The Practice of Sangha

Apr 21, 2016 | Views: 616
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The Sangha is one of the Three Jewels which we take refuge in everyday while doing our daily sadhanas. However, do we actually know the meaning and reason for paying respects to the Sangha, and how does respecting the Sangha help us in our spiritual growth?

In everything we do within Buddhism, it is essential that we always check with ourselves if we truly understand the practice we are engaged in. If we realize that we lack the understanding, then we should seek knowledge, understand it and most importantly apply it and practise it.

Venerable Thich Nhat Han

Below is an article I found written by Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh, where he explains about the Sangha community. Although Thich Nhat Hanh is from a different tradition of Buddhism, the rules and vows that the Sangha community upholds as well as their purpose of existence is similar in all Buddhist traditions. I have been an admirer of Thich Nhat Hanh for many, many years and pray for his long life and good health. He is someone who has dedicated his life to the Buddha Dharma and has benefited countless sentient beings with his pure monk vows and bodhicitta.

Do read the article below as it will give you a good understanding about the Sangha and strengthen your faith in them. For my students who are Sangha-to-be, and also to the lay students in Kechara, please read this carefully. Understand what a real Sangha is about and act like good monks and nuns already so when you receive the holy vows, you will not find them difficult to hold. Always care for each other and respect one another. Be tolerant, forgiving and work hard with one another to create harmony and cooperation. No excuse and pettiness, just grow and become nicer, real and genuine with everyone. Then Dharma will grow in our minds and also outside in the form of Kechara, which is the physical manifestation of Dharma growth. Don’t be selective in being nice or tolerant towards certain people only based on personal relationships, preference and judgement, that is not genuine kindness nor will it lead to a community that practises authentic Dharma.  

As said by Thich Nhat Hanh in his article below, “The essence of a sangha is awareness, understanding, acceptance, harmony and love. When you do not see these in a community, it is not a true sangha… But when you find these elements are present in a community, you know that you have the happiness and fortune of being in a real sangha.” Being a Sangha is not just about putting on the robes. I hope everyone who crosses paths with Kechara finds true joy and happiness.

Sarva mangalam,
Tsem Rinpoche

 


 

Thich Nhat Hanh explains that sangha is more than a community, it’s a deep spiritual practice.

A sangha is a community of friends practicing the dharma together in order to bring about and to maintain awareness. The essence of a sangha is awareness, understanding, acceptance, harmony and love. When you do not see these in a community, it is not a true sangha, and you should have the courage to say so. But when you find these elements are present in a community, you know that you have the happiness and fortune of being in a real sangha.

In Matthew 5:13 in the New Testament of the Christian Bible, we find this statement: “Ye are the salt of the earth; but if the salt hath lost its savor, where with shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and to be trodden underfoot of men.” In this passage, Jesus describes his followers as salt. Food needs salt in order to be tasty. Life needs understanding, compassion and harmony in order to be livable. This is the most important contribution to life that the followers of Jesus can bring to the world. It means that the Kingdom of Heaven has to be realized here, not somewhere else, and that Christians need to practice in a way that they are the salt of life and a true community of Christians.

Salt is also an important image in the Buddhist canon, and this Christian teaching is equivalent to the Buddha’s teaching about sangha. The Buddha said that the water in the four oceans has only one taste, the taste of salt, just as his teaching has only one taste, the taste of liberation. Therefore the elements of sangha are the taste of life, the taste of liberation, and we have to practice in order to become the salt. When we say, “I take refuge in the sangha,” it is not a statement, it is a practice.

In the Buddhist scriptures it is said that there are four communities: monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen. But I also include elements that are not human in the sangha. The trees, water, air, birds, and so on can all be members of our sangha. A beautiful walking path may be part of our sangha. A good cushion can be also. We can make many things into supportive elements of our sangha. This idea is not entirely new; it can be found throughout the sutras and in the Abhidharma, too. A pebble, a leaf and a dahlia are mentioned in the Saddharmapundarika Sutra in this respect. It is said in the Pure Land Sutra that if you are mindful, then when the wind blows through the trees, you will hear the teaching of the Four Establishments of Mindfulness, the Eightfold Path, and so on. The whole cosmos is preaching the buddhadharma and practicing the buddhadharma. If you are attentive, you will get in touch with that sangha.

 

Sangha as our roots

I don’t think the Buddha wanted us to abandon our society, our culture or our roots in order to practice. The practice of Buddhism should help people go back to their families. It should help people re-enter society in order to rediscover and accept the good things that are there in their culture and to rebuild those that are not.

Our modern society creates so many young people without roots. They are uprooted from their families and their society; they wander around, not quite human beings, because they do not have roots. Quite a number of them come from broken families and feel rejected by society. They live on the margins, looking for a home, for something to belong to. They are like trees without roots. For these people, it’s very difficult to practice. A tree without roots cannot absorb anything; it cannot survive. Even if they practice intensively for ten years, it’s very hard for them to be transformed if they remain an island, if they cannot establish a link with other people.

A community of practice, a sangha, can provide a second chance to a young person who comes from a broken family or is alienated from his or her society. If the community of practice is organized as a family with a friendly, warm atmosphere, young people can succeed in their practice.

Thai monks in prayer

Suffering (dukkha) is one of the biggest problems of our times. First we have to recognize this suffering and acknowledge it. Then we need to look deeply into its nature in order to find a way out. If we look into the present situation in ourselves and our society, we can see much suffering. We need to call it by its true names—loneliness, the feeling of being cut off, alienation, division, the disintegration of the family, the disintegration of society.

Our civilization, our culture, has been characterized by individualism. The individual wants to be free from the society, from the family. The individual does not think he or she needs to take refuge in the family or in the society, and thinks that he or she can be happy without a sangha. That is why we do not have solidity, we do not have harmony, we do not have the communication that we so need.

The practice is, therefore, to grow some roots. The sangha is not a place to hide in order to avoid your responsibilities. The sangha is a place to practice for the transformation and the healing of self and society. When you are strong, you can be there in order to help society. If your society is in trouble, if your family is broken, if your church is no longer capable of providing you with spiritual life, then you work to take refuge in the sangha so that you can restore your strength, your understanding, your compassion, your confidence. And then in turn you can use that strength, understanding and compassion to rebuild your family and society, to renew your church, to restore communication and harmony. This can only be done as a community—not as an individual, but as a sangha.

In order for us to develop some roots, we need the kind of environment that can help us become rooted. A sangha is not a community of practice in which each person is an island, unable to communicate with each other—this is not a true sangha. No healing or transformation will result from such a sangha. A true sangha should be like a family in which there is a spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood.

There is a lot of suffering, yes, and we have to embrace all this suffering. But to get strong, we also need to touch the positive elements, and when we are strong, we can embrace the suffering in us and all around us. If we see a group of people living mindfully, capable of smiling, of loving, we gain confidence in our future. When we practice mindful breathing, smiling, resting, walking and working, then we become a positive element in society, and we will inspire confidence all around us. This is the way to avoid letting despair overwhelm us. It is also the way to help the younger generation so they do not lose hope. It is very important that we live our daily life in such a way that demonstrates that a future is possible.

 

We need a sangha

In my tradition we learn that as individuals we cannot do much. That is why taking refuge in the sangha, taking refuge in the community, is a very strong and important practice. When I say, “I take refuge in the sangha,” it does not mean that I want to express my devotion. No. It’s not a question of devotion; it’s a question of practice. Without being in a sangha, without being supported by a group of friends who are motivated by the same ideal and practice, we cannot go far.

If we do not have a supportive sangha, we may not be getting the kind of support we need for our practice, that we need to nourish our bodhichitta (the strong desire to cultivate love and understanding in ourselves). Sometimes we call it “beginner’s mind.” The mind of a beginner is always very beautiful, very strong. In a good and healthy sangha, there is encouragement for our beginner’s mind, for our bodhichitta. So the sangha is the soil and we are the seed. No matter how beautiful, how vigorous our seed is, if the soil does not provide us with vitality, our seed will die.

One of the brothers from Plum Village, Brother Phap Dung, went to Vietnam some years ago with a few members of the sangha. It was a very important experience for him. He had been in the West since he was a small child. Then when he went to northern Vietnam, he got in touch with some of the most ancient elements in Vietnamese culture and with the mountains and the rivers of northern Vietnam. He wrote to me and said, “Our land of Vietnam is so beautiful, it is as beautiful as a dream. I don’t dare take heavy steps on this earth of Vietnam.” By this he meant that he had right mindfulness when he walked. His right mindfulness was due to the practice and support he had in the sangha before he went to Vietnam. That is beginner’s mind, the mind you have in the beginning when you undertake the practice. It’s very beautiful and very precious, but that beginner’s mind can be broken, can be destroyed, can be lost if it is not nourished or supported by a sangha.

Tibetan monks engaged in debate

Although he had his little sangha near him in Vietnam, the environment was very distracting, and he saw that if he stayed too long without the larger sangha, he would be swept away by that environment, by his forgetfulness—not only his own forgetfulness, but the forgetfulness of everybody around him. This is because right mindfulness for someone who has only just started the practice is still weak, and the forgetfulness of the people around us is very great and capable of dragging us away in the direction of the five cravings.

To practice right mindfulness we need the right environment, and that environment is our sangha. Without a sangha we are very weak. In a society where everyone is rushing, everyone is being carried away by their habit energies, practice is very difficult. That is why the sangha is our salvation. The sangha where everyone is practicing mindful walking, mindful speaking, mindful eating seems to be the only chance for us to succeed in ending the vicious cycle.

And what is the sangha? The sangha is a community of people who agree with each other that if we do not practice right mindfulness, we will lose all the beautiful things in our soul and all around us. People in the sangha standing near us, practicing with us, support us so that we are not pulled away from the present moment. Whenever we find ourselves in a difficult situation, two or three friends in the sangha who are there for us, understanding and helping us, will get us through it. Even in our silent practice we help each other.

In my tradition they say that when a tiger leaves the mountain and goes to the lowland, it will be caught by humans and killed. When practitioners leave their sangha, they will abandon their practice after a few months. In order to continue our practice of transformation and healing, we need a sangha. With a sangha it’s much easier to practice, and that is why I always take refuge in my sangha.

 

How a sangha helps us

The presence of a sangha is a wonderful opportunity to allow the collective energy of the sangha to penetrate into our body and consciousness. We profit a lot from that collective energy. We can entrust ourselves to the sangha because the sangha is practicing, and the collective energy of mindfulness is strong. Although we can rely on the energy of mindfulness that is generated by our personal practice, sometimes it is not enough. But if you know how to use that energy of mindfulness in order to receive the collective energy of the sangha, you will have a powerful source of energy for your transformation and healing.

Your body, your consciousness, and your environment are like a garden. There may be a few trees and bushes that are dying, and you may feel overwhelmed by anguish and suffering at the sight of that. You may be unaware that there are still many trees in your garden that are solid, vigorous and beautiful. When members of your sangha come into your garden, they can help you see that you still have a lot of beautiful trees and that you can enjoy the things that have not gone wrong within your landscape. That is the role that the sangha can play. Many people in the sangha are capable of enjoying a beautiful sunset or a cup of tea. They dwell firmly in the present moment, not allowing worries or regrets to spoil the present moment. Sitting close to these people, walking close to these people, you can profit from their energy and restore your balance. When their energy of mindfulness is combined with yours, you will be able to touch beauty and happiness.

Nothing is more important than your peace and happiness in the here and now. One day you will lie like a dead body and no longer be able to touch the beauty of a flower. Make good use of your time; practice touching the positive aspects of life in you and around you.

Japanese Buddhist monks reciting sutras

Don’t lock yourself behind your door and fight alone. If you think that by yourself you cannot go back to embrace strong feelings, you can ask one, two or three friends to sit next to you and to help you with their support. They can give you mindfulness energy so that you can go back home with strength. They can say, “My brother, I know that the pain in you is very deep, and I am here for you.”

Taking refuge in the sangha is a very important practice. Abandoned, alone, you get lost, you get carried away. So taking refuge in the sangha is a very deep practice, especially for those of us who feel vulnerable, shaky, agitated and unstable. That is why you come to a practice center, to take refuge in the sangha. You allow the sangha to transport you like a boat so that you can cross the ocean of sorrow.

When we throw a rock into a river the rock will sink. But if we have a boat, the boat can carry hundreds of pounds of rocks and it will not sink. The same thing is true with our sorrow and pain. If we have a boat, we can carry our pain and sorrow, and we will not sink into the river of suffering. And what is that boat? That boat is, first of all, the energy of mindfulness that you generate by your practice. That boat is also the sangha—the community of practice consisting of brothers and sisters in the dharma.

We don’t have to bring just joy when we come to the sangha; we can also bring our suffering with us. But we have to walk on the path of joy with our suffering, we have to share joy with our brothers and sisters. Then we will be in touch with the seeds of happiness in ourselves, and the suffering will grow weaker and be transformed. Allow yourself to be supported, to be held by the sangha. When you allow yourself to be in a sangha the way a drop of water allows itself to be in a river, the energy of the sangha can penetrate into you, and transformation and healing will become possible.

 

Practice is easier with a sangha

The only way to support the Buddha, to support our sangha, to support the earth, to support our children and future generations, is to really be here for them. “Darling, I am here for you” is a statement of love. You need to be here. If you are not here, how can you love? That is why the practice of meditation is the practice of being here for the ones we love.

To be present sounds like an easy thing to do. For many of us, it is easy because we have made it a habit. We are in the habit of dwelling in the present moment, of touching the morning sunshine deeply, of drinking our morning tea deeply, of sitting and being present with the person we love. But for some of us it may not be so easy, because we have not cultivated the habit of being in the here and the now. We are always running, and it is hard for us to stop and be here in the present moment, to encounter life. For those of us who have not learned to be present, we need to be supported in that kind of learning. It’s not difficult when you are supported by the sangha. With sangha you will be able to learn the art of stopping.

The sangha is a wonderful home. Every time you go back to the sangha, you feel that you can breathe more easily, you can walk more mindfully, you can better enjoy the blue sky, the white clouds and the cypress tree in your yard. Why? Because the sangha members practice going home many times a day—through walking, breathing, cooking and doing their daily activities mindfully. Everyone in the sangha is practicing in the same way, walking mindfully, sitting mindfully, eating mindfully, smiling, enjoying each moment of life.

When I practice walking I make mindful and beautiful steps. I do that not only for myself but also for all of my friends who are here; because everyone who sees me taking a step like that has confidence and is reminded to do the same. And when they make a step in the present moment, smiling and making peace with themselves, they inspire all of us. You breathe for me, I walk for you, we do things together, and this is practicing as a sangha. You don’t need to make much effort; your practice is easy, because you feel that you are supported by the sangha.

Monks in Sri Lanka walk to beg for alms, a tradition that stretches back to the time of Buddha Shakyamuni himself

When we sit together as a sangha, we enjoy the collective energy of mindfulness, and each of us allows the mindful energy of the sangha to penetrate us. Even if you don’t do anything, if you just stop thinking and allow yourself to absorb the collective energy of the sangha, it’s very healing. Don’t struggle, don’t try to do something, just allow yourself to be with the sangha. Allow yourself to rest, and the energy of the sangha will help you, will carry and support you. The sangha is there to make the training easy. When we are surrounded by brothers and sisters doing exactly the same thing, it is easy to flow in the stream of the sangha.

As individuals we have problems, and we also have problems in our families, our societies and our nations. Meditation in the twenty-first century should become a collective practice; without a sangha we cannot achieve much. When we begin to focus our attention on the suffering on a larger scale, we begin to connect with and to relate to other people, who are also ourselves, and the little problems that we have within our individual circle will vanish. In this way our loneliness or our feeling of being cut off will no longer be there, and we will be able to do things together.

If we work on our problems alone, it becomes more difficult. When you have a strong emotion come up, you may feel that you cannot stand it. You may have a breakdown or want to die. But if you have someone, a good friend sitting with you, you feel much better. You feel supported and you have more strength in order to deal with your strong emotion. If you are taking something into your body that is toxic, even realizing that it will make you sick, you may not be able to change your habit. But if you are surrounded by people who do not have the same problem, it becomes easier to change. That is why it is very important to practice in the context of a sangha.

Because you feel supported there, the sangha is the most appropriate setting and environment for the practice of looking deeply. If you have a sangha of two, three, maybe even fifty people who are practicing correctly—getting joy, peace and happiness from the practice—then you are the luckiest person on earth.

So practice in the setting of the sangha is much easier. We don’t have to practice so intensely. Our practice becomes the practice of “non-practice.” That means a lot. We don’t have to force ourselves to practice. We can give up all the struggle and allow ourselves to be, to rest. For this, however, we need a little bit of training, and the sangha is there to make the training easy. Being aware that we are in a sangha where people are happy with being mindful, where people are living deeply the moments of their days, that is enough. I always feel happy in the presence of a happy sangha. If you put yourself in such an environment, then transformation will happen without much effort. This is my experience.

 

Practicing in the sangha

If you are a beginner in the practice, you should not worry about what is the correct thing to do. When surrounded by many people, we might be caught by the idea, “I don’t know what is the right thing to do.” That idea may make us very uncomfortable. We may think, “I feel embarrassed that I’m not doing the right thing. There are people who are bowing, and I am not bowing. People are walking slowly, and I am walking a little bit too fast.” So the idea that we may not be doing the right thing can embarrass us.

I would like to tell you what is really the right thing. The right thing is to do whatever you are doing in mindfulness. Mindfulness is keeping one’s consciousness alive to the present reality. To bow may not be the right thing to do if you don’t bow in mindfulness. If you don’t bow but are mindful, not bowing is the right thing. Even if people are walking slowly and you run, you are doing the right thing if you run mindfully. The wrong thing is whatever you do without mindfulness. If we understand this, we will not be embarrassed anymore. Everything we do is right provided we do it in mindfulness. To bow or not to bow, that is not the question. The question is whether to bow in mindfulness or not, or not to bow in mindfulness or not.

If you take a step and you feel peaceful and happy, you know that is the correct practice. You are the only one who knows whether you are doing it correctly or not. No one else can judge. When you practice breathing in and out, if you feel peaceful, if you enjoy your in-breath and out-breath, you know you are doing it correctly. You are the best one to know. Have confidence in yourself. Wherever you find yourself, if you feel you are at ease and peaceful, that you are not under pressure, then you know you are doing it right.

Young monks in Burma join their elders in begging for alms

The function of the bell in a sangha is to bring us back to ourselves. When we hear the bell we come back to ourselves and breathe, and at that point we improve the quality of the sangha energy. We know that our brother and our sister, wherever they are, will be stopping, breathing, and coming back to themselves. They will be generating the energy of right mindfulness, the sangha energy. When we look at each other, we feel confident, because everyone is practicing together in the same way and contributing to the quality of the sangha. So we are friends on the path of practice.

The sangha is made out of the work of individuals, so we have the duty to help create the energy of the sangha. Our presence, when it is a mindful presence, contributes to that energy. When we are absent during the activities of the sangha, we are not contributing to sangha energy. If we don’t go to a sitting meditation, we are not feeding our sangha. We are also letting ourselves go hungry, because we are not benefiting from the sangha.

We don’t profit from the sangha, and the sangha doesn’t profit from us. Don’t think that we sit for ourselves. You don’t sit for yourself alone, you sit for the whole sangha—not only the sangha, but also for the people in your city, because when one person in the city is less angry, is smiling more, the whole city profits. If we practice looking deeply, our understanding of interbeing will grow, and we will see that every smile, every step, every breath is for everybody. It is for our country, for the future, for our ancestors.

The best thing we can do is to transform ourselves into a positive element of the sangha. If members of the sangha see us practicing well, they will have confidence and do better. If there are two, three, four, five, six, seven of you like that in the sangha, I’m sure the sangha will be a happy sangha and will be the refuge of many people in the world.

 

The sangha isn’t perfect

Our transformation and healing depend on the quality of the sangha. If there are enough people smiling and happy in the sangha, the sangha has more power to heal and transform. So you have to invest in your sangha. Every member of the sangha has his or her weaknesses and strengths, and you have to recognize them in order to make good use of the positive elements for the sake of the whole sangha. You also have to recognize the negative elements so that you and the whole sangha can help embrace them. You don’t leave that negative element to the person alone, because he may not be able to hold and transform it by himself.

You don’t need a perfect sangha—a family or a community doesn’t have to be perfect in order to be helpful. In fact, the sangha at the time of the Buddha was not perfect. But it was enough for people to take refuge in, because in the sangha there were people who had enough compassion, solidity and insight to embrace others who did not have as much compassion, solidity and insight. I also have some difficulties with my sangha, but I’m very happy because everyone tries to practice in my sangha.

If we lived in a sangha where everyone was perfect, everyone was a bodhisattva or a buddha, that would be very difficult for us. Weakness in the other person is very important, and weakness within yourself is also very important. Anger is in us, jealousy is in us, arrogance is in us. These kinds of things are very human. It is thanks to the presence of weakness in you and weakness in a brother or a sister that you learn how to practice. To practice is to have an opportunity to transform. So it is through our shortcomings that we learn to practice.

There are some people who think of leaving the sangha when they encounter difficulties with other sangha members. They cannot bear little injustices inflicted on them because their hearts are small. To help your heart grow bigger and bigger, understanding and love are necessary. Your heart can grow as big as the cosmos; the growth of your heart is infinite. If your heart is like a big river, you can receive any amount of dirt. It will not affect you, and you can transform the dirt very easily.

Young children becoming ordained in Korea. At Chogye Temple in Seoul, children can be entered into the temple for 22 days to learn about Buddhism

The Buddha used this image. If you put a little dirt in a pitcher of water, then that water has to be thrown away. People cannot drink it. But if you put the same amount of dirt into a huge river, people can continue to drink from the river, because the river is so immense. Overnight that dirt will be transformed within the heart of the river. So if your heart is as big as a river, you can receive any amount of injustice and still live with happiness. You can transform overnight the injustices inflicted on you. If you still suffer, your heart is still not large enough. That is the teaching of forbearance and inclusiveness in Buddhism. You don’t practice to suppress your suffering; you practice in order for your heart to expand as big as a river.

One time the Buddha said to his disciples: “There are people among us who do not have the same capacity as we do. They do not have the capacity to act rightly or to speak rightly. But if we look deeply, we see in their hearts that there are good seeds, and therefore we have to treat those people in such a way that those good seeds will not be lost.”[1] Among us there are people who we may think do not have the capacity to practice as well as we do. But we should know that those people also have good seeds, and we have to cultivate those good seeds in such a way that these good seeds have a chance to be watered and to sprout.

The Buddha saw all his disciples as his children, and I think of mine in the same way. Any disciple of mine is my child that I have given birth to. In my heart I feel at ease, I feel light and happy, even though that child may still have a problem. You can use that method, too. If there is a person in the sangha who troubles you, don’t give up hope. Remember, “My teacher has given birth to that child. How can I practice in order to see that person as my sister? Then my heart will feel more at ease and I will be able to accept her. That person is still my sister, whether I want her to be or not.” That feeling and those words can help dissolve the irritation that you are having with that person.

If we have harmony in the sangha, we can give confidence to many people. We don’t need to be perfect. I myself am not perfect, and you don’t need to be perfect either. But if in your own way you can express your harmony in the sangha, this is your gift.

In the sangha there must be difficult people. These difficult people are a good thing for you—they will test your capacity of sangha-building and practicing. One day when that person says something that is not very nice to you, you’ll be able to smile and it won’t make you suffer at all. Your compassion will have been born and you will be capable of embracing him or her within your compassion and your understanding. Then you will know that your practice has grown. You should be delighted that such an act does not make you angry or sad anymore, that you have enough compassion and understanding to embrace it. That is why you should not be tempted to eliminate the elements that you think are difficult in your sangha.

I am speaking to you out of my experience. I now have a lot more patience and compassion, and because I have more patience and compassion, my happiness has grown much greater. You suffer because your understanding and compassion are not yet large enough to embrace difficult people, but with the practice you will grow, your heart will grow, your understanding and compassion will grow, and you won’t suffer anymore. And thanks to the sangha practicing together, thanks to your model of practice, those people will transform. That is a great success, much greater than in the case of people who are easy to get along with.

 

I take refuge in the sangha

The reason we take refuge in anything is because we need protection. But very often we take refuge in people or things that are not at all solid. We may feel that we are not strong enough to be on our own, so we are tempted to look for someone to take refuge in. We are inclined to think that if we have someone who is strong and can be our refuge, then our life will be easier. We need to be very careful, because if we take refuge in a person who has no stability at all, then the little bit of solidity we have ourselves will be entirely lost. Many people have done that and they have lost the little solidity and freedom they once had.

When a situation is dangerous, you need to escape, you need to take refuge in a place that is safe, that is solid. Earth is something we can take refuge in because it is solid. We can build houses on earth, but we cannot build on sand. The sangha is the same. Mindfulness, concentration and insight have built up sanghas and individuals that are solid, so when you take refuge in the sangha, you take refuge in the most solid elements.

When you are angry, if you know how to go back to your mindful breathing and take refuge in your mindfulness, you become strong. You can dwell peacefully in that moment and you are capable of dealing with the situation in a much more lucid way. You know that within you there are the elements of mindfulness, concentration and insight. Those seeds are always there. If you have a friend, a teacher, a sangha that can help you to touch those seeds and help them to grow, then you have the best kind of protection.

Monks in Wutaishan, China which is one of the abodes of Manjushri

This is the role sangha plays in supporting, protecting and nourishing us. In the sangha there is stability and joy. The sangha is devoted to the practice of mindfulness, concentration and insight, and while everyone in the sangha profits from his or her own mindfulness, they can also take refuge in the collective energy of mindfulness, concentration and insight of the sangha. That is why there is a sense of solidity and security in the sangha. We are not afraid because the sangha is there to protect us.

It is like the flocks of wild geese that travel together from the north to the south in huge numbers. If one bird goes off on its own, it will be easily caught, but if they stay together, they are much safer. Near Plum Village there are hunters who use a bird cry to lure the geese down. If a wild goose leaves the flock and comes down alone, he will easily be shot by the hunters.

It’s the same with the sangha. If we think we can live alone, apart from the sangha, we don’t know our own strength or our own weakness. Thanks to the sangha we do not enter paths of darkness and suffering. Even when the sangha doesn’t seem to be doing anything at all, in fact it is doing a lot, because in the sangha there is protection.

Without the sangha we easily fall into the traps of the five cravings. Once in those traps, we will be burnt by the flames of the afflictions and suffering. Keeping the mindfulness trainings and taking refuge in the sangha’s protection is a very good way to avoid being caught in the traps of the five cravings. We keep the mindfulness trainings so that they protect us. The rest of the sangha will also be keeping the same mindfulness trainings and helping us.

Some people have told me that they have never felt secure before coming to a retreat. Then after sitting, eating and walking mindfully with the sangha, for the first time they get a feeling of security. Even small creatures living nearby feel safer, because we are mindful and do our best not to harm them. That feeling of security can lead to joy. We can practice like this:

Breathing in, I see that I am part of a sangha, and I am being protected by my sangha.
Breathing out, I feel joy.

The dharma can protect you—dharma not in the sense of a dharma talk or a book—but dharma as the practice embodied by people like yourself. When you practice mindful breathing, mindful walking, mindful listening to the bell, you bring into yourself the elements of peace and stability, and you are protected during that time. You begin to radiate the energy of stability and peace all around you. This will help to protect your children and your loved ones. Although you may not give a dharma talk with your words, you are giving a dharma talk with your body, with your in-breath, with your out-breath, with your life. That is the living dharma. We need that very much, just as we need the living sangha.

Reprinted from Friends on the Path: Living Spiritual Communities (2002) by Thich Nhat Hanh with permission of Parallax Press, Berkeley, California (www.parallax.org).

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23 Responses to The Practice of Sangha

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  1. Stella Cheang on Mar 9, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    When we take refuge in the Three Jewels, we are taking refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and the Sangha. In my mind, the Sangha is a community that preserve the Dharma, and that is the extend of my understanding. Until I read this article, it dawn upon me the importance of Sangha and how they can make or break one’s spiritual development. As individual, we are like the seed, while the Sangha is like the soil. Without the soil, no matter how beautiful the seed is (will be), it will not flourish; without the support of the Sangha environment, our mind can easily sway. Harmony, acceptance, mindfulness and love are the collective energy of the Sangha that nourish one to transform and heal, and in turn bring confidence to other members to do better. It is the essences of Buddhist practice. Thank you, Rinpoche for sharing this write up by Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh.

  2. Mingwen on Sep 23, 2016 at 10:36 pm

    “What is the sangha? The sangha is a community of people who agree with each other that if we do not practice right mindfulness, we will lose all the beautiful things in our soul and all around us.”

    Personally, I think that not only the Sangha need to be aware and agree that they have to be conscious and practise right mindfulness.

    Generally, we as human beings, need to possess the same mindset if we want to live more comfortable and peaceful on Earth. For instance, respect each others regardless of everyone’s skin colour, religion, language and more. Be responsible on what we do. Take care of our living areas and more actions.

    All these actions would build up a conscious community and living within will be content, free, joyful, and with peace.

  3. Wan Wai Meng on Sep 10, 2016 at 3:31 am

    The essence of a sangha is awareness, understanding, acceptance, harmony and love. ~ beautiful words from a Thich Nhat Hanh.

  4. Datuk May on Jul 25, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    The Sangha is one of the 3 Jewels, we Buddhists take refuge in. To have faith and take refuge is be protected on our spiritual path so as to not fall off the track.

    The Sangha or monastic order is something which I truly respect. Within their community living together, studying together and teaching lay people and debating among themselves, the Dharma is preserved. Powerful commentaries are versed to give us meaning to the Teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha, which is without contradiction and are perfect.

    It is sad to note that there are not that many monastic orders in Malaysia and with many of Kechara’s pastors who aspire to be monks/nuns, may this community of holy beings expand so that the Dharma can be taught.

  5. Fong on Jun 20, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    To me, a sangha is a community interlinked by a spiritual practice. The base of which is awareness- awareness of others within this link, awareness of the need for harmony to function, the need for peace to practice, awareness of being an example for other dharma sibling to emulate, to be a gentle guiding light and from there be more mindful.

    “A sangha is a community of friends practicing the dharma together in order to bring about and to maintain awareness. The essence of a sangha is awareness, understanding, acceptance, harmony and love. When you do not see these in a community, it is not a true sangha, and you should have the courage to say so. But when you find these elements are present in a community, you know that you have the happiness and fortune of being in a real sangha.”

    The opening paragraph of the article and what really struck me to the core. From, that I gather that it is not the robes that make a sangha but rather the awareness and mindfulness. The sangha is the helping hand extended in times of difficulty in practicing the dharma, the support system.

    Thank you, Rinpoche for sharing this beautiful article by the Venerable Thich Nhat Han.

  6. samfoonheei on Jun 6, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    .Dear Rinpoche.
    Thank you for this beautiful article of Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh and of the knowledge Sangha. Its worthwhile to read learn,understand and to practice with mindfulness. Even though i am new to Buddhism i do hope i can practice it with compassion and mindfulness
    Thanks again

  7. Alice Tay on Apr 27, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    本人是在大约一年前通过上师尊贵的詹杜固仁波切的博文里才认识这位受人尊敬的一行禅师。过了不久,在机缘巧合之下通过推特看到有位学生请教一行禅师关于“What is the hardest thing that you practice?” 在此短片里,尊敬的一行禅师是多么的平稳和非常的温和来回答这位学生。直到今天,本人隐约的记得一行禅师的回答“在战争时期,许多人杀与被杀。刚起好的建筑物,过不久又被炸坏,一直重复共4次。但是,不要失望,不要放弃也不要绝望。” 一行禅师还继续地说“如果没有佛法修持,是不能生存下去。” 一行禅师的这个看似简单的回答让当时的我觉得非常震撼。

    今天,非常感恩因为上师的关系再次有机会的阅读一行禅师这篇有关僧伽的文章。本人非常喜欢这篇博文,因为可以这篇博文可以让我们真正了解什么是僧伽和僧伽的重要性。以下是个人从这篇博文里得到的一些启发:

    1. 僧伽或僧团的意义
    a. 僧伽或是僧团是一个团体的人一起学习与实践佛法来保持意识与警觉性。如果一个团体失去了意识、互相理解与接受还有和睦相处,那么这就不是真正的僧团。
    b. 佛法经典有提到共有四个共同体,那就是男僧人、女僧人、普通男信徒和普通女信徒。但是一行禅师却包括了一些不是人类的元素如树、水、空气等等都可被称为僧伽。因为一行禅师相信我们所遇到的一切都是可以成为僧伽的元素。

    2. 僧伽的可靠性
    a. 当我们念三皈依时,不要只是随口而念“皈依僧”,而是要真正要实践佛法。
    b. 有很多人是来自破碎家庭和感到被社会抛弃。他们就像一颗树没有了根。此时此刻,僧团就是一个地方可以给他们第二次的机会重新建立信心来面对社会。
    c. 僧团是一个地方可以让我们去实践佛法,自我转变来利益社会。我们要建立信心,怀着正念,保持意识与警觉性。因为只有这样,我们才能变得更强来启发他人和可以走的更远。
    d. 有时我们在生活上遇到瓶颈的时候,都会面临情绪难以控制。这时候,佛法与僧团就好像我们的好朋友一样,一起面对眼前的困难,然后慢慢减轻我们所承受的压力。

    3. 对僧伽错误的想法
    a. 因为社会逐渐的步上文明导致一般人持有强烈的个人主义。这无形中,这一群人并不认为他们需要去投靠家庭或是社会。而且他们相信就算没有僧伽,他们也一样可以得到幸福。因为有这样的想法,造成如此多的不和谐的情况发生。
    b. 除此,如果我们认为我们可以独自生活而远离僧团,这样会让我们不会发现和知道我们自己的优点与缺点。唯有继续留在僧团里,让我们知道不会走错方向,踏上痛苦之门。

  8. Sharon Ong on Apr 25, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    This is one of the most beautiful read that contains so many powerful teachings in addition to the explanation to help us understand the role of the Sangha better. These are a few points that stood out to me.
    1. Life needs understanding, compassion and harmony in order to be livable.

    2. To practice right mindfulness we need the right environment, and that environment is our sangha. Without a sangha we are very weak. In a society where everyone is rushing, everyone is being carried away by their habit energies, practice is very difficult. That is why the sangha is our salvation.

    3. The sangha is a place to practice for the transformation and the healing of self and society.

    4. When we practice mindful breathing, smiling, resting, walking and working, then we become a positive element in society, and we will inspire confidence all around us. This is the way to avoid letting despair overwhelm us.

    5. So the sangha is the soil and we are the seed. No matter how beautiful, how vigorous our seed is, if the soil does not provide us with vitality, our seed will die.

    6. Nothing is more important than your peace and happiness in the here and now.

    7. You allow the sangha to transport you like a boat so that you can cross the ocean of sorrow.

    8. Allow yourself to be supported, to be held by the sangha. When you allow yourself to be in a sangha the way a drop of water allows itself to be in a river, the energy of the sangha can penetrate into you, and transformation and healing will become possible.

    9. When we begin to focus our attention on the suffering on a larger scale, we begin to connect with and to relate to other people, who are also ourselves, and the little problems that we have within our individual circle will vanish.

    10. The right thing is to do whatever you are doing in mindfulness. Mindfulness is keeping one’s consciousness alive to the present reality.

    11. It is thanks to the presence of weakness in you and weakness in a brother or a sister that you learn how to practice. To practice is to have an opportunity to transform. So it is through our shortcomings that we learn to practice.

    12. You don’t practice to suppress your suffering; you practice in order for your heart to expand as big as a river.

    13. Thanks to the sangha we do not enter paths of darkness and suffering. Even when the sangha doesn’t seem to be doing anything at all, in fact it is doing a lot, because in the sangha there is protection.

    14. The dharma can protect you—dharma not in the sense of a dharma talk or a book—but dharma as the practice embodied by people like yourself. When you practice mindful breathing, mindful walking, mindful listening to the bell, you bring into yourself the elements of peace and stability, and you are protected during that time. You begin to radiate the energy of stability and peace all around you. This will help to protect your children and your loved ones.

    While the language is expressed differently, the essence of the teachings is what Rinpoche has taught us previously and this is a great recap for me. Thank you for this post, Rinpoche.

  9. Pastor Han Nee on Apr 25, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    Thank you, Rinpoche, for sharing this beautiful and powerful teaching of Reverend Thich Nhat Hanh on how the sangha is more than a community, that it is a deep spiritual practice. If a sangha develops and grows five essential qualities, then it is a true Sangha. These qualities are awareness, understanding, acceptance, harmony and love. Developing these qualities will make the sangha a deeply rooted spiritual family, which is able to take care of its members within, and which is also able to welcome other people –especially the young and the rootless – into its fold.

    Following Reverend Thich’s guidelines, the first thing for the sangha to do is to grow strong roots. To begin with, there has to be strong communication and bonding within the Sangha family. No sangha should be like an island. I like Reverend Thich’s concept and vision of “inter-being” – the interdependence of every being on one another. “If we practice looking deeply, our understanding of inter-being will grow, and we will see that every smile, every step, every breath is for everybody”. The sangha has to realize inter-being to the fullest. The sangha must grow in mindfulness, understanding, acceptance, harmony and love. For the seed of bodhicitta in a “beginner’s mind” to grow into a tree and flower and fruit smoothly and steadily, the sangha family has to already be strong and rooted to be well-placed to provide the right environment (and support) for these beginners.

    It is through the strong collective energy of mindfulness of the sangha that we are supported and sustained to transform and heal . In the sangha there will be people who have enough compassion, solidity and insight to embrace others who do not have as much compassion, solidity and insight.

    Suffering will always be there, unless we begin to grow a big heart to encompass everyone. With the big heart of compassion, suffering lessens and ceases. The sangha must grow big hearts to encompass and embrace all in their suffering.

    Thus does the sangha grow into a true source of refuge and protection.

    To me, these guidelines seem to be the same guidelines for Kechara , as a whole, to grow into a powerful spiritual community and family to be able to draw in and support others in spirituality.

  10. Vinnie Tan on Apr 24, 2016 at 11:51 am

    Thank you Rinpoche for this extensive post about Sangha. To think about in, in Kechara we are staying in this manner as well. Although we are all lay practitioners, we are dharma brothers and sisters to each other. We support each other in our spiritual paths and not be pulled away from our dharma paths further.

    It is indeed true that with the support of each other, we are able to do our practices better and not dwell in the things that do not matter by the end of the day. Through the practice and application of dharma, we are happier and lighter. We can constantly feel this way because of the support that we have from our peers and not just the strength of ourselves. I really like the way how the article say that it is through Sangha that we are able to grow and find happiness.

    To me, that statement is very true. It is through Sanghas that we are able to receive the dharma and through that find peace in our minds.

  11. Pastor Loh Seng Piow on Apr 24, 2016 at 10:49 am

    Very beautifully written to let us truly understand what a sangha is and the roles of sangha. Sangha is a support community to uphold Buddha’s Dharma, it supports the lay people to be close to Dharma, and it also support its own sangha members to strengthen their Dharma practice. That’s why it is so important to protect and support the sangha, watch these relevant videos here:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZoxHRjJO5g
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROC2veZMqW0

  12. Pastor Antoinette Kass on Apr 24, 2016 at 10:25 am

    Dear Rinpoche,

    Indeed, when we have not much knowledge about something, we should find out, learn, understand and practice what we have learned.

    Thank You Rinpoche for this important teaching on the Sangha. To include also non-human elements like trees, water and birds, as Sangha is meaningful and beautiful.

    Roots is something very essential yet they are missing for some people as they may be have not been connected in a way that allowed them to develop roots. Without the feeling of being connected to others, many things are not meaningful. But with Sangha and their good example we can improve and develop qualities we were missing before.

    We take refuge in the Sangha as its essence is awareness, understanding, acceptance, harmony and love.

    I will read the article again and again and reflect on it.

    With folded hands,
    Pastor Antoinette

  13. Li kheng on Apr 24, 2016 at 6:23 am

    Thank you for this extensive post on the sangha. Very often people do not appreciate this samgha jewel compared to the Buddha and dharma. However, this article sheds light on why the sangha is equally precious especially during this degeneration.

    As external factors fuel and encourage selfishness, anger and ignorance as bliss, less and less would want to dedicate their life to virtue and serving others. I think, until we gather the courage to put on the robes, we should not criticise, disrespect pr put down the sangha. They are living examples of Buddhas teachings amongst men.

  14. Pastor Elena Khong Jean Ai on Apr 24, 2016 at 5:25 am

    This was a very powerful statement to read (and I’m only on the second paragraph of Venerable’s writings!) – “When we say, “I take refuge in the sangha,” it is not a statement, it is a practice.”

    It’s something Buddhists recite every day but for many of us, it has become so routine that we don’t think about the depth of what it truly means. It isn’t just something we should say out of habit, but understand that the Sangha is a powerful body of blessings to tap into, because it’s a group of people who have taken vows to generate liberation for all.

    What I also really like about Venerable’s view is how all-inclusive it is, including even the elements as members of our sangha. Holding such a broad, holistic view is what keeps us in harmony with our surroundings; when we see them as a part of us, we are less likely to think and act in such a way that brings harm to them. It’s when we draw a distinction between ourselves and others that conflict arises because we are naturally self-serving and if we do not include others in our self (even if that sense of self is empty), then we don’t habituate ourselves into serving them too.

    Face it – no man is an island and practitioners need a Sangha. We need to be surrounded by virtuous friends who will help us to take root and not get swept away by our negative karma, and who will encourage our good habits and nurture our spirituality.

    When we are with good friends, we feel calm, at peace and happy. We feel a sense of purpose. We feel a sense of belonging. We feel a sense of camaraderie that emboldens us to take steps along our spiritual path. With all of samsara out there aching to present every manifest form of distraction to us, the importance of having a good friend cannot be overstated.

    And finally, Venerable’s acknowledgement that the Sangha isn’t perfect is an important reminder. It is important for us to remember to rein in our expectations, and remember that our Sangha brothers and sisters are on the same path of improvement and liberation as we are. “Improvement” means that like ourselves, they are not perfect (yet!) and so to expect otherwise is to set ourselves up for disappointment. If they were perfect, they would be Buddhas and yet they are not, and we are not so who are we to expect their perfect behaviour and why should we?

    Managing our expectations and projections is managing the potential for us to experience affliction emotions and disappointment. When we lessen that risk, we experience fewer reasons for our emotions and mind to go up and down from happiness to disappointment, and back again. When we are frustrated 10 times then 9 times, then 8 times and so on – eventually, we are never frustrated. Eventually we will always be stable, happy, open and accepting. So this practice of acceptance of others (where Venerable talks about opening our hearts to grow bigger) will help us to let go of the things that annoy, anger and frustrate us when our expectations for others to behave in such and such a way were not fulfilled. It is that unfulfilled projected expectation (and the resulting disappointment) that robs us of our happiness.

    And finally, the passage can also apply to us because we too are a part of the Sangha. It helps us to accept ourselves and our shortcomings and points of improvement, and to practise compassion with ourselves. When we accept ourselves, when we generate less anxiety and frustration over our own insecurities, we radiate that kind of positive energy to touch everyone we meet.

    And isn’t that what all Buddhists want? What I like most about Venerable’s advice is that even if we are not Buddhist, the aspects that make up a harmonious Sangha as mentioned by Venerable, if practised by lay people also, will generate harmony, less conflict and more happiness. Just replace ‘Sangha’ with ‘good friend’ and you will find a piece of writing and advice that will benefit all.

  15. MartinC on Apr 24, 2016 at 5:14 am

    This is indeed a soulful and uplifting article.

    I love the following words –

    “You don’t need a perfect sangha—a family or a community doesn’t have to be perfect in order to be helpful. In fact, the sangha at the time of the Buddha was not perfect. But it was enough for people to take refuge in, because in the sangha there were people who had enough compassion, solidity and insight to embrace others who did not have as much compassion, solidity and insight”.

    I read the above passage and suddenly I have this tremendous sense of pride and hope in our Kechara Pastors. Many times, people are mistaken and think that Pastors have to be perfect. That is not right and not fair on the Pastors because our Pastors are human and caught in samsara just like you and I, and they too have their karmas to deal with.

    But even when our Pastors are not perfect and always correct, they have perfect motivation and in that, they are perfect in their efforts and perfect in their commitment to use the rest of their lives for the sake of others. Individually no one is perfect but collectively our Pastors will become perfects sanghas one day to take refuge in.

  16. Beatrix Ooi on Apr 24, 2016 at 2:50 am

    I never knew that the word Sangha does not only mean ordained nuns and monks but it actually involves everything that makes the Sangha and environment harmonious, basically it’s just like a community. This is a very educational article, it gives people a whole new perspective about Sanghas and what Sangha actually means.

    Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh is truly a great learned master, though me may not share the same background of Buddhism, but what he teaches definitely applies to all sects of Buddhism and even other religions. He has emphasised on the word ‘community’ and its importance in holding a group of spiritual people together. Very inspiring.

  17. Joy on Apr 24, 2016 at 2:25 am

    Thank you Rinpoche for this meaningful post and knowledge for this article that helps prepare ourselves to becoming good sangha, real sangha that supports one another with love, understanding and acceptance.

    These are some of the points that caught my attention in which I need to create instantly in my practice…

    1. “When we begin to focus our attention on the suffering on a larger scale, we begin to connect with and to relate to other people, who are also ourselves, and the little problems that we have within our individual circle will vanish. In this way our loneliness or our feeling of being cut off will no longer be there, and we will be able to do things together.”

    This is so apt and we all can apply this teaching in our daily life whether we are lay or sangha. This practice can help us reconnect within and without. I guess for some of us who have had a lot pain we tend to shut ourselves out and disconnect with the world because we do not ever want to feel that pain ever again. This makes us close up, makes us cold and makes us a horrible person to be around with and this is what I made myself to be because I did not know better. With Dharma I gain knowledge, with Rinpoche teaching me another perspective. And being with the right community, the right support, the right kind of people, it does help in our practice. Perhaps in the beginning it all seem bleak and the whole world is against you, and this is like detox, if we can get through the detox, then after that we will be able to experience relief, peace and beauty.

    2. “If we lived in a sangha where everyone was perfect, everyone was a bodhisattva or a buddha, that would be very difficult for us. Weakness in the other person is very important, and weakness within yourself is also very important. Anger is in us, jealousy is in us, arrogance is in us. These kinds of things are very human. It is thanks to the presence of weakness in you and weakness in a brother or a sister that you learn how to practice. To practice is to have an opportunity to transform. So it is through our shortcomings that we learn to practice.”

    I love this wisdom… because somehow I knew even at a very young age, all the pain, loneliness, suffering, anger, insecurities, jealousy must be a teaching in itself for us overcome. Without is how would we know compassion, kindness, generosity, self-esteem. The weakness in us is the same energy that makes us stronger. All it takes is an instant choice. Therefore we should remember to not be haste to judge or look down upon others.

    3. “There are some people who think of leaving the sangha when they encounter difficulties with other sangha members. They cannot bear little injustices inflicted on them because their hearts are small. To help your heart grow bigger and bigger, understanding and love are necessary. Your heart can grow as big as the cosmos; the growth of your heart is infinite. If your heart is like a big river, you can receive any amount of dirt. It will not affect you, and you can transform the dirt very easily.”

    I’ve been in Kechara Buddhist Organisation since it’s first conceptualisation and yes I’ve seen so many come and go, so many shocking tragedies of people whom you think were the “star”, were perfect, were so right turn out to be the ones that throws in the towel first. Beneath all the scholarly words, lies a huge ego monster. And some don’t even leave in peace, the leave with vengence and malice. It is disappointing but I will remember Rinpoche’s wisdom, it is better for them to be doing 5,8,10 years of Dharma when they were with us, than no Dharma at all and no seed planted! Wow that logic instantly changed my perspective from negative to positive and to me… this is how Rinpoche shows us how we can make our heart big like a big river 🙂

    “You don’t practice to suppress your suffering; you practice in order for your heart to expand as big as a river.”

    4. “My teacher has given birth to that child. How can I practice in order to see that person as my sister? Then my heart will feel more at ease and I will be able to accept her. That person is still my sister, whether I want her to be or not.” That feeling and those words can help dissolve the irritation that you are having with that person.”

    This is point is also being mentioned and explained in the 50 verses of Guru Devotion:
    (26) (Guard) your guru’s belongings as you would your own life. Treat even your guru’s beloved (family) with the same (respect you show) for him. (Have affectionate regard for) those closely around him as if they were your own dearest kin. Single-mindedly think (in this way) at all times.

    This point gives me a whole new perspective. A more positive one and it is a practice we can instantly apply as it is just an instant choice. I must admit that this is some thing many do not practice, but it is perhaps the best way to create harmony and unity in any community sangha or lay.

    5. “If we have harmony in the sangha, we can give confidence to many people. We don’t need to be perfect. I myself am not perfect, and you don’t need to be perfect either. But if in your own way you can express your harmony in the sangha, this is your gift.”

    Something Rinpoche has advised us many times even though we may be a dingbat but if we are sincere, genuine and real, people will be able to feel it and they’ll know. So how we act of behave has an impact on people’s mind and whether or not they wish to learn the Dharma. Hence we need to exude what we’ve learnt. Thank you!

  18. Pastor Adeline on Apr 24, 2016 at 12:37 am

    The above article by Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh is very gentle and beautifully written that brings warmth and touches one deeply. It connects many missing links I had personally in connecting with my sangha community.

    Many of us are influenced heavily by individualism and the advancement of technology, making us living in our world, continue to nourish our small hearts – the very cause of suffering. As a result, we are challenged mentally, imperfect, full of flaws yet think highly of ourselves, making us incapable of seeing the very problem of our own. Strangely enough, we can see others faults, thus reinforcing the idea of us being above of everyone.

    Self-examination requires one to open and accept the flaws in ourselves by first acknowledging them which we will then be able to deal with it. Denial and avoidance are our two best enemies we hold firmly as friends, stopping ourselves to advance further. When we are on our own and choose to surround by people who supports that, we are in the absence, not contributing positively to our environment, society, planet.

    For us who has chosen to pursue our spiritual practice, we are beginning to accept the very fact that we there’s need for us to expand our tiny heart and work on the causes of our sufferings. We bring with us our negativities and goodness, practice to our best to make our goodness surface more and shine. It makes perfect sense that focusing on suppressing our negativities is not worth the while but expanding the goodness does. It is like a drop of black ink in a clear glass of water. When we pour the water into a pail, well, lake, river, sea, the ink can no longer take effect, it dissolves and vanishes into the bigger pool of water. Same thing applies when we expand our heart, the goodness outshined the negativities, making it effortless in transforming. The sangha community supports this thus making it a refuge for dharma practitioners.

    Whether we see both good or bad within the sangha community, they are to be used with mindfulness for self-examination and reconnection to our beautiful nature. Rejecting the bad and accepting the good is imbalance since lotus can only arise out of the mud. Therefore, it is necessary for the two to exist.

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this wonderful article with us. There many points we can expand and elaborate on, and this article worth our while to read and contemplate on.

  19. kb thapa on Apr 24, 2016 at 12:29 am

    Yet another beautiful article ..The role sangha plays in supporting, protecting and nourishing us. In the sangha there is stability and joy. The sangha is devoted to the practice of mindfulness, concentration and insight, and while everyone in the sangha profits from his or her own mindfulness, they can also take refuge in the collective energy of mindfulness

  20. Valentina Suhendra on Apr 23, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    Dear Rinpoche

    Thank you for this beautiful article. Many years ago, I came across a book by Venerable Thich Nhat Han about Mindfulness. At the time, I was very busy with work and huge expectations on myself it created a lot of pressure in my mind. I was very tense and I thought I would go crazy. His mindfulness teaching and his advice to live in the present really was very powerful for me and I calmed down a lot after that.

    What I like about the article is Venerable Thich not explain about the good things of living among Sangha, but he also acknowledged that there are potential friction among Sangha members and how to handle it – by enlarging your heart.

    Valentina

  21. Pastor David Lai on Apr 23, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    This is a nice little post that gives a whole new dimension meaning to the third Sangha jewel. Often, people have this misconception that sangha only refers to the ordained Sangha alone and have little regard for the spiritual community they are in. On the other hand, the role of true spiritual friends within the spiritual community is for most people of paramount importance to the progress of one’s spiritual practice.

    The inspiration and positive encouragement from one’s teachers, Dharma brothers and sisters cannot be denied. It is true that people would easily abandon their practice or that it would fizzle out with the encouragement and inspiration from each other. This is a powerful teaching to illustrate the power and inspiration of the spiritual community. This is an apt teaching not just for the sangha to be but also the large community here in Kechara Forest Retreat.

  22. Pastor Niral Patel on Apr 23, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    A very big thank you to Rinpoche for sharing this powerful article by Thich Nhat Hanh. It’s hard to fully understand a foreign word, especially when it has such deep and meaningful connotations. The term ‘Sangha’ actually exists in my own language and for me includes elements of a strong sense of loving community, support and growth but this article has really led to a deeper and more appreciative understand to the meaning of Sangha.

    I’ve been reminded that I firstly I need to be part of this community which provide the most conducive conditions and environment in which to practice the Dharma, and at the same time to transform myself so that I can be a person that others can rely upon. This is a very powerful teaching, and to understand it strengthens one’s refuge in the Three Jewels. I am reminded of a time in which a member was asked to engage in a Refuge retreat by His Eminence, in which that person was to recite ‘Namo Guru Beh, Namo Buddhaya, Namo Dharmaya, Namo Sanghaya’ 100,000 times. Together with this reciting that person was to mediate on the qualities of the Three Jewels. This was in order to strengthen the taking of refuge. This article has really provided me with a better understanding of the Jewel that is the Sangha, and has really inspired me on my spiritual path. Now I have a better understanding of what His Eminence wanted the person to realise during the retreat meditations.

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Blog Chat

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

Tsem Rinpoche


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

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  • Pastor Shin Tan
    Thursday, Mar 23. 2017 08:33 AM
    “Somehow, Rinpoche knew I did not believe in Buddhism and so he used a skillful way to give me a teaching. He said that even though I can’t see the Buddha, that does not mean that the Buddha does not exist. This is just like electricity; we can’t see electricity but when we see the lights are turned on, it proves electricity does exist. Similarly, when we see the growing Sangha community and the temples, it proves the existence of Buddha, because without electricity, there would be no light and without the Buddha, there would be no Sangha. After listening to that sound logic, I was still stuck on the need for more proof that the Buddha existed. But it made me think deeper because what Rinpoche said made a lot of sense.” – Pastor Albert Rachaga

    From a Free Thinker to a Buddhist, http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=118312
  • Lin Mun
    Wednesday, Mar 22. 2017 08:22 PM
    We definitely would love to read more stories like this. It is so heart warming to know that people do not care if it is an animal or human but extend their assistance to save the horse. What makes me surprise was the guy who was captured by Officer Frank Pomodoro came to help the horse too.

    It is true that everyone has a Bodhi mind and compassion. We just need to practise and express it.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/we-need-more-stories-like-this.html
  • Alice Tay
    Tuesday, Mar 21. 2017 11:41 PM
    马来西亚被公认为一个非常独特的国家。它是一个拥有多元种族、宗教和文化的国家。截至2016年7月,马来西亚共有大约31億人口,而其中印裔只占少数的6.7%,相等于约200万人。虽然如此,马来西亚各族人民依然可以和睦相处。从这篇博文,我们可以看到印度文化对马来西亚其他种族文化存有一定的影响,尤其是语文和美食方面。此外,马来西亚可称为一个民主国家,因此这里来自不同种族和宗教信仰的人民都可以各自举办庆典活动。

    感谢仁波切分享这篇有趣的博文。

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/malaysia/indians-in-malaysia-chinese.html
  • Lin Mun
    Tuesday, Mar 21. 2017 09:53 PM
    This is a very good and sincere sharing, Pastor Albert. It is so true that all the organisation will not accept a person who did mistake but Kechara is an organisation that will do the otherwise by retaining those who did wrong and do whatever they can to help and transform this person. So compassionate. This also means that everyone in Kechara team has the same motivation and that is to serve for the benefit of others although they may need to deal with uneasy people in the team and various challenges.

    Appreciate Pastor for your time and dharma sharing to all of us so we can learn and change.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/students-friends/from-a-free-thinker-to-a-buddhist.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Mar 21. 2017 04:33 PM
    Very funny…. A good laugh heals a lot of hurts. Funny jokes made us smiles and laughter can make your days sparkle with happiness.
    Funny Japanese Doctor really so funny but do made sense really.
    Thank you Rinpoche…i have a good laugh after reading and did learned some knowledge from the facts.To live good ,with good foods and do good in whatever where.They dedicate themselves to what gives their life meaning and purpose.
    Thanks again.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/etc/this-is-so-funny.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Mar 21. 2017 02:47 PM
    Rejoice%20to%20Pastor%20Albert
    [no sender]
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Mar 21. 2017 02:47 PM
    Rejoice to Pastor Albert….you have chosen your choice to join the many Pastors at Kechara as a Pastor.I am happy for you following the spiritual path of our Precious Guru.Thank you for sharing your sincere thoughts of the journey joining kechara.Wonderful journey from a free thinker to a Buddhist to serve and benefits others along your spiritual path. Rinpoche ‘s teaching have indeed changed many lives to be a better person.Mind transformation ,compassion caring kindeness,helpfullness and generosity through Rinpoche action or work , we learn from there one of those teachings.May Pastor, you will continue serving the good work and teachings of Rinpoche to more and more people then.
    Thanks again Pastor Albert.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/students-friends/from-a-free-thinker-to-a-buddhist.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Tuesday, Mar 21. 2017 12:29 PM
    Thank you, Rinpoche, for a good laugh! Indeed. Joke aside, the key of what happens to us is our karma, even what we eat and do have some impact. More importantly, it is what we do with our life and how we make an impact on others that counts at the end of the day. Looking like sleeping beauty with our organs in prime conditions at our dying bed will not gain us an open ticket to a good rebirth. ��

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/etc/this-is-so-funny.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Tuesday, Mar 21. 2017 12:21 PM
    When I read this blog, it hits me hard that whatever Rinpoche described here is a mirror for me and everyone. We all have the problem of not doing our part in some point in time one way or another. Hence, it is very important for us to take Rinpoche’s advice personally to do our part to the best of our ability. It is important to always remember that we should not burden others with the work we did not do, like how Rinpoche teaches us. It is also important to support our Dharma friends in ways that can improve him/her; there is a saying “Give a Man a Fish, and You Feed Him for a Day. Teach a Man To Fish, and You Feed Him for a Lifetime”. May I have the strength and tenacity to develop the qualities described by Rinpoche. Thank you, Rinpoche for this teaching.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/no-more-excuses-please.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Tuesday, Mar 21. 2017 11:55 AM
    In my mind, people who have no merits to know H.E. Kensur Rinpoche Jetsun Jampa Yeshe in person must be feeling very lucky to be able to learn about this great master from Rinpoche’s blog. Kensur Rinpoche was appointed in 1984 as the Abbot of Gaden Shartse Monastery. His whole life was about spreading dharma, doing good work to preserve Buddha Dharma and helping others tirelessly, even until the end of his journey of this lifetime. We must always remember Kensur Rinpoche’s good qualities and be inspired to serve others and benefits just like he had done.

    It is also our good fortune to learn of the untold good gesture of Tsem Rinpoche for offering his Ladrang to Kensur Rinpoche. This is an excellent example of pure Guru Devotion. Thank you, Rinpoche for sharing these rare and precious photos with us on the blog. May Kensur Rinpoche take rebirth to continue his good work so that more people can benefit from Buddha Dharma from pure lineage.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/h-e-kensur-rinpoche-jetsun-jampa-yeshe-1928-2011.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Tuesday, Mar 21. 2017 11:28 AM
    Thank you, Pastor Albert, for the sincere sharing for your amazing journey with Kechara and the inspiration to serve others because of Rinpoche’s teaching. Rejoice to you for the renunciation on material gains and given up on attachment to worldly desires. Rinpoche’s teaching is the fountain of Buddhism nectar that quenches our thirst for all secular needs and a huge force of motivation for us to work for the benefits of others. May Rinpoche’s teaching reach and benefit more people through your good work.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/students-friends/from-a-free-thinker-to-a-buddhist.html
  • Lin Mun
    Monday, Mar 20. 2017 09:53 PM
    It is a fantastic news that EU authorities have taken legal steps to curb the misused of social media. In this day and age, social media is a very powerful tool to reach out to many people but it can also be a very damaging tool if abuse the usage. We see so many scams, cyber bullying, sending wrong messsage, rumours and etc with so many negative intentions.

    Hope this law will be implemented and everyone will be protected against unnecessary attack and scams. A fine if 50m Euro is definitely a stern message to social media companies to take action.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/victory-over-online-hate.html
  • Alice Tay
    Monday, Mar 20. 2017 09:43 PM
    This is great to see the scientists’ researches, one of them is NUS has proved Vajrayana meditation techniques can lead us to enhancements in cognitive performance. Buddha’s teachings since 2,500 years ago taught us not to abandon any part of Buddha’s teachings but to respect all the traditions. We should believe that Buddha will not teach anything does not benefit to the sentient beings. Nevertheless, in order to have the pure teaching of Lama Tsongkhapa (is in fact the teachings of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni if traced back to the origins), we have to seek for a qualified spiritual guru with pure lineage. Furthermore, Assoc Prof Kozhevnikov clearly stated that Vajrayana meditation typically requires years of practice. Therefore, in order to have the correct meditation techniques, this is very important for us to have a qualified guru who is able to helps us in achieving what we wish to have.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/vajrayana-meditation-techniques-can-enhance-brain-performance.html
  • Ange Dong
    Monday, Mar 20. 2017 09:38 PM
    Dear Venerable Rinpoche,

    Thank you so much for providing all the teachings on Youtube, came across some of your early teachings particularly on The Twelve Links of Dependent Origination, which have shown me so much inspiration as well as the possibility of overcoming laziness and other delusions while staying focused academically at school.

    Thank you so much for all the hard work. I pray for long-life of the Venerable Rinpoche and may all the wholesome activities flourish in ten directions, and through the merits we have collected may all sentient beings receive every benefit of it.


    Best regards,
    Ange Dong
  • Yeo Kwai Gin
    Monday, Mar 20. 2017 05:15 PM
    感恩仁波切分享了这篇文章!

    20年以来,修持多杰雄登法门的人,尤其是在西藏,遭受非常严重的歧视,欺负,杯葛,伤害,恐吓等等。虽然尊贵的达赖尊者没有亲口说出雄登的禁令,但是无数的雄登修持者遭受身体与心灵的伤害。多杰雄登修持者或家人如果生病了不得到医院看诊,孩子不得上学,购物中心不允许进入购物等等,还有更严重的是家园无缘无故的被破坏,西藏中央政府还将他们的名字公布在布告板上,那是对心灵上是多么的伤害,大家想想,这样的对待,公平吗? 是对的吗?如果是我们的家庭成员被一样的对待,那是何等感受?

    而且,修持雄登法门的人未曾听过伤害可以伤害他人,如果有,那么,没有修持雄登法门的人,是不是也完全没有伤害过他人?那是很正常的,最重要的是多杰雄登祈愿文里完全没有一句要伤害人的词语。2500多年前,佛陀时代,也有一部分的弟子是不怀好意的,那是很正常的事,最重要的是佛陀的愿是为了利益一切众生。

    愿西藏中央政府让雄登修持者可以一样的和平共处,那不是更好吗?达赖尊者一直响应世界和平,那不就是要得到的结果吗?

    愿上师詹仁波切和尊贵的达赖尊者健康,长寿,常转法轮,吉祥如意。

    感恩合十
    Yeo Kwai Gin

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/videos/%E8%A5%BF%E8%97%8F%E9%A2%86%E5%AF%BC%E7%9A%84%E6%9C%80%E6%96%B0%E5%8F%8D%E9%9B%84%E7%99%BB%E8%A7%86%E9%A2%91.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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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.
Click on picture to enlarge and see what Milarepa says. Profound.
3 days 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
3 days 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.
3 days 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
3 days 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!
5 days 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!
5 days 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
5 days ago
The Japanese are very innovative. Tsem Rinpoche
Read this as it will be interesting
5 days ago
Read this as it will be interesting
Recite this before any meal or drinks for blessings of abundance. Tsem Rinpoche
5 days 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
5 days 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
6 days 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
6 days ago
Dear everyone, I am sharing this beautiful and modern altar to Dorje Shugden in Malaysia. I am glad to see more and more people creating sacred spaces. Tsem Rinpoche
Lhamo Karmo, a female buddha form visualized above the crown of one\'s head at the time of death, to encourage consciousness to leave the body via the crown aperture. From my book \"The Female Buddhas.\"- Glenn Mullin
2 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
2 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
5 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
5 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...
5 months ago
Taken in Lake Champlain in Canada. A huge water monster...neat...
Beautiful! His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang has always been good friends with His Holiness Karmapa. No wonder H.H. Karmapa never spoke against Dorje Shugden. Two reasons perhaps: One is he knows the qualities of Trijang Rinpoche who is a attained being. And Karmapa himself has clairvoyance to perceive the true nature of Dorje Shugden directly. I love to see great beings like this manifesting closeness. When I see, I just want to prostrate to them and thank them for sharing such good examples to someone like me. Praise to the ego-less mind! Tsem Rinpoche
6 months ago
Beautiful! His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang has always been good friends with His Holiness Karmapa. No wonder H.H. Karmapa never spoke against Dorje Shugden. Two reasons perhaps: One is he knows the qualities of Trijang Rinpoche who is a attained being. And Karmapa himself has clairvoyance to perceive the true nature of Dorje Shugden directly. I love to see great beings like this manifesting closeness. When I see, I just want to prostrate to them and thank them for sharing such good examples to someone like me. Praise to the ego-less mind! Tsem Rinpoche
Serkong Dorje Chang on the left and his son Serkong Tsenshab Rinpoche on the right.
6 months ago
Serkong Dorje Chang on the left and his son Serkong Tsenshab Rinpoche on the right.
High lamas in France September 2016
6 months ago
High lamas in France September 2016
༧གོང་ས་ཆེན་པོ་སྐུ་འཕྲེང་བཅུ་བཞི་པ་མཆོག་དང་རྡོ་རྗེ་ཤུགས་ལྡན། - Interesting relationship between 14th Dalai Lama and Dorje Shugden:   http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=109757
6 months ago
༧གོང་ས་ཆེན་པོ་སྐུ་འཕྲེང་བཅུ་བཞི་པ་མཆོག་དང་རྡོ་རྗེ་ཤུགས་ལྡན། - Interesting relationship between 14th Dalai Lama and Dorje Shugden: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=109757
Dalai Lama Says We Can Practise Dorje Shugden Finally! Read more on this development--- http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=109777
6 months ago
Dalai Lama Says We Can Practise Dorje Shugden Finally! Read more on this development--- http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=109777
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Videos On The Go

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  • Please watch this video, it's heartbreaking to see how people have to suffer.
    4 days ago
    Please watch this video, it's heartbreaking to see how people have to suffer.
  • Lady saves puppy from potential abuser
    6 days 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.
    2 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

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CHAT PICTURES

23 hours ago
Join our Meditate in Nature Programme 2017! Here are the Dates:
23 hours ago
Join our Meditate in Nature Programme 2017! Here are the Dates:
When we love others without projections, we truly LOVE. ~ Tsem Rinpoche . YEO KWAI GIN ( KKSG )
2 days ago
When we love others without projections, we truly LOVE. ~ Tsem Rinpoche . YEO KWAI GIN ( KKSG )
True Love Is Simple Because It's SELFLESS ~ Tsem Rinpoche.  YEO KWAI GIN ( KKSG ) .
2 days ago
True Love Is Simple Because It's SELFLESS ~ Tsem Rinpoche. YEO KWAI GIN ( KKSG ) .
Powerful Quote !  www.TsemRinpoche.com .  YEO KWAI GIN ( KKSG )
2 days ago
Powerful Quote ! http://www.TsemRinpoche.com . YEO KWAI GIN ( KKSG )
Pastor Yek Yee blessed a sponsor during Dorje Shugden puja at a outcall house blessing recently. www.kechara.com
2 days ago
Pastor Yek Yee blessed a sponsor during Dorje Shugden puja at a outcall house blessing recently. http://www.kechara.com
DORJE SHUGDEN STATUE, 2.75 INCHES, more info about this beautiful Statue, pls visit www.vajrasecrets.com.   YEO KWAI GIN ( KKSG )
2 days ago
DORJE SHUGDEN STATUE, 2.75 INCHES, more info about this beautiful Statue, pls visit http://www.vajrasecrets.com. YEO KWAI GIN ( KKSG )
Bigfoot Fleamarket in Bentong on Saturday evenings!
3 days ago
Bigfoot Fleamarket in Bentong on Saturday evenings!
Pastor Gim Lee gave blessings to our new member, Pui Leng in Kechara Ipoh chapel today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
3 days ago
Pastor Gim Lee gave blessings to our new member, Pui Leng in Kechara Ipoh chapel today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Our new member, Pui Leng has offered lights and incense prior to our short Mother Tara retreat today in Ipoh. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
3 days ago
Our new member, Pui Leng has offered lights and incense prior to our short Mother Tara retreat today in Ipoh. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Pastor Gim Lee and Chin Yong came to Kechara Ipoh Study Group and lead us in our short Mother Tara retreat today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
3 days ago
Pastor Gim Lee and Chin Yong came to Kechara Ipoh Study Group and lead us in our short Mother Tara retreat today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Teacher When Yee demonstrated to the students of KSDS class 2-4 years old on how to build the tallest tower using wooded bricks. Stella, KSDS
4 days ago
Teacher When Yee demonstrated to the students of KSDS class 2-4 years old on how to build the tallest tower using wooded bricks. Stella, KSDS
Carlson Teoh is the youngest student of Kechara Sunday Dharma School. Enrolment open for students from 2 years old and above. Stella, KSDS
4 days ago
Carlson Teoh is the youngest student of Kechara Sunday Dharma School. Enrolment open for students from 2 years old and above. Stella, KSDS
Teacher Alice always patiently guiding the young students of KSDS Class 5-6 years old in their mannerism to cultivate good behaviour. Stella, KSDS
4 days ago
Teacher Alice always patiently guiding the young students of KSDS Class 5-6 years old in their mannerism to cultivate good behaviour. Stella, KSDS
Teacher Victoria and Teacher Grace listening attentively to students of KSDS class 7-8 years old. Stella, KSDS
4 days ago
Teacher Victoria and Teacher Grace listening attentively to students of KSDS class 7-8 years old. Stella, KSDS
KSDS Class 5-6 years old held hands and formed a circle before the lesson started. Jarrett was looking very cheerful! Stella, KSDS
4 days ago
KSDS Class 5-6 years old held hands and formed a circle before the lesson started. Jarrett was looking very cheerful! Stella, KSDS
Jace Chong and happy Mario!
4 days ago
Jace Chong and happy Mario!
Give love and kindness to everyone~artwork done by KSDS age group 2-4 years old. Alice Tay, KSDS
5 days ago
Give love and kindness to everyone~artwork done by KSDS age group 2-4 years old. Alice Tay, KSDS
A young and beautiful teenager, Laura Yee, helped to take care KSDS group age 5-6 years old. Alice Tay, KSDS
5 days ago
A young and beautiful teenager, Laura Yee, helped to take care KSDS group age 5-6 years old. Alice Tay, KSDS
Nice interaction between KSDS teachers and young participants of WOAH Camp 2016. Alice Tay, KSDS
5 days ago
Nice interaction between KSDS teachers and young participants of WOAH Camp 2016. Alice Tay, KSDS
KSDS students awarded with certificate by Kechara Sunday Dharma School. Alice Tay, KSDS
5 days ago
KSDS students awarded with certificate by Kechara Sunday Dharma School. Alice Tay, KSDS
Teamwork is important for a success event~Lantern Charity Bazaar organised by KSDS. Alice Tay, KSDS
5 days ago
Teamwork is important for a success event~Lantern Charity Bazaar organised by KSDS. Alice Tay, KSDS
@XHNews Humanity left China/Korea long ago. Both protect #DogMeatTrade where dogs are boiled/skinned alive so little men can feel big. Disgraceful. Four photos here- Please share and create awareness. So much suffering.
5 days ago
@XHNews Humanity left China/Korea long ago. Both protect #DogMeatTrade where dogs are boiled/skinned alive so little men can feel big. Disgraceful. Four photos here- Please share and create awareness. So much suffering.
@XHNews Humanity left China/Korea long ago. Both protect #DogMeatTrade where dogs are boiled/skinned alive so little men can feel big. Disgraceful. Four photos here- Please share and create awareness. So much suffering.
5 days ago
@XHNews Humanity left China/Korea long ago. Both protect #DogMeatTrade where dogs are boiled/skinned alive so little men can feel big. Disgraceful. Four photos here- Please share and create awareness. So much suffering.
@XHNews Humanity left China/Korea long ago. Both protect #DogMeatTrade where dogs are boiled/skinned alive so little men can feel big. Disgraceful. Four photos here- Please share and create awareness. So much suffering.
5 days ago
@XHNews Humanity left China/Korea long ago. Both protect #DogMeatTrade where dogs are boiled/skinned alive so little men can feel big. Disgraceful. Four photos here- Please share and create awareness. So much suffering.
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Dorje Shugden
Click to watch my talk about Dorje Shugden....