the practice of Begtse is very effective, I have not come across the practice of Begtse in my personal practice, therefore I do not have access to the Begtse sadhana to provide to you. Instead Begtse is propitiated in prayers that incorporate many other Dharma protectors, and Begtse is also considered one of the nine protectors of the Hayagriva (Tamdrin) cycle of tantric teachings. Therefore Begtse is included in the Dharma protector sections of the Hayagriva tantras. Surrounding Begtse are his sister, Sing Ma, and his main minister, Le Khan Mar Po. His inner retinue comprises of eight butchers who wield copper swords in their right hands and skull-cups full of blood in their left hands. They are portrayed as naked and are very ugly. His outer retinue comprises a further twenty-one butchers, who hold copper swords in their right hands, and this time, the entrails of butchered enemies. They wear the skins humans and oxen as clothes, with ornaments made from human bone. While this may seem violent, Begtse is actually a very powerful and beneficial protector, who helps practitioners clear their obstacles and create conducive conditions for their spiritual evolution. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • March 24, 2017 20:12
    Azair asked: Venerable Rinpoche, I am doing a study in Kalachakra Tantra and I've heard from most of the lama's too that if you practice the Kalachakra Tantra, you'll be able to take control of your next rebirth. Ofcourse, it has been said that we will get our rebirth according to our Karma and desires but whether those dreams will get fulfilled will depend upon the actions that we take in this life. Thus, practicing the Kalachakra(till the end) after initiation will give you the opportunity to take rebirth anywhere you desire regardless of your Karma. My question is that, is there some truth in this statement.? Does this statement hold true for other tantra practices, such as Vajrayogini Tantra, Ghuyasamaja Tantra, Heruka Tantra, etc. I would really really like to know. Thankyou in anticipation, regards, Azair
    pastor answered: Dear Azair, Thank you for your question. Yes there is truth to this statement, both from a scriptural perspective and also by example, as the great masters have shown us. This is a unique feature of all Anuttarayoga Tantras or Highest Yoga Tantras, which Kalachakra, Vajrayogini, Guhyasama and Heruka are all examples of. This category of tantric practice can actually lead a practitioner to full enlightenment in this very lifetime. Even if enlightenment is not reached, very high levels of attainment can be reached nonetheless. This includes the ability to take control over your next rebirth. This is primarily engaged in so that the practitioner is born in an environment where they can eventually pick up their practice and further their spiritual path to enlightenment, or in order to be born in a place where they can benefit sentient beings the most, as part of the spiritual journey over many lifetimes. One of the reasons such an ability is very necessary on the spiritual path, is that usual death and rebirth occurs at the mercy of ones karma, specifically what is known as the ‘throwing karma’ or the karma that dictates what sort of rebirth a person is going to take. This opens up at the time of ordinary death, which most people have no control over. During the death process, many of our disturbing emotions will arise. Whichever of these is the strongest at the point of death triggers open a latent karmic potential, which becomes the ‘throwing karma’ and dictates where we are going to take rebirth and if that life will generally be full of suffering or not. Within Anuttarayoga Tantra, one of the key points of practice is to prepare for one’s death. This is done by simulating the dying process during one’s meditations, so that one becomes familiar with it. At the most pivotal part of this process, one practices achieving either the rainbow body or great bliss (in the case of the father tantras); or clear light (in the case of mother tantras). The tantras themselves are not defined in terms of the gender of the central deity, but by the method used to gain enlightenment. This is either the rainbow body/great bliss (classified as male, therefore labelled ‘father’) or clear light (classified as female, therefore labelled ‘mother’). Non-dual tantras such as the Kalachakra tantra can employ either of the two methods, a mixture of both, or alternate methods. In the case of superior practitioners, due to the power of their practice, they can achieve either of these two methods in their current body. Since they have familiarised themselves with the dying process, and a particular method of practice, they can also achieve enlightenment during their physical death. The great Lama Tsongkhapa is said to have achieved enlightenment at the moment of physical death, using the second of these. For other practitioners, they may not be able to achieve this either in their meditations while they are alive, or during the death process. However because they have familiarised themselves with the dying process, they remain in complete concentration at the time of death, not allowing any disturbing emotions to arise. Due to this level of concentration, meditation and awareness during the dying process, they are able to control where they next take rebirth. This is evident in the tantric scriptures themselves, and the life stories of many masters, who can state exactly where, when and to whom they will take their next rebirth, as they are in full control of the dying and rebirth process. There is a type of meditation called ‘thukdam’ which has been translated into ‘death meditation’. This is a final meditation some masters choose to engage in. During this meditation, the master themselves consciously begin the physical dying process themselves, engage in the meditation of dissolving the winds into the heart centre and remain in the most pivotal part of the death process, the mind of clear light of death. During this point they engage in meditations, either the methods of the father or mother tantras as mentioned previously, and or consciously choose where they are to next take rebirth. They can remain in this death meditation for long periods of time, days at an end, in which their consciousness has not yet left their body, although for all intents and purposes they are dead according to medical science, e.g. they have no heartbeat. At the end of their meditation, a drop of blood will be emitted from their nostril, and their head will slump over a little. Masters who engage in this meditation usually sit in full meditation posture, and their body remain supple and soft even though they have passed away from a medical point of view. I hope this brief explanation helps. Thank you.
  • March 23, 2017 23:01
    Brad asked: What is the significance of offering the Seven precious emblems of royalty to the Buddhas and enlightened Dharma Protectors? What are we symbolically offering up?
    pastor answered: Dear Brad, Thank you for your question. The ‘saptaratna’ or seven precious emblems represent on the one hand the ultimate state of temporal power, and on the other hand the ultimate spiritual attainments that we can achieve. By offering these to the Buddhas, we are actually creating the causes to achieve what they represent. Therefore it is good to know the meaning of each, so we can understand what we are creating the causes for by offering them up: Please see below for an explanation of the seven royal emblems: 1. The Precious Wheel: a thousand spoked wheel, representing the universal power of the Buddhas, as well as the teachings of the thousand Buddhas of our aeon. It is represented by the Dharmachakra, symbolising the ‘turning of the wheel’ or teaching of the Noble Eightfold Path. It is a symbol of a universal emperor’s spiritual and temporal power. It is also represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect mindfulness, especially that of our own mind, thoughts, delusions and afflictions. 2. The Precious Jewel: an eight sided wish-granting gem, which fulfils all the needs of a universal emperor. This jewel has eight special qualities: it illuminates the night sky for hundreds of leagues; it is cooling when the temperature is hot and warming when the temperature is cold; it makes manifest whatever the holder wants; when thirsty it causes a fresh-water spring to appear; it has the ability to control the nagas, and other supernatural beings, as well as preventing natural disasters such as storms, floods, etc.; it gives off multi-coloured lighted which heals the various mental and emotional afflictions; it cures all illnesses; and it ensures that one dies a natural death, not an untimely one. It is a symbol of a universal emperor’s spiritual and temporal power. It is also represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect mindfulness, or perfect discrimination, so one knows what to abandon and what to keep in the mindstream during the spiritual journey to enlightenment. 3. The Precious Queen: the most beautiful and virtuous of all women. She is described as a goddess who is the epitome of someone: with devotion; without jealousy; who is the embodiment of fertility; who works for the welfare of all beings; who possess feminine wisdom; speaks the truth; not attract to sensual pleasures or material possessions; and does not have false views. She is adored by all. She also represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect effort. This is necessary to keep meditating until one gains spiritual attainments. 4. The Precious Minister: who has sharp intelligence, patience, and the ability to give wise counsel to the emperor. He is so attuned to the emperor that even before the emperor has spoken, the minister is already carrying out his command. He only wishes to support the Dharma, help sentient beings, and is an excellent strategist. He also represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect joy. This is also akin to the attainment of the first bodhisattva level, because you have come to an understanding of your own mind, which is like pouring ice-cold water into boiling water. The water stops boiling, as does the thoughts, projections, and delusions in the mind. He represents the path of the bodhisattva. 5. The Precious Elephant: who has the strength of a thousand normal elephants. He is white, with the perfect features that an elephant could have. He is majestic, graceful, and gentle, but in battle is fearsome, fearless and unyielding. He communicates with the emperor through a telepathic link. He represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect adaptability. This is important, as one needs to be able to adapt to the various mental afflictions as they arise, and suitably counter them. 6. The Precious Horse: who has all the marks of a celestial horse. Known as wind-horse, he is able to travel extremely fast, and can circumambulate the entire universe three time in just a single day. He is never fearful or startled, never makes a sound when galloping, and has extremely soft hairs on his body. He represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is single-pointed concentration. This is important because without this form of concentration, once cannot engage in the analytical meditations that lead to an understanding of emptiness, and therefore enlightenment. 7. The Precious General: who has mastered the arts of war and always wins in battle. He wears battle armour and holds many different weapons. He tries to avoid battle, but when necessary fights, and never gives up until he has won. He is fearless, and courageous in carrying out the emperors commands and ensures the emperors army carries out their duties. He represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect equanimity. This is because he overcomes all warfare, which is akin to the battle between things were are attached to and things we have an aversion for in our minds. In short, what you are offering up is the highest of all temporal treasures and abilities, as well as the entire path of the Dharma. Doing so creates the causes for you to receive all of this on your spiritual journey towards enlightenment. I hope this helps. Thank you.
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CHAT PICTURES

Pastor Yek Yee assisted by Puja Team blessed and conducted a puja during an outcall house blessing. Lucy Yap
yesterday
Pastor Yek Yee assisted by Puja Team blessed and conducted a puja during an outcall house blessing. Lucy Yap
Butterlamp offering to Lama Tsongkhapa in Kechara Forest Retreat
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Butterlamp offering to Lama Tsongkhapa in Kechara Forest Retreat
Kechara Sunday Dharma School teachers and volunteers outing session. Stella,
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Kechara Sunday Dharma School teachers and volunteers outing session. Stella,
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Dorje Shugden the powerful World Peace Protector taking full trance in an oracle.
Visitors have the opportunity to pay respect to this holy statue, in Kechara Forest Retreat, Wisdom Hall!
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Visitors have the opportunity to pay respect to this holy statue, in Kechara Forest Retreat, Wisdom Hall!
Group photo of Kechara Sunday Dharma School teachers and trainer after the Teachers Training program in 2016. Stella, KSDS
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Group photo of Kechara Sunday Dharma School teachers and trainer after the Teachers Training program in 2016. Stella, KSDS
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Kechara Sunday Dharma School teachers attended the weekly Blogchat Dharma sharing session every Monday. Stella, KSDS
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Teacher Stella together with WOAH Camp young participants to check the broken egg. Alice Tay, KSDS
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Happy faces of Teacher Irene together with KSDS's youngest age group. Alice Tay, KSDS
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KSDS students, parents and teachers participated in food packaging for Kechara Soup Kitchen. Lin Mun KSDS
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The team is setting up the tent and games for the Halloween party. Lin Mun KSDS
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Students listening to Teacher Grace attentively during WOAH camp 2016. Lin Mun KSDS
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Happy visitor invited Dorje Shugden back home.
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Dorje Shugden
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