Excellent Guidelines For Students

Dec 3, 2014 | Views: 3,871
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A few weeks ago, I came across a set of guidelines that Venerable Acharya Kyabje Zasep Tulku Rinpoche had written for his students back in 1999. From his guidelines you can see he is straightforward, honest, genuine and real. He is really out to find genuine receptacles of dharma. Being real is refreshing. He has set realistic goals for his students and for you to him. I liked that and was very impressed with this. You must study through what his guidelines are which is applicable universally meeting any teacher I feel. It certainly applies to Kechara and potential Kecharians very much.

Kyabje Zasep Rinpoche answers questions that I feel are very good to contemplate on, especially for serious students who are currently pursuing a spiritual path or plan to. Kyabje Zasep Rinpoche is a very qualified teacher in the traditional and contemporary style of Buddhism. Those who are his friends and students are VERY VERY VERY LUCKY. I REJOICE. He has trained under supremely high level masters of Tibet and Zasep Rinpoche has taken his practice as his life. He has supreme guru devotion, very loyal to the practice as passed to him by his masters, and very dedicated in his determination to be of benefit to others. Kyabje Zasep Rinpoche eats, breathes, lives, sleeps, abides within pure dharma principles. He is not impressed with wealth, fame, name or looking politically correct. He holds his lineage purely as well as respect deeply of other traditions. He just follows his conscience which derives from the instructions of his precious teachers. He wants to honor the teachings he has received from his teachers which are potent for attainments, practice and share with those karmically connected to him. What else do we expect of a master or practitioner? If you are in his area, I highly recommend you attend his teachings, practices and sessions. If you want a real and genuine teacher, then you found one in Kyabje Zasep Rinpoche for sure. Remember, in this day and age, to be loyal and genuine to the practices your teacher has given you even under much scrutiny, pressure or political correctness is amazing and speaks volumes of a person. Not many will be firm under such pressures which shows you who Kyabje Zasep Rinpoche is. This itself tells you if you are his student or friend, you are in good company. Everyone loves to be with loyal individuals on any level. It’s nice to know how stable, genuine, loyal and appreciative Kyabje Zasep Rinpoche is to his lineage, lamas, practice and students.

Whether our teacher is famous or high profile or not should not matter in our trust, belief and loyalty towards our teacher. Whatever our teacher disseminates to us should have a lineage and has brought benefit to others in the past for hundreds of years, so why doubt. Teachings must have a lineage and if our teacher has explained the lineage to us and we have accepted, then go all the way with it without further doubts. In this case, more people or less following a teacher does not make a teacher more genuine or less genuine. Many great masters are obscure and choose that on purpose. What makes the teachings alive and potent is our trust, devotion and loyalty in our teacher coupled with transforming our minds. When we lose faith or criticize our teacher, we criticize his lineage, his teacher, his students and his sincerity because everyone is intertwined. When we criticize and leave our teacher, no matter how many new teachers we meet and take teachings from, there will be no results according to Vajradhara. This advice is very important.  We must face that truth and overcome our anger, egos and wrong views. If we genuinely have a problem with our teacher that cannot be overcome, speak to the teacher, share and explain and if it doesn’t work, ask permission to go to another teacher. Even when we have gone to another teacher, we should never criticize or attempt to damage the teacher we had left. Why? Because that teacher did impart dharma to us. We should speak respectfully of our past teachers and remember the kindness. He did spend time, love and shower us with gifts and perhaps our karmas are different. We cannot scorn all that don’t match our projections. Don’t forget this ever. Being grateful is a necessary component of higher attainments, hence we recall our teachers and lineage lamas in all higher practices (sadhanas) of any tantric deities daily. We recite the liturgies of invoking on our teacher’s and lineage teachers blessings daily in our meditations and sadhanas. The reason is to develop a sense of being grateful and taking nothing for granted.

None of your teachers are your enemies, but your teacher taught you the dharma and your karma couldn’t handle it. Your karma, ego and anger are your real enemies never your teacher. We shouldn’t just disappear at the first sign of trouble or doubt. In life, we have to work through problems with our parents, spouses, partners, siblings, co-workers, children, so why not our teachers. Our teachers could not be the ‘only’ person that we have problems with. Why do we abandon our teacher and work through problems with everyone else? Perhaps because we don’t value the important contributions are teacher bestowed upon us? Or we wish to blame our teacher for pointing out something truthful in ourselves we prefer not to face but blame the teacher for exposing? Be fair with everyone in your life and work through differences and don’t be selective. How you ‘throw’ people out will reflect how you really think of others and this will return to ‘haunt’ you in other aspects of your life later. Bad attitude will surface again and again if not addressed, healed and remedied. Whoever shelters us from ourselves now, will not always be around and we will have to face ourselves one day alone. There is no avoidance. After all, we can run away from people, but we can’t run away from the cause of problems we may have contributed to which is within ourselves. This is in an extreme case, but generally we should work through our doubts  and issues with our teacher and be loyal. This is good for our mind, good for out training and good for our eventual results. Consistency is a urgently vital ingredient in spiritual success.

If the new teacher we go to has criticism for our previous teacher, practice or lineage, then there is something wrong or politically motivated. No teacher need criticize another teacher no matter who they are. In this day and age, no teacher no matter how famous or just he may be should ever criticize another person’s practice, teacher, lineage or faith. Democratic governments throughout the civilized world even allow the practices of once despised forms of spirituality such as witchcraft, voodoo, et al. Therefore no teacher or spiritual leader has the right to denigrade another’s path ever. Because once you start, where do you draw the line? No forms of ostracism, prejudice, bias or segregation should arise from differing religious practices either. Because this will be the seed to dissent, disharmony and hatred. 

Our teacher teaches us something useful and we are devoted and diligent then suddenly another teacher of fame and name preaches otherwise and we have doubts in our teacher is not good. It shows who we really are and not our teacher because we are swayed easily. No matter how famous another teacher may be, your teacher still imparted the holy dharma to you and you should be grateful always. Higher thrones does not mean better than a humble teacher on a low cushion. Spirituality and the level of knowledge of a teacher is not reflected by rank, thrones, fame or how many students he has. I know of a few very qualified teachers who did not have many students at all and some students even left them and scorned them to my shock! If we had issues with our teacher, we should be humble, swallow the ego, apologize and then remain or move on is up to us, but don’t damage or attempt to damage a teacher as the karmic consequences are heavy, not to mention you hurt the other students as well and that does not make you a better person at all.

Kyabje Zasep Rinpoche, as a lama who has successfully brought Buddhism to the West, these guidelines were written by Zasep Rinpoche to help bridge the differences in culture between the East and West. It was also to help his students better understand the traditional practice, proper protocol and customs that comes with a Guru-disciple relationship within the world of Tibetan Buddhism.

Similarly, throughout my years teaching in Malaysia, most of my Malaysian students are equally unexposed to the traditional Guru-disciple relationship as taught and practiced in the holy monasteries of India and Tibet. It is not that these students are bad, it’s simply due to the difference in culture and upbringing. 

I encourage all of my students, both online and those in Kechara, to read these guidelines and to share it with your friends too. Print it out and read it from time to time… It will help you very much. 

Regardless of whether you’re a new or an old student, this guideline is very good to read, understand and contemplate. It will definitely help you answer many of your questions…

Tsem Rinpoche 

 

Remember, never complain about dharma work that you will do, have done or doing. In complaining or spewing negative words you affect everyone around you negatively and also nearly negate all that you have done.

 


 

 

Guidelines for the Dharma Students of the Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche

 Canada, 2013

In these times of rampant consumerism and rapid technological and cultural change, more and more people are searching for a spiritual path that will help them live more meaningful lives and find deep inner peace.  Many seekers are turning to Buddhist meditation as a way to address and overcome the problems of everyday life. The idea of living life in a more meaningful way, in a more mindful way, has profound appeal. Some people, moving beyond the idea of simply living more mindfully, espouse the Mahayana Buddhist path, which gives detailed instructions on how to transform their ordinary troubled minds into the serene mind of Enlightenment.

I have been teaching the Buddhadharma in the west for the past 37 years. In 1976, the Venerable Geshe Thubten Loden and I were the very first Tibetan Lamas to become resident teachers in Australia. Today, Buddhism is the fastest growing spiritual tradition in Australia. In 1981, I arrived in North America to teach. Since those early years, I have seen the Buddhadharma take root and flourish in the West; I am hopeful that it will continue to grow.

In my 37 years in the West, I have learned so much about so much about the Western way of life. I think that, generally speaking, people in the West are kind, sensitive, caring, honest, generous and helpful. Western education provides ample opportunities to study philosophy and human psychology; outside of formal education, bookstores have shelf upon shelf of self-help books; for those who cannot help themselves, the Yellow Pages list column after column of counselling professionals. Yet in spite of the availability of so much material about thought, thinking and feeling, and emotional well-being, many Westerners seem confused, lacking in self-confidence, and full of self-blaming and even self-loathing. In the midst of crowds, they feel loneliness; in the midst of plenty, they feel hunger. This is not to say that people in the East don’t have similar problems: they do, especially since the old social order is breaking down in many places in the East. But in these guidelines I am talking particularly to my Western students.

I have found that many people in the West spend a great deal of time either thinking about the past or dreaming about the future, with the result that they are never in the present. When they look back, they often are full of regret for what was or what was not, and when they look forward, they are full of expectations that seldom come to fruition, leading to more regret when the future they had been dreaming about has become the past. Buddhist meditation teaches how to be in the present, how to be present. Some people think that a meditation practice is an escape from everyday life, but in truth, a meditation practice teaches us to be present in the world with a peaceful and compassionate mind. Some people also think that only ordained Sangha or yogis can be good practitioners, but the Buddha taught the Dharma for the benefit of all people, be they ordained or lay. With the right motivation, everyone can be a good Dharma practitioner.

 

Why do we need a Dharma teacher?

Many people in the West ask why a spiritual teacher or guide is necessary. Sometimes when Westerners turn to spirituality as a way to deal with their malaise, they think they can get all the guidance they need from the self-help section of a bookstore or from the Internet. This approach is likely to result in more rather than less confusion. Others may be determined to find a spiritual teacher who can show them a true spiritual path, who can give them spiritual support when they are struggling, and comfort when they are suffering, when they are experiencing Dukkha. This spiritual teacher may exemplify for the seeker what it means to be a spiritually realized person. The knowledge and wisdom that this person has, his Dharma realizations, become the seeker’s Refuge and protection from Dukkha.

In the East, the idea of a spiritual teacher-student relationship is an ancient one, having been there for millennia. After he renounced the life of a prince, Prince Siddhartha went looking for a possible teacher. He placed himself under the spiritual guidance of two renowned Brahmin teachers, Master Alara Kalama and Addaka Ramaputta; then, deciding to become an ascetic, he practised severe austerities for years before realizing that self-mortification was not the way to achieve his goal. Great Buddhist scholars like Nagarjuna and Asanga had teachers, as did Mahasiddhis such as Tilopa. Atisha was so eager to meet his teacher Dharmakirti that he embarked upon a dangerous 13-month sea voyage to Sumatra in Indonesia to meet him. Marpa travelled to India to study under Naropa. And the founder of our tradition, Lama Je Tsong Khapa, studied under many great masters in Tibet. In the Tibetan Buddhist view, the spiritual teacher is the root of all spiritual realizations and attainments. According to Mahayana and Vajrayana teaching, we should consider our teacher as a Buddha for our own spiritual benefit. According to the Theravadin tradition, a Dharma teacher is a very special spiritual friend known as Kalyana-mitta (mitra). Spiritual friendship is Kalyana-mitttata.

A Dharma teacher is a spiritual guide who can show us how to meditate correctly so that we can make progress on our spiritual path and gain Dharma realizations. I suggest you study Lama Je Tsong Khapa’s Lamrim Chenmo, in which he clearly defines the qualities of good Dharma teachers and students. Some people have the fortunate Karma to recognize a good Dharma teacher immediately upon meeting one, but others are full of indecision and doubt, and cannot make up their minds to commit to a particular teacher. They may spend their whole life shopping for the perfect teacher and yet never find him or her.

When we are shopping around for a teacher, we will find teachers with widely different personalities. Teachers come in many shapes and sizes because each of us is different, with different attitudes and aptitudes. With Dharma teachers, there is no one size fits all. Most Buddhist teachers are calm, gentle and very kind towards to their students; they are usually highly disciplined because this is how they were trained. Some teachers may have very strong personalities, and can seem very stern, dogmatic or possibly even wrathful. A handful of teachers are real yogis or yoginis who are eccentric, spontaneous, and unpretentious.

In truth, I think it is hard to choose a Dharma teacher wisely. Some people use logic and reason to select a teacher, others intuition and faith but really, a lot of it comes down to personality. Some people are attracted to a teacher because he or she is celebrated for being charismatic and inspiring or for writing many books. Others are attracted to a teacher’s appearance, to the warmth of his or her smile, and to his or her teachings on topics like love and compassion. Still others are attracted to teachers who can do magic tricks, such as making an iron rod glow just by rubbing it with their hands, or by causing a rain of rings to fall from their fingers. Yet still others choose a teacher who gives people big hugs as his or her way of teaching.  Some extremely naïve people will blindly follow a teacher who claims to be perfect and infallible, shutting their eyes to his or her imperfections. You can choose whomever you want be your teacher, but the most important thing is that you find a teacher who is compassionate and wise, has impeccable integrity, and is well-respected as a teacher. He or she should not be prejudiced, biased or hypocritical, and his or her conduct should not contradict the very teachings he or she is giving.

Some teachers may disparage or even denounce other teachers because they don’t agree with their positions on various doctrinal issues or because they do not approve of their life style. It is useful to remember what Buddha said in the well-known Kalama Sutra, which advises seekers how to choose the right teacher. The Kalamas were a clan who were confused by many teachers who passed through their territory, criticizing and contradicting each other. Buddha told the Kalamas not to believe something simply because it is often repeated, because it is a scripture, or because it is stated by an authority. He told them to test everything that said with their own experience: only if it proves conducive to goodness and happiness should it be accepted as true.

One of the most important things in a teacher-student relationship is for the student to be able to communicate directly with the teacher so that  he or she can ask questions and have an honest discussion if one is needed; it is always good to have a teacher who encourages questioning; you don’t have to accept anything on blind faith. There is old Tibetan saying, “A guru is like fire, if you stay too close you get burned; if you stay too far away, you don’t get enough heat.” I think some people actually prefer a teacher who is very remote and personally inaccessible so that they can only relate to him or her at a distance; without direct contact they feel safe, knowing they won’t ever be close enough to get burned. Other people would like to have constant easy access to a teacher so that they can ask questions all the time, without having ever having to figure out the answers for themselves. Some people look upon a Dharma teacher as a family doctor, one who will give them a new prescription for happiness whenever they think they need one. Teacher-student relationships are nuanced, with both teacher and student bringing their dispositions and their histories into their interaction. In my own case, different people see my relationship with my students in different lights. A few people have told me my students treat me with too much reverence while others have told me I am too casual and relaxed with my students and should demand more reverence! I cannot please everyone; indeed I doubt there is any teacher who can.

If someone is fortunate enough to have the good Karma, he or she will eventually find a good teacher who is willing to commit to being the student’s teacher and spiritual guide. On his or her side, a Dharma student must be sincere and willing to commit to and trust the Dharma teacher. A healthy teacher-student relationship makes for a healthy Dharma practice. The Dharma teacher will guide the student step by step and assist him or her in everyday Dharma practice. The Dharma teacher and student must have mutual respect and appreciation. The student should take the teachings and instructions into his or her heart and learn the correct protocols of teacher and student relationships.

 

Becoming a Dharma student

To become a student of a particular Dharma teacher, a person should go to the teacher to make a formal request to be accepted as a student. The Dharma teacher may test the student’s sincerity by asking him or her to wait for a period of time, to study Dharma texts, or do retreats and other training in order to be qualified as a student. Once a Dharma teacher is happy with the student’s enthusiasm, sincerity and willingness to study and practise Dharma, then the teacher will accept the person as student.

 

How to study Dharma

In this materialistic age, it is a fortunate person indeed who opts for a spiritual path and is able to study Dharma.  On the must-study list are Buddhist Sutras and Shastras, philosophical texts written by great teachers like Nagarjuna, Asanga, Chandrakirti, Vashubandu and Shantideva, and commentaries written by great masters like Lama Je Tsong Khapa and his lineage holders. We should study Dharma no matter our age. Sakya Pandita said, “RIGPA NANGPAR CHE YANG LHOB,” which translates as “You should study Dharma today even if you are going to die tomorrow.”

Dharma teaching and Dharma practice is both temporary and ultimate Refuge. I especially advise my students to study Lamrim texts like Lama Je Tsong Khapa’s Lamrim Chenmo, which I mentioned above, Lamrim texts written by the first Panchen Lama and the fifth Dalai Lama, and Kaybje Pabongka Rinpoche’s great Lamrim text, Liberation in the Palm of your Hand. It is very important to study and practise Lamrim always, no matter how advanced you are. Lamrim practice is the very heart of Dharma practice. If you consistently practise Lamrim, then your Dharma practice will have a solid foundation, and you will not have any problems with lack of commitment. Your faith in the Three Jewels will continue to grow steadily, and your realizations increase accordingly.

 

The Preciousness of Dharma traditions and lineages

In Tibetan Buddhism, there four principal schools or traditions: Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyu and Gelug. Lama Je Tsong Khapa’s tradition is known as the Gaden Tradition, which is another way of saying Gelug. Lama Je Tsong Khapa is the emanation and embodiment of the Buddhas Manjushiri, Avalokiteshvara and Vajrapani; he is known as second Buddha of this age. The four Tibetan Buddhist traditions each have their precious teachings; each of the four traditions is perfect in its own way and has its own beauty, power and glory. Each of the traditions must retain their original method and style of teaching as this preserves the uniqueness of its lineages. In the Gelug tradition of Lama Je Tsong Khapa, we have the Bodhichitta lineage of Maitreya Buddha and Asanga, and the Shunyata lineage of Nagarjuna and Chandrakirti.  We have the blessed lineage and practices of Atisha and his disciple Dromtonpa; there are two main Chöd lineages, those of the Gaden Tradition and the Dakini ear-whispered lineage. There is a very sacred Gaden ear-whispered lineage called Jamyang Chokor, which are ten initiations handed down by Manjushri through Lama Umapa Pawo Dorje to Lama Je Tsong Khapa. There are also the unique thirteen sacred initiations of Tagpu Dag Ngang Chu Sum — “the clear vision near lineages.” I have been fortunate to receive these initiations from Rongtha Kyabgon Rinpoche.

When you practise according to the lineage of your teacher, your practice becomes part of the lineage of your teacher. This means you do the practice just as your teacher does and as his or her teachers did before; this prevents you from going off the track and your practice becomes solid and strong.  However, and this is very important, you should not assume that you are qualified to do the practices that your teacher has done or is doing without knowing clearly where you are on spiritual path. We have an old Tibetan saying: “If the fox jumps on the tail of a lion, the fox could break her back.”  Your Dharma teacher has his or her own personal practices, which could include advanced secret deity sadhana practices. You do not need to know, let alone do, every practice that your teacher does.

 

Non-sectarianism and non-confusion

Throughout history, Lama Je Tsong Khapa’s Gelug tradition has been remarkably non-sectarian. Lama Je Tsong Khapa himself studied under and received many initiations from masters of different traditions. I encourage my students to respect all traditions and lineages of Tibetan Buddhism and all other Buddhist paths. In addition to studying Tibetan Buddhism, I have personally studied in the Theravadin Buddhist tradition, having entered a Thai monastery and ordained as a Theravadin Bikkhu in 1975. I also practised Vipassana meditation under the most renowned master Achaan Buddhadasa at Wat Sowanmok in Thailand. There is a Tibetan word, REMI, which literally translates as “not taking sides, being non-sectarian,” but it really means emphasizing the similarities of different sects. It does not mean mixing together many different practices. The idea of REMI is good, but I am not sure how many true REMI practitioners there are these days. I think REMI is a nice idea, like sharing Dharma with your friends. I don’t have problems with the idea of REMI. Actually, my grandmother was a devotee of the Kagyu tradition and many of my family members were also Kagyu; some were Sakya and a few were Nyingma. My family members were very respectful of each other’s traditions, lineages and practices; they accommodated and supported each other. My great uncle Sachu Tulku Rinpoche was a revered Guru of the Karma Kagyu tradition; he was a master of the six yogas of Naropa. My great uncle Taruk Tulku Rinpoche was a revered Guru of Sakya tradition; he was a Tantric master and a Tibetan Amchi doctor. My own previous incarnation, Lama Karma Kunchog Tenzing, was a scholar, astrologer and yogi of the Karma Kagyu lineage and abbot of Zuru monastery in Tibet. As a young boy, I was recognized as the true incarnation of Lama Karma Kunchog Tenzing by Jetrung Rinpoche of the Nyingma tradition, who was head of Jetrung Gompa in Zadoh district, Tibet, by the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje and by Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche. Because my previous incarnations were as Karma Kagyu Lamas, I have deep feeling and love for the Karma Kagyu lineage. In fact, I have raised funds to rebuild Zuru Monastery in Tibet.

However, unless you are an advanced practitioner, you should not mix different traditions, lineages, and teachings because you do not know how to make sense of them in a deeply meaningful way. It is unwise and unnecessary to mix practices, taking from here, taking from there; to do so is to create confusion within your own practice. Generally, people in the West, even people who have studied the Dharma for years, are a bit skeptical about the importance of Dharma traditions and lineages. Nonetheless, I strongly believe it is important to practise within a tradition, to follow the lineages of that tradition, and to practise in accordance with them. An eclectic mix of teachings and practices is a recipe for confusion that will in all probability impede progress on the spiritual path. I think some Western people develop a rebellious attitude when Dharma teachers like me say this; they think we are trying to control their minds by persuading them that the only worthwhile tradition is our own personal tradition. But we say it out of concern for the student that he or she will drown in a sea of confusion. I am certainly not interested in controlling the mind of anyone else; I am only interested in controlling and subduing my own mind so that I can become a good vehicle for following to the path of Buddha.

 

Organizing your Dharma practice

Ask yourself questions about the state of your Dharma practice and where it is at this point in your life. Ultimately you have to take responsibility of your own Dharma practice. The teacher is not going to practise for you. If you do not practise Dharma, no teacher anywhere can transform you into a Buddha. According to the Buddhist teaching of Tathagatagharba, we all have Buddha nature naturally, and we are all destined to become a Buddha sometime in the future, but there is no Enlightenment without Dharma practice. Buddha said life is like a dream. It is as transient as a flash of lightning; twenty, forty, sixty, eighty years pass as quickly as clouds moving across the sky. We think there is time, but there is not. We will all die one day. We have to be serious Dharma practitioners now. Organizing our own Dharma practice means being aware of time: what practices do we have the time and energy to do before death comes?

 

Annual retreats

I request that my students do a month-long retreat each year; the minimum is ten days. If you wait for the time for to do retreat, the time will never come. You should make plans for a retreat and do it as soon as possible. I have seen people talk about doing a three-year retreat for three years instead of actually doing the retreat. If you are truly committed to doing a three-year retreat, the opportunity will come to you: you can make it happen and it will, because there are generous Dharma friends who would like to help your retreat.  At this point, I would like to tell you the inspiring story of Zava Damdin Rinpoche of Mongolia, who completed a four-year Vajra Bhairava Yamantaka retreat in a tiny yurt at his monastery in the Gobi desert, where the weather gets very cold in winter, down to -40o C in December. Out of the blue, Zava Rinpoche’s root master Guru Deva Rinpoche told him to do the retreat, without much time for preparation.  Zava Damdin Rinpoche successfully completed the retreat due to his deep commitment and unbelievable guru devotion to Guru Deva Rinpoche. The Venerable Geshe Losang Thupten Rinpoche and I visited Zava Damdin Rinpoche every summer or autumn, and gave him advice and support. Zava Damdin Rinpoche is the only Lama who has done a four-year retreat in Mongolia since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

I personally have been very fortunate when it comes to retreats. I did my first retreat when I was fifteen, a Vajra Bhairava Yamantaka retreat with my teachers Geshe Thubten Wangyal and Jhampa Kelsang Rinpoche. We did the retreat at Kailash Kuti house, named after holy Mt. Kailash in Tibet. It is located in the mountains above the hill station town of Dalhousie in the foothills of the Himalayas. I have two ways of looking back at this retreat. On the one hand, it was very powerful, amazing actually. On the other hand, it was mentally and physically exhausting, difficult beyond words. Indeed, my teachers advised me not to talk about my experience. My teacher Geshe Thupten Wangyal was very strict and highly disciplined; we would start our first session at 4:30 A.M.; we practised four sessions a day, with our last session ending around 9:00 P.M. – not much sleep for a young boy Lama! We ate very simple food, such as rotis, rice and potatoes. It was very cold in the winter, with lots of snow: the only source of heat was a little wood stove. I was really afraid that we would be attacked by jungle leopards in the night; one female would come very close to our retreat house, and when it was a full moon, she would roar through the night. I was nervous about going out for walks at nighttime, but my teacher told us that a roaring leopard was a good omen. After that, I was excited whenever the leopard came near our retreat house. My second retreat was Naro Khachod Vajrayogini. It too was very powerful; a good experience overall. I had wonderful dreams. It is always very inspiring when one has an opportunity to do a retreat with one’s teacher.

 

Guidance for your practice

Whenever you have important questions regarding your Dharma practice, you should not hesitate to contact me. As I would like to do more retreats in the near future, I may be unavailable to answer your questions directly. In this case, please contact a senior student at one of my centres.

 

Initiating into Tantra 

There are different ways of receiving initiations. An initiation may be taken purely as a blessing, for protection or healing. Most of the thousands of people in Tibet, in India and in the West who flock to the Kalachakra initiations take the initiation as a blessing and to create auspicious conditions for the future.  In order to receive a Tantric initiation as an actual empowerment, and not just as a blessing, you are required to take Refuge and Bodhisattva vows before the initiation. When you take a higher Tantric initiation, you are additionally required to take Tantric vows. Traditionally in Tibet, students completed the five foundation practices before taking a higher Tantric initiation, but this tradition has been relaxed somewhat in the West. I advise my students to do the foundation practices whenever they are ready. The five foundation practices are one, taking Refuge in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha; two, Guru Yoga; three, Vajrasattva practice; four, prostrations; and five, Mandala Offerings.

If you feel you are not ready to take Tantric initiations, then you should not feel under pressure to do so. In truth, the practices of Sutrayana, Lamrim, and the Three Principal Aspects of the Path (Renunciation, Bodhichitta, and Shunyata) are more important practices. When you are ready to take initiations, you could opt to take one or two initiations, as you wish; if you are not sure which initiation you should take, ask your teachers. 

Here is list of Kriya Tantra and Yoga Tantra initiations that I offer. I am not suggesting you take all of them. 

  • Green Tara, for overcoming fear, removing obstacles, gaining great protection and liberation
  • Four armed Chenrezig, the compassion of all the Buddhas, emanated as a deity
  • Chenrezig Gyalwa Gyatso, for developing Great Compassion and generating the clear light of bliss and Enlightenment
  • Black Manjushri, for the cultivation of wisdom, healing, and  good health
  • Chöd initiation, for cutting attachment and self-grasping, experiencing the two truths, and cultivating Bodhichitta and Shunyata
  • Hayagriva, the emanation of Chenrezig and Buddha Amitabha, for healing sickness, gaining protection, and generating Great Compassion
  • Maha Vairochana, for the purification of negative Karma and the development of luminosity and clear light towards Enlightenment
  • Manjushri, the wisdom of all the Buddhas, emanated as a deity
  • Medicine Buddha, for healing the body and mind; potentially one could become a healer
  • Sarasvati, Buddha of wisdom and creative arts such as music, writing, and painting
  • Singhamukha, for healing and exorcism, overcoming negative forces, and becoming fearless
  • Vajrapani, the power of all the Buddhas, emanated as a deity
  • Vajrasattva, for the purification of Karmic obscurations to realizations
  • White Mahakala, the Buddha of Great Compassion for all living beings, for generating wealth and prosperity and fulfilling all your wishes and dreams

Here is a list of the Annuttaryogatantra initiations that I offer. Again, one deity practice will suffice:

  • Chittamani Tara, the highest form of Tara practice, with generation and completion stages to Enlightenment
  • Yamantaka, the wrathful aspect of Manjushri, and the opponent power to death and the maras. Prominent commentaries express this practice is the most powerful practice for Enlightenment
  • Guhyasamaja, for the cultivation of the illusory body, highest and condensed sacred Vajrayana practise.
  • Heruka Five Deities according to the Mahasiddhi Vajra Ghantapa tradition, for the cultivation of clear light and bliss, and Enlightenment within this life
  • Heruka Body Mandala according to the Mahasiddhi Vajra Ghantapa tradition – the same as the Heruka Five Deity practice
  • Vajrayogini (Naro Khachod) according to Mahasiddhi Naropa. Prominent commentaries express this is the most sacred Yidam (Yidam = heart bound) practice according to the Gelugpa and Sakyapa lineages

Instead of taking additional initiations, I suggest you focus on the deity practice(s) you have already received. If you are a first timer and fairly new to Tantric practice, you could take one or two Kriya Tantra initiations for the deities of your choice. There is a Tibetan Buddhist tradition of choosing a personal deity, a Yidam. If you are not sure how to choose a personal deity or Yidam, consider which deity you feel most connected to, and seek advice from your Guru.

When you decide to take an initiation, you should find out what are the daily commitments and vows. Some teachers do not explain the commitments at the time of the initiation.  Later, you hear commitments were given but you are not sure what they were; should this happen, you need to find out and then keep them as best you can.

 

Keeping your Dharma practice pure and not giving up when you face a spiritual crisis 

We try to keep our physical body health by exercising regularly, eating nutritious food and drinking pure water. Likewise, we should keep our Dharma practice healthy without contaminating it with our own mental defilements. As human practitioners of Dharma, we make mistakes; from time to time we may break our vows and commitments. When we do so, we feel that in some way we have let down our Gurus, and the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. We may have faced many obstacles due to unfavourable conditions and lack of time and energy, but at the same we also know that we have made lifetime commitments. We try to practise every day, but sometimes we feel that the practices have become routine recitations, an obligation and no more. This can happen especially when our lives are too busy and we are very tired. When this happens, we need to make time for a retreat to renew our commitments and refresh our practice. When we break our vows and commitments, we should do purification such as Vajrasattva mantras, prostrations, and reciting the Sutra of the Three Heaps by chanting the names of the thirty-five Buddhas. Those of us who have done retreats on Vajrayogini, Yamantaka or other Annuttarayogatantra practices could do self-initiation as a method of purification for broken Samaya and commitments. Do not think your practice is no longer worth the effort just because you have broken your commitments; do not abandon your commitments and daily practice; just pick up where you left off. My kind teacher, the most holy Tara Tulku Rinpoche said, “If you forget to eat breakfast, you don’t give up there and then. The next day, you go ahead and eat breakfast. Simple.” 

Our Dharma practice could become weakened for a number of reasons. One contributing factor is the state of our mind. If your commitment and devotion are not well grounded, not solid, you could be influenced by others who are fearful and confused about their own Dharma practice. These days it is easy to get confused about Dharma practice and the teacher-student relationship. Some of the confusion has arisen from inexperienced Western teachers who lack skill and experience in how to teach and guide Dharma students. But a big part of the confusion has been caused by the Eastern teachers, who unfortunately have imported their sectarian views to Western Dharma communities. I alluded to this earlier. Certain groups condemn other groups, and certain teachers condemn other teachers. Not only do they condemn each other’s practices, but they even condemn the personal deities that others practise. People become superstitious, and act in a ridiculous and silly manner. If we take Refuge to Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, the Three Jewels will protect us. We don’t need to be worried about spirits harming us.  Machig Labdron, the famous enlightened Tibetan Chöd master said, “There is no demon or bad spirit outside of our mind; the real demons and bad spirits are your own confused and superstitious mind.” Milarepa, the equally famous enlightened Tibetan yogi said, “If you think evil spirits will harm you, then they could because you imagine they are real; otherwise, there are no evil spirits; it is your entire mind.” 

The Buddha always said one must use a logical mind, and not practise with blind faith. There are three Tibetan sayings that express this:

GANG ZAG LA MA TAN CHOLA TAN means one should not rely on a teacher based on blind faith, but should instead contemplate the Dharma and rely on Dharma. It means that there are no human beings who are not fallible; human beings make errors, but the Dharma is always reliably correct; 

TSEG LA MA TAN DON LA TAN means one should not rely merely on words of others, because words are unreliable and easily misinterpreted; one should instead contemplate on the deep meaning of what is being said;

DRANG DON LA MA TAN NEY DON LA TAN means do not rely on relative truths, but contemplate absolute teaching and absolute truth. 

 

Dharma study on line

In many ways the computer and the Internet have made our lives simultaneously easier and busier. Forever Googling, Emailing, playing online games, there is always the danger that we could become Internet junkies. We can even feed our addiction by visiting Dharma sites. There is a lot of Dharma information on the Internet, some of it excellent, some of it not so good. It could be helpful to study Dharma online, but when we do so, we risk losing our connection to the living, breathing human beings around us. Computers lack the human touch. From time to time, we all need to sit down with our Guru and our Sangha friends to share our Dharma practice, do Pujas and have a cup of tea together. This does not happen when we are glued to a computer; cyberspace can be lonely and isolating.

 

Children and the Dharma

Children are our future.  We must think how to educate our children in the Dharma.  Buddhist parents must not neglect their children’s Dharma education; I have seen too many Western Dharma parents who don’t give enough Dharma education to their children; they are too soft and too concerned that their children may become rebellious if they are strict with them. They take a laissez-faire attitude, hoping that one day their children will magically take up a Dharma practice just because they were given a good impression of Buddhism when they were young. If this happens, great, but in my view it is important that children have some formal instruction about the Dharma when they are young.  Early Dharma education will remain in their mind stream for the rest of their life. I personally am so thankful to my grandfather, who always took such good care for me and who gave me a good opportunity to study and practise Dharma, even when we had to go through so much suffering escaping from Tibet and then struggling in India as poor Refugees.

Nowadays we have many worries about children. There is so much violence passing as entertainment. In my opinion, children should not watch destructive and violent movies, play violent video games or visit unsuitable websites on the Internet. Parents need to put limits on what sort of things their children watch. I think a lot of the sites on the Internet are a kind of drug, just as addictive as the ones that are swallowed, injected, or smoked.

 

Right livelihood and Dharma finances

Right livelihood is one of the aspects of the eightfold noble path; it is a Buddhist principle that it is important that we as Dharma practitioners practise right livelihood. We must not hurt other people and animals, and we must make the best use of the earth’s resources, in ways that do not do social and environmental damage. (The Venerable Walpola Rahula clearly explains the eightfold path and other fundamental tenets of Buddhism in his excellent introductory text, What the Buddha taught; I highly recommend it.) Buddha was so kind: he gave detailed advice in the Sutras on how to organize our Dharma life and Dharma finances. The Buddha said lay people should think about their finances, earmarking funds for their family, putting something aside for emergencies, and saving a little for their old age. We should also put money aside to study the Dharma and do retreats as well. It is not a requirement of Dharma practice that practitioners be poor: being poor does not make you a better Dharma person. The point is to not be attached to the material things you have, but to just enjoy them. When you are facing poverty, you can’t help yourself, you can’t help your family, and you can’t help others. However, when a Dharma practitioner has ample material resources, he or she is a position to practise generosity by using discretionary income to help others. I would like to suggest that you, as my Dharma students, either donate a certain amount of your income to your Dharma centre or do volunteer work for it. You should likewise donate money or time to worthy causes in your community. I request that you support Gaden Relief Projects, which has been active for 25 years, providing medical treatments, health clinics, shelters (yurts) for single homeless mothers in Mongolia, and installations for solar energy. We should become socially engaged Dharma persons, we should be come socially engaged Buddhists. When we do, it will be awesome!

In the above pages, I have given advice to and set up guidelines for my students and for Dharma students in general. I do not claim for a moment that what I have said is absolutely correct, but I have said it with sincerity and the best of intention. I am not trying to judge who is and who is not qualified as Dharma teacher or student. I am trying to help students who wish to find the right Dharma teacher, improve their student-teacher relationship, and deepen their Dharma practice. I have no desire to promote myself as a great teacher and gather more students. I have wonderful Dharma students and Dharma friends in Canada, Australia, the USA and Mongolia. I am very proud of them for practising Dharma for many years and doing so much humanitarian work. I have appointed half dozen of my senior students as Dharma teachers, and they are doing wonderful job.  

Zasep Tulku Rinpoche, Canada, 2013

 


 

The Present Zasep Tulku Rinpoche

After the death of the Twelfth Tulku, the lamas of Zuru asked the terton to advise where the next Tulku would reincarnate. Jetrung Rinpoche said he saw signs that Konchog Gyurme had transferred his consciousness to Ngayab Ling pure land and would remain there for three years, as well as simultaneously travel to many other Buddha-fields. He would then reincarnate, his next father having been born in the Tiger year and his mother in the Bird year.

When the time had come for the thirteenth Tulku to be born, the wonderful lamas again asked Jetrung Rinpoche for his advice. Jetrung Rinpoche together with Lama Trinlay Konchab, a high Bodhisattva from Zuru Gompa, and Laksam Naljorpa, a powerful yogi, went into retreat to divine the birthplace of Zasep Tulku. Using their great psychic powers the three yogis, by direct vision and dreams, saw with perfect clarity exactly where he would be reborn. Monks from Zuru Gompa went to the place indicated.

Zasep Tulku Rinpoche, the thirteenth incarnation and our present teacher, was born in the year of the Earth-Ox-with-golden-nose-ring (6), 1st of July 1948. His father’s name was Karma Dugdak, and his mother’s name Paltso.

Zasep Tulku Rinpoche with his Grandfather

As Jetrung Rinpoche had predicted, the father had been born in the Tiger year and his mother in the Bird year. Prior to his birth, Paltso had auspicious dreams and during his birth she experienced no pain. The family had very good dreams, and the whole of Gerjel province had a fine year with no pestilence or disease and good seasonal weather. The high Kargyn, Sakya and Gelug lamas recognized Zasep Tulku when he was born and pointed out, referring to the miraculous signs that had appeared at his birth, that he was a very highly realized and powerful Rinpoche.

 

Installation at Zuru Gompa

Until the age of five, Zasep Tulku remained at home. He was then taken on horse in procession to Zuru Gompa. As he entered the gompa he passed between rows of musicians playing sacred instruments and was escorted into the temple under an ornamented victory umbrella. He was installed with great ceremony. Thousands of people came to Zuru Gompa to meet young Zasep Tulku, to receive blessings and to make offerings. Rinpoche received the robes, hats and bowl of the previous incarnation.

He stayed for two years in Zuru Gompa and learned the alphabet, the many daily prayers of Zuru and the Tunzhi prayer. He liked to read the One Thousand Songs of Milarepa (Mila Gurbung) and the sutra of Great Liberation (Tharpa Chenpodo).

When he was seven, Zasep Tulku visited his parents and the people of his village. His family invited his uncle, a renowned Kargyupa teacher who had meditated in seclusion for nineteen years, to his home to meet him. From this holy lama, the Venerable Sachyu Tulku, Zasep Tulku received Amitayus (Tib. Tsepame) long life and Tara (Tib. Drolma) initiations.

Zasep Tulku Rinpoche’s grandfather at a younger age

Rinpoche’s grandfather took him to Tashi Lhapug Gompa to study. At Tashi Lhapug, where there were 700 monks, is the largest monastery of the Geluk order in that area. Here Zasep Tulku took eight precepts and robes from the holy Gelug lama Chonjor Gyaltso. He received the name Jamyang Thubten Lodro. Lama Chonjor Gyaltso Mahasiddha was a disciple of the great Phabongkhapa Dechin Nying Po. He became oracle of Damchen Chogyal or Kalarupa the Dharma Protector of Gelukpa Lineage, an emanation of Yamantaka. He had completed the 108 Cemetery meditations and had meditated by 108 springs so as to help the cemetery beings and nagas. He gave many blessings to Zasep Tulku.

Zasep Tulku studied and meditated at Tashi Lhapug and received Yamantaka (Tib. Dorje Jigje Pawo Chikpa) initiation from the great Bodhisattva Lama Lodro Dragpa.

At the request of the many Kargyupa monks at Zuru, he returned to learn Kargyu practice from Lama Trinlay Konchob. From Geshe Tsegyam, a Kargyupa monk who had studied at Sera, he received teachings on Je Tzong Khapa’s Lam Rim.

 

To Lhasa and Sera

Zasep Tulku left Zuru Gompa in the spring of 1957, due to bad conditions existing in Kham province following the communist invasion of that year. He was accompanied on a journey to Lhasa by his uncle.

Sera Monastery

On the way to Lhasa, Zasep Tulku stayed for three months at Nalanda, A Sakyapa monastery, to receive detailed teachings. He felt great devotion for the Sakyapa teachings. From the abbot, Lama Zinwog Dorje Chang, he received an Amitayus initiation.

In Lhasa he met His Holiness Yongzin Trijang Rinpoche, who was the junior tutor of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He was one of the greatest Lamas in this century. Yongzin Trijang Dorje Chang, a very holy yogi Bodhisattva who has total clairvoyance, immediately recognized Zasep Tulku as the incarnation of Konchog Gyurme. He suggested that Zasep Tulku go to Sera Monastic University to further his studies and learn Madhyamika philosophy.

On his arrival at Sera, Zasep Tulku entered Sera Je Tratzang where he was installed as a lama with great ceremony. From Geshe Jampa Chogdup he received teachings on Pramanavatika by Dharmakirti.

In 1958, Sera Ngapa Tratzang (the Tantric College) invited Yongzin Trijang Dorje Chang to the college to give initiations. From this holy lama, Zasep Tulku—then ten years old—received Guhyasamaja Akshobhya Vajra, Heruka Tilbu Lhanga, Thirteen Deities of Yamantaka, and Kunrig Yoga Tantra initiations.

At the end of 1958, Zasep Tulku went on a pilgrimage for six months. He visited Tashilhunpo Monastery, the Sakya monastery, and Tingri Langkor, the temple of Pha-Dampa Sangye (the lineage holder of Chod practice.  He was the Guru of Machig LabKyi Dolma.) Tingri is the town on the Tibetan slope of Mount Everest where the great yogi Pha-Dampa Sangye taught.

Then Rinpoche and his party went to Mount Kailash. At this holy mountain Zasep Tulku made two months of Ngondro (preliminary practices) including prostrations, and a Migtzema retreat. He went to three of Milarepa’s caves: Zurtrul Pug (manifestation cave), Dra Pug (yak horn cave), and Choku Pug (Dharmakaya cave). He then returned to Sera.

 

Escape from Tibet

Three months later the communists invaded Lhasa. Zasep Tulku escaped from Sera walking by night across the monolithic mountain range between Lhasa and Penpo. He went to Nalanda Gompa for two days. In order to escape the communists he continued by horse across the great western grass plains of Tibet, carrying only a tent and a few possessions. His small party had to go many days without food. They turned south and traveled by day and night to cross the Nepalese border at Mustang, into freedom.

At Mustang border is the holy pilgrimage town of Muktinath. Zasep Tulku stayed there three months to do another set of Ngondro and a Guru Yoga retreat. Rinpoche’s mother passed away near Mustang due to illness and the Chinese taking away and jailing Rinpoche’s father.

Zasep Tulku Rinpoche, age 11

Rinpoche then went to Kathmandu to see the three great stupas of Swayambhunath, Boudhanath and Namo Buddha. At Parping, the holy place of Vajra Yogini (Tib. Dorje Naljorma) and Padma Sambhava, he made more prostrations and mandala offerings.

In the small Nepalese village behind the Great Stupa of Boudhanath, Zasep Tulku did a five-month Vajrasattva (Tib. Dorje Sempa) and Guru Yoga retreat.

In 1961, he went to Dharamsala in north India. Here he rejoined his kind and holy teacher, the Venerable Trijang Dorje Chang and met Yongzin Ling Rinpoche again. In the same year he took Getsul (novice monk) ordination from Trijang Rinpoche.

 

The Ven. Geshe Thubten Wanggyel

Wanting to practice Dharma very strongly, he asked Trijang Rinpoche where to go to receive further teachings on Sutra and Tantra. Trijang Rinpoche told him to go to Dalhousie in the high Himalayas to live and study with Geshe Thubten Wanggyel, a highly realized being. When Trijang Rinpoche mentioned the name of this great teacher, Zasep Tulku felt very happy because of a strong karmic connection existing between them.

Zasep Tulku arrived at the home of Geshe Thubten Wanggyel on the morning that Geshe was completing his six-month Demchog (Sri Heruka) retreat with a fire puja. Although Zasep Tulku had not seen Geshe Wanggyel before, great faith and devotion rose in him at their meeting and he made request to stay with Geshe to meditate and receive teachings. Geshe happily accepted Zasep Tulku as his disciple.  Geshe-la said, “I’m honored to accept you as my student because my root Guru Trijang Dorje Chang sent you to me.  Trijang Dorje Chang knows that we will develop good teacher and student relationship.”

Geshe Thubten Wanggyel

 

Geshe Thubten Wanggyel lived in an austere and simple manner. He had few possessions, as he had totally abandoned the eight worldly dharmas. Zasep Tulku studied with him for ten years and during that time received teachings on the Pramanavatika, Prajnaparamita, Madhyamika, Abhidharma, Vinaya and Tzong Khapa’s Lam Rim. He also received many profound Tantric teachings.

Almost every winter for ten years, Zasep Tulku did four months’ retreat with his teacher in the mountains above Dalhousie. He and his guru lived in an old colonial English cottage called Bright View, from which they could see the whole Himalayan chain. Sometimes the snow against the cottage was eight feet deep and they couldn’t open the door in the morning. Zasep Tulku made Lam Rim, Bodhicitta and Shunyata retreats as well as Chenrezig, Tara, Vajra Yogini, Yamantaka and other daily retreats.

During the summer, Zasep Tulku received teachings on five different texts simultaneously. At night he meditated and recited sadhanas with Geshe Wanggyel. Having been taught a technique of quiescence and concentration meditation one day, Zasep Tulku would be questioned the following day about his meditation experience. If his answer was not satisfactory, Geshe asked him to practice more and more. Geshe was wrathful and he was a very strict teacher. Zasep Tulku was known as a good student and practitioner.

One evening Zasep Tulku was very tired and as he was meditating in front of Geshe, he started to drop off to sleep. Geshe picked up the small mud butter lamp, his daily offering to the Triple Gem, and threw it at Zasep Tulku. The lamp hit his head and broke into many pieces. Zasep Tulku wrapped his upper robe around his injured head to stop the blood. Seeing this, Geshe beat him and kicked him out of the house. Zasep Tulku had great devotion to his teacher and took his teacher’s harsh treatment as a blessing and initiation. Early the next morning he went to Geshe’s house and made prostrations before him. Geshe laughed for minutes, then patted Zasep Tulku on the head and gave him his old mala (rosary) as a blessing. That whole day Zasep Tulku was especially happy; his meditations were good and he realized that his teacher had helped him to quickly purify much bad karma. Geshe was a very loving and humble Bodhisattva. Zasep Tulku understood that these beatings were only for his own benefit, and although they caused physical pain, they never made him unhappy.

Geshe used to say, “After overcoming many physical difficulties and mental hindrances with enthusiasm and calm perseverance, your mind will naturally open, revealing its inner radiance, just as the Blue Lotus which remains closed by the pale light of the moon opens as the sun rises to reveal its true beauty and splendor.”

In 1966, Zasep Tulku received the transmission of the complete works of Tzong Khapa on Sutra and Tantra from Pangnang Rinpoche and the transmissions of four volumes of Gyaltsabje, a disciple of Tzong Khapa. In addition, he received the transmission of eight volumes of Kadruje and the transmission of Getongpa (Prajnaparamita in 8,000 verses.)

 

Teachings from High Lamas

Zasep Tulku received the complete Guhyasamaja initiations, commentary on Kye Rim and Tzog Rim (generation and completion stages) of Guhyasamaja practice, and transmission of the Sri Guhyasamajamahatantraraja (Guhyasamaja root text). He received Six-Armed Mahakala (Tib. Gonpo Chakdruk) initiation. In 1968, he received the complete teachings on the Lam Rim Chenmo and teachings on the Gaden Lha Gya Ma with commentary by the Seventh Dalai Lama, and he was ordained Gelong (complete monk’s ordination) that same year. In 1970, he received the Kalachakra initiation and again received teachings on Lam Rim Chenmo. In 1971, he received the complete Lama Chopa (Guru Yoga) teachings and teachings on the Mahamudra root text with commentary by the Second Panchen Rinpoche. In 1973, he again received the Kalachakra initiation and the Chenrezig Wangchen.

From His Holiness Yongzin Trijang Dorje Chang he received Guhyasamaja initiations in 1964. In 1965, he received Lam Rim teachings, Bodhicitta Thought Training, Eight-verse Training of the Mind, Thirty-Seven Practices of the Bodhisattvas by Thogmed Zangpo, and Atisha’s Lam Rim. He also received the complete Lama Chopa, and Vajrasattva initiation and teachings.

In 1966, he received the complete set of Heruka five deities and body mandala initiations and teachings. He received all the Vajra Yogini initiations and teachings several times and transmissions, and the set of Twenty-one Taras initiation as well as Chenrezig initiation. He received initiations of Amitayas and White Heruka for Long Life. Rinpoche also received very special teachings on the uncommon inconceivable yoga practice of Vajrayogini.  This teaching is only given to three students at one time. Rinpoche alone received this teaching when he was about eighteen. 

From His Holiness Kyabje Ling Rinpoche he received all the Yamantaka initiations and teachings on the commentaries as well as transmission of the Yamantaka Tantra root text. He received Gaden Lhargyame teachings. At Bodhgaya in 1969, he received Lam Rim Chenmo teachings and White Tara (Tib. Drolma Karmo) initiation. In 1972, he received the complete Lama Chopa teachings. Rinpoche received initiation of Amitayas, Chenrezig, Vajrayogini, Guhyasamaya, Haryagirva, King Garuda and Vajrapani.  He received commentaries on Lojong and Samayavajra.

Rinpoche also received one of the very rare sacred teachings called The combination practice of peaceful and wrathful Manjushri (Tib. Jamyang Zhe Tro Drag Drup Thun Moomg Ma Yin Pa.) Not many people know about this teaching, few Lamas have received this teaching.  According to the tradition of Geluk, you have to wait for a long time in order to receive this teaching. One has to wait for three years, three months and three days. Each year you have to make new request to the lamas.

Five Lamas made this request to H.H. Ling Rinpoche: Ven. Zasep Rinpoche, his teacher Ven. Geshe Thupten Wanggyel, Ven. Sha Ko Ken Rinpoche, Ven. Ja Moon Rinpoche, and Ven. Jhampa Kelsang Rinpoche.  After three years, three months and three days waiting, a letter arrived from H.H. Ling Rinpoche saying now it is time for you to come and receive this teaching.

The five Lamas traveled to Dharamsala from Dalhousie.  It was a great honor and happiness to receive this rare sacred teaching. The actual duration of receiving this teaching was less than three hours. H.H. Ling Rinpoche lent his own text for them to copy by hand. The text is not allowed to be printed or published.

Rinpoche’s other teachers are Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, Ven. Lati Rinpoche, Ven. Tara Tulku Rinpoche, and Ven. Khalkha Jetsun Dampa Rinpoche

 

From H.H. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, he received the initiations of Chakrasamvara Five Deities and Body Mandala, Vajrayogini, Chittamani Tara, and Chod.  He received the commentaries on Chittamani Tara, Chod according to Gaden Ear Whispered Lineage, and Six Yogas of Naropa according to Lama Je Tsong Khapa.

From Tara Rinpoche, he received initiations of Haryagirva Sangdrup, Guhyasamaya, Vajrasattva, White Manjushri, and Six-Armed Mahakala.

From Ven. Lati Rinpoche, he received the initiations of Chakrasamvara Five Deities and Body Mandala, Orange Manjushri, Medicine Buddha, White Heruka, Goddess Svarasvati, and Dharmapala Sher Tab Chen.

From Ven. Khalkha Jetsun Dampa Rinpoche, he received Chod initiations and teachings of Gelukpa tradition. The initiations of Chod according to Gaden Ear Whispered Lineage and Dakini Ear Whispered Lineage. He also received initiation of Chod according to Kagyu Lineage.  Rinpoche received Kurukula initiation from Ven. Khalkha Jetsun Dampa Rinpoche.

The above teachings and initiations are only the most important ones Zasep Tulku received.

 

Geshe Wanggyel’s Passing Away

In 1972 in Dalhousie, Geshe Wanggyel told Zasep Tulku to go to Varanasi Sanskrit University to further his studies in Pramana and Madhyamika philosophies. As Zasep Tulku left, his kind and holy teacher gave him his copy of the Lam Rim Chenmo and told him that they could now no longer remain together.

After Zasep Tulku had been in Varanasi for three months, his teacher died. Before his death Geshe was unwell for only two days. He died early one morning after doing the Vajra Yogini self-initiation with some of his students. Geshe-la’s body stayed up in meditation posture for three days with beautiful energy. He was in the state of clear light and bliss.

 

Studies, Travels and Teachings

Zasep Tulku studied for three years at Varanasi and received his Acharya (Master’s) degree.

In 1975, he went to Thailand where he stayed for eighteen months and practiced vipassana and anapanasati in many forest temples, as well as studying with Achaan Buddhadasa at Wat Swanmokkhaballaram.

When Zasep Tulku Rinpoche was studying in Thailand

 

He was then requested by Lama Thubten Yeshe to come to Australia to act as translator for His Presence Geshe Thubten Loden. Accordingly he arrived at Chenrezig Institute for Wisdom Culture in mid-1976.

** Note—at this point in the text “Zasep Tulku” becomes “Zasep Rinpoche” **

During his three-year stay in Australia, Zasep Rinpoche traveled widely, giving Lam Rim meditation courses in Sydney and Melbourne and lectures in Adelaide and Linsmore College, Sydney. His Tasmanian students established near Devonport Darjeerling Retreat Centre in Lorinna, and in New South Wales the Tenzin Ling retreat centre was formed under his direction, near Quaama.

Rinpoche is spiritual head of Tashi Choling Centre in Hobart, Dharma Foundation of Tasmania, Tenzing Ling Centre in Quaama, Lobsang Gyalwa Mandala in Sydney and Tang Soo Tai Martial Arts Centre in Mooroochydore in Queensland, Australia and Vajra Ling Centre in Uralla, N.S.W.  Since 1984 Rinpoche goes to Australia every second year to teach at various centres.

Rinpoche in Mongolia

 

The Move to Canada

After being invited to Canada by his students and relatives there, Zasep Rinpoche arrived in early 1980. He took up residence in Nelson, British Columbia, where he gave a six-week course on the theory and practice of Buddhism at David Thompson University.

In the fall of 1980, His Holiness Ling Rinpoche arrived in Toronto at the same time as Zasep Rinpoche. During that time, many students requested H.H. Ling Rinpoche for his permission and blessing in creating a center for the Gelug order. His Holiness gave the center the name Gaden Choling Mahayana Buddhist Meditation Centre and appointed Zasep Rinpoche as the resident teacher.

Once the center was well established, Zasep Rinpoche invited His Holiness Zong Rinpoche, who came to teach in Toronto in the spring of 1981. His Holiness was very pleased about Dharma activity in Toronto.

In July 1981, the growing center occupied a house in which regular teachings could be held. Since then, Rinpoche has given many teachings at Gaden Choling, including Lam Rim (the gradual path to enlightenment), the Bodhisattvacharyavatara (Shantideva’s Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life), teachings on death, rebirth and the intermediate state, Buddhist logic and debate, Kalachakra sadhanas, seven-point thought transformation, Mahamudra teachings, and the Four Foundations (Ngondro). He has also given Chenrezig, Manjushri, Vajrapani, Medicine Buddha, White and Green Tara initiations, White Manjushri, Svarasvati, Mahakala, White Zamballa, Vajrasattva, Heruka, Yamantaka, Vajrayogini, and Chittamani Tara many times. He also gave a commentary on the sadhana of Yamantaka, Vajrayogini and Chittamani Tara, and led weekend retreats, and has given private teachings for individual students, both formally and informally.

In a traditional yurt in Mongolia

 

Since Zasep Rinpoche arrived in Canada, his students there have started four other centers: Tashi Choling in Nelson, Zuru Ling in Vancouver, Cittamani Group in Ottawa, and Potala Centre in Thunder Bay. American students have founded Golden Blue Lotus Tara Center in Moscow, Idaho and Lama Tsong Khapa Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Rinpoche and his students at Tashi Choling, Nelson, British Columbia, are in the process of raising funds to purchase land for a temple and retreat facility in the Nelson area.  Rinpoche feels it is important to have a retreat centre in such a beautiful, clean environment as it is good for retreat practice. He wishes that many of his students from North America and Australia will come there to study and do retreats in the future. In order to achieve good concentration and solid realizations on the sutra and tantra path one needs peace, quiet and a naturally beautiful setting.

Rinpoche regularly visits his centres and offers extensive teachings, initiations and retreats which his many students attend enthusiastically. As well as establishing these Dharma centers, Rinpoche has taught courses at Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado on Buddhist logic and debate, Pramanavartika, and Madhyamikavatara during the summers from 1980 to 1982. He has lectured at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario and Carleton University in Ottawa, and has twice led two-week retreats at Ainsworth Hot Springs, B.C., on Medicine Buddha (Tib. Sangye Menlha) and on the Lam Rim. Zasep Rinpoche has also taught the Dharma community in Edmonton, at the Tibetan Buddhist Temple (la Temple Boudhiste Tibetaine) in Montreal, Quebec, at Thubten Dhargye Ling Center in Los Angeles, at Vajrapani Institute in Santa Cruz and at Melaripa Center in Vermont, and also Rinpoche has taught in Anchorage, Alaska.

Rinpoche and his students are involved in various levels of spiritual organization, inviting many high lamas and teachers to Canada and the U.S., such as Venerable Tara Rinpoche, Lati Rinpoche, and His Holiness the Ninth Khalka Jetsun Dampa, also inviting the late Serkong Rinpoche and the Ganden Tripa. Recently the incarnation of His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche came to visit many centres across Canada. Over the years Rinpoche has organized pilgrimages to India and Nepal to visit the major holy sites five times.  These pilgrimages have been very meaningful for students in terms of making connections with Lord Buddha and deepening their Dharma practice.

In November 1997, Venerable Acharya Zasep Tulku Rinpoche brought all his centres together in Vancouver for the first Presidents meeting.  We now are working together as Gaden for the West: An international organization of Rinpoche, his students and centers, created for the express purpose of bringing, interpreting and integrating Gelugpa Tibetan Buddhism to the western world. Venerable Acharya Zasep Tulku Rinpoche created this vehicle to make Gelugpa Tibetan Buddhism accessible to as many people as possible. People in the west are different from Tibetans in their culture, customs and psychology. Western minds need the teachings of Buddha to be presented in a way that they can understand. The teachings are the same; the interpretation is different. For instance, the six realms can be seen as a state of your mind, not a physical reality.

In Tibet, 99% of the teachings were for monks and nuns. In the west, they are 99% for lay people. Gender references need to be for both women and men. We are revising and changing the way of teaching for the western mind, not creating a new lineage.

The Buddha said we should revise and adapt to the times, the land and the people we are dealing with, so the teachings will grow and benefit those who receive them. Then the teachings will not degenerate and die. The essence of the Buddha’s teaching is compassion, wisdom and understanding of the human mind—for the enlightenment of all beings.

 

 [Source: http://www.gblt.site50.net/index.php?main_dest=biop4&main=main02.1]

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37 Responses to Excellent Guidelines For Students

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  1. samfoonheei on Aug 8, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    Thanks Rinpoche for sharing our precious Lamas guidelines.This is a wonderful article and guidelines for beginner practitioners like me as well as others.Its very helpful in away as a reminder and i do hope to learn,understand whatever i could from the article.Trying my best to understand better.We are very fortunate to have Rinpoche at KFR…
    Thank you Rinpoche again. Wish you good health and may all wishes be fulfilled.

  2. Sofi on Mar 30, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    Thank you very much for sharing on “Excellent Guidelines for Student” taught by Zasep Tulku Rinpoche, his qualities and his life. His students are fortunate to have such a kind and genuine teacher, as I am for my kind teacher in Rinpoche.
    This sharing has really helped me to better understand how to be a better student and I will certainly be more mindful to fulfill my role as a student, especially when I have such a precious Guru as my guide out of Samsara. _/\_

  3. Wan Wai Meng on Mar 23, 2015 at 3:16 am

    A powerful guide and framework by Zasep Rinpoche for all his students and all others who want to be engaged with Vajrayana practices. He reminds me very much of Trijang Rinpoche who never stopped giving teachings and initiations. How kind is he to return to turn the wheel of dharma.

  4. Lee Kane on Feb 17, 2015 at 5:04 am

    Thankyou Rinpoche, for writing about the most precious Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche–our most kind and wonderful teacher (in Canada). I have long followed your blog, reading every post and watching all of your YouTube videos. I love your teaching style. It was a nice surprise to come across a post about our precious teacher in your blog.
    You wrote: “From his guidelines you can see he is straightforward, honest, genuine and real.” You couldn’t be more right:)
    Equally, for me — who has only “met” you through your online teachings — I rejoice in your dedication and kindness as a teacher.
    In between teachings from our precious Zasep Rinpoche, I often replay my favourite videos from your YouTube teachings (some many times over). Please, may you forever teach, blog and make your wonderful, engaging videos.
    As you wrote in your blog about our teacher, “Those who are his friends and students are VERY VERY VERY LUCKY. I REJOICE.” — and we do! — I also rejoice that you share your teachings online. Your students are very fortunate. Thank you Rinpoche! In kindness, Lee Kane.

  5. SG on Feb 3, 2015 at 7:41 am

    Clear and articulately put guidelines. It makes sense to beginners and I am sure advanced students alike.

  6. Tim Mudd on Jan 17, 2015 at 8:54 am

    Dear Rinpoche, Very many thanks for posting our precious Lamas guidelines for his students. Yes, we do feel very very lucky and blessed to have a genuine and real, compassionate and loving teacher whom has a fabulous knowledge of the Buddhadharma. we are so very fortunate indeed.

    Our small but very dedicated community in Vancouver Canada are currently practising weekly, under Zasep Rinpoches guidance. If you have students in Vancouver, whom would like to study and meditate with other Sangha, please share our weekly schedule of teaching and meditation sessions found here> http://www.zuruling.org/schedule or here> https://www.facebook.com/zuru.ling

    Yours in the Dharma

    Tim Mudd
    Board Member
    Zuru Ling Tibetan Buddhist Society, Vancouver Canada
    http://www.zuruling.org

  7. Hee TS on Jan 6, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    謝謝仁波切分享這個指引,能有幸接触佛法,並能隨仁波切的教導修持,我會記在心裡不斷的實踐。

  8. Victor Choi on Dec 30, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    Dear Rinpoche,

    Thank you so much for sharing this great write up by Zasep Tulku Rinpoche. Zasep Rinpoche explained is similar to Rinpoche always explain to us that important of having a Guru and understand the linage. Somehow I always have this in mind when people approached me to join their center to learn dharma. I asked them where is the Guru learn from? Where is the teaching come from? All the “Why”, “How”. If they could not answer my question then this is not the place that I would seek for my spiritual practice.

    This guideline is a very good topic for us to speak confidently to convey the right message and spread the dharma to people that are seeking spiritual path.

    Thank you so much.

    Much Care,
    Victor Choi

  9. Dense Kuek on Dec 27, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Thanks Rinpoche for sharing this with us. From this I understand it is neccessary to have a Guru for your spiritual practice. We should understand the lineage of the Rinpoche and contemplate the behave of the Rinpoche before we take refuge, once we take refuge from a particular guru, we should not doubt or criticize any indication from our Guru to us, we must have strong confidence from our Guru and practice what we have committed.

  10. Soon Huat on Dec 26, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this great article to us. It showed again Guru Devotion is important if we are seriously want to practice Dharma in this optimum human life time. Shopping around for perfect ideal Guru will only create confusion and tangled ourselves. Once we recognize a Guru by his teaching and practice, we should follow all the way without doubts (do not hold back by secular excuse which sometimes are not even reasons of holding back at all as they are merely attachment). We should respect other lineage and practice too as it is important not to break other person practice which will create serious sin and negative karma.

  11. Jacinta Goh on Dec 25, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    Just had a discussion with Pastor Han Nee and fellow Dharma brothers and sisters on this topic for the upcoming blogchat session. This is a very direct topic, which touches upon the thinking of Rinpoche has upon His students, the practices, the lineages and basically all the information we needed know to become a good practitioner(in this day and age). This article also serves as an endorsement to support what Rinpoche has expounded all these years. This clearly shows that Rinpoche has always used His methods skilfully to guide the students. From our side, perhaps we need to work harder to reduce the thick layers of obscurations that we have so that we will always see the good qualities of the Teacher and not otherwise.

    A book is being recommended during the discussion, entitled ‘ Dangerous Friend’. This book touches upon the Teacher-Student relationship. For those who are seriously seeking this irreversible and crucial relationship,this is a good book suggested by seniors.

    And as for myself, hopefully from time to time I am able to read and practice these guidelines laid down by Venerable Acharya Kyabje Zasep Tulku Rinpoche.

  12. Pastor Henry Ooi on Dec 14, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    Indeed this is an excellent article for us,the students to read, comprehend and put into practice. The advice and teaching stated here are so similar to what Tsem Rinpoche has been and is still advising us.

  13. Prixie @MBF on Dec 14, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    Dear Rinpoche,

    Thank you for sharing these guidelines. This is indeed a very helpful guidelines to all Dharma students on how can we keep our devotions to our Guru.

    Understanding life and death is what pushed me to grow in my Dharma practice. And I am so fortunate to have met Rinpoche in this lifetime.

    May Rinpoche live long to continue to turn the wheel of Dharma.

  14. ron wong on Dec 13, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    This is a wonderful article, an excellent read for beginner practitioners & even those already embark on their spiritual journeys. Zasep Tulku Rinpoche speak with great understanding & some what tolerance to the modern days practitioners. These guidelines are very relevant & suited to us, at the same time keeping all the essence of the Buudha’s teaching & practices 2500 years ago. In these degenerating age, there are much misunderstood about what spirituality is all about. Zasep Tulku Rinpoche has certainly highlighted some of the most important aspects such as the role & finding a spiritual guide, what spirituality is all about & the correct way of spiritual practice from the student side. I hope many will read this article, get inspired & find the inner peace in the wonderful journey of spiritual discovery.

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this article. Spirituality is not about achieving, it is about practicing, experiencing & a journey of discovery what is already within us. Hence, a guide is essential.

  15. Jill Yam on Dec 13, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for this wonderful sharing. The guidelines are very similar to the ones given by Rinpoche to all his students as well.
    I am very fortunate to have met a perfect Guru like Rinpoche and to follow the same path and lineage of Rinpoche.
    May Rinpoche continue to turn the wheel of Dharma to benefit all sentient beings.

  16. [email protected] on Dec 11, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    Dear Rinpoche,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and the guidelines for Dharma students. I found one of the examples shared in the write-up very true to all. Why is it that we can choose to eat healthy food and exercise regularly to keep bodies healthy, but not the same when it comes to Dharma practice? I think we all should recognise that we do have a choice when it comes to Dharma practice, it should not be something we think about doing only when we have the time or when we meet with something difficult in life needing Dharma to solve our problems. I believe many of us (myself included) can relate to excuses we come up with whenever we are caught up with our secular work, finding no time for Dharma. I hope all who have read the write-up have something to take away and have their questions answered.

    Thank you Rinpoche once again. May you live long and spread the Dharma always.

  17. Stella on Dec 11, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    Thank You Rinpoche for sharing the “excellent guidelines for students” by Zasep Tulku Rinpoche. It goes to show that as long as the teachings are from proper lineage, it will be similar, as these guidelines resemblance the ones that were taught in Kechara. The preciousness of the lineage is in the continuation of dharma practices through Guru Devotion, do the practice just as how the Guru does it so that we do not go off the track and to ensure the practice becomes solid. It is also important to be persistence when faced with spiritual crisis as our state of mind could weakened in the face of challenges.

    It is spiritually uplifting to read Zasep Tulku Rinpoche’s biography as both Zasep Tulku Rinpoche and H.E. Tsem Rinpoche are exemplary examples of guru devotion. They have been demonstrating sheer determination in spreading and teaching dharma to benefit others. I sincerely hope that we can all learn (the good points) from Zasep Tulku Rinpoche’s students in Canada and USA to grow Kechara in this region.

    • Stella on Dec 30, 2014 at 9:03 pm

      After reading this blog post again, the completeness of guidelines for student written by Ven. Acharya Kyabje Zasep Rinpoche is galvanizing. It is a check list for everyone who are serious in practicing dharma and Tibetan Buddhism.

      A couple of points that stood out to me are “The Preciousness of Dharma Traditions and Lineage” and “Non sectarianism and Non-confusion”. No doubt from the subject title, they seemed contradicting, but the explanatory is detailed and make clear any doubts from new and potential practitioners. Ven. Acharya Kyabje Zasep Rinpoche clearly mentioned that “unless you are an advanced practitioner, you should not mix different traditions, lineages and teachings because you do not know how to make sense of them in a deeply meaningful way”.

      Also, he spelled out the importance to organize our Dharma Practice and emphasized that it is our responsibility to do so and that our life is very short not to practice dharma. Therefore, in a nutshell, in order to progress spiritually, we need to be consistent to practice what our Lama taught us with a single-track mind instead of mixing the practice, especially in the face of spiritual crisis.

      Thank You Rinpoche for sharing this profound Dharma teaching with us. It spurred me to watch the DVDs on “Gurus for Hire and Enlightenment for Sales” again. Not only did I enhance what I ready knew, I have also learn new teachings from watching the DVDs.

  18. Jun Wen on Dec 10, 2014 at 11:37 am

    Dear Rinpoche,
    Thank you for sharing and constantly reminding us to get our dharma basic right as well as to practice with consistency.
    We should not let our labels separate us where we should respect each other and their right to chose their beliefs.
    Please take care and I hope Rinpoche is well and happy.
    Jun Wen

  19. Lum Kok Luen on Dec 10, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Thank you very much Rinpoche. This is a VERY, VERY VERY useful guide for all of us. It certainly reinforces further all your teachings on Guru devotion and what all practitioners need to do to further our spiritual journey and in our Dharma work.

    With much love.

  20. Elsie Toy on Dec 8, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    Dear Rinpoche Thank you very much to take time to prepare this for us.
    It serves as a remider for me to keep a teacher student relationship.
    To continue and practise as instructed. To respect and do not mix dharma and politcs or waste time on politics. I m fortunate to meet dharma this life and and able to practuse it. Whatmore important is to meet with a Guru is rare. We at MBF pray that you live long.

    Thank you Rinpoche._/|\_

  21. Julia Tan on Dec 8, 2014 at 1:25 am

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing the great article about Zasep Rinpoche. Reading the great Zasep Rinpoche’s story, is like receiving a teaching by itself and it reminded me what Rinpoche had taught us and always advices us to do Dharma work, study, retreat and practice. So many meditation centers have been built at that time in Canada. from raising fund, building and running all the Dharma center are the Dharma work Zasep Rinpoche gave to his students. Their Presidents meeting reminded me of Kechara’s BOD meeting. All these high lamas are just so incredibly intelligent for example Zasep Rinpoche started studying and receiving initiations in the age of 5.

    For all the Rinpoches, the purpose and mission of their lives is only one which to teach Dharma. Because of that they stayed focus and learned up as much as possible, as fast as possible in order to teach as much as possible. They never stop their journey nor wasting their time being sorrow for the difficulties they faced. Truly inspiring.

    We are extremely blessed to be part of this lineage through the kindness of our guru, Tsem Rinpoche..

  22. Alice Tay on Dec 7, 2014 at 9:15 am

    感谢Rinpoche 用心的分享。

    Rinpoche 时常都提醒我们 ~ 没有一位上师是我们的敌人。但是因为我们的业力而造成我们没有能力去接受上师的传法。我们的业障、自我、我执与嗔,其实才是我们真正的敌人。除此,Milarepa也曾经言说:“如果你觉得邪灵会伤害你,它们就会,因为你想象它们是真的; 否则是没有邪灵的存在。” 这一些在告诉我们,一切苦恼是源自于自己。

    根据Kyabje Zasep Rinpoche, 以前西藏人常说:“一位上师就好像火一样,如果太靠近,你会被烧伤;但如果太远,你感觉不到它的热度”。这反映着依止上师的重要性。除非我们是资深的修行者,要不然我们不应该掺杂不一样的传承与教诲。因为资历尚浅的我们还不能参透深奥的道理。

    虽然我们是不鼓励没有经过上师的应许,去学习其他派系的传承与教诲。不过,我们上师Rinpoche 和Zasep Rinpoche 有个共同点,那就是鼓励学生们尊敬其他佛教/藏传佛教的派系与传承。因为很多高僧,就算是Zasep Rinpoche 自己本身也有学习Theravadin 佛法。

    个人非常赞同Zasep Rinpoche 所说的:“我只是有兴趣于控制自己的心识/思想以便我可以成为一个很好的传达媒介跟着佛陀的路径。因此,如果要达到此目标,我们本身要负责自己的修行,没人可以帮到我们。我们的上师是会教导与带引我们。但到最后,我们必须要有转变的心态。根据Tathagatagharba佛法开示,我们每个人都有佛性。我们都会成佛的一天,不过如果没有修行,是达不到证悟的。因此纯净的三昧耶以及自身的修行是不能缺一的。

    最后,要强调的是 ~ 你今天应该学习佛法,即使你明天将要面临死亡。(Sakya Pandita) 。不要再等了,一起学习佛法,改变一切,改变将来。

    • Alice Tay on Feb 13, 2015 at 11:45 pm

      请容许在此补充第二段:
      有一些学生不敢太靠近上师,因为他们害怕上师会挑出他们连自己本身也不能接受与面对的毛病。相反的,有一些学生却非常喜欢发问问题。无论怎样的学生,慈悲的上师是有教无类。这只在乎于那个学生对上师的信任和忠诚有多深。

      如果我们真正要在修行这方面得到成就,我们一定要皈依三宝以及依止上师。因为,有上师的教诲与帮助,我们会更快达到证悟与得到解脱。

  23. Annie on Dec 6, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this guideline for students, especially the new students. I am so blessed to be your student. The spiritual gurus come in all sizes and shapes. There are some who are really genuine and enlightened and some who are false and mischievous. It is not easy to distinguish one from another by their teachings or their appearance because outwardly they follow the same traditions and speak more or less the same language. With some training and preparation, it is not difficult for an intellectually active person to pass himself or herself as a spiritual master. Therefore people ought to be careful in selecting their spiritual mentors. Choosing a wrong guru can seriously diminish one’s chances of salvation. Having trust in Buddha is always helpful, but taking certain precautions about one’s own spiritual life is prudence, especially in a world where truth is not what it seems to be. Spiritual journey is far more risky and arduous than crossing the Himalayas. Much depends upon whom we select as our guru and what is our equation with him or her. There is no apparent advantage in going to a capable guru if he or she is too busy to pay you any attention. We should know what to look for and what to avoid in selecting our spiritual guru, using the faculties of reason and common sense and keeping our emotions and our sense of dependence under control.

    A guru should be chosen with caution, just as we would select a lawyer, doctor or tax consultant. In case of a guru we may have to be even more careful because of the consequences and their lasting effect. A fake doctor may endanger our life or health, but a pretentious guru will delay your salvation for many lives to come. Many lives are wasted by fake gurus, playing upon others’ religious sentiments and misleading them into total submission. Imagine spending our whole life with a spiritual master only to realize in the end that all the while we were chasing a mirage! Many who surrender to the whims of false gurus are destroyed forever. Some persist on the path even after they come to know about them. They refuse to acknowledge truth even after seeing inconsistencies and disturbing signs in the conduct of their masters. As if propelled by fate, they willingly follow a perilous path that culminates in their self-destruction.

    I must have good karma that I’ll be able to connect with my guru Tsem Tulku Rinpoche! Dear Rinpoche, thank you so much for everything.

  24. joshua sim on Dec 6, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Dear Rinpoche,
    Firstly, thank you very much for taking the time to write long article like this. I believe many of those who have read any of your articles in this blog will benefit if not immediate, will be in future. We read and register it in our mind, even if some may feel that they cannot apply the teaching yet. Anyone who have read it will get the benefits as there are answers everywhere in this blog. A good and general guidelines for all level of Buddhists in our tradition, i believe many will find answers to their questions and doubts if they are looking for one.

  25. Charlie Kok on Dec 6, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    Dear Rinpoche,

    Thank you very much for the constance reminder of Guru Devotion.

    It is important understand the traditional Guru-disciple relationship whose lineages, lamas and teaching goes back 2600 years to Buddha
    We must devot a strong faith that we are connected to a real enlightened Being. By invoking the same qualities of this enlighten Being, we are similarly invoking the same Being within us, because all of us have the same seed of Buddha nature, which is latent or dormant but needs to culture it.

    I am also inspired that Buddha’s teaching is a way of life rather than as a faith or just religion. When we practice Dharma correctly, over time we should exhibits the qualities of generosity, compassion, forgiveness and less miserly. When we submit to our Guru, Lama Tsongkhapa, over time we will find our inner Guru.

    In our spiritual journey, it is crucial we must have a Spiritual Guide or Guru, who will mentor, care for us without agenda, conditions and committed to do whatever to guides us to full enlightement. For the student aspiring to be enlighten, we need a teacher with experience to explain, guide us along the path of spirituality

    In order for us to see the Buddha, we need the teacher’s blessing, practice, instructions, study the Dharma, and eventually change our lives, on our journey to enlightenment.

    Humbly, charlie kok

  26. Quek Soon Lee on Dec 6, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Dear Rinpoche,
    Thanks for sharing of so many info and pictures on Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche and his useful and practical guideline for student.

    Importance on Guru devotion had been emphasized many times. And i believed its important because having Guru devotion will sets our mind on a steady mode for our quest on spirituality and it inculcates important values on us as well “eg. gratitude, cares for others, being loyal” and many many more spiritual values.

    Zasep Tulku Rinpoche’s guideline for student is “direct” for those who wish to pursue Dharma. I believed he wrote the guideline out of concern for his student or student-to-be. Apart from introducing them on the lineage and informing them what is expected of them, he also did some planning for them on their spiritual path. As we can see, he’s cares starts even before he meet his students.

    Rinpoche is also exhibiting this care for his student and people who had come across this blog. This cares stems from genuine intention to teach Dharma to us. For me, I felt very fortunate to be able to come across this blog to read and hear Rinpoche’s teaching.

    Thanks very much Rinpoche.

    May you live a happy and long life and continue to turn the wheel of Dharma.

    • Oya on Dec 27, 2014 at 9:20 am

      Very beautiful as you write “His care starts even before He meets his students”

  27. Kelvin on Dec 6, 2014 at 11:10 am

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this article and the guidelines were very helpful in our dharma work which also applies to our secular life. The article have answered my questions i had in the past and i’m clearer now.

    I am indeed very fortunate to meet you Rinpoche.

    May you live long to continue to spread the dharma for all sentient beings.

  28. [email protected] on Dec 5, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for posting this article.

    I’m extremely grateful & thankful to have you as my Guru & me being your humble student. _/|\_

    From your teachings I had found my questions answered.
    & from your teachings, I read, understood & contemplated, going vegetarian full time since few years back and had been instilling that in others either via social media or people I meet on daily basis, even family.

    & I have learnt that external wealth, habituations, factors will bring no permanent happiness. Only Dharma does.

    You are truly inspiring.
    I , dad , Kecharians, all at MBF & followers will continue praying for our Guru’s long life.

    Om Ah Guru Kirti Daza Shazen Dara Kyandi Siddhi Hung Hung

    Proud to be your student always.

  29. Mike on Dec 5, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    Dear Rinpoche,

    Thank you for sharing Guidelines for Students. What I have learnt from this is that it is important for teachings to have a lineage and to have trust, devotion and loyalty in our teacher. A few additional guidelines which stood out for me is that we should be grateful for having received the precious dharma teachings. Also, we should keep up our practices whether or not the teacher is around us. And lastly, we should not waste time and put the teachings into practice daily.

  30. Shelly Tai on Dec 5, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this guidelines is really fortunate to know the Dharma and to be able to practice it I will keep that in mind continue the practice. I think no better thing than knowing the Dhrama and be able to meet a perfect guru.

  31. Graceleong on Dec 5, 2014 at 1:14 am

    Dear Rinpoche. Thank you for reminding me on the guidelines I should follow in my Dharma practice if I am really serious on achieving something precious in this life before it ends. The instructions given by Zasep Tulku Rinpoche is very similar to that which Rinpoche has given to all of us. All the High Lamas think alike and have so much drive in finding methods for their students to gain from Dharma. For this I will be eternally grateful!
    May all High Lamas live long in great health to benefit all beings through the Dharma !

  32. Joy on Dec 4, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    Dear Rinpoche,
    Thank you for posting this for us to gain knowledge and appreciation of our very own lineage, the Dharma and most importantly our Guru. These guidelines also makes us reflect on our Dharma motivation and practice. His Eminence Zasep Rinpoche is telling His student the preciousness of Dharma and the shortness of time they have, we have. Hence to take Dharma practice seriously, to reflect and really apply the Dharma and not to waste precious time, not to always be dependent on him, or wait for him, but to do it and seek advice with other seniors around. To me this shows how not attached a real Guruis, and that they will always push their students to learn and to be independent, instead of dependent of the Guru.

    And yes exactly what Sock Wan said, the moment I read these guidelines of Zasep Rinpoche and Rinpoche’s, it’s obvious the advises given are similar. And everything mentioned was shared extensively by Rinpoche in “Gurus For Hire, Enlightenment for Sale” teaching.

    The guideline that stood out for me is the guideline on “Be non-sectarian” and “Don’t mix up dharma with politics” which is exactly what Rinpoche has true to and been telling us since day one. This guideline would indicate to me if I am a “newbie” that this teacher/teaching/religion is genuine and we can trust it because the whole world is about Politics. We already have enough of discrimination and power games in our everyday lives, we do not need it in the one place we seek peace and solace. We really do not need our spiritual path to harbour such poisons and definitely not to have a teacher put in our minds. What kind of compassionate teacher would that be and would we be learning?

    The other part that stood out for me is also the part where His Eminence Zasep Rinpoche got a scolding and a beating from his Guru to clear his obstacles. This proves that, a true Guru who has no agenda, does not care about His own face or reputation. His compassion is so great, He would put himself in the position of possibly being misunderstood by the student just to help the student to overcome their obstacle and finally gain true liberation. This reminds me to appreciate all that Rinpoche has done for me to clear my obstacle. Thank you Rinpoche. These guidelines are definitely something we can all refer back from time to time so that we remember why we are here in the first place. Thank you Rinpoce!

  33. KH Ng on Dec 4, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    Dear Rinpoche,

    Thank You for the posting of this Excellent Guidelines for Student and I take this as a remainder for practicing the Dharma in the correct way as always instructed by Rinpoche. This guideline also serve as a sort or realization for me that the guidelines given to Kecharians as not dissimilar to that of the one given by Zasep Rinpoche for his students. Also in the biography of Zasep Rinpoche I am reminder of the fact the the Dharma can be adapted to suite the time, place and the disciples’ education and background so much so that a new lineage manifest.

    Thanks again Rinpoche and I will take this as your personal advise.

    May Rinpoche be well always and may all wishes be fulfilled for sentient beings.

    With Folded hands.

  34. sockwan on Dec 4, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this article with us. Rinpoche’s book “Guru for Hire, Enlightenment for Sales” has clearly explained to us what a guru-student relationship is and how we should behave as a Buddhist practitioner. This article resonates what is written in the book, what Rinpoche has been teaching us all this while is not something Rinpoche created. It is the basis for all serious Dharma practitioners.

    The story about how Zasep Rinpoche’s guru treated him is particularly interesting “One evening Zasep Tulku was very tired and as he was meditating in front of Geshe, he started to drop off to sleep. Geshe picked up the small mud butter lamp, his daily offering to the Triple Gem, and threw it at Zasep Tulku. The lamp hit his head and broke into many pieces. Zasep Tulku wrapped his upper robe around his injured head to stop the blood. Seeing this, Geshe beat him and kicked him out of the house. Zasep Tulku had great devotion to his teacher and took his teacher’s harsh treatment as a blessing and initiation. Early the next morning he went to Geshe’s house and made prostrations before him. Geshe laughed for minutes, then patted Zasep Tulku on the head and gave him his old mala (rosary) as a blessing. That whole day Zasep Tulku was especially happy; his meditations were good and he realized that his teacher had helped him to quickly purify much bad karma.” Our guru sometimes will act in a way that at our level we will not be able to understand. But we have must faith in our guru that anything he does is for our benefit. In this case, Zasep Rinpoche’s guru was purifying his bad karma by beating him. Because Zasep Rinpoche had faith in his guru, he did not get angry but appreciated what his guru did to him. As a result, Zasep Rinpoche progressed further in his practice.

    It is very rare for people to meet and practice Dharma. Even rarer to find a very qualified guru. I must have done something quite right in my previous lives to meet my guru Tsem Rinpoche again this life. To make sure I will meet my guru again in my future lives, following and be devoted to my guru is very very important.

    Thank you Rinpoche for everything.

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Blog Chat

BLOG CHAT

Dear blog friends,

I’ve created this section for all of you to share your opinions, thoughts and feelings about whatever interests you.

Everyone has a different perspective, so this section is for you.

Tsem Rinpoche


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Give the room a chance to answer you. Patience is a virtue. And if after awhile, people don't respond, perhaps they don't know the answer or they did not see your question. Do ask again or address someone directly. Do not be offended if people do not or are unable to respond to you.

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

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

    Jason

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Han Nee for this article.

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

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

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

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

Tsem Rinpoche

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The Unknown

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

Photos On The Go

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

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Please click on the images to watch video
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    Japan's greatest modern day artist, Yayoi Kusama

ASK A PASTOR


Ask the Pastors

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

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

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

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