Spirituality Without Religion?

By | Jun 29, 2016 | Views: 847
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The minds of the present generation of individuals are slowly but surely wandering away from religious practice. Unlike before, few have any respect for religion, and for this I do not blame the Individuals themselves. People are right in asserting their dislike for religion to a certain extent. So many wars have been fought, so many people have been killed in the name of religion, and so it is unsurprising to hear statements such as: “I am not a religious person”.

Now, many of these individuals who claim that they are not religious say that they are spiritual instead. They may help the poor, they may serve their friends, neighbours and loved ones, they may also go out of their way in doing work which few religious organisations have managed to do, and so at first blush it may sound like they are right in proclaiming their spirituality. Many of these individuals also emphasise the fact that going to the church, temple or mosque is no good because in doing that, a person is only concerned with his own selfish gains of praying to benefit himself, his family members or friends. Also what good is it to spend money to make offerings to a deity? Instead, why not donate the same money to help someone really in need than to offer it to what looks like an obvious inanimate idol?

I am not saying that these individuals who claim to be spiritual are wrong; neither am I saying that they are right. In my opinion, absolute awareness is needed in order to come to any conclusions and to judge what is right or wrong since everybody’s opinion of what is good or bad, sin or virtue is different, based on perspectives.

For every individual who is on the path of spirituality or as most people like to call themselves – a seeker of truth, or even for those individuals who like to call themselves spiritual, there is one important question to consider if you want to eliminate your doubts on whether you are spiritual or not: Is my spirituality leading me and others to Enlightenment?

Now, this is a very important question and the answer to this question may come to your mind instantly, or it may take a certain amount of time depending on how authentic your search for the truth has been from the time you started up until this day. Whatever the case, this is an important question to consider because if your spirituality is not leading you to Enlightenment, everything that you are doing is futile, and has absolutely zero value. I don’t care how many people’s lives you have changed or the amount of money you have donated to charity. If your practice does not lead you and others around you to Enlightenment, everything that you are doing is not worth the struggle, period. The same question applies to those people who call themselves religious. If your religion does not lead you to Enlightenment, you are doing nothing but wasting your time.

Therefore, I would like for you to ask yourself this question time and again – Am I really spiritual or religious? This question will decide your entire journey on this Earth in the present realm, and all the other six realms of existence.

After all of this knowledge, it is quite safe to say that every person who calls himself spiritual is actually a pseudo-spiritual person, and the same applies to a person who calls himself religious. There are obviously exceptions to this, but what I just said basically holds true for most people. So to sum the whole thing up, on this Earth we have three types of people:

  1. Pseudo-Spiritual
  2. Pseudo-Religious
  3. Authentic spiritual or religious

With all of this being said, in my opinion, being part of a religion is very important in order to be on the right track because sometimes, the masters or spiritual gurus can guide us and give us advice on whether we are on the correct path or not. Most individuals who think they are spiritual or religious often get themselves caught up in this illusion that they are on the correct path because their outer conditions do not always contradict what they are doing. What I mean is that these individuals have everything in their lives sorted – they have a nice home, a nice car, beautiful family, great friends, and so they often take this as proof that they are on the right track, but sometimes the truth can be totally different from what they believe. There can be no greater delusion than this. The delusion of wellbeing is one of the greatest delusions.

Now, since it is important to be part of a religion in order for spirituality to grow, how is one supposed to know whether their religion is right or wrong? How do you ensure that you are not following a wrong religion?

Here are some of the things to consider:

 

1. Is your religion giving you the correct interpretation of the founder’s teachings?

For example, a lot of masters in the past such as Jesus, Buddha, Mohammad and Mahavir have given humanity the precious gift of their teachings. Unfortunately, they haven’t always been interpreted in the best way. This can be very dangerous because it obviously changes our entire viewpoint of life and everything in general. So in my opinion, this is a very important thing to consider.

If your religious leaders or the scriptures that you are reading do not translate the teachings of these great masters like Jesus, Buddha and others in the best way possible, then in my opinion you fall in the first and second category of pseudo-religious or pseudo-spiritual person.

 

2. Is your religion trying to suppress, or is it trying to destroy your doubts?

This is a biggie. Every man and woman on this planet is born with questions in their minds. Is your religion giving you an answer to destroy that question or is it telling you that you shouldn’t be asking that question because it goes against the religion? Be careful, because what a lot of spiritual leaders, priests, monks and imams do is that they give you an answer just so that you and many others may not ask more questions.

The good news is that every individual is born with intelligence, and so if he is not lazy and if the question is really coming from his heart, he is bound to get an answer to it at some point.

Of course, the authenticity of the disciple’s question also matters. If the question you are asking is just for the sake of testing the master’s knowledge or with any motive other than expanding your consciousness, the master is either going to criticise your question, choose to not answer it, or he is going to give you a totally different answer which will make you question your own question.

 

3. Are your masters or gurus always consistent in what they do?

Remember, a real master or spiritual guru is never consistent in what he is doing. He does not have a fixed set of rules based on which he operates. He works according to individual needs. He is flexible with his teachings and adapts to the environment in which he is. He is ready to put his reputation at stake for his disciple’s growth or the individual’s growth. This is the sign of a true master. A real master does not care what the world thinks of him; he does his own thing and uses the scriptures and texts to match present day situations.

For example in Tibet, many lamas who have been masters to their disciples for quite some time usually do things that will put the disciple’s spiritual knowledge to the test. They usually change the way they behave just so that the disciple does not hold a fixed idea about them in their minds. They may even manifest wrath or beat a disciple. There are various reasons why they do this, but every single time, it is to give a certain teaching to the disciple which can lead them to further growth.

Even in India more than a decade ago, there was a master named Osho who used to indulge in activities that to a normal audience would seem sinful and perverted. He was known as the sex-guru, because of his open attitude towards sex. Now, Osho may not have been a master to many individuals and not all would be able to comprehend his teachings, but that does not mean that he is right or wrong. This only means we need to change our perception of how things should be. This is the basic reason why a master is never consistent in what he does. There could be many other reasons unknown to us and it is quite possible, considering the level of our consciousness, that we are unable to comprehend certain actions and methods that a master may use which can benefit us in the long run.

 

4. Is your religion giving you proof and explanations for everything that is taught or is it just stating facts or rules that you need to follow or abide by?

Not all religions are able to show proof to support the contents of their scriptures or texts. There could be various reasons for this. Maybe at the time the teachings were given, proof wasn’t really required due to the prevailing conditions. In today’s day and age due to the developments in science and technology, proof of almost anything is possible hence modern man expects and demands proof and logical explanations.

Is your master actually giving you proof of a certain teaching or is he just stating those teachings as rules that you need to follow in your life? If he is unable to justify or explain a certain text clearly, it only goes to show that he has perhaps not applied them in his own life. If he had applied them, he would be able to give you enough examples from around the world and his own life so that the teachings not only make sense to you intellectually, but also existentially. Sometimes it may not be possible to prove something immediately, but if the teachings being received are really genuine, you will notice a positive change in your behaviour as days go by. This is enough proof of the authenticity of the teachings that you are receiving.

Also if you are new to a certain religion or if you do not have much knowledge, you can always identify whether a certain religion is being taught correctly by taking a good look at the individuals who are already part of that religion or teachings related to it. You will see a certain vibrancy and positivity around such disciples. They do not complain, gossip or badmouth others. Every activity that they do reflects beauty, compassion and love – even the most trivial. This serves as proof in the early days when you are new. Of course as time passes by, you can apply those teachings to your own life and check, but make sure you are a sincere and honest disciple yourself, or else you will find no change in you. In this case, it is your fault and not the fault of your religion or guru.

 

5. Is your religion or master condemning you?

A real guru always has a fresh approach towards everything in life, and he will try in every way to help you move forward from the place you are in. At the beginning, except for an open mind, nothing else is expected from you.

A true religion will never condemn you. You will be accepted as you are with all your flaws. Then, it gives you clear cut ways and methods to go beyond your present life situation and achieve positive results.

An authentic religion will never give up on you. For example, if you are a drug addict, an alcoholic or if you possess any bad qualities, are you being told that you are condemned to hell? If this is the case or if anything similar to this is being told to you, then your religion or master is simply playing tricks on you.

 

6. Does your religion condemn other religions, teachings or philosophies?

Last but not least, an authentic religion is always open to other teachings, philosophies and religions. Even if you come from a totally different religious background, an authentic master is always able to explain his own teachings based on your faith. Sometimes, a great master from a different faith can even enhance your understanding and increase your faith in your own religion! I have sometimes also heard of masters who contradict their own religion so as to explain or make a concept clear for the sake of their disciples.

A true religion should never condemn other religions but instead accept and embrace the differences. This also shows that they see the oneness in everything and do not make any distinctions since that would only contradict their own and every other individual’s existence in the world.

There can be various other ways in which you can identify the authenticity of a particular religion, but these six ways that I have mentioned constitute the essence of every authentic religion. A lot of you may think this is really sceptical, but the truth of the matter is that if you are about to follow a particular teaching which is a matter of life and death, a basic understanding is required, and that is exactly what I am trying to highlight here in this article. I wish you the very best in everything that you do including your search for truth.

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Herman Rodrigues

About Herman Rodrigues

Herman Rodrigues is an aspiring writer and practitioner of spirituality since a few years now. He found out about Kechara's work through YouTube and was inspired by H.E. the 25th Tsem Rinpoche’s teachings. He enjoys sharing his spiritual journey and his personal experiences of life in general.
Herman Rodrigues

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31 Responses to Spirituality Without Religion?

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  1. Wan Wai Meng on Nov 5, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Thank you Herman what I gathered here is that for our spirituality, we must make the necessary checks to verify if the master we wish to follow suits us. Why? As spiritual practices not only benefits only for this life and possibly across many lifetimes.
    Well this life is as a human is quite long as it is, so since spirituality is so important for our ‘happiness’, we should make the time to investigate and check our potential spiritual master.

  2. samfoonheei on Jul 30, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    Thank you Herman for sharing .I do enjoyed reading as it explained deeply ,very informative for us to understand.Do agree with Herman a true religion should never condemn other religions but instead accept and embrace the differences. We are so fortunate to have Rinpoche that teach us the correct path …. to be a better person with kindness and compassion and so forth.
    Thanks again

  3. Carmen Koo on Jul 22, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    Thank you Herman Rodrigues for this article.

    I do agree with you that the delusion of wellbeing, is one of the greatest delusions, because our wellbeing is determined by karma, and does not have a fixed timing when the karma will or can ripen. One day, all may seem well, and the next moment, everything comes crashing down. So yes, don’t ever be comfortable with how or where we are, because it isn’t permanent. When we realise that, then we are more accepting of whatever fate that comes our way.

    Spirituality, defined on dictionary.com; of or relating to the spirit as the seat of the moral or religious nature.

    Religious, defined on dictionary.com; imbued with or exhibiting religion; pious; devout; godly.

    I guess people do not want to be confined by a label of a particular religion, therefore statements such as “I am not a religious person” comes about. However, confining to a particular religion gives you a direction to aim towards, a goal. Like in Buddhism, it is the goal of enlightenment. The basis of your practice is grounded by the teachings of the particular religion. Being spiritual is exercising certain attributes like kindness, care, generosity towards others, that does not result into something higher, or a more supreme result. So I guess being both spiritual and religious are complimentary to one another.

  4. Sock Wan on Jul 16, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    This is a very informative and educational article for people who wants to learn and practice a religion. Some people want to practice a religion but are not sure how to choose the right one, therefore they don’t engage in a religious practice. Many people are using religion to gain personal interest, to fulfil their desires. This article gives us a guideline how to choose and evaluate a teacher and this assessment is so simple to do. I find it very true that a real religion will not ever condemn another religion, a real religion promote respect, harmony, tolerance, humility, etc. If the values taught in a religion are opposite of these values, one should be doubtful of it.

    Thank you Herman for sharing with us this simple guidelines to choose the right religion/teacher.

  5. Justin Cheah on Jul 11, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    My opinipn, religion is supposed to develop the good qualities in us and reinvent our misconceptions about rules of nature. Turning the bad into good by outlining the truth phenomenon in life.

    Unfortunately many these days were being influenced by so called spiritual leaders of so called particular “the religions” to promote the opposite, generating fear into the weak minded people and turning them into working for a self centred minded people and manipulating them to win in wars for self gain and sadly these are being branded as religions.

    Segregations were created and make everyone fight against each other to be the ultimate rightful claim to be the correct one. They each ended up worse than before and more violent instead of loving each other regardless of the creed and race. They call themselves religious sadly.

    This article makes us think deeper into analysing and challenging our own thoughts. This is necessary to make us think and debate ourselves on our minds to realise the reality.

  6. Wylfred Ng on Jul 11, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    谢谢Herman的分享。

    Herman 的分享解释了如何找到适合我们的宗教和老师。
    我很庆幸我可以遇到我的上师, 让我了解修行是什么一回事。

    谢谢

  7. Karen on Jul 11, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    I enjoyed reading this article. Herman pointed out straight the 3 kinds of people we have: Pseudo-spiritual, pseudo-religious and authentic spiritual or religious. I guess the first 2 types are the most common ones we can find around us. We must ask ourselves which category are we in when we’re pursuing spirituality/religion? When we engage in certain religious/spiritual group, what kind of motivation are we having?

    People always have fixated view on how a Dharma centre should operate, how a spiritual Guru and Dharma people should behave and talk. All these expectation polluted our motivation of learning Dharma. I like point no.3 where it mentioned a real master works according to individual needs and is flexible with his teachings and adapts to the environment in which he is. This is how Tsem Rinpoche uses His skilful means combined with His great compassion to teach every single students. Rinpoche’s way of teachings is always so engaging because Rinpoche knows we “clowns” “get bored” or fell asleep easily when listening to Dharma teachings (due to lack of merits) hence Rinpoche has to compassionately create many kind of jokes to trap our focus back to the teachings. Why jokes? people tend to like to listen to jokes, rumours and etc that is lighter, therefore Rinpoche uses all kinds of skilful means just to make the students learn Dharma.

  8. Carsden on Jul 11, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    確實有個很大疑問,人們進寺廟、道場、教會、各宗教場所等是抱持著什麼樣的動機與心態?也許覺得是某種缺失,當然最實際最普遍的莫過於錢與健康。人們總是持香念念有詞著:希望家人身體健康、希望可以賺多一點錢等等世俗的所謂「願望」。但很多人都不明白宗教之所以神聖,是因為它可以讓你變成更好的人,從而再由心去幫助其他人,真誠、誠摯的那種,這是最美好的事情。

  9. jerry_sito on Jul 11, 2016 at 7:54 pm

    感谢您的分享与解释

    这的确是一篇十分有用的帖子,尤其在现在的一个E时代里,各种许多形形色色的教派,宗教,灵修等不断崛起,然而新一代的新新人类,也对所谓过去的“宗教”觉得是旧派或老土,加上对于古老的传承也没有太多的了解,于是都逐渐迈向不同的“灵修”道路上。

    这是很多人其实都不是很清楚,其实“宗教”与莫一些“灵修”其实是有很大的分别的,在莫些情况下,也许你会觉得是一样的,比如说做一些善事,但是“宗教”与“灵修”下所产生的观点与所应该抱有的动机,再接下来最后所延伸得到的结果,也将会是不一样的。

    我并没有觉得我能替你选择一个所谓大众化的宗教,佛教,基督教或是一些灵修但是却没有牵连到宗教的信仰,或单纯的是专注在打坐,或只是单纯的冥想,因为无论修行的道路如何,你将是那一个必须承担一切结果的人,所以我只是建议说,当您为自己选择一个修行的道路时,请你一定要好好思考,它所带来的最终成就与结果,是否是您所想要追求的?或是先贤所遗留下来的宗教信仰,其中又有着什么奥秘之处。

    谢谢
    Jerry Sito

  10. Lum Kok Luen on Jul 7, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    Thank you Herman for elucidating your thoughts and opinions on spirituality and religion.

    For a lot of people, religion determines a person’s spirituality. This concept gets mixed up. I am religious therefore, I am spiritual.

    However, in today’s generation of people, there is a clash and assimilation of culture into religion and this is where a lot of people get “hooked” on the expectation that rituals/ practices/ procedures must be adhered to before one can become spiritual.

    I am actually confused (in the early stages of coming to Kechara back in 2013) between spirituality and religious. I thought that if one is to become spiritual, one has to “belong” to a certain religion and only through practice that one can become spiritual. Now my view have changed.

    Being spiritual, to me, is necessary before one can profess to belong to a certain religion. My thoughts are that religion is basically a label that society have created to segregate people into different faiths so that we all have fall into these categories making it easy for the state or government to control its people.

    I always believed that humanity is lost in a lot of people’s minds and we need our entire education system to bring back humanity into the young students’ minds so that we create a conducive environment in this world to have peace, mutual respect and to help one another and not segregate one another through labels of different religion, different ethnicity, and different culture.

    Yours humbly,
    Lum Kok Luen

  11. Alice Tay on Jul 5, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    在现今社会,大多数人都会偏向寻找心灵的快乐与安宁。而他们觉得他们所做的这一切是不需要与宗教有关系如帮助穷人,帮助朋友或者去一些非营利机构当义工。甚至有些人认为如果某某人在宗教组织包括教堂,寺庙等帮忙其实只是为了自己而做和祈祷希望可以让他自己,他的家人或朋友得到利益。除此,有些人还会觉得为什么需要利用金钱来供养给佛菩萨,到不如用此金钱帮助有需要的人?

    无论如何,其实我们真正要思考的是,就如Herman Rodrigues所提到的,以我们目前的灵修的持修是否可以让我们达到证悟?就拿以上的例子来说,同样一笔钱让我们做选择来供养佛菩萨或僧团,或是选择捐给有需要的人。钱是一样的捐出去,但是发心就不一样了。供养佛菩萨或僧团,是希望佛法可以继续流传下去,然后帮助更多人。因为佛法可以让一个人的心识改变,让他/她可以成为更好的人帮助与利益他人。而如果选择利用这笔钱来帮助穷人,那只是暂时性帮这个穷人解决问题。过后,如果此人没有做出任何改变,他还是一样要面对痛苦。

    选择永远都是在我们手上。如果真的想要得到真正的解脱,还是趁早做出明智的选择,跟随一位具格的上师与拥有纯净的传承,而最终可以让你登上菩提道。

  12. Pastor KH Ng on Jul 5, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    If we start with stating that all Religion’s objective is for liberating our sufferings and of others’, we can then proceed to practice it. The verb in religion is spirituality. Instead of the meta physical, most of us can only practice the physical. This means our thinking, behaviour, speech and actions; and what is the results of this physical practice. Does it leads to our happiness and more importantly the happiness of others.
    Instead of finding the differences between religion, we can find the common values of religions like love, compassion and charity, and practice it. Focusing on the differences is the root of all our problems, be it in religion or in society and individuals. This to me is true spirituality.

    Hence, all religious leaders shows their spirituality not for their ego, but to lead by examples. No better way to teach then to practice what they preach.

    • William Chua on Jul 11, 2016 at 9:10 pm

      I totally agree with Pastor KH on spirituality where the practice of good values like compassion, love and charity is the core. Therefore, any religion which has this values is worth practicing and it depends on your affinity to that religion.

      A true religion should never condemn other religions but instead accept and embrace the differences. This also shows that they see the oneness in everything and do not make any distinctions since that would only contradict their own and every other individual’s existence in the world.

  13. shelly tai on Jul 5, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    Thank you Mr Herman Rodrigues for sharing this write up with us. After reading this article I think it very true a lot of people will think religion will help them to sort out their life like good wealth, good family and all the worldly wants but what if all the things that a person wish and wants for do not come true then they will claim that this religion does not work , the point is that they do not understand what the true religion can do for them is not about external wealth but is more important is inner peace and happiness of cause ultimately is enlightenment , in order to make a person understand the purpose of religion then we need a good spiritual guide that can teach us so that we can have mind transformation and realisation . We as a Kecharian that we are so fortunate that we have our guru that teach us the correct path and also the greatness of Lama Tsongkhapa lineage.

  14. Uncle Eddie on Jul 4, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    The 14th Dalai Lama has once taught that Shantideva in doing battle with his “negative-emotions” turned his own weapons upon himself, as it is important that we do so in order to progress spiritually, rather than making it simply a subject of academic study. Likewise, we shall do as advocated, by paying homage to the Buddha, reciting extracts from the sutras as follows:- “Abandon Evildoing; Practice virtue well; Subdue your mind: This is the Buddha’s teachings.” Continue with the following, “By this merit may we attain omniscience and overcome our enemy, our harmful deeds, and may beings, buffeted by waves of birth, old age, sickness and Death, be liberated from the ocean of existence.” This is something that is universally helpful, something that all people might appreciate, whether they are religious or not. This refers to the principle of Interdependence. “Happiness and sufferings”, as with the beings who experienced them, said that all these do not arise without cause and effect! In fact, all things arise from causes corresponding to them, as taught by all schools of Buddhism. By training our minds and getting used to this view of interdependence as taught, will gradually result to a gradual change of our behaviour to do less harm to others. The reason for this, is that the happiness we all want, and the sufferings we all try to avoid, are said to be produced precisely by our actions, which we called “Karma”. We are directed to learn from such insight and experiences! Thank you very much, Herman Rodrigues, for the kind sharing of your interesting articles, expert views and advice.

  15. Datuk May on Jul 4, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    Thank you, Herman Rodrigues, this article had sent me contemplating why I have chosen to travel the path of spiritually with religion. To be kind and compassionate and do virtuous acts are quite easy as every act will come and end. Basically what then is the end purpose? To feel good or to gain claim to philanthropy. Are these acts to benefit us or others? The grounds and foundations simply may be temporary and motivation questionable.

    With the tenets of evoking the real good self which is in all of us except the very essence of living been contaminated, it is of utmost important to me personally is to have a guide book and teacher so that our foundation of evoking the goodness in us are strong.

    Though having been educated in a missionary school and studied bible knowledge, it always seem too simplistic that we depend on the Almighty to save us from hell and with earnest confessions we are saved.

    I chose to be a Buddhist is the fundamental requirement for salvation is the Dharma of which we must study and practise. Enlightenment is the highest form of being and as such it requires hard work.

    It was very fortunate for me in my search for peace and self reliance to being a good person, I found my Guru, HE the 25th Tsem Rinpoche. It is the practice of Dharma and the results that will show that our lives can be better and this is the most endearing element of my faith in the Dharma.

    The path of spirituality is easier with faith in a religion. This is my humble opinion.

  16. William Chua on Jul 3, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    Thank you Herman for this enlightening article.

    “With all of this being said, in my opinion, being part of a religion is very important in order to be on the right track because sometimes, the masters or spiritual gurus can guide us and give us advice on whether we are on the correct path or not.” Having a guru is very important because our guru will guide us to achieve our enlightenment. The methods differs from each individual and hence we cannot compare with other people. We will know whether our guru is correct or not by witnessing his actions and results he created with is always have others’ benefit at heart. All that they do is not for themselves but for others.

    Also all religions reached it’s followers to do good and not harm others. If any case your religion shows you the other way, then you might want to reconsider that religion.

  17. Fong on Jul 3, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    The 6 questions are very apt. The truth should be found in more ways than and whether the truth is universal or across the board as they say in samsara.

    I notice that Rinpoche’s lineage can be traced all the way back to the Buddha Shakyamuni. That would put the stamp of authenticity on Rinpoche’s teachings.

    Rinpoche always tries to get us to think for ourselves based on the Lamrim. We are encouraged to ask question and examine for ourselves how to look for answer in the Lamrim and teachings from other high lamas.

    And, Rinpoche has always shown the his action do not deviate far from what he teaches and his actions are consistent.

    We are encouraged to ask questions and find the truth by way of debate, just like the monasteries of the Gelug tradition.

    Rinpoche has always advised us not to disparage or say anything to the contrary towards other lamas whether they are of the Gelug traditions or one of the other schools as such an act will draw negative karma and can cause schism within the sangha. In fact, Rinpoche always encourage those of the other faith be true to their faith and to learn more of their own faith to further understand it.

    These only shows me that religion is important. But, if it to be a comparison, then I don’t think this question is properly answered by the article.

    Thanks anyway though for the article as it makes me think about the subtle differences and how to reconcile them.

  18. JP on Jul 3, 2016 at 11:51 am

    This article makes so much sense. Religion is supposed to guide us towards becoming a wiser and more compassionate person. Many spiritual leaders and organizations promote the opposite, creating a community of people who are narrow minded, selective with their acts of compassion, non accepting, angersome, in denial, greedy and the list goes in. This is the reason why wars are fought in the name of religion.

    My question is why embrace a religion that helps us become a worse version of ourselves and outwardly pretending to be more spiritual? It doesn’t make sense to me. It’s so convenient to say it’s our duty to stop the devil’s influence. But do we really have the wisdom to decipher?

    This article helps us take another look about our religion which may be difficult for many because it challenges their belief systems. This will lead to redefining their reality and few would have the courage to step into uncharted water.

  19. Martin on Jul 3, 2016 at 1:44 am

    Thank you for this article, Herman.

    Whilst I am not entirely sure if I agree with you that, “if your spirituality is not leading you to Enlightenment, everything that you are doing is futile, and has absolutely zero value”.

    Very few people can go from zero to enlightenment so quickly, although there are higher practices that can facilitate that kind of passage. Enlightenment comes about as the result of a number of critical factors, one of which is to free ourselves from the clutches of karma. And yet, all practices in samsara are in one way or another bound by their karma and driven by their karma. The act of realising the folly of samsara is spirituality; the efforts one makes in combatting one’s samsaric afflictions is spirituality, the actions that one engages in that cultivates kindness leading to Bodhicitta is spirituality, the deep contemplations one engages in to understand how we are is spirituality.

    Spirituality is not one thing, but the progression of many things in concert. I feel that to saw that unless one is on a single and identifiable path that is labelled spiritual and headed to enlightenment, then one ;s wasting time, is not quite right.

    I have met many people who are openly religious and yet their actions re tainted with the worldly motivations, and yet their actions are not void of spiritual goodness. I have met people who are not at all religious but are to in tune with others and nature, that their actions are naturally benevolent and kind and spiritual.

    And so I have yet to identify what is worthwhile spirituality and what isn’t.

    I do complete love what you wrote:

    “…these individuals have everything in their lives sorted – they have a nice home, a nice car, beautiful family, great friends, and so they often take this as proof that they are on the right track, but sometimes the truth can be totally different from what they believe”.

    We cannot and should not measure the progress of our spiritual path by the successful fulfilment of out material and emotional attachments. That is not to say that we cannot have these wants, but that we should not be so deluded to think that we have our worldly wishes answered because we are practicing the correct spirituality and hence our prayers are answered.

    I is not what we have or don’t have. It is why we want them, how we regard what we have and who do we do with them.

    Once again, thank you for a thought-provoking article, Herman. I am looking forward to more from you.

  20. Stella Cheang on Jul 1, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    This article by Herman Rodrigues brings clarity to what is the difference between being spiritual and being religious. Many of us are unclear where to draw the line. People rather proclaim themselves to be spiritual than religious because being religious has a connotation to being fanatical. And being spiritual sort of gives the person a ticket to do good deeds without submitting to any religion label.

    One thing is clear, it does not matter whether we are on a spiritual path or a religious path, as long as the path leads us to enlightenment, then it is the right path. But if it is not the path to enlightenment, I agree it is a waste of time. A waste of time in the sense whereby putting in the same effort and time yet not reaching the full possible potential. In as much as the ones who are serious on the religious path, the questions and answers listed by Herman provide a checklist to gauge the authenticity of the teachings.

    Thank you Rinpoche and Herman for this thought provoking article.

    Humbly, bowing down,
    Stella Cheang

  21. Tommy Hawksblood on Jul 1, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    A good person= ego you say you are a good person. To what= a person that is helping who? What can you give to them?
    religion is not e result of practice. Religion is just following words. Saying you are Spiritual doesn’t make it so. If one doesn’t know the truth one cannot be spiritual either. One may think It is the step in understanding a true God which it is not. Only when one understands the spiritual laws can one understand what spiritual is. God is not man made, man is God made.

    Humility, Dharma and teachers cannot give you any awareness of a true God it can only come by direst experience. Jesus was the only person on this planet since Atlantis that was teaching about a true experience of death. Buddha experienced the Bliss state which he based his teaching on.
    Not that many people understand the astral plane and what really goes on there. It is not a great gift to stay there meaning no more reincarnation to the physical world

    God and Buddha are not even close. How do people talk about Jesus when they have no clue to what he was here for. What he really taught. The difference between Buddha and Jesus were one of the only beings able to use all the psychic abilities and able to show them in a real realty.
    All talks are about man made ideas. What earth is about, what love is about , Not one word about a real God. Yes the man made idea of a God. Then the man made ideas of what earth is about.
    Buddhism is the oldest religion on the planet and look where it brought man. Even that split many times to the point of even changing the deities they work with. For all the people thinking they know – Shiva, Durga and Green Tara are real entities. They do not site there waiting for prayers – prayers are never really answered. Not the way people want them to be.
    What is even more scary is all the people talking like they have some real knowledge. Telling people things are ok. It is ok If you don’t ever want to know why God really put you here in Hell in the first place. In Atlantis it was bliss on earth, after it was destroyed the Indian people followed the deities – but they did not understand their teaching. To this day how many people have had a real experiences with the deities never mind a Real God. People need to know the deities are the little workers for God in the lowest words of God. Meaning the first three planes of existence. Jesus taught much more then what Man wrote in the Bible. There is none of His true teachings in it.
    Religion has no truth to it. They were all written by man. Man uses GOD yes with their sick ego. If you knew God is the true creator and created all things for many important reasons. That is only true when a soul looks to understand it’s true self and a real God. Religion is a man made word. The idea of heaven for most people is still a man made idea.
    I will say after years being with Green Tara and Shiva then seeing the truth of SOUL one will slowly start to understand God. God qualities are what ? Like given to the poor, saving the world, really. Is the Dalai Lama saving the world, no His country taken away. Man’s idea of earth is not religion and guess what it is not spiritual. After Atlantis went down the races living on the planet after went down but that I will not even get into now.
    God created a soul for a reason -each soul is different. No soul is here for every other soul. Words move nothing, prayers move nothing, dreams do nothing to Soul. On this planet how many people know there past lives, I am talking about many of them. Even the Priest, high Lamas and ministers have no clue. Let’s look at the all the talk over 300,000 years. Where is the human race now? Still unaware of truth and God. While they live in a idea of life and love.

  22. Pastor Adeline on Jul 1, 2016 at 1:18 am

    People pick religion or spirituality according to what they can relate to. It may be a concept, an idea, a view they find useful at the beginning and that is perfectly fine. They may do good deeds with a group of like-minded people and that will still contribute to the generation of good deeds useful in continuing to learn and practising the religion they are following to a certain degree.

    The different religions and spiritual groups are very necessary for all the different mind in existence. They serve as different platforms useful for people to learn and grow spiritually until they find the ultimate truth. Similarly, people need kindergarten before primary, secondary before college, college before university. It will be unreasonable to say that the university is the best and the rest are not necessary while we understand clearly those are the foundation for one to be ready for university.

    From a Buddhist point of view, our karma decides what we follow and practice. It is almost uncontrollable that we find solace in a certain spiritual group or practise. There’s no right or wrong per se, but to accept the results we have created. The good thing is when we continue to believe in doing good with any religious or spiritual groups, which understandably involves no killing or hurting others, then we have a chance to meet something higher along the way as we are contributing toward the positive wave that is shared among good energies. Meaning, there’s still hope for enlightenment and nothing is wasted.

    Buddhism may be suitable for me, but not necessary for others. Because of this, Buddhists appreciate similarities and share without prejudices. This is very necessary for peace and harmony.

  23. Doreen on Jul 1, 2016 at 12:20 am

    All the six questions are very relevant when one is seeking “truth” in this life.

    1st Q – correct interpretation of the founder’s teachings? I find this question is very important as many religious interpreter or so called religion leaders have gave teachings based on their own perception of the scripture text that has leads to so many unwanted/unfavorables event that is happening which have caused deaths, fights and discrimination.

    2nd Q – Is your religion trying to suppress, or is it trying to destroy your doubts? I would say that it is important to ask questions as a practitioner, and based on the answers from the religion path that you are taking, it should clear your doubts and should not have any suppression on your questions.

    3rd Q – Are your masters or gurus always consistent in what they do? A master or Guru is consistent on the level of caring, compassion and the fundamental that a disciple need to be consistent and discipline in his/her practice. A Genuine Master or Guru will find all means and methods to teach his students the right path. Just like mentioned, not even considering his own reputation and goes all way to show methods to teach.

    4th Q – Is your religion giving you proof and explanations for everything that is taught or is it just stating facts or rules that you need to follow or abide by?

    Whatever facts or rules that are taught, should have a very logical explanation to it. There are rules to follow and facts to proof but what most important is that, if the rules and facts are not practical and harms or destroy life and others.

    5th Q – Is your religion or master condemning you? No religion or Masters should condemn any other beings in this realm, if the practice is genuine, as every beings in this realm arises from the same condition. If a religion or masters does a segmentation, where is the practice of the basic of “ACCEPTANCE”?

    6th Q – Does your religion condemn other religions, teachings or philosophies? if it does, ask the reason why? The religion that condemn others is it because they are lack of confidence of their own religion, by condemn others they will be much more superior.

    My Conclusion is that whatever teachings or learnings we attain from a Guru or Masters, ultimately oneself will be your own judge as what is really oneself motivation of having or receiving teachings from a Guru or Masters. It is also the results that oneself will be able to obtain and experience.

  24. Tommy Hawksblood on Jun 30, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    Second thought, dreaming is for dreamers. Look at what a suppose true teaching brought Tibet. Complete control by China, self killing, rape and killing. Look at the Native people, out of 50 million native people 49 million were killed.
    How many people have a clue to what spiritual even means. Love and peace are man made ideas. Awareness to many is just ego.
    Mind and soul are different, mind is a program taught, soul is awareness of it’s incarnations. It learns truth so that it can leave here. Jesus taught about death of the body not life of it. Most religions have no idea of anything past the astral world. The Bardo is just one small part of the astral plane. Not all souls have to go there.
    The same as reincarnation is for the souls that did not work out there their own karma or think they need to work out everyone else’s. Just as high Buddhist think they need to come back and try to save every SOUL.

  25. Tommy Hawksblood on Jun 30, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    I disagree with much of what you said. Truth never changes for anyone. Time doesn’t make things different. A true teacher of truth doesn’t change his ideas. A true master has to be able to teach his student to be greater then he or SHE is. Even Jesus said there will be greater then He. Sadly no one could ever fill that, YET.
    But a true MASTER goes to the source to get the answers not a writing of someone else.

    • Pastor Shin Tan on Jul 1, 2016 at 3:34 am

      Dear Tommy,
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts here. I agree with you that truth never changes for anyone and time doesn’t make things different. The foundation of Buddhism is the Law of Cause and Effect. Good deeds bring good results, bad deeds bring bad results. Your own action/deeds bring your own results. It will not change and time doesn’t make things different.

      Perhaps I can share with you a relevant debate with H.E. Tsem Rinpoche on this topic “Can we be spiritual without being religious?”:
      http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/can-we-just-be-spiritual-but-not-religious.html

  26. Pastor Han Nee on Jun 30, 2016 at 11:33 am

    Thank you for a very interesting and thought-provoking article, Herman Rodrigues. I fully agree with your views on Religion and Spirituality.

    Yes, it is understandable why people today shun religion – too many people are being killed and wars are being waged in the name of religion. So people nowadays like to tell others they are spiritual, instead.

    Nonetheless, as you say, we need to examine what being spiritual is and if anything important is missing from our lives by our being merely spiritual. After all, we have to make optimum use of this life to achieve as you say -Enlightenment (or Full Awakening)- a state of mind of no more disturbance or suffering, a mind of peace, compassion and wisdom, realizing our full potential of a mind of Ultimate Peace and Happiness.

    Yet, we need to look carefully for the correct path and for the right Spiritual Guide – a Spiritual Guide who can assess our needs and then address these needs skillfully, compassionately and effectively.We are greatly influenced by our Spiritual Guide. Hence, he should aslo be compassionate towards all beings and be broadminded and open to accept the faith of others and even guide them to become correct and more effective practitioners of their own faith.

    Buddhism ( the path to full awakening and enlightenment)is (as Einstein himself said) the religion with minimal dogmas.

  27. Pastor Tat Ming on Jun 30, 2016 at 2:35 am

    What a brilliant analysis on authencity of religion and spirituality by Herman!

    Below are my answers to the questions posted.

    Q1. Is your religion giving you the correct interpretation of the founder’s teachings?

    A1. It is important to validate the authencity of a teaching so that we do not end up wasting our time practising a teaching that is wrong, incorrect or unproven.

    Q2. Is your religion trying to suppress, or is it trying to destroy your doubts?

    A2. Any religion that suppresses one’s freedom of questioning and the clearing of doubts are clearly not founded on truths. This is because truths cannot be destroyed by questioning. False teachings will fail the test of validity.

    Q3. Are your masters or gurus always consistent in what they do?

    A3. A master who has wisdom, compassion and skilful means will use the most suitable method to transform his disciples. Hence the master is not always consistent in his methods used. However, true and genuine master is consistent in his care and love of his disciple. He only want the best for his disciples which is the complete enlightenment of a Buddha.

    Q4. Is your religion giving you proof and explanations for everything that is taught or is it just stating facts or rules that you need to follow or abide by?

    A4. An authentic religion can provide logical explanations and valid reasons for everything that it teaches. Failure on the part of the practitioner to comprehend the teaching or accept the logical explanations and valid reasons given does not invalidate the religion. It is due to ignorance or the lack of wisdom on the part of the practitioner.

    Q5. Is your religion or master condemning you?

    A5. You should not be condemned for what you are because in Buddhism for example a master accepts that all sentient beings have the potential to become a Buddha.

    Q6. Does your religion condemn other religions, teachings or philosophies?

    A6. An authentic religion does not condemn other religions, teachings or philosophies. In fact it accepts differences. All practitioners have different affinities to different religions. These practitioners have religious freedom to practise what they like. No religion or anyone should condemn others’ religion.

    Another approach to check the authencity of a religion or teachings is based on Lord Buddha’s teaching – Kalama Sutta as follows.

    Kalama Sutta

    The people of Kalama asked the Buddha who to believe out of all the ascetics, sages, venerables, and holy ones who, like himself, passed through their town. They complained that they were confused by the many contradictions they discovered in what they heard. The Kalama Sutta is the Buddha’s reply.

    –Do not believe anything on mere hearsay.
    –Do not believe in traditions merely because they are old and have been handed down for many generations and in many places.
    –Do not believe anything on account of rumors or because people talk a a great deal about it.
    –Do not believe anything because you are shown the written testimony of some ancient sage.
    –Do not believe in what you have fancied, thinking that, because it is extraordinary, it must have been inspired by a god or other wonderful being.
    –Do not believe anything merely because presumption is in its favor, or because the custom of many years inclines you to take it as true.
    –Do not believe anything merely on the authority of your teachers and priests.
    –But, whatever, after thorough investigation and reflection, you find to agree with reason and experience, as conducive to the good and benefit of one and all and of the world at large, accept only that as true, and shape your life in accordance with it.

    The same text, said the Buddha, must be applied to his own teachings.

    –Do not accept any doctrine from reverence, but first try it as gold is tried by fire.

    extracted from:
    http://www.ling.upenn.edu/~beatrice/buddhist-practice/kalama-sutta.html

    H.E. the 25th Tsem Rinpoche gave two powerful teachings below on spirituality and religion.

    What is Spiritual Practice?
    https://youtu.be/u1OY9l9HsXM

    What is God? What is Buddha?
    https://youtu.be/n79erzOJE6k

    Is my spirituality leading me and others to Enlightenment?

    The points presented above are useful and important for anyone serious about their spirituality or religious practice.

  28. Chris Chong on Jun 30, 2016 at 12:12 am

    I love how this article pin points out all the essential questions that one should comtemplate on when they claim they are in the right religion and right path.

    In my opinion, religion becomes more like a supportive group nowadays. Many took up religion because they need the sense of belonging or someone to answer their questions about life. However, because of the overly stressed my religion is better than yours, we have wars and conflict totally unnecessarily.

    Being religious doesn’t mean you are a spiritual person and you are a good person. Examples will be the infamous ISIS group. They are religious people for sure, but are they spiritual at all ? No I don’t think so. Vise versa, there are many spiritual people who are not religious. I personally know alot atheist who are kind and giving. They always involved in charity and volunteering to that help the less fortunate.

    So in the end, I think the most important part is to stay true to our humanity and cherish it. Humanity is the best religion anyone can have.

    Humbly,
    Chris Chong

  29. Choong on Jun 29, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    This is a well thought-out and written article and I thank you Herman, for it.

    I would like to however add that many people turn “religious” to give themselves some hope, some salvation both in the Christian or non-religious sense, just plain hope that somehow, somewhere, sometime, all will be better. After all, as we all know, samsara sucks! And these people wouldn’t be even close to understanding the concept of “enlightenment” (I too struggle of course!) and they would be perfect prey for the vulture-like.

    My point is, although these people should be asking the questions that you have clearly laid out, but they just don’t.

    Would you prick their bubble of doing “good” things?

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  • Alice Tay
    Thursday, Mar 30. 2017 10:01 PM
    This is really great news for having SFS campaign to help the stray dogs. Other than to urge and educate the public to treat the stray dogs with compassionately, SFS campaign encourages for all quarters to work together to spay or neuter stray animals which is an effective method to control the amount of stray dogs. Indirectly, this may reduce the suffering of stray dogs from being abused or die because of starvation.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/stray-free-selangor.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Mar 30. 2017 10:00 PM
    Good news finally Selangor becaome the first state free from stray dogs. With the support of the royalties and the Selangor Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) organised the campaign to make
    the state free of stray dogs and create the awareness of compassionate love towards stray animals.They are working work towards a radical change,thats a worderful news.
    Well ,do hope more states will follow Selangor to replace the inhumane way of dealing with stray animals too.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this wonderful news.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/stray-free-selangor.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Thursday, Mar 30. 2017 05:29 PM
    These iconographically correct Buddha images set in precious gemstones are one of its kind and unique in every sense of the word. And the designs are versatile to suit any apparels and occasions, redefining the Buddhist sense of fashion in a big way. Thank you, Rinpoche and Louise for this sharing. I hope the pendants will bring protections to the wearer and connections to the Buddha to those who admire it by sight.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/timeless-and-sacred.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Mar 30. 2017 03:29 PM
    Very inspiring true story of a monk…Master Xuyun after going through many hardships and illness to pursue what he wanted to be. What he did was amazing travelling in harsh conditions to so many places just to preach chinese buddhism from one country to another. Master Xuyun has spent his entired life devoted to the Dharma,During the war many monasteries and holy sites was destroyed but somehow Master Xuyun managed to restore once again.Because of him ,those monasteries and holy sites were till today. He was a household name at that time and have inspired many modern spiritual seeker to strive along the path towards enlightenment.
    Thank you Pastor Adeline Woon for such an interesting and inspiring article.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/empty-cloud.html#tabs-7
  • Lin Mun
    Thursday, Mar 30. 2017 11:47 AM
    It is ironic that Dalai Lama would have given a remarks to discourage country such as Germany to accept refugees and that refugees should return to homeland and to build the country. I think this is really a callous statement to be mentioned. Dalai Lama being the Tibetan Buddhist leader should portray compassion and extending help to those in need. All these refugees are running away for their life because their own country is not safe to stay anymore. Just like what Tibetan has encountered in the late 1950s.

    This kind of contrary statement is also very obvious in the Dorje Shugden ban. Dorje Shugden have been practised by many high lamas since 400 years ago and also by Dalai Lama’s Guru but it is ban by Tibetan leadership.

    Dalai Lama is a high lama and is believed to be the emanation of Chenrezig. Although his statements were contrary sometimes but I believe he would have the reason that we may not understand yet. Hopefully all the issues would be resolve in peace.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/dalai-lama-says-too-many-refugees-in-europe.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Thursday, Mar 30. 2017 12:34 AM
    Wonderful good news to learn about this first of its kind progressive campaign to help the stray animals in Malaysia by the Sultan and Permaisuri of Selangor. While stray animals can be a nuisance to the public at large but bear in mind, the strays do not have a choice, and we have a role to play. Neutering strays is a humane and compassionate ways of resolving the program of stray animals in the long run because it largely reduces the numbers of strays on the streets. Neutering and proving proper shelters to strays can prevent thousands of animals from being born, only to suffer and struggle to survive on the streets, be abused by cruel or neglectful people, or be euthanized inhumanely. I have read somewhere that says spaying and neutering makes a big difference: Just one unaltered female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 puppies in only six years. In seven years, one female cat and her offspring can produce an incredible 370,000 kittens!

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/stray-free-selangor.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Thursday, Mar 30. 2017 12:15 AM
    Humans and animals, as well as other sentient beings within the six realms of samsara, are subjected to the law of cyclic of existence. Karma or generally known as the law of cause and effect will determine where we take our next rebirth. It is extremely rare for sentient beings to take the form of a human body and in perfect condition. Hence we must not let this precious lifetime go to waste by indulging in silly actions and harmful ways. If we are born in the animals realms or lower, there is close to zero way for us to collect merits and get out of that realm.

    From the stories above, I find the story about Dalawong most unusual because he seemed to be able to determine the destination of his next rebirth after he was being killed as a snake. After he had taken rebirth in human form, he continued to remember the incident in his past life. Amazing!

    Thank you, Rinpoche, for sharing these researches with us.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/do-animals-reincarnate-back-as-humans.html
  • Tsem Rinpoche
    Wednesday, Mar 29. 2017 09:42 PM
    If we are kind, we lose less of ourselves-Tsem Rinpoche
  • Lin Mun
    Wednesday, Mar 29. 2017 03:50 PM
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this article about tsa tsa. Didn’t know there are many steps and holy materials used in making a tsa tsa. In addition, the maker of tsa tsa would need to do prayer in the morning depending of what tsa tsa they are making on the day, for example, the maker will do Dorje Shugden practise before making Dorje Shugden tsa tsa.

    Only by knowing the process, we will appreciate the items more. Tsa tsa is a precious item.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/tsa-tsas-are-nice.html
  • Pastor Shin Tan
    Wednesday, Mar 29. 2017 09:28 AM
    Dalawong: A Child Recalls a Past Life as a Cobra in Thailand

    This case was actually researched by the late Francis Story, a British citizen who was fascinated with Buddhism and spent many years in Asia. He was also very interested in the topic of reincarnation and assisted Dr. Stevenson in investigating a number of very important reincarnation cases in Burma and Sri Lanka. Francis interviewed the subject of this case, a Thai boy named Dalowong, along with his father, mother and sister. He also had access to a pamphlet that was previously published regarding the case, which was also summarized in an article in the Bangkok Times.

    Dalawong actually claimed two past animal incarnations. He recalled a past lifetime as a deer, which he said was killed by a hunter. Subsequently, he stated he was reincarnated as a snake, more specifically, as a cobra.

    As the snake, Dalawong remembered that he was in a cave when two dogs entered and attacked him. A ferocious struggle ensued between the cobra and the dogs. The owner of the dogs then entered the cave and killed the snake. Apparently, the snake was able to bite the human invader on the shoulder, prior to succumbing to death.

    The human took the cobra’s body back home, where the snake was cooked for a meal. This man shared the snake meat with an acquaintance, who would become Dalawong’s father in the near future. The man who killed the cobra had the name Mr. Hiew.

    Read more here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/do-animals-reincarnate-back-as-humans.html
  • Alice Tay
    Tuesday, Mar 28. 2017 08:40 PM
    谢谢Paul Yap 为我们介绍马来西亚彭亨州文东必定参观的地方之一~克切拉禅修林。就如照片显示,克切拉禅修林的确是一个环境清幽、山明水秀以及令人有宁静舒适的感觉。

    如果有机会到马来西亚游玩,千万不要错过由Paul Yap介绍克切拉禅修林里的几个优美与神圣的地方,包括:
    1. 金泽”财王”
    2. 金刚瑜伽母佛塔
    3. 绿度母石雕像
    4. 药师佛山
    5. 梦幻文殊菩萨
    6. 詹仁波切的货柜屋
    7. 文殊山
    8. 智慧堂(释迦摩尼佛像和多杰雄登像)

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/go-bentong.html
  • Alice Tay
    Tuesday, Mar 28. 2017 08:09 PM
    The sculpture of Kuan Yin in Macau is simple but elegant. Most importantly, this big Kuan Yin in Macau is built to bring peace, harmony and prosperity to the people.

    I remember Rinpoche mentioned before a big Buddha statue will have positive impact on the environment and plant the Buddha’s seeds in all sentient beings that not only humans but also including animals and many others. Therefore, the bigger Buddha statue the more beneficial to all sentient beings where they can see and be blessed by this big Buddha statue from far.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/art-architecture/kuan-yin-of-macau-city.html
  • Lin Mun
    Tuesday, Mar 28. 2017 03:29 PM
    Krishnan’s effort and hard work in contributing to the society is very inspiring. He is willing to let go of his high paying job to Switzerland and staying back in India to operate a soup kitchen for homeless. On top of that he is willing to accept the hardship of financial restraint every month in maintaining his service for the people living in the street. I hope his good work will bring more awareness and sponsors for him especially when CNN showed the video of his work and awarded him with top 10 CNN heroes.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/chef-turned-hero.html
  • 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

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

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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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.
If we are kind, we lose less of ourselves-Tsem Rinpoche
yesterday
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
yesterday
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.
yesterday
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.
4 days 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
4 days 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
4 days 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
4 days 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.
2 weeks 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
2 weeks 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.
2 weeks 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
2 weeks 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!
2 weeks 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!
2 weeks 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
2 weeks ago
The Japanese are very innovative. Tsem Rinpoche
Read this as it will be interesting
2 weeks ago
Read this as it will be interesting
Recite this before any meal or drinks for blessings of abundance. Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks 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
2 weeks 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
1 month 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!
1 month 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
3 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
4 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
4 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
Click on "View All Photos" above to view more images

Videos On The Go

Please click on the images to watch video
  • Japan's greatest modern day artist, Yayoi Kusama
    yesterday
    Japan's greatest modern day artist, Yayoi Kusama
  • Please watch this video, it's heartbreaking to see how people have to suffer.
    2 weeks 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
    3 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.
    3 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.
    2 months ago
    [11/02/2017] Mumu darling is a very good boy.
  • [11/02/2017] Mumu wants to go bye bye!
    2 months ago
    [11/02/2017] Mumu wants to go bye bye!
  • [11/02/2017] I love you mumu boy
    2 months ago
    [11/02/2017] I love you mumu boy
  • [11/02/2017] Mumu and Oser eating together.
    2 months 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

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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