The Dragon Boat Festival: A Fusion of Traditional and Modern Culture

Nov 29, 2016 | Views: 421
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Dragon figureheads on the bows of boats used during the festival

Dragon figureheads on the bows of boats used during the festival

I have lived in Malaysia for over 20 years. During this time, I have developed a great appreciation for the cultures and customs that exist in Malaysia, which has inspired me to share more about the aspects of Malaysia that I like very much.

One such example is the Dragon Boat Festival, which was originally from China, but has since been adopted into Malaysian culture. The adoption of this festival demonstrates the multi-ethnic nature of the Malaysian population. This ability to embrace various customs is the reason why Malaysia is so rich in its cultural identity.

Therefore, I am pleased to present you with this article on the Dragon Boat Festival, its origins, how the custom was assimilated into Malaysian culture, and how people participate in the festival. The article also contains information about zongzi, glutinous rice balls, which are closely related to the Dragon Boat Festival.

Tsem Rinpoche

 


 

The Origins of the Dragon Boat Festival

The Dragon Boat Race

The Dragon Boat Race

The Dragon Boat Festival (Chinese: Longchuanjie) is also known as Tuen Ng, Duanwu Festival, or Zhongxiao Festival. The festival is said to celebrate loyalty to one’s country and filial piety to one’s parents. Traditionally, the festival is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month in the Chinese lunar calendar. For that reason, the festival date varies from year to year when following the International (Gregorian) calendar.

The Dragon Boat Festival is also known as the ‘Fifth Month Festival’ or the ‘Dumpling Festival’ among Chinese Malaysians, Singaporeans, and the Taiwanese. In the ethnic Chinese Hokkien communities, the festival is also known as Peh Cun.

There are three known versions of the story that recount the origins of the Dragon Boat Festival. All three of these stories have tragic endings which are similar and moral lessons for us to contemplate.

 

Version 1: The Legend of Qu Yuan (340 – 278 BCE) – The Benevolent Nobleman

An artist's portrayal of Qu Yuan

An artist’s portrayal of Qu Yuan

The story of Qu Yuan is the most widely accepted origin story of the Dragon Boat Festival. Qu Yuan was a benevolent nobleman from the state of Chu in ancient China and according to Sima Qian‘s Records of the Grand Historian, he was a member of the Chu royal family. Initially, he served as a minister during the time of King Huai of Chu, who ruled China between 328 – 299 BCE. Due to the influence of several corrupt ministers, King Huai exiled Qu Yuan to a region north of the Han River. He was eventually reinstated to his former position and assigned to establish a diplomatic relationship between the state of Chu and the state of Qi, a neighbouring kingdom.

After King Huai passed away, his successor, King Qingxian, ascended the throne. Foreseeing that the state of Qin would attack the state Chu, Qu Yuan advised the king to join forces with the state of Qi in order to fight them. The Prime Minister at the time, Zilan, was unhappy about this proposal and sought to turn King Qingxian against Qu Yuan. The King listened to the Prime Minister and Qu Yuan was once again exiled, this time to a region south of the Yangtze River.

During his time in exile, Qu Yuan spent most of his time gathering folk tales and legends, and writing poems about his love for his country. Today, some of his works are considered to be among the greatest poems in Chinese literature.

The local villagers respected Qu Yuan because they viewed him as a wise and benevolent man. However, Qu Yuan remained worried that his prediction regarding the future attack on the state of Chu would eventually come true, and this anxiety affected his health.

General Bai Qi from the state of Qin

General Bai Qi from the state of Qin

In 278 BCE, Qu Yuan’s worst fear came true. General Bai Qi from the state of Qin captured Ying, Chu’s capital. Upon hearing the news, Qu Yuan wrote a poem called ‘Lament for Ying’, and committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River, which is located in present-day Hunan Province of China. When they heard about Qu Yuan’s suicide, the local villagers rushed to the Miluo River to try to save him. They searched for him with their boats and beat their drums in a desperate attempt to save Qu Yuan. It was this hectic search for Qu Yuan that became the origin of the Dragon Boat Festival.

As they searched for Qu Yuan’s body, the villagers threw rice balls into the river to keep evil spirits and creatures in the river away from his body. Later on, Qu Yuan appeared to his friends in a dream to explain the circumstances surrounding his death and asked his friends to wrap the rice balls in three-cornered silk packages to pacify a dragon. Qu Yuan’s friends spread the news and began the tradition of making and offering the three-cornered rice packages to the dragon on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month of the Chinese calendar. Today, the three-cornered rice packages are wrapped in leaves and known as zongzi.

 

An artist's portrayal of Wu Zixu, Duke of Shen

An artist’s portrayal of Wu Zixu, Duke of Shen

Version 2: Wu Zixu (unknown – 484 BCE) – The Nobleman Who was Shunned by His Master

In Sima Qian’s Records of the Grand Historian, Wu Zixu was also known as the Duke of Shen, or Shen Xu. As a trusted adviser to King Helu of Wu, he recommended the promotion of Bo Pi as a minister, despite warnings about his shady character. After King Helu’s passing, Wu Zixu was unable to build rapport with the new King Fuchai. Foreseeing that King Goujian of Yue, would one day attack the state of Wu, Wu Zixu advised King Fuchai to conquer the state of Yue before this could happen. But the king did not believed him. To make matters worse, King Fuchai chose to listen to Bo Pi, who advocated peace between the two kingdoms. Little did they know that Bo Pi had been bribed by King Goujian of Yue to manipulate the situation.

King Fuchai of Wu

King Fuchai of Wu

Wu Zixu begged King Fuchai to follow his advice, but it only made him angry. The King gave Wu Zixu a sword and ordered him to commit suicide. Before he passed away, Wu Zixu requested that his eyes be removed after his death and placed at the city’s entrance so he could see his prediction come true. Instead, King Fuchai ordered Wu Zixu’s body to be thrown into the river on the fifth day of the fifth month. Approximately ten years after Wu Zixu’s passing, his prediction came true. King Goujian of Yue attacked and conquered the state of Wu, while King Fuchai was engaged in a war with the state of Qi. In desperation, King Fuchian committed suicide with his eyes covered because he was ashamed of meeting Wu Zixu in the afterlife. Ironically, King Goujian convicted Bo Pi of treason against King Fuchai, and of taking bribes from foreign dignitaries. To this day, Wu Zixu is remembered during the Dragon Boat Festival, especially in the eastern-central coastal provinces of China.

 

Version 3: Cao E (130–143 CE) The Girl Who Lost Her Father

An artist's portrayal of Cao E

An artist’s portrayal of Cao E

Cao E was a daughter of a shaman named Cao Xu. One day, while he was conducting a ritual to commemorate the memory of Wu Zixu, Cao Xu fell into the Shun River. Devastated, Cao E spent days searching the river for her father. Five days after the incident, both Cao E’s and Cao Xu’s lifeless bodies were found in the river.

Eight years later, the locals built a temple in Shangyu to remember Cao E’s act of filial piety, and the Shun River was renamed Cao E River in her memory. Cao E’s sacrifice is remembered during the Dragon Boat Festival, especially in Northeastern Zhejiang, China.

There are arguments that these legends were promoted by Confucian scholars during the Imperial China Period because they wanted to increase their influence. According to Professor Wen Yiduo, a 20th-century Chinese scholar, the Dragon Boat Festival actually originates from the tradition of dragon worship. The Dragon Boat Race symbolises the act of paying homage to the dragon, symbolic of active masculine energy in the world, while the zongzi was used as an offering of food to the Dragon King. Since the ancient Chinese were heavily dependent on agriculture for survival, weather played an important role. Dragons were said to have the ability to control the weather and therefore directly affected the state of agricultural productivity. Keeping the dragons happy ensured good weather, which in turn meant the survival of the local communities through good harvests. The dragon as a symbol was prevalent in both the states of Wu and Yue. According to Professor Wen Yiduo, the Dragon Boat Festival was most likely a custom unique to Wu and Yue, but gained popularity throughout the rest of China over the years.

Regardless of how and why the legends were promoted, the Dragon Boat Festival continues to thrive to this very day.

 

How the Festival was Adopted in Malaysia

Malaysia is a multi-ethnic country that embraces its diverse cultural identity

Malaysia is a multi-ethnic country that embraces its diverse cultural identity

Wherever the Chinese travelled (whether for trade, economic or other other reasons), they brought their culture and traditions with them. According to Malaysia’s Department of Statistics, the Chinese population between 2014 and 2016 was estimated to have been 23.4%. That is almost a quarter of the entire Malaysian population. It is not surprising then, that the Dragon Boat Festival is widely observed throughout the various communities in Malaysia that include descendants of Chinese immigrants.

The Malaysian government has embraced the Dragon Boat Festival as an important event that promotes racial harmony. The Malaysian Tourism Promotion Board, a subsidiary of the Malaysian Ministry of Tourism and Culture, has included Dragon Boat Races in their Malaysia Events & Festivals publication. The Malaysian Tourism Promotion Board acknowledges the Dragon Boat Race as:

“…a team-focused sport, which promotes discipline, harmony, physical fitness and mental toughness… [and] an honoured sport that inculcates racial harmony.”

 

Activities

Traditional Chinese families gather together every year to make zongzi

Traditional Chinese families gather together every year to make zongzi

Cooking and Eating Glutinous Rice Balls

Traditional Chinese families gather together every year to make zongzi. In addition to holding, participating in, and watching Dragon Boat races, the Malaysian Chinese community celebrates the Dragon Boat Festival by making and eating zongzi. This tradition commemorates the time when villagers in ancient China threw rice balls into the river to pacify the dragon and river creatures in order to protect Minister Qu Yuan’s body.

Due to its popularity, zongzi has evolved from a simple rice dumpling wrapped in bamboo leaves to include assorted fillings. In the past, zongzi could only be found during the Dragon Boat Festival. Today, zongzi can be found all year round in places with a considerable Chinese population. The shape of the zongzi can vary from place to place, but it is commonly made in the three-cornered shape. In a typical traditional Chinese family, making zongzi is a family affair. Everyone participates in the process. Although bamboo leaves are the most commonly used wrap, other leaves, such as maize, banana, and pandan, can also be used to wrap the rice balls. Each leaf imparts a different flavour and aroma to the dish.

Zongzi wrapped in banana leaves

Zongzi wrapped in banana leaves

One of the secrets to a good zongzi is wrapping it well enough so that the contents stay intact after the boiling process

One of the secrets to a good zongzi is wrapping it well enough so that the contents stay intact after the boiling process

Zongzi fillings may differ based on preference, but most of the time, glutinous rice, also known as sticky rice, is used. Wrapping the zongzi is an art in itself. Cooks are considered successful when the rice and contents stay intact while the zongzis are being boiled. Most of the time, the recipes and the skill of wrapping zongzi are passed down through the various generations in the family.

On the eve of the Dragon Boat Festival, traditional Chinese families offer the zongzi to their ancestors and deities as a show of respect before eating the zongzi themselves.

Bak Chang

Bak Chang

Zongzi is also popularly known as Chang in Malaysia. There are several types of Chang common in Malaysia:

  • Bak Chang: Bak Chang usually contains pork meat with salted egg yolk, chestnut, dried shrimp, and mushroom, depending on preference. The rice is usually brown in colour.
  • Kiam Tee Chang (Nyonya glutinous rice dumplings): Kiam Tee Chang is considered a Malaysian Chinese speciality. It usually contains minced pork and winter melon with five spice and pepper.
  • Kee Chang: plain glutinous rice with alkaline water. It is usually eaten with sugar or syrup and is considered a dessert.
Kiam Tee Chang

Kiam Tee Chang

Kee Chang

Kee Chang

If you do not come from a family that gathers annually to make zongzi, you can still purchase this delicious delicacy. There are many places where you can buy them, however here is list of places known to be the best:

Ho Yoke Kee

This stall is located off Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur. The family who runs the stall has been in business since the 1960s.

Address:
No. 327 Jalan Hang Lekir
50000 Kuala Lumpur

Business hours: 7:00 – 22:00

Yook Tho Yin

This restaurant is located in Damansara Uptown, and they specialise in Cantonese cuisine. They sell small and large Cantonese-style dumplings. Their large dumplings weight almost a kilo each.

Address:
13 Jalan SS 21/37
Damansara Utama
Petaling Jaya
47400 Selangor

Business hours: 10:30 – 15:00 & 18:00 – 23:00

Imbi Market

Inside Imbi Market, there is a stall that has been run by three sisters for many years. They sell Cantonese Zong, plain Gan Shui Zong, and Nyonya dumplings.

Address:
12, 6, Jalan Kampung
Pudu
55100 Kuala Lumpur

Business hours: 6:30 – 12:00

Noble Mansion

Noble Mansion sells premium zongzi filled with ingredients such as shiitake mushrooms and lingzhi.

Address:
1st Floor The Plaza at Jaya 33
1 Jalan Semangat, Seksyen 14
Petaling Jaya
46100 Selangor

Business hours: 11:00-15:00 & 18:00 – 23:00

Yook Tho Yin and Ho Yoke Kee

Yook Tho Yin and Ho Yoke Kee

Noble Mansion Restaurant in Petaling Jaya

Noble Mansion Restaurant in Petaling Jaya

 

Participating in the Dragon Boat Race

Preparations for Penang Dragon Boat Festival

Preparations for Penang Dragon Boat Festival

According to Malaysia Events & Festivals 2016, Dragon Boat Races were held in the following places:

  • Melaka – as part of Melaka River International Festival (25 May – 4 June 2016) and the Melaka International Dragon Boat Race (11 June 2016)
  • Penang – as part of the Penang International Dragon Boat Festival (28-29 May 2016)
  • Sabah – as part of the Sabah FCAS International Dragon Boat Race (21-22 June 2016)
  • Putrajaya – as part of the Malaysian International Dragon Boat Race (25-26 September 2016>
  • Sarawak – as part of the Sarawak International Dragon Boat Regatta (11-13 November 2016)

Since its inception, the Dragon Boat Race has evolved into a professional sport. The event is no longer restricted to the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar. Some of the Malaysian coordinators of Dragon Boat races, such as the Sarawak International Dragon Boat Regatta 2016, have explicitly declared that they abide by the rules and regulations of the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) and the Asian Dragon Boat Federation (ADBF), a subsidiary of the Olympic Council of Asia. According to the International Dragon Boat Federation, the Malaysia Dragon Boat Association has been registered as a basic member of this institution since 1991.

 

Dragon Boat Race Putrajaya – 300m 22 Crew Final 2016

http://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/DragonBoatRace.flv

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

 

Preparation for the Dragon Boat Race

Individual Preparation

Endurance training is important to prepare the athletes' body for the race

Endurance training is important to prepare the athletes’ body for the race

You need muscle strength and strong lungs in order to take part in Dragon Boat races. Participants are advised to train for strength and endurance so that their bodies are conditioned for the race and protected from injury.

Team Preparation

Although each team can choose their own strategies in order to increase their chances of winning, the basic skills, such as team’s synchrony and the way they row the oars, are prerequisites. It is highly advisable that team members train together prior to the race itself. According to the Worldwide Dragon Boat Calendar website,

“[s]erious dragon boat racers train [all] year round, even in the coldest winter month.”

http://www.dragonboatcalendar.com/training.htm

Fees, Registration, and Prizes

Fees and registration are based on 2016 figures and may change from time to time. The race participation fee ranges from RM150-RM300 per person. Prizes can come in the form of trophies, medals, and/or monetary gifts.

Accommodation for Participants

The Dragon Boat race usually lasts between four to five days, which includes registration, team meetings, training, and usually a two-day racing event, as well as a day reserved for sightseeing in the local area. Most of the time, the event organisers also arrange accommodation for the participants.

Clothing Requirements

When practising for or participating in the Dragon Boat race, it is advisable to wear attire that does not absorb moisture, such as Dry Fit and Coolmax fabric. It is better to wear tight-fitting clothes as loose clothing can easily drag when wet.

 

Visiting Malaysia

 

Travel Document Requirements to Enter Malaysia

Dragon016

Visitors who wish to visit Malaysia should ensure that their passports are valid for at least six months before entering Malaysia. Citizens of ASEAN countries (i.e. Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) can stay in Malaysia for up to 30 days without a visa.

Visitors from other nations can either apply for a visa in advance, pay RM330 for a Visa on Arrival (VOA) or are granted up to 90-days visitor permits on arrival. Check with your nearest Malaysian Embassy or online for visa requirements before travelling. Citizens of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), India, Bangladesh, and Nepal are now eligible to apply for eVisa.

 

What to Wear in Malaysia

Malaysia is a tropical country, therefore most people wear clothing made from light and breathable fabrics. It is recommended to bring several lightweight tops, slacks, sunglasses, hat, sweaters, at least one scarf or shawl, as well as shorts, dresses, and skirts that come down to the knee. You can also consider bringing flats or comfortable shoes.

 

How to Get Around when You are in Malaysia

Rail transport in Malaysia

Rail transport in Malaysia

You can either charter a long-distance taxi that you can pay by the hour, or use the cheaper public transportation buses if you are in major cities. If you are in Kuala Lumpur, you can also use the Light Rail Transit (LRT) or the monorail system.

Those visiting Melaka, or Georgetown in Penang, can experience a more traditional mode of transportation with the bicycle rickshaws.

 

Where to Stay When You are in Malaysia

Getting a place to stay in Malaysia is relatively easy. There are many hotels, hostels, and inns, up for consideration. Visitors can try to search online and look at other people’s reviews before making a booking.

 

Several hotels in Penang to consider:

Bayview Hotel Georgetown

Address:
Lebuh Farquhar
George Town
10200 George Town
Pulau Pinang
Malaysia

Phone: +60 4-263 3161

Eastern & Oriental Hotel

Address:
Lebuh Farquhar
George Town
10200 George Town
Pulau Pinang
Malaysia

Phone: +60 4-222 2000

G Hotel Penang

Address:
168A, Persiaran Gurney
Pulau Tikus
10250 George Town
Pulau Pinang
Malaysia

Phone: +60 4-238 0000

 

Several hotels in Kuala Lumpur to consider:

RHR Hotel

Address:
Kampus Putrajaya University Tenaga Nasional, KM7
Jalan Ikram-Uniten
43009 Kajang
Selangor
Malaysia

Phone: +60 3-8922 2088

Hotel Bangi Putrajaya

Address:
Off, Persiaran Bandar
43650 Bandar Baru Bangi
Selangor
Malaysia

Phone: +60 3-8210 2222

Empress Hotel Sepang

Address:
Jalan ST 1c/7
43900 Sepang
Malaysia

Phone: +60 3-8706 7777

 

Several hotels along the Melaka river to consider:

Quayside Hotel

Address:
Jalan Merdeka, Bandar Hilir
75000 Melaka
Malaysia
Phone: +60 6-284 1001

The Shore @ Malacca River

Address:
Kampung Bunga Paya Pantai
75100 Malacca
Malaysia

Phone: +60 6-282 2666

906 Riverside Hotel Malacca

Address:
52, Jalan Kampung Hulu
75200 Melaka
Malaysia

Phone: +60 6-282 8906

 
Sources of information:

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qu_Yuan
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sima_Qian
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wu_Zixu
  • http://malaysia.com/duanwu-festival-culture.html
  • http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2016/07/26/chinese-population-continues-to-decline/
  • http://www.penangdragonboat.gov.my/portal/
  • Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board (Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Malaysia); Malaysia Events & Festivals 2016; December 2015
  • http://www.idbf.org/members
  • https://sarawaktourism.com/event/sarawak-international-dragon-boat-regatta/
  • http://www.ocasia.org/Sports/SportsFed.aspx?PeMZ0l6yoEEW02q3HVv9iEEDm3tIwYs4
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zongzi
  • http://malaysia.com/blog/chinese-dumplings-chang/index.html
  • http://www.mykeuken.com/2011/06/puah-kiam-ti-chang-nyonya-glutinous.html
  • http://www.dragonboatcalendar.com/fitness_conditioning.htm
  • http://www.dragonboatcalendar.com/training.htm
  • http://www.kln.gov.my/web/are_dubai/other_information/-/asset_publisher/2TQe/content/visa-requirements-for-foreigners-application-requirements-forms
  • https://www.windowmalaysia.my/evisa/evisa.jsp?lang=en
  • http://www.lsa.umich.edu/chinanow/pdfs/FAQs.pdf
  • http://travelfashiongirl.com/what-to-wear-in-malaysia/
  • http://www.lonelyplanet.com/malaysia/transport/getting-around/local-transport
  • http://www.hungrygowhere.my/dining-guide/best-picks/5-best-places-to-get-dumplings-in-kl-*aid-70533101/
  • http://www.kuala-lumpur.ws/magazine/jalan-imbi-market.htm
  • http://www.hoteltravel.com/malaysia/penang/penang-hotels-and-the-dragon-boat-festival.htm

 
For more interesting information:

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11 Responses to The Dragon Boat Festival: A Fusion of Traditional and Modern Culture

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  1. wan wai meng on Jan 20, 2017 at 2:54 am

    I have seen with my a live Dragon Boat race, should be interesting to do so.

    The many stories about the origins of the Dragon Boat race, point a time when China was fractured and there were 7 kingdoms, that vied for supremacy. The annals written by Sima Qian was text that showed how the 7 kings fought against one another, and played politics, this was a time of great strife and upheavel for all Chinese people. There was constant and non stop warfare, the First Chinese Emperor put a stop to that by annexing all other states and forming one large country under his rule.

    Actually coming back to the article, whether there is Dragon Boat por not in one’s vicinity the Chinese will have their glutinous rice dumplings.

  2. Stella Cheang on Dec 23, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    As a very young kid, the yearly ‘Dumpling Festival’ around June is one of the less stressful festivals. There is no hassle, just nice dumpling to eat few times a day, and the occasional Dragon Boat competition showing on telly. The moral behind the story of Qu Yuan completely eluded us then, as we could never understand why Qu Yuan chose to kill himself. Now it is apparent that Qu Yuan died out of disappointment for, his loyal advice was ignored and it caused the fall of his beloved country. Thank you Rinpoche for sharing the other legends regarding this festival and they are very interesting read!

  3. Uncle Eddie on Dec 8, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    Malaysia can be said to be a country consisting of people of multi-ethnic culture and customs diversity, happily and peacefully living together harmoniously! The Chinese dragon boat Festival is a customarily-organised Festival in Penang initially. In the early years, it was primarily celebrated as the “Fifth month Festival” or the so-called “Fifth month Dumpling Festival” amongst the Malaysian, Singaporean and Taiwanese Chinese communities. The Malaysian Government in view of the total Chinese population having reached 23.4%, which represented almost one-quarter of the entire total population of the country, has decided to embrace the Dragon Boat Festival as an important event in the country, primarily to promote racial harmony, and secondarily, to encourage the growth of Tourism in the Country! Since its inception, the dragon boat race has evolved into a professional level sport and today has become International, under “The Malaysian Dragon Boat Association”, which has been registered as a basic member of the “International Dragon Boat Federation,(ADBF)” since 1991. Well done and three cheers, to The Malaysian dragon Boat Association!

  4. Samfoonheei on Dec 5, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    Malaysia is so rich in its cultural identity, and the Dragon festival is one of them been celebrated in a way whereby different races too join in.It is wonderful to know,the origins of the Dragon Boat Festival and the story behind.It has now turned to a team-focused sport.which promotes discipline, racial harmony, physical fitness and mental toughness
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these very informative and interesting post.

  5. Shelly tai on Dec 1, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing all these legendary story which some of them I have never come across it . I personally love the glutinous rice dumplings which I m glad there is a vegetarian version that is available in some of the organic store it actually taste like the real glutinous rice dumplings yet it more healthy.

  6. TekLee on Dec 1, 2016 at 1:53 am

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing the stories of Dragon Boat festival. Sometimes we also call it Bazang festival. Most of the Chinese talk about Qu Yuan’s story, the other two are indeed new to me. But all the stories are interesting and also serve the same purpose and teaching. Dragon Boat festival is one of my favourite festivals. It is because every year when it comes to the day, my auntie will make Bazang for us. Her bazang is extra large compared with those we buy from the market. Nowadays she doesn’t make anymore, due to old age and many things need to prepare but nobody’s helping her. Now I’m vegetarian, it’s quite easy to get vegetarian bazang out there nowadays. Whenever I feel like eating, I can get it from the vegetarian restaurants. 🙂

  7. Justin Cheah on Nov 29, 2016 at 11:28 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing the origins of boat festivals and to be honest, many of us Chinese wouldn’t even know about the history and or the facts on how the festivals were even started. Nevertheless it is always nice to see and learn about these. 🙂

  8. Lin Mun on Nov 29, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    Thank you for sharing the 3 stories of Dragon Boat Festival. Never knew about it until I read it hear. When we migrate to another country, we always bring along our cultures and beliefs. The same for Chinese when they came to Malaysia.

    We are very fortunate be a Malaysian, being able to enjoy so many types of celebration from various races. Most importantly, we can live in a peaceful and harmony state.

  9. Yvonne on Nov 29, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    Good people are remembered forever.

  10. Bradley Kassian on Nov 29, 2016 at 8:37 am

    Dragon boat racing is one of my favorite things to watch during the summer. We have the tradition here on the west coast in Vancouver, Canada. One of my friends actually competes in races. It’s nice that you wrote about the history of this tradition and how it sprang up in Malaysia. It has become international.

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Here is the latest news and pictorial updates, as it happens, of our upcoming forest retreat project.

The Kechara Forest Retreat is a unique holistic retreat centre focused on the total wellness of body, mind and spirit. This is a place where families and individuals will find peace, nourishment and inspiration in a natural forest environment. At Kechara Forest Retreat, we are committed to give back to society through instilling the next generation with universal positive values such as kindness and compassion.

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

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  • Lin Mun
    Friday, Apr 28. 2017 04:00 PM
    Everything we offer to Buddha is a form of mind transformation and practise our mind to be focus even when doing water offering. When pouring the water into the bowl we have to recite Om Ah Hum (3 times), think positively and pouring it slowly so it does not spill and leaving the space of a grain of rice before reaching the top. After offering we also have to clean the bowls properly without leaving stain. All this is to train our mind.

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing the many benefits and water offering in a simple to understand article.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/making-water-offerings-to-the-buddhas.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Friday, Apr 28. 2017 03:38 PM
    Trolls are assiociates as beings of Scandinavian folklore.A large number of different mythological creatures continue to live on in Scandinavian folklore.They have different shapes,habitat and filthy features . There are also numerous tales of trolls told and retold.Trolls are also believed to have the magigal powers, which were folktales ,posses capabilities that are beyond human .What ever it was a remnant of a long-lost reality for sure. I do believe that there’s a very high chance trolls had existed in the past.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing ,i do enjoyed all the stories in these article even though it just folk tales.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/the-hidden-nature-of-trolls.html
  • Jason
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 11:54 PM
    People always expect return on some contribution being done especially in charity events. When the return was under their expectations then they will feel sad or unhappy.
    As Rinpoche said, Dharma is a teachings to transform our mind to become bodicitta or selfless to benefit others without condition. Once we practiced selfless mind, our mind will not be affected by others people reaction.
    What will be my legacy? I think this is not really important to me anymore once I know Dharma teachings from Rinpoche.
    Thanks Datuk May for sharing to benefit more people.

    Jason

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/guest-contributors/what-will-be-your-legacy.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 08:56 PM
    Amazing miracles true story …of how Rinpoche helped. With Rinpoche blessing during the children baptismal ceremony,this little boy who had not spoken since 9 years old was able to speake again.Incredible….
    Chef Au truly believes been a vegetarian has help him to collects merits for his son.Rinpoche’s care and compassion has benefited many more people.Through these stories hope more people will be inspired to achieve the state of compassion and attainments.
    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Loh Seng Piow for this sharing.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/personal-attendant/the-miracles-of-tsem-rinpoche-true-story-4.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 07:51 PM
    Having fully trust and faith in Rinpoche ,Fat monk’s mother was well again, after been diagnosed with cancerious tumour at the liver.
    Following instructions given by Rinpoche, his mother recited mantras and Fat monk did a series of pujas as told,his mother recovered then.
    Amazing……Miracles do happen.
    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Loh Seng Piow for sharing.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/personal-attendant/the-miracles-of-tsem-rinpoche-true-story-3.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 05:27 PM
    We are no strangers to the creatures called Werewolves. They are often depicted as the Jekyll-and-Hyde-like monsters in movies who are unable to control their animal instincts when they shift from human form to a wolf-like creature, usually during the full moon. Together with the Vampires who can transform into bats, are my childhood imagery villains, who triggered my curiosity on mythical creatures during younger days. They still do, lol.

    It is gruesome to learn that real life werewolves are actually brutal even when they are in human forms. It is a far depict from the movies and fictions, where they are civil and level headed when in human form. I hope one day science or technology can provide more proves the existence of werewolves, and debunk the reason of this mystical shapeshifter.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/paranormal/werewolves-the-shapeshifters.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 05:07 PM
    The miraculous power of Protectors’ practice can heal and shield us from negative karma from ripening. Through the blessings of our Guru, coupled with strong faith and trust, the practices will take effect swiftly and effectively. Rejoice to Steven Lee. May he be guided by the Three Jewels always. Thank you, Pastor Seng Piow for sharing the true story with us.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/personal-attendant/the-miracles-of-tsem-rinpoche-true-story-10.html
  • Lin Mun
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 03:57 PM
    This is a very touching article. I totally agree that dog is a man’s best friend. They are always so loyal to the owner. However it is sad that not all pet owners are such. Some will only treat them literally as an animal and therefore do not take good care of them. Dogs or any other animals are beings that have feeling. There should not be neglected and be abused by us. This article reminds us to always care for all beings and respect them.

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this heartwarming article.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/faithful-dog-chases-deceased-owner.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 02:21 PM
    Its a heartfelt touching article of this faithful dog.Cannot imagine this ,such a wonderful relationship between that dog and the deceased owner.The greatest fear dogs know is the fear that we will not come back for them That i noticed from observing from my pet poodle.In this case this faithful dog knew his owner won’t be back.
    Dogs are loyal, patient, fearless, forgiving, capable of pure love and have feelings too.He must have missed the owner badly that he wanted to accompany the owner all the way to the resting place.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing. May that faithful dog ,continue to serve and well taken, love by the other family members.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/faithful-dog-chases-deceased-owner.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 01:46 PM
    Werewolves are known to be mythical creatures found in fiction instead of lurking in the dark woods,In various parts of the world there were few cases who have gone down in history as real life werewolves Interesting to read it from these post..How far it was true or just legends.,no one really know . Many myths and legends surrounding werewolves .To become a werewolf, it is necessary to be bitten by a werewolf in their form at the time of the full moon. Thats what all of us knew from the movies and from fiction told. Reports of werewolf sightings continued even till this century but mostly in between 1428 and 1447 .The most recent sighting of werewolf sightings in 1972. was in Ohio .but eventually subsided .
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these interesting article which i do enjoyed reading it,
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/paranormal/werewolves-the-shapeshifters.html
  • Valentina
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 01:11 PM
    Join our blog chat session this Saturday 11AM – 12PM (GMT +8) on the topic of:

    Twenty-Four Holy Places & Eight Great Charnel Grounds part 2 – (focus topic: Eight Great Charnel Grounds)

    At one time there was a god by the name of Rudra who was originally part of Mahadeva’s retinue. He was a very fierce being who also had many of his own consorts. Together with his consorts he began to oppress sentient beings, and promoted violence and unethical behaviour. At that time, Heruka once again arose, and in a dance of great compassionate wrath, liberated Rudra and his consorts from their physical bodies, sending their minds to pure lands. The places where Rudra’s body parts fell became charnel grounds. …read more by clicking the following link:

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/twenty-four-holy-places-eight-great-charnel-grounds.html
  • 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

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Messages from Rinpoche

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Technical: Lew Kwan Leng, Justin Ripley, Yong Swee Keong
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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.
3 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
3 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
4 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
4 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
4 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
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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

Pastor Gim Lee assisted by Kechara Puja Team, conducted a Dorje Shugden puja and blessings at a premise. Lucy Yap
yesterday
Pastor Gim Lee assisted by Kechara Puja Team, conducted a Dorje Shugden puja and blessings at a premise. Lucy Yap
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
3 days ago
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
3 days ago
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
3 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
3 days ago
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
3 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.
4 days ago
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!
4 days ago
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
4 days ago
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
Sunday Dharma class kids learning to take refuge with teacher Alice. Lucy Yap
4 days ago
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
6 days ago
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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6 days ago
Teacher Jesvin explained the camp rules and regulations to the camper. Alice Tay, KSDS
KSDS teachers and the young participants of WOAH  Camp played & have fun together for this game, Self defense and attack. Alice Tay, KSDS
6 days ago
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
6 days ago
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
6 days ago
Teacher Laura guided the students do meditation. Alice Tay, KSDS
Day break at Kechara Forest Retreat! Sunrise meditation during Inner Reflection Retreat, April 2017
6 days ago
Day break at Kechara Forest Retreat! Sunrise meditation during Inner Reflection Retreat, April 2017
Inner Reflection in April 2017 with guests from USA, Singapore, China and UK! Join our upcoming meditation programs!
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Inner Reflection in April 2017 with guests from USA, Singapore, China and UK! Join our upcoming meditation programs!
Visitors in Kechara Forest Retreat, circumambulating the holy Vajra Yogini Stupa. Picture credit Pastor Gimlee
6 days ago
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
6 days ago
Students are getting ready to do prostration in Gompa following a Teacher Kien and Teacher Zhi Yan instruction. Lin Mun KSDS
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
6 days ago
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
Children are learning how to recite mantra from teacher Alice and teacher Laura. Lin Mun KSDS
6 days ago
Children are learning how to recite mantra from teacher Alice and teacher Laura. Lin Mun KSDS
Students were all so excited listening to the process of making slime as they are going to make one themselves. Lin Mun KSDS
6 days ago
Students were all so excited listening to the process of making slime as they are going to make one themselves. Lin Mun KSDS
Robey, Natalie and Lauren doing sharing on how to make slime. A great exercise for them to learn leadership & public speaking. Lin Mun KSDS
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Robey, Natalie and Lauren doing sharing on how to make slime. A great exercise for them to learn leadership & public speaking. Lin Mun KSDS
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Dorje Shugden
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