Ji Gong – The Crazy Monk of China

By | Sep 29, 2016 | Views: 2,119
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Ji Gong, the Chinese mahasiddha

Ji Gong, the Chinese mahasiddha

The 11th Century Chinese monk Daoji is commonly known by the name Ji Gong. He was a Chan Buddhist monk of the Southern Song Dynasty in ancient China. He was born with the name of Li Xiuyuan. Daoji was also known by the name Hu Yin which meant ‘Recluse from the Lake’ and Elder Fang Yuan, ‘Squared Circle’.

The image of Ji Gong is romanticised as a dishevelled monk wearing a monk’s hat emblazoned with the Chinese character ‘Buddha’ while carrying a worn-out reed fan in one hand and a wine gourd in the other. After his passing, Ji Gong became somewhat of a folk hero and minor deity in Chinese Taoist folk religion and later became the Buddhist figure that he is known as today. He is frequently mentioned in Chinese folktales, koans (Chan Buddhist parables) and is sometimes invoked by temple mediums to assist in people’s affairs.

Mahasiddhas are great yogis who engaged in tantric practices and attained great realisations

Mahasiddhas are great yogis who engaged in tantric practices and attained great realisations

Ji Gong is said to have possessed supernatural powers that arose due to his spiritual attainments. He would often aid the poor with his abilities and stand up to injustices inflicted upon the downtrodden. However, he was also known for his wild and eccentric behavior, especially for his love of alcohol and meat which were considered sacrilegious amongst the Buddhist clergy of his time. This is consistent with the tantric tradition of Buddhism.

Although tantra never really gained mainstream acceptance in China, many aspects of Ji Gong’s life seem to be consistent with that of a great tantric adept – a mahasiddha. The tradition of mahasiddhas arose in India during the later period of Buddhism when great practitioners led the life of wandering yogins who engaged in tantric sadhanas at charnel grounds and achieved great realisations. These itinerant yogins are frequently characterised by their often-controversial behaviour of drinking alcohol, eating meat and so forth.

As far as Ji Gong is concerned, there is no evidence to suggest that he ever received tantric transmissions or ever practiced tantric sadhanas. Nonetheless, his behaviour has all the hallmarks of a mahasiddha. This is probably due to the fact that his mahasiddha-like behaviour was because he operated from the ultimate truth. This is in contrast with the rest of us, who operate from the standpoint of conventional truth.

Conventional truth focuses mainly on the ordinary matters of daily lives, which are centred on our ego and attachment. In Buddhism, there are many conventional truths and they differ according to our background, upbringing and experience. People hang on to these truths but, in reality, they have no real concrete basis as they are impermanent and are based on values we project on them. On the other hand, the ultimate truth is singular and based upon the nature of reality, which is that all things are free of inherent existence. In Buddhism, this is the highest wisdom and the ultimate truth.

One can achieve this view of the ultimate truth through the tantric path or through other methods such as the beautiful Zen/Chan tradition of Buddhism. Hence, those of us with the conventional view would perceive a great practitioner’s behaviour as controversial or crazy, since we perceive his actions based on our conventional perception and our limited view. The mahasiddha example and explanation is used not so much as to suggest Ji Gong was a tantric practitioner but to shed light on the meaning of his controversial actions.

 

The Life of Ji Gong

Ji Gong’s real name was Li Xiuyuan and he was born to a retired military strategist, Li Maochun. Before he was born, a Feng Shui master told his parents that they did not have the fortune to have children. Distraught from this revelation, the parents embarked on a pilgrimage to various temples.

A mural painting at Lingyin temple that illustrates the ordination of Daoji (Ji Gong)

A mural painting at Lingyin temple that illustrates the ordination of Daoji (Ji Gong)

While the parents-to-be were praying and making offerings at a temple which had a prayer hall to 500 Arhats, a statue of the Arhat Taming Dragon fell off the altar on its own accord. The mother was later found to be pregnant and she recalled the incident of the falling statue to mean that her unborn child was, in reality, the incarnation of the Arhat Taming Dragon.

A lively statue of the Arhat Taming Dragon

A lively statue of the Arhat Taming Dragon

In his youth, Ji Gong led a comfortable life until the untimely demise of his parents when he was 18. From then on, Li was sent to Hangzhou and was ordained as a monk at Lingyin Temple. He studied at the feet of the great Vinaya master Huiyuan and was given the monastic name of Daoji. Unlike many of his peers in the monastery, Daoji did not always adhere to the traditional monastic code of conduct. Somehow, he developed a penchant for eating meat and drinking wine while his robes were often dirty and tattered due to his constant travelling. He was also often seen stumbling as he walked because he was highly intoxicated.

It was due to his unrestrained behaviour that he created uproar in the temple. Some of the monks called for him to be expelled. His teacher somehow knew who he was and defended him by saying, “The Gate of Buddhism is so vast! Why is this crazy monk not forgiven?” Therefore, the monks were frustrated and resorted to calling him ‘Crazy Monk’. After his teacher passed away, he was forced to move to Jingci Temple.

Daoji however, had a good heart and was always on the lookout to assist and extend a helping hand to ordinary folks. There are many accounts of him healing the sick and fighting against injustice inflicted on the downtrodden. Unfortunately, such behaviour was at odds with what was expected of a monk. The monks at his temple were bewildered and frustrated with his behaviour and the elders finally decided to expel Daoji from the monastery. From then on, Daoji wandered from place to place and always strove to help those he met.

Ji Gong entered Jingci Monastery after the passing of his teacher, the Abbot Huiyuan

Ji Gong entered Jingci Monastery after the passing of his teacher, the Abbot Huiyuan

It is said that while engaging in his meditations, Daoji attained supernatural powers due to his practice. Eventually, people began to recognise the fact that his eccentric, benevolent nature was because he was actually an incarnation of a bodhisattva, or even an emanation of an arhat. Eventually, he became widely recognised by many people to be the incarnation of the Arhat Taming Dragon, one of the 18 Arhats, a Chinese equivalent of the 16 Arhats. Daoji passed away at Jingci Monastery in the year 1207. It was said that he left this verse before he passed away:

Sixty years’ life in disorder
From east to west, I fight always
Today, I review and return
All is same as those before

His remains were interred in Running Tiger Spring Area and a special monastery named Jigong Tayuan was founded in honour of the memory people had of this great master.

 

The Incredible Tales of Ji Gong

JiGong-12

The following are a few stories told of Ji Gong that are immortalised in books, songs, poetry, plays and artwork. Each unique story reveals an aspect of Ji Gong’s eccentric manner in which he delivers the teachings and benefits people. Hence, it is no surprise how intertwined Ji Gong is with traditional Chinese culture.

 

The Buddha Statue

Ji Gong always sought to teach people not to jump to conclusions based on external appearances. On one occasion, Ji Gong and his students were trying to stay warm during a particularly wintery night.

JiGong-13The cold was so bad that Ji Gong had to dismantle the wooden altar they used for worship and start a fire out of it. One of his students was horrified and cried out, “What are you doing? That’s our sacred altar!” Then Ji Gong took the statue of the Buddha and chopped it into two pieces. The student exclaimed, “You are cutting the Buddha! Don’t do that!” Ji Gong answered, “This statue is not the Buddha himself. This is just a piece of wood.”

In doing so, he wanted to teach his students how to let go of attachment and that what really matters is our true intent at heart. Wood decays over time but compassion is timeless and it touches people at the deepest level. It was not important to Ji Gong whether or not a person appeared to have great virtue because appearances meant nothing to him. He was only interested in the qualities of one’s heart.

 

Summoning Logs from a Well

JiGong-08

Ji Gong in Xiyuan Temple, Suzhou, China

While he was living at Jingci Temple, Ji Gong was appointed as the scribe monk of the temple. On one occasion, a fire broke out and destroyed the main prayer hall of the temple. It was then that the abbot turned to him to procure large quantities of wood for restoration works.

Instead of searching for suppliers, Ji Gong slept for three days because he was intoxicated. Upon waking, he shouted at the monks, “The wood is here, take it from the well!” Large logs were miraculously transported into the well of the temple continuously until there were enough logs for rebuilding the prayer hall. These days, there is a Shenmu Well in Jingci Temple that is purportedly the very same well.

 

Stopping a Landslide

This story highlights Ji Gong’s creative manner in which he saves people from imminent danger. On one occasion, Ji Gong was walking towards Lingyin Temple when he suddenly felt a jolt right in his heart. Immediately he knew something was amiss so he used his clairvoyance to investigate. He realised that a landslide was about to come crashing down the side of a mountain onto the nearby village.

Alarmed at what he saw, Ji Gong began shouting to the townspeople and screaming for them to run for their lives. But the people just laughed and dismissed him as “the crazy old monk” who was drunk as usual and screamed for no apparent reason. Ji Gong realised he was not taken seriously and so he looked around and spotted a wedding procession passing through the village. This gave him an idea. He barged into the procession and snatched the bride, threw her over his shoulders and ran down the road out of town.

This caught everybody by surprise and the worried groom and wedding guests screamed for everyone to chase after the kidnapper. Soon, the entire village was chasing after them. As soon as the maddening crowd ran past the village gates, a loud crash was heard behind them. Everything behind them came down in a huge crash. Huge rocks came crashing down the side of the mountain, shattering rooftops and flattening buildings in an instant.

Ji Gong turned around and he noticed that back in the village, a little girl had been left behind and a gigantic boulder was thundering towards her. He immediately lifted his palm at the boulder and it fell aside. Today this hill is known as Hangzhou’s “Flying Peak” and it has since become a tourist attraction. In fact, visitors today can see the imprint of a hand sunk into the base of the rock bearing testament to Ji Gong’s psychic abilities.

 

Saving a Suicidal Old Man

On another occasion, Ji Gong came across an old man who was on the verge of hanging himself from a tree. The man tied a noose to a branch and was just about to place his head through it when suddenly he saw Ji Gong who was dressed in rags come by. Ji Gong was muttering to himself, “Die! Die! Everything is over after I am dead. Dying is better than living. I will hang myself now.” Ji Gong had a noose in hand and was just about to hang himself just next to the old man at the very same tree.

JiGong-10This puzzled the old man and he asked Ji Gong why a monk would want to commit suicide. Ji Gong explained that he was commissioned to raise money for the monastery’s renovation plans. He had begged for three years and accumulated a sizeable amount but on his way back to the monastery, he stopped by a bar, got drunk and was robbed of all the money. He was embarrassed and dare not return to the monastery so he decided to end his life here. The old man easily believed his story and said, “Don’t worry, I happen to have some money left, which is of no use to me now.”

He gave Ji Gong five pieces of silver, which was all the money he had. Ji Gong took the silver and said, “Your silver does not shine as much as what I used to have but I will take them.” So he took the money and walked away with a big smile. Giving away his money did not change a thing for the old man so he continued his plans to hang himself. But Ji Gong returned not long after and the old man initially thought that the monk had returned to thank him for the money.

But Ji Gong said, “I see you’ve got some nice clothes there. Why don’t you give that to me so you can nakedly leave this world just as you nakedly came?” The old man was stunned with the monk’s audacity and he looked up to the sky and sighed. He said, “Why is it so hard to die as it is to live? How can I end my misery?”

Ji Gong said, “Look, after your death, the wild dogs will come to tear you up and your nice clothes would be wasted. But if you give it to me now, I will make good use of it.” Ji Gong went on to tease and play with the desperate man until the latter became amused and started to laugh along with Ji Gong. The old man soon found this eccentric monk quite friendly and extremely entertaining. He started to open his heart and told Ji Gong his tragic story about how he lost his daughter. Soon, he had a change of heart and no longer wanted to commit suicide. Ji Gong eventually helped him to look for his daughter, and the story had a happy ending.

Ji Gong – The Crazy Monk of China

Ji Gong – The Crazy Monk of China

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Pastor David Lai
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About Pastor David Lai

David is a lay Buddhist pastor of Kechara and a longtime student of H.E. Tsem Rinpoche. Initially a reluctant writer, he now finds himself writing for a living and has published four books including his autobiography, There's No Way But Up and Conversations in Love.

David is a lover of Buddhist art and whenever he can, he shares his knowledge of the Dharma with everyone, giving frequent teachings and writing on his blog www.davidlai.me.
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44 Responses to Ji Gong – The Crazy Monk of China

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  1. Wan Wai Meng on Dec 11, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    Thank you for this story, very impressed with Ji Gong, who appears to transcends forms of buddhism, and cut right to the heart of things. My favourite story was of taking apart the altar so he and his students could stay warm, and not freeze to death.

  2. Vivian Ong on Nov 28, 2016 at 12:33 am

    Thank you Pastor David for sharing this article of Ji Gong. After reading this article only I realize the attainments that Ji Gong has and is a great mahasiddha. What other people think of him as a crazy monk does not stop him from helping people in his own special ways.

    With folded palms,
    Vivian

  3. Justin Cheah on Nov 8, 2016 at 11:58 pm

    Ji Gong is one of my favourite heroes during my childhood. It was then that i collected most imprints about Buddhism at my an early age by watching his series. Ji Gong taught be to be compassion and be always there to help someone. I feel the stories are nice to educate children from their young age to be exposed to Dharma, Compassion and Tantra. Ji Gong have a huge influence on small kids. Thank you Pastor David for sharing.

  4. TekLee on Oct 21, 2016 at 1:06 am

    Thank you Pastor David for sharing Ji Gong story. I read about Ji Gong stories when I was a kid, and watched his drama series. I like Ji Gong a lot. Especially his super natural power to help people and animal. However after reading this article, it let me know more about Ji Gong, like, there is no evidence to prove that is received tantric transmission, but his behaviour showed that he is a mahasiddha. This reminded me of crazy wisdom, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche that Pastor Han Nee told me. He did all sorts of worldly behaviour, but in the end, he brought Tibetan Buddhism to the west during that degenerated age in that era.
    I like the part “The Buddha Statue” in this article, it greatly reminded me everything we see from out side is only a form, a form that appear to people, what really matters is our true intent at heart. The true qualities is what that really matters in the end. Just like Rinpoche told us, we can keep learning Dharma, but applying it is the real transformation.
    Thank you again Pastor David for the article. With folded hands _/\_

  5. June Kang on Oct 16, 2016 at 9:20 pm

    The more I read on the story of Mahsiddhas, the more I can feel the compassion of the Buddha to save and liberate us. Buddha will be emanated in any form just to help us free from samsara world.
    To save the sentient being, Ji Gong with his wisdom to spread the Dharma in unconventional way. He was known for helping those that in need and sometimes even saving their lives. I like to read his story since I was small child, like to see him using his wisdom to help and save people. At one time I wish I have his wisdom. When I grown up I forgotten all this.

    Just like the story of stopping a Landslide that normal people will not think of snatched the bride and ran down the rod out of town to save peoples life, because to us this is a crazy way to do it. However this is actually the best way at that moment. This is the wisdom and compassion of the Buddha.

    However sad to say that some peoples don’t pay attention of his kindness and wisdom but only focus on a Buddhist monk who eat meat and drink alcohol and use this as an excuse to eat meat and drink alcohol also.

    Also, Ji Gong remind me the first time I read the story Chögyam Trungpa, I also asked why he behave like that, he openly smoked, drank, and had intimate relations with students . But this is how Chögyam Trungpa bringing Tibetan Buddhism to the west with his “ Crazy Wisdom”. And his reincarnation has been recognised. I like what he said this
    “Becoming “awake” involves seeing our confusion more clearly.”

    Thank you Pastor David for the wonderful post.

  6. Pema Thinley on Oct 15, 2016 at 2:43 am

    Amazing story….. Amazing how the realised beings break our wrong perceptions. It reminds me of the story of The Divine Madman. They appear crazy to us because we have been always self-centered and perceived through that same lens. Amaing _()_

    Thank you lah

  7. Pastor Antoinette on Oct 15, 2016 at 12:09 am

    The crazy old monk stories seem to be very popular as i saw in the comments below. His life is amazing, starting from his birth to parents who were told not to have a child. How compassionate and wise Ji Gong was becomes obvious by reading the stories.

    It is not what we see on the outside that makes the difference. Our motive and selfless action is much more important. This was true at Ji Gong’s time and it is still the same today.

    Thank you Pastor David for sharing about the Crazy and Wise Monk of China.

  8. nicholas on Oct 14, 2016 at 11:59 pm

    A true Boddhisatva will often return to samsara in different form to benefit people. In this case I believe Ji Gong manifest in such form to help many people with his crazy wisdom. We can’t really judge someone with our naked eye but we can see their action resulted in the ultimate result. This type of great wisdom being will have odd or rather crazy in our term in performing their action to help people. I know it sound weird but I believe they know what they are doing and I feel his behaviour in such is to get close to people or helping people in a subtle way.

  9. shelly tai on Oct 14, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor David for sharing this story with us. I have come across his story when I was young , I remember one very significants is he always drunk and he act very out of norm, is kind of funny to watch and I like it especially he will help whoever in danger or being treated unfairly he is like hero . In those day when I watch it is more for entertainment but if think back this what some of the highly attain master will act out of conventional way because our normal mind will perceive as wrong and is not like that so after knowing the Dharma that we know this is because our wrong perception toward the thing we think must be like this and cannot be different so is our wrong perception there is nothing wrong with acting different from the norm the most important is correct motivation.

  10. Alice Tay on Oct 13, 2016 at 8:40 pm

    I came across about Ji Gong’s story since I was very young age at about 7 or 8. Ji Gong is very well known with his dirty robes, eating meat and drinking wine. However, many people believed that Ji Gong has supernatural powers and with his kindness and compassion, he would stand up and help the poor or the misfortune group.

    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor David sharing this interesting article and let me have further thoughts about Ji Gong’s often-controversial behaviour of drinking alcohol, eating meat and so forth which is because of he operated out from the conventional truth in order to achieve the ultimate truth.

  11. Joy on Oct 11, 2016 at 3:37 am

    Thank you Pastor David for writing this blog article of one of the many Chinese folktales told as we were growing up. There were even a hit Hong Kong series which tells of how Ji Gong help others.

    He is no doubt a mahasiddha who like you said were more keen and operated on the ultimate truth! And I guess that was what captivated and attracted me and my sister to watch the series even though it was in Chinese and we did not understand it (thank goodness there were subtitles). You could say that he was the first Buddhist monk I ever came across (on TV) and really liked his unconventional style. In the hit series it tells of how he helps and always stand up for the destitute and those who were weaker.

    So yes I very much believed that he was an Bodhisattva. I guess I’ve always like anything “unconventional” and his tales and stories were. And like you said he was not interested in how others perceived him, instead about developing and being compassionate. In a funny little way Ji Gong kinda reminds me of our Rinpoche’s unconventional skillful methods in teaching us Dharma and introducing Dharma to many of us, minus the dirty clothes. Thanks to your article now will come to know a little bit more about his background and how he became a monk.

  12. Paul Yap on Oct 9, 2016 at 10:35 am

    The legend of Ji Gong is always fascinating and very popular in every generations. The stories and tales of Ji Gong has been made into numerous movies, i think because Ji Gong has successfully show his compassion, kindness and miraculous power in helping and saving life, especially among the poor and needy, Ji Gong is like the western version of Robin Hood but with dharma knowledge and attainment. I like the story of Ji Gong very much. Ji Gong symbolised hope and kindness of dharma to the poor and underprivileged, the spirit of Ji Gong will continue to survive thru time cos nothing can destroyed that.

  13. Darren on Oct 6, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    Thank you Pastor David for the interesting article.

  14. Freon Tee on Oct 5, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    I like the story of Ji Gong since young. His unconventional of helping people was very much impressive. After i read story about Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, I thought both of them are very much the same. They have the crazy wisdom and both give dharma to people which break the point of view at that time.

    Ji Gong was born to a rich family and he is a very learned scholar. He was force to get married with a girl which he ran away at the nite of his wedding and became a monk. Monk life was never easy for Ji Gong, he was “bullied” all the time by the senior of the monastery, and even live life like a beggar. Even tho, he live in hard life, poor and homeless most of the time, but, he was always seem happy and have wisdom to help many people who needed him. He always gave some dharma to the person after he helps them.
    Ji Gong was quite proficient in the medicine and saved many people from death. He was known to give the pill that save life from rubbing his body’s “dust” .
    His story is very inspiring and he is known to be the reincarnation of the Arhat. I really like his story very much.

    Thank you Pastor David for this story. Nice one

  15. Lin Mun on Oct 4, 2016 at 10:45 pm

    This is a very interesting article on Ji Gong. I only knew about Ji Gong when I watched the HK drama series. Thought it was just a creation for the drama and never thought that this person really exist. I love that drama series.

    Ji Gong unconventional method in practising dharma may be portrayed to be crazy but I think it is because we always set a fixed expectation in everything and when it does not match to our expectation, then he is not accepted. What Ji Gong has done is to actually break out mindset to accept differences.

    Thank you Pastor David for sharing.

  16. Wei Theng on Oct 4, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    Thank you Pastor David for this interesting article on Ji Gong.

    Since young I love to watch the series of Ji Gong & stories of Ji Gong as I find that he always helping others and always teaches the bad guy a lesson. To me, he is a hero. 🙂

    Although he looks sloppy & appears to be crazy and always do things out of the norm, he is very kind and extended his helps always especially towards unfairness treatment.

    He also very wise and always says things that to prompt us to check out on our ego & attachment and always have a joyous smile!

    Ji Gong is one of my favourite movies & after reading this article, I can’t help but to google for his song again. 😛

    Here you are to share with all of you the Ji Gong song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1TK0Dj93o8

    Thanks again Pastor David! This really brings back all my great memories.

  17. Adeline Tan on Oct 4, 2016 at 1:46 am

    I have read Ji Gong comic books when i was very young,(in primary school),at that time i only thought that crazy drunken monk, one hand held the wine gourd and the other holding a worn out reed fan liked to show off his magic powers like the folktales. He can heal people miraculously, fighting against injustice and abilities to help the poor.All the stories were very entertaining and heartwarming in the end, without knowing that he is a mahasiddha, the re-incarnation of the ArhatTaming Dragon.
    I remembered quite some times back my ex-colleague told me his daughter of less than 2 years old sometimes has no apparent reasons can cry all night and almost every night, he went to consult the medium who took trance in Ji Gong and he brought
    some guinnese stout as offering there and after the trance, he then brought back some blessed water for his daughter to drink and it worked. In another case,my friend has chronic hands and wrists problems that doctor’s treatment is no longer effective she went to the medium who is a Taiwanese lady in her 50s stays near her house who take trance in Ji Gong every Saturday night for 2, 3 Saturdays, during the trance the medium massaged her hands and wrists with some cream , then her problems solved. As i can see the Ji Gong trance is still popular in some parts in our country. Thank you Pastor David for sharing this interesting article.

  18. Jason on Oct 3, 2016 at 2:26 am

    This is very interesting story about Ji Gong(济公).As I remembered,some people address Ji Gong Huo Fo(济公活佛)meant he is incarnation.After I read Pastor David’s article, now I know Ji Gong is incarnation of Arhat Taming Dragon.
    When I was younger age, I remembered that many people offered beer to Ji Gong to thanks Ji Gong helped them to overcome some difficulty or hardship in their live. Ji Gong always use his worn-out fan to touch people’s sickness part as blessing purpose.
    Ji Gong teach people less attachment to anythings in samsara while cultivate inner quality like compassion which will timeless benefit others. I did like the skillful means of Ji Gong to save people life.
    Thanks Pastor David for sharing Ji Gong’s story.

    Jason

  19. Datuk May on Oct 2, 2016 at 10:11 pm

    Thank you, Pastor David, for this article of Ji Gong, the Crazy Monk of China. I really liked reading the following:

    ““You are cutting the Buddha! Don’t do that!” Ji Gong answered, “This statue is not the Buddha himself. This is just a piece of wood.”

    In doing so, he wanted to teach his students how to let go of attachment and that what really matters is our true intent at heart. ”

    I learnt from the above is that what we perceive are of no inherent value except for our perception and attachments to physical material things. However, sad to admit at my level, to be able to really be disrespectful to a Buddha statue is beyond me and that is all because I do not have the attainments to have such wisdom nor confidence to do so.

    Wonderful learning of emptiness and impermanence and that practise of the true meaning of Buddhism to have Bodhichitta and attainments is very clear.

  20. Pastor Han Nee on Oct 2, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    Thank you P David for this interesting article on Ji Gong. There must be a generation gap, for I had never heard about Ji Gong when I was growing up and even later.Nonetheless, his “crazy” or “controversial” behaviour and his total disregard for his physical appearance are not exactly shocking. They are very much in keeping with the unconventional behavior of the Indian Mahasiddhas that we read about in the blogpost “The 84 Mahasiddhas”. Mahasiddha Virupa, for instance, drank alcohol and ate meat(pigeons’ meat!)and had “women” visiting him in the monastery until the late hours of the morning!

    They are highly realised beings. More than that Ji Gong, like the other Mahasiddhas, is a Bodhisattva.His seeming disregard and flouting of conventions and conventional norms, does not detract from his kindness and sincere altruistic wish to help all beings. He was truly creative and skillful in his ways of aiding others- the way he got a whole village of people to leave their village before the massive landslide came down on them which would have killed them all, the way he thwarted an old man’s attempt to commit suicide.

    Like yogins of old, he was not daunted by any seeming punishment imposed on him nor any hardship he encountered.He lived truly like a free spirit,not bound by conventional ideas of what a home should be or where to rest his weary head.

    Thank you once more for this story. A beautiful way to remind us that it is the heart that counts and deeds that matter.

  21. Wah Ying on Oct 1, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    I watched quite some of Ji Gong’s movies and tv drama when I was young. He is a popular and famous figure in the Chinese culture. After watching those shows, what I can recall about Ji Gong is he is a monk with controversial behaviours – drink alcohol and eating meat. One of the damous phrase which always mentioned “wine and meat go into my stomach, while Buddha remains in my heart”..however many misundertood that vows are actually not that important..

    With Pastor David’s write up Ji Gong’s controversial behaviours and shed light on the meaning of his controversial actions, by explaining them from the perspective of ultimate truth and conventional truth. The story about making Buddha statue and altar as firewood and the wisdom words of Ji Gong is very good to explain the concepts. Thank you.

    • Pastor David Lai on Oct 1, 2016 at 11:59 pm

      Wah Ying,
      No, wows and commitments are VERY important for our spiritual practice for those of us who are trying to achieve attainments. Without vows, we cannot achieve attainments. However, for someone who had already achieved attainments, vows are not that important because that person had already achieved great attainments and the role of vows had been fulfilled. Most attained masters continue to hold their vows and commitments to be an example and to be able to pass it down to others. For Ji Gong, he showed a mahasiddha behaviour to get closer to ppl he interacted with but that does not mean we can do the same and get the same result because we don’t have his attainments.

  22. Uncle Eddie on Oct 1, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    Ji Gong was indeed an exceptionally, extraordinary and fearless Bodhisattva. A diety in a Chinese Taoist Folklore religion, he showed unwavering courage and great care to work for the general cause and benefits of all poor and desolate people. Always like to aid especially the poor, meek, old and the deserted. With whatever abilities and supernatural powers that he possessed, he stood up for the down-trodden and the devasted. Recognised by many people, he was said to be the incarnation of the Chinese Taoist Arhat, named Taming Dragon, one of the 18 arhats, a Chinese equivalent of the 16 arhats. Well known for his wild and eccentric behaviour, particular for his love for alcohol and meat, he was often seen stumbling as he walked, due to his intoxication! It was said that he passed away at Jingei Monastery in the year 1207, but, still vividly remembered and dearly loved by many till today. Om Mani Padme Hung.

  23. Fong on Oct 1, 2016 at 12:37 am

    Most of the Chinese in Malaysia are familiar with Ji Gong but may not know much about him. The many stories about Ji Gong is really interesting.

    What I found interesting was the correlation between Ji Gong and the Mahasiddhas of India. So, maybe tantra did make it’s way to China without it being fully recognized or known widely.

    Like most Malaysian born Chinese, I had my fair share of witnessing trances of Ji Gong and some vague stories about him. So, I found this article very interesting and intriguing.

    Thank you, Pastor David for a very interesting article.

    • Pastor David Lai on Oct 2, 2016 at 12:42 am

      I did discuss the subject of Tantra in China in the article. Tantra was transmitted in China but it did not take off and died out. The manner in which Ji Gong operated from is not that he is a tantric practitioner as there is no evidence that points in that direction. Rather it was Ji Gong’s own attainments and realization arising from his formal meditation practice. Attainments does not require tantric pratice to arise and can arise through Sutric prctices as well. However, it is a lot easier through the path of tantra.

  24. Samfoonheei on Sep 30, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    Thank you Pastor David Lai for this interesting article. Since young i always like to hear stories of Ji Gong, even watch TV show about him and would like to go to Ji Gong temples .That time i would not understand much but do as my parents told .But now after reading these article i begin to understand better. Ji Gong is said to have possessed supernatural powers that he would often help the poor or anyone who needed help with his abilities. In Taoist religion,Ji Gong is well known as today.I have seen a Taoist medium in trance as Ji Gong. I have heard many interesting accounts of him helping those who need his help. Ji Gong has a good, kind heart and appearance should not be judge after all.Never judge a person by appearance…there is a quote what is important is inside..
    Thanks again …i do really enjoyed reading Ji Gong biography.and a reminder for us .. our mindset and motivation to benefit people when practicing Dharma.

  25. Sofi on Sep 30, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    Ji Gong really shows us how the Bodhisattva works unconventionally to help us. From the moment he took birth, he helps his parents fulfil their wishes and went on to help others, trying to open their seed of Bodhicitta nature and to transform their ignorance. As So Kin Hoe had aptly described, Ji Gong lived his live as a teaching to others.

    I had loved to watch the Ji Kong series on television as a young kid and loved how he used his abilities to help others in times of need. He was unconventional and one could never expect what he would do next. To cure the sick, he would rub his armpits to form a dirt ball and ask the sick to eat. Of course, they will be repelled at first but having no choice, they ate and recovered. I guess this has parallel to our dharma path. We seek our Guru for cure to our worldly sickness and yet when we are given the practices, we become lazy until we realise there is no other way out of ignorance, then we practice and hopefully gain the mind transformation out of our misery.

    I once went for a trance session where Ji Kong would drink all sorts of alcholic drinks as the people offered and loved to challenge him to drink. No matter how much he drank under trance, after “Ji Kong” leaves, the medium is never drunk. Under trance, Ji Kong is very jovial and also rub his armpits for “medicine pill” to give to the sick. Quite fascinating to watch.

    Thank you Pastor David for this interesting article of our legendary Ji Kong who breaks the idea of conventional Arhats.

  26. Valentina Suhendra on Sep 30, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    Dear Pastor David,

    Thank you for the interesting and well-written article. I read about the story of Ji Gong when I was a child as a TV series so reading this story has brought up so many sweet memories of my dad and I watching TV together.

    Even as a child, I noticed that behind the drunkeness and dirty appearance, Ji Gong was very kind-hearted and that is the reason my dad and I were glued to the TV. I guess he wants me to understand that outer appearance may not be the most important.

    The story helps us to understand that we should not have projection of what a Mahasiddha should or should not be. In fact in all aspects of life, if we control our projection, we will be a much happier person.

    Valentina

  27. Kenn Lai on Sep 30, 2016 at 11:37 am

    Nice article Pastor David Lai and how about Bodhidharma(Dak mo)he originated from India who establish a Shaolin in China? Daoji is a compassionate buddha is like emmergency in needed.

  28. So Kin Hoe (KISG) on Sep 30, 2016 at 11:34 am

    Thank you Pastor David Lai for sharing the biography and stories of Ji Gong. The stories of Ji Gong have reminded me that we should not yearn to look good, feel comfortable, dress well or live in abundance when we practise Dharma and most importantly is our sincerity and purity of our mind and motivation to benefit people around us without hoping for any return.

    The physical appearance of Ji Gong has taught us about emptiness as everything will fade away at the time of our death. Ji Gong’s wild and eccentric behaviour indirectly reflect on how limited our minds work that we should not judge anyone based on the outer appearance without deeper understanding on the inner level, before drawing to a conclusion.

    May the stories of Ji Gong able to reach and help many people, who are in need of short Dharma teachings that can open up their minds to a higher level of understanding in the truth.

    • Kenn Lai on Sep 30, 2016 at 11:43 am

      NIce comment So Kin Hoe deeper understanding about Dharma towards any buddha is the word.

    • Pastor David Lai on Sep 30, 2016 at 8:41 pm

      Hi Kin Hoe,
      That’s very good but how I would see Ji Gong is that he is a Buddhist master who place no importance on appearances and on ordinary attachment. He rather be of benefit to others than to look good, feel comfortable, dress well or live in abundance. Why would he do that? He thinks like that because he had realize that all these things do not really make us happy and the little short term satisfaction and pleasure we get is false and does not last. He realize that these short term pleasures and happiness is really empty of inherent existence.

      He had realized this and that is why he operate from the ultimate truth and that is why he disregard ordinary social norms about meat and wine and how he interact with people. Hence, I don’t think he is asking people to give up dressing well, being comfortable, living in abundance and so forth. I think he is telling us that the promise that these things will bring you happiness is false. Hence, we focus more of our effort and time in Dharma and we juggle both in.

      • So Kin Hoe (KISG) on Oct 1, 2016 at 2:29 pm

        Thank you Pastor David Lai for sharing your further explanation about Ji Gong. I agree with you and what I would like to share is we should not increase our desire and attachments when we practice Dharma. Thanks

  29. Stella Cheang on Sep 30, 2016 at 11:19 am

    The stories of Ji Gong have always been my favorite since childhood. The stories are highly entertaining. Ji Gong exhibited unorthodox behavior in his time but well loved by many people after his passing because of his many deeds that brought justice and castigations to the ones who deserved them. Besides his supernatural abilities, Ji Gong was famous for his wisdom. Pastor David has kindly explained here that Ji Gong’s wisdom is the attainment in understanding the ultimate truth. And I really appreciate that now we have the many tales of Ji Gong to give us familiar examples to what is ultimate truth versus conventional truth, a topic that is relatively profound but important to understand fully. Thank you Pastor David for this article. It also gives me a chance to take a stroll down memory lane, and a reason to try locate my Mandarin version of The Legend of Ji Gong.

  30. Sharon Ong on Sep 30, 2016 at 11:05 am

    Some years back I had the opportunity to watch a medium take trance of Ji Gong. At that time I had no idea who Ji Gong was except that he is a beggar monk who helped people. I tried to research him but there wasn’t much about him in cyberspace at that time.

    During the trance, I noticed that he carried a torn fan, wore torn shoes and a rather large wooden mala. He was very friendly and was very jovial. His advice to me and the other people present at the trance was very logical and now that I think of it, is very Dharmic. One of the things I remember is that he mentioned to always help those beggars in the streets, to think of him whenever I encounter a beggar and to give the beggar some food and drinks. He added this… “who knows that beggar might be me.” At that time, this didn’t make much sense to me. But years later, after learning some Dharma, I think he was trying to tell me that Mahasiddhas and Buddhas can manifest amongst the most ordinary to actually help us in our practice.

    Thank you for your detailed and interesting article, I now know more about Ji Gong. Great write-up!

    • Pastor David Lai on Sep 30, 2016 at 8:59 pm

      That was a neat recount. Thank you. I have never met a Ji Gong medium but I heard that there are many and for some reason, he is a very popular deity to take trance of in the Chinese Buddhist/Taoist tradition. I like what he said about making offerings to beggars. Neat…

  31. gary foo on Sep 30, 2016 at 2:09 am

    Thank you Pastor David for the delightful stories of Ji Gong. Though I do not feel a specific affinity with this divine being I loved seeing the hong kong / taiwan series about him and his using his magical powers to help others. I would agree he is like a Mahasiddha. One story I remember clearly was him first barbecuing a pigeon and then chomping on it and looking like he really enjoyed his meat.. when another lay passerby chided him for being a monk and yet taking a life and enjoying meat..to which Ji Gong opened his mouth and miraculously a live pigeon flew out and he answered back ..who said i was eating meat..or something along the lines..:) Anyway to me he is definitely no ordinary being and I have also read about him bringing a person into hell to record the journey and teachings and interviews from the 18 courts and from there the book ‘Journey to the Underworld’was written for the benefit of mankind to practice dharma and not fall into the hell realms

    • Pastor David Lai on Sep 30, 2016 at 9:03 pm

      Gary,

      That’s a very neat story about Ji Gong. Kinda reminds me of the Mahasiddha Tilopa. He eats fish and had done something similar of reanimating dead fish he had eaten. He gave a teaching verse or two as he did that. By the way, Tilopa was Naropa’s Guru. Interesting similarity.

      • gary foo on Oct 1, 2016 at 12:27 am

        Thats an interesting point. Probably the divine beings loves using similar techniques to impart dharma at that time..same technique but used cross the globe by different divine beings but for one purpose 🙂

  32. Anne Ong on Sep 29, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    This is a very good story write up Pastor David. It’s simply meaningful,funny and entertaining. I have watched the story of Ji Gong on TVB drama on DVD many years ago,but i think the dvd version is quite different.Thank you Pastor David for this wonderful story to lift up my day! Keep it up! 🙂

  33. Pastor KH Ng on Sep 29, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    Thank You Pastor David.

    As a child I watched with fascination many movie that featured Ji Gong. He was always portrayed as fun loving “beggar” who ate meat; particularly he loved dog meat, and drank alcohol. He has super natural power and also helps the down trodden people who were victims of the rich and powerful.
    I always regarded Him to be a Buddha and not a deity because He showed wisdom that is beyond normal intelligence. Later, I read that he is a manifestation of Guan Yin, the Buddha of Compassion.

    Well, the world is not we it seem to be. The ultimate truth is to be strived for.

    • Pastor David Lai on Sep 29, 2016 at 8:29 pm

      You are welcomed Pastor KH. Ji Gong is one of these Chinese figures that every Chinese would know of, kinda like a cultural icon. For some reason, I was not really into him much when I was younger. I think I only read a little of his stories at illustrated comic books published by Asiapac a long time ago. In this comic and also of many other sources, they Ji Gong was the Arhat Taming Dragon that took rebirth and actually, this is really the first time, I have ever heard of Ji Gong as the emanation of Guan Yin. Nonetheless, I am not saying you are wrong, I am just acknowledging what you have read.

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  • Lin Mun
    Saturday, Apr 29. 2017 03:09 PM
    Interesting info and article about werewolves. I never knew about its origins and the various wolves existence until I read this. I have thus far know about werewolves only from the movies and the famous twilight show. But one thing I noticed from the articles is the gruesome manner in killing the person (or suspected werewolves). Some were cursed to be a werewolves. There just so much anger, violence and killing in the whole process, which probably the reason why werewolves are known to kill and hurt human and other animals.

    Anyway, whether we believe the existence of werewolf is true or not, I believe that there are other forms of beings in world. And we should not handle or deal with other beings with violence and anger.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/paranormal/werewolves-the-shapeshifters.html#comment-744320
  • Lin Mun
    Friday, Apr 28. 2017 04:00 PM
    Everything we offer to Buddha is a form of mind transformation and practise our mind to be focus even when doing water offering. When pouring the water into the bowl we have to recite Om Ah Hum (3 times), think positively and pouring it slowly so it does not spill and leaving the space of a grain of rice before reaching the top. After offering we also have to clean the bowls properly without leaving stain. All this is to train our mind.

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing the many benefits and water offering in a simple to understand article.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/making-water-offerings-to-the-buddhas.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Friday, Apr 28. 2017 03:38 PM
    Trolls are assiociates as beings of Scandinavian folklore.A large number of different mythological creatures continue to live on in Scandinavian folklore.They have different shapes,habitat and filthy features . There are also numerous tales of trolls told and retold.Trolls are also believed to have the magigal powers, which were folktales ,posses capabilities that are beyond human .What ever it was a remnant of a long-lost reality for sure. I do believe that there’s a very high chance trolls had existed in the past.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing ,i do enjoyed all the stories in these article even though it just folk tales.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/the-hidden-nature-of-trolls.html
  • Jason
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 11:54 PM
    People always expect return on some contribution being done especially in charity events. When the return was under their expectations then they will feel sad or unhappy.
    As Rinpoche said, Dharma is a teachings to transform our mind to become bodicitta or selfless to benefit others without condition. Once we practiced selfless mind, our mind will not be affected by others people reaction.
    What will be my legacy? I think this is not really important to me anymore once I know Dharma teachings from Rinpoche.
    Thanks Datuk May for sharing to benefit more people.

    Jason

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/guest-contributors/what-will-be-your-legacy.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 08:56 PM
    Amazing miracles true story …of how Rinpoche helped. With Rinpoche blessing during the children baptismal ceremony,this little boy who had not spoken since 9 years old was able to speake again.Incredible….
    Chef Au truly believes been a vegetarian has help him to collects merits for his son.Rinpoche’s care and compassion has benefited many more people.Through these stories hope more people will be inspired to achieve the state of compassion and attainments.
    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Loh Seng Piow for this sharing.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/personal-attendant/the-miracles-of-tsem-rinpoche-true-story-4.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 07:51 PM
    Having fully trust and faith in Rinpoche ,Fat monk’s mother was well again, after been diagnosed with cancerious tumour at the liver.
    Following instructions given by Rinpoche, his mother recited mantras and Fat monk did a series of pujas as told,his mother recovered then.
    Amazing……Miracles do happen.
    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Loh Seng Piow for sharing.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/personal-attendant/the-miracles-of-tsem-rinpoche-true-story-3.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 05:27 PM
    We are no strangers to the creatures called Werewolves. They are often depicted as the Jekyll-and-Hyde-like monsters in movies who are unable to control their animal instincts when they shift from human form to a wolf-like creature, usually during the full moon. Together with the Vampires who can transform into bats, are my childhood imagery villains, who triggered my curiosity on mythical creatures during younger days. They still do, lol.

    It is gruesome to learn that real life werewolves are actually brutal even when they are in human forms. It is a far depict from the movies and fictions, where they are civil and level headed when in human form. I hope one day science or technology can provide more proves the existence of werewolves, and debunk the reason of this mystical shapeshifter.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/paranormal/werewolves-the-shapeshifters.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 05:07 PM
    The miraculous power of Protectors’ practice can heal and shield us from negative karma from ripening. Through the blessings of our Guru, coupled with strong faith and trust, the practices will take effect swiftly and effectively. Rejoice to Steven Lee. May he be guided by the Three Jewels always. Thank you, Pastor Seng Piow for sharing the true story with us.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/personal-attendant/the-miracles-of-tsem-rinpoche-true-story-10.html
  • Lin Mun
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 03:57 PM
    This is a very touching article. I totally agree that dog is a man’s best friend. They are always so loyal to the owner. However it is sad that not all pet owners are such. Some will only treat them literally as an animal and therefore do not take good care of them. Dogs or any other animals are beings that have feeling. There should not be neglected and be abused by us. This article reminds us to always care for all beings and respect them.

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this heartwarming article.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/faithful-dog-chases-deceased-owner.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 02:21 PM
    Its a heartfelt touching article of this faithful dog.Cannot imagine this ,such a wonderful relationship between that dog and the deceased owner.The greatest fear dogs know is the fear that we will not come back for them That i noticed from observing from my pet poodle.In this case this faithful dog knew his owner won’t be back.
    Dogs are loyal, patient, fearless, forgiving, capable of pure love and have feelings too.He must have missed the owner badly that he wanted to accompany the owner all the way to the resting place.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing. May that faithful dog ,continue to serve and well taken, love by the other family members.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/faithful-dog-chases-deceased-owner.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 01:46 PM
    Werewolves are known to be mythical creatures found in fiction instead of lurking in the dark woods,In various parts of the world there were few cases who have gone down in history as real life werewolves Interesting to read it from these post..How far it was true or just legends.,no one really know . Many myths and legends surrounding werewolves .To become a werewolf, it is necessary to be bitten by a werewolf in their form at the time of the full moon. Thats what all of us knew from the movies and from fiction told. Reports of werewolf sightings continued even till this century but mostly in between 1428 and 1447 .The most recent sighting of werewolf sightings in 1972. was in Ohio .but eventually subsided .
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these interesting article which i do enjoyed reading it,
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/paranormal/werewolves-the-shapeshifters.html
  • Valentina
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 01:11 PM
    Join our blog chat session this Saturday 11AM – 12PM (GMT +8) on the topic of:

    Twenty-Four Holy Places & Eight Great Charnel Grounds part 2 – (focus topic: Eight Great Charnel Grounds)

    At one time there was a god by the name of Rudra who was originally part of Mahadeva’s retinue. He was a very fierce being who also had many of his own consorts. Together with his consorts he began to oppress sentient beings, and promoted violence and unethical behaviour. At that time, Heruka once again arose, and in a dance of great compassionate wrath, liberated Rudra and his consorts from their physical bodies, sending their minds to pure lands. The places where Rudra’s body parts fell became charnel grounds. …read more by clicking the following link:

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/twenty-four-holy-places-eight-great-charnel-grounds.html
  • Jason
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 03:07 AM
    This year Wesak Day fall on 10 of May. This day is very special and meaningful to me because I will visit Kechara Forest Retreat(KFR) to join some meritorious event there.
    For me, Wesak is a day to commemorate Buddha Sakyamuni in three aspect( Birth , Enlightened, Nirwana).
    While we celebrate Wesak, we must remind ourselves to learn from Buddha teachings and practice it in order to gain attainment.
    Thanks Rinpoche and Pastor Seng Piow for sharing in order to create more understanding on Wesak Day.

    Jason

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

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

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

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/personal-attendant/the-miracles-of-tsem-rinpoche-true-story-1-2.html

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The Unknown

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


Ask the Pastors

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

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

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

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