Snakes, Roosters and Pigs by Tsem Rinpoche

By | Jun 10, 2016 | Views: 783
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Why are we still unhappy?

We have everything but are still not satisfied. We keep looking and looking and looking for fun, friends, entertainment and places to go. The more we get, the more dissatisfied we feel. All the possessions we have – houses, cars, clothes – are supposed to make us happy, and yet we are still not happy.

Why are we not happy? Because these things are just distractions – one distraction after another. They take us away from the real purpose of why we are here. They take us away from finding who we are.

In ‘Snakes , Roosters and Pigs’, H.E. the 25th Tsem Rinpoche uses Buddhist philosophy and psychology to skilfully guide us in plumbing the depths of our mind to determine who we really are inside, and what is wrong with us. When we are armed with that knowledge, he then guides us to move from this pervasive state of dissatisfaction to a state of stability and peace.

This is a journey of training the mind to move ultimately to that state, where no distraction or anything will disturb it. For this journey, we need a Spiritual Guide. Tsem Rinpoche, who has achieved that mind after lifetimes of vigorous training, guides us in this teaching to reach that ultimate level of an Enlightened Mind. He uses his astute and incisive wisdom to reach out to us at the level where we can relate well to what he says, and find meaning and relevance for us to live our lives well.

 

What touched me the most in ‘Snakes, Roosters and Pigs’

What touched me most in this book is the extraordinary compassion of Tsem Rinpoche’s Guru, Kensur Rinpoche. I believe that this extraordinary compassion is reflected in the actions and deeds of all great Lamas, including Tsem Rinpoche. Hence, it moves me beyond words how a living Bodhisattva can send waves of blessings and inspiration to all who know him or hear about him.

People from the villages around would come to the monastery and request loans from Kensur Rinpoche for their business. Kensur Rinpoche gives them the money and more often than not, he loses the money and does not get it back. Kensur Rinpoche always said to Tsem Rinpoche, “Never mind, it’s okay.” These villagers came and tricked him over and over again or they thought they had successfully tricked him! A Bodhisattva like Kensur Rinpoche will never refuse anyone, even if they are being tricked. Moreover, even when they have been tricked, they will react differently from how we would react. They react with forgiveness.

By this connection with you – even if it is by a negative association – they have hooked you together with them for the next lives to help you when the time is right. A Bodhisattva thinks like this. They may not be able to do something good with you now so they let you do something bad with them because they believe that this is better than nothing at all. They make the connection for you, for your future lives. Many of these high masters, through their clairvoyance, can look into the future and know that no one else can help you for a long, long time. They will sacrifice themselves to help you so even if they are cheated or if something is taken away from them, they consider it an offering towards your liberation. Advanced and holy beings do know if you are trying to take advantage of or cheat them; they do know it. But they will give in to you and let you have what you want as their offering to you for your liberation!

 

The Five Things I Learned From ‘Snakes, Roosters and Pigs’

1. Understanding who we are and what is wrong with us – understanding our self-grasping mind and our three root mental delusions

The first step we have to take in this journey of training our mind towards achieving a state of peace and happiness is to understand and accept who we really are, as well as know and accept what is wrong with us and what needs to be improved. This is probably the most difficult part of all for us. In ordinary life, even admitting to making mistakes is itself difficult for us. Nonetheless, we have to face and accept ourselves as we really are, including our faults and weaknesses. We have to accept what needs to be done to remove the causes of our unhappiness and pervasive dissatisfaction that are within us, painful as this may be, just as we have to accept that we need to undergo surgery to remove a malignant growth, as well as accept the inevitable pain that comes with the surgery.

With our self-grasping mind, we create negative karma or the causes for suffering all the time, so that even existing is collecting negative karma.

(i) I’m a good person

We have heard this before – “I don’t drink, I don’t sleep around, I don’t kill, I don’t eat meat and I don’t lie. I don’t do these things and I’m a good person”. To anyone out there who hears this and listens to you, yes, you do sound like a good person. However, to someone with higher knowledge, like our Spiritual Guide, that may not necessarily be the case because what they view and consider as ‘good’ is different to what we think is good.

(ii) You are not? Why not?

Because every day and every minute, you are existing out of your self-grasping mind.

Even doing nothing and sitting there within a mind-frame that is self-grasping, you are collecting negative karma on a very subtle level. This karma creates the causes for negative experiences of unhappiness and suffering for you. So even though you don’t kill, you don’t steal, you don’t lie, and you are just hanging around at home watching television, you still collect negative karma because you are existing out of a self-grasping mind – me, me, me, me. In fact, doing nothing reinforces your self-grasping mind. This is why the Buddha says that the minute you achieve your human body, suffering begins.

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(iii) You are your delusions

Happy, sad, lonely, angry, frustrated, depressed…these are all states of our mind. These are the states of mind we experience all the time. If we examine our minds, these states of mind are caused by three basic delusions that are the root cause of our unhappiness and for us to stay in samsara (cyclic existence of suffering). Every day, in fact every minute of each day, there are three delusions raging inside us – hatred, pride or desire and ignorance. These three are represented by the snake, the rooster or chicken and the pig respectively. Because of the countless lifetimes we have been living like this, there are millions of these three animals inside us. Think about it: there are all these chickens, pigs and snakes inside us, making all the noise. Pride, ignorance and hatred screaming at us from the inside.

Suffering arises out of these three root delusions. When, for instance, the object that we hold on to, or we engage with, does not fulfil us in the way that we projected or expected it to, then we will experience unhappiness and suffering. When this happens, it reinforces and increases the three root delusions – desire, hatred, ignorance.

The root delusion is ignorance. Out of ignorance (because of not studying and knowing the Dharma, not knowing the way things really exist and not understanding people), we have a strong sense of “I” or ego, that always tells us to think we are right and everyone else, including our Guru, is wrong! WE always want to be right! This grasping at “I” pervades our mind. This is why every day, we incessantly react to things, people and situations and to all our experiences out of this self-grasping mind.

Because of the three delusions, we are incessantly drawn to actions that we think will benefit us at the expense of harm to others, and we turn away from actions which are ultimately good for us or will benefit others, and which will ultimately benefit us. We are drawn to acquiring things and pursuing activities that we think will benefit us and keep us happy, regardless of whether others are being harmed or hurt in the process. We turn away from the study of Dharma, from meditation and retreats, and from holding our vows which are good for training our mind for peace and happiness. Instead, these three delusions – desire, hatred and ignorance – incessantly tell us to do the opposite of what is really good for us.

We thus exist out of a self-grasping mind, with its three root delusions, all the time, and create negative karma or the causes of suffering all the time.

 

2. Negative karma and purification of negative karma

(i) Why we must purify negative karma

It’s not that we are bad. It is just that we are programmed or habituated to think that if things don’t go our way, we must act or react in a certain way out of our mind of self-grasping and delusions. Actions and reactions from a self-grasping mind and from our delusions collect negative karma for us. Even doing nothing from this mind collects subtle negative karma.

Hence we are collecting negative karma, every minute of every day. This negative karma will sooner or later manifest for us in the form of obstacles, problems, difficulties and unhappy and sad experiences. Therefore, it stands to reason why we need to purify our negative karma.

(ii) Experiencing negative karma

a) Purifying negative karma by experiencing it with acceptance, patience and compassion

When we practise Dharma, we may experience more difficulties or obstacles. These are actually all our negative karma arising to be purified. Because we are doing Dharma practices, these practices actually protect us. When we are doing Dharma Protector practices, they not only protect us but guide us through until the karma is purified.

When we are practising the Dharma, and bad karma manifests in the form of a difficult experience, we purify the negative karma by accepting the experience (recognising that it is the result of our negative karma) and practising patience and compassion throughout the experience. Once it is purified, and the experience is over, we will not experience it again.

b) Experiencing negative karma and collecting more negative karma

However, if a negative karma manifests, and you react towards it in anger, hatred and with all your negative habituation, and negative karma backing you up, you actually don’t purify that karma. By your negative reaction, you create more negative karma.

Hence people who do not engage in spiritual practices to purify their negative karma, and leave things as they are, and let things manifest on their own, are wrong to say that they are purifying their negative karma and that since it’s all coming out, they’ll be okay. They are not okay. They have not purified the negative karma for that bad experience to arise. Instead, with their habituated negative reaction, they would have created more and more negative karma. Indeed, there are different levels of grasping that allow us to continue collecting negative karma which we may not even be aware of.

Anyway when bad experiences happen, like a relationship breaking up, most of the time, we react negatively. We become depressed and angry and sometimes even contemplate taking our lives.

(c) Purifying negative karma by being reborn in the lower realms?

Negative karma is not purified by your being reborn in the Lower Realms. When you are reborn as an animal, like a snake, you will live out your existence as a snake, killing, eating, stalking and harming. You will be creating more and more negative karma that sinks you lower and lower in samsara. How then can rebirth as an animal, like a snake, be seen as purification of negative karma?

(d) Negative action brings “negative” results!

When you have committed negative acts like cheating and stealing, it is unlikely for you to enjoy the ‘fruit’ of your cheating or your theft. The money you get will create even more negative karma in you to ultimately not enjoy it! More likely the negative karma you have created will, in the future, result in your losing more and more money in some way, or your not getting the money you had expected to get at all!

The karma of cheating a holy and attained being is very heavy. Even though the holy being forgives you easily, you will still have to bear the heavy consequences in the form of tremendous suffering in this or future rebirths.

(iii) The importance of purifying negative karma through purification practices

We have created countless negative karma from countless past lives. The great Buddhist saint, Lama Tsongkhapa did a long retreat to engage in purification practices, during which he did 3.5 million prostrations to the 35 Confessional Buddhas! After that he received direct visions of Manjushri, who told him that he had purified all his negative karma and obscurations.

We can engage in purification practices like prostrations, Vajrasattva meditation with sadhana, and circumambulations around holy sites or Buddha images. When we purify our karma through these practices, we are purifying the karma of that action directly and, with that, we don’t create further karma. In fact, we also gain merit.

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When we engage in practices like prostrations to a Buddha statue, we may experience pain or some form of physical suffering. However, this is good for us. This purifies the karma of our body immediately. At the same time we collect merit to support our spiritual practice.

Sometimes, during a long and intensive purification practice or retreat, you may receive direct purification from your Guru in the form of a scolding and the like. He may even ask you to do your whole practice again after you have completed it. He will deliberately create “difficulties” for you as a form of ‘purification’ within that purification practice. This is how your Guru helps you to make the most of your purification retreat so that you get the maximum benefit of purifying your negative karma. You may even get nasty dreams and nasty experiences, and your Guru will be deliberately ugly and mean to you.

The Guru is treating you this way to push you to overcome your negative mind. A retreat is meant to give your negative mind a break – to stop it from thinking negatively.

Purification practices are very important. You purify your negative karma and will not experience it again. You will gain merits and attainments. The merit will help you grow your understanding of the Dharma, your narrowness of mind will open up, you will achieve depth of realisation, your mind will be firmer and more solid. Your compassion and your ability to forgive and other qualities of your mind will arise naturally. Even your diseases will lighten or be cured.

Purification practices will help you clear the inner and outer obstacles to your learning the Dharma and practising it. Dharma is the only means by which you can free yourself ultimately from all unhappiness and suffering. The more purification retreats you do, the more karma is purified.

Do not take the attitude of not wanting to do purification practices and doing nothing about purifying your negative karma. When negative karma manifests, you will, more often than not, react negatively. This is because you are habituated to do and create more negative karma. You are grossly mistaken to think they are automatically purified by your experiencing the bad experience that arises with the manifestation of negative karma.

(iv) Knowing the Dharma and practising it

Listening to the Dharma, studying it and practising it through mind transformation will ultimately lead you to liberation from all unhappiness and suffering. However, your different levels of karma will impact your receptiveness of Dharma teachings, your understanding of them and whether you will be able to put them into practice.

 

3. Training your mind with Dharma to move from illusion to reality

From a mind that is mired in self-grasping, delusions and negative karma, it is difficult to see life as it truly is and yourself as you truly are. In fact, from our mind of self-grasping, delusions, obscurations and negative habituation, and from our heavy load of negative karma, we are actually seeing life and ourselves as an illusion. Seeing everything in an illusion, but yet to us is so real, leads us to pursue things and activities that, in actual fact, are distractions. These are distractions because they distract us from the true meaning and purpose of life – the pursuit of the truth that will lead us to real happiness.

“I’ve got to survive”

Our being perpetually distracted from the real purpose of life is epitomised in the daily obsession of most people with their frenetic pursuit of careers, wealth, and security because “they have got to survive”! Businessmen and working people (whether their income is $1500 a month or $15,000 a month or whether they have $50mil dollars in the bank) tell you they cannot attend Dharma talks because they have to attend meetings or work late as they have got to survive!

Survival is when the bombs drop around you and your house has been shelled because it is in a war zone! BUT real survival, says Tsem Rinpoche, is when you learn the Dharma and you transform!

“We are scared of being alone”

We go around distracting ourselves 24 hours a day, running after fun, entertainment, food, clothing, relationships, and needing a companion for every meal, because we live in a delusion thinking that we must get away from being alone and being left on our own. After all this running around, chasing one distraction after another, and searching for a good relationship, we end up getting depressed. Our friends, who know no better, believe us and commiserate with us. But when we talk to our Guru, he will tell us the opposite. He will tell us that running around is a distraction because we cannot bear to be alone.

In reality, loneliness is a state of mind; loneliness is not about who we are with or not with. Loneliness is a state of mind where we do not accept who we are inside and what we need to improve. We therefore need to be distracted with other people to make us look away from ourselves.

The Dharma

The Dharma is the precious teachings of Lord Buddha, which shows you how to train your mind and transform it from a self-grasping mind (with all its delusions and negative habituations) to a mind of enlightenment, that is free of karma and delusions, and hence free of any disturbance, distraction or suffering.

The Dharma is the truth that cuts through all your delusions and illusions, and shows you the realities of life and who you truly are. That is why listening to the Dharma, understanding it, applying it by engaging in Dharma practice and transforming your mind is the way to go to achieve liberation and ultimate peace and happiness.

Tsem Rinpoche says that the Dharma may seem harsh but it tells you the truth. It is the only thing that tells you the truth. So we should do something about it! When we let samsaric pursuits push our pursuit of Dharma knowledge to the backseat, and give all kinds of excuses to not even attend a Dharma talk, it shows that we don’t love ourselves that much the right way.

You need a Guru to teach you the Dharma

i) What is a Guru? He or she is someone who shares with you the beautiful, clear, golden unadulterated teachings of Lord Buddha, freely with love and compassionately to you. That is what a Guru is.

The main reason why your Guru is here is to impart the precious teachings of Lord Buddha – the Dharma – with love and compassion. Tsem Rinpoche brings us teachings that come from a pure lineage of unbroken transmissions all the way from Lord Buddha. His teachers were among the great lamas, teachers and scholars of this century, the last of the generation of masters to have been raised and educated in and come directly from Tibet.

ii) The Guru skilfully uses the Dharma to cut through our illusions and delusions so we can see the Truth or Reality.

The main reason why we endlessly chase after the things in this life, which at best only bring temporary happiness, is because we mistake illusions and delusions for reality, and we mistakenly think that the pursuit of distractions is the pursuit of a meaningful and happy life. It is only the Guru that can skilfully use the Dharma to cut through the illusions and delusions so that we can see the truth or the reality.

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It is the Guru who points out to us that the things we pursue daily – money, possessions, fun, entertainment, relationships – are all distractions to distract us from the real purpose of life and from who we really are. He tells us that we have to face and accept ourselves for who we really are and go beyond all that to become better people and to live our lives with correct intent and purpose.

Teaching the Dharma to different types of people with different minds

Dharma is so important that compassionate Gurus will teach all kinds of people with different types of minds, and use all kinds of methods to give the Dharma and plant seeds of Enlightenment in their minds.

There are people who will even use the Dharma to get money and respect. They use the holy Dharma to get things from other people. But then again, don’t they also deserve liberation? Don’t they also deserve a chance? Don’t they deserve the Dharma?

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Since there are all types of people, there are all types of Gurus and all types of manifestations of the Dharma. Gurus or highly developed people manifest in different ways to go to the level of their students. These highly attained beings act at the level of their students not because they are attached to these attitudes or ways of behaving; they go to their level to be “one of them” so they that are able to teach them and help them transform their minds.

 

4. Breaking the preconceived and wrong projections of the mind

When you have a fixed perception of how something should be, no other view can enter because you hold on to thinking and feeling that something must be in this way: this person has to be this way or that way. When you have such a fixed perception and you hold on strongly to how things should be, no other information can come through to you. You lose (as you can see from the example below). Your bad experiences arise only from your own wrong projections.

You have been programmed or habituated many lifetimes with this fixed perception and wrong projections of how things should be, and holding on to them. It is the Guru who teaches us that there is no “this way” or “that way”, beginning with our wrong fixed perception and projections of the Guru himself.

Breaking preconceived ideas and wrong projections of your Guru

If you believe your Guru should be this way, act this way, do things this way or that Dharma should be this or that way, you are actually the one who is wrong because there is no “this way” or “that way”. There is only intent that arises from many lifetimes of habituation and practice.

John Riley Perks, the devoted student of Chogyam Trungpa

John Riley Perks, the devoted student of Chogyam Trungpa

When you know and realise this fully, you will trust the actions your Guru takes in relation to you and all his students. You see his every action as arising from an intent that came from many lifetimes of habituation and practice. Every task he gives you, every teaching you receive from him, every seeming negative action of his towards you is given with an intent (or comes from an intent) that arises from many lifetimes of habituation and practice. This intent has been shaped by the practice of love and compassion for many, many lifetimes.

If John Riley Perks had realised that his Guru, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, had let him go after having him as a personal attendant for seven years, out of his love and compassion and acting from an intent that came from many lifetimes of practice and habituation, he would not have reacted with anger and hurt. This negative response came from his many lifetimes of negative habituation of a fixed preconception and wrong projections of how things should be.

He was reacting from a fixed perception of how his Guru should act. According to this perception, his Guru should treasure him for his devoted service to him and keep him with him. So by asking him to leave, he saw his Guru as behaving in an unfair way to him. So he concluded that his Guru was a monster.

Fortunately, he had merits and had made a good connection to the Guru. Hence, he was able to realise, before it was too late, how kind his Guru had actually been to make him independent. His Guru had taken him in and compassionately trained him for seven years, put the Dharma in his mind and set him free so he could become independent, transform and prepare for his old age. Just as his Guru had wanted him to be, he is now a great Dharma teacher.

Hence, if you believe that your Lama is training you, let him train you. If you fight back, you will keep fighting samsara, life after life after life. Gurus will use unusual methods to train people up. If a student were wise, if a student remembers the pure compassionate motivation of their Guru, a motivation that had been cultivated from many lifetimes of practice and habituation, they will have full faith and confidence and accept and keep quiet. Then they will get the results. We may not see the benefits immediately. But they will come. We cannot give up. We have to persevere like John Riley Perk did.

When we react angrily or negatively to a difficult or challenging situation, the reaction is immediate. This shows that all these negative reactions arise from having preconceived ideas in our minds that have been habituated over many many lifetimes. We need to break the hold that preconceived ideas and wrong projections have on us. We need to rehabituate with the good qualities of compassion, patience, forgiving and the like. Knowing and realising this is the only way we can break our personal samsara and begin to live a life of real meaning, with right intent and purpose.

 

5. Living our lives well with intent and purpose

(i) Cultivating good intent – it’s not the action that makes something negative, but the intent. The difference between an action that comes from good or positive intent and an action that comes from bad or negative intent

Chogyam Trungpa was known to be an unconventional teacher who worked to break his students' fixed perception and wrong projections of how things should be. In Tibetan Buddhism, this is known as 'crazy wisdom' and it is a skilful means employed by compassionate teachers to open their students' minds.

Chogyam Trungpa was known to be an unconventional teacher who worked to break his students’ fixed perception and wrong projections of how things should be. In Tibetan Buddhism, this is known as ‘crazy wisdom’ and it is a skilful means employed by compassionate teachers to open their students’ minds.

Chogyam Trungpa was known for his consumption of alcohol, with a preference for sake. Is that a negative action? No. What if we do the same? Then our action is negative? Yes. Why is there a difference between us and Chogyam Trungpa? The difference is that Chogyam Trungpa has been practising the Dharma for many, many, many lifetimes and purified so much negative karma, so his seemingly negative action cannot affect him negatively, as they can affect us; at the same time, he does not collect any negative karma. This is because his intent for drinking the sake is very different from our intent. There is a huge difference.

Chogyam Trungpa was a completely unconventional teacher. Why? Because not everybody is conventional and a strict adherent to social norms. There are people out there who engage in sex not for the conventional purpose of procreation, and people out there who sleep with multiple partners. There are people out there who cheat on their partners, break vows of love and break their partners’ hearts. There are people out there who lie and cheat others of their money. There are people out there who go against their parents and even use them for money! There are people out there who are seemingly nice on the outside, but are actually not nice. There are all types of people out there.

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche recognised that he lived among these unconventional types of people. Simultaneously, he had a very compassionate intent to bring Dharma to them at their level, acted at their level to be “one with them”. So whether he was drinking sake all day long or sleeping with two women at the same time, he was teaching them Dharma and helping them transform their minds. He was planting seeds of Enlightenment in the men with whom he was drinking sake and the women he was sleeping with, and the people there.

When Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche enacts actions similar to ours, which appear negative, the results will be different. This is because where his intent is positive and compassionate, ours are negative and arises from desirous attachment.

With Chogyam Trungpa there was no attachment to the sex or the drinking of the sake. For him, it was more about what the students were attached to at that point in time. Unlike Chogyam Trungpa, if we were to engage in similar acts, with attachment or desire as our motivation or intent, these acts will be negative and we will collect negative karma that will lead us to the lower realms.

People who were Chogyam Trungpa’s contemporaries, who did not understand the intent behind his seemingly crazy actions, have criticised him for being late for teachings and then teaching all night until 6 or 7 the next morning. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, though unconventional in style, was teaching them the concept of non-attachment, and to move beyond the rigidity of timing and how things should be, so necessary to practise for people of this modern age where the prevailing delusion or afflictive emotion is desire.

(ii) Cultivating good positive habituation by holding our vows

a) Good intent must be backed up by good habituation

Intent is important to determine whether the action is positive or negative. However, it is not just the intent but also the habituation from which the intent arises that makes the action positive or negative. With Chogyam Trungpa who had cultivated positive habituations over many lifetimes, whether he slept with two or 500 women, these women would have seeds of Enlightenment planted in them. Hence they would eventually ascend to Vajrayogini Paradise. On the other hand, if, after we have engaged in a lifetime of cheating others, and we suddenly go up to some people, give all our money away to them and say, “I have good intent”, who is going to believe us? Who would believe that our intent is good? We do not have the force of habituation to keep our intent real and alive.

b) We need to cultivate good positive habituation by holding our vows

Hence, habituation is a powerful force and we need to cultivate good positive habituation. Good habituation arises from keeping our vows. Holding our vows well depends on our collection of merits, which is also what ensures our getting higher attainments. At the same time, purification of our negative karma will stop us from breaking our vows. The strength of our purification is dependent on our holding our ethics, morality and vows well. Thus, upholding our vows strongly is important for us to re-habituate our minds with good positive habituation. So if we wish to develop powerful positive habituation, we need to constantly do purification practices so as not to break our vows.

Holding vows does not imprison us. Just think of how Chogyam Trungpa, by holding his vows well over many lifetimes, released himself because he had created the actual causes for himself to enjoy the objects to which he appears to be attached (but actually does not have any attachment to), without collecting negative karma.

c) How we cultivate positive habituation by holding our vows

For instance, when you take the refuge vows before the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, you collect a lot of merits when you hold your vows. Every day that you don’t kill, steal, cheat or lie, etc., you will collect the merit for not doing it. Then you re-habituate yourself not to kill, steal, cheat or lie, etc. until it becomes natural not to do those negative things. At the same time, you collect the merits to support you to re-habituate. So the vows are double-fold in effect.

d) How do you ultimately know if an action is good or not? Results are an indisputable testimony

That actions are good or not can be checked by the results. If people who have been with you are positively impacted by your actions – they are happier, have more positive attitudes towards life and relationships with people, have Dharma knowledge and wisdom – these results show that your actions are good. This is the case with the great master and Guru, Chogyam Trungpa. Despite the controversy created by his unconventional methods, Chogyam Trungpa left a powerful legacy of achievements for the Dharma. The Naropa Institute at Boulder, a world-renowned accredited college, and the Shambala Publications, dedicated to the publication of his works are testimony to his achievements.

Even though his methods are not normal, we have no right to criticise him. He has benefited countless people with his method of teaching and spreading the Dharma. At the heart of it all, he operates from a non-grasping mind.

He is one of many great masters who have attained this Enlightened mind with its habituations of positive qualities of compassion, commitment and wisdom. His works and deeds to teach and spread the Dharma, all stemming from the compassion of a living bodhisattva, are also being enacted by other great Masters and Gurus. One of these is Tsem Rinpoche himself.

When you have a highly attained Spiritual Guide like Tsem Rinpoche who will show you how to cultivate and train your mind to achieve a state of non-grasping, and how to develop good habituations to live your life with right intent and purpose, you should hold him and the Dharma he teaches you with great reverence and devotion. Thus you will have shown that you have learnt to truly love yourself the right way.

 

Conclusion

Reading ‘Snakes, Roosters and Pigs’ gives you a sense of immediacy, a sense that you are also reading about Tsem Rinpoche, as a Guru, who has used all methods that have to be used to reach out to all types of people at their level. Though he does not use the same unconventional methods as Chogyam Trungpa, his unique multifaceted approach to reach out to people and spread the Dharma can be seen by the world through his blog.

You feel a strong sense of conviction that this teaching of ‘Snakes, Roosters and Pigs’ gives you the know-how to train your self-grasping mind which has been so deeply habituated through many lifetimes to react negatively and spontaneously to situations. In a precise and accessible manner, Tsem Rinpoche details how you can get out of this negative habituation and re-habituate yourself for ultimate peace and happiness. Here is an experienced Spiritual Guide showing you why you must do it and how to do it. He has done it all and has achieved that mind of Enlightenment – a mind of no more self-grasping, no more delusions, no more negative karma, no more disturbance or distraction.

 

A book I strongly recommend

‘Snakes, Roosters and Pigs’ is a must-read because it helps us to understand how we have been programmed to react from a self-grasping mind, with its three root delusions, every single day. It also shows us how we have been programmed to have fixed preconceived ideas and projections about how things should be. From these preconceived ideas and projections, we are habituated to react mindlessly and immediately in anger and with all kinds of negative reactions, when things don’t happen in the way we expect them to happen. Living out of these negative mind-sets, all our actions and reactions are inevitably motivated by negative intent, which leads to our collecting negative karma.

Next, we are shown how to cultivate a mind that is clear of negative karma (because it is negative karma that creates our unhappiness and suffering). We are also shown how to habituate our mind with positive habituations and develop good qualities like compassion, care, patience and forgiveness. Most of all, the book gives clear insights into how a highly realised Spiritual Guide reaches out with different methods to teach the Dharma to all kinds of people. Whether the recipient is ‘good’ or ‘bad’, they do it because from their compassionate mind, everyone needs the Dharma, to liberate themselves from suffering.

 

The benefits

Reading this book and gaining a better understanding of our mind helps us to avoid negative actions because we know they will bring negative consequences – problems, difficulties and suffering.

  • On a daily basis, the book makes us aware and watchful of our mind to see when the three poisons of hatred, desire and ignorance arise, and equips us with the tools to avert them. This requires patient practice and training. Nonetheless, if we care for ourselves, we will undertake this training straight-away.
  • We will consciously train ourselves to avoid negative actions of body, speech and mind, so as not to create negative karma which will lead to only problems and suffering.
  • Whenever a difficult situation or experience arises which brings suffering, as this book has explained, we will practise reminding ourselves that it is a manifestation of our negative karma. Thus, to avoid creating more negative karma, we will train our mind to avoid reacting in anger or complaining and blaming others. If we react instead with compassion and patience, we will also create merits.
  • As we have an overwhelming abundance of negative karmic seeds in our mindstream from countless past lives and we don’t know when any one will manifest in the form of a horrendous experience for us, we need to learn up purification practices and practise them daily.
  • ‘Snakes, Roosters and Pigs’ shows us how important and beneficial it is to take and hold vows, like the Refuge Vows so as to re-habituate our mind with positive qualities.
  • ‘Snakes, Roosters and Pigs’ also shows us how imperative and beneficial it is for us to have a Spiritual Guide (Guru). With a qualified and experienced Guru, we have the benefit of receiving Dharma teachings from him, and his guidance and his training of our mind, using methods that are tailored to our needs.

 

Some quotes from the book:

THESE THINGS ARE ALL JUST DISTRACTIONS THAT TAKE US AWAY FROM FINDING OUT WHO WE ARE. It’s just one distraction after another, after another. These are all distractions BECAUSE THEY TAKE US FROM THE REAL PURPOSE OF WHY WE ARE HERE.

Loneliness is a state of mind, it is not who you are with or not with. LONELINESS IS A STATE OF MIND WHERE WE DO NOT ACCEPT WHO WE ARE INSIDE AND WHAT WE NEED TO IMPROVE. We therefore need to be distracted with other people to make us look away from ourselves.

Living our lives with Intent and Purpose.

Our PERCEPTION of the object and how it functions and our REACTIONS towards its function is how SUFFERING arises and how our hatred , desire and ignorance increase.

When the object we are engaged with doesn’t fulfil us in the way that we projected or expected it to, OUR SUFFERING arises.

We just always want to be right. We are right, we are right! The Guru is wrong; … Everybody is WRONG and only we are RIGHT – we have the BIGGEST WISDOM.

We are PROGRAMMED to think that if things don’t go our way, we must act or react in a certain way.

Existing out of the self-grasping mind – even existing is collecting negative karma.

 

About the Book

Author: H.E Tsem Rinpoche
Publisher: Kechara Media and Publications
Paperback: 94 pages
ISBN: 978-9675365317
Product dimensions: 13.21cm (H) x 12.7cm (W) x 0.25cm (D)
Weight: 22g

Available on VajraSecrets

 

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Pastor Lim Han Nee

About Pastor Lim Han Nee

A teacher for 30 years, it is no surprise that Pastor Lim Han Nee's life long passion was reading philosophical books to quench her thirst for knowledge. Upon meeting her Spiritual Guide H.E. the 25th Tsem Rinpoche, she was amazed by the brilliance of the Dharma, and began to immerse herself in Buddhist Philosophy through countless of hours listening and studying the Dharma.
Pastor Lim Han Nee

13 Responses to Snakes, Roosters and Pigs by Tsem Rinpoche

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  1. Wan Wai Meng on Oct 24, 2016 at 3:12 am

    The book Snakes, Pigs and Rooster gives us an insight on how the mind works. That the real suffering we have is due these invisible creatures afflicting our mindstream lifetime over lifetime.

    With these ‘creatures’, we can’t help but keeping creating our karma, and karma is what brings us further away from enlightenment and deeper into samsara. By collecting and creating merit, it helps us to develop the very causes for enlightenment.

  2. Jayce Goh on Jun 28, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    Thank you Pastor Han Nee for the book review.

    Human have a lots of ego and self-centered recognition which is “I” or “me”. Human tend to emphasize on all the benefit on ownself. All the statement and attachment start from “I” example “yes, I like it” and it interpret in our mind that we really need it , from here the suffering begins.

    Desire is also a stepping stone to hatred .when i like this object and chasing for it . when someone took it away then we get hatred on them.

    From the poisons of ignorance, desire, and ego , it cause our mind get complicates and filled with delusion.

    Thanks Rinpoche and pastor Han nee for this great book sharings.

  3. Carmen Koo on Jun 27, 2016 at 4:08 am

    What a fantastic review on a highly insightful book that aims to transform the way we think, act, behave to reduce our suffering.

    Our suffering is a result of our fixed views, as I myself has had a fair share of them. Reading through this book review, made me go “oh yea”, many times, because it is precisely what I do that creates my own suffering! And because we don’t change our views out of ignorance, the cycle continues, and the suffering continues.

    If what we were doing all these while was indeed correct, then why are there so many around us, and ourselves included, so unhappy, and constantly affected by our emotions and feelings? When I visit the monasteries, I saw many old, senior monks, and even though some have lost their sight, or their mobility, their mind is sound and they remain in a state of tranquil, happiness and contentment. Why is that? Because their whole lives were dedicated to the Dharma, which transformed their minds, and purified their negative karma which blocked the obstacles that would pull them away from practising towards gaining enlightenment.

    This review sounds so simple, yet putting it into practice is so profound. When we are faced we obstacles, some of us give up, some of us look at it as so much work to overcome, some leave it…but how often do we look at it as an opportunity for us to purify our aeons of negative karma? Almost zilch, for me. So this perspective was powerful, that stood out for me also.

    People say that ignorance is bliss, but if our ignorance keeps giving us suffering, and results in our roller coasters emotion, then obviously it isn’t really bliss.

    Thank you Pastor Han Nee for a great piece of writing. Eventhough you are of a more senior age, that does not stop you from your Dharma practice and your works towards serving others. Thank you for inspiring me with your commitment and your review. Keep them coming!!

    Carmen

  4. shelly tai on Jun 24, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    Thank you Pastor Han Nee for this well explain about this book. There is few things that highlight intros book that we as a practitioner must really contemplate like self cherishing , habituation, and correct motivation because of self cherishing we will collect a lot of negative karma even without us realise it that why our guru is so kind to remind us about helping others by helping others actually is a way of purified our negative karma and the more we do it actually it will become a habits for us and helping others become much more easy to sum it up this is a good book for everyone of us to read because it can explain to us why we are always unhappy about our life and always feel dissatisfaction about everything that happen to us.

  5. Sock Wan on Jun 23, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    Thank you Pastor Han Nee for this very comprehensive summary of the book. It makes me want to read the book!

    What strikes me is the part where it is said that a highly attained being even though knows that someone is cheating him but he will ‘let’ them cheat. We think it is very stupid to be cheated when we know their intention already, but little did we know this is so that a connection is established between the highly attained being so that these people can be helped. Rinpoche said before, whether the connection is made due to negative action or positive action, it is still a connection that will lead to good result eventually.

    Rinpoche was also cheated by many people before, including students. One would ask if Rinpoche has clairvoyance, won’t he know that? Of course he knows, but out of compassion he lets them cheat him so that he can help them in their future lives. If we still have doubts on this, that’s probably because of our negative karmas that wrong view arises. So we better do more purification practice.

  6. Wylfred Ng on Jun 22, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    Thank you Pastor Han Nee for the wonderful review of this book.

    The summary by Pastor Han Nee is very easy to understand. Snakes, Roosters and Pigs represent our 3 poisons that make us suffer.

    I also understand the significance of the refuge vows in Buddhism. It is to stop our self to further creating more bad karma that may lead us to endless suffering.

    Thank you

  7. William Chua on Jun 22, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    Our PERCEPTION of the object and how it functions and our REACTIONS towards its function is how SUFFERING arises and how our hatred , desire and ignorance increase.

    We create our world through the way we think and act. And through this we feel a certain way because of our reaction to the situation. Thank you Pastor Han Nee for this article as you have explained very clearly the effects of our karma and that we need to purify our negative karma so that we can generate merits when the negative karma is purified. Also the ways the guru uses for each student is different because each student has a different mindset. Due to the Guru’s wisdom, the guru will teach the student using ways which is easy to relate to. And of course “crazy wisdom” where normal people could not comprehend the action because of ignorance but the guru knows better because he can see further in many many lifetimes ahead.

    The main purpose of the guru is to plant Dharma seeds into our mind stream so that when the time is right or the karma ripens, then we can start our Dharma journey to enlightenment. Our Guru is the most precious because he can liberate us. We need to persevere and to be consistent in our Dharma work so that we can purify negative karma and generate merits. Practicing and keep on reminding ourselves of it will keep our mind strong and eventually be transformed.

  8. Sofi on Jun 21, 2016 at 1:30 am

    Thank you Pastor Han Nee for a clear extract of the essence of Rinpoche’s book “Snakes, Roosters and Pigs”. I agree that this book is a must read. As described by Pastor Han Nee, Rinpoche teaches us to understand our mind that is creating the causes for our unhappiness. Once we understand then Rinpoche teaches us how to overcome and prevent further causes for unhappiness.

    Due to the EGO within ourselves, we constantly seek to fulfil the insatiable “I”, “ME” and “MINE”. Our expectations and perceptions are all geared towards our own needs. So whenever situation does not meet our expectations or as we perceived it should be, then we get upset and angry. Once we realise the cause, then we are able to learn to let go of our anger, frustration or sadness and may instead turn the negative situation around to one that is positive.

    Most of us will definitely need a Guru that is kind and compassionate enough to keep teaching and guiding us to overcome our habituated attachments, which could have been developed from countless pass lifetimes. An attained Guru like H.E. the 25th Tsem Tulku Rinpoche and Chogyam Trungpa are able to foresee the downfalls we are heading for due to our ego and constantly find ways to help us overcome our deep negative habituations. When our ignorance are strong, we may even resist the kindest of Gurus and view them negatively. Therefore this book is a very good read and time should be spent on contemplation of Rinpoche’s teachings to realise the existence of your ego and prepare yourself to receive effective guidance.

    Thank you Rinpoche for being that kind and compassionate Guru for me and may I be able to let go of all my self-grasping mind to be a benefit to others.

  9. Stella Cheang on Jun 20, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    Pastor Han Nee gives indepth review on Rinpoche’s book that makes it easy for readers like me to understand the essence of Rinpcohe’s teaching.

    The quest to seek for happiness is an innate nature of all sentient beings. However no one seem to be have the magical formula that grant permanent happiness. If we read this book, we will realize that it is because of our self-grasping mind that arise from delusions out of ignorance. Since we are ignorant of our willful ways, we perpetuate the same mistakes and create the cause (karma) for more negative experiences, henceforth the downwards spiral.

    From my understanding, to recognize our ignorance is the first step to acknowledging what is wrong with us. Hence we can take steps to rectify it. One of the steps being purifying the negative karma accumulated from our countless previous lives. Due to our negative actions in the past, we now suffer the consequences, which is delaying us from embracing Dharma, the weapon to cut through our ignorance.

    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Han Nee for this penetrative teachings on the 3 poisons. I like the youtube teaching on this topic very much because of Rinpoche’s candid and witty approach.

    Humbly, bowing down,
    Stella Cheang

  10. Uncle Eddie on Jun 20, 2016 at 11:12 am

    As with his usual clarity and dynamic teachings Rinpoche, has shown us how we are the author of our own happiness, sadness or failures, and upon realization, how we can make a practical and immediate turnover in our precious lives for the better! A beloved expertise in his unconventional approach to Dharma, Tsem Rinpoche is said to bring more than 2,500 years of Buddhist wisdom and teachings to today’s modern spiritual seekers. He is capable of expertedly connecting the ancient World with today people’s cultures, attitudes and lifestyles! Our deep heartfelt gratitude and thanks to H.E. The 25th Tsem Tulku Rinpoche, not forgetting of course our beloved kind pastor Lim Han Nee for the sharing of this intersting and beneficial post.

  11. sonny tan on Jun 20, 2016 at 10:33 am

    Thank you Pastor Han Nee for this invaluable insight and illustrative view on the subject of snakes, roosters and pigs. I would like to offer some of my views regarding this matter on giving.
    Kensur Rinpoche has illustrated that though he has given out alms many times he knew that he was misled by some recipients because their purpose is not noble despite knowing of this matter he continually extended help.
    Yesterday at our dharma class on supporting the sangha, a student raised up a question what if someone who donned the monk robes outside the temples and ask for donations, should we offered money to them.
    It was answered that we should offer them food instead of money because we do not know whether that monk in question is really a genuine monk and not a bogus one. Let’s assume that that monk in question is genuine offering food is a very good choice but assuming that if ten persons were to offer food, where would the rest of the food goes to? Maybe this good monk which we are not able to distinguish whether bogus one or not needed money for medical expenses, to buy some needed worn out slippers, toothpaste etc. Therefore by offering food serve no purpose.
    On the other hand if he is not a genuine monk by giving money and he turned out to be bogus monk then would we have committed a crime in helping him cheat others? My perception here is I am in no position to judge whether he is a bogus monk or he may be a Buddha but I would still offer him money because in my mind I am practicing giving unless I know that this monk is a crook then I would refrain from giving him anymore money.
    There was a story it happened at the famous Kuan Yin temple in Penang where one would see beggars lining at the entrance of the temple. There were two beggars one very old and sitting next to him a young one. Naturally, what comes to our mind when giving money, is why give to this young guy when he can easily find jobs we would then offer some money to the old beggar. What we did not know or see after that is really an eye opener to us is that whatever money the old beggar received he gave half to the young beggar. One may question the rationale behind, apparently the young beggar has cancer and only months or days to live but do not have money for treatment, medicine etc. It was out of compassion from this old beggar that he parted half of his money to him. While on our part we have misjudged because of this perception that we continually built this up in our mind because of our conditioned perception, we need to let this perception go and perhaps allow ourselves not to make any comparison the next time we give aid but just give be it out money, food etc. spontaneously from our heart.

  12. Jayce Goh on Jun 16, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    This is a nice article and video . I love this video very much, it helps us to transform to be a better person by overcome our ego , desire and ignorant. It build a better cushion for us to go thru the life time after we transformed. We accept better when negative karma arise and we change our-self instead of blaming. With knowledge, Knowing and realization this is the only way we can break our concept on live well selfishly or live selflessness. we break through the customized concept in samsara since born and begin to live a life with real meaning, with right intent and leave the comfort zone in samsara to enlightenment .

  13. May Ong on Jun 12, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    Tsem Rinpoche and Chogyam Trungpa are both living Bodhisattvas in human form to be near to us whose sole intent was to bring dharma into the lives of anyone who seeks to find the truth or reality. Often as dharma students, we find it hard and struggle within ourself trying hard to break those negative habituation accumulated through many lifetimes.

    A guru points out to us our weaknesses and areas for improvements. If we are in acceptance and open to their unconventional methods, then we improve. It is an uphill battle to beat these three root delusions and we often find these unconventional methods ‘strange’. But over time, like what Pastor Han Nee has pointed out, it will take time for students to make adjustments to these ‘unconventional’ methods but with love, patience and acceptance with an open mind, we find our self ‘changed’ or ‘transformed’ without us knowing of it.

    I have witnessed long time students who changed for the better over time or years and this is the ‘real true’ dharma that has worked and produced results in us. I always remind myself as dharma student we are so fortunate to have a living Buddha sharing these knowledge with us in this age. As Pastor Han Nee said here, this is a MUST get book to read and re-learn from time and time again to review our purpose in life and methods to purify to become better for now and future.

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this article.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Videos On The Go

Please click on the images to watch video
  • Please watch this video, it's heartbreaking to see how people have to suffer.
    1 week ago
    Please watch this video, it's heartbreaking to see how people have to suffer.
  • Lady saves puppy from potential abuser
    2 weeks ago
    Lady saves puppy from potential abuser
  • Mr. Denzel Washington is a very intelligent man. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 weeks ago
    Mr. Denzel Washington is a very intelligent man. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Dear friends, please see this educational video on suffering for the sake of others.
    2 weeks ago
    Dear friends, please see this educational video on suffering for the sake of others.
  • A very neat footage of Bigfoot captured by Patterson-Gimlin.
    3 weeks ago
    A very neat footage of Bigfoot captured by Patterson-Gimlin.
  • [11/02/2017] Mumu darling is a very good boy.
    1 month ago
    [11/02/2017] Mumu darling is a very good boy.
  • [11/02/2017] Mumu wants to go bye bye!
    1 month ago
    [11/02/2017] Mumu wants to go bye bye!
  • [11/02/2017] I love you mumu boy
    1 month ago
    [11/02/2017] I love you mumu boy
  • [11/02/2017] Mumu and Oser eating together.
    1 month ago
    [11/02/2017] Mumu and Oser eating together.
  • Great spiritual rock carving in Tibet
    2 months ago
    Great spiritual rock carving in Tibet
  • You will Never be Ready
    3 months ago
    You will Never be Ready
    Dear friends, watch this video and ready, if we keep waiting till we are ready, that day will never come. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Stop asking for Easy
    3 months ago
    Stop asking for Easy
    This video is powerful because it's the truth. It applies to anything. It applies to our dharma practice. Watch the video and share it. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Must Watch this Video!
    4 months ago
    Must Watch this Video!
  • Sacred Tibetan Incense - Nyimo County, Lhasa, Tibet
    5 months ago
    Sacred Tibetan Incense - Nyimo County, Lhasa, Tibet
  • Kyabje Denma Gonsa Rinpoche on Samaya
    5 months ago
    Kyabje Denma Gonsa Rinpoche on Samaya
    ཁྱེད་ཀྱི་བཀའ་སློབ་དོན་སྙིང་དེ།།གང་གི་རྣ་བར་བདུད་རྩི་མོད།།འོན་ཀྱང་འགའ་ཡི་རྣ་ལམ་དུ།། བྲག་ཆ་བཞིན་དུ་འགྱུར་སྲིད་མོད།། ཚང་མས་ཚར་རེ་གཟིགས་རོགས།། Kyabje Denma Gonsa Rinpoche telling people that it is important to have guru samaya. It use to be that way in the great monasteries. We should not create problems and schisms. If we want to practice a protector, then do so, if not it's okay, but don't make trouble. One should just practice the Buddha Dharma well. To do good practice. If you have faith in Dorje Shugden and trust all the way, he will definitely help you. But most important is to practice the dharma. This is his advice in short here. It's good to let more Tibetans hear this holy speech and appeal by this very senior Rinpoche. TR

ASK A PASTOR


Ask the Pastors

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

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

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

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