Incredible Geshe Wangyal

Dec 8, 2013 | Views: 1,587
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Dear respected friends around the world,

This is a must read article and very interesting. I learned from it also. I am so touched by all the work Geshe Wangyal has done in service of Dharma and humanity. Very touching.

I came across this wonderful article about how Tibetan Buddhism came to America and also a short history on the Kalmyks… it is the story about Geshe Ngawang Wangyal, the first Tibetan Buddhist lama who set foot on American soil. Unsurprisingly, he faced many challenges when bringing Buddhism to America! Geshe Wangyal was a Mongol (Kalmyk) which is the same ancestry as my mother.

The story of Geshe Wangyal was one that was told by a lifelong student, David Urubshurow who has been a student of Geshe Wangyal since he was 7 years old! I thank David Urubshurow for his devotion to Geshe Wangyal and this beautiful article. I have blogged it here so many will understand how much Geshe Wangyal did to bring Buddhism to America. I myself had the honour to meet Geshe Wangyal in his North New Jersey centre once many decades ago as a young boy.

Reading the biographies of great Lamas such as Geshe Wangyal is extremely beneficial for spiritual aspirants… similarly with reading biographies of Pabongkha Rinpoche and other great Mahasiddhas. I thought that I should share this article on Geshe Wangyal to all my blog readers in hopes that they will be both inspired and learn through the actions of this Enlightened master. We should never let challenges that seem vast stop us. We should never retire in retreat when it’s too hard. Nothing great comes with no effort.

“It always seems impossible until it is done.” ~Nelson Mandela

Tsem Rinpoche

 

P.S. I lived with my family on West 3rd Street, Howell New Jersey and Venerable Geshe Wangyal Lived on East 3rd Street. Amazing. That is just across the street from me and five minutes walk away! My root guru and first guru was Geshe Lobsang Tharchin. He was was brought to USA by Geshe Wangyal also!

 


From Russia with Love

The untold story of how Tibetan Buddhism first came to America
David Urubshurow

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By some estimates, there may now be three million or more people in the United States who identify themselves as Tibetan Buddhists. Sixty years ago, there were precisely 587 of us who could assert that claim—and we were all Kalmyk Mongols.

Eighteen years before Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche—the charismatic tulku widely assumed to have brought Tibetan Buddhism to North America—set foot in the States, a small band of Kalmyks, America’s earliest Tibetan Buddhists, would establish the religion’s first temple in the Western hemisphere. Refugees from Stalinism and unlikely beneficiaries of America’s early Cold War maneuverings, the Kalmyks transformed an unassuming town in the middle of New Jersey into the epicenter for Tibetan Buddhism in the West.

The community’s most learned lama, Geshe Ngawang Wangyal, was the first Tibetan Buddhist lama in the United States to take on American students. His long list of accomplishments would include pioneering efforts in establishing Tibetan Buddhism’s intellectual bona fides in American academia and popular culture, making possible the successful escape of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from Tibet in 1959 under contract with the CIA, and finally, spearheading a two-decade-long undertaking to remove political proscriptions on American visits by the Dalai Lama, an endeavor that reached up to the highest levels of US government. Not many Western Buddhists know this story—or that the tradition’s first congregation here would have such an improbable yet discernable and documentable impact on Tibetan Buddhism’s future in America.

In the summer of 1952, Jersey Shore–bound travelers zipping down US Route 9 would not have noticed anything that set Freewood Acres, New Jersey, apart from thousands of similar villages throughout America. Nothing on its public face suggested that Freewood Acres had, over the previous winter, become a demographically singular community on this side of the world. The distinction was due, in part, to the decision by a band of about 200 Kalmyks to resettle there permanently (amid an already established Cossack community) shortly after their 1951 Christmas Eve arrival in America. These Kalmyks had avoided all but certain extinction because of their propaganda value in a spirited battle for global domination being waged by their once and current sovereigns.

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The emigrants—nearly half of whom, myself included, were children under the age of 10—landed with only the tattered mementos of six joyless years in a series of Bavarian Displaced Persons (DP) camps cobbled together by the US Allied Forces in Germany to accommodate a portion of the millions uprooted by the Second World War. Each could trace his or her immediate origins to the Russian steppes northwest of the Caspian Sea, to a land they fondly called Hal’mag Tangach’, dubbed “Kalmykia” by their Russian and Cossack neighbors, from a word of Turkic origin meaning “to remain.” The Kalmyks had done just that after emigrating from western Mongolia to the Volga Basin in the early 17th century, establishing the only Buddhist polity in Europe at around the time the Puritans landed at Plymouth Rock.

Most of Freewood Acres’s Kalmyk adults had fought or worked for the Third Reich following the Nazi’s massive attack and subsequent occupation of their Russian Soviet Republic in the spring and summer of 1942. Spurred by the woes of Stalinist oppression, some became “guest workers”; the rest bore arms against the USSR, either as part of the doomed Russian Liberation Army or as members of the so-called Kalmyk Cavalry Corps, created by the German Wehrmacht during its Sixth Army’s brief occupation of Kalmykia as it mustered for the coming disaster in nearby Stalingrad. Understandably, no Kalmyks acknowledged this toxic allegiance in the wake of Germany’s defeat, and at war’s end each would profess involuntary servitude as the reason for his presence in Germany, usually under an assumed name.

Perhaps that was why we were among the very last of Europe’s DPs, still homeless and stateless six years after the end to hostilities. Desperate to preserve a unique cultural heritage in the midst of a physically devastated and morally depleted Germany, Kalmyk DPs rejected opportunities for individual or family resettlement, knowing that any attempt to break them up was tantamount to a death sentence for our culture and survival as a distinct people. Furthermore, in contrast to other past DPs, we were undeniably Asian, physically and culturally. Surprisingly urbane and broadly polyglot on the one hand, Kalmyk Mongols also unabashedly embraced and celebrated religious beliefs and core values found only in more exotic locales and distant times. For a mostly Christian Europe, this feature may have fostered a perception that Kalmyks were little more than godless primitives, perhaps not so far removed from our “barbarian” forebears. Little wonder, then, that there were few offers of safe haven from the community of nations.

In the immediate aftermath of Germany’s defeat, millions of their former countrymen and women—Cossacks, Soviet POWs, German collaborators, and other anti-Stalinists—were forcibly repatriated to Russia by its US and UK allies. Like most of those forcibly returned, Kalmyks harbored a visceral hatred of Communism and Stalin, nurtured in their beleaguered homeland and in European exile. In the early years of the Cold War, this particular stance, and the conviction with which Kalmyks held it, perhaps trumped the negative factors hindering our search for a permanent communal home. Impeccable anti-Communist credentials coupled with a history of persecution in the Soviet Union tipped the balance in our favor when the United States relented and offered Kalmyk Mongols permanent refuge. Our flight from Communist tyranny and eventual “redemption by the West” was valuable propaganda fodder for the political era that followed Mao’s revolution in China, witnessed an alarming upsurge in Communist-led national liberation movements in Southeast Asia, and saw the grisly escalation of hostilities on the Korean peninsula. Virulent anti-Communist Asians, it seems, were at a premium.

At first, the passage and enactment of the DP Act of 1948, a humanitarian measure to grant permanent US residence to 200,000 refugees still languishing in European DP camps, did not affect the Kalmyks’ eligibility, because its benefits applied only to white people. It was only with the help of Leo Tolstoy’s youngest daughter, Alexandra, one of perhaps a half-dozen Americans who even knew what a Kalmyk was, that we were granted asylum. Through her foundation, Tolstoy posited before an immigration tribunal that the Kalmyks’ centuries-old inhabitation of their own polity within European Russia far outweighed their actual and obvious Asiatic origin. In other words, Kalmyks were really Europeans. Despite the initial tribunal’s rejection of this argument, its appellate superiors, the Board of Immigration Appeals and the US Attorney General, reversed the decision months later, making theEuropean Kalmyks beneficiaries of an innovative legal ruling exempting us from the anti-Asian (“Yellow Peril”) hysteria that had swept America and found purchase in its immigration laws.

By figuratively sticking her foot in America’s front door and keeping it wedged there long enough for an anonymous band of war-tossed Mongols to navigate around daunting racial barriers, Countess Tolstoy not only became the architect of the Mongol “invasion” of New Jersey and the country’s first ethnic Mongolian community, she also served as the midwife for the birth of Tibetan Buddhism in America.

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One month short of the first anniversary of their arrival in America, the Kalmyks of Freewood Acres consecrated a communal worship center, their main priority since leaving the camps. The extensively renovated garage, once ritually transformed, symbolized the Kalmyks’ determination to bring their long, arduous journey to an end. The two modest bungalows that shared the site with the transformed garage became housing for the sangha of a half-dozen monks and lamas who had followed their parishioners out of Russia. They gave their new temple a traditional Tibetan name, Rashi Gempil Ling, hoping that it would indeed be a “Sanctuary for the Increase of Auspiciousness and Virtue.” That it was the first Tibetan Buddhist worship center established in the Western hemisphere probably was not foremost in anyone’s mind.

Coverage of the sanctifying rite in The New York Times betrayed the Cold War mentality typically found in the era’s news stories about recent refugees, fixing as it did on the group’s collective plight in recent years and its eventual deliverance from Soviet Communism by the US. The Siberian exile of the Kalmyks’ unfortunate compatriots in Russia was also mentioned, perhaps as an example of what these lucky ones had avoided through America’s compassionate intervention.

The brief article was the most prominent press attention Kalmyk DPs had received to date. And because it was published in the paper of record, it was the most widely disseminated account of the circumstances of our arrival the previous year. Beyond the hundreds of thousands of Times readers and subscribers learning for the first time that there were now “descendants of Genghis Khan” in their midst, the story’s reverberations eventually reached halfway around the globe to the West Bengal town of Kalimpong, India. There its message resonated with a fellow Kalmyk Mongolian who had been living in exile in the former hill station of the British Raj since shortly after the 1950 invasion of Tibet by China. Geshe Ngawang Wangyal’s curiosity was piqued.

The Kalmyk Autonomous Oblast in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic had barely celebrated its second anniversary in 1923 when 21-year-old Lidjiin Keerab, a Buddhist seminarian, left his home in the Lesser Derbet region to complete his ecclesiastical education in Tibet. He was one in a small but continuous trickle, beginning in the mid-to-late 1600s, of Kalmyk geshe-aspirants making the trek. He and his predecessors intended to eventually return home to disseminate buddhadharma among the Kalmyks, the world’s westernmost Buddhists. Keerab, who would complete his studies to become Geshe Wangyal, did not know that he would be the last Kalmyk to make that passage.

Keerab had been a gifted student in one of Kalmykia’s two monastic colleges (chöra) founded two decades earlier by his guru and patron Lama Agvan Dorjiev, a Buryat Mongol geshe from Siberia and an ecclesiastic tutor and debate partner to the 13th Dalai Lama. Although dragged into the geopolitical feuds of the time, Lama Dorjiev spent most of his life promoting the academic study of Buddhism in Mongolia, Buryatia, and Kalmykia according to a curriculum established by the Tibetan monk and scholar Lobsang Drakpa, better known as Tsongkhapa, the 15th-century founder of the Tibetan Gelug lineage.

Recognizing his protégé’s potential to successfully complete the demanding geshe curriculum at the Gelugpa monastic colleges of Tibet, Dorjiev handpicked the young Lidjiin Keerab to be a member of the Borisov Mission, a secret undertaking hatched by the USSR’s foreign ministry and Comintern functionaries. The expedition’s leader, Sergei Borisov, and his travel companions would pose as religious pilgrims while actually exploring opportunities for Communist proselytizing on the “roof of the world,” which conveniently overlooked colonial India, the crown jewel of Britain’s massive empire. Comrade Borisov, a seasoned Comintern operative of Central Asian descent, donned the robes and persona of a Buryat Mongol lama for the months-long trek to Lhasa. To add further credibility to the ruse, Borisov brought several genuine Russian Buddhist pilgrims into the party, including Lama Dorjiev’s promising disciple.

Knowing well the ulterior political motives of the caravan’s sponsors, Lama Dorjiev admonished Keerab to separate from the caravan before its entry into the holy city and to avoid being identified thereafter as a member of Borisov’s party. Borisov’s group would be the last sanctioned overland expedition from Russia to Tibet, ending a centuries-old practice by which Kalmyk traders, monk-students, and pilgrims could stockpile incalculable merit from completing the holy circuit.

Keerab completed his curricular obligations at Gomang Monastic College’s geshe-degree program in less than ten years, about half the time for typical geshe-aspirants. In 1933 or early ’34, Geshe Wangyal made his first (and last) attempt to return to Kalmykia, an endeavor cut short by the ongoing suppression of Buddhism along his proposed return route in Mongolia and even more vigorously at his intended destination. Stranded in Beijing, Geshe-la took a job with a Chinese publishing venture attempting to reconcile various versions of the Buddhist canon, taught school briefly in Inner Mongolia, and, presciently, began teaching himself English.

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Following a quick visit to England at the invitation of the author and mountaineer Marco Pallis, Geshe Wangyal returned to Tibet, resolving to spend the rest of his life there. For more than a decade, Geshe-la would spend most of the year in Lhasa and winter in Kalimpong, India, allowing him to conduct lucrative trade between the two countries and sometimes with China. It was a near-idyllic existence.

Late in 1950, however, the first Chinese Communist artillery shells fell on Eastern Tibet, ending the optimistic notion that Tibet could maintain its historical independence. The Asian expansion of Communism and the consequent devastation of Buddhism that Geshe-la had witnessed over the past three decades had finally caught up with him in Tibet, his most secure redoubt. He could not hope to remain in Lhasa, where his identity as a Russian subject was quite well known and his status as a lama and trader made him an obvious target for the coming wave of ideologues charged with purifying society of its bourgeois elements.

By the end of 1951, as Chinese propaganda cadres and armed forces expanded their presence into Central Tibet from the eastern provinces, Geshe Wangyal had permanently relocated to his winter refuge in India. Soon after, the jungle drums communication network of Kalimpong’s sizeable Tibetan exile community informed him that, according to an article in The New York Times, a group of his fellow Kalmyks had established a small community and congregation in a place called New Jersey.

For a full year thereafter, Geshe-la made multiple requests to the American Consul in New Delhi for a visa. It was eventually granted in late 1954 after the intervention of the Tolstoy Foundation a year earlier. With all his earthly possessions packed into two steamer trunks, Geshe-la made his way to France in time to catch La Liberté’s January 1955 departure for the port of New York. He would spend the next 28 years in New Jersey, the longest continuous residence in one place in his eventful life, making him, in a very real way, the first authentic American lama.

Following his arrival, Geshe Wangyal attempted to join the sanghas of the Kalmyks’ original temple organization, Rashi Gempil Ling, as well as the newest one, Tashi Lhunpo, built on a large communal plot in the adjacent Howell Township. He had been rebuffed by each primarily because of the interventions of *Dilowa Khutuktu, a Mongolian-born tulku who had been in America since 1949. The resulting acrimony in the community between Geshe-la’s defenders and detractors exposed fault lines along tribal and clan affiliations that had always been part of the Kalmyks’ group and individual identities.

Membership in either temple organization would have spared Geshe-la the necessity of raising the funds required to purchase property and build the facility he would need to house the modest Buddhist Studies and Tibetan Language program he hoped to start as a faint echo of the academies established in Kalmykia by his own guru, Lama Dorjiev. However, Geshe-la’s initial urgency to be accepted within the existing Kalmyk organizations appreciably diminished around the time he began his contract work for the CIA, in 1956 or early 1957. Recruited to the spy agency with the help of the Dalai Lama’s eldest brother, Thubten Jigme Norbu (Takster Rinpoche), Geshe Wangyal developed the Tibetan telecode the agency would use to communicate with the Tibetan Resistance, the newest surrogates for fighting communist expansion.

Takster Rinpoche emigrated to the United States under CIA sponsorship eight months to the day following Geshe-la’s arrival in New Jersey. His initial visit in 1951, referred to in some news accounts as a lecture tour of seminaries and colleges, was arranged by a CIA-front organization and used to present his own eyewitness accounts of the Chinese invasion and occupation of Tibet at very high levels of America’s foreign policy and intelligence communities. During his second visit, Rinpoche’s friend and colleague Geshe Wangyal served as his translator for the interview at the offices of Rinpoche’s US sponsor. The two had last seen each other in Lhasa 16 years earlier.

The Agency’s choice for its code designer was, according to Kenneth Conboy and James Morrison inThe CIA’s Secret War in Tibet, a given, since Geshe Wangyal was “the first (and at that time, only) qualified scholar of Tibetan … in the United States” who could develop the code and then train the Tibetan warriors (some of whom were only nominally literate) in its use. In other words, there was no one else in America who could have done it.

Geshe-la’s mandate within the task force also consisted of deciphering and encoding all messages between the Agency and the guerrilla forces for an extended period. Geshe-la, Takster Rinpoche, and the CIA spooks trained the first group of Tibetan guerrillas in the code and tradecraft for its use on the island of Saipan in the western Pacific in 1957. Later, the majority of CIA-trained nationalist forces would receive that training at Camp Hale, a decommissioned WWII– and Korean War–era army base in the Rocky Mountains outside of Leadville, Colorado. These Tibetans, after completing their training by the CIA, would be airdropped back into Tibet to gather intelligence and relay their information to Washington. They were also trained to recruit more resistance members and to conduct opportunistic sabotage.

The material rewards from Geshe Wangyal’s involvement with the US government became evident when he commissioned the construction of a nondescript, ranch-style home on East Third Street in Freewood Acres. Aside from the deer-and-dharma-wheel emblem (hand-carved by Geshe-la) displayed atop the portico of its front door, there was nothing about the typically suburban structure to indicate that it was America’s first center for the academic study of Tibetan Buddhism. The name on the corresponding mailbox at the edge of the street read Lamaist Buddhist Monastery of America(LBMA). From that point on, Geshe Wangyal would proceed according to his own agenda, which took a decisive turn in the year His Holiness the Dalai Lama escaped to India, a feat in which Geshe Wangyal played no small part.

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The combined efforts of Geshe Wangyal and Takster Rinpoche at the birth of the organized Tibetan resistance made it possible for ST Circus, the CIA’s codename for its anti-Chinese effort, to achieve its most notable success: the Dalai Lama’s escape from Tibet. Fortuitous contact by members of the first class of US-trained Tibetan resistance fighters with the Dalai Lama’s escape party in March 1959 allowed the CIA to be informed daily of the Dalai Lama’s whereabouts throughout the grueling ordeal. At the time, 50,000 People’s Liberation Army soldiers and dozens of spotter planes scoured the Tibetan side of the Himalayas trying to thwart his escape—or, as they suggested, to rescue him from kidnappers.

Besides keeping their CIA patrons updated on the escape party’s coordinates, the guerrillas used Geshe-la’s telecode to request from Prime Minister Nehru’s government political asylum in India for the Dalai Lama, his cabinet, and his family. Three years earlier, Nehru had turned away a similar request and essentially forced His Holiness to return to Tibet after a brief religious pilgrimage to India. It was thus a great relief when Nehru’s consent to the asylum request, after traveling through several bureaucratic levels of the US and Indian governments over a 24-hour period, was relayed to the Dalai Lama’s Lord Chamberlain by the CIA-trained guerrillas. That message permitted a then ailing Dalai Lama to cross into Indian refuge ahead of his pursuers.

His Holiness’s decision to leave Tibet at that time, almost nine years into China’s occupation, and the details of how and whether he was eluding the Chinese army became fodder for international journalistic speculation as hundreds of newsmen flocked to India’s remote Himalayan outposts hoping to witness his arrival. Few can remember today that this was the most internationally covered cliffhanger of that era, one that resonated well in the existential drama of the ongoing Cold War.

Once His Holiness the Dalai Lama was safely in India, Geshe Wangyal would soon discover that the follow-up task of bringing His Holiness to the United States might be more daunting than the just-concluded escape. For that project, he would need other allies—and plenty of patience.

In 1960, Geshe-la quit the CIA assignment. (The CIA’s Tibet program continued for more than a decade without him, until it was ended by order of Henry Kissinger when he began his courtship of Mao in the early 1970s.) As this was also his first year of eligibility, Geshe Wangyal petitioned for and received United States citizenship and an American passport. He used the latter to return that summer to India, where he met with the Dalai Lama, then into his second year of exile. Although Geshe-la, to my knowledge, never spoke openly of his private conversations with His Holiness—just as he never mentioned his involvement with the CIA’s Tibet Task Force—the results of their initial meetings became apparent in 1962 when His Holiness sent four Tibetan lamas from India to Geshe Wangyal’s center in Freewood Acres, primarily to learn English. The group included Geshe Lhundup Sopa, later a decades-long professor of Buddhism at the University of Wisconsin; Lama Kunga Thartse Rinpoche, founder of the Ewam Choden Buddhist center in California; and two teenage tulkus, Kamlung and Sharpa Rinpoches. The steady procession of Tibetan lamas to LBMA under this informal program continued for an additional ten years. Eventually the lamas’ mandate to learn English was expanded to include teaching Buddhism to receptive audiences. Many alumni of the program, like Geshe Sopa and Lama Kunga, would go on to establish their own active American dharma centers, which attracted hundreds of devoted followers and disciples. One of the last to arrive under this arrangement, Geshe Lobsang Tharchin, became the longest-serving abbot of the Kalmyk community’s Rashi Gempil Ling temple.

Shortly after the arrival of that first group of “ESL-lamas,” LBMA took in its first resident students when a trio of former Ivy Leaguers—Christopher George, Jeffrey Hopkins, and Robert Thurman—who, as The New York Times wrote, could “trace their American descent to the early days of the Republic,” came to begin study in Buddhism and Tibetan. In return for their studies with Geshe Wangyal and the new lamas, the Americans provided English language lessons for the newcomers and manpower for the addition of an altar room and dormitory, which Geshe-la ordered to accommodate LBMA’s sudden population explosion. The bargain struck between scions of America’s oldest settlers with members of its newest furthered the future expansion of Tibetan Buddhism in the West for decades to come, primarily from the efforts of two of these pioneers, Robert Thurman and Jeffrey Hopkins.

Dr. Thurman’s academic career and record of activism on and education about Tibetan spiritual, cultural, historical, and political issues in the past half-century is well documented, as are Professor Hopkins’s contributions to the academic study of Buddhism since his apprenticeship at LBMA. Teaching at Columbia University and the University of Virginia, respectively, together they form two pillars upon which much of Tibetan Buddhist studies in America rest today. These two trailblazers contributed to the emergence of a second generation of scholars, teachers, and activists who made their own unique contributions to the remarkable growth of interest in and understanding of Tibetan Buddhist doctrine in America.

In 1964, Geshe Wangyal traveled to India, taking Thurman along. He introduced him to the Dalai Lama, who had just moved to the hill town of Dharamsala. There, Thurman served a brief tenure as a Tibetan Buddhist monk—the first American to do so, and the first Westerner to be ordained by the Dalai Lama—before returning to America later in the 1960s and reentering Harvard University to earn his PhD in Buddhist Studies. While at Harvard, Thurman befriended two undergraduates, Joel McCleary and Joshua Cutler, who had been taking introductory Tibetan Buddhism classes with him. Both expressed a keen interest in continuing those studies after their upcoming graduation. Naturally, Thurman referred them to his own lama.

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More than 40 years later, McCleary still remembers the first task Geshe-la assigned him after he and Cutler arrived at the LBMA retreat house in the summer of 1971: Bring the Dalai Lama to America. Geshe-la’s decade of experience with bringing Tibetan lamas from India had been both rewarding and extremely frustrating. True, there were more Tibetan (and even Mongolian) lamas and geshes in the United States than at any other time. Yet seemingly intractable obstacles, mostly of a political nature, had thus far blocked any hope that the Dalai Lama would someday be able to join them. As early as December of 1959, President Eisenhower, on a state visit to India, refused to meet with His Holiness despite clear overtures from the Tibetan side requesting a meeting. That semi-public snub established the official policy of the United States toward the Dalai Lama for the next 20 years: His Holiness was persona non grata despite the absence of any formal announcement of such status.

At the time, much of America’s foreign policy regarding Asian issues was determined by supporters of Chiang Kai-shek and his Kuomintang regime’s claim to be the real government of China, even after its forces were driven out of power and into Taiwanese exile by Mao Zedong’s minions. This influential group was called the China Lobby, and their claims to ownership of Tibet mirrored the ones put forth by their political rivals. That the Dalai Lama’s Government-in-Exile was then promoting Tibet’s de facto independence since 1911 insured that neither Chinese faction would look favorably on any official contact between the United States and His Holiness, and that each, indeed, would do all it could to thwart it.
McCleary’s one-man letter-writing campaign to Congressional leaders, begun in response to Geshe-la’s request, took a substantial turn for the better when he became Deputy Assistant to the President for Political Liaison in the Carter Administration at the end of 1977. (McCleary’s path to the West Wing and eventful career as an international political consultant after leaving LBMA are explained in his essay “Confessions of a Buddhist Political Junkie,” published in Tricycle’s inaugural issue in the fall of 1991.)

Tom Beard, a fellow Deputy Assistant to President Carter at the time and a charter member of his team of outsiders known as the Georgia Mafia, freely admits that his own enthusiastic involvement in upending the State Department’s policy was based solely on McCleary’s compelling arguments in favor of its reversal. Many staunch supporters of the policy, with whom McCleary and Beard tussled, would later become the Dalai Lama’s best friends in America. Once Beard was on board, the two Deputy Assistants, with silent but solid backing from their colleagues in the White House, finally forced the issue of a Dalai Lama visit to vigorous debate at the highest levels of government, something no previous administration had dared to raise. What began as a series of calls to the American Embassy in New Delhi, announced by the intimidating words, The White House is calling, and asking the startled diplomats if they had read President Carter’s policy on human rights, soon became an agenda item before the National Security Council. There the debate would be joined by proponents of the visit, including Hopkins, Thurman, Tenzin N. Tethong (from the Office of Tibet in New York City), Beard, and McCleary, who presented it as a logical extension of President Carter’s commitment to human rights, the hallmark of his foreign policy following the “normalization” of relations with the People’s Republic of China shortly after taking office.

The important point here is not that the Tibetophiles won the debate, but rather that it took place at all. In retrospect, it is hard to imagine a similar scenario taking place in succeeding administrations, whose China policies and sensitivities were identical to those of the ones preceding President Carter’s and whose interest in human rights issues were demonstrably not as keen. If Joel McCleary had not been at the White House at that instant in history, it is doubtful that His Holiness could have come to America when he did—or come at all.

The Dalai Lama made his American debut in September 1979, beginning a seven-week, nationwide teaching tour from the campus of the Lamaist Buddhist Monastery of America in New Jersey. The first private audience His Holiness gave at LBMA on the morning of his first teaching in America was with Joel and April McCleary (and a very surprised yours truly). His Holiness’s maiden visit demolished any chance of reimposing the unspoken ban on US visits by the Dalai Lama. Instead, it marked the start of America’s—and the world’s—love affair with the “simple Buddhist monk.”

The Dalai Lama has returned to LBMA, renamed the Tibetan Buddhist Learning Center (TBLC) in 1984, a total of eight times since his first visit. The most recent came in 2008 when he delivered a six-day teaching, held at nearby Lehigh University, on Tsongkhapa’s The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment in appreciation of TBLC’s completion of the English translation of the three-volume magnum opus. The 12-year, multi-translator project had been overseen by Joshua Cutler, who first came to Geshe Wangyal’s center in 1970 with McCleary and stayed long enough to become Geshe-la’s principal disciple. Cutler and his wife Diana would become successors to their lama as TBLC’s Executive Directors upon Geshe Wangyal’s death in 1983.

On the first day of His Holiness’s marathon event, he recalled what proved to be his final meeting in 1981 with his old friend and colleague, “Wangyal-la.” Geshe-la had convened all of his disciples and closest friends in the library of the LBMA’s schoolhouse in preparation for a communal farewell to His Holiness after he concluded his second teaching visit to LBMA. When His Holiness entered and joined Geshe-la at the front of the room, Geshe Wangyal burst into uncontrollable tears even as His Holiness hugged him closely and playfully tugged at the whiskers of his long white goatee. Finally, His Holiness also succumbed to the poignancy of the moment and began weeping for reasons we all knew could never adequately be expressed with words. It was the most moving spiritual moment I have ever experienced; His Holiness thinks of it too whenever he recalls Geshe Wangyal.

The final piece of the narrative, for me, fell into place in southeastern Russia in the summer of 1991, a dozen years after His Holiness’s American debut. I was extremely privileged then to accompany the Dalai Lama on his first pastoral visit to Kalmykia. As His Holiness the Dalai Lama disembarked into a throng of jubilant Kalmyks waiting on the airport tarmac, someone cried out, “Your Holiness, why are you here?” Without hesitation, the Dalai Lama responded, “I’m here because of my friend Geshe Wangyal.”

David Urubshurow was a member of America’s first Tibetan Buddhist congregation. At age 7 he became Geshe Wangyal’s first, and lifelong, disciple in America. He is currently writing a coming-of-age memoir about these events.

[Extracted from: http://www.tricycle.com/feature/russia-love]

Image 1: Geshe Ngawang Wangyal, aboard La Liberté, arrives in America, February 3, 1955. John Lent/Associated Press

Image 2: The author, David Urubshurow, age 10, in the altar room of the Lamaist Buddhist Monastery of America in Freewood Acres, NJ, 1958. Courtesy of the author.

Image 3: David Urubshurow, age 11, lights a butter lamp in the original altar room of the Lamaist Buddhist Monastery of America while Geshe Ngawang Wangyal reads and translates sutras, 1959. Courtesy of the author. 

Image 4: (L-R): Jeffrey Hopkins, Geshe Ngawang Wangyal, Robert Thurman, and Christopher George in Tibetan translation class at the Lamaist Buddhist Monastery of America, 1963. Bettman/Corbis/Associated Press.

Image 5: Geshe Ngawang Wangyal and a boyhood friend from Kalmykia, Dorji Purview, in the new altar room of the Lamaist Buddhist Monastery of America, 1964. Courtesy of the author.

Image 6: Geshe Ngawang Wangyal with the 14th Dalai Lama during His Holiness’s second visit to the Lamaist Buddhist Monastery of America, August 1981. Courtesy of the author.

 

* Also spelled Telo Rinpoche

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12 Responses to Incredible Geshe Wangyal

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  1. Samfoonheei on Oct 18, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    Interesting article….. history of how Geshe Ngawang Wangyal the first Tibetan Buddhist lama to set foot in America. Geshe Ngawang Wangyal faced many challenges when bringing Buddhism to America.He did even helped in the escaping of the Dalai Lama to America from Tibet.
    Thank you Rinpoche for these touching story of Geshe Wangya struggles to spread Buddhism in America.And it is also a reminder for us not to give up in what ever things we do.
    Quoted ..should never let challenges that seem vast stop us. We should never retire in retreat when it’s too hard. Nothing great comes with no effort.

  2. Brittany Williams on Feb 25, 2015 at 7:06 am

    I have a relic my aunt has given me. It is a heart shaped amber wrapped in fragile metal pendent with butterflies and Buddha in the metal work. The amber has a small strip of saffron robe and a fly. Could you reference me in the right direction for how to learn more of its making and how to use it in my practice properly? The chain or string it was originally on is gone and I currently have it with zebra jasper beads. Do certain beads symbolize or have particular meaning?

  3. Sadi on Feb 21, 2015 at 4:18 am

    I like this blog post because it was imbibed with history and politics and life in the last century. It gave an insight into how tumultous the 20th century was for the world. With wars and political relations heightened with suspense and missions, the aim of dharma was continued and flourished from the small town centre to the America by the efforts of Geshe Wangyal. He offered relief and help to HHDL during those tense times of exile for His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I think the whole world is in debt of Geshe-la because without his initiatives and work to introduce HHDL to the west, the world wouldn’t have known of HHDL.

  4. Wan Wai Meng on Dec 22, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    Geshe Wangyal had done us a great favour of paving the way for Tibetan Buddhism to spread in the US plus the Dalai Lama entry to the US. I think if the Dalai Lama was not permitted to enter the US, I would think a precious gem like His Holiness would not have been revealed to the world.

    The fact that the dharma spread so fast and benefitted so many people is due to the presence of Dalai Lama. Tsem Rinpoche had great devotion and reverence towards Dalai Lama, all Tibetans and Mongolians would want to get a glimpse of the Dalai Lama before their passing.

  5. sweekeong on Dec 15, 2013 at 10:01 am

    The post speaks of effort, courage and the underlying compassionate nature of human who had played such a pivotal role in spreading the Buddhism into the West as we know of today. Also I see only a thin line of thread between an opportunity or missed opportunity if they have given up what they believe in. It is easy for me to take granted of what they have experienced from the acts of war. We can say it is their karma but we can also observed those who have chosen to create their own future with their own hands.

  6. Choongs on Dec 13, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    This article clearly shows the interdependent nature of everything.

  7. Choongs on Dec 12, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    My first comment is that those are really great photos. Look at the NYC skyline in the first photo, only the Empire State and Chrysler skyscrapers were there. Thank you to whom had foresight to take the photos.

  8. So Kin Hoe (Ipoh) on Dec 11, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing on this remarkable history of how the Tibetan Buddhism set foot in America. That was the historical moment where everything was begun from the starting point of spreading the Dharma by Geshe Ngawang Wangyal and then continued on by Geshe Lobsang Tharchin before Geshe Lobsang Tharchin became the root and first guru of Tsem Rinpoche. When Geshe Ngawang Wangyal met with H.H. Dalai Lama and exchanged their spiritual moments in Lamaist Buddhist Monastery of America (LBMA), I can truly feel the blessings and compassionate energies manifesting from the two great masters in our century. May all the people in America will get the blessings from all the spiritual masters.

  9. Keng nam on Dec 11, 2013 at 5:29 am

    Dear Rinpoche this is indeed an interesting article that traces the beginning of Tibetan Buddhism in the US. More pertinent to me is that Rinpoche was brought up in New Jersey so close to LBMA not by chance but by a clear choice from Rinpoche’s erudite past. You are truly an erudite master of modern times and so many people whose lives you graced are very ‘karmically’ fortunate. Thank you and I wish you long life and remain to turn the dharma wheel for more people.

  10. HeePeng@MBF on Dec 9, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Very interesting to read up about the great person who’s behind the master plan to bring H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama out of Tibet and subsequently to U.S. Many people have benefited from H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama and none of these would happen if not because of Geshe Ngawang Wangyal. Thank you for sharing Rinpoche.

  11. Tommie on Dec 9, 2013 at 9:07 am

    This was awesome. Great story of patience. Very touching. Thank you precious Guru for sharing.

  12. Tommie on Dec 9, 2013 at 9:05 am

    This was awesome. Thanks for sharing.

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  • Joy Kam
    Sunday, Feb 26. 2017 12:41 AM
    ***The Advantages of Propitiating Dorje Shugden: Part 1***

    According to His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden is a fully enlightened Buddha who appears in the form of a worldly god so that beings in this era can access his blessings quicker and more powerfully.

    Dorje Shugden is also known as the Protector of our time because, apart from guiding Buddhist practitioners on their path to Enlightenment, he also attends to our daily challenges and obstacles. Dorje Shugden does this not because he is a fulfiller of samsaric wishes but because in his omniscience, Dorje Shugden recognises that the human mind becomes distracted from Dharma practice by mundane problems. Hence alleviating our worries and fulfilling our wishes is just a means by which Dorje Shugden helps practitioners achieve the higher objective, i.e. a flourishing Dharma practice.

    The problems that people of our time encounter are common everywhere we go and they include:

    1) Financial problems
    2) Illnesses and diseases
    3) Natural disasters and epidemics
    4) Stres and depression
    5) Violent crimes and wars
    6) Loss of purpose and direction

    How Dorje Shugden Helps…
    http://www.dorjeshugden.org/blog/the-advantages-of-propitiating-dorje-shugden-part-1
  • Joy Kam
    Sunday, Feb 26. 2017 12:38 AM
    ***The Advantages of Propitiating Dorje Shugden: Part 2***

    The Dharma Protector’s role is to ensure that practitioners have uninhibited access to the teachings, the clarity to understand the principles and meanings, and suitable conditions to apply what they have learned. And so, for the practitioner, the Dharma Protector functions to avert inner and outer obstacles the practitioner may encounter, and where necessary, provide conditions and resources for the practitioner’s Dharma journey to be smooth and unobstructed.

    http://www.dorjeshugden.org/blog/the-advantages-of-propitiating-dorje-shugden-part-2
  • Joy Kam
    Sunday, Feb 26. 2017 12:36 AM
    Take a little bit of Dorje Shugden knowledge with you wherever you go. Download these teachings in the language that suits you best. English, Chinese, Tibetan, or even Italian, Nepali, Korean and Mongolian – we have it all here, for you, for free.

    >>> Dorje Shugden Images & More <<<
    http://www.dorjeshugden.org/category/media/downloads

  • Lin Mun
    Saturday, Feb 25. 2017 08:31 PM
    Mumu is so cute on the treadmill. Rinpoche is very creative in getting Mumu to exercise. When we want the best for our pet, we will think out of the box to help. Thank you Rinpoche for sharing the knowledge and video.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/videos/mumu-on-the-treadmill.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, Feb 25. 2017 07:42 PM
    Scary to know what exactly happened to Angel during her waking from sleep.Watched the video, wondering its sleep paralysis or the unseen beings pressing on her. This weird phenomenon as explained by Rinpoche is that she was karmically connected with the unseen beings.I do believe the unseen beings do exists after all, I am glad Angel is back to her own self , its over now.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/till-i-see-blood.html#comment-736240
  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, Feb 25. 2017 07:40 PM
    Sleep paralysis whether is science or paranormal.From what i read and hear to me its more paranormal as i do believe in unseen beings do exist after all. Sleep paralysis is more likely to be caused by paranormal distinct existence. I have not experience one before but at least i know now what i can do if it happen to me after reading this post.There are many other methods to protect ourselves just in case,like reciting our powerful mantra of Dorje Shugden( OM BENZA WIKI BITANA SOHA ) .
    Thank you Vinnie Tan for sharing this article.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/sleep-paralysis-medical-or-paranormal.html#comment-736360
  • Pastor Shin
    Saturday, Feb 25. 2017 05:06 PM
    Interesting read from Tsemrinpoche.com

    Energy Channels
    This vital life force or chi, is composed of two kinds of forces, yin and yang, and flows along a sophisticated network of energy pathways, or highways, circuiting the body. Over 2000 years ago ancient cultures knew of the existence of these energy channels. They were called ‘sen’ in Thailand, ‘nadis’ in India, ‘meridians’, ‘channels’ or ‘vessels’ in China and Japan, and ‘channels’ in Tibet. In India, where many eastern healing arts developed, there were said to be 72,000 nadis or energy pathways. Disease is believed to be a blockage in the energy flow of these channels. A range of healing traditions, including acupuncture, acupressure, massage and yoga, are founded on the principle of the existence of energy channels or pathways, known as meridians, or nadis, running around the body in an expansive network.

    read more: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/science-finally-proves-meridians-exist.html
  • Pastor Shin
    Saturday, Feb 25. 2017 03:33 PM
    (REPLY FOR BEN)
    For Pastor Shin – Are pujas more effective than prayers?

    Pujas are more comprehensive as they involve rituals and prayers. In other words, prayers are part of a puja. Each puja is done based on scriptural texts and methods passed down by the lineage masters, which invokes the blessings of Buddhas/ meditational deities. Apart from recitation of mantras and meditation, ritual cakes (tormas) and other offerings are also done for pujas.

    You can read more about pujas here:

    – Powerful Pujas
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/the-power-of-prayers.html

    – What are pujas about… do take a good read…
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/what-are-pujas-about-do-take-a-good-read.html

    You may also want to read about “Dorje Shugden’s Puja and Its Benefits”, which explains the components of a puja, as well as the benefits.
    http://www.dorjeshugden.org/blog/dorje-shugdens-puja-and-its-benefits

    I hope the above info will help in answering your question.
  • Pastor Shin
    Saturday, Feb 25. 2017 02:24 PM
    Fully enlightened beings can manifest in whatever form they so choose in order to benefit sentient beings. Buddhas can manifest in the form of a Lama, a spiritual friend and even in the form of sound, which are called mantras. In essence mantras are the holy energies of the Buddhas in the form of sound. Reciting mantras of the Buddhas, meditational deities (Yidams) and Dharma Protectors therefore invokes their blessings to bring about a beneficial impact in our lives.

    http://www.dorjeshugden.org/practice/dorje-shugdens-mantra
  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, Feb 25. 2017 01:37 PM
    Very touching……. i do enjoyed watching those videos.
    So courage of John Byrne the homeless man to jump into the ice cold water to safe his pet rabbit.What he did was indeed incredible .His love and compassion for his pet rabbit and dog is an example,inspiration to us .
    Even though he is homeless yet he care and love his pet rabbit and dog so much giving food by begging.
    The man Gary Kearney who threw the pet rabbit was sentenced to four months detention.It show that the law do not tolerate cruelty to animals. A lesson to learn from here is to love.care and compassion to all sentient beings whatever happen to them.Never abused them.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing and i have shared with my friends too.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/the-rabbit-in-the-river.html
  • Joy Kam
    Saturday, Feb 25. 2017 02:12 AM
    **The Three Bodies of a Buddha**

    The primary manifestation of a fully enlightened being is called the Dharmakaya. “Dharma” means phenomenon, while “kaya” means body. Therefore, Dharmakaya refers to the primordial or true nature of phenomena which is beyond conceptual and dualistic thought. This manifestation is essentially the mind of a fully enlightened being, beyond appearance and sensory perception. This mind knows no limits or boundaries… more: http://www.dorjeshugden.org/blog/the-three-bodies-of-a-buddha
  • Joy Kam
    Saturday, Feb 25. 2017 02:10 AM
    ***Yangdup Wealth Puja 2017*** blog post is out.

    Find out why is the Yangdup Puja performed? How does wealth play a role in Buddhism? Isn’t Buddhism about letting go of one’s worldly attachments? Check out the fabulous pictures and videos here >>> http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/yangdup-wealth-puja-2017.html
  • Ben
    Saturday, Feb 25. 2017 01:56 AM
    For Pastor Shin – Are pujas more effective than prayers?
    [no sender]
  • Pastor Shin
    Saturday, Feb 25. 2017 01:29 AM
    By understanding Dorje Shugden’s enlightened nature, we realise that relying on him cannot lead us anywhere except for Enlightenment. Reciting any praise of Dorje Shugden on a daily basis reminds us of his attainments, and the type of being we are propitiating. It also serves as a reminder of the qualities we can attain as a result of relying on him, that his practice will help us to attain common and uncommon siddhis.

    http://www.dorjeshugden.org/practice/praise-of-dorje-shugdens-origins
  • Pastor Shin
    Saturday, Feb 25. 2017 01:28 AM
    Incense has been used as a traditional substance for offering since the birth of Buddhism. The first recorded instance of incense being used occurs in the story of Magadha Sangmo, whose impact can be seen across the ancient Buddhist world. The daughter of Suddatta, a layman and the Buddha’s primary patron, she herself was an ardent student of Buddha Shakyamuni. After marrying, she longed to see her Guru, the Buddha and offer dana. Climbing to the roof of her in-law’s house, she offered incense and a verse of invocation. The omniscient Buddha heard her prayers and arrived with his entire entourage, descending from the sky on a lion to fulfil her request.

    http://www.dorjeshugden.org/practice/incense-offering-prayers-to-dorje-shugden

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Writer: Pastor Loh Seng Piow
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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.
February 9,2017-My Mumu boy and Oser girl are just relaxing together..super cute
2 weeks 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 weeks 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
4 weeks ago
This is a good one to read
Mumu is silly and cute and funny
4 weeks ago
Mumu is silly and cute and funny
Mumu\'s hair is messy and he looks funny
4 weeks 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
1 month 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
2 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
2 months ago
Message to Tibetans in English
Message to the Tibetans
2 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
2 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
2 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
2 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
2 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
2 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
3 months ago
This huge Buddha in Korea is magnificent
The very first oracle of Dorje Shugden in trance statue. I have commissioned this.
3 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.
3 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.
3 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
3 months ago
Kyabje Zemey, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and Kyabje Pabongka Choktrul Rinpoche
My Oser girl and Mumu boy are so adorable
3 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
3 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?
4 months ago
Tenzing Norgay found this in Nepal. Guess what it is?
Sir Edmund Hillary
4 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
4 months ago
Halloween is my favorite holiday. Wild natural plants and flowers are my favorite offering. Buddha's teachings on meditation and Yidam practice bring the ultimate results and happiness. ~Tsem Rinpoche
Previous lives do resemble current lives especially if they are a recognized incarnation. If notice how similar the previous and current Trijang Rinpoche looks. The eyes, bone structure, expression, long neck, thin and overall look. Beautiful. I\'ve seen this phenomena over and over in many Rinpoche incarnations. Especially when you compare them with pictures of previous and current lives at around the same ages. Something powerfully karmic about this. Tsem Rinpoche
5 months ago
Previous lives do resemble current lives especially if they are a recognized incarnation. If notice how similar the previous and current Trijang Rinpoche looks. The eyes, bone structure, expression, long neck, thin and overall look. Beautiful. I've seen this phenomena over and over in many Rinpoche incarnations. Especially when you compare them with pictures of previous and current lives at around the same ages. Something powerfully karmic about this. Tsem Rinpoche
It\'s nice to have monks visitors and resident monks in Kechara
5 months ago
It's nice to have monks visitors and resident monks in Kechara
                         Taken in Lake Champlain in Canada. A huge water monster...neat...
5 months ago
Taken in Lake Champlain in Canada. A huge water monster...neat...
Beautiful! His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang has always been good friends with His Holiness Karmapa. No wonder H.H. Karmapa never spoke against Dorje Shugden. Two reasons perhaps: One is he knows the qualities of Trijang Rinpoche who is a attained being. And Karmapa himself has clairvoyance to perceive the true nature of Dorje Shugden directly. I love to see great beings like this manifesting closeness. When I see, I just want to prostrate to them and thank them for sharing such good examples to someone like me. Praise to the ego-less mind! Tsem Rinpoche
5 months ago
Beautiful! His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang has always been good friends with His Holiness Karmapa. No wonder H.H. Karmapa never spoke against Dorje Shugden. Two reasons perhaps: One is he knows the qualities of Trijang Rinpoche who is a attained being. And Karmapa himself has clairvoyance to perceive the true nature of Dorje Shugden directly. I love to see great beings like this manifesting closeness. When I see, I just want to prostrate to them and thank them for sharing such good examples to someone like me. Praise to the ego-less mind! Tsem Rinpoche
Serkong Dorje Chang on the left and his son Serkong Tsenshab Rinpoche on the right.
5 months ago
Serkong Dorje Chang on the left and his son Serkong Tsenshab Rinpoche on the right.
High lamas in France September 2016
5 months ago
High lamas in France September 2016
༧གོང་ས་ཆེན་པོ་སྐུ་འཕྲེང་བཅུ་བཞི་པ་མཆོག་དང་རྡོ་རྗེ་ཤུགས་ལྡན། - Interesting relationship between 14th Dalai Lama and Dorje Shugden:   http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=109757
5 months ago
༧གོང་ས་ཆེན་པོ་སྐུ་འཕྲེང་བཅུ་བཞི་པ་མཆོག་དང་རྡོ་རྗེ་ཤུགས་ལྡན། - Interesting relationship between 14th Dalai Lama and Dorje Shugden: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=109757
Dalai Lama Says We Can Practise Dorje Shugden Finally! Read more on this development--- http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=109777
5 months ago
Dalai Lama Says We Can Practise Dorje Shugden Finally! Read more on this development--- http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=109777
More time spent in dharma work is more karma collected to be happy and more time spent in non-dharma works is more karma collected to be unhappy.~Tsem Rinpoche
5 months ago
More time spent in dharma work is more karma collected to be happy and more time spent in non-dharma works is more karma collected to be unhappy.~Tsem Rinpoche
All Dorje Shugden prophesizes will come to pass,
 Those who generate refuge and merits will trust, 
 By trusting one will see the good results of his pronouncements,
 By seeing the good results, one\'s path becomes more clear, 
 The path of practice, purification and siddhic results, 
 This would eliminate the samsara within our minds.
 ~Tsem Rinpoche
5 months ago
All Dorje Shugden prophesizes will come to pass, Those who generate refuge and merits will trust, By trusting one will see the good results of his pronouncements, By seeing the good results, one's path becomes more clear, The path of practice, purification and siddhic results, This would eliminate the samsara within our minds. ~Tsem Rinpoche
Large Dorje Shugden statue built by the 5th Dalai Lama and housed in Trode Khangsar. Sock Wand and Mdm Chuah took this picture in Lhasa, Tibet 2016
5 months ago
Large Dorje Shugden statue built by the 5th Dalai Lama and housed in Trode Khangsar. Sock Wand and Mdm Chuah took this picture in Lhasa, Tibet 2016
Our own Kecharian Mdm. Chua with the oracle of Dorje Shugden Gen Tenzin Tsultrim in Lhasa, Tibet 2016
5 months ago
Our own Kecharian Mdm. Chua with the oracle of Dorje Shugden Gen Tenzin Tsultrim in Lhasa, Tibet 2016
Our very own Kecharian Mdm Chua standing in front of holy Trode Khangsar-the Chapel to Dorje Shugden built 400 years ago by the Great 5th Dalai Lama-Tibet 2016
5 months ago
Our very own Kecharian Mdm Chua standing in front of holy Trode Khangsar-the Chapel to Dorje Shugden built 400 years ago by the Great 5th Dalai Lama-Tibet 2016
Our very own Kecharian Mdm Chua standing in front of holy Gaden Monastery, Tibet 2016
5 months ago
Our very own Kecharian Mdm Chua standing in front of holy Gaden Monastery, Tibet 2016
                         This is the oracle of Dorje Shugden in Lhasa, Tibet. His name is Gen Tenzin Tsultrim of Sera Monastery in Tibet.
5 months ago
This is the oracle of Dorje Shugden in Lhasa, Tibet. His name is Gen Tenzin Tsultrim of Sera Monastery in Tibet.
Ms. Sock Wan, Oracle of Dorje Shugden in Tibet Gen Tenzin Tsultrim, Mdm Chuah and Mr. Tashi in Tibet 2016
5 months ago
Ms. Sock Wan, Oracle of Dorje Shugden in Tibet Gen Tenzin Tsultrim, Mdm Chuah and Mr. Tashi in Tibet 2016
Mahasiddha Kyabje Gangchen Rinpoche, H.H. Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and Ven. Rabten Choktrul Rinpoche 2016
5 months ago
Mahasiddha Kyabje Gangchen Rinpoche, H.H. Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and Ven. Rabten Choktrul Rinpoche 2016
His Eminence Mahasiddha Gangchen Rinpoche and the official oracle of Dorje Shugden Panglung Kuten Choji lah in Italy together September 2016
5 months ago
His Eminence Mahasiddha Gangchen Rinpoche and the official oracle of Dorje Shugden Panglung Kuten Choji lah in Italy together September 2016
My thoughts on Malaysia. Thank you. Tsem Rinpoche
5 months ago
My thoughts on Malaysia. Thank you. Tsem Rinpoche
Beautiful thangka of Vajra Yogini. Look at the details where she appears in visions and also takes people to Kechara.
5 months ago
Beautiful thangka of Vajra Yogini. Look at the details where she appears in visions and also takes people to Kechara.
Left to right:

His Holiness the Gaden Throne holder Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal, His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche (very young) and His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche in Gaden Shartse Prayer Hall during prayers.
5 months ago
Left to right: His Holiness the Gaden Throne holder Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal, His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche (very young) and His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche in Gaden Shartse Prayer Hall during prayers.
 It\'s nice when families support the spiritual journeys of their children. This is one beautiful family of Pastor Niral of Kechara
5 months ago
It's nice when families support the spiritual journeys of their children. This is one beautiful family of Pastor Niral of Kechara
Jog Falls a power place of Vajra Yogini and Heruka: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=108652
6 months ago
Jog Falls a power place of Vajra Yogini and Heruka: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=108652
Don\'t wait for the perfect group. Don\'t wait for the perfect person. Don\'t wait for the perfect situation. Don\'t expect yourself to be perfect. Don\'t even look for perfection at least in our realm as it does not exist or time will run out. Just get going and keep doing good. It\'s between you and yourself. Tsem Rinpoche
6 months ago
Don't wait for the perfect group. Don't wait for the perfect person. Don't wait for the perfect situation. Don't expect yourself to be perfect. Don't even look for perfection at least in our realm as it does not exist or time will run out. Just get going and keep doing good. It's between you and yourself. Tsem Rinpoche
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Videos On The Go

Please click on the images to watch video
  • [11/02/2017] Mumu darling is a very good boy.
    2 weeks ago
    [11/02/2017] Mumu darling is a very good boy.
  • [11/02/2017] Mumu wants to go bye bye!
    2 weeks ago
    [11/02/2017] Mumu wants to go bye bye!
  • [11/02/2017] I love you mumu boy
    2 weeks ago
    [11/02/2017] I love you mumu boy
  • [11/02/2017] Mumu and Oser eating together.
    2 weeks ago
    [11/02/2017] Mumu and Oser eating together.
  • Great spiritual rock carving in Tibet
    1 month ago
    Great spiritual rock carving in Tibet
  • You will Never be Ready
    2 months ago
    You will Never be Ready
    Dear friends, watch this video and ready, if we keep waiting till we are ready, that day will never come. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Stop asking for Easy
    2 months ago
    Stop asking for Easy
    This video is powerful because it's the truth. It applies to anything. It applies to our dharma practice. Watch the video and share it. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Must Watch this Video!
    3 months ago
    Must Watch this Video!
  • Sacred Tibetan Incense - Nyimo County, Lhasa, Tibet
    4 months ago
    Sacred Tibetan Incense - Nyimo County, Lhasa, Tibet
  • Kyabje Denma Gonsa Rinpoche on Samaya
    4 months ago
    Kyabje Denma Gonsa Rinpoche on Samaya
    ཁྱེད་ཀྱི་བཀའ་སློབ་དོན་སྙིང་དེ།།གང་གི་རྣ་བར་བདུད་རྩི་མོད།།འོན་ཀྱང་འགའ་ཡི་རྣ་ལམ་དུ།། བྲག་ཆ་བཞིན་དུ་འགྱུར་སྲིད་མོད།། ཚང་མས་ཚར་རེ་གཟིགས་རོགས།། Kyabje Denma Gonsa Rinpoche telling people that it is important to have guru samaya. It use to be that way in the great monasteries. We should not create problems and schisms. If we want to practice a protector, then do so, if not it's okay, but don't make trouble. One should just practice the Buddha Dharma well. To do good practice. If you have faith in Dorje Shugden and trust all the way, he will definitely help you. But most important is to practice the dharma. This is his advice in short here. It's good to let more Tibetans hear this holy speech and appeal by this very senior Rinpoche. TR
  • His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Propitiating Protectors & Oracles
    4 months ago
    His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Propitiating Protectors & Oracles
    This was on FB and I came across it. His Holiness said in Tibetan institutions there is a lot of propitiating protector/oracles and this is not what Buddhism is about. So they are putting Nechung/Tema oracles within the video to say what is he talking about when he does it himself. This is confusing is the message to his people. TR
  • -
    5 months ago
    Look how this crab eats a cherry.. Incredible and cute... Never seen this before. They have feelings too. Tsem Rinpoche
  • This is Sarah. Do you have 30 seconds for her? Her life in just 30 seconds!
    5 months ago
    This is Sarah. Do you have 30 seconds for her? Her life in just 30 seconds!
  • See what is your fortune today!
    5 months ago
    See what is your fortune today!
  • Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche recites offering stanza to Dorje Shugden Septemeber 2016
    5 months ago
    Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche recites offering stanza to Dorje Shugden Septemeber 2016

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CHAT PICTURES

Today in Kechara Forest Retreat! Thank you Wah Ying!
8 hours ago
Today in Kechara Forest Retreat! Thank you Wah Ying!
Teacher Yeo guided the KSDS youngest kid to blow mantra on the birds. Alice Tay, KSDS
8 hours ago
Teacher Yeo guided the KSDS youngest kid to blow mantra on the birds. Alice Tay, KSDS
KFR Team and guests completed a Lama Tsongkhapa Retreat (picture by Pamela Yap)
8 hours ago
KFR Team and guests completed a Lama Tsongkhapa Retreat (picture by Pamela Yap)
Pastor Han Nee led the prayers so that KSDS students can follow the prayers slowly. Alice Tay, KSDS
8 hours ago
Pastor Han Nee led the prayers so that KSDS students can follow the prayers slowly. Alice Tay, KSDS
KSDS young kids joined to animal liberation in Kechara House. Alice Tay, KSDS
8 hours ago
KSDS young kids joined to animal liberation in Kechara House. Alice Tay, KSDS
Nice dharma sharing by Teacher Lin Mun & Teacher Jayce for KSDS age group from 9-17. Alice Tay, KSDS
8 hours ago
Nice dharma sharing by Teacher Lin Mun & Teacher Jayce for KSDS age group from 9-17. Alice Tay, KSDS
Nice dharma sharing by Teacher Lin Mun and Jayce for KSDS age group from 9-17. Alice Tay, KSDS
8 hours ago
Nice dharma sharing by Teacher Lin Mun and Jayce for KSDS age group from 9-17. Alice Tay, KSDS
Teacher Jayce led the students do 3 prostrations in front of Rinpoche's throne. Alice Tay, KSDS
9 hours ago
Teacher Jayce led the students do 3 prostrations in front of Rinpoche's throne. Alice Tay, KSDS
Teacher Jayce led the students do 3 prostrations in front of Rinpoche's throne. Alice Tay, KSDS
9 hours ago
Teacher Jayce led the students do 3 prostrations in front of Rinpoche's throne. Alice Tay, KSDS
Children helping in the technical room during the 2016 Graduation Day. Lin Mun KSDS.
yesterday
Children helping in the technical room during the 2016 Graduation Day. Lin Mun KSDS.
Volunteers & teachers doing make up for children in preparation for the Graduation Day performance. Lin Mun KSDS
yesterday
Volunteers & teachers doing make up for children in preparation for the Graduation Day performance. Lin Mun KSDS
Team decorating the stage in conjunction with the 2016 Lantern Festival. Lin Mun KSDS
yesterday
Team decorating the stage in conjunction with the 2016 Lantern Festival. Lin Mun KSDS
Great performance by the Peekaboo Creative academy during 2016 Lantern festival. Lin Mun KSDS
yesterday
Great performance by the Peekaboo Creative academy during 2016 Lantern festival. Lin Mun KSDS
KSK and KSDS work together to send food from donation during Halloween  to various homes. Lin Mun KSDS
yesterday
KSK and KSDS work together to send food from donation during Halloween to various homes. Lin Mun KSDS
Gotong royong on Malaysia Day in Jalan Chamang. It's our responsibility to care for the cleanliness & environment. Lin Mun KSDS
yesterday
Gotong royong on Malaysia Day in Jalan Chamang. It's our responsibility to care for the cleanliness & environment. Lin Mun KSDS
Morning exercise, Boxie enjoys swimming in the pool - by Jace Chong
2 days ago
Morning exercise, Boxie enjoys swimming in the pool - by Jace Chong
2 days ago
Dorje Shugden visits Bentong!
3 days ago
Dorje Shugden visits Bentong!
Happy Faces in Bentong!
3 days ago
Happy Faces in Bentong!
Dorje Shugden in Bentong! A Big Thank You to All the Volunteers!
3 days ago
Dorje Shugden in Bentong! A Big Thank You to All the Volunteers!
Wealth God Procession in Bentong with World Peace Protector Dorje Shugden!
3 days ago
Wealth God Procession in Bentong with World Peace Protector Dorje Shugden!
Have fun and be happy is what everyone wants, no one is exception. Stella, KSDS
4 days ago
Have fun and be happy is what everyone wants, no one is exception. Stella, KSDS
Orang Asli community was among the many who came to join us at the Halloween Charity Event, 2016. Stella, KSDS
4 days ago
Orang Asli community was among the many who came to join us at the Halloween Charity Event, 2016. Stella, KSDS
Looks who're in the house! Celebrity hosts! Throwback Halloween Charity Event 2016. Stella, KSDS
4 days ago
Looks who're in the house! Celebrity hosts! Throwback Halloween Charity Event 2016. Stella, KSDS
The Halloween Charity Event 2016 brought together kind volunteers from Bentong town who are always looking for ways to help out! Stella, KSDS
4 days ago
The Halloween Charity Event 2016 brought together kind volunteers from Bentong town who are always looking for ways to help out! Stella, KSDS
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Dorje Shugden
Click to watch my talk about Dorje Shugden....