The Six Patriarchs of Chan Buddhism

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The word ‘Zen’ is derived from the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word ‘Chan’. This in turn is derived from the Indian Sanskrit word ‘Dhyana’, which means ‘mental absorption’ or ‘meditation’.

The modern Zen tradition of today is based on a school of Mahayana Buddhism that originated in China during the Tang dynasty, and was known as Chan Buddhism. Some scholars say that Chan Buddhism was first influenced by Taoism, which developed into a distinct school of Chinese Buddhism, and then spread northeast into Korea, and later further east into Japan.

Chan

The Chan teachings emphasise strict self-discipline, sitting-meditation, completeness, insight into the Buddha-nature of all beings, and incorporating this insight into daily life in order to be of benefit to all beings, and thus attaining the Bodhisattva-ideal. Hence, it places less emphasis on the scholasticism of the sutras in favour of direct realisation attained through sitting-meditation and dialogue with an accomplished master.

Chan teachings comprise of several important philosophical texts on Mahayana thinking and doctrines, including those of the Yogachara School, and the Tathagatagarbha sutras, but especially those of the Huayan School. In addition, the core philosophies of the Prajnaparamita texts and Nagarjuna’s Madhyamaka have also been shaped into the central belief-system of Chan Buddhism.

 

The Six Patriarchs

The Chan lineage was first introduced during the Tang Dynasty, incorporating the teachings of great masters from Indian Buddhism and the Chinese Mahayana tradition. It was then published, and gained wider acceptance towards the end of the Tang period.

This lineage of Chan patriarchs was first mentioned in the inscription on Faru’s tomb (638–689), a master and former disciple of the 5th patriarch, Daman Hongren (601–674). In The Long Scroll of the Treatise on the Two Entrances and Four Practices, as well as The Continued Biographies of Eminent Monks, Daoyu and Dazu Huike are the only disciples of Bodhidharma that were explicitly mentioned. The inscription traces the lineage to Bodhidharma as the first patriarch.

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In the 6th century CE, biographies of great monks were collected and compiled. These biographies of great monks were meant to be non-sectarian in nature. Naturally, the Chan biographical material intended to establish Chan as an authentic school of Buddhism rooted in Indian origins. These biographies are mainly hagiographies, which meant less emphasis was placed on historical accuracy and heavier emphasis on legends and traditional tales. The complete lineage was probably first published by the 9th Century CE.

According to D. T. Suzuki, the popularity of Chan during the 7th and 8th centuries attracted criticism that claimed there were no records showing Chan teachings having been derived from the Buddha. Hence, the earlier Chan masters re-established Bodhidharma as the 28th patriarch after the Buddha, thereby legitimising the Chan lineage. This early line of ancestry, from Bodhidharma down to Huineng, was called The Six Patriarchs.

  • Bodhidharma (440 – 528 CE)
  • Huike (487–593 CE)
  • Sengcan (?–606 CE)
  • Daoxin (580–651 CE)
  • Hongren (601–674 CE)
  • Huineng (638–713 CE)

 

Bodhidharma

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Bodhidharma was an Indian monk who lived between 5th and 6th Century CE, and was credited to have been the founding father of Chan Buddhism in China. That is why he is the first of the Six Patriarchs of Chan Buddhism.

According to Chinese sources, Bodhidharma originated from the Western Regions, which roughly corresponds to what is now Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Hence, some sources claim that he was a ‘Persian Central Asian’ or ‘the third son of a great South Indian king’.

Throughout Buddhist art, Bodhidharma is depicted as an unruly, bearded, wide-eyed and dark-skinned Indian. He is referred to as ‘The Blue-Eyed Barbarian’ in an earlier description, and some claims have him hailing from within the region of Peshawar in Pakistan but so far, no claim has been able to conclusively prove their case.

There are two accounts that give different dates of his arrival to China. One earlier account claims that he arrived during the Liu Song dynasty (420-479 CE), while the later states that he arrived during the Liang dynasty (502-557 CE). However, he travelled extensively throughout the territories of the Northern Wei (386 – 534 CE), and so many modern scholars officially place the date of Bodhidharma’s travels in China as being early 5th Century CE. While in China, Bodhidharma’s teachings centered on meditation and specifically on the Lankavatara Sutra.

Lankavatara Sutra, Chapter Six

Lankavatara Sutra, Chapter Six

It is said that Bodhidharma achieved enlightenment, and was instructed by Prajnatara, his guru, that he had to travel to China in order to further the Mahayana doctrine there. He set out on an epic three-year voyage by sea before arriving at the coastal city of Canton. He found his way to the imperial court of the ruling Liang Dynasty in Nanjing and gained an audience with Emperor Wu, who proclaimed himself to be one of China’s greatest patrons of Buddhism.

In a famous anecdote, the emperor asked the Indian master the amount of merit that he had earned for ordaining monks, building monasteries, and accomplishing other good deeds. Bodhidharma replied bluntly that he had accumulated no merit. This puzzled the Emperor, who slowly turned to rage. The Indian master beat a hasty retreat and left northwards towards the Shaolin Temple in the state of Wei that he had heard about. His travels brought him to the mighty Yangtze River that he had to cross. According to legend, he crossed the river while balanced atop a tiny reed, which has since been frequently depicted in Chinese art. While at the Shaolin Temple, he sat down to meditate for nine years while facing a wall in a cave, earning the name ‘Wall-Gazing Brahman’.

Bodhidharma’s austere meditation won over a few students, but one of them, Huike, was most famous. According to legend, Huike was said to have stood outside the cave in the snow and waited on the master for a whole week. Then, in sheer frustration, Huike chopped off his left arm and presented it to the master in order to express his determination to attain enlightenment, a scene that is also popularly represented in Chinese paintings. Huike would eventually become Bodhidharma’s successor, and the next patriarch. There were two attempts to poison Bodhidharma, but on the third attempt, the sage decided to take the poison and passed away at the age of 150.

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Three years after his passing, a Chinese emissary by the name of Song Yun was on his way back to China from India when he chanced upon Bodhidharma on the road. The master was on his way back to India and the official observed that he was walking barefoot and carrying one shoe in his hand. It was only upon his return to his homeland that he realised that the master had passed away. The master’s grave was exhumed only to discover that his body was missing, and all that remained was one shoe. The Chinese considered this a sign that Bodhidharma had become an immortal, and had merely feigned his own death. He was thus included in the Taoist pantheon of immortals.

According to tradition, Bodhidharma is attributed to be the founder of martial arts at the Shaolin Temple. As the legend goes, Bodhidharma faced the wall for nine years at the Shaolin Temple, and when he departed, he left behind a great chest. When the monks searched the contents of the chest, they discovered two books on martial arts: Marrow Washing Classic (Xi Sui Jing) and Muscle Change Classic (Yi Jin Jing).

His disciple Huike took the first book and it was eventually lost to time, while the second book was treasured by the monastery and was developed into what is characteristically known as the Shaolin martial arts. However, recent historians assert the claim that the text was actually written by Taoist priest Zining of Mt. Tiantai and thereby allaying centuries-old claims that Bodhidharma founded the Shaolin martial arts.

 

Huike

Dazu Huike (487–593 CE) was the Second Patriarch of Chan Buddhism, and became Bodhidharma’s successor. He is considered the 29th in the lineage that stemmed from Buddha Shakyamuni. According to the Hsu kao-seng chuan, Huike was born in Henan and was given the name Shen-Guang.

Huike was a scholar in both Buddhist and classical Chinese texts, including those of Taoism. He met his teacher Bodhidharma at the Shaolin Monastery in 528 CE when he was about forty years old, and he studied under Bodhidharma for six years (the duration varies according to sources).

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There is little surviving information on the lives of Bodhidharma and Huike, and the few accounts of them are semi-mythical in nature. The most famous account was the meeting of Bodhidharma and Huike that occurred during winter, when Huike stood in the snow waiting outside a cave for the master. As an offering to the master, Huike cut off his arm and made his request, “Master, your disciple’s mind has no peace. Please put it to rest.” Bodhidharma responded, “Bring me your mind, and I will put it to rest.” Huike then replied, “I have searched for my mind but I cannot find it.” Bodhidharma finally replied, “Then I have completely put it to rest for you.”

Bodhidharma built the Zhuoxi Spring or Four Springs, situated in front of the Second Ancestor’s Temple at the Shaolin Temple so it would be easier for Huike to fetch water with his remaining arm. Then, Huike travelled to Yedu (modern day Henan) around 534 CE and lived there. When political turmoil engulfed China and Buddhist persecution was rampant in 574 CE, he hid in the area of Yedu and Wei (modern Hebei).

It was during this turbulent period that Huike sought refuge in the mountains near the Yangtze River and this was where he met Sengcan, who would become his successor and the Third Chinese Patriarch of Chan. In 579, Huike returned to Yedu and gave teachings which drew huge crowds. This attracted the envy and hostility of other Buddhist teachers, one of whom, Tao-heng, hired an assassin to have Huike killed, but in a dramatic turn of events, the master converted the would-be assailant.

Dazu Huike (487–593 CE), the Second Patriarch of Chan Buddhism

Dazu Huike (487–593 CE), the Second Patriarch of Chan Buddhism

The Compendium of Five Lamps (Wudeng Huiyan) compiled by Dachuan Lingyin Puji (1179–1253) wrote that Huike lived up to the age of one hundred seven. He was entombed about forty kilometres northeast of Anyang City in the Hebei Province. After his passing, the Tang Dynasty emperor De Zong bestowed on Huike the honorific title Dazu or ‘Great Ancestor’. Some accounts claim that influential Buddhist priests had Huike executed due to complaints about his teachings being heretical. These accounts say that blood did not flow from his decapitated body, but rather, a white milky substance flowed from his neck, astonishing everybody.

One of the most important aspects of the early Chan teachings by Bodhidharma and Huike was that of attaining sudden enlightenment rather than the gradual approach to enlightenment characteristic of the Indian tradition. Huike and Bodhidharma attributed their teachings to the Lankavatara Sutra, which stresses self-realisation and transcending words and thoughts. In his teachings, Huike stressed on meditation as a tool towards understanding the true intent of the Buddha, and that meditation should also be free of dualism or attachment.

 

Sengcan

Jianzhi Sengcan (6th Century CE) was the Third Chinese Patriarch of Chan following Huike and Bodhidharma, and is considered the thirtieth Patriarch after Buddha Shakyamuni. He is the sole successor of the second Chinese Patriarch, Dazu Huike.

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It is said that Sengcan was over forty years old when he first chanced upon Huike in 536 CE, and he remained with his teacher for six years while receiving teachings. It was Huike who gave him the name Sengcan or ‘Gem Monk’. The Transmission of the Lamp gives this exchange between Huike and Sengcan, where Sengcan says, “I am riddled with sickness. Please absolve me of my sins.” Huike responded by saying, “Bring your sins here and I will absolve them for you.” After a long pause, Sengcan finally answered, “When I am looking for my sins, I cannot find them.” Huike then replied, “I have absolved them for you. You should live by the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.” Huike appointed him as his successor by passing down to him the robes of Bodhidharma and Bodhidharma’s Dharma (which is widely believed to be a copy of the Lankavatara Sutra) and thus, Sengcan became The Third Patriarch of Chan.

According to historians, Sengcan fled with Huike up to the mountains due to Buddhist persecution. However, the Lamp Records claim that after giving a Dharma transmission, Huike told Sengcan to live up in the mountains and wait for the time when he could transmit the Dharma to someone else. This instruction was based on an earlier prophecy by Prajnatara that was passed down to Bodhidharma, and this in turn was passed down to Sengcan. Due to the prophecy, Sengcan lived in hiding on Wangong Mountain in Yixian, and then on Sikong Mountain in southwestern Anhui. Thereafter, he wandered with no fixed abode for another ten years.

Verses from Faith-Mind (Xinxin Ming)

Verses from Faith-Mind (Xinxin Ming)

Sengcan met Daoxin (580-651 CE), a novice monk of just fourteen years old. Daoxin served Sengcan for nine years and received the Dharma transmission when he was just in his early twenties. Subsequently, Sengcan spent two years at Mount Luofu (northeast of Guangtung) before returning to Wangong Mountain. Sengcan is attributed to be the author of the popular Chan poem, Verses on Faith-Mind (Xinxin Ming). This poem has been popular with Chan practitioners for over a thousand years. The poem is said to reveal Taoist influences on Chan Buddhism, as it deals with non-duality and the metaphysical concept of emptiness or Shunyata, which is a central to the doctrine that Nagarjuna (150-250 C.E.) taught.

Sengcan passed away sitting under a tree while giving a Dharma discourse in 606 CE, and he was bestowed with the honorary title Jianzhi or ‘Mirrorlike Wisdom’ by Xuan Zong, the Emperor of the Tang dynasty.

 

Daoxin

Dayi Daoxin (580–651 CE) came to be regarded as the fourth Patriarch of Chan Buddhism following Jianzhi Sengcan (died 606 CE), and his successor was Daman Hongren (601–674 CE).

Daoxin was first mentioned in the Further Biographies of Eminent Monks (Hsu Kao Seng Chuan) published in 645 CE. Later, he was also mentioned in the Annals of the Transmission of the Dharma-Treasure (Chuan Fa Pao Chi) published around 712 CE, which provided a detailed account of Daoxin’s life. The accounts of these early Chan masters were not particularly accurate and at times, details in one account would contradict another.

However, the following biography is the traditional tale of Daoxin that was brought together from various sources, including the Compendium of Five Lamps (Wudeng Huiyuan) compiled in the early 13th century by the monk Dachuan Lingyin Puji (1179–1253).

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Daoxin was born to a family with the surname ‘Si-ma’ in the Yongning County of Qizhou, today known as Wuxue City of the Hubei Province. Daoxin began studying Buddhism at the tender age of seven, and although his first teacher had impure moral conduct, Daoxin was not adversely influenced, secretly maintaining his vows for the next five to six years.

According to the Compendium of Five Lamps , Daoxin encountered Sengcan when he was only fourteen years old. Daoxin made his request at the feet of his master, “I ask for the Master’s compassion. Please instruct me on how to achieve release.” Sengcan asked, “Is there someone who binds you?” Daoxin thought awhile, and answered, “There is no such person.” Sengcan then asked, “Why then seek release when no one restrains you?” It was said that upon hearing these words, Daoxin was said to have become enlightened.

The young Daoxin followed and served Sengcan for the next nine years. When Sengcan decided to travel to Mount Loufu, he forbade Daoxin to follow him. In an account taken from the Chuan Fa Pao Chi, the master said, “The Dharma has been transmitted from Patriarch Bodhidharma to me. I am going to the South and will leave you here to spread and protect the Dharma.”

For the next ten years, Daoxin studied at the feet of the master Zhikai at the Great Woods Temple on Mount Lu. Zhikai was an adept of the Taintai and Sanlun schools, and also chanted the Buddha’s name as part of his practice. These other schools heavily influenced Daoxin’s practice, and he finally received full ordination as a monk in 607 CE.

In 617 CE, Daoxin along with his disciples travelled to the Ji Province and entered a town that was under attack by bandits. In an unprecedented move, Daoxin expounded on the Perfection of Wisdom Sutra so well that the bandits laid down their weapons and abandoned their plans to attack the town. Daoxin continued on his travels and eventually settled at East Mountain Temple on Shuangfeng (Twin Peaks). He continued to teach Chan Buddhism for the next thirty years and attracted a large number of practitioners. According to records, he had five hundred students comprising of lay and ordained monks.

Emperor Tai Zong

Emperor Tai Zong

In 643 CE, the Emperor Tai Zong officially invited Daoxin to the capital but Daoxin turned the invitation down. The Emperor sent emissaries on three occasions and each time, Daoxin refused the imperial decree. On the third time, the Emperor, out of frustration, instructed for either Daoxin or his head to be brought to the capital. When the emissary arrived at the monastery, he related this instruction to Daoxin. In response, Daoxin stretched out his neck to allow the emissary to decapitate him. The emissary-official was so shocked that he left and he reported what transpired to the Emperor, who went on to honour Daoxin as an exemplary Buddhist master.

In 651 CE, Daoxin gave instructions for his students to build his funerary stupa in preparation for his death. According to the Further Biographies of Eminent Monks , his disciples requested for the aging master to name a successor. Daoxin replied, “I have made many deputations during my life.” He then passed away and the Emperor Tai Zong honored the late Daoxin with the posthumous title of ‘Dayi’, meaning ‘The Great Healer’.

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The Five Gates of Daoxin is a compilation of his teachings, but as this text did not appear until the second decade of the eighth century, after Hongren’s record, its historical accuracy is in doubt. The Chronicle of the Lankavatara Masters , which appeared in the early eighth century, has Daoxin quoting from the Prajnaparamita (Perfection of Wisdom) and Pure Land Sutras but some scholars do not consider the study of these sutras to be part of Daoxin’s teachings. However, Daoxin was said to have taught extensively on meditation.

The teachings of Daoxin along with his successor, Hongren are known as the East Mountain Teachings, which became the basis of the vein of Chan Buddhism that flourished all over China in the mid of 8th Century CE. A major contributing factor was the fact that Daoxin was the first Chan master to settle at one spot for an extended period of time, and thus developed a stable monastic community that influenced the flourishing of other monastic communities throughout China.

 

Hongren

Daman Hongren (601 – 674 CE) became the fifth Patriarch of Chan Buddhism. He was said to have received transmission from Daoxin, and he in turn bestowed the bowl and robe to mark the transmission upon Huineng, the sixth and last of the Chan patriarchs.

As with all the early Chan patriarchs, much of Hongren’s life, which was compiled long after his passing, was largely shrouded by time and myth. Hongren was born in Huangmei into the Chou household. According to The Records of the Teachers and Disciples of the Lankavatara (Leng-ch’ieh shih-tzu chih), his father abandoned his family, but Hongren supported his mother thereafter, displaying admirable filial duty in. However, at the age of twelve, Hongren left home to be ordained as a monk and came to study at the feet of Daoxin, the fourth patriarch of Chan.

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The meeting between Daoxin and Hongren is recorded in the Japanese text, Transmission of Light (Denkoroku) by Keizan Jokin Zenji (1268-1325 CE), which is a collection of 53 enlightened tales based on the traditional accounts of the Chan or Zen transmissions between successive masters and disciples in the Soto Zen Buddhist lineage. Daoxin initially met Hongren on a road in Huangmei. When Daoxin asked his name, Hongren replied, “I have essence but it is not a common name.” The master then asked, “What is its name?” To which Hongren replied, “It is the essence of Buddhahood.” Daoxin added, “Have you no name?” Hongren then said, “None, because essence is empty.” It is said that Daoxin would pass on the teachings and the robe down to Hongren, thus appointing Hongren as the next Patriarch of Chan Buddhism.

It was said that Hongren remained with Daoxin until his master’s death in 651 CE. It was also said that he was with Daoxin when the master was at Ta-lin Su on Mount Loufu and accompanied him to Mount Shuangfeng, one of the twin peaks of Huangmei. According to a later account, after Daoxin’s death, Hongren decided to move the community of monks towards Dong Shan or the eastern summit of the Twin Peaks. The lineage teachings of Daoxin and especially Hongren became known after this location as East Mountain Teachings (Dong Shan Fa Men).

HongRen

Daman Hongren

According to the Annals of the Transmission of the Dharma-Treasure (Chuan Fa Pao Chi of 712 CE), Hongren was described as quiet, withdrawn, diligent with his menial tasks, and sat in meditation throughout the night. He was said to have never looked at the Buddhist scriptures, but understood everything that he learned. After ten years of teaching, the record claims that eight or nine of every ten ordained and lay Buddhist practitioners in the country had studied under him.

A Chan scholar asserts that Hongren was probably from a wealthy and prominent family despite an earlier mention that his father abandoned the family. This conclusion was based on some stories that his residence was eventually converted into a monastery, which meant that it was of considerable size. In addition to that, the mention of Hongren performing menial labor in his biography would only be significant if Hongren was from an upper-class family.

In his teachings, Hongren emphasised meditation and extensively taught that the Pure Mind was obscured by discriminating thought pattern, wrong views, and projections. He taught that Nirvana naturally arose when false thoughts were eliminated, and a constant awareness of one’s natural enlightenment can be maintained through that. The Treatise on the Essentials of Cultivating the Mind is a compilation of his teachings, and is the earliest collection of teachings from a Chan master. After Hongren, Chan Buddhism split into two schools, each led by one of his students. Yuquan Shenxiu (606-706) founded the Northern School and Dajian Huineng (638–713 CE) founded the Southern School. Each of these schools regards their elder as the legitimate sixth patriarch of Chan Buddhism.

 

Huineng

Dajian Huineng is the legendary sixth and final Patriarch of Chan Buddhism and successor of Daman Hongren, the fifth Chan patriarch. Huineng’s life seems to reflect the changing fortunes of Chan Buddhism, from a Chinese provincial form of Buddhism to a major cultural and religious force throughout China and East Asia.

According to various sources, Huineng was uneducated and a ‘barbaric’ youth, but because of his deep insight, he surpassed his fellow senior monks who were great scholars to become Hongren’s successor by receiving special transmission of Chan Buddhism.

Huineng’s story began as an illiterate peasant boy from Xinzhou of the Guangdong province, born to the Lu family. His father was a minor official who had been banished and passed away when he was very young. His mother brought him to southern China and they lived in poverty. When he was old enough, he began chopping and selling firewood to make a living to support his family.

“Depending upon nothing, you must find your own mind.” - a verse from Diamond Sutra

“Depending upon nothing, you must find your own mind.” – a verse from Diamond Sutra

One day, while delivering firewood to a shop, he overheard a man reciting a verse from the Diamond Sutra, “Depending upon nothing, you must find your own mind.” Upon hearing this verse, Huineng was said to have gained realisation. The man who recited this line recommended Huineng to meet the Fifth Chan Patriarch, Hongren, at the Tung Chian Monastery in the Huang Mei District of Xinzhou. He spoke to his mother, and gained her permission to leave home in order to enter a religious life.

From then on, Huineng spent the next few years wandering before ending up with a Buddhist nun who was devoted towards the study, recitation and contemplation of the Nirvana Sutra. She would recite passages from the Sutra every day, and one day, she asked him to recite a passage aloud only to discover that he was illiterate. This surprised the nun and she asked how was he going to learn the Buddha’s teachings if he was unable to read the scriptures. The youth replied that the Buddha nature within all beings does not depend on words, so there was actually no need to read texts. This amazed the nun and she suggested that he take up ordination. Huineng declined and went to a meditation master instead.

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Huineng spent three years meditating in a mountain cave before travelling to East Mountain (Dongshan) monastery in Hubei, where he met Master Hongren, the Fifth Chan Patriarch. The master glared at the supplicant and asked where he was from and why did he come. Huineng answered that he was from the south and had come to learn the dharma from him. Hongren was quick to retort that Huineng was a mere barbarian as he was from the south. The master then added, “How could you become a Buddha?” Unfazed by the insult, Huineng responded, “Although my barbarian body and yours differ, what difference is there in our Buddha nature?”

Hongren realised that this was a promising student, although he was a diamond in the rough, and decided to test him further. He finally took Huineng in, but assigned him to the chore of threshing grains. Huineng labored for nine months treading the mill in order to separate rice grains from their husks.

However, the most famous story of Huineng’s life came with a contest. One day, the master Hongren decided to put his monks to the test by getting them to compose a verse that distilled their realisation of their original nature. The master said that he would read each verse and would award Bodhidharma’s robes, begging bowl and the title ‘Sixth Patriarch’ to the student who demonstrated true realisation.

Everybody turned towards the head monk, Shenxiu, who was expected to be the Master’s likeliest successor. However, it was said that he was full of doubt and spent a laborious night composing his verse. Finally, he crept out and wrote his verse anonymously on the wall of the new dharma hall as was required by Hongren’s challenge.

Shenxiu’s verse was as follows: –

The body is a Bodhi tree,
The mind a standing mirror bright.
At all times polish it diligently,
And let no dust alight.

This verse was a direct assertion of the necessity for diligent practice and Shenxiu had hoped that this verse would demonstrate to the Master that he had some realisation. Early the next morning, Hongren walked towards the wall and read out the verse and praised it before the jubilant monks. He offered incense before the verse and ordered the monks to recite it before calling Shenxiu for an audience. In private, he praised Shenxiu for his insight but he said that the verse revealed that he had arrived at the gates of wisdom, but he had yet to place his foot in. He then suggested Shenxiu take a few more days to ponder on another verse that would be worthy to be awarded with his robes.

Huineng‘s famous verse in response to Shenxiu’s verse

Huineng‘s famous verse in response to Shenxiu’s verse

Meanwhile, Huineng was diligently threshing rice grains when he overheard a novice reciting Shenxiu’s verse. Immediately, Huineng realised that the author of the verse lacked deeper insight. Later, he snuck out to the dharma hall and requested a monk to write his verse on the wall next to Shenxiu’s verse.

Bodhi is originally without any tree;
The bright mirror is also not a stand.
Originally there is not a single thing-
Where could any dust be attracted?

Word spread like wildfire throughout the monastery of the new verse and the news eventually reached Hongren’s ears. The Master himself came out to read the verse and immediately he recognised it to be Huineng’s words and recognised his deep insight. The master pondered and knew that passing his robe to a peasant monk would upset the monastic hierarchy. Thereafter, he was quick to dismiss the verse for lacking understanding and left. That night and under the cover of darkness, Hongren secretly summoned Huineng for an audience in which he bestowed upon him further teachings and transmissions. Passing on his robe, the Master told him to flee for his life and predicted that he would eventually transmit the teachings.

Huineng made hasty preparations and fled south. After several months of pursuit, a band of assassins tracked Huineng to a mountain and with the intent of killing him in order to retrieve the robe. Most of the pursuers turned back after climbing halfway except Huiming, who managed to reach the summit. Somehow, instead of killing the master, he was subdued by the master’s incredible wit and wisdom. After receiving his teachings, the assassin became realised. In fulfilment of his master’s prophecy, Huineng dispatched his new disciple to the north in order to spread the Dharma there.

‘No-Form Stanza’ of the Platform Sutra

‘No-Form Stanza’ of the Platform Sutra

The famous Chan treatise, Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch or Liuzu Tanjing is attributed to Huineng. Scholars analysing the text say that it was constructed over a long period of time, as it contains many layers of writing. It constitutes some of the earliest Chan teachings, and a great collection of essential teachings that form the backbone of the entire tradition stemming up to the second half of the 8th century CE. The central theme of the treatise is the recognition and realisation of one’s Buddha-nature that is similar to texts attributed to Bodhidharma and Hongren, including the idea that our primordial Buddha-nature is made invisible due to our illusions and delusions.

The Platform Sutra cites and expounds on a wide range of Buddhist scriptures like Lankavatara Sutra, Mahaparinirvana Sutra, Mahaprajnaparamita Sutra, Brahmajala Sutra, Vimalakirti Sutra, Lotus Sutra, Surangama Sutra and Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana. The Platform Sutra became wildly popular in China that some attribute to its paradoxical Taoist’ influence and numerous copies circulated.

Towards the end of 8th century, the ‘Northern’ and ‘Southern’ schools of Chan Buddhism dominated China. Shenhui (684-758) claimed to having studied under Huineng, and he criticised the legitimacy of ‘Northern’ Chan, which had received imperial patronage during the Tang dynasty (618-907) under the leadership of Shenxiu (ca. 606-706) and his heir, Puji (651-739). Shenhui claimed that his teacher Huineng was the true recipient of transmission from Hongren, and he ridiculed Shenxiu’s ‘gradualist’ approach to awakening. Shenhui insisted that Huineng was the true Sixth Patriarch, and thus claimed the title of Seventh Patriarch for himself.

In the ninth century, the ‘Southern’ school with its ‘sudden awakening’ doctrine was finally accepted as the official line. Ironically, both the ‘Northern’ and ‘Southern’ schools died out due to political turmoil of the time. It was only later, after Chan Buddhism had survived the imperial persecutions of 841-845 CE, that other Chan schools reasserted their connection to Huineng and propagated his teachings.

This is the mummified remains of Huineng that is enshrined in Nanhua Temple in Shaoguan of Northern Guangdong Province of China.

This is the mummified remains of Huineng that is enshrined in Nanhua Temple in Shaoguan of Northern Guangdong Province of China.

Huineng’s legacy continues to impact Chan Buddhism till this day. His teachings span the major themes within Chan Buddhism, and stories of his life continue to provide the archetype of an ideal Chan master.

Huineng was said to have passed away while in meditation and his body became mummified. The mummified remains of Huineng were enshrined in Nanhua Temple in Shaoguan (northern Guangdong) to this day. Jesuit priest Matteo Ricci visited Nanhua Temple in 1589, and he wrote about the life story of Huineng and described him along the lines of a Christian ascetic, calling him Liuzu or Sixth Patriarch in his writings.
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Pastor David Lai
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About Pastor David Lai

David is a lay Buddhist pastor of Kechara and a longtime student of H.E. Tsem Rinpoche. Initially a reluctant writer, he now finds himself writing for a living and has published four books including his autobiography, There's No Way But Up and Conversations in Love.

David is a lover of Buddhist art and whenever he can, he shares his knowledge of the Dharma with everyone, giving frequent teachings and writing on his blog www.davidlai.me.
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9 Responses to The Six Patriarchs of Chan Buddhism

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  1. Fong on Apr 19, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    It’s interesting that Bodhidharma took poison that was meant to kill him and thus seemingly “died” to end the attempts on his life. And, it seems that he could not be killed as he was seen walking away with 1 shoe in his hand! and his grave turn out empty except for a shoe!

    And, his lineage held many exceptional students who went on to spread the dharma in China. But it is very sad that somehow politics came into play and there was split into the norther and southern lineage – One criticised the legitimacy of ‘Northern’ Chan,and another ridiculed Shenxiu’s ‘gradualist’ approach to awakening. It would seem that karma came into play when both nothern and southern schools died out during the 9th century due to political turmoil of the time. It was only that Chan Buddhism was brought back.

    So, dharma should never be mixed with politics, which would bring with a lot of negative karma.

  2. JP on Mar 19, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    This article showed me that when a new movement or method of teaching Buddhism in a community is introduced, there will always be opposition from the masses. In this case, they were accused of being heretic and that their teachings were not from Lord Buddha. Only centuries later were Chan Buddhism widely accepted and spread all the way to Japan and Korea. Hence, it is important that the students persevere, practice sincerely and diligently and gain attainments in order to preserve the lineage.

    Thank you Pastor David for his overview of Chan Buddhism.

  3. shelly tai on Mar 18, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    Thank you Pastor David for this write up. Is great to know about all these great master who practice so diligently in the teaching all the time I thought all these master is only a legend is not real . Is great to know that all these great being has preserve the Buddha Dharma until this day.

  4. Jennifer Yuen on Mar 17, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    Thank you so much for the article Pastor David. Heard about the ‘Zen’ Buddhism from young but never knew about it much. The article has given me some knowledge of how the tradition was introduced, survived and spread eventually. Without the determination and discipline of these great masters, Dharma would not have existed til now.

  5. TekLee on Mar 7, 2017 at 1:43 am

    Thank you Pastor David Lai for sharing this article. It let me understand more about Chan Buddhism. From young, I always heard about Bodhidharma, I heard about how he set up Shao Lin, how he could subdue spirits, but didn’t really know the real story of Bodhidharma. I always thought he was a kungfu master. Now after I become a Buddhist, amd after reading this article, I know who Bodhidharma really is. His facing the wall meditation for nine years was the most popular story. Nevertheless, all 6 patriarchs are very dedicated and committed to Dharma and bring Dharma to everyone in the world. _/\_

  6. wan wai meng on Feb 25, 2017 at 4:10 am

    Reading all the stories is really inspiring, and all the 6 patriachs they all had determination to bring the dharma to many others. A common theme within each story to me is that all had the 6 Patriachs had deep insight and tremendous courage to bring the teachings to others.

  7. Edwin Tan on Feb 11, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    Dear Pastor David,

    Thank you for the detailed write up of Zen Buddhism.

    Zen has always been synonymous with simple, clean approach and the article clearly demonstrates the idea.

    Although most historical facts were not authenticated as suggested by you or origins unknown.. It is clear that we need not be literate, read the scriptures, perform monk duties to gain enlightenment. It has all to do with the mind awakening.

    I can use some sudden awakening.. (Hehe)

    I love how your articles link from 1 patriarch to the next, and I gained more understanding about Zen Buddhism now.

    Thank you very much.

  8. Stella Cheang on Feb 9, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    Thank you, Pastor David for this sharing. Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions and spiritual practices, and the Chan teachings is one of them. The Chan teaching emphasises on Dhyana rather than Prajna of the Buddhism practice, which means the focus is on sitting meditation to gain direct realisation and dialogue with an accomplished master. Much of the practice involved self-discipline, completeness, insight into the Buddha-nature of all beings, and incorporating this insight into daily life in order to be of benefit to all beings, and thus attaining the Bodhisattva-ideal. The lineage is based on Patriarch system, passing down from master to the most qualified disciple. The first Patriarch being the famous Bodhidharma who appeared in legends as an highly attained Kung Fu master. This strikes me that stillness of the mind and body fitness can go hand in hand.

  9. Choong on Feb 8, 2017 at 11:34 pm

    It is intriguing to read that a split of Chan Buddhism into the Northern and Southern schools or “gradual” and “sudden” awakening schools, could have precipitated its total downfall in the 9th century due to politics.

    Politics and religion are never a good mix. Whether we view it as sudden or gradual, both are still concepts generated by a tainted mind, both are constructs which fit a particular way of modeling the path toward enlightenment. Both have logically resulted in enlightenment for many. Hence we cannot side with one and dismiss the other.

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

    Jason

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/wesak-day-special-on-rtm-2.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Wednesday, Apr 26. 2017 06:10 PM
    OMG! This is very touching. To see a doggie who never left go of his owner in spite of death. Way more powerful than many who proclaimed “till death do us part.” Just like the human, not all doggies are as loyal as this tear-jerking pet, but I truly believe almost all doggies offer unconditional love to the person who feeds and cares for them. Even when they are stray animals. There was a stray dog who will run two streets from the entrance of the “Taman” until the car stops in front of the house, just to greet me. You can imagine the warm and conviction in my heart that these beings are more than capable of loving than many of us, human! Thank you for this lovely sharing. I miss my doggie, Sherab.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Han Nee for this article.

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

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/interesting-signs-of-reincarnation.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Apr 23. 2017 08:29 PM
    Thank you Rinpoche for your teachings.
    Always be generous and kind in what ever we could do even its little help.It’s the little things in life that bring the greatest happiness. Its between us and our Buddha ,so we would not bother what the receipient thinks and say of us. What ever was said ,should not deter our motivation to do Dharma work.
    (It will change people’s lives in one way or another. It will change your life for the better.)….well said by Rinpoche.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/its-not-between-you-and-the-recipient.html

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The Unknown

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

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

Videos On The Go

Please click on the images to watch video
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    3 weeks ago
    Tsem Rinpoche's Vajra Yogini statue and offerings.
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    3 weeks ago
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    Beautiful turtle returning to the sea to be free and happy. Amazing sight.
  • Japan's greatest modern day artist, Yayoi Kusama
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    Japan's greatest modern day artist, Yayoi Kusama

ASK A PASTOR


Ask the Pastors

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

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

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

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

CHAT PICTURES

Art expression using chalks and papers is an avenue for young children to cultivate positive perspective of life and connect with their artistic or creative side. Stella, KSDS
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A big Thank You to the kind volunteers and to Jace Chong!
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3 days ago
Thank you to our young volunteer to improve the life of the birds in our aviary!
English Level 2 Dharma Class, Pastor Han Nee started the Day 5 Lamrim, which is the Seven-Limbed Prayer with Homage and Prostration( 35 Confessional Buddha )  was extensively covered. -  Yew Seng
3 days ago
English Level 2 Dharma Class, Pastor Han Nee started the Day 5 Lamrim, which is the Seven-Limbed Prayer with Homage and Prostration( 35 Confessional Buddha ) was extensively covered. - Yew Seng
Sunday Dharma class kids learning to take refuge with teacher Alice. Lucy Yap
3 days ago
Sunday Dharma class kids learning to take refuge with teacher Alice. Lucy Yap
One of the outdoor activities for KSDS students is to exercise the drawing that near to the nature. Alice Tay, KSDS
4 days ago
One of the outdoor activities for KSDS students is to exercise the drawing that near to the nature. Alice Tay, KSDS
Teacher Jesvin explained the camp rules and regulations to the camper. Alice Tay, KSDS
4 days ago
Teacher Jesvin explained the camp rules and regulations to the camper. Alice Tay, KSDS
KSDS teachers and the young participants of WOAH  Camp played & have fun together for this game, Self defense and attack. Alice Tay, KSDS
4 days ago
KSDS teachers and the young participants of WOAH Camp played & have fun together for this game, Self defense and attack. Alice Tay, KSDS
The younger group of KSDS were happy because they're given chance to feel,touch and play the slime. Alice Tay, KSDS
4 days ago
The younger group of KSDS were happy because they're given chance to feel,touch and play the slime. Alice Tay, KSDS
Teacher Laura guided the students do meditation. Alice Tay, KSDS
4 days ago
Teacher Laura guided the students do meditation. Alice Tay, KSDS
Day break at Kechara Forest Retreat! Sunrise meditation during Inner Reflection Retreat, April 2017
5 days ago
Day break at Kechara Forest Retreat! Sunrise meditation during Inner Reflection Retreat, April 2017
Inner Reflection in April 2017 with guests from USA, Singapore, China and UK! Join our upcoming meditation programs!
5 days ago
Inner Reflection in April 2017 with guests from USA, Singapore, China and UK! Join our upcoming meditation programs!
Visitors in Kechara Forest Retreat, circumambulating the holy Vajra Yogini Stupa. Picture credit Pastor Gimlee
5 days ago
Visitors in Kechara Forest Retreat, circumambulating the holy Vajra Yogini Stupa. Picture credit Pastor Gimlee
Students are getting ready to do prostration in Gompa following a Teacher Kien and Teacher Zhi Yan instruction. Lin Mun KSDS
5 days ago
Students are getting ready to do prostration in Gompa following a Teacher Kien and Teacher Zhi Yan instruction. Lin Mun KSDS
Teacher Callista & Teacher Irene were sharing with children on the topic of courage. It is good to instil dharma knowledge from young. Lin Mun KSDS
5 days ago
Teacher Callista & Teacher Irene were sharing with children on the topic of courage. It is good to instil dharma knowledge from young. Lin Mun KSDS
Children are learning how to recite mantra from teacher Alice and teacher Laura. Lin Mun KSDS
5 days ago
Children are learning how to recite mantra from teacher Alice and teacher Laura. Lin Mun KSDS
Students were all so excited listening to the process of making slime as they are going to make one themselves. Lin Mun KSDS
5 days ago
Students were all so excited listening to the process of making slime as they are going to make one themselves. Lin Mun KSDS
Robey, Natalie and Lauren doing sharing on how to make slime. A great exercise for them to learn leadership & public speaking. Lin Mun KSDS
5 days ago
Robey, Natalie and Lauren doing sharing on how to make slime. A great exercise for them to learn leadership & public speaking. Lin Mun KSDS
Beautiful tormas was offered during Gyenze Puja at Kechara Forest Retreat. Lucy Yap
5 days ago
Beautiful tormas was offered during Gyenze Puja at Kechara Forest Retreat. Lucy Yap
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