I pray to what I want to

Dec 26, 2016 | Views: 21,907
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(中文翻译请点击这里:http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=57247)

This is respectfully addressed to all spiritual aspirants,

Whether our teacher is famous or high profile or not should not matter in our trust, belief and loyalty towards our teacher. Whatever our teacher disseminates to us should have a lineage and since it has brought benefit to others in the past for hundreds of years, why doubt? Teachings must have a lineage and if our teacher has explained the lineage to us and we have accepted it, then go all the way with it without further doubts. In this case, more people or less people following a teacher does not make the teacher more or less genuine. Many great masters are obscure and choose that on purpose. What makes the teachings alive and potent is our trust, devotion and loyalty in our teacher coupled with transforming our minds. When we lose faith or criticize our teacher, we criticize his lineage, his teacher, his students and his sincerity because everyone is intertwined. When we criticize and leave our teacher, no matter how many new teachers we meet and take teachings from, there will be no results according to Vajradhara. This advice is very important. We must face that truth and overcome our anger, egos and wrong views. If we genuinely have a problem with our teacher that cannot be overcome, speak to the teacher, share and explain and if it doesn’t work, ask permission to go to another teacher. Even when we have gone to another teacher, we should never criticize or attempt to damage the teacher we had left. Why? Because that teacher did impart Dharma to us. We should speak respectfully of our past teachers and remember their kindness. He did spend time, show love and shower us with gifts and perhaps our karmas are different. We cannot scorn everyone who doesn’t match our projections. Don’t forget this ever. Being grateful is a necessary component of higher attainments, hence we recall our teachers and lineage lamas in all higher practices (sadhanas) of any tantric deities daily. We recite the liturgies of invoking on our teacher’s and lineage teachers’ blessings daily in our meditations and sadhanas. The reason is to develop a sense of being grateful and taking nothing for granted. Therefore we should not criticize even our lineage lamas or listen to the criticism of them by others. To have doubts in our lineage lamas or criticize them or agree with criticism in any way also impairs the ability to gain attainments in any of the higher tantric practices. The practices such as Yamantaka, Kalachakra, Gyalwa Gyatso, Cittimani Tara, Vajrayogini, Heruka, Guhyasamaja and Hevajra all have daily invocational liturgies to our root and lineage lamas. These are recited daily and their blessings are invoked upon daily.

Trijang Rinpoche with his close disciples and students Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa. It's a very warm and loving picture which I've always enjoyed seeing and wanted to share.

For example, within the Gelugpa lineage lamas, we have Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche, Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, etc. Every single day, within our major meditational practices, we recite their names daily and invoke upon them to bless us to have success in our practices. It seems it has become something of a political correctness for some ignorant people to criticize these great lamas and say they have mistaken views, wrong practices and have led their students wrongly. We see this more and more. So for a Gelugpa practitioner where we have to do Yamantaka, Guhyasamaja and Heruka practices daily, in each of these we have to invoke upon these three lineage gurus. So how is it that in our meditations everyday we view them as enlightened beings and invoke upon their blessings, and then we turn around and hear certain people criticizing and belittling them? How do we come to terms with this? By ignoring what other people say because they speak from ignorance, lack of understanding and lack of respect for whom we have chosen as our teachers? No one should disrespect our choice and our teachers because it is religious freedom. It is also religious freedom to criticize but what benefit does it bring us and them to criticize our lineage lamas? I have personally heard with my own ears people criticizing His Holiness the previous Panchen Rinpoche and destroying his pictures, and calling him a traitor 20 years ago. I have heard people criticize the 16th Karmapa as headstrong, not a scholar and basically just gave a lot of initiations, an opinion which I did not agree with. I have also come across people who heavily criticize Dudjom Rinpoche, Penor Rinpoche and some of the Sakya patriarchs of the past. They have many disciples and students who see them as attained beings and/or living Buddhas. For their students, these lamas are attained beings and living Buddhas, and they derive beneficial blessings to gain benefits from their practice. They invoke upon their blessings daily as part of their tantric meditations. So, shall I believe the detractors against these lamas or the ones who see them as highly realized beings? Of course it would benefit me and them to see them as highly realized beings. In samsara, the pleasure of one can be the scorn of another. What is precious to another can be poison to others. We can compliment or criticize and it is our freedom of speech and religion to do so, but let’s not carry this freedom too far by hurting the sentiments of the followers of these great masters. To me, Pabongka Rinpoche, Trijang Rinpoche, Zong Rinpoche, Penor Rinpoche, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, 16th Karmapa, etc. are all highly realized beings and are lineage holders and have brought the holy Dharma to millions of people. I have even heard many people criticize even the Dalai Lama. That is their prerogative but I choose not to because I do not wish to hurt the sentiments of many millions of his followers. I choose to see the Dalai Lama as doing the best he can, with lots of pressure, problems and heavy responsibilities. So my world view of things is to just let these lamas be and let their disciples be, and let everyone practice what their lama teaches with full freedom and no criticisms. That has always been my view. I am both liked and loathed for my views, but those are my views.

His Holiness Penor Rinpoche, who dedicated his life to the spread of Buddhadharma and the pure lineage of Guru Rinpoche, has seared a very deep impression in my mind as he has always been equal and kind to every being who has come to seek his assistance.

In Tibetan Buddhism, we are not allowed to criticize the teachers from whom we have received teachings, and their personal practices. By doing so we create a infraction of our spiritual bond with our teachers which creates obstacles to gaining higher insight. We may have a few teachers who have opposing views to an issue, and that puts us in a difficult situation. There is a Tibetan saying that goes, “If I stand up, I hit my head. If I sit down, I hit my backside. I can neither stand nor sit.” That is likened to having a few teachers and all of them having differing views about a certain practice, lineage or deity. So what is a student to do? Everybody has their own methods. If I agree with one of my teachers and disagree with another, I commit a spiritual infraction. If I disagree with another teacher who has an opposing view to one of my other teachers, again I have committed a spiritual infraction. This puts me in a difficult situation because either way, I have committed an infraction. For example, if one of my teachers tells me to practice Tsongkhapa and says that this is the best and most supreme practice, yet another one of my teachers tells me that actually it is Guru Rinpoche whom I should focus on…Teacher A says Tsongkhapa’s blessings are quicker and more efficacious for beings of this time while the other teacher says the exact same thing about Guru Rinpoche. I go to one teacher and all he talks about is Tsongkhapa, and my other equally important teacher says the same about Guru Rinpoche? So if I practice one over the other, I have committed an infraction with one of my teachers. What is a student to do?

Great masters such as Geshe Kelsang Gyatso and Geshe Konchok, pictured here with His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. They have received teachings and transmissions from Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. I like this picture very much.

So there you have millions of people out there who say Guru Rinpoche is the best, and it’s all over social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and then you have a few million more students who says the same thing about Tsongkhapa and proliferates that all over social media. Which one is better? Either way, I’m caught between a rock and a hard place. Which teacher is correct? Which one is ‘wrong’? Either way I create an infraction. There are millions of supporters for both practices. Shall I listen to the teacher who is more famous, sits on a higher throne, has more disciples, is wealthier and has more students? Does that make him more qualified than the teacher who has none of that, or very little? Does having more followers equate with more reliability? What is the criteria of which teacher I should listen to? Many followers and disciples are thrown into this unfair, uncommon and very political quandry. It’s very easy if you have a spiritual bond with just one teacher and not the other but still does not give you the right to criticize the practices, devotions and spiritual bonds of another teacher and disciple. It is not good to say all of these things because it will never end, and it will go back and forth. I do not care how Rimey or how non-sectarian a person thinks they are because until we remove the subtle grasping of the ‘I’ between 10th level bodhisattva and full enlightenment, we will have some type of bias. In other words, until we become a fully enlightened Buddha, we will always be biased in one way or another, whether we realize it or not. From our choice of breakfast, clothes we wear, hairstyles we choose, spouses and partners, monasteries we enter, the cars we drive or the bed we sleep in, everyone can debate endlessly what is the best bed, breakfast or clothes and it will never end. And everybody’s argument will sound better and better as time goes on but in the end, I choose my guru, lineage gurus, practice, deity and destiny. So none of you should criticize or ‘advise’ me otherwise. I made my choice, I will sleep with it. Therefore your kind advice, probably motivated by compassion and love, is not solicited, accepted or wanted.

I was extremely fortunate that Zong Rinpoche was very close to me. Whenever there was a chance, he would hold my hands and we would walk together or be together. The lean slender boy you see WAS me with Kyabje Zong Rinpoche.

Some hypothetical solutions which I came to some conclusions about from speaking to many teachers, to solve this dilemma:

  1. the teachers themselves should practice, exude and operate from great compassion, wisdom and skilful means by never criticizing anyone’s teachers, practice, deity, lineage and tradition. That the teachers themselves should cease and desist from creating more confusion in the minds of others because whatever people are practicing has been done for hundreds of years and there has been a lineage. So the teachers themselves should not make comparisons in relations to better or worse, and comparing practices. The teachers themselves should not squabble, argue or denigrate any practices of any teachers. Sure, we need a Buddhist leader, Pope, authority but having said that, authority should never hurt the sentiments of millions of people for good or bad motivation, as it can be quite damaging and create tremendous unnecessary division. I think the students are innocent and beguiled by the great teachers they have come across and therefore have been led to think one way or another. We can either think every teacher out there has faults and therefore makes mistakes, or every teacher out there is perfect and without fault. Either way, the students are in trouble. Either way, the students will get confused. Either way, the students will get the short end of the stick. All teachers should show great compassion, respect and a little bit of pre-planning for their students so they are not sucked into this kind of political quandry and forced to make choices and labels, and point fingers of good and bad at other teachers and lineages. The students come to the teachers wishing to relieve themselves of all the sufferings they self-created, not take on more problems and difficulties and confusions where their samsaras increase instead of decrease. All teachers should respect the students very much by not confusing them in which they criticize other teachers, practices, lineages and protectors. This is so necessary now. I think instead of saying that the students need to have compassion, develop compassion and engage in compassion, it is time the teachers manifest compassion. And I do say this to all teachers with the deepest and humblest respects as I am only an ordinary person swimming through a thick, dark, swampy ocean of samsara.

Throughout time and history, there have been many great beings who have manifested compassion for the sake of sentient beings, even giving up their lives for a greater cause and the benefit of humanity

  1. my second solution that comes from my ordinary mind is when you have two teachers who teach you ‘opposing’ views and practices, take on the advice of the first teacher and follow that through without thinking negative things about the second teacher, if this applies to you. Some explanation is required. For example, if your first teacher told you to practice Tsongkhapa and he has passed away, and the second teacher recommends you to do Guru Rinpoche as your main practice, since your first teacher has passed away and you cannot be excused from the practice, then naturally you have to tell the second teacher that you did not get permission to be excused and so you must remain status quo. The second teacher should never override the blessed instructions of the first teacher for this disciple, as it will create confusion. In my case, I have had hundreds of people come see me over the years and they will tell me that their teacher or a teacher told them to practice Nechung, Vajrakilaya, Tara, Ekajati, Manjushri, Guru Rinpoche, Tsongkhapa, etc. Can I tell them if this was the best practice for them or not? Except under extreme circumstances, I always tell them that whatever practices they are doing is more than fine, and I have nothing to change or add because ultimately that is the truth. I do not want to confuse them, nor disrespect their faith in their teacher, and I do not wish to disrespect their teachers either. So, if a person can stop their practice given to them by their teacher, they must receive the permission of the teacher who gave them the practice because no follow-up teacher has the authority to override the first teacher, if you really want to follow the rules strictly. Choosing a Dharma teacher is like ordering a la carte from a menu, not a buffet. Whatever a la carte dish you have chosen, you eat it and be happy with it, and stop staring at the buffet with a lot of choices. For example, for myself, my root teacher is His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and Zong Rinpoche has given me a set of practices for me, my life and my enlightenment. I have been following it diligently for the last 25 years. Suddenly, there are people and lamas and students who tell me Zong Rinpoche was wrong. Well, Zong Rinpoche has passed away so I cannot go and get his permission and ask, “Can I stop such and such practice you gave me?” The new lama cannot override Zong Rinpoche. If I were to stop any of my practices given to me by Zong Rinpoche, I would need Zong Rinpoche’s permission and no new or other lamas can override his word. That applies to everyone in any practice, with any lama in any situation. Not even the current incarnation of Zong Rinpoche may override the instructions of the previous one for the previous one’s students. If we were to start in the direction of one teacher can override another teacher, then the teacher who has overridden a previous teacher may himself be overridden in the future by another, and it never ends. It will only lead to chronic confusion, doubt and eventually disillusionment. So basically, whatever practices your teacher has given you from the depths of his heart, practice it all the way and rejoice in the teachings of the teachers for their disciples. Am I going to go on a rampage for the rest of my life, telling all voodoo practitioners that their path is bad and that they should give up, and that they will go to hell? No, I’m not going to do that.

None of your teachers are your enemies, but your teacher taught you the Dharma and your karma couldn’t handle it. Your karma, ego and anger are your real enemies, never your teacher. We shouldn’t just disappear at the first sign of trouble or doubt. In life, we have to work through problems with our parents, spouses, partners, siblings, co-workers and children, so why not our teachers? Our teachers cannot be the ‘only’ person that we have problems with. Why do we abandon our teacher and work through problems with everyone else? Perhaps because we don’t value the important contributions our teacher bestowed upon us? Or we wish to blame our teacher for pointing out something truthful in ourselves that we prefer not to face, but blame the teacher for exposing? Be fair with everyone in your life and work through differences and don’t be selective. How you ‘throw’ people out will reflect how you really think of others and this will return to ‘haunt’ you in other aspects of your life later. Bad attitude will surface again and again if not addressed, healed and remedied. Whoever shelters us from ourselves now, will not always be around and we will have to face ourselves one day alone. There is no avoidance. After all, we can run away from people, but we can’t run away from the cause of problems we may have contributed to, which is within ourselves. This is in an extreme case, but generally we should work through our doubts and issues with our teacher and be loyal. This is good for our mind, good for our training and good for our eventual results. Consistency is an urgently vital ingredient in spiritual success.

One of my teachers, the great Kagyupa master Drigung Rinpoche.

If the new teacher we go to has criticism for our previous teacher, practice or lineage, then there is something wrong or there are political motivations. No teacher need criticize another teacher no matter who they are. In this day and age, no teacher no matter how famous or just, he may be should ever criticize another person’s practice, teacher, lineage or faith. Democratic governments throughout the civilized world even allow the practices of once despised forms of spirituality such as witchcraft, voodoo, et al. Therefore no teacher or spiritual leader has the right to denigrate another’s path ever because once you start, where do you draw the line? No forms of ostracism, prejudice, bias or segregation should arise from differing religious practices either. Because this will be the seed to dissent, disharmony and hatred.

That our teacher teaches us something useful and we are devoted and diligent, and then suddenly another teacher of fame and name preaches otherwise and we have doubts in our teacher, is not good. It shows who we really are, and not our teacher, because we are swayed easily. No matter how famous another teacher may be, your teacher still imparted the holy Dharma to you and you should be grateful always. Higher thrones does not mean better than a humble teacher on a low cushion. Spirituality and the level of knowledge of a teacher is not reflected by rank, thrones, fame or how many students he has. I know of a few very qualified teachers who did not have many students at all and some students even left them and scorned them, to my shock! If we had issues with our teacher, we should be humble, swallow the ego and apologize. Remaining or moving on is up to us, but don’t damage or attempt to damage a teacher as the karmic consequences are heavy, not to mention you hurt the other students as well and that does not make you a better person at all.

Numbers do not determine the effectiveness or so-called purity of a certain path or faith, as many of the world’s religions today started with humble numbers which in time increased numerically. Therefore a minority or majority should not be the deciding factor that a particular path or faith should be allowed. In the past, just to name lightly some examples how one faith had attempted to decimate the other:

  1. The settlers of Australia did their utmost best for hundreds of years to eliminate and convert the masses of Aborigines, and destroy their rich cultural heritage and indigenous religion. Their religion was deemed barbaric, backwards and evil. As a result, many of the Aborigines now have to slowly and painfully reconnect with what was destroyed in the process of being forced into a true ‘God’.
  1. In 15th, 16th and 17th century Europe, the witch hunts condoned and authorized by the papacy or so-called ‘true Church’ condemned, hunted, segregated and punished those would-be adherents to the pre-Christian religions of Europe. The Church systematically outlawed, penalized, punished and confiscated all properties of those who would not adhere to their so-called ‘true Church’. Those who still resisted, denied or refused were severely tortured to death, drowned, crushed or simply burnt alive. This was done in the name of God, purity and what was deemed as the authentic method to heaven. Who would allow this type of atrocity today? But 500 years ago, it was considered holy and God’s work.

In the 15th, 16th and 17th century, people who did not adhere to the doctrine of the 'true Church' were classified as witches and burnt at the stake.

  1. When settlers from Europe came to North America, what happened in Aboriginal Australia occurred here again. The Native Americans were belittled, humiliated and forced to convert from their native religions. Their native religions were considered primitive, barbaric and the work of the Devil so the missionaries had a field day waving Bibles as the ultimate authority, whilst conveniently robbing the Natives of North America of their culture, way of life and desecrating their religion. In a show of total disrespect to people who believed otherwise to the religion of the settlers, the US still prints on their currency ‘In God We Trust’.

A sign in Jackson, Mississippi, taken on 25th May 1961. Thankfully signs like these and the attitude behind them no longer exist or are existing less and less. (Photo by William Lovelace/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

  1. When the invaders from Spain landed in Central and South America, they had no intention to respect the religions, culture and peoples of these great lands. The ‘true Church’ forcibly destroyed edifices, priests, writings and rituals of their religions, took their wealth and insulted their culture (calling them ‘inferior barbarians’). To add final insult to the injury, they decimated the native population with unheard-of European diseases. The religions of the beautiful and advanced Central and South American peoples were systematically berated, outlawed and destroyed. Sacred temples were flattened and Christian churches built in its place. Fortunately, many of the Central and South American countries now have allowed religious freedom within their Constitutions which protect and allow the pre-Christian religions to be practiced. Hence these days there is a resurgence, with pride and dignity, of the once ancient religions. No one is going to say again that their religions are barbaric or devil’s practice unless they themselves are uneducated barbarians.

The witch hunts were carried out in the name of God and purity. Ironically, the people who persecuted those who did not fit with the majority had themselves escaped persecution in Europe for their religious practices.

  1. The Puritans and Quakers had a most difficult time fitting within the parameters of the English Church. They were considered extreme, false and those who strayed from the true doctrine. Their religion in England had to go underground and when it became impossible for them to practice, they were forced to immigrate to the then-New World (America). In America, for some time after they arrived, they were free to practice their religions. However as 13 new colonies started to gain wealth, lands and a unified regional government, then although they had left Europe for freedom of religion, they in turn initiated witch hunts themselves. Those who were not in agreement with their doctrine or did not attend Church, or practiced the old arts such as divination, herbology and healing were considered witches. Massive fear, prejudice, confiscation of property and segregation, leading to punishment by death (through methods such as burning, crushing and drowning) reemerged. Because the Church was practiced by the majority and those who were not active in the Church were a minority, naturally the majority instituted witch hunts against the minority in order to restore the ‘purity’ of the Church. Those who strayed from the Church were said to have been meeting, cooperating and signing deals with the Devil. Therefore the majority did not allow freedom of any religions that strayed from what they believed in as the ‘true Church’. Ironically, they persecuted within their own communities what they were persecuted of when they left Europe. These are dangerous trends we must learn from in history so that it does not repeat itself in modern times.

Countless number of women, especially older women, lost their lives during the witch hunts. Falsely accused and persecuted for their beliefs, they were drowned, crushed and even burnt at the stake.

  1. For thousands of years, the rich culture heritage and profound religion of the Jews have been repeatedly persecuted and serious attempts at annihilation were allowed. The Jewish people in their long history in many countries were minorities. Their religion was seen as deviant, false and not a path that led to God. As a consequence, their synagogues, and places and symbols of worship have been blatantly destroyed and those who refused to convert or assimilate were gassed, beaten, tortured and even killed. The perseverance and resilience of the Jewish people have allowed for their religion to survive and benefit their communities throughout the world. However, there was a time even as recently as half a century ago when their religion was persecuted and considered false. This should never happen again.

Throughout history, minority religious practices have suffered persecution at the hands of the majority who felt these views and practices did not fit in with their doctrines. Instead of practicing acceptance to encourage harmony, they sought to assimilate or annihilate the native populations.

  1. The British invaders who controlled India from 1858 to 1947 humiliated the populous and tried to force their European ways upon India. They made it blasphemous and sacrilegious for the inhabitants of the subcontinent to have any dignity in their race, religion and vastly rich culture. The British used India and exploited her and her people. In the process, they unsuccessfully did their best to convert the Hindu population, calling them heathens, barbarians and idol worshippers. What right did the English have to call another people or nation barbaric, and demote their form of worship to simply idol worshipping? They did not respect (although there were exceptions) the religions and practices of something that lasted over 5000 years. Without studying, practicing and understanding the profound path of peace, tolerance and compassion that are hallmarks of Hinduism, the British openly and unabashedly discouraged the practice of Hinduism. Luckily, the resilience and the profound faith that the people of India had in their religion helped them to overcome the active prejudices of their colonizers. Today, no one in their right mind will call Hinduism ‘barbaric’ or a path that leads to hell. Hinduism is one of the major religions practiced by 1.1 billion adherents who consider it a valid path to divinity.

Thanks to slavery and the systematic decimation of African religion and culture, most African Americans today have lost touch with their African roots and heritage

  1. The vast, diverse and rich continent of Africa holds tens of thousands of various tribes of people. Individually and collectively, they have their own way of life, language, culture and religion. When these innocent people were tricked and forcibly ferried across the Atlantic to become slaves in America, any trace that linked them to their ancient heritage of Africa was systematically obliterated. As a result, African Americans today do not have their ancestral religion, their cultural identity, their names, their language and for many, they don’t even know where in Africa their ancestors originated from. They were forcibly removed of their rich identities and forcibly made to adapt to European cultures and religion. There were however pockets of resistance and underground continuation of their faiths which in modern day is labelled as voodoo. When we say voodoo, there are many methods, branches and forms of worship. It is rich and diverse and to the ignorant beholder, it may seem evil or even perhaps harmful. As in every and any religion, there are ones who practice with good motivations and with ulterior motivations. Who are we to judge? Yet voodooism is constitutionally protected in North America, the Caribbeans, Central and South America, and Africa. No one, no body of government or no religious hate groups may deconstitutionalize the rights of the adherents of this religion. They have the full freedom to practice and live their lives according to their religion.

Throughout history, many suppressed people have given up their lives standing up for the right and their freedom to practice and express themselves.

These are but just a few examples of how, in history, a group of people, through ignorance, fear, hatred and/or greed coupled with prejudice can bring tremendous harm to another group of people in the name of religion. In today’s free world, whether your religious practice is 1% or 90% of the population, you should have full freedom to practice as and when and where and how you like. No religious leaders or adherents should ever criticize another religion lest it snowballs into something big and damaging as we have seen in history. Whether a person chooses a religion or remains atheist is their inalienable birthright. They should not be coerced, forced or denigrated into a religion or another religion. Any religious leader, secular leader or teacher should never criticize another’s religion, faith or practice as inferior. No one should belittle another person’s faith or religion and call it ‘spirit worship’. When we call another person’s religion ‘spirit worship’, inferior or wrong, we possibly hurt the sentiments of a long history and the pride and place of a people. This will not create the causes for peace, democracy, freedom nor harmony. RELIGIONS AND RELIGIOUS LEADERS SHOULD ALWAYS CREATE HARMONY WITHIN THEIR OWN COMMUNITIES AND OF EVERYONE THEY MEET. Once we start on the road of ‘this religion is good’ and ‘that religion is bad’, then it will fester and grow into something bigger that ultimately becomes harmful to the peace and the ever-growing, over-populated little planet we all must share. Religious leaders have tremendous power and influence as they are considered the moral and ethical conscience of a culture. So therefore their powers should not be abused or used wrongly. Whether a person chooses their path to awakenness using voodoo, Native American religions, witchcraft or Buddhism, is their choice. We may respectfully debate and share but not degrade and convert. We all need peace, happiness and cohesiveness in order to survive with each other on our small planet. Our survival depends on peace, and religion can play a large part in this, and that lies in the hands of religious teachers.

Unity and harmony are the keys to our survival on the small planet we share.

Do you not enjoy freedom of religion? Would you like to be banned from schools, segregated from your people, disallowed to enter businesses and separated from family because what you practice is considered bad by another group? We can argue until Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu destroy, recreate and preserve the universe one hundred times over and we will never win the argument of who is right and wrong. The fact of the matter is this – we all should be treated equally and there should never be rules and regulations against us as people or citizens based on our religious beliefs. Whether our religious beliefs are accepted or considered accurate interpretations, we are still people underneath. We all need food, love, compassion and deserve inalienable birthrights such as freedom of choice. No leader, whether secular or religious, should ever be allowed to take that away from us.

The Civil Rights Movement put an end to signs like these. Prevailing prejudices must be changed because at the end of the day, all of us are humans who want the same things - love, respect and harmony.

In conclusion, I most humbly and respectfully request all spiritual teachers of all traditions, leaders and their subordinates to never demonize another person’s faith, belief system or deity. Each individual has a God and that God can be a Creator or the God Within. But leave it to the individual to decide. I will see who I want and associate with any group I wish, any time I like and no one has the right to tell me otherwise. And if they have the right to tell me otherwise, I have the right to tell them back, they are wrong. For ecumenical debates, there will never be a beginning, an end or a middle. It is a convoluted alpha and omega, and I don’t want to get into these debates or be condemned based on them. Let’s make it simple – I have a guru, a lineage, a practice and a goal and I am going to stick with it until the end of my time. No one in the east, the west, the north or the south, on a big throne or standing next to the throne, with or without power, will influence me otherwise. And if you continue to speak and write on and on about how I am going to hell, I am on the wrong path, I am not listening to the correct authorities, you will end up creating your own little hells in your own little minds because I am happy with what I have, I am a pretty good person with my faults, and ultimately I am fortunate enough to be reincarnated into a country and civilization that agrees with my thoughts. So no one’s criticisms, doubts and anyone living in the free world can say otherwise unless your body is in the free world and your mind is not, or your mind is stuck in 16th century Europe.

Tsem Rinpoche

 

A great Mongolian lama, Sokpu Guru Deva Rinpoche, who is the teacher of my mother and father, and who helped me very much in my early years in Gaden. He has been a great patron and sponsor of Gaden, Sera, Drepung and Tashilhunpo Monasteries, as well as a very devoted disciple of Trijang Rinpoche. I will never forget his kindness to me, and all the help he has bestowed upon me which is too numerous to mention here.

 

One of my benefactors, Sokpu Guru Deva (on the left) was very close to His Holiness Panchen Rinpoche (right).

 

One of my favourite pictures with their Holinesses the Panchen Lama (left) and Dalai Lama (right).

 

Another very beautiful photo I thought I'd share. This was taken when the incomparable Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche purposely went to have audience with His Holiness the Panchen Lama. Two enlightened beings in one picture.

 

His Holiness the great Panchen Lama who really held the Tibetan people together within Tibet, with his infinite wisdom, compassion, skilful means and bodhisattva actions of taking on so much harm on behalf of the dharma growing.

 

His Holiness the great 13th Dalai Lama who offered help and assistance to my mother's family when they left their home country to Lhasa during the Cultural Revolution. I have great respect and appreciation for His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama who helped my family.

 

Another favourite picture of mine of His Holiness the Great All-Knowing 13th Dalai Lama with whom my family had a close connection.

 

His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, another great being whom I have admired and heard many criticisms about. But it has never affected my deep respect for him.

 

A very touching picture of Kyabje Zong Rinpoche doing last rites for the ailing Lama Yeshe who was a devoted disciple.

 

Lama Yeshe showing deep reverence to his root guru His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche. Guru devotion of this level will result in high attainments.

 

I really wanted to share this incredible picture of the Tibetologist Alexandra David-Neel outside of her retreat cave in Tibet. She's one of the first non-Tibetans who penetrated Tibet to engage in the practice of Tibetan Buddhism.

 

One of my revered teachers, His Holiness Kyabje Dagom Dorjechang who was a devoted disciple of both Trijang and Ling Rinpoche, inclusive of Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. This master was a gentle and pure monk, who had mastered the sutras and tantras, and used his life to impart Buddha's teachings to all those who came to him. Being in his presence used to bring tears to my eyes as I knew I was in the presence of someone highly attained.

 

This is the grand oracle of Gaden Monastery when I first arrived in 1988. I was fortunate enough to watch this man who was trained by Trijang Rinpoche, take full trance of the Dharma Protector Setrap and various other protectors. He was a friend of mine but at the same time, I respected him very much for his oracular ability. For while in trance, he was able to give prophetic advice about our futures that later proved totally accurate.

 

I like this picture as it is Nechung in trance, of the Dalai Lama's personal oracle in Dharamsala.

 

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to and in close communion with the Nechung protector in full trance. I've had this picture on my altar for many years in Gaden.

 

My close and good friend the grand oracle of Gaden Shartse Monastery, in whom many great protectors entered his body to speak. Besides that, he was a warm, down-to-earth and direct person and in my early years when I did not have a lot of financial assistance, he would often send food to me when I was hungry. I will forever remember his kindness to me.

 

I like this picture very much as Lhakpa Dondrub was the personal oracular medium of Domo Geshe Rinpoche. I was fortunate enough to stay in his house and get to know him better before he passed away many years ago. I liked him very much because he was extremely devoted to his teacher, his practice and his lineage.

 

I love this photo of His Eminence Kyabje Domo Geshe Rinpoche. He was considered an emanation of Tsongkhapa by the 13th Dalai Lama. He had displayed miraculous powers and skilfully benefited many beings with his immaculate clairvoyance. His healing pills were sought after throughout Tibet and he was reputed to have the yetis of Tibet be his messengers and guard his cave entrance.

 

His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1951 in Domo Geshe Rinpoche's Monastery in Tibet. The Dalai Lama at that time enjoyed his stay in Domo Geshe Monastery, and also consulted the oracle while he was there.

 

The current incarnation of Domo Geshe together with His Holiness Kyabje Yongyal Dorjechang.

 

This is one of my personal thangkas which I thought I would share here. It is a picture of Duldzin Drakpa Gyeltsen who was one of the eight main disciples of Lama Tsongkhapa. Upper left is his root guru Tsongkhapa. Upper right is his main meditational deity Yamantaka. Lower left is his personal Dharma Protector 4-Faced Mahakala. Lower right is one of his main disciples, which is the earlier incarnation of Panchen Lama, aka Khedrup Rinpoche.

 

Another one of my favourite holy photos of His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and his two disciples Geshe Lhundrub Sopa of Wisconsin and Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen of Los Angeles.

 

Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen who was one of my teachers, with myself in Dharamsala. We were attending the teachings of the Dalai Lama.

 

The incomparable Geshe Tendar who was an incumbent of Gaden Shartse Monastery where I belonged. I have never received teachings from him but I know he was a great master of sutra and tantra, and geshes of his calibre are hard to make these days.

 

Another great master of Gaden Jangtse Monastery, His Eminence Geshe Tsultrim who is a very humble monk of the highest calibre. Another master of both sutra and tantra who has hundreds of students in Gaden Monastery and now in Switzerland. Someone whose purity of vows is renowned in the Gelugpa world. He generously taught students six days a week for morning to evening, tirelessly pointing out the philosophical tenets of Buddha. Due to this master's kindness, many in the monastery were able to complete their studies and achieve the Geshe Lharampa degree. Yet this master never sought any fame or gain from all this dedication.

 

Geshe Rabten, the teacher who created scholars. He was meditating in a simple hut in the north Indian mountains of Dharamsala, when the Dalai Lama summoned him to go and teach in the West. Because of his brilliance and mastery of the Buddhist teachings, he was able to bring Buddhism to many Westerners. His disciples include Lama Yeshe, Lama Zopa, Gonsar Rinpoche and many others.

 

Geshe Rabten (right) together with His Holiness the Dalai Lama (centre) at his centre in Switzerland. They were very close during the life of Geshe Rabten. I do like this picture very much.

 

Geshe Rabten with his root teacher His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche. Here he is respectfully assisting his teacher. I find this picture warm, poignant, powerful and incredibly moving. A great master serving his own great master. Geshe Rabten was devoted to Trijang Rinpoche until the end of his life.

 

Geshe Rabten receiving advice and teachings from his root guru Trijang Rinpoche.

 

In 1987, myself requesting His Holiness the Dalai Lama to become ordained as a monk. I have always liked this picture and His Holiness the Dalai Lama showed me great warmth and immediately agreed to ordain me.

 

The Dalai Lama in Gaden Shartse Monastery consecrating the new shrine dedicated to the Protector Setrap.

 

This is my favourite picture of His Holiness the Dalai Lama where I see a light aura surrounding his body and head.

 

On the roof of one of the buildings of Gaden Shartse Monastery, the tulkus of Phukhang Khamtsen House in Gaden. Left to right, Gyampa Rinpoche, Tsem Rinpoche, Gyal Khangtse Rinpoche, Kensur Rinpoche Jetsun Jampa Yeshe, Kensur Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, Kari Khentrul Rinpoche and Trinley Rinpoche.

 

I had the great honour to have His Holiness the Supreme Spiritual Head of the Mongolian Buddhists in Mongolia, Khutughtu Khalkha Jetsun Dampa (seated), visit my house. Left is my cousin the Spiritual Head of the Kalymk Republic in Russia, Telo Rinpoche and me. This was on the occasion that Khalka Jetsun Dampa visited my house.

 

I am seated next to His Holiness Kensur Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, the great master, teacher and secret yogi of Gaden Shartse Monastery. He was the one who instructed me to go to Malaysia and bring the Dharma there.

 

My mentor and teacher, His Eminence Kensur Rinpoche of Gaden Shartse Monastery, and myself.

 

My favourite photo of Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche. The first time I had the fortune to lay eyes on Trijang Rinpoche in this lifetime was this photo many moons ago in Howell, New Jersey.

 

Another one of my thangkas I thought I'd share here. Centre is the great master Panchen Sonam Drakpa who is also the author of the books we use to become a geshe in Gaden Shartse and Drepung Loseling monasteries. Upper left is Panchen Sonam Drakpa's root guru the 1st Dalai Lama. His main practice, indicated on the upper right, is the tantric deity Guhyasamaja. Lower left is his main protector 4-Faced Mahakala and on the lower right is his close disciple, the 3rd Dalai Lama Sonam Gyatso.

 

This picture is rare and exceptionally beautiful. His Holiness Trijang Rinpoche wearing the special hat of Panchen Sonam Drakpa.

 

One of my favourite photos. His Holiness the Dalai Lama with his root teachers of 30 years, Kyabje Ling Rinpoche and Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche.

 

Myself in the 1980s having audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

 

This is my personal statue of His Holiness Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche. Pabongka Rinpoche's household themselves gave me this statue, for which I was so overwhelmed and honoured.

 

His Holiness the current Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche who spends his time in long-term deep retreats in Tibet and Nepal.

 

This is my personal statue of His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche which I have in my room.

 

One of my favourite pictures of two Buddhas having lunch together. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche (right) was not only a devoted disciple but also a close friend to the incomparable Heruka Trijang Rinpoche (left).

 

Here they are again, returned in full perfect form, having lunch together.

 

Left to right, the current incarnation of His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, His Holiness Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, His Holiness the head of the Gelugpa school of Buddhism Gaden Tripa Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal and Kensur Rinpoche Jetsun Jampa Yeshe.

 

In Gaden Shartse Prayer Hall. Left to right, His Holiness the head of the Gelug seat of Buddhism the 101st Gaden Tripa Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal, the current Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and Tsem Rinpoche.

 

Myself paying homage to the current incarnation of Zong Rinpoche.

 

This is my first teacher His Eminence Kensur Rinpoche Jetsun Lobsang Tharchin in Howell, New Jersey. I received my refuge vows, teachings on logic and my first higher tantric empowerments from this great master. He lived only 10 minutes away from me in Howell, New Jersey and he himself was a close and devoted disciple of both Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche.

 

Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche with heartson disciples Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche. Highly qualified masters produce highly qualified disciples.

 

Another ordinary being aka myself attending an event.

 

This song by Cher really moves me and encapsulate my feelings:

 

These are related and very important to read:
 http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/category/dorje-shugden

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84 Responses to I pray to what I want to

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  1. MartinC on Feb 9, 2017 at 2:20 am

    I am glad to see this comment by ‘Suzy in Hawaii’ on Tsem Rinpoche’s YouTube Chanel. After all this time more and more people who bother to look beyond hearsay and prejudice are beginning to see the goodness of Dorje Shugdenand benefit from it. Go see what Suzy wrote – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl-4lIwxph4&t=11s

    Suzy

  2. Datuk May on Dec 29, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    It is important at any point of our life we make our choices based on what best suit us so that we enjoy whatever route chosen and reach our goals successfully.

    In our choice of a spiritual Teacher, it is important to establish that the methods of instructions and directions are within our grasp to follow and that we will not flounder along the way. Anything that is imparted by an ordained Buddhist monk is the Dharma and the Dharma is faultless. If there are difference of opinions arising from us, blame not the teacher but rather our unruly mind.

    It is my humble opinion that the essence of Buddhism never changes, that of the 4 noble truths and the eightfold path that will lead us to attainments and eventually enlightenment. However each doctrine entails different practices that may differ due to Buddhism having the capacity to assimilate with local traditions which are not degenerating to the core essence of Buddhism.

    However due to the roller coaster nature of our mind, this article definitely will help to understand how we can travel our spiritual journey with knowledge and methods of measurement to assist us.

    Powerful guidance to who we should pray to and how our choices are to be made.

  3. Lum Kok Luen on Dec 29, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    Dear Rinpoche,

    Thank you for putting this whole complicated and complex issue in straight and logical perspective.
    Religious freedom and practices are our mother Earth’s citizen’s birthright and nobody should take that away. No one should dictate to another what religious practice should be followed, or even followed at all.

    I pray that the DS ban will end very soon and may the Dharma spread across and to all who needs it without fear of persecution or prosecution.

    Om Benza Wiki Bitana Soha.

    Humbly yours,
    Lum Kok Lune

  4. Pastor Antoinette on Dec 27, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    By reading the history of religious persecution, it shivers down my spine. So many people have been chased, humiliated, tortured and even killed because of their religion. Austrialia’s aborigines, witches, jews, from Central and South America to Africa and Europe, there are so many. This should never happen again but still in our day and age, there is a ban on Dorje Shugden practitioners and we are persecuted even on the worldwide web, Twitter and Facebook.

    Who can tell that someone practices a wrong practice? If you have been given your practice by a qualified teacher, with a lineage and practiced for hundred of years, how can this all of a sudden become wrong? The ban on Dorje Shugden has been going on now for 20 years and so many people have suffered and still suffer.

    HH the Dalai Lama has said that we can practice Dorje Shugden again. Read here: Dalai Lama Says We Can Practise Dorje Shugden Finally! http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/dalai-lama-says-we-can-practise-dorje-shugden-finally.html

    Lets hope that the ban will quickly be realised for the benefit of all.

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this clarifying article and the beautiful and holy pictures of so many highly attained masters.

    Humbly,

    • Pastor Antoinette on Dec 27, 2016 at 1:08 pm

      Lets hope that the ban will quickly be remov
      ed for the benefit of all.

  5. Choong on Dec 26, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for the teaching. I especially love the photos and thangkas.

  6. Fong on Dec 26, 2016 at 11:51 am

    Somehow, just before reading this article I came across the chapter of Bodhisattva Never Disparaging of the Lotus Sutra from the internet. I thought it was kind of apt. In chapter 20 of the Lotus Sutra, Bodhisattva Sadāparibhūta (Bodhisattva Never Disparaging) always treated everybody with respect regardless of gender, creed, birth or social status always remembering that they will too can become Buddhas.

    So, in the same breath here, we should always respect others despite their religious inclinations as well. By inference here, we should always be kind and courteous, not threaten harm r violence against anyone due to their choices of religion or deities or whatever path they follow.

  7. Anne Ong on Dec 19, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this powerful and guiding article. I truly love the candid honesty of this article. I personally think nobody should interfere in other people’s religion and practice. Everyone has freedom of choice in religion matters. It is something very personal and and to do with affinity. Not some “Merry Mister Meddle” 🙂 to tell others whether it’s wrong or right. And I have always told my friends and even strangers on social media that I have the best Guru in my personal opinion and i have never regretted my choice and i never will as i believe in my affinity with Rinpoche.

    With lots of love and support with folded palms,
    Anne Ong.

  8. Tsem Rinpoche on Sep 15, 2016 at 12:15 am

    Trode Khangsar Chapel in Lhasa, Tibet

    Over 400 years ago a great and learned lama Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen was famed in Mongolia, Tibet, Nepal and China for being very saintly and compassionate. He resided in his residence (Zimkhang Gongma Ladrang) in Drepung Monastery. His root guru was H.H. the Omniscient 4th Panchen Lama and his close dharma brother was the 5th Dalai Lama.

    The 5th Dalai Lama and Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen had a very close and dharmic relationship and often went to receive teachings together from the 4th Panchen Lama. They were close in age. They both became very learned and well known. During this time, the Dalai Lama was enthroned as a Dharma King of Tibet. But more people went to see Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen for teachings, initiations and divinations. This made the attendants of the 5th Dalai Lama feel threatened that Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen’s fame might usurp the power of the 5th Dalai Lama. So they had a khata forced down his throat. At that moment, Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen dissolved his psychic winds and generated the wish to be a great guardian of Buddha and Tsongkapa’s teachings. As his consciousness dissolved, he entered ‘bardo’ as a dharma protector of the highest order (jikten depey sungma). Many signs were seen throughout Lhasa at this time and the earth was said to have shaken in Lhasa. This event was already predicted to Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen’s previous incarnation when he was one of the 8 main disciples of Lord Tsongkapa the Supreme Master and he served Tsongkapa directly by building Gaden Monastery.

    When the 5th Dalai Lama heard what his scheming and power-hungry attendants had done, he was very distressed. He was very sorry Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen was murdered and dishonored as he was a great dharma master. The 5th Dalai Lama composed an apology to Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen. In Lhasa, tens of thousands gathered for the cremation of Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen’s holy body. During the cremation, the 5th Dalai Lama’s apology was read out at which flames spontaneously arose from the body of Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen commencing the cremation. From the body, during cremation, a powerful whirlwind of smoke tunneled into the sky for all to see as this was an indication Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen’s consciousness has arisen as the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden. The Dharma Protector Setrap immediately recognized this new protector Dorje Shugden and ‘enthroned’ him as a powerful Dharma Protector in the realm of the Buddhas. From this, Setrap and Dorje Shugden are closely connected and very close working hand in hand always. After the cremation, the great 5th Dalai Lama built a Dorje Shugden chapel on the spot the cremation took place and named it Trode Khangsar. The 5th Dalai Lama commissioned the statue of Dorje Shugden in this chapel and had monks installed in the chapel to do continuous propitiations to Dorje Shugden. Trode Khangsar Chapel was a commemoration to Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen who was wronged and also a celebration of his consciousness arising as the World Peace Peace Protector Dorje Shugden.

    This Trode Khangsar Chapel still exists now in Lhasa where many make pilgrimages there. It is in good condition and was recently renovated. It is over 400 years old and a testimony to the respect the Great 5th Dalai Lama had to Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen who arose as Dorje Shugden.

    I have visited this holy chapel in Lhasa years back. I’ve never heard of it till I was in Lhasa and by chance, I was told about it which I was happy to visit. I could not find the place but strangely a bunch of pilgrims from Amdo told me they would show me how to get there in Lhasa.

    This short video is a short clip of this holy Trode Khangsar Chapel in Lhasa today commemorating Dorje Shugden, built by the great 5th Dalai Lama. The great 5th Dalai Lama even composed a prayer to Dorje Shugden which is still available today and we can recite to invoke the blessings, protection, and assistance of World Peace Protector Dorje Shugden.

    Tsem Rinpoche


    Read more: Trode Khangsar – A 400-year-old Dorje Shugden Chapel in Lhasa
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/dorje-shugden/trode-khangsar-%E2%80%93-a-400-year-old-dorje-shugden-chapel-in-lhasa.html

    Short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTybDwTeLAM

    __________________________________

    The 5th Dalai Lama’s Prayer to Dorje Shugden

    HUM
    Though unmoving from the sphere of primordial spontaneity,
    With wrathful turbulent power, swifter than lightning,
    Endowed with heroic courage to judge good and bad,
    I invite you with faith, please come to this place!

    Robes of a monk, crown adorned with rhinoceros leather hat,
    Right hand holds ornate club, left holds a human heart,
    Riding various mounts such as nagas and garudas,
    Who subdues the mamos of the charnel grounds, praise to you!

    Samaya substances, offerings and torma, outer, inner and secret,
    Favourite visual offerings and various objects are arranged.
    Although, previously, my wishes were a bit dense,
    Do not stop your powerful apparitions, I reveal and confess!

    Now respectfully praising with body, speech, and mind,
    For us, the masters, disciples, benefactors and entourages,
    Provide the good and avert the bad!
    Bring increase like the waxing moon in spiritual and temporal realms!

    Moreover, swiftly accomplishing all wishes,
    According to our prayers, bestow the supreme effortlessly!
    And like the jewel that bestows all wishes,
    Always protect us with the Three Jewels!

    From: http://www.dorjeshugden.org/practice/the-5th-dalai-lamas-prayer-to-dorje-shugden

    Tibetan prayer from: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/dorje-shugden/the-14th-dalai-lamas-prayer-to-dorje-shugden.html

  9. Valentina Suhendra on Mar 8, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    I hope Tibetan leadership will stop contradicting itself and discriminating based on faith, for the benefit of Tibetan people.

    Meme7

    Meme8

    Meme11

    Meme12

  10. Tsem Rinpoche on Jan 7, 2016 at 5:11 am

    Thank you for having the strength, courage and genuine care to stand up and speak peacefully for what you believe in. No one should ever suffer, be segregated, assaulted, hurt, degraded, belittled, cursed, hated and biased for their religious beliefs. No one should advise anyone against any religious belief. If we want to find people who hate a certain religion, we can find plenty. If we want to find people who like a certain religion or form of spirituality, there will be plenty. In the end who is right and wrong? Which religion is right or wrong. All or some or none? Therefore it is more logical to respect all religions, all faiths and all forms of spirituality. In history many have exploited religion for selfish purposes and many have not. As long as I have not, that is all that matters. I cannot and will not speak for others of my faith and what their motive is, but I know my motive. No one and no leader and no religious leader should ever hurt, segregate or speak against another religion. Time for peace. Time for harmony. Time for respect. Time to look beyond mine/your religion and be kind. Be kind to everyone. Never put anyone down because of their religion.

    Humbly,

    Tsem Rinpoche.

    P.S. I wish very much the people from His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s views/side and people from the side of Dorje Shugden practitioners meet very soon. May they meet in peace, with kindness in the hearts and good motivation to solve this issue once and for all. We have to solve this through peaceful dialogue. I never protested against His Holiness Dalai Lama nor spoke harshly against his views ever. I have always respected his and everyone’s views. We all have to live on this earth together. You will not accept my way of spirituality and I will not accept your’s and that is okay. But we must respect each other’s spiritual faith and NEVER criticize or advise against it. We must respect also what we don’t accept. Everyone has their way. Advising against another’s religion/faith/spirituality creates so much disharmony. No more disharmony. It’s been 19 years since the ban against Dorje Shugden started. It must end please. We have so many things to argue about in this world, let’s make one less conflict. I wish this conflict to end peacefully soon. I wish His Holiness the Dalai Lama and supporters can open channels of communication and solve this issue soon. Peaceful dialogue please and soon. Thank you.

    peace

  11. Wan Wai Meng on May 28, 2015 at 4:15 am

    All people regardless deserve the freedom to choose their path. People can have their opinions, but it would not be right if those opinions cause more suffering to others. People who are in the positions of power, are heads of organisations, countries etc etc have much more responsibilities with their actions and words. If we do cause doubt and people to lose faith with their teachers and practices we need to be prepared to take care of those people who have broken faith with their previous practices and teachers.

  12. tsemtulku on Feb 16, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    INTERESTING DEVELOPEMENT:

    We have been informed by our friends in Dharamsala that the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA; the de facto head of Tibetans in Exile in India) that they have seen the vulgarities said in the name of being on the Dalai Lama’s defense. Many who can read English in Dharamsala have been horrified that their campaign against Shugden is leading to such vulgarities and attacks on Shugden followers personal lives. CTA had hoped to intimidate Shugden people to give up through fear and violence in the past, but it has worked against them as they represent Dalai Lama a Nobel peace prize winner. People are asking why Dalai Lama does not speak up against the hatred towards Shugden people? CTA in the past have kept quiet about the attacks on Shugden people both physical and verbal but now IT’S DIRECTLY BEING CONNECTED TO THEM which is bad PR. The more Dalai Lama supporters hurl abuses on line and it’s recorded, the more it will work against CTA.

    The CTA visit this blog often to keep a watch. They are embarrassed by people who write such negatives and vulgarities now and engage in name-calling in the name of Buddhism and the Dalai Lama. It reflects terribly on them. They have been getting more negative response from people around the world and more queries. The press has been picking up on these types of verbal abuses hurled at Shugden people and find it justified and alerted to the fact something is seriously wrong. They are starting to question the CTA more which is embarrassing.

    We will keep posting these vulgarities hurled at Shugden people online. This is what Shugden people have to tolerate daily. But you will see NO SUCH COMMENTS from Shugden people. I have friends who informed me they will also send this article’s link to press around the world and proper authorities to keep them alert. As violent vulgarities can escalate into violence against innocent Shugden practitioners.

    You see the bottom line is all this name hurling and violent words can stop overnight if His Holiness Dalai Lama speaks up to stop it. Dalai Lama should send people to engage in dialogue to settle this matter once and for all. It would benefit everyone all around. This ban and advice against peaceful Shugden practitioners was started by Tibetan leadership. They should do something to stop it as they are responsible for every person they affect with this ban. The Tibetan leadership is responsible for every harm perpetrated or planned against Shugden practitioners both verbal, psychological and physical.

    Do see the pictures here of the abuse but be ready for how unpleasant it could be: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=58841

  13. tsemtulku on Feb 13, 2015 at 2:28 am

    It’s amazing, sometimes when you make a spiritual choice, some people can criticize and segregate you for it. As if your choice must be approved by them. If they don’t approve they have some mandate to tell you that you are wrong and also can be rude for your choice of faith. If you don’t pray to what they pray to, then your ‘god’ is a demon or something. How archaic. LOL. I find that amazing. LOL again. How can you come to my space, face and life and tell me my religion is wrong? I didn’t hurt anyone with my faith and I don’t intend to. Whatever others of my same faith are or are not doing is not me. So don’t bundle me up into the same package. I am me and they are them. Besides, I am more than my religion. There are many aspects of who I am. So don’t just look at my spiritual choice and summarize me. You don’t know me. And you don’t have to know me. Also I owe nothing to you. I don’t need your approval for my spirituality. I would love to be your friend but let’s not let our spiritual choice ever get in the way. Be modern, be today and accept who I am as I don’t hurt anyone. 🙂 So look at all parts of who I am but the bottom line is my spirituality is my choice, do not ever presume to comment, disparage, judge or even think anything about it. I eat what I want. I dress as I like. Live where I want. Befriend who I wish. Write what I like on my social media space and pray to whatever I feel is working for me. Full stop! 🙂 Thanks for letting me live my life as your opinion of it is not needed, requested or solicited and I say this with deepest respects to you.. Humbly, Tsem Rinpoche

  14. Beng on Feb 7, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    NOTABLE COMMENT FROM TSEM RINPOCHE

    For me, I have received teachings from H.H. the Dalai Lama and I still have to respect him as one of my lamas. It might be different for some of you who have not. But my approach must be respectful. Even if I didn’t have teachings from H.H. the Dalai Lama, would still approach him in a respectful manner. The advice against Dorje Shugden practice by His Holiness is hurting many people in fact millions. It’s creating discord, segregation and pain. Everything the Dalai Lama teaches is about compassion, tolerance and reconciliation and the Shugden practitioners deserve that too. I therefore, respectfully prostrating to the ground would ask H.H. the Dalai Lama to please send his ministers to talk to the leaders of the Shugden group and resolve this issue. I say all this with deepest respects. As a part Tibetan, I also wish His Holiness the best. Long live the Dalai lama. Humbly, Tsem Rinpoche

  15. tsemtulku on Jan 31, 2015 at 6:23 am

    Dear everyone, His Holiness Dalai Lama says to kick out monks from the monasteries who do not listen. I was so surprised at this short speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BS6hq5HJNik

  16. tsemtulku on Jan 28, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    Dorje Shugden followers in the millions will not abandon their practice. So it would be good if leaders of the Dorje Shugden practicing community met with the Tibetan leadership to work out something that will be a win-win situation for both sides. His Holiness Dalai Lama wants to meet the Chinese current leaders to resolve the Tibet issue. Why not meet the Shugden followers to resolve this issue too? Why forgive one ‘enemy’ and ignore another?~Tsem Rinpoche (Please read more here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=57431)

  17. Pastor Gim Lee on Jan 20, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    From the article:

    “Choosing a Dharma teacher is like ordering a la carte from a menu. Whatever a la carte dish you have chosen, you eat it and be happy with it, and stop staring at the buffet with a lot of choices.

    All spiritual teachers of all traditions, leaders and their subordinates should never demonize another person’s faith, belief system or deity. Leave it to the individual to decide…

    So basically, whatever practices your teacher has given you from the depths of his heart, practice it all the way and rejoice in the teachings of the teachers for their disciples.”

    In short, we choose our teacher carefully, then once we have decided, we should follow all the way. And, we should already have full confident and faith in our own teacher/Lama with pure lineage, so no matter what others say about him/her, we will not sway.

    Most importantly, we should never criticise other lamas or tradition, we have not right to do that. It is their right to have the freedom to practice their own spiritual path. Period.

    Buddhists practice for development of compassion. The actions of criticising, bashing and discriminating others are not Buddhists’ practice. When we practice bad actions and violence, where is our compassion?

    H.E. Tsem Rinpoche is giving the logical answers and guidelines for us to practice the teachings of Buddha truthfully without being influenced by any political issue or worldly concerns. Just pure teachings from Buddha, back to basic.

  18. Khoo Hou Haw on Jan 20, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for this wonderful article. I am lucky that so far I have never meet any Buddhist teacher who is criticizing other teaching of any other teachers. I think this is why Buddhism is consider as a peaceful and logical religion by many. Once we have carefully chosen our guru, we should place our trust in him and follow his teaching diligently. There are many people who ran away from their guru saying their teachings are not right, but in fact is the students themselves who are not willing to accept the teaching because they do not want to put in the effort to learn and change. This article should be read by those students who have doubts with their guru because of rumors. In the end, if we choose Buddhism, we should behave like a Buddhist and practice the teaching of Lord Buddha of compassion and acceptance.

  19. Pastor Chia on Jan 20, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    History has show us can not suppress religion believe freedom and how the outcome can be cause the war, disharmony. We should respect each other by not putting down what people has believe in their own religion. We should respect all religion in order to create harmony between different race and religion in this world. Thank you Rinpoche has should us this powerful article. Respect our guru who kindly teach us the spiritual path and follow the his lineage all the way with any doubt.

  20. pammie yap on Jan 20, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for such a logical post.

    In this civilized and modern times, a lot of people around the world are given religious freedom as to what they want to practice. In many countries in fact. Eg. It is not like in the olden days when people will be burnt at the stake or killed for what they want to practice.
    Whatever people want to practice is because they have their faith and believe in those practices.
    In my case, I practice what my Guru gave me. Why have a Guru or have Guru devotion but be picky and choose what I want? I don’t think that I know better than my Guru or else I wouldn’t need my Guru. I follow and ‘stick’ to whatever my Guru tells me to do without a doubt and follow thru.

  21. Antoinette on Jan 20, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    Dear Rinpoche,

    Thank You for this important and clear teaching.
    Much harm has been done in history to many different people all over the world. I cannot even imagine what people had to endure in the past.
    The reasons have been different for each “unwanted issue”. Violence, physical or by speech has brought terrible effects. People had to suffer unimaginable harm. Lets learn from history.

    Buddhism teaches to respect each other and not harm others even if they do not do what you expect them to do.

    Yes, I want to pray to what I want, too.
    With folded hands

  22. Li Kheng on Jan 20, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    We have fought for our individual rights for decades and every victory is defined as advancement in our civilization. We have gained the freedom to choose our own career choices, women have accomplished greater equality in opportunities, we have gained the right to choose who we want to marry etc.

    So, what more the right to religious freedom?! We each should and must fight for this right because it is a quest for our spiritual liberation. It is a fight for the essence of who we are, our beliefs, passion and what we stand for in life. Yes, our religion does boil down to that.

    Religion whether Buddhism, Christianity, Islam or Hindi is food for our soul. It nourishes us to have the wisdom, tenacity and kindness to hold onto our beliefs, passions, visions and dreams.

    Our forefathers suffered the apartheid of the past as listed by Rinpoche in their battle for greater freedom for us. How can we stand back and allow spiritual freedom be jeopardized? If we allow a backward fall in one aspect of humanity, it will only start a domino effect on others aspects in our society.

    Thank you Rinpoche for this reminder of what we must stand up for in our life.

  23. Chandra on Jan 20, 2015 at 6:49 am

    I guess religious freedom is desirable and essential. Brilliant and powerful sharing.

  24. Andrew Hibberd on Jan 9, 2015 at 10:39 am

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/i-pray-to-what-i-want-to.html

    wow this is awesome
    my trust is by truth and fairness this link
    and all of its connectiveness be relied upon
    to return to one thousand years from now

    my human mind tells me it will not be and that i must make
    hard copies of all its content yet my spiritual centre
    tells me all of this will be available one thousand years
    from now , everything is important the past and the future
    nothing more so than now

    what must i do now?

  25. Andrew Hibberd on Jan 9, 2015 at 9:51 am

    wow amazing
    not possible to digest in one day nor one month nor one year
    amazing collection of words works and photos
    my mum always taught me a picture paints
    more than a thousand words and im sure
    my mum was speaking about times when
    a pencil or a paint bush was used to draw pictures
    not a camera
    im so lucky to get this huge collection of stuff
    not clever enough to store it all
    but lucky all the same
    thank you so much

  26. Andrew Paisley on Dec 28, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    Thankyou for this brilliant article Rinpoche! What you have said here has really made lots of things very clear for me. Best wishes to you always 🙂

  27. Dense Kuek on Dec 26, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    Thanks Rinpoche for sharing these with us, this really made me think about how much I done for my religion obviously I did not do anything at all. Many people only think about their religion and try to get the solution when they r facing the problems in their life, I am one of them and this is so wrong..I think in order to avoid leaving your guru/religion, we should really think about why we choose this one in stead of others, only when you have the answer, we will do without having doubt

  28. Low KHJB on Dec 25, 2014 at 11:21 am

    Thank you Rinpoche for you generous sharing on guru devotion and all the rare photos of highly attained spiritual masters of the past and present .Which this highly attained lamas cycles never ends as they devote their pure live to bodhichitta to benefit others to spread the holy dharma.
    We should be glad to be able to meet up and learn dharma from Kechara as they have a pure and uninterrupted lineage solely dedicated to spread the holy dharma and to help those in need.
    The journey towards seeking enlightenment is not easy and it would take many lifetimes. To find the true Guru to lead you the correct path is rare .To encounter obstacles along the way is commen .Do not blame it on the Guru but on your own Karma.

  29. Pee Bee Chong on Dec 24, 2014 at 11:15 am

    Thank you Rinopche for the teaching. We have free choice to choose our religion. If we have selected our religion and Guru, go all the way with perseverance as Guru is so compassionate to train us and guides us in our spiritual path to find our inner Buddha.

    If we have any doubt and confusion, seek advices from our first/root Guru and explain politely to him/her. Seek permission from our first/root Guru if we would like to change any practices. Continue follow the instructions of our first/root Guru if we do not obtain the permission from our guru.

    Do not criticize other religions & other gurus because we will create confusion and harm for others. If we really need to leave our Guru, do not criticize the guru because Guru has been kind and had taught us Dharma. Thank you Rinpoche for the profound teaching.

  30. Chon Kong on Dec 22, 2014 at 1:00 am

    謝謝尊敬的仁波切佛法分享,讓我深一層了解自由信仰宗教的重要性。從文中了解到
    自由選擇宗教或選擇無神論者,是每個人的自由權。任何人都不能剝奪他人的選擇權。 
    任何人都不能利用宗教來達到個人利益和目的。更不能強迫不同宗教信仰者改教,信仰你所皈依的宗教。
    只要我們還沒證悟,就有多少偏見或偏好,但不能詆毀其他宗教來抬高自己所信仰的宗教,這將會掀起互相仇恨的氛圍。
    仁波切強調,一旦皈依上師,就要義無反顧的遵從上師的一切指示和教悔,不可再生起質疑心,如犯了,在修佛路上將會沒有任何成就!
    如果有超過一位上師,將以第一位上師的教誨為最終的教誨,第二位不該推翻第一位上師的指示和教誨,避免造成混淆。
    謝謝師傅的教誨,我會緊記在心,用心學習您給予的知識與教導,願您安康。

  31. Wah Ying on Dec 21, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    Dear Rinpoche,

    Rinpoche’s teaching on this post has deepen and widen my view on religion/belief system and religious freedom. It has expanded the understanding of religious freedom and acceptance of various belief system of mine. I thank you and very much grateful for this. From this ariticle I learn that:

    * To have a religion is one’s choice. As a citizen of 21 century, you can choose which Guru/master/religion to follow; you are free not to have any religion as well. Either way, your choice should be respected by all. Once you have chosen your Guru with full knowledge of the Guru, the lineage, practice and so on, you should follow with loyalty, consistency, and trust till the end. We are not to be seen as holy to be like this, instead we do this because we all want to gain result and reach the goal we wish to – attainment in your spiritual path.

    * As a student we should not critize another Guru/lineage/centre/religion, and this is more crucial for a Guru/teacher to be an example to exercise respect to all religions. World peace comes from the mind of creating peace and wanting peace from every individual who lives on this planet. If religious leaders, teachers, political leaders etc – those who are opinion leaders and have influence in their political arena, spiritual XX and etc never try hard to create peace from within, there will only create more disharmony, hatred and fraction in the Earth. Power and influence should be utilised with good motivation, then it will bring great and good result for all.

    * Even though you were suffered from persecution/discrimination as a minority religious group in the pass, if you are not learnt from the experience, you might bring sufferings to others in later time. Just like what happen to Puritans migrate to America from Europe for religious freedom, later initiated witch hunts themeselves in America. If we did not learn from the sufferings we are having now or we had in the past, to some extent we have actually “wasted” the experience or sufferings…and inflict the same sufferings to others is something even worst would happen to one and others. Experiencing suffering did not guarantee we will not bring the same sufferings to others in future. Instead, suffer with understanding the causes and always remind ourselves not to bring the same to others would prabably make us a better person with understanding and empathy.

    * Religious freedom just like democracy or all others precious things in our life, you will not have it by just sitting there without doing anything.. You have to fight for it, to sweat for it. Nothing come without putting in effort.

    * From ignorance we create fear, anger, hatred and sufferings. Those who wants to consolidate their status/power/the status of the true church will fear anyone who did not obey the church’s orders stand up as “rival” to their status as the authority in the community/country. The want for discource power/champion of its people, would pushing one, most scary is when it was pushed by a group of people with the same desire to control, to use force and done atrocity to another group of peope of different belief.

    Thus we would see disharmony, war, witch hunt and even social media war/persecution against certain group of people/religion/belief which seen to be the rival of the status quo. In history we have also seen a certain group of people/followers of certain belief could become a political games victim to divert attention of people on certain important international/national issue.

    * Fear could not chased away by belittle certain belief, its follwers or their deities/gods. Since it comes from within and would only be countered from within.

  32. Li Kim on Dec 20, 2014 at 11:46 am

    I truly love the candid honesty of this article which I have read many times. Thank you Rinpoche for this powerful and guiding article. What amazes me is that in this modern age of the 21st Century there is still mentality of the old ancient times still prevailing. Religion can be as empowering and peaceful as it can be destructive and disempowering. The distinction being the motivation. So many people have perished in the name of “religion”, and yet it is still happening. This is inhuman, this is barbaric. It is the actions of people which create many to perish which is barbaric and not the practices of the individuals.

    The freedom to choose should not just be documented and preached selectively and for other gains other than religious peace and harmony. The human race cannot be selective. The world is so small and how many more “wars” and deaths have to be in the name of religious freedom. It is my personal opinion that judgements based on ignorance are not the basis for making laws and legislation. When people have peace in their hearts and wisdom on their minds, we will all achieve the world peace in which we have heard about for decades.

  33. Sharon Ong on Dec 19, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    Another fantastic piece with many points for contemplation and practice. One of the things I love and admire about Rinpoche is your tolerance and respect of other faiths. This is the epitome of what a true practitioner should be. Thank you with folded hands.

  34. DR on Dec 15, 2014 at 12:53 am

    This post has such a wealth of information that I will need a few readings to digest it. Thank you Rinpoche for sharing so many precious images here, many of them I am seeing for the first time. I have been following Rinpoche for 20 years and what ‘he preaches, he practices’ and is consistent.

    To preserve and continue from your lineage masters, you need to continue guru devotion practice everyday, for after all The foundation of all good qualities is the kind and perfect, pure guru. I remember Rinpoche telling of how he never missed doing his saddhana but due to a period of having to take on three different jobs a day as a teenager in LA, very reluctantly and sadly, he had to miss it but soon made extra effort to catch up with it. This is how much Rinpoche treasures and respect the practices handed down to him by his teachers even though a few have entered clear light.

    As a Malaysian, I am blessed that we have a liberal government that respects religious freedom although the official religion is Islam. Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, Sikhs (which are the other dominant religion in Malaysia)are able to freely hold different religious beliefs, assemble with fellow believers, proselytize others, engage in inter-faith and intra-faith cooperation, etc. It is an important attribute of democracies when a government allows followers of other religions to follow their spiritual beliefs and practices without oppression or discrimination.

    The Dalai Lama often mentions in his talks that he appreciates any organization or individual people who sincerely make an effort to promote harmony among humanity, and particularly harmony among the various religions.

    Religious tolerance is a fundamental right in democracy. It is to respect the choices people make, the principles they live by, and accepts their right to make their own choices and is vitally necessary for world peace.

  35. Leu Chong Hin (KH JB) on Dec 14, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    Dear Rinpoche,
    I like the photos attached on this article. Thanks. It’s help me better understand Gelugpa lineage and the song. Love it. Thank you very much.

  36. Jill Yam on Dec 13, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    A very powerful sharing which shows mostly on Guru Devotion. So blessed to be able to view all the photos of all highly attained Lamas together.

    My Guru is whom I choose and I will follow all the way no matter what others says.

    Thank you Rinpoche for being part of my life.

  37. Louise on Dec 13, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    修行的信念、修持、上师及教法帮助我们很多。佛陀的教法真的让我了解了那些伤痛的经历并从中学习。

    然而并不是所有人都认为我的修行之路也适合他们,但他们可以找寻适合他们的道路,这没问题。每个人都有属于自己的修行之路。也些有的人独自从各种经历中找到自己的道路。每一上师都有他们特别的方式教导,我们吸收不来,不可以责怪上师。 而且有修到的人,也不会轻易批评。

    H.E Tsem Rinpoche 是我的上师 。我的上师把我从无明中唤醒。接触佛法,学习佛法。让我明白。

    皈依上师,让我可以专注的修行。

  38. Yvonne Yap on Dec 13, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    一个好的上师,是会以身做则,不会去批评和伤害任何人与动物。一个好的上师,会跟随自己的上师和传承,不会离去。一个好的上师,会想尽办法的去,栽培学生。一个好的上师,能够牺牲自己来成全大事。我感恩不尽。

  39. sockwan on Dec 13, 2014 at 11:51 am

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this articl, a teaching on the etiquette of ateacher and a student.

    In this article, Rinpoche has given many examples on how by forcing a belief and religion on others disharmony arised and a precious culture is destoyed. It is also not hard to see that the supression of one religion is out of political motive. When the Western power arrived in a new land, since their motive was to quickly gain control of the people and land, by introducing a new religion forcefully would be the quickest way. With religion, not many logical explanations need to be given when certain decision is made. Controlling people using secular methods, the ruler has to give logical reasoning.

    Many political unrest and disharmony whether in the past or now is caused by thinking one religion id better than the other and by forcing their belief to others. If we really want world peace, respect of other’s belief and culture is very important. Therefore, we should not criticise other’s belief or religion. We should focus in our practice, cultivate good virtues, bring harmony to our community, society, country and world. By criticising others, we will only bring disharmony and unrest

  40. Carmen on Dec 12, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    This is such a powerful post with very lovely pictures.

    If ‘God’ or ‘Buddha’ wanted us all to be the same, and have the same practices, religion, creed, race, we would all be created in such a way where we would not be made to have any choices. We would all be the same color, have the same beliefs, same practices and religion, have no differences in culture, exposure and all. But since, due to karma, our mindsets are all so varied, and the conditions from person to person differs so much, we are put into situations and faced with choices to make. Since these choices that we have to make are bestowed upon us right from the minute we chose to exit our mother’s womb, then it is only right that everyone respects the choices each other makes because we were all born straight into a world where we are always faced with making choices. Why criticize, punish and harass others for choices that they make, when we ourselves are making choices on a daily basis too? If it continues the way it does, where people hurt one another for choices made, then mankind will never be at peace because respect cannot be nurtured.

    This reminds me of Governments. Most governments of different countries do not meddle in the affairs of another country. If they did, we would head towards another world war. But because different governments have come to respect the choices other governments make, with dialogue and mutual respect, we are now able to sit leisurely and enjoy our respective lives. Likewise, on an individual basis, co-existing requires the same. Since individuals are not discriminated based on what schools they go to, the clothes they wear, the language they choose to speak, they should not be discriminated by their choice of practice and religion too. Why pick on one part of an individual and not the other choices they make?

    On a spiritual sense, if people are loyal and devoted to their gurus and lineage, it should be a reason to celebrate. How many people can remain determined to follow instructions given by their chosen gurus for their whole life? If you and I can’t, then that alone is enough to silence us from criticizing others because it is something admirable to emulate.

    Carmen

  41. Karen Chong on Dec 12, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    Making choices is part of our life. From choosing career, spouse, food, lifestyle & whatsoever, we often want to make the “right” choice. Making right choice is so individual and subjective and no one has the right to criticize others for their choice. For example, some extremists condemned homosexuality and regard it as a sin. Our prejudice should not reject people or things outside our understandings. Be open-minded is the key to civilization.

    Everyone loves freedom and have their own definition of freedom. Being free and feeling free, to do, to say, to be , to literally anything, whatsoever. Freedom is not exclusive. It’s a choice and you take full responsible for it.

    Same applies to religion and spirituality. We have every right to choose a spiritual Guru to guide us. Once we decided to follow a certain Guru, we should stick to him/her, by all means. As a spiritual seeker, we have to be open, free of hostility toward other points of view or even without attachment to personal opinions. Otherwise, prejudice or preconception will blind us from seeing our spiritual teacher’s good qualities. Being appreciative towards a Guru’s kindness in teaching us Dharma is the key to achieve Bodhicitta – the root of Buddha’s teachings.

    We always have to be clear that guru is there to help us to transform, he cannot force us, it’s all about self realisation and we take the responsible to transfrom. It’s from within. Ultimately we have to take responsibility to what we’ve done in our life. Be it beneficial or harmful.

    As quoted in Yonten Shigyurma: “Mindful of death, this life disintegrates as swiftly as a bubble in turbulent water and after death my good and bad karma follows me like my shadow.”

  42. Li Kheng on Dec 11, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    We have limited time to dedicate to our Dharma practice. Therefore, if we focus on and get influenced by “this person said this and that person said that”, the person will who will loose out most is you. Why? It is because with the limited time and wisdom and compassion, we are not able to decipher through all this talk. Hence, we loose time and we loose faith and ultimately we loose sight of our dharma practice. Why must we never lose a close link to our Dharma teacher, Yidam and practice? It is because our Dharma practice is the only thing we do in our lives that will help us at our moment of death. The death that none of us can avoid, prevent or escape. Since our dharma is so important, should we permit the words of others who have not attained enlightenment de-track us from our journey? The answer is an evident “No”.

    Similarly, even in the secular world, those who have attainments or success do not need to criticize or put others down. Why? It is because results will speak for themselves. There is a Chinese saying: when the water level drops, the truth will arise. Therefore, if our practice is truly the right one and the best one, results will show. What happen to previous practitioners who engage in a certain practice? Did he or she gain attainment and enlightenment, happiness and peace? If the answer is “yes” then, that is a good practice. So, reflect on the results and not get distracted by what others say.

    As mentioned by Rinpoche, leadership in various parts of the world permits the perceived dark practices like voodoo and witchcraft. Even the Dalai Lama acknowledges, accepts and respects the Bon practice amongst his people. So, why put a stop to practices that are embraced by millions and has been passed down through generations?

    If we are Buddhists, we will understand that what we receive from our Guru as practice is directly related to our karma. Is that not the power of having a Guru? So, that he or she can prescribe the medicine that best treats our illness as written in the Lamrim – Liberation in the Palm of Your Hands. Similarly, the teacher that we have affinity with is also based on our karmic link to him or her. Therefore, instead of determining our choice of Guru based on secular criteria, we should check out the track record of the Guru and check in with our intuition of who is the best teacher for us. Once decided, stick to the decision. Yoyo-ing will be the cause of our spiritual downfall, not the teacher chosen or the practice prescribed because our habituation of indecisiveness will be reinforced and create the cause (karma) for us to always be inconsistent with our practice due to our inability to get committed. This will of course spill over onto our secular lives and hinder our potential to accomplishment desired stable results.

    Thank you Rinpoche for this unfiltered and empowering post that fundamentally speaks for freedom and humanity. We call our civilization advanced and modern. So, it is about time we put a real end to the backward ways of discrimination, suppression and oppression as clearly listed and illustrated by historical examples in the blog post above.

  43. MartinC on Dec 10, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    There is so much in this post that it will take many readings to digest it all.

    Religious conflicts, like all conflicts arise out of man having prejudice in his heart. Prejudice in turn is due to an over-inflated ego that thinks that we alone are right and everyone else is wrong. When this prejudice finds its way into the hearts of men with power it becomes institutionalised persecution. A religion is the pursuit of a spiritual path that ought to broaden our minds, open our hearts and foster peace. It makes sense that religion should teach us to have less prejudice instead of providing us an avenue to exercise our prejudice. A religious conflict therefore is an oxymoron. But as Rinpoche said, it is difficult for a person not to be biased until such time when he or she attains a certain level of bodhisattva-hood.

    And this is one of the many reasons why I appreciate this post – it deals with a difficult subject with such clarity and logic. It offers wise alternatives that does not steer us deeper into antipathy, using as guideposts, reason, common sense and good values such as loyalty and integrity – the bare minimum of elements a true spiritual path should encourage.

    At the end of the day the main purpose for us to practice a religion is to find liberation for our mind and to be at peace with ourselves. How can condemning the faith of others help me achieve liberation? How can disturbing the beliefs of others benefit my own spiritual training? In fact how can anything external do that for me?

  44. Datuk May on Dec 10, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    What an awesome post and so much to learn from this both in the spiritual, secular and social aspects.
    Most of all Tsem Rinpoche’s views in this article shows His great compassion, understanding and care for all aspects of living with the freedom to do what is suitable for an individual to eventually live life virtuously and be happy within ourselves.

    In life to success in anything, we need to believe in our choices and have perseverance to continue our path to reach our goals. One of the smarter way to do so would be to have found a teacher and guide.

    I would never think of climbing Mount Everest without a guide and while on the journey, would the changing of guide be a disaster and danger to myself. Therefore it is my personal opinion that since I have found my spiritual guide and teacher in Tsem Rinpoche, why do I want to change as practising the Dharma is no easy task given our old nasty habituations and wrong views.

    All religions teach us to be kind and compassionate and that should be respected even if we practise a different method of spirituality and religion.

    The choice of our teacher is made by us and it is imperative that we never disparage our teacher as in doing so it has really nothing to do with the teacher but our total distrust of oneself.

    Choosing a religious teacher is not like buying a handbag, which can be discarded at will with a new one. But honestly speaking even in changing a handbag it is very stressful as we have to remember once again how articles are placed.

    Choose your teacher and never waiver from your own belief that he is the best for you, although there will be many moments when our negative Karma would arise and would distress us, hold on and avert this negativity and have purification thereon. Trust your religious teacher as he/she will never harm you but only guide you to be a happy and good person.

    In Buddhism, remember the lineage that goes all the way to Shakymuni Buddha and the tenets of Buddhism cannot be wrong, only we can.

  45. Patsy on Dec 10, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Everyone has the right to practice what they feel comfortable with based on their faith and experience and it is very disrespectful to criticize or condemn others beliefs. It is basic human rights to have religious freedom. All religion makes us to be a better person; we should have tolerance and compassion and live in harmony with each other. Religious discrimination is very bad as it creates sufferings, hatred and violence.

    This article truly reflects on Rinpoche’s strong Guru Devotion and we should follow the advice Rinpoche mentioned in this post. We should be respectful and mindful of other beliefs, be tolerant and do not discriminate. The world will be a better place to live if we spend less time arguing who is right or who is wrong.

    Thank you, Rinpoche, for this sharing this teaching and with all the treasured pictures of so many highly attained Masters. Also, thank you, for being so open and clear about your views. I am glad I have a Guru, a Lineage and a practice and nothing is going to deter me from giving up too.

  46. Irene Lim on Dec 9, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    Tsem Rinpoche’s guru devotion has always been perfect and steadfastly strong beyond any doubt and this the quality leading to great spiritual attainments. Rinpoche’s loyalty and guru devotion is truly inspirational and is indeed a great example for many of us to follow in the spiritual path to enlightenment. Rinpoche’s view is not only broad and encompassing but is also practical. In this article Rinpoche clearly showed us how we can practise the path in the midst of religious confusion and doubts especially when we have more than one guru with conflicting views. We remain true to ourselves and our guru and lineage without creating any obstacles by trusting, loyal and steadfast without wavering to anyone or any seemly famous/popular spiritual celebrity/teacher with conflicting views. I fully agree we pray to what we want to pray, no one has the right to demonise our religion and beliefs. This is the way to go.

    Living in the 21st century with a mindset of the 16th century, taking away religious freedom/human rights of the people while preaching world peace and harmony on the planet is the worst crime that any political/spiritual leader can ever do. How can there be world peace and harmony without ethics?

    It is heartwarming to see many pictures of highly attained beings in here. Thank you for sharing Rinpoche.

  47. Graceleong on Dec 9, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    This article reflects a few points to me :-
    1) Those from different race, religion or creed should respect each other’s beliefs and doctrines and should not talk bad or discriminate others.
    2) For those within the same religion in this case Tibetan Buddhism, we should also respect and revere the uniqueness of the differences that prevail. Amitabha’s wisdom of All-Distinguishing, our hearts should open in love and compassion and we should affectionately appreciate the details and subtleties of the differences that are everywhere in life and especially in all the individuals we meet.
    Not only do we have different schools i.e Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya, Gelug, Jonang, and Bonpo. Within each school we also have emphasis on slightly different deities and practices, depending on the Guru we are learning from. The Guru would know precisely what each student needs in order for the student to succeed in their path to Enlightment. There can NEVER be one method for all sentient beings.

    Hence, no high or low ranking person(s) in Dharma or whatsoever should have the right to change all these “uniqueness” because there would be no way that all of us can be conformed to ONE METHOD. If only one method can do the trick why would The Great Buddha have 84000 Dharma gates and also made 3 turning of the Dharma Wheel.
    I have the great fortune to meet a very wise,kind and compassionate Guru, Tsem Rinpoche, and I am eternally grateful. He is the personification of perfect Guru devotion and I hope to be able to emulate this virtue.
    Thank you Rinpoche for strengthening my assurance and confidence in my faith in the 3 jewels via this teaching ! May the sufferings of all those being hurt and discriminated quickly end and may they have the complete freedom to practice and progress in their paths !

  48. Pema Thinley on Dec 8, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    Dear Rinpoche,

    It is very direct and open and so mind piercing dharma, instructions for people like me. How precious we innocent people will be to have such Guru. I bow at your lotus feet rinpoche. how wonderful it would be if all have such attitude. Thank you Rinpoche _/\_

  49. abby foo on Dec 8, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    What I learnt from this teaching are:

    1. The nature of samsara: no matter what you do and how you do something, it will not please EVERY SINGLE PERSON ON THIS EARTH, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE. Even from the small thing like what clothes we choose to wear, there will be compliment and criticism. Like what Rinpoche has said on the above, “In samsara, the pleasure of one can be the scorn of another. What is precious to another can be poison to others.” Everything has 2 sides, and this kind of conflict even takes place in our own mind, we always have this kind of debate in our mind too(this we called it as ‘dilemma’) how sad it is.
    By knowing this fact, we choose to practice Dharma, we want to get rid of this good and bad extreme that brings so much confusion and pain to ourselves and others, we strive to learn emptiness and equanimity in our Dharma practice to solve the confusion/dilemma. But when we say my Lama is good but his/her Guru is bad, that practice is bad but not this one, that religion is bad and the other is not, it brings more dilemma to yourself and others and it completely defeats the purpose of practicing Dharma. We stuck in the extreme of good and bad and forget about being humble, forget about the teachings of emptiness and equanimity that can relief our pain. The even worse thing is, we creates confusion, trouble and pain to others who wish to get rid of pain and practicing Dharma. Again, this defeats the purpose of practicing Dharma because we are not compassion by creating confusion and trouble to others.
    The reason why we shouldn’t criticize others’ belief, Lama and lineage is:
    from spiritual angle: be compassion to others and respect others, practice equanimity and be a real Buddhist.
    from human rights angle: let everyone practices what they like. If they are evil and bad, let the law ‘punish’ them, not by your malicious words and action. If you are the one to judge, there is no need of law, judges, courts etc.
    2. To those who always say bad thing about their previous practice, previous teachers, the basis of you able to criticize your previous belief/practice/teachers, it is because you learnt something from them or out of them. No matter what you feel, you gained something that’s for sure. A loser will complaint forever long how he/she is being treated badly in the past and keep blaming and tell the bitter stories of themselves. A winner will thank the adversity because he/she learnt from the past and they will even grateful to what happened in the past. They will not be bitter and complaint.
    However, the more important thing to understand is that: no one forces you to follow that lineage/Lama, it is your own choice and you have the capacity of time/freedom to choose whether to follow or not. So why complaint endlessly about your own ‘bad choice’? Yes you can say that is my ‘responsibility’ to point out what is wrong, but how do you know you are completely right and the lineage/Lama are completely wrong therefore they deserve your endless criticism? There are still many people following that lineage and Lama, it cannot be only you and a few of others are the ones who are smart. You do not fit in the lineage/Lama is possible, so when you need a change, yes, do it beautifully, respectfully and gracefully. Do not create trouble and confusion for others.
    3. It is very ungrateful and ridiculous when we criticize the lineage Lamas, and saying they were bad and wrong are even worse. What you have learnt today to distinguish right or wrong are passed from them. The knowledge you use to criticize their actions/belief/practices are passed down from them as well. But at the same time you are criticizing them and humiliating them? Even some holy prayers you reciting are written by them too.
    4. The true courage to take on the responsibility to hold the lineage and the lama’s teachings come from true practice not blindly following the authority. If we blindly follow the authority, following someone just because his/her higher status, we will not able to hold anything in life, not to mention about lineage. The authority will change, there will be someone who has higher status than this person you are following now in the future, are you going to switch side again and again? If you switch side like this, there will be nothing you can hold and safeguard. True practice is you have the determination and loyalty to something, you have great faith because you know by yourself it is something good and no matter what people say about it, you know you are right and you hold it peacefully and with great courage.
    Tsem Rinpoche is the one who has this great courage and patience. From young the stepparents created many huge obstacles for His Dharma practice, the adversities were so many in the past even in monastery time didn’t stop Him from learning the Dharma and preaching the Dharma to all of us today. I thank Rinpoche for the wonderful post above, it makes me think and reflect on myself a lot. It especially reminds me of not to be righteous and be open with everything.

  50. Uncle Eddie on Dec 8, 2014 at 11:45 am

    Rinpoche takes everyone on an inspirational journey through their hearts to find their individual truth. In this post, Rinpoche truly reflects his views when it comes to Dharma; that one should have a good and faithfull attitude all the way without reserve, as far as Dharma practice is concerned. Dharma was intended by Lord Buddha to benefit all sentient beings and Lord Buddha himself had validated that. As the Vinaya sutra says,”Actions will not be wasted, Even with the passing of a hundred aeons, When the right causes and circumstances meet, The fruits of Embodied Beings will ripen”. Rinpoche has said in this blog, “No one has the right to tell me whom I should pray to. Each individual should have his own statutorial rights to pray to what, or whom, he or she wants to. Each individual reserves his/her own rights to have their own God, Buddha, Jesus or their own creator, or whatsover they believe in. Its up to each individual to decide. So when we are asked, Rinpoche has advised us to just make it simple by peacefully saying, “I have a Guru, I have a lineage, I have a practice and a goal and I am going to stick by it! Thank you Rinpoche, for your wonderful teachings, which is like a roadmap always leading us to a good spiritual development. May you have a stable good health and a long life to continue turning the Wheel of Dharma to benefit all sentient beings. Om Mani Padme Hung.

  51. KYC on Dec 8, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Having trust, belief and loyalty to one’s guru and lineage is very important for success in one’s practice. There should not be any doubt about the teacher and the lineage lamas. One should always remember the teacher’s kindness for having imparted the Dharma to us and repay his kindness by practising the Dharma well. The solutions given here by H.E. Tsem Rinpoche are very helpful for both teachers and spiritual aspirants.

  52. Edwin Tan on Dec 7, 2014 at 2:11 am

    Dear Rinpoche,

    Thank you for the wonderful read.

    It is through Rinpoche that I learn most about guru devotion. Unlike Rinpoche who has many great teachers to guide and teach Rinpoche, I am very fortunate to receive condensed teachings from numerous great masters through Rinpoche.
    And I do not need other teachers to teach me.

    Just like what Rinpoche mentioned in the article, teachings must have lineage and the lineage explained to us. I remembered clearly when I took refuge with Rinpoche, Rinpoche clearly explained who are / were Rinpoche’s gurus and the lineage / practices Rinpoche is going to bestow upon me.

    I respect and love Rinpoche and the practices and lineage given to me by Rinpoche. Likewise, nobody can say what MY guru teaches me are wrong or give remarks about them.

    Thank you Rinpoche.

  53. Joy on Dec 6, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    I SO LOVE ALL THOSE BEAUTIFUL PICTURES!
    THANK YOU Rinpoche for SHARING them with us here.

    My favourites are:
    1. Trijang Rinpoche wearing the Panchen Sonam Drakpa hat… so divinely regal he looks!
    2. His Holiness Penor Rinpoche so humble, so compassionate
    3. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche purposely went to have audience with His Holiness the Panchen Lama.
    4. The grand oracle of Gaden Monastery – this picture was on my sister’s shrine and I was always curious and thought this must be someone powerful!
    5. Dalai Lama with a light aura surrounding his body and head.
    6. Picture of Rinpoche meeting the current H.H. Zong Rinpoche is my all time fav
    7. Last but not least really like the last picture of Rinpoche walking out the elevator of KH1 back in those days!

  54. Joy on Dec 6, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    Isn’t “religion” suppose to be about love and kindness to others?

    The moment someone criticizes another person’s faith, enforces it on to others, that is the moment all hell breaks lose and that is the moment you know that is NOT CORRECT, NOT TRUE and definitely NO religion. I don’t think there’s any religion that have it in their books/bibles to condemn another religion or faith is virtuous. It says “love thy neighbour” not “burn thy neighbour” and I would probably say “see ya later”! If Buddha or God is “selective” and “compassion” is bias, then there’s something terribly off about that religion. So I am definitely one who will not agree or support those, no matter who they may be, when they start to criticise, ostracise, discriminate, condemn another person’s faith/religion. This is our Human Right to religious freedom, to practice what we want, and to stay true to our own lineage, Gurus and ourselves. No one can, should or has the right to tell us otherwise let alone take it away from us. No one and especially not another spiritual leader – it would be such a huge shame, so weird, so not right coming from a spiritual person who is suppose to teach and exemplify love kindness/compassion. Not only does it put that spiritual person’s own integrity down, it makes us wonder if there’s something wrong with their religion or teachings. This is how Dharma will be destroyed by those in the Dharma itself. On so many levels it is wrong and destructive.

    If spirituality is selective with love and kindness, then we are probably already in hell. Might as well be atheist. If everyone could just practice what their beautiful religion teaches which are kindness and compassion to all, then this world will definitely be a better place.

    In deed this is a very powerful post. Thank you Rinpoche for being real, for being loyal, strong and not swayed by those who criticise, for this is a teaching and inspiration itself for us to follow suit. Thank you Rinpoche who always tells us to respect other people’s faith, other lineages, even praises other lineage masters and mahasiddhas, and to never criticise another no matter what – this to me is wisdom and compassion! This is the same wisdom imparted on to me by my Catholic mother, the same wisdom I hear in Churches and temples.

  55. mima on Dec 6, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    This is a very rich post full of precious teachings…I am deeply grateful to have the chance to be exposed to it through your fantastic webssite, blog site, youtube videos ,books and so much more…. and you all very strong dedication to work as a team together. With folded hands and deep gratitude to be connected you all. I do not write well so here are the words I wrote and forgive me for it I wish to make an effort to practice so I can get better at it and stop negating myself…

  56. Alice Tay on Dec 6, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    如果我们选择了相信佛法,那么我们就要敬信三宝。无论你是一位普通的信众或是一位宗教领袖者,都不可以批评其他的宗教、他人的上师、僧人和传承。因为如果这样做,将会引起了口舌之争,而也造成其他众生失去了接触佛法的机会,业力的呈现将会是很可怕。

    在藏传佛教里,一旦我们遇到了自己的上师,一定要虔诚、忠心、诚恳,依止上师。因为, 上师是一位殊胜以及对我们的生命具有影响力的人。他所给的教诲可以让我们持修与精进,然后增长智慧,直到达到证悟。

    我很敬佩上师Rinpoche 的坚持、虔诚与依止心于Zong Rinpoche。因为Zong Rinpoche 是上师Rinpoche 的根本上师。虽然Zong Rinpoche 在上师Rinpoche 很年轻时就已经圆寂了。但是我们的上师Rinpoche 不会因为这个原因而放弃反而更加努力与精进的持修Zong Rinpoche 所传给他的佛法修行。就算是转世回来的Zong Rinpoche 也不能够代替之前所传于上师Rinpoche 的一切。上师Rinpoche 的虔诚与清净的三昧耶,也造就了我们有机会学习直系的格鲁派传承。

    我个人很赞同上师Rinpoche 所强调的 ~ “一位上师,一个传承,一个修行,一个目标,我要坚持下去,一直到我的时间结束为止。” 因为,只有这样,我们才会更精进与快速达到证果。上师Rinpoche 的所遇到的一切就已经证明了这个点。

    感谢上师Rinpoche 所给的一切。

  57. stella on Dec 6, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    For those who are seeking teaching from more than 1 Guru, Rinpoche, in his great compassion, outlined the guidelines so that there will be no broken samaya and confused practice. It is not encouraged to have multiple Guru because the student may be confused by the different set of teaching. It is us who will be confused at our level, not the Guru. Practice diligently what the Guru teaches us all the way.

    Every religion is beautiful and teaches its followers to practice peace, love and kindness. Sadly it is always the followers who misinterpret and distort the teaching, instead they pick and choose what suits their causes.

    It is also saddening that man of religion behaving as a forceful conqueror with total disregard to the belief and heritage of another mankind; all in the name of expanding their own religion, without realizing that this is the very action that goes against the core of the religious teaching in the first place.

    Thank You Rinpoche for the powerful teaching.

  58. Tommie Roden on Dec 6, 2014 at 10:20 am

    BRAVO!!!! BRAVO!!!!! BRAVO!!!! Great read. Great points. WOW!!!

  59. William on Dec 6, 2014 at 7:59 am

    What we receive from our guru is very precious and should never be traded for something else. All teachings are precious and should be held with great respect and gratitude. Thank you Rinpoche for the insightful teaching and advice on our lineage and teachers. Rinpoche has shown us great guru devotion from Rinpoche’s own actions. I love the pictures Rinpoche shared especially those personal thangkas and statues.

    Everyone has their own freedom to practice what they deem beneficial to them but also should have respect to follow their guru’s instructions and teachings.

  60. Hee TS on Dec 5, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    親愛的仁波切,我一直很佩服仁波切對诸位大師的奉獻,並感謝仁波切對上師奉獻的重要提醒。我們應該永遠绝對不移之信任心,充分尊重我們的仁波切。對於初学的我,了解到依止上師之心是修行的现决条件,不然,無上師的指引,教授。而盲修瞎練,徙勞無功将是成果了

  61. Jim Yeh on Dec 5, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    Thank you for sharing this with us Guruji.

    Rinpoche has always stressed how important and valid other religions are, therefore one should never belittle groups from other religion. If more people read this with an open mind…there would be less grudges held.

    I will always respect my Guruji and never criticize other people’s beliefs. There’s already too much suffering out there…no reason to create more.

    With warmest regards,
    Jim

  62. sweekeong on Dec 5, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    It was new to me when I heard that criticizing a guru is also criticizing the lineage. It is hard to swallow my own opinion although I don’t intend to put down the whole lineage and tradition as there are so many gurus in a lineage. These gurus have definitely in many ways have helped and benefited many people out there through spreading teachings and offering their services. As I was new I have put these negative thoughts away and chosen to follow the positive, what is more beneficial for me. As others have said what is in for me at the end of the day, for me it is a simple wish, the teachings and practices that will lead to more peace and happiness for me and everyone around me.

    We must have gratitude just like we have gratitude to our parents who have given their time, love, money to take care of us. We never speak bad of our parents in front of our friends, co-workers and strangers. Why? Because we are in debt to their kindness. There is no reason to label and criticize our parents. The same applies to anyone who have given so much to us such as our friends and also our spiritual guru.

    To criticize incessantly and putting down others in the name religion, or ‘truth’ is disrepecting to the lineage, the spiritual guides and all the good people who follow the religion and tradition. It is a deception to get people and to control them for our own selfish agenda. Numbers mean nothing when the motivation is impure. What else is there to it? Is religion is to bring salvation to people or to bring suffering to more people? What is our motivation? If we believe in peace and harmony then there is no reason to criticize others’ beliefs.

    After reading all about the atrocities happened in the past to these people who are oppressed due to their belief one can only conclude that the oppressors are hiding behind religion to advance their own agendas, calling others as devil, while they themselves have the mind of devils. We must stop calling and naming others as devil and others as wrong, forgetting that every thing comes from the mind. If we always fixated on between right and wrong, between black and white, then we are forever looking for the best religion, the best guru, what about the best wife or husband? Then there will be no best of everything because it is different from one person to another because of each owns ‘reasons’. Therefore what is the point of putting down others when we have decided on a guru? Are we choosing the guru not because we are looking for spiritual evolution but instead to look nice with a company of people?

  63. Pastor Han Nee on Dec 5, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing the pictures of High Lamas and great Beings, pictures which you have so carefully and lovingly selected. They reflect your deep and abiding love for these great spiritual leaders and masters, no matter which lineage they came from, as well as your sincere reverence and devotion to them.

  64. Jacinta Goh on Dec 5, 2014 at 10:29 am

    Dear Rinpoche,

    When I read this again, I was kind of taken aback as I think Rinpoche kind of facing many difficulties being a Dharma Teacher. I am indeed very thankful that Rinpoche continues to teach and impart knowledge to those who are practicing and this can only stem from great compassion. Without the thought of benefiting others, Rinpoche wouldn’t teach openly and to let people to criticize.
    We should respect all the Lamas, their school of thoughts and their practices. Even when I read books from different Lamas, they do preach the same thing, what’s more to regard everyone as Bodhisattva! This is why we need to practice equanimity. I am glad that I have a Dharma Teacher, one centre and its practices. I believe many of us have many problems in our daily life, ranging from work, children, spouse and etc. Hence, let’s not add more problems to our life. If I remember correctly, every single practice will lead us to happiness/enlightenment. Hence, we should be contented and work our way through. ‘Do not abandon your Guru no matter how many problems or issues we need to overcome’. If one has to blame, hence Karma is the real culprit!
    For all those problems surrounding us, we must put human values in the highest regards. We all need happiness and avoidance from sufferings. Hence, we should act accordingly and do not make people more miserable. As a person who was once a non-Buddhist before, I know it’s rather hard to turn things around if they are not open. As I recalled one of the teachings, Rinpoche mentioned that it is the degeneration of the people practicing it, and not the religion. Sadly, ‘religion’ is being used though for me it’s only mere labeling. Last but not least, may many Lamas will return to teach as there are still practitioners who needed the guidance to reach the others shores. Thank you Rinpoche for the pictures too and I love the last picture with its caption too.

  65. Julia Tan on Dec 5, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing your profound wisdom with us. I love this article so much, so much of wisdom so much of love and compassion.

    Very sad to know that for centuries, religions have been abused and used as a tool to control people’s mind by political parties due to their greed of power and wealth. They blinded their hearts and forgot about where their root came from. More sad that they used the name of GOD and BUDDHA to create sufferings for others instead of following the teachings pure teachings which is love.

    What’s the point of we being educated and trained to have the ability to choose wisely, to speak up, to love and to be kind to others which is the basic moral value that we brought up with as human but when we grown up we were suppressed and discriminated for being faithful to our believe and religion.

    Buddha said life in samsara is full of sufferings, we practice Dharma so that we are protected from going to 3 lower realms. At the same time we practice compassion to help others to cut down their sufferings. How can we practice compassion but in the other hand we turn around and create even more sufferings to those who had not done anything harmful to others.

    Those who are wise should read this article with an open mind. That’s no right or wrong because what we believe now should came from good imprints that we have from many lives time. For having said that, only the little and whatever merits that we collected for doing something good from the past in order to connect us with our root guru in this life.

    I have a Guru, a lineage, a practice and a goal. I am going to stick with it until the end of my time. This is my choice too.

  66. Choong on Dec 5, 2014 at 10:05 am

    We have minds to think and are born in all shapes, colors, etc. Why must it be that one mind must impose his own conclusions on others? Are we all the same?

    You do not force people to eat hamburgers every day or drink milk for that matter, why would you force your beliefs on others?

    We are all different and hence should be allowed to think differently if we choose to. That is the nature of the world we live in.

  67. Pastor Niral on Dec 5, 2014 at 8:11 am

    Thank you Rinpoche for this post. People should be free to practice whatever religion they choose and not be persecuted or limited to choose as Rinpoche’s historical examples show. People who force their views on others and punish them for their beliefs have been historically shown to be ignorant. I rejoice that in this day and age, freedom of religious practice is being protected by governments all around the world. This has come about from understanding the standpoint of other religions, social movements/change and a general respect of other people.

    Regardless of what people choose to practice, we should not criticize them as Rinpoche mentions in the article. If we are following a religious path, we should follow the practices along our path as taught by out teacher but definitely not criticise the religious paths of others.

    We should follow the advice Rinpoche has mentioned in this blog post. If you are practicing something be respectful of other people’s religions. Because if you get to the core practices of the major world religions, they all share a common thread, compassion and love. This is something that Lord Buddha taught too, and we should follow this in our daily lives, with our family, friends, co-workers and Dharma brothers and sisters. That is the only way we will make the world a better place.

  68. Chandra on Dec 5, 2014 at 6:19 am

    I think, history is proof that we as a human race are so flawed and imperfect. If this is one of our key traits then it will inspire me to work on my imperfections to minimise damage imposed rather than letting my weaknesses get the better of me. And if highly evolved beings are among us, then the least we can do as ordinary people is eliminate crazy talk around them or about them. These infarctions reflect us and our poor knowledge perhaps and sadly it isn’t a good image!

  69. Nicholas Yu on Dec 5, 2014 at 1:38 am

    We have the freedom for everything that we want to do. What limit us is ourselves.
    If we have made up our mind in this case we have check and accepted the Guru by understanding his teaching have lineage and we able to see how compassionate the Guru teach and treat his students we should go all the way. Personally i feel that the Guru and disciples relationship is very personal. The Guru will use his skilful means to teach us and get us to the right path to benefit us not only this life but life after life.

    For such how can sway our trust and faith towards our Guru just by the words from others. Religious is not something we do for part time but if we believe it will bring happiness and ultimate benefit to us and our family it is something that we will commit for life. With this belief everyone have their right to choose and no one has the right to condemn.

    All religious is to make us a better person. So in this case in stead of criticising others religious why not encourage them and be harmonious with each other. Everyone has their personal preference based on their belief and experience that we should respect and since we are not the only living being living in this world, we should be harmonious, dismiss differential and encourage common good practice and quality to live together. A great and strong country encourage harmony to unite their people even though they have different belief but what make them together is the believe in one thing call respect and harmony.

    From the articles Rinpoche shared, religious discrimination is very cruel and only bring suffering to many people.

    Thank you Rinpoche of this great teaching and it is very nice to see the great lamas taking pictures together.

  70. Jace Chong on Dec 5, 2014 at 12:45 am

    Dear Rinpoche, thanks for your sharing of this logical and powerful post, and the very blessed photos here.

    It sadden me when I read about the prosecutions on people who have different beliefs. Like what Rinpoche said in the post, “Who are we to jugde?” What make us righteous and have to right to harm others or decide how should others think?

    What make a God? It’s not the quantity of the followers but the quality of what that particular god is spreading and nurturing others. Real religions promoting love and compassion and different religion leaders are the agents to preach the people.

    I wish more people will understand this and stop the confusion and conflict that bring people down.

    Thank you Rinpoche _/\_

  71. Valentina Suhendra on Dec 5, 2014 at 12:20 am

    When I read the following statement in the article, I felt emotional because this is what I think and it resonates with what I believe.

    “I choose my guru, lineage gurus, practice, deity and destiny. So none of you should criticize or ‘advise’ me otherwise. I made my choice, I will sleep with it. Therefore your kind advice, probably motivated by compassion and love, is not solicited, accepted or wanted.”

    The issue of religious freedom is a cause that is very dear to my heart. I have been raised in a confucian family, grow up in a Moslem country, educated in a Catholic school, tasted the free world in the US, and finally chose to be a Gelugpa practitioner and took refuge from a Gelugpa Lama, H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche whom I respect very much and the source of all the good qualities.

    I respect other people’s religions. I am happy for them when they speak about their religions with great faith and how the religions have help them. I do not criticize other people’s faith because I respect them as intelligent individuals who have the right to do what they want and speak what they want. I appreciate other people and their faith because I know their faith is as precious to them as my faith is precious to me. There is no reason as to why I should not be proud of my Lama or my faith who have helped me tremendously in my life.

    What my Lama said in this article makes me respect him even more. Despite his great devotion to his Gurus, Lineage Lamas and faith, he has tremendous respect for other religions. Once we open a pandora box of criticizing other lama/ religions and say that our religion is better than the other religions, the arguments will never end. We will spend our whole life arguing that one is better over the other instead of practicing the pure faith that we are spending so much time to defend. I think life is too short for that.

    It is sad that some people have nothing better to do than just criticizing other people and trying to set imaginary boundaries to others.. How many hours that they are spending talking about other people and making sure that other people look bad/ wrong just to emphasize they are right. Are they so uncomfortable with themselves that they need other people to follow what they are doing to reassure them that they are correct? They must be deeply unhappy and I hope they will find some peace in their lives.

    Thank you Rinpoche for this post.

  72. KH Ng on Dec 4, 2014 at 11:58 pm

    This post reflects the compassion of Rinpoche for all religious practitioners, regardless of the religion, schools within the religion, differences in practice or deity. His passion for the freedom of religious practice is so logical and cannot be refuted because the basis of it is the respect that each individual practitioner should have for others. Otherwise, it will only lead to never ending chaos and suffering.
    Religion should only bring alleviation of suffering regardless of its’ doctrine. By criticizing or impeding other religion or practices, the leaders of these group, be it from the majority or the minority actually have personal agendas driven by politics, power, personal gain or ignorance that contradict the very nature/teachings of their own religion, I am sure.

    That You Rinpoche for being so courageous and clear about your views. You remind me of Mahatma Gandhi!

  73. Pastor Han Nee on Dec 4, 2014 at 11:35 pm

    It is every person’s basic right to choose their religion, and having made that choice, each individual should respect the faiths and beliefs of others. Instead of engaging in pressurizing and frightening others into submission and converting others to their faiths, via coercion, or through fear(with visions of hell and God’s wrath), shouldn’t respect for other faiths and compassion be the hallmarks of a truly religious person?

    This vain attempt to prove their religion right and that of others wrong has always driven people to acts of abuse and persecution. Furthermore, religious bigots can hardly ever be kind ,sincere and caring people. On the other hand, truly compassionate people, like Mother Theresa , my Guru and many other great Lamas have shown us how to live life meaningfully and with love and care for others.

    Last but not least, when we have already assured ourselves that we have found our root Guru , with a lineage and great lineage masters, we know, without a doubt, from our Guru’s example that Guru Devotion is at the heart of our spiritual practice. It provides a solid anchor for us in a confused world, where religion has often been taken over by power play and politics.

  74. lewkwanleng on Dec 4, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    There are many religion heads and teachers who choose to focus on the differences. This happened not only in different religions, but often within the same religion. We so often hear people say, “oh, you are Tibetan Buddhism… I am Mahayana”, and we then we focus on the differences.

    All I can say is that I have followed Rinpoche as your view on religious co-existness harmoniously really what I have hoped for. There are already too many differences and segregation, and we are in really need of peace and harmony. Respect for each other needs to start with someone, and the best place to start with is from myself. We may not agree with what others are practicing, but we shall not incite hatred and confusion in others. As religious or spiritual heads or teachers, coming from compassionate and care will definitely benefit more people compared to criticising others.

    May we all live in harmony and peace with each other, even though we have different faith, Guru and lineage. May we all have happiness together.

    Oh.. and I really like the photos posted by Rinpoche here.. the photos of Zong Rinpoche and Trijang Rinpoche having lunch together in previous and current life are really cute, but at the same time remind us that through practice, we can break the cycle of samsara 🙂

  75. Pastor Henry Ooi on Dec 4, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    Everyone has the right to his/her own religious belief and no one has the right to say so otherwise.
    In my opinion, people who go around converting others to what they believe in are religious fanatics who think they are religious marshalls.
    I also opine that those who go around labeling others as devil worshippers, packing up and dumping other’s religious paraphernalia, books, statues, etc should be labeled as terrorists who create much fear in other’s mind, and in some cases causing bodily harm.

    Lord Buddha taught that religious practice is about love and compassion, tolerance and patience, giving and forgiving, wanting peace and not violence and so on. Everyone wishes for and wants happiness. Who are you/we to disagree.

    Thank you very much Rinpoche for this wonderful teaching and treasured photos. May Rinpoche be well always. Please live long.

    • Andrew Hibberd on Jan 9, 2015 at 10:24 am

      This is respectfully addressed to all spiritual aspirants,

      Whether our teacher is famous or high profile or not should not matter in our trust, belief and loyalty towards our teacher. Whatever our teacher disseminates to us should have a lineage and since it has brought benefit to others in the past for hundreds of years, why doubt? Teachings must have a lineage and if our teacher has explained the lineage to us and we have accepted it, then go all the way with it without further doubts. In this case, more people or less people following a teacher does not make the teacher more or less genuine. Many great masters are obscure and choose that on purpose. What makes the teachings alive and potent is our trust, devotion and loyalty in our teacher coupled with transforming our minds. When we lose faith or criticize our teacher, we criticize his lineage, his teacher, his students and his sincerity because everyone is intertwined. When we criticize and leave our teacher, no matter how many new teachers we meet and take teachings from, there will be no results according to Vajradhara. This advice is very important. We must face that truth and overcome our anger, egos and wrong views. If we genuinely have a problem with our teacher that cannot be overcome, speak to the teacher, share and explain and if it doesn’t work, ask permission to go to another teacher. Even when we have gone to another teacher, we should never criticize or attempt to damage the teacher we had left. Why? Because that teacher did impart Dharma to us. We should speak respectfully of our past teachers and remember their kindness. He did spend time, show love and shower us with gifts and perhaps our karmas are different. We cannot scorn everyone who doesn’t match our projections. Don’t forget this ever. Being grateful is a necessary component of higher attainments, hence we recall our teachers and lineage lamas in all higher practices (sadhanas) of any tantric deities daily. We recite the liturgies of invoking on our teacher’s and lineage teachers’ blessings daily in our meditations and sadhanas. The reason is to develop a sense of being grateful and taking nothing for granted. Therefore we should not criticize even our lineage lamas or listen to the criticism of them by others. To have doubts in our lineage lamas or criticize them or agree with criticism in any way also impairs the ability to gain attainments in any of the higher tantric practices. The practices such as Yamantaka, Kalachakra, Gyalwa Gyatso, Cittimani Tara, Vajrayogini, Heruka, Guhyasamaja and Hevajra all have daily invocational liturgies to our root and lineage lamas. These are recited daily and their blessings are invoked upon daily.

      Trijang Rinpoche with his close disciples and students Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa. It’s a very warm and loving picture which I’ve always enjoyed seeing and wanted to share.
      For example, within the Gelugpa lineage lamas, we have Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche, Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, etc. Every single day, within our major meditational practices, we recite their names daily and invoke upon them to bless us to have success in our practices. It seems it has become something of a political correctness for some ignorant people to criticize these great lamas and say they have mistaken views, wrong practices and have led their students wrongly. We see this more and more. So for a Gelugpa practitioner where we have to do Yamantaka, Guhyasamaja and Heruka practices daily, in each of these we have to invoke upon these three lineage gurus. So how is it that in our meditations everyday we view them as enlightened beings and invoke upon their blessings, and then we turn around and hear certain people criticizing and belittling them? How do we come to terms with this? By ignoring what other people say because they speak from ignorance, lack of understanding and lack of respect for whom we have chosen as our teachers? No one should disrespect our choice and our teachers because it is religious freedom. It is also religious freedom to criticize but what benefit does it bring us and them to criticize our lineage lamas? I have personally heard with my own ears people criticizing His Holiness the previous Panchen Rinpoche and destroying his pictures, and calling him a traitor 20 years ago. I have heard people criticize the 16th Karmapa as headstrong, not a scholar and basically just gave a lot of initiations, an opinion which I did not agree with. I have also come across people who heavily criticize Dudjom Rinpoche, Penor Rinpoche and some of the Sakya patriarchs of the past. They have many disciples and students who see them as attained beings and/or living Buddhas. For their students, these lamas are attained beings and living Buddhas, and they derive beneficial blessings to gain benefits from their practice. They invoke upon their blessings daily as part of their tantric meditations. So, shall I believe the detractors against these lamas or the ones who see them as highly realized beings? Of course it would benefit me and them to see them as highly realized beings. In samsara, the pleasure of one can be the scorn of another. What is precious to another can be poison to others. We can compliment or criticize and it is our freedom of speech and religion to do so, but let’s not carry this freedom too far by hurting the sentiments of the followers of these great masters. To me, Pabongka Rinpoche, Trijang Rinpoche, Zong Rinpoche, Penor Rinpoche, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, 16th Karmapa, etc. are all highly realized beings and are lineage holders and have brought the holy Dharma to millions of people. I have even heard many people criticize even the Dalai Lama. That is their prerogative but I choose not to because I do not wish to hurt the sentiments of many millions of his followers. I choose to see the Dalai Lama as doing the best he can, with lots of pressure, problems and heavy responsibilities. So my world view of things is to just let these lamas be and let their disciples be, and let everyone practice what their lama teaches with full freedom and no criticisms. That has always been my view. I am both liked and loathed for my views, but those are my views.

      His Holiness Penor Rinpoche, who dedicated his life to the spread of Buddhadharma and the pure lineage of Guru Rinpoche, has seared a very deep impression in my mind as he has always been equal and kind to every being who has come to seek his assistance.
      In Tibetan Buddhism, we are not allowed to criticize the teachers from whom we have received teachings, and their personal practices. By doing so we create a infraction of our spiritual bond with our teachers which creates obstacles to gaining higher insight. We may have a few teachers who have opposing views to an issue, and that puts us in a difficult situation. There is a Tibetan saying that goes, “If I stand up, I hit my head. If I sit down, I hit my backside. I can neither stand nor sit.” That is likened to having a few teachers and all of them having differing views about a certain practice, lineage or deity. So what is a student to do? Everybody has their own methods. If I agree with one of my teachers and disagree with another, I commit a spiritual infraction. If I disagree with another teacher who has an opposing view to one of my other teachers, again I have committed a spiritual infraction. This puts me in a difficult situation because either way, I have committed an infraction. For example, if one of my teachers tells me to practice Tsongkhapa and says that this is the best and most supreme practice, yet another one of my teachers tells me that actually it is Guru Rinpoche whom I should focus on…Teacher A says Tsongkhapa’s blessings are quicker and more efficacious for beings of this time while the other teacher says the exact same thing about Guru Rinpoche. I go to one teacher and all he talks about is Tsongkhapa, and my other equally important teacher says the same about Guru Rinpoche? So if I practice one over the other, I have committed an infraction with one of my teachers. What is a student to do?

      Great masters such as Geshe Kelsang Gyatso and Geshe Konchok, pictured here with His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. They have received teachings and transmissions from Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. I like this picture very much.
      So there you have millions of people out there who say Guru Rinpoche is the best, and it’s all over social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and then you have a few million more students who says the same thing about Tsongkhapa and proliferates that all over social media. Which one is better? Either way, I’m caught between a rock and a hard place. Which teacher is correct? Which one is ‘wrong’? Either way I create an infraction. There are millions of supporters for both practices. Shall I listen to the teacher who is more famous, sits on a higher throne, has more disciples, is wealthier and has more students? Does that make him more qualified than the teacher who has none of that, or very little? Does having more followers equate with more reliability? What is the criteria of which teacher I should listen to? Many followers and disciples are thrown into this unfair, uncommon and very political quandry. It’s very easy if you have a spiritual bond with just one teacher and not the other but still does not give you the right to criticize the practices, devotions and spiritual bonds of another teacher and disciple. It is not good to say all of these things because it will never end, and it will go back and forth. I do not care how Rimey or how non-sectarian a person thinks they are because until we remove the subtle grasping of the ‘I’ between 10th level bodhisattva and full enlightenment, we will have some type of bias. In other words, until we become a fully enlightened Buddha, we will always be biased in one way or another, whether we realize it or not. From our choice of breakfast, clothes we wear, hairstyles we choose, spouses and partners, monasteries we enter, the cars we drive or the bed we sleep in, everyone can debate endlessly what is the best bed, breakfast or clothes and it will never end. And everybody’s argument will sound better and better as time goes on but in the end, I choose my guru, lineage gurus, practice, deity and destiny. So none of you should criticize or ‘advise’ me otherwise. I made my choice, I will sleep with it. Therefore your kind advice, probably motivated by compassion and love, is not solicited, accepted or wanted.

      I was extremely fortunate that Zong Rinpoche was very close to me. Whenever there was a chance, he would hold my hands and we would walk together or be together. The lean slender boy you see WAS me with Kyabje Zong Rinpoche.
      Some hypothetical solutions which I came to some conclusions about from speaking to many teachers, to solve this dilemma:

      the teachers themselves should practice, exude and operate from great compassion, wisdom and skilful means by never criticizing anyone’s teachers, practice, deity, lineage and tradition. That the teachers themselves should cease and desist from creating more confusion in the minds of others because whatever people are practicing has been done for hundreds of years and there has been a lineage. So the teachers themselves should not make comparisons in relations to better or worse, and comparing practices. The teachers themselves should not squabble, argue or denigrate any practices of any teachers. Sure, we need a Buddhist leader, Pope, authority but having said that, authority should never hurt the sentiments of millions of people for good or bad motivation, as it can be quite damaging and create tremendous unnecessary division. I think the students are innocent and beguiled by the great teachers they have come across and therefore have been led to think one way or another. We can either think every teacher out there has faults and therefore makes mistakes, or every teacher out there is perfect and without fault. Either way, the students are in trouble. Either way, the students will get confused. Either way, the students will get the short end of the stick. All teachers should show great compassion, respect and a little bit of pre-planning for their students so they are not sucked into this kind of political quandry and forced to make choices and labels, and point fingers of good and bad at other teachers and lineages. The students come to the teachers wishing to relieve themselves of all the sufferings they self-created, not take on more problems and difficulties and confusions where their samsaras increase instead of decrease. All teachers should respect the students very much by not confusing them in which they criticize other teachers, practices, lineages and protectors. This is so necessary now. I think instead of saying that the students need to have compassion, develop compassion and engage in compassion, it is time the teachers manifest compassion. And I do say this to all teachers with the deepest and humblest respects as I am only an ordinary person swimming through a thick, dark, swampy ocean of samsara.

      Throughout time and history, there have been many great beings who have manifested compassion for the sake of sentient beings, even giving up their lives for a greater cause and the benefit of humanity
      my second solution that comes from my ordinary mind is when you have two teachers who teach you ‘opposing’ views and practices, take on the advice of the first teacher and follow that through without thinking negative things about the second teacher, if this applies to you. Some explanation is required. For example, if your first teacher told you to practice Tsongkhapa and he has passed away, and the second teacher recommends you to do Guru Rinpoche as your main practice, since your first teacher has passed away and you cannot be excused from the practice, then naturally you have to tell the second teacher that you did not get permission to be excused and so you must remain status quo. The second teacher should never override the blessed instructions of the first teacher for this disciple, as it will create confusion. In my case, I have had hundreds of people come see me over the years and they will tell me that their teacher or a teacher told them to practice Nechung, Vajrakilaya, Tara, Ekajati, Manjushri, Guru Rinpoche, Tsongkhapa, etc. Can I tell them if this was the best practice for them or not? Except under extreme circumstances, I always tell them that whatever practices they are doing is more than fine, and I have nothing to change or add because ultimately that is the truth. I do not want to confuse them, nor disrespect their faith in their teacher, and I do not wish to disrespect their teachers either. So, if a person can stop their practice given to them by their teacher, they must receive the permission of the teacher who gave them the practice because no follow-up teacher has the authority to override the first teacher, if you really want to follow the rules strictly. Choosing a Dharma teacher is like ordering a la carte from a menu, not a buffet. Whatever a la carte dish you have chosen, you eat it and be happy with it, and stop staring at the buffet with a lot of choices. For example, for myself, my root teacher is His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and Zong Rinpoche has given me a set of practices for me, my life and my enlightenment. I have been following it diligently for the last 25 years. Suddenly, there are people and lamas and students who tell me Zong Rinpoche was wrong. Well, Zong Rinpoche has passed away so I cannot go and get his permission and ask, “Can I stop such and such practice you gave me?” The new lama cannot override Zong Rinpoche. If I were to stop any of my practices given to me by Zong Rinpoche, I would need Zong Rinpoche’s permission and no new or other lamas can override his word. That applies to everyone in any practice, with any lama in any situation. Not even the current incarnation of Zong Rinpoche may override the instructions of the previous one for the previous one’s students. If we were to start in the direction of one teacher can override another teacher, then the teacher who has overridden a previous teacher may himself be overridden in the future by another, and it never ends. It will only lead to chronic confusion, doubt and eventually disillusionment. So basically, whatever practices your teacher has given you from the depths of his heart, practice it all the way and rejoice in the teachings of the teachers for their disciples. Am I going to go on a rampage for the rest of my life, telling all voodoo practitioners that their path is bad and that they should give up, and that they will go to hell? No, I’m not going to do that.
      None of your teachers are your enemies, but your teacher taught you the Dharma and your karma couldn’t handle it. Your karma, ego and anger are your real enemies, never your teacher. We shouldn’t just disappear at the first sign of trouble or doubt. In life, we have to work through problems with our parents, spouses, partners, siblings, co-workers and children, so why not our teachers? Our teachers cannot be the ‘only’ person that we have problems with. Why do we abandon our teacher and work through problems with everyone else? Perhaps because we don’t value the important contributions our teacher bestowed upon us? Or we wish to blame our teacher for pointing out something truthful in ourselves that we prefer not to face, but blame the teacher for exposing? Be fair with everyone in your life and work through differences and don’t be selective. How you ‘throw’ people out will reflect how you really think of others and this will return to ‘haunt’ you in other aspects of your life later. Bad attitude will surface again and again if not addressed, healed and remedied. Whoever shelters us from ourselves now, will not always be around and we will have to face ourselves one day alone. There is no avoidance. After all, we can run away from people, but we can’t run away from the cause of problems we may have contributed to, which is within ourselves. This is in an extreme case, but generally we should work through our doubts and issues with our teacher and be loyal. This is good for our mind, good for our training and good for our eventual results. Consistency is an urgently vital ingredient in spiritual success.

      One of my teachers, the great Kagyupa master Drigung Rinpoche.
      If the new teacher we go to has criticism for our previous teacher, practice or lineage, then there is something wrong or there are political motivations. No teacher need criticize another teacher no matter who they are. In this day and age, no teacher no matter how famous or just, he may be should ever criticize another person’s practice, teacher, lineage or faith. Democratic governments throughout the civilized world even allow the practices of once despised forms of spirituality such as witchcraft, voodoo, et al. Therefore no teacher or spiritual leader has the right to denigrate another’s path ever because once you start, where do you draw the line? No forms of ostracism, prejudice, bias or segregation should arise from differing religious practices either. Because this will be the seed to dissent, disharmony and hatred.

      That our teacher teaches us something useful and we are devoted and diligent, and then suddenly another teacher of fame and name preaches otherwise and we have doubts in our teacher, is not good. It shows who we really are, and not our teacher, because we are swayed easily. No matter how famous another teacher may be, your teacher still imparted the holy Dharma to you and you should be grateful always. Higher thrones does not mean better than a humble teacher on a low cushion. Spirituality and the level of knowledge of a teacher is not reflected by rank, thrones, fame or how many students he has. I know of a few very qualified teachers who did not have many students at all and some students even left them and scorned them, to my shock! If we had issues with our teacher, we should be humble, swallow the ego and apologize. Remaining or moving on is up to us, but don’t damage or attempt to damage a teacher as the karmic consequences are heavy, not to mention you hurt the other students as well and that does not make you a better person at all.

      Numbers do not determine the effectiveness or so-called purity of a certain path or faith, as many of the world’s religions today started with humble numbers which in time increased numerically. Therefore a minority or majority should not be the deciding factor that a particular path or faith should be allowed. In the past, just to name lightly some examples how one faith had attempted to decimate the other:

      The settlers of Australia did their utmost best for hundreds of years to eliminate and convert the masses of Aborigines, and destroy their rich cultural heritage and indigenous religion. Their religion was deemed barbaric, backwards and evil. As a result, many of the Aborigines now have to slowly and painfully reconnect with what was destroyed in the process of being forced into a true ‘God’.
      In 15th, 16th and 17th century Europe, the witch hunts condoned and authorized by the papacy or so-called ‘true Church’ condemned, hunted, segregated and punished those would-be adherents to the pre-Christian religions of Europe. The Church systematically outlawed, penalized, punished and confiscated all properties of those who would not adhere to their so-called ‘true Church’. Those who still resisted, denied or refused were severely tortured to death, drowned, crushed or simply burnt alive. This was done in the name of God, purity and what was deemed as the authentic method to heaven. Who would allow this type of atrocity today? But 500 years ago, it was considered holy and God’s work.

      In the 15th, 16th and 17th century, people who did not adhere to the doctrine of the ‘true Church’ were classified as witches and burnt at the stake.
      When settlers from Europe came to North America, what happened in Aboriginal Australia occurred here again. The Native Americans were belittled, humiliated and forced to convert from their native religions. Their native religions were considered primitive, barbaric and the work of the Devil so the missionaries had a field day waving Bibles as the ultimate authority, whilst conveniently robbing the Natives of North America of their culture, way of life and desecrating their religion. In a show of total disrespect to people who believed otherwise to the religion of the settlers, the US still prints on their currency ‘In God We Trust’.

      A sign in Jackson, Mississippi, taken on 25th May 1961. Thankfully signs like these and the attitude behind them no longer exist or are existing less and less. (Photo by William Lovelace/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
      When the invaders from Spain landed in Central and South America, they had no intention to respect the religions, culture and peoples of these great lands. The ‘true Church’ forcibly destroyed edifices, priests, writings and rituals of their religions, took their wealth and insulted their culture (calling them ‘inferior barbarians’). To add final insult to the injury, they decimated the native population with unheard-of European diseases. The religions of the beautiful and advanced Central and South American peoples were systematically berated, outlawed and destroyed. Sacred temples were flattened and Christian churches built in its place. Fortunately, many of the Central and South American countries now have allowed religious freedom within their Constitutions which protect and allow the pre-Christian religions to be practiced. Hence these days there is a resurgence, with pride and dignity, of the once ancient religions. No one is going to say again that their religions are barbaric or devil’s practice unless they themselves are uneducated barbarians.

      The witch hunts were carried out in the name of God and purity. Ironically, the people who persecuted those who did not fit with the majority had themselves escaped persecution in Europe for their religious practices.
      The Puritans and Quakers had a most difficult time fitting within the parameters of the English Church. They were considered extreme, false and those who strayed from the true doctrine. Their religion in England had to go underground and when it became impossible for them to practice, they were forced to immigrate to the then-New World (America). In America, for some time after they arrived, they were free to practice their religions. However as 13 new colonies started to gain wealth, lands and a unified regional government, then although they had left Europe for freedom of religion, they in turn initiated witch hunts themselves. Those who were not in agreement with their doctrine or did not attend Church, or practiced the old arts such as divination, herbology and healing were considered witches. Massive fear, prejudice, confiscation of property and segregation, leading to punishment by death (through methods such as burning, crushing and drowning) reemerged. Because the Church was practiced by the majority and those who were not active in the Church were a minority, naturally the majority instituted witch hunts against the minority in order to restore the ‘purity’ of the Church. Those who strayed from the Church were said to have been meeting, cooperating and signing deals with the Devil. Therefore the majority did not allow freedom of any religions that strayed from what they believed in as the ‘true Church’. Ironically, they persecuted within their own communities what they were persecuted of when they left Europe. These are dangerous trends we must learn from in history so that it does not repeat itself in modern times.

      Countless number of women, especially older women, lost their lives during the witch hunts. Falsely accused and persecuted for their beliefs, they were drowned, crushed and even burnt at the stake.
      For thousands of years, the rich culture heritage and profound religion of the Jews have been repeatedly persecuted and serious attempts at annihilation were allowed. The Jewish people in their long history in many countries were minorities. Their religion was seen as deviant, false and not a path that led to God. As a consequence, their synagogues, and places and symbols of worship have been blatantly destroyed and those who refused to convert or assimilate were gassed, beaten, tortured and even killed. The perseverance and resilience of the Jewish people have allowed for their religion to survive and benefit their communities throughout the world. However, there was a time even as recently as half a century ago when their religion was persecuted and considered false. This should never happen again.

      Throughout history, minority religious practices have suffered persecution at the hands of the majority who felt these views and practices did not fit in with their doctrines. Instead of practicing acceptance to encourage harmony, they sought to assimilate or annihilate the native populations.
      The British invaders who controlled India from 1858 to 1947 humiliated the populous and tried to force their European ways upon India. They made it blasphemous and sacrilegious for the inhabitants of the subcontinent to have any dignity in their race, religion and vastly rich culture. The British used India and exploited her and her people. In the process, they unsuccessfully did their best to convert the Hindu population, calling them heathens, barbarians and idol worshippers. What right did the English have to call another people or nation barbaric, and demote their form of worship to simply idol worshipping? They did not respect (although there were exceptions) the religions and practices of something that lasted over 5000 years. Without studying, practicing and understanding the profound path of peace, tolerance and compassion that are hallmarks of Hinduism, the British openly and unabashedly discouraged the practice of Hinduism. Luckily, the resilience and the profound faith that the people of India had in their religion helped them to overcome the active prejudices of their colonizers. Today, no one in their right mind will call Hinduism ‘barbaric’ or a path that leads to hell. Hinduism is one of the major religions practiced by 1.1 billion adherents who consider it a valid path to divinity.

      Thanks to slavery and the systematic decimation of African religion and culture, most African Americans today have lost touch with their African roots and heritage
      The vast, diverse and rich continent of Africa holds tens of thousands of various tribes of people. Individually and collectively, they have their own way of life, language, culture and religion. When these innocent people were tricked and forcibly ferried across the Atlantic to become slaves in America, any trace that linked them to their ancient heritage of Africa was systematically obliterated. As a result, African Americans today do not have their ancestral religion, their cultural identity, their names, their language and for many, they don’t even know where in Africa their ancestors originated from. They were forcibly removed of their rich identities and forcibly made to adapt to European cultures and religion. There were however pockets of resistance and underground continuation of their faiths which in modern day is labelled as voodoo. When we say voodoo, there are many methods, branches and forms of worship. It is rich and diverse and to the ignorant beholder, it may seem evil or even perhaps harmful. As in every and any religion, there are ones who practice with good motivations and with ulterior motivations. Who are we to judge? Yet voodooism is constitutionally protected in North America, the Caribbeans, Central and South America, and Africa. No one, no body of government or no religious hate groups may deconstitutionalize the rights of the adherents of this religion. They have the full freedom to practice and live their lives according to their religion.

      Throughout history, many suppressed people have given up their lives standing up for the right and their freedom to practice and express themselves.
      These are but just a few examples of how, in history, a group of people, through ignorance, fear, hatred and/or greed coupled with prejudice can bring tremendous harm to another group of people in the name of religion. In today’s free world, whether your religious practice is 1% or 90% of the population, you should have full freedom to practice as and when and where and how you like. No religious leaders or adherents should ever criticize another religion lest it snowballs into something big and damaging as we have seen in history. Whether a person chooses a religion or remains atheist is their inalienable birthright. They should not be coerced, forced or denigrated into a religion or another religion. Any religious leader, secular leader or teacher should never criticize another’s religion, faith or practice as inferior. No one should belittle another person’s faith or religion and call it ‘spirit worship’. When we call another person’s religion ‘spirit worship’, inferior or wrong, we possibly hurt the sentiments of a long history and the pride and place of a people. This will not create the causes for peace, democracy, freedom nor harmony. RELIGIONS AND RELIGIOUS LEADERS SHOULD ALWAYS CREATE HARMONY WITHIN THEIR OWN COMMUNITIES AND OF EVERYONE THEY MEET. Once we start on the road of ‘this religion is good’ and ‘that religion is bad’, then it will fester and grow into something bigger that ultimately becomes harmful to the peace and the ever-growing, over-populated little planet we all must share. Religious leaders have tremendous power and influence as they are considered the moral and ethical conscience of a culture. So therefore their powers should not be abused or used wrongly. Whether a person chooses their path to awakenness using voodoo, Native American religions, witchcraft or Buddhism, is their choice. We may respectfully debate and share but not degrade and convert. We all need peace, happiness and cohesiveness in order to survive with each other on our small planet. Our survival depends on peace, and religion can play a large part in this, and that lies in the hands of religious teachers.

      Unity and harmony are the keys to our survival on the small planet we share.
      Do you not enjoy freedom of religion? Would you like to be banned from schools, segregated from your people, disallowed to enter businesses and separated from family because what you practice is considered bad by another group? We can argue until Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu destroy, recreate and preserve the universe one hundred times over and we will never win the argument of who is right and wrong. The fact of the matter is this – we all should be treated equally and there should never be rules and regulations against us as people or citizens based on our religious beliefs. Whether our religious beliefs are accepted or considered accurate interpretations, we are still people underneath. We all need food, love, compassion and deserve inalienable birthrights such as freedom of choice. No leader, whether secular or religious, should ever be allowed to take that away from us.

      The Civil Rights Movement put an end to signs like these. Prevailing prejudices must be changed because at the end of the day, all of us are humans who want the same things – love, respect and harmony.

      In conclusion, I most humbly and respectfully request all spiritual teachers of all traditions, leaders and their subordinates to never demonize another person’s faith, belief system or deity. Each individual has a God and that God can be a Creator or the God Within. But leave it to the individual to decide. I will see who I want and associate with any group I wish, any time I like and no one has the right to tell me otherwise. And if they have the right to tell me otherwise, I have the right to tell them back, they are wrong. For ecumenical debates, there will never be a beginning, an end or a middle. It is a convoluted alpha and omega, and I don’t want to get into these debates or be condemned based on them. Let’s make it simple – I have a guru, a lineage, a practice and a goal and I am going to stick with it until the end of my time. No one in the east, the west, the north or the south, on a big throne or standing next to the throne, with or without power, will influence me otherwise. And if you continue to speak and write on and on about how I am going to hell, I am on the wrong path, I am not listening to the correct authorities, you will end up creating your own little hells in your own little minds because I am happy with what I have, I am a pretty good person with my faults, and ultimately I am fortunate enough to be reincarnated into a country and civilization that agrees with my thoughts. So no one’s criticisms, doubts and anyone living in the free world can say otherwise unless your body is in the free world and your mind is not, or your mind is stuck in 16th century Europe.

      Tsem Rinpoche

      A great Mongolian lama, Sokpu Guru Deva Rinpoche, who is the teacher of my mother and father, and who helped me very much in my early years in Gaden. He has been a great patron and sponsor of Gaden, Sera, Drepung and Tashilhunpo Monasteries, as well as a very devoted disciple of Trijang Rinpoche. I will never forget his kindness to me, and all the help he has bestowed upon me which is too numerous to mention here.

      One of my benefactors, Sokpu Guru Deva (on the left) was very close to His Holiness Panchen Rinpoche (right).

      One of my favourite pictures with their Holinesses the Panchen Lama (left) and Dalai Lama (right).

      Another very beautiful photo I thought I’d share. This was taken when the incomparable Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche purposely went to have audience with His Holiness the Panchen Lama. Two enlightened beings in one picture.

      His Holiness the great Panchen Lama who really held the Tibetan people together within Tibet, with his infinite wisdom, compassion, skilful means and bodhisattva actions of taking on so much harm on behalf of the dharma growing.

      His Holiness the great 13th Dalai Lama who offered help and assistance to my mother’s family when they left their home country to Lhasa during the Cultural Revolution. I have great respect and appreciation for His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama who helped my family.

      Another favourite picture of mine of His Holiness the Great All-Knowing 13th Dalai Lama with whom my family had a close connection.

      His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, another great being whom I have admired and heard many criticisms about. But it has never affected my deep respect for him.

      A very touching picture of Kyabje Zong Rinpoche doing last rites for the ailing Lama Yeshe who was a devoted disciple.

      Lama Yeshe showing deep reverence to his root guru His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche. Guru devotion of this level will result in high attainments.

      I really wanted to share this incredible picture of the Tibetologist Alexandra David-Neel outside of her retreat cave in Tibet. She’s one of the first non-Tibetans who penetrated Tibet to engage in the practice of Tibetan Buddhism.

      One of my revered teachers, His Holiness Kyabje Dagom Dorjechang who was a devoted disciple of both Trijang and Ling Rinpoche, inclusive of Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. This master was a gentle and pure monk, who had mastered the sutras and tantras, and used his life to impart Buddha’s teachings to all those who came to him. Being in his presence used to bring tears to my eyes as I knew I was in the presence of someone highly attained.

      This is the grand oracle of Gaden Monastery when I first arrived in 1988. I was fortunate enough to watch this man who was trained by Trijang Rinpoche, take full trance of the Dharma Protector Setrap and various other protectors. He was a friend of mine but at the same time, I respected him very much for his oracular ability. For while in trance, he was able to give prophetic advice about our futures that later proved totally accurate.

      I like this picture as it is Nechung in trance, of the Dalai Lama’s personal oracle in Dharamsala.

      His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to and in close communion with the Nechung protector in full trance. I’ve had this picture on my altar for many years in Gaden.

      My close and good friend the grand oracle of Gaden Shartse Monastery, in whom many great protectors entered his body to speak. Besides that, he was a warm, down-to-earth and direct person and in my early years when I did not have a lot of financial assistance, he would often send food to me when I was hungry. I will forever remember his kindness to me.

      I like this picture very much as Lhakpa Dondrub was the personal oracular medium of Domo Geshe Rinpoche. I was fortunate enough to stay in his house and get to know him better before he passed away many years ago. I liked him very much because he was extremely devoted to his teacher, his practice and his lineage.

      I love this photo of His Eminence Kyabje Domo Geshe Rinpoche. He was considered an emanation of Tsongkhapa by the 13th Dalai Lama. He had displayed miraculous powers and skilfully benefited many beings with his immaculate clairvoyance. His healing pills were sought after throughout Tibet and he was reputed to have the yetis of Tibet be his messengers and guard his cave entrance.

      His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1951 in Domo Geshe Rinpoche’s Monastery in Tibet. The Dalai Lama at that time enjoyed his stay in Domo Geshe Monastery, and also consulted the oracle while he was there.

      The current incarnation of Domo Geshe together with His Holiness Kyabje Yongyal Dorjechang.

      This is one of my personal thangkas which I thought I would share here. It is a picture of Duldzin Drakpa Gyeltsen who was one of the eight main disciples of Lama Tsongkhapa. Upper left is his root guru Tsongkhapa. Upper right is his main meditational deity Yamantaka. Lower left is his personal Dharma Protector 4-Faced Mahakala. Lower right is one of his main disciples, which is the earlier incarnation of Panchen Lama, aka Khedrup Rinpoche.

      Another one of my favourite holy photos of His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and his two disciples Geshe Lhundrub Sopa of Wisconsin and Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen of Los Angeles.

      Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen who was one of my teachers, with myself in Dharamsala. We were attending the teachings of the Dalai Lama.

      The incomparable Geshe Tendar who was an incumbent of Gaden Shartse Monastery where I belonged. I have never received teachings from him but I know he was a great master of sutra and tantra, and geshes of his calibre are hard to make these days.

      Another great master of Gaden Jangtse Monastery, His Eminence Geshe Tsultrim who is a very humble monk of the highest calibre. Another master of both sutra and tantra who has hundreds of students in Gaden Monastery and now in Switzerland. Someone whose purity of vows is renowned in the Gelugpa world. He generously taught students six days a week for morning to evening, tirelessly pointing out the philosophical tenets of Buddha. Due to this master’s kindness, many in the monastery were able to complete their studies and achieve the Geshe Lharampa degree. Yet this master never sought any fame or gain from all this dedication.

      Geshe Rabten, the teacher who created scholars. He was meditating in a simple hut in the north Indian mountains of Dharamsala, when the Dalai Lama summoned him to go and teach in the West. Because of his brilliance and mastery of the Buddhist teachings, he was able to bring Buddhism to many Westerners. His disciples include Lama Yeshe, Lama Zopa, Gonsar Rinpoche and many others.

      Geshe Rabten (right) together with His Holiness the Dalai Lama (centre) at his centre in Switzerland. They were very close during the life of Geshe Rabten. I do like this picture very much.

      Geshe Rabten with his root teacher His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche. Here he is respectfully assisting his teacher. I find this picture warm, poignant, powerful and incredibly moving. A great master serving his own great master. Geshe Rabten was devoted to Trijang Rinpoche until the end of his life.

      Geshe Rabten receiving advice and teachings from his root guru Trijang Rinpoche.

      In 1987, myself requesting His Holiness the Dalai Lama to become ordained as a monk. I have always liked this picture and His Holiness the Dalai Lama showed me great warmth and immediately agreed to ordain me.

      The Dalai Lama in Gaden Shartse Monastery consecrating the new shrine dedicated to the Protector Setrap.

      This is my favourite picture of His Holiness the Dalai Lama where I see a light aura surrounding his body and head.

      On the roof of one of the buildings of Gaden Shartse Monastery, the tulkus of Phukhang Khamtsen House in Gaden. Left to right, Gyampa Rinpoche, Tsem Rinpoche, Gyal Khangtse Rinpoche, Kensur Rinpoche Jetsun Jampa Yeshe, Kensur Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, Kari Khentrul Rinpoche and Trinley Rinpoche.

      I had the great honour to have His Holiness the Supreme Spiritual Head of the Mongolian Buddhists in Mongolia, Khutughtu Khalkha Jetsun Dampa (seated), visit my house. Left is my cousin the Spiritual Head of the Kalymk Republic in Russia, Telo Rinpoche and me. This was on the occasion that Khalka Jetsun Dampa visited my house.

      I am seated next to His Holiness Kensur Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, the great master, teacher and secret yogi of Gaden Shartse Monastery. He was the one who instructed me to go to Malaysia and bring the Dharma there.

      My mentor and teacher, His Eminence Kensur Rinpoche of Gaden Shartse Monastery, and myself.

      My favourite photo of Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche. The first time I had the fortune to lay eyes on Trijang Rinpoche in this lifetime was this photo many moons ago in Howell, New Jersey.

      Another one of my thangkas I thought I’d share here. Centre is the great master Panchen Sonam Drakpa who is also the author of the books we use to become a geshe in Gaden Shartse and Drepung Loseling monasteries. Upper left is Panchen Sonam Drakpa’s root guru the 1st Dalai Lama. His main practice, indicated on the upper right, is the tantric deity Guhyasamaja. Lower left is his main protector 4-Faced Mahakala and on the lower right is his close disciple, the 3rd Dalai Lama Sonam Gyatso.

      This picture is rare and exceptionally beautiful. His Holiness Trijang Rinpoche wearing the special hat of Panchen Sonam Drakpa.

      One of my favourite photos. His Holiness the Dalai Lama with his root teachers of 30 years, Kyabje Ling Rinpoche and Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche.

      Myself in the 1980s having audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

      This is my personal statue of His Holiness Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche. Pabongka Rinpoche’s household themselves gave me this statue, for which I was so overwhelmed and honoured.

      His Holiness the current Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche who spends his time in long-term deep retreats in Tibet and Nepal.

      This is my personal statue of His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche which I have in my room.

      One of my favourite pictures of two Buddhas having lunch together. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche (right) was not only a devoted disciple but also a close friend to the incomparable Heruka Trijang Rinpoche (left).

      Here they are again, returned in full perfect form, having lunch together.

      Left to right, the current incarnation of His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, His Holiness Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, His Holiness the head of the Gelugpa school of Buddhism Gaden Tripa Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal and Kensur Rinpoche Jetsun Jampa Yeshe.

      In Gaden Shartse Prayer Hall. Left to right, His Holiness the head of the Gelug seat of Buddhism the 101st Gaden Tripa Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal, the current Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and Tsem Rinpoche.

      Myself paying homage to the current incarnation of Zong Rinpoche.

      This is my first teacher His Eminence Kensur Rinpoche Jetsun Lobsang Tharchin in Howell, New Jersey. I received my refuge vows, teachings on logic and my first higher tantric empowerments from this great master. He lived only 10 minutes away from me in Howell, New Jersey and he himself was a close and devoted disciple of both Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche.

      Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche with heartson disciples Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche. Highly qualified masters produce highly qualified disciples.

      Another ordinary being aka myself attending an event.

      This song by Cher really moves me and encapsulate my feelings:

      will take me one hundred life times to fully
      digest this huge body of work ooi being kooi

  76. Venerable Lady on Dec 4, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    Dear Rinpoche,Thank you for such a rich and erudite teaching.Your courage and kindness humbles me.The picture of you and HE Zong Rinpoche holding hands is so touching.Bless you for guiding us all through the difficult issues of practicising Dharma in this current era.I will hold your advice in my heart.Thank you xxx

  77. Lester Lim on Dec 4, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    Dear Rinpoche, this is truly a blessed and wise article with many precious learning points on guru devotion. Short of mentioning the commitment of schism, said to be the heaviest of the five heinous sins, adherents of sectarianism within Buddhism can inflict lasting and potentially wounds on our faith in this day and age. I am impressed by Your Eminence’s open-mindedness on this matter.

    Meanwhile, there are two minute details that detractors to your views may take issue with in this article:

    1. His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama passed away decades before the Cultural Revolution.

    2. Compared to the other Europeans, the British were less evangelistic and more pragmatic. They showed great interests in indigenous Indian faiths and customs. In fact, it was them who rediscovered the Buddhist holy sites which the Indians have long forgotten. There was also a ‘competition’ between British and Russian explorers to unravel to make known to the world the Buddhistic traditions of north India (and Himalayas) during the said period. The British have also banned widow-burning and honour killing in India and Pakistan.

    My respect and I wish that I could have the opportunity to meet you to receive you as my teacher.

    _/\_

  78. Su Ming on Dec 4, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    This is such a powerful article and it resonate through what I am facing at this moment. I have travelled to many places and met many people while working for Dharma, there are so many incident or experience I have that I have been quite jaded with the action of another person..may it be a lay person or a sangha member but I have come to a conclusion that those who I have the deepest respect for are those who has an infallible devotion to their guru cause their action & overall being is out of the world & they are the one who has the most results.

    Even in any government or leaders, those which most tend to respect are those who does not speak ill against any belief or religion. Good & effective leaders today are taught not criticise other belief or spiritual path as that is the remedy of disaster for themselves eventually

    Thank you Rinpoche for this article and thank you for so many wonderful and touching pictures of many attained lamas.

  79. jp on Dec 4, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    A powerful article for spiritual aspirants and for those who are curious.

    Religion has always been a sensitive topic to discuss. Sometimes we get so caught up with methods taught to us and being right about our beliefs that we forget the essence of spirituality.

    It’s time that we take an honest look at ourselves and really assess whether we are practicing compassion, kindness, acceptance, love and care or are we driven by our huge egos of self righteousness. All religions attempt to make us better human beings so that we can coexist in harmony and in peace. Religion gives us knowledge about our existence and how to participate in it effectively. Who are we to judge others about their religion or being atheist?

    If we don’t want others to judge us, then we should not judge others.

  80. Shelly Tai on Dec 4, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this write up. I think is very important for us to check our lineage before we take refuge always remember the kindness of our guru has impart to us which is the holy dharma onc ewe have check the lineage and guru we should not look back. I feel bless to look at all these high lama pictures beautiful thank you Rinpoche for always teaching us and advice us.

  81. Cheng See on Dec 4, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    Dear Rinpoche, I have always admire your guru devotion and thank you for the reminder on importance of Guru devotion. We should always trust and have full respect for our Guru and not listen to rumours and be carried away due to gossips. My trust and respect to you Rinpoche. With folded palms.

  82. Pastor Loh Seng Piow on Dec 4, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    This reflects truly His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche’s views when it comes to Dharma, always truthful to His gurus and lineage, without pretense, and Tsem Rinpoche is consistent with this stance throughout his life. All this stems from his extremely strong guru devotion, and once Tsem Rinpoche received a teaching/practice/advice from his gurus, he follows through all the way whether or not the gurus are alive or have passed away. This SHOULD BE our attitude as well when it comes to Dharma practice. We follow our gurus’ instructions all the way, and when there are seemingly “conflicting” advice/instructions from the gurus, we follow the one which comes first. We SHOULD NOT change our practice/preference based on a guru’s fame, that shall never be the criteria when it comes to Dharma practice. We also SHOULD NOT change our practice simply because the majority/”mainstream” are doing so. All attainments stem from Guru Devotion, so if we are serious about attainments, then read this advice by Tsem Rinpoche again and again, and follow it to the heart. If we are only concerned about worldly gains, then we follow what the other flippant people are doing, forsaking their gurus advice, going against their lineage, but get ready for a wasted human life ending up no where at the end. And don’t regret when the big day comes.

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

    Jason

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Han Nee for this article.

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

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

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Messages from Rinpoche

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CREDITS

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

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

Tsem Rinpoche

What Am I Writing Now

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  Bigfoot, Yeti, Sasquatch

The Unknown

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

Photos On The Go

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

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ASK A PASTOR


Ask the Pastors

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

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

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

  • April 20, 2017 10:45
    Ronnie asked: Dear Rinpoche and Pastors, I'm studying abroad and very far away from home, seeking guidance and advice as I have no one else I can talk to about this. Please read with an open mind, I don't know where else to go for help. I'm pregnant and it's an unplanned pregnancy. I'm stuck between keeping it or letting it go. I'm young and having a child at my age in the society we live in now would be considered taboo. The father of the child thinks I should let it go because it may cause a setback to both our careers and cause major family issues. He thinks we aren't ready to raise a child especially since we're both still in university and his parents think badly of me even though they've never met me or tried to get to know me. I'm sure no one would ever have the heart to take away a heartbeat but it seems like it isn't the right time to have a child now and if we did go through with it, the child probably won't be able to have the best things life can offer looking at where we are now in terms of finance and maturity. I'm lost, confused and unsure what the right thing to do is now. Any advice at all would be helpful right now. Thank you so very much for taking time to read my story.
    pastor answered: Dear Ronnie, I’m sorry to read that you are going through this situation. I can understand that this situation is tough to go through. You are always more than welcome to come here to ask questions. May I suggest that you talk to either someone in your family or your friends to help you come to an appropriate solution? This is because, what you feel, what you are going through, will change from time to time and you would need someone to talk to, someone that you can lean on through this situation you are facing. Depending on where you are in the world, professional help can also be sought to help you make a decision, which will be the best option for you seeking help. From a Buddhist perspective, the taking of a life is not considered a positive act, therefore those on the Buddhist path, would normally abstain taking a life if possible. However, that being said, one must always weigh the decision oneself. Everything we do in life, necessarily involves karma both positive and negative. That is why Buddhists try to overcome samsara in general. Your situation is complicated because you are abroad, but if possible you should really open up to someone you are close to in order to help you through making this decision on a personal basis. When you talk to someone, whom you are able to express yourself more, you may able to come to better decision that is right for you. There may be other options open to you if you seek help. I personally know women who have been in similar situations. One of these women, let the child go and the other went through the pregnancy and then gave the child up for adoption. You may or may not have thought of this option, but it is one that could be open to you, depending on where in the world you are. Any decision we make in life, however big or small it may seem, has far reaching consequences whether in this life, or in future lives. This is just a part and parcel of life within samsara. However, we should weigh the decisions we make clearly given the situation we are in. We cannot always do this weighing ourselves, but need to talk about our options with others we can rely on such a friends, family or professionals. You should consider doing this, which will help you greatly emotionally, and may give you the grounding you need to make the correct decision for you. I hope this helps.
  • April 19, 2017 04:57
    Dongho asked: What is a nyung ne practice? According to Lama Zopa Rinpoche, it's a purification sadhana. However, what are the instructions for this? I'm guessing it's to Chenrezig, but how does it work? Also, from what I have read, Vajrasattva practice is only for broken vows while Akshobhya is for regular misdeeds. Does that mean one has to take the Akshobhya practice to purify bad karma from this life and previous instead of Vajrasattva? As for the purification practices, are some like Vajrasattva and Chenrezig only to purify the bad karma and let it come quickly or is it to prevent it from coming? I am confused in it. As for signs, I recited a mantra of White Yangchenma that a Sakya lama, Lama Kunga Thartse Rinpoche, gave me with the Sakya visualizations I read on, and after one mala, I heard some lady call my Korean name even though no one in my neighborhood knows of my name and my family members weren't in the area. What does this mean?
    pastor answered: Dear Dongho, Thank you for your questions, it’s nice to see you back here again. Nyung Ne practice is a purification practice that centres around Chenrezig. It is a very beneficial practice that stems from a holy nun named Gelong-ma Palmo. It is a two and a half day practice that can be repeated many times over and over again to intensify the purification and build a closer relationship with Chenrezig. As well as its purification aspect, the practice is known to generate vast amount of merit, and also compassion, as the practice centres around Chenrezig, the Buddha of compassion. The practice involves taking the eight Mahayana precepts for the duration, fasting, meditating, prostrating and praying. The practice usually entails empowerment into the practice of Chenrezig, therefore the exact meditations, prayers can only be explained to those who have the empowerment. Vajrasattva practice is not necessarily only for repairing broken vows, etc. That’s why it is advised that you engage in the practice at the end of the day, to repair any vows that you may have broken during that day, as well as stopping any negative karma you created that day from multiplying. This would entail reciting the mantra 21 times, together with the four opponent powers. However, if you engage in this practice more intensely, it definitely has the capability to purify all sorts of karma. That is the reason why in Ngondro, or preliminary practices one engages in before tantra, the practice of 100,000 Vajrasattva mantra recitation is an integral part. You can read more about Vajrasattva and his practice here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/prayers-and-sadhanas/an-important-purification-practice.html. Within purification practices, some of the karma will be purified completely, so you do not feel its effects at all, but when purifying other karma you will need to feel its effects somehow. For example if you have the karma to be in a car accident and get seriously injured, and you are engaging in any practice, but especially the purification practice, since you have purified most of the karma, you will only experience being in a very minor car accident, with only very superficial injuries. Therefore, in this case, the karma has been purified to the extent that it does not affect you as much, but you still need to feel part of its effect. In regards to any signs that you receive which engaging in the practices given to you by one of your specific gurus, you should report the happenings to that particular guru. He will be able to give you more of an accurate answer, as it may be related to the particular practice that he gave to you. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • April 17, 2017 07:06
    Thomas asked: Dear Pastors, When a serkyem set has been used so much and one is ready to get rid of it and replace it with a new one. What is a respecful mode of disposal?
    pastor answered: Dear Thomas, Thank you for your question. Your question shows that you have a lot of respect for offering items, which is very good. If possible, you should try to repair the item if within your means, and doing so make embellishments to make it a better offering item, which can still be used. If this is not possible, then you should dispose of the item with a good motivation. You should think that this item has been used to make offerings to the enlightened beings, but now that it is broken or unusable, you are going to dispose of it, and replace it with a new one. Since it itself is not a receptacle of energies of the enlightened beings, such as a statue, tsa tsa or thangka, it does not require a special dissolution before being disposed of. However since it was used to make offerings, it still requires some form of respect when disposing, and this comes from one’s motivation and the way in which you dispose of it. Usually, when disposing of items in this way, make the motivation that you have used it and that it is now time to dispose of it, and replace it with a new one. When you do this you can dispose of it in a respectful manner. For example, if you are going to throw it away, you do not simply open the trash can and throw it in. You wrap it up in something, like a bag or newspaper and dispose of it respectfully. Another method you can dispose of it is to recycle the object, if the material it is made from can be recycled. That way you are more conscious of the environment as well. I hope this explanation helps. Thank you.
  • April 16, 2017 22:38
    Curious asked: Dear pastors In a recent youtube video something like paying respect to deceased ones, pastor Nirel Patel explained that merits are like the interest and good karma is like the principal sum. So merits always regenerate themselves and hence do not get used up but good karma is like the principal sum so it gets used up. So my question is what are practices that generate merit? And can we turn a mundane daily activity into a meritorious one? Maybe can you provide an example?
    pastor answered: Dear Curious, Thank you for your question. First, to clarify a point, in regards to good karma, you are right, it is like a principal sum in a bank account, but you take away from it when you experience something good in your life, and you add to it when you do good deeds. Merit on the other hand, once accrued never diminishes, therefore when something is based on merit, it is based on the energies of this never diminishing sum, which you could say is like interest. In short, the principal sum when talking about karma is always added to and subtracted from. However, when talking about merit, once you have it, there is no way to destroy it, you will always benefit from it. There are various ways to explain how to generate merit. I will explain a way that I find easiest to understand. In normal life, when we go about performing any sort of activity, be it ‘good’ or ‘bad’ we do so out of ignorance of the true nature of existence, and it is usually self-motivated. For example, we work our entire lives to generate monetary income, so that we have enough money, resources, and materials goods to be comfortable. This is self-motivated, but it is the accepted way the world works these days, and is part and parcel of being bound to samsaric life. On the other hand, the act of merit making can be categorised into three parts: i) motivation, ii) the act itself, and iii) dedication. Let’s start with motivation, when engaging in various virtuous acts, we should have the motivation that by engaging in the act, we have the motivation to alleviate the suffering of someone else, and that may we gain enlightenment so that we can benefit them in the future. The second is the act itself. The third is to dedicate the energy of the virtuous act to gaining enlightenment. These three are what make merit. This may be a little confusing, so let me give an example: giving help to a homeless person. Whereas in ordinary life, this is something praised as a very good deed, it does not create merit without motivation and dedication. In order for this to become merit, one must set the motivation that one is giving help to the homeless free of the eight worldly concerns, to alleviate their suffering and also making the motivation that you will achieve enlightenment for the sake of the person or people you are helping. Then after you have helped them, you dedicate the energy created to the spiritual journey towards full enlightenment to help all sentient beings, while at the same time benefiting as many sentient beings as possible on the way there. This transforms the act into not only a virtuous action but also one that generates merit. On the other hand, if you were to help the homeless without these, you are creating good karma, which although beneficial, keeps you bound to existence within samsara. As it is the goal of Buddhist practice to overcome the cycle of samsara, a Buddhist would want to generate merit instead of good karma. I hope this explanation helps. Thank you.
  • April 13, 2017 11:38
    D.A. asked: If Begtse Chan is not from Mongolia, what are his real origins or story exactly? And which lamas offer his empowerment? As for Manjushri Nagarakshasa, which lamas specifically offer his empowerment and practice?
    pastor answered: Dear D.A. Thank you for your question. Begtse, is also known as Chamsing, or Jamsaran in Mongolian. As mentioned in an earlier sharing with someone who also asked a question about Begtse, the practiced was introduced to Tibet from India by the translator Nyen Lotsawa, and is considered one of the main protectors of the Hayagriva cycle of tantras. According to the scriptures that derive from the Sakya tradition, who incorporated the practice from the translators, and in which tradition Begtse became a very important protector, Begtse in a previous life was born many eons ago. In that particular life, he was born as the younger prince in a royal family. His name was Drag Gye, and his older brother’s name was Drag Den. Over time both princes developed differing religious beliefs, to the point where they could not get along with each as they both held their own religious views strongly. As was the custom during that time, they decided to settle their differences through logical debate, with the loser having to convert to the winner’s religion. This custom was also prevalent in ancient India, and there are many stories of such debates occurring between the great masters of the past and those of other faiths. Drag Gye lost the various debates, but ran away instead of converting to his older brother’s religion. Drag Den caught him, and tried to punish him for breaking the rules of debate and going back on his promise. Drag Gye told his brother that even if he was killed he would not give up his religion, however if Drag Den let him go, that in the future when Drag Den became enlightened, he would protect his teachings. With that Drag Den let him go, and gave him a set of copper armour, a stick, and a bow and arrow. Drag Den also gave Drag Gye a new name: Sog Dag Yam Shi Mar Po. After this incident the two brothers never saw each other again in that lifetime. Many lives after that Drag Den was reborn as Prince Siddharta, who eventually became enlightened and is now known as Buddha Shakyamuni. Drag Gye, or Sog Dag Yam Shi Mar Po, was reborn in a cemetery in the North West direction. His parents gave birth to two eggs, one was a coral-like colour and the other was an agate-like colour. These two eggs flew high into the sky and reached the heavenly realms, there they subdued the gods. Then flying back down to earth, they subdued many nagas. Eventually they even came to threaten their own parents. The parents petitioned the Dharma protector Ekajati for her help, who threw her own staff (khatvanga) at the eggs, and broke them apart. From the coral-like coloured egg came a ferocious man with yellow hair, he proclaimed that his name was ‘Sog Dag Yam Shi Mar Po’. When he emerged he was wearing a set of copper armour, wielding a stick, copper sword, and a bow and arrow. From the agate-like coloured egg came a female who was blue in colour, her teeth were like shells, she had turquoise eyebrows, and her hair was made of fire. She emerged wielding a copper knife, ritual dagger (phurba), rode a terrifying bear and wore an intricate necklace made of agate and lapis lazuli. It was then that Ekajati once again took action, and subdued them, after which they became Dharma protectors. The male figure became known as Begtse, and the female as his sister. When you propitiate Begtse, his sister is automatically included and aids practitioners as well. As for which lama offer his practice and empowerment, most lamas do not advertise which teachings or practice they hold. Therefore you should respectfully approach lamas and ask them if they have the practice and can bestow it, or if they know of any lamas that have the practice, depending on how much you want to practice Begtse. Similarly, this applies to those lamas who have the practice of Manjushri Nagarakshasa. However, this practice is included in the Rinjung Gyatsa series of empowerments. This unique cycle of teachings, includes all 4 classes of tantric practices, and includes the practice of Manjushri Nagarakshasa. Therefore those lamas who have received the complete transmission, and have kept their commitments for this practice, are qualified to pass this on to others. I hope this explanation helps. Thank you.
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Art expression using chalks and papers is an avenue for young children to cultivate positive perspective of life and connect with their artistic or creative side. Stella, KSDS
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Senior students of the children class of Kechara Sunday Dharma School had their class in the ghompa every Sunday. Stella, KSDS
Besides young Karlson and Ern Ern, there are new faces in Kechara Sunday Dharma School 2-4 years old. Stella, KSDS
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Kechara Sunday Dharma School students 5-6 years old making prostration to Lama Tsongkhapa at the beginning of the class every Sunday. Stella,KSDS
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Kechara Sunday Dharma School students 5-6 years old making prostration to Lama Tsongkhapa at the beginning of the class every Sunday. Stella,KSDS
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Make your weekend meaningful! Contact Jace Chong to volunteer in Kechara Forest Retreat for the aviaries.
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