Halloween

Oct 18, 2016 | Views: 14,706
Share this article

Dear friends around the world,

The celebration of Halloween is a growing trend around the world, especially due to the influence of popular American culture. Even though most consider it to be a secular festival, its origins are thousands of years old. Stemming from the ancient Celtic practices of Europe, over the centuries it has transformed into a secular festival, surviving sustained attempts to end its practice. In its form today it is mostly known for its scary costumes and decorations, fun games and trick-or-treating. Halloween is also one of His Eminence the 25th Tsem Rinpoche’s favourite celebrations, as His Eminence fondly remembers his time growing up in the United States of America. We hope you enjoy reading about the history, origins and practices of Halloween.

Pastor David Lai and Pastor Niral Patel.

 


 

Although most people consider Halloween to be a secular celebration, it has a long history steeped with spiritual significance

Although most people consider Halloween to be a secular celebration, it has a long history steeped with spiritual significance

 

The Beginnings of Halloween

Beyond the costumes and garish decorations, Halloween has more of an ancient origin than what is commonly known. Halloween itself is a contraction of the older name ‘All Hallows’ Eve’. Throughout history, Halloween was also known by a number of names including Samhain, All Hallows’ Evening, Allhalloween or even All Saints’ Eve.

It was originally celebrated on October 31st in pagan Europe, as an ancient celebration of the coming of winter. This date marked a very important time for pagans who believed that it was a very powerful harvest festival connected with the world of the dead and powerful forces. It was latter appropriated by the Christian faith and transformed into a three-day observance of Allhallowtide. Over time it has become a fun celebration that people all over the world take part in, but still retains it ancient roots.

 

The History

Most scholars agree that the modern celebration of Halloween began as the Celtic harvest festival of Samhain, which is pronounced ‘Sah-win’. Samhain literally means ‘summer’s end’ and is also the end of the harvest months. This celebration was held between October 31st and November 1st. It was celebrated in Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man and other places with Celtic influence. A similar harvest festival was celebrated by Brittonic Celts, called Calan Gaeaf in Wales, Kalan Gwav in Cornwall and Kalan Goañv in Brittany.

The festival of Samhain was an important part of the year for the ancient Celts.

The festival of Samhain was an important part of the year for the ancient Celts.

In 43 C.E., the Roman Empire had conquered the majority of the Celtic lands. During the four hundred years of Roman rule, two popular Roman festivals came to be incorporated into the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain. The first festival was Feralia, celebrated at the end of October when the Romans paid their respects to the dead. The second festival was a day honoring Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the traditional game of ‘bobbing for apples’ that is played today on Halloween.

According to Celtic tradition the festival began on the evening before November 1st. This is because day was believed to end at sunset. The next day would begin thereafter. In fact, Samhain and Calan Gaeaf are mentioned in some of the earliest Irish and Welsh literature. Furthermore, historians say that Celtic Halloween customs that have survived since the 19th century continue to use the same Gaelic and Welsh names for Halloween.

The Samhain festival occurs at the beginning of winter, which is the colder and darker half of the year. According to Celtic beliefs, this period is seen as a time of transition, when the boundary between this world and the next becomes ‘thinner’. Therefore, during Samhain – summer’s end on 31st October, it was believed that the ghosts of the dead would walk the earth. This means that the Aos Sí, which is pronounced ees shee, or the Celtic ‘spirits’ or ‘fairies’, could easily cross into our world and become particularly active during this time.

The Aos Sí were thought to roam the world during Samhain

The Aos Sí were thought to roam the world during Samhain

The Aos Sí were viewed with fear and respect in equal measure because they could haunt and disturb the living. During Samhain, it was popularly believed that people had to propitiate the Aos Sí so that they would not wreck havoc on the living. They did this by taking sweets, food and drinks out to the edge of the forest and away from the village in a procession in order to lead the spirits away from the homes of the living. It is very possible that the modern tradition of trick-or-treating stems from this ancient Celtic belief of appeasing the spirits. The belief that souls of the dead return home and need to be appeased has more ancient origins as an equivalent is also found in many other ancient cultures.

In 19th century Ireland, candles would be lit and prayers formally offered for the souls of the departed during this festival. After the ritual, feasting, drinking, and games would begin. All throughout Ireland and Britain, household festivities included rituals and games intended to foretell one’s future, especially concerning marriage and death. Apples and nuts were some of the most often used in these divination rituals. These rituals included apple bobbing, scrying or mirror gazing, pouring molten lead or egg whites into water and dream interpretation.

Special bonfires were lit and their flames, smoke and ashes were deemed to have protective and cleansing powers, and were also used for divination. In some places, torches lit from the bonfire were ritually carried around homes and fields to protect them. It is suggested that the fires were a kind of imitative or sympathetic magic. The fires mimicked the Sun, tapping into the ‘powers of growth’ to hold back the decay and darkness of winter. In Scotland, the local church elders in some parishes outlawed Samhain bonfires and divination games. Later, these bonfires evolved to keep away the devil himself.

The Celts believed in animal sacrifice, especially during Samhain in order to honour and appease the gods. They believed that since the earth had bore them bountiful harvest during the summer months, it was only right that they return the favour. Therefore, they offered animals onto the bonfires and from the charred remains the Druid priests would read the future much in the same way as reading tea leaves.

Aside from causing mischief and destroying crops, the Celts also believed that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for their Druid or Celtic priests, to make predictions of the future. The medieval Celtic people’s livelihood and survival depended on the volatile seasonal weather. Therefore, these predictions and prophecies became an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.

From the 16th century, the harvest festivities included mumming and guising in Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man and Wales. This meant that people would go house-to-house disguised in a costume, usually reciting a few verses of poetry or song in exchange for food. It is thought that the tradition may have originally began with people impersonating Aos Sí, or the spirits of the dead. They received offerings on their behalf, similar to the custom of souling, in which ‘soulers’ would go from house-to-house, offering prayers for the departed in exchange for ‘soul cakes’.

According to Celtic beliefs, impersonating spirits by wearing a disguise was believed to protect oneself from them. It is suggested that the mummers and guisers personify the old spirits of the winter, who demanded reward in exchange for good fortune. In Scotland, youths went house-to-house with a mask on, painted or blackened faces and these mischievous youths would often threaten to wreak havoc if they were not welcomed.

Folklorist F. Marian McNeill suggests that the ancient festival included the tradition of people in costume representing the spirits with their faces blackened by ashes taken from the sacred bonfire. At the turn of the 20th century, youths in Glamorgan and Orkney cross-dressed during the festival. Elsewhere in Europe, mumming and hobbyhorses were part of other yearly festivals. Since the 18th century, the tradition of disguising oneself as a malignant spirit led to playing pranks in Ireland and the Scottish Highlands.

The tradition of wearing costumes during Halloween has been around for centuries

The tradition of wearing costumes during Halloween has been around for centuries

The tradition of wearing costumes and playing pranks during Samhain spread to England by the 20th century. The traditional lanterns for guisers or pranksters at night during the festival were carved out of turnips or mangelwurzels – hollowed out and often carved with contorted faces. According to tradition, the lanterns were made to resemble the faces of spirits and were used to ward off evil spirits. This was common in parts of Ireland, Somerset and the Scottish Highlands in the 19th century. In the 20th century they spread to other parts of England and became the precursor to what is known as the ‘jack-o’-lantern’.

 

The Original Meaning of Halloween and What it is Today

Halloween is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people lit bonfires and wore costumes to ward off roaming spirits. Samhain is also known as summer’s end and this is reflected in the meaning of this harvest festival. Halloween straddles autumn and winter, plenty and scarcity, life and death. The festival is steeped in medieval European superstition as Samhain is celebrated as a means to prepare for the long cold, winter months.

Halloween-16

Pope Gregory I is also know as Saint Gregory the Great

The Celtic tradition of celebrating Samhain encountered its biggest threat when it came face-to-face with the Roman Catholic Church. The Catholic Church sought to convert the pagan Celts. Around 600 C.E., Pope Gregory I felt that it was not possible to convert all the pagans to Christianity immediately. Therefore, he decreed that missionaries should graft the new religion of Christianity onto the old. He used the example that if the pagans were worshiping a tree, the missionaries should consecrate the tree and encourage the pagans to continue to worship, but this time they would worship God.

The earlier missionary efforts were met with little success as the regular folk felt little interest in the new religion. They were disinterested in the Christian doctrine of waiting for the afterlife to be rewarded by God. By the 8th century, Pope Gregory III (731–741) had enough of accommodating the pagans and so, he decided to launch a direct counter. He established the Christian festival of All Saints Day on the very same day that Samhain was celebrated. This festival honoured all the saints that did not have their own day throughout the Christian calendar. This was his attempt to counter the worship of the Celtic gods during Samhain. Hence, Samhain was hijacked and appropriated as a Christian celebration. Despite this effort, there were still many who continued to hold on to the customs and beliefs of their Celtic heritage.

Subsequently, the church sought to seize power from the Druid priesthood, primarily the priestesses. The word witch comes from the word Wicca or ‘Wise One’. These priestesses were primarily healers and soothsayers and they lived alone in the forest. The church sought to demonize them, as they were the holders of the Celtic faith.

By the 9th century, Christianity had spread all over the Celtic lands of Europe, where most of its spiritual traditions gradually supplanted the older Celtic rites. By 1,000 C.E., the church began celebrating November 2nd as the new feast of All Souls’ Day, a day to honour the dead. This was a direct counter to the Celtic tradition of honouring the dead during the Samhain period.

It is evident that the newly consolidated Catholic Church in medieval Europe decided to replace the folk tradition of celebrating the Celtic festival of the dead with a Christianised version of the celebration. All Souls Day was celebrated on the same day and in a similar fashion to Samhain, with its big bonfires, parades, and costumes as saints, angels and devils.

The All Saints Day celebration (November 1st) became known as All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from the Middle English ‘Alholowmesse’ meaning All Saints’ Day) and the night before it (October 31st), the traditional night of Samhain in the old Celtic religion, was called All-hallows Eve. This eventually became known as Halloween.

 

Countries that Celebrate Halloween

Many countries all over the world celebrate Halloween or have festivals similar in nature to Halloween. The United States of America and Canada are the two countries that are most known for their Halloween festivities. It is said that over 65% of Americans decorate either their homes, offices or work places in preparation for the event.

Halloween is now celebrated all over the world

Halloween is now celebrated all over the world

In Europe, countries such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany and Sweden all celebrate Halloween, but not on the scale that it is celebrated in the United States of America and Canada. The tradition of Halloween has spread to other European counties due to its celebratory nature rather than historical relevance to cultural practice. Likewise Halloween is gaining popularity in Australia and New Zealand. These two countries do not have a strong cultural link to Halloween. However due to popular American influence, the practice of celebrating Halloween is on the rise. This influence also occurs wherever there are American or European expatriate communities.

In Asia, many countries have festivals somewhat similar in nature to Halloween such as the Hungry Ghost Festival in China or Kali Chaudas in India, though they are celebrated in very different ways. In other countries around the world that have been influenced by American culture or have a history of Catholic practice, people also celebrate Halloween in different ways. For example in Mexico, which has strong Catholic and also ancient Aztec roots, the festival is known as Dia de los Muertos or the Day of the Dead. It is a time in which adherents honour their beloved ancestors and others who have passed away.

 

The Spiritual Dimension to Halloween

From a Western Christian perspective, October 31st is known as All Hallows’ Evening or All Saints’ Evening. Western Christian churches include the Catholic Church and a wide group of Protestant churches. This celebration is the first in a three-day event known as Allhallowtide. It is followed by All Saint’s Day or Hallowmas and All Soul’s Day. During this festival, practitioners remember the dead, including the various martyrs who gave their lives to preserve their religion from persecution from the Roman Empire, the saints and faithful Christians who have passed on. The word ‘hallows’ is in reference to all the saints within Christendom. After its establishment, All Soul’s Day became a day during which Christians pray for the dead.

Catholics celebrate All Hallows Eve with a vigil

Catholics celebrate All Hallows Eve with a vigil

In countries with a strong Catholic background, Allhallowtide retains its spiritual significance. It was traditionally believed that on this night the veil between the world of the living and afterlife thinned, therefore people wore masks so that they would not be recognised by any spirits. In parts of Europe, such as Poland, people would pray out aloud as they walked through the forests so that the spirits could find comfort. In Spain, churches would ring their bells to remind practitioners to remember the dead. On this night, the Catholic Church holds a church service, known as the Vigil of All Hallows, after worshipers prepare themselves through prayer and fasting.

The Horned One, a Wiccan god invoked during modern Samhain rituals

The Horned One, a Wiccan god invoked during modern Samhain rituals

Amongst Pagan and Neo-Pagan traditions, it is the night on which Samhain is observed. Reconstructionist Pagans base their practices on historical records and traditional folklore. For them it is a time to honour the dead. Often bonfires are lit and meals are set out on dining tables for the dead. Traditional tales are told, songs sung and dances are performed. If a door or window faces east, it is left open with a candle burning on the sill to guide the dead back home. Those who are sensitive or mystically inclined see this as a time to commune with the Celtic gods who preside over this autumnal festival.

In Wicca, Samhain is considered to be a festival of darkness, which has its counter-balance in the festival of Beltane, the festival of light during the spring months. The festival includes praying for all those who have passed away including family, friends and even one’s pets. It used to be celebrated by leaving food out for the dead. During some rituals in which the Celtic gods are invoked, the dead are also invited to participate. It symbolises the beginning of the dark half of the year and the oncoming of winter. Rituals invoke the Wiccan Goddess in her form as the Crone and her consort in the form of the Horned One. These rituals include communicating with the dead, casting of magical spells and divinatory readings for the upcoming year through the use of runes, tarot or scrying. The original forms of divination during Samhain would have included reading the bones of the animals that were sacrificed to the gods during ritual. In fact is it said that Samhain is the best night to predict the future and prophecies were read deep into the night. This may in fact be one of the origins of telling ghost stories during Halloween.

Nowadays it is a common to see people decorate their houses with ghastly displays in celebration of Halloween

Nowadays it is a common to see people decorate their houses with ghastly displays in celebration of Halloween

 

How Halloween is Celebrated in Popular Culture

Many popular North American ways of celebrating Halloween have been adopted by countries all over the world, including in Europe where the festival has its original roots. These include:

 

Wearing Masks or Costumes

This tradition has its roots in the old European and Celtic traditions of wearing masks and costumes in order for people to protect themselves from being recognised by spirits. Other records say that people wore masks so the spirits didn’t mistake the living for the dead, and inadvertently take them to the afterlife once the night was over. Some religious scholars have argued that the tradition of dressing up in outlandish or ghoulish costumes is to poke fun at the concept of ‘satan’, who at one time caused terrible fear and anxiety within society.

Over time, the masks and costumes took on the characteristics of supernatural creatures of the dark such as vampires, ghosts, witches or devils. Nowadays, it is also very common to see costumes and masks of celebrities, superheroes and even cartoons. It is also common to see generic costumes that are easily recognisable such as princesses, ninjas or pirates. Dressing up in costumes became really popular in 1930s America, with the mainstream adoption of trick-or-treating.

A couple dressed as Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf

A couple dressed as Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf

 

Trick-or-Treating

This tradition has its roots in the ancient Celtic custom of leaving food out for the dead, in order to appease them, ensuring that they would stay away from the living. Amongst the Christians of Medieval Europe there developed a practice of offering ‘soul cakes’ to the impoverished, who would beg for food in return for praying for the souls of the departed, an act known as ‘souling’. These soul cakes were made especially during Halloween. The impoverished would go about the villages, towns and cities, praying for the dead or singing songs in return for the food.

This tradition was encouraged by the various Christian churches in an attempt to stamp out the pagan traditions of leaving food out for the dead. The act of leaving food was something that was seen as encouraging worship according to the pagan tradition, which ran at odds with the authority and practice of the churches. It was also viewed as a practice associated with witchcraft and therefore by association the devil, which the Church also sought to stamp out. Over time this became a practice in which only children participated.

In the contemporary era, this tradition transformed into something that children engage in whilst dressed in costumes and masks during Halloween night. Typically under adult supervision, children knock on people’s doors and exclaim “trick-or-treat?” In the case the person who answers the door is agreeable, they give the children candy, sweets or other small and edible gifts, reminiscent of the soul cake. Those who do not give sweets, enough sweets or acceptable edible items are often the victim of ‘tricks’ which range from amusing and scary, all the way to criminal damage in some extreme cases. For adults, Halloween themed parties have become very popular in recent decades as well.

Trick-or-treating has become very popular amongst the younger generations, especially since they get lots and lots of sweets.

Trick-or-treating has become very popular amongst the younger generations, especially since they get lots and lots of sweets.

 

Decorations, Games, Attractions & Food

During the Halloween period many people decorate their homes, front garden, offices and work places with scary decorations. These include figures of witches, ghosts, skeletons, zombies, etc. They do this as a form of secular celebration and for fun.

One such decoration is the Jack-o’-lantern. This tradition traces back to an Irish tale told about a man known as Jack the Stingy. He was a cruel and stingy man, who was also a drunkard. He would often play mean tricks on people, including his friends, family and even the devil. It is said he tricked the devil to climb an apple tree, and then placed crosses around the trunk of the tree. As the devil was unable to touch the crosses, he was unable to climb down the tree and return to hell. Jack made the devil promise him that he would not take his soul once Jack died. The devil agreed, Jack removed the crosses and the devil returned to hell. Once Jack had died, he arrived at the pearly gates of heaven and was greeted by St. Peter who told him that he had not led a good life, therefore had to go to hell. Arriving in hell, the devil remembered his promise and told Jack that he would not take his soul. Rather he would be banished to roam the world of the living in spirit form. Unable to see his way back to earth, he asked the devil how he would see the path back. The devil tossed him an ember from the fires of hell. Jack carved a turnip into a lantern, in which he placed the ember and used it to light the way back to earth. Jack was fond of eating turnips and would always carry one with him. Over time the tradition of carving turnips with scary faces developed.

During the settlement of the Americas by Europeans, the Irish brought over the custom of carving turnips and even potatoes with ghoulish faces, placing candles in them and leaving them outside the front door. This was an ancient custom to ward off Jack the Stingy, evil and protect against negative entities who roam around in the world of the living during Halloween. The faces are carved in a ghastly manner to scare these negative spirits away.

Jack-o'-lanterns have become synonymous with Halloween

Jack-o’-lanterns have become synonymous with Halloween

When they arrived in America, they found that pumpkins were easier to carve. Therefore the tradition of carving pumpkins evolved. Jack-o’-lanterns have become an image synonymous with Halloween. Nowadays, one can buy pre-carved pumpkins or even plastic decorative ones that have electric candles in them. The containers in which children collect their sweets while they trick-or-treat are often in the form of Jack-o’-lanterns or even a witch’s cauldron.

There are a variety of unique games played during Halloween. One such game is ‘bobbing for apples’. This game involves a large barrel or bucket filled with water and apples are set afloat on the it. Participants must use their teeth to remove the apples from the water, while their hands are behind their backs.

Playing games during Halloween has been around for centuries

Playing games during Halloween has been around for centuries

Another game includes hanging candy apples (also known as toffee apples) or doughnuts from string. Participants eat the apples as they swing on the string, again without being allowed to touch the apple or doughnuts with their hands. The use of apples is a facet of Halloween laden with cultural and historical significance. In ancient times, apples were associated with goddesses, immortality, resurrection and knowledge, as such they are associated closely with the harvest, which Halloween represents since it falls in the autumnal months. This is even more evident given the ancient Roman influence in Celtic lands and the association with the Roman goddess Pomona, whose symbol was an apple.

A more recent phenomena are attractions during the Halloween period. These attractions are purely for entertainment purposes, aimed at scaring or thrilling visitors. As technology advances, the sophistication at which these attractions are built and maintained, together with realistic costumes has led to a boom in such attractions all over the world. While most of these only appear during the Halloween season, they are known to make an estimated $300-500 million each year in the United States of America alone, making it big business. This goes to show that more and more people need forms of entertainment to take them away from the pressures of daily life, even if only for a short while.

During the Halloween season, one often sees food that although have come to signify the festival, were originally autumnal treats. These include the toffee apple as mentioned above, barmbrack (a bread with sultanas and raisins), caramel apples, caramel corn, cakes with Halloween decorations, cookies in the shape of Halloween themes, pumpkin pie and novelty sweets.

 

Common Halloween Imagery

Coupled with the iconic Jack-o’-lantern imagery mentioned above are many others that are popular during Halloween celebrations. Here are some of the most common.

Witches are a common sight during Halloween

Witches are a common sight during Halloween

Witches

The characteristic look of a witch has been corrupted over time and they have become demonised from what they actually were. The origin of the word is ‘wicca’ (male) or ‘wicce’ (female) and originally meant ‘wise one’. In ancient European societies, such as the Celts and among the pagan traditions, these were men and women who were natural healers. They used herbs and natural remedies to cure people of their ailments. They were very close to nature, so would live away from towns and villages, by themselves in the countryside. As they lived in the countryside their skin would have been calloused from working on the land, therefore they would have had a very tough look to them. They would communicate with the spirits of nature and were able to use powerful magic to heal and for divination of the future. Due to these roles, they were held in very high regards by pagan practitioners.

With the rise of Christianity in Europe, these people were demonised, especially the women. From a Christian viewpoint, these women directly countered Christian doctrine and practice, which were often centered around men. Since they worshiped the spirits of nature, rather than God, they were seen as evil. They also posed a threat to the growing reach and authority of the Catholic church, so their influence needed to be removed. Over time, with the influence of the Catholic church, these women became associated with the devil and evil practices. They were hunted down and punishments for continuing their practice was cruel.

In 1486, Pope Innocent VIII actually published a book in which he claimed a direct link between witches and the devil. Since that point, the persecution of traditional witches heightened. In fact at this time he even outlawed the pagan Celtic religion altogether. Those found guilty were brutally killed, often by being burned alive. This period in time is referred to as The Burning Times.

As part of this persecution, the popular image of witches was transformed from women who were in tune with the natural elements, to those who were evil. The notion that witches did evil deeds such as killing babies for their rituals spread. They began to be portrayed as old and crooked, with long ugly noses often with large warts, long disheveled hair, wearing long and flowing black garments. This imagery continues until today, and plays an important part of Halloween tradition.

 

The Broomstick and Cauldron

Associated with witches are the images of the broomstick and cauldron. These are traditionally thought to be implements witches used to engage in their evil acts. However, the implements were everyday items that a person would use back in the time of the Celts. The broom is a simple cleaning device. As witches lived in the countryside, there would have been a lot of natural debris, such as leaves. These would obviously have to be cleared up and people would use simple brooms made from sticks and branches for this purpose.

The cauldron is another simple implement. It is one of the earliest forms of a cooking pot. These would have been used by witches and in fact all people during that time to cook with, over an open fire. They would have used large spoons to stir whatever they were cooking. Over time this imagery became synonymous with a witch brewing an evil potion, as witches came to be demonised.

 

Pentacle – the Five-Pointed Star

Halloween-17

The Pentacle

The pentacle is often associated with witchcraft and evil, however its real meaning is not evil at all. In fact, the pentacle as a religious symbol from ancient times, represents the balance of the natural elements: earth, water, air, fire and space. It is a symbol that was used to invoke the energies of nature in order to restore balance. It can also be linked to the apple, which is also a symbol of the ancient traditions. If you cut an apple length ways, the core of the apple actually forms a five pointed star. Since its association with pagan rituals, it is considered a symbol that is negative in the world today due to the influence of Christianity.

 

Black Cats

This imagery stems from the earliest origins of Halloween among the Celts. It was commonly believed that black cats were once human beings who had been transformed into cats as punishment for evil acts they had committed or as victims of black magic. Over time, as Christianity gained ground, this notion was corrupted so that black cats became the witch’s familiar, or animal-spirit that aided a witch to cast magic, act as a spy or a friend. Over time it was also thought that a witch could turn into a black cat as well.

 

Bats, Owls and Creatures of the Night

Many animals are associated with Halloween such as the bat or owl. This association stems back to the Celtic tradition of lighting bonfires during Samhain. Before electricity and modern lighting was invented the only source of light at night was obviously fire. Light from these bonfires would have attracted mosquitoes and other flying insects. Since bats and owls feed on these insects, they would have been drawn to the fire as well. Therefore bats and owls were seen overhead and near the Samhain bonfires, and became associated with the festival. As pagan traditions were demonised, so were bats and owls. Overtime as Samhain transformed into Halloween, this imagery continued. Other creatures such as spiders, newts, or any creature of the night came to be associated with Halloween over time as people have a natural fear of such creatures.

 

Ghosts and Monsters

The origins of Samhain stem from the ancient pagan belief that the spirits of the dead can come back and harm us in this life during Halloween. This fear of the spirit world has been ingrained in the festival since its very beginning. This continues until this day with a strong fear of being attacked by ghosts. Other monsters such as ghouls is another attempt to demonise the ancient pagan religions. These were originally the nature spirits that the Celts, druids and witches worshiped and communicated with. As their practices were thought to be evil, the spirits transformed into menacing creatures over time.

 

The Devil Who is Actually a God

Halloween-18

The devil

The strength of the Christian demonisation of pagan culture is best exemplified in the common portrayal of the devil. The devil is depicted as a being with the body and face of a man, but the horns and legs of a goat. This is actually the portrayal of the Horned One, a god known throughout the ancient world, including both European pagan traditions and in ancient Greece, where he was known as Pan. Within pagan culture and modern Wicca, he is the male side of divinity, associated with nature, wildness, hunting, fertility and the life cycle. He was a god of great importance within the pagan traditions, especially since he was associated with bountiful harvests. During the time of the ancient pagans, ensuring one had a bountiful harvest in order to survive the harsh winter was of great importance, therefore the Horned One was especially worshiped. He was a benevolent god, who helped those who were close to nature grow good harvest and have abundance.

Over time however, with the growing influence of Christianity, he became heavily demonised just like the witches. Since his worship was so wide spread and ingrained in pagan culture, the Catholic church sought to equate him with the evil devil himself in order to persuade pagans to convert to Christianity. Therefore, he became synonymous with the devil. Before this period in Medieval history, the devil was only ever portrayed as the serpent Satan in the garden of Eden, who tempted Adam and Eve, or as Lucifer, the fallen angel. Strikingly, the form of Pan was to become the most common and well-known depictions of the devil to this day.

pan

Pan, also known as the Horned One

Despite this overt attempt to destroy pagan history and culture, the Catholic church has never been wholly successful in eradicating belief and worship of the ancient gods and their associated practices. To this day modern Wicca practitioners invoke the Horned One during their rituals, especially when celebrating Samhain. Even spiritual communities such as Findhorn invoke the god in his form of Pan to aid them in their endeavors to be closer to nature and for the growth of their various plants and vegetables. Paul Hawken in his book ‘The Magic of Findhorn’ describes him as a being with “shaggy legs and cloven hooves, pointed chin and ears, and two little horns on his forehead” and that he “lived in the Garden, and that his work was to help the growth of the trees.” Given the lengths that he was demonised and equated with the devil, it is testament to ancient beliefs that the Horned One is still remembered in his original form with his original functions in this day and age. The Horned One or Pan is not evil but a nature elemental who helps in bountiful harvests and fertility and should be remembered as so. One who encounters Pan should not think him the devil as that is the Christian corruption of his true nature in their power bid to convert the masses. Pan himself says in the book ‘The Magic of Findhorn’ the elementals and nature spirits that help and assist all natural growth have been abandoned. This is wrong to do so as man should not think he can live without nature. For the proper growth and health of nature, the assistance of elementals and nature spirits such as Pan and many others are needed. So the next time you see the image of the ‘devil’ remember that it is the corrupted form of the helpful elemental Pan and there is nothing evil.

 

Conclusion

Halloween as a contemporary holiday has a long and varied history, stemming from the ancient Celtic celebration of Samhain, which was supplanted with the Christian festival of Allhallowtide. Though people tried to destroy the various practices and beliefs of the festival, they have continued until today, albeit in a different form. While the form in which it is celebrated has changed, the deeper notions behind it, such the coming of the winter and fear of the spirit world still remain.

With growing acceptance all over the world, Halloween incorporates practices and imagery laden with meaning, though most of those who celebrate are often unaware of the historic roots of the celebration. As we have seen Halloween has now become a secular celebration, compared with its spiritual origins. Millions of people will celebrate Halloween in some way or another this Halloween. We hope this post has provided you a further insight into the rich and cultural history of Halloween.

 
For more interesting information:

 

Please support us so that we can continue to bring you more Dharma:

If you are in the United States, please note that your offerings and contributions are tax deductible. ~ the tsemrinpoche.com blog team

Share this article

34 Responses to Halloween

DISCLAIMER IN RELATION TO COMMENTS OR POSTS GIVEN BY THIRD PARTIES BELOW

Kindly note that the comments or posts given by third parties in the comment section below do not represent the views of the owner and/or host of this Blog, save for responses specifically given by the owner and/or host. All other comments or posts or any other opinions, discussions or views given below under the comment section do not represent our views and should not be regarded as such. We reserve the right to remove any comments/views which we may find offensive but due to the volume of such comments, the non removal and/or non detection of any such comments/views does not mean that we condone the same.

We do hope that the participants of any comments, posts, opinions, discussions or views below will act responsibly and do not engage nor make any statements which are defamatory in nature or which may incite and contempt or ridicule of any party,individual or their beliefs or to contravene any laws.

  1. Julien on Nov 27, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    I was never big on Halloween. It was never a celebration that I truly participated in and dress up in costumes for. Although there have been times where I had to, due to school or other events like that. However, that doesn’t make this article any less interesting to read about.

    It was interesting to know the actual history behind Halloween and how it was actually to celebrate the coming of winter. I didn’t know that such a festival could have had such an original meaning. I actually for the longest time thought that Halloween was a man-made celebration just for fun XD

  2. Hayden Chan on Nov 10, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    This post is so fascinating. I didn’t know about the witches history, but it is very cruel to just kill innocent ladies just because people think that they are witches . But this post is very interesting. The star is related to Elements of nature ,one word ,cool. Thank you , Rinpoche for posting this.👺👹👿👻👽💀

  3. nicholas on Nov 7, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    It’s an interesting article that provide a great info about Halloween. At this modern day we celebrate Halloween for the fun of it but there are so much to know about this ancient believe. Personally to me there is no right or wrong on others believe, tradition and culture but what important is respect for the different. As for Pan it sad that how an ancient god that being belief for his good blessing to help people who were close to nature grow good harvest became and evil devil just due to spiritual political reason. We live in this planet with many differences but one key to stay together in peace and be harmony is respect.

  4. Wah Ying on Nov 6, 2016 at 1:09 am

    这篇文章很有趣,让我知道更多关于我所不知道的万圣节这个节日的由来和背后的意义,特别是关于基督教会如何绑架整个节庆,将教会不允许的信仰原本的意义和庆祝方式,以其方式取代之。这的确说明了当权者或掌握权力者,倾向于铲除不符合他们信仰、挑战(或潜在挑战)其领导或无法为他们的政权服务的信仰/法门、个人或团体。只要投入足够的人力和资源,假以时日的确能将错误的变成正确的,正确的变成错误的。换了时间和地点,类似的事件还是在上演着--这跟多杰雄登护法明明是证悟的护法,是文殊菩萨的化身却被污蔑成魔类似;或者杜固扎巴坚赞圆寂后关于他的任何记载,几乎被当权者从历史上抹去雷同。

  5. Sharon Ong on Nov 5, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    This is an interesting read as I have always been fascinated by the origins of Halloween and paganism. With the usual rumours surrounding Wicca and Paganism, this post has helped me understand the essence of this non-mainstream religion better.

    Another interesting thing I learnt is the origins of trick-or-treating and why sweets are given to the trick-or-treaters. It came from the ancient Celtic practice of appeasing the dead with sweet offerings so that these spirits would not create havoc on the living.

    This post also reminded me of how impermanent things as seen in how a God propitiated for bountiful harvests in previous times is now seen as a Devil due to turn of events.

    Thank you, Pastor David and Pastor Niral. Enjoyed this piece very much!

  6. Wan Wai Meng on Nov 5, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    It is very true that this article addresses some of the imagery that have been labeled demonic and devilish. It is interesting to know the background of how something can be warped or changed to suit certain religious factions or practices. Something benign can also be changed to something threatening and that can harm others.

    But a very enjoyable article that is written in a light manner, and not heavy at all. Enjoyed going through this article and learning about the origins of this celebration.

    People of the past were preoccupied with survival, it is only when communities and societies become more established that they will start looking at spirituality or religious. And if some people were many levels more awake or more knowledgeable than others, they could manipulate others for their own ends. In the old world and in the new old knowledge and insight/intelligence to wield those power could determine between thriving or survival.

  7. Sock Wan on Nov 3, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    Ancient people knew we had to live harmony with our surrounding, with the nature. They had great respect to the elements in this universe. Unfortunately, as human progress we think we are owner of the earth and do lots of destruction to it. Global warming, unusual climate phenomena are signs of our earth losing its balance.

    One thing that I find interesting is the 5-pointed star symbol, it is also found in the depiction of Vajrayogini’s mandala. Same symbol exist in different culture or religion in an era where there was no internet, no postal service, no telecommunication, it must really mean something universally. It is something our ancestor discovered through their careful observation, how amazing. How come without science and technology ancient people could make so much discovery while we are using science and technology to deny the existence of their discoveries? Are we really more intelligent than our ancestors?

    • Sock Wan on Nov 3, 2016 at 12:59 pm

      Sorry, my mistake. The star in Vajrayogini Mandala is a 6-pointed star, not 5-pointed star as I have written in the previous comment. More information about Vajrayogini and her Mandala as explained by Tsem Rinpoche in this youtube video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHv9akFU9w8

      Rinpoche has kindly shared with me that:
      The 5-pointed star commonly used in Wiccan to represent the five elements. According to Pythagoras, the five points of the pentagram each represent one of the five elements that make up man: fire, water, air, earth, and psyche. (energy, fluid, breath, matter, and mind; also liquid, gas, solid, plasma, and aethyr, or spirit)

  8. Pastor Antoinette on Oct 31, 2016 at 12:18 am

    Thank you for this huge information and background related to Halloween.
    It is a big eye opener with the many stories like Jack-o-lanterns’, Pan the Horned One, witches and much more.

    It is very interesting how history developped from ancient times till now related to Halloween.

    Thank you Pastor David and Pastor Niral for this great article.

    14713557_1332019476808797_4760240214775345147_n

  9. HelenaC on Oct 30, 2016 at 9:59 pm

    Very interesting article about Halloween. Most of us do not really know what is Halloween about beside all those make up and costume. For me is same as Asian Hungry Ghost Festival. But after reading the article I have a clearer understanding now. So much meaning and cultures behind it. i like the history of Jack the stingy. Very interesting hehehe….
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing and thank you Pastor Niral and Pastor David for the write up and research. Very nice hehehe and long hahahaha….
    Happy Halloween and cheers!

  10. Pastor KH Ng on Oct 29, 2016 at 10:49 pm

    What a fascinating history on the origin, meanings and intrigue of the Halloween. Today it is a popular in many countries and is associated with fun. It is interesting to know especially how ancient practices that are normal can be turned into something evil to serve another religion’s purposes; to convert others to that particular religion.

    Thank You Pastor David and Pastor Niral for this amazing article.

  11. So Kin Hoe (KISG) on Oct 29, 2016 at 10:28 pm

    Thank you Pastor David and Pastor Niral for spending time and effort to carry out so much researches about Halloween and put the information and details altogether to make this article complete and comprehensive. After reading this article, I have deeper understanding about the meaning, background and history of Halloween rather than just knowing the Halloween party where people are dressed up in ghostly manner or in other forms of demonic costume.

    The Halloween marks the end of summer and the beginning of winter season, which is a very important day for the ancient people in Europe as they should have kept sufficient harvested crops before going through the winter season where farming is not possible at all during the winter season. As I continue to read on the article, the Halloween is also a transition period where the boundary between our living world and the afterlife world becomes ‘thinner’ according to Celtic beliefs. This reminds us that our human’s life is not permanent and one day, we might become one of the souls in afterlife world after our death.

    The tale of Jack-o’-lantern has fascinated me a lot since I have never known the reason of why people carving a scary look on the pumpkin with a lighted candle inside the pumpkin.

    Thank you Rinpoche, Pastor David and Pastor Niral for sharing this article in Rinpoche’s blog and I hope many people will enjoy reading this article about Halloween.

    Happy Halloween to Rinpoche and all!

    With folded hands,
    kin hoe

  12. Datuk May on Oct 27, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    “Halloween incorporates practices and imagery laden with meaning, though most of those who celebrate are often unaware of the historic roots of the celebration.”

    That is so true, Pastor David and Pastor Niral. It is a great eye opener for me to understand so much on every aspect of the Halloween celebration. From the use of apples to pumpkin lanterns during this festival is so well explained.

    Thank you for all the research put into this article.

    What stands out for me is how the Catholic church had done so much to eradicate the festival of Samhain and its original meaning. And yet with deeper study of Halloween every aspect still goes back to what it is, to appease the dead and to be ready for the dark months of winter.

    Truly appreciate your work to this very informative article.

  13. Jutika Lam on Oct 26, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    Dear Pastor David and Niral,

    Thank you for taking the time to compile and write this lenghty and educational blog post on Halloween starting with the origins. I learnt a lot more than I previously knew about this festival!

    It is somewhat intriguing to know that the festival of Halloween we are celebrating had originated from as long as 43 C.E and started out as a Celtic festival which was meant to prepare for long, harsh winter times.

    Despite what Halloween is in current times, it is interesting to know that there is a deeper meaning to it which relates to a religion and culture and I hope that more poeple will read this article and know more about Halloween and it’s history.

  14. Anne Ong on Oct 26, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    Thank you to Pastor David and Pastor Niral for this write up about this wonderful and interesting history of Holloween. Now I know All Souls Day is connected with Holloween. And All Souls Day is similar to Chinese Ghost Festival. Happy Holloween to Rinpoche and everyone! 🙂

  15. BK on Oct 26, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    I enjoyed reading this very much, especially the history of how the Halloween tradition came to be and how each Halloween symbol has a long and rich history. I’ve long been interested in all forms of religion including paganism, especially stories of the land of faerie. So this article kind of brought back some of those memories 🙂

    What struck me the most however, is how the christian church was able to wipe out a large part of the rich celtic religion, replace it with their own interpretations AND have it accepted by the general public at large. This is no small feat and it goes to show that with enough persistence and believers, those in power are able to sway popular thinking in their favour, to the disbenefit of the group being targeted.

    In modern times, history is repeating itself in Tibetan Buddhism, specifically with regards to the Dorje Shugden issue. The same pattern can be seen whereby the Central Tibetan Administration is playing the role of the Christian church, Dorje Shugden practitioners are the downtrodden pagan believers and the world is at risk of forgetting that Dorje Shugden is in fact a compassionate and enlightened Buddhist protector and instead believe the CTA’s lies that he is a demon. Sounds familiar doesnt it??

  16. Pastor Han Nee on Oct 26, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche. Thank you Pastor David and Pastor Niral for a well-researched article on the history, origins and practices of Halloween.

    Halloween was originally celebrated as a Celtic harvest festival, known as the Samhain.Pagans believed that it was a very powerful harvest festival connected with the world of the dead and powerful forces. When the Romans conquered the Celtic parts of Europe, they superimposed their own two traditional festivals on this festival,the festivals where they paid their respects to the dead and where they celebrated a festival in honour of Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and tree. Then the Roman Catholics transformed it into a 3-day festival known as the “AllHallowTide”, which incorporates the All Saints Day and the All Souls Day.

    Many countries all over the world celebrate Halloween or have festivals similar to Halloween. The United States and Canada celebrate Halloween on a wide scale, decorating their homes, offices or workplaces in preparation for the event. The tradition of Halloween has spread to other European countries , as well as to Australia and New Zealand, due to its celebratory nature rather than historical relevance to cultural practice.

    For countries , with a strong Roman Catholic background, the Halloween festival takes on a spiritual significance. The same with those whose beliefs are still rooted in Pagan and Neo-pagan traditions. Elsewhere, Halloween is celebrated as a form of popular culture, where the popular activities are : the wearing of masks or costumes and the carrying out of the ‘trick-and-treat’ tradition by children , under the supervision of adults. Adults have their own themed parties.

    During the Halloween period many people decorate their homes, front garden, offices and workplaces with scary decorations. These include figures of witches, ghosts, skeletons, zombies, etc. They do this as a form of secular celebration and for fun. One example is the “Jack-o’-lantern”. The Irish brought over to America the custom of carving turnips and even potatoes with ghoulish faces, placing candles in them and leaving them outside the front door. The faces are carved in a ghastly manner to scare negative spirits away.

    Popular during the celebration of Halloween are the presence of modern witches and their associated imagery of cauldrons and broomsticks, the Pentacle or five-pointed star, the black cat, bats, owls and creatures of the night, and ghosts and monsters.

    Thus , we can see that today Halloween has become a secular celebration, compared with its spiritual origin. Nonetheless, the idea of celebrating it as a harvest festival can actually turn it into an occasion to celebrate it as a ‘spiritual harvest’ festival.

  17. Justin Cheah on Oct 22, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    Thank you sharing this article Pastor Niral and Pastor David. It is interesting to read especially the historic part of it. I feel it is worth doing and carrying on doing this as part of the carrying down the tradition. It serves to remind me and everyone of us that there are actually beings out there that we should understand their existence and they are living in another realm and remembering them in our prayers as well to perhaps plan the seed for them to have a good rebirth in future and continue their spiritual journey.

  18. Candice Loke on Oct 22, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    Thank you Pastor David Lai and Pastor Niral Patel for this Halloween research and article, it was truly an interesting read for me! I wouldn’t know Halloween would have had such an interesting origin and background, with so much of cultural twists in it had i not read this!

    What struck me the most is that of the conflicts between the newly introduced Roman Catholic and the long established ancient Celtic culture in the then pagan Europe. I would believe that the traditional practice of Celtic was still remained mainstream in pagan Europe even decades after the Roman Empire conquered that very region. Otherwise there would be of no use for the Roman Catholic Church to demonise Wicca The Wise One and Pan the Horned One if people were truly convinced and converted. From here we actually can see – throughout history of mankind, rulers have seen been using different means to ‘conquered’ others who have different thoughts/ideas than theirs through violence and fear, how pathetic!

    Beneath all these political play, I really like the true meaning of original Halloween – To celebrate the harvests, to give thanks to mother nature for what they have sown on the land. We really can see that back in those days, people appreciated nature more than people these days. Another great reminder for all of us.

    After reading this article, I have better understanding on the origin, background of Halloween, and of course meaning behind all those seemingly ‘scary’ Halloween features – Knowledge is powerful, as it dispels fears.

    Thank you Rinpoche, PDL and PNP _/\_

  19. Lowkhjb on Oct 21, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    Thank you Pastor David Lai and Pastor Niral Patel for taking the great detail effort to research into the origin of the practice of Halloween.

    A simple fun filled yearly event that most of us would take for granted ,with such a complicated dark history behind it.

    We should always respect the beliefs and practice of other religion.They may be created out of needs during those ancient times when they are more in tuned with nature and the need of HOPE for a better live.

  20. Beatrix Ooi on Oct 20, 2016 at 10:58 am

    I’ve never thought that Halloween could be related to any religion/ culture, it’s definitely something new to me. As far as I could remember, I’ve only attended a Halloween party once. It was kind of fun because everyone gets to dress up in costumes like they like and have realistic gory make ups on them. It’s not something we can do every day hehe…

    It’s funny how Western and Chinese cultures can be so different yet so similar to one another. Chinese celebrates Halloween too but in a different way. We do prayers and most of us would burn “hell money” which is a form of joss papers printed to represent bank notes, particularly to hungry ghosts in hope that they will not disturb families when they roam around during the hungry ghost festival.

  21. Lew on Oct 19, 2016 at 11:40 pm

    Halloween is gaining popularity in this part of the world. Every year, more and more people celebrate it. I am sure many or most people don’t understand its origin, thinking it is just a cool event where people can put on costume. I myself was not a big fan of Halloween until I have heard Rinpoche talked about it.

    What Pastor Niral and Pastor David wrote is very detail, which involves a lot of histories of the older religions such as Celtics, Pagans, etc. However, the one that caught my attention is Pan, the horned one, who is demonised in order to defame him.

    I hope people can understand the meaning of a festival celebration instead of just following the herd…

  22. Fong on Oct 19, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    Halloween is big in America. The American schools here celebrate it in a big way and the kids look forward to a bit of a scare and loads of candy. It helps the little ones overcome their fear. Hey, if there’s some good that come out of it. Everything is not so scary once we know its roots and purpose, and of course a bit of familiarization.

    So, Halloween had it’s roots in paganism. But, the real practice has been diluted except maybe for a few serious Wiccans and witches. I guess, they are entitled to their believes and I wish them well. Have fun and if no one is harmed, what’s a bit of fun. Life is already suffering, no need to add to it.

  23. William Chua on Oct 19, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    Halloween is a celebration deep in history and traditions. These days, it has become mainly a celebration of partying amongst the young and more of a novelty. It is a time to play dress up and scare people.

    This article is very informative and well researched which gave me a better understanding of the Halloween festivities. What struck me the most is the the Christians has demonised the God Pan in order to convert people into Christianity. That is really considered scare tactic.

  24. Samfoonheei on Oct 19, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    Thank you Pastor David and Pastor Niral for sharing this interesting article.There’s a lot to know about Halloween.Very detail and good explanation for us to understand the whole history of Halloween. The story of Halloween should be told to the younger generation to know what’s all about it….to them its just a festival with scary costumes and party through the night, celebrate in some way or the other without realizing the rich and cultural history behind it.I would not have understand until i read this article.
    What ever happen during “The Burning Times” same goes to practicing of Dorje Shugden as a Evil spirit but in fact is a protector which benefits many of us.Hope CTA will lift the ban on Dorje Shugden soon.

  25. Darren on Oct 19, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    I never really understand much about halloween, but thank you Pastor David & Pastor Niral for history and details of Halloween. 🙂

  26. Echeah on Oct 19, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    These days, Halloween has lost most of its past significance. Halloween is now a time to party, bring out the vampire suit, eye liner and fangs, drink and have fun. Shopping establishments, drinking holes and restaurants cash in on the Halloween theme every year.

    Be careful, when you get a knock on the front door and see a group of children with dark eyes trick or treating, it might be mascara or they might be black eyed children. What do you do? Boo!

  27. Jason Gill on Oct 19, 2016 at 7:09 am

    For me Halloween is the best time of year. The weather is getting colder, the sun sets earlier, plants there were thriving and alive just a month ago are starting to die. I am reminded of impermanence. The changing of Spring and Summer to Autumn and Winter is a constant reminder that I too will one day die.That everyone I know and love will cease to be.

    It is this constant reminder that has allowed me to become comfortable with death. I no longer fear death as many in the world do. I view death more as an old friend that will come to visit when it is my time to pass from this world.

    • Joy Kam on Oct 19, 2016 at 11:13 am

      Dear Jason Gill,

      Welcome to H.E. Tsem Rinpoche’s blog. I’m not sure if you are new here, but welcome anyway. Where are you from if you don’t mind me asking? And have you been on Rinpoche’s blog here before?

      I find your comments very refreshing and original as not many says that they appreciate Halloween and the change of seasons as a great reminder or death and impermanence. Certainly not many view “death” as an “old friend” that will eventually come visit us when the time is right. What you say is very true and when that time comes, those who are prepared will be comfortable and is ready for it, and those who are not will find it difficult to be at peace with it. So what is important is what we are doing now to prepare for it any time.

      Buddhist dharma always talks about this subject, there is even meditation to help us practice how to die and the stages and paths one will experience. When done correctly and consistently,when the time comes, we know what is expected and be calm. Your message has brought great reminders and reflections.

      With your appreciation on such profound deeper subjects, if I may, I would like to recommend some other links on impermanence or death to you. I hope you will enjoy reading and exploring them, if you have not already. Do leave comments of your thoughts as we can all learn from each others’ different perspectives.

      Thank you and good day!

      Below are some links for your reading pleasure…

      1) What Happens When We Die? Here’s What Buddhism Says!
      http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/what-happens-when-we-die-heres-what-buddhism-says.html

      2) The Dying Process
      http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/the-dying-process.html

      3) I spoke about Death Meditation in more detail
      http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/last-night-i-spoke-about-death-meditation-in-more-detail.html

      4) Dealing with Death ( a true and very sincere account)
      http://www.dorjeshugden.org/benefits/dealing-with-death

  28. Bradley Kassian on Oct 19, 2016 at 6:53 am

    Halloween has managed to incorporate the best of it’s long history and origins. I’m not going to lie, who doesn’t want chocolate, or to dress up in costumes for an evening? Halloween is one unique holiday that is both fun for kids and fun for adults. I love having jacko-lanterns, and handing out candy to kids. Where I am, we also have firework displays after 9pm. I also like the horror movie marathons hehe.

    I have a few Wiccan friends who celebrate the holiday as Samhain so I’ve seen some of it’s rustic celtic roots. So I’ve had a taste of different perspectives for this holiday celebrated by many people.

    • BK on Oct 25, 2016 at 7:46 pm

      Bradley, do share what the Wiccan celebration of Samhain were like. There are few Wiccans in Malaysia and most of us would not have had the opportunity to experience Samhain the way you have.

  29. Sofi on Oct 19, 2016 at 12:12 am

    Wow, thank you Pastor David and Pastor Niral for this insight into the origins of Halloween. It certainly had transformed dramatically from its original pagan festival of appeasing the dead to the commercialised celebration of today. Now you only see some connotations of the past in offering of sweets in “trick or treat” game by the children, the dressing up in costumes and the “Jack O’ Lantern”.

    It is interesting to read how the egos of men played in imposition of the idea of their “Godliness” onto others they considered inferior and thus transforming something natural to something evil to be wiped out. Just because the “Wise Ones” who held more importance in position due to their healing powers and probably in tune with nature power, the Christian Churches felt threaten as they would not conform to worshipping their “God”. So the Church demonised the “Witches” in order to destroy their goodness in the people’s perception and hence gives the Church the power to assert their religion on these people. However there are still remnants of their practices that they are not willing to let go and thus the Church use manipulation to incorporate similarity in practices to appease them.

    Reading this article makes me think of the similarity of the ban on Dorje Shugden by the 14th Dalai Lama and CTA on the practitioners. Dorje Shugden was made to be the “Evil Spirit” so that the perception of the people will be affected when in actuality Dorje Shugden is the most beneficial protector practice in this degenerate age. Just as the Witches were persecuted, the Shugden practitioners too faced the abuse and persecution. However, just as the Wiccan practice had prevailed and grown in numbers, the Dorje Shugden practice too survived and had spread in all directions of the world. With the recent proclamation by His Holiness the Dalai Lama that Dorje Shugden does not and never did harm his life nor the Tibetan Freedom cause, I think CTA should heed their esteemed spiritual leader’s message and lift the wrongful ban on Dorje Shugden immediately. It would be a restoration of religious freedom and according human rights back to their people as well as reuniting all Tibetan Buddhist practitioners.

  30. Stella Cheang on Oct 18, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    The facts on and surrounding Halloween are very fascinating because they involved a faith and culture that is little heard of; the Celtic faith. Reading on how Christianity was being spread and levied onto the Celtics remind me of how Christianity had been imposed on the aborigines of America. Interestingly, the religion promotes love and kindness yet it was the missionaries who used unscrupulous method to gain followers. Such technique is not unique to only the Christian history. If we read history of Tibetan Buddhism, we will realize that unscrupulous method is not new. Methar of Tengyeling Monastery is an example how innocent people in spite his spiritual attainment, had been unjustly and brutally murdered.

    Fast forward to the 21st century, Halloween have certainly evolved from its Bagan roots where Halloween was all about bon fire and holy rituals. Today, Halloween is a festival celebrated by many western countries, e.g. USA, Canada, some parts of Europe and increasingly, Asian countries. It is gaining popularity because of the eventful merriment. Many people seize this opportunity to decorate their homes and have a party to dress up in various costume, especially for the kids where they can roam free in the neighborhood to try their hand on “Tricks or Treats”. How nice!

    Thank you Pastor David and Pastor Niral for this article.

  31. Joy Kam on Oct 18, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    What an interesting read and certainly learnt a lot about the true in celebrating Halloween. Wow, so much misconceptions and so much ancient wisdom and truth diluted, perverted and lost. Thankfully ancient writings and modern technology (the internet) has managed to preserve the truth about how it all began if we wanted to investigate further. And this is kind of like what is happening with Dorje Shugden’s lineage, teachings and history too!

    Again due to human greed, power and selfish goals, something positive was turned into negative. The Church literally re-wrote history and set out to convert or destroy whatever or whoever that was in their way of dominating and controlling people through religion. It is no wonder many people today no longer have faith in “organised” religion… it is no wonder why I have friends today that snubs anything religious… so much hatred, bullying, misconceptions and crimes done onto those who were innocent in the name of “God”?! Reminds me again what we’re going through with Dorje Shugden practice and how Tibetan leadership are demonising it, burning its books, and forcefully overtaking and punishing those they feel threatened by … http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/the-buddhist-divide-an-unholy-campaign-against-religious-freedom.html

    Now I know that in actuality “witches” are not “evil”, it just a label, a name for those who worshipped nature (instead of the Christian Catholic God) and they are in fact healers. It is the Church who twisted its meaning and demonising it together with their gender biased MCP views of women. And because of that they were they were hunted down and punishments for continuing their practice! All this because they posed a threat to the growing reach and authority of the Catholic church, so their influence needed to be removed (power and greed).

    There was even a book published by their Pope at that time claiming the link between witched and the devil?! Sound familiar with the an Abbot and the Tibetan leaders who published a book claiming Dorje Shugden is a demon spirit and is bad.

    I also now realise the truth behind the silly depiction of the “Devil” being a half man, half goat/bull, animal with horns. Whereas in reality… he is actually the nature spirit that helps growth and harvest called PAN! Oh my gosh, how blinded and ignorant we have been!

    “The growing influence of Christianity heavily demonised PAN just like the witches. Since his worship was so wide spread and ingrained in pagan culture, the Catholic church sought to equate him with the evil devil himself in order to persuade pagans to convert to Christianity. Therefore, he became synonymous with the devil.
    So the next time you see the image of the ‘devil’ remember that it is the corrupted form of the helpful elemental Pan and there is nothing evil.”

    All this just goes to show how easily WE all just listen and follow blindly when something/someone is BIG/POPULAR/POWERFUL, we just automatically believe them. Sounds familiar again with the Dorje Shugden ban and what His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been saying about it.

    So the moral of the story is after reading this post… don’t just believe whatever people say, always investigate and find out more as knowledge is really power. Now when in celebration of Halloween, instead of it being another commercial making silly holiday, we can celebrate it in appreciation of the Celtic history. Also it is true, which I’ve also always thought so, that Halloween had something to do with the dead crossing over and a time to remember them.

    Thank you for all your research for this brilliant post Pastor Niral and Pastor David. I now have a deeper appreciation for Halloween and loving it even more for the truth behind its history.

    Incredible, how so much misconceptions has been formed about so many things which was once positive, helpful and respected by people. How so many have suffered and was wronged due to jealousy, power and greed. Hence, we need to strive to always preserve the truth and origins of things especially something that could bring great benefit and enlightenment to many, such as Dorje Shugden practice. And we are ever so fortunate to have Rinpoche’s blog here to house and preserve these truths for the future and generations to come. Thank you so much!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *





Blog Chat

BLOG CHAT

Dear blog friends,

I’ve created this section for all of you to share your opinions, thoughts and feelings about whatever interests you.

Everyone has a different perspective, so this section is for you.

Tsem Rinpoche


SCHEDULED CHAT SESSIONS / 中文聊天室时间表

THURSDAY
10 - 11PM (GMT +8)
5 - 6AM (PST)
星期五
9 - 10PM (GMT +8)
4 - 5AM (PST)
(除了每个月的第一个星期五)
SATURDAY
11AM - 12PM (GMT +8)
FRIDAY 7 - 8PM (PST)
SUNDAY
9:30 - 10PM (GMT +8)
4:30 - 5AM (PST)

UPCOMING TOPICS FOR FEBRUARY / 二月份讨论主题

Please come and join in the chat for a fun time and support. See you all there.


Blog Chat Etiquette

These are some simple guidelines to make the blog chat room a positive, enjoyable and enlightening experience for everyone. Please note that as this is a chat room, we chat! Do not flood the chat room, or post without interacting with others.

EXPAND
Be friendly

Remember that these are real people you are chatting with. They may have different opinions to you and come from different cultures. Treat them as you would face to face, and respect their opinions, and they will treat you the same.

Be Patient

Give the room a chance to answer you. Patience is a virtue. And if after awhile, people don't respond, perhaps they don't know the answer or they did not see your question. Do ask again or address someone directly. Do not be offended if people do not or are unable to respond to you.

Be Relevant

This is the blog of H.E. Tsem Rinpoche. Please respect this space. We request that all participants here are respectful of H.E. Tsem Rinpoche and his organisation, Kechara.

Be polite

Avoid the use of language or attitudes which may be offensive to others. If someone is disrespectful to you, ignore them instead of arguing with them.

Please be advised that anyone who contravenes these guidelines may be banned from the chatroom. Banning is at the complete discretion of the administrator of this blog. Should anyone wish to make an appeal or complaint about the behaviour of someone in the chatroom, please copy paste the relevant chat in an email to us at care@kechara.com and state the date and time of the respective conversation.

Please let this be a conducive space for discussions, both light and profound.

KECHARA FOREST RETREAT PROGRESS UPDATES

Here is the latest news and pictorial updates, as it happens, of our upcoming forest retreat project.

The Kechara Forest Retreat is a unique holistic retreat centre focused on the total wellness of body, mind and spirit. This is a place where families and individuals will find peace, nourishment and inspiration in a natural forest environment. At Kechara Forest Retreat, we are committed to give back to society through instilling the next generation with universal positive values such as kindness and compassion.

For more information, please read here (english), here (chinese), or the official site: retreat.kechara.com.

Noticeboard

Name: Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • Lin Mun
    Monday, Feb 20. 2017 09:17 PM
    Appreciate Robert for his generousity and kindness in giving the USD 5K to Rinpoche so he can settled all his loan and buy ticket to India to pursue his promise to be a monk. And he gave Rinpoche money without any condition but with sincere hope that Rinpoche can achieve his promise to be a monk.

    Rinpoche also showed to us that if we have good intention and determination in dharma we can achieve our goal. For example, Rinpoche do 100 prostration daily to Zong Rinpoche’s photo in order to create a cause for him to learn from Zong Rinpoche.

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing the inspiring story so we do not give up and continue learning and practising dharma .

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/me/robert-stone.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Feb 20. 2017 03:35 PM
    Geshe Thupten Lama is one of the great scholars and masters who has upheld the lineage of Lord Buddha’s liberating teachings ., Geshe Thupten Lama would not abandon the practice of Dorje Shugden was brand an evil Chinese spy,and enemy, His life was threatened ,was forced to seek political asylum in America.He was one brave masters to write 3 letters asking Dalai Lama to lift the ban on Dorje Shugden.He has worked tirelessly for the Tibetan government in exile.Many practitioners has suffered due to the ban .It has caused disharmony within the Tibetan communities throughout the world.May H.H Dalai Lama please lift the ban on Dorje shugden to restore peace and harmony.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/the-supreme-path-to-the-trikaya.html
  • Pastor Shin Tan
    Monday, Feb 20. 2017 02:34 PM
    How to Rely upon Dorje Shugden

    Relying on a Dharma Protector or Dharmapala is an essential and beneficial practice within Vajrayana Buddhism. As a result of living in the Kaliyuga (degenerate) age, where negative karma is immense and distractions from the spiritual path are abundant, treading the path to Enlightenment can be an arduous and obstacle-ridden road.

    Read more here: http://www.dorjeshugden.org/blog/how-to-rely-upon-dorje-shugden
  • Pastor Shin Tan
    Monday, Feb 20. 2017 02:31 PM
    There’s a topic most people find a little awkward to talk about, and that’s sponsorship in the Dharma. People find it awkward because they think money is not a very spiritual thing to discuss. Yet it is an unavoidable subject because it’s a simple fact of life in samsara – monasteries and Dharma institutions would never be able to survive without the kindness of sponsors, and if they did not have the funds.

    Read this powerful piece by Pastor Elena Khong Jean Ai (Ani Lobsang Pema): http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/dorje-shugden/how-tibetan-leadership-treats-a-sponsor-jindak.html
  • Joy Kam
    Monday, Feb 20. 2017 02:00 PM
    The Meaning Behind Dorje Shugden’s Form
    Like the Buddha, Dorje Shugden’s body manifested from his great attainments. Hence, every part of his form has deep spiritual significance. Dorje Shugden’s entire body represents the complete path of the Lamrim or the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, and meditating upon it with correct understanding will generate great merits and spiritual attainments. This is a brief explanation of Dorje Shugden’s form: http://www.dorjeshugden.org/overview/the-meaning-behind-dorje-shugdens-form
  • Joy Kam
    Monday, Feb 20. 2017 02:00 PM
    Shimmering Vajrayogini from Ms. Wahyu
    See this beautiful painting gifted to H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche especially made with lots of love… http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/students-friends/shimmering-vajrayogini-from-ms-wahyu.html
  • Tsem Rinpoche
    Monday, Feb 20. 2017 10:29 AM
    Do you know what they did to this old erudite master Geshe Thupten Lama after serving them for years? Read here and be prepared to be shocked: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=119404
  • Tsem Rinpoche
    Monday, Feb 20. 2017 10:28 AM
    This educated, kind hearted and very determined young lady often went out to protest for a free Tibet in London as well as raise funds for the Tibetan communities in India. She really wanted to help the Tibetans. Guess what happened to her? See here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=119699
  • Jason
    Monday, Feb 20. 2017 02:46 AM
    Before this, I really doubt on reincarnation but after I watched the video above, it make me believe on reincarnation stuff which is happen to many high Lama. Reincarnation can’t totally explain by scientists but it reallly exists in this world.
    Thanks Rinpoche for sharing this and it open up my view on reincarnation topic.

    Jason

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/film-tv-music/reincarnation-true-or-false.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Sunday, Feb 19. 2017 09:10 PM
    At this day and age, it is indeed surprising for leaders of faith to apply a heavy-handed technique to oppress nonbeliever or the deviant. It is hard to accept because we have been educated by the history of painful examples where discrimination and persecution were usually man-made because of intolerance, lack of acceptance and ignorance. I wish the Baha’i faith grow and shine, and may harmony and love pervades the community.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/art-architecture/sanctuary-for-a-persecuted-faith.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Sunday, Feb 19. 2017 08:46 PM
    Thank you, Rinpoche for sharing with us here online the very rare and holy image of Pabongka Rinpoche in Tantric dress. He is the lineage master of Tibetan Buddhism that His Holiness Dalai Lama is teaching today. I am very fortunate to be able to meet with Tsem Rinpoche whose teaching traced back to Pabongka Rinpoche unbroken. May more people realize the weight of unbroken lineage in Buddhism and hence see the importance of Guru Devotion, which is the cornerstone of pure lineage in many ways.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/kyabje-pabongka-rinpoche-in-tantric-dress.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Sunday, Feb 19. 2017 08:34 PM
    Thank you, Rinpoche for the interesting article. We get to learn more about preventing snakes the natural way. It ‘s nice to know that we can rely on plants to repel snakes, and some of these plants are suitable to be planted in Malaysia. Garlic paste sounds not trying to make and a natural way to repel snakes. I wonder if it works to keep lizards away too?

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/how-to-prevent-snakes-in-your-backyard.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Sunday, Feb 19. 2017 08:22 PM
    This is a very nice sharing by Cindy Dinh. Rejoice to your keen interest in Buddhism in spite of being at an age where spirituality is not a common topic of interest. Please continue to explore the many teachings and topics here on the blog. And thank you, Cindy for writing to show your appreciation. It is a great testimony to the good work by Rinpoche and the team and will be a motivation for the rest of us too.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/etc/thanks-cindy.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Sunday, Feb 19. 2017 08:07 PM
    Thank you, Rinpoche for this advice, which gives depth to what it means by living with parents versus living on our own. The key takeaway is taking responsibility for our own life hence making our own destiny. Camping in our comfort zone for too long will not fuel us to do better or be stronger and more independent. At the end of the day, our attitude determines our actions, and our actions determine our success. Go for it, everyone! You never try, you never know. ��

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/students-friends/living-at-home-the-real-reasons.html
  • Lin Mun
    Sunday, Feb 19. 2017 08:03 PM
    This is a very beatiful Buddha Manjushri painting. Rejoice for Wylfred and team for taking effort to making this painting and offered it to Rinpoche.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/students-friends/look-what-the-postman-brought.html

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

CREDITS

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

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

Tsem Rinpoche

What Am I Writing Now

Facebook Fans Youtube Views Blog Views
Animal Care Fund
  Bigfoot, Yeti, Sasquatch

The Unknown

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

Photos On The Go

Click on the images to view the bigger version. And scroll down and click on "View All Photos" to view more images.
February 9,2017-My Mumu boy and Oser girl are just relaxing together..super cute
2 weeks 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 weeks ago
Click on the picture to enlarge and see what Suzy from Hawaii commented on the Dorje Shugden issue after much research. She is very candid and honest. Refreshing. Original is posted here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl-4lIwxph4
This is a good one to read
3 weeks ago
This is a good one to read
Mumu is silly and cute and funny
3 weeks ago
Mumu is silly and cute and funny
Mumu\'s hair is messy and he looks funny
3 weeks 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
1 month 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
2 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
2 months ago
Message to Tibetans in English
Message to the Tibetans
2 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
2 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
2 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
2 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
2 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
2 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
3 months ago
This huge Buddha in Korea is magnificent
The very first oracle of Dorje Shugden in trance statue. I have commissioned this.
3 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.
3 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.
3 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
3 months ago
Kyabje Zemey, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and Kyabje Pabongka Choktrul Rinpoche
My Oser girl and Mumu boy are so adorable
3 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
3 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?
4 months ago
Tenzing Norgay found this in Nepal. Guess what it is?
Sir Edmund Hillary
4 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
4 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
4 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
4 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...
5 months ago
Taken in Lake Champlain in Canada. A huge water monster...neat...
Beautiful! His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang has always been good friends with His Holiness Karmapa. No wonder H.H. Karmapa never spoke against Dorje Shugden. Two reasons perhaps: One is he knows the qualities of Trijang Rinpoche who is a attained being. And Karmapa himself has clairvoyance to perceive the true nature of Dorje Shugden directly. I love to see great beings like this manifesting closeness. When I see, I just want to prostrate to them and thank them for sharing such good examples to someone like me. Praise to the ego-less mind! Tsem Rinpoche
5 months ago
Beautiful! His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang has always been good friends with His Holiness Karmapa. No wonder H.H. Karmapa never spoke against Dorje Shugden. Two reasons perhaps: One is he knows the qualities of Trijang Rinpoche who is a attained being. And Karmapa himself has clairvoyance to perceive the true nature of Dorje Shugden directly. I love to see great beings like this manifesting closeness. When I see, I just want to prostrate to them and thank them for sharing such good examples to someone like me. Praise to the ego-less mind! Tsem Rinpoche
Serkong Dorje Chang on the left and his son Serkong Tsenshab Rinpoche on the right.
5 months ago
Serkong Dorje Chang on the left and his son Serkong Tsenshab Rinpoche on the right.
High lamas in France September 2016
5 months ago
High lamas in France September 2016
༧གོང་ས་ཆེན་པོ་སྐུ་འཕྲེང་བཅུ་བཞི་པ་མཆོག་དང་རྡོ་རྗེ་ཤུགས་ལྡན། - Interesting relationship between 14th Dalai Lama and Dorje Shugden:   http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=109757
5 months ago
༧གོང་ས་ཆེན་པོ་སྐུ་འཕྲེང་བཅུ་བཞི་པ་མཆོག་དང་རྡོ་རྗེ་ཤུགས་ལྡན། - Interesting relationship between 14th Dalai Lama and Dorje Shugden: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=109757
Dalai Lama Says We Can Practise Dorje Shugden Finally! Read more on this development--- http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=109777
5 months ago
Dalai Lama Says We Can Practise Dorje Shugden Finally! Read more on this development--- http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=109777
More time spent in dharma work is more karma collected to be happy and more time spent in non-dharma works is more karma collected to be unhappy.~Tsem Rinpoche
5 months ago
More time spent in dharma work is more karma collected to be happy and more time spent in non-dharma works is more karma collected to be unhappy.~Tsem Rinpoche
All Dorje Shugden prophesizes will come to pass,
 Those who generate refuge and merits will trust, 
 By trusting one will see the good results of his pronouncements,
 By seeing the good results, one\'s path becomes more clear, 
 The path of practice, purification and siddhic results, 
 This would eliminate the samsara within our minds.
 ~Tsem Rinpoche
5 months ago
All Dorje Shugden prophesizes will come to pass, Those who generate refuge and merits will trust, By trusting one will see the good results of his pronouncements, By seeing the good results, one's path becomes more clear, The path of practice, purification and siddhic results, This would eliminate the samsara within our minds. ~Tsem Rinpoche
Large Dorje Shugden statue built by the 5th Dalai Lama and housed in Trode Khangsar. Sock Wand and Mdm Chuah took this picture in Lhasa, Tibet 2016
5 months ago
Large Dorje Shugden statue built by the 5th Dalai Lama and housed in Trode Khangsar. Sock Wand and Mdm Chuah took this picture in Lhasa, Tibet 2016
Our own Kecharian Mdm. Chua with the oracle of Dorje Shugden Gen Tenzin Tsultrim in Lhasa, Tibet 2016
5 months ago
Our own Kecharian Mdm. Chua with the oracle of Dorje Shugden Gen Tenzin Tsultrim in Lhasa, Tibet 2016
Our very own Kecharian Mdm Chua standing in front of holy Trode Khangsar-the Chapel to Dorje Shugden built 400 years ago by the Great 5th Dalai Lama-Tibet 2016
5 months ago
Our very own Kecharian Mdm Chua standing in front of holy Trode Khangsar-the Chapel to Dorje Shugden built 400 years ago by the Great 5th Dalai Lama-Tibet 2016
Our very own Kecharian Mdm Chua standing in front of holy Gaden Monastery, Tibet 2016
5 months ago
Our very own Kecharian Mdm Chua standing in front of holy Gaden Monastery, Tibet 2016
                         This is the oracle of Dorje Shugden in Lhasa, Tibet. His name is Gen Tenzin Tsultrim of Sera Monastery in Tibet.
5 months ago
This is the oracle of Dorje Shugden in Lhasa, Tibet. His name is Gen Tenzin Tsultrim of Sera Monastery in Tibet.
Ms. Sock Wan, Oracle of Dorje Shugden in Tibet Gen Tenzin Tsultrim, Mdm Chuah and Mr. Tashi in Tibet 2016
5 months ago
Ms. Sock Wan, Oracle of Dorje Shugden in Tibet Gen Tenzin Tsultrim, Mdm Chuah and Mr. Tashi in Tibet 2016
Mahasiddha Kyabje Gangchen Rinpoche, H.H. Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and Ven. Rabten Choktrul Rinpoche 2016
5 months ago
Mahasiddha Kyabje Gangchen Rinpoche, H.H. Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and Ven. Rabten Choktrul Rinpoche 2016
His Eminence Mahasiddha Gangchen Rinpoche and the official oracle of Dorje Shugden Panglung Kuten Choji lah in Italy together September 2016
5 months ago
His Eminence Mahasiddha Gangchen Rinpoche and the official oracle of Dorje Shugden Panglung Kuten Choji lah in Italy together September 2016
My thoughts on Malaysia. Thank you. Tsem Rinpoche
5 months ago
My thoughts on Malaysia. Thank you. Tsem Rinpoche
Beautiful thangka of Vajra Yogini. Look at the details where she appears in visions and also takes people to Kechara.
5 months ago
Beautiful thangka of Vajra Yogini. Look at the details where she appears in visions and also takes people to Kechara.
Left to right:

His Holiness the Gaden Throne holder Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal, His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche (very young) and His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche in Gaden Shartse Prayer Hall during prayers.
5 months ago
Left to right: His Holiness the Gaden Throne holder Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal, His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche (very young) and His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche in Gaden Shartse Prayer Hall during prayers.
 It\'s nice when families support the spiritual journeys of their children. This is one beautiful family of Pastor Niral of Kechara
5 months ago
It's nice when families support the spiritual journeys of their children. This is one beautiful family of Pastor Niral of Kechara
Jog Falls a power place of Vajra Yogini and Heruka: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=108652
5 months ago
Jog Falls a power place of Vajra Yogini and Heruka: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=108652
Don\'t wait for the perfect group. Don\'t wait for the perfect person. Don\'t wait for the perfect situation. Don\'t expect yourself to be perfect. Don\'t even look for perfection at least in our realm as it does not exist or time will run out. Just get going and keep doing good. It\'s between you and yourself. Tsem Rinpoche
5 months ago
Don't wait for the perfect group. Don't wait for the perfect person. Don't wait for the perfect situation. Don't expect yourself to be perfect. Don't even look for perfection at least in our realm as it does not exist or time will run out. Just get going and keep doing good. It's between you and yourself. Tsem Rinpoche
Click on "View All Photos" above to view more images

Videos On The Go

Please click on the images to watch video
  • [11/02/2017] Mumu darling is a very good boy.
    1 week ago
    [11/02/2017] Mumu darling is a very good boy.
  • [11/02/2017] Mumu wants to go bye bye!
    1 week ago
    [11/02/2017] Mumu wants to go bye bye!
  • [11/02/2017] I love you mumu boy
    1 week ago
    [11/02/2017] I love you mumu boy
  • [11/02/2017] Mumu and Oser eating together.
    1 week ago
    [11/02/2017] Mumu and Oser eating together.
  • Great spiritual rock carving in Tibet
    1 month ago
    Great spiritual rock carving in Tibet
  • You will Never be Ready
    2 months ago
    You will Never be Ready
    Dear friends, watch this video and ready, if we keep waiting till we are ready, that day will never come. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Stop asking for Easy
    2 months ago
    Stop asking for Easy
    This video is powerful because it's the truth. It applies to anything. It applies to our dharma practice. Watch the video and share it. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Must Watch this Video!
    3 months ago
    Must Watch this Video!
  • Sacred Tibetan Incense - Nyimo County, Lhasa, Tibet
    4 months ago
    Sacred Tibetan Incense - Nyimo County, Lhasa, Tibet
  • Kyabje Denma Gonsa Rinpoche on Samaya
    4 months ago
    Kyabje Denma Gonsa Rinpoche on Samaya
    ཁྱེད་ཀྱི་བཀའ་སློབ་དོན་སྙིང་དེ།།གང་གི་རྣ་བར་བདུད་རྩི་མོད།།འོན་ཀྱང་འགའ་ཡི་རྣ་ལམ་དུ།། བྲག་ཆ་བཞིན་དུ་འགྱུར་སྲིད་མོད།། ཚང་མས་ཚར་རེ་གཟིགས་རོགས།། Kyabje Denma Gonsa Rinpoche telling people that it is important to have guru samaya. It use to be that way in the great monasteries. We should not create problems and schisms. If we want to practice a protector, then do so, if not it's okay, but don't make trouble. One should just practice the Buddha Dharma well. To do good practice. If you have faith in Dorje Shugden and trust all the way, he will definitely help you. But most important is to practice the dharma. This is his advice in short here. It's good to let more Tibetans hear this holy speech and appeal by this very senior Rinpoche. TR
  • His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Propitiating Protectors & Oracles
    4 months ago
    His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Propitiating Protectors & Oracles
    This was on FB and I came across it. His Holiness said in Tibetan institutions there is a lot of propitiating protector/oracles and this is not what Buddhism is about. So they are putting Nechung/Tema oracles within the video to say what is he talking about when he does it himself. This is confusing is the message to his people. TR
  • -
    4 months ago
    Look how this crab eats a cherry.. Incredible and cute... Never seen this before. They have feelings too. Tsem Rinpoche
  • This is Sarah. Do you have 30 seconds for her? Her life in just 30 seconds!
    5 months ago
    This is Sarah. Do you have 30 seconds for her? Her life in just 30 seconds!
  • See what is your fortune today!
    5 months ago
    See what is your fortune today!
  • Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche recites offering stanza to Dorje Shugden Septemeber 2016
    5 months ago
    Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche recites offering stanza to Dorje Shugden Septemeber 2016

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.

View All Questions
Today's quota for questions has been filled. Please come back tomorrow to re-submit your question

CHAT PICTURES

Pastor Chia solemnized a couple's marriage registration at Kechara House. Lucy Yap
yesterday
Pastor Chia solemnized a couple's marriage registration at Kechara House. Lucy Yap
On Sunday morning, we had an animal liberation event , in which we will save the lives of birds. Pastor Han Nee led a beautiful prayer before the birds were released. bit.ly/2ahl6Yv Lucy Yap
yesterday
On Sunday morning, we had an animal liberation event , in which we will save the lives of birds. Pastor Han Nee led a beautiful prayer before the birds were released. bit.ly/2ahl6Yv Lucy Yap
Kenny Loh from Ipoh has offered lights and incense on behalf of KISG before the start of our short Mother Tara retreat. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
2 days ago
Kenny Loh from Ipoh has offered lights and incense on behalf of KISG before the start of our short Mother Tara retreat. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Through the blessings from Rinpoche, KISG has completed our short Mother Tara retreat today in Ipoh. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
2 days ago
Through the blessings from Rinpoche, KISG has completed our short Mother Tara retreat today in Ipoh. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Join Self Defense Classes in Kechara Forest Retreat on Saturdays
2 days ago
Join Self Defense Classes in Kechara Forest Retreat on Saturdays
Lantern Festival Bazaar was one of the event organised by KSDS. Alice Tay, KSDS
3 days ago
Lantern Festival Bazaar was one of the event organised by KSDS. Alice Tay, KSDS
Light offering to Lama Tsongkhapa by the WOAH Campers. Alice Tay, KSDS
3 days ago
Light offering to Lama Tsongkhapa by the WOAH Campers. Alice Tay, KSDS
Teachers and children are enjoyed for being stayed together for 2D1N of WOAH Camp 2016. Alice Tay, KSDS.
3 days ago
Teachers and children are enjoyed for being stayed together for 2D1N of WOAH Camp 2016. Alice Tay, KSDS.
KSDS students were taken refuge before the lesson start. Alice Tay, KSDS
3 days ago
KSDS students were taken refuge before the lesson start. Alice Tay, KSDS
Fun time in self-defense section during Woah Camp 2016. Alice Tay, KSDS
3 days ago
Fun time in self-defense section during Woah Camp 2016. Alice Tay, KSDS
Dharma sharing with Pastor David Lai about the Secret of Relationships i Wisdom Hall
3 days ago
Dharma sharing with Pastor David Lai about the Secret of Relationships i Wisdom Hall
Group picture of KSDS team upon completion of Graduation 2016. Lin Mun KSDS
3 days ago
Group picture of KSDS team upon completion of Graduation 2016. Lin Mun KSDS
Students from SRJK (C) Bukit Tinggi making khata offering to Rinpoche in KFR. Lin Mun KSDS
3 days ago
Students from SRJK (C) Bukit Tinggi making khata offering to Rinpoche in KFR. Lin Mun KSDS
Winners of the Riddles contest part 1 during the recent Grand Dorje Shugden Puja. Lin Mun KSDS
3 days ago
Winners of the Riddles contest part 1 during the recent Grand Dorje Shugden Puja. Lin Mun KSDS
Teacher Kien and teacher Jenni leading the Mitsegma recitation before the start of Sunday Dharma class. Lin Mun KSDS
3 days ago
Teacher Kien and teacher Jenni leading the Mitsegma recitation before the start of Sunday Dharma class. Lin Mun KSDS
Teacher Grace briefing the students on the activity during WOAH camp 2016. Lin Mun KSDS
3 days ago
Teacher Grace briefing the students on the activity during WOAH camp 2016. Lin Mun KSDS
Dharma Talk tomorrow Saturday in Kechara Forest Retreat with Pastor David Lai - join us!
4 days ago
Dharma Talk tomorrow Saturday in Kechara Forest Retreat with Pastor David Lai - join us!
May the students of Kechara Sunday Dharma School be equipped with Buddha Dharma that can guide them through the manmade world and be protected by the Three Jewels always. Stella, KSDS
1 week ago
May the students of Kechara Sunday Dharma School be equipped with Buddha Dharma that can guide them through the manmade world and be protected by the Three Jewels always. Stella, KSDS
Teacher Jayce leading the mantra chanting for KSDS senior student class. Stella, KSDS
1 week ago
Teacher Jayce leading the mantra chanting for KSDS senior student class. Stella, KSDS
Kechara Sunday Dharma School focuses on giving bite size dharma to children and young adults. Stella, KSDS
1 week ago
Kechara Sunday Dharma School focuses on giving bite size dharma to children and young adults. Stella, KSDS
KSDS senior students listening patiently to Dharma sharing by Teacher Lin Mun. Stella, KSDS
1 week ago
KSDS senior students listening patiently to Dharma sharing by Teacher Lin Mun. Stella, KSDS
Kechara Sunday Dharma School youngest class led by Teacher Zhen Yue. Stella, KSDS
1 week ago
Kechara Sunday Dharma School youngest class led by Teacher Zhen Yue. Stella, KSDS
Yr 2 Lamrim class in session in Kechara House, sharing on the greatness of the Dharma that is the Lamrim.PHanNee
1 week ago
Yr 2 Lamrim class in session in Kechara House, sharing on the greatness of the Dharma that is the Lamrim.PHanNee
Brochures of Dorje Shugden were distributed to Ms. Kiang's family for blessing and protection. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
1 week ago
Brochures of Dorje Shugden were distributed to Ms. Kiang's family for blessing and protection. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Ms. Kiang's brothers and her son were here at Gunung Lang, Ipoh for the animals liberation activity today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
1 week ago
Ms. Kiang's brothers and her son were here at Gunung Lang, Ipoh for the animals liberation activity today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
The Promise
  These books will change your life
  Tsem Rinpoche's Long Life Prayer by H.H. Trijang Choktrul Rinpoche
  Support Blog Team
Lamps For Life
  Robe Offerings
  Vajrayogini Stupa Fund
  White Tara Mantra Bank Project
  Rinpoche's Medical Fund
  Dana Offerings
  Soup Kitchen Project
 
Zong Rinpoche

Archives

YOUR FEEDBACK

Page Views By Country
United States 2,011,605
Malaysia 2,812,824
Singapore 550,199
United Kingdom 400,976
India 309,246
Canada 367,261
Australia 328,509
Nepal 207,216
Philippines 176,488
Portugal 99,034
Bhutan 112,072
Indonesia 124,250
Germany 99,292
Thailand 85,600
Mongolia 67,198
Italy 70,193
France 71,925
Spain 66,803
Brazil 63,352
Netherlands 66,066
New Zealand 51,379
Hong Kong 51,078
Taiwan 47,893
United Arab Emirates 33,283
Mexico 34,331
Romania 39,896
South Africa 31,290
Switzerland 44,025
Ireland 30,265
Japan 30,570
Vietnam 27,105
Sweden 30,248
Russia 28,238
Saudi Arabia 20,024
Sri Lanka 20,085
Greece 23,272
Belgium 22,597
Poland 23,634
Hungary 21,062
Total Pageviews: 9,184,709

Login

Dorje Shugden
Click to watch my talk about Dorje Shugden....