Twenty-Four Holy Places & Eight Great Charnel Grounds

By | Apr 24, 2016 | Views: 4,578
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Heruka Chakrasamvara and Vajrayogini are emanations of Buddha Shakyamuni and linked to both the Twenty-Four Holy Places and the Eight Great Charnel Grounds.

Dear Friends,

Recently on the ‘Ask a Pastor’ section of this blog an online friend asked a question about the Twenty-Four Holy Places and the Eight Great Charnel Grounds. The Pastors were asked if these were actual places found in relation to our world, e.g. actual geographic locations. Upon seeing the reply, His Eminence 25th Tsem Rinpoche advised that it would be good to write a longer explanation, as these places are often mentioned within many liturgies to the holy beings such as the Dharma protectors Setrap and Dorje Shugden. In such liturgies, the holy enlightened beings are invoked to come forth from these places.

 

Twenty-Four Holy Places

The Twenty-Four Holy Places are associated with the origin story of Heruka Chakrasamvara. His Eminence had previously narrated this story as told to him by His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche when he was in Los Angeles in 1984.

A long ago there was a great god who lived in the highest of the god realms by the name of Mahadeva. He was the overlord of all the gods and demi-gods within samsara. Mahadeva was a very powerful being with a lot of psychic powers, however he was not enlightened. As with any being within the Six Realms of existence, he had his attachments and his primary attachment was to the act of copulation.

He was a very handsome and good-looking god who ruled a vast empire of gods and goddesses, together with his four primary consorts. He was so desirous that he would be in constant copulation with one of these four goddesses. He would switch consorts at the juncture between the four times of the day. He would have his consorts embrace him in full copulation during all his activities, such as sitting, walking, sleeping and even eating. This would not be possible for human beings, however he was a god with immense powers.

The god Mahadeva and his consort Kalratri

When the other gods would meet together, Mahadeva would not attend as he was so engrossed in his copulation, however he would use his psychic powers to see what was happening. Instead of going himself, he would send a symbol of his private organ to these meetings. This would float, accompanied with attendants, canopies and music to the place where the gods met. Due to his position as the overlord of the gods, this symbol was given the best seat and worshipped with milk, flower garlands, food, lights and incense. They did this to pay their respects to him. In this regard Mahadeva was encouraging the worship of copulation. On the other hand, if he was not honoured in such a manner, he would punish those who would not comply and show his anger severely. This is because his need for respect was second only to his desire. Since he was the most powerful of the gods, this desire began to permeate into other realms due to his widespread worship. He was powerful enough to grant boons to those who worshipped him, and to bestow his godly assistance to others. However, due to his primary attachment those who worshipped him became infused and overwhelmed with a sense of sexual desire that overrode all the other qualities that the worshipper may have, even to the point of ruining their lives. The gods were not affected as much but the humans who worshipped him were.

It was during this time that the historical Buddha Shakyamuni saw that it was time to subdue this being, in order to curb this energy of sexual desire that was permeating the various realms. So he emanated in the exact form of Mahadeva, but of course being an enlightened being he was infinitely more powerful. He had four faces, two legs and twelve arms, and each hand held a different weapon. This is who we now call Heruka Chakrasamvara. Shakyamuni had also emanated into four main consorts, the primary of which we know as Vajravarahi or Vajrayogini.

Buddha Shakyamuni then appeared to Mahadeva and his consort Kalratri in the form of Heruka and Vajrayogini in union. Upon seeing the divine form of Heruka and Vajrayogini, amidst the blaze of wisdom fire, with more psychic abilities, wisdom and compassion, both Mahadeva and Kalratri were immediately subdued. They offered themselves under the feet of Heruka and Vajrayogini as a sign that they recognised their wisdom and power. This is the reason why Mahadeva and Kalratri are depicted under both Heruka and Vajrayogini’s feet.

Buddha Shakyamuni arose in the form of Heruka Chakrasamvara and Vajrayogini to benefit sentient beings

The god Mahadeva controlled 24 powerful places on earth. Each of these places were controlled by a powerful guardian god and goddess, who were originally sent there by Mahadeva. In order to subdue these powerful gods and goddesses, Heruka emanated his entire mandala, together with a daka and dakini in each of these places to counter the energies of these gods and provide a blessed environment to practice towards enlightenment. Usually the tantric deities dissolve their mandalas into themselves after performing certain functions, such as giving teachings or other enlightened activities. In the case of Heruka, he did not dissolve the mandalas in these 24 places back into himself.

The mandala of Heruka has become imbedded into the physical landscape of these places. Since that time these dakas and dakinis who are actually one in nature with Heruka and Vajrayogini have resided there as well. These sites are now known as the Twenty-Four Holy Places that are mentioned in various liturgies. These places are very powerful energy centres, in fact if we engage in practices at any of these 24 places, the various beings who aid tantric practice such as various dakas, dakinis and Dharma protectors will come forth to bless practitioners. Therefore it is mentioned in many prayers, that we invoke the enlightened beings to come from these places, to wherever we are to aid us in our practice. This is a very powerful invocation, as the mandalas of Heruka exist on our earth, in our very plane of existence. When the holy beings are invoked from these places, they are able to come to our aid quickly.

These Twenty-Four Holy Places are of particular importance to those who practice the Vajrayogini tantras. The dakinis that reside in the Twenty-Four Holy Places are considered a 24 dakini entourage of Vajrayogini. During tantric practice these 24 dakinis are invoked by the practitioners and come to reside in one’s body, blessing their subtle energy channels and drops that are utilised in the practice to achieve their same enlightened state, which is of course the same as Vajrayogini – a fully enlightened Buddha.

These Twenty-Four Holy Places from ancient India are:

  1. Puliramalaya
  2. Jalandhara
  3. Oddiyana
  4. Arbuta
  5. Godavari
  6. Rameshvari
  7. Devikota
  8. Malava
  9. Kamarupa
  10. Otri
  11. Trishakune
  12. Kosala
  13. Kalingkara
  14. Lampaka
  15. Kanchi
  16. Himalaya
  17. Pretapuri
  18. Grihadeva
  19. Shaurashtra
  20. Suvarnadvipa
  21. Nagara
  22. Sindhu
  23. Maruta
  24. Kuluta

The holy form of Heruka Chakrasamvara and Vajrayogini

 

Eight Great Charnel Grounds

Dancing amid blazing wisdom fire Heruka liberated Rudra's mind

Another set of holy places are the Eight Great Charnel Grounds. At one time there was a god by the name of Rudra who was originally part of Mahadeva’s retinue. He was a very fierce being who also had many of his own consorts. Together with his consorts he began to oppress sentient beings, and promoted violence and unethical behaviour. At that time, Heruka once again arose, and in a dance of great compassionate wrath, liberated Rudra and his consorts from their physical bodies, sending their minds to pure lands. The places where Rudra’s body parts fell became charnel grounds. Rudra’s four energy centres (his head, heart, navel and private organ) fell in the four cardinal directions, and his limbs fell in the intermediate directions. It was from these body parts that eight great trees arose, and from here the charnel grounds developed around these trees.

They are known as the Ashta Maha Smashana in Sanskrit, and were the most important charnel grounds in Ancient India. They are known as:

  1. The Sitavana Cool Grove (in the East)
  2. Perfected in Body (in the South)
  3. Lotus Mound (in the West)
  4. Lanka Mound (in the North)
  5. Spontaneously Accomplished Mound (in the South-East)
  6. Display of Great Secret (in the South-West)
  7. Pervasive Great Joy (in the North-West)
  8. World Mound (in the North-East)

Charnel grounds are terrifying places, full of decomposing bodies, wild animals, wandering ghosts and other terrifying beings. The grounds are scattered with bodies, skeletons and other remains. In the various liturgies, it is also described as places with rivers and lakes formed from the bodies of the dead. However they are also peaceful places, because they are commonly described as groves, with pleasant flora and bird song amidst vast and open skies.

Meditation on death and impermenance is integral on the path towards enlightenment

From a spiritual perspective the charnel ground represents the death of the ego, and therefore our suffering, as well as the methods of how to accomplish this. Through (a) meditation concentrating on the various states of decomposition of the bodies, (b) meditation on the frightening environment, and (c) meditation on death itself, one is able to come to four very pivotal realisations in one’s spiritual path. These are that (i) one has to overcome attachment to the body and life, (ii) craving for a body in the future, (iii) the fear of death itself and (iv) aversion to the decay that is a part of impermanence.

Yogins have meditated in charnel grounds and gained the highest of attainments

In ancient times it was here that great masters attained many ‘siddhis’ or attainments. Many of the great tantric adepts of the past practiced in charnel grounds. Unfettered from adhering to cultural norms relating to life and death, and with no distractions to seduce them, they were able to meditate on death more clearly. On an ultimate level this is useful to realise the impermanence of the self as a means to realise the true nature of existence. This is achieved through meditation and investigation of the Dvadasanga-Pratityasamputpada or the Twelve Links of Dependent Origination.

On a more gross level it can be used to overcome fear, due to the culturally ingrained fear people have of such places. The wrathful beings and deities are said to reside in these Eight Great Charnel Grounds, therefore in some prayers, we invoke the wrathful deities from these places.

Within tantric practice the Eight Great Charnel Grounds have a deeper significance. In the practices of the wrathful yidams (meditational deities), surrounding the mandala of the deity are eight quadrants which are visualised as the Eight Great Charnel Grounds. These visualisations are particularly wrathful and include corpses in various states of decomposition and in different positions such as lying down, sitting up, those who have been hanged, those who have been impaled, those who are headless, rotting, etc. There are also zombies, various other wrathful beings, and wrathful animals such as jackels, vultures, crows, etc. They also include various dakas, dakinis, stupas, fires and wrathful yogins and yoginis.

Each of the aspects within the visualised charnel grounds symbolise tantric elements. There include:

  • The great central trees in each charnel ground represent the central energy channel of the practitioner, known as Tsa-Uma (Tibetan) or Sushumna (Sanskrit).
  • The ground itself represents the path of practice (the entire sutra and tantra teachings).
  • The four types of corpses: (i) New corpses represent birth, aging, sickness and death or cyclic existence; (ii) Decaying corpses, or those impaled, hanging or dismembered represent the death of the mistaken idea of the self or ego; (iii) Skeletons represent the realisation of Shunyata or emptiness; and (iv) Reanimated and mindless zombies represent the realisation of selflessness.
  • The wrathful animals represent the realisations of the generation stage of Highest Tantra Yoga practices, as they devour the ‘corpses’ of ordinary perception.
  • The various lakes represent aspiring Bodhicitta or the aspiring thought to attain enlightenment for the benefit all of sentient beings.
  • The clouds in the sky represent the drops of Bodhicitta at the crown of one’s head.
  • The various fires represent Tummo or Inner Heat (Sanskrit: Candali).
  • The various Dikpalas or direction protectors symbolise the ‘downward-voiding wind’ which is located below the navel.
  • The various Lokapalas or realm protectors represent the ‘life-supporting wind’ which is located at the heart.
  • The mountains symbolise the immovability of meditative stability with the inseparability of bliss and emptiness as its focus.
  • The various stupas represent the three bodies of a Buddha.
  • The Nagas represent the cultivation of the Six Paramitas.
  • The Yogins and Yoginis represent practitioners who hold their tantric samaya well.
  • The Wisdom-Holders (Sanskrit: Vidhyadharas) represent those who have realised the generation stage of tantric practice.
  • The Mahasiddhas represent those practitioners who have realised the completion stage of tantric practice.

Conclusion

As we can see, both the Twenty-Four Holy Places and the Eight Great Charnel Grounds have tremendous significance within Buddhism, on both the sutra and tantra levels of practice. Therefore they are often mentioned within various liturgies and prayers as places where we invoke the enlightened beings from, especially those that have manifested wrathfully out of their compassion to aid sentient beings. I hope this post has been informative and has given some understanding as to the significance of both these sets of powerful and holy places.

Pastor Niral

PS. Thanks to Phng Li Kheng, Vinnie Tan and Joy Kam for assisting in this post.

 

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About Pastor Niral Patel

Since becoming a Buddhist, Niral has had a voracious passion for the Dharma. He is known to have his head buried in books and loves to share what he knows. Niral has now found a better way to share his weird, whacky and, more often than not, other-worldly ideas with an unsuspecting audience - as a guest author on his Guruji's blog!
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35 Responses to Twenty-Four Holy Places & Eight Great Charnel Grounds

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  1. June Kang on Apr 24, 2017 at 12:58 am

    This is a great post.

    First times came to know that there is such holy places and are actually exist on earth. Great to know that if we engage in practices in any of this places, various beings who aid tantric practice will come forth to bless practitioners, must visit all these places

    An enlightened being is always thinking to help others to reach enlightenment. This shown by when Heruka liberated Rudra and his consorts from their physical bodies, sending their minds to pure lands.

    With this very informative article, it increase people’s’ faith in Vajrayogini practice.Thank you.

  2. Pastor Antoientte on Apr 19, 2017 at 8:14 am

    The holy beings come forth from the Twenty-Four Holy Places and Eight Great Charnel Grounds as requested in the liturgies of Dorje Shugden and Setrap. It is amazing to imagine these holy places here on earth.

    The Great Charnel Grounds are very scary and to meditate in such a place is being confronted with the truth of our life. But from the spiritual point of view these charnel grounds represent the death of the ego and our suffering.

    Thank you for sharing with us about the Twenty-Four Holy Places and Eight Great Charnel Grounds!

  3. Mingwen on Apr 19, 2017 at 7:39 am

    Interesting story on how Heruka Chakrasamvara was arose!

    Desires within samsara really drag us far away from practicing Dharma. However, nothing is impossible, we should have faith in ourselves and what we believe then without hesitation fight all the way until we achieved what we want.

    Death meditation really helps for every single individual, any time, any where and any circumstances, it acts as a booster when we are stuck within the problem or the fight within ourselves. Life is about death, hence, there is no reason for us to hold on things that are not worthy which are going to cost us even more than what we are losing now compared to in the future.

    If we do not strive to escape from the cycle of samsara, we are going to be jailed in it forever.

  4. Pastor Albert on Apr 19, 2017 at 2:07 am

    When I read about this part

    “due to his primary attachment those who worshipped him became infused and overwhelmed with a sense of sexual desire that overrode all the other qualities that the worshipper may have, even to the point of ruining their lives.”

    It reminded me of the question asked by many people, why do I want to pray to the Buddha, to a God that belongs to the 6 realms, to the being who is still soaking in this sea of suffering, he can still infused with his quality to the people who worship him, imagine when we worship to the enlightened beings, what type of qualities are we receiving?

    The manifestation of wrath from the Buddha, they are extremely fierce and they look scary, but this is not because they are angry or anything, the wrath is actually manifested with their great compassion wanting to liberating all the sentient beings, Rudra has committed in so many evil deeds and harmed so many lives, the Wrathful Heruka came to subdue him and send his mind to the pureland, he didn’t punish him or send him to hell but instead, he send him to the pureland.

    All the things that the Buddha did, normal beings like us would not understand, but they have their purpose and reason for doing what’s best for us.

    Thank you Pastor Niral and the team for preparing this very insightful article, and a very well researched has done on preparing this article.

  5. Justin Cheah on Apr 19, 2017 at 1:29 am

    Thank you for sharing this article Pastor Niral. What I take from this article is that Buddha compassionately subdued some of the gods (and actually powerful ones) in Mahadeva and Rudra and have them sent to the pure land realm so that they will no longer be of harm to others. The so called aftermath of the virtue act is 32 powerful places where mahasiddhas and mahasiddhis used as places for them to gain attainments. How actions motivated from compassion be led to benefitting others on a much greater scale. Inspiring!

  6. Tek Lee on Apr 19, 2017 at 1:14 am

    Thank you pastor Niral for posting this article. It is very interesting to know how Shakyamuni emanated as Heruka and subdued Mahadeva. And he actually imbedded into the 24 holy places, and let people practice Buddhism. It is beautiful. Through this article, we have to remind ourselves that we got to always practice, chant mantra, do sadhana and never stop. The more we practice, we will slowly let go our attachment. Else, we will be like Mahadeva. Even a God can be subdued, what’s more we are human? Where will we be if we are too attached to something or someone? Thank you again Pastor Niral. _/\_

  7. Eric kksiow on Apr 18, 2017 at 11:26 pm

    Glad to know the stories of Mahadeva, Kalratri and Rudra, and they all are connected with Buddhas. I don’t have much thoughts of this article, and this is the first i read about it. Thank You Pastor Niral and team who put on efforts on this article, because you letting us to gain more knowledge.

    Appreciate it so much
    Sincerely
    Eric kksiow _/\_

  8. Datuk May on Apr 18, 2017 at 11:12 pm

    In many of the Dharma text that I have read, it is always mentioned that Shakyamuni Buddha taught and subdued beings in all 6 realms of existence. This article illustrates how Shakyamuni Buddha, in emanating Heruka and Vajrayogini, subdued a God, Mahadeva and his consort, Kalratri and created the 24 Holy Places by releasing them from their uncontrollable desire for copulation. With the places which were under the rule of Mahadeva, Heruka released his mandala of Daka and Dakinis to reside therein to create these 24 Holy places.

    Once again emanating as Heruka, the cruel God from Mahadeva retinue, Rudra was sent to Pure Land and his body into 8 pieces falling into places as the 8 Charnel ground.

    It is awesome to note the beginning of these places and I will study more on this topic to understand more.

    Thank you, Pastor Niral and your team.

  9. pammie yap on Apr 18, 2017 at 11:08 pm

    Well researched article! This the first time I hear about such places. What I particularly liked was the part that Buddha Shakyamuni, out of His great compassion emanated another Great being to subdue and teach Mahadeva, Rudra and their consorts.
    And the part where practitioners would actually sit on charnel grounds to practice and gain realisations.

    “These places are very powerful energy centres, in fact if we engage in practices at any of these 24 places, the various beings who aid tantric practice such as various dakas, dakinis and Dharma protectors will come forth to bless practitioners.”
    Beside those 24 places, I believe that Kechara Forest Retreat (Kechara Paradise on earth) is also a holy power place as our Guru blessed this place for us to practice and aspire to ascend to Kechara Paradise.
    But it would be a bonus, to at least visit some of the holy places when we are in the vicinity.

  10. nicholas on Apr 18, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    I like how Heruka subdue Mahadeva’s ego and desire. Heruka is equivalent to compassion and nothing can defeat this pure value. Mahadeva which is the god of gods can feel Heruka power which I strongly believe is the value that Heruka has which is indestructible and Mahadeva can only offered himself. This is just the same as one offered their greed, hatred and delusion.

    It’s great to know that the 24 holy places is a physical place that we can reach and I hope that one day that I can visit this place to receive the great blessing.

  11. Pastor Henry Ooi on Apr 18, 2017 at 10:52 pm

    So many names, so many places, so many meanings and symbolism. No wonder tantra teaching is not simply given to just anyone to practice but one who is deemed ready by the guru. Reading this article gave me some knowledge but it’s a far cry from the real tantric practice. Still, it is a wonderful read, thanks to all involved in it.

  12. Vivian Ong on Apr 18, 2017 at 10:42 pm

    Thank you Pastor Niral for sharing this article. Although I did not fully understand it but I learn that Mahadeva and Kalratri are depicted under both Heruka and Vajrayogini’s feet after being subdued. I also learned that Heruka is the tantric form of Buddha Shakyamuni. Both 24 holy places and the 8 charnel grounds are for people who engage in tantric practices.

    With folded palms,
    Vivian

  13. Andrea Lai on Apr 18, 2017 at 10:42 pm

    This is an interesting article. An emanation of Buddha Shakyamuni to Heruka Chakrasamvara and his consort, Vajrayogini to subdue Mahadeva’s primary attachment which is sexual desire that had permeated to various realm. What’s more interesting was, through his great power of wisdom and compassion, Heruka emanated Mahadeva entire mandala including the 24 holy places and the 8 great charnel grounds for the purposed to blessed the environments and benefit others into practicing enlightenment.
    Thank you Rinpoche, Pastor Niral and the team for this informative article.

  14. Pastor Chia on Apr 18, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    This article are well research and informative about Heruka 24 holy places. It is important to go pilgramage one day in my life time to pray respect to Lord Heruka and Vajrayogini. My favour place is where Heruka residing at mount Kalash at Himalaya. Ganges river water source are from mount Kalash. It said the water of India are blessed by Lord Heruka nectar. India people believe washing body at the Ganges river can clear away the sin and have the new life. I remembered many year ago Rinpoche gave me some advice when I visited Ganges river must go to the place when they burning corpse and recite 8 praises of Vajrayogini and visit one holy of 24 holy places of Heruka reside to make milk offering. Thank again to Pastor Niral and other writers has find all the information of the holy places.

  15. Wan Wai Meng on Sep 10, 2016 at 3:51 am

    Thank you Pastor Niral for the complete explanation, never come across such a detailed explanation into the 24 places of Heruka and the 8 charnal grounds.

  16. meng kiat on Sep 9, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    Very informative write up, thank you Pastor Niral and the team, how nice if we can have a chance to visit this 24 holy places to get blessing for our spiritual path.

  17. Fong on Jun 19, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    So, the god Mahadeva and consort was defeated by Heruka and Vajrayogini in union and their minds were subdued and offered themselves at the feet of Heruka and Vajrayogini, thus symbolising conquering the ego.

    And, also knowing this story helps me to remember the significance of the 2 figures under Heruka’s feet – Mahadeva and Kalratri being subdued i.e. subduing of desire and recognizing the wisdom and power of Heruka and Vajrayogini.

    The mandala of Heruka and Vajrayogini were left on earth and accessible to higher practitioners. So, that’s a very good reason to visit these places. This also means that the deities are closer to us.

    When Heruka arose again to defeat Rudra, the mind of Rudra and his consorts were sent to Pure Land. That is very compassionate. What I find in Buddhism is the defeated foe are never smashed to smithereens but rather sent somewhere where the defeated can learn the dharma without distractions.

    Though there are many advantages to meditating at the charnals grounds, it will definitely be for the higher practitioners. Don’t think I can overcome my fear and aversion so easily. The charnal grounds would definitely be way more distracting than any other places, in my opinion. Normal death meditation itself already is quite a challenge.

    Thanks, Pastor Niral for a very informative and interesting article.

  18. Beng on Jun 11, 2016 at 5:10 am

    Very informative article which I will have to read a few more times before I can absorb all the knowledge here. In fact, I suspect that no matter how many times I read this, there will always be more to absorb because like all Tantric teachings, it requires the blessings of the teacher and especially the teacher’s commentaries and explanations to realise the true significance and gain the full benefits!

    But I really like the fact that Heruka’s (and Vajrayogini’s!) holy places actually exist on our earth AND are accessible to us. I hope to visit one of them, particularly Mt Kailash, in this life before I lose my precious human body. I also really like your description of the charnel grounds, and it reminds me of a story that Rinpoche once told about how aspiring Vajrayogini practitioners would meditate in charnel grounds and cemeteries amidst rotting corpses, tombstones, wild animals, spirits etc and Vajrayogini would actually walk among them, unseen to most, blessing each meditator to gain attainments and eventually ascend to her paradise. It was a very moving story and it made me make a strong prayer that I will be fortunate to receive her practice in this lifetime.

    Thank you for this great post.

  19. Wah Ying on Jun 9, 2016 at 12:26 am

    Thank you Pastor Niral for sharing the article. From this article it’s exciting to learn and know about the 24 Holy Places is actually on Earth, from how Shakyamuni manifested as Heruka to subdue Mahadeva – where the mandala of Heruka does not dissolve into himself but imbedded on Earth, where nowadays’ practitioners could go to these holy places to aid in their practice. It’s really fortunate for Vajrayogini and Heruka practitioners with these places exist on Earth. Vajrayogini practice is the practice suitable for practitioners of this times, and the 24 Holy Places are existing on Earth to aid…

    Whereas the Eight Charnel Ground is associated with fighting practitioners’ ego. We normally fear of unseen things, ghosts and etc, and avoid thinking of death…To go to charnel ground to practice aids in fighting with our self-cherishing mind, to focus at ourselves instead of focus out.

  20. Cynthia Lee on Jun 8, 2016 at 6:47 am

    Thank you for this post. What I find interesting is that The 24 Holy Places & 8 Great Charnel Grounds are both different in many aspects yet both are conducive to aid practitioners and challenge their egos.

    It’s exciting to know the mandalas of Heruka exist on earth where VY practitioners can access and invoke the 24 dakinis quickly. Hence, to lose the opportunity to receive the Vajrayogini tantra will be our greatest lost in this lifetime. As knowledge strengthens faith, we should aspire and work hard towards achieving and VY practice.

  21. sweekeong on Jun 8, 2016 at 3:55 am

    Thank you Pastor Niral for taking the time to research and share about Heruka and Vajrayogini and their relation with Mahadeva. Mahadeva is blinded by his indulgence in god realm. It is a dangerous trap because there is no suffering as compared to the human realm. To be borned in god realm and spending away the time in pleasure brings no benefits in the long term. As said in the Lamrim we would eventually fall back to hell realm which is even worst once our karma to stay in the god realm has exhausted.

    I always thought mandala as existing on pure land only. However it is not true for the mandala of Heruka. His mandala exists here physically meaning these places can be visited. This is really wonderful news. Practitioners would gain much benefits because the places are highly blessed.

  22. Sharon Ong on Jun 8, 2016 at 12:40 am

    Before reading this article, I used to wonder about the names of the places in prayers and liturgies that I recite, if these places really existed on earth, be it in ancient times or current day. I used to think that these places are visualised or existed in a different plane of existence. But to my surprise and delight, the Twenty-Four Holy Places do actually exist here on earth. Unlike Shambala that can be found or accessed by selected few with the karma and merits, we can actually visit these Twenty-Four Holy Places.

    After learning that these places are charged with tremendous amounts of blessings that can help in our spiritual practice, these places are going into my bucket list of places to visit. For aspiring tantric practitioners, these 24 places are a must-visit because it is mentioned in this post that practices engaged at any of the 24 places will be fruitful as the various beings who aid tantric practice such as various dakas, dakinis and Dharma protectors will come forth to bless practitioners. These powerhouse places are also said to contain fragments of Heruka’s mandala, making the invocation of this tantric Buddha come to our aid swift.

    The 8 Charnel Grounds reminds me very much of Aghori*, a sect of Hinduism with unorthodox practices that many find extreme, bizarre or even repulsive. While The 8 Charnel Grounds may seem frightening and morbid, but when one looks deeper at its symbolism and significance, it is these very graphic representations that will help set us free. Through the understanding of each symbolism, one would have a roadmap towards Enlightenment.

    Thank you for this insightful read, Pastor Niral.

    *http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/dorje-shugden/aghori.html

  23. Doreen Teoh on Jun 7, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    It was such great act of compassion and wisdom, when Buddha Shakyamuni emanated in the exact form of Mahadeva, but an enlightened being, as the worshipper will now be able to make offerings to enlightened beings and gain merits and imprints instead.

    It is also good to know this Holy Places is now in existence in our present time and in the same dimension as us land, and this will be an opportunity for us to visit these places and pay homage.

    Thank you, Pastor Niral for the research.

  24. Wei Theng on Jun 7, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    Thank you Pastor Niral & team for sharing with us the 24 Holy Places & 8 Great Charnel Grounds.
    From the article, I learned that:
    24 Holy Places:
    1. The origin: The story about Buddha Shakyamuni appeared in the form of Heruka and Vajrayogini in union to Mahadeva/Shiva and his consort Kalratri in order to subdue them, in order to curb the energy of sexual desire that was permeating the various realms.
    2. The significant of the 24 holy places.
    – These are the places that have powerful blessings from Heruka & Vajrayogini as their mandala has been imbedded into the physical landscape of these places.
    – Most importantly, these places exist on earth that we can go visit and do our practices there to invoke the blessing of Heruka & Vajrayogini.
    – The 24 places is each corresponding to different part of our body in tantric practices. When we invoke the daka & dakinis to bless us.
    – These 24 places are particular importance to those who practice the Vajrayogini tantras. The dakinis reside in the 24 Holy Places are considered the 24 dakini entourage of VY that a practitioner can invoke and come to reside in one’s body, blessing their subtle energy channels, winds and drops that to aid one in meditation and to achieve attainment.

    The Eight Charnel Grounds:
    1. Origin: Heruka arose, and in a dance of great compassionate wrath, subdued & liberated Rudra and his consorts (who has been oppress sentient beings, and promoted violence and unethical behaviour at that time) from their physical bodies, sending their minds to pure lands.
    2. The eight charnel grounds signifies the death of the ego and our sufferings. It’s also for us to practice and do our meditation on ending our ego, fear, death, impermanent etc.
    3. It is also very informative that you shared about each of the aspects within the visualization of charnel grounds symbolise tantric elements

    From the article, i also realised how precious and important of Vajrayogini practice that can help us in this era. First, we have the 24 places on earth that we can practice and get the blessings of Vajrayogini. Secondly, the Vajrayogini also easier to practices as the prerequisites are less compared to other tantric practices.
    (To read more about the four prerequisites of Vajrayogini’s practice:http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/getting-closer-to-vajrayogini.html)

    Thank you!

  25. CindyH on Jun 7, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    Reading the story of how Mahadeva was subdued, it again goes to show the great compassion and skills that were at play when Buddha Shakyamuni took whatever form that was necessary which would be effective to cut away Mahadeva’s attachment. In subduing Mahadeva, it benefitted beyond just Mahadeva and his immediate consorts. Others too have benefitted, be it from those propitiating Mahadeva and were developing improper practice as well as attitudes to those impacted by the Mahadeva’s energy of sexual desire which was permeating the other various realms.

    Similarly, the story of Rudra also reflect the same (great compassion and skilful means) as in the midst of assisting Rudra and his consorts by sending their minds to pure lands, not only did others benefit from the immediate reprieve from Rudra’s tyranny but it also gave rise to the Eight Great Charnel Grounds which are of great significance within tantric practice. Basically, in the practices of the wrathful meditational deities, the eight quadrants surrounding the mandala of the deity are visualised as the Eight Great Charnel Grounds. Each of the aspects within the visualised charnel grounds actually symbolise tantric elements.

    On a separate note, it is interesting to find that the physical form of Heruka Chakrasamvara is essentially derived from Mahadeva since Buddha Shakyamuni emanated in a replica form of Mahadeva (albeit being more powerful than Mahadeva).

    It is indeed a great blessing that the 24 Holy Places are actually in our realm and thus physically accessible to us at our current times. The fact that the mandala was not dissolved back into Heruka himself and instead has become imbedded into the physical landscapes, translate to those places being very powerful energy centres. This is clearly a blessing to practitioners considering that those who engage in practices at any of these 24 places, will be aided by the various beings who are known to aid tantric practice such as various dakas, dakinis and Dharma protectors. And a plus point is that when such holy beings are invoked from these places, by virtue of them being so close, they are able to come to the practitioner’s aid quickly.

    Thank you for such an informative article.

  26. Lew on Jun 7, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    Thank you Pastor Niral, Phng Li Kheng, Vinnie Tan and Joy Kam for all your effort in producing this informative article. I have indeed recited prayers and praises which mentioned these holy places and charnel grounds, but never got to understand them in detail.

    From reading the article, I now know that these 24 holy places do actually exist on earth, and we can actually visit them. I guess it will be added to my “to-do-list” in this lifetime to at least visit one or two of these holy places.

    I have also heard from Rinpoche that in the ancient times, we Mahasidda and practitioners would meditate on charnel grounds, to contemplate on death, fear, impermanence and other topics. I used to feel scared upon hearing such way of practice, but these days, my projection is not as strong. I think it is a good thing 🙂 LOL.

  27. Sarah Yap on Jun 7, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    Thank you for about the history on how Heruka and the 8 charnal grounds came about. It is quite interesting, the story of Mahadeva and Rudra, and how Shakyamuni won them over with what seems with great ease.

  28. Li Kheng on May 11, 2016 at 12:15 am

    Thank you Pastor Niral for this enchanting blog post. It is certainly informative and also “fairy tale” like at the same time. I enjoy how the post provides some history about and the origins of tow of the most renowned tantra practice we know of: Heruka Chakrasamvara and Vajrayogini. The story of Heruka and Vajrayogini and how they subdued Mahadeva and Kalratri with the same form (i.e copulation) but higher states of mind (i.e. compassion and wisdom) shows us skillfulness and true compassion to manifest in forms and way that best fits the various mind sets of different beings.

    This is like Rinpoche and other Gurus who return to samsara to turn the Wheel of Dharma. They have to be so skillful to work with the minds of all the students that are still highly deluded by our own ignorance, selfishness and anger.

    I also love the stories about the 24 power places on Earth. Somehow, I believe in their presence and revere at the magic of these phenomena. May these power places emanate their energy around the world and bless sentient beings. May we find our ways to these holy grounds and gain spiritual progress.

    A truly beautiful post!

  29. Chris Chong on Apr 27, 2016 at 11:37 am

    Dear Pastor Niral and Team,

    Thank you for this detail exanation of the 25 holy places and 8 great charnel ground. I had came cross these two phrases very often during Pujas and prayers and had always curious about it. Now, I have a deeper understanding thanks to you all.

    Im extremely fascinated with all the stories of gods and how the Buddhas manifested different forms in order to subdue them. As we can see, Compassion conquers all.

    Chris

  30. Stella Cheang on Apr 27, 2016 at 10:55 am

    The story of Mahadeva happened to be the first Tibetan Buddhism mythology that I came across. Needless to say, I was stumped but equally amused by the uncontrolled desire of Mahadeva, who is the King of the Gods. This got me thinking that if a powerful King of the Gods is attached to his desire, he is therefore, subject to the same cycle of pain & pleasure, just like us. Therefore, ascending to the Gods realm not only is the answer to solving any of our worldly problem, it is potentially a more dangerous place as the level of desire / attachment is much worse.

    It was due to the great compassion of Buddha Shakyamuni who saw that Mahadeva needed to be subdued to curb the sexual desire that was permeating the realms. He manifested into Heruka Chakrasamvara and his consort Vajrayogini, who look like Mahadeva but much more magnificent. Upon seeing the divine form of Heruka and Vajrayogini, Mahadeva and his consort, Kalratri were immediately subdued. They offered themselves under the feet of Heruka and Vajrayogini as a sign that they recognized their wisdom and power. And this is the origin story of Heruka Chakrasamvara and Vajrayogini.

    The 24 Holy Places were 24 powerful places on earth controlled by Mahadeva who assigned each place to a powerful guardian god and goddess. After Mahadeva was subdued these 24 sites become imbedded into the physical landscape. These places are very powerful energy centres, especially for those who practice the Vajrayogini tantras.

    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Niral for this article, it is very interesting. I will read the 2nd part (8 great Charnel Grounds) as soon as I can.

    Humbly, bowing down,
    Stella Cheang

    • Pastor Niral Patel on Apr 27, 2016 at 11:25 pm

      Dear Stella,

      You are right that the gods are bound by the same cycle of pain and pleasure we are. This is due to the form and realm they have taken rebirth in. However, their experience is very different from our own. For example since birth, the gods have all that they could possibly desire and because of that, they are caught up in the enjoyment of these pleasures. That is all that fills their minds – the pure enjoyment of these pleasures. It is very rare for gods to have any other thoughts. Those that we hear of within Buddhist practices who are benevolent and assist practitioners are the exception. Usually, these are from the highest god realms, but there are many gods in the other god realms who live their lives simply enjoying various pleasures.

      But the pain that they suffer is also tremendous. Towards the end of their lives, there are ten signs that manifest, which are omens that the god is about to be reborn in another realm. Usually one of the three lower realms. The reason for this is that they have used up a lot of their good karma while being in the god realms. Therefore their negative karma overwhelms the good karma and they take rebirth into one of the three lower realms.

      One of these signs is that their form no longer radiates light. A god’s body is naturally beautiful and radiant. This lustre disappears when approaching the end of their life. When the other gods see the god without lustre they automatically distance themselves, so the god suffers from intense loneliness. Another sign is that the god remembers their previous life and the good karma which led to rebirth as a god. They also realise that in their current life they have used up this good karma. And they also become aware of where they will be taking rebirth next, more often than not in one of the lower realms. This weighs on the god’s mind greatly, but it is too late for the god to do anything, so this leads to great depression. Only after these ten signs have manifested will the god take rebirth. These have been explained in more detail in the Lam Rim teachings, which you can read if you want to know more.

      A lot people pray to be reborn in one of the god realms so that they can enjoy these pleasures but do not understand that by doing so they will simply bind themselves further to samsaric existence. Therefore, rather than rely on the force of our karma for virtuous states of rebirth, it is better to practice one of the paths followed in traditional practices, (i) gaining complete enlightenment in this lifetime through the practice of Highest Yoga Tantra such as Vajrayogini, (ii) praying and making a concerted effort to take rebirth in a pure land or (iii) to generate the merit to be born in area that has the Dharma that we can continue our practice towards enlightenment.

      This is one of the reasons the Guru Yoga of Lama Tsongkhapa is so important within in our daily practice. During the dissolution of Lama Tsongkhapa into ourselves, we visualise the white cloud-like string that links our heart to the heart of the Buddha Maitreya in Gaden Heaven. When we do this we create a strong link with both Lama Tsongkhapa and Maitreya. This creates the causes for us to be born in the Gaden pure land and for us to practice there without hindrances, or even be reborn during the time when Maitreya will descend and take rebirth as a Samyaksam Buddha to turn the wheel of Dharma again in the world. In both these cases, we are able to receive the Dharma directly from the Maitreya and practice near Maitreya for the speedy achievement of enlightenment.

      • Stella Cheang on Apr 28, 2016 at 11:53 am

        Thank you Pastor Niral for the additional explanation on the dying process of Gods and why God realms is not exactly a good place to be to advance our spirituality. I will take heed that we should practice one of the paths followed in traditional practices as mentioned.

        humbly,
        Stella

  31. Lester on Apr 24, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    Thank you all for this informative article. It has given me insights into Buddhist principles. It is interesting to know that even sentient beings like the gods can be so powerful as to warrant the extraordinary efforts of Buddhas to subdue them. I bet these too are enlightened beings in disguise. The alternative interpretation shared by some cultural historians are that this is a narrative conjured by Buddhists to justify their popularity over Brahmanism. But given that so many enlightened masters relied on liturgies as such, I bet this is highly unlikely. Have a good day.

    • Pastor Niral Patel on Apr 26, 2016 at 9:29 pm

      Dear Lester,

      You are right in that some historians have made similar comments. Whatever the case may be, we should realise what impact these stories have for own personal spiritual development.

      One of these is to remember that there are many states one can take rebirth in, from the highest as the gods in the god realms to the lowest as beings suffering in hell. Despite our circumstances and however we feel that things are going well when are in the midst of samsaric activities, we do have our attachments and mistaken view of life. This will always lead us to further suffering. We need to realise that the only way to overcome the suffering and our mistaken views is to become a Buddha ourselves.

      When we are doing our daily practices and we come across mention of these places, yes we invoke the holy beings from these sites. But what will make this invocation more effective, is remembering the reasons why these places are significant. In essence, this is due to the compassion of the enlightened beings. From compassion for all beings, Buddha Shakyamuni arose as Heruka and Vajrayogini to subdue the energies of this particular god, and he arose again to save beings from being tormented. This remembrance of the compassion of the Buddha, and that we should develop compassion to help others within our spiritual practice is the key to ensure this invocation has the most efficacy. When we focus out and care about others, developing compassion, the enlightened energies of the Buddhas can permeate our lives, blessing us and others around us.

  32. Bradley Kassian on Apr 24, 2016 at 11:21 am

    Great detailed explanation Pastor Niral, Phng Li Kheng, Vinnie Tan and Joy Kam. Thank you, this was very informative. This helped me understand dharmapala liturgy a lot better. I now know these places actually exist here on Earth. Please all of you continue to write. Excellent article! 🙂

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  • Alice Tay
    Tuesday, Apr 25. 2017 04:26 PM
    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Adeline sharing this interesting post about Bodhidharma, a great master favoured meditation and introduced the Lankavatara Sutra to Chinese Buddhism.

    Here are a few points I have learned from this post:
    1. Bodhidharma had strong imprints of Dharma from the past and therefore he is interested in Buddha’s teachings and show his great wisdom. at a very young age.
    2. His strong guru devotion and determination in learning and spreading the dharma based on meditation though he confronted with difficulties such as Emperor Wu Di was not impressed by his teachings, being ostracized and rejected and lived as a beggar for many months. Notwithstanding, he continued and never give up to practice meditation in complete silence for nine years in cave wall when he was not accepted by Shaolin Monastery at the beginning .
    3. When Bodhidharma was allowed enter to the monastery, he had put a lot of efforts to help the monks in improving their physical body as well as their mind through the meditation. Then, Bodhidharma continued to develop a system of 18 dynamic tension exercises which were printed as Yi Gin Ching (Changing Muscle/Tendon Classic) in 550 CE. It is known as the Luohan (arhat) 18 Hand Movements today which serves as the basis of both Chinese Temple Boxing and the Shaolin Martial Arts.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/bodhidharma-the-founder-of-gongfu.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Tuesday, Apr 25. 2017 04:10 PM
    Thank you, Grace, for sharing with us the many tips on how to care for and maintain our hair. Personal grooming is important because when we care for our appearance, we are respecting the people who have to deal with us. Caring for our hair, making sure that it is neat and clean should be something we need to take care of since young as it is part of personal grooming. The key is not to be attached to our body and outer-images, that results in spending much time and resources just to make ourselves look good.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/guest-contributors/how-much-do-you-know-about-hair.html
  • Alice Tay
    Tuesday, Apr 25. 2017 03:00 PM
    Thank you for sharing these wonderful and significant photos showed that Kechara Pastors’ tireless efforts to bring dharma to many others and do the blessings whenever is necessary.

    Basically, the pastorship role was conceptualized by our precious guru, H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche, to preserve the Dharma and to give laypeople an opportunity to commit to benefiting others. Kechara Pastors are fully dedicated and selflessly serving others especially in spiritual growth and therefore this is good for us to support the Pastors so that they can focus and spend more of their time and effort to serve others and most importantly Buddhist teachings can be spread and shared to many others. The supports to Pastors including food, lodging, transportation, items necessary for their work, such as ritual items or spiritual gifts for those in need and many others. (If you are interested to know more about Kechara Pastors, please have a good read at http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/support-the-kechara-pastors.html)

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/10-amazing-house-blessings-by-kechara-pastors.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Apr 25. 2017 02:13 PM
    Its such a great blessing for all of us to hear the holy voice recordings of H.H Kyabje Zong Rinpoche a great master..His profound teachings ,got to take seroiusly,more as an important advice on Dorje Shugden’s practice.H.H Kyabje Zong Rinpoche’s explaination was very clear before any of the practitioner’s commitment and receive sogtae.They must keep the lineage practice and teachings no matter what ever happen.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing with us on the important advice by a great master.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/kyabje-zong-rinpoches-advice-on-dorje-shugdens-practice.html
  • Lin Mun
    Tuesday, Apr 25. 2017 11:50 AM
    Thank you Pastor Han Nee for your sharing your thoughts and review about the book “Be Happy” written by Rinpoche. It is indeed not easy to be happy as we all have various expectation in every situation and people.

    We may think having a big house, lots of cash and good career is happiness but this is the wrong perception. Being happy is not about material and everything about ourselves. It is only when we can do more for others and focus out that we gain happiness. I never realised this until I joined Kechara. I think we have such a fixed mindset of what happiness is and when our expectation is not met, we are unhappy.

    Rinpoche has pointed out many ways for us to rectify our thoughts and methods to be happy. Now it is for us to take initiative to change and transform our mind if we want to be happy.

    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Han Nee for this article.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/be-happy.html
  • Lin Mun
    Monday, Apr 24. 2017 12:30 PM
    Many people do not believe in reincarnation and only relates it to certain religion such as Hinduism and Buddhism. However, there were many instances and signs that proven reincarnation exist. As Buddhist we will believe in reincarnation and karma. It is by understanding that everything has its cause and effect that we should learn to live life in the correct attitude and mindset. Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this interesting articles to remind us of karma and the importance of doing dharma practise.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/interesting-signs-of-reincarnation.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Apr 23. 2017 08:29 PM
    Thank you Rinpoche for your teachings.
    Always be generous and kind in what ever we could do even its little help.It’s the little things in life that bring the greatest happiness. Its between us and our Buddha ,so we would not bother what the receipient thinks and say of us. What ever was said ,should not deter our motivation to do Dharma work.
    (It will change people’s lives in one way or another. It will change your life for the better.)….well said by Rinpoche.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/its-not-between-you-and-the-recipient.html
  • Lin Mun
    Sunday, Apr 23. 2017 07:16 PM
    Thank you Grace for this interesting articles about hair. There are just so much info which we do not know previously. Most of the time we may neglect the details, thinking as long as we clean our hair everyday it is sufficient. But there are so many things we need to know for example types of hair, scalp condition, our environment and our physical condition which may affect our hair. Great tips.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/guest-contributors/how-much-do-you-know-about-hair.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Apr 23. 2017 03:31 PM
    Amazing miracles……….its show that the practice of Dorje Shugden is so powerful and will help whoever needs help regardless of race and religIon, far or near as long we have faith and trust. Dorje Shugden is an emanation of Manjushri , arose to protect the teachings of Lama Tsongkhapa. Dorje Shugden helps us to purify our own negative karma and clearing o bstacles .It is a very beneficial practice and we can in turn to help our friends and people in need.
    The two stories told by Datuk May was one of those miracles that Dorje Shugden has helped.
    Thank you Datuk May for sharing these amazing miracles.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/guest-contributors/%EF%BB%BF%EF%BB%BFdorje-shugden-miracles.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Apr 23. 2017 12:19 PM
    Well i do not have much knowledge obout hair till i read these imformative article.Thank you Ms Grace Leong,,,i do enjoyed reading it as i learned some knowledge from it at least i could know what hair type i do have and taking caring of it.Very useful tips too.
    Yes it true,most of us spend more time and money on our face and less on our hair. With your useful tips ,i am sure more people will be taking care of their hair and scalp too .
    Thank again Ms Grace Leong for sharing
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/guest-contributors/how-much-do-you-know-about-hair.html
  • Valentina Suhendra
    Sunday, Apr 23. 2017 09:20 AM
    Pig Slaughter

    When you watch how the poor pig cried for his life in this article’s video, you will understand that animals have feeling too. None of them are willing to be slaughtered to satisfy our taste buds. Please be kind to animals and be vegetarian.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/pig-slaughter.html
  • Tsem Rinpoche
    Sunday, Apr 23. 2017 03:33 AM
    This is a powerful movie. The Tillerman siblings are forced to fend for themselves when they are abandoned by their mother in the parking lot of a shopping mall. Heart wrenching to see. Abandonment is very hard and affects you for the rest of your life. They eventually meet their grandmother (Anne Bancroft), a loner who is reluctant to take them in. The acting is excellent. The plot was powerful. The struggles are believable. The ending was beautiful and everyone should have a good ending. Must watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yN6HQGHVYaA
  • Jason
    Sunday, Apr 23. 2017 02:28 AM
    Dorje Shugden( DS)is World Peace Dharma Protector and he is emanation of Manjushri (Buddha of Wisdom). DS always help anyone to clear inner or outer obstacles in order for us to have a conducive environment to practice Dharma.
    From above miracles cases, we can see that DS really compassion to help layman in samsara to overcome problems or difficulties.
    In return to DS, we must practice Dharma to nurture or cultivate wisdom and compassion to benefits more people.
    Thanks Datum May for sharing her own experiences to us.

    Jason

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/guest-contributors/%EF%BB%BF%EF%BB%BFdorje-shugden-miracles.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Saturday, Apr 22. 2017 04:07 PM
    Thank you, Nicholas, for sharing with us how you started with Kechara. It is very inspiring to learn that Nicholas started volunteering at KSK, no doubt being nudged to do so, but it was with noble and unconditional intention and had gone all the way since then.

    Each and every one of us has unique affinity, hence, different preference in setting our foot out of our comfort zone to start benefitting others. It is because of this reason; Rinpoche initiated many departments so that people with different preference can find an area that calls out to them.

    I hope more people will volunteer their time for a cause, it not only make our life more meaningful but also expand our horizon as well as benefit many people along the way.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-soup-kitchen-ksk/my-first-time-volunteering-in-kechara.html
  • Lin Mun
    Saturday, Apr 22. 2017 02:51 PM
    It is indeed difficult when a person loss his/her pet. It is never easy because for many pet owners they don’t treat their dog/cat literally but as part of their family. Especially for dog and their nature, they are so loyal and the bonding with human is very strong. Hence, it is understandable that pet owners will grieve over the death of their dog. Every pet owners will mourn or grieve at different extent. As family member and friends we should understand the situation and extend our assistance to comfort them.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/why-losing-a-dog-can-be-harder-than-losing-a-relative-or-friend.html

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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

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

Videos On The Go

Please click on the images to watch video
  • Heartbreaking, must watch
    2 weeks ago
    Heartbreaking, must watch
  • Mongolian pop group singing hauntingly in Mongolian
    2 weeks ago
    Mongolian pop group singing hauntingly in Mongolian
  • Nice treats for your dogs
    2 weeks ago
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  • Mumu did his best to recover. He never cried but was valiant to accept treatments by the vet.
    3 weeks ago
    Mumu did his best to recover. He never cried but was valiant to accept treatments by the vet.
  • 98 year-old Ben Ferencz, the last surviving prosecutor from the Nuremberg trials. Powerful advice.
    3 weeks ago
    98 year-old Ben Ferencz, the last surviving prosecutor from the Nuremberg trials. Powerful advice.
  • Decide for yourself what's beautiful.
    3 weeks ago
    Decide for yourself what's beautiful.
  • Tsem Rinpoche's Vajra Yogini statue and offerings.
    3 weeks ago
    Tsem Rinpoche's Vajra Yogini statue and offerings.
  • If you say,
    3 weeks ago
    If you say, "You wanna go bye bye" to Mumu, he will be excited. He loves to go for rides.
  • Snake begs for water.
    3 weeks ago
    Snake begs for water.
  • Tsem Rinpoche's beautiful Vajra Yogini shrine which is a portal to Kechara.
    3 weeks ago
    Tsem Rinpoche's beautiful Vajra Yogini shrine which is a portal to Kechara.
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    3 weeks ago
    Denma Gonsa Rinpoche on guru devotion and Dorje Shugden
    His Eminence Kyabje Denma Gonsa Rinpoche the mahasiddha speaks clearly about guru devotion and Dorje Shugden
  • Beautiful turtle returning to the sea to be free and happy. Amazing sight.
    4 weeks ago
    Beautiful turtle returning to the sea to be free and happy. Amazing sight.
  • Japan's greatest modern day artist, Yayoi Kusama
    4 weeks ago
    Japan's greatest modern day artist, Yayoi Kusama

ASK A PASTOR


Ask the Pastors

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

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

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

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