Inspiring Nuns and female practitioners

Jul 13, 2016 | Views: 841
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Growing up, there were many women who showed me real loving kindness… From Kuan Mama who showered me with so much care and love when it was scarce in my abused foster home… to Anila Thupten Chonyid (Carmen Kichikov) who sponsored me when I was financially having difficulties in the monastery. I always felt that women are great practitioners in so many ways, especially in the field of care, nurture and kindness. Their ability to sacrifice themselves for others, and level of empathy and EQ is generally perhaps higher making them more compassionate and sensitive to the people around them. Mother Teresa and Au Sung Suu Kyi are great examples of women who embody these qualities.

In Buddhism, both men and women have the same potential to achieve enlightenment. The very name of our Buddhist organization, Kechara, is the name of the heavenly abode of Vajrayogini.

Vajrayogini represents complete Buddhahood in the female form. The practice of Vajrayogini is only for the very fortunate and if practiced correctly can lead to Buddhahood in this very lifetime. It was widely known that She was the secret practice of Lama Tsongkapa himself, and lineage lamas such as Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche heavily promoted Vajrayogini and Her practice.

In Tibet, there are many nunneries where there are hundreds of nuns doing powerful and serious practices. Nunneries like the Gebchak Nunnery which was founded in 1892. Many great Buddhist masters praise Gebchak Gonpa as being unrivaled in their spiritual training… and the nuns are famed for their accomplishments in profound yogas and meditation.

Last year, I received a few requests from my female students that they wish to don on the robes and take on nun vows. I was very happy to receive these requests, and rejoice for them. They have clearly realized some form of renunciation by making these requests.

I have previously blogged about a few amazing nuns because I felt very moved after reading their biography, and I wanted to share their story with my students. This time, I thought I’d compiled a list of all these amazing, beautiful nuns, who have dedicated a good part of their lives for the Dharma. Do read their brief biographies. I wish everyone great spiritual growth.

Tsem Rinpoche

 


 

Jakucho Setouchi

Birth Name: Harumi Setouchi

Harumi Setouchi (Harumi was her name before she became a nun) at age 20 in 1942.

Harumi Setouchi (Harumi was her name before she became a nun) at age 20 in 1942.

Jakucho Setouchi (1922–) , formerly Harumi Setouchi, has earned numerous literary accolades, including the Japan’s top literary awards, the Junichiro Tanizaki Prize. She also received the prestigious Order of Culture awarded by Emperor Akihito in 2006. The Order of Culture recognised not only her novels but also her broad cultural contributions such as translating into modern Japanese the 11th century love story, “The Tale of Genji,” Japan’s, and some say the world’s, first novel.

Setouchi might be said to be royalty of a sort herself: the nation’s teacher, its conscience, one of its harshest critics. She first found notoriety in the 1950s when she left her family for a romance with one of her husband’s students and began her controversial career as a novelist. She’s lived several lives since then; perhaps the greatest transition came in 1973 when she took Buddhist vows and received the name ‘Jakucho’, which means ‘silent, lonely listening’.

Setouchi meditates while sitting on relief goods for Iraq piled in a warehouse of the Red Crescent Society in Amman, Jordan in April 1991.

Today she is known for her vigorous opposition to the death penalty, for journeying to Iraq after the first Gulf War to distribute medicine, and for purchasing newspaper space to condemn its disastrous sequel. In May 2012, her distraught assistants watched her stage an outdoor hunger strike in the blazing summer sun. She was starving herself in protest at the reopening of Japan’s nuclear facilities following the Fukushima crisis, which she likened to the atom bomb attacks during the Second World War.

Setouchi is an anti-war activist and one of the country’s best-known religious figures. Thousands attend her sermons, and some people become so emotional that, putting aside traditional Japanese reserve, they publicly sob. She is so popular as a preacher that fans enter a lottery to attend events at a hall built on her land, while up to 15,000 gather to see her speak at another temple in Iwate in northern Japan.

 

Chishō Takaoka

Birth Name: Tatsuko Takaoka

A popular model featured on postcards and became known internationally as the “Nine Fingered Geisha”, Tatsuko Takaoka was born in Osaka in 1896. At the age of 13 she was sold and started training as a maiko (a trainee geisha). It was during these years that she taught herself to read and write. Later, she moved to Tokyo and worked at Seika, which was considered East Japan’s most prestigious geisha house. She took the name Teruha, which means “Shining Leaf”.

At the age of 23, Teruha married a stock broker and travelled to New York to live. She studied dancing in New York for a few years, later on stayed in London and Paris for a period of time. After returning to Japan, Teruha concentrated her efforts into teaching dancing to other geishas. She also worked as an actress (starred in the film Ai no tobira), a model and even ran a bar in Osaka.

Teruha, when she still a trainee geisha named CHIYOHA. She was the most popular maiko during her time and her image was used on many postcards which are still available today.

Having struggled through a long string of torrid love affairs (including one with a woman), suicide attempts and failed marriages, all from age 13 to 39, she turned to religion for peace and purpose in her life. In 1935 Teruha shave her hair off and enter the famous all-female Shingon temple, Gio-Ji in Sagano/Arashiyama area of Kyoto to dedicate the rest of her life to Buddha. Teruha changed her name to Chishō (clever sunshine), eventually rose to the position of Head Priestess and lived a rather long and religiously active life.

She was well known and loved in the area around Gio-Ji and had no hesitation to speak about her youth. In her time spent at Gio-Ji, she published a book about her life called “Bird Eating Flowers” and also a book in diary form called “The Long Life of a Leaf”. She also contributed serial poetry to Japanese periodicals. After living a rather long, full and interesting life, Teruha/Chishō passed away in 1995 at the age of 99. Her remains rest on the temple grounds that she loved so much. She was also the inspiration behind Jakucho Setouchi’s novel, Nyotoku (女徳).

 

Thubten Changchub Palmo

Birth Name: Zina Rachevsky

The legendary Zina Rachevsky was the earliest Western student and patron of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. She spent much of her early adulthood working as actress and gaining a reputation as an international socialite, and eventually made her way to Dharma.

Zina Rachevsky in her heyday.

Zina’s family was incredibly wealthy to begin with. Her grandfather established SW Straus & Co. that held loans on a string of buildings across the United States that was worth $150 million dollars in those days. She had everything – money, fame, beauty and a string of marriages and relationships but she was deeply unhappy and that triggered her soul-searching. In 1965, Zina went to India where she encountered Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa. Thus began her involvement with Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa with a long line of endless questions. Her thirst for the Dharma was unquenchable and her faith in Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa was equally unwavering all through the years.

Zina would promote her Lamas with whomever she met and even brought a French film crew to film Lawudo cave in Khumbu, Tibet. Lawudo was where Lama Yeshe was born and the cave was the place where Lama Zopa’s previous life meditated in. Zina brought many Western students to study with them, including Max Matthews who would eventually become a key sponsor of the monks and Kopan Monastery. Max Matthews later became ordained as a nun as well. Over time, Zina bought land and founded Nepal Mahayana Gompa Retreat center that eventually became Kopan Monastery in Nepal.

On 31 July 1968 Zina was ordained by Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche at his home, Nowrojee Kotee Villa. She was given the name Thubten Changchub Palmo.

Towards her last years of her life, she entered a long solitary retreat and she passed away during this time, which post-mortem tests showed that she had died of cholera. She was reciting mantras until she died. While Zina was dying, a close student informed Lama Yeshe. He immediately entered into meditation and after awhile, he came out of meditation and told the student that he had performed mind transference (Powa) and sent Zina Rachevsky to Kechara Paradise – Buddha Vajrayogini’s pure realm. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche later confirmed this and Trulshik Rinpoche also said that she had “a good death.”

Read more about Zina Rachevsky here.

Portrait of Lama Yeshe, Zina Rachevsky and Lama Zopa in 1967.

Portrait of Lama Yeshe, Zina Rachevsky and Lama Zopa in 1967.

Zina Rachevsky ordained as Ven. Thubten Palmo.

 

Daehaeng Kun Sunim (대행 큰스님)

Daehaeng Kun Sunim was one of the most respected Buddhist teachers in Korea. She is an author and spent 63 years as a Buddhist nun, contributing to the modernization and popularization of Korean Buddhism throughout the world.

While most Korean Zen masters have traditionally taught only monks and perhaps a few nuns, Daehaeng Kun Sunim was determined to teach spiritual practice in such a way that anyone—regardless of their occupation, gender, or family status—could practice and awaken. With this in mind, in 1972 she established Hanmaum Seon Center of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism in Gyeonggi Province as a place where everyone could come and learn about their true nature and how to live with freedom, dignity, and courage.

Born on January 2, 1927 in Seoul’s Itaewon district, she entered Sangwon Temple in Gangwon Province in 1950 and fully ordained as a nun in 1961, having Sangwon Temple rebuilt in 1963. She later founded the Buddhist Center of Korea, where she served as abbess — this temple was the predecessor to Hanmaum Seonwon. In her lifetime she established fifteen branch temples in Korea alone, and ten worldwide in places like the United States, Thailand and Brazil.

She was awarded the Outstanding Women in Buddhism Award from the United Nations in 2002 and the Sarvodaya Award from the Sri Lankan religious welfare agency in 2001. Daehaeng Kun Sunim is also the teacher of more than 150 sunims (Buddhist monks or nuns), many of whom help maintain the centers and assist people who come to the centers. She has spent over four decades giving Dharma talks to small and large gatherings. Her teachings have been translated from Korean into English, German, Spanish, Russian, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, French, and Vietnamese. At the same time, she was a major force for the advancement of Bhikkunis (nuns), heavily supporting traditional nuns’ colleges, as well as the modern Bhikkuni council of Korea. She passed away in May 2012.

*Kun Sunim is the Korean Buddhist title of respect for a senior nun or monk.

Daehaeng Kun Sunim teaching a group of nuns.

Around 10,000 people attended Daehaeng Kun Sunim’s funeral.

 

Sister Annabel Laity

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Sister Annabel Laity (Chân Đức, True Virtue), was born in England, and studied Classics and Sanskrit before going to India to study and practice with Tibetan nuns. She has been a disciple of Thich Nhat Hanh since 1986, and in 1988, in India, she was the first woman from the West to be ordained by Thich Nhat Hanh as a nun.

Sister Annabel in Hanoi, Vietnam.

She became a Dharma Teacher in 1990, and was Director of Practice at Plum Village for many years. In 1998, she was installed as abbess of Green Mountain Dharma Center and Maple Forest Monastery located in Hartland-Four-Corners, Vermont.

As a much-loved senior Dharma teacher of the Order of Interbeing, she travels widely, leading meditation retreats and giving talks throughout the world. In 2000, she was the first Western nun to teach the Dharma in Thailand. She is now Dean of Practice at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Germany.

The European Institute of Applied Buddhism (EIAB) offers a complete program of training in concrete methods that relieve suffering and promote happiness and peace in ourselves and in the world. The training fully integrates the study of Buddhist texts with concrete applications at all levels of daily life.

 

Venerable Yifa (依法法師)

Venerable Yifa holds a PhD in religious studies from Yale University (1996) and has been an ordained Buddhist nun since 1979. She grew up in the small Taiwanese town of Beigang and attended college as a law student at National Taiwan University in Taipei. At the age of 20, she was introduced to the philosophy and religious ideals of Buddhism and found inspiration to lead a life of service to humanity. During her second year at the university, Yifa received ordination at Fo Guang Shan at Kaohsiung, Taiwan—a seat of Buddhist learning and service.

Recognizing her potential as a leader and an academic, Fo Guang Shan sponsored Yifa’s graduate studies, first at the University of Hawaii, where she received an MA in Philosophy in 1990, and then at Yale. Within Fo Guang Shan, Yifa has served as an administrator of Buddhist universities and centers for the education of monastics, most notably, as Provost of Hsi Lai University in Rosemead, California. Before going back to Taiwan, she was a visiting scholar at University of California at Berkeley and in the fall of 2001, she became a visiting scholar at Harvard University. Venerable Yifa taught Buddhism in the Institute of Philosophical Studies at National Sun Yat-sen University in Taiwan from 1999 to 2001.

Venerable Yifa received awards as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons in Taiwan in 1997 and Outstanding Women in Buddhism Award in 2003. Over the years, Dr. Yifa has been engaged in interfaith dialogue and was supported on some occasions by UNESCO. She was also a contributor to the “Safe Motherhood Project” by the UNICEF South Asia Office.

Venerable Yifa is also an advocate for women’s equality within Buddhism. Her current research focuses on women’s roles in Buddhism and the biographies of Chinese Buddhist women. She is a frequent guest lecturer on diverse subjects, including Chinese Buddhist philosophy, thanatology and ethics.Venerable Yifa has a few books published under her name, including a book on monastic rules and institutions, “The Origin of Buddhist Monastic Codes in China”. Venerable Yifa has also been involved in translating sutras from Mandarin to English. Since 2006, Venerable Yifa and others have published translations of the Heart Sutra, Diamond Sutra, Ksitigarbha Sutra, and Amitabha Sutra.

Presently, she is the founder and Program Director of Woodenfish Project. For the past twelve years, this organisation aims at promoting the understanding of cultures and religions between the East and the West, by bringing the college students and scholars in the West to China to experience monastic life and to learn Chinese culture such as Taichi, calligraphy, tea and Chinese medicine. It has expanded to include programs in Japan, the United States, China, and New Zealand, as well as a sutra translation project.

Ven Yifa and other panel members in a symposium called “Buddhism, Globalization, and Social Change” in Harvard University.

 

Venerable Master Cheng Yen

Birth Name: Wang Chin-yun

Cheng Yen is a Taiwanese Buddhist nun, teacher, and philanthropist. She is often called the “Mother Teresa of Asia.” In 1966, Cheng Yen founded the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation, commonly known as Tzu Chi; its motto is “instructing the rich and saving the poor”. Later, Cheng Yen’s Charity, Medicine, Education, and Culture Missions developed, and to the present the Tzu Chi Foundation has become involved in international disaster relief, bone marrow donation, environmental protection, and community volunteering.

Master Cheng Yen with Muslim religious leaders.

Master Cheng Yen was born Wang Chin-yun on May 14, 1937, in Chingshui, Taiwan. She has engaged in spiritual cultivation for over 40 years. She calls herself “a mere nun” but she works in and for this world with an otherworldly spirit. “Tzu Chi” means “Compassion and relief”, in other words, “compassion in action”. The work of Master Cheng Yen and Tzu Chi revive the centuries-old, original mission of Buddhism under the banner of “Humanistic Buddhism”. To the Master, indulging only in self-cultivation does not make one a true Buddhist. A Buddhist should be compassionate about the world and its people, identify with others’ suffering, and be committed to take actions that ease their pain. (Gary Ho, The Life & Teachings of Venerable Master Cheng Yen)

Master Cheng Yen caring for a patient.

Master Cheng Yen with Christian religious leader.

 

Lama Tsultrim Allione

Birth Name: Joan Rousmanière Ewing

Tsultrim Allione was born in Maine and grew up in New Hampshire as Joan Rousmanière Ewing. From a young age she became interested in Buddhism through her grandmother. She travelled to India and Nepal in 1967 and then returned in 1969 and was shortly thereafter ordained as a Buddhist nun by H.H. Karmapa in Bodhgaya and was given the name Karma Tsultrim Chodron.

Lama Tsultrim Allione, author and international teacher, is the founder and spiritual director of Tara Mandala. In 2009, Lama Tsultrim was selected by an esteemed committee of Buddhist scholars and practitioners to receive the International Outstanding Women in Buddhism Award given in Bangkok, Thailand.

Lama Tsultrim Allione, charismatic Western teacher and bestselling author of “Women of Wisdom” and “Feeding Your Demons,” was recognized and enthroned as an emanation of one of the most beloved female Tibetan saints, the 11th century dakini Machik Labdrön. She balances the commitments for her family and three kids with the passion to bring century old healing practices to the West. Once among the first American women ordained as a nun, she has since given back her vows to raise a family and integrate her spiritual values into a lay practitioner’s life. The radical life change led Lama Tsultrim to question: How exactly did motherhood fit in with Buddhism? When she looked at the life stories of the great saints of her lineage, almost all of them were male, and the few women had either abandoned their children or were celibate nuns.

Tsultrim Allione with Tenzin Palmo.

 

Sister Chan Kong

Birth Name: Cao Ngoc Phuong

Sister Chan Khong was born Cao Ngoc Phuong in 1938 in Ben Tre, Vietnam. She met Thich Nhat Hanh in 1959 and he became her spiritual mentor. After finishing her studies in Paris, she returned to Vietnam and joined Thich Nhat Hanh in founding the Van Hanh University and the School for Youth and Social Service (SYSS). During the war, she organized medical, educational and agricultural facilities in rural Vietnam. The SYSS and its thousands of young peace workers helped to rebuild many villages ravaged by the war. When Thich Nhat Hanh returned to the United States, Chan Khong took over the day to day operations.

On February 5, 1966 Chan Khong was ordained as one of the first six members of the Order of Interbeing and was given the name Chan Khong which means “true emptiness”. The Order of Interbeing was composed of monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen.

From 1969 to 1972 Sister Chan Khong worked with Thich Nhat Hanh in Paris, organizing the Buddhist Peace Delegation which campaigned for peace in Vietnam. Since then she has worked with Thich Nhat Hanh establishing first the Sweet Potato community near Paris, then Plum Village Sangha in 1982. Besides organizing activities in Plum Village, she continued to organize relief work for those in need in Vietnam, coordinating relief food parcels for poor children and medicine for the sick.

In 1988, Sister Chan Khong was ordained as a nun by Thich Nhat Hanh on Vultures Peak, in India.

Sister Chan Khong in Plum Village.

 

Sangye Khandro

Birth Name: Nanci Gay Gustafson

“After many years of preparing the field, it is now time to cultivate the depth and breadth of Tibetan Buddhist studies…We have established Light of Berotsana so that we may help with the task of translation from Tibetan into English while highly accomplished Tibetan lamas remain alive and available to teach in the West.” Sangye Khando

Between 1973 and 1977 Sangye lived and taught at the Nechung Drayang Ling Buddhist Temple in Hawaii, which she helped to establish. Throughout this period, she joined others in bringing many renowned teachers to the Hawaiian Islands. These highly respected and learned lamas included H.H. Düdjom Rinpoche, the Venerable Kalu Rinpoche, and H.H. the 16th Karmapa.

Sangye Khandro with the Dalai Lama.

Sangye became Gyatrül Rinpoche’s primary translator and together they proceeded to establish Buddhist centers in California and Oregon under the auspices of H.H Düdjom Rinpoche. On a yearly basis, Gyatrül Rinpoche and Sangye traveled to Taiwan, where they taught, translated, and raised funds for the creation of the Tashi Chöling Temple in southern Oregon. For the next two decades Sangye acted as translator for many great teachers, among them H.H Düdjom Rinpoche, H.H. Penor Rinpoche, H.H. Khenpo Jigme Phüntsok Rinpoche, Dungsei Thinley Norbu Rinpoche, Kusum Lingpa Rinpoche, Gyatrül Rinpoche, Lama Ganga, Gönpo Tseden Rinpoche, Chagdud Tülku Rinpoche, Ngapa Yeshe Dorje Rinpoche, Khenpo Palden Sherab Rinpoche, Khenpo Namdröl Rinpoche, Yangthang Tülku Rinpoche, and Gyala Padma Namgyal Rinpoche, accompanying them on numerous teaching tours throughout the world.

In 1999, Sangye’s vision came to fruition when she was able to help found Light of Berotsana, a nonprofit organization for translators. Currently, Sangye dedicates her time to Light of Berotsana and the translation of essential texts drawn from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.

 

Venerable Karuna Dharma

Birth Name: Joyce Adele Pettingill

Venerable Karuna Dharma was born Joyce Adele Pettingill in Beloit, Wisconsin. In 1973 she became a Buddhist atthangha sila. In 1975 she spent her weekends at Camp Pendleton as a Buddhist chaplain and in 1976 took full ordination as a Bhikshuni in the Vietnamese Zen tradition.

She met her teacher, Thich Thien-An, and began her studies of Buddhism in 1969. At the same time, she helped Dr. Thien-An establish the International Buddhist Meditation Center, Chua Vietnam in Los Angeles, the first Vietnamese temple in the U.S., and the College of Oriental Studies. Since Dr. Thien-An’s death in 1980 she had been the Abbess of the International Buddhist Meditation Center and was one of its founding members. She oversaw the running of the Center, performed ceremonies, taught, was involved in Interfaith work and InterBuddhist work and had been active in the Interreligious Council of Southern California.

Venerable Karuna Dharma performing prayers.

She was an original founding member of the Buddhist-Catholic Dialogue in Los Angeles and represented the Buddhists in presenting gifts to His Holiness Pope John Paul II on his trip to Los Angeles in 1987. She was a past president of the ‘American Buddhist Congress’, served as vice-president of the ‘Buddhist Sangha Council’ and ‘College of Buddhist Studies’ and was a founding president of ‘Sakyadhita’, the International Association of Buddhist Women.

On Saturday February 22, 2014 at 3:30 am, Ven. Karuna Dharma died with her daughter Chrys at her side. She died in peace, she was 74.

 

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo

Birth Name: Diane Perry

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo was raised in London and whilst in her teens she became a Buddhist. In 1964, at the age of twenty, she decided to go to India to pursue her spiritual path.

There she met her Guru, His Eminence the 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche, a great Drukpa Kagyu lama, and became one of the first Westerners to be ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist nun. She remained with Khamtrul Rinpoche and his community in Himachal Pradesh, northern India, for six years and then he directed her to the Himalayan valley of Lahaul in order to undertake more intensive practice. Tenzin Palmo stayed in a small monastery there for several years, remaining in retreat during the long winter months. Then, seeking more seclusion and better conditions for practice, she found a nearby cave where she remained for another 12 years, the last 3 years in strict retreat. She left India in 1988 and went to stay in Italy where she taught at various Dharma centres.

In February 2008 Tenzin Palmo was given the rare title of Jetsunma, which means Venerable Master, by His Holiness the 12th Gyalwang Drukpa, Head of the Drukpa Kagyu lineage in recognition of her spiritual achievements as a nun and her efforts in promoting the status of female practitioners in Tibetan Buddhism. Tenzin Palmo spends most of the year at Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery and occasionally tours to give teachings and raise funds for the ongoing needs of the DGL nuns and Nunnery.

Outside the cave drying out her soaked possessions after the spring thaw.

One of the first Western women to receive Bhikshuni ordination 1973.

 

Robina Courtin

Robina Courtin (born Melbourne, Australia, 20 December 1944), is a Buddhist nun in the Tibetan Buddhist Gelugpa tradition and lineage of Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. In 1996 she founded Liberation Prison Project, which she ran until 2009.

Ordained since the late 1970s, Ven. Robina has worked full time since then for Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s FPMT. Over the years she has served as editorial director of Wisdom Publications, editor of Mandala Magazine, executive director of Liberation Prison Project, and as a touring teacher of Buddhism. Her life and work with prisoners have been featured in the documentary films Chasing Buddha and Key to Freedom.

Robina Curtin during prom.

Robina Curtin during prom.

 

Dagmola Kusho Sakya

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Dagmola Sakya was the first Tibetan woman ever to immigrate to America. Her full title reads Her Eminence Dag-Yum Kusho Sakya, which denotes her high-ranking status as the wife of one of the most eminent masters in the Sakya tradition, Dagchen Rinpoche. However, in the face of her disarming cheerfulness, friends and students quickly do away with the formality and lovingly call her Dagmola. She is one of the very few senior Tibetan ladies who were born in pre-Communist Tibet, but are now recognized as outstanding teachers and live in America.

A combination of the most unlikely circumstances enabled Dagmola to become one of the first Tibetan women to teach in the West. Born 1936 in a tiny village in East Tibet, she was the only girl allowed to go to school. Instead of complying with the established system of arranged marriages, Dagchen Rinpoche fought for her hand. After barely escaping the Communist prosecution in Tibet with her family, she made a new home in Seattle with her five boys, while holding down a nine-to-five job at a blood bank. Her experience as a working mother of five resonates with many students. When students ask her for advice on how to combine a spiritual path with the stress of modern life, she does not need to put herself in their shoes – she knows the challenges only too well. “Practice is in everyday life, not just sitting on the cushion,” Dagmola says. “Every move, every breath, every thought is practice.”

 

Chagdud Khadro

Birth Name: Jane Tromge

Ani Pachen Dolma “The Warrior Nun”

Chagdud Khadro met His Eminence Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche in March 1978, married him in November 1979, and remained his devoted student for twenty-three years. At the time of her ordination as a lama in 1997, Rinpoche invested her as the future Spiritual Director of Chagdud Gonpa Brasil. Since Rinpoche’s Parinirvana in 2002, she has focused on maintaining the high caliber of Vajrayana training he had established.

Chagdud Khadro has been tireless in upholding his legacy. She has guided the construction of a Zangdog Palri (Guru Rinpoche Pureland), works with translation and publishing of texts in Portuguese and Spanish, helped establish Sítio Esperança, a school and educational project in the state of Minas Gerais, and continued to support spiritual care for the dying and their caregivers. Khadro supervises the activities and teaches in all the Chagdud Gonpa Brasil centers and Chagdud Gonpa Hispanoamérica. She also teaches in Europe, United States and Australia.

 

Ayya Khema

Ayya Khema (August 25, 1923 – November 2, 1997), a Buddhist teacher, was born as Ilse Kussel in Berlin, Germany, to Jewish parents. Khema escaped Nazis persecution during World War II. She eventually moved to the United States. After travelling in Asia she decided to become a Buddhist nun in Sri Lanka in 1979. She was very active in providing opportunities for women to practice Buddhism, founding several centres around the world.

In 1987 she coordinated the first international conference of Buddhist nuns in the history of Buddhism, which resulted in the setting-up of Sakyadhita, a worldwide Buddhist women’s organisation. H.H. the Dalai Lama was the keynote speaker at the conference. In May 1987, as an invited lecturer, she was the first ever Buddhist nun to address the United Nations in New York on the topic of Buddhism and World Peace.

Ayya Khema has written twenty-five books on meditation and the Buddha’s teachings in English and German; her books have been translated into seven languages. In 1988, her book “Being Nobody, Going Nowhere” received the Christmas Humphreys Memorial Award.

 

Ani Pema Chödrön

Birth Name: Deirdre Blomfield-Brown

Pema Chödrön was born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown in 1936, in New York City. Graduated from the University of California at Berkeley, she taught as an elementary school teacher for many years in both New Mexico and California. Pema has two children and three grandchildren. Pema first met her root guru, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, in 1972. Lama Chime encouraged her to work with Rinpoche, and it was with him that she ultimately made her most profound connection, studying with him from 1974 until his death in 1987. At the request of the Karmapa, she received the full bhikshuni ordination in the Chinese lineage of Buddhism in 1981 in Hong Kong.

Ani Pema served as the director of Karma Dzong in Boulder, Colorado until moving in 1984 to rural Cape Breton, Nova Scotia to be the director of Gampo Abbey. The Rinpoche gave her explicit instructions on running Gampo Abbey. The success of her first two books, The Wisdom of No Escape and Start Where You Are, made her something of a celebrity as a woman Buddhist teacher and as a specialist in the mahayana lojong teachings. She and Judy Lief were instructed personally by the Vidyadhara on lojong, “which is why I took off with it,” she explains. Pema has struggled with health problems in the past five years but her condition has improved and she anticipates being well enough to continue teaching programs at Gampo Abbey and in California. She plans for a simplified travel schedule with a predictable itinerary, as well as the opportunity to spend an increased amount of time in solitary retreat under the guidance of Venerable Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche.

Arrival of Gampo Acharya Ani Pema Chödrön for Yarne 2014.

Arrival of Gampo Acharya Ani Pema Chödrön for Yarne 2014.

 

Bhikkhuni Dhammananda

Birth Name: Chatsumarn Kabilsingh

Bhikkhuni Dhammananda came from a prestigious family. Her father was a politician belonging to the Democrat party in Thailand. Later on her mother became the first bhikkhuni (fully ordained female nun) taking her ordination from Sri Lanka. Bhikkhuni Dhammananda did her study in India and Canada and became the first woman in Thailand to have a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies. She had 30 years of teaching experience in one of the top Universities in Bangkok.

Bhikkhuni Dhammananda had a busy and successful life both teaching and running TV dhamma talk show for 7 years. She is well known internationally among Buddhist academics with her involvement in ordination for women and concern for environment. In her private life she was married with three grown sons, and divorced to prepare for her spiritual journey. She left her colourful background to join the Order and became the first fully ordained bhikkhuni in Theravada tradition with the turn of the new millennium. She is one of the prestigious Peace Councilors among other leading Religious leaders of the world including H.H. the Dalai Lama. In 2004 she was awarded outstanding Buddhist women by the UN and 2005 she was nominated for 1000 women for Nobel Peace award.

She sits as a Buddhist committee member to select Niwano Peace Prize. She is editor of Yasodhara, Newsletter for International Buddhist women’s activities from 1984. She runs her own temple, Songdhammakalyani, an hour drive from Bangkok and now is in the process of establishing her own Sangha inspite of the fact that the Thai bhikkhu Sangha has no place for bhikkhuni Sangha. She is a peace-loving person, full of energy and compassionate to help the suffering women in her country. She runs a home of peace and love to help the underprivileged girls and women. She offers her temple as an international center for learning and training primarily for women.

Bhikshuni Karma Lekshe Tsomo and Chatsumarn Kabilsingh (now Bhikkhuni Dhammananda), 1st Sakyadhita International Conference, 1987.

 

Venerable Karma Lekshe Tsomo

Birth Name: Patricia Zenn

Born in Delaware, raised in Hawaii by a “materialistic Dad” and a “Southern Baptist Mom”, Karma Lekshe largely found her connection to spirituality while surfing the waves near Honolulu. Being teased as a teenager is rarely a trigger for life-changing serendipity, unless you’re Karma Lekshe. Prior to ordaining as a Tibetan nun, her last name was “Zenn” and kids used to tease her – “What are you, Zen Buddhist or something?” She didn’t really understand the “insult”, so she went to the library and checked out two books on it that would change her life. Little did those kids know that they were inadvertently sowing the seeds of a revolution in a 2500 year old religion — Buddhism.

A surfing competition led her to Japan, which then took her to India. In between a surfing competition in Japan, Karma Lekshe visited some local monastaries in India to learn more about spirituality. Compelled by the Tibetan culture and spirituality in Dharamsala, she stayed for a year. When money ran out, she sold her guitar back at home and stayed another year. By 1987, she was ready to start her first project, without any money, for eight nuns who had recently walked out of Tibet. Today, with 115 students and many innovative programs, the Jamyang Foundation has revolutionized many cultural paradigms and is seen as a model for emerging initiatives. While on a continuing trip to India, she heard the teachings of Dalai Lama. One thing after another, she was convinced that she wanted to become a nun, and dedicate her life to service, except for one problem: no monastery would accept her, because she was a woman. So, Karma Lekshe started her own nunnery in the Himalayas and sure enough, became a Buddhist nun herself.

Today, decades later, she has drastically altered Buddhism’s view of women. Through her well-researched academic work, Karma Lekshe brings new insights to traditional interpretations of history; sometimes she simply brings stories back to life: Mahaprajapati walked several hundred miles to implore Sakyamuni Buddha for an “order of women mendicants.” On the basis of her work, the Buddha agreed that the spiritual potential of women and men is equal, and he recognized the right of women to wear the garb of a mendicant. As a PhD in comparative philosophy, author of several books, founder of a Himalayan nonprofit, professor at University of San Diego, president of International Association of Buddhist Women, Karma Lekshe is actively involved in interfaith dialogue and grass-root initiatives for empowerment of women.

In the late 80s, she was bit by a poisonous viper that could’ve ended her life. Her arm was paralyzed but she somehow survived. With an iron will and unwavering commitment, Karma Lekshe keeps the revolution going.

Ven. Lekshe Tsomo distributing Healthy Body, Healthy Mind in Bodhgaya, January 2012. Photo by Marlies Bosch

 

Khandro Tsering Chödrön

Khandro Tsering Chödrön, Lhasa 1956.

Khandro was born in the Earth Snake year (1929) into the Aduk Lakar family of Kham Trehor, an ancient family of benefactors who supported many monasteries and teachers in Tibet dating back to the time of Je Tsongkhapa. Khandro became Jamyang Khyentse’s spiritual wife in 1948, at a time when he was in poor health and many of his disciples were urging him to take a consort to prolong his life. For the next eleven years she served as his attendant and devoted companion, receiving countless teachings and transmissions, requesting practices and prayers and putting questions to him in the form of songs, and he would write songs back to her, often in a playful and teasing manner.

According to Dzongsar Ngari Tulku (Tenzin Khedrup Gyatso), on one occasion c.1952, when Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö was opening the sacred place of Khyungchen Paldzong, known locally as Gyalgen Khyungtak, above Dzongsar Monastery, Jamyang Khyentse, Gyarong Khandro, Khandro Tsering Chödrön and Sogyal Rinpoche all left their handprints in the solid rock. Khandro continued to live there for many years after Jamyang Khyentse passed away in 1959, quietly devoting her life to constant prayer in the presence of his reliquary stupa. During this time she read the entire Kangyur and Tengyur. She travelled from Sikkim to Europe and America several times at the request of her nephew Sogyal Rinpoche. On 5th of December 2006, near the beginning of Rigpa’s first three-year retreat, Khandro Tsering Chödrön took residence in Lerab Ling.

Khandro Tsering Chödrön passed away on the 24th day of the 3rd lunar month (26th May 2011) in Lerab Ling. Sogyal Rinpoche and Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche were both present at the moment of her passing where she showed all the signs of attaining the final accomplishment of a great Dzogchen practitioner.

 

Ani Pachen Dolma “The Warrior Nun”

Ani Pachen Dolma was born in 1933, in Gojo, the eastern district of Kham, the only child of a powerful Khampa chieftain of the ruling Pomdha Tsang family, which shared a regional leadership role with nine other families. Her life from the beginning was different from that of other young Tibetan women.

“My father taught me to ride and to shoot,” she says. “I used to race horses when I was a teenager. They didn’t have separate races for girls. I raced my horse against men.”

The people of the Kham region are legendary for their equestrian skills. During festival times in Kham, hundreds of people would gather for days of prayer and play—dancing, sharpshooting and trick riding. Among Tibetans the Khampas have a reputation for being tough, fearless, and maybe a bit wild. When I ask Ani Pachen if she ever had a wild streak, her response is to punch me hard in the arm and laugh. Her eyes are bright and her gaze is deep and direct.

“I raced my horse against men,” she reminds me.

“When I was young I really wanted a religious life,” she remembers, “but my family wanted me to marry.” She fled her home when her family tried to arrange a marriage, and returned only when the family relented. Dividing her time between household activities and studies at the monastery of Gyalsay Rinpoche, she devoted herself to meditation practice and Buddhist studies.

But if Ani Pachen had managed to avoid marriage, she still bore responsibility as her family’s only child. Her father requested that she return from the monastery to train to become his heir as chieftain. If she was not to be a wife, she would be a warrior.

– Ani Pachen, Warrior Nun of Tibet, Gayle Hanson, Shambhala Sun, September 2000.

For two years, she lived in the hills with other leaders and their people (she was the only female leader), ambushing Chinese convoys and destroying their camps. Her father died at the time the Chinese invaded eastern Tibet and though she was in training to be a nun, she was compelled to take over for him and lead her people in resistance against the Chinese.

The freedom fighters were gradually defeated, and in 1960 she was captured by Chinese soldiers while attempting to flee on foot over the Himalayas with her mother, aunt, and aged grandmother. She was imprisoned, and spent the next 21 years in a series of Chinese prisons in eastern and central Tibet. In the early years of her imprisonment, she was the only woman held with hundreds of men. Later she was transferred to prisons with other women, and ultimately incarcerated at the dreaded Drapchi Prison in Lhasa. She endured extreme conditions and continuing torture, and during those years learned that her mother, aunt and grandmother had died from starvation. She credits her spiritual training, and her desire to meet with The Dalai Lama, with giving her the strength to survive. She died of heart failure at her home in Dharamsala, India, on February 2, 2002. She was sixty-nine years old.

 

Zenkei Blanche Hartman

Blanche Hartman was born in Birmingham, Alabama to non-practicing Jewish parents in 1926. Educated in the Catholic school system in the early 1930s—and impressed with the religiosity and faith of one teacher—in 1943 she moved to California, where her father served in the military.

After taking up biochemistry and chemistry at the University of California she married Lou Hartman in 1947, giving birth to four children, one of them being Nina Hartley, a porn actress. In the late 1950s she found work as a chemist, though by 1968 she began questioning the direction of her life. She and her husband began sitting zazen regularly at the Berkeley Zen Center in Berkeley with Sojun Mel Weitsman, California in 1969, and in 1972 the two entered Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. The couple lived at all of the other San Francisco Zen Center sites, including City Center and Green Gulch Farm.

Zenkei has lived and trained at all three of SFZC’s practice centers. She has led retreats for women at both SFZC and in Japan, She is a member of the American Zen Teachers Association (AZTA) and sits on the Board of World Religious Leaders for the Elijah Interfaith Institute. She currently resides at City Center, where she serves as a Senior Dharma Teacher.

 

Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche

“If being a woman is an inspiration, use it. If it is an obstacle, try not to be bothered by it.” — Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche

Her Eminence Mindrolling Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche’s position in the Buddhist world is entirely unique. She is one of the very few fully trained female Rinpoches in the Tibetan tradition. Born in 1968 as the eldest daughter of the late Kyabjé Mindrolling Trichen Gyurme Künzang Wangyal, the 11th throne holder of the renowned Mindrolling lineage, one of the six main Nyingma lineages of Tibetan Buddhism, Khandro Rinpoche, her younger sister and her mother were the only women growing up among 400 monks at her father’s monastery in India.

The Mindrolling lineage is one of the rare Tibetan traditions that do not distinguish between male and female heirs. Now one of the most influential and vibrant women teachers, Khandro Rinpoche jet sets tirelessly between her late father’s monastery and her own two nunneries in India, her American headquarters Lotus Garden in the Shenandoah Mountains in Virginia, and an ever-increasing number of Buddhist communities who are keen to benefit from her sharp acumen. In addition to receiving the traditional training usually reserved for male teachers, she also studied journalism, business management, homeopathy and sciences. With her unparalleled upbringing and training, she has built a reputation as an uncompromising, sharp-witted and unconventional teacher who is never afraid to “rock the boat” as she continues to question the responsibility and role of women in the Buddhist society.

Though Khandro Rinpoche downplays her own significance, her influence both in the East and West can hardly be overstated. Educating and empowering women is at the core of her work. In this book, she opens up about her upbringing, her family and her vision: “Maybe I can be a medium through which more women become confident, dynamic leaders.”

 

Ani Lama Sherab Zangmo

Ani Lama Sherab Zangmo was a resident nun and meditation teacher at Gebchak Gonpa. Often referred to as “The Great Yogini of Gebchak Gonpa”, Sherab Zangmo was famed among the lamas in Eastern Tibet for her high realization. She passed away in the autumn of 2008 with many signs of an accomplished practitioner. She spent 70 years in unbroken meditation practice since first coming to Gebchak Gonpa when she was 16 years old. She was the last remaining from the earliest generation of nuns at Gebchak Gonpa, and was integral in rebuilding the Nunnery in the late 1980′s and in the revival of its unique system of Buddhist practice for women. Sherab Zangmo was extraordinary in many ways: for the spontaneous enlightenment she gained through devotion to her guru, Tsang-yang Gyamtso; the profound simplicity of her teachings; and her flexibility in the face of challenging conditions.

Sherab Zangmo guided the younger nuns of Gebchak Gonpa in their practice right up until the moment of her passing. As she neared the moment of her death she laughed as she encouraged the nuns, and narrated the clear visions of buddhas that were appearing before her. Lama Sherab Zangmo’s repeated teaching was this: “Knowing one thing, everything is liberated” – by knowing the mind through practice, everything is liberated.

 

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30 Responses to Inspiring Nuns and female practitioners

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  1. Wan Wai Meng on Nov 20, 2016 at 2:23 am

    “If being a woman is an inspiration, use it. If it is an obstacle, try not to be bothered by it.” — Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche

    This to me sums up the courage and tenacity of all the great nuns of our time.

    Women on this day makes up close to 50% of the world’s population to see them thrive as dharma practitioners, is truly a sight to behold.

  2. Sharon Ong on Aug 13, 2016 at 10:50 pm

    The human body is a mere vessel for one lifetime. Our gender does not limit our spiritual potential and the success of one’s spiritual path is through Guru Devotion, commitment, hard work and perseverance. Being a woman doesn’t make it easy to achieve many things but it is not impossible as seen in the life deeds of these nuns. By achieving the seemingly impossible, these nuns give us hope and inspiration to strive on.

    Thank you for this awesome compilation of some of the greatest female Buddist practitioners. This list will be my source of inspiration.

  3. Joy on Aug 13, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    What stood out the most was that these beautiful lovely ladies who went through so much ups and downs in samsara manage to rise above it all and take the road less travelled and decided to transform themselves and in return they transformed the whole world… they became a beacon of light and hope for all sentient beings and it shows, no matter who you are, you can change, you can become great when you/we start focusing out on others. Being in a female form may be harder but it is not impossible! Thank you for a lovely blog topic, it is inspiring.

    What is inspiring is that they did not conform to the typical concept of what society expects out of women… to get married and have kids and raise a family and to see that as true “happiness”… no, that is not true happiness, it is true entrapment! But I guess each to their own… but what is inspiring is that they choose to love more than just themselves and their own “family”, they choose to love the world… and these are qualities of a Boddhisattva… of the awakened one. Hence, conforming to the norm is not always normal.

    I love this Quote teaching, a good reminder… To the Master, indulging only in self-cultivation does not make one a true Buddhist. A Buddhist should be compassionate about the world and its people, identify with others’ suffering, and be committed to take actions that ease their pain. (Gary Ho, The Life & Teachings of Venerable Master Cheng Yen)

    With that I leave here with some inspiring quotes from famous female celebs on what they think about marriage and kids… enjoy 🙂

    quote-when-you-gone-to-get-married-you-need-to-have-some-babies-it-ll-settle-you-i-don-t-want-toni-morrison-43-95-21

    images

    NjcyNDNkNTAzNCMvNjcxS0ViR0dJaFZQVFNNWTBacFNVbWI1cFVjPS8weDY6ODQweDQ3OC84NDB4NDcyL2ZpbHRlcnM6cXVhbGl0eSg3MCkvaHR0cDovL3MzLmFtYXpvbmF3cy5jb20vcG9saWN5bWljLWltYWdlcy91eTVldWFlOHVuMDN2ZXRwZGc4eWd

    OTIyZTc0ZTBhOSMvVllYbnAwWC1NYXk0dGZDNTJHanRGZEtQWDRjPS8weDA6ODQweDQ5Ni84NDB4NDk2L2ZpbHRlcnM6cXVhbGl0eSg3MCkvaHR0cDovL3MzLmFtYXpvbmF3cy5jb20vcG9saWN5bWljLWltYWdlcy9qeXdwMGsyd3JmbXM4ZTFvb3l3a3o

  4. Jill Yam on Aug 13, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Absolutely inspiring to see all of these females who so courageously go out all the way to become what they aspired to be in what seems to be a male spirituality dominant world then and now.

    And the similarities between them and Tsem Rinpoche is that all of them wanted to benefit others by teaching and reaching out to them by building monasteries, retreat centres and relief centers.

    These people are so selfless and it sure is very inspiring.

    Jill Yam

  5. Julia Tan on Aug 13, 2016 at 10:48 am

    After reading many articles from Rinpohce’s blog, knowing that being a woman, wanted to proceed her spiritual life is not easy. So much of challenges to go through, not only in the study and practice itself, they also have to take up special role such as taking care of children, serving their guru cum husband, go to the war for their people, lineage holder, teacher, building monasteries, raising funds and etc.

    Many of them have to fight for women’s right so that they can be equally treated as other male sangha not only at the circular level also at the spiritual level. Also because of that, it became the strong energy for them to live their amazingly, even to help others and liberate the women who too wanted to follow the path. I rejoice and truly inspired by them, because of them i see Vajrayogini and Tara on earth.

  6. Pema Thinley on Aug 13, 2016 at 1:10 am

    It is overwhelming to see and know about all the great Nuns, Rinpoche. How wonderful Buddha’s teachings are and how fortunate We are born in these ages where such great lamas and rinpoches are present. There can be such opportunities. Thank You Rinpoche, it is an immense blessing to me.

  7. Pastor Antoinette on Aug 12, 2016 at 7:46 am

    These nuns have shown a great example to the world. Their kindness and devotion have made a difference in many people’s lives. As a nun we can devote our life fully to our spiritual practise instead of being drawn to worldy things.

    Spiritual practise, retreats and developing our mind does make a difference and benefit others. This compilation of holy nuns is a great inspiration of how to live our life in a beneficial way for others and ourselves.

    Thank You for this inspiring compilation.

  8. Khoo Hou Haw on Aug 12, 2016 at 2:24 am

    Sadly women, including nuns, have faced gender inequality in most of the world’s religions. But the system of nun had existed since Buddha’s time and even Buddha Himself admitted there was no reason a woman cannot be enlightened. These inspiring stories proved that it is one’s actions and sincerity that count, not the gender.

  9. Albert on Aug 12, 2016 at 1:35 am

    In olden days, woman are known to be weak and need to be protected, they are the ones stays at home and take care of children and family, woman are not encouraged to work, but as time goes by, more and more woman step out from a full time housewife to be working and independent lady, and some even proven to be more capable than many man.

    While reading this article, I noticed the differences between these great nuns and the normal people, they got a lot of awards too, they excel in their studies too, but the difference is they used their skill and experience to benefit others while the normal people uses their skills to earn their great fortune to enjoy life. It is inspiring to read about their selfless beneficial work.

    Remember the first nun I get to know is Master Cheng Yen, that time I didn’t know who she is and what is Tsu Chi, it was 14 years ago, when I am doing an exhibition in a mall, I happened to walk pass Tzu Chi booth and they were promoting their work and Master Cheng Yen’s book, after a short chat with them, I ended up buying a book home and find the content written in it very meaningful. Then after that I did a search about the organization and realized that Tzu Chi has done many good deeds around the world, they always organized groups of people to go to the disaster area to help the victims.

    Thank you Rinpoche for gathering so much info about these nuns in this article, besides the list here, I’m sure there are many more nuns who are also done a lot to benefit others, they spent their whole life practicing what the Buddha has taught and influenced so many people to follow their path.

  10. Mingwen on Aug 12, 2016 at 12:23 am

    It’s truly aspiring to know that individuals from different backgrounds and no one has the exception to skip neceasary obstacles just to practice Dharma.

    Some additinal contents that I find it interesting while reading this:

    “Khandro became Jamyang Khyentse’s spiritual wife in 1948, at a time when he was in poor health and many of his disciples were urging him to take a consort to prolong his life.”

    “Mindrolling lineage is one of the rare Tibetan traditions that do not distinguish between male and female heirs.”

  11. Eric kksiow on Aug 11, 2016 at 11:54 pm

    I am happy to see an ordinary peoples to became Monk or Nun, always inspired by all the Monks and Nuns since very young age, they had a very calm and sincere faces, willing to letting go of all their desire in samsara.

    Thank You Rinpoche for sharing all of their ( Nuns ) Bio.
    Eric kksiow

  12. Pastor Chia on Aug 11, 2016 at 11:05 pm

    Is very inspiring article to know about many Bhikkhuni and nuns are doing remarkable work to promote buddha dharma in this century. Over 2000 year fro Buddha Shakyamuni time, bhikkhuni are facing more challenge than the monk to keep out their practice and holding their vows.
    My favour nuns in this article is Master Cheng Yen,which she created Cheng Yen founded the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation, its motto is “instructing the rich and saving the poor”. Master Cheng Yen also did a lot of charity, Medicine, Education, and Culture Missions developed, and to the present the Tzu Chi Foundation has become involved in international disaster relief, bone marrow donation, environmental protection, and community volunteering.

  13. June Kang on Aug 11, 2016 at 10:42 pm

    The first nun I came to know is Venerable Master Cheng Yen. The story on how it led Master Cheng Yen to build a hospital is very inspire. And her answer on the question why save fifty cents everyday into a little bamboo and why cant they give once a week is inspire me also. Master Chen Yen answer is “Because giving is a practice and we need to give every day. If we have a yearning or a positive desire in us, we must nourish it and bring it to fulfilment”. Her answer on this giving is always in my mind.

    I still remember that her book was the one who make me connected back to Buddhism. At that time, I was busy chasing for successful career and money and totally forgotten the Buddhism. And one day I saw her book in bookshop and curious about her. I bought the book and after I read what she was doing I push myself to learn Buddhism again and Practice. And later I am very fortunate to meet my guru H.E.Tsem Rinpoche that guide me in learning and practice of Buddhism.

  14. Pastor Moh Mei on Aug 11, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    Some of the most inspiring nuns for me are Venerable Master Chen Yen, Jetsuma Tenzin Palmo and Thubten Changchub Palmo (Zina Rachevsky). This is partly due to familiarity with their stories.

    In the case of Tenzin Palmo, her quest for perfection, how she described being in solitary retreat…it somehow relates. In Zina Rachevsky case, it touching not how she lived her life but how she died. As for Venerable Master Chen Yen, her accomplishment with Tzu Chi Foundation is unparalleled.

    I have never heard of Jakucho Setouchi before this but her story is inspiring because it paints a very different perspective of what nuns can be – aggressive almost but yet still very much on the spiritual path. Similarly with Robina Courtin who many consider radical.

  15. Jace Chong on Aug 11, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    Thanks Rinpoche and writers for the well compiled article about nun and female practitioners all over the world.

    I didn’t know most of them beside Tenzin Palmo and Venerable Master Cheng Yen, all of them listed here and I believe there are more female nun and practitioners out there contribute a lot to Buddhism and spiritual practices.

    Women practitioners face more challenges due to monastic rules and what society thinks, yet these wonderful women went through all the difficulties. They set shining examples that spiritual practice and be benefits to others are possible regardless gender.

    I salute them and may their great efforts inspire more people to take on the spiritual path and to live a meaningful life.

    Thank you.

  16. nicholas on Aug 11, 2016 at 10:23 pm

    I totally agree that enlightenment does not limit by the gender, any gender as long as they sincerely practiced and follow all the way as thought by their guru or teacher one will definitely able to reach this state of mind. The nuns that listed in this articles have their story and their past doesn’t limit them to make a change to be a great practitioners. In fact it’s a great example for many of us and they also show how female practitioners able to follow the teaching to benefits many people.

    In this modern time we talk about gender equality so to spiritual practice that ultimate happiness does not segregated by gender as long we willing to make an effort to change then we can achieve the ultimate benefit.

  17. Pastor Henry Ooi on Aug 11, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    These nuns and other ordained people who are not mentioned here are really a great inspiration to other women who are contemplating to become nuns. These people gave up their normal lives, of getting married and raising a family. They decided to study and practice spirituality, and focus on serving others. I am sure they had to face obstacles like objection from their family and loved ones; some had to give up their career. Yet they persevered and transformed. It is indeed a noble cause.

  18. pammie yap on Aug 11, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    I really admire and adore the nuns. They are really inspiration to many! All of them either have spiritual inclinations since young, searching for something or left their family to pursue their spiritual path.

    I especially like reading Thubten Changchub Palmo’s story. It gave me goosebumps. Although she had everything, she gave up and became a nun. Not only that, she used her money to do something beneficial which helped so many people come to Dharma. But the part that moved me was the part when she passed on, her Guru performed mind transference (Powa) and sent her to Kechara Paradise.

    And another, Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, where she spent 12 years meditating in a cave. After spending years in retreat, she continued to do a lot. She put her efforts into promoting the status of female practitioners in Tibetan Buddhism and raising funds for nunneries.

  19. graceleong on Aug 9, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    It is really inspiring reading the synopsis of all the nuns and female teachers highlighted in this article. Female practitioners though traditionally smaller in numbers and recognition, have been around even during the time of Buddha Shakyamuni. Yaśodharā the wife of Siddhārtha Gautama,Buddha Shakyamuni also became a bhikkhuni and is considered an arahatā, 2500 years ago.
    Another great inspiration aeons ago, is Lady Tara. When the monks pray that she be reborn as a man to spread the Dharma, Lady Tara responded that, there was no male and no female. Nothing existed in reality and that she wished to remain in the female form to serve other sentient beings until everyone reached Enlightment.

  20. Pastor KH Ng on Aug 4, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    Woman Power!

    It is said in the Lamrim text that the 8 ripened qualities that is conductive to Dharma practice includes one being a male. But nowadays we tend to say 7 ripened qualities because being a female is not a problem in these modern age. Perhaps in the ages gone by, it was not proper or convenient for a woman to travel and it was dangerous too.

    Anyhow, it is the Kaliyuga age where the most suitable tantra is the Vajrayogini Tantra; female form, the consort of Buddha Heruka; or we can also say Buddha Heruka is the consort of VajraYogini.

    Never been in the history of mankind has women be more empowered and the same with the Sangha where, Nuns, Bhikshunis and even female Rinpoches are perhaps some of the most influential practitioners in the world today. Perhaps the fact that half the world consist of females and the conditions are such that it is suitable for the female gender to practice that we now have these very inspirational female practitioners.

  21. Pastor David Lai on Aug 3, 2016 at 4:46 am

    What a beautiful post. I enjoy reading about these remarkable nuns and practitioners. They are incredible stories of devotion and remarkable sacrifice for practice and for the spread of the Buddhadharma. I notice a few very famous names and quite a number that I have never heard of before. Nonetheless, just because I don’t know about them doesn’t make them less of an inspiration.

    They are all incredible examples especially to female practitioners the world over. Generally, women are softer, stronger and more spiritual. In Kechara I see mostly females who take charge or who practice. Rinpoche had said in the past that the great patrons of Buddhism had significantly been women. Whatever it is, male or female, it benefits all beings in inspiration and blessings if just one sincere and powerful practitioner begins to practice sincerely.

  22. Pastor Han Nee on Jul 27, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing the inspiring stories of these great nuns and female practitioners. The amazing part is that nearly everyone of them took a leap forward into a religious life from a life of secular pursuits, some of them even bordering on notoriety!However, they went forward with a strong conviction of the rightness of it all, and they gave their all to their spiritual pursuits. They propelled themselves to such great heights,becoming influential and inspiring dharma teachers and running monasteries, temples and Dharma centers.

    They all displayed tremendous courage in venturing to take up positions and play roles that were previously exclusively dominated by males.Ani Pachen Dolma “The Warrior Nun” and Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche both with their unique upbringing are stellar in their portrayal of female “warriors” in a male dominated world.In fact, every single nun and practitioner here is so uniquely spectacular in her accomplishments and contributions and service to religion and society.

  23. sonny tan on Jul 25, 2016 at 10:54 am

    Thank you Rinpoche for this very inspiring article on these life changing decisions of ordinary ladies who eventually don the nun robes to become Buddhist nuns serving mankind. Notably Master Cheng yen founder of Tsu Chi who from young was never interested in this mundane life, deep inside her she knows that she is made much bigger than living an ordinary life of a human. She went through so many life challenging and threatening events but yet has never lost sight of her ever strong spirit of sharing her compassion with people all over the world and the Taiwanese people.
    Today she is the epitome of compassion known for her never giving up spirit and her strong beliefs that no matter how and what difficult circumstances she encounters she always believes that when the rain stops the rainbow will display her magnificence.
    At every major disaster one can always see her disciples running to assist standing in unity and solidarity to help the needy with their well-known code dressing of white color collar navy blue t-shirts and white color pants..
    It is indeed heartwarming to see their display of compassion which Master Chen Yen’s disciples are known for and we hope too that we at Kechara would also shine equally in our compassion and love for all of mankind.
    I cannot help but would add that Rinpoche shares some similar traits with Master Cheng Yen in their strong beliefs that they are here for a purpose that is to help free the world of sufferings and transformation of our minds through discourses and teachings. We pray and hope that these two extraordinary human that we are privileged to have here with us would remain with us for a long, long time.

  24. Lew on Jul 23, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing all these great female practitioners. We now live in an era where it is male dominant and there is no exception in spiritual world, unfortunately. It is so much more difficult for female practitioners to engage in practice compare to male.

    When I read the article and see all the photos of practitioners in their “heyday”, it dawn on me the some of these practitioners have a lot of material wealth and really enjoying life, and yet somehow (some through meeting their Guru) they gain some realisation and willing to let go of their fame and wealth and pursue spirituality all the way.

    The only reason why we still can learn about Dharma and listen to Buddha’s teaching, is not because of the Dharma text. but it is because of Dharma practitioners especially Sangha members. These ladies had a even uphill battle against the views from many and yet still willing to sacrifice their comfort zone to benefit others. This is very admirable.

  25. Jason on Jul 22, 2016 at 2:50 am

    This inspiring articles show that many nuns did contribute their compassion, kindness and love to society by applying Buddhism practices. Buddhism practices can be adopt by everyone without limitation on age,sex, races and etc. I feel fortunate because can know so many nuns or female practitioners who I never heard before.Everyone has Buddha nature and practice Buddha’s teachings will lead us to enlightened.
    Thanks Rinpoche for sharing such informative and wonderful article.

    With folded hands,
    Jason

  26. Stella Cheang on Jul 21, 2016 at 11:46 pm

    Absolutely encouraging to read the stories of 24 nuns and female practitioners, who break through or circumvent the religious traditions built for a patriarchal world. Aside from the biological difference, female possess the exact same (if not better) tenacity when it comes to will power and determination. And the 24 stories here show us exactly how far women can go against all odds to demonstrate the strength of their spiritual conviction. It is truly inspirational for me and I hope it is too for other fellow female.

    Thank you Rinpoche for this collection of inspiring personalities for us to look up to.

    Humbly, bowing down,
    Stella Cheang

  27. Yoke Chim Yap on Jul 19, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    自古以来,女性都是活在重男軽女的观念下,二千多年的佛法,從古一直在男众手裡,不能发揚佛法的男女平等精神,多少带有鄙棄女众,以为女众不可教的观点。不过,这已是过去式,近五十年来,女出家众的地位已普遍地提高,看看仁波切文中所提的比丘尼,大都能独当一面,负起弘揚佛法,教育世人了。就好比《金刚喻伽母》,《观世音》一样,都是以女性形象,普渡世人.在古代对女性由其重要。
    佛法主张「众生㫮有佛性」女众同样也可以修道解脱,她们都是值的我们去学習与看齐,仁波切慈悲,以此来勉勵我们女性,世间的快乐都是短暂的,唯有自渡渡人才是永恒的快乐!

  28. Alice Tay on Jul 16, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    在学佛的道路上,每个人不管是男性或女性都有相同的潜力而达到证悟与得到解脱。在此博文里,我们可以看到有许多出色的女性出家人都是来自不一样的家庭背景,面对不同的遭遇.但是她们最终看到真正的快乐与解脱的是来自于佛陀的教诲之一,出离心。

    一般人都会对我执抓的很紧。往往到死亡的那一刻,却出现不知所措的现象。而拥有佛法的知识在此刻是非常重要。就如博文中提到的Zina Rachevsky,她拥有一切美好的东西包括财富、地位、美貌和美满的家庭,但是她还是不快乐。后来,在一个机缘之下接触佛法继而出家。在她最后几年的人生,她进入闭关时过世。她是继续持咒直到她过世为止。在此时,因为她有足够的功德遇上Lama Yeshe,而Lama Yeshe当知道她过世时,立刻进入禅修而将Zina Rachevsky的心识传送到克切拉天堂,那就是金刚瑜伽母的净土。之后,嘉杰宋仁波切还告诉说Zina Rachevsky已经转世到一个很好的地方。

    从Zina Rachevsky这件事情所得到的讯息是,要转世到金刚瑜伽母的净土并非不是不可能的事情。我们要感恩因为上师尊贵的詹杜固仁波切是如此的慈悲,让我们有机会在克切拉佛教中心学习佛法,让我们可以更容易与更靠近的接触金刚瑜伽母。

  29. CindyH on Jul 14, 2016 at 11:20 am

    It is truly inspirational to read about these remarkable women who followed their intuition against all odds, made unique and “out of the norm” decisions and sometimes had to fight for their survival in order to lead the lives they envisioned.

    Basically, in addition to them overcoming their respective obstacles in their personal life, these incredible women also undeniably, had to face slightly more issues (e.g. views of women as being “inferior”) in their practice than their male counterparts and yet they persevered. Consequently, they brought about positive changes and continues to do so.

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing their stories.

  30. Fong on Jul 14, 2016 at 6:58 am

    Thank you, Rinpoche for sharing these stories of the various courageous and beautiful nuns with us.

    These nuns showed that dharma is the way to peace and lasting happiness. When all else has shown that they were nothing but impermanent incidences in life, these ladies has found peace and happiness in the Buddhadharma.

    Despite what life has thrown at them or what mistakes they have made, it is always a choice whether they continue the downward spiral or turn their life around for the benefit of others. They have left their colorful life behind for the true meaning. Thy did not let their past define them.

    May these courageous nuns inspire faith and spread the dharma in all the ten directions.

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/mitra-teaches-bhagwan-dorje-shugden-in-nepali.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Mar 26. 2017 04:15 PM
    Very clear explanation of what is Vajrayogini’s left foot stepping on. Each time when i have a look at the beautiful statue of Vajrayogini this question will comes back to me. i am glad came across these blog by chance, i saw and read to understand better.A clear explanation ..stampling left and right foot significant of desire ,hatred and ignorance that cause us to be in samsara and she she able to control.Vajrayogni’s practices is so powerful in heliping us and that is the reason Rinpoche always ask us to start now.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these short explanation in the video and the interesting story of Mahadeva.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/facebook-question-what-is-vajra-yoginis-left-foot-stepping-on.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Sunday, Mar 26. 2017 02:44 PM
    Rejoice to all the families who had setup a Buddhist altar at home and conducted a house blessing puja. There are diverse benefits of conducting the house blessing puja, which ranges from bringing well-being on all levels – in one’s health, relationships, business, and family – to purifying the home. The puja ceremonies will purify the environment which helps the people who live there and people who are visiting there to experience general well-being. The puja can be personalised based on the request or need of the individual. Thank you for sharing with us the many photos of the beautiful altar of these families, it is very heartwarming to know that they will always be blessed by the Three Jewels.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/10-amazing-house-blessings-by-kechara-pastors.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Sunday, Mar 26. 2017 02:24 PM
    Thank you for sharing this mindfully planned itinerary for everyone who is interested in visiting Kechara Forest Retreat. Kechara Forest Retreat has different facets that showcase different elements of spirituality and Tibetan Buddhism in this wholesale venue. One can enjoy the flora and fauna of Mother Nature, or embrace the contemporary architectures that feature many magnificent Buddha statues and authentic Himalayan decorations. Not forgetting to mention, in Kechara Forest Retreat sits the largest Dorje Shugden statue in the world! This is a holy place we must never miss to pay homage for blessings from the Three Jewels.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/go-bentong.html
  • Pastor Shin Tan
    Sunday, Mar 26. 2017 01:07 PM
    金泽“财王”护法殿

    在禅修林的入口处的左边有一间小佛堂,是全天候二十四小时开放给大众的。这间佛堂的一砖一瓦都是由不同善心人士捐增的。也因为他们过后发了一笔小财,所以在大马文东,金泽护法一般被简称为“财王“。

    根据佛陀教诲,五蕴是组成众生的五个方面,分别是色、受、想、行、识。证悟者如多杰雄登能将五蕴分别化现成不同的本尊。金泽是多杰雄登“受”蕴的化现,作用是协助我们增长世俗和修行上的财富。“受”蕴是我们对愉悦或不悦感受的认知。我们执着于愉悦,避免不悦,而这正是导致我们受困和造下各种业,继而产生痛苦的因(此段原文: http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_6d7edf5f0102x1n6.html)

    来到这里,我们首先要上香。做生意的朋友可要趁此机会拜拜,供养一个大的莲花蜡烛,上三根大香,祈求今年一帆风顺哦。

    摘自“GO BENTONG!与菩萨有约”
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=120808
  • Lin Mun
    Saturday, Mar 25. 2017 11:02 PM
    Can’t imagine that a priest actually stabbed Pope John Paul. How can he do this when he as a priest is suppose to be compassion and love everyone but kill the religion leader. he should remember that he carries the name priest and hence must show good example and behaviour to others but instead took another person’s life.

    I respected Pope John who continued his trip even though he was injured. That shows the determination he had to teach so it can benefit others. Always put others first more than our own needs.

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this article.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/pope-john-paul-stabbed-by-priest.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Saturday, Mar 25. 2017 08:13 PM
    It is admirable for Sine Lindholm & Mads Ulrik Husum to place their design as open source for everyone to download and copy to manufacture. This shows how farsighted they are in propelling self-sustainability. The first step is always the hardest, and I believe what Sine and Mads had done is towards the right direction. In this way, people from all the around the world who genuinely are passionate and interested in growing own vegetables will be able to start on their own. Without needing to rely on middleman or manufacturer who might end up making the brilliant idea a commercial white elephant. Thank you, Rinpoche for this sharing.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/build-your-own-growroom.html
  • Alice Tay
    Friday, Mar 24. 2017 10:05 PM
    Many companies especially in overseas are very considerate and allow their employees to bring their dogs to work. I personally think that this is a very good practice where the employees no longer have to worry about leaving pets at home alone. The work environments that cultivate loving kindness, caring and compassion create a much more positive and productive place to work. Besides, it may influence everyone especially those who do not have pet to be more kind to the animals.

    Nevertheless, the employer and employees may have to work together to maintain the safe and cleanliness work place such as reduce odour, provide clean air and many others.

    Thank you for this interesting article as a reminder to us to love and be kind to animals no matter where we are.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/inside-the-worlds-most-dog-friendly-office.html
  • Lin Mun
    Friday, Mar 24. 2017 07:06 PM
    Superb idea and very creative. Home farming in the cities ! Appreciate all the hardwork and ideas to produce Growroom. It’s just like putting a big puzzle and making the whole process so much easier to plant in cities where we always have limited spaces.

    We should support more people to come up with such ideas so we can eat our own food and cultivate self sustainability.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/build-your-own-growroom.html

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Technical: Lew Kwan Leng, Justin Ripley, Yong Swee Keong
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Writer: Pastor Loh Seng Piow
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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

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

Tsem Rinpoche
2 months ago
I am in the process of creating beautiful Dorje Shugden and Kechara Forest Retreat watches at this time. So we can take precious protector and Kechara Forest Retreat wherever we go and be blessed everytime we see what time it is. I am perfecting the designs with a great team and will update when done but these are just some samples that arrived. Feast your eyes! Tsem Rinpoche
                        Pick the practice, devotion and precepts of Vajra Yogini\'s path over everything and anything in samsara. Samsara has nothing of value and nothing lasting to offer. You are born in suffering, live in suffering, die in suffering and enter bardo and future lives expecting more sufferings. This is not a negative way of looking at things but the truth. If the truth is negative, so it is the truth. Devote oneself to the guru, dharma work, dharma practice and bringing dharma to others compassionately. Choose to practice Vajra Yogini now with the preliminaries. You can start right now: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/starting-on-vajra-yogini-now.html  Much care, Tsem Rinpoche
3 months ago
Pick the practice, devotion and precepts of Vajra Yogini's path over everything and anything in samsara. Samsara has nothing of value and nothing lasting to offer. You are born in suffering, live in suffering, die in suffering and enter bardo and future lives expecting more sufferings. This is not a negative way of looking at things but the truth. If the truth is negative, so it is the truth. Devote oneself to the guru, dharma work, dharma practice and bringing dharma to others compassionately. Choose to practice Vajra Yogini now with the preliminaries. You can start right now: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/starting-on-vajra-yogini-now.html Much care, Tsem Rinpoche
Message to Tibetans in English
3 months ago
Message to Tibetans in English
Message to the Tibetans
3 months ago
Message to the Tibetans
Left to right: Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche, Sharpa Choeje Jetsun Lobsang Nyima, Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche, Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, 101st Gaden Tripa Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal. Great lamas of Gaden Shartse Monastery
3 months ago
Left to right: Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche, Sharpa Choeje Jetsun Lobsang Nyima, Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche, Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, 101st Gaden Tripa Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal. Great lamas of Gaden Shartse Monastery
A beautiful Indian rendition of Gyenze Dorje Shugden manifesting in wealth form
3 months ago
A beautiful Indian rendition of Gyenze Dorje Shugden manifesting in wealth form
This is my thoughts and determination to share with you. Please open and read. Thank you for your time. Tsem Rinpoche
3 months ago
This is my thoughts and determination to share with you. Please open and read. Thank you for your time. Tsem Rinpoche
Nepalese King Birendra receives His Holiness Panchen Rinpoche in Nepal
3 months ago
Nepalese King Birendra receives His Holiness Panchen Rinpoche in Nepal
Guess what Zava Damdin Rinpoche did in Mongolia recently with 7,800 people??? Very interesting and it is a must read:  http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=116206
3 months ago
Guess what Zava Damdin Rinpoche did in Mongolia recently with 7,800 people??? Very interesting and it is a must read:  http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=116206
This huge Buddha in Korea is magnificent
4 months ago
This huge Buddha in Korea is magnificent
The very first oracle of Dorje Shugden in trance statue. I have commissioned this.
4 months ago
The very first oracle of Dorje Shugden in trance statue. I have commissioned this.
Such a old and ancient thangka painting of Dorje Shugden. He has been around in Tibet practiced for hundreds of years.
4 months ago
Such a old and ancient thangka painting of Dorje Shugden. He has been around in Tibet practiced for hundreds of years.
One of the "Four Exalted Brothers" Avalokiteshvara statues, Phagpa Wati of Kyirong, which is now with H.H. the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala.
4 months ago
One of the "Four Exalted Brothers" Avalokiteshvara statues, Phagpa Wati of Kyirong, which is now with H.H. the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala.
Kyabje Zemey, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and Kyabje Pabongka Choktrul Rinpoche
4 months ago
Kyabje Zemey, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and Kyabje Pabongka Choktrul Rinpoche
My Oser girl and Mumu boy are so adorable
4 months ago
My Oser girl and Mumu boy are so adorable
Wow this meditator in his cave in front of a painting of Yamantaka draped with a white khata of respect. He sits among bones to remind him of impermanence and our future. The bones inspire him strongly to let go of all attachments in this life and focus on dharma, meditation and liberation and he is doing so. Very beautiful and inspirational. Tsem Rinpoche
4 months ago
Wow this meditator in his cave in front of a painting of Yamantaka draped with a white khata of respect. He sits among bones to remind him of impermanence and our future. The bones inspire him strongly to let go of all attachments in this life and focus on dharma, meditation and liberation and he is doing so. Very beautiful and inspirational. Tsem Rinpoche
Tenzing Norgay found this in Nepal. Guess what it is?
5 months ago
Tenzing Norgay found this in Nepal. Guess what it is?
Sir Edmund Hillary
5 months ago
Sir Edmund Hillary
Halloween is my favorite holiday. Wild natural plants and flowers are my favorite offering. Buddha\'s teachings on meditation and Yidam practice bring the ultimate results and happiness. ~Tsem Rinpoche
5 months ago
Halloween is my favorite holiday. Wild natural plants and flowers are my favorite offering. Buddha's teachings on meditation and Yidam practice bring the ultimate results and happiness. ~Tsem Rinpoche
Previous lives do resemble current lives especially if they are a recognized incarnation. If notice how similar the previous and current Trijang Rinpoche looks. The eyes, bone structure, expression, long neck, thin and overall look. Beautiful. I\'ve seen this phenomena over and over in many Rinpoche incarnations. Especially when you compare them with pictures of previous and current lives at around the same ages. Something powerfully karmic about this. Tsem Rinpoche
6 months ago
Previous lives do resemble current lives especially if they are a recognized incarnation. If notice how similar the previous and current Trijang Rinpoche looks. The eyes, bone structure, expression, long neck, thin and overall look. Beautiful. I've seen this phenomena over and over in many Rinpoche incarnations. Especially when you compare them with pictures of previous and current lives at around the same ages. Something powerfully karmic about this. Tsem Rinpoche
It\'s nice to have monks visitors and resident monks in Kechara
6 months ago
It's nice to have monks visitors and resident monks in Kechara
                         Taken in Lake Champlain in Canada. A huge water monster...neat...
6 months ago
Taken in Lake Champlain in Canada. A huge water monster...neat...
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    ཁྱེད་ཀྱི་བཀའ་སློབ་དོན་སྙིང་དེ།།གང་གི་རྣ་བར་བདུད་རྩི་མོད།།འོན་ཀྱང་འགའ་ཡི་རྣ་ལམ་དུ།། བྲག་ཆ་བཞིན་དུ་འགྱུར་སྲིད་མོད།། ཚང་མས་ཚར་རེ་གཟིགས་རོགས།། Kyabje Denma Gonsa Rinpoche telling people that it is important to have guru samaya. It use to be that way in the great monasteries. We should not create problems and schisms. If we want to practice a protector, then do so, if not it's okay, but don't make trouble. One should just practice the Buddha Dharma well. To do good practice. If you have faith in Dorje Shugden and trust all the way, he will definitely help you. But most important is to practice the dharma. This is his advice in short here. It's good to let more Tibetans hear this holy speech and appeal by this very senior Rinpoche. TR

ASK A PASTOR


Ask the Pastors

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

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

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

  • March 27, 2017 04:19
    Dongho asked: I have been reading on the tunes of certain sects and would like to ask on this. From what I've read, there are certain tunes to each sect and school of certain chants. Exactly where can I find the sheet music for these percussion and horns with the chants, such as to the one for invoking Kache Marpo or Dorje Shugden? Would it be possible to use school instruments for this?
    No reply yet
  • March 26, 2017 02:14
    Kunga asked: Does the Gelug have Begtse a protector? If so, could you please provide a sadhana for him here?
    pastor answered: Dear Kunga, Yes the Dharma protector Begtse exists within the Gelug tradition. He is also known as Chamsing. Begtse’s practice stems from India and was introduced to Tibet and therefore Tibetan Buddhism by the translator Nyen Lotsawa. Marpa Lotsawa also practiced Begtse, and so the practice exists in the Kagyu traditions. This practice was eventually transmitted to Sachen Kunga Nyingpo, the first of the five patriarchs of the Sakya tradition, who were the founding fathers of that tradition. Over time the practice of Begtse was incorporated into the Gelug tradition, founded by Lama Tsongkhapa, and was notably practiced by the 1st and 2nd Dalai Lamas. Over time the practice gained popularity within the lineage, especially when it spread to Mongolia. There the practice became an important one within the lineage as upheld there. Begtse is also affectionately known as the Dharma protector of Mongolia, because his practice is so popular there. If I am not mistaken, there is an oracle of Begtse in Mongolia as well. There is a mistaken account that the practice originated around the time of the 3rd Dalai Lama, with the subjugation of a Mongolian war god, but Begtse was definitely practiced before that time in the Gelug, Kagyu and Sakya traditions. While the practice of Begtse is very effective, I have not come across the practice of Begtse in my personal practice, therefore I do not have access to the Begtse sadhana to provide to you. Instead Begtse is propitiated in prayers that incorporate many other Dharma protectors, and Begtse is also considered one of the nine protectors of the Hayagriva (Tamdrin) cycle of tantric teachings. Therefore Begtse is included in the Dharma protector sections of the Hayagriva tantras. Surrounding Begtse are his sister, Sing Ma, and his main minister, Le Khan Mar Po. His inner retinue comprises of eight butchers who wield copper swords in their right hands and skull-cups full of blood in their left hands. They are portrayed as naked and are very ugly. His outer retinue comprises a further twenty-one butchers, who hold copper swords in their right hands, and this time, the entrails of butchered enemies. They wear the skins humans and oxen as clothes, with ornaments made from human bone. While this may seem violent, Begtse is actually a very powerful and beneficial protector, who helps practitioners clear their obstacles and create conducive conditions for their spiritual evolution. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • March 24, 2017 20:12
    Azair asked: Venerable Rinpoche, I am doing a study in Kalachakra Tantra and I've heard from most of the lama's too that if you practice the Kalachakra Tantra, you'll be able to take control of your next rebirth. Ofcourse, it has been said that we will get our rebirth according to our Karma and desires but whether those dreams will get fulfilled will depend upon the actions that we take in this life. Thus, practicing the Kalachakra(till the end) after initiation will give you the opportunity to take rebirth anywhere you desire regardless of your Karma. My question is that, is there some truth in this statement.? Does this statement hold true for other tantra practices, such as Vajrayogini Tantra, Ghuyasamaja Tantra, Heruka Tantra, etc. I would really really like to know. Thankyou in anticipation, regards, Azair
    pastor answered: Dear Azair, Thank you for your question. Yes there is truth to this statement, both from a scriptural perspective and also by example, as the great masters have shown us. This is a unique feature of all Anuttarayoga Tantras or Highest Yoga Tantras, which Kalachakra, Vajrayogini, Guhyasama and Heruka are all examples of. This category of tantric practice can actually lead a practitioner to full enlightenment in this very lifetime. Even if enlightenment is not reached, very high levels of attainment can be reached nonetheless. This includes the ability to take control over your next rebirth. This is primarily engaged in so that the practitioner is born in an environment where they can eventually pick up their practice and further their spiritual path to enlightenment, or in order to be born in a place where they can benefit sentient beings the most, as part of the spiritual journey over many lifetimes. One of the reasons such an ability is very necessary on the spiritual path, is that usual death and rebirth occurs at the mercy of ones karma, specifically what is known as the ‘throwing karma’ or the karma that dictates what sort of rebirth a person is going to take. This opens up at the time of ordinary death, which most people have no control over. During the death process, many of our disturbing emotions will arise. Whichever of these is the strongest at the point of death triggers open a latent karmic potential, which becomes the ‘throwing karma’ and dictates where we are going to take rebirth and if that life will generally be full of suffering or not. Within Anuttarayoga Tantra, one of the key points of practice is to prepare for one’s death. This is done by simulating the dying process during one’s meditations, so that one becomes familiar with it. At the most pivotal part of this process, one practices achieving either the rainbow body or great bliss (in the case of the father tantras); or clear light (in the case of mother tantras). The tantras themselves are not defined in terms of the gender of the central deity, but by the method used to gain enlightenment. This is either the rainbow body/great bliss (classified as male, therefore labelled ‘father’) or clear light (classified as female, therefore labelled ‘mother’). Non-dual tantras such as the Kalachakra tantra can employ either of the two methods, a mixture of both, or alternate methods. In the case of superior practitioners, due to the power of their practice, they can achieve either of these two methods in their current body. Since they have familiarised themselves with the dying process, and a particular method of practice, they can also achieve enlightenment during their physical death. The great Lama Tsongkhapa is said to have achieved enlightenment at the moment of physical death, using the second of these. For other practitioners, they may not be able to achieve this either in their meditations while they are alive, or during the death process. However because they have familiarised themselves with the dying process, they remain in complete concentration at the time of death, not allowing any disturbing emotions to arise. Due to this level of concentration, meditation and awareness during the dying process, they are able to control where they next take rebirth. This is evident in the tantric scriptures themselves, and the life stories of many masters, who can state exactly where, when and to whom they will take their next rebirth, as they are in full control of the dying and rebirth process. There is a type of meditation called ‘thukdam’ which has been translated into ‘death meditation’. This is a final meditation some masters choose to engage in. During this meditation, the master themselves consciously begin the physical dying process themselves, engage in the meditation of dissolving the winds into the heart centre and remain in the most pivotal part of the death process, the mind of clear light of death. During this point they engage in meditations, either the methods of the father or mother tantras as mentioned previously, and or consciously choose where they are to next take rebirth. They can remain in this death meditation for long periods of time, days at an end, in which their consciousness has not yet left their body, although for all intents and purposes they are dead according to medical science, e.g. they have no heartbeat. At the end of their meditation, a drop of blood will be emitted from their nostril, and their head will slump over a little. Masters who engage in this meditation usually sit in full meditation posture, and their body remain supple and soft even though they have passed away from a medical point of view. I hope this brief explanation helps. Thank you.
  • March 23, 2017 23:01
    Brad asked: What is the significance of offering the Seven precious emblems of royalty to the Buddhas and enlightened Dharma Protectors? What are we symbolically offering up?
    pastor answered: Dear Brad, Thank you for your question. The ‘saptaratna’ or seven precious emblems represent on the one hand the ultimate state of temporal power, and on the other hand the ultimate spiritual attainments that we can achieve. By offering these to the Buddhas, we are actually creating the causes to achieve what they represent. Therefore it is good to know the meaning of each, so we can understand what we are creating the causes for by offering them up: Please see below for an explanation of the seven royal emblems: 1. The Precious Wheel: a thousand spoked wheel, representing the universal power of the Buddhas, as well as the teachings of the thousand Buddhas of our aeon. It is represented by the Dharmachakra, symbolising the ‘turning of the wheel’ or teaching of the Noble Eightfold Path. It is a symbol of a universal emperor’s spiritual and temporal power. It is also represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect mindfulness, especially that of our own mind, thoughts, delusions and afflictions. 2. The Precious Jewel: an eight sided wish-granting gem, which fulfils all the needs of a universal emperor. This jewel has eight special qualities: it illuminates the night sky for hundreds of leagues; it is cooling when the temperature is hot and warming when the temperature is cold; it makes manifest whatever the holder wants; when thirsty it causes a fresh-water spring to appear; it has the ability to control the nagas, and other supernatural beings, as well as preventing natural disasters such as storms, floods, etc.; it gives off multi-coloured lighted which heals the various mental and emotional afflictions; it cures all illnesses; and it ensures that one dies a natural death, not an untimely one. It is a symbol of a universal emperor’s spiritual and temporal power. It is also represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect mindfulness, or perfect discrimination, so one knows what to abandon and what to keep in the mindstream during the spiritual journey to enlightenment. 3. The Precious Queen: the most beautiful and virtuous of all women. She is described as a goddess who is the epitome of someone: with devotion; without jealousy; who is the embodiment of fertility; who works for the welfare of all beings; who possess feminine wisdom; speaks the truth; not attract to sensual pleasures or material possessions; and does not have false views. She is adored by all. She also represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect effort. This is necessary to keep meditating until one gains spiritual attainments. 4. The Precious Minister: who has sharp intelligence, patience, and the ability to give wise counsel to the emperor. He is so attuned to the emperor that even before the emperor has spoken, the minister is already carrying out his command. He only wishes to support the Dharma, help sentient beings, and is an excellent strategist. He also represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect joy. This is also akin to the attainment of the first bodhisattva level, because you have come to an understanding of your own mind, which is like pouring ice-cold water into boiling water. The water stops boiling, as does the thoughts, projections, and delusions in the mind. He represents the path of the bodhisattva. 5. The Precious Elephant: who has the strength of a thousand normal elephants. He is white, with the perfect features that an elephant could have. He is majestic, graceful, and gentle, but in battle is fearsome, fearless and unyielding. He communicates with the emperor through a telepathic link. He represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect adaptability. This is important, as one needs to be able to adapt to the various mental afflictions as they arise, and suitably counter them. 6. The Precious Horse: who has all the marks of a celestial horse. Known as wind-horse, he is able to travel extremely fast, and can circumambulate the entire universe three time in just a single day. He is never fearful or startled, never makes a sound when galloping, and has extremely soft hairs on his body. He represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is single-pointed concentration. This is important because without this form of concentration, once cannot engage in the analytical meditations that lead to an understanding of emptiness, and therefore enlightenment. 7. The Precious General: who has mastered the arts of war and always wins in battle. He wears battle armour and holds many different weapons. He tries to avoid battle, but when necessary fights, and never gives up until he has won. He is fearless, and courageous in carrying out the emperors commands and ensures the emperors army carries out their duties. He represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect equanimity. This is because he overcomes all warfare, which is akin to the battle between things were are attached to and things we have an aversion for in our minds. In short, what you are offering up is the highest of all temporal treasures and abilities, as well as the entire path of the Dharma. Doing so creates the causes for you to receive all of this on your spiritual journey towards enlightenment. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • March 20, 2017 10:16
    Grigoris asked: Excuse me, but I would like to ask, what does the prayer to Shangmo Dorje Putri say exactly? I can't read Tibetan, but would like to see the description that the prayer gives. I am not planning to say the prayer or make interaction(as it would be very dangerous), but would like to see what it actually says from the Tibetan text. Here's the link: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/shangmo-dorje-putri-the-bamo-of-sakya.html
    pastor answered: Dear Grigoris, Thank you for your question. Shangmo Dorje Putri is indeed a fascinating unenlightened Dharma protector. Unfortunately at the moment, we do not have a translated copy of the text in English that we can provide. The usual format for such texts, would include an invocation, making offerings to appease them, and then exhortations for them to perform their activities, possibly followed by thanking them for their help. One thing is for certain, due to the nature of Shangmo Dorje Putri her prayer is sure to include violent imagery, just like many other Dharma protectors, such as Achi Chokyi Drolma (who even though has a peaceful appearance, has a lot of violent imagery in her prayers). The reason behind the violent imagery is explained in the post about Achi Chokyi Drolma here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/achi-chokyi-drolma-chief-protectress-of-the-drikung-kagyu.html
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