Wesak Day In Malaysia

Nov 27, 2016 | Views: 331
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I am fortunate to be living in Malaysia and proud to say that it is my home. Malaysia allows me to be who I am, pursue my interests, and meet wonderful and kind people. Many years ago one of my teachers, Kyabje Lati Rinpoche from Gaden Shartse Monastery, and my protector asked me to be here. I didn’t understand why at that time, but now I do. I am grateful that I was sent to live in a land full of opportunities, a good environment and kind friends. The diversity and rich culture of Malaysia is something I appreciate very much. An example of this is the celebration of Wesak Day. It is widely celebrated all over the world, but in Malaysia it is also a national public holiday.

The Wesak Day festival, also spelt Vesak, is the day Buddhists celebrate the three major events in the life of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni, namely his birth, enlightenment at the age of 35, and his passing away at the age of 80. Buddhism itself can be classed as both a philosophy and a religion. As a philosophy, it teaches us a way of living, and as a religion it teaches us to eliminate suffering and achieve the goal of becoming a Buddha.

The complete elimination of suffering from our mind is definitely possible and when we reach that state, it is called nirvana. The day the Buddha became enlightened, or reached nirvana, is celebrated by all Buddhists around the world as we wish to achieve that same goal. Wesak day is celebrated to remind us of our goals and therefore the purpose of practicing, as well as connecting each individual with their inner potential of Buddhahood. It is more than just a celebration but an act of spiritual remembrance and a chance for real inner transformation.

Buddhism is one of the world’s oldest religions, it is more than 2,500 years old and its founder was Buddha Shakyamuni, a North Indian prince. Contrary to what some people believe, he was not a person from legend, but was in fact a historical figure. Lord Buddha meditated on the nature of life, existence, family and people, and he realised that everything we do in life brings us unhappiness and grief. He saw that we keep doing the same things unknowingly, continuing this cycle of unhappiness and grief blindly.

Realising this fact and out of his great compassion, he taught methods and ways to deal with how we live our lives, how we view our environment and how we react to our environment and other people. He taught us how to change our reactions and through this, lessen the unhappiness and suffering we create. The goal of a Buddhist is to gain enlightenment, so that we don’t create more suffering for ourselves and others, and when we have reached that state, to help others achieve it too. It is about the removal of suffering from our own lives first and then from the lives of others. Therefore it is important to respect all beings, animals, people, cultures and ways of doing things. This is emphasised a lot in Buddhist practice.

 

The Origins of Wesak

The auspicious birth of Prince Siddhartha

The auspicious birth of Prince Siddhartha

According to the Buddha’s life story and the ancient Indian literary style of presenting stories based on the caste system, Prince Siddhartha Gautama of the Shakya warrior clan, was born miraculously from Queen Maya’s side as she leaned against a sara tree where she rested during her journey back to her parents’ home. In ancient times, it was customary that women went back to their parents’ home to give birth. On her way she stopped to rest in a forest that was filled with beautiful flowers, singing birds, and peacocks fanning their magnificent tails beautifully. This location is known today as Lumbini, Nepal, as per recent archaeological findings that claim to have identified the exact location of Prince Siddhartha’s birth.

Before Prince Siddhartha was born, his mother, Queen Maya of the Shakya clan had a premonitory dream that an elephant with six magnificent tusks descended from the heavens and approached her. The elephant had skin as white as snow mountains and carried a beautiful pink lotus in its trunk. It placed the lotus inside Queen Maya’s womb through her stomach, and itself dissolved into her womb effortlessly. When the queen woke up from the dream, she was filled with a sense of joy and ease.

The following day, King Shuddhodana who was Queen Maya’s husband, summoned all the holy and spiritual masters of his kingdom to explain the dream. Their conclusion was that the queen was pregnant with a son who would be a teacher or a leader. His destiny was either to become a great spiritual teacher who would preach the truth and the path to reach the heavens, or a powerful and great king who would rule in all four directions.

Prince Siddhartha leaving the palace with Channa

Prince Siddhartha leaving the palace with Channa

As the story continues, the prince was born amid auspicious omens but grew up confined in the royal palace, as the king saw it fit that he would be a great leader rather than a spiritual teacher. Later, the prince saw four significant sights, namely old age, sickness, death and a wondering ascetic. Seeing these, the prince realised the only way to end sickness, old age and death is to dedicate one’s life to the pursuit of spiritual attainments and eventually to become ‘awakened’ or become a Buddha, a state that is free from these forms of suffering. His encounters with an old person, a sick person, a corpse and an ascetic left an extremely deep impression in his mind. This was so powerful that he became determined to leave the palace and engage in profound meditation in forests until he found the answers he was looking for, and the method to eliminate the suffering he saw.

Despite numerous attempts by the king to stop the prince from leaving the palace, he managed to escape at night with his close attendant Channa and his horse. Mysteriously, all the palace guards and attendants were deep in sleep when he made his escape to the forest. Once he arrived at the forest’s edge, he cut off his long hair, symbolic of giving up a life of materialism and gave his princely robes to Channa to return to the palace.

At dawn, Siddhartha attained the varja-like concentration and removed the final veils of ignorance from his mind. Immediately after that, he became a Buddha - a fully enlightened being

At dawn, Siddhartha attained the varja-like concentration and removed the final veils of ignorance from his mind. Immediately after that, he became a Buddha – a fully enlightened being

With the conviction to learn the truth of reality, the prince studied under two teachers named Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta. He even entered six years of intensive ascetic practice, during which he only ate one grain of rice a day. One day, while meditating under a tree, Siddhartha overheard a conversation between an old musician and his young apprentice on a boat floating on a nearby river. The old musician told his student that if the string on the musical instrument was too tight, it would snap, whereas if it was too slack, then it wouldn’t play the correct note. Upon hearing those words, Siddhartha realised asceticism was an extreme path that was wrong. He stood up, walked to the river, washed himself and accepted a bowl of milk to regain his strength. After this he sat under the Bodhi tree and determined not rise until he attained full enlightenment. He achieved enlightenment under the Bodhi tree at the age of 35, after which he became known as Buddha Shakyamuni, the jewel of the Shakya clan.

For the next 45 years after the Buddha’s enlightenment, he did not stop preaching the Dharma to everyone he met. When he reached 80 years of age, the Buddha manifested great illness and showed signs of passing. Ananda, the Buddha’s cousin and personal attendant requested the Buddha to give his last instructions to the sangha to which the Buddha replied:

“Therefore, Ananda, be islands unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves, seeking no other refuge; with the Dharma as your island, the Dharma as your refuge, seeking no other refuge.”

In between two sal trees in Kushinagar, the Buddha lay down on his right side, with his head facing north supported by his right hand, and one foot upon the other. Although it was not the correct season, the sal trees blossomed with petals which rained down onto the Buddha’s holy body. After ensuring that members of the sangha knew that they too could achieve enlightenment, the Buddha passed into the serene state of nirvana. His final words were:

“All compounded things are subject to decay. Strive with diligence.”

 

Wesak Day in Malaysia

One of the floats during the Wesak Day Parade

One of the floats during the Wesak Day Parade

In Malaysia, there are two common and wide spread ways of celebrating Wesak. These are the bathing of the Buddha and joining a Wesak Day Parade. The most common image of the Buddha that is used for the bathing ritual, is the baby Buddha. This form of Buddha Shakyamuni has his right hand pointing upwards and wearing a loin cloth. According to the Buddha’s life story, Prince Siddhartha Gautama was born clean and radiant. Directly after his birth, the prince took seven steps. Lotuses sprang up from the ground wherever the prince set his feet. He lifted his right hand towards the sky, pointing his finger, while with his left hand he pointed down at the earth and said:

“I am chief of the world,
Eldest am I in the world,
Foremost am I in the world.
This is the last birth.
There is now no more coming to be.”

The statue of the baby Buddha is usually displayed in front of the main altar of the temple, in a basin filled with water and flowers. Devotees pour water over the statue while reciting a verse of prayer. The act of pouring water over the statue symbolises the cleansing of the negative actions of the devotee. In addition, it also symbolises the Buddha’s birth, during which the gods made heavenly offerings to him. The bathing of the Buddha is a practise commonly seen at the Chinese Mahayana Buddhist temples in Malaysia.

Bathing of the baby Buddha

Bathing of the baby Buddha

The Wesak Day Parade takes place in various parts of Malaysia. The most significant of these, that attracts thousands of people and tourists, occurs in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, in Pulau Pinang and in Melaka.

In Kuala Lumpur, the biggest parade starts at the Buddhist Maha Vihara Temple in Brickfields, proceeding in a circuit back to temple. Before the parade, Buddhists from different temples decorate the vehicles that carry the Buddha statues from their temples with flowers, lights, etc. Some of these vehicles also carry monks from their temple, who give blessings to those who participate in the parade.

Monk giving blessings to devotees during Wesak Day prayers

Monk giving blessings to devotees during Wesak Day prayers

For those who wish to witness the beginning of the parade, it is advisable that you reach the Brickfields area at least three hours prior to the starting of the parade. The surrounding roads and streets begin to get congested before the parade starts. For the best view of the parade, tourists who happen to be in the Bukit Bintang area should head to the HSBC building along Jalan Sultan Ismail, while those in Chinatown or nearby will have a good view of the parade in front of the Central Market building. When the parade returns from KLCC, those in Chinatown can see it along Jalan Pudu in front of Pudu Central.

One of the floats during the Wesak day parade

One of the floats during the Wesak day parade

The merits of any good deeds performed on this day are considered to be multiplied many times, by as much as 100 million times. Therefore it is an excellent time for us to dedicate ourselves to all kinds of positive actions to benefit ourselves and others. As a Buddhist, on Wesak day, in addition to participating in rituals, chanting and performing good deeds, we should also make the commitment to learn up on Buddhist philosophy and practice, to understand what the Buddha taught, to understand his life and teachings, and to apply it in our lives in order to transform our minds and change our attitude towards others and the environment.

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The Celebrations

Activities during Wesak day begins with the chanting of the holy sutras, recitation of mantras, and the singing of hymns in praise of the Three Jewels: the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. This is almost always accompanied with extensive flower and light offerings. Additional activities can include other spiritually positive actions according to the Buddhist tradition, such as meditation, recitation of prayers, pilgrimage to holy sites associated with the Buddha like Bodhgaya, visiting spiritual teachers, becoming ordained for a month, rescuing animals and engaging in acts of charity. The act of offering teaches devotees about the impermanence of life. Flowers wither and candles will eventually burn out, and just like these, human lives are subject to decay and deterioration.

Many devoted Buddhists observe a vegetarian diet one day before the actual celebration to cleanse and purify themselves on a physical level for Wesak day. In addition, devotees also release animals such as tortoises, fish and doves. This act gives the animals freedom from being killed, abused and held against their will, as well as being a symbolic gesture of releasing all sentient beings from suffering, which is a goal that Buddhists strive for in their practice.

The practice of animal liberation is adopted by Buddhists as one of the good deeds to be performed on Wesak Day

The practice of animal liberation is adopted by Buddhists as one of the good deeds to be performed on Wesak Day

Buddha Shayamuni was a prince of peace, and an exponent of love and great compassion that encompasses every single sentient being. He realised that every sentient being can feel pain, happiness, love and care. Therefore on Wesak day, in celebration of the Buddha’s compassion, and the simultaneous wish for us to develop that compassion, we liberate animals to remember that we should give our all to others without expecting a thank you in return. This is the real meaning behind being a vegetarian and releasing animals. We can liberate birds, cows who are marked to be slaughtered, fish, insects, or any type of animal we like. We can even go further by making donations to old folks homes, orphanages, to people who are homeless, to people who are mentally challenged, or give clothes and toys to less-fortunate children. We can do all of this in celebration because Wesak day is not a day of receiving, but it is a day of giving.

The best way to pay homage to the Buddha is twofold: on an outer level and an inner level. On an outer level, we can make offerings of flowers, light, water, tea, incense, and engage in practices such as prostration. This is a wonderful way of paying homage to the Buddha. When we make offerings and show respect to the Buddha, we are creating the energy and causes for ourselves to become a Buddha in the future. When we show respect to the Buddha’s body, we wish to achieve the enlightened body that is free of sickness. When we offer light to the Buddha, we are offering light to dispel darkness, therefore we create the causes for our ignorance to be dispelled and our wisdom to shine forth with brilliance. The offering of incense smells good. In ancient Indian tradition, a good smell signified our keeping of vows and good morality. Therefore offering incense creates the cause to live a wholesome and beneficial life through the holding of morality. When offering food, we pray that all beings in our world and in other dimensions are free from hunger, suffering, poverty and disease. Therefore in Buddhism, when we pay homage to the Buddha, it is to create the causes to overcome suffering and encourage us to focus on the needs of others above our own.

Light offerings to the Buddha

Light offerings to the Buddhas

On an inner level, the supreme way to pay homage to the Buddha is to lessen the qualities in us that bring grief, suffering, strife, and difficulties to people and the environment around us. That is why Buddhists perform good deeds on Wesak day, creating the necessary causes and merits for the highest purpose of spiritual transformation – to eventually become a Buddha.

If there is no temple nearby and we can’t get to a temple, we can have a personal shrine set up in our homes. On the shrine, we can have a beautiful image of Lord Buddha. We are not praying to the image but using the image to remind us of the qualities of the Buddha that we wish to achieve. We can make offerings on this shrine and offer prostrations. We can sit in front of our shrine comfortably, and chant sutras or recite prayers according to whichever Buddhist tradition we follow, be it in Chinese, Tibetan or English. If we are older, we can sit on a chair, otherwise on a cushion or on the floor.

Then, on an inner level, we meditate carefully about what we have done during the past year before Wesak that has brought harm to others, contemplate on the actions we do that are negative, and why we do such actions. We think carefully and clearly that by paying homage to the Buddha, we transform the negative qualities in our mind so we create less suffering for ourselves and others. To end the session, we make a firm resolution to the Buddha that we will do as we have promised and transform ourselves for the better. This meditation can also be done in a temple after making offerings or after we finish a chanting session. This the best way to celebrate Wesak.

A simple yet beautiful altar

A simple yet beautiful altar

 

The Temples

The first World Fellowship of Buddhists Conference in Sri Lanka, 1950

The first World Fellowship of Buddhists Conference in Sri Lanka, 1950

In Malaysia, Wesak day is celebrated by Buddhists throughout the country. It is also celebrated strongly in countries such as Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos where Buddhism is widely practiced. Since the introduction of Buddhism to the west, Buddhists there also celebrate the festival. Although Wesak day has traditionally been celebrated for centuries, the decision to celebrate Wesak to mark the three major events in the Buddha’s life was formalised in 1950 at the very first World Fellowship of Buddhists conference in Sri Lanka. The resolution reads as follows:

“That this Conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists, while recording its appreciation of the gracious act of His Majesty, the Maharaja of Nepal in making the full-moon day of Vesak a Public Holiday in Nepal, earnestly requests the Heads of Governments of all countries in which large or small number of Buddhists are to be found, to take steps to make the full-moon day in the month of May a Public Holiday in honour of the Buddha, who is universally acclaimed as one of the greatest benefactors of Humanity.”

Wesak day is celebrated in accordance with the lunar date that all three major events are said to have taken place. It is celebrated on different days in different countries due to variations in local lunar calendars. According to the Asian lunisolar (joint lunar and solar) calendars, the exact date of Wesak is celebrated in the month of Vaisakha of the Buddhist and Hindu calendars. Hence the alternative name Vesak. The date varies each year as the diverse Buddhist traditions use different lunar calendars to determine the date. Wesak Day in Japan, Korea and China usually falls on April, 8 of each year. On the other hand, countries like Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Singapore celebrate the event in May.

Every year in Malaysia, the Wesak day celebrations begin at dawn at various Buddhist temples throughout the country. Depending on the different traditions followed, fellow Buddhists usually gather at the temples to perform a series of good deeds. These can range from taking the eight Mahayana precepts, liberation of animals, making offerings to the sangha, offering of lights, taking vegetarian and refuge vows, giving to the needy, donating to temples for Dharma activities, building of temples and maintaining them, etc.

Wesak Day being celebrated in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka

Wesak Day being celebrated in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka

There are many Buddhist temples that are highly active on Wesak Day. In Kuala Lumpur, these include Buddhist Maha Vihara Temple in Brickfields, Thai Buddhist Chetawan Temple and Kechara House in Petaling Jaya, and Sri Lanka Buddhist Temple in Sentul among many others. In the northern part of Malaysia, there is Butterworth Buddhist Association of Pulau Pinang, while on the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, there is Wan Fo Tien Buddhist Temple of Kuantan. In southern Malaysia, there is Seck Kia Eenh Temple in Melaka that has hosted a Wesak Day parade attended by 10,000 people in the past, while in Kuching, the capital of Sarawak in East Malaysia, Poh Ka Buddhist Temple is well-known for their activities on this day.

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Buddhist Maha Vihara Temple in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur

Buddhist Maha Vihara Temple in preparation for Wesak Day

Buddhist Maha Vihara Temple in preparation for Wesak Day

Founded in 1894 by the Sinhalese community, the Buddhist Maha Vihara provides a place for the preservation of the Sri Lankan Theravada tradition. It is known by the locals as the Brickfields Buddhist Temple and situated very close to Palm Court Apartments in Brickfields.

Every year, preparations for Wesak day begin at least a week beforehand. This includes decorating the parade vehicles with flowers and lights as part of the celebration. In addition, stalls selling all sort of items are set up around the temple the day before.

Accommodation near Buddhist Maha Vihara

For those who are interested in joining the Wesak Day Parade that begins at Buddhist Maha Vihara or wishing to visit the temple during the festival, here is a list of places to stay that are located near the temple itself.

  1. Lotus Hotel KL Sentral (0.12 miles/0.2 km)
    250, Jalan Tun Sambanthan,
    Brickfields, KL Sentral,
    50470 Kuala Lumpur,
    Malaysia
  2. OYO Rooms Little India Junction (0.12 miles/0.2 km)
    Plot No 250, Jalan Tun Sambanthan,
    Brickfields, KL Sentral,
    50470 Kuala Lumpur,
    Malaysia
  3. Brickfields Park Hotel (0.18 miles/0.3 km)
    No. 262 A-C, Jalan Tun Sambanthan,
    KL Sentral,
    50470 Kuala Lumpur,
    Malaysia

Getting to Buddhist Maha Vihara

  1. From Kuala Lumpur International Airport: 47 minutes by cab (33.7 miles/54.3 km)
  2. From Kuala Lumpur International Airport: 28 minutes by KLIA Ekspres towards KL Sentral station
  3. From Kuala Lumpur Sentral Station: 14 minutes walk (0.7 miles/1.1 km)
  4. From Tun Sambanthan Station: 5 minutes walk; (0.2 miles/0.4 km)
Map to Buddhist Maha Vihara

Map to Buddhist Maha Vihara

Address and contact details

123, Jalan Berhala,
Brickfields,
50470 Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia
Tel: +60 3-2274 1141

 

Thai Buddhist Chetawan Temple in Petaling Jaya

Devotees flock to the temple to get blessings, and to make offerings to the Buddha and sangha at Thai Buddhist Chetawan Temple

Devotees flock to the temple to get blessings, and to make offerings to the Buddha and sangha at Thai Buddhist Chetawan Temple

Using traditional and intricate Thai designs, the Thai Buddhist Chetawan Temple was built along Jalan Gasing, Petaling Jaya in an area of residential homes. The temple has a multi-coloured and multi-layered roof, and different chapels and buildings that host devotees. There is a natural spring at the back for people with health problems, which is known to aid healing. It is also affectionately known as the PJ Siamese Temple by locals, and is normally filled to bursting with people during important days and festivals, such as Loy Krathong (the floating baskets festival) and Songkran (traditional Thai New Year).

During the Wesak festival, people come to the temple to receive blessings from the monks, which are followed by activities such as offering gold leaf on Buddha statues, placing coins into the alms bowls of the golden Buddhas, bathing the baby Buddha, ringing the bells at the Guan Yin pavilion, making robe offerings, etc.

Accommodation near Thai Buddhist Chetawan Temple

  1. Hilton Petaling Jaya (0.5 miles/0.8 km)
    2 Jalan Barat,
    Petaling Jaya,
    46200 Selangor,
    Malaysia
  2. Hotel Armada PJ (0.6 Miles/0.96 km)
    Lot 6, Lorong Utara C,
    Section 52, Petaling Jaya,
    46200 Selangor,
    Malaysia
  3. Crystal Crown Hotel Petaling Jaya (0.6 Miles/0.96 km)
    12, Lorong Utara A,
    Off Jalan Utara,
    Petaling Jaya,
    65352 Selangor,
    Malaysia

Getting to Thai Buddhist Chetawan Temple

  1. From Kuala Lumpur International Airport: 49 minutes by cab (34.5 miles/55.6 km)
  2. From Kuala Lumpur International Airport: 28 minutes by KLIA Ekspres towards KL Sentral station
  3. From Kuala Lumpur Sentral Station: 18 minutes by KTM towards Taman Jaya Station, walk about 10 minutes
Map to Thai Buddhist Chetawan Temple

Map to Thai Buddhist Chetawan Temple

Address and contact details

No. 24 Jalan Pantai,
Off Jalan Gasing,
46000 Petaling Jaya,
Malaysia
Tel: +603 7955 2443

 

Kechara House Buddhist Association in Petaling Jaya

His Eminence snaps his fingers while reciting a verse on impermanence before sitting on the throne in Kechara House

His Eminence snaps his fingers while reciting a verse on impermanence before sitting on the throne in Kechara House

Kechara House was founded by His Eminence the 25th Tsem Rinpoche in 2000. It is a Tibetan Buddhist organisation belonging to the Gelug tradition founded by Lama Tsongkhapa. With the goal and vision of preserving the precious teachings of the tradition, His Eminence has conceptualised and built the modern and peaceful Kechara Forest Retreat along Jalan Chamang in Bentong, Pahang state, Malaysia. It is fondly known as the ‘lama temple’ by the locals, and is a place where healing activities take place, benefiting people both physically and spiritually.

During the Wesak festival, devotees visit both the temple in Petaling Jaya and the retreat centre in Bentong, to participate in various activities such as animal liberation, taking the eight Mahayana precepts, and taking vegetarian vows. They can also witness the ordination of Buddhist pastors, an inspiration event during which people take on vows dedicating their lives to benefit others through the sharing of the Buddha’s teachings. In addition, the Lama Chopa Puja (Sanskrit: Guru Puja) and prayers take place on this day to request for His Eminence’s continued good health and long life, as a sign of gratification and appreciation for such a compassionate and kind spiritual advisor who has dedicated his life to contributing to society and humanity tirelessly.

Accommodation near Kechara House

  1. O’Boutique Suites (1.80 Miles/2.90 km)
    B2-01, Casa Utama,
    PJU6A, Petaling Jaya,
    47400 Selangor,
    Malaysia
  2. My Home Hotel (2.48 miles/4.00 km)
    F-G-5, Pusat Komersial Parklane,
    Petaling Jaya,
    47301 Selangor,
    Malaysia
  3. Eiffel Hotel (4.35 Miles/7.00 km)
    12, Lorong Utara A,
    No. 21, Jalan SS7/26,
    Kelana Jaya, Petaling Jaya,
    47301 Selangor,
    Malaysia

Getting to Kechara House

  1. From Kuala Lumpur International Airport: 50 minutes by cab (37.15 miles/59.80 km)
  2. From Kuala Lumpur International Airport: 28 minutes by KLIA Ekspres towards KL Sentral station
  3. From Kuala Lumpur Sentral Station: 1 hour by LRT towards Kelana Jaya Station, 10 minutes by cab towards Kechara House
Map to Kechara House Buddhist Association Malaysia

Map to Kechara House Buddhist Association Malaysia

Address and contact details

No. 7, Jalan PJU 1/3G,
SunwayMas Commercial Center,
47301 Petaling Jaya,
Malaysia
Tel: +603 7803 3908

His Eminence the 25th Tsem Rinpoche conducting a prayer at Kechara Forest Retreat, accompanied by traditional Tibetan ritual instruments

His Eminence the 25th Tsem Rinpoche conducting a prayer at Kechara Forest Retreat, accompanied by traditional Tibetan ritual instruments

Accommodation near Kechara Forest Retreat

  1. Tumike Hotel (2.92 miles/4.70 km)
    P.6-G, Jalan MG3,
    Pusat Perniagaan Mutiaramas Gemilang,
    28700 Bentong,
    Malaysia
  2. Tras Mutiara Hotel (3.17 Miles/5.10 km)
    P.22, Jalan MG2,
    28700 Bentong,
    Malaysia
  3. EV World Hotel (3.48 Miles/5.60 km)
    No. 107-108, Jalan Loke Yew,
    Off Jalan Utara,
    28700 Bentong,
    Malaysia

Getting to Kechara Forest Retreat
From Kuala Lumpur International Airport: 1 hour 55 minutes by cab (82.64 miles/133 km)

Map to Kechara Forest Retreat

Map to Kechara Forest Retreat

Address and contact details

Lot 3189, Jalan Chamang,
28700 Bentong,
Malaysia
Tel: +603 7803 3908

 

Sri Jayanti Buddhist Temple in Sentul, Kuala Lumpur

The Sri Jayanti Buddhist Temple is also known as the Sri Lanka Buddhist Temple. It is a Sri Lankan Theravada Buddhist temple located in Sentul. The temple is affiliated with the Sri Jayanti Welfare Organisation that supports the poor and needy, as well as the elderly.

Sri Jayanti Buddhist Temple in Sentul, Kuala Lumpur

Sri Jayanti Buddhist Temple in Sentul, Kuala Lumpur

The temple has a basic clinic that offers free consultation to the less fortunate and a columbarium pagoda that houses the ashes of the deceased, as well as a three-storey education building with classrooms to host teachings and dharma activities.

During Wesak, the temple has many activities, including making flower and light offerings, receiving blessings from the monks, etc. Outside the main prayer hall, there is a huge golden Buddha beautifully decorated with flowers and light for devotees to make offerings to.

Accommodation near Sri Jayanti Buddhist Temple

  1. Archeotel Hotel (0.08 miles/0.14 km)
    No 10 & 12, Jalan Haji Salleh,
    51100 Kuala Lumpur,
    Malaysia
  2. Archeotel Hotel (0.22 miles/0.37 km)
    10, Jalan Haji Salleh,
    Sentul,
    51100 Kuala Lumpur,
    Malaysia
  3. Tamarind Stays (0.29 miles/0.48 km)
    E1A-25-7, The Tamarind,
    2, Jalan Sentul Indah,
    Sentul,
    51000 Kuala Lumpur,
    Malaysia

Getting to Sri Jayanti Buddhist Temple

  1. From Kuala Lumpur International Airport: 59 minutes by cab (39.7 miles/63.9 km)
  2. From Kuala Lumpur International Airport: 28 minutes by KLIA Ekspres towards KL Sentral station
  3. From Kuala Lumpur Sentral Station: 14 minutes by KTM towards Sentul Station, walk about 10 minutes walk
Map to Sri Jayanti Buddhist Temple

Map to Sri Jayanti Buddhist Temple

Address and contact details

Jalan Tujuh, Sentul Selatan,
51000 Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia
Tel: +016 311 0009

 

Butterworth Buddhist Association, Butterworth, Pulau Pinang

Devotees making their offerings at Butterworth Buddhist Association

Devotees making their offerings at Butterworth Buddhist Association

Within the busy industrial town of Mak Mandin, is the Butterworth Buddhist Association temple. This temple gathers Buddhists from all over Butterworth on Wesak day for prayers, blessings, chanting, offerings and rituals such as bathing the baby Buddha. There are food stalls around the temple and a blood donation drive during Wesak to encourage vegetarianism and generosity.

Accommodation near Butterworth Buddhist Association

  1. Aroma Hotel (1.67 miles/2.7 km)
    11, Butterworth Business City Centre,
    Jalan Raja Uda,
    12300 Butterworth,
    Malaysia
  2. De Garden Hotel Butterworth (2.05 miles/3.3 km)
    Lorong Cempa (Off Jalan Telaga Air),
    12200 Butterworth,
    Malaysia
  3. T+ Hotel Butterworth (2.29 miles/3.7 km)
    4476, 4477, 4478, Jalan Bagan Luar,
    12000 Butterworth,
    Malaysia

Getting to Butterworth Buddhist Association

From Penang International Airport: 32 minutes by cab (18.2 miles/29.3 km)

Map to Butterworth Buddhist Association

Map to Butterworth Buddhist Association

Address and contact details

7156, Tingkat Mak Mandin 3,
Mak Mandin,
Butterworth,
Malaysia
Tel: +604 333 4499

 

Wan Fo Tien Buddhist Temple, Kuantan, Pahang

The Wan Fo Tien Buddhist Temple, also known as the Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas, is affiliated with the Pahang Buddhist Association. The inner walls of the temple are covered from top to bottom with carved Buddha image tiles. On the altar of the main prayer hall, sits a magnificent white jade Buddha.

The serene surroundings of Wan Fo Tien Buddhist Temple

The serene surroundings of Wan Fo Tien Buddhist Temple

On Wesak day, devotees join the celebrations by visiting the temple and taking part in various activities such as Dharma talks, chanting, exhibitions and acts of charity. Vegetarian food is served, accompanied with musical performances held in the gardens beside the temple.

Accommodation near Wan Fo Tien Buddhist Temple

  1. Sri Manja Boutique Hotel (1.67 miles/2.7 km)
    B2-34, Jalan IM 7/1,
    Bandar Indera Mahkota,
    25300 Kuantan,
    Malaysia
  2. Arenaa Batik Boutique Hotel (2.29 miles/3.7 km)
    E2324-2326, Jalan Dato’ Wong Ah Jang,
    25100 Kuantan,
    Malaysia
  3. Hotel Sentral Kuantan (2.54 miles/4.1 km)
    No. 45-P, Jalan Besar,
    Kuantan City,
    25000 Kuantan,
    Malaysia

Getting to Wan Fo Tien Buddhist Temple

From Kuantan Sultan Ahmad Shah Airport: 16 minutes by cab (9.87 miles/15.9 km)

Map to Wan Fo Tien Buddhist Temple

Map to Wan Fo Tien Buddhist Temple

Address and contact details

Jalan Sungai Lembing,
Bandar Indera Mahkota,
25200 Kuantan
Malaysia
Tel: +609 573 9744

 

Seck Kia Eenh Temple, Melaka

Since 1960, Wesak day celebrations in Melaka have been organised by Seck Kia Eenh Temple. The Wesak Day Parade in Melaka attracts many people as it is believed that the late Venerable Ananda Mangala Maha Nayaka Thera would bless the parade vehicles on the eve of Wesak day.

Wesak018

Seck Kia Eenh Temple, Melaka

At Seck Kia Eenh temple, they celebrate Wesak for seven consecutive days. The activities included the taking of the eight Mahayana precepts, Dharma talks and chanting. In addition, the sacred ‘Pindapata’ tradition is followed, during which people make offerings of food to the sangha.

Before the parade begins, devotees gather at Seck Kia Eenh temple from around 5.00 pm to join the chanting of prayers, after which they line up alongside their respective vehicles for the parade. At 7.00 pm, the parade starts from the temple at Jalan Gajah Berang, moves through Jalan Tun Perak, Jalan Pengkalan Rama to Jalan Laksamana over Tan Kim Seng bridge and moves along Lorong Hang Jebat, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock (Heeren Street) and lastly along Jalan Tengkera, before returning to the temple. More than 30 Buddhist temples and associations join the festive parade, which ends at 10.30 pm. The celebration however, continues through the night with chanting of various prayers at the temple.

Parade float from Seck Kia Eenh Temple

Parade float from Seck Kia Eenh Temple

Accommodation near Seck Kia Eenh Temple

  1. Hotel Puri Melaka (0.4 miles/0.64 km)
    118, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock,
    Jonker,
    75200 Malacca
    Malaysia
  2. The Baba House Hotel (0.4 miles/0.64 km)
    No. 121 – 127, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock,
    Jonker,
    75200 Malacca
    Malaysia
  3. Casa Del Rio Melaka Hotel (0.4 miles/0.64 km)
    88, Jalan Kota Laksamana,
    Malacca City Center,
    75200 Malacca
    Malaysia

Getting to Seck Kia Eenh Temple

From Malacca Airport: 19 minutes by cab (5.40 miles/8.7 km)

Map to Seck Kia Eenh Temple

Map to Seck Kia Eenh Temple

Address and contact details

No. 57, Jalan Gajah Berang,
75200 Melaka,
Malaysia
Tel: +606 283 7440

 

Poh Ka Buddhist Temple, Kuching, Sarawak

The Poh Ka Buddhist Temple was built in 1900 and is located in Simpang Tiga, Kuching. It is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Malaysia. There are plans to build a three-storey monastery called Poh Ka Monastery next to it, which is expected to be completed in three years’ time. Wesak Day celebrations at Poh Ka Buddhist Temple sees crowds of devotees and visitors taking part in prayers, chants, offerings and special ceremonies commemorating the life of the Buddha.

Devotees engaging the ritual to bathe the baby Buddha

Devotees engaging the ritual to bathe the baby Buddha

Accommodation near Poh Ka Buddhist Temple

  1. Citadines Uplands Kuching (6 minutes walking distance)
    No. 55 Jalan SPG,
    93300 Kuching,
    Malaysia
  2. Public Lodge Kuching (4 minutes walking distance)
    1st & 2nd Floor, Lot 8644, Jalan Simpang Tiga,
    93300 Kuching,
    Malaysia
  3. Mega Inn (14 minutes walking distance)
    King’s Centre, Jalan Simpang Tiga,
    93300 Kuching,
    Malaysia

Getting to Poh Ka Buddhist Temple

From Kuching International Airport: 14 minutes by cab (5.28 miles/8.5 km)

Map to Poh Ka Buddhist Temple

Map to Poh Ka Buddhist Temple

Address and contact details

No. 2222, Jalan Uplands,
Simpang Tiga,
93200 Kuching,
Sarawak
Tel: +6082 231 007

 

Conclusion

It’s very nice to see that this beautiful celebration has taken root in Malaysia and has been integrated into the local culture, while preserving its essence and significance. Wesak is widely recognised in both Buddhist and non-Buddhist countries all over the world, however in Malaysia it is also a national holiday. The celebration of Wesak is a celebration of humanity, and its compassion, kindness and equanimity. As Buddhism teaches us, through paying homage to the Buddha, we strive to better ourselves to achieve these qualities.

No matter what religion we are, we should be respectful of the religious traditions of others. Malaysia is a good example of this religious tolerance and acceptance, as Buddhists are allowed the freedom to celebrate this holy day. Everyone deserves happiness, compassion and love equally, regardless of what they believe in. We should all abide by this kind of thinking, and then the world will be at peace. This is how we should celebrate Wesak – to strengthen our determination to lead lives with less suffering, to transform our minds, practice kindness, and bring peace and harmony to all mankind.

 
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8 Responses to Wesak Day In Malaysia

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  1. wan wai meng on Jan 14, 2017 at 12:24 am

    Malaysia is so much more enriched by having Wesak Day as a holiday. It is an affirmation by the Malaysian government to protect religious rights of all its citizens. Not only that, the Malaysian government also shows so much respect to its citizens beliefs now that is a democracy.

    Wesak day would perk the curiosity of many people who are not Buddhists, and it is probably a showcase of what Buddhists engage in, their focus, their hopes and aspirations. All manner of Buddhist motivations and aspirations are kind of played out during Wesak day celebration and one can pick it up if they are observant.

  2. Stella Cheang on Jan 5, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    We are very blessed to be living in Malaysia where we celebrate festivities of major religions and cultures. Wesak Day, thereby, is beautifully and respectfully celebrated in Malaysia. Many Buddhist temples start their preparation work way before hand to ensure devotees get to make offerings to the Three Jewels (The Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha) on Wesak Day. Many Buddhist organisation will provide a platform for devotees to make special effort to bring happiness to the less fortunate on this big day. It is meant for them to collect merits as well as to reiterate our determination as Buddhist to lead noble lives, transform our minds and practice loving-kindness and to bring peace and harmony to humanity, like how the Buddha had taught us. Thank you very much, Rinpoche, for this sharing on the meaning of Wesak Day, highlighting the various Wesak Day celebrations in Malaysia and how we can participate if we want to. I hope this will be an attraction for tourist to visit Malaysia during Wesak Day.

  3. Choong on Jan 4, 2017 at 11:34 pm

    We are fortunate to have Wesak Day as a public holiday in Malaysia. I would say that because of the way it is celebrated in my hometown Melaka, via the lively and beautiful parade organized on this day by the Seck Kia Eenh temple, it was my first introduction to the Lord Buddha.

  4. Lew on Dec 26, 2016 at 11:04 pm

    Before I met Tsem Rinpoche and Kechara, I was known as a “Wesak Buddhists”, which means I am only a Buddhist once a year during Wesak. LOL. I still remember I go to temple, light candle and offer incense etc once a year. The temple I usually go to is the one listed in this article, which is Brickfields temple. As usual, there are many other “Wesak Buddhists” like me on that day and it is usually very packed. Bathing of Buddha is also a popular activity even though (at that time) I didn’t know the meaning of bathing the Buddha.

    Anyway, I wish more “Wesak Buddhists” like me can eventually meet a real Guru and take on the spiritual path and really become a Buddhist who practice kindness, renunciation and eventually gain Buddhahood.

  5. Samfoonheei on Nov 30, 2016 at 11:29 am

    Its good to know more about the origins and celebrations of Wesak in Malaysia.Malaysia is a multicultural country is an example of religious tolerance and acceptance,whereby we can have freedom to celebrate .The celebration of Wesak is a celebration of compassion and kindness.
    Many activities been held in conjunction of the celebration in many Buddhist temples through out the country.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this beautiful post.

  6. shelly tai on Nov 28, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this informative post one Wesak day. I must said no matters how many times I have read about Buddha life story I still think is very inspiring to read The Buddha life story because it really touches my heart .

  7. Bradley Kassian on Nov 28, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    Thank you for such a detailed post on Wesak Day, Rinpoche. It’s nice to see how this special day is celebrated. 🙂

  8. Sharon Ong on Nov 27, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    Thank you for such a comprehensive and detailed post on Wesak Day, Rinpoche. Anyone who would like to know how Wesak is celebrated in Malaysia, this is like Wesak day 101 and I would highly recommend this read.

    Amongst the points that I like in this post are:
    1) How the white elephant placed the lotus inside Queen Maya’s womb through her stomach, and itself dissolved into her womb effortlessly. – I never knew this part of the dream previously.
    2) The significance of bathing the baby Buddha ritual during Wesak day. – “The act of pouring water over the statue symbolises the cleansing of the negative actions of the devotee. In addition, it also symbolises the Buddha’s birth, during which the gods made heavenly offerings to him.”
    3) The explanation on outer and inner offerings. -“On an inner level, the supreme way to pay homage to the Buddha is to lessen the qualities in us that bring grief, suffering, strife, and difficulties to people and the environment around us. That is why Buddhists perform good deeds on Wesak day, creating the necessary causes and merits for the highest purpose of spiritual transformation – to eventually become a Buddha.”

    In Melaka, the grand annual Wesak Day procession by Seck Kia Eenh Temple is something many Melakans look forward to. I used to look forward to the colourful floats and would just gawk at the beautifully decorated floats with the Buddhas. I also remember the blessed strings and sweets that were given out to us. Unknown to many, during this procession, sacred relics belonging to Shakyamuni are also brought all around Melaka town to bless one and all.

    The best part of this is post is the last para on how we should celebrate Wesak. This is how we should celebrate Wesak – to strengthen our determination to lead lives with less suffering, to transform our minds, practice kindness, and bring peace and harmony to all mankind.

    Thank you with folded hands.

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  • Pastor Shin Tan
    Monday, Mar 27. 2017 06:42 PM
    According to the Buddhist teachings, we all have a unique blend of karma that determines where we are born, the circumstances of our birth and the quality of our life. Naturally, this is due to the actions that we performed in previous lives. Karma also dictates our characteristics and traits that determine how we act throughout our lives, which in turn leads to certain outcomes in this life and a determination of where we will take rebirth in the future.

    Karma, however, is not set in stone. We can change our circumstances through our own efforts – purification of karma and accumulation of merit. Tibetan astrology, based on these Buddhist principles, provides us the methods to ensure success in this life and a good rebirth in the future. Tibetan astrology can also predict what will happen to us in this life and our next rebirth based on the time of our birth.

    Discover your traits according to the Mewa, or Magical Square system of Tibetan astrology below, and find out how to purify your negative karma to improve your life!

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/tibetan-astrology/tibetan-astrology.html
  • Tsem Rinpoche
    Monday, Mar 27. 2017 05:24 PM
    Very interesting:


    Radin explained in his book: “For a Western-trained academic, the mere existence of, say, telepathy would be considered supernormal and thus wildly extraordinary. But for an experienced yogi, it’s just a boringly normal minor siddhi [a Sanskrit term for a meditation attainment, or power]. A skeptical scientist, not having the benefit of thousands of hours of practice in yoga and meditation, would require repeatable, rigorously obtained experimental data showing odds against chance of a gazillion to one. The yogi merely requires his own experience.”


    Very interesting read: http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/2157904-supernormal-abilities-developed-through-meditation-dr-dean-radin-discusses/?sidebar=morein
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Mar 27. 2017 01:45 PM
    Its indeed a beautiful place …..away from the city hectic life to visit and could stay over night too.Just to get away from work to relax ,get some fresh air ,do meditation and so forth .At Kechara Forest RetreatI,Bentong is where the largest Dorje Shugden statue in the world situated and we can receive blessing,make offering to the Buddhas as well as enjoy the tranquility of the beautiful gardens.I have recomended my friends and relatives to visit such a beautiful place at Bentong.
    Thank you Paul Yap for sharing.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/go-bentong.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Mar 27. 2017 01:15 PM
    Well…all pendants are beautifully designed,hand crafted to match each and every sacred images on it to suit all occasion for the wearer.I can see a lot of hard work for those involed in desgning and making of it.
    All pendants are very unique, modern, timeless and also sacred ,thats all i could describe it.Hope more people will be wearing these beautiful pendants to get connected with the Buddhas.Thank you Rinpoche for sharing and Kechara’s Louise Lee for creating Dharma art in in the form of jewelry
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/timeless-and-sacred.html
  • Tsem Rinpoche
    Monday, Mar 27. 2017 12:41 PM
    This Mahasiddha is Kukkuripa (the dog lover). He loved dogs so much. When he meditated in the cave he had his doggie with him. She had kept him company for years in his cave. They shared bedding, food, water and company. When he gained high attainments, the Dakinis came to take him to Kechara Paradise. He was hesitant to go but the Dakinis insisted and he went with them.

    He arrived at Kechara (Paradise/Buddha abode of Heruka and Vajra Yogini) and enjoyed teachings and feasts up there and they asked him to stay longer if not forever…. But he kept thinking about his doggie left alone in the cave. He felt guilty and missed her. Kukkuripa would use his psychic powers to see his poor doggie alone and hungry waiting for him at the cave while enjoying the attention of the Dakinis and feasts. The cave was dark and had no food. The doggie had to go out and find small tiny scraps of food and was getting skinny. Kukkuripa saw this and it pained him. Worried she was not getting enough food. He use to share the offerings of food he would get from people with her. Doggie and him would delightfully eat the food together. Kukkuripa had no attachments to ‘clean’ or ‘dirty’ in regards to sharing food with his dog. He had overcome this in his meditations. In ancient India, people would not co-habitate with a dog. It was considered unclean and filthy, but Kukkuripa had cast away those notions and loved his dog as she loved him. But he felt guilty to leave her alone while he was ‘enjoying’ himself in Kechara and could not stop thinking about his beloved dirty smelly dog in his cave alone…so he left Kechara Paradise and all it’s ‘delights’ for his doggie. He couldn’t abandon her. The Dakinis implored him to stay, but he was firm to return. The Dakinis said you will give up this paradise here for a mere dog???!! You can advance further in your meditations if you stay in Kechara and then help the dog later they attempted to persuade him. But Kukkuripa would not stay, he was loyal to his little dog as she had kept him company for many years in the lonely dark cave. She was loyal to him and how can he abandon her now. He couldn’t and he wouldn’t listen to the Dakinis. He left to join doggie. He never forget her companionship and loyalty. All the wonderful things in Kechara could not tempt him against his loyal friend the little doggie. He left everything for her.

    So he finally left Kechara to the Dakinis dismay and went back to his cave to be with his dog so she won’t be alone. Doggie was delighted to see her master and wagged her tail so much!! She licked him and he hugged her! She was skinnier for not eating well these few days he noticed. He fed her and hugged her and loved his doggie…He went back to his routine of meditation, receiving food offerings and sharing his food with doggie. They were happy together. One day, when he was scratching her in her favorite place and she licked him so his eyes were closed, when he opened his eyes she had suddenly turned into a Dakini shimmering with lights! The brilliance of the lights lit up the whole cave in front of Kukkuripa!! Kukkuripa was astonished to behold the splendourous lady in front of him! Of course this Dakini must be the Queen Herself he realized, as Vajra Yogini which was Kukkuripa’s main Yidam he had meditated on her for years in the cave. And She said to Kukkuripa, “Well done, you gave up paradise to be with just a dog..it shows you have given up attachements and projections of pleasant and unpleasant, now your Dakini will give you the final paradise (enlightenment)!”

    Kukkuripa attained full enlightenment blessed by Vajra Yogini by releasing the final subtle attachment to the non-existent self! After enlightenment his fame and name grew and many came to see him and he gave teachings to countless and benefitted many before he finally ascended to Kechara the second and final time. He was forever known as Kukkuripa the dog lover.

    I love him so much!!! This is one of my favorite Mahasiddhas along with Badrapa, Shantideva, Ghantapa and a few others. I wanted to share this story with you. I wanted you to know that there are many great true stories like this one about Kukkuripa that are true and can be applied to our lives. To inspire us.

    Tsem Rinpoche
  • Tsem Rinpoche
    Monday, Mar 27. 2017 12:29 PM
    The great and illustrious master Sonam Tsemo at the end of his life was described by an old woman who witnessed Sonam Tsemo depart. Standing on a rock at the holy spring near Sakya area known as Chumik Dzingka, his body ascended gracefully into the sky, still holding his dog. He loved his dog very much. Even today the footprints of Loppon Sonam Tsemo and the dog can be clearly seen in the rock, left for the benefit of living beings as a field from which to accumulate merit. It is a sign of a holy being when they can leave their footprints in stone for future generations to witness and make offerings on that spot to collect merits. This holy site was decorated by the great master Mantradhara Ngawang Kunga Rinchen later on. Other accounts say that he ascended from Gorum Library near Chumik Dzingka spring. A stupa containing his holy relics was erected there. Sonam Tsemo was a powerful practitioner of the Lady Buddha Vajra Yogini and at the end of his short life he ascended with his very body to Kechara paradise. He was 40 years old. Kechara is the sanksrit name of the special abode of Vajra Yogini. Those who practice Vajra Yogini to the highest level can ascend her paradise with their very bodies. Sonam Tsemo the great master of sutra and tantra was seen by an old woman flying off holding his beloved dog to ascend Kechara paradise. No one every found his body and his room was empty.
  • Lin Mun
    Monday, Mar 27. 2017 12:27 PM
    Congratulations to Mitra for his first dharma teaching in Nepali to the expats. So glad that Dorje Shugden practise can reach out to many in various languages and to different people. Mitra has done a good job in introducing Lama Tsongkhapa lineage and guided them on the benefit and iconography of Dorje Shugden.

    May Lama Tsongkhapa lineage and Dorje Shugden practise continue to grow and benefit more people.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/mitra-teaches-bhagwan-dorje-shugden-in-nepali.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Mar 26. 2017 04:15 PM
    Very clear explanation of what is Vajrayogini’s left foot stepping on. Each time when i have a look at the beautiful statue of Vajrayogini this question will comes back to me. i am glad came across these blog by chance, i saw and read to understand better.A clear explanation ..stampling left and right foot significant of desire ,hatred and ignorance that cause us to be in samsara and she she able to control.Vajrayogni’s practices is so powerful in heliping us and that is the reason Rinpoche always ask us to start now.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these short explanation in the video and the interesting story of Mahadeva.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/facebook-question-what-is-vajra-yoginis-left-foot-stepping-on.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Sunday, Mar 26. 2017 02:44 PM
    Rejoice to all the families who had setup a Buddhist altar at home and conducted a house blessing puja. There are diverse benefits of conducting the house blessing puja, which ranges from bringing well-being on all levels – in one’s health, relationships, business, and family – to purifying the home. The puja ceremonies will purify the environment which helps the people who live there and people who are visiting there to experience general well-being. The puja can be personalised based on the request or need of the individual. Thank you for sharing with us the many photos of the beautiful altar of these families, it is very heartwarming to know that they will always be blessed by the Three Jewels.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/10-amazing-house-blessings-by-kechara-pastors.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Sunday, Mar 26. 2017 02:24 PM
    Thank you for sharing this mindfully planned itinerary for everyone who is interested in visiting Kechara Forest Retreat. Kechara Forest Retreat has different facets that showcase different elements of spirituality and Tibetan Buddhism in this wholesale venue. One can enjoy the flora and fauna of Mother Nature, or embrace the contemporary architectures that feature many magnificent Buddha statues and authentic Himalayan decorations. Not forgetting to mention, in Kechara Forest Retreat sits the largest Dorje Shugden statue in the world! This is a holy place we must never miss to pay homage for blessings from the Three Jewels.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/go-bentong.html
  • Pastor Shin Tan
    Sunday, Mar 26. 2017 01:07 PM
    金泽“财王”护法殿

    在禅修林的入口处的左边有一间小佛堂,是全天候二十四小时开放给大众的。这间佛堂的一砖一瓦都是由不同善心人士捐增的。也因为他们过后发了一笔小财,所以在大马文东,金泽护法一般被简称为“财王“。

    根据佛陀教诲,五蕴是组成众生的五个方面,分别是色、受、想、行、识。证悟者如多杰雄登能将五蕴分别化现成不同的本尊。金泽是多杰雄登“受”蕴的化现,作用是协助我们增长世俗和修行上的财富。“受”蕴是我们对愉悦或不悦感受的认知。我们执着于愉悦,避免不悦,而这正是导致我们受困和造下各种业,继而产生痛苦的因(此段原文: http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_6d7edf5f0102x1n6.html)

    来到这里,我们首先要上香。做生意的朋友可要趁此机会拜拜,供养一个大的莲花蜡烛,上三根大香,祈求今年一帆风顺哦。

    摘自“GO BENTONG!与菩萨有约”
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=120808
  • Lin Mun
    Saturday, Mar 25. 2017 11:02 PM
    Can’t imagine that a priest actually stabbed Pope John Paul. How can he do this when he as a priest is suppose to be compassion and love everyone but kill the religion leader. he should remember that he carries the name priest and hence must show good example and behaviour to others but instead took another person’s life.

    I respected Pope John who continued his trip even though he was injured. That shows the determination he had to teach so it can benefit others. Always put others first more than our own needs.

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this article.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/pope-john-paul-stabbed-by-priest.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Saturday, Mar 25. 2017 08:13 PM
    It is admirable for Sine Lindholm & Mads Ulrik Husum to place their design as open source for everyone to download and copy to manufacture. This shows how farsighted they are in propelling self-sustainability. The first step is always the hardest, and I believe what Sine and Mads had done is towards the right direction. In this way, people from all the around the world who genuinely are passionate and interested in growing own vegetables will be able to start on their own. Without needing to rely on middleman or manufacturer who might end up making the brilliant idea a commercial white elephant. Thank you, Rinpoche for this sharing.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/build-your-own-growroom.html
  • Alice Tay
    Friday, Mar 24. 2017 10:05 PM
    Many companies especially in overseas are very considerate and allow their employees to bring their dogs to work. I personally think that this is a very good practice where the employees no longer have to worry about leaving pets at home alone. The work environments that cultivate loving kindness, caring and compassion create a much more positive and productive place to work. Besides, it may influence everyone especially those who do not have pet to be more kind to the animals.

    Nevertheless, the employer and employees may have to work together to maintain the safe and cleanliness work place such as reduce odour, provide clean air and many others.

    Thank you for this interesting article as a reminder to us to love and be kind to animals no matter where we are.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/inside-the-worlds-most-dog-friendly-office.html
  • Lin Mun
    Friday, Mar 24. 2017 07:06 PM
    Superb idea and very creative. Home farming in the cities ! Appreciate all the hardwork and ideas to produce Growroom. It’s just like putting a big puzzle and making the whole process so much easier to plant in cities where we always have limited spaces.

    We should support more people to come up with such ideas so we can eat our own food and cultivate self sustainability.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/build-your-own-growroom.html

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CREDITS

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

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

Tsem Rinpoche

What Am I Writing Now

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Animal Care Fund
  Bigfoot, Yeti, Sasquatch

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.
This mahasiddha Kukkuripa is easy to identify as he is accompanied by a small dog whom he loved very much.
yesterday
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
yesterday
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
yesterday
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
yesterday
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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week ago
The Japanese are very innovative. Tsem Rinpoche
Read this as it will be interesting
1 week ago
Read this as it will be interesting
Recite this before any meal or drinks for blessings of abundance. Tsem Rinpoche
1 week 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 week 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
2 weeks 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
2 weeks 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
3 weeks 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
3 weeks 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
4 weeks 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!
4 weeks ago
My Dharma boy has such a cute expression here. He is a good boy!
February 9,2017-My Mumu boy and Oser girl are just relaxing together..super cute
2 months ago
February 9,2017-My Mumu boy and Oser girl are just relaxing together..super cute
Click on the picture to enlarge and see what Suzy from Hawaii commented on the Dorje Shugden issue after much research. She is very candid and honest. Refreshing. Original is posted here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl-4lIwxph4
2 months ago
Click on the picture to enlarge and see what Suzy from Hawaii commented on the Dorje Shugden issue after much research. She is very candid and honest. Refreshing. Original is posted here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl-4lIwxph4
This is a good one to read
2 months ago
This is a good one to read
Mumu is silly and cute and funny
2 months ago
Mumu is silly and cute and funny
Mumu\'s hair is messy and he looks funny
2 months ago
Mumu's hair is messy and he looks funny
I am in the process of creating beautiful Dorje Shugden and Kechara Forest Retreat watches at this time. So we can take precious protector and Kechara Forest Retreat wherever we go and be blessed everytime we see what time it is. 
I am perfecting the designs with a great team and will update when done but these are just some samples that arrived. 
Feast your eyes! 

Tsem Rinpoche
2 months ago
I am in the process of creating beautiful Dorje Shugden and Kechara Forest Retreat watches at this time. So we can take precious protector and Kechara Forest Retreat wherever we go and be blessed everytime we see what time it is. I am perfecting the designs with a great team and will update when done but these are just some samples that arrived. Feast your eyes! Tsem Rinpoche
                        Pick the practice, devotion and precepts of Vajra Yogini\'s path over everything and anything in samsara. Samsara has nothing of value and nothing lasting to offer. You are born in suffering, live in suffering, die in suffering and enter bardo and future lives expecting more sufferings. This is not a negative way of looking at things but the truth. If the truth is negative, so it is the truth. Devote oneself to the guru, dharma work, dharma practice and bringing dharma to others compassionately. Choose to practice Vajra Yogini now with the preliminaries. You can start right now: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/starting-on-vajra-yogini-now.html  Much care, Tsem Rinpoche
3 months ago
Pick the practice, devotion and precepts of Vajra Yogini's path over everything and anything in samsara. Samsara has nothing of value and nothing lasting to offer. You are born in suffering, live in suffering, die in suffering and enter bardo and future lives expecting more sufferings. This is not a negative way of looking at things but the truth. If the truth is negative, so it is the truth. Devote oneself to the guru, dharma work, dharma practice and bringing dharma to others compassionately. Choose to practice Vajra Yogini now with the preliminaries. You can start right now: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/starting-on-vajra-yogini-now.html Much care, Tsem Rinpoche
Message to Tibetans in English
3 months ago
Message to Tibetans in English
Message to the Tibetans
3 months ago
Message to the Tibetans
Left to right: Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche, Sharpa Choeje Jetsun Lobsang Nyima, Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche, Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, 101st Gaden Tripa Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal. Great lamas of Gaden Shartse Monastery
3 months ago
Left to right: Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche, Sharpa Choeje Jetsun Lobsang Nyima, Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche, Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, 101st Gaden Tripa Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal. Great lamas of Gaden Shartse Monastery
A beautiful Indian rendition of Gyenze Dorje Shugden manifesting in wealth form
3 months ago
A beautiful Indian rendition of Gyenze Dorje Shugden manifesting in wealth form
This is my thoughts and determination to share with you. Please open and read. Thank you for your time. Tsem Rinpoche
3 months ago
This is my thoughts and determination to share with you. Please open and read. Thank you for your time. Tsem Rinpoche
Nepalese King Birendra receives His Holiness Panchen Rinpoche in Nepal
3 months ago
Nepalese King Birendra receives His Holiness Panchen Rinpoche in Nepal
Guess what Zava Damdin Rinpoche did in Mongolia recently with 7,800 people??? Very interesting and it is a must read:  http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=116206
3 months ago
Guess what Zava Damdin Rinpoche did in Mongolia recently with 7,800 people??? Very interesting and it is a must read:  http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=116206
This huge Buddha in Korea is magnificent
4 months ago
This huge Buddha in Korea is magnificent
The very first oracle of Dorje Shugden in trance statue. I have commissioned this.
4 months ago
The very first oracle of Dorje Shugden in trance statue. I have commissioned this.
Such a old and ancient thangka painting of Dorje Shugden. He has been around in Tibet practiced for hundreds of years.
4 months ago
Such a old and ancient thangka painting of Dorje Shugden. He has been around in Tibet practiced for hundreds of years.
One of the "Four Exalted Brothers" Avalokiteshvara statues, Phagpa Wati of Kyirong, which is now with H.H. the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala.
4 months ago
One of the "Four Exalted Brothers" Avalokiteshvara statues, Phagpa Wati of Kyirong, which is now with H.H. the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala.
Kyabje Zemey, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and Kyabje Pabongka Choktrul Rinpoche
4 months ago
Kyabje Zemey, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and Kyabje Pabongka Choktrul Rinpoche
My Oser girl and Mumu boy are so adorable
4 months ago
My Oser girl and Mumu boy are so adorable
Wow this meditator in his cave in front of a painting of Yamantaka draped with a white khata of respect. He sits among bones to remind him of impermanence and our future. The bones inspire him strongly to let go of all attachments in this life and focus on dharma, meditation and liberation and he is doing so. Very beautiful and inspirational. Tsem Rinpoche
4 months ago
Wow this meditator in his cave in front of a painting of Yamantaka draped with a white khata of respect. He sits among bones to remind him of impermanence and our future. The bones inspire him strongly to let go of all attachments in this life and focus on dharma, meditation and liberation and he is doing so. Very beautiful and inspirational. Tsem Rinpoche
Tenzing Norgay found this in Nepal. Guess what it is?
5 months ago
Tenzing Norgay found this in Nepal. Guess what it is?
Sir Edmund Hillary
5 months ago
Sir Edmund Hillary
Halloween is my favorite holiday. Wild natural plants and flowers are my favorite offering. Buddha\'s teachings on meditation and Yidam practice bring the ultimate results and happiness. ~Tsem Rinpoche
5 months ago
Halloween is my favorite holiday. Wild natural plants and flowers are my favorite offering. Buddha's teachings on meditation and Yidam practice bring the ultimate results and happiness. ~Tsem Rinpoche
Previous lives do resemble current lives especially if they are a recognized incarnation. If notice how similar the previous and current Trijang Rinpoche looks. The eyes, bone structure, expression, long neck, thin and overall look. Beautiful. I\'ve seen this phenomena over and over in many Rinpoche incarnations. Especially when you compare them with pictures of previous and current lives at around the same ages. Something powerfully karmic about this. Tsem Rinpoche
6 months ago
Previous lives do resemble current lives especially if they are a recognized incarnation. If notice how similar the previous and current Trijang Rinpoche looks. The eyes, bone structure, expression, long neck, thin and overall look. Beautiful. I've seen this phenomena over and over in many Rinpoche incarnations. Especially when you compare them with pictures of previous and current lives at around the same ages. Something powerfully karmic about this. Tsem Rinpoche
It\'s nice to have monks visitors and resident monks in Kechara
6 months ago
It's nice to have monks visitors and resident monks in Kechara
                         Taken in Lake Champlain in Canada. A huge water monster...neat...
6 months ago
Taken in Lake Champlain in Canada. A huge water monster...neat...
Click on "View All Photos" above to view more images

Videos On The Go

Please click on the images to watch video
  • Please watch this video, it's heartbreaking to see how people have to suffer.
    1 week ago
    Please watch this video, it's heartbreaking to see how people have to suffer.
  • Lady saves puppy from potential abuser
    2 weeks ago
    Lady saves puppy from potential abuser
  • Mr. Denzel Washington is a very intelligent man. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 weeks ago
    Mr. Denzel Washington is a very intelligent man. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Dear friends, please see this educational video on suffering for the sake of others.
    2 weeks ago
    Dear friends, please see this educational video on suffering for the sake of others.
  • A very neat footage of Bigfoot captured by Patterson-Gimlin.
    3 weeks ago
    A very neat footage of Bigfoot captured by Patterson-Gimlin.
  • [11/02/2017] Mumu darling is a very good boy.
    1 month ago
    [11/02/2017] Mumu darling is a very good boy.
  • [11/02/2017] Mumu wants to go bye bye!
    1 month ago
    [11/02/2017] Mumu wants to go bye bye!
  • [11/02/2017] I love you mumu boy
    1 month ago
    [11/02/2017] I love you mumu boy
  • [11/02/2017] Mumu and Oser eating together.
    1 month ago
    [11/02/2017] Mumu and Oser eating together.
  • Great spiritual rock carving in Tibet
    2 months ago
    Great spiritual rock carving in Tibet
  • You will Never be Ready
    3 months ago
    You will Never be Ready
    Dear friends, watch this video and ready, if we keep waiting till we are ready, that day will never come. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Stop asking for Easy
    3 months ago
    Stop asking for Easy
    This video is powerful because it's the truth. It applies to anything. It applies to our dharma practice. Watch the video and share it. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Must Watch this Video!
    4 months ago
    Must Watch this Video!
  • Sacred Tibetan Incense - Nyimo County, Lhasa, Tibet
    5 months ago
    Sacred Tibetan Incense - Nyimo County, Lhasa, Tibet
  • Kyabje Denma Gonsa Rinpoche on Samaya
    5 months ago
    Kyabje Denma Gonsa Rinpoche on Samaya
    ཁྱེད་ཀྱི་བཀའ་སློབ་དོན་སྙིང་དེ།།གང་གི་རྣ་བར་བདུད་རྩི་མོད།།འོན་ཀྱང་འགའ་ཡི་རྣ་ལམ་དུ།། བྲག་ཆ་བཞིན་དུ་འགྱུར་སྲིད་མོད།། ཚང་མས་ཚར་རེ་གཟིགས་རོགས།། Kyabje Denma Gonsa Rinpoche telling people that it is important to have guru samaya. It use to be that way in the great monasteries. We should not create problems and schisms. If we want to practice a protector, then do so, if not it's okay, but don't make trouble. One should just practice the Buddha Dharma well. To do good practice. If you have faith in Dorje Shugden and trust all the way, he will definitely help you. But most important is to practice the dharma. This is his advice in short here. It's good to let more Tibetans hear this holy speech and appeal by this very senior Rinpoche. TR

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.

  • March 28, 2017 09:11
    Lia asked: If the ushnisha is actually supposed to be a bump, then do we change the visualization of the top knot and replace it with a bump covered in hair or do we keep the ushnisha as the thangkas show?
    No reply yet
  • March 27, 2017 04:19
    Dongho asked: I have been reading on the tunes of certain sects and would like to ask on this. From what I've read, there are certain tunes to each sect and school of certain chants. Exactly where can I find the sheet music for these percussion and horns with the chants, such as to the one for invoking Kache Marpo or Dorje Shugden? Would it be possible to use school instruments for this?
    pastor answered: Dear Dongho, Thank you for your question, it is good to see you back and asking more questions. Yes you are right, there are differences in the tunes and chants between the lineages. The differences can vary significantly between the traditions, for example the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism is known for its extremely deep throat singing which is very powerful and is characterised by a low, booming voice, in contrast to the other traditions. Even within a particular tradition, there can be slight variations as to the manner in which the chants and tunes are performed. For example those monasteries are which are affiliated with Gyume will have one way of throat singing, where those affiliated with Gyuto will have another. As far as I am aware there is no professional sheet music for the rituals, most probably because the music is actually an integral part of the ritual itself. Therefore the music, tunes, and chants are all taught at the same time the ritual and prayers are. The tunes, and use of the instruments all have specific meanings, because they are considered to be offerings to the deities in the form of sound. The monasteries would not have copies of sheet music either, because sheet music is western practice. The use of ritual music within Tibetan Buddhism is more of one based on memory. In the Kechara organisation, the puja team was trained in such ritual instruments at the same time they learnt the particular ritual from monks from the monastery, such as the puja of Dorje Shugden. From what I saw of the training, the musical tunes, and use of instruments was not written down but taught experientially at the same time as the chanting. I have not come across any other instruments being used in pujas apart from the traditional ritual instruments, because even the instruments themselves have a specific meaning. That is not say that school instruments cannot be used. This is because, as long as the offering is sincere, the Buddhas and enlightened deities will accept it, and in turn you will generate great amounts of merit. Offerings should be made to the best of our ability, therefore if you do not have access to the ritual instruments, or do not know how to play them, but you know how to play other instruments, and use these instruments as offerings to the Buddhas during pujas, the amount of merit you generate will be the same. This is because you are sincere with your offering. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • March 26, 2017 02:14
    Kunga asked: Does the Gelug have Begtse a protector? If so, could you please provide a sadhana for him here?
    pastor answered: Dear Kunga, Yes the Dharma protector Begtse exists within the Gelug tradition. He is also known as Chamsing. Begtse’s practice stems from India and was introduced to Tibet and therefore Tibetan Buddhism by the translator Nyen Lotsawa. Marpa Lotsawa also practiced Begtse, and so the practice exists in the Kagyu traditions. This practice was eventually transmitted to Sachen Kunga Nyingpo, the first of the five patriarchs of the Sakya tradition, who were the founding fathers of that tradition. Over time the practice of Begtse was incorporated into the Gelug tradition, founded by Lama Tsongkhapa, and was notably practiced by the 1st and 2nd Dalai Lamas. Over time the practice gained popularity within the lineage, especially when it spread to Mongolia. There the practice became an important one within the lineage as upheld there. Begtse is also affectionately known as the Dharma protector of Mongolia, because his practice is so popular there. If I am not mistaken, there is an oracle of Begtse in Mongolia as well. There is a mistaken account that the practice originated around the time of the 3rd Dalai Lama, with the subjugation of a Mongolian war god, but Begtse was definitely practiced before that time in the Gelug, Kagyu and Sakya traditions. While the practice of Begtse is very effective, I have not come across the practice of Begtse in my personal practice, therefore I do not have access to the Begtse sadhana to provide to you. Instead Begtse is propitiated in prayers that incorporate many other Dharma protectors, and Begtse is also considered one of the nine protectors of the Hayagriva (Tamdrin) cycle of tantric teachings. Therefore Begtse is included in the Dharma protector sections of the Hayagriva tantras. Surrounding Begtse are his sister, Sing Ma, and his main minister, Le Khan Mar Po. His inner retinue comprises of eight butchers who wield copper swords in their right hands and skull-cups full of blood in their left hands. They are portrayed as naked and are very ugly. His outer retinue comprises a further twenty-one butchers, who hold copper swords in their right hands, and this time, the entrails of butchered enemies. They wear the skins humans and oxen as clothes, with ornaments made from human bone. While this may seem violent, Begtse is actually a very powerful and beneficial protector, who helps practitioners clear their obstacles and create conducive conditions for their spiritual evolution. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • March 24, 2017 20:12
    Azair asked: Venerable Rinpoche, I am doing a study in Kalachakra Tantra and I've heard from most of the lama's too that if you practice the Kalachakra Tantra, you'll be able to take control of your next rebirth. Ofcourse, it has been said that we will get our rebirth according to our Karma and desires but whether those dreams will get fulfilled will depend upon the actions that we take in this life. Thus, practicing the Kalachakra(till the end) after initiation will give you the opportunity to take rebirth anywhere you desire regardless of your Karma. My question is that, is there some truth in this statement.? Does this statement hold true for other tantra practices, such as Vajrayogini Tantra, Ghuyasamaja Tantra, Heruka Tantra, etc. I would really really like to know. Thankyou in anticipation, regards, Azair
    pastor answered: Dear Azair, Thank you for your question. Yes there is truth to this statement, both from a scriptural perspective and also by example, as the great masters have shown us. This is a unique feature of all Anuttarayoga Tantras or Highest Yoga Tantras, which Kalachakra, Vajrayogini, Guhyasama and Heruka are all examples of. This category of tantric practice can actually lead a practitioner to full enlightenment in this very lifetime. Even if enlightenment is not reached, very high levels of attainment can be reached nonetheless. This includes the ability to take control over your next rebirth. This is primarily engaged in so that the practitioner is born in an environment where they can eventually pick up their practice and further their spiritual path to enlightenment, or in order to be born in a place where they can benefit sentient beings the most, as part of the spiritual journey over many lifetimes. One of the reasons such an ability is very necessary on the spiritual path, is that usual death and rebirth occurs at the mercy of ones karma, specifically what is known as the ‘throwing karma’ or the karma that dictates what sort of rebirth a person is going to take. This opens up at the time of ordinary death, which most people have no control over. During the death process, many of our disturbing emotions will arise. Whichever of these is the strongest at the point of death triggers open a latent karmic potential, which becomes the ‘throwing karma’ and dictates where we are going to take rebirth and if that life will generally be full of suffering or not. Within Anuttarayoga Tantra, one of the key points of practice is to prepare for one’s death. This is done by simulating the dying process during one’s meditations, so that one becomes familiar with it. At the most pivotal part of this process, one practices achieving either the rainbow body or great bliss (in the case of the father tantras); or clear light (in the case of mother tantras). The tantras themselves are not defined in terms of the gender of the central deity, but by the method used to gain enlightenment. This is either the rainbow body/great bliss (classified as male, therefore labelled ‘father’) or clear light (classified as female, therefore labelled ‘mother’). Non-dual tantras such as the Kalachakra tantra can employ either of the two methods, a mixture of both, or alternate methods. In the case of superior practitioners, due to the power of their practice, they can achieve either of these two methods in their current body. Since they have familiarised themselves with the dying process, and a particular method of practice, they can also achieve enlightenment during their physical death. The great Lama Tsongkhapa is said to have achieved enlightenment at the moment of physical death, using the second of these. For other practitioners, they may not be able to achieve this either in their meditations while they are alive, or during the death process. However because they have familiarised themselves with the dying process, they remain in complete concentration at the time of death, not allowing any disturbing emotions to arise. Due to this level of concentration, meditation and awareness during the dying process, they are able to control where they next take rebirth. This is evident in the tantric scriptures themselves, and the life stories of many masters, who can state exactly where, when and to whom they will take their next rebirth, as they are in full control of the dying and rebirth process. There is a type of meditation called ‘thukdam’ which has been translated into ‘death meditation’. This is a final meditation some masters choose to engage in. During this meditation, the master themselves consciously begin the physical dying process themselves, engage in the meditation of dissolving the winds into the heart centre and remain in the most pivotal part of the death process, the mind of clear light of death. During this point they engage in meditations, either the methods of the father or mother tantras as mentioned previously, and or consciously choose where they are to next take rebirth. They can remain in this death meditation for long periods of time, days at an end, in which their consciousness has not yet left their body, although for all intents and purposes they are dead according to medical science, e.g. they have no heartbeat. At the end of their meditation, a drop of blood will be emitted from their nostril, and their head will slump over a little. Masters who engage in this meditation usually sit in full meditation posture, and their body remain supple and soft even though they have passed away from a medical point of view. I hope this brief explanation helps. Thank you.
  • March 23, 2017 23:01
    Brad asked: What is the significance of offering the Seven precious emblems of royalty to the Buddhas and enlightened Dharma Protectors? What are we symbolically offering up?
    pastor answered: Dear Brad, Thank you for your question. The ‘saptaratna’ or seven precious emblems represent on the one hand the ultimate state of temporal power, and on the other hand the ultimate spiritual attainments that we can achieve. By offering these to the Buddhas, we are actually creating the causes to achieve what they represent. Therefore it is good to know the meaning of each, so we can understand what we are creating the causes for by offering them up: Please see below for an explanation of the seven royal emblems: 1. The Precious Wheel: a thousand spoked wheel, representing the universal power of the Buddhas, as well as the teachings of the thousand Buddhas of our aeon. It is represented by the Dharmachakra, symbolising the ‘turning of the wheel’ or teaching of the Noble Eightfold Path. It is a symbol of a universal emperor’s spiritual and temporal power. It is also represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect mindfulness, especially that of our own mind, thoughts, delusions and afflictions. 2. The Precious Jewel: an eight sided wish-granting gem, which fulfils all the needs of a universal emperor. This jewel has eight special qualities: it illuminates the night sky for hundreds of leagues; it is cooling when the temperature is hot and warming when the temperature is cold; it makes manifest whatever the holder wants; when thirsty it causes a fresh-water spring to appear; it has the ability to control the nagas, and other supernatural beings, as well as preventing natural disasters such as storms, floods, etc.; it gives off multi-coloured lighted which heals the various mental and emotional afflictions; it cures all illnesses; and it ensures that one dies a natural death, not an untimely one. It is a symbol of a universal emperor’s spiritual and temporal power. It is also represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect mindfulness, or perfect discrimination, so one knows what to abandon and what to keep in the mindstream during the spiritual journey to enlightenment. 3. The Precious Queen: the most beautiful and virtuous of all women. She is described as a goddess who is the epitome of someone: with devotion; without jealousy; who is the embodiment of fertility; who works for the welfare of all beings; who possess feminine wisdom; speaks the truth; not attract to sensual pleasures or material possessions; and does not have false views. She is adored by all. She also represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect effort. This is necessary to keep meditating until one gains spiritual attainments. 4. The Precious Minister: who has sharp intelligence, patience, and the ability to give wise counsel to the emperor. He is so attuned to the emperor that even before the emperor has spoken, the minister is already carrying out his command. He only wishes to support the Dharma, help sentient beings, and is an excellent strategist. He also represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect joy. This is also akin to the attainment of the first bodhisattva level, because you have come to an understanding of your own mind, which is like pouring ice-cold water into boiling water. The water stops boiling, as does the thoughts, projections, and delusions in the mind. He represents the path of the bodhisattva. 5. The Precious Elephant: who has the strength of a thousand normal elephants. He is white, with the perfect features that an elephant could have. He is majestic, graceful, and gentle, but in battle is fearsome, fearless and unyielding. He communicates with the emperor through a telepathic link. He represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect adaptability. This is important, as one needs to be able to adapt to the various mental afflictions as they arise, and suitably counter them. 6. The Precious Horse: who has all the marks of a celestial horse. Known as wind-horse, he is able to travel extremely fast, and can circumambulate the entire universe three time in just a single day. He is never fearful or startled, never makes a sound when galloping, and has extremely soft hairs on his body. He represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is single-pointed concentration. This is important because without this form of concentration, once cannot engage in the analytical meditations that lead to an understanding of emptiness, and therefore enlightenment. 7. The Precious General: who has mastered the arts of war and always wins in battle. He wears battle armour and holds many different weapons. He tries to avoid battle, but when necessary fights, and never gives up until he has won. He is fearless, and courageous in carrying out the emperors commands and ensures the emperors army carries out their duties. He represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect equanimity. This is because he overcomes all warfare, which is akin to the battle between things were are attached to and things we have an aversion for in our minds. In short, what you are offering up is the highest of all temporal treasures and abilities, as well as the entire path of the Dharma. Doing so creates the causes for you to receive all of this on your spiritual journey towards enlightenment. I hope this helps. Thank you.
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