Why We Become Sangha: A Reply to an Online Friend

Aug 16, 2016 | Views: 6,451
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Recently an online friend contacted me with some questions about the process of taking someone as a teacher and also about becoming a monk. They said that they have a strong desire to become ordained in the future but for now they have familial responsibilities to take care of. It was a very sincere message and I felt I had to reply to them. So I recorded a message which I then had one of my students transcribe because I wish to share with others here as the information may be of benefit to you also.

I sincerely rejoice for anyone who has the wish to become ordained. When someone has this wish, it shows they have the seeds of renunciation in their mind. This means they have the potential to renounce their attachments in the same way the Buddha did and take their first steps towards enlightenment. Renouncing doesn’t mean giving up the things we like but it means cutting away our attachment and grasping to those things. It definitely is a key component in our practice and Buddha Shakyamuni himself showed this when he left the palace and all its wealth and pleasures, in order to seek a path to enlightenment. He cut off his hair and discarded his princely clothes, and took on simple robes to become, at first, an ascetic and later the first Buddhist monk. Hence we say that the very, very sacred lineage of monk and nun ordinations began with the Buddha Shakyamuni 2500 years.

ZongRinpocheCutsMyHair

I have wanted to be a monk since I was very young. This photo was taken in 1987 when His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche accepted my request to become ordained. He cut a few strands of my hair as an mark of auspiciousness and to indicate his acceptance.

For most people to become a monk or nun in this day and age is not easy at all. There are many distractions that we create for ourselves and obstacles that arise as a result of our karma manifesting. So it is said that in today’s world, the merits of holding the monk vows for just one day is so great, it is comparable to holding the vows for an entire lifetime during Buddha’s time.

Because it is so difficult to be a monk or nun in today’s world, it also means that supporting the Sangha is very important because they are the ones who do what many others cannot. They ‘sacrifice’ secular success to live and breathe the Buddha’s teachings, so that the blessings in the Dharma are alive and potent for others to benefit from it too. This is why the the Sangha as part of the Three Jewels is very important and making offerings to them and supporting them is very meritorious. It creates the causes so that we will be successful in our own practice and gain attainments.

Actually to become a monk or a nun is not a sacrifice. ‘Sacrifice’ implies that we had to give up something positive and pleasurable, for something that’s negative and not pleasurable. But there is nothing negative about becoming a Sangha and there is nothing positive about samsara. Samsara contains all of the causes and results of our suffering whereas monkhood and the vows contain all of the causes for our liberation. So it was one of the happiest days of my life when His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche accepted my request to become a monk and he cut a strand of my hair as an auspicious sign of his acceptance.

I hope many more people will be inspired like this person below to consider taking up ordination vows, even temporarily as they do in the Thai tradition. As I said, to hold the vows for just one day creates great waves of merits for us and our loved ones. Please do read the post below carefully and understand why the Sangha is so important as part of the Three Jewels.

Tsem Rinpoche

 


 

Transcript

Transcribed by: Pastor Khong Jean Ai

Or view the video on the server at: http://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/WhyWeBecomeSangha.flv

For one to accept another person as a teacher, they do not need to be physically present or even necessarily physically have met the teacher. In the mind of the student, when they think, “This is my teacher”, then it becomes the teacher. When you think like that very strongly, even without a formal ceremony or formal introduction, the person becomes your teacher. So therefore it is possible to have faith and respect, and also a draw to a person who are karmically connected with. So in short, when we think the person’s our teacher, then we should hold the person as our teacher and very loyally and very strongly, and study the 50 Verses of Guru Devotion and also the teacher-disciple relationship as written by Tsongkhapa. That will be very good.

Next one is – in order to become a novice monk, one can be basically any age. For one to become a fully ordained monk – a bhikshu, a gelong – you have to be above the age of 21. So to be a novice monk, you can hold the basic preliminary vows and that one can be at any age. Again, to become a fully ordained monk, you have to be a novice monk first. After becoming a novice monk, after the age of 21, then you are a fully ordained monk (a bhikshu or, in Tibetan, a gelong). It is possible to become a monk and outwardly live a lay person’s life, working, paying bills and taking care of responsibilities with a strong aspiration that one wishes to become a monk also outwardly, not only inwardly. Within the monk vows, you have the tsawa shi, or the four main root vows. It’s the most important that one needs to hold and keep very sacred, and keep very strong. So I would highly recommend for you now, to read the monk verses which you can Google online and find. I think it should be on my blog also, on a post. Read up on the monk vows, especially the four root vows. And feel and think as if you are a monk already, and then behave and act and do and speak and talk as if you are a monk.

Many years ago, when I was in Los Angeles, when I was living with the master Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen, I also expressed to him my strong wish to become a monk. But because I had bills, I had payments, I had loans, I couldn’t take off and leave the United States and go to India immediately. So it took me, from the time I wished to become a monk until I left, it was five or six years before I could accomplish it. So Geshe-la told me, “Although you are not a monk now, you should behave like one, act like one, speak like one, talk like one and most importantly, think like one. Although you are not wearing the robes of a monk, or you’re not in a monk environment and physically acting like a monk, the attitude should be one of a monk.” This is what he told me.

So when I actually take my monk vows, then it becomes very, very powerful and it becomes very easy, and it’s a very smooth transition. You don’t want to behave and act and think like you’re a monk when you become a monk. You have to act and behave and think like one before you become one so it becomes a very smooth transition. To take on the monk vows these days, and to hold on to it for one day is equivalent to holding on to it for one lifetime during Buddha’s time. So if we were to hold monk vows now, or nun vows now, one day of holding our vows strongly and well, we collect the same amount of merit as if during Buddha’s time, we are holding our vows for a whole lifetime. And the reason is because it is more tough and more difficult to hold our vows these days, the obstacles are much more. Since the obstacles are much more, the merits are much more, similarly.

And the reason we wish to become a monk is, the monkhood is based on the self-liberation vows, pratimoksha. And what we wish is that we see the faults, we see the disasters, we see the repercussions and the repetitiveness, roboticness of samsaric life. How we just engage in actions that are robotic and repetitive, that have no purpose. Seeing the faults of this in samsara, and understanding the faults of this in samsara, we develop a very strong renunciation. When we develop a strong renunciation, we seek and we wish to go towards full enlightenment. Because we wish to go towards full enlightenment, then Lord Buddha has offered us the vows of a monk and a nun which we can take. And upon taking them and living within the vows, we create the causes for nirvana or self-liberation. When these vows are taken with a motivation of benefiting others, then the power of the vows extend more and further and wider and much more bigger. So taking on the vows of a monk is very powerful.

Taking on the vows of a monk or a nun is very powerful because one creates the causes for one to get the five senses under control. Think how difficult it is to control our speech, our thinking. Think how difficult it is to control our feelings, our attachments and what we see, and our desires. When we take the vows of a monk or nun, we create the causes and every day we collect the merit to control our five senses. To control our mind that instead of it or they becoming objects or venues that create more sorrow, they become venues that create more peace and happiness. Ordinary people use their sight to find negative actions, they use their ears to listen to negative actions, they use their speech to perpetuate negative actions, and they use their mind to increase and plot and plan for more negative actions. Negative actions do not make a person negative, but negative actions arise from a person’s ignorance. So negative actions and negative thought doesn’t make a person evil or bad, but it’s natural and spontaneous because of habituation and because of ignorance.

So therefore we are not in control of our mind. We are not in control of our senses and we are always looking for sensory gratification. And when we look for sensory gratification, this increases the desire and hatred and anger and attachment in our mind, which fuels the sensory attachments and fulfilling those attachments. And then those attachments make us thirsty and then we want to find more fulfilment, and then that makes us even more empty and more lonely, and it goes round and round and round and round. So therefore taking the vows of a monk or a nun, the main purpose is to cut our attachment, cut the basis of all that increases our attachment through the five senses. All that increases our attachment through the five senses are cut by taking on the vows, and therefore when we take on the vows and we hold it well, we gain control of our mind, we gain control of our five senses.

Therefore our five senses are used as venues to create virtue, peace, happiness and liberation for ourselves and others, as opposed to our five senses being used to create more desire, more anger, more thirst, more lack of peace. So therefore holding on to these vows is extremely important, and when we think about it, we should think about Lord Buddha very strongly, and we should take refuge in Lord Buddha very strongly, and we should think about Lord Buddha very strongly. And by thinking about Lord Buddha very, very, very strongly, we take refuge in Lord Buddha. We take refuge in Lord Buddha and we realise that Buddha became a Buddha by the practice of the Dharma. And therefore we take refuge in the holy Dharma.

When we take refuge in the holy Dharma, the Dharma has all the methods to eradicate every single neurosis and negative thought and negative action and its propensity within our mindstream. And therefore Dharma is the real path that brings genuine happiness, genuine peace and genuine fruition of good actions. So therefore we take refuge in the Dharma, realising that when we practise and when we engage in the Dharma, it has the real genuine methods for bringing peace and an end to this robotic existence that we are stuck in over and over, life after life.

And therefore those who embody these teachings, those who embody and practise and learn and meditate and engage in the teachings are Sangha. Monks and nuns, Dharma brothers and sisters who give up their worldly attachments and they engage in the Dharma strongly, and therefore the Dharma arises in their mind in the form of the eradication of these attachments. So when the Sangha have the eradication of these negative states of mind, and positive states of mind arise and therefore their actions are virtuous, they become a true Sangha and someone that we can take refuge in, and we can take inspiration from.

In 1987, when I met His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Washington, New Jersey, I requested His Holiness to ordain me as a monk. His Holiness agreed that he would ordain me when I got to India.

So therefore realising the power of the Buddha and his / her enlightenment, and the holy Dharma that is the cause of this enlightenment, and then the Sangha who embody the Dharma and practise the Dharma, where we can receive the Dharma from – we take refuge in the holy Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha from our heart, and we develop renunciation. And from renunciation, we develop a true longing to escape the unhappiness of ordinary, robotic, empty, attached life. And therefore,

“I wish to become a monk, I wish to become a nun so that I can live the rest of my life in spiritual peace, in peace, in mental peace where I am protected by my vows from being attached to another person romantically, from being attached to money, materialistically, from being attached to clothes and perfumes and ornaments and fun and music, and all these things that actually, that when I engage in, they only bring more and more emptiness. So I am protected from this. And within this protection, I am able to have the space and the time and the peace to practise Dharma. And therefore when I practise the Dharma, I develop my mind. When I develop my mind, I become spiritually aware and I grow spiritually so that in the end, whatever I have missed in my life as a monk or a nun doesn’t become something I have missed. It is something that I have avoided, that would’ve caused a lot of problems.”

And therefore no regrets come from avoiding all secular activities, all secular so-called ‘fun’. Therefore being a monk and a nun is pure protection. It is like wearing a fireproof suit that even though you’re near the fire, your body does not burn because you’re protected. So by having the vows of a monk or a nun, we are protected from the fires of passion, anger, attachment, desire, robotic life and basically wasting our life on doing things that bring no benefit. So it’s like having a fireproof suit against samsara and its burning activities that bring no satisfaction whatsoever. So therefore before we become a monk, before we become a nun, we should behave like one, think like one, act like one and we should focus that we are like a monk and behave like one. And how do we behave like a monk or a nun? To be extremely humble, to be respectful of others, to be infinitely patient in other people’s behaviours that we might find disturbing. We should be infinitely tolerant of others and we should use our body and our speech and our mind to bring benefit to others, to increase other people’s faith in the Dharma. Not in a showy way, not in a way of showing off but by practice. So therefore as a monk and a nun, what’s most important is that we behave in such a way that increases other people’s faith, increases other people’s practice. And if we are highly attained, we can use many methods to bring other people to the Dharma, to tame their minds to the Dharma. But as ordinary monks and nuns, we should be very humble, we should be very caring, we should take care of others when they’re ill, we should make sure they are fed, we should protect them from the elements, we should focus out and make sure that others are comfortable, at least those around us as a beginning. So to have the aspiration to become a monk, to think of Lord Buddha very strongly and to have that aspiration to become a monk and to pray to become a Sangha – a monk or a nun – is extremely virtuous.

Remember, the lineage of the Sangha – monk and nunhood – arose not from a Tibetan lama or an Indian pandit but it arose from Lord Buddha himself. Therefore whatever has arisen from the mind of an enlightened being such as Buddha can only bring benefit. In today’s world, when you tell people you wish to become a monk or a nun, it creates fear and disgust in their minds thinking that you’re wasting your life. The truth is, they are wasting their life. When you become a monk or a nun, you don’t waste your life. If you waste your life by becoming a monk or a nun, then Buddha Shakyamuni would’ve wasted his life. That’s not possible.

So therefore I rejoice in what your aspiration is and I offer prayers to the Three Jewels that your aspirations come true. Most important now is to think and behave and act like a monk. Study up on the monk vows and understand why you want to become a monk. Understand that well within yourself. Actually, laypeople are not allowed to study the vows of a monk or a nun but in this case, it is an exception because you wish to become one.

I wish you very well and I offer my prayers to Lord Buddha for your success.

Tsem Tulku

 

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55 Responses to Why We Become Sangha: A Reply to an Online Friend

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  1. Wan Wai Meng on Nov 28, 2016 at 12:43 am

    Thank you Rinpoche for giving a teaching that will benefit many to be Sangha in the future and Rinpoche’s advise that people behave like monks and nuns before the take on the role is practical for our day and age. The holy Sangha are always the ones who will preserve the buddhist tradition in to the future.

  2. graceleong on Oct 18, 2016 at 1:17 am

    During my first audience with Rinpoche 7 years ago, someone asked the question “why are there so many devoted young people assisting Rinpoche ?” Rinpoche replied amongst other things that in Tibet many become monks/nuns or Dharma practitioners at very young age, just like Rinpoche himself. However it is not so in Malaysia and hence some of us find this unique.
    This post describes powerfully why one should become a Sangha, irrespective of culture or geographical differences.

    The following phrase from Rinpoche resonates with me
    “”It is possible to become a monk and outwardly live a lay person’s life, working, paying bills and taking care of responsibilities with a strong aspiration that one wishes to become a monk also outwardly, not only inwardly””
    If circumstances does not permit one to be ordained, it doesn’t mean that he/she cannot live a life in accordance with the pure Dharma. Living in accordance to the Dharma constitutes taking on and observing vows. These vows are rules that cut our attachments arising through the five senses. When we observe the vows very well we gain full control of the 5 senses,hence, we ultimately gain control of our own MIND too! Everyone should aim to achieve this state of mind. Even as a lay person we are able to aspire to develop a pure and peaceful mind.
    Eventually when conditions permit, receiving ordination and leading a life in the correct environment (e.g monastery) and continuing to observe the vows will result in further attainments.

    I sincerely rejoice for those who have the perfect conditions to become a Sangha. By becoming a Sangha and observing the vows, the Dharma lives on; and when the Dharma lives on more beings will be relieved from their sufferings !!

  3. JP on Sep 24, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for the clear explanation on the significance of being sangha. It is definitely a huge step forward towards one’s salvation. Renunciation is the first step to releasing ourselves from Samsara. When sangha members have the correct motivation and exude selflessness, humility, and kindness, they inspire others that genuine peace and happiness are possible.

  4. Sharon Ong on Sep 24, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    While many of us aspire to become ordained one day but cannot at the moment due to worldly responsibilities, we can still start behaving like an ordained person by being nice, kind, humble and patient. And while we work at our aspiration, we should also support those who are already on their way towards theirs or already ordained Sangha members.

    Another important point that I learnt from this post is that one does not have to be physically near a Guru to take another as one’s Guru. All one needs is faith, devotion and the Lama is qualified as stated in the 50 Verses of Guru Devotion.

    Thank you for this post, Rinpoche. May there be the Sangha community grow even more in the near future.

  5. Vinnie Tan on Sep 24, 2016 at 2:27 am

    To be letting go of what we hold dearly is a way for us to not be attached and not have desire, and anger that arises from within us. This is very true as previously I had a time that I was spiralling down, and the main problem was because of the attachment that I had towards things and people that I care about. I prioritised things that were of not of value when we pass away. Through that attachments, it made me extremely angry and even vindictive. It was a scary place to be and I do not wish anyone to be in that position.

    It was a place that is constantly depressing and when you look at others, it is a constant look out for the faults of others. Even to heal from that it takes time and effort to not go down that route again. To be consistently aware of what is going on, so that you will be able to pull yourself back on track.

    I agree that the vows help us to keep ourselves checked and on track so that we will not degenerate in anyway. However, the true choice is up to us where we make the choice to choose the path. Even when we take the vows, we are able to break it. It is only when we want that for ourselves as well, we will be then able to control our minds, catching ourself when we slip.

    Thank you Rinpoche for having this precious teaching available for all of us here. Thank you Pastor Jean Ai for having this teaching transcribed.

  6. Mingwen on Sep 23, 2016 at 3:58 am

    “For most people to become a monk or nun in this day and age is not easy at all. There are many distractions that we create for ourselves and obstacles that arise as a result of our karma manifesting. So it is said that in today’s world, the merits of holding the monk vows for just one day is so great, it is comparable to holding the vows for an entire lifetime during Buddha’s time.”

    Regarding to this statement above, I think it a bless to not born in a rich family. People who are rich have so many powerful distractions and seductions. Hence, these powerful distractions and seductions act as an extremely tall wall, to able to practice Dharma and to be a Sangha, we have to climb over this wall. The more worldly enjoyment we have in life, the more difficult it become for us to practice Dharma.

    To let go what that have been attached are extremely difficult for us, it takes a lot of commitments, efforts and times.

    May more people be able to realise the sufferings from samsara and cut off those strong attachments as soon as possible.

  7. Pastor Henry Ooi on Sep 22, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    “So it is said that in today’s world, the merits of holding the monk vows for just one day is so great, it is comparable to holding the vows for an entire lifetime during Buddha’s time.”

    The above sentence is so meaningful and powerful. Lord Buddha and all the enlightened masters in their great wisdom have seen how degenerate people would be in our present time and in the future that they encourage us to dorn the Sangha robe and hold the vows even just for a day. How much merit would we collect if we were to do that for seven days, or seven months, or seven years…or for the rest of our lives. The Chinese believe that merit collected from virtuous deeds and meritorious work would benefit their children, grandchildren and their children for seven generations. This is similar to daily reciting 1000 times of Quanyin or Chenrezig or Avalokiteshvara mantra Om Mani Padme Hung. All these would prevent the person and their generations from taking rebirth in the lower realms of existence.

  8. Jace Chong on Sep 22, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    Rejoice for the person who request to be an ordained person. Like Rinpoche said in the article, it’s not easy for modern people to have the thought and determination to be ordained.

    A fully ordained monk needs to hold 227 vows and nun needs another extra 110. Holding vow is like being jailed for normal and shallow people like me who too attached to comfort life. But in fact, holding monk and nun vows allow one to be liberated from the suffering, by not doing those actions that bind us in Samsara, we gain total freedom.

    Modern people becoming ordained is tougher than in Buddha’s time, there are much inner and outer battle they need to overcome. May those who have the thought arise to be ordained, have more determination to make it happen. May I able to be an ordained person too to live the precious human life to the fullest.

    Thank you.

  9. June Kang on Sep 22, 2016 at 10:33 pm

    I always think that I can not be a nun. However after reading this article, I realised that is nothing to do whether you can or can not because we suppose to behave like a monk/nun before we become a monk/nun. This is a wake up call to me. With this practice, it also can help us develop a strong renunciation. And if we hold our vows correctly, if can purify our negative karma and collect more merits. This is a very profound teaching.

    Thank you Rinpoche.

  10. Khoo Hou Haw on Sep 22, 2016 at 10:23 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for explaining of why we become sangha. Before I met Kechara, the typical thinking of mine was only people who wanted to escape from the responsibilities of them would choose the “passive” way of becoming a monk or nun. Now that I have studied more and involve more in Dharma activities, I realised that to become a sangha, and to take up the vows, need a person who is very discipline, strong willed and courageous. Whenever I see a sangha today, I feel very respectful of them as they have reach a higher level of mind than me who still do not have the courage to let go of my attachments.

    Thank you Rinpoche

  11. Albert on Sep 22, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    I remember Rinpoche once said before, when we want to be a Sangha, when we want to be a Pastor, it is not about when we wear the robe or pastor uniform, then we are one, wearing the robe doesn’t mean anything if our mind and action is not work as a Sangha, it is not about the robe or uniform, but it is our mind as mentioned in this article.

    Being a Sangha is very beneficial, because it is the path to cut off our attachments which cause us suffering, we will collect tremendous merits when we hold the monk vows and do it well, Rinpoche also mentioned, in this day, holding monk vows for a day is equivalent to vows we hold for whole life during Buddha’s time, that’s why it is very good we can make aspiration to be a monk or a nun, don’t have to hold the vows and wear the robe now, but can start to train ourselves to act in this way so that in future when the time comes, we are ready for it.

  12. Eric kksiow on Sep 22, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    Becoming a Buddhist monk or nun is truly a meaningful and worthwhile way to spend ours life, and to be of benefit to others. We are very fortunate that the monastic tradition started by the Buddha is still alive today, thanks to the devotion, dedication and efforts of many thousands of monks and nuns in Asia over the last 2600 years. Although there is great benefit in becoming ordained, the life of a Buddhist monk or nun also carries a deep responsibility for oneself and for others.

    Thank You
    Eric kksiow

  13. pammie yap on Sep 22, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    “Although you are not a monk now, you should behave like one, act like one, speak like one, talk like one and most importantly, think like one. Then it becomes very, very powerful and it becomes very easy, and it’s a very smooth transition.”
    This makes much sense! Its the same as driving, one have to learn, practice and think ‘smart’ before being able to drive on the road. Else, there will be mistakes, accidents and regrets. Nobody wants that. So to think and practice being a Sangha and to aspire being one makes it such a good practice.

    I strongly agree that Dharma has all the methods to eradicate negative thought and negative action. After all, I dare say that those who is learning Dharma and practicing is becoming a better person and NOT the other way round. ‘Fun’ is not fun at all in samsara, because nothing positive ever comes our of it except unhappiness and attachments. It makes us go deeper and it becomes super hard to let go, hence creating more negative karma and more attachments. Many Chinese believe that if one becomes a Sangha, they waste their live, I do not believe it at all. Instead, I would rejoice and support the person any way I can.

    Thank you Rinpoche for this rejoicing post.
    _/\_ Pam

  14. nicholas on Sep 22, 2016 at 10:15 pm

    I often heard people said that being ordain as a monk or nun is an act of wasting life and we will miss a lot of stuff in life. In fact from reading what Rinpoche mentioned here it’s actually a way to liberate ourselves from all the problem we have which actually created by ourselves too. Taking the monk/nun vows is a way to control our five senses that eventually controlled by our mind.

    I see this as a great benefit than a sacrifice. A method that we can liberate ourselves from whatever problem that we always complain from.

    One more thing that I really learn from this article and I often heard from Rinpoche on becoming a monk/nun is that we should start to act, speak and think like one before we being ordained. This is a practice to prepare ourselves because we don’t want to have a shock later when we being ordained and if we can’t take it it will not be good also to return the vows. In this case that’s why Rinpcohe has all the sangha to be in Kechara to go through a transition period by having them to wear white, shave their head and some other requirements to follow. This is to get them ready and also start to live like one so when they are ordained the transition will be smooth as they have already live like one.

  15. Moh Mei on Sep 22, 2016 at 10:15 pm

    It would be inspiring for someone to have the correct understanding and motivation as mentioned in this article to become a sangha. To have the correct motivation why we should become sangha. Realistically I think why people actually become sangha can be for many different reasons. In Tibet, some children ae sent to the monastery to become sangha as young as 4 years old. I think this implies tradition more than motivation of that 4 year old boy, though one can still argue but it’s only because he has the merit and karma to be born into a family that would send him to a monastery to become a monk.

    A common phrase one can often hear in a Buddhist community when one gave up or failed to do something is that person has “no karma” or “no merit” for it. There is a strong implication that all is pre-destined. While the core value is to teach peple to take responsibility of their thoughts and actions, karma however becomes an extremenly convenient scapegoat.

    It’s undeniable that human has no real control over our five senses. We have very little if no control over our speech, our thoughts and our feelings. We simply prefer to continue to live in ignorance and in the illusion that we have some control over our lives.

    The main obstacles to renunciation is our mind. The main obstacles to anything in life is our mind. The fact that we are in samsara is because of our mind. The fact that we “exist” is because of our mind.

    Karma is a strange subject to grasp. It is said that to gain rebirth in the human realm is extremely rare and yet from one perception it seems that modern technology and advancement in civilization has caused a higher increase in world population than ever before. Why is that so? Did technology allow human rebirth to become easier? Or is this simply a temporary stage to allow as many beings to get the imprint of dharma seeds before dharma completely degenerate and disappear as prophesied.

    If negative actions and negative thought doesn’t make a person evil or bad, but it’s natural and spontaneous because of habituation and because of ignorance, then by same logic positive actions and positive thought doesn’t make a person holy or good either. If negative actions and thought can be natural and spontaneous then positive actions and thought can also be natural and spontaneous.

    For those who has found that dharma is the real path that brings genuine happiness, genuine peace and genuine fruition of good action, it is definitely a cause to rejoice. For those who has the merit to take it a step further to renounce and become sangha, it is even better.

    Whether one believes in Buddhism or in any other religions, people finding genuine peace is worth supporting.

  16. Li Kheng on Sep 22, 2016 at 10:07 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche and team for sharing this kind response.

    The desire and wisdom to even think of becoming a monk or nun and leave the world of samsara behind is truly a rare dharma seed that many don’t possess.

    What impacted me the most about taking a Guru and becoming an ordained member is that it is truly in the mind.

    We get so caught up in ceremonies and rituals that we forget that the most important thing is the attitude of the mind, it’s habit and capacity to uphold the vows.

    In a separate teaching, Rinpoche mentioned that we get scared of vows. We think they imprison us. However, they are our protection from our own habits and actions. Taking vows is a conscious declaration to act in certain ways that does not harm and even benefit others.

    We are very fortunate to have such a sacred and intimate journey into the Dharma shared so generously by Rinpoche.

    Thank you again Rinpoche.

  17. Stella Cheang on Sep 21, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    How many of us can really let go of all our attachments towards the worldly possession due to our wrong view and self-grasping? To many of us, sangha-hood is a concept impossible to fathom and a lifestyle impossible to partake, especially among the circle of friends and family members who are not exposed to Buddhism and Buddha Dharma. Due to our ignorance, we perpetuated samsara lifetime after lifetime due to our ignorance. It is therefore extremely fortunate for us to meet with our Guru, the Three Jewels in this lifetime and be taught the correct views. While we may not have the determination, opportunity due to worldly responsibilities or merits to fully renounce our attachment to be a monk or nun, we can also behave or think and act like a monk or nun. If the ripe opportunity arises, we must seize it to take the vows even if it is for short periods of time. I hereby pray for all of us to have the opportunity and wisdom to engage on the Three Principal Paths.

    Thank you very much, Rinpoche, for sharing this mind-changing article with all of us.

    Humbly, with fold palms,
    Stella

  18. Lin Mun on Sep 21, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    Before learning dharma, I always thought that taking vow is restricting and prevent us from doing a lot of things which is a wrong perception. Taking vow and refuge is to prevent us from further indulge in negative thoughts and action. Engaging in wrong view will only get us deeper in the samsara world.

    Therefore it is so important when a person decided to be a monk/nun. It means he/she renunciate and decision to follow Buddha’s path to enlightenment. However, it does not mean a person has to be a monk/nun only need to engage in the right mind and attitude.

    Like what Rinpoche has mentioned, even before a person become sangha member, he/she needs to behave and act like one.

    Thank you Rinpoche for this teaching.

  19. Lew on Aug 31, 2016 at 10:45 am

    Thank you Rinpoche for recording this video and Pastor Jean Ai for transcribing it. It is a short yet profound teaching about the importance of Sangha, as well as the attitudes towards monkhood.

    I agree 100% with Rinpoche that BEFORE we become a monk, we should already talk, behave and think like a monk. Just like BEFORE we get our driving license, we need to learn to drive. We don’t learn to drive AFTER we get our driving license. I used to fall into this trap before too. I have always thought that I can only behave like a monk AFTER I become a monk. I really appreciate what Rinpoche pointed out here that, I should behave & think like a monk even BEFORE I become a monk. I don’t need to wait any longer to behave like a monk now, and there is no excuse to start now.

    Rinpoche also pointed out that becoming a monk is not just the outward appearance, but the entire attitude about it. I always thought being monk is just going into the cave and meditate and in that way, we cut away our attachments. Through Rinpoche’s teaching, I realised it is not the way. Being a monk is much more than that. Now I know being a monk is to not hurting others, take care of others, benefit others, teach others, etc etc. It is much more than just sitting in a cave to meditate. And the best part is, we can start behaving like that NOW even without any vows.

    I also like Rinpoche’s analogy of “fire suit”. The monk vows (or even the refuge vows are fire suits which protects us from going to hell & suffering. Not many people can see that and many think it is a “sacrifice” to take on these vows and “give up” the fun, but as Rinpoche pointed out, there is nothing in samsara that is ultimately fun.

    Again, thank you Rinpoche for this audio message. It is simple to understand and yet makes a lot of sense.

  20. yoke chim yap on Aug 24, 2016 at 11:42 pm

    看了上师所分享的文章,深有同感!如若每一个人都能约束自己的行为舉止如一个出家人或 70% 也好,那这个世界每一个地方都是天堂,不会有戦争不会有飢锇,没有伤害,只有关爱",而能夠發愿要出家成为僧人,除了帮到自己脱离世俗生活上的不快乐,不满足及空虚感,还能利益一切有情众生,在精神,心灵方面去引導他人脱离痛苦及一切的烦惱。而安顿这颗心。或许有人不赞同,認为快不快乐是看自己心熊,但别忘了,那都是短暂的,人生不如意十八有九之.当曲終人散时,内心总会有孤寂感油然而生.那不是金錢及物質可以填補的,只有领悟了世间的無常去實踐佛法在生活中才能让我们得到究竟的快乐与平静及更精进.愿大家都能從仁波切这篇文章中有所省思,为自己的心找一个家。

  21. Jacinta Goh on Aug 24, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    Dear Rinpoche,
    After reading this article, there’s one word keep popping in my head which is ‘Giving fearlessness’ . Becoming a nun to me is like giving fearlessness to others. Protect them from harm, teaches them the path and guide them to enlightenment. Is like a becoming a front warrior that protects them and also show them the way, be an example.

    Thanks Rinpoche for this audio.

  22. Pee Bee Chong on Aug 24, 2016 at 12:03 am

    Dear Rinpoche,

    Thank you very much for the profound teaching.

    This article really aspiring me on my motivation when working in the dharma centre and also aspirated me to become a sangha or nun as I believe by practising Dharma can bring us genuine happiness, genuine peace and become a virtuous person.



    Due to our own ignorance, We have many anger and attachment and have hurt many people who care for us. Taking the vows of a monk or a nun can serve as a fireproof suit against samsara and burning activity that bring negative actions, hatred, anger and attachment which brings emotion and unhappiness in samsara.

    Taking the vows help us gain control of mind, It creates virtue, peace, happiness and liberations for ourselves and others and bring us to full enlightenment.

    

It is not easy to become as Sanga needs a lot of merits to becoming a sangha or nun. W must always remember the motivation when working in the dharma centre, Learn to behave, act, and think like a Sanga as it is the best way for me to control my 5 senses.

    Learn to be extremely humble, to be respectful of others, to be infinitely patient in other people’s behaviours. We should use our body and our speech and our mind to bring benefit to others before we become sangha

    Thank you

    With folded hands
    Pee Bee Chong

  23. Ai Nin on Aug 23, 2016 at 11:45 pm

    谢谢仁波切这篇教诲~为什庅我们要成为僧伽

    從小时候一直認为出家人是受盡創伤、是苦的,离开至亲,脱离周圍的一切就是出家所做的事!
    如今了解出家为了逃避某某人或事情,那是不对的发心。那不是为了佛法、不是为了幫助他人和利益有情。

    在家人如我身为母亲,身为女兒,妻子,媳婦如何可以修出离心、学习持戒以踏上解脱之道所具备的条件!但是文中仁波切提到出离心並非放棄我们所有喜欢的。它是去除对事物的执着。守戒也不是一种约束,而是一种保护。我瞭解的是並非每个人可以既刻出家,那是须要有足夠的资糧田、福報。我们须具附有道德,待人事物谦逊,利他,爱心,说好话,尊敬他人 ,了解他人的痛苦及须求,责任心,精进,接受他人虽然处于感觉被刁难。所以我们不应等到出家时才去認真修学所有的修持。

    守戒可以控制五蕴所造成负面的行为。这些负面的行为
    是本身习气和无明生起造成负面行为的循环。因此在灵修上我们须要皈依三宝和一位具格上师敎导我们以走向解脱之道。

    谢谢仁波切这篇让我深思的敎诲。
    合十
    爱淩

  24. YenPin on Aug 23, 2016 at 11:40 pm

    当我们了解与生起出离心,接受出家戒并不是一件很困难的事情。持守出家戒可以帮助控制行为。因为持守出家戒,可以认我们累积功德。因为有足够的功德,我们才会消除业障,达到证吾。

    出家人所守的戒律,,能让他利用剩余的生命来达致生命和心灵的宁静。
    出家就是用这一生来奉献佛法而实践佛法。
    表面看来出家,好有些可惜,但确实让他利用剩余的生命来达致生命修行的宁静。也保护佛法的专承,利益众生。

    在家修行人不管有出家还是在家人,我们要时时刻该提醒自己的行为举止要像出家,把不好的行为改变,把学到的佛法知识用来利益众生,达到心识转化。
    守好戒律,可以达致生命和心灵的宁静、平和。让我们避免 为自己制造更多问题。

  25. Cecilia Goh on Aug 23, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this exclusive post

    VERY INSPIRATION QUOTE FROM GESHE

    QUOTE
    Although you are not a monk now, you should behave like one, act like one, speak like one and talk like one and most important think like one.

    UNQUOTE

    Ultimately our mind transformation is imperative that lead us to the path of renunciation. Our daily practice , speech, virtue actions , patience , thoughts, care ,selfless attitude , humble are utmost important to prepare us to monk hood/nun hood. In religion , renunciation often refer to abandonment of pursuit of material comforts in the interest of achieving spiritual enlightenment. More specifically giving up and leading a holy life freedom from lust , craving and desire.
    Taking the vow or monk hood/nun hood is very powerful as one create the causes of our five senses under control. Lay person like us are very negative and ignorant and in view of that we create more negative karma. Hence it also serve as a check list for self evaluation

    Thank You

    Wish you good health always.

    With folded hand
    Cecilia Goh

  26. tong sun sun on Aug 23, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    感恩仁波切的分享,读了这篇文章后顿时对出家人有了无比尊重,以前对出家人的了解不深。以为出家就是断六根六亲就是了,原来出离心才是重点。

    什么叫做出离心?传统的说法,出离心的基础是厌世,就是讨厌世间法,实际上,厌恶厌烦的心态是一种烦恼。原因是各种各样的,根本的原因是太在意了,厌世就是你太在意世间的法,所以你讨厌,厌世不是真正出离心的基础。真正出离心地基础就是不执著世间而求解脱。具备出离心的人,知道世间生活并没有真实的意义,因而不会像世间人一样追名逐利,而是会精进修行,这是真正的精进和对生命负责

    真正拥有出离心的标准是什么?就是你可以随时抛弃任何你熟悉的东西,你喜欢的东西,你生命之中重要的东西,而且你可以走出任何你习惯的场景,不会有犹豫,不会有不舍,比如,你原先喜欢美景,不喜欢恶劣的环境,但现在你随时可以抛弃美景,能够接受恶劣的环境,对美景没有舍不得的,对恶劣的环境也没有不愿意接受,如果你可以做到这一点,那么你可以说你的出离心很完美。什么东西都可以舍掉,也可以接受,内心没有贪婪,也没有什么犹豫和舍不得。这就是真正地出离心。

  27. Pastor Yek Yee(月谊讲法师) on Aug 23, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this important post.

    Taking on the vows of a monk or a nun is a creating the causes for one to get the five senses and our mind under control. It sends a message to everyone that we wish to practice renunciation and focus on practising Buddha’s teachings. Because we wish to practice renunciation and involve ourselves more into the Dharma, we need to rely on a qualified spiritual guide on our path, so it is very important to have a Guru to guide us.

    Although it is not a must to become ordained to learn and practice the Dharma, ordination and transmission of the Vinaya vows ensures that the Buddha’s legacy remains alive. A sangha community not only provides support to its own members, but also to the lay people who rely on them very much for their services like puja, spiritual advice, counselling, apart from Dharma study and learning.

    We are very fortunate to have a suppportive community in Kechara, and I pray that we will have many Sanghas in Kechara in the future to further Rinpoche’s visions and bring Dharma to many more people through our work.

  28. Pastor Elena Khong Jean Ai on Aug 23, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    For me, taking on the robes is extremely precious not just because Buddha Shakyamuni was the originator of the vows, but because I have never seen anyone who applies samsaric methods and who engages in the eight worldly dharmas who is always happy. What I DO see is that attachment to fame, wealth, reputation, name, creates a lot of trouble for people who have to lie, steal, hurt, harm and sometimes even kill to get it. I see their lives overcomplicated and twisted because they have to keep up a charade that allows them to ‘enjoy’ the fame, wealth, etc. that they seek.

    But is it true enjoyment when you always have to be on guard and watch your back, in case someone gets you back for hurting them? Is it true enjoyment when you know someone else had to suffer for you to be where you are? Is it true enjoyment when you’re at the mercy of your moods, and not in control of your mind to be able to enjoy regardless of whatever situation you are in?

    Society thinks that becoming a Sangha is imprisonment, but in fact it is actually liberation from all the things society tells you that you MUST do and SHOULD have, otherwise you are a failure. Psychologically, the imprisonment of society is already hardwired into our language when you think about it…after all, when you get something nice as a result of wealth, they call it the “TRAPPINGS” of wealth. Why? Because it is a result that enslaves you. You need to keep lying, keep stealing, keep pretending, keep hurting others in order to get that result?

    Where then is the freedom that you purport to have in samsara?

    So becoming ordained is when real enjoyment can really begin because as Rinpoche advised “All that increases our attachment through the five senses are cut by taking on the vows”. When we sign up to the methods that cut our attachment, our enjoyment really begins because we can have everything (and nothing) in the world, and still always be happy.

  29. Pastor Gim Lee on Aug 23, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    As Rinpoche explained very clearly in the article:

    “When you become a monk or a nun, you don’t waste your life. If you waste your life by becoming a monk or a nun, then Buddha Shakyamuni would’ve wasted his life.”

    To become a Sangha, is to become a better person first, hence, we must always check our actions, check our speech, check our thinking…

    To be humble, to be caring, to use kind words, to be considerate, to show respect to others, to think of others’ needs, to be acceptance of others’ ways and differences.

    We should also be able to attract and bring others into Dharma, to inspire them to practice the virtuous and not the non-virtuous; so that they too will receive the benefits and be released of their own predicaments.

    By becoming a Sangha and holding our vows, we are able to help ourselves, as well as others, to purify the negative karma and to collect the necessary merits to progress on one’s own spiritual path.

    It is a protection for ourselves and others from committing the same ‘mistaken actions’ arising from our own 5 senses, hence, the uncontrolled rebirths again and again to experience the unsatisfactory anger, heart-breaking attachment and the fear of uncertainty in a Samsaric life.

    Therefore, living a life as an ordained Sangha definitely is not a waste. It is a meaningful life with purpose.

    Thank you Rinpoche for this very clear and enlightening post.

    With folded hands _/\_
    Pastor Gim Lee

  30. Pastor Chia on Aug 23, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    Thank your rinpoche for sharing this heart felt article to many of us who wish to become a sangha jewel. I am over whelming with the advice because this advices has given to me many years ago from Rinpoche personally and protector through oracle. Since I’m first met Rinpoche, I always inspiring to becoming a monk. My wish wanting to be ordain as monk has never change for the pass 20 years.

    Most of the people are scar to holding the holy sangha vows.By holding the vows, we are able to control our attachment arise from sensory, our desire to the wordy material world and different emotion arising from unstable mind.

    I’m glad and proud to be part of sangha community at Kechara organization which allow me to follow what lord Buddha Shaykiamuni has set the good example pass down Buddhism 2500 ago until now.

    • Pastor Chia on Sep 22, 2016 at 10:59 pm

      For modern days now,one of the fast way to purify our negative karma is by holding your vows. Simple by holding vow start from refuge vow up to received tantric initiation vow, we must keep our promise by holding our vows well.In this way,we able generating more merit, purify our negative karma, create more merit becoming real sangha jewel. Everything must start from beginning simple vow to create cause to holding higher vows like sangha vow and tantric vow.

  31. Pastor Loh Seng Piow on Aug 23, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    This is what Tsem Rinpoche always taught his students, behave like a monk or nun first before you actually become one. That is why Rinpoche is very particular about mind transformation and not just outward ritual. Becoming an ordained person is to be ordained in the mind, not so much in outward appearance, that is the true essence of holding monk/nun vows. So whatever Rinpoche has gone through in LA back in the 80s where he wished to be ordained and his teacher advised him to live and think like one first before the actual ordination ceremony, Rinpoche is now advising his students who wish to be ordained the same thing. “You can’t be a monk/nun overnight”, that is something which Rinpoche always stresses.

    Another important thing is, dont use the word “sacrifice” when talking about ordination, sacrifice is like giving up something good for something bad. There if we always have the thought that becoming a monk/nun is a sacrifice, then we truly do not understand the meaning of renunciation, and we do not truly see the nature of samsara, then we will not be a “real” monk/nun in the mind. To not do Dharma, to not take ordination and renounce samsara is the TRUE sacrifice of our precious human lives, not the other way round.

    This is a very important article to be read and understood again and again for all Dharma aspirants. Thank you Rinpoche.

  32. Lucy Yap on Aug 23, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for this important and precious teaching.

    As a Buddhist practitioner our utmost aspiration is to develop a strong renunciation, to seek and wish to go forward towards Enlightenment.
    To behave,act,talk like one even though we are not a monk or a nun especially when we are at a Dharma Center. To focus out and make comfortable and bring Dharma to others at least those around as a beginning and to use our body and our speech and our mind to bring benefit to others, to increase other people’s faith in the Dharma and our faith in our Guru.

    To become a nun or monk is not a scrifice but to plant a seed of Enlightenment and be protected from the fires of passion, anger, attachment, desire, robotic life and basically wasting our life on doing things that bring no benefit.
    Thank you, Rinpoche.

  33. Pastor David Lai on Aug 23, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    Dear Rinpoche,
    Thank you for such a heartfelt and concise explanation on taking on the monastic vows and the reasons for doing so. The reasons nonetheless are spiritual ones and give a powerful insight on how taking the monastic vows help us to overcome out attachment and generate tremendous amounts of merits in order to fuel or formal practices.

    This runs counter to the traditional and false view of one who takes on the monastic vows as someone who has failed in life – financially or socially. That would mean that taking on the monastic vows and becoming a monk or nun is merely an escape, something that the Buddha was even accuse of doing when he gave up his throne, princely court, wife and son in search of the truth. On this aspect, I liked how Rinpoche had explained before that it was the fact that he gave up his lay life and because of his great love of his family, father and all the royal courtiers and subjects that he strove and eventually attained his goal – enlightened. If the Buddha had remained in the palace, he would had just remained a king and probably just footnote in history. The world would have been a radically different place without the pacifying influence of Buddhism. Therefore, those pioneers who stand up first against their attachment and be the frontline beacon of the Buddha’s teachings are extremely admirable.

    As a Buddhist practitioner, we have seen and perhaps have felt the truth of the Buddha’s teachings. We strive to realize the import of his teachings in our daily lives. Central to the Buddha’s teachings is the ever-present subtle and gross attachments of family, identity and obligation that keeps us bound in this unending cycle of attachments and aversions. From reading Rinpoche’s explanation, I see the Buddha’s skilfulness in cutting these thick bonds through the practice of ordaining monks and nuns.

    On top of all that, the monks and nuns form a spiritual community that is very important for spiritual practice. As spiritual aspirants and infants, we need support from those around us and being within such a community, the support factor is very empowering and encouraging especially when we encounter obstacles, doubts and other problems. Therefore, in our quest to cut the bonds of our attachments, we are empowered within a spiritual community that nurtures, encourages and provides all manner of support for the growth of our individual spirituality.

    I feel proud of the fledgling Sangha community in Kechara and offer them my moral support and assistance. I am also proud to be part of this lay vowholder Pastor community as well as we all journey on spiritual paths together to purify our attachments, karma and accumulate merits for practice, community and future lives.

  34. Pastor Tat Ming on Aug 23, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    I rejoice for this person who is seeking for a guru and wants to become a monk in the future. In degenerate age and materialistic world, it is so rare for anyone who seriously want to practise the Dharma, seek for a guru and become a monk.

    There are many incidences where a person who wanted to become a monk but couldn’t due to the lack of merits or have insufficient merits. There are also incidences where a person who have the merits to become a monk but couldn’t remain a monk due to his heavy negative karma, ignorance, attachment and so on.

    Death is certain but the time of death is uncertain. We will die any moment! Hence, in reality
    we have very limited time available to complete the spiritual training.

    We are getting old and our bodily functions fail us most of the time. We couldn’t practise consistently because we are either too tired or fall sick frequently.

    Even if we are practising full-time in Dharma, we will realise our bad habituations and delusions are aplenty and difficult to overcome. They can be overwhelming that sometimes we are discouraged and would want to give up practising altogether!

    It is difficult to focus and practise purely and sincerely as a Buddhist as we are bombarded with endless distractions in our daily lives.

    We understand from Dharma where we have come from, where we are now and where we will be heading to. Therefore we must make the best use of our resources to free ourselves from samsara and eventually become enlightened. To become enlightened, we need vast amount of merits.

    Becoming a monk or nun is a skilful way to help us accumulate vast amount of merits. Our store of merits allow us to have the strength and the conditions to persevere and be successful in our spiritual journey.

    It is so essential and fundamental that we understand at the outset the motivation or reason why we want to practise as a Buddhist. The path to liberation and enlightenment is not an easy one. We must have strong faith in Dharma and perseverance. We must rely on and be devoted to the guru and Three Jewels to accomplish our spiritual goals.

    Lord Buddha would not have taught the path of ordination if it is not beneficial at all. As explained clearly by Rinpoche in this article, there are so many benefits to be a monk (or a nun) as monkhood facilitates the monk’s spiritual practice and training. Becoming a monk or nun is a natural choice and there is no reason for not becoming one.

  35. Pastor Moh Mei on Aug 23, 2016 at 11:34 am

    I think different people have different reasons for wanting to become ordained. Sometimes I do wonder if unless the reasons are right, one should not get ordained but on the other hand I also think maybe one should take the leap of faith even if the reasons are not entire “correct”.

    I remembered very early on when I first joined Kechara, Rinpoche once told me to remember that the reason for becoming a nun is to take away the suffering of others. At that time, I did have the desire to become a nun but for what reasons I was not entirely sure. One thing for sure it was not because I wanted to take away the suffering of others.

    Sometimes I think people fear not so much what they will be “giving up” if they become ordained but more so the expectation and judgement that will be put on them when they do and the lost of our “supposed” freedom.

    I totally agree that to become a monk or a nun is not a sacrifice because in fact one has everything to gain and nothing to lose. But that doesn’t mean it is easy to give up worldly habituation and delusions. It is surely possible considering the number of monks and nuns population in the world. While it’s a small percentage of the world population it is still a considerable amount.

  36. Uncle Eddie on Aug 22, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    As Rinpoche said, “For anyone who has the wish to become ordained, it shows they have “the seeds of renunciation in their mind.” It also means they have the potential to renounce their attachments in the same way that Lord Buddha had done, and took his first step towards enlightment. As once explained by a high Lama, according to the Buddhist view, monks and nuns holding renunciation vows, renouncing to the World means they have less craving for and grasping at sense objects; because grasping at and craving for wordly desires leads to more dissatisfaction and psychological reactions! As further elaborated, it is also said that renunciation of samsara is not only the business of monks and nuns, but whoever is seeking liberation or enlightenment needs Renunciation of Samsara! Thank you Rinpoche for your deep caring, sharing and compassion. May Rinpoche be blessed with good health and long life to continue turning the Wheel of Dharma for all sentient beings! Om Benza Wiki Bitana Soha.

  37. chris chong on Aug 21, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    Dear Rinpoche,

    Thank you for sharing this in depth explanation on the nature of being a monk or a nun. It certainly opened my mind on the whole idea of monkhood.

    I have learnt that the vows are not restrictions. They are in fact something to prevent us from doing harm to ourselves. By holding the vows clean and strongly, we create alot of merits in today’s time because it is very hard to keep vows in this age.

    Being ordained in today’s world is being frown upon by many. They think by renunciating secular life, we are wasting our life. Little did they know, they are the one who is wasting time indulging in their secular life. If being monk is wasting life, do this mean Lord Shakyamuni is wasting life too? Impossible.

    Thank you Rinpoche again for posting this article. It really changed my view on vows and monkhood.

    Humbly,
    Chris Chong

  38. Edwin Tan on Aug 20, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing the advice.

    I never knew in this day and age, if we are to able to hold 1 day of monk vows, it is equivalent to Lord Buddha’s time of lifetime.

    I totally agree that even if we are not holding on to any monk vows to decide to be a monk or nun.. we should always practice virtue, compassion, patience and understanding. By doing so, the world will be a better place.

    The strong passion to renounce desires and to devote fully to the Dharma, it is such commendable and respectful decisions. Although I have not the thoughts of becoming a monk, I can still support the Sangha as their works and efforts are truly heart warming.

    Thank you Rinpoche, and thank you to all the monks and nuns, for without all of you, we can never hear the Dharma, learn the Dharma and be close to Lord Buddha.

  39. Jason on Aug 20, 2016 at 4:09 am

    From a layman view, become an ordained is not easy because many vows to be followed.After I read through the article, Rinpoche give me clear picture on why become monk or nun. The root of suffering is craving so renouciation is a key to achieve liberation. Become monk or nun by holding vows , we can easily less attachment to secular things.
    Refuge to sangha is very important because they can teach dharma which can help us in liberation. I hope everyone can do more offering to sangha which will help them in dharma teachings .
    Thanks Rinpoche .

    With folded hands
    Jason

  40. Pastor Patsy on Aug 19, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    The Sangha is one of the Three Jewels of refuge and respecting the sangha helps us in our spiritual growth. The aspiration to be a sangha is very precious and we are very fortunate that Rinpoche has created a platform for Sangha-to-be and Pastor in Kechara.

    Before being ordained it is necessary to behave like one, act like one, speak like one, talk like one and most importantly, think like one.

    I rejoice for this person who aspired to be ordained as a monk.

    Thank you, Rinpoche, for giving us this opportunity and may more be inspired by this advice. Under Rinpoche’s guidance, may we be able to have more sangha in the future to uphold the Buddhadharma.

  41. Pastor Adeline on Aug 19, 2016 at 5:20 am

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this important teaching.

    Being a nun or a monk starts from the mind. When one’s mind renunciates, her or his speech and action will reflect that naturally. The nun and monk’s vows although are external, they actually guide one to transform their mind by first controlling the five senses. When the five senses are controlled and calmed, only then can the mind work towards awakening by actualising the dharma.

    When the mind is distracted by external pleasure including partner, shopping trips, travel, sweet talks etc. it will be impossible for it to concentrate on dharma. For many, concentrating on dharma requires a lot of efforts, which is true, because the mind is familiar with everything opposite to dharma that is samsara. When it starts to control its attachment to samsara, that’s when the mind able to develop new habits and pattern towards renunciation and enlightenment eventually.

    Therefore, vows act as the gateway towards final liberation as opposed to restrictions. Vows are seen as a restriction because those who hold vows need to change their old habit and develop news one and at the same time detach from the activities they taught has value in the secular sense. Therefore, holding vows are not very much desired as people are less interested in discomfort for things they seen no value in. This is especially true in this time of age. So, it is a big deal and inspiration when one makes the decision to be a nun or a monk and dedicated their lives fully in transformation and liberation.

    Being ordained is not merely to get oneself liberated from samsara but to take on the burden to master the methods of liberation (dharma) and to guide others to do the same. The only way for the methods to be preserved is to have a group of sangha who will continue to share these methods with the new sangha who are also dedicated into dharma as well. This is how the dharma continues to benefit through the sangha, the jewel we can take refuge in.

  42. Martin on Aug 19, 2016 at 4:40 am

    Becoming sagha feels like a very formidable, scary and self-denying measure to take only because we are so completely hooked on to the very samsaric things that ultimately lead to our brokenness. Because of recurring conditioning we convince ourselves that anything out of that would deny us the very elements we assume would make us happy and fulfilled. The opposite is true.

    Tsem Rinpoche has done many good things but one of the most beneficial has been the creation of the Pastors, the Sangha-to-be and the semi-monastic life at Kechara Forest Retreat (KFR).

    I am one of the beneficiaries of this ‘uncommon’ life at KFR and to be frank, I had my doubts if I could ever live away from what I have been chasing all my life. However, having lived this alternative lifestyle and environment, and having tasted a bit of what it would be like to be a monk or nun, I finally saw that I put myself into the grasp of Samsara for far too long and unnecessarily so. Samsara bewitches us into an addiction to a deluded thought, and saghahood or a life committed to Dharma breaks that delusion. It is only when Samsara is forced to release its hold on you that you suddenly feel lighter, released and empowered to be better.

    Holding virtuous vows free us and living

  43. Alice Tay on Aug 19, 2016 at 1:50 am

    这篇文章让我们明白成为僧伽不但只是对我们本身有利,同时也是利益他人。
    当一个人曾希望成为一个出家人,这意味着他的思维上拥有出离心的种子。出离心并不是要放弃我们所喜欢的一切,而是要除去我们的执著与贪婪于一切事物。而这一切,让我们明白当年释迦摩尼佛为了寻求真理和最终的解脱,情愿离开皇宫也不想继承王位以及所有权势、名义、财富和地位 。

    当我们真正的了解与生起出离心,接受出家戒并不是一件很困难的事情。持守出家戒可以帮助控制五蕴。因为持守出家戒,我们的身、语、意所造下的一切会无形中帮助我们累积功德。而因为有足够的功德,我们才有机会消除业障然后登上菩提道。

    感谢仁波切的慈悲与用心良苦的分享这篇博文。希望不久的将来会出现更多的僧伽弘扬佛法,利益更多众生。

  44. Joy on Aug 18, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this advice on your blog. It is true that to become a monk or a nun is not a sacrifice, it is only considered as a sacrifice due to our negative deluded karma that binds us to continue doing negative and to remain here in samsara.

    Becoming a sangha is perhaps one of the most sacred precious thing anyone can do if one has the merits to see the value. I would have never known this value if it was not for Rinpoche who patiently explained and taught us, and on top of that encouraging us to visit the monasteries like Gaden Monastery really do help as well. I remembered the first time I visited Gaden with just a few Kecharians, I was in awe with the whole environment and the sangha energy being so pure and potent, one felt so safe, so peaceful and truly happy, the kind of happiness that is not samsaric, that has no attachments or agenda, just pure happiness or contentment to be alive and experience life in its rawness as it is at that very moment. It was as if we were transported to Tushita heaven… perhaps we were. All I knew was… this is holy, this is genuine peace, this is a glimpse of the path to liberation. It increase my faith and conviction in the Dharma. If I could, I would have stayed there to help out haha.

    There are many times when working with Dharma brothers and sisters, washing or cleaning things up, I get a glimmer of a ‘sangha’ experience. I suppose this is a similar feeling to it when you work with your Dharma friends. And it is a nice feeling, of being with friends on the same spiritual path as it helps to motivate each other along the spiritual path. It did not many who we are, where we come from, what we did, we just focused on the moment and let go of all the expectations and labels. From that happiness arises. Imagine if we were sangha.

    I think the strongest thought of becoming the sangha is when I shaved my head. For the first time in my life, I felt a certain kind of release or relief from the suffering of this world. It felt like I was about to embark on a journey that is the beginning of shedding my pain and my sorrow due to the ignorant, selfish, uncontrolled egoistical mind. It felt good and it felt right. So yes whatever Rinpoche says is definitely true, if we really really want to be a sangha, we can start now, and be and act, and talk and behave like one so that when the real time comes, it will be just switching clothes, nothing more. Hence, this is why Rinpoche is so tough on us who wishes to become a sangha because Rinpoche wish for us to be successful real sanghas when we do become one.

    Thank you Rinpoche for this great reminder post that we, sangha to be or not, ought to read over and over again as it has so many benefit and realisation to take away each time. We are indeed very fortunate!

  45. Pastor Lanse on Aug 18, 2016 at 11:56 pm

    感谢仁波切的教诲。

    在这篇文章里,仁波切以十分简明扼要的方式告诉我们出家的好处和为何要出家,但仁波切同时也指出了所谓的“出家”并非只是指形式上的剃度出家,重点是心理上生起出离心,行为上则要遵守基本的戒律。

    出离心不等同于出家,也不是要我们放弃所有,而是指断除我们对世俗事物的执着。此外,守戒也不是一种约束,而是一种保护。

    今日世界声色犬马,到处都充满各种各样的诱惑,出家不是一件容易的事。这些诱惑并非来自外界,而是由于我们过去累积的业之显现。然而,也正因如此,现代人若能出家一天,其功德就相等于在佛陀时代出家一世。由于在今日社会,出家并非易事,所以支持僧伽更显得重要,因为他们做了许多人做不到或不敢做的决定。

    仁波切指出,一个人若有出家的发心,即便目前尚无法完成出家之举,至少也表示他心中已经有了出离心的种子。有了出离心的种子,就表示他们有潜质能如同佛陀一般放下所执着的一切,朝证悟跨出第一步。

    很多人都会认为出家是一种牺牲。事实上,牺牲指我们必须放下积极正面和愉悦的事,而去做另一些负面和令人不快的事。然而,出家并不是一件负面的事,而娑婆世界也没有任何在本质上属于正向和积极的事情。

    正因为看透和了解了娑婆世界的弊端,我们才会生起出离心。有了强烈的出离心,我们才会想要寻求证悟。为了引导我们达到证悟,佛陀设立了僧团和僧伽戒。守戒是解脱之因,而当我们本着利他之心来受戒和守戒时,戒律的力量就变得更为深广、强大。

    一般人利用各种感觉器官来看、听、说、想和计划进行各种负面的行为。负面行为和想法并不会让一个人变得邪恶,那不过是人们在习性和无明的驱使下所做出的本能和自发反应。僧伽戒的内容就是要我们学会控制自己的五种感官。接受和紧守僧伽戒,不仅让我们种下控制五种感官的因,使我们不再利用它们来增加更多的欲望、愤怒、贪婪和不安,还会让我们善用它们去行善,为自己和他人带来和平、快乐和解脱,继而每一天都能累积更多功德以进一步控制自己的五种感官,让自己更进一步朝向究竟的解脱。

    由此可见,守戒极为重要。当我们意识到这一点时,我们就应该对传授我们这些戒律的佛陀感恩,继而向佛陀寻求皈依。在皈依佛的时候,我们也该清楚知道,佛陀之所以成佛是因为祂实践佛法,所以我们自然也要皈依佛法。佛法包含了各种灭除我们的各种烦恼、邪念和恶行的方法,也能消除它们对我们的心识所造成的影响。僧伽是学习、贯彻和实践佛法的人,而当僧伽能清除心中的邪念、生起善念,并付诸于善行时,他们就成了真正的僧伽,自然也成了我们学习和皈依的对象。

    在清楚意识到这三点之后,我们诚心地皈依佛、法、僧三宝,并培养一颗真正的出离心。在出离心的基础上,我们会逐渐培养出真正想要从平凡、周而复始、空洞和充满执着的世俗世界中解脱的心理。这就是出家的基础。

    出家人所守的戒律,能让他利用剩余的生命来达致生命和心灵的宁静、平和和喜悦。这些戒律能保护出家人免受情感、金钱、物质、外貌和娱乐的影响,因为这一切世俗事务事实上只能带来更多的空虚感。有了这层保护,出家人才能拥有更多的时间和空间来实践佛法,继而得到心识的转化。这么一来,出家人看似“错过”的一切,就不是错过,而是一种保护,让他们避免 为自己制造更多问题。

    僧伽传统并非来自西藏或印度智者,而是来自佛陀本身,因此它只有百利而无一害。有些人认为出家只是在浪费生命,然而事实正好相反,在娑婆世界汲汲营营才是浪费生命。若说出家是在浪费生命,就等于是说释迦牟尼佛也浪费了他的生命,这是说不过去的。

    仁波切的这篇文章有许多重点,值得一读再读。以上只是读了这篇文章之后的一些笔记,希望能在中译文上稿之前先跟大家分享,而非评论和感想。

  46. Pastor KH Ng on Aug 18, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    Thank You Rinpoche for this very clear and power answer to the question of “Why We Become a Sangha?”.

    It is logically true that in these times there are much more distractions than say a few years ago, 10 years ago, 100 years ago….all the way back to the Buddha’s time and because of this, the level of renunciation and root merits need to be a Sangha is much higher. Hence, to be a Sangha for one day at these times generate the merits equivalent to being a Sangha for a lifetime during the Buddha’s time.

    Thank you also for explaining clearly, that one needs to act as a Sangha on an inner level the moment one aspires to be a Sangha. Because this is the best way to transition to being a Sangha. It makes a lot of sense.

    Also, renunciation need not be giving up everything but not be attached to and grasp at the “good” and may I add the “bad” things of this life; for everything is transient.

    Thank You for teaching the true path to Liberation via the Sangha path of renunciation, leading to the path to Enlightenment by benefitting others.

    With Folded hands!!

    Pastor KH Ng.

  47. Pastor Niral Patel on Aug 18, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    I remember when I was living in the UK, and had been following His Eminence for a couple of years online. By that point I really wanted to take Refuge with His Eminence but I did not have the means to travel to Malaysia at that point in time. A Dharma brother suggested exactly what Rinpoche taught above – that if I believe sincerely and from my heart that a person is my Guru then he becomes so, through the power of motivation and sincerity. Years later I had the good fortune of meeting His Eminence in person.

    As a sangha-to-be, people often ask me why I would want to take on so many vows and bind myself to such a simple life. Having learnt about the difference between samsara and nirvana over time, I do not think that these vows are limiting but they are in fact liberating, especially on the spiritual path.

    These vows, as Rinpoche explains allow oneself to transform their the actions of their body, speech and mind in to something beneficial for others, rather than being self-centered, which actually keeps one bound to samsara can life.

    This is a very good post to learn from in regards to the benefits of vows and the importance of the monastic vows for practitioners if they are able to do so.

  48. Bradley Kassian on Aug 18, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    This article is quite timely. I had the wish long ago in my childhood age 7/8 to become a monk one day. I’m not sure of the exact cause but my first encounter with Buddhism was at that age when I first saw a news broadcast of the monks in Cambodia. I’ll be honest my first thought of seeing those orange/saffron robes triggered in me the thought I’ve been there before and done that. It was around age nine that I started to meditate on my own. Then I started doing yoga. My facination with Buddhism remerged at age 12 when I was learning about different religions in class. They are all great but many are very open ended and never satisfied me with the answers they gave to life’s meaning etc. Buddhism however did with it’s logic, debate, practice and questioning and self examining. So when I started to meditate everyone around me thought it was very odd as no one in the family did so. No one in my family has any inclination towards Buddhism but me. The urge to become a monk has recently returned, though I still have a passion for taking care of the sick and the elderly as a nurse. So I find this article very facinating and will re read a few times so I understand it all in depth. Thank you for sharing Rinpoche & Blog team!

  49. Pastor Henry Ooi on Aug 18, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    Many thanks to Rinpoche and to the person who made the request, for without, other people would not have benefited from this article.

    Rinpoche introduced the Kechara Pastors for many reasons. One of those is for lay people who wish to be ordained. Before a candidate plunges into full commitment as an ordained monk or nun, the person has to undergo a ‘probationary’ period or a sort of ‘internship.’ This trial period is good for the candidate.

    In Kechara, all sangha-to-be must follow the rules set for the pastors on top of the rules for the sangha-to-be. Should a pastor or sangha-to-be find he/she needed more time, he/she may choose to not renew his/her pastor’s vows or sangha-to-be vows. He/she may apply again in the future, subject to the approval of the spiritual advisor to Kechara, His Eminence the 25th Tsem Rinpoche.

    Read more from the home page of this blog.

    Screenshot_2016-08-18-15-00-49-1

  50. Pastor Antoinette on Aug 18, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    The aspiration to become a monk or a nun is very precious and rare. This blog and Rinpoche’s teachings on YouTube have inspired many for improving their life and making more with it than only enjoying themselves, working for a car, a house and holidays.

    We often feel unhappy because we only focus on ourselves and our needs and wants. But when we look at a monk or a nun we can feel and witness that they are very kind and giving. They work hard and long hours not for themselves but with the sole motivation to benefit others and transform their mind.

    In fact by becoming a Sangha, we train ourselves to become happy and satisfied with our life. We change our focus out to others and their needs.

    Starting to behave, speak, act and think like a monk or nun, with the most kind guidance of our Guru will guide us to improve the life of others and our own life.

    I rejoice very much for this student.

    Thank You Rinpoche for giving us this precious opportunity,

    Humbly,
    Pastor Antoinette

    • Pastor Antoinette on Sep 22, 2016 at 10:50 pm

      The merits collected as a monk or nun in this time and age is very meritorious. Not only for the person but also for those around and it will benefit many others who become inspired and it keeps the Dharma alive.

      It is therefore important to make an effort to behave like a monk or nun, act, speak and think like a nun always.

      The transformation to become a person who puts others first and who knows that all our attachments and desires are in fact the prison will gift us with a purposeful and happy life,

      Thank You,
      Pastor Antoinette

  51. sonny tan on Aug 18, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing with us here and followed with the transcripts based on your real life experiences on being ordained as a monk by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and your early childhood yearning to become a monk.
    It is indeed very inspiring to learn all these from you; the decisions to be become a monk and nun is never, never easy. The secular lifestyle that we have been accustomed to, the joys of life; the pleasurable yearnings and experiences of sensual attachments are but some of the many undesirable wants that we have picked up over our growing years but presently find it so very hard to shake it off.
    We may think, dream, talk, discuss about it but the thoughts of the final moments of having the hair shave off will make many wanting to pursue shudder with fears. Life full monastic vows, strict rules, regulations the negativity being hit and thrown at us from families, friends, colleagues can proved to deter one from plunging into the monastic order.
    I rejoice with all those who have been positive, brave and also being able to sacrifice the comforts of family ties to finally decide and make it their life long journey into the monastic life for the better of all. Your decision to enter the monastic order will stir many and send unequivocally messages to those who are not ready at the moment but may decide to do so in the near future.

  52. Pastor Shin Tan on Aug 18, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for this precious teaching on becoming a Sangha. I rejoice for the online person who contacted Rinpoche about taking a teacher and becoming a monk.

    We are very fortunate that the monastic tradition that started with Lord Buddha is still alive today, thanks to the many devoted ordained Sangha who kept the lineage alive. There are many great benefits in becoming ordained. However, there are also responsibilities that come with it. Therefore, it is important for us to have a qualified teacher who can teach and guide us on this spiritual journey. I’m glad that our Lama, H.E. Tsem Rinpoche is a qualified, ordained Sangha who has kept his vows very well and strictly every since Rinpoche received them decades ago.

    Rinpoche kindly shared with us many excellent advice and provided a platform for us who wish to become Sangha few years back to “behave like one, act like one, speak like one, talk like one and most importantly, think like one” through the Pastorship program (http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/support-the-kechara-pastors.html). It is true that if we practice well, then the transition to ordination will be smooth.

    The teaching on controlling our five senses is also equally important: to lessen our attachment through lessening sensory gratification by ways of holding vows and controlling our mind. This explains the basis of taking vows, and it is definitely a type of protection from secular activities. I especially like Rinpoche’s reminder that “Samsara contains all of the causes and results of our suffering whereas monkhood and the vows contain all of the causes for our liberation”.

    May many aspire to become ordained from Rinpoche’s advice and care, and may we have a powerful ordained Sangha community in Kechara in the future to uphold the lineage and teachings of Lord Buddha.

    Rinpoche also shared a good read about the Sangha community by Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh, “The Practice of Sangha” few months back, which I will share the link here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/the-practice-of-sangha.html

  53. Pastor Han Nee on Aug 18, 2016 at 11:38 am

    Thank you Rinpoche for this teaching on “Why We Become Sangha”. Renunciation is a necessary step to take on our path of practice, if we earnestly wish to free ourselves from suffering. Hence, when we choose to become ordained as a sangha , we choose to be committed to the path of liberation from suffering so that we can also benefit others by helping them to be liberated from suffering.

    Renunciation is renouncing of our strong attachments to and grasping at the things of samsara. We need to cut our attachment and grasping, in any case, if we wish to ultimately attain Enlightenment. The only obstacles in our way to becoming a sangha are the distractions of this life and the obstacles arising from our negative karma manifesting.

    The Sangha is very very important . They ” ‘sacrifice’ secular success to live and breathe the Buddha’s teachings, so that the blessings in the Dharma are alive and potent for others to benefit from it too”. Hence they should receive the strong support of the lay community.

    In seeking to become a monk or nun, a person may appear to be ‘sacrificing’ samsaric pleasures and pursuits (which are ephemeral anyway and do not bring real happiness, and instead only create and reinforce the causes of suffering) . In the end, this isn’t a big deal at all. For their goal of ultimate and real peace and happiness , there is no real sacrifice at all, as samsaric pursuits do not really bring happiness. Instead, they bring about our suffering in the beginning, in the middle and in the end. On the other hand, the sangha’s renunciation of samsara and samsaric pursuits, for the benefit of others, puts them directly on the path of freedom from suffering and Enlightenment or ultimate peace or lasting happiness.

    Taking on the monk’s or nun’s vows creates the causes for us to control our five senses, to control our speech and our thoughts. Controlling our mind through guarding the five gateways to our mind is so important. It prevents us from negative actions and from accumulating negative karma. It prevents our delusions from having full reign over our mind. The vows protect the mind.

    Becoming a sangha with our Guru guiding and watching over us is so precious and fortunate. We need to start creating the causes to be able to take monk’s or nuns’ vows right now, by practicing renunciation and guarding our sense doors. WE should be respectful of others and be humble, be patient with even the most difficult people and see them as objects for our practice, we should work to benefit and serve others. We should strive to be the embodiment of the Dharma in our actions of body, speech and mind. We have Guru , who is the ultimate Sangha, to guide us and for us to follow.

    Thank you Rinpoche for this most powerful teaching.

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

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

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

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/personal-attendant/the-miracles-of-tsem-rinpoche-true-story-1-2.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Wednesday, Apr 26. 2017 05:50 PM
    Thank you, Pastor Seng Piow, for the illustrated miracle story on how Rinpoche guided Cynthia and Marici away from danger through protector’s practice. The unseen exist, whether we like it or not. Some of them are malicious and have the affinity or karma with some of us. Hence they can cause harm and disturbance. By engaging in Protectors’ practice like Dorje Shugden and Setrap that have been practiced by the high lamas of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism, we are protected and guarded against harm.

    Rinpoche is compassionate and only want the best for us. His teachings are not meant to show off the power of the divines but offer us a way out from our desperate samsara conundrum that binds us from engaging in deeper spiritual practice. Rinpoche always teaches us to focus on mind transformation and Tsongkhapa practice. How fortunate we are to have met Rinpoche in this lifetime. We must not let this rare and precious opportunity go to waste.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/personal-attendant/the-miracles-of-tsem-rinpoche-true-story-12.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Apr 26. 2017 04:30 PM
    Miracles do happen,when we have faith and trust in our Guru.What is important is to follow Rinpoche’s advice and do as instructed by our Guru to clear the osbtacles all the way.Angie and Herry were so fortunate to have meet Rinpoche.Its because of Rinpoche ‘s compassion and caring for his student Angie’s life was saved.Infact Rinpoche has helped many people through his intervention, advice and instructions.
    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Loh Seng Piow for sharing miracles stories which i enjoyed reading.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/personal-attendant/the-miracles-of-tsem-rinpoche-true-story-2.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Apr 26. 2017 02:45 PM
    WOW….interesting a miracles true story. Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Loh Seng Piow for sharing.Reciting mantras by family members and doing 20 pujas done at the monastery to help the baby. These proved that pujas, which have been done for hundreds of years in the monasteries are very powerful methods for us to overcome difficulties, create huge amounts of merit and for protection, good health and long life.This show us how powerful pujas can help us when we have trust and faith in our Guru.And with Rinpoche divination,the baby was born and now a healthy boy.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/personal-attendant/the-miracles-of-tsem-rinpoche-true-story-1-2.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Apr 26. 2017 12:47 PM
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these powerful teachings.Its a privilege
    to do Dharma work to benefits other,do it with motivation and a good attitude when engaging ourselves It will be guide line for me.When we serve others to do Dharma work together at Kechara Forest Retreat ,we will improve ourself , purify our negative karma and to benefit others too.I will be sponsoring to the healings bricks soon and i will cherish every moment in supporting KFR.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/me/dharma-work-attitude-tdl.html
  • Lin Mun
    Wednesday, Apr 26. 2017 11:06 AM
    Bigfoot is just another beings living in this world although not commonly seen and live in the deep jungle in high mountains. There were many evidences that people from many parts of the world sighted this beings. Whatever shape they are I think importantly we are all sharing this world and therefore need to have mutual respect and not intervene each others.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/its-in-the-scriptures-they-exist.html
  • 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

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Messages from Rinpoche

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CREDITS

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

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

Tsem Rinpoche

What Am I Writing Now

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The Unknown

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

Photos On The Go

Click on the images to view the bigger version. And scroll down and click on "View All Photos" to view more images.
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.
3 weeks ago
Great Masters of Gaden Shartse Monastery. From left to right: His Eminence Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche, His Holiness Sharpa Choeje Jetsun Lobsang Nyima, H.E. Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche, H.E. Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, His Holiness 101st Gaden Tripa throne holder Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal.
 Left to right: Dharma boy, Mumu boy and Oser girl. The three of them are my beautiful and loved Schnauzer dogs. They loved looking through the window to see traffic, people and movement. They loved the smells that drifted through their little noses. I love seeing the three of them together like this. I love them. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Left to right: Dharma boy, Mumu boy and Oser girl. The three of them are my beautiful and loved Schnauzer dogs. They loved looking through the window to see traffic, people and movement. They loved the smells that drifted through their little noses. I love seeing the three of them together like this. I love them. Tsem Rinpoche
Little Mumu boy...he loved balloons. When he saw them, he wanted to get close and perhaps bite them. Cute. I love this picture of Mumu reaching for the balloons. He was young and healthy! This picture captures his energy, enthusiasm, curiosity and high energy. I love this picture of him chasing the balloons. His pictures are always so nice....He was not a pet but family to me. I love him tremendously and always will. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Little Mumu boy...he loved balloons. When he saw them, he wanted to get close and perhaps bite them. Cute. I love this picture of Mumu reaching for the balloons. He was young and healthy! This picture captures his energy, enthusiasm, curiosity and high energy. I love this picture of him chasing the balloons. His pictures are always so nice....He was not a pet but family to me. I love him tremendously and always will. Tsem Rinpoche
Little Mumu boy and myself.. He was not a pet but family to me. I love him tremendously and always will. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Little Mumu boy and myself.. He was not a pet but family to me. I love him tremendously and always will. Tsem Rinpoche
2017-His Holiness the 101st Gaden Tripa, Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal is doing well and 90 years old. His Holiness Lungrik Namgyal is a powerful master of sutra and tantra and practitioner of Dorje Shugden. Currently residing in France.
3 weeks ago
2017-His Holiness the 101st Gaden Tripa, Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal is doing well and 90 years old. His Holiness Lungrik Namgyal is a powerful master of sutra and tantra and practitioner of Dorje Shugden. Currently residing in France.
One of the most sacred statues of Avalokitesvara made of sandalwood housed in Lhasa, Tibet. He has shown miracles also. Every pilgrim wishes to make offerings to this Lord of Compassion.
3 weeks ago
One of the most sacred statues of Avalokitesvara made of sandalwood housed in Lhasa, Tibet. He has shown miracles also. Every pilgrim wishes to make offerings to this Lord of Compassion.
 Sacred Avalokitesvara statue in Nepal. Thousands come to worship this special Buddha as it has conferred wishes in the past.
3 weeks ago
Sacred Avalokitesvara statue in Nepal. Thousands come to worship this special Buddha as it has conferred wishes in the past.
Tsem Rinpoche\'s Vajra Yogini statue and offerings
3 weeks ago
Tsem Rinpoche's Vajra Yogini statue and offerings
Two of my teachers from Gaden Shartse Monastery in South India. Left side is Most Venerable Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen whom I lived with for 8 years in Los Angeles where his centre Thubten Dhargye Ling is located. On the right is the abbot emeritus H.E. Kyabje Lati Rinpoche the scholar and yogi. I was very fortunate to have them in my life and learn so much dharma from them. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Two of my teachers from Gaden Shartse Monastery in South India. Left side is Most Venerable Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen whom I lived with for 8 years in Los Angeles where his centre Thubten Dhargye Ling is located. On the right is the abbot emeritus H.E. Kyabje Lati Rinpoche the scholar and yogi. I was very fortunate to have them in my life and learn so much dharma from them. Tsem Rinpoche
 It is so wonderful to be kind to people, be caring, feed them, make sure they are healthy and share dharma if they are interested with them for their future. But simply to be nice to others is worth getting up and being alive...otherwise why be alive to hurt/use/distrust and hate others? No point living that way..must change that..... It is nice to live our lives to benefit others and be patient even if we have been hurt before because by caring we can heal the hurt and \'defeat\' the ones that hurt us because we don\'t become bitter..... Tsem Rinpoche
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.
1 month ago
This mahasiddha Kukkuripa is easy to identify as he is accompanied by a small dog whom he loved very much.
Mumu taking a rest in the turquoise room. Over the years, I always feel very satisfied when I see him covered with a blanket, safe and sleeping. I always wanted to make sure he was safe from harm, illness and distress. I wanted him to have a happy and loved life. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
Mumu taking a rest in the turquoise room. Over the years, I always feel very satisfied when I see him covered with a blanket, safe and sleeping. I always wanted to make sure he was safe from harm, illness and distress. I wanted him to have a happy and loved life. Tsem Rinpoche
I wrapped my little Mumu boy up in my blanket and propped him up on my bed. He didn\'t move or wiggle and just looked at me. He is one funny entertaining little guy. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
I wrapped my little Mumu boy up in my blanket and propped him up on my bed. He didn't move or wiggle and just looked at me. He is one funny entertaining little guy. Tsem Rinpoche
March 2017-Coaxing my little Mumu boy to eat his meal. He was not well and therefore not hungry. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
March 2017-Coaxing my little Mumu boy to eat his meal. He was not well and therefore not hungry. Tsem Rinpoche
Click on picture to enlarge and see what Milarepa says. Profound.
1 month ago
Click on picture to enlarge and see what Milarepa says. Profound.
We are always trying to get somewhere, try something new, find some friends, get some entertainment and in the end we end up in the same place. Time to really practice Dharma seriously and stop wasting time we don\'t have. ~Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
We are always trying to get somewhere, try something new, find some friends, get some entertainment and in the end we end up in the same place. Time to really practice Dharma seriously and stop wasting time we don't have. ~Tsem Rinpoche
March 20, 2017-Mumu is just so adorable with his bright eyes.
1 month ago
March 20, 2017-Mumu is just so adorable with his bright eyes.
More and more people inviting Lord Dorje Shugden home to connect with on their shrines. I am so happy to see this as it will benefit them and their families so much. That is the purpose to be alive which is to benefit others as much as possible. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
More and more people inviting Lord Dorje Shugden home to connect with on their shrines. I am so happy to see this as it will benefit them and their families so much. That is the purpose to be alive which is to benefit others as much as possible. Tsem Rinpoche
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
1 month ago
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
1 month ago
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
The Japanese are very innovative. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
The Japanese are very innovative. Tsem Rinpoche
Read this as it will be interesting
1 month ago
Read this as it will be interesting
Recite this before any meal or drinks for blessings of abundance. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
Recite this before any meal or drinks for blessings of abundance. Tsem Rinpoche
This sacred statue of Buddha is in Nepal brought originally from Tibet and has spoken on many occasions. Very blessed to see this holy image and keep a picture...bless you always. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
This sacred statue of Buddha is in Nepal brought originally from Tibet and has spoken on many occasions. Very blessed to see this holy image and keep a picture...bless you always. Tsem Rinpoche
I love Mumu boy tremendously. We went through so much together for so many years. You are a great being to be with. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
I love Mumu boy tremendously. We went through so much together for so many years. You are a great being to be with. Tsem Rinpoche
Dear everyone, I am sharing this beautiful and modern altar to Dorje Shugden in Malaysia. I am glad to see more and more people creating sacred spaces. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
Dear everyone, I am sharing this beautiful and modern altar to Dorje Shugden in Malaysia. I am glad to see more and more people creating sacred spaces. Tsem Rinpoche
Lhamo Karmo, a female buddha form visualized above the crown of one\'s head at the time of death, to encourage consciousness to leave the body via the crown aperture. From my book \"The Female Buddhas.\"- Glenn Mullin
2 months ago
Lhamo Karmo, a female buddha form visualized above the crown of one's head at the time of death, to encourage consciousness to leave the body via the crown aperture. From my book "The Female Buddhas."- Glenn Mullin
The Tibetan female tulku Dorje Pakmo, from a fresco on the wall of the Dorje Pakmo monastery (Samding) in Tibet, near the Turquoise Lake. In Tibet the Dorje Pakmo was ranked with the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama and Sakya Trizin as the four highest lamas in the country.-from Glenn Mullin
2 months ago
The Tibetan female tulku Dorje Pakmo, from a fresco on the wall of the Dorje Pakmo monastery (Samding) in Tibet, near the Turquoise Lake. In Tibet the Dorje Pakmo was ranked with the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama and Sakya Trizin as the four highest lamas in the country.-from Glenn Mullin
Dharma boy, Mumu boy and Oser girl checking out the scene..cute
2 months ago
Dharma boy, Mumu boy and Oser girl checking out the scene..cute
My Dharma boy has such a cute expression here. He is a good boy!
2 months ago
My Dharma boy has such a cute expression here. He is a good boy!
February 9,2017-My Mumu boy and Oser girl are just relaxing together..super cute
3 months ago
February 9,2017-My Mumu boy and Oser girl are just relaxing together..super cute
Click on the picture to enlarge and see what Suzy from Hawaii commented on the Dorje Shugden issue after much research. She is very candid and honest. Refreshing. Original is posted here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl-4lIwxph4
3 months ago
Click on the picture to enlarge and see what Suzy from Hawaii commented on the Dorje Shugden issue after much research. She is very candid and honest. Refreshing. Original is posted here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl-4lIwxph4
This is a good one to read
3 months ago
This is a good one to read
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ASK A PASTOR


Ask the Pastors

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

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

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

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