The Building Wanderers of Amsterdam

By | Jan 6, 2016 | Views: 538
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Hossein from Libya in the room he shares with seven others

 

Rejected asylum seekers who refuse to leave and cannot do so, even if they wanted to

In North Amsterdam, just across the river from the central station, there is a neighbourhood of shipping containers. These containers are mostly used for storage, with the exception of a couple of crunchy (hippy?) design firms. One of these containers, on a quiet street at the edge of the neighbourhood, houses over thirty men. 

As I walk in, one of them shakes my hand and offers me an apple. Another one, Hossain from Libya, is happy to answer my questions. As I pull out my camera, he says: “Wait, don’t take a photo yet. I must arrange my things nicely.” He sits on his mattress, one among nine others on the floor of a room the size of a LUC single, “I must look like a good refugee.” 

 

Held Captive in Europe

Over 100 refugees were evicted from “de Vluchttoren” on September 30th, another abandoned building they had been squatting in for four months. After packing up their belongings and cleaning the premises, the group walked to City Hall demonstrating for change in the Netherland’s flawed asylum-seeking procedure, leaving the latest of their past fourteen temporary homes behind. A number of them found shelter in this container. 

Twelve thousand asylum applicants were rejected from the twenty-five thousand who applied in 2014. These thousands of rejectees have fallen into a grey area of Dutch law, and are now homeless and without means of earning a living. 

A common room where residents share meals

Pretend you are an asylee. After being rejected, you will be told that you are not to work and rent or buy property in the Netherlands. The key legal document which defines if you can be called a refugee, your rights and the legal obligations of states to you – the UN Convention Relating to Refugee Status – also prevents the Dutch authorities from deporting you back to your home country if the situation there is considered dangerous to your race, religion, membership in a social group or political opinion. 

The Netherlands deported 4,400 people last year, while 4,110 left voluntarily, the Volkskrant reported. 

At this point, you may want to travel to another country to try your luck at asylum there. With your papers or lack thereof, your travel is limited to Schengen countries. You soon learn that the Dublin Agreement – a regulation under the Geneva Convention that applies to all EU countries – bans you from applying for asylum in other EU countries if you were fingerprinted on arrival to the EU, which is the case for most asylum-seekers. Local municipalities insist that providing you with housing is not their responsibility either. You end up trapped in Europe, unable to work or find yourself accommodation, stuck in a system that seems to perfectly create an illegal immigrant. 

 

The Authorities Are Lost Themselves

Last November, the Council of Europe admonished the Netherlands for failing to provide basic amenities for rejected asylees who have not or cannot leave the country. Dutch policy makers scrambled to create a policy called Bed-Bath-Bread (BBB). The program began by turning an unused prison in Rotterdam into an accommodation centre. It lasted six months before evicting residents with a 48-hour notice.

The program has since revamped itself into two night accommodation centres in Amsterdam. The individuals I interviewed found these centres restraining. BBB residents enter the centre at 5pm and have to leave at 9am the next morning. Their night activities are restricted and they cannot leave the building between those hours. It also only has a capacity of 135 people. If a BBB resident fails to show up for more than two nights in a row, they stand to lose their spot and have to re-register. 

 

We Are Here

In 2012, a mixed group of a hundred asylum-seekers and rejectees named themselves “We Are Here” to form a stronger collective voice. The group gained national attention when they set up a makeshift tent camp in Amsterdam’s Diakonie gardens in 2012, but attention quickly waned and newspapers moved on to “fresher” topics.

Since then, We Are Here has found a loophole to put to good use in Amsterdam, their temporary solution – squatting in abandoned buildings. Squatting, or ‘Kraken’ in Dutch, was made popular in the housing shortages after the Second World War. A vacant building could be turned into an official squat by placing three things which signal domestic occupation: a bed, table and chair. Squatting became de jure illegal in the Netherlands in 2010. 

“They come and knock on the door but when they see us, they know we are refugees,” said Ahmed Omar, a former Vluchttoren resident who came to the Netherlands from Somalia seven years ago. The authorities seem to have developed an unspoken relationship with members of We Are Here and tend to turn a blind eye to refugee-filled squats. “They know it is better for us to be in here than out on the streets with normal people and tourists.” 

Ahmed and many other Vluchttoren residents wandered the streets of Amsterdam before finding another building to squat in. “We have moved from house to house, building to building, street to street. I may know Amsterdam better than my home country”, he said. 

Ahmed said he fled Somalia after being threatened by Al-Shabab for refusing to join their military forces. Upon hearing that Ahmed was in danger, his childhood best friend, a German citizen, gave Ahmed his passport which Ahmed then used to fly to France while pretending to be his friend. Ahmed applied for asylum in the Netherlands but was rejected shortly after. 

 

Vluchtgemeente

Ahmed came to LUC last month with other We Are Here members to screen a documentary about their situation. He volunteered to give a tour of their current squats – they are spread out through three squats in Amsterdam. 

The “Vluchtloods” group lives in a container office in Amsterdam Noord, close to IJ-Hallen flea market, the Smaragdgroep moves from church to church, but most members stay at “Vluchtgemeente”.

“Vluchtgemeente”, or refugee town, is a large building just a stone’s throw away from Amsterdam Lelylaan station. Ironically, the building was formerly Amsterdam North-West’s City Hall. The width and structure of Vluchtgemeente is similar to the LUC building, but three storeys tall.

Women live on the ground floor in rooms that were formerly offices. Volunteers use the main conference room to conduct Dutch language classes, and large fundraising dinners happen in the cafeteria. 

Men, who form the majority of residents and refugees coming into the Netherlands, fill office cubicles on the second and third floor. Most residents have grouped their rooms geographically with the Sudanese staying with the Sudanese, and the Iraqis with the other Iraqis. 

Volunteers from the surrounding neighbourhood have stepped in to lend refugees a hand in setting up their living spaces. We Are Here has an active Facebook page that they use to request food donations and provision of other basic needs. Ahmed recalls an elderly retired electrician coming into the building in the first days to help the group wire the building and tap into the electricity. Others have donated mattresses, blankets and hotplates. Piles of donated bread and vegetables line a tabletop at the entrance and are a free-for-all for the Vluchtgemeente residents. At the moment, the residents are trying to set up Wi-Fi in the building.

Food is often pooled together and meals are communally cooked then shared.

Katy, a volunteer with We Are Here, says that things are more stable now. She remembers when the BBB program ended and refugees were out on the street. “It was in the winter and it was cold,” she told LUC students at the documentary screening. “I took someone into my house who kept trying to commit suicide because he was driving the rest of the group to suicide as well.” Katy has recently started studying basic administrative law to give her more autonomy in helping refugees with paperwork.

 

Political Expediency

The Netherlands is getting crowded. Some 24,000 refugees arrived in the Netherlands in 2014 and the Dutch cabinet expects 50,000 refugees to arrive this year. Feeling a strain on finances, the ruling coalition of the VVD and PVDA passed an agreement last month to reduce social security benefits for refugees and remove them from social housing priority lists. 

“Blame the immigrant” rhetoric and capitalising on fear is a political trick that is working to the favour of anti-refugee far-right Freedom Party (PVV). PVV, who won 15 seats in the most recent 2012 elections, are shooting up the polls amid the refugee crisis. A survey by daily De Telegraaf states that PVV could command up to 35 seats in the 150 seat lower house, if elections were held today. 

While Germany has agreed to take 40,000 refugees, France 30,000 and the UK 20,000, the Netherlands has agreed to 9,000, a figure proportionate to the population but does not account for a shrinking population of youth and a fertility rate below replacement ratio.

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Melissa Leong
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About Melissa Leong

Melissa Leong, 23, is an undergraduate student of economics and political science. From Kuala Lumpur, she has previously lived in India, the United States, and most recently, the Netherlands.
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13 Responses to The Building Wanderers of Amsterdam

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  1. Wai Meng Wan on Jun 9, 2016 at 4:19 am

    Migrant workers and asylum seekers have so much vulnerability. We need to be kind to refugees.

  2. graceleong on Jan 19, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    In my opinion we cannot turn away the refugees irrespective of how much “threat” we think they will give us. This apprehension of “threat” again stems from our over indulgence of the “I”.
    Of course it will be tough to bring in tens of thousands of foreigners to our country. They have different values and cultures. They have different faiths and beliefs.
    There must be efforts to assimilate them into our society. They may have to be re-trained or re-educated with the new ways and cultures. It will not be an easy tasks at all as many old ways are hard to change. However efforts have to be put in to do so. Then as they live on and slowly gets accustomed, a new generation will emerge. This new generation will be no different from the rest. Efforts towards this must be made for the simplest reasons. Help others to help ourselves.
    Thank you Melissa Leong for sharing your personal experiences with us. Looking forward to more of your stories !

  3. Jutika Lam on Jan 13, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    It is really heartbreaking to know of the way the Netherlands government is treating asylum seekers.

    It is really cruel of them to evict them from an abandoned building, a building not even being used and they still evicted them, deprived them of a roof over their heads and chose to let them suffer out in the harsh cold weather.

    To make matters worst,they rejected twelve thousand asylum applicants denying them of a legal paper to stay in the Netherlands.

    Couple that together with the many laws put in to place over the years, the asylum seekers are literally counted as illegal.

    It would be so much better if the Netherlands Government would lift the laws they put in place and allow the asylum seekers already in the Netherlands to be citizens.

    It would benefit both sides as jobs such as street cleaners or etc could be filled by them the asylum seekers and in turn they could earn money.

    Thank you Melissa for sharing an insight in to the current situation at the Netherlands!

  4. Uncle Eddie on Jan 9, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    What Pastor Shin has displayed in her blog article “That asylum seekers has become not just an issue but a crisis, as the EU countries struggle to cope with the influx as well as trying to resolve the division in the EU over how best to deal with resettling people,” seems correct and clearer now. All we can further hope and earnestly pray for is that, through the excellence of whatever white virtue there are in Samsara and Nirvana, may all be auspicious for those asylum seekers as mentioned therein, be freed here and now from all further misfortune and hardships, and thus enjoy a glorious perfect virtue of goodness earnestly! Om Mani Padme Hung.

  5. Lin Mun on Jan 9, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    Thank you Melissa for sharing this report on refugees in Netherlands.

    It is heartrenching to hear the treatment of this asylees in Netherlands. They are trapped due to unsympathetic regulation that stop them to get a safe place and a living. Situation is worsen when political move to stop the BBB programme and ask the refugees to leave without any shelter in the winter.

    Nevertheless, I am glad that there are so many people who volunteered to help the “Vluchtloods” group and offering them the basic necessities.

    This article again serve as a reminder for me to be always be contended with what we have and help those we are in need.

    Lastly, I hope the government will provide a solution to the refugees soon as it is difficult to sustain based on donation and help by volunteers alone.

  6. Pastor Shin on Jan 9, 2016 at 1:15 am

    With the new Dutch EU presidency, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Europe’s first priority on refugees was to improve efforts to curtail the flow of asylum-seekers arriving into the EU, which reached record numbers in 2015. By that he means that the numbers have to come down very much, very considerably.

    On 16 December 2015 in Geldermalsen near Rotterdam, police fired warning shots during a riot by thousands of protesters opposed to the opening of a refugee center to accept 1500 asylum seekers. More recently in Cologne, Germany, police are investigating 31 potential suspects, of whom 18 are reported to be asylum seekers, one of them a 14-year-old Syrian boy seeking asylum in the Netherlands on suspicion of sexual assault. The accusation stems from an alleged New Year’s Eve attack on two girls, aged 14 and 15.

    Asylum seekers has become not just an issue, but a crisis as the EU countries struggle to cope with the influx, as well as trying to resolve the division in the EU over how best to deal with resettling people.

    There are many initiatives for migrants and refugees in the Netherlands, and the Dutch Council for Refugees has 6.000 volunteers and 600 paid employees. However, this does not help the rejected or illegal asylum seekers much who fall among the cracks. Like what we read in the article by Melissa, these rejected asylum seekers often disappear into illegality and live a virtually invisible and disenfranchised existence: they can not work, can not go to school, have little or no access to health care and have no right to adequate shelter.

    There are sympathisers, for example a Dutch owner of an area in Slootdorp that was once a village for Jews fleeing the Nazis, he has offered the land to house refugees from Syria and Iraq, following a heated debate over the arrival this year of at least 26,000 Middle Eastern migrants.

    However, there is only that much that sympathisers can do. The members of the public need to help press for a solution from the governments as voluntary organisations and individuals don’t have enough resources to support the asylum seekers long term.

  7. Pastor Patsy on Jan 8, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    It is so sad to read about these refugees who are not welcomed in the country. They have nowhere to go, no way of making a legal leaving and worrying when they can have the next meal or when they will be evicted again.

    Thank you, Melissa, for highlighting this and it’s good to know that despite their difficulties there are still good, caring local people around who are willing to come forth to help these refuges to make their lives a bit more comfortable.

  8. Phoebe Yong on Jan 8, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    Thank you to Melissa for documenting the status of refugees in Netherlands. Thank you to Rinpoche for sharing this article.

    That’s shown there are so many refugees at Europe seek for asylum. Its good to know that the local people are volunteer to help to setting up the live space for the refugees. That always have good people around us. I pray that they can find the asylum successfully.

  9. Stella Cheang on Jan 8, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    One cannot help but to feel sad and sorry for the “refugee” after reading this article. As asylee, they are are being rejected and restricted from entering any employment, meaning no means to make a legit living, and deprive of basic amenities. This is a very sorry state of affair for adults, leave alone for children and the elderly. The conditioning Dublin Agreement and the EU system confine these asylee to just European countries with no way out. Life is very tough for them.

    Something positive that I notice is how they hang on to their dignity. This statement by one of them almost brought tear to my eyes:

    “Wait, don’t take a photo yet. I must arrange my things nicely.” He sits on his mattress, one among nine others on the floor of a room the size of a LUC single, “I must look like a good refugee.”

    This is a strong message for me to bring away. The living condition of a person is not the definition of ones’ dignity.

    Another point for me to ponder from this article is how sheltered we are, oblivious to the many suffering happening in other parts of the world or even in our own backyard. We are used to the rosy pictures from mainstream media (unless they want to make a statement otherwise) as well as the glorified lifestyle our friends and families are living through social media while the thousands who suffered without a voice will never see daylight; e.g. these refugees or Dorje Shugden practitioners. They were left to fend for themselves until an occasional mention in media. This is very sad.

    Therefore I would like to say thank you to Melissa Leong who brought to light the plight of these refugees. And thank you Rinpoche for sharing this article with us.

    Humbly, bowing down,
    Stella Cheang

  10. Chris Chong on Jan 8, 2016 at 12:52 am

    Thank you Melissa for this report of the situation of the refugees in Netherlands.

    Its is pleasant to see that some of the local people and even some of the authorities are trying to help them as they could despite of the rules set by the government. This shows that they are compassionate towards these unfortunate people who are forced to leave their countries. I hope that more people will have compassion towards them and understand their situation instead of just blindly direct their anger and dissatisfaction onto them.

    Chris

  11. Sarah on Jan 7, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    Thank you for documenting the plight of these refugees in the Netherlands. I pray that their attempts to find asylum will be successful.

  12. NUTroll on Jan 7, 2016 at 8:53 am

    Melissa Leong : in 2014 .. While Germany has agreed to take 40,000 refugees, (((((intersting shows how CHANGEs are progressing )))))______________________________________________________________________specialy as connected with Mandziuśri!TSEM TULKU &RINPOCHE before publications do.pls.RELAY ON REALITY(NOW?) even on estimated.______ We Are Here ____It’s 2016 after(annual) new year’s ~~”celebrations”~~ on germany’ streets.

  13. JP on Jan 6, 2016 at 11:41 pm

    Thank you Melissa for your report on the status of refugees in the Netherlands. Many refugees suffer because they are not wanted in other countries and they are not priority in their agendas. Many governments oblige themselves to take them in because it is a social responsibility of not seeing others suffer. However, this can be a very costly affair if not properly planned. And many governments are not keen to take on this humanitarian project.

    What is disturbing is that the Netherlands allow themselves to drag on their internal bureaucracy at the expense of refugees suffering more because it is a financial burden. They don’t realize that all refugees want is a chance to better livelihood that their countries could not provide. So if the government can invest in assimilating them in to the Netherlands and have them join the working force, the new citizens can contribute back to the Netherlands when they pay for their income tax. The longer they delay the assimilation process, the more costly it is to have them reside in the country.

    European countries are supposed to be developed countries and democratic, which is supposed to be the most effective and efficient form of government. So why are issues like this so difficult to resolve? Sometimes, too many people involved in giving their opinions can cause unnecessary delays, resulting in unnecessary sufferings.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/its-in-the-scriptures-they-exist.html
  • Alice Tay
    Tuesday, Apr 25. 2017 04:26 PM
    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Adeline sharing this interesting post about Bodhidharma, a great master favoured meditation and introduced the Lankavatara Sutra to Chinese Buddhism.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Han Nee for this article.

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

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

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/guest-contributors/how-much-do-you-know-about-hair.html

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Messages from Rinpoche

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Technical: Lew Kwan Leng, Justin Ripley, Yong Swee Keong
Design: Justin Ripley, Cynthia Lee
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Writer: Pastor Loh Seng Piow
Admin: Pastor Loh Seng Piow, Beng Kooi

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

Tsem Rinpoche

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The Unknown

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

Photos On The Go

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


Ask the Pastors

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

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

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

  • April 20, 2017 10:45
    Ronnie asked: Dear Rinpoche and Pastors, I'm studying abroad and very far away from home, seeking guidance and advice as I have no one else I can talk to about this. Please read with an open mind, I don't know where else to go for help. I'm pregnant and it's an unplanned pregnancy. I'm stuck between keeping it or letting it go. I'm young and having a child at my age in the society we live in now would be considered taboo. The father of the child thinks I should let it go because it may cause a setback to both our careers and cause major family issues. He thinks we aren't ready to raise a child especially since we're both still in university and his parents think badly of me even though they've never met me or tried to get to know me. I'm sure no one would ever have the heart to take away a heartbeat but it seems like it isn't the right time to have a child now and if we did go through with it, the child probably won't be able to have the best things life can offer looking at where we are now in terms of finance and maturity. I'm lost, confused and unsure what the right thing to do is now. Any advice at all would be helpful right now. Thank you so very much for taking time to read my story.
    pastor answered: Dear Ronnie, I’m sorry to read that you are going through this situation. I can understand that this situation is tough to go through. You are always more than welcome to come here to ask questions. May I suggest that you talk to either someone in your family or your friends to help you come to an appropriate solution? This is because, what you feel, what you are going through, will change from time to time and you would need someone to talk to, someone that you can lean on through this situation you are facing. Depending on where you are in the world, professional help can also be sought to help you make a decision, which will be the best option for you seeking help. From a Buddhist perspective, the taking of a life is not considered a positive act, therefore those on the Buddhist path, would normally abstain taking a life if possible. However, that being said, one must always weigh the decision oneself. Everything we do in life, necessarily involves karma both positive and negative. That is why Buddhists try to overcome samsara in general. Your situation is complicated because you are abroad, but if possible you should really open up to someone you are close to in order to help you through making this decision on a personal basis. When you talk to someone, whom you are able to express yourself more, you may able to come to better decision that is right for you. There may be other options open to you if you seek help. I personally know women who have been in similar situations. One of these women, let the child go and the other went through the pregnancy and then gave the child up for adoption. You may or may not have thought of this option, but it is one that could be open to you, depending on where in the world you are. Any decision we make in life, however big or small it may seem, has far reaching consequences whether in this life, or in future lives. This is just a part and parcel of life within samsara. However, we should weigh the decisions we make clearly given the situation we are in. We cannot always do this weighing ourselves, but need to talk about our options with others we can rely on such a friends, family or professionals. You should consider doing this, which will help you greatly emotionally, and may give you the grounding you need to make the correct decision for you. I hope this helps.
  • April 19, 2017 04:57
    Dongho asked: What is a nyung ne practice? According to Lama Zopa Rinpoche, it's a purification sadhana. However, what are the instructions for this? I'm guessing it's to Chenrezig, but how does it work? Also, from what I have read, Vajrasattva practice is only for broken vows while Akshobhya is for regular misdeeds. Does that mean one has to take the Akshobhya practice to purify bad karma from this life and previous instead of Vajrasattva? As for the purification practices, are some like Vajrasattva and Chenrezig only to purify the bad karma and let it come quickly or is it to prevent it from coming? I am confused in it. As for signs, I recited a mantra of White Yangchenma that a Sakya lama, Lama Kunga Thartse Rinpoche, gave me with the Sakya visualizations I read on, and after one mala, I heard some lady call my Korean name even though no one in my neighborhood knows of my name and my family members weren't in the area. What does this mean?
    pastor answered: Dear Dongho, Thank you for your questions, it’s nice to see you back here again. Nyung Ne practice is a purification practice that centres around Chenrezig. It is a very beneficial practice that stems from a holy nun named Gelong-ma Palmo. It is a two and a half day practice that can be repeated many times over and over again to intensify the purification and build a closer relationship with Chenrezig. As well as its purification aspect, the practice is known to generate vast amount of merit, and also compassion, as the practice centres around Chenrezig, the Buddha of compassion. The practice involves taking the eight Mahayana precepts for the duration, fasting, meditating, prostrating and praying. The practice usually entails empowerment into the practice of Chenrezig, therefore the exact meditations, prayers can only be explained to those who have the empowerment. Vajrasattva practice is not necessarily only for repairing broken vows, etc. That’s why it is advised that you engage in the practice at the end of the day, to repair any vows that you may have broken during that day, as well as stopping any negative karma you created that day from multiplying. This would entail reciting the mantra 21 times, together with the four opponent powers. However, if you engage in this practice more intensely, it definitely has the capability to purify all sorts of karma. That is the reason why in Ngondro, or preliminary practices one engages in before tantra, the practice of 100,000 Vajrasattva mantra recitation is an integral part. You can read more about Vajrasattva and his practice here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/prayers-and-sadhanas/an-important-purification-practice.html. Within purification practices, some of the karma will be purified completely, so you do not feel its effects at all, but when purifying other karma you will need to feel its effects somehow. For example if you have the karma to be in a car accident and get seriously injured, and you are engaging in any practice, but especially the purification practice, since you have purified most of the karma, you will only experience being in a very minor car accident, with only very superficial injuries. Therefore, in this case, the karma has been purified to the extent that it does not affect you as much, but you still need to feel part of its effect. In regards to any signs that you receive which engaging in the practices given to you by one of your specific gurus, you should report the happenings to that particular guru. He will be able to give you more of an accurate answer, as it may be related to the particular practice that he gave to you. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • April 17, 2017 07:06
    Thomas asked: Dear Pastors, When a serkyem set has been used so much and one is ready to get rid of it and replace it with a new one. What is a respecful mode of disposal?
    pastor answered: Dear Thomas, Thank you for your question. Your question shows that you have a lot of respect for offering items, which is very good. If possible, you should try to repair the item if within your means, and doing so make embellishments to make it a better offering item, which can still be used. If this is not possible, then you should dispose of the item with a good motivation. You should think that this item has been used to make offerings to the enlightened beings, but now that it is broken or unusable, you are going to dispose of it, and replace it with a new one. Since it itself is not a receptacle of energies of the enlightened beings, such as a statue, tsa tsa or thangka, it does not require a special dissolution before being disposed of. However since it was used to make offerings, it still requires some form of respect when disposing, and this comes from one’s motivation and the way in which you dispose of it. Usually, when disposing of items in this way, make the motivation that you have used it and that it is now time to dispose of it, and replace it with a new one. When you do this you can dispose of it in a respectful manner. For example, if you are going to throw it away, you do not simply open the trash can and throw it in. You wrap it up in something, like a bag or newspaper and dispose of it respectfully. Another method you can dispose of it is to recycle the object, if the material it is made from can be recycled. That way you are more conscious of the environment as well. I hope this explanation helps. Thank you.
  • April 16, 2017 22:38
    Curious asked: Dear pastors In a recent youtube video something like paying respect to deceased ones, pastor Nirel Patel explained that merits are like the interest and good karma is like the principal sum. So merits always regenerate themselves and hence do not get used up but good karma is like the principal sum so it gets used up. So my question is what are practices that generate merit? And can we turn a mundane daily activity into a meritorious one? Maybe can you provide an example?
    pastor answered: Dear Curious, Thank you for your question. First, to clarify a point, in regards to good karma, you are right, it is like a principal sum in a bank account, but you take away from it when you experience something good in your life, and you add to it when you do good deeds. Merit on the other hand, once accrued never diminishes, therefore when something is based on merit, it is based on the energies of this never diminishing sum, which you could say is like interest. In short, the principal sum when talking about karma is always added to and subtracted from. However, when talking about merit, once you have it, there is no way to destroy it, you will always benefit from it. There are various ways to explain how to generate merit. I will explain a way that I find easiest to understand. In normal life, when we go about performing any sort of activity, be it ‘good’ or ‘bad’ we do so out of ignorance of the true nature of existence, and it is usually self-motivated. For example, we work our entire lives to generate monetary income, so that we have enough money, resources, and materials goods to be comfortable. This is self-motivated, but it is the accepted way the world works these days, and is part and parcel of being bound to samsaric life. On the other hand, the act of merit making can be categorised into three parts: i) motivation, ii) the act itself, and iii) dedication. Let’s start with motivation, when engaging in various virtuous acts, we should have the motivation that by engaging in the act, we have the motivation to alleviate the suffering of someone else, and that may we gain enlightenment so that we can benefit them in the future. The second is the act itself. The third is to dedicate the energy of the virtuous act to gaining enlightenment. These three are what make merit. This may be a little confusing, so let me give an example: giving help to a homeless person. Whereas in ordinary life, this is something praised as a very good deed, it does not create merit without motivation and dedication. In order for this to become merit, one must set the motivation that one is giving help to the homeless free of the eight worldly concerns, to alleviate their suffering and also making the motivation that you will achieve enlightenment for the sake of the person or people you are helping. Then after you have helped them, you dedicate the energy created to the spiritual journey towards full enlightenment to help all sentient beings, while at the same time benefiting as many sentient beings as possible on the way there. This transforms the act into not only a virtuous action but also one that generates merit. On the other hand, if you were to help the homeless without these, you are creating good karma, which although beneficial, keeps you bound to existence within samsara. As it is the goal of Buddhist practice to overcome the cycle of samsara, a Buddhist would want to generate merit instead of good karma. I hope this explanation helps. Thank you.
  • April 13, 2017 11:38
    D.A. asked: If Begtse Chan is not from Mongolia, what are his real origins or story exactly? And which lamas offer his empowerment? As for Manjushri Nagarakshasa, which lamas specifically offer his empowerment and practice?
    pastor answered: Dear D.A. Thank you for your question. Begtse, is also known as Chamsing, or Jamsaran in Mongolian. As mentioned in an earlier sharing with someone who also asked a question about Begtse, the practiced was introduced to Tibet from India by the translator Nyen Lotsawa, and is considered one of the main protectors of the Hayagriva cycle of tantras. According to the scriptures that derive from the Sakya tradition, who incorporated the practice from the translators, and in which tradition Begtse became a very important protector, Begtse in a previous life was born many eons ago. In that particular life, he was born as the younger prince in a royal family. His name was Drag Gye, and his older brother’s name was Drag Den. Over time both princes developed differing religious beliefs, to the point where they could not get along with each as they both held their own religious views strongly. As was the custom during that time, they decided to settle their differences through logical debate, with the loser having to convert to the winner’s religion. This custom was also prevalent in ancient India, and there are many stories of such debates occurring between the great masters of the past and those of other faiths. Drag Gye lost the various debates, but ran away instead of converting to his older brother’s religion. Drag Den caught him, and tried to punish him for breaking the rules of debate and going back on his promise. Drag Gye told his brother that even if he was killed he would not give up his religion, however if Drag Den let him go, that in the future when Drag Den became enlightened, he would protect his teachings. With that Drag Den let him go, and gave him a set of copper armour, a stick, and a bow and arrow. Drag Den also gave Drag Gye a new name: Sog Dag Yam Shi Mar Po. After this incident the two brothers never saw each other again in that lifetime. Many lives after that Drag Den was reborn as Prince Siddharta, who eventually became enlightened and is now known as Buddha Shakyamuni. Drag Gye, or Sog Dag Yam Shi Mar Po, was reborn in a cemetery in the North West direction. His parents gave birth to two eggs, one was a coral-like colour and the other was an agate-like colour. These two eggs flew high into the sky and reached the heavenly realms, there they subdued the gods. Then flying back down to earth, they subdued many nagas. Eventually they even came to threaten their own parents. The parents petitioned the Dharma protector Ekajati for her help, who threw her own staff (khatvanga) at the eggs, and broke them apart. From the coral-like coloured egg came a ferocious man with yellow hair, he proclaimed that his name was ‘Sog Dag Yam Shi Mar Po’. When he emerged he was wearing a set of copper armour, wielding a stick, copper sword, and a bow and arrow. From the agate-like coloured egg came a female who was blue in colour, her teeth were like shells, she had turquoise eyebrows, and her hair was made of fire. She emerged wielding a copper knife, ritual dagger (phurba), rode a terrifying bear and wore an intricate necklace made of agate and lapis lazuli. It was then that Ekajati once again took action, and subdued them, after which they became Dharma protectors. The male figure became known as Begtse, and the female as his sister. When you propitiate Begtse, his sister is automatically included and aids practitioners as well. As for which lama offer his practice and empowerment, most lamas do not advertise which teachings or practice they hold. Therefore you should respectfully approach lamas and ask them if they have the practice and can bestow it, or if they know of any lamas that have the practice, depending on how much you want to practice Begtse. Similarly, this applies to those lamas who have the practice of Manjushri Nagarakshasa. However, this practice is included in the Rinjung Gyatsa series of empowerments. This unique cycle of teachings, includes all 4 classes of tantric practices, and includes the practice of Manjushri Nagarakshasa. Therefore those lamas who have received the complete transmission, and have kept their commitments for this practice, are qualified to pass this on to others. I hope this explanation helps. Thank you.
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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
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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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Kechara Sunday Dharma School students 5-6 years old making prostration to Lama Tsongkhapa at the beginning of the class every Sunday. Stella,KSDS
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Kechara Sunday Dharma School students 5-6 years old making prostration to Lama Tsongkhapa at the beginning of the class every Sunday. Stella,KSDS
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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.
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Thank you to our young volunteer to improve the life of the birds in our aviary!
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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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