Mount Wutai – The Earthly Abode of Lord Manjushri

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Introduction

Mount Wutai is located in Shanxi province of Northeastern China

Mount Wutai is located in Shanxi province of Northeastern China

I am writing a series of articles on various holy sites such as the Great Buddha of Kamakura in Japan, the Temple of the Tooth in the city of Kandi, Sri Lanka, and several holy places in India such as Bodhgaya, Lumbini, Varanasi and Kushinagar. The objective of writing such articles is to provide information and inspire readers to visit these important religious sites which are well known places of pilgrimage.

A particular place can be considered holy when at least one of the following criteria is met:

  1. Someone had engaged in intensive meditation to generate higher insight and state of mind (e.g., love, compassion and bodhicitta) in the area and therefore infused positive energy into the place.
  2. Someone had a pure vision of a holy being (for example, a Buddha, a Mahasiddha, daka or dakini) and/or received teachings from the holy being(s) in the area. This would have imbued the place with the energy and blessings of the holy beings and/or teachings.
  3. A place where holy beings abide or where supernatural beings engaged in virtuous activities, which blessed the place with positive energies.
  4. The place was blessed or consecrated by a highly realised being who invited the enlightened beings to reside there.

When visiting places that have been blessed, visitors can feel a sense of peace, happiness, healing and well-being from the positive energies of that environment. It can also leave a spiritual imprint or open up an existing positive imprint in the minds of visitors or pilgrims, which can help spur them on their spiritual path.

During the process of writing this article, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that many of the great masters who are recognised as Dorje Shugden’s previous incarnations, such as Sakya Pandita and Buton Rinchen Drub, also played important roles in the establishment of Mount Wutai as centre of Buddhist practice. Since Dorje Shugden is the emanation of Manjushri, it further strengthens my belief that Dorje Shugden is an enlightened being.

I hope you will find this instalment of the series on holy places enjoyable and informative. May it serve as an inspiration for you on your spiritual journey.

Valentina Suhendra

 


 

Overview

The Avatamsaka Sutra, also known as the Flower Garland Sutra

The Avatamsaka Sutra, also known as the Flower Garland Sutra

Mount Wutai is believed to be the earthly abode of Manjushri, the Buddha of wisdom. Its connection to Manjushri is mentioned in a passage of the Avatamsaka Sutra (the Flower Garland Sutra), which contains information about the abodes of various bodhisattvas including those relating to Manjushri. According to the Sutra, Manjushri resides on a “clear cold mountain” in Northeastern China, which would later be known as Mount Wutai. The Sutra conveys the story of an Indian monk from the 1st century who travelled to China and lived on Mount Wutai, where he had a vision of Manjushri. The Avatamsaka Sutra legitimises Mount Wutai as the dwelling place of Manjushri, and it is said that Manjushri is often sighted on Mount Wutai taking the form of ordinary pilgrims, monks or unusual five-coloured clouds in the area.

Buddha of Wisdom Manjushri

Buddha of Wisdom Manjushri

Manjushri is believed to have chosen Mount Wutai as his dwelling place to help those who sincerely wish to obtain higher spiritual attainments and eventually achieve enlightenment. Due to this reason, Mount Wutai is considered to be one of the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage sites for Buddhists around the world and has also developed as a tourist attraction. In 2009, Mount Wutai was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Mount Wutai is regarded as one of the four sacred mountains in China where enlightened beings are known to reside. These four sacred mountains are:

  • Mount Wutai, located in Shanxi province and known as the earthly abode of Manjushri, the Buddha of wisdom.
  • E Mei Shan, also known as Mount E Mei, located in Sichuan province and known as the earthly abode of the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra.
  • Jiu Hua Shan, also known as Mount Jiu Hua, located in Anhui province and known as the earthly abode of the Bodhisattva Dizang or Ksitigarbha.
  • Pu Tuo Shan, also known as Mount Pu Tuo, located in Zhejiang province and known as the earthly abode of Chenrezig, the Buddha of compassion . Chenrezig is also known as Avalokiteshvara in Sanskrit or Kwan Yin in Chinese.

Mount Wutai is well-known for its five flat-topped peaks. Each peak is believed to be occupied by a different form of Manjushri. The highest peak is the Northern Terrace at 3,058 metres (10,033 feet) above sea level, and the Southern Terrace is the lowest peak, at 2,485 metres (8,153 feet) above sea level. The distance between the highest and the lowest peak is approximately 9.3 kilometres (12 miles).

There are over 53 monasteries and temples on Mount Wutai. Due to its remote location, many of these ancient temples and monasteries survived the Cultural Revolution in China during the 1960s. Therefore, even today, pilgrims can see existing wooden structures that were originally built during the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 CE)

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History

Prior to the arrival of Buddhism in China, Mount Wutai was known as Zi Fu Shan or Purple Palace Mountain. It was originally known as a mountain sacred to the Taoist tradition and many Taoist saints are known to have lived there. It was during Eastern Han Dynasty (25 – 220 CE) that the earliest Buddhist temples began to be constructed on the mountain. However, it was not until the 5th century, during the time of the Northern Wei Dynasty (386 – 535 CE), that Mount Wutai was recognised as the earthly abode of Manjushri.

 

Tang Dynasty

A map of Tang Dynasty

A map of Tang Dynasty

Mount Wutai, as the earthly abode of Manjushri, was further popularised in the 8th century by the imperial rulers of China who attempted to create a link between themselves and Manjushri in order to legitimise their power. During that time, one of the most politically powerful monks in Chinese history, Amoghavajra (705 – 774 CE), chose Mount Wutai as the site from which to pray for the protection and preservation of the nation, which included accompanying various Buddha statues in procession around the mountain. Furthermore, during the Tang Dynasty, it became the sacred site at which the Tang emperors received a spiritual mandate from Manjushri, as well as sacred messages from heaven, allowing the emperors to exercise their power on earth. As such, Mount Wutai become the focus of imperial attention, and the ritual act of procession was given precedent as a legitimate method through which Manchu rulers (and through association the Tibetan and Mongolian rulers) could communicate with Manjushri.

 

Amoghavajra (705 – 774 CE)

Amoghavajra

Amoghavajra

Amoghavajra was born in Samarkand, a city in modern day Uzbekistan, to an Indian father and a Sogdian mother. Following his father’s passing in 715, he moved to China where he was ordained by Vajrabodhi, an esoteric Buddhist teacher of the Tang Dynasty, four years later. He was a productive translator and is regarded as one of the Eight Patriarchs of the Doctrine in the Shingon lineage of Buddhism, now practised in Japan. As a trusted spiritual guide to the Tang emperors, he was granted permission to create the first Abhiseka-Bodhi-Mandala School at Daxing Shansi Temple, which is now known as the Chinese Esoteric School.

Amoghavajra served three emperors during the Tang Dynasty: Emperor Xuanzong, Emperor Suzong and Emperor Taizong. He also began the construction of the magnificent Jin’ge Temple on Mount Wutai in order to promote Manjushri as the Buddha and protector of China, and the temple was completed in 767. He was a famous practitioner of Buddhist tantra, who would perform potent rituals to avert various disasters. He dedicated the remaining years of his life to translate and edit 120 volumes of tantric teachings to benefit sentient beings. After he passed away in 774, he was posthumously bestowed various honorary titles such as Thesaurus of Wisdom, Amogha Tripitaka, and Minister of State.

 

Tibetan Influence

The map of Mount Wutai dated 1596

A map of Mount Wutai from 1596

The 10th century mural painting on Mount Wutai in Cave 61, Mogao Caves in Dunhuang

A 10th century mural painting of Mount Wutai found in Cave 61, Mogao Caves in Dunhuang

Buton Rinchen Drub (1290 - 1364 CE)

Buton Rinchen Drub (1290-1364)

Tibetan rulers had shown great interest in Mount Wutai especially during the height of the country’s military expansion (7th – 8th centuries). During that period, Tibetan kings and Chinese emperors established cultural exchange for the first time. In fact, according to a Tibetan account of the establishment of Buddhism in Tibet and the building of Samye Monastery, called the Testament of Ba, Tibetan envoys returning from China made an extremely long detour in order to visit Mount Wutai in 755. The Testament of Ba was written by Ba Salnang, a member of King Trisong Detsen’s (742 – 796 CE) court, whose works have been cited by many historians over the years. In a Chinese history book titled Old Tang Dynasty History, it is mentioned that in 824, the Tibetan King Trisong Detsen requested a map of Mount Wutai from the Tang Court. Starting in the 830s, the earliest depictions of Mount Wutai were being painted in murals adorning the walls of the Mogao Caves in Dunhuang County, when the area was ruled by the Tibetan empire. The simple murals contain information on topography, history and various narratives of miracles occurring on Mount Wutai.

A famous Tibetan scholar by the name of Buton Rinchen Drub (1290 – 1364 CE), in one of his works titled History of Buddhism, states that the first Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo (ca. 617 – 650 CE), built 108 temples on Mount Wutai. In addition to the imperial family of Tibet, several distinguished masters, such as the Indian scholar Vimalamitra who established the Dzogchen lineage in Tibet, also embarked on pilgrimage to the sacred mountain.

King Songtsen Gampo built 108 temples on Mount Wutai

King Songtsen Gampo built 108 temples on Mount Wutai

Tibet’s interest in Mount Wutai grew between the late-12th and early-13th centuries when Nyangrel Nyima Ozer (1136 – 1204 CE), wrote extensive accounts on the life of the tantric adept Padmasambhava, and the lives of the Tibetan kings of the 8th century. Nyangrel Nyima Ozer was considered the emanation of King Trisong Detsen’s mind, and was the first of the great Tertons, or hidden-treasure revealers of the Nyingma tradition. In his accounts, he included the story of Manjushri advising King Trisong Detsen to establish Buddhism as the official religion of Tibet, while on Mount Wutai. Therefore, Tibet as a religious state based on Buddhist principles is a direct result of Manjushri’s advice. Later on, King Trisong Detsen himself came to be regarded as an emanation of Manjushri, and is often depicted with Manjushri’s implements such as a sword and Dharma text.

 

Padampa Sangye

Padampa Sangye

Padampa Sangye

Padampa Sangye was a South Indian monk who founded the Zhije school, also known as the Pacification of Suffering tradition. Padampa Sangye is believed to have travelled to Tibet on at least three occasions. In Tibet, he was more commonly referred to as ‘Black Acarya’ and ‘Little Black Indian’ due to his dark skin. Acarya means a great scholar who has mastered the teachings and can instruct others to achieve the same level of learning and realisation. Padampa Sangye is said to have stayed at Mount Wutai for eleven years (1086 – 1097 CE). His biography includes an account of his meeting with Manjushri on Mount Wutai, who came to him in the form of an old sage carrying a rattan stick. During the meeting, the old sage told him that China was a country full of epidemics and the only thing that could salvage the situation was a dharani of Ushnishavijaya (known as Namgyalma in Tibetan) that was located at the Vajrasana, or the sacred seat on which Buddha Shakyamuni achieved enlightenment, today this area is known as the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya, India. A dharani is a verse or short text that encapsulates the entire meaning and essence of a sutra or particular practice, while Ushnishavijaya is one of the three main long-life Buddhas. The old sage further instructed Padampa Sangye to go to a particular cave in which there was a hole that could instantly transport him back and forth between Mount Wutai and the Vajrasana. Padampa Sangye did as he was told and successfully rid China of the epidemics by obtaining the dharani. The story of Padampa Sangye’s meeting with Manjushri has become a popular legend surrounding Mount Wutai. Padampa Sangye used his time in China to teach and spread the principles of the Zhije School and the pacification of suffering teachings. Some pracitioners even claim that he stayed on Mount Wutai to teach and meditate until the day of his passing.

 

Tangut Empire of Western Xia

Map depicting Tangut Empire from the 11th century

Map depicting Tangut Empire from the 11th century

In 1036, the Tanguts of the Western Xia Dynasty invaded Dunhuang city and discovered the Mount Wutai murals painted by the Tibetans. Just like the previous Chinese and Tibetan rulers, the Tanguts desired to legitimise their governance and lavish imperial lifestyle by creating a direct connection between the Tangut emperors and Manjushri.

Therefore, the Tanguts made an effort to establish and enforce their own Buddhist ideology on Mount Wutai. The Tanguts were devoted to the Avatamsaka Sutra, which further reinforced the belief that Mount Wutai was Manjushri’s earthly abode. Due to the complexity of their political relations with the Chinese, the Tanguts built their own version of Wutai Shan in the Helan Mountains and called it the ‘Northern Wutai Shan’. It was situated to the west of their capital, Xi Ping Fu, in the 11th century. They even replicated two major temples from Mount Wutai, namely Qingliang Si and Foguang Si, while they built the Northern Wutai Shan. However, the Tanguts were not the only group that decided to build their own version of the mountain. The Khitans of the Liao Dynasty (907 – 1125 CE) and the Mongols have also since built their own versions within their own borders.

 

Mongolian Interest

In the mid-13th century, during the time of the Yuan Dynasty, Mount Wutai became the centre of political life in China. The Yuan Dynasty was founded by Kublai Khan (1215 – 1294 CE), the grandson of Genghis Khan and he was the emperor of the Mongolian Empire. Even though the Mongolians had ruled territory in China for some time, it was not until 1271 that Kublai Khan officially announced their rule in the tradition Chinese style, thereby founding the Yuan Dynasty. The marked growth of Tibetan Buddhism during this period was due to his policies, which favoured Tibetan Buddhism over traditions. Some people even believed Kublai Khan was himself an emanation of Manjushri, sent to spread the Dharma.

Portrait of Kublai Khan

The Portrait of Kublai Khan

However, the claim that Kublai Khan was an emanation of Manjushri was not a belief held by all. Urgyanpa Rinchen Pel (1229 – 1309 CE), a contemporary of the emperor was known to have had strong reservations about its credibility. In his biography written by his student, Sonam Ozer, Urgyanpa was said to have argued that if Kublai Khan was truly an emanation of Manjushri, the emperor’s glorious power should have come from meditative concentration on Manjushri, not through tyranny. In Urgyanpa’s opinion, the fact that Kublai Khan oppressed and intimidated people to expand his territory meant that he was not a legitimate emanation of Manjushri. Conversely, another contemporary from the Yuan Dynasty, Monlam Dorje (1284 – 1346 CE), thought otherwise. In the biography written by his son, Tselpa, he claimed that Kublai Khan was a true emanation of Manjushri. This claim succeeded in enhancing Mount Wutai’s reputation in the eyes of subsequent emperors, as a place for gaining and maintaining political power.

Sakya Pandita Kunga Gyatsen (1182 - 1251 CE)

Sakya Pandita Kunga Gyatsen (1182 – 1251 CE)

During Kublai Khan’s reign, many prominent Tibetan lamas visited the Mongolian court and Mount Wutai, which further increased its sanctity. One of the most prominent Tibetan Lamas who visited Mount Wutai was Sakya Pandita Kunga Gyaltsen (1182 – 1251 CE), who was recognised as an emanation of Manjushri. As a matter of fact, Sakya Pandita’s nephew, Chogyel Pakpa Lodro Gyeltsen (1235 – 1280 CE), dedicated his life to composing texts on Manjushri and the mountain. He composed an important 100 verse poem about the mountain called ‘The Garland of Jewels: Praise to Manjushri at Five-Peak Mountain’ in 1257. Due to his devotion to Manjushri and the mountain, Kublai Khan made him the Imperial Chaplain, a post considered to be the highest spiritual authority in the empire. This tradition continued with subsequent Yuan emperors appointing Tibetan Buddhist monks to the highest religious positions in the imperial government.

The Great White Stupa

The Great White Stupa

Chogyel Pakpa Lodro Gyeltsen’s student, Ga Aknyen Dampa Kunga Drak (1230 – 1303 CE), who was a skilled tantric practitioner in Kublai Khan’s court, also lived on Mount Wutai for almost ten years. Kublai Khan appointed him the abbot of the Temple of Longevity and Tranquillity. Such a prestigious position elevated the monastery’s reputation as the first significant Tibetan Buddhist monastery ever built on the mountain. It is important to note that Ga Aknyen Dampa Kunga Drak was given this prestigious post because he used his tantric powers to help the Mongolian army win many battles. One such battle led to the fall of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 – 1279 CE) and marked the beginning of the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty (1271 – 1368 CE). It was Kublai Khan who commenced the construction of the Great White Stupa that later became an iconic landmark associated with Mount Wutai. The Great White Stupa was built in 1301 by Chogyel Pakpa Lodro Gyeltsen’s protégé, Anige, a Nepalese artist who was the head of the Mongolian imperial workshop. Twenty-two years earlier, Anige had also built a similar stupa in Beijing in 1279 to commemorate the beginning of the Yuan Dynasty.

 

Chinese Ming Dynasty

The 5th Karmapa Deshin Shekpa (1384 - 1415 CE)

The 5th Karmapa Deshin Shekpa (1384 – 1415 CE)

Following the fall of the Yuan Dynasty in 1368, the Han Chinese regained power in China and established the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644 CE). Tibetan Buddhism experienced minimal support from the imperial elite during the period of the Ming Dynasty, however a handful of Chinese Ming emperors and monarchs were known to be adherents of Tibetan Buddhism. Even though they experienced resistance from their Confucian advisers, sovereigns such as Emperor Yongle (1403 – 1424 CE) and Emperor Zhengde (1505 – 1521 CE) supported Tibetan Buddhism to the best of their ability, and this was especially apparent on Mount Wutai. Emperor Yongle renovated and expanded the Clear Understanding Monastery in 1406, and even invited the 5th Karmapa Deshin Shekpa (1384 – 1415 CE) to visit his court. The Karmapa’s image was later made and installed at Xiantong Si, one of the temples on Mount Wutai. The emperor also made a donation on behalf of the 5th Karmapa, which was used to renovate the Great White Stupa in 1407. Later, Lama Tsongkhapa’s distinguished disciple Shakya Yeshe also stayed at the Xiantong Si and Yuanzhao Si temples for four years. During his stay, he built five or six more temples and worked to introduce the Gelug tradition in the area.

Statue of Chakzampa Tangtong Gyelpo

Statue of Chakzampa Tangtong Gyelpo

The Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism made more of an impact during the Ming Dynasty when Emperor Xuande (1426 – 1435 CE) appointed the abbot of Yuanzhao Si temple as the manager of Chinese and Tibetan Buddhist affairs on the mountain. This appointment was significant because it implied that Yuanzhao Si was acknowledged as the first Gelugpa temple in China. Another prominent Tibetan figure who came to meditate on the mountain was Chakzampa Tangtong Gyelpo (1361 – 1485 CE). In addition to his meditation, he gave oral transmissions of the Litany of the Names of Manjushri, otherwise known as the Manjushrinamasamgiti in Sanskrit. When he was meditating on Mount Wutai, he experienced visions of Manjushri who instructed him to build geomantic focal points to suppress the four elements. His pure visions of Manjushri made him even more renowned from that point onwards.

 

The Qing Dynasty

Qing Dynasty map of Mount Wutai

Qing Dynasty map of Mount Wutai

After the fall of the Ming Dynasty, the Manchus seized power in China and established the Qing Dynasty in 1644. The Manchus were nomadic people from the north eastern plains who also believed that their monarchs were manifestations of Manjushri. During the Qing Dynasty, Mount Wutai received more attention from the court and enjoyed more autonomous power as compared to during the previous dynasties.

Inspired by the successful alliance between Kublai Khan and his spiritual adviser, Chogyel Pakpa Lodro Gyeltsen, during the Yuan Dynasty, the Manchus decided to adopt this proven model in their imperial court. The Manchu emperors declared themselves as the worthy successors of Kublai Khan in spiritual terms, which meant that they were also the emanations of Manjushri. In short, they declared themselves to be the reincarnations of Kublai Khan, once again, blurring the line between the monarchy and Tibetan Buddhism. It was important for the Manchus to draw on similarities with the Mongols by using Tibetan Buddhism because this spiritual ‘lineage’ was seen as a powerful symbol of political legitimacy in the 17th and 18th centuries. The Manchus, like the Mongols, were a minority in China, a fact that could have easily made them feel like outsiders. Therefore, embracing Tibetan Buddhism was seen as a strategic move to assure people that they were a part of the community, not mere invaders.

They went as far as changing the name of their ethnic group from Jurchen to ‘Manju’ in 1635 to validate their close connection to Manjushri. In addition, Emperor Kangxi (1662 – 1723 CE) referred to himself as an emanation of Manjushri in the Introduction to the official Mongolian translation of the Tibetan Buddhist canon:

“Then Manjushri, the savior of all living forms, [with the] intellect of all the Buddhas, was transformed into human form, and ascended the Fearless Lion Throne of gold; and this was none other than the sublime Emperor Kangxi-Manjushri who assisted and brought joy to the entire vast world…”

Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty

Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty

Emperor Kangxi embarked on Buddhist pilgrimage to Mount Wutai at least five times to show his extraordinary devotion to and close relationship with Manjushri, the state’s spiritual protector. During the Qing Dynasty, the monasteries and temples on Mount Wutai were given the freedom to look after their own affairs while the Tibetan and Mongolian clergy enjoyed privileged positions within the imperial court. The emperor also sent 40 Mongolian lamas to Mount Wutai in 1655, and converted 10 Chinese Buddhist monasteries into Tibetan and Mongolian Buddhist institutions between 1683 and 1705, with his full financial support. The Qing emperor also granted the prestigious position of ‘Head of all Religious and Temporal Affairs’ for both Tibetan and Chinese Buddhist institutions on Mount Wutai, to a Mongolian practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism, the Jasagh Lama from Pusa Ding Monastery.

Contrary to the Ming Dynasty that did not support the locally printed guides to various sites on the mountain, the Qing Dynasty authorities heavily supported their publication in the Chinese language. One may suggest that this deliberate action was taken with the aim of spreading the message that Emperor Kangxi was an emanation of Manjushri.

The emperor also appointed the highest and most influential lama of Inner Asia and China in the 18th century, Changkya Hutuktu Rolpai Dorje (1717 – 1786 CE) who served as the emperor’s personal chaplain, and played an important role in spreading the Tibetan Buddhist influence on the mountain. At the time, Changkya Rolpai Dorje was as powerful as the Dalai Lama as he was in charge of all Gelug affairs in Eastern Tibet. Changkya Rolpai Dorje also advised the emperor on political matters, in fact he is regarded as the adviser during the formation of the Sino-Tibetan system of the Qing Dynasty.

From a young age, Changkya Rolpai Dorje was educated in Buddhist scripture; and the Chinese, Mongolian, Manchu, and Tibetan languages, alongside the imperial princes which included Emperor Kangxi’s grandson, the future Emperor Qianlong. The tight bond between Changkya Rolpai Dorje and the future emperor was cultivated from a young age, and this relationship allowed him to play an important role in the court. Amongst his many roles, Changkya Rolpai Dorje was an adviser and was thus able to guide the emperor during the creation of a policy towards Tibet and Mongolia that highlighted the heritage of Kublai Khan, with a special emphasis on the connection with Manjushri.

Changkya Rolpai Dorje focused his attention on the Tibetan and Mongolian Buddhist identity of Mount Wutai, and personally supervised the administration of six temples. He also wrote a Tibetan Buddhist pilgrimage guide named ‘Pilgrimage Guide to the Pure Realm of Clear and Cool Mountain’ that was translated into Mongolian, and actively promoted pilgrimages to Mount Wutai amongst Mongolians and Tibetans. He spent 36 consecutive summers at the Taming the Ocean Monastery, engaging in meditative retreats, from 1750 until his death in 1786.

The similarities between Changkya Rolpai Dorje’s patron-priest relationship with Emperor Qianlong, and Chogyel Pakpa Lodro Gyeltsen’s relationship with Kublai Khan were striking, especially after Changkya Rolpai Dorje initiated Emperor Qianlong into the Buddhist rites of the universal emperor or chakravartin in 1745. Chogyel Pakpa Lodro Gyeltsen had done the same for Kublai Khan. Changkya Rolpai Dorje also translated Chogyel Pakpa Lodro Gyeltsen’s biography into Mongolian in 1753. Changkya Rolpai Dorje and Emperor Qianlong were believed to be Chogyel Pakpa Lodro Gyeltsen’s and Kublai Khan’s reincarnations, therefore they acted and behaved with each other in exactly the same manner as they had done so in their previous lives. Changkya Rolpai Dorje passed away on Mount Wutai in 1786, and was buried at Taming the Ocean Monastery.

In the early 1840s, the Qing empire was hit by an economic crisis, mainly because they maintained a low tax rate while the population grew at an unprecedented speed. The economic crisis left the Mount Wutai administration with insufficient funds. This forced the monks to travel outside China, to Mongolia and as far as Buryatia, in order to raise funds. This approach proved to be successful. The monks returned with Mongol-donated livestock, gold and silver. The Mongols’ help during this difficult time created a strong bond between the monks on Mount Wutai and the Mongolian people. When Mount Wutai monks received news of the arrival of princely Mongolian caravans they would personally meet them at the border and took care of the bureaucrats on their journey to Mount Wutai.

 

Changkya Hutuktu Rolpai Dorje (1717-1786)

Changkya Hutuktu Rolpai Dorje

Changkya Hutuktu Rolpai Dorje

Changkya Hutuktu Rolpai Dorje was born on the 10th day of the fourth month in 1717 near Lanzhou in Gansu. When he was a little boy, the first Jamyang Zhepa recognised him as the incarnation of the previous Changkya Hutuktu of Gonlung Monastery in Amdo, which was one of the four great Gelug monasteries in Northern Tibet. Changkya Rolpai Dorje met Emperor Yongzheng (1722 – 1735 CE) during the battle between Qing forces and rebels in Amdo. The emperor ordered the seven year old Changkya Rolpai Dorje to be brought to his court. He was groomed to become a bridge between the Qing rulers and the Buddhists of Amdo, Tibet and Mongolia. Changkya Rolpai Dorje was responsible for translating Gelugpa texts into Chinese and Mongolian to spread the teachings. During his time as a student at the court, he became a good friend of Prince Hungli, who would later become Emperor Qianlong (1735 – 1796 CE). In 1744, Emperor Qianlong transformed the Yonghegong Palace in Beijing to serve both as a Gelugpa monastery and as an Imperial Palace. The transformed palace became the residence of Changkya Hutuktu Rolpai Dorje and other prominent religious figures from Amdo and Mongolia.

Emperor Qianlong as an emanation of Manjushri

Emperor Qianlong as an emanation of Manjushri

At the request of Emperor Qianlong, Changkya Rolpai Dorje gave him private instructions on how to take refuge in the Three Jewels and on Tibetan grammar. In 1745, he gave the emperor tantric teachings and conferred empowerment of his yidam, Chakrasamvara. In a remark that became famous, Emperor Qianlong said to Changkya Rolpai Dorje: “Now you are not only my lama, you are my vajra master.” Changkya Rolpai Dorje also played a significant role in presenting Emperor Qianlong as an emanation of Manjushri. In pictorial representations, Emperor Qianlong is seen as the spiritual heir of Kublai Khan. Such images highlight the similarities between Emperor Qianlong and Manjushri, as the emperor is depicted holding the Perfection of Wisdom Sutra and the flaming wisdom sword of Manjushri. Changkya Rolpai Dorje’s written works consist of seven large volumes containing almost 200 texts. In addition, he supervised and translated the Kangyur into Manchu (108 volumes), and the entire Tangyur (224 volumes) into Mongolian to spread Tibetan Buddhism.

 

The 6th Dalai Lama’s Exile on Mount Wutai

The 6th Dalai Lama, Tsangyang Gyatso

His Holiness the 6th Dalai Lama, Tsangyang Gyatso

The 6th Dalai Lama, Tsangyang Gyatso (1683-1706 CE) was a controversial figure as he preferred archery and women as opposed to his religious duties. This preference almost cost him his life as it was planned that he would die in custody, en route to the imperial capital, because Emperor Kangxi considered him to be an illegitimate lama. Legend has it that the 6th Dalai Lama was saved by Manjushri, and lived in meditative exile in a cave on Mount Wutai, accompanied by his female attendant until the day he died. The cave where he lived is called the Avalokitesvara Cave and is now a popular pilgrimage destination.

 

Go to Peaks Of Mount Wutai >>

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Peaks Of Mount Wutai

Mount Wutai

Mount Wutai

Mount Wutai is a pilgrimage site for international visitors from different backgrounds. It is an interesting place of religious tolerance and understanding because it has been influenced by various Buddhist schools and cultures including China, Mongolia and Tibet.

A pilgrim prostrating on Mount Wutai

A pilgrim prostrating on Mount Wutai

Today, many pilgrims visit Mount Wutai annually to accumulate merit for themselves and their deceased relatives. They also do so to pray for the fulfilment of their more secular wishes such as wealth and good fortune, purification of sins, and recovery from illness. Even to this day, some Chinese and Mongolian pilgrims still make prostrations throughout the entire length of their journey to the mountain, a journey that could take several years.

There are several buildings, dating from the earliest periods of Mount Wutai’s history as a holy site, that have survived the test of time. For example, the main hall of the Foguang Temple, built in 857, is one of the oldest wooden structures in China. Another ancient structure on Mount Wutai is the main hall of the Nanchan Temple, which was originally built around 782 and was renovated in 1974-75.

 

Location & the Five Peaks Mountain

Mount Wutai is situated in the north-eastern part of Shanxi Province, approximately 230 kilometres away from Taiyuan, the province’s capital city. It covers an area of 2,837 square kilometres and its five main peaks are located in the east, south, west, north, and in the middle, creating a harmonious and beautiful view. As such, pilgrims can enjoy breathtaking views from the peaks at various different angles. The peaks of mountain are known as: Wanghai Peak in the east, Guayue Peak in the west, Jinxiu Peak in the south, Yedou Peak in the north, and Cuiyan Peak in the centre.

 

Wanghai Peak In The East

Wanghai Peak, the eastern peak of Mount Wutai

Wanghai Peak, the eastern peak of Mount Wutai

Wanghai Peak is located 1 kilometre (0.6 mile) east of Taihuai Town in Wutai County. It overlooks the sea and is 2,795 metres above sea level. While standing on the peak, visitors can enjoy the beautiful view of thousands of golden rays during sunrise and a sea of floating clouds. On this peak, Four-armed Manjushri or Manjughosa Tiksna, is believed to reside. The Wanghai Temple is located here and houses a Manjughosa Tiksna image.

 

Guayue Peak In The West

Guayue Peak, the western peak of Mount Wutai

Guayue Peak, the western peak of Mount Wutai

Guayue Peak, also known as Hanging Moon Peak, is located 13 kilometres west of Taihuai Town and is 2,773 metres above sea level. The best time to climb Guayue Peak is on a full moon night, when visitors can enjoy the peaceful view of moonlight above dense pine trees. Vadisimha Manjushri, who is depicted seated on a lion, is believed to reside on this peak. The Falei Temple is located on this peak and houses the Vadisimha Manjushri image.

 

Jinxiu Peak In The South

Jinxiu Peak, the southern peak of Mount Wutai

Jinxiu Peak, the southern peak of Mount Wutai

Jinxiu Peak, also known as Splendour Peak, is located 12 kilometres south of Taihuai Town and is 2,485 metres above sea level. From the summit of Jinxiu Peak, visitors can enjoy the beautiful view of colourful, sweet-scented flowers all over the peak. The best time to visit this peak is from early-May until late-August when most of the flowers will be in bloom, releasing their fragrance. The white form of Manjushri called Jvanasattva is believed to reside on this peak. The Puji Temple is located here and houses a Jvanasattva statue.

 

Yedou Peak In The North

Yedou Peak, the northern peak of Mount Wutai

Yedou Peak, the northern peak of Mount Wutai

Yedou Peak, also known as the Peak of Flourishing Leaves, is the highest point of Mount Wutai at 3,058 metres above sea level. It is located 5 kilometres north of Taihuai Town. The peak overlooks a natural pool of over 300 square metres as well as wonderful and endless greenery. Vimala Manjushri is believed to reside on this peak. The Ling Ying Temple is located here and houses a Vimala Manjushri image.

 

Cuiyan Peak In The Centre

Cuiyan Peak, the central peak of Mount Wutai

Cuiyan Peak, the central peak of Mount Wutai

The view from this peak is spectacular. Green moss covers the surface of rocks, that resemble moving dragons when light is reflected on them. Hence, the rocks were given the name ‘dragon writhing rocks’, while the plateau is also known as Peak of Green rocks. It sits at 2,894 metres above sea level. Manjushri Natha, a form of Manjushri depicted wielding a sword, is believed to reside on this peak. The Yanjiao Temple is located here and houses a Manjushri Natha image.

 

Go to Major Sites >>

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The Major Sites

There are over 53 temples and monasteries on Mount Wutai. These places of worship include the famous Great White Stupa, Nanshan Temple, Xiantong Temple, Pusading Temple and Foguang Temple.

 

Inner Mount Wutai

On Inner Mount Wutai, there many temples including: Xiantong Temple, Shuxiang Temple, Shouning Temple, Bishan Temple, Puhua Temple, Dailuo Ding, Qixian Temple, Shifang Tang, Shuxiang Temple, Guangzong Temple, Youguo Temple, Guanyin Dong, Longhua Temple, Luomuhou Temple, Jinge Temple, Zhanshan Temple, Wanfo Ge, Guanhai Temple, Zhulin Temple, Jifu Temple, Gufo Temple, and many others.

 

Outer Mount Wutai

On Outer Mount Wutai, there are even more temples including: Yanqing Temple, Nanchan Temple, Mimi Temple, Yanshan Temple, Zunsheng Temple, Guangji Temple, and many others.

 

The Great White Stupa

The Great White Pagoda

The Great White Stupa

The 50-metre tall Great White Stupa is the most iconic landmark on Mount Wutai, built during the Yuan Dynasty with the help of a Nepalese artisan. Initially, the Stupa was a part of Xiantong Si Monastery, however it became an independent temple site 150 years later as a result of an edict issued by Emperor Zhudi in 1407 during the Ming Dynasty. Much later, in 1579, the temple site was restored and expanded by imperial decree. The latest renovation of the structure was undertaken in 1952 with the Central Government’s financial support. The Great White Stupa is situated at the centre of Taihuai-Zhen, surrounded by many temple structures.

The vase-like stupa was based on the structure of a Tibetan stupa, instead of the conservative Chinese pagoda structure. The main body is made of brick slabs, while its octagonal base is made of stone, and the conical spire is made of seasoned bronze. The stupa has a coating of lime on the outside that gives it its white colour. The walls are adorned with delicate decorations and many fine copper embellishments. The parasol and top are made of gilt copper, and support 252 small bells.

The Great White Stupa is also known as the Shakyamuni Relic Pagoda. Sometimes, it is also called the Great Compassion Life Lengthening Pagoda.

 

Nanshan Temple

You Guo Si – The Temple of Blessed Nation

You Guo Si – The Temple of Blessed Nation

The Nanshan Temple is a large complex on Mount Wutai that was built during the Yuan Dynasty. It comprises of seven terraces and is divided into three parts. The upper terrace is called the You Guo Temple; the middle terrace is called the Shande Hall; and the lower terrace is called the Jile Temple. The Nanshan Temple is by far the most beautiful monastery in the area. There are no signboards in English at this temple and the monastery prohibits lay people from staying there. This policy has resulted in the temple having an atmosphere of a strict monastic life.

Sculpted bridge at Nanshan Temple

Sculpted bridge at Nanshan Temple

 

Xiantong Temple

Xiantong Temple

Xiantong Temple

The Xiantong Temple is by far the largest and oldest among the famous temples on the mountain. The temple was built during Emperor Yongping’s reign during the Eastern Han Dynasty (25 – 220 CE) before undergoing major expansion during the Northern Wei Dynasty (386 – 534 CE) under Emperor Xiaowen. The expansion included twelve courtyards with a garden in the front, therefore it is also referred to as the Garden Temple.

Another side of Xiantong Temple

Another side of Xiantong Temple

The temple comprises of 400 rooms of various sizes that display the architectural styles of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Inside the temple, there are three pure copper halls built during the Ming Dynasty and are engraved with fine Buddhist figurines. There are also two 13-storey bronze towers built during the Ming Dynasty at the side of the temple. They are also covered with Buddhist figurines, decorative motifs and various inscriptions. The temple’s Wuliang Hall houses an image of the Buddha Amitabha, as well as the Huayan Sutra Pagoda on its grounds.

The Copper Hall of Xiantong Temple

The Copper Hall of Xiantong Temple

The temple’s Copper Hall has a double-eave hipped gable roof. The size of the hall is proportionally harmonious with the skilfully cast statues. Ten thousand small, golden statues of Chinese deities are also enshrined in the hall. There are also two copper pagodas built during the Ming Dynasty.

 

Pusa Ding Monastery

Pusa Ding Monastery

Pusa Ding Monastery

Pusa Ding is a small monastery located on the central peak of Mount Wutai. According to the Expanded Record of the Clear and Cool Mountains (1057 – 1063 CE), the first temple in the complex, the Wenshuyuan Temple was built during Emperor Xiaowen’s reign (r. 471 – 499 CE) during the Northern Wei Dynasty (385 – 534 CE) as a result of the frequent auspicious signs of Manjushri appearing in the area. Later, Emperor Ruizong (662 – 716 CE) gave instructions to build a sculpted image of Manjushri, but this proved challenging to build. The sculptor, Ansheng, failed to carve the image of Manjushri without a crack. He was only successful after asking for guidance from Manjushri himself. During the reign of Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty, the monastery was renamed Pusa Ding or the Bodhisattva Peak (also known as Manjushri Peak).

The monastery complex includes the Dawenshu-dian, the first temple to house a copy of the Yongle edition of the Tibetan Buddhist Canon or Kangyur, which was completed around 1410. At present, Dawenshu-Dian is referred to as Pusa Ding or Zhenrong Yuan. Furthermore, there are two temples that house copies of the Kangyur, the Luohou Si Bentang and the Pule Yuan Bentang.

During the Qing Emperor Shunzhi’s reign (1644 – 1661 CE), Pusa Ding was extensively renovated with the aim of turning it into an official residence for prominent Tibetan Buddhist monks. It also served as an official imperial establishment. Pusa Ding was both Emperor Kangxi’s and Emperor Qianlong’s favourite place when visiting Mount Wutai.

 

Foguang Temple

Foguang Temple

Foguang Temple

Foguang Temple is located five kilometres from Doucun, Wutai County, in Shanxi Province. It was built during the Tang Dynasty in 857. The temple consists primarily of two halls, namely the Great Eastern Hall built in 857 and Manjushri Hall built in 1137. In addition the second oldest existing pagoda in China, the Zushi Pagoda is housed on its grounds, and dates back to the 6th century. Located south of the Great Eastern Hall, it is presumed to contain the tomb of the temple’s founder. The pagoda is white in colour, hexagonal in shape, and is decorated with lotus petals.

The Zushi Pagoda

The Zushi Pagoda

Originally built during the Northern Wei Dynasty, the temple took 35 years to complete, from 785 to 820. Unfortunately, in 845, Emperor Wuzong had the whole temple destroyed by fire as part of his campaign to ban Buddhism in the country. Only the Zushi Pagoda survived his destructive campaign. In 857, the temple was rebuilt with the financial support of a woman named Ning Gongyu. The reconstruction itself was supervised by a monk named Yuancheng. Much of the rebuilding effort was focused on the Great Eastern Hall. In the 10th century, an image of the Foguang Temple resurfaced on the painting in cave 61 of the Mogao Caves, Duhuang City. The existence of the Foguang image in the cave served to emphasise its importance as a holy site for Buddhist pilgrims to visit.

Later in 1137, during the Jin Dynasty, the Manjushri Hall and another hall dedicated to Samantabhadra were constructed on the temple’s north and south sides respectively. Unfortunately, the Samantabhadra Hall was burnt down during the time of the Qing Dynasty. The Manjushri Hall is roughly the same size as the Eastern Hall and is located on an 83 centimetres high platform with three front doors and one central back door, and it features a single-eave hipped gable roof. All four walls are filled with murals of arhats painted in 1429 during the time of the Ming Dynasty.

Manjushri Hall that was constructed in 1137

Manjushri Hall that was constructed in 1137

The Great Eastern Hall is located on the far eastern side of the temple, on top of a large stone platform. The simplicity of its structure is striking. It is supported by inner and outer sets of columns. Special emphasis was given to the complexity of the roof, and as such the hall has a lattice ceiling that covers much of the roof frame from view.

The hall has 36 sculptures and murals on each wall dating from the Tang Dynasty and later periods. In the middle of the hall, there are three large statues of Buddha Shakyamuni, Amitabha and Maitreya, all seated on lotus seats. Each Buddha is guarded by four assistants at their sides and two bodhisattvas in front of them. There are also statues of Manjushri riding on a lion and Samantabhadra on an elephant next to the platform. The artistic temple also contains a large mural that portrays the Buddha’s past lives.

 

Nanchan Temple

The Nanchan Temple is located near Doucun Town on Mount Wutai. The temple was built in 782 during the Tang Dynasty. Nanchan is regarded as an important architectural site that contains an original set of artistically important Tang sculptures. Its Great Buddha Hall is China’s oldest preserved timber building, and it survived the purge initiated by Emperor Wuzong in 845 due to its isolated location. The hall’s interior has seventeen sculptures with a small stone pagoda.

The Great Buddha Hall of Nanchan Temple

The Great Buddha Hall of Nanchan Temple

The Great Buddha Hall is a humble looking building. The roof is supported by twelve pillars embedded directly into a brick foundation. The absence of intricate features on its roof suggests that the hall was a structure of low status.

Buddha Shakyamuni statue inside the Great Buddha Hall

Buddha Shakyamuni statue inside the Great Buddha Hall

The Nanchan Temple houses original images carved during the time of the Tang Dynasty. The temple contains 17 statues that are lined up in the form of an inverted ‘U’. At the center of the hall, there is a large image of Buddha Shakyamuni sitting on a throne surrounded by sculpted images of a lion and a demigod. A large statue of Samantabhadra riding on an elephant is placed on the far left of the hall, while a large statue of Manjushri riding on a lion is placed on the far right. There are also images of two of Buddha Shakyamuni’s disciples (Ananda and Mahakashyapa), two statues of heavenly kings and four statues of attendants. In addition, the hall has a small five-tiered stone pagoda with Buddha images carved on each tier.

 

Go to Visiting >>

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Visiting Mount Wutai

 

Mount Wutai International Tourist Month

When: can be any month between June and September
During this month, pilgrims can witness ordained monks and nuns teach practitioners about the essence of Buddhism and perform rituals in accordance with their various traditions.

 

Tiaobuza Festival

Monks performing the traditional demon pacifying dance during the Tiaobuza Festival

Monks performing the traditional demon pacifying dance during the Tiaobuza Festival

Painting depicting monks carrying a Maitreya statue on Mount Wutai

Painting depicting monks carrying a Maitreya statue on Mount Wutai

When: June 6 – 15
Tiaobuza is a traditional festival celebrated in the Gelugpa Tradition. The largest celebration of the event occurs at Pusa Ding, a major Gelug monastery on Mount Wu Tai. During the festival, monks wear masks and perform rituals dances to pacify demons, so they do not obstruct spiritual practice. On the following day, monks play musical instruments and carry a Maitreya statue in a procession around the mountain.

 

Buddhist Cultural Festival

Dance performance during the Buddhist Cultural Festival

Dance performance during the Buddhist Cultural Festival

Nuns performing during the Buddhist Cultural Festival

Nuns performing during the Buddhist Cultural Festival

When: 21 August – 21 September
During the festival month, visitors can enjoy various cultural activities and folk art shows, held on Mount Wutai.

 

Weather and Clothing

The best time to visit Mount Wutai is from May to September as Wutai Shan has an early Winter from October until April of the following year. The high altitude and cold climate of Mount Wutai make the winter temperature challenging for some people. During winter time, the average temperature ranges from 0°C-10°C in the daytime. Regardless of when you visit Mount Wutai, it is advisable to bring warm clothes, coats, jackets, an umbrella and sunscreen.

 

Travel Documents

Passports
Visitors who wish to tour Mount Wutai in China should make sure their passports are valid for at least 6 months. Foreigners should have their passports with them at all times because police officers carry out identification checks from time to time, especially if there are special events going on. Those who are going to Tibet are strongly advised to join a travel group. Individual applicants also need to show their existing Chinese visas.

Visas
China requires all nationals to have visas to enter China, with the exception of:

  • Selected nationals (i.e., from Australia, Britain, Canada, the United States and other European Union countries) can visit the Pearl River Delta for up to six days as part of an organised tour group from Hong Kong or Macau.
  • Nationals from Australia, Canada, Austria, Denmark, France, Finland, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the U.K. and the U.S.A., can visit Hainan Province as part of an organised tour group and stay up to 15 days (or 21 days for German nationals only).

 

  • When applying for a visa, a detailed itinerary and information on the places, hotel bookings, dates of arrival and departure should be included.
  • Official invitation from a legal company or institution in China is required when applying for a business visa.
  • Within 24 hours upon arrival, visitors should report to the Chinese Public Security Bureau.

Please contact your local Chinese Embassy for further information if necessary.

 

How to Get There

The Map of Mount Wutai

The Map of Mount Wutai

Entrance fee: RMB 218 (adult) RMB 134 (child)
Opening hours: 6.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m.
Best time to visit: May to September

By plane
Visitors can take flights from Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guilin, Nanjing, Shenyang, Xi An and other main cities to Taiyuan. The airport in Taiyuan is called Taiyuan Wuxu International Airport. Various means of public transport (e.g., airport shuttle, public buses no. 201 and 901, coach, and helicopter) to and from the airport are available.

By train
The Mount Wutai train station is located at Shahe Town, Fanzhi County. The trains can take you to Beijing, Taiyuan, Datong and other cities.

By bus
During the peak season, there are long-distance buses from Beijing Liu Liqiao Bus Station, Shijiazhuang Bus Station, and Datong Bus Station to Mount Wutai.

By car
If you take a car from Beijing, drive on the Jingshi Express. Then, take the exit at Baoding and drive pass Shunping, Tangxian, and Fuping. Eventually, you will reach Mount Wutai Road.

To travel from Taiyuan to Mount Wutai, take the Yuantai Express and exit at Jinzhou. Then, drive through Dingxiang, Wutai County, Rucun Village, Qingshui River, and the south entrance of Mount Wutai to get to Taihuai County.

 

Getting to the Peaks and Monasteries

The journey to the Five Peaks starts at the foot of Dailuo Peak, Taihuai village at 7:00 a.m. by minibus. The fee is approximately RMB 70 to go to one peak or you can take a five-peak package for the price of RMB 350 . The trip to all five peaks will take about 8.5 hours. The minibus will make a 30-minute stop at each peak.

Get ready to spend the majority of the time on bumpy roads when riding on the minibus. Once you arrive at the North Peak, the air becomes much thinner, and it is colder and more windy.

If you decide to visit only one peak, you can consider the South Peak as it is well-known for its beautiful greenery and mild weather. Another good option is to go to the Central Peak or the West Peak to see the beautiful flowers. Other than the minibus, you can also make a deal with a taxi driver to drive you around.

Food for visitors may not be available on the peaks. Therefore, it might be a good idea to prepare your own snacks. Many of the toilets on the peaks are squat toilets.

Although visiting monasteries on Mount Wutai is generally free, some of the larger monasteries might charge a small entrance fee of about RMB 10.

 

Pusa Peak

Pusa Peak is situated to the north of Xiantong Temple and Taiyuan Temple. These two famous temples are located to the west of Qingshui River. The best way to get there is to ask for directions from the green bus drivers. Most likely, they will point to the free brown minibuses that will take you right up to the peak.

 

Dailuo Peak

You can take a cable car to go up and down the peak for RMB 30. If you prefer to have the experience of travelling like they used to in ancient times, there are some horses that you can rent. The ticket office for the ride on the minibuses is located at the foot of Dailuo Peak.

 

Nanshan Temple

To go to the Nanshan Temple, take the green bus and exit at Nanshan Temple Bridge. From there, you will spend approximately 20 minutes walking to the temple.

 

Zhenhai Temple

The green bus can take you to the Zhenhai Temple if you head south from Taihuai Village. Zhenhai Temple is also the last stop for the green bus. If you wish to go to the Mingyue Well, the Baiyun Temple or the Fomu Cave, you can take the smaller brown minibus from the Zhenhai Temple.

 

Baiyun Temple

Baiyun Temple

Baiyun Temple

The Baiyun Temple has been recently renovated to become a Buddhist nunnery. It comprises impressive buildings and statues compared to those at the Mingyue Well and the Fomu Cave. The Baiyun Temple is also the last stop for the free minibuses. A lot of visitors who visit the Baiyun Temple also go to the Fomu Cave.

 

Fomu Cave

Fomu Cave

Fomu Cave

From the Baiyun Temple, there are no free minibuses that go to the Fomu Cave. You have the option of riding in a taxi which will take you to the steps of the Fomu Cave or you can walk there which will take less than one hour. It will take about one hour to climb the steps to the Fomu Cave. Visitors will have to wait in line to enter the cave, and the queue can last between two hours during weekdays and seven to eight hours during weekends. Fomu Cave is famous for its power of granting good rebirth. Visitors are encouraged to perform animal liberation and are given opportunities to release birds and animals such as sparrows, squirrels, etc.

 

Accommodation

There are several accommodation options you can consider when visiting Mount Wutai. The following are several options for visitors:

 

Wutai Mountain Marriott Hotel

Address:
No.300 Daganhe Village 1st Alley
Jin’gangku Town, Wutai Mountain
Wutai County 035514, China

Average price: US$96/night
Phone: +86 350 331 8888
Website: http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/tynwm-wutai-mountain-marriott-hotel/

 

Futai Hotel

Address:
Mingqing Street
Taihuai Town, Xinzhou
Shanxi 035500, China

Average price: US$60/night
Phone: +86 350 654 2906

 

Wutai Mountain Yunlong International Hotel

Address:
Next to the Wutai Mountain Bus Station, Wutai Mountain
Shanxi 035500, China

Average price: US$49/night
Phone: +86 350 654 3166
Website: http://www.wtsyljd.com

 

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Sources of information:

  • http://www.asianart.com/articles/tsakli-casey/index.html
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Wutai
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhima%E1%B9%87%E1%B8%8Da
  • https://sacredsites.com/asia/china/sacred_mountains.html
  • http://www.esoterichanmi.com/history/
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tang_dynasty#Religion_and_philosophy
  • http://www.thlib.org/collections/texts/jiats/#!jiats=/06/debreczeny/b5/
  • http://www.gis-reseau-asie.org/article-en/months-articles-archive/reseau-asie-s-editorial/charleux-wutaishan-mongol/
  • http://www.thlib.org/collections/texts/jiats/#!jiats=/06/debreczeny/b5/
  • http://www.treasuryoflives.org/biographies/view/Padampa-Sanggye-/2510
  • http://www.art-and-archaeology.com/china/wutai/pd01.html
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Changkya_R%C3%B6lp%C3%A9_Dorj%C3%A9#Lama_of_the_Qianlong_Emperor
  • http://www.tamqui.com/buddhaworld/Manjusri
  • https://www.britannica.com/place/Mount-Wutai
  • https://www.travelblog.org/Asia/China/blog-30972.html
  • http://wikitravel.org/en/Wutaishan_National_Park
  • http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/art-architecture/wu-tai-shan-2.html
  • http://www.chinadiscovery.com/wutaishan-tours/weather.html
  • http://www.worldtravelguide.net/china/passport-visa
  • https://www.travelchinaguide.com/attraction/shanxi/taiyuan/mt_wutai.htm
  • http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/m/shanxi/2012-03/12/content_14825388.htm
  • http://www.cits.net/china-travel-guide/Wutaishan/xiantong-temple.html
  • http://lamas-and-emperors.wikischolars.columbia.edu/Wutaishan+Pusading
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foguang_Temple
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanchan_Temple_(Wutai)
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_White_Pagoda
  • http://sukhasights.blogspot.co.id/2013/01/the-symbol-of-wutaishan-white-relic.html
  • http://wikitravel.org/en/Wutaishan_National_Park
  • http://www.chinadiscovery.com/wutaishan-tours/activities.html

For more interesting information:

 

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About Valentina Suhendra

Valentina met H.E. the 25th Tsem Tulku Rinpoche in year 2006 and became his student one year later. Prior to joining Kechara, Valentina was an advisory director at one of the big four accounting firms.

Currently, Valentina is the chairwoman of Yayasan Kechara Indonesia, a foundation working on social community projects to benefit the community. Read more of her writing on her blog: www.valentinasuhendra.com
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13 Responses to Mount Wutai – The Earthly Abode of Lord Manjushri

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  1. MartinC on Feb 9, 2017 at 2:32 am

    Finally, logic prevails. People who can think beyond gross prejudice are beginning to see the goodness of Dorje Shugden. I came across this comment by Suzy on Rinpoche’s YouTube chanel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl-4lIwxph4&t=11s) and it is such a welcome change from the usual abuse hurled at Shugden people by those do not understand the issue.

    Suzy

  2. wan wai meng on Jan 21, 2017 at 3:06 am

    Thoroughly enjoyed reading the article and so see that the Chinese emperors saw their divine power was somehow linked to Manjushri. The closer the Emperors were closer to Manjushri then the more powerful they would be and the closeness gave an aura of legitimacy to their rule. Chinese people it could be said have so much affinity to Manjushri.

    There are also many tales in Wu tai Shan of people meeting Manjushri himself. Would love to delve more into that.

  3. paul yap on Jan 5, 2017 at 11:34 pm

    Im excited and fascinated reading all the stories where Manjushri emanated as an older person, pilgrims, monk etc giving advised to various people. As the abode of manjushri, Wu Tai Shan was a famous pilgrimage place, many politicians and Emperors has set foot on this mountain. Among them, Deng Xiaoping was one of the famous Chinese figure who went to Wu Tai Shan make prayers to Lord Manjushri. Wu Tai Shan is definitely one of my favourite pilgrimage site.

  4. Uncle Eddie on Dec 26, 2016 at 9:38 am

    Mount Wutai is located in Shanxi Province of Northeastern China. Mount Wutai, an earthly abode of Manjushri, was chosen by one of the most politically powered monks in Chinese History, Amoghavarja (705-774), as the site from which to pray for protection, and preservation of the nation. During Tang Dynasty, it became the sacred site, at which the Tang emperors received a spiritual mandate from Manjushri, as well as sacred messages from heaven, allowing the emperors to excercise their power on earth. Amoghavarja served three emperors, during the Tang Dynasty (i.e. emperor Xuang, emperor Suzong and Emperor Taizong). Tibetan rulers had shown great interst in Mount Wutai! It was officially announced that “Wutaisan” or the Five Peak Mountain has officially been listed as “Unesco World Heritage site in 2009”. Today, Mount Wutai seems a Pilgrimage Site not only for International visitors from different backgrounds, but also annually, for them to pray for the fulfilment to accumulate merits for themselves and their deceased loved-ones, and particularly for the purification of sins and recovery of any serious illnesses! May everyone has the good fortune to visit this Holy Mountain of Lord Manjushri one day! OM AH RA BA DZA NA DHIH.

  5. Jacinta Goh on Dec 16, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    Dear Rinpoche and Valentina,

    This is a very informative posts, ranging from its historic events, people, places and also suggestions for travelling packages. I am especially intrigued by the lamas or leaders who chose to reincarnate back again and again for the sake of fulfilling greater goals to benefits beings that expand few lifetimes ahead. I mean… wow! 😆..
    Please allow me to repeat this again: Just look at the immense works that these lamas/leaders have to accomplish, not only in one lifetimes but in a few lifetimes for the sake of other beings.

    For most of us, we will try to gather any resources as much as possible in this lifetime; mostly for the benefits of oneself or our loved ones.

    That’s really food for thought.
    Thank you Rinpoche and Valentina for this great post.

  6. May Ong on Dec 12, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    This article was well researched and I love the historical links between Pabongkha Rinpoche (aka Changkya Hutuktu Rolpai Dorje) lineage linking to the Emperors of China then and perhaps even in future. I do wish for many aspiring Buddhists to make a pilgrimage there as Wutaishan is the abode of Manjushri on earth. Like to share the map of all temples located on the five flat peaks below.

    Wutaishan Map

    Wutaishan Map names location

  7. Samfoonheei on Dec 8, 2016 at 11:18 am

    Wonderful and interesting post.Its good to know more about Mount Wutai.The history, Tibetan influence and so forth really interesting to read….i do enjoyed reading and learned more.
    Mount Wutai is considered to be one of the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage sites for Buddhists around the world.Its now a tourist attraction and listed as UNESCO World Heritage site.
    Thank you Valentina for sharing this lovely post.

  8. Fong on Dec 7, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    Wonderfully informative and detailed sharing. The tracing of the relationship between China and Tibet where Manjushri is concerned was a real eye-opener for me.

    Tying up the various interaction of the many emanations of Manjushri and the Emperors and monks in China over the centuries gave a clearer picture. The Tibetan influence starting from the 1st century right through the time of King Trison Detsen and Emperor Kangxi with Changkya Hutuktu Rolpai Dorje is strong in Mount Wutai. The many historical background supporting the claim that Mount Wutai is the earthly abode of Manjushri is really fascinating.

    Even the information for travel to Wutaishan is great as it gives an idea of what is available and inspire us to make the pilgrimage there.

    Thank you, Rinpoche for making this blog available for our learning and thank you to Valentina too, for another great sharing.

  9. Choong on Dec 6, 2016 at 10:42 pm

    Thank you Valentina for this neatly packed and information rich writeup.

    It weaves the long relationship between the peoples and leaders of China have with Manjushri very well, and this stretches back to even before King Songtsen Gampo brought Buddhism to Tibet. It was during the time of the Northern Wei Dynasty (386 – 535 CE), that Mount Wutai was recognised as the earthly abode of Manjushri.

    As a student in the Gelug or Ganden tradition, I’m also alert of the fact that there was a strong and spiritual relationship between the Changkyas and the Qing Dynasty Emperors such as the case of Emperor Kangxi who rescued the young Changkya Rolpai Dorje from battles occuring in Tibet, to educate him in China alongside with his grandson who would become Emperor Qianlong.

    It is a well known fact that Pabongka Rinpoche is a Changkya incarnation and “The” Lama to Gelug Lamas of the last century. It is no wonder that after Mao and Deng, the cult of Manjushri is very much alive in the vast China.

    • Valentina Suhendra on Dec 11, 2016 at 10:12 pm

      Dear Choong

      Thank you for your kind comment. Yes I do agree with you that it is interesting that the Changkya, who was known as Pabongkha Rinpoche’s previous incarnation enjoyed a close relationship with the Qing royalty.

      But that is not the only thing that interested me, many of the Dorje Shugden incarnation like Kangxi Emperor, Sakya Pandita and Buton Rinchen Drub were involved in the history of Mount Wutai. I think this is one of the indication that They were the emanation of Manjushri himself.

      Valentina

  10. Bradley Kassian on Dec 6, 2016 at 9:27 am

    Thank you Valentina for writing about Mt WuTai. Such a holy place to visit. So many temples there, and the earthly abode of Manjushri. Any one that visits there is truly blessed.

  11. Pastor David Lai on Dec 5, 2016 at 1:31 am

    This is a very nice and complete background on Wu Tai Shan. Thank you Valentina for this wonderful article. I do believe reading from a source that said that Wu Tai Shan is the Bodhimanda of Manjushri or the place where he achieved enlightenment a long time ago and gathered his disciples here to teach. He has since emanated back as a high-level bodhisattva in order to be continue benefitting many beings.

    I had always loved Manjushri and I can see that there are many practitioners do too. Perhaps, it is with the hopes of gaining insight into the Buddha’s teachings that they seek refuge in Manjushri’s divine blessings. Manjushri in China as well as Tibet, plays an important role in worship in order to aid the study, comprehension and realization of the teachings. After all, it takes special combination of intellect and merit in order to practice the Buddha’s teachings successfully. I do hope to have the merits to trek up these mountains one day and perhaps be lucky enough to be visited by Manjushri and personally bless by him.

  12. Lum Kok Luen on Dec 4, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    Dear Valentina,

    This well researched and beautiful writing on Wutai Shan is very inspiring. It can inspire one to make commitments to make a pilgrimage there to visit the place and make offerings with sincere motivation.

    Thank you so much Valentina and especially to H.E. 25th Tsem Rinpoche for making this blog so beautiful for all of us to obtain more information on our Dharma journey.

    Thank you.

    Humbly yours,
    Lum Kok Luen

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this article.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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CREDITS

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

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

Tsem Rinpoche

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The Unknown

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

Photos On The Go

Click on the images to view the bigger version. And scroll down and click on "View All Photos" to view more images.
This mahasiddha Kukkuripa is easy to identify as he is accompanied by a small dog whom he loved very much.
yesterday
This mahasiddha Kukkuripa is easy to identify as he is accompanied by a small dog whom he loved very much.
Mumu taking a rest in the turquoise room. Over the years, I always feel very satisfied when I see him covered with a blanket, safe and sleeping. I always wanted to make sure he was safe from harm, illness and distress. I wanted him to have a happy and loved life. Tsem Rinpoche
yesterday
Mumu taking a rest in the turquoise room. Over the years, I always feel very satisfied when I see him covered with a blanket, safe and sleeping. I always wanted to make sure he was safe from harm, illness and distress. I wanted him to have a happy and loved life. Tsem Rinpoche
I wrapped my little Mumu boy up in my blanket and propped him up on my bed. He didn\'t move or wiggle and just looked at me. He is one funny entertaining little guy. Tsem Rinpoche
yesterday
I wrapped my little Mumu boy up in my blanket and propped him up on my bed. He didn't move or wiggle and just looked at me. He is one funny entertaining little guy. Tsem Rinpoche
March 2017-Coaxing my little Mumu boy to eat his meal. He was not well and therefore not hungry. Tsem Rinpoche
yesterday
March 2017-Coaxing my little Mumu boy to eat his meal. He was not well and therefore not hungry. Tsem Rinpoche
Click on picture to enlarge and see what Milarepa says. Profound.
1 week ago
Click on picture to enlarge and see what Milarepa says. Profound.
We are always trying to get somewhere, try something new, find some friends, get some entertainment and in the end we end up in the same place. Time to really practice Dharma seriously and stop wasting time we don\'t have. ~Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
We are always trying to get somewhere, try something new, find some friends, get some entertainment and in the end we end up in the same place. Time to really practice Dharma seriously and stop wasting time we don't have. ~Tsem Rinpoche
March 20, 2017-Mumu is just so adorable with his bright eyes.
1 week ago
March 20, 2017-Mumu is just so adorable with his bright eyes.
More and more people inviting Lord Dorje Shugden home to connect with on their shrines. I am so happy to see this as it will benefit them and their families so much. That is the purpose to be alive which is to benefit others as much as possible. Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
More and more people inviting Lord Dorje Shugden home to connect with on their shrines. I am so happy to see this as it will benefit them and their families so much. That is the purpose to be alive which is to benefit others as much as possible. Tsem Rinpoche
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
1 week ago
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
1 week ago
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
The Japanese are very innovative. Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
The Japanese are very innovative. Tsem Rinpoche
Read this as it will be interesting
1 week ago
Read this as it will be interesting
Recite this before any meal or drinks for blessings of abundance. Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
Recite this before any meal or drinks for blessings of abundance. Tsem Rinpoche
This sacred statue of Buddha is in Nepal brought originally from Tibet and has spoken on many occasions. Very blessed to see this holy image and keep a picture...bless you always. Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
This sacred statue of Buddha is in Nepal brought originally from Tibet and has spoken on many occasions. Very blessed to see this holy image and keep a picture...bless you always. Tsem Rinpoche
I love Mumu boy tremendously. We went through so much together for so many years. You are a great being to be with. Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
I love Mumu boy tremendously. We went through so much together for so many years. You are a great being to be with. Tsem Rinpoche
Dear everyone, I am sharing this beautiful and modern altar to Dorje Shugden in Malaysia. I am glad to see more and more people creating sacred spaces. Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
Dear everyone, I am sharing this beautiful and modern altar to Dorje Shugden in Malaysia. I am glad to see more and more people creating sacred spaces. Tsem Rinpoche
Lhamo Karmo, a female buddha form visualized above the crown of one\'s head at the time of death, to encourage consciousness to leave the body via the crown aperture. From my book \"The Female Buddhas.\"- Glenn Mullin
3 weeks ago
Lhamo Karmo, a female buddha form visualized above the crown of one's head at the time of death, to encourage consciousness to leave the body via the crown aperture. From my book "The Female Buddhas."- Glenn Mullin
The Tibetan female tulku Dorje Pakmo, from a fresco on the wall of the Dorje Pakmo monastery (Samding) in Tibet, near the Turquoise Lake. In Tibet the Dorje Pakmo was ranked with the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama and Sakya Trizin as the four highest lamas in the country.-from Glenn Mullin
3 weeks ago
The Tibetan female tulku Dorje Pakmo, from a fresco on the wall of the Dorje Pakmo monastery (Samding) in Tibet, near the Turquoise Lake. In Tibet the Dorje Pakmo was ranked with the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama and Sakya Trizin as the four highest lamas in the country.-from Glenn Mullin
Dharma boy, Mumu boy and Oser girl checking out the scene..cute
4 weeks ago
Dharma boy, Mumu boy and Oser girl checking out the scene..cute
My Dharma boy has such a cute expression here. He is a good boy!
4 weeks ago
My Dharma boy has such a cute expression here. He is a good boy!
February 9,2017-My Mumu boy and Oser girl are just relaxing together..super cute
2 months ago
February 9,2017-My Mumu boy and Oser girl are just relaxing together..super cute
Click on the picture to enlarge and see what Suzy from Hawaii commented on the Dorje Shugden issue after much research. She is very candid and honest. Refreshing. Original is posted here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl-4lIwxph4
2 months ago
Click on the picture to enlarge and see what Suzy from Hawaii commented on the Dorje Shugden issue after much research. She is very candid and honest. Refreshing. Original is posted here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl-4lIwxph4
This is a good one to read
2 months ago
This is a good one to read
Mumu is silly and cute and funny
2 months ago
Mumu is silly and cute and funny
Mumu\'s hair is messy and he looks funny
2 months ago
Mumu's hair is messy and he looks funny
I am in the process of creating beautiful Dorje Shugden and Kechara Forest Retreat watches at this time. So we can take precious protector and Kechara Forest Retreat wherever we go and be blessed everytime we see what time it is. 
I am perfecting the designs with a great team and will update when done but these are just some samples that arrived. 
Feast your eyes! 

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

ASK A PASTOR


Ask the Pastors

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

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

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

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

Kechara Sunday Dharma School teachers and volunteers outing session. Stella,
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Kechara Sunday Dharma School teachers and volunteers outing session. Stella,
Dorje Shugden the powerful World Peace Protector taking full trance in an oracle.
yesterday
Dorje Shugden the powerful World Peace Protector taking full trance in an oracle.
Visitors have the opportunity to pay respect to this holy statue, in Kechara Forest Retreat, Wisdom Hall!
yesterday
Visitors have the opportunity to pay respect to this holy statue, in Kechara Forest Retreat, Wisdom Hall!
Group photo of Kechara Sunday Dharma School teachers and trainer after the Teachers Training program in 2016. Stella, KSDS
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Group photo of Kechara Sunday Dharma School teachers and trainer after the Teachers Training program in 2016. Stella, KSDS
Kechara Sunday Dharma School teachers attended the weekly Blogchat Dharma sharing session every Monday. Stella, KSDS
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Kechara Sunday Dharma School teachers attended the weekly Blogchat Dharma sharing session every Monday. Stella, KSDS
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Kechara Sunday Dharma School students and parents made a day trip to Kechara forest Retreat during school holidays. What a good way to spend a weekend. Stella, KSDS
Kechara Sunday Dharma School students, Kayene and her brother Karlson made a day trip to visit Kechara Forest Retreat with their parents. Stella, KSDS
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Kechara Sunday Dharma School students, Kayene and her brother Karlson made a day trip to visit Kechara Forest Retreat with their parents. Stella, KSDS
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Lovely visitors in Kechara Forest Retreat, Wisdom Hall
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Prostration is a practice to show reverence to the Three Jewels. Let the children have this practice at their young age, Alice Tay, KSDS
Teacher Stella together with WOAH Camp young participants to check the broken egg. Alice Tay, KSDS
3 days ago
Teacher Stella together with WOAH Camp young participants to check the broken egg. Alice Tay, KSDS
Great to see Dian and Wen Xin tried to do breath meditation slowly. Alice Tay, KSDS
3 days ago
Great to see Dian and Wen Xin tried to do breath meditation slowly. Alice Tay, KSDS
Happy faces of Teacher Irene together with KSDS's youngest age group. Alice Tay, KSDS
3 days ago
Happy faces of Teacher Irene together with KSDS's youngest age group. Alice Tay, KSDS
Most of the KSDS students like drawing and discuss about their drawing. Alice Tay, KSDS
3 days ago
Most of the KSDS students like drawing and discuss about their drawing. Alice Tay, KSDS
The yearly gotong royong event on Malaysia Day. Great day to contribute back to the society. Lin Mun KSDS
3 days ago
The yearly gotong royong event on Malaysia Day. Great day to contribute back to the society. Lin Mun KSDS
KSDS students, parents and teachers participated in food packaging for Kechara Soup Kitchen. Lin Mun KSDS
3 days ago
KSDS students, parents and teachers participated in food packaging for Kechara Soup Kitchen. Lin Mun KSDS
The team is setting up the tent and games for the Halloween party. Lin Mun KSDS
3 days ago
The team is setting up the tent and games for the Halloween party. Lin Mun KSDS
Students of SRJK (C) enjoyed themselves so much during Halloween 2016. Lin Mun KSDS
3 days ago
Students of SRJK (C) enjoyed themselves so much during Halloween 2016. Lin Mun KSDS
Khai Te is very talented in drawing. Look at the van. It has a Kechara logo. Lin Mun KSDS
3 days ago
Khai Te is very talented in drawing. Look at the van. It has a Kechara logo. Lin Mun KSDS
Students listening to Teacher Grace attentively during WOAH camp 2016. Lin Mun KSDS
3 days ago
Students listening to Teacher Grace attentively during WOAH camp 2016. Lin Mun KSDS
Happy visitor invited Dorje Shugden back home.
5 days ago
Happy visitor invited Dorje Shugden back home.
6 days ago
Join our Meditate in Nature Programme 2017! Here are the Dates:
6 days ago
Join our Meditate in Nature Programme 2017! Here are the Dates:
When we love others without projections, we truly LOVE. ~ Tsem Rinpoche . YEO KWAI GIN ( KKSG )
1 week ago
When we love others without projections, we truly LOVE. ~ Tsem Rinpoche . YEO KWAI GIN ( KKSG )
True Love Is Simple Because It's SELFLESS ~ Tsem Rinpoche.  YEO KWAI GIN ( KKSG ) .
1 week ago
True Love Is Simple Because It's SELFLESS ~ Tsem Rinpoche. YEO KWAI GIN ( KKSG ) .
Powerful Quote !  www.TsemRinpoche.com .  YEO KWAI GIN ( KKSG )
1 week ago
Powerful Quote ! http://www.TsemRinpoche.com . YEO KWAI GIN ( KKSG )
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