Lama Anagarika Govinda: The Pioneer Who Introduced Tibetan Buddhism to the World

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Lama Anagarika Govinda (1898 – 1985).

Lama Anagarika Govinda (1898 – 1985).

(By Tsem Rinpoche and Pastor Antoinette)

Lama Anagarika Govinda (1898 – 1985) was a towering – figure who introduced the world to Tibetan Buddhism. Multi-talented, he was an accomplished Buddhist scholar, philosopher, poet, painter as well as being the founder of the Arya Maitreya Mandala order. Despite coming from a privileged European background , Lama Anagarika Govinda was courageous enough to leave his comfort zone and indeed go through various hardships to learn about Buddhism in Ceylon, and later India and Tibet. Today, more than 30 years after his passing, his life story and writings continue to inspire many on their spiritual paths.
 


 

Early Life in Europe

Lama Anagarika Govinda was born in Waldheim, Germany.

Lama Anagarika Govinda was born in Waldheim, Germany.

On 17 May 1898 in Waldheim, Germany, Lama Anagarika Govinda was born as Ernst Lothar Hoffmann (Ernst Hoffmann) to a German father and a Bolivian mother. His childhood was comfortable since his father was a successful businessman who owned a cigar factory and silver mines in South Africa. He had an older brother named Oscar Hoffmann.

However, his idyllic childhood was shaken when his mother passed away. Ernst Hoffmann was only three years old at the time. After the tragedy, Ernst and Oscar Hoffman were taken care of by their maternal aunt, Matilde. In their new home, the boys were exposed to multiple languages. Their aunt spoke Spanish, their maternal grandmother French, while their uncle, Matilde’s husband, spoke German to the boys.

By the tender age of sixteen, Ernst Hoffman had started to read various books by famous philosophers such as Plato and Arthur Schopenhauer. In addition, he read the Upanishads, a collection of texts encompassing the central philosophy of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Brought up as a Christian, he was also able to make comparative studies of the main religions of the world: Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam to determine which faith appealed to him the most. In the end, he chose Buddhism because he thought its code of morality was based on the premise of individual freedom. So when he turned 18 years old, he became a Buddhist and joined the Union of Buddhist Living (Bund Für Buddhistisches Leben).

While Hoffman found solace in Buddhism, tumultuous events were raging in Europe. World War I was at its heights and in October 1916, Ernst Hoffmann was plucked out of his studies and was drafted into the German Army and sent to Italy. There are only scant surviving records of his time in the military. We do know, however, that he was later infected with tuberculosis, and later admitted to a hospital in Milan in 1918. He was then transferred to a sanatorium in the Black Forest to recuperate and was later discharged in the same year. After his recovery, he briefly continued his study at Freiburg University, Switzerland where he read philosophy, archaeology, and psychology. Then Ernst Hoffmann went on to study at the University of Naples where he majored in archaeology and learned the Siamese language in order to read a Pali Canon, which was donated by the King of Siam to the university. During his time in Italy, he conducted explorations of the local stone-age structures and the famous cylindrical stone towers of Nuraghi in Sardinia and other archaeological sites in Italy. Hoffmann also visited Tunisia, Morocco, and Malta for the purpose of archaeological exploration.

Lama Govinda spent several years on Capri, Italy before he moved to Ceylon (the present-day Sri Lanka).

Then in search of better opportunities, he decided to move to the island of Capri where he found a job at a photo studio. The studio belonged to Mrs. Anne Habermann, a widow who had lost her daughter to tuberculosis. Being a kind woman, she treated Hoffmann like her own child, and her affection was reciprocated as Hoffmann regarded Mrs. Habermann as his foster mother.

On Capri, Ernst Hoffmann also befriended Earl Brewster, an American artist and writer who shared his interest in Buddhism. Both experimented with Satti-Patthana, a meditation technique aimed at achieving an awareness of the conscious mind, mental phenomena, feelings and the body. He also became interested in the work of Ludwig Klages, a German philosopher whose work on biometric metaphysics influenced his own approach to understanding Buddhism. In 1922, Earl Brewster went to Ceylon, the present-day Sri Lanka. Although Hoffmann would have liked nothing better than to join him, he was not able to due to having insufficient funds. While residing on Capri, Hoffman also had the good fortune of learning to paint from various artists. He experimented with landscape scenes and colours. His painting style was often compared to the works of Nicholas Roerich.

 

Sri Lanka and Burma

Polgasduwa Monastery in Sri Lanka.

Polgasduwa Monastery in Sri Lanka.

By 1928 Hoffman had saved up adequate funds and proceeded to move to Ceylon with his foster mother. There he went to stay at the Polgasduwa Monastery. He found the monastery to be in a state of disrepair because of the abbot, Ven. Nyanatiloka Thera, a German monk who was a scholar and a teacher of Theravada Buddhism, had been forced to live in exile during the war.

Burma ca. the late 1920s and early 1930s.

Burma ca. the late 1920s and early 1930s.

Hoffmann eventually became a student of Nyanatiloka Thera, who gave him the name Govinda. Under his teacher’s guidance, he continued to study meditation and Pali language. It was here in Ceylon Hoffmann believed that he had found Buddhism in its purest form.

Lama Govinda came to Ceylon with the intention of becoming a monk. However, Anagarika Dharmapala, a Buddhist Sinhalese writer, convinced him not to do so as he would have faced travel restrictions as a monk. Therefore, he opted to be an anagarika (homeless one) for nine weeks. From this point onward, Hoffmann will be referred to as Lama Anagarika Govinda (Lama Govinda).

Ven. Nyanatiloka Thera (seated centre) and Lama Govinda (seated left) in Burma.

Ven. Nyanatiloka Thera (seated centre) and Lama Govinda (seated left) in Burma.

In March 1929, Lama Govinda went to Burma on a pilgrimage and later he was joined by Ven. Nyanatiloka Thera, who travelled there to pay homage to his teacher who had recently passed away. During this journey, Lama Anagarika Govinda and Ven. Nyanatiloka Thera visited Mandalay where they managed to secure a meeting with U Khanti, a great man who volunteered to take charge of the restoration of the stupas and temples on a sacred hill. An attendant monk of U Khanti informed Lama Govinda that his master was the incarnation of King Mindon Min who as monarch had commissioned the building of the temples and stupas in that area.

In 1929, Lama Govinda, together with several other students of Ven. Nyanatiloka, established the International Buddhist Union (IBU) and made Venerable Nyanatiloka Thera its leader. The objective of IBU was “… to unite all Buddhists worldwide and to promote Buddhism through the virtuous and exemplary conduct of practicing Buddhists.” Lama Govinda took the role of the general secretary and went to Europe and Burma to promote and gain support for IBU.

In 1930, Lama Govinda met with a Sinhalese tea planter who made his estate available for him to build the Variyagoda Hermitage. Govinda stayed here for a year to study Pali and Abhidhamma.

 

Meeting Domo Geshe Rinpoche and Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism

Ghoom Monastery in India.

Ghoom Monastery in India.

In April 1931, Lama Govinda, in his capacity as the general secretary of IBU, participated in All-India Buddhist Conference in Darjeeling, India to spread the Theravadan Buddhist Tradition. He used this opportunity to travel within India. One day during his travels Lama Govinda was caught in a-three-day storm and had to take refuge at Ghoom Monastery under Domo Geshe Rinpoche Ngawang Kalsang (1866 – 1936). Prior to coming to India, Lama Govinda held this belief that Tibetan Buddhism had “degenerated into a system of demon worship and weird beliefs.” However, in this Gelugpa Monastery, he learned otherwise and even found himself touched deeply as he wrote:

Some inexplicable force seemed to keep me back, and the longer I stayed on in this magic world into which I had dropped by a strange concatenation of circumstances, the more I felt that a hitherto unknown form of reality was revealed to me and that I was on the threshold of a new life.

Kovács, Iván. Lama Govinda’s Quest for the Truth: A Summary of His Life – Part I; The Esoteric Quarterly. 2015

Left: The statue of Domo Geshe Rinpoche Ngawang Kalsang. Right: The mummified body of Domo Geshe Rinpoche Ngawang Kalsang.

Left: The statue of Domo Geshe Rinpoche Ngawang Kalsang. Right: The mummified body of Domo Geshe Rinpoche Ngawang Kalsang.

At Ghoom Monastery, Lama Govinda befriended the caretaker, Kachenla, who acted as a spiritual father to him. From Kachenla, he learned how to handle sacred books, how to conduct prayers, and how to go around the monastery. He asked Kachenla if he could meet the abbot of Ghoom Monastery, Domo Geshe Rinpoche. When the two finally met, Lama Govinda was in complete awe. Domo Geshe Rinpoche advised Lama Govinda to:

… never to regard himself as superior to others. As soon, however, as we understand that we live in exactly that world which we deserve, we shall recognise the faults of others as our own.

Kovács, Iván. Lama Govinda’s Quest for the Truth: A Summary of His Life – Part I; The Esoteric Quarterly. 2015

Since Lama Govinda’s knowledge of Buddhism was quite extensive, Domo Geshe Rinpoche:

… found it unnecessary to instruct his disciple in doctrinal matters, and instead, proceeded directly to teach him the practice of meditation, which in Lama Govinda’s case was more important than theoretical knowledge.

Kovács, Iván. Lama Govinda’s Quest for the Truth: A Summary of His Life – Part I; The Esoteric Quarterly. 2015

Although their time together was relatively short, Domo Geshe Rinpoche gave Lama Govinda a sense of harmony and peace that he had never experienced before. According to Lama Govinda:

Merely to be in the man’s presence seemed to be enough to dissolve all problems, to make them non-existent, like darkness in the presence of light.

Kovács, Iván. Lama Govinda’s Quest for the Truth: A Summary of His Life – Part I; The Esoteric Quarterly. 2015

Before they parted ways, Domo Geshe Rinpoche gave Lama Govinda “a small but exquisitely finished terracotta statue of Buddha Shakyamuni.” Later in his life, this Buddha statue served as a talisman for Lama Govinda. Even people with hostile intentions became hospitable upon seeing the statue. The exquisite Buddha image was the handiwork of Kachenla, the old temple caretaker who was a dear friend of Lama Govinda.

Rati Petit aka. Li Gotami (1906 – 1988), Lama Govinda’s wife.

Rati Petit aka. Li Gotami (1906 – 1988), Lama Govinda’s wife.

In order to be close to his teacher, Domo Geshe Rinpoche, Lama Govinda stayed in India and visited Tibet several times in the early 1930s. Although he had been inducted into Tibetan Buddhism, Lama Govinda was on good terms with his Theravada Buddhist teacher, Nyanatiloka Thera. However, his waning interest in IBU caused significant reductions in the organisation’s activities which led to its eventual closure. To support himself in India, Lama Govinda taught Buddhist culture, French and German languages at Vishva-Bharati University in Shantiniketan. It was during this time he gave a lecture on Buddhist architecture that would later be published as a book titled Psycho-Cosmic Symbolism of the Buddhist Stupa.

On the advice of Domo Geshe Rinpoche, Lama Govinda established the Arya Maitreya Mandala in 1933. In the following year in Calcutta, he held his first painting exhibition. During his sojourn in India, he held various positions in several universities and gave lectures on the subject of archaeology, Buddhist philosophy, and history. He was also the general secretary of International Buddhist University Association (IBUA) (1935 – 1945) and a guest lecturer at the University of Allahabad and Patna University (1936). Some of his lectures were published as books:

  • His lecture on Buddhist Psychology in 1939 at Patna University was published as a book titled The Psychological Attitude of Early Buddhist Philosophy.
  • His lecture at Vishva-Bharati University in Shantininekan was published as a book titled Psycho-Cosmic Symbolism of the Buddhist Stupa.

However, not everything went smoothly for Lama Govinda. In 1934, he went to Sri Lanka to give several lectures on Tibetan Buddhism. There he gained support to build a Buddhist university in Sarnath but in the end, the support proved to be insufficient, and he ran out of money.

Between 1937 – 1940, Lama Govinda settled in Darjeeling with his foster mother, Mrs. Habermann. In 1938, Lama Govinda became a British citizen. It was around this time, too that, Lama Govinda met his future wife, Rati Petit. Their first encounter took place when the latter was making her way to the hostel where Lama Govinda stayed at the time. She described the encounter as follows:

A door opened and out strolled this handsome, smiling foreigner dressed in the burgundy robes of a monk. She recalled asking herself who this “bright merry person” might be, and in retrospect (at least on her part) remembered the incident as very romantic.

Kovács, Iván. Lama Govinda’s Quest for the Truth: A Summary of His Life – Part I; The Esoteric Quarterly. 2015

Under the guidance of Lama Govinda, Rati Petit’s interest in Buddhism flourished. Lama Govinda took her to meet with his teacher, Domo Geshe Rinpoche. Many years later in his book The Way of the White Clouds, Lama Govinda recalled that Domo Geshe Rinpoche had predicted Rati Petit would become Lama Govinda’s wife in 1947. However, he kept this information to himself until the marriage took place. In addition to Rati Petit, Govinda was a teacher to another prominent lady, Indira Nehru, the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru and the future female Prime minister of India.

Indira Nehru and her father Jawaharlal Nehru.

Indira Nehru and her father, Jawaharlal Nehru.

A rare picture of Anne Habermann at Ghoom Monastery.

A rare picture of Anne Habermann at Ghoom Monastery. Lama Govinda brought her to visit Ghoom Monastery on several occasions.

Domo Geshe Rinpoche passed away in 1936. When he was alive, Domo Geshe Rinpoche had advised his students to control their grief because his incarnation would be returning soon. Therefore, when his beloved teacher passed away in 1937, Lama Govinda dealt with his sorrow in silence. Domo Geshe Rinpoche’s subsequent incarnation was found in 1937.

Lama Govinda continued with his travels and explorations. In Sikkim, he became the friend of the Maharaja, who helped him by providing the necessary resources to explore various places in Tibet and India. He also visited numerous hermitages including the Milarepa’s retreat cave. He also encountered another famous hermit, Lama Gomchen of Lachen who was also the teacher of Alexandra David-Neel.

Lama Gomchen and Lama Govinda had a meaningful conversation and agreed that:

It is not the robe or the shaven head but the overcoming of selfish desires that makes the saint [and] the knowledge that springs from the experience of ultimate reality in meditation … Mere goodness and morality without wisdom is as useless as knowledge without goodness.

Kovács, Iván. Lama Govinda’s Quest for the Truth: A Summary of His Life – Part I; The Esoteric Quarterly. 2015

 

Involvement in World War II

Prison camp in Ahmednagar where Lama Govinda was imprisoned until his transfer to Dehra Dun.

Prison camp in Ahmednagar where Lama Govinda was imprisoned until he was transferred to Dehra Dun.

Although Lama Govinda had become a British citizen since 1938, his relationship with anti- British personalities (e.g., his friendship with the Nehru family) had generated a lot of suspicion from the British authorities that resulted in his imprisonment in 1942. At first, he was confined to a prison camp in Ahmednagar where his anti-fascist sentiments created trouble for him with the Nazis who were also jailed there. In 1942, the British government transferred him to a special anti-fascist prison camp in Dehra Dun where he was reunited with his Theravada Buddhist teacher, Nyanatiloka, and another German monk, Nyanaponika. Lama Govinda and Nyanaponika became good friends, and they translated Buddhist texts together.

Lama Govinda during his imprisonment in Dehra Dun.

Lama Govinda during his imprisonment in Dehra Dun.

Due to their exemplary good behaviour, the British government gave Lama Govinda and several other inmates passes that allowed them to leave the prison and explore the town and other places twice a week between 8 am and 5 pm. When the war ended, Lama Govinda was among the first batch of prisoners to be released because he had caused no trouble during his time in prison. Nyanaponika and Lama Govinda would only meet once more in Europe, 25 years after their release from prison.

 

Marriage and Life in Tibet

Upon his release from prison, Lama Govinda resumed his teaching activities at Patna University and Vishva-Bharati University in Shantiniketan. The latter had been established by Rabindranath Tagore, the famous poet and Nobel Prize winner. During this time, he wrote regular articles for the Mahabodhi, a monthly journal of the Mahabodhi Society in Calcutta. According to Ken Winkler, Lama Govinda’s biographer, the articles were:

…somewhat lofty in content, though his earnestness is just as evident as his determination to present his views on Buddhism. He remained a quiet, scholarly writer, pedantic in his articles and deeply committed to explaining his findings.

Kovács, Iván. Lama Govinda’s Quest for the Truth: A Summary of His Life – Part I; The Esoteric Quarterly. 2015

Lama Govinda and Li Gotami after their wedding in 1947.

Lama Govinda and Li Gotami after their wedding in 1947.

In addition to his teaching commitments, Lama Govinda managed to use his connections to exhibit his artwork in Bombay during this period. While Lama Govinda was in prison, his old student, Rati Petit, or at this point known professionally as Li Gotami, studied under the guidance of Abanindranath Tagore and became an accomplished artist in her own right. Abanindranath Tagore advised Li Gotami to specialise in either drawing illustration for children books or in Tibetan pictures as she showed special aptitude for these two topics. It was under these circumstances that Li Gotami and Lama Govinda revived their friendship and finally married in four separate ceremonies in 1947. Lama Govinda performed one of the ceremonies in his capacity as a lama. Two other ceremonies were held in Darjeeling and Bombay, and the fourth was held in Tse-Choling Monastery in Chumbi Valley under the guidance of Ajorepa Rinpoche.

Ajorepa Rinpoche and Li Gotami.

Ajorepa Rinpoche and Li Gotami.

Prior to meeting Ajorepa Rinpoche, Lama Govinda had worked very hard to obtain the required permits to enter Tibet and explore the area of Tsaparang, the former capital of the ancient Kingdom of Guge. When the newly married couple travelled for this purpose, they arrived at Tse-Choling Monastery, who was at the time under the leadership of Ajorepa Rinpoche, the incarnation of the eighth century Siddha, Dombi-Heruka. Lama Govinda regarded Ajorepa Rinpoche as one of his most significant teachers, and received at least one initiation from this lama. Ajorepa Rinpoche also inducted both Lama Govinda and Li Gotami into the Kagyupa Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. In the same year, Lama Govinda became an Indian citizen.

Lama Govinda remembered the time they spent at Tse-Choling Monastery fondly:

We also found plenty of work to do besides our devotional practices, as there were books to study, notes to be taken, woodcuts to be printed and some outstanding frescoes to be copied or traced in outline . . . Also outside the monastery, there was plenty to do in the way of sketching and photographing. We certainly had not one dull moment, and in-between we had ample opportunities of discussing religious questions with Ajo Rimpoche . . .

Kovács, Iván. Lama Govinda’s Quest for the Truth: A Summary of His Life – Part I; The Esoteric Quarterly. 2015

After spending some time at Tse-Choling Monastery, in September 1947, the couple continued their journey to the city of Gyantse where several government offices were located. Lama Govinda continued to lobby to gain permission to travel to certain parts of Tibet that required special passes, including Tsaparang.

They stayed in Gyantse for four months and used the time to explore various monasteries, retreat places, festivals and religious ceremony. Li Gotami took many pictures of anything that interested her. Finally, they received the necessary permits in January 1948, and the couple returned to India to prepare for their expedition to Tsaparang.

 

The Tsaparang Expedition

The remains of the ancient kingdom of Guge in Tsaparang.

The remains of the ancient kingdom of Guge in Tsaparang.

In July 1948, in exchange for a written account of the trip, The Illustrated Weekly of India agreed to sponsor the Lama Govinda’s and Li Gotami’s two-year expedition to Tsaparang, the centre of activities for the ancient kingdom of Guge. During this expedition, Li Gotami and Govinda took many pictures that would later appear in their books, Lama Govinda’s The Way of the White Clouds and Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism, and Li Gotami’s Tibet in Pictures.

During the expedition, the couple often had to put up with harsh living conditions. They had to face extreme cold weather and trekked through dangerous landscapes. Their diet mostly consisted of chappatis and porridge that was cooked over a brushwood fire. Due to the very low temperature, they had to drink their tea immediately after cooking or otherwise, the tea would freeze. Li Gotami recalled:

A storm then broke. The rain nearly froze us while the wind howled like hungry wolves around us. Oh, those winds! They are Tibet’s worst enemy, and if I were ever asked to picture them, I would draw a hundred thousand ice-bound daggers with the head of a howling wolf for every hilt.

Kovács, Iván. Lama Govinda’s Quest for the Truth: A Summary of His Life – Part II; The Esoteric Quarterly. 2015

The beautiful Mount Kailash.

The beautiful Mount Kailash.

Lama Govinda found his visit to Mount Kailash to be one of the highlights of their journey. He described the mountain as follows:

There are mountains which are just mountains and there are mountains with personality. The personality of a mountain is more than merely a strange shape that makes it different from others – just as a strangely shaped face or strange actions do not make an individual into a personality. Personality consists in the power to influence others, and this power is due to consistency, harmony, and one-pointedness of character. If these qualities are present in an individual, in their highest perfection, then this individual is a fit leader of humanity, either as a ruler, a thinker, or a saint, and we recognise him as a vessel of divine power. If these qualities are present in a mountain, we recognise it as a vessel of cosmic power, and we call it a sacred mountain.

Kovács, Iván. Lama Govinda’s Quest for the Truth: A Summary of His Life – Part II; The Esoteric Quarterly. 2015

Lama Govinda and Li Gotami took four to five days to circumambulate the sacred mountain. To the right of Mount Kailash, there was Lake Manasarovar, which represented the beginning of the day and the “invincible forces of the Buddhas. To the left, there was Lake Rakshastal, which represented the beginning of the night and “the Lake of the Dark Deities.”

Prior to reaching Tsaparang, Lama Govinda and Li Gotami arrived in the Valley of the Moon Castle where they encountered one of the most challenging experiences in their journey. Ivan Kovacs in his article, Lama Govinda’s Quest for the Truth, the Summary of His Life reiterated this experience based on Govinda’s book, The Way of the White Clouds:

He gives a detailed account of how they had to ford a river by means of a rope bridge that only had two steel cables for its main support, which were hanging side by side with nothing but short planks and sticks upon them that were fastened with ropes and wires. The yaks had to be unloaded, and the luggage carried separately across the bridge. But once it was the turn of the yaks to make the crossing they refused to step on to the swaying bridge and had to be allowed to swim across the river. This was a risky thing to accomplish because there was only one place on the opposite shore where they could safely get out of the stream—all the other places were so steep that they would surely have drowned. With some clever maneuvering and stone-throwing, the yaks were prevented from being swept downstream and safely made it to the other shore.

Kovács, Iván. Lama Govinda’s Quest for the Truth: A Summary of His Life – Part II; The Esoteric Quarterly. 2015

To make the matter worse, they had to camp in the same location for more than one week because their guides had abandoned them. However, Lama Govinda and Li Gotami were not too disturbed by the unfortunate turn of events. They were absorbed by the beauty of their surroundings and the evidence of past ancient civilisations. They saw the remains of the stupas, temples, castles, and monasteries with 10th century frescoes. While waiting for the opportunity to meet the district governor to request for a fresh pack of animals that would help them to continue their journey, Li Gotami and Lama Govinda visited many archaeological sites in the area and did a lot of sketching.

The remains of the ancient kingdom of Guge in Tsaparang.

The remains of the ancient kingdom of Guge in Tsaparang.

When they finally arrived in Tsaparang, Lama Govinda and Li Gotami again immersed themselves in the beauty of their surroundings:

As if woven of light the city stood against the evening sky, enhaloed by a rainbow, which made the scene as unbelievable as a fata morgana. We almost feared that the scene before us might disappear as suddenly as it had sprung up before our eyes, but it remained there as solid as a rock on which it was built. Even the rainbow – in itself a rare phenomenon in an almost rainless country like Western Tibet – remained steady for quite a long time, centred around the towering city like an emanation of its hidden treasures of golden images and luminous colours, in which the wisdom and the visions of a glorious past were enshrined.

Kovács, Iván. Lama Govinda’s Quest for the Truth: A Summary of His Life – Part II; The Esoteric Quarterly. 2015

In Tsaparang, the couple lived in a hut in front of a cave, where a poor shepherd named Wangdu, lived with his family. Wangdu took care of the basic needs of Lama Govinda and Li Gotami by bringing them brushwood, water, and milk in exchange for payment for his services. There was no other family who lived in the area.

The beautiful frescoes in Tsaparang, Tibet.

The beautiful frescoes in Tsaparang, Tibet.

The beautiful frescoes in Tsaparang, Tibet.

The beautiful frescoes in Tsaparang, Tibet.

Li Gotami and Lama Govinda worked to document the surviving artworks that included the tracing and copying the frescoes and the statues in the temples’ remains. Lama Govinda remembered that the frescoes were of very high quality and covered the walls from the floor to the ceiling beyond the reach of human sight. The tracing of these frescoes was a very arduous task:

(m)erely to trace these delicate lines accurately demanded the most intense concentration.

Kovács, Iván. Lama Govinda’s Quest for the Truth: A Summary of His Life – Part II; The Esoteric Quarterly. 2015

During this trip, the couple always started the day with pujas and prayers and then they resumed their work from morning to evening tracing the remains of the frescoes, sketching, and photographing. The pujas and prayers that they did every morning helped to renew the inspiration to complete the arduous work under the harsh circumstance. Lama Govinda recalled:

The temple walls were so cold that it became almost impossible to touch them without suffering excruciating pain, so that even tracing became a torture. Li had to keep her bottle of Chinese ink inside her amphag to prevent it from freezing and had to breathe from time to time on her brush to thaw the ink which tended to get solid after a few strokes . . . I remember once when she wept in despair on account of the excessive cold that made it almost impossible for her to hold the brush, her tears were frozen before they could reach the floor and bounced up from it as beads of ice with a thud.

Kovács, Iván. Lama Govinda’s Quest for the Truth: A Summary of His Life – Part II; The Esoteric Quarterly. 2015

Lama Govinda in front of the ruins of Tsaparang in Western Tibet.

Lama Govinda in front of the ruins of Guge Kingdom in Tsaparang, Western Tibet.

All this time Govinda and Li Gotami also found themselves confronted with various problems from the local Tibetans and their authorities who viewed their work with suspicion. However, whenever problems arose, he always remembered his root teacher Domo Geshe Rinpoche and the solution to the problems somehow appeared. In the end, they managed to complete the necessary tasks.

During the difficult return journey, they found out that the Himalaya passes were closed for three months until spring that year. While waiting for the passes to open, the couple lived in the rest-house run by a kind Nyingma Lama named Namgyal. Namgyal continued to take care of the couple although they had run out of money and other provisions. Around this period, they also met the Nyingma Abbot of Phiyang Monastery who was a person of great learning and wisdom. The Lama taught them the method of yoga practices and Tantric Sadhana.

When the passes were finally opened, the couple made the necessary preparation and returned to India. Lama Govinda described the conclusion of their journey as follows:

And so we left our “Shangrila,” the Valley of Happiness, and returned to the world, not knowing that Tibet’s hour of fate had struck and that we would never see it again, except in our dreams. But we knew that the Gurus and the treasures of memory that this unforgettable country had bestowed on us would remain with us till the end of our days and that, if we succeeded in passing on to others even a part of those treasures and of the Gurus’ teachings, we would feel that we had repaid a little of the debt of gratitude that we owe to Tibet and to our Teachers.

Kovács, Iván. Lama Govinda’s Quest for the Truth: A Summary of His Life – Part II; The Esoteric Quarterly. 2015

 

Settling Down in India

Li Gotami’s painting of Evans Wents’ house in Kasar Devi, North India.

Li Gotami’s painting of Walter Evans-Wentz’s house in Kasar Devi, North India.

In India, Lama Govinda and Li Gotami rented a house from Walter Evans-Wentz, a writer, in Kasar Devi, North India. Kasar Devi or also known as Crank’s Ridge was a heaven for artists, spiritual seekers, and writers such as John Blofeld, Earl Brewster, Alfred Sorensen, Allen Ginsberg, and many others. At first, their life in Kasar Devi was quiet and peaceful. Li Gotami was busy with the more practical matter of running the household and her sketching work while, Lama Govinda was busy writing.

As Lama Govinda’s reputation grew in stature, many spiritual seekers started arriving at his house to discuss and learn about Tibetan Buddhism. In 1961, several American poets led by Gary Snyder and Allen Ginsberg visited Lama Govinda to learn about meditation and the used of drugs in meditation. As the number of visitors grew, the couple had to put up signs to prevent unwanted visitors from coming.

 

The 1960s and 1970s World Tours

Li Gotami, Lama Govinda, and Nyanaponika Thera during their meeting in Europe. The picture was taken between the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Li Gotami, Lama Govinda, and Nyanaponika Thera during their meeting in Europe. The picture was taken between the late 1960s and early 1970s.

About thirty years after he left Europe, Lama Govinda realised that changing times on the continent meant that it was appropriate to bring the message of Tibetan Buddhism to Europe. Ken Winkler, Lama Govinda’s biographer, described the situation in Europe at the time:

…most people had little trust in the post-war promises and protested against what they considered meaningless and threatening in their societies. Young people, particularly in Western Europe, were looking for alternatives, which resulted in a growing interest in other cultures, especially those that were disappearing.

Kovács, Iván. Lama Govinda’s Quest for the Truth: A Summary of His Life – Part II; The Esoteric Quarterly. 2015

The opportunity came when the Italian government invited Lama Govinda to participate and discuss about the fundamental problems of spiritual life in an-eight-day international religious conference in Venice, Italy. This opportunity was followed by another invitation from the Tibet and Buddhist societies in London, who asked Lama Govinda to give a series of lectures to their members. Lama Govinda spoke about Tibetan issues and the problems that ordinary Tibetans faced after the Chinese occupation. Due to the success of his lectures, Lama Govinda was invited to give lectures on Buddhism in various countries and continents (e.g., Japan, the United States, Europe, South Africa, and Southeast Asia). During these journeys, Lama Govinda made friends with many well-known personalities such as the author Luise Rinser, the philosopher Jean Gebser, the writer Alan Watts, the psychiatrist Roberto Assagioli, the philosopher Jean Gebser, and Armin Gottmann.

 

When Death Comes…

In 1975, Lama Govinda and Li Gotami came to live at the Nyingma Institute in Berkeley, California under the invitation of Thathang Tulku Rinpoche, a Nyingma Lama and the founder of Dharma Publishing. During his stay in this institute, he started preparing for a compilation of his lectures in Shantiniketan for publication. Unfortunately, in November 1975, Lama Govinda suffered a serious heart attack, which weakened him considerably for several days before he started to recover.

In August 1977, Lama Govinda and Li Gotami went to West Germany to attend an exhibition of their publications and artworks organised by the government. During this trip, Lama Govinda also delivered several lectures in Germany and Switzerland. At the end of the year, he and his wife returned to California.

Suzuki Roshi, Li Gotami, and Lama Govinda.

Suzuki Roshi, Li Gotami, and Lama Govinda.

Due to the health issues they were facing, the couple decided to live permanently in California. Li Gotami was suffering from Parkinson disease, and Lama Govinda thought that she would be able to receive better treatment in the United States than India. In 1978, Lama Govinda had to undergo a gall bladder surgery that confined him to his bed for a month, and Li Gotami was experiencing the side effects of her medication. A Zen centre that belonged to Alan Watts and Suzuki Roshi provided them with comfortable lodging in Mill Valley, California. In exchange for this assistance, Lama Govinda gave lectures in the Zen centre. The couple became permanent residents of the United States and were eligible for government health benefits. However, their medical bills continued to mount. Fortunately for them, their friends were willing to come to their rescue and provided them with financial assistance.

During their stay in Mill Valley, they were cared for by a nurse and a friend, Yvonne Rand, who visited them daily to take care of their needs. Although he was confined to a wheelchair in his old age, Lama Govinda’s mind was alert, and he continued to write articles for various periodicals and completed a book, The Inner Structure of the I Ching: The Book of Transformation, which he considered as his most important work.

In India, Lama Govinda established the branch of Arya Maitreya Mandala in San Francisco and called it the Home of Dhyan. His last visit to India was in 1980, when he decided to give up his house in Almora, Kasar Devi. Lama Govinda described the experience as follows:

There cannot be growth without changes. To live is not only to be, but to become… as long as we are in the process of becoming there is life and growth. The worst thing for us is the inability to change . . . as long as there is change, there is hope. But he who believes he has reached perfection has only reached a dead end, because he has ceased to strive.

Kovács, Iván. Lama Govinda’s Quest for the Truth: A Summary of His Life – Part II; The Esoteric Quarterly. 2015

Lama Govinda and Urgyen Sangharakshita.

Lama Govinda and Urgyen Sangharakshita.

In his last letter to an English Buddhist friend who had previously been a travelling companion in Italy, Urgyen Sangharakshita, Lama Govinda recalled his fondness of Italian Art:

I am a great admirer of Italian art, and like you, I always uphold the importance of European culture. Without knowing the roots of our own culture, how can we absorb the essence of Buddhist culture?

Kovács, Iván. Lama Govinda’s Quest for the Truth: A Summary of His Life – Part II; The Esoteric Quarterly. 2015

Four days after he wrote this letter, on 14 January 1985, Lama Govinda had a sudden heart attack while conversing with his wife and a friend. Lama Govinda passed away peacefully. His ashes were interred in Nirvana Stupa in Samten Choeling Monastery in Darjeeling, India.

Upon his passing, the American Theosophist issued the following tribute for Lama Govinda:

In January of 1985 Lama Anagarika Govinda passed on. Lama Govinda was a long-time friend of the Society, a fine Sanskrit scholar and a wise and kind man. He was born in Germany and very early in life embraced Buddhism. He studied in many European universities, but his dedication to Buddhism led him to India where he finally joined the Tibetan Buddhist order of monks. His greatest literary achievement was Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism, an outstanding contribution to Tibetan studies and beautifully written. After living for many years in the Himalayas, he and his wife Li Gotami, a wonderful photographer, spent the last few years at the Zen Center in Marin County, California. The community there looked after him and his wife with loving care. All of us who knew him respected him greatly. The Theosophical Publishing House published one of his last books, Creative Meditation and Multi-Dimensional Consciousness, a selection from which is reprinted in this issue of The American Theosophist.

http://theosophy.wiki/w-en/index.php?title=Anagarika_Govinda

After the death of her husband, Li Gotami returned to India and lived with her family until her own passing in Pune, Maharashtra on 18 August 1988.

 

Legacy

 

Lama Govinda: The Writer

Since he was very young, Lama Govinda had shown incredible intelligence and ability to understand the essentials of a complex subject. When he was 19 years old, Lama Govinda wrote his first book titled The Fundamental Thoughts of Buddhism. In his introduction to Lama Govinda’s popular book, Robert Thurman, a scholar and an American Buddhist writer, wrote that Lama Govinda was:

…undoubtedly one of the West’s greatest minds of the twentieth century, among the Pantheon that includes with Einstein, Heisenberg, Wittgenstein, Solzhenitsyn, Gandhi, and the Dalai Lama.

http://www.arya-maitreya-mandala.org/content/lamagovinda.htm

After he had returned from the Tsaparang Expedition, Lama Govinda described his experience in the book titled Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism. Among all his books, Lama Govinda considered The Inner Structure of the I Ching: The Book of Transformation that he wrote shortly before his death as his most important work.

In addition to books, Lama Govinda wrote articles for many Buddhist and Theosophy journals such as Mahabodhi, The American Theosophist, and many other journals.

 

Selected Books by Lama Govinda

Book Cover Description

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The Way of the White Clouds: The Classic Spiritual Travelogue by One of Tibet’s Best-known Explorers

The Way of the White Clouds is a spiritual autobiography of Lama Govinda that contains information about his journey to Tibet with his wife, Li Gotami, and encounters with various Buddhist masters including his root teacher, Domo Geshe Rinpoche.

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Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism

The book contains information that clarifies the differences between Tibetan and Hindu Yoga and an explanation of the esoteric principles of Mantra. The book also contains illustration, index, and bibliography that would help those who are interested in getting a deeper insight about Tibetan Buddhism. At the beginning of the book, Lama Govinda stated that:

“Each new experience, each new situation of life, widens our mental outlook and brings about a subtle transformation within ourselves. Thus our nature changes continually, not only on account of the conditions of life, but even if these would remain static – because by the constant addition of new impressions, the structure of our mind be- comes ever more diverse and complex, whether we call it ‘progress’ or ‘degeneration’, we have to admit the fact that it is the law of all life, in which differentiation and co-ordination balance each other.”

Kovács, Iván. Lama Govinda’s Quest for the Truth: A Summary of His Life – Part II; The Esoteric Quarterly. 2015

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The Inner Structure of the I Ching: The Book of Transformation

The book contains an in depth philosophy of I Ching and the information of the actual structure and calculation of the Guas (hexagrams and trigrams) and assessment of the King Wen and Fu Xi sequence.

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Art and Meditation

This book contains the comparison between spirituality and art and their relationship with the creative process that an artist goes through to produce his/ her work. Lama Govinda also explained that for him enjoying art and producing the work of art were the acts of meditation, while meditation is an art in itself.

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Psycho-cosmic Symbolism of the Buddhist Stupa

The book contains information about the significance and forms of the stupa as the symbol of enlightenment. Part one contains information about the development of the stupa in Ceylon and India. Part two contains the review of the origins of the stupas and their symbolism from scholastic and archetypal perspective. The book also contains information about photographs of famous stupas, diagrams, and line drawings to facilitate the understanding of the readers.

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Buddhist Reflections

The book contains information about contemporary Buddhist Philosophy and insights about Tibetan and Indian Buddhist traditions regarding the nature of reality, death, rebirth, the development of consciousness, tolerance, faith, and the significance of ritual and meditative practices. In this book, Lama Govinda also includes information about Western philosophy and how it relates to eastern mysticism.

The material in this book was compiled from the articles and lectures of Lama Govinda in his old age.

Books By Other Writers About Lama Govinda

Book Cover Description

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A Thousand Journeys: The Biography of Lama Anagarika Govinda
By: Dr. Ken Winkler (Author)
Publisher: Element Books Ltd; First Edition edition (June 1990)In this biography, Dr. Ken Winkler, a professor of English Literature at Santa Monica College, focused on the events from Lama Govinda’s childhood and his early youth in Italy, Ceylon, and India.

In 2013, Dr. Ken Winkler donated his research material on Lama Govinda to the C.V. Starr East Asian Library.

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The Lost Teachings of Lama Govinda: Living Wisdom from A Modern Tibetan Master
By: Richard Power (Editor), Lama Surya Das (Foreword)
Publisher: Quest Books (January 1, 2007)The book contains Lama Govinda’s dialogues and essays of various topics that have never been published or have not been in circulation for a long time such as: I Ching, Zen Buddhism, Theravada Buddhism, Christianity, meditation, and drugs, and transpersonal psychology.

 

Lama Govinda: The Painter

During his lifetime and after his passing, Lama Govinda’s paintings have been shown around the world as follows:

  • 1934 – Calcutta
  • 1936 – Allahabad and Lucknow
  • 1939 – New Delhi
  • 1945 – Calcutta
  • 1946 – Bombay
  • 1977 – Basel and Bonn
  • 1984 – Stuttgart
  • 1996 – Konstanz

Several Paintings by Lama Govinda

Mosque in Kairouan, Tunesia (1926).

Mosque in Kairouan, Tunesia (1926)

Brickyard of Rajagriha, India (1930).

Brickyard of Rajagriha, India (1930)

The Colmahari (Tibet) seen from Ram Tso (1947).

The Colmahari (Tibet) seen from Ram Tso (1947)

 

Arya Maitreya Mandala

Govinda28

On 14 October 1933, Lama Govinda established Arya Maitreya Mandala in Darjeeling, India as per the advice of Domo Geshe Rinpoche. The objectives of Arya Maitreya Mandala are:

  1. Promote practical realisation of the Dharma.
  2. Assist those who sincerely seek to understand the teachings and the development of religious practices best suited to the West.
  3. Develop a religious practice that is best suited to the West.

The new society was popular with spiritual seekers and intellectuals in India. The organisation headquarter was located in Darjeeling, India. In India, Lama Govinda initiated 14 people and made them members of the order.

The Arya Maitreya Mandala started to spread to other countries after Lama Govinda initiated two members, Hans-Ulrich Rieker (1920 – 1979), a German writer, and Phue-Tuê, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk in 1952. Phue-Tuê set up a branch in Eastern Asia and Hans-Ulrich Rieker set up a branch in Europe. Arya Maitreya Mandala continued to grow and establish branches in Austria, Hungary, England, Belgium, The Netherlands, and Germany. Two of the first European members to be initiated were Harry Pieper (1907 – 1978) and Lionel Stützer (1901 – 1991). In Asia, Arya Maitreya Mandala opened two branches in Singapore and Vietnam. Rudolf Petri, a German Buddhist monk in Vietnam who was initiated by Lama Govinda trained disciples from the United States, China, and Vietnam.

Dr. Armin Gottmann, the former Acharya of Arya Maitreya Mandala.

Dr. Armin Gottmann, the former Acharya of Arya Maitreya Mandala (seated in front of the altar wearing a red sweater).

As Lama Govinda gave lectures around the world and participated in the International religious conference in the 1960s and 1970s, interest in the Arya Maitreya Mandala accordingly grew. Reverend Iru Price established the branch of Arya Maitreya Mandala in the United States. Before his passing, Govinda trained Dr. Karl Heinz Gottmann (initiation name: Advayavajra) (1919 – 2007), a German physician to be his successor as head of the order (Acharya). Advayavajra became the Acharya in 1982. In 1999, following the advice of Lama Govinda, Advayavajra passed his duty as Acharya to his son, Dr. Armin Gottmann (initiation name: Asanga). In March 2015, the leadership of Arya Maitreya Mandala was passed to Volker Zotz, a scholar and philosopher.

 

Various Quotes from Lama Govinda:

The ultimate way of Being lies beyond all contradictory pairs of opposites with which our two-dimensional thinking mind operates.

As soon as we are successful in silencing the restless activity of the thinking mind and give a chance to intuition, the pure all embracing spirit in us will manifest effortlessly.

Lama Anagarika Govinda

The feeling of awe and sense of wonder arises from the recognition of the deep mystery that surrounds us everywhere, and this feeling deepens as our knowledge grows.

Lama Anagarika Govinda

Surely it is the right wish that draws us to the right place. Nothing of importance happens accidentally in our life.

Lama Anagarika Govinda

Our real nature is not our imaginary, limited ego. Our true nature is vast, all-comprehensive, and intangible as empty space.

Lama Anagarika Govinda

To the enlightened man… whose consciousness embraces the universe, to him the universe becomes his ‘body’, while the physical body becomes the manifestation of the universal mind. His inner vision an expression of the highest reality, and his speech an expression of eternal truth and mantric power.

Lama Anagarika Govinda

Do not keep what you have selfishly bottled up; pour it out, share it with the world.

Lama Anagarika Govinda

The faculty of continual transformation… is a profound expression of the dynamic character of the mind.

Lama Anagarika Govinda

The cloud represents the creative power of the mind, which can assume any imaginable form. It is the ideal medium of creation for the enlightened mind, which manifests itself on the plane of timeless meditative vision.

Lama Anagarika Govinda

Every individual has the potentiality to become enlightened in the course of this life or later existences.

Lama Anagarika Govinda

The forces which move the cosmos are not different from those which move the human soul.

Lama Anagarika Govinda

Religion without art is a dead system of dogmas which have no effect on life.

Lama Anagarika Govinda

The power of the creative imagination is not only merely content with observing the world as it is, accepting a given reality, but is capable of creating a new reality by transforming the inner as well as the outer world.

Lama Anagarika Govinda

The wonders of a journey consist far more of such intangible experiences and unexpected situations than of factual things and events of material reality.

Lama Anagarika Govinda

The greatest artist is one who expresses what is felt by everybody.

Lama Anagarika Govinda

 

List of Books and Writings by Lama Govinda

 

Selected Books and Writings by Lama Govinda for download:

Drugs or Meditation? Consciousness Expansion and Disintegration vs. Concentration and Spiritual Regeneration (click on the image to download in PDF form)

Lama Anagarika Govinda: Discussion of Metaphysics/ Philosophy of Anagarika Govinda & Tibetan Buddhism. All is One (Akasa, Space) & Dynamic (Prana, Motion) Lama Govinda Pictures & Quotes (click on the image to download in PDF form)

The Inner Structure of the I Ching: The Book of Transformation (click on the image to download in PDF form)

The Psychological Attitude of Early Buddhist Philosophy (click on the image to download in PDF form)

The Way of The White Clouds (click on the image to download in PDF form)

The texts above were sourced from legitimate book-hosting services offering these texts for free download. They are made available here for purely educational, non-commercial purposes.

 

List of Books by Lama Govinda:

No. Book Title Role Year
1. The Fundamental Thoughts of Buddhism Author 1917
2. The Basic Ideas of Buddhism and Its Relationship to Ideas of God Author 1920
3. Art and Meditation: An Introduction and 12 Abstract Paintings Author 1936
4. Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism Author 1960
5. Mandala: Der Heilige Kreis Author 1961
6. The Way of the White Clouds Author 1968
7. Drugs or Meditation? Consciousness Expansion and Disintegration versus Concentration and Spiritual Regeneration Author 1973
8. The Psychological Attitude of Early Buddhist Philosophy and Its Systematic Representation According to Abhidhamma Tradition Author 1974
9. Creative Meditation and Multi-Dimensional Consciousness Author 1976
10. Psycho-Cosmic Symbolism of the Buddhist Stupa Author 1976
11. Tibet in Pictures: A Journey into the Past Co-author 1979
12. The Tibetan Book of the Dead Foreword author 1980
13. The Inner Structure of the I’Ching Author 1981
14. Pilgrim of the Clear Light Foreword author 1982
15. Living Buddhism for the West Author 1990
16. Insights of a Himalayan Pilgrim Author 1991
17. Buddhist Reflections Author 1983
18. Initiation Co-author 2014

 

Lama Govinda as Contributor to The American Theosophist

No. Article Title Periodicals Period
1. The Significance of Meditation in Buddhism The American Theosophist 58:11 November 1970
2. Consciousness Expansion and Disintegration versus Concentration and Spiritual Regeneration The American Theosophist 60:1 January 1972
3. Review of ‘The Opening of the Wisdom-Eye and the History of the Advancement of Buddhadharma in Tibet’ by HH Tenzin Gyatsho The American Theosophist 60:5 May 1972
4. Principles of Buddhist Tantrism The American Theosophist 60:5 May 1972
5. The Seven Auspicious Symbols of a World Ruler The American Theosophist 61:10 October 1973
6. The Significance of Ritual in Buddhism The American Theosophist 65:5 May 1977
7. The Significance of Ritual in Buddhism The American Theosophist 65:5 May 1977
8. Polarity and Integration [extract] The American Theosophist 68:5 May 1980
9. Symbols of Transformation: Reflections on the Book of Changes The American Theosophist 69:5 May 1981
10. Completeness and Transformation [excerpt Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism] The American Theosophist 69:7 July 1981
11. Logic and Symbol in the Multi-Dimension Conception of the Universe The American Theosophist 69:10 November 1981
12. Quotation from “The Psychological Attitude of Early Buddhist Philosophy” The American Theosophist 70:9 October 1982
13. Buddhism as Actuality beyond Pessimism & Optimism The American Theosophist 71:10 October 1982
14. Creative Meditation The American Theosophist 73:3 March 1985

 

Lama Govinda as Contributor to Other Periodicals

No. Article Title Periodicals Period
1. Consciousness Expansion: Disintegration versus Concentration & Spiritual Regeneration Theosophy in Australia 36:5 October 1972
2. Drugs or Meditation? Consciousness Expansion and Disintegration versus Concentration and Spiritual Regeneration Bodhi Leaf Publication No. 62 1973
3. The Way of Transformation Theosophy in New Zealand 41 July-Sept 1980
4. Fundamental Principles of Meditation Theoscientist 10:4 1986
5. Pensées Le Lotus Bleu 92 April 1987
6. Creative Meditation The Eclectic Theosophist 21 Winter 1992
7. Trance Walking And Lung-gom Training [Extract from: The Way of the White Clouds] Light Bearer 14:3 Autumn 2006
8. Meeting with the Guru [reprint] Theosophy in New Zealand 64 September 2003
9. The Story of Siddha Kadgapa [reprint 1966] Theosophy in New Zealand 64 September 2003
10. Trance Walking and Lung-gom Training [extract Way of the White Clouds] Theosophy in New Zealand 67 March 2006

 

More Pictures of Ghoom Monastery (or Yi Gah Cho-Ling Monastery) and the Oracle of Dungkar Monastery

The exterior of Ghoom Monastery

The exterior of Ghoom Monastery

Prayer wheels around Ghoom Monastery.

Prayer wheels around Ghoom Monastery

Govinda 30

The picture of Maitreya statue taken by Lama Govinda (left) and a more recent picture of the same Maitreya statue at Ghoom Monastery (right).

The picture of Maitreya statue taken by Lama Govinda (left) and a more recent picture of the same Maitreya statue at Ghoom Monastery (right).

Kangyur (the translated words of the Buddha) and Tengyur (the collections of commentaries of the Buddhist teachings) at Ghoom Monastery.

Kangyur (the translated words of the Buddha) and Tengyur (the collections of commentaries of the Buddhist teachings) at Ghoom Monastery

The oracle of Dungkar Monastery that took trance of several deities including Dorje Shugden, Kache Marpo, and Namkar Barzin.

The oracle of Dungkar Monastery who took trance of several deities including Dorje Shugden, Kache Marpo, and Namkar Barzin.

Another picture of Dungkar Monastery Oracle who took trance of a peaceful form of Dorje Shugden.

Another picture of Dungkar Monastery Oracle who took trance of a peaceful form of Dorje Shugden.


 

Addendum: An Account of Lama Govinda’s Experience at Yi-Gah Cho-Ling Monastery (Ghoom Monastery) and His Relationship with Domo Geshe Rinpoche

Extracted from: The Way of The White Clouds: The Classic Spiritual Travelogue By One of Tibet’s Best-Known Explorers By Lama Anagarika Govinda

 

Part 1: Chapter 2 – 9: Lama Govinda’s Experience at Yi Gah Cho-Ling Monastery (Ghoom Monastery) and His Relationship with Domo Geshe Rinpoche

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Part 3: Chapter 1 – 3: Domo Geshe Rinpoche’s Passing and Subsequent Rebirth

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Part 4: Chapter 7 – 8: The Oracle of Dungkar Monastery

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The text above is easily available on the internet for free download. They are not being used for any commercial purposes. They are being used for educational purposes only.

 

Sources of Information:

  • Kovács, Iván. Lama Govinda’s Quest for the Truth: A Summary of His Life – Part I; The Esoteric Quarterly. 2015
  • Kovács, Iván. Lama Govinda’s Quest for the Truth: A Summary of His Life – Part II; The Esoteric Quarterly. 2015
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anagarika_Govinda
  • http://www.arya-maitreya-mandala.org/content/lamagovinda.htm
  • https://www.ramdass.org/featured-teacher-lama-anagarika-govinda/
  • https://www.ramdass.org/way-white-clouds-lama-anagarika-govinda/
  • http://www.worldwisdom.com/public/authors/Anagarika-Govinda.aspx
  • https://www.amazon.com/Foundations-Tibetan-Mysticism-Anagarika-Govinda/dp/0877280649
  • http://theosophy.wiki/w-en/index.php?title=Anagarika_Govinda
  • http://theosophy.ph/encyclo/index.php?title=Govinda,_Lama_Anagarika
  • http://www.azquotes.com/quote/545857
  • http://www.surya.org/lama-govinda/
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li_Gotami_Govinda
  • http://www.arya-maitreya-mandala.org/content/artist.htm
  • http://www.arya-maitreya-mandala.org/content/history.htm

 

For more interesting information:

 

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Antoinette first came across H.E. Tsem Rinpoche through his teachings on YouTube and found them very helpful, meaningful, clear and easy to understand. After her first visit to Kechara during her holidays in December 2011, she took refuge in October 2012. Today, Antoinette is an aspiring nun-to-be and has been a full-time volunteer in Kechara since December 2013.
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11 Responses to Lama Anagarika Govinda: The Pioneer Who Introduced Tibetan Buddhism to the World

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  1. Tsem Rinpoche on Jul 30, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    When I was very young, down the street from where I lived in Howell, New Jersey was a Kalmuck lady who was very spiritual. She was my friend at the time. She was in her 30’s and had a large collection of spiritual books of which many were on Buddhism. I would borrow books from her quite often and read. She would have read them and give me her thoughts on the books and highly recommend this one or that one. I would then read the books she recommended and we would often discuss about them. It was a very enjoyable time in my life. I miss this friend very much. Some of the books she had were from Professor Garma C.C. Chang, Govinda, Alexander David-Neel, Evans-Wentz, John Blofeld, etc.. and I read some of them. Those books inspired me so much. My conversations with this friend inspired me so much and I enjoyed her spiritual company tremendously. That was one part of my childhood that was good.

    I have all these books by these great authors in my library now and still read them. I have made them available from Kechara for invite and also will have them in the future Kechara library coming up.

  2. Anne Ong on Jul 14, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    Very interesting article and inspiring of Lama Anagarika Govinda.
    He was a scholar and Buddhist, painter, poet and founder of the Arya Maitreya Mandala Order. It is indeed very beneficial to read on the biographies of high Lamas and be inspired by their journey. Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Antoinette Kass for sharing such an interesting and inspiring story. Hope to read more of your great work in the near future! 🙂

  3. Samfoonheei on Dec 11, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    Very interesting article and inspiring of Lama Anagarika Govinda.
    He was a scholar and Buddhist, painter, poet and founder of the Arya Maitreya Mandala Order.His interest in art and Buddhism and so forth benefited millions of people. He explores the connection between art and spirituality…….that is wonderful As a model for modern spirituality….he had help to spread the benefits of Dharma to many, all over the world through writing and his artwork.
    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Antoinette Kassfor sharing these.

  4. Steven on Jun 17, 2016 at 11:10 pm

    I magically stumbled upon his book,”The Way of the White Clouds” hidden inside the bottom shelf of a bookstore. As it turned out, it has been there since 2007 (said the bookseller). We could invent different meanings out of such experience but at the end of the day, the book/message has found me and vice versa (just when I needed it the most). I’m on chapter 3 right now and I couldn’t help but pause in between paragraphs to reflect and oftimes cry from a transcending,overwhelming breeze or ‘God knows what’. Thank you.

    • Tsem Rinpoche on Jun 18, 2016 at 1:31 am

      Dear Steven,

      I sincerely hope reading “The Way of the White Clouds” will lighten your life and show you direction, blessings, love and wisdom. I sincerely hope you will find tremendous peace and spiritual fulfillment after this book and continue your journey to much further heights. You are loved and cared about, may the supreme Buddha Tsongkapa fill your environment with golden shower of lights and blessings. Tsem Rinpoche

      459105-29

  5. graceleong on Mar 27, 2016 at 12:38 am

    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Antoninette for sharing the inspiring words and works of Lama Anagarika Govinda. It is indeed very beneficial to read on the biographies of high Lamas and be inspired by their journey. All of them come from ordinary backgrounds just like any one of us; it doesn’t matter from which part of the world.Of course they have with them abundance of great merits to have the opportunity to pursue the Dharma and help to spread the benefits of Dharma to many, all over the world. They have certainly “PUT MEANING INTO THEIR LIVES”and the lives of others too.

  6. Sofi on Mar 7, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    What an amazing live he had lead, from Germany to South America, back to Europe, Ceylon, India, Tibet, China, etc and through the wars to seek his inner calling. “Towards the end of 1928, when he was 30 years old, Ernst achieved his dream, he sold everything and moved to Ceylon.” Imagine the amount of merits he had to have had a dream to pursue spirituality and to achieve this.
    His journey certainly had brought him many attained and eminent people, ie. Domo Geshe Rinpoche, the guru of Alexandra David-Néel, the Gomchen of Lachen, Chinese master Taixu and the Tibetan Lamas Ajo Repa Rinpoche and Lotho Gyalbo Rinpoche, etc.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this inspiring story of Lama Anagarika Govinda’s life and spiritual journey.

    • Pastor Antoinette on Mar 7, 2016 at 9:20 pm

      Dear Sofi,

      Indeed, pioneers like Lama Govinda and Alexandra David-Néel opened the doors to Tibet and Buddhism for the Western countries.

      Their persistence and hard work has benefited millions of people. Their books are still references to many person interested in Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism.

      And the order Lama Govinda founded still exists today and has branches all over the world like Germany, the Netherlands, German, Austria, Hungary, Singapore, Vietnam, India and USA.

      Thank you.

      • Sofi on Mar 7, 2016 at 9:49 pm

        Dear Pastor Antoinette,
        This also make me think of you. You have given up your life in Belgium to be with our Enlightened Guru, His Eminence the 25th Tsem Rinpoche. You too have very good merits to recognize and follow your spiritual path. Much rejoicing for you and may you achieve your wishes swiftly. With folded hands, Sofi.

        • Sofi on Mar 7, 2016 at 9:53 pm

          Apologies. Correction. Luxembourg, not Belgium.

          • Pastor Antoinette Kass on Mar 9, 2016 at 4:45 pm

            Dear Sofi,

            Thank you! Yes to be in Dharma and help in Kechara is the best way to help ourselves. H.E. the 25th Tsem Rinpoche has provided us with so many ways to benefit others and by doing this, we help ourselves. I am most fortunate to be in Kechara, as pastor and nun-to-be. In this way, we work for long time happiness.

            May we always be close to our Guru and the Dharma.
            Thank you for your kind words.
            And yes I am from Luxembourg 😉
            Pastor Antoinette

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Blog Chat

BLOG CHAT

Dear blog friends,

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

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

Tsem Rinpoche


SCHEDULED CHAT SESSIONS / 中文聊天室时间表

THURSDAY
10 - 11PM (GMT +8)
5 - 6AM (PST)
星期五
9 - 10PM (GMT +8)
4 - 5AM (PST)
(除了每个月的第一个星期五)
SATURDAY
11AM - 12PM (GMT +8)
FRIDAY 7 - 8PM (PST)
SUNDAY
9:30 - 10PM (GMT +8)
4:30 - 5AM (PST)

UPCOMING TOPICS FOR OCTOBER / 十月份讨论主题

Please come and join in the chat for a fun time and support. See you all there.


Blog Chat Etiquette

These are some simple guidelines to make the blog chat room a positive, enjoyable and enlightening experience for everyone. Please note that as this is a chat room, we chat! Do not flood the chat room, or post without interacting with others.

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

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Be polite

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Please let this be a conducive space for discussions, both light and profound.

KECHARA FOREST RETREAT PROGRESS UPDATES

Here is the latest news and pictorial updates, as it happens, of our upcoming forest retreat project.

The Kechara Forest Retreat is a unique holistic retreat centre focused on the total wellness of body, mind and spirit. This is a place where families and individuals will find peace, nourishment and inspiration in a natural forest environment. At Kechara Forest Retreat, we are committed to give back to society through instilling the next generation with universal positive values such as kindness and compassion.

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

Noticeboard

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  • Lin Mun
    Sunday, Oct 22. 2017 08:38 PM
    It is very sad for the Tibetan in exile that after 60 years they are still refugees and not able to have a good environment to develop in any sense. The question is why isn’t the governing body (Central Tibetan Administration) whom has been receiving helps from other countries been able to help the Tibetan in exile in getting good education and get them out of the vicious cycle ? Above article clearly shows that Tibetan living in other countries were given the opportunity to learn and freedom to develop ones talent. I hope the Tibetan in exile understand their position and stand up to fight for their rights and freedom.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/why-are-these-tibetans-successful-without-the-cta.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Oct 22. 2017 05:19 PM
    Very touching…….farmer and his cow for 23 years through thick and thin .A special bond between them even when separated to retirement home we can see how much tears flowing the two of them. True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils.
    After the cow was sent to the retirement home, the cow refused to eat for 3 days till the owner came to show up again. Amazing the cow started eating after met up the farmer. There must be a direct relationship between these two of them.
    Animals have feelings too ,and they needs our care ,love aswell.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/so-touching-you-will-cry.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Oct 22. 2017 05:18 PM
    Is really heart breaking to watch this video ,how horrible and sad how those chickens, turkeys ,cows, cattle ,pigs and died suffering so much pain and abused. I almost in tears how can the slaughter men did it…..so cruel. The chicken is the worst abused animals ,suffered cramped, bitten by the owner before been slaughtered. Having the throat slit alive or scalded alive.
    Cattle horn were piled off, injuries on them left alone. Thousands of cows or cattle were not able to walk before going to the slaughtered house. Pigs suffered the same faith, throw against the wall. Many pigs suffered injuries and so forth. Those who are so sick and cannot made to the slaughtered house were shot dead. Some are burned alive.
    Choose vegetarian ,live healthy and safe those poor aniamals.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/please-watch-leave-your-thoughts-in-comments-for-me.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Oct 22. 2017 05:15 PM
    What I heard is more than the 9;s…. 3 and 6 too from old folks many years back. I was warned on these ….year we odd to be careful and so forth. All those black years has passed by me with up and down. I do not believed of such myth and I don’t quite actually remember much and try not to remember as it’s the past. I have let go all ,just looking forward and now I am glad to have Rinpoche to thank for having learn and practice Dharma. Every day is a new day for me ,learning new knowledge from Rinpoche blog.
    Thank you Datuk May for sharing your thoughts of the 9’s.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/guest-contributors/a-blind-corner-at-each-decade.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Oct 22. 2017 05:14 PM
    Wonderful platform for Rinpoche to share with more people having an account of FB. From there they can have live streaming to express each individual opinion on certain interesting subject. Having these live streaming Rinpoche did a lot of sharing with people of different walks of life ,his biography, his spiritual journey, meeting his Guru and on the practice of Dorje Shugden .It s a powerful way to spread Dharma knowledge through social media. It can be shared by many and since the video is saved ,the viewer could see from time to time to get a better understanding .
    These live streaming lasted for 3 hours with many beautiful comments.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing. We love HH Dalai Lama and we love Dorje Shugden ..Please resolve the Dorje Shugden issue as soon as possible. and please end the suffering, segregation and prejudice.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/h-e-tsem-rinpoches-first-live-streaming.html
  • Lin Mun
    Saturday, Oct 21. 2017 09:30 PM
    This is great move by Gucci and I hope it will encourage more brands to follow suit. We do not need to have animals fur on our body to look pretty and to prevent us from cold. We have many options. Choose one that does not harm and bring suffering to other beings.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/do-you-know-what-gucci-did.html
  • Lin Mun
    Saturday, Oct 21. 2017 09:22 PM
    This is horrible and it is a shame that we human can do such actions that bring tremendous pain to the animals. We should stop using leather products and this will directly stop the demand of leather goods. I hope authority of respective country will implement rules to protect animals welfare. It is only when there are laws that people will stop such act.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/where-does-leather-come-from.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Friday, Oct 20. 2017 10:04 AM
    Interesting someone like Rob Lowe a famous actor actually told he came face-to-face with Bigfoot was with his two sons .No proof and details given to support his encounter. Whether for publicity his coming show no one knows. He was filming his new paranormal documentary series when he said he saw it. It does not matter at least it helps to raise awareness of that Bigfoot do exist. Good in way more people will come to accept it and will further investigate its existence of Bigfoot. It also encourages people to start thinking broadly of possibilities.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/rob-lowe-face-to-face-with-bigfoot.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Friday, Oct 20. 2017 10:03 AM
    Well,I have read news of Bigfoot sightings in the jungles of southern Malaysia before years back. Interesting as our country do have the sighting of Bigfoot too.It seems that Bigfoot can be found anywhere in this world. To many people, Bigfoot is the stuff of nightmarish folklore. Described by hundreds of alleged eyewitnesses as an ape-like creature that stands nearly eight feet tall. There is a number of sighting by the locals and may be linked to environmental changes and the shrinking jungle. This has attracted world attention, having teams from different countries and our local government as well. The research scientists, has been trying to verify Bigfoot’s existence so far none has really performed intensive research on this matter. Historical records show eight claimed sightings of enormous apemen or Bigfoot or oversized apes. Despite numerous sightings, photos and footprints , there has never been conclusive proof that these creatures exist in Malaysia.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these interesting article.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/bigfoot-in-malaysia.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Friday, Oct 20. 2017 10:02 AM
    Alarming height and shocking to know there is microplastic contamination in our drinking water after scientific investigation has discovered that.
    Glad to know scientists are doing more for research on the implications for health. At least we could know more knowledge and more aware of all plastics fibres in our tap water. All this while we have been drinking . Scientists warn microplastics are so small they could penetrate organs. That is bad for our health. Plastic fibres have infiltrated the drinking water of cities and towns all over the world. Our oceans are littered with plastic, which is killing whales and other marine mammals, and contaminating fish. Previous studies have shown when people eat seafood, they are also eating high levels of microplastics, not to mention taking in a lot of mercury as well
    Many people have involved to make a change for a better environment for the generation to come. Educating the people from school children to the people on the streets the safest ways of garbage disposal will be a wonderful start. We should all take responsibility to care for the environment and help raise awareness.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/do-you-know-what-you-are-drinking.html
  • Alice Tay
    Friday, Oct 20. 2017 01:51 AM
    In Buddhism, before become an enlightened beings, all living beings have to experience the suffering in taking rebirth for many lifetimes and each of the rebirth, we must have father and mother. It is possible that our previous lifetime’s father and mother have taken rebirth in other forms such as animals, hungry ghosts and etc in this lifetime. Due to this reason, we should love and treat all sentient beings well as everyone might once been our father or mother in the previous life. We owe them kindness and therefore we should practice dharma and help to liberate them from suffering and lead them to enlightenment.

    I am extremely grateful that I meet and learn dharma from Rinpoche. Rinpoche’s skilful means teachings let me understand that I should not only care about myself, my family and friends but to be kind and compassion to everyone around me. Rinpoche reminds and encourage us to do our commitments and daily sadhana. Later, I realized that when we do prayers, sadhana or pujas, we must begin with Taking Refuge in the Three Jewels and followed by recitation of the Four Immeasurables. Through this practice, it is actually to help us to set a good motivation and generate our Bodhicitta for the benefit of all sentient beings.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/five-ways-to-love-more-by-tsem-rinpoche.html
  • Lin Mun
    Thursday, Oct 19. 2017 10:27 PM
    Rinpoche’s blog has so many interesting topics and articles. Be it heavy and technical or light such as traveling tips, all are very useful and informative to the readers. I appreciate Rinpoche and writers team hardwork in giving us vast information and opportunity for us to learn and improve our dharma knowledge.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/i-am-honoured.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Oct 19. 2017 11:04 AM
    Wow …such a unique island called Socotra which i did not know before or come across . Everything from trees to flowers looks so unique. A place home to a panoply of strange plants and animals uniquely which adapted to the hot, harsh, windswept island. The landscape of this remote Socotra Island looks as if it comes from a sci-fi film.
    From what I see through the pictures this Socotra Island, looks more like Alien place. It’s truly unlike any place on earth and is also called the ‘Lost World ‘ to some of the tourist. I did some research on this island .
    It seem over millions of years, the isolated island in the Arabian Sea has cultivated a unique biodiversity unlike anywhere else on Earth. Twisted dragon’s blood trees and bulbous bottle trees have made Socotra a place of legends, feared by sailors throughout history and believed by some to be the site of the original Garden of Eden.
    Now it seem to be a tourist attraction in Yemen after when UNESCO named it as World Natural Heritage Site in 2006. Its wonderful news as UNESCO recognizes the importance of preserving the island.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these unique island with us.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/travel/socotra-island.html#comment-753145
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Oct 19. 2017 11:03 AM
    Beautiful sacred painting by Rinpoche. Amazing to know RInpoche as a small kid is so talented in drawing and painting . Yet after so many years the painting still looks good condition. Such a beautiful White Tara painting and now Rinpoche still paints.
    Wow interesting stories behind the scared painting of the powerful white Tara. When we have trust and faith that’s how these powerful Tara will help us.
    Thank you for sharing with us.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/me/sacred-painting.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Oct 19. 2017 11:02 AM
    The two beautiful Yeti painting comes a long way from Nepal with love to Malaysia .Specially for Rinpoche……such a beautiful gift and unique .. Knowing Rinpoche like Bigfoot so much. Every gift which is given, even though it be small, is in reality great, if it is given with affection. It is not the gift but the thought that counts.
    Rejoice for Mitra Poudel and Khom Thapa
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these beautiful paintings.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/yeti-bigfoot-sasquatch/from-nepal.html

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Messages from Rinpoche

Scroll down within the box to view more messages from Rinpoche. Click on the images to enlarge. Click on 'older messages' to view archived messages. Use 'prev' and 'next' links to navigate between pages

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CREDITS

Concept: Tsem Rinpoche
Technical: Lew Kwan Leng, Justin Ripley, Yong Swee Keong
Design: Justin Ripley, Cynthia Lee
Content: Tsem Rinpoche, Justin Ripley, Pastor Shin Tan, Sarah Yap
Writer: Pastor Loh Seng Piow
Admin: Pastor Loh Seng Piow, Beng Kooi

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

Tsem Rinpoche

What Am I Writing Now

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  Bigfoot, Yeti, Sasquatch

The Unknown

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

Photos On The Go

Click on the images to view the bigger version. And scroll down and click on "View All Photos" to view more images.
Download for free this high res photo of Lord Shugden: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/downloads/buddha-images.html
7 hours ago
Download for free this high res photo of Lord Shugden: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/downloads/buddha-images.html
Whatever we can do to spread the teachings of our Guru, we should do so.
7 hours ago
Whatever we can do to spread the teachings of our Guru, we should do so.
 These three (Dharma, Oser and Mumu) are super adorable.
yesterday
These three (Dharma, Oser and Mumu) are super adorable.
Beautiful Vajra Yogini print.
yesterday
Beautiful Vajra Yogini print.
Beautiful and holy new statues arrived to Kechara Forest Retreat. Please enjoy the pictures: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=146950
yesterday
Beautiful and holy new statues arrived to Kechara Forest Retreat. Please enjoy the pictures: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=146950
Beautiful old thangka of Buddha Nageshvaraja
yesterday
Beautiful old thangka of Buddha Nageshvaraja
Dear friends, This meme is powerful. Who you hang around with and the types of attitude they have is who you will be influenced by many times and who you will become in the future. Look at your friends and the people that always surround you to know who you will become. Tsem Rinpoche
4 days ago
Dear friends, This meme is powerful. Who you hang around with and the types of attitude they have is who you will be influenced by many times and who you will become in the future. Look at your friends and the people that always surround you to know who you will become. Tsem Rinpoche
October 2017, His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal graciously reading our Kechara album and updates as presented by Beng Kooi and Martin. He was very pleased with our progress and offers his blessings. Tsem Rinpoche
4 days ago
October 2017, His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal graciously reading our Kechara album and updates as presented by Beng Kooi and Martin. He was very pleased with our progress and offers his blessings. Tsem Rinpoche
His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche grants audience to Beng Kooi and Martin in France.  Read more on His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche: http://bit.ly/1PlaNNS
4 days ago
His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche grants audience to Beng Kooi and Martin in France. Read more on His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche: http://bit.ly/1PlaNNS
Recently Beng Kooi and Martin on behalf of myself and Kechara was lucky to have audience with His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal of Gaden Shartse Monastery. He lives in around Paris, France. His Holiness is 91 years old and very healthy and alert. He was the 101st throne holder for Tsongkapa and was the head of the Gelugpa school of Buddhism and was very successful during his tenure. He is a strong practitioner of both Sutra and Tantra of Je Tsongkapa\'s tradition and a master of all Buddhist knowledge. He holds steadfast to his protector Dorje Shugden very strongly. So we can see even the highest throneholders who are masters of Sutra and Tantra also practices Dorje Shugden knowing the benefits.

Beng Kooi and Martin brought photo albums of Kechara Forest Retreat/Kechara and updates on Kechara and our works. His Holiness was very pleased to listen and offered some gifts back. 

This is a beautiful picture and the great blessings bestowed on us from His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal.

Humbly, Tsem Rinpoche 
Read more on His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche: http://bit.ly/1PlaNNS
4 days ago
Recently Beng Kooi and Martin on behalf of myself and Kechara was lucky to have audience with His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal of Gaden Shartse Monastery. He lives in around Paris, France. His Holiness is 91 years old and very healthy and alert. He was the 101st throne holder for Tsongkapa and was the head of the Gelugpa school of Buddhism and was very successful during his tenure. He is a strong practitioner of both Sutra and Tantra of Je Tsongkapa's tradition and a master of all Buddhist knowledge. He holds steadfast to his protector Dorje Shugden very strongly. So we can see even the highest throneholders who are masters of Sutra and Tantra also practices Dorje Shugden knowing the benefits. Beng Kooi and Martin brought photo albums of Kechara Forest Retreat/Kechara and updates on Kechara and our works. His Holiness was very pleased to listen and offered some gifts back. This is a beautiful picture and the great blessings bestowed on us from His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal. Humbly, Tsem Rinpoche Read more on His Holiness Gaden Trisur Rinpoche: http://bit.ly/1PlaNNS
The meaning and origins of Halloween: http://bit.ly/2egnVrp
*****and****
My Halloween in Salem: http://bit.ly/2zwq6li

Fantastic Reads!!
5 days ago
The meaning and origins of Halloween: http://bit.ly/2egnVrp *****and**** My Halloween in Salem: http://bit.ly/2zwq6li Fantastic Reads!!
The meaning and origins of Halloween: http://bit.ly/2egnVrp
*****and****
My Halloween in Salem: http://bit.ly/2zwq6li
5 days ago
The meaning and origins of Halloween: http://bit.ly/2egnVrp *****and**** My Halloween in Salem: http://bit.ly/2zwq6li
This is so powerful. It is a must read and must share.
5 days ago
This is so powerful. It is a must read and must share.
Beng Kooi meeting with the scholar and teacher Geshe Konchok Gyeltsen lak. Geshe Konchok Gyeltsen has been very active and you can see his youtubes in Tibetan speaking about the benefits of Dorje Shugden practice. He is a direct student of Trijang Rinpoche and Zong Rinpoche.
6 days ago
Beng Kooi meeting with the scholar and teacher Geshe Konchok Gyeltsen lak. Geshe Konchok Gyeltsen has been very active and you can see his youtubes in Tibetan speaking about the benefits of Dorje Shugden practice. He is a direct student of Trijang Rinpoche and Zong Rinpoche.
Martin meeting with Gen Tashi. Gen Tashi is a very devoted and committed activist of Dorje Shugden\'s cause. He is tireless in speaking for the truth. They enjoyed sharing some time together.
6 days ago
Martin meeting with Gen Tashi. Gen Tashi is a very devoted and committed activist of Dorje Shugden's cause. He is tireless in speaking for the truth. They enjoyed sharing some time together.
Martin meeting with the well known strong and devoted Dorje Shugden activist and scholar Geshe Konchok Gyeltsen lak. Geshe lak was very happy to meet Martin and shared so much wonderful information. Beautiful meeting.
6 days ago
Martin meeting with the well known strong and devoted Dorje Shugden activist and scholar Geshe Konchok Gyeltsen lak. Geshe lak was very happy to meet Martin and shared so much wonderful information. Beautiful meeting.
Beng Kooi meeting with friend and strong and devoted Dorje Shugden activist Gen Tashi
6 days ago
Beng Kooi meeting with friend and strong and devoted Dorje Shugden activist Gen Tashi
Another stunning digital print art of Dorje Shugden from an artist in Peru. Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
Another stunning digital print art of Dorje Shugden from an artist in Peru. Tsem Rinpoche
This beautiful Dorje Shugden is from an artist in the Ukraine. Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
This beautiful Dorje Shugden is from an artist in the Ukraine. Tsem Rinpoche
Please never get tired of speaking for those who do not have a voice. If we can alleviate their pain or try our best, why not? Thank you all so much. Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
Please never get tired of speaking for those who do not have a voice. If we can alleviate their pain or try our best, why not? Thank you all so much. Tsem Rinpoche
Pastor Antoinette of Kechara arranged a Malaysian artist to paint this special Dorje Shugden painting conceptualized by myself. She oversaw the process and completed it. Wonderful beautiful Dorje Shugden Malaysian style by Malaysian artist. Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
Pastor Antoinette of Kechara arranged a Malaysian artist to paint this special Dorje Shugden painting conceptualized by myself. She oversaw the process and completed it. Wonderful beautiful Dorje Shugden Malaysian style by Malaysian artist. Tsem Rinpoche
Sometimes after my prayers, reading on sasquatch is relaxing. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Sometimes after my prayers, reading on sasquatch is relaxing. Tsem Rinpoche
This gorgeous outdoor bronze Buddha is in Korea. Would be lovely to pay homage to Him there.
3 weeks ago
This gorgeous outdoor bronze Buddha is in Korea. Would be lovely to pay homage to Him there.
Beautiful old vintage photo of Kamakura Buddha in Japan. I had the good fortune to visit this holy Buddha a few years back. I do hope I can go again with some students. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Beautiful old vintage photo of Kamakura Buddha in Japan. I had the good fortune to visit this holy Buddha a few years back. I do hope I can go again with some students. Tsem Rinpoche
Tsem Rinpoche with Kyabje Gangchen Rinpoche in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during the Medicine Buddha festival.
3 weeks ago
Tsem Rinpoche with Kyabje Gangchen Rinpoche in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during the Medicine Buddha festival.
This is a unique thangka of Pelden Hlamo with Dorje Shugden and Setrap and Nechung. Of course they all get along unlike what Tibetan leadership likes to say they don\'t get along. All enlightened beings get along with other enlightened beings and unenlightened beings. Enlightened beings have no karma to not get along with others. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
This is a unique thangka of Pelden Hlamo with Dorje Shugden and Setrap and Nechung. Of course they all get along unlike what Tibetan leadership likes to say they don't get along. All enlightened beings get along with other enlightened beings and unenlightened beings. Enlightened beings have no karma to not get along with others. Tsem Rinpoche
I love this picture. I wish it will all settle down soon.
3 weeks ago
I love this picture. I wish it will all settle down soon.
 I love this picture of Mumu peeking through the screen and window to see what is going on. He is always been very busy body and active. He has to know what is going on. I love you Mumu.
3 weeks ago
I love this picture of Mumu peeking through the screen and window to see what is going on. He is always been very busy body and active. He has to know what is going on. I love you Mumu.
How would you like to get one piece of this beautiful piece of art?
3 weeks ago
How would you like to get one piece of this beautiful piece of art?
First time PM Tenpa Yarphel speaks up against Nechung. It has created a huge stir. Must read: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=144220
3 weeks ago
First time PM Tenpa Yarphel speaks up against Nechung. It has created a huge stir. Must read: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=144220
I always like my rooms to smell clean, fresh, woodsy and a bit like the forest. my favorite types of essential oils to burn daily or as an offering to the Buddhas are Juniper, Cypress, Black Spruce, Peppermint and sometimes Rosemary. I like the smell of the forest, woods and wooded areas very much. I\'ve been using essential oils in my rooms for years. I don\'t necessarily purchase the brand you see in the picture as I buy any brand as long as it\'s made naturally. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
I always like my rooms to smell clean, fresh, woodsy and a bit like the forest. my favorite types of essential oils to burn daily or as an offering to the Buddhas are Juniper, Cypress, Black Spruce, Peppermint and sometimes Rosemary. I like the smell of the forest, woods and wooded areas very much. I've been using essential oils in my rooms for years. I don't necessarily purchase the brand you see in the picture as I buy any brand as long as it's made naturally. Tsem Rinpoche
In the bitter coldness of Yachen Gar, Tibet, several nuns are practicing meditation. You can see many small single \'huts\' in the background. They do this yearly and throughout the year. It is very inspiring to see people practice even under extreme conditions because they realize how samsara is so full of deceptions. Praise to the Dharma that liberates us with truth and practice. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
In the bitter coldness of Yachen Gar, Tibet, several nuns are practicing meditation. You can see many small single 'huts' in the background. They do this yearly and throughout the year. It is very inspiring to see people practice even under extreme conditions because they realize how samsara is so full of deceptions. Praise to the Dharma that liberates us with truth and practice. Tsem Rinpoche
More than you have....
3 weeks ago
More than you have....
The holiest place for the spiritual seeker is where our guru abides. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
The holiest place for the spiritual seeker is where our guru abides. Tsem Rinpoche
Beautiful flowers offered on my shrine to Sacred Vajra Yogini. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Beautiful flowers offered on my shrine to Sacred Vajra Yogini. Tsem Rinpoche
This is my favorite image of Lord Manjusri. I had this exact same image as a kid in the 1980\'s and treasured it very much. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
This is my favorite image of Lord Manjusri. I had this exact same image as a kid in the 1980's and treasured it very much. Tsem Rinpoche
I love this idyllic painting of a beautiful Buddhist temple in a small town with foliage, natural, blue skies and country living. I can definitely live in this type of environment any time. I love living near nature. I wish I can go inside this picture to start living there now. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
I love this idyllic painting of a beautiful Buddhist temple in a small town with foliage, natural, blue skies and country living. I can definitely live in this type of environment any time. I love living near nature. I wish I can go inside this picture to start living there now. Tsem Rinpoche
Another gorgeous Byzantine style painting. As the crowd is lead to the hill of light, atop the hill is St. Dorje Shugden ready to give rest to the weary. And hope to the hopeless and help to the helpless. Tsem Rinpoche
4 weeks ago
Another gorgeous Byzantine style painting. As the crowd is lead to the hill of light, atop the hill is St. Dorje Shugden ready to give rest to the weary. And hope to the hopeless and help to the helpless. Tsem Rinpoche
Ms Gerbrick was a very special person in my childhood. When I finally found her again, I had lost her - http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=144296
4 weeks ago
Ms Gerbrick was a very special person in my childhood. When I finally found her again, I had lost her - http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=144296
I just did another one. See how it\'s done-
 http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=144259
4 weeks ago
I just did another one. See how it's done- http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=144259
I like this sketch I just did. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
I like this sketch I just did. Tsem Rinpoche
One of my sketches just finished. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
One of my sketches just finished. Tsem Rinpoche
More of my drawings.  Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
More of my drawings. Tsem Rinpoche
See what Linus has to say to Charlie Brown: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/category/dorje-shugden
1 month ago
Plse click on this and read and share. Important thoughts regarding our teacher. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
Plse click on this and read and share. Important thoughts regarding our teacher. Tsem Rinpoche
The stupa dedicated to the great Changkya Rolpai Dorje in 5 peaks of Manjushri - China. Changkya Rolpai Dorje was one of the previous life of His Holiness Pabongka Rinpoche. In that life, he was the imperial tutor to the Emperor of China.  Photo from Karen Chong
1 month ago
The stupa dedicated to the great Changkya Rolpai Dorje in 5 peaks of Manjushri - China. Changkya Rolpai Dorje was one of the previous life of His Holiness Pabongka Rinpoche. In that life, he was the imperial tutor to the Emperor of China. Photo from Karen Chong
Please click on this picture and see what the adorable boy is doing.
1 month ago
Please click on this picture and see what the adorable boy is doing.
Learn a new word and see what Fauvism means here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=143633
1 month ago
Learn a new word and see what Fauvism means here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=143633
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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.

  • October 18, 2017 23:32
    Yen asked: Dear pastor, I am married but have not been blessed with a kid after several years. How can I overcome the pain I am going through? I also like to ask u for guidance to help someone dear to me who have met with an accident and in vegetative state. How do I help the friend suffer less? What can I do to help her overcome this obstacle in life even when doctor seems to have given up hope?
    Pastor Niral Patel answered: Dear Yen, Thank you for your question. I am very sorry to hear of your situation and that of your friend. One thing we need to remember is that the Buddha explained to us how karma works. Everything we experience in life, whether good or bad is due to our actions previously in this life and previous lifetimes. While this may sound unfair in that we need to experience the results of something that we do not remember doing, this is the way samsara exists. They only way to be free of this type of suffering is to attain enlightenment, the state of a Buddha. That being said, we all need help in our daily life, and that is where deity practice can help us. In order to overcome the pain you are going through, may I suggest that you engage in the Guru Yoga of Lama Tsongkhapa. You can find an excellent commentary by His Eminence the 25th Tsem Rinpoche here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/me/tsongkapas-daily-practice-video-commentary.html. You can find the prayers to recite here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/prayers-and-sadhanas/sadhana-prayers.html#19. There is also a practice box set dedicate to Lama Tsongkhapa, which you can order online here if you wish: https://www.vajrasecrets.com/tsongkhapa-boxset-english Lama Tsongkhapa is the emanation of Manjushri, the Buddha of wisdom; Chenrezig, the Buddha of compassion; and Vajrapani, the Buddha of skilful means. As such the practice is extremely powerful and is well-known to help people heal psychical pain, but more importantly the sufferings felt in the mind. You can concentrate on the recitation of the Mig Tse Ma mantra and beseech Lama Tsongkhapa to help ease your suffering. He will surely help. His practice is known for relieving anxiety and even depression. In regards to your friend, on a practical level you can research about your friend’s specific state and see if there are any treatments available that can be effective if you have not done so already. In any case what you can do is to engage in prayers or pujas and dedicate the merits generated to your friend. For example, you can engage in the practice of Medicine Buddha, available here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/prayers-and-sadhanas/medicine-buddha-practice.html, or alternative have Medicine Buddha pujas sponsored here: https://www.vajrasecrets.com/medicine-buddha-puja-fund. Medicine Buddha is excellent at healing on all levels, and provide us with soothing and beneficial energy. Another method that you can use to help your friend is to generate as much merit for her as possible. A vast amount of merit and purification of karma can help even the direst of circumstances. Such activities could involve releasing animals from slaughter or deplorable conditions, feeding the homeless and less fortunate and providing for them, and making vast amounts of offerings to the Buddhas and enlightened beings. If done with a good motivation, and dedicated towards your friend, she will benefit from the virtuous actions, even if you cannot see the benefits at the moment. Coupled with this you can engage in the practice of a Dharma protector such as a Dorje Shugden. You can find the prayers here if you wish to engage in them yourself: http://www.dorjeshugden.org/practice/diamond-path-a-daily-sadhana-of-dorje-shugden, alternatively you can have Dorje Shugden pujas sponsored here: https://www.vajrasecrets.com/dorje-shugden-wishfulfilling-puja-fund. Dharma protectors help to overcome obstacles and conditions that we wish to arise. I understand that it is a difficult situation, but you should maintain your faith in the Buddhas and enlightened beings, and they will definitely help. I hope this helps. Thank you
  • October 14, 2017 13:27
    Ling asked: I have been practising chakrasamvara for over 2 years now and recently during my meditation I feel that during the deity meditation portion that it feel like my entire body is under a heavy water fall. My heart and limbs also feel like flowing water and there is some crawling sensations. What could this be
    Pastor Niral Patel answered: Dear Ling, Thank you for your question. I rejoice to read that you are practising Chakrasamvara for over two years now. This is very good, you should keep the practice steady, keep the vows and commitments well and you will progress on your spiritual evolution. Generally speaking when you engage in higher tantric yoga meditation, the meditations include movement of your psychic winds. Therefore sometimes people will experience strange feelings in the body. When this happens, once should ease off the concentration on that particular visualisation when engaging in the practice. What you can do to lessen these feelings is to engage in purification practices such as the 35 Confessional Buddhas, which you can find here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/the-35-confessional-buddhas.html. Alternatively if you have the appropriate initiation, you can engage in the practice of Heruka Vajrasattva, which would be included in your sadhana text. Engaging in the purification practices would lessen these sensations when you practice, as everything we experience is due to our karma. What I would advise the most, however, is to consult the guru that gave you the empowerment of Chakrasamvara practice. Your guru would be able to better advise you in addition to the above, the methods you can use to minimise the physical effects if they are due to the actual practice. I hope this helps. Thank you
  • October 13, 2017 11:15
    Fearful asked: What does violent shaking all of the sudden and "shrinking" feeling of the head mean during practice mean? I've been practicing the dharmapalas, and this is happening. What does it mean?
    Pastor Niral Patel answered: Dear Fearful, Thank you for your question. There could be any number of reasons for this to be occurring. What you can do when this starts to happen is to stop what you are doing, and take deep breaths, and concentrate on your breath. As you concentrate on your breath, this will have a calming effect on both your body and mind, which should stop the involuntary shaking and strange feelings. In fact focusing on the breath is one of the best known methods of developing a focused, concentrated, yet calm Your practice of the Dharmapalas should begin with either Guru Yoga or deity practice, therefore I would suggest that you engage in these practices more before you begin the actually Dharma protector practice. One of the best practices is the Guru Yoga of Lama Tsongkhapa. This practice is well known for its healing ability on for both the body and the mind. Over time, you should see such occurrences lessen. If this shaking happens regularly and also when you are not practicing, you should consider visiting a qualified health professional just to rule out anything untoward. I hope this helps. Thank you
  • October 8, 2017 20:48
    John asked: Dear pastors, When reciting mantras we are instructed to visualize the deity. However I realize that my visualization is very very fuzzy and very very ever-changing. It is not a still image, there is like thick clouds moving and blocking the visualization then they would clear and block again and clear again and the deity would even change shape. The round part would be more oval one moment and more circle the next etc. In fact, I don't even know if the picture that ends up appearing in my mind is really looking like the deity or not. What if I end up visualizing a monster without knowing it since it's so fuzzy? Is there danger if that happens? What do you advice me to do?
    Pastor Niral Patel answered: Dear John, Thank you for your question. This is a question that people actually ask a lot, but there is no need to worry, especially if we do not have tantric initiation. In fact, the more we practice getting our visualisation stabilised now, the better we will be able to practice tantra when we eventually receive tantric initiation. The issue you are having maintain a steady visualisation is not an uncommon one. This is because we actually have to train our mind to concentrate on what we are doing. One of the major facets of Buddhist meditation is concentration, and this is something we need to develop. We might think that we have a good ability to concentrate, but what the Buddha and the great masters have taught is that we actually do not, but we can obviously develop it. Visualisation itself is a form of concentration meditation, therefore until we achieve a good level of concentration, things like this will happen as we train our minds. What we can do is to focus on a particular aspect of the visualisation, such as the face of the deity, and once that is stable and focused, we can continue onto other parts of the deity’s body, and then the various other aspects of the visualisation. That way, we train ourselves little by little to have a complete visualisation. No in regards to your question about their being danger if something goes wrong or if we make a mistake during our visualisation, this cannot be at our stage of practice. This is because the visualisation is engaged in during the mantra recitation section. Mantras themselves are the Buddhas and enlightened beings in the form of sound. Therefore when we recite mantras we are invoking the holy energies of the Buddhas, which naturally guide and protect us from any harm. The fact that you are facing this issue is in fact a good sign. It shows that are trying to concentrate on the visualisation, but that your mind has not reached a level of concentration powerful enough to maintain the stability of the visualisation. The antidote to this is simple, keep practising. As you continue to practice, you will notice that your visualisation becomes stronger and stronger. If however, you are still worried, you can end your recitation sessions with the prayer dedicated to a Dharma protector to any obstacles, and end with a completion dedication. I hope this helps. Thank you
  • October 6, 2017 22:31
    Wong asked: Hi, i would like to ask about jhana which is the last factor of the eightfold path. How is it being practised?
    Pastor Niral Patel answered: Dear Wong, Thank you for your question. The last factor of the eightfold noble path is called jhana in the Pali language. In the Sanskrit language it is called dyana. This is a state of meditative absorption which culminates in the understanding of emptiness and is the pathway that leads us to attain liberation. Generally this state is achieved through the practice of single-pointed concentration meditation. But within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition once you have achieved stabilised single-pointed meditation, you progress onto the path of special insight meditation. It is at this stage, that one is able to concentrate completely on understanding emptiness and therefore attain enlightenment. This topic is somewhat outside of the scope of this section of the blog. However, Pabongkha Rinpoche in his excellent Lam Rim text, titled “Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand” gives a very concise yet thorough introduction to the topic of meditation. Pabongkha Rinpoche addresses the path to enlightenment, not through the eightfold noble path however, but through the six perfections of a bodhisattva. In essence although on the surface the two ways of structuring the path to enlightenment may seem different, they are actually both the same if one analyses them carefully. If you read “Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand” you will understand how the two structures are interlinked if you have an understanding of the eightfold noble path. You can order a copy of the book here: https://www.vajrasecrets.com/lamrim-liberation-in-the-palm-of-your-hand and the book is also available at Kechara Paradise outlets. Alternatively, you can ask your local book store to order the book in for you if they have that service. I hope this helps. Thank you
  • October 3, 2017 04:11
    jason asked: i have been practicing higher yoga tantra for over two year now and recently i started to get nightmares for three continuous nights now and i think it will continue, What is happening ? did i do something wrong? The first nightmare was me being cut in to numerous pieces , the second was me being visited by a greyish blue female old female ghost with no eyes in eye sockets, and the third was a giant dark brown black centipede encased in a white translucent sac exploding out of my thigh and crawling/ rolling away in to darkness. Im quite worried that i may have done something wrong even though i think i have not.
    pastor answered: Dear Jason, Thank you for your question. I am glad to hear that you have been practising Higher Yoga Tantra for over two years. You should keep your samaya with your Guru pure and intact, as well as keeping the vows and commitments that you would have taken during the empowerment into the practice. If you do this then you will see a definite transformation of your mind and circumstances for the better, which is after all what Buddhist practice is all about. In regards to your nightmares I do not think that you have done anything wrong per se. In this case it could be due to two possible reasons, the first is that your negative karma is arising in your dreams and the second is that you are being afflicted by a spirit. In the first case, when we practice Higher Yoga Tantra properly and sincerely, it purifies a lot of negative karma. As when engaging in any practice that purifies negative karma, this karma can open and manifest under control situations. For example you the karma manifests are nightmares or scary figures or feelings, rather than physically, which would come about through uncontrollable causes and conditions. When karma is purified it manifests in its most mild form, and for you in this case, it could manifest in the form of nightmares. Therefore if we are engaging in powerful practices, or when we concentrate on these practices, such things can occur. Some people may find this sort of situation bad. But this is not correct, because due to the nature of samsara, we are affected by karma in some form or another. What matters here is that karma is purified so that we can progress on our spiritual journey. When you face such difficulties, the key here is continue with your practice strongly and not give up. In this manner, the karma which causes such situations to occur is purified quicker and then we are no longer affected by it. Therefore you should wholeheartedly engage in primary sadhana of your meditational deity. On the other hand, it could be that you are being affected by a spirit or spirits. In this case there are methods of protection that you can engage in which should be included in your Higher Yoga Tantra practice. If you are unsure of what these could be, please humbly approach your initiating guru for more guidance. Another way that can help solve this problem is to engage in the practice of a Dharma protector such as Dorje Shugden. Since you are already practising a Highest Yoga Tantra, you can ask your guru about the particular Dharma protectors associated with the practice. Each of the major tantric practice has certain Dharma protectors associated with it that aid practitioners to clear obstacles and create conducive conditions for practice. You can actually engage in any Dharma protector practice, but it would be best for you to consult your guru as he or she may assign you a specific Dharma protector to practice. Whatever the case may be, it comes down to karma. The Higher Yoga Tantra you are practising should include a purification practice such as Vajrasattva. For example if you practice the Heruka Chakrasamvara tantra, and have received the appropriate empowerment, you can practice Heruka Vajrasattva. You then concentrate on the practice of Vajrasattva to purify the negative karma causing the situation, and over time you will see the situation get better. If you are not sure of the purification aspect of your daily practice, you can recite the 35 Confessional Buddhas. All of these can help, however I strongly advise you to humbly approach your guru and ask for further advice and instruction, as he or she may assign you other practices or even ask you concentrate on specific sections of the sadhana that they passed to you, to help you overcome these problems. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • September 30, 2017 22:31
    kevin asked: hi pastor, I've been very problematic lately and depressed. My plans seem to be always out of place. I read from an article that some problems are caused by negative karma from the previous and present life. I want to know if there is anything that I can do to drain my negative karma. Im very wary now on my actions to others so not to add to my existing karma. Can you suggest a mantra which I can recite and reflect on everyday to help alleviate my problems and drain my negative karma. Thank you very much. Bless you.
    pastor answered: Dear Kevin, Thank you for your question. Yes, according to Buddhist thought everything we go through in life is caused by karma. This can be either good or bad, so difficulties we face in life are indeed due to our karma. Now, one thing about karma that people often forget is that it can be purified. There are many methods within Tibetan Buddhism that are used for the purification of karma. In fact all practices necessarily involve the purification of negative karma and the generation of merit. The most effective of these are known as purification practices, which have the specific benefits of helping us to purify negative karma which leads to all kinds of problems within in our lives. These include Vajrasattva practice, which can be found here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/prayers-and-sadhanas/an-important-purification-practice.html and the practice of the 35 Confessional Buddhas, which can be found here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/the-35-confessional-buddhas.html. You can read more about these practices by clicking on the respective links. These are two very powerful methods of purifying negative karma and have been relied upon by countless practitioners and masters to progress on the spiritual path. They are two very extremely effective methods used within Tibetan Buddhism. Since you are going through many problems, however, you can engage in the practice of a Dharma protector who can help alleviate the obstacles you are facing and at the same provide conditions that are suitable for you. One such Dharma protector is Dorje Shugden, you can read more about his practice here, and his daily prayers here: http://www.dorjeshugden.org/practice/diamond-path-a-daily-sadhana-of-dorje-shugden. The website also has a lot of information about the practice and how it can benefit you in daily life. While it may seem daunting that you have negative karma, you should not be disheartened because negative karma can be overcome by purifying it. What you said is right, you should be wary of creating more negative karma. In fact that is one of the main points a Buddhist lives by, which is not creating more negative karma. People often wonder why Buddhists take vows and precepts, this is actually to stop the accumulation of negative karma. For example a Buddhist takes the vow not to kill, this obviously stops the Buddhist from creating the negative karma of killing because they consciously remember that they should not kill in whatever situation they are in. So it is very good that are checking your actions to make sure that you do not add to the negative karma. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • September 28, 2017 13:18
    Nepal asked: I've noticed that in Nepal, Shugden and his retinue are forms of the worldly protector Za Rahula, or that's what the lamas and sadhanas say. Wouldn't that make Shugden dangerous or wouldn't that make Manjushri a worldly deity or one that is dangerous?
    pastor answered: Dear Nepal, Thank you for your question. Dorje Shugden is an emanation of Manjushri, that is what the high lamas and masters have taught and explained using Buddhist logic. Dorje Shugden as an enlightened being has been practiced by all major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, and was first practiced within the holy Sakya tradition. Similarly, Manjushri is an enlightened being. In fact all Tibetan Buddhist schools and Vajrayana traditions, including those in Nepal, say that Manjushri is an enlightened being, the Buddha of wisdom. Rahula on the other hand is a worldly deity who was bound by oath to protect Buddhism and Buddhism practitioners. You can read more about him here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/dharma-protectors-of-tibetan-buddhism.html#tabs-1. All Tibetan Buddhist schools similarly agree to this point. Therefore to equate Dorje Shugden as a form of Za Rahula would logically mean that Manjushri is not a Buddha. This cannot be since hundreds of thousands of holy masters have relied on Manjushri and gained enlightenment through such beliefs and practices associated with Manjushri. Since from a logical perspective this cannot be the case, and Dorje Shugden is an emanation of Manjushri, it is safe to say that Dorje Shugden is not a form of Za Rahula. You can read more about Dorje Shugden, his history, lineage of practice and benefits here: http://www.dorjeshugden.org. I hope this helps. Thank you.
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Dorje Shugden
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