Heart to Heart with Teresa Hsu Book Review

May 25, 2016 | Views: 369
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This book contains the biography of a Fantastic heroin called “Teresa Hsu”. I am moved by her life simply because it amazes and touches me so much and it has made me understood that even though she was not very rich or whatsoever, she was still able to serve and benefit so many lives. I just adore her, her compassion is truly overwhelming. If she was still alive, I would really love to visit her and spend time listening to her stories.

 

Biography

Grass Does Not Satisfy Hunger

Teresa Hsu was born on the 7th of July, 1898 in Kak Chioh, Shantou, a tiny peasant village in the southern Guangdong province of China. As the second amongst the eight children in the family. “I was the second child and a girl, so I had no status. It was always my fault when anything went wrong,” she says. Her older sister, Ursula had a position being the ‘first daughter’, and her younger sister, Lucy, a lovely-looking child was the ‘beautiful daughter’. The youngest child, Anthony, was a male which gave him instant status and worth in the family hierarchy.

Teresa recalled that, “We were very, very poor, so poor that we had to climb trees to gather seeds. We ate some of the edible ones while we soaked the others in the river to lather them into soap to wash the clothes.”

She readily quipped, “In fact, we took everything from nature; bamboo shoots, sweet potatoes, thumb-sized red and yellow nuts, fruits and even some grasses that could be eaten!” She declared, “I remember eating grass while I was very hungry. I was about seven years old then in 1905! (This made me feel how fortunate I am for not having to go through such experiences.)

She continued, “I was by the roadside and when nobody was watching, I grabbed a handful of grass and put it into my mouth.” This grass-eating, non-satisfying hunger experience drove the young Teresa to vow that for as long as she lived, she would see that no one need to to go through that desperate experience. Further, she vowed that within her power, everyone should have their basic needs met.

The quaint little village where Teresa was born had no shops or schools. It was so small that only sixteen families lived in it. Everybody knew everyone and people were seldom sick. If someone in the village fell ill, the fellow villagers would bring herbs from the hills. The villagers of “Kak Chioh” had empirical knowledge of the different herbs and their efficacy which was passed on from one generation to the next. People in the village were generally very happy and cordial – there was no fighting and competition like in our present age.

 

The Communal Lifestyle

Life was very communal there, they frequently shared and used things, and the work too. The men did the farming and fishing while the women cooked, sewed and weaved. In all 38 relatives lived together in this community of aunts, uncles, in-laws, cousins and so on.

Although life in Kak Chioh village was poor and basic, they were self-sufficient – they made whatever was needed. The men would cut the wood to make tables, chairs and baskets. Everybody got used to fashion chopsticks and baskets. They all got along with one another and there were no disputes, they were all quite happy.

Teresa reminisces, “We usually went around bare-footed unless we had to walk long distances. Then we wore our hand made wooden clogs. If we found that our clogs were missing, we just used someone else’s. Later in the day, our “missing clogs” would reappear!”

In Teresa’s words, there was “No yours or mine, there were no shut doors and people went in and out of one another’s houses taking what they needed” (without having to ask, this was how trustworthy the people were with each other). This described the open and sharing communal spirit that existed in Kak Chioh. Parents had no worries of their children going out and playing and when it was time to eat, they just returned home. The life of the villagers revolved around the sun – waking up in the morning (for another day of hard work) and going home when the sun sets. After sunset, there were no lights and everyone would be in bed. Life was simple and uncomplicated, there was no fear of thieves and burglars. (I want to share Teresa’s early lifestyle with everyone because I thought that it would amaze people with the fact that environment contributes to nurturing a person’s mind.)

 

Teresa Hsu’s family- mother and father (seated); standing L-R, Lucy, Ursula, Anthony and Teresa

The Compassionate Nature in Teresa’s Ancestry

Compassion for others runs in Teresa’s ancestry. Teresa’s maternal great grandfather was a Chinese physician. Very often he did not charge his poor patients fees for treatment. As a staunch Christian he argued, “They are sick already. That’s why they came to see me for help.” He lived a very frugal life wasting nothing, not even a grain of rice. At all times, he subscribed to the principle of “Love your Neighbour as Yourself.” Their family later adopted this doctrine which became ingrained in the hearts of their ancestors and their later generations.

Teresa’s mother was another role model for compassion and a person who was magnanimous. Although they were poor, she would generously give the beggars and people who needed her help, assistance and food. Teresa recounts, “One evening while we were eating sweet potatoes which was our only food for dinner, a woman carrying a child appeared at the entrance of our house. Mother did not even stop to think and consider. She took the sweet potatoes and gave them to the woman. Mother had endlessly told us that we must help these hungry people. We won’t die if we skip a meal or two, but these hungry people may collapse and die if they do not get food in time.”

 

New Lease of Life in Penang

Her mother, Madam Tan Sok Chan decided to move to Penang when Teresa was about seventeen years old. Her mother was a person with character, one who was courageous and resourceful. As she had relatives in Penang, she reckoned that her children would have a better lease of life there. Taking her four children with her, they soon arrived at their new destination only to have a rude awakening. Her relatives did not want to see nor talk to them. They felt that both mother and children were a disgrace to them being poor, uneducated and badly dressed.

But fate smiled on her family and her mother managed to “rent” a house from the Roman Catholic Church in Macalister Road for $4 a month. To pay the rent, the family had to wash linen, clean the priest’s house and the church. There were no mops so Teresa and her siblings had to clean the floor “on their knees” with water drawn from a well. It was hard work. And Teresa was quick to quip in, “We enjoyed it!” And with the permission from the priest, her family grew vegetables and beans on the empty plot of land. They were poor, on “foreign soil” but the family stayed together while undergoing the hardships. Fortunately everyone was healthy and did not suffer any illness and their days were peaceful.

Time passed them by and soon a decade was over. Teresa did not attend school and she was illiterate. Her secret dream of going to school burnt in her heart always. The Catholic church ran a primary school near where Teresa lived and each time she passed the school, she was captivated by the sounds of the children learning their alphabets and reciting their multiplication tables. Teresa would listen with deep interest and silently wished, “If only I could study… that would be wonderful!”

The society in which Teresa lived in then was very conservative. The community people expected Teresa to be married in her twenties and have a baby; else she would be regarded as an “old auntie” or even worse, a “spinster”! Word has it that a lady who is still unmarried at a marriageable age either has a “nasty temper” or is stricken with a dreadful illness.

Teresa’s elder sister Ursula was in her thirties then. And as she was still single, many tried to match-make her to a number of eligible bachelors. Irked by such constant interferences, Ursula left for work in Hong Kong and eventually settled down in Singapore.

And with Ursula gone, the attention was soon turned to Teresa. Teresa was petite for her age and with her long hair which she tied into a shiny braid, many parents considered Teresa to be a good match for their sons. Matchmakers were sent to talk with Teresa’s mother and her. “I don’t want to get married,” Teresa told her mother.

“I do not want to be tied down by a man. I don’t want to get married. I want my freedom,” Teresa replied strongly. But this did not deter the matchmakers as they kept coming back with more proposals and offers. “Lock the doors and don’t let them in” Teresa added.

“But these are our neighbours. We can’t treat them like that!” her mother replied. To which Teresa replied tersely, “Then I shall do what Ursula did…I shall leave too.” With sadness her mother exclaimed, “No, no, who will look after me when you leave?” Teresa’s mother thought she was only joking. But as it turned out, Teresa left for Hong Kong in 1923 to avoid the constant harassment from the matchmakers.

 

A New Lease of Life in Hong Kong

When Teresa first arrived in Hong Kong, she met a fellow villager from her province in China. The man upon learning that Teresa had no place to stay, told her, “I run a childcare centre. There are classrooms downstairs but I have an empty room upstairs, You can live there and help clean the premises.”

Living alone, Teresa had a sense of independence and more time to reflect on her life. Every time she swept or cleaned the floor, it crossed her mind, “I must learn more skills to change my life. I can’t be sweeping and cleaning floors my entire life.” With a new resolve, Teresa enrolled and attended night classes to learn English, typing, shorthand and accounting. And on Sundays, she would go to church services where she would sit at the back and listened attentively to the priest’s sermons, She diligently practised her shorthand skills and improved her listening and writing skills.

Soon thereafter Teresa chanced upon a newspaper advertisement on a vacancy in the German news agency. It was an accounting job. Teresa applied for the job and got it. Her German boss agreed to pay her a monthly salary of $20. This marked the start of a new phrase in the life of Teresa. Teresa truly appreciated her job. The workload was heavy but Teresa was happy, On her payday, she was so elated with the first money she had ever earned that she quickly sent some money to her mother in Penang.

On payday, Teresa discovered that the German lady’s salary was $250 while hers was only a paltry $20! The company employed another 21 Chinese ladies and they, like Teresa were earning $20 a month but were doing most of the work.

Teresa with her strong sense of equality and fairness decided to ask the boss for a raise after discussing with her other Chinese workmates. They were all delighted that Teresa was willing to speak up on their behalf and they all agreed that if they did not get the increase they requested they would all leave.

The General Manager, a German, was pleasantly surprised with Teresa’s courage to speak up. In fact he was so taken in by Teresa’s seriousness, commitment and good performance of her work that he said, “I will increase your salary to $70 but the others will have to wait. I can’t increase everyone’s salary to that level at the same time.”

Teresa with a strong sense of fairness said, “If you are increasing my salary to $70, then do it for everyone else. Otherwise, we will all quit!” The General Manager unfazed by her firm statement replied, “I will only increase yours. The others will have to wait.” You may resign if you wish. There are many people like you looking for work here.

Teresa was the only one who resigned while the other Chinese girls remained in their jobs without any increment whatsoever.

 

A Blessing in Disguise

Maybe Teresa was too naive or maybe she acted too rash by standing up for her colleagues. Maybe! But it turned out to be a silver lining for her. As soon as she left her job, Teresa saw an advertisement calling for a stenographer. She applied and was called for an interview the next day.

On entering the interview room, a big, tall foreigner asked, “When can you start work?” Taken aback by this question, Teresa said, “But you have not tested me yet.” The man took his time and finally answered, “I have evaluated you from your handwritten application letter as I am a handwriting expert.” I know your character. Her new boss gave her $20, and told her to go buy herself some chocolates. Now, $20 was her monthly salary in her earlier job. That was a big sum of money but Teresa was not moved by it. She firmly refused to accept the money saying, “I do not accept the money that I have not earned.” Such is the truthful nature of Teresa in the face of such a daunting temptation.

The boss smiled and then said, “Alright then, report for work tomorrow. Your salary is $150.” Teresa was stunned. She just could not believe her ears. In just two days, her income skyrocketed from a mere $20 to $150! She was so elated that she immediately wrote to her mother informing her of her good fortune.

At that time, Teresa rented a room in Kowloon and it costs her $4 per month. To go to work each day, she had to take the ferry to Hong Kong and that daily transport cost her $3 a month. She divided her salary into three portions; one for the rent, another for food and transport and the rest for her mother.

 

A Frugal Life Not Squandering One Single Cent

After a lavish dinner incident working for the German news agency when she came out of the extravagant restaurant only to meet with a poor street beggar who had not eaten for many days, Teresa was extremely frugal with herself. She set a budget of an average of 30 cents per day for her food and drinks and never more than 50 cents. And any balance was carefully saved and donated to the sick and needy.

This frugal lifestyle soon caught the attention of her friends who questioned her, “Why are you so silly? This is your hard earned money and you don’t spend it on yourself but instead you give it away. What happens if you fall sick one day and need the money?”

To this Teresa confidently replied, “Mother Nature has given me a healthy body. It is not only for me but this body is to work for others too. Everyone on this earth is my family. I have to love and help them.”

 

A Calling to Care For the Needy

The Second World War broke out in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. The Japanese army invaded Hong Kong and Teresa’s German boss fled to Chongqing leaving her in charge. In the days that followed, the situation became worse. Teresa’s boss telegrammed her asking her to join him in Chongqing.

The Japanese airplanes were bombing Hong Kong unrelentingly. As the airport was closed, there was no flights out. Teresa waited for 3 days and 3 nights at the airport. Finally on a moonless night, the plane sneaked out and managed to fly to Chongqing. At Chongqing, her boss was waiting for her at the airport. At that time General Chiang Kai-Shek had moved his office to Chongqing. Teresa did some of the news translation for General Chiang and his wife, Madam Soong Mei-Ling during her spare time.

As the battle spread towards Chongqing, there was a huge influx of refugees and wounded soldiers into the city. The Japanese planes kept dropping bombs on Chongqing and there were mass destruction with the wounded and dead lying everywhere.

In keeping to her vow on frugality, Teresa would carry a water bottle and some boiled eggs to work. When the warning sirens went off, Teresa would run for shelter and hide there for days. Faced with the horrors of war from her own personal experience where she witnessed destruction and brutality, Teresa started to abhor warfare and destruction.

And because she worked in a news bureau, Teresa soon learnt that the British Red Cross Society was organizing an International Voluntary Service for Peace (IVSP) nursing them and they would be coming to Chongqing soon. The IVSP team consisted of youth who were 17 and 18-year olds. Their main duty was not to fight in the battlefields but to nurse the wounded. Teresa found her calling in this cause as it was in alignment with her “peace” philosophy. She thought, “These young men have left their own country and traveled to a distant land to care for the wounded. When they themselves needed help and care, who is going to help and care for them?”

Teresa spontaneouly decided to resign from her news bureau job and join the IVSP team taking on the job of looking after these British volunteers. Having made this decision on her own accord, she wondered what her mother would say. She wrote, “Mother, I intend to resign from my news bureau job and join the IVSP team and look after the young volunteers for free. I will not be able to send money home to you anymore.” Her mother replied and agreed that Teresa was doing the right thing.

Upon receiving her mother’s blessings, Teresa happily tendered her resignation. Much to the surprise and dismay of her boss who thought that she was dissatisfied with her salary and he immediately offered to increase her pay. Teresa had to calmly reassure her boss that she was leaving for a good reason and cause. This stumped him, as he could not understand “why anyone would give up a well-paid job to be an IVSP volunteer.”

Teresa met the IVSP team at the Chongqing airport and asked, “Can you train me to be a nurse?” The IVSP team leader was taken aback and answered politely, “We serve others, not train people.” Teresa then told him, “You are in China and you don’t speak the local language. Besides, there is no one to look after you. I can be your translator and also help look after your living necessities.”

Her sincerity impressed the team leader and the IVSP volunteers accepted her proposal. In the peace team, Teresa took on the role of “foster mother” to the 20 young men translating for them.

 

A Wonderful Twist of Fate

After having worked in the IVSP for four years where she saw countless sick and wounded war victims, she still lacked the nursing skills to be in much of help. Teresa realised, “Man who all suffer from sickness and death and I must help wherever I can. I must learn nursing to help.” With this thought, Teresa decided to learn nursing . However as her Chinese was weak, she could not enrol in the local nursing school. So, she decided to go to England for her training.

In 1945 at the age of 47 years old, Teresa applied for visa to travel to England. Before leaving for England, Teresa decided to return to Penang to visit her mother whom she had not seen for many years. So Teresa went back to Penang to stay with her mother for a month. After that, Teresa sailed for England.

At the time the qualifying age for nursing students was between the ages of 17 and 25. Teresa was already over-aged as she was then 47. There was no way any nursing school would accept her. Teresa was determined to achieve her ambition as a nurse. She refused to accept any rejection. So, she wrote to the matron of the London Nursing Council and told her that she was not studying nursing to earn money but rather to dedicate and devote her whole life and energy to caring and helping the sick. These words moved the matron so much that she was immediately accepted. The matron said that this was the right spirit of a nurse.

The main reason for Teresa’s journey to England was to learn nursing. She concentrated on her studies. In fact she did very well in the Pre-Clinical Course Examination, Teresa was first amongst her class of 20 students. And in the Hospital Junior Examination, she again came out second out of 47 student nurses.

 

Training at Royal Free Hospital

Teresa stayed fully focus on her training, she has been giving free treatments to people who could not afford and she has been doing this until the day she passed away (7th of December, 2011). Although the nursing course book took three years to complete, she continued to study other subjects related to nursing such as Home Nursing, Health Visiting, etc. In her nursing school due to her petite stature and her youthful Oriental appearance despite being 50 years old, she was often mistaken to be in her 20’s! Whenever they needed someone to be a “patient”, her classmates would shove her forward, “Go little girl! You go!” In the hospital too whenever the nurses did not want to do any particular job, they would say, “Tell the little girl to do it”

However, the “little girl” did not mind it at all. She did not shirk from doing the work. And neither did she get angry that she had to do the work of others. “I am here to work and I am pleased to work. The more I do, the better,” she says.

Each summer, the nursing students had a three-week break. During this period, Teresa worked as an Exchange Volunteer with the Red Cross Society in the various European countries. She had worked in Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, Norway and Denmark.

 

Eight Years in Paraguay

Towards the end of her stay in England (circa 1953), Teresa received a letter from the “Society of Brothers” in Paraguay. The Society was set up by a total of 21 countries. When Teresa learnt that the Society was a haven for refugees and had no money to pay the nurses, she accepted the offer.

In 1953 Teresa left England and after sailing for more than three weeks she finally arrived in Asuncion, Paraguay. Teresa was received by a member of the Society who took her to the headquarters. Along the way Teresa saw poverty everywhere and she realised that Paraguay was a very undeveloped and poverty-stricken country. The whole landscape was totally a sharp contrast to the hustle and bustle of England. Teresa realised that Paraguay needed more help than England and she was glad to accept the Society’s request.

The Society had a poorly staffed hospital with three doctors. The doctors had to attend more than a hundred patients suffering from all sorts of diseases, illness and ailments. Teresa’s presence and assistance was heartily and warmly welcomed.

Teresa went straight to work. Her duties were wide and varied such as giving injections and medicine to the patients, care of the bedridden, attending to women’s health problems, childbirth, post-natal care and those patients who lived outside the Society’s premises. Her eight years of experiences in the various medical fields and her hands-on and clinical skills in England helped her greatly in handling the nursing problems in Paraguay. And for that she was very grateful.

In Paraguay, everyone called her “Teresa”, a name associated with the more famous Albanian Catholic nun, “Mother Teresa”. Teresa Hsu was equally moved by Mother Teresa’s work in India in providing warm, sincere care for the aged sick. Teresa dedicated her entire time to the Society’s work and in the process, earned the respect of many. However it became inevitable that there were some conflicts of views and opinions. The Society rules stated that everything was shared. But the “sharing” was restricted to the Society’s members only -it was not meant for anyone outside. Teresa was not in agreement with this regulation. In her mind, the whole world is a brotherhood and one should love and help one another. Although she was a member of the Society, Teresa did not discriminate between the Society’s members and non-members. Each day she delivered food and medicine to the leprosy patients living outside of town. And along the way, she would visit the poor and offered her help too. Once, Teresa saw a little poor boy with high fever. The family had no money and no medicine. On returning to the Society’s premises, Teresa took some medicine and gave it to the poor boy’s family. There was also countless poor and destitute families outside the Society’s grounds. Teresa would give them food and medicine whenever she went on her rounds. When the senior administrator, the House Mother came to know of this matter, she was not happy with Teresa.

One day, the House Mother called Teresa and said, “Teresa, although you are very good in your work and we all respect you on the personal level, there are some things which we cannot approve.” Teresa was puzzled as she was confident that everything she did in the last eight years was done with total honesty and sincerity. Then, the House Mother hit the nail on the head, “You repeatedly take and give our medicine to the poor and sick. That’s not right. You simply cannot give the Society’s things away to others. It’s against our regulations.”

“But they are very poor, sick and have no money to buy medicine. We have enough medicine in the hospital. Surely we can spare them some.” Teresa explained.

“They are outsiders. We only take care of our own people. We cannot care for others,” the House Mother told Teresa. To which Teresa responded, “But they are not outsiders. They are our brothers and sister. I love them as I loved my patients in the Society. If they fall sick, they also need care and help.”

“They are not part of the Society. We need not look after them. As you are part of the Society, so you have to follow our rules. That means that you must stop giving them food and medicine.”

“Food, I’ll give them my share. Surely, I can decide on what to do with my own food.” Teresa retorted. “We give you food because you need to eat. If you don’t need it, you can refuse it. But you cannot take our food and give it to others.” the House Mother replied sternly.

Teresa was rather shocked and taken back by her remarks. She asked herself, “Was I wrong? I worked for the Society for eight year now without asking for any returns. Am I wrong to see and treat everyone as my brother and sister? Why did the House Mother discriminate? Why did she draw a line between members and non-members? Why won’t she help them?”

When necessary, she “stole” to feed the poor and the sick. She could not stand to see the needy suffer. They are human beings too. Their lives are also precious and regardless of whether they are the Society’s members or not, they are still entitled to care and respect. Teresa struck with her principles and as a result ran into many arguments with the House Mother. Watching the sick and the needy suffer with no relief in sight, Teresa felt very sorry.

 

An Affectionate Reunion with Mum

Teresa received a letter from her younger sister, Lucy on behalf of their mother stating that, “Poor people are everywhere but there is only one mother! Mum is getting old at 80-plus and needs you to return and look after her.” Teresa was jolted by this and she decided to leave Paraguay after 8 months because of the shortage of money. Teresa and her mother finally reunited after 30 years of not seeing each other. (Teresa has been in constant contact with her mother, exchanging mail with her weekly for more than 30 years.)

 

Teresa Hsu, in the middle, helping to serve food

Founding the “Home for the Aged Sick”

Teresa came to know about the Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital for the poor from Ursula. She also found out that due to the lack of funds, the hospital could not afford to hire a nurse despite having 380 patients. As the hospital could only offer a paltry salary for nurses, no one applied. When Teresa learnt about this, she offered herself as a volunteer.

She started work as an unsalaried matron for the hospital. Her work included taking care of their food and diet. She soon found out that the patients were not being properly looked after. Maybe it was because the lack of funds; or maybe the number of patient was too overwhelming. Teresa also felt that the hours of waiting for their (patients) meals was not kind especially as they were old, sick and bedridden. She appealed to the hospital to add one more meal but was rejected.

Despite her many appeals, the hospital administration still would not agree. Feeling disappointed and unable to see the elderly residents suffer anymore, Teresa asked Ursula for financial support to buy bread for the 380 residents. As it was unofficial, she would personally deliver a bun and a drink to each of them at 8 p.m.

Although she used her own money, the hospital still did not approve of her good actions. They felt that she was overidding their decisions and forbade her to continue. After working in Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital for two years and seven months, Teresa left.

Shortly after she retired, Hsu set up the Heart to Heart Service with Sharana Yao, her co-social worker, a non-profit, non-government aided welfare service which provides food, clothes and monthly cash contributions to those in need. With the help of volunteers who drive her around, she brought necessities to the homes of elderly women and the destitudes who were in their 80s and 90s on public assistance. She would buy them food such as rice, sugar, biscuits, beverages and a monthly cash allowance of between $20 and $180. She got her rations and funds from various sources—merchants, people in the neighbourhood, church friends, and their friends. The needy get on Heart-to-Heart’s list based on good faith by word of mouth.

Teresa Hsu, at the age of 113 on a Wednesday, 7th of December 2011 has passed away peacefully.

 

These Are the 10 Things That I Have Learnt From This Book:

  1. If one “small sized” lady can benefit so many people’s lives and make such a huge change to people around the world, why can’t we? I would like to start practising compassion like her from now on. Simply because I think she is worth following.
  2. Does it really matter what the world thinks about us? Apparently it does not. We should just do our best to help and care for others. Teresa always cared for others more than she has cared for herself, if we are able to nurture such attitude, can you imagine how the world would be like? I can imagine it being a true paradise.
  3. Teresa Hsu has been a vegetarian since birth. As I have said many times, being a vegetarian does not only save many lives, but we can also improve our health.
  4. Nurturing compassion starts at home, we must be able to treat our parents and siblings with care and love. And from there, we can only start spreading compassion to people around us, so that they are too inspired to be kind.
  5. Equality- We are blinded by branded items, expensive cars and houses, thinking that having all these would give us a good life but in actuality, real happiness arises when we open ourselves up to be in others’ help.
  6. I have learnt that having a happy life is way more important than a luxurious life. What can a luxurious life bring us? After all when we pass away, we will not be able to bring them with us. A happy life creates happiness and good karma with others around us, so then we can be in good terms with each other in our future lifetimes.
  7. Giving- We do not need extras in our life. Having extras of everything will only feed our ego and do us no good. But if we share it with others, others can enjoy it with us.
  8. This book has gave me the strength and hope of doing better things with my life instead of just getting a normal desk job and spending my free time lazing around. For For example, now I am striving to become a lawyer that will help both people and animals to let them earn their rights to live a free life.
  9. I have learnt to be frugal from Teresa. Being frugal is not bad at all, as long as it fills our needs not wants, it is enough. We should give and share it with the poor and needies as they need it too.
  10. Her life has definitely touched thousands of lives even to this day and it will still touch other’s heart and mind as long as humanity prevails. Her work is just remarkable, I have truly fell in love with her. This book contains so much of her presence, without a doubt, I can feel her energy around. There are more to what Teresa has done throughout her life and it’s all in the book. It has been a great pleasure for me to write an article on H.E Tsem Rinpoche’s blog. Stay tuned, as you will see more articles from me!

The ever compassionate heroin, Teresa Hsu

 

About the Book

Author: Raymond Loh
Publisher: [Penang]: Raymond Loh, c2011
ISBN: 9789671034200
Paperback: 248 pages

 

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16 Responses to Heart to Heart with Teresa Hsu Book Review

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  1. So Kin Hoe (KISG) on Jul 15, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    Dear Rinpoche,

    Thank you so much Rinpoche for sharing the book review about the biography of Teresa Hsu. I have learnt a lot from Teresa Hsu and Teresa Hsu will always become the inspiration and driving force for me to do better in serving others sincerely and truthfully.

    Teresa Hsu has no second thought in helping others in need and she will put others at the top priorities regardless of how much she required to work and serve in order to provide the necessities to the poor and needy people especially during the war time. Her burning and lively motivation did not stop her until she took her own risk to help others who were sick or hungry. This is a truly Bodhisattva’s act.

    Besides, I really admired Teresa’s mother advice “We won’t die if we skip a meal or two, but these hungry people may collapse and die if they do not get food in time”. This quote reminds me all the stray dogs around my vicinity should be fed with food as the stray dogs cannot make livings on their own and hence, they have to suffer with hunger under the unprotected environment for most of the time.

    May this ‘Heart to Heart with Teresa Hsu Book Review’ inspire many people to follow the foot steps of Teresa Hsu and together we cultivate peace, compassion, equality, generosity, and all the good qualities on our living planet.

    Thanks with folded hands,
    kin hoe

  2. Wei Theng on Jul 15, 2016 at 1:46 am

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this book review on Teresa Hsu.

    It is really an inspiring and heartwarming article on Teresa Hsu. She is like Boddhisattva to me. Just like Tsem Rinpoche, she went all the way to help others without being fearful and any hesitation. Very truthful, direct and honest too.

    I find that there are similarities in her stories with Tsem Rinpoche’s stories on helping the poor. Some points listed below:

    1. Both Teresa Hsu and Rinpoche do a lot of work to help the poor.
    Teresa Hsu founded Heart to Heart Service while Tsem Rinoche founded Kechara Soup Kitchen.

    2. Both their mothers are very generous and kind and inspired them:
    Teresa’s mother was another role model for compassion and a person who was magnanimous. Teresa’s mother gave the sweet potatoes (the only food that they have to a poor woman with child. “Mother had endlessly told us that we must help these hungry people. We won’t die if we skip a meal or two, but these hungry people may collapse and die if they do not get food in time.””

    Tsem Rinpoche’s mother, Dana, was a very kind and generous lady. It was not unusual for her to open her house for the poor and homeless people and invite them to have dinner with her family. In addition, she used to drive around with Burcha to dig people’s cars out of the snow during snowstorm.

    3. From the experiencing the hunger themselves, both Teresa & Rinpoche can’t bear to see anyone who suffers from hunger.

    Teresa: “I was by the roadside and when nobody was watching, I grabbed a handful of grass and put it into my mouth.” This grass-eating, non-satisfying hunger experience drove the young Teresa to vow that for as long as she lived, she would see that no one need to to go through that desperate experience. Further, she vowed that within her power, everyone should have their basic needs met.

    Tsem Rinpoche: Due to his experience of being a homeless, hungry and alone, Rinpoche would always give food to the homeless and the needy throughout his life. That’s how Kechara Soup Kitchen is founded and Rinpoche still giving food and care to whoever he meet.

    Love this article very much and great to know this “Boddhisattva”, Teresa Hsu!

  3. Freon on Jul 14, 2016 at 10:33 pm

    Teresa Hsu’s story is really amazing! Amazing person.
    Most people came from poor family they would vow not to be poor again. They would not even think to benefit people, all they think is to get rich and to get rid of the situation they are facing. But, Teresa, vow to help people and not let them go through the poor situation she faced. A 7 years old girl, could have a mind of Bodhisattva!

    Going through her life, she is a very determine person, determine to always helps peoples that come across her life even she will be hurt. When she have little salary, she would save not for her future, she save for the helpless ; the homeless. When she was questions would she worry for her future, her answer ( Mother nature give me healthy body, and everyone on this earth is my family….) told me that she is brave! Very brave in helping people, she goes all the way to helps..
    When i read this, her actions move my heart a lot and actually as an inspiration for me to move on to helps people and be brave.

    She never stop learning to equip herself. When she knew English was important, she learned, when she think becoming a nurse was important, she studied. From her, age, money, reputation, power have no effect on her! She just goes all the way to helps as many people as she can.

    Not forget to mentioned about her mom, who are truly kind to help the hunger.

    Her story, truly is an inspiration and a motivation for me. I never thought, people who are without money, position can still helps and influent many. She have shown me the way a lay person could do.

  4. Wai Meng Wan on Jul 13, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    I think Teresa Hsu embodies all the paramitas, there is no paramita that is not embodied by her character. I think the most endearing quality is her joyous effort, there is so much of her that we can learn from her. Inspirational stuff, thank you Rinpoche for having such a inspirational article on this ‘bodhisattva’ of the poor and downtrodden.

  5. Navina on Jul 11, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    I think she did very nice things by helping out poor people, but it sounds to me that she has given up her whole live for other people by giving up a well-paid job. It is nice to help out people without money and food, but there are other ways how you can help them and still live your live however you want. You should also enjoy your own life and think about your own needs.

    • Joy Kam on Jul 13, 2016 at 2:19 am

      Dear Navina,

      Thank you for visiting H.E. Tsem Rinpoche’s blog and thank you for your truthful comment. I do agree there are other ways we can help people out besides using money or food especially if we cannot afford to help in a materialistic sense due our own lack of it. We can always help in kind deeds and our actions which may in fact be of the same merit if not more especially when done with sincere genuine motivation to benefit the other without expectations.

      People like Teresa Hsu, Mother Teresa, Ghandi and to me, my Guru H.E. Tsem Rinpoche, and the likes truly defines the word selflessness, compassion and kindness for to them others’ needs takes precedence before theirs and because of that strong motivation, we call it bodhicitta in Buddhism. The amount of ‘sacrifices’ they can make, which in their minds it’s probably not even sacrifices, is what sets them apart from us. Hence, this is why we write stories about them and we get inspired when we read about their deeds, yet in actuality we are all the same—humans. The only difference is our ‘motivation’.

      Here is an interesting article about sincere motivation and how it leads to spiritual attainments I’d like to share, hope you’ll enjoy reading it… http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/a-true-account-of-an-accomplished-practitioner-of-the-vajra-guru-mantra-in-recent-times.html

  6. Pastor Han Nee on Jul 3, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    The villagers of Kah Chioh, in China, where Teresa Hsu lived as a child, were very poor. Yet , there was a strong communal sense and a looking out for each other, like a big family.Sharing each other’s things. Trusting each other. They all led simple lives -living with bare necessities. This sense of looking out for others became embedded in Teresa as she grew up and even after the family left the village to migrate to Malaysia.

    Compassion was very much ingrained in Teresa. It ran in the family, starting from Teresa’s grandfather. Teresa learnt from him and her mother about real giving to the poor and hungry and about caring for them as you would your loved ones. Teresa’s mother was maganimous -she gave generously to the poor, even though they were poor themselves. The family doctrine was :” Love your neighbour as yourself”. Her mother’s sellessness can be seen in her own words -“We won’t die if we skip a meal or two, but these hungry people may collapse and die if they do not get food in time”

    Teresa impresses me by her all -encompassing love and compassion for all the needy and the poor, without fear or discrimination.She stuck her neck out to show this love and compassion. She had a strong sense of commitment to serve the sick, the poor and the hungry in the bast possible way. She let others’ needs of her decide how she should best train and equip herself to serve them. Her sense of fairness was so strong that she would risk getting fired from her job just to make sure that her other fellow workers were treated equally to her.

    She travelled far and wide to serve the wounded. During World War 2, she joined the International Voluntary Service for Peace under the British Red Cross Society, based in Chongqing, China. Needing nursing skills to be better able to serve the wounded, she travelled to UK to enrol herself for a nursing course( at the age of 47!), which she successfully completed. Duirng her nursing trainee years she enrolled as an Exchange Volunteer with the Red Cross Society and travelled to various European countries to offer her services. Later she travelled to Paraguay, a very poor country, and worked as a nurse (wuthout pay)for 8 years to look after the poor and the sick, mainly refugees.She was happy to be there after her stay in UK because the poor there needed her more. However, she finally left this country to return to be with her mother in her old age, after a call to do so from a younger sister.

    She was a lady of indomitable will and a strong sense of purpose. In her earlier years, she determinedly attended night classes to study English , typing, shorthand and accounting.Later at 47 she enrolled for a nursing course in UK. From bein g poor and illiterate, she became a qualified nurse and an accountant. Yet, she put all thought of having a well-paid career behind her, and moved forward to realise her sincere and noble aspirations of serving the needy and the poor right to the end of her life.

    Teresa was frugal with herself, but used all the money she had to help the poor and the needy.The culmination of her untiring efforts to help the needy was in the setting up of “Heart-to-Heart”. Teresa set up the Heart to Heart Service with Sharana Yao, her co-social worker, a non-profit, non-government aided welfare service which provides food, clothes and monthly cash contributions to those in need.

    I salute Teresa Hsu, a truly Asian Mother Teresa!You are a rare person and an inspiration to all.

  7. Sofi on Jul 1, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    An inspiring story of a lady with a truly beautiful heart. Teresa Hsu should be made known worldwide to inspire the people of today to practise more compassion for others. Her selflessness is encompassed everyone without bias and her courage in her belief is admirable. She is so in tune with her Buddha nature of compassion that she could so easily make the decisions to help the poor and destitute above her own comfort. Although her grandfather, her mother and the villagers of Kak Chioh are fine examples of giving, she walked this path of compassion on her own choice. Ursula, Lucy and Anthony too had the examples but they had not chosen to give up their lives for others. She may be one but she had touched many many lives with her generosity.
    Thank you for this heartwarming article of Teresa Hsu who is way beyond her stature.

  8. Jason on Jun 26, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    This articles really inspiring me. A “small lady “Teresa Hsu really can accomplished great job with a bodhicitta heart. She always think about others and serve others with her own resources. The bodhicitta is nurtured since her grandfather give free treatment to those poor patients.Rinpoche always said “Happiness for self comes from bringing happiness to others”.
    Thanks Rinpoche for sharing and I learned a lot good characters from Teresa Hsu .

    With folded hands
    Jason

  9. Liang Jing on Jun 26, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    I have learnt that we must be gratitude what we have in life. With Teresa who is has so little, who is not some rich people or famous, but still help in many ways the needy. Therefore, anyone can help the needy, including me. And, Teresa’s mother is a very kind person who influence her daughter well, to help whoever needs the help.

  10. Lin Mun on Jun 23, 2016 at 11:55 am

    Thank you for sharing the book review of the inspiring life of Teresa Hsu. She is truly a Bodhisattva. I learnt that :

    1) It is very important to persevere and not give up no matter how others view us. We should stay strong as long as we believe we are conducting the good values and not mistreating people. Many a time we tend to give up when we face challenges or do not get support. Also we must always stand up for others were treated unfairly, must be an upright person.

    2) Education/values from family are very vital. Teresa has a very compassionate and kind great grandfather and mother. The values are instill since young and I really admire their compassion in helping the people in need even though they need they are not in a good financial condition.

    3) Always put others need over our own. She will always make sure that others have food to eat and been taken care of. She doesn’t mind sharing her food , eating much lesser as others has nothing to eat. She has a big heart.

    4) Keep good family values. Although she has spent most of her life taking care of others but she did not neglect her mother. She constantly send letters to her mother weekly for more than 30 years. This is a good reflection to us, with so many technologies now where we can reach our family within seconds, but we do not even call back enough to speak to them.

    5) Love everyone. Teresa principal is that she must help everyone regardless of their background, race and etc. There is no segregation. Everyone is her brother and sister. This is oneness.
    6)Be contented no matter how little we have. She showed a good example of how living frugally the whole life is fine. Importantly is to share and help others.

  11. Li Kheng on Jun 20, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    Thank you for this inspiring blog post. Most of us today live with sufficient security and comfort. Our grasping for excessive material possessions are just for indulgence to boost our ego or a pursuit of a false sense of security. I, for one, need the knowledge of having some reserves to fall back on in case of a rainy day.

    Teresa Hsu is certainly a woman of great confidence and courage who would not succumb to social norms and expectations. Perhaps she saw through the delusion of the world system and know with clarity and certainty that she would live with or without their provisions and support.

    I also admire how Teresa can move on without fear from one organization to the next because their “time together” has come to a conclusion due to growing differences in values and views. At the same time, there is no bitterness and all that seem to be left behind was the legacy of her kindness and commitment to what she believed to be values worth living for.

    Teresa Hsu is a true hero. She found abundance in poverty, strength is destitute, kindness and love in hardship. She is not a hero by convenience and glamor. She is a hero because she did everything everyone else did not want to do.

  12. Pastor Antoinette Kass on Jun 5, 2016 at 11:20 am

    Dear Raymond,

    Thank you for your write up on Teresa Hsu, Heart to Heart story. This is such an inspiring person. With her upbringing in very poor conditions but in safety and trust, she did not want to forget that and she looks at everyone as worthy of care and security.

    She did break with what was expected from her and showed immense fairness and integrity. This is expressed for instance also by her wanting to be independant and not marry, fairness for the money she earned with her coworkers and the regular sending money to her mother. She went for education at the age of 47 to help others and she spend everything she had on the needy and inspired others to do the same.

    This is for sure a book to read in school so that such values can inspire many more.

    I found a YouTube video with Teresa speaking at the age of 113! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAv9_IefGxM

    Thank you Rinpoche for always inspiring us and showing us what can be done.

    Humbly,
    Pastor Antoinette

  13. Chris Chong on Jun 3, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    Dear Rinpoche,

    Thank you for sharing this inspiring article with us. This lady, Teresa is an amazing women with an axis heart. She must had been a bodhisattva to be able to do what she had done. Her compassion and love for all beings are extraordinary. This is what I have learnt .

    1. Education starts at home. Parents are crucial role model for their kids’ behaviour. Kids tend to learn and mimic their parents ‘ action. Hence, the parents need to make sure they can set a good example for their offspring.

    2. Compassion is about equal care to all sentient beings. Teresa do not chooses who to care for. She just give care to whoever that needed the care that crossed her path. She even willing to go against the authority of the House Mother at the society to provide food and medication to those non-members of the society.

    3. Teresa is very firm in her belief and let no one change or influence her mind. She had come across temptations from money and pressure from higher authority that prevents her to provide care to those who needed it. However, she emerges triumph every time with her belief unshakeable.

    4. Teresa and her selfless nature had always put her into situation where she could not afford a luxury life. She had to forgo a higher salary and safe and peaceful life to go to difficult places to provide care to the people there. She purposely choose those difficult places and job because she believe that the people there needed her most.

    5. Teresa is a women with incredible will power o learn. At the age of 48, she joined the nursing school to learn the skill that she is lacking just to help those who are in need. She did not back down even when obstacles rise up such as her application being rejected due to age limits. In the end, she emerges as being the second best in her class.

    This women is truly the Mother Teresa in Asia. Her compassion and selflessness is inspiring. Her actions and achievement shows us that materialism and social norms isnt the only way to live and life and certainly not the best one either. Devoting to serve others is the best way to spend our precious human rebirth.

    Humbly,
    Chris

  14. shelly tai on Jun 3, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    Thank you for posting this inspiring post. Teresa Hsu she really a selfless person she spend all her life just to benefits others what a great example for us to learn, everything she do in life is to benefits others even in her early year when she only earns so little but she can still save up for the needy, later on in her life she get give up a well paid job so she be able to volunteer herself to help all the wounded war victims I think this is so selfless nothing is about herself she is truly a great person full of compassion and love.

  15. Grace Leong on May 27, 2016 at 11:58 pm

    What an inspiring personality – Theresa Hsu Chih – Singapore”s Mother Theresa !!
    Her journey was definitely not easy given the conditions of her surroundings. Most resources were scarce and there was no end to people’s suffering!! Theresa”s tenacity and determination in providing assistance to the under privilege is definitely very admirable.
    Thank you for sharing this review on Theresa”s book. May many receive inspiration to help others !

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  • Jason
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 03:07 AM
    This year Wesak Day fall on 10 of May. This day is very special and meaningful to me because I will visit Kechara Forest Retreat(KFR) to join some meritorious event there.
    For me, Wesak is a day to commemorate Buddha Sakyamuni in three aspect( Birth , Enlightened, Nirwana).
    While we celebrate Wesak, we must remind ourselves to learn from Buddha teachings and practice it in order to gain attainment.
    Thanks Rinpoche and Pastor Seng Piow for sharing in order to create more understanding on Wesak Day.

    Jason

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/wesak-day-special-on-rtm-2.html
  • 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

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

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

Tsem Rinpoche

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The Unknown

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

Photos On The Go

Click on the images to view the bigger version. And scroll down and click on "View All Photos" to view more images.
Holy Lady Buddha Vajra Yogini\'s blessing can be found when we decide to focus out to others instead of in to only ourselves.
~ Tsem Tulku Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
Holy Lady Buddha Vajra Yogini's blessing can be found when we decide to focus out to others instead of in to only ourselves. ~ Tsem Tulku Rinpoche
His Holiness Vajradhara Kyabje Zong Rinpoche of Gaden Monastery who is the refuge of countless, gives a clear explanation of Dorje Shugden. One is able to hear his holy voice and translation by Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen! Please see here and share: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=122352
2 weeks ago
His Holiness Vajradhara Kyabje Zong Rinpoche of Gaden Monastery who is the refuge of countless, gives a clear explanation of Dorje Shugden. One is able to hear his holy voice and translation by Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen! Please see here and share: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=122352
: This picture says it all. Click on it to enlarge and read and please share.
2 weeks ago
: This picture says it all. Click on it to enlarge and read and please share.
This is a simple chart showing the three main psychic channels used in tantric meditations to control the winds, raise tummo (fire energy), gain higher consciousness and insight and also for gaining siddhis. These channels are used in meditations for controlling the mind, when the mind ejects from the body (phowa) and one\'s death. These three channels are very important. Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
This is a simple chart showing the three main psychic channels used in tantric meditations to control the winds, raise tummo (fire energy), gain higher consciousness and insight and also for gaining siddhis. These channels are used in meditations for controlling the mind, when the mind ejects from the body (phowa) and one's death. These three channels are very important. Tsem Rinpoche
I think my cute doggie Oser is actually Tintin\'s dog Snowy!
3 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)
4 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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CHAT PICTURES

Art expression using chalks and papers is an avenue for young children to cultivate positive perspective of life and connect with their artistic or creative side. Stella, KSDS
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Art expression using chalks and papers is an avenue for young children to cultivate positive perspective of life and connect with their artistic or creative side. Stella, KSDS
Children as long as 2 years old are ready to learn up skills and attitude that will help them shape their life. When else will be best to instil them with good Dharma values if not since young? Stella, KSDS
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Children as long as 2 years old are ready to learn up skills and attitude that will help them shape their life. When else will be best to instil them with good Dharma values if not since young? Stella, KSDS
Senior students of the children class of Kechara Sunday Dharma School had their class in the ghompa every Sunday. Stella, KSDS
2 days ago
Senior students of the children class of Kechara Sunday Dharma School had their class in the ghompa every Sunday. Stella, KSDS
Besides young Karlson and Ern Ern, there are new faces in Kechara Sunday Dharma School 2-4 years old. Stella, KSDS
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Besides young Karlson and Ern Ern, there are new faces in Kechara Sunday Dharma School 2-4 years old. Stella, KSDS
Kechara Sunday Dharma School students 5-6 years old making prostration to Lama Tsongkhapa at the beginning of the class every Sunday. Stella,KSDS
2 days ago
Kechara Sunday Dharma School students 5-6 years old making prostration to Lama Tsongkhapa at the beginning of the class every Sunday. Stella,KSDS
@KecharaHouse tonite, 48 puja attendees filled the air with a loud chorus of prayer n mantra 2 Dorje Shugden n Setrap!  PHNee
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@KecharaHouse tonite, 48 puja attendees filled the air with a loud chorus of prayer n mantra 2 Dorje Shugden n Setrap! PHNee
A big Thank You to the kind volunteers and to Jace Chong!
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A big Thank You to the kind volunteers and to Jace Chong!
Make your weekend meaningful! Contact Jace Chong to volunteer in Kechara Forest Retreat for the aviaries.
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Make your weekend meaningful! Contact Jace Chong to volunteer in Kechara Forest Retreat for the aviaries.
Thank you to our young volunteer to improve the life of the birds in our aviary!
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Thank you to our young volunteer to improve the life of the birds in our aviary!
English Level 2 Dharma Class, Pastor Han Nee started the Day 5 Lamrim, which is the Seven-Limbed Prayer with Homage and Prostration( 35 Confessional Buddha )  was extensively covered. -  Yew Seng
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English Level 2 Dharma Class, Pastor Han Nee started the Day 5 Lamrim, which is the Seven-Limbed Prayer with Homage and Prostration( 35 Confessional Buddha ) was extensively covered. - Yew Seng
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Sunday Dharma class kids learning to take refuge with teacher Alice. Lucy Yap
One of the outdoor activities for KSDS students is to exercise the drawing that near to the nature. Alice Tay, KSDS
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One of the outdoor activities for KSDS students is to exercise the drawing that near to the nature. Alice Tay, KSDS
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Teacher Jesvin explained the camp rules and regulations to the camper. Alice Tay, KSDS
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KSDS teachers and the young participants of WOAH Camp played & have fun together for this game, Self defense and attack. Alice Tay, KSDS
The younger group of KSDS were happy because they're given chance to feel,touch and play the slime. Alice Tay, KSDS
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The younger group of KSDS were happy because they're given chance to feel,touch and play the slime. Alice Tay, KSDS
Teacher Laura guided the students do meditation. Alice Tay, KSDS
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Teacher Laura guided the students do meditation. Alice Tay, KSDS
Day break at Kechara Forest Retreat! Sunrise meditation during Inner Reflection Retreat, April 2017
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Day break at Kechara Forest Retreat! Sunrise meditation during Inner Reflection Retreat, April 2017
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Visitors in Kechara Forest Retreat, circumambulating the holy Vajra Yogini Stupa. Picture credit Pastor Gimlee
Students are getting ready to do prostration in Gompa following a Teacher Kien and Teacher Zhi Yan instruction. Lin Mun KSDS
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Teacher Callista & Teacher Irene were sharing with children on the topic of courage. It is good to instil dharma knowledge from young. Lin Mun KSDS
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Beautiful tormas was offered during Gyenze Puja at Kechara Forest Retreat. Lucy Yap
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