Tsongkhapa’s Way of Compassion

Apr 14, 2013 | Views: 1,068
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A few months ago on my blog chat (an interactive function at the bottom of this page!), I was online and chatting with two of my students. On the chat, I gave them both a personal instruction to read a book called “Compassion In Tibetan Buddhism”. Within the book, there are two titles, “The Way of Compassion” by Lama Tsongkhapa and “Meditation of a Tantric Abbot” by Kensur Lekden. When I asked them to read and come out with a summary, they immediately agreed and did a good job.

I recently received an email from both Swee Keong and Freon on their blog write up, and thought that I should share it with my blog readers! I highly recommend this book to everyone…

Freon and Swee Keong, I am glad that you studied up on this book and finished your assignment. Whenever I give an assignment it is always 100% for the benefit of the person. The only way for there to be spiritual development, is if we have knowledge. Read and/or listen to the Dharma, and apply it daily. Otherwise Dharma work just becomes work, and by doing so… it may even collect demerit. Dharma is not work. The effort we apply into Dharma will never be wasted.

I wish you all well on your spiritual journey. Do let me know if you have read this book, and your reviews on it! From the book summary from Swee Keong and Freon you will see this book is very important for everyone to study. Everyone should purchase this book, read, contemplate and read again. Yearly it should be read once as a way to keep the vital information fresh in our minds.

I thank Swee Keong and Freon for their book review essays, thoughts and summaries. Very well done.

Tsem Rinpoche

 


 

 

Title: Compassion in Tibetan Buddhism

Publisher: Snow Lion Publications

Authors:

1. Tsongkhapa (Way of Compassion)

2. Kensur Lekden (Meditations of a Tantric Abbot)

Translator: Jeffrey Hopkins

 


Writer’s profile

Yong Swee Keong

Yong Swee Keong is a Multimedia University (MMU) graduate. Prior to joining Kechara, he worked as an application consultant for a company who are software vendors for banks. It was a prestigious job, and he traveled out of the country regularly for business.

When Swee Keong crossed paths with Kechara, it led him to think more about life. Beginning with Kechara Soup Kitchen, his volunteering that started out as social work brought him to know more about Dharma. It wasn’t long when he started joining pujas as well as volunteering in Kechara regularly.

In October 2011, Swee Keong made the most significant decision he has ever made in his life. Affected by the news of H.E. Tsem Rinpoche’s health issues at the time, it drove him to quit his highflying career to serve the Dharma while his Guru is still alive. Now, Swee Keong is serving the Dharma in Kechara E-Division as a software engineer.

 

Freon Tee

Freon graduated from University Malaya (UM), Malaysia’s best public university. Prior to joining Kechara, she has been working in various fields for the past 9 years, including a 1.5 year job placement in China. 

As a part-time vegetarian, Freon first stepped into Kechara’s doors through Kechara Oasis. It was from here when she slowly got to know more about Buddhism and became a full time vegetarian. Her interest for Buddhism grew deeper with every visit she made to Kechara Oasis.

March 2011 was the turning point for Freon. Due to certain complications, Freon’s sister fell ill and became immobilized. It was only through H.E. Tsem Rinpoche’s help that Freon’s sister regained her mobility. Ever since then, Freon kept a keen interest in Dharma and started watching Rinpoche’s YouTube channel every day. 

It was from here when she started volunteering in Kechara regularly as well, which eventually lead her to take a position in Kechara Oasis as their Marketing & Sales Executive.

 

 


 

Book review by Swee Keong

 

Chapter 1 to 10 “Meditations of a Tantric Abbot” by Kensur Lekden

1. Introduction

How a person pursue the Buddhist path is categorized into three scopes. Within the small scope it is subdivided into small of the small, middling of the small, and great of the small. Both small of the small, and middling of the small are not even considered religious practitioner because they cannot even be considered religious. Only the great of the small is considered because they are concerned of future lives, virtues actions to be observed and non-virtuous actions to be avoided. Not many of us are even concerned of our future lives therefore we have no scope. We live in the “present” moment, a false sense kind of the present where we think we are living in the now not realizing that our daily actions have no long term gained in future.

For example having set the purpose and aim in our life, in this life, to look for a partner, to establish a family it will become a detrimental to pursue a religious practice because we have to give up our time working to feed and spend time with our family. There is not much time left to even think about pursuing spiritual practice. We lose much of our freedom in this way. The main reason is we didn’t consider future lives in the present moment while we are doing something in the present. We are working for the next hour, next day, next week, next month, next year but do we ever thought for our next life? If it is not there is no scope to speak of. We say plan for the future, no plan means no future. But this future is in fact this present life alone not future lives thus there will be no, a human, future lives.

Thus if we are concerned of our future lives then we are considered to be small scope motivated and we are ready to pursue a spiritual path. When we find ourselves or someone else not spiritually inclined this because we are not being unaware of future lives, and how the present moment do effect future lives. We have some amount of control in our immediate future, we can choose our own actions or “free will”, how we act and we do. For example working, shopping, some of which has bigger impact on our future such as buying a house or a car. Therefore we can have some amount of control over our future lives as well. To say that we can control now, the present moment but not the future because it is too far away will make it become true. This points to the lack of understanding of how virtue and non-virtue can effect the future. Thus when we understand these then it is logical to take refuge and seek guidance from the Three Jewels.

We need to know what are contained within the refuge by knowing about the Three Jewels, their differences, knowing that it is pure and do not take refuge in other things.

From this moment we may start thinking of future lives but we are still subjected to old age, sickness, and death, and being reborn again and again. Does it ever end? It is entirely possible. When we are open and can accept that it is possible we seek the paths which we can escape from all these suffering by overcoming desire, hatred, and ignorance because these are the 3 poisons which cause ourselves wandering continuously in this cyclic existence. Therefore it is said that our thoughts have turned from little motivated to middling motivated in our spiritual path. What then is greatly motivated? When we seek liberation not just for ourselves but for others as well then it is a greatly motivated. We believe the Three Jewels can help all sentient beings regardless of ethnics and forms because future lives are definite from the understanding we have in small scope. With great scope we would spur quickly to achieve liberation because cyclic existence span for infinitely long time into the future. Without concern of our welfare, pain, unpleasantness, rejection, disappointment we may experience we are solely focus on the happiness of others.

 

2. Chapter 1: Action

If one think of the future, especially future lives and its causes and conditions it is ethics which bring forth a happy human life or god life. Maintaining good ethics brings happiness, resources and capacity to learn as a human being. Not maintaining ethics open the door to all other migrations which one will experience too many suffering. There are no good conditions nor opportunities to learn and pursue the spiritual path in bad migrations. On top of holding the ten refuge vows the six paramitas are required for happy future lives. Contemplating the causes and effects of having and not having each virtue in this life one can conclude that all six of them must always be present and cultivated together constantly for achieving freedom of suffering for ourselves and others. Without experiencing the development of six paramitas we cannot help others not even ourselves.

Therefore one must start by listen or study the teachings, think and meditate. What is the subject to be study, think, and meditate on? It is equanimity. Without deeper understanding of equanimity one will always divide others to friends, enemies and strangers. Thus whatever we do will be  contaminated and suffering accrued from our thinking and action. The purpose is to reduce them, their effect from the past. All suffering came from what we have done in the past. Therefore whatever we do now, how we think should be checked and thought over from the knowledge presented here that is seven cause and effect meditations beginning with equanimity.

 

3. Chapter 2: Cyclic existence

To leave cyclic existence one must have heard at one time in the past. The cyclic existence is the continuously living in any of the six form, formless in future lives with uncontrolled suffering ever present in any actions we do. We are born with contaminated mind and body because not knowing about the three poisons, desire, hatred and ignorance whatever we have done has created a tremendous force to support continuous suffering. Therefore we must acknowledge that suffering is ever present and the cure is also present as presented in the four noble truth.

Therefore to liberate oneself from all of these one must meditate on suffering in all six realms, suffering is impermanent, the three poisons are continuously creating suffering which seems to be permanent, and the realization of emptiness is an antidote to exhaust all suffering.

 

4. Chapter 3: Altruism

Due to evey being having been our mother in the past therefore to leave this cyclic existence alone one will never attain full enlightenment. Therefore one cannot even help our mothers from the past who are suffering, let alone our mother in this life. Meditating on the seven cause and effect beginning with equanimity, one constantly remains oneself to recognize all beings from bug onwards are our mothers. Thinking of their past kindness, we would want to repay their kindness they have given to us from the past and in the future.

Now we think of them as our enemies, strangers and friends in this life. In former lives they have suffered themselves whem giving birth to us. Now they are afflicted with anger and become our “enemies” but we still remember their past kindness therefore we want to help our mothers to heal and to escape from these sufferings and afflictions.

 

5. Chapter 4: Love and Compassion

The love we have for our friends and families are conditional and unconditional because of closeness in this life, living together and most familiar with. For our parents we owe it to them because parents have brought us up thru sweat and tears. For our friends we associate with them because of similarities and common interest we shared with them. The bonds are conditional because we may separate from them and choose not to like and love them any more. The love of parents for a child is stronger thus it is unconditional no matter how the child is ill treating their parents. But the love of parents for their child is only for these lives alone but not for future lives. If we wish to repay our parents kindness and love to us we can do so in view of this and future lives, thinking for their long term well being into the future.

We can extend this to our friend initially, and then strangers and our enemies. For our dearest friend whom we like it is easier to extend the thought for their happiness now because we are happy for their happiness and when we thought of being friends in the future of course we also want them to be happy for their future lives. Then we put our attention to sentient beings who are neutral to us such as animals who cannot return our kindness if we take care of their food and shelter. Therefore as we practice and mediate on the love of others with the thought of wanting them to be happy until we are able to think the same for our enemies and then forming a strong conviction that it is our sole responsibility for the happiness of others. Thus one is moving away from conditional love to unconditional love and compassion.

As an example when one has taken the duty of taking the welfare of animals by running animal shelter. The animals then rely on our care for safety and protection, they are happy now. Therefore for the sake of happiness and welfare of others thus one wish to become enlightened to be able to help all sentient beings. If one forsake and give up then one cannot become enlightened because enlightenment doesn’t come from not helping others, simply it means by not doing anything. But one also cannot help all sentient beings to become enlightened when one haven’t achieve enlightenment. But that is not true. One take the responsibility to become enlightened for the sake of all sentient beings while on the journey, walking the path serving sentient beings, thus enlightenment can be achieved. Thus the aspiration, conviction to become enlightenment, and the practice, taking of happiness and welfare of sentient beings, go hand in hand together.

To develop compassion one think of the three types of suffering and ten non-virtues and meditate on their causes and what we are experiencing ourselves are related to what we have done in our past. We generate the thought wishing our friends not to have those sufferings and wanting them to achieve happiness. Then we extend to those neutral to us and our enemies.

 

6. Chapter 5: Assuming the Burden

Wishing to help all sentient beings alone is not sufficient because one is a child of all sentient beings in the past. Wishing won’t be enough to repay one’s parents but taking the responsibility the ownership to help them is. Wouldn’t we want our parents to have long term happiness? Thinking and reflecting back of what has been on our mind an hour ago, yesterday, past week, what is our dominant thought? Is it for others or ourselves? Busy for others or ourselves? Therefore to help all sentient beings we would need to cultivate the thought to free all sentient beings from suffering and joined with happiness that is making it the dominant thought.

Also one needs to know how to help sentient beings and actually do it. Each sentient beings have different mental predisposition that needs to be overcome. Therefore investigation is needed to convince oneself that only a Buddha can help all sentient beings because of Buddha’s qualities and power he possessed and the path he has walked through. It is proven to work for all sentient beings. As the teachings from Buddha is taught to us now his promise to become enlightened is being fulfilled thru us indirectly. As each of us who walk the path towards enlightened for the sake all sentient beings all the Buddhas wishes are being fulfilled.

Therefore instead of hearing but not doing anything one must start to meditate on the three principle paths towards full enlightened with strong conviction. The effect will be felt in this present life. If it is not so strong the effect will only happen in next life. And if one only merely wishes the effect is also much lesser. Therefore throw away one’s fear and request the Three Jewels for assistance to achieve the promise to become enlightened for the of all sentient beings.

 

7. Chapter 6: Wisdom

The main purpose of all Buddhas is to teach emptiness to sentient beings for them to realize inherent existence of nature of all phenomena thus being able to escape cyclic existence and achieve enlightenment. The wisdom of having correct view is like a mother as it is needed for both middling and great scope while the method to achieve it is like a father. Even if one doesn’t understand emptiness but suspicion is created of non inherent existence of sentient beings it will create the cause for destroying cyclic rebirth. The benefit is as great as the number of sentient beings and it is even greater if one has the aspiration to achieve enlightenment for the sake all sentient beings combined with the thought to cultivate wisdom.

Without studying and cultivation people see their mind and body has belonging to “me” a person and thus can be identified and pointed to. People have been given label called names since they are born. When you talk and thought to yourself you refer to “I” and “me”. People have been thinking in this mode unconsciously since beginningless time. To generate correct view one needs to observe this “I” and “me” and constantly on the look our for it whether it is located in the senses and composite.

 

8. Chapter 7: Nagarjuna

Prior to Nagarjuna Buddha achieved enlightened but this is a common view to ordinary people as one who has achieved enlightenment one does not need to experience die. Therefore the Buddha came to this world teaching the Dharma to help people to free themselves by showing the way in a form that can be seen which is a physical body. Later Nagarjuna came to teach and revive the Dharma, giving teachings which are more suitable to the people after the passing of the Buddha. Nagarjuna established the Madhyamika system from his works “Six Collections of Reasoning” and “Treatise on the Middle Way”. By meditating on dependent arising, emptiness of nature of phenomena and of persons, one cuts thru the root of ignorance that the mind and body belongs to the “I” and “me”.

Therefore cyclic existence can be stopped and happiness doesn’t become a temporarily thing. The senses, body, feelings, consciousness arises the “I” or “me” as a person. However people viewed the “I” as a separate entity existing on itself alone. Then the “I” is different from the mind and body if it exists by itself. However if it exists by itself then where is the “I”? If it cannot be found outside of mind and body then the “I” doesn’t really exist by itself. If the “I” is inside the mind and body then it is the same as mind and body. If the “I” is the same as mind and body then why is a differentiation is made accord to the “I”? Observing the “I” and “me” in one’s thought the “I” arises during self talk and mental thought processes.

 

9. Chapter 8: Are a Person and Mind and Body the Same or Different?

The four steps meditation on selflessness

1. A person is inherently exist

2. This person must be same with mind and body or different

3. and 4. There is one “I” but mind and body which belongs to “I” are two. If there is only one “I” then there could only be one mind and body. Therefore the I is separate from mind and body and not one.

If it is separate from mind and body therefore the “I” must be able to be found. Meditate on patiently one sought the “I”.

Dependent-arising is compatible with emptiness. Because phenomena exists now, not by itself alone but based on causes. A person also exists based on causes. Therefore Buddhas existence is the result of sentient beings searching for happiness.

Since many of us misunderstood the nature of phenomena we continuously create the causes and conditions to wander in cyclic existence thru artificial and innate misconception. The former misconception is belief in wrong doctrine and the later misconception is inborn wrong conclusion while interacting with nature and other persons.

 

10. Chapter 9: Nothingness is Not Emptiness

By clearing our mind of all thoughts, making it empty doesn’t make it a meditation practice. It is impossible to meditate on emptiness if one hasn’t form a conceptual understanding of it. Therefore upon hearing and learning about the non-inherent existence of persons, and nature of phenomena, and the six elements that is earth, water, fire, wind, space, and consciousness one meditate on them constantly for long of time identifying and investigating their existence thus one creates a mental concept of emptiness. Through meditation one can arrive at an understanding that emptiness and dependent-arising are compatible with each other.

 

11. Chapter 10: Summary

From the small scope to great scope one meditates on the suffering of six migrations in future lives, seeking liberation from all of these and conclude not just one but all sentient beings who were our mothers deserve our payback by us achieving Buddhahood thus being able to free them from cyclic existence. Meditating and cultivating on the three principal paths one strive towards it from life to life until full enlightenment is achieved and thereafter one still continue benefiting all sentient beings teaching the Dharma until all of them are liberated.

 

Chapter 1 to 5 of “Way of Compassion” by Tsongkhapa

1. Chapter 1 Homage to Compassion

Compassion is the cause of Buddhahood which is the effect. Therefore it is even better to praise compassion than praising the Buddha. When one praise an act of compassion it means one can identify with compassion of others and rejoice at the act thus collecting merits. One also reduces one’s jealousy of others.

The hearers and solitary realizers are born from Buddhas because it is from the teaching of Buddhas that they achieve enlightenment of  hearers and solitary realizers. Therefore they do not achieve enlightenment without assistance from Buddhas. Hearer may listen and proclaim the path of great scope to Buddhahood but they do not practice it, the conviction to be enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings. Solitary realizer is superior to hearer is because they practice merit and wisdom longer than hearer. However solitary realizer do not collect fully qualified merits and wisdom thus are lesser than a Buddha.

The Buddhas are born from Bodhisattvas because they are Bodhisattvas before becoming Buddhas. The Buddhas praise Bodhisattvas because 1) the cause of Buddhahood is from precious Bodhisattvas, 2) indirectly praising Buddhahood, the fruit of the path of Bodhisattvas, 3) one should support novice Bodhisattvas because of their great motivation to help all sentient beings and 4) those in any of 3 vehicles who heard the praise definitely enter the great scope.

Since hearers and solitary realizers are born from Buddhas which are born from Bodhisattvas therefore the root is also from compassion. Therefore compassion is the root of hearers, solitary realizers, Buddhas, and Bodhisattvas.

 

2. Chapter 2 Causes of Boddhisattvas

There are three causes of a Bodhisattva that is a compassionate mind, non-dual wisdom and an altruistic mind of enlightenment where the root cause is compassion.

The altruistic mind of enlightenment wishes to achieve Buddhahood for the sake all sentient beings where the object of attainment is one’s full enlightenment and the object of intent is to help all sentient beings. Both must be present to be considered as a cause of altruistic mind of enlightenment.

Compassion is present in the beginning, in the middle, and in the end on the path towards full enlightenment.

 

3. Chapter 3 Types of Compassion

Sentient beings are bounded by these six features:

  1. Contaminated actions and afflictions.
  2. Mind impel into cyclic existence
  3. Unending rebirth in cyclic existence
  4. No effort is required to go to lower realms
  5. Thorough afflictions i) ignorance, attachment, grasping, ii) compositional action and existence, iii) production of consciousness, name and form, six sources.
  6. Pervasive suffering of pain and change

When one delights in the suffering of enemies, has no feelings towards the suffering of strangers but become unbearable towards the suffering of friends one has a degree of pleasantness towards a friend. The closer one is to the person the greater the unbearable feelings. Therefore to generate great compassion one generate this strong feeling of cherishing and affection for all sentient beings.

The other two types of compassion are seeing the momentarily of impermanence and non-inherent existence exhibit in sentient beings. When one observes sentient beings as momentarily impermanent the thought of a permanent, independent person is removed from one’s mind.

 

4. Chapter 4 The Inexpressible Trail

In general one practices to develop the six paramitas together with compassion to become a Bodhisattva. Giving creates resources, ethics creates happiness, patience creates good appearance, effort creates virtue, concentration creates peace, and wisdom liberates one from wrong understanding.

For ordinary people one must practice both method and wisdom to progress on the path. One cannot practice one without the other including Bodhisattvas.

There are eleven grounds, the first ten are Bodhisattvas grounds, the last of which is Buddhahood. Each ground represents the quality of a Bodhisattva’s focal practice not neglecting the previous ground. Ignorance is still present and causes pollution up to seventh ground. However from eighth ground onwards ignorance has been destroyed and only the pre-disposing latencies are present to cause pollution. The Bodhisattvas ground are superior to hearers and solitary realizers because of its four features which increases on each ground. They are twelve sets of a hundred qualities, greater power on each ground in removing stains from ignorance, perfections of six paramitas, and higher rebirth.

 

5. Chapter 5 Very Joyful

The very joyful is the first Bodhisattva ground and advances to higher ground with great enthusiasm. On this ground the Bodhisattva has abandon the self which could cause fear and stop one from progressing the path, bad ethics and conduct which could lead one to the wrong path, and doubt which could make one hesitate of the path. The Bodhisattva no longer possible to be born in lower realm because the cause and condition have exhausted.

Even on this ground the Bodhisattva outshine hearers and solitary realizers because of their lineages which bring forth conviction to full enlightenment with their compassion. The merits is very much greater than hearers and solitary realizers.

 

6. Chapter 6 Hinayanist Cognize Emptiness

Hearers and Solitary Realizers have realized emptiness therefore they have remove all seed of afflictions and they are not reborn. Meditating on sixteen attributes of the four noble truths does not make one realize emptiness but the coarse form selflessness of a person. Asanga stated that afflictions are removed by practicing selflessness and the attributes are the means of training our mind.

 

7. Chapter 7 Liberation Is Impossible Without Wisdom of Emptiness

One who makes the mistake of not seeing the four noble truths as they are in reality will perceive one is reborn thus generating doubt over Buddha’s teachings. The reason is one still holds conceptual of true existence as valid, having not realize the non-inherent existence of phenomena and selflessness of a person. To abandon the seed of afflictions by meditating on sixteen attributes of the four noble truths is insufficient. One must cognize and meditate on the inherent existence of person and phenomenon initially and then the non-inherent existence of both of them.

 

8. Chapter 8 Difference Between Hinayana and Mahayana

Emptiness is taught to both Hearers and Solitary Realizers, and Bodhisattvas but it is fully taught in the Bodhisattvas path. For Hearers and Solitary Realizers mere cognition of suchness is sufficient for liberating from cyclic existence. Bodhisattvas have full mastery over emptiness from a broad, unlimited reasoning, wisdom mind and thus being able to teach emptiness to Hearers and Solitary Realizers. In addition they are defined by their great aspirational prayers and dedications, the two great collections of merit and wisdom, vast compassion towards all sentient beings, and conviction to become fully enlightenment for the sake of all.

 

9. Chapter 9 Perfection of Giving

Without resources in human life one suffers tremendously because one cannot live comfortably and the only dominant thought is how can one survive to get the next meal. Therefore a happy life one needs resources. From the practice of giving one obtains resources easily in future even if one’s wish is happiness in this cyclic existence. However one has let go the fault of holding to resources and created the conditions to meet a spiritual guide who will teach the sufferings of cyclic existence and the means to achieve liberation. Through the perfection of giving a Bodhisattva is able to give away their body, fresh, life, and possession without attachment. For the practitioner one should generate the aspiration to readily give away one’s body, possessions, and roots of virtue without regret for the sake others when one practices giving.

 

10. Chapter 10 Perfection of Ethics

Ethics is the abandonment of non-virtue by holding the ten refuge vows. While giving will create the condition for one to obtain resources in future happy human life the foundation is based on ethics. Without ethics just solely giving will cause one to go to lower realms. Therefore one must maintain ethics while giving. When one goes to lower realms one hardly has the opportunity to do virtuous actions instead one easily collects enormous amount of non-virtue. Therefore ethics is the base of all auspicious qualities. Here ethics is said to be truly pure when one cognize suchness otherwise ethics are still faulty although externally it looks one is properly is keeping ethics.

 

11. Chapter 11 Perfection of Patience

In cultivating patience one meditates on the faults of anger.

  1. One cannot reverse the harm others done to us by being angry, it is senseless.
  2. One who is suffering from previous bad karma does not wish to continue suffering thinks that by being angry at others the suffering will go away.
  3. Virtue collected from long time is destroyed by being angry.
  4. Impatience causes one to be born in lower realms, an ugly face, cannot discriminate between what is right and wrong and destroys oneself and others.

By being patience one develops the opposite of the faults of impatience which is to be born in human or god realms, a beautiful body, able to discern right from wrong, and remove non-virtues from anger and so forth.

 

12. Chapter 12 Perfection of Effort and Concentration

Attainments come from putting effort in doing virtue that is giving and so forth. If one delights in virtue and perform giving, ethics, and patience, through effort one collects merit and wisdom. On concentration one becomes sharp and discern able the subtle aspects of the four noble truths.

 

Ten points I feel is important to keep in mind always.

– Meditation is one the best method for taming the mind.
By meditating one can relax the mind and see how the Dharma knowledge we learn from hearing, and studying can be applied into our lives. One prepare beforehand the meditation topic and while during work or play the mind is more readily able to recall the antidote when one encounters suffering from obstacles due one’s negative qualities. One is able to respond positively instead of negatively in situations.

– Study and practice are the core method to a Buddhist practitioner.
Without studying one cannot think of something from the thin air. By studying one discover the thoughts and ideas of the teachings. Therefore one can apply the teachings to improve one’s character, attitude and behavior and therefore the work and relationship become a teamwork.

– Although it wasn’t mentioned in the book one can infer logic and debate are methods to train the mind.
The book has put forth many questions, arguing for and against different topics. It is also a good weapon to attack the wrong view of self.

– One of the main reason Buddha is here is to teach emptiness or creating the conditions conducive for sentient beings to learn emptiness.
Buddha has realized the suffering of all sentient beings trapped in cyclic existence due to the wrong conceptions of an inherent existence self. It is a disease so serious that everyone thinks that they are happy but it is actually suffering.

– One can only learn emptiness by practicing compassion.
That is to say by doing virtue one thus creates the good karma to receive the wisdom for learning emptiness. There is no way around it because negative karma would prevent us to listen to advise of others let along a spiritual guide.

– Cyclic existence is the trapping of believing one truly exist forever.
Sentient beings are deluded into believing that they are truly existence because of the self which the senses serve to fulfill it by being able to observe an external object in relation to self. Thinking that I am not exist is not very healthy either. After studying one meditate to search for the ‘I’ or ‘mine’.

– Thinking for the sake of others will reduce our self grasping.
By working and thinking of others under a guru’s mandala self-grasping is reduced by focusing on self and thus create the conditions to receive the teachings.
 
– Being spiritual or religious means at least one must motivated of future lives.
Just thinking of today, this lives alone is not spiritual. The fault is that one does not believe that virtue do indeed cause one to born a happy human life in future. One thinks that one has only one life alone or having a short term view of this life is important.

– The fastest way to escape is to become fully enlightenment for the sake of others with full conviction.
By dedicating our prayers to full enlightenment this create the causes us to achieve enlightenment faster based on our conviction. If the aspiration is maybe then one is also ‘maybe’ become enlightenment in an unspecified future.

– The defining feature of Bodhisattva path are the great aspirational prayers and dedications, two collections of merit and wisdom, vast compassion towards all sentient beings to achieve full enlightenment.
The Bodhisattva path is the surest way of lasting happiness for everyone because without the kindness of others one is not able to meet the Dharma today. Therefore I wish to walk on this path until full enlightenment because all the suffering in cyclic existence I have experience enough of it.

 


 

Book review by Freon Tee

Name ten points you learned from the book, how it affects you and describe each of the ten points and send the report to me

Dear Rinpoche,

These are the 10 points that I have learned and effecting me. The 10 points are:-

  1. What it means to be a Buddhist
  2. Hearing, Thinking and Meditating
  3. Importance of equanimity
  4. Cyclic Existence
  5. Importance of Altruism, Love & compassion, Assuming the burden
  6. Realized the emptiness of inherent existence
  7. Importance of Giving
  8. Importance of Ethics
  9. Importance of Patience
  10. Importance of Effort and concentration

 

Introduction

Book Title:   “ Meditations of a Tantric Abbot”- Kensur Lekden

                               “Way of Compassion” – Tsong-ka-pa

 

Translator:  Prof. Jeffrey Hopkins

This book is the combination of Kensur Lekden’s meditations and Tsong-ka-pa’s detailed explanation affords a unique blend of the oral and written traditions of Tibetan Buddhism on the principal motivation for enlightenment, compassion.

 

Point 1: What it means to be a Buddhist

Notes from the book:

  • In Buddhism persons are identified from the viewpoint of capacity- great, middling, or small.
  • The small of the small do not practice any religion, but only strive for happiness in this present existence. Like animals these beings do not achieve any virtue at all
  • The middling of the small engage in both religious and non-religious means to achieve happiness in the present for only themselves, not for their friends or even their own future lives. Due to this low motivation, their activities cannot function as religious practice
  • The great of the small engage in virtue, seeking happiness, comfort, food, drink, resources and so forth mainly for future lives. Because they practice not for the sake of others but for their own temporary welfare in cyclic existence-the beginningless round of birth, ageing, sickness, and death- they are the lowest among actual religious practitioners, but due to their longer perspective are included within the count of actual devotees.
  • A person exceeds the thought of a being of small capacity when he realizes that there is no peace until he no longer has to be reborn through the force of contaminated actions and afflictions. Progressing, he decides to obtain liberation from all types of cyclic existence and seeks the bliss of the extinguishment of suffering. …he identifies foes and, by aiming to overcome them, generates the attitude of a being with middling capacity. Through proper meditation he can then be liberated from cyclic existence as a Foe Destroyer (Arhat)
  • These latter realize that attaining the happiness of a god or a human in the next lifetime is not sufficient either for themselves or others. They are concerned about the four faults in all sentient beings…
  • They believe in Three Jewels have the power to protect all beings from these four faults and go for refuge to Buddha, his Doctrine, and the Spiritual Community from the depths of the heart.
  • Because of the difference in motivation, one instance of refuge by the great is more powerful than a hundred thousand refuges by the small. Thus whether hearing, thinking or meditating, one should precede all practice with the refuge of a being of great capacity.

Effects

1)    I aim to be a Buddhist

  • At this point, I have checked on my motivation and the type of capacity of a Buddhist of myself. I found that I am in the small of the small capacity, which in this book not even qualifies to label myself as a Buddhist.
  • Even though I have taken refuge, but I do not strive to think to leave the cyclic existence or to practice happiness for future lives. I do not practice day and night every hour by practicing like a being of great capacity. Even I take refuge, it is not from the depth of my heart.  What I understand in Buddhist theory remains a theory. Thus I aim to practice the dharma.
  • To practice the dharma. Refuge is the most important door. Thus, Guru Devotion is the most important factor. Without a Guru we can’t even know the power of Three Refuge, understanding the methods to practice not to mention the methods to help others sentient beings.

 

Point 2: Hearing, Thinking and Meditating

Notes from the book:

  • Humans are doers of deeds, Buddhism explains how to act- how to adopt the means to make oneself and others happy. This involves, hearing, thinking and meditating.
  • Hearing means to listen to the explanations of a guru or read books in order to discover what is to be practiced and why.
  • Having heard in this way about practice of the path, one should think about the cause and effect relationship between the paths and their fruits, until conviction is generated.
  • Shakyamuni Buddha said:” to determine what you did in the past, examine your body. Examine your mind to discover what will come in the future.”
  • One should cultivate meditative stabilization in order to free the mind from distraction.
  • Meditation is the most powerful means of re-structuring the mind
  • At the end of each session of meditation, one should dedicate its merit to the welfare of all beings.  A story from Shakyamuni Buddha’s teaching illustrates how dedication protects and maintains virtues.
  • Virtue of a meditative session is dedicated to help and bring happiness to limitless sentient beings, then until that actually occurs, the virtue will not be lost.

Effects

1)    Guru Devotion

  • In this degenerated age, it is very important to have guru devotion. Without a Guru, we are lost. Which dharma book to read, how to hear, how to meditate, what is the thought will not be the correct one. Only when we have great, in depth guru devotion, will we cultivate the confidence towards our Guru and follow the instructions from our Guru. This is very essential because we first learn dharma from Hearing. Thus I must learn to keep clean samaya with Rinpoche. 

2)    Meditation

  • I always think that meditation is not important and it is waste of time. From this point I have learned, meditation is important to stabilize the thought, to re-structure the mind.
  • Not to forget at the end of my meditation, to dedicate to all sentient beings not just for my close ones and myself.

 

Point 3: Importance of equanimity

Notes from the book:

  • Cultivation of equanimity is an important initial meditation
  • If one does not abide in equanimity, believing that all beings… should be equally happy and free from suffering, pure religious practice and meditation cannot occur.
  • Since cyclic existence is beginningless, there is no sentient being who has not acted as a nurturing friend.
  • Cultivation of equanimity begins the process of mental transformation culminating in Bodhichitta. An altruistic aspiration towards enlightenment.
  • At that point one attains the 1st level of the Mahayana path of accumulation. The door to Mahayana – Generate aspirations to highest enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings.

Effects

1)    Practice equanimity

  • Without practicing equanimity, I will still have attachment and hatred towards my friends, enemy. This differentiation will not bring any good to me and it is actually senseless. If I would to believe there is cyclic existence and karma. Not to mention that I can’t progress further to become a Buddhist, then I have to learn to cultivate equanimity.
  • Equanimity is not only practiced towards humans’ relationship but also towards beings in the other realms. For example – towards the animals. I have to learn to view them as my friends or mother from the past life.
  • Without practicing equanimity, I do not think I am qualify to be on the Mahayana path.

2) Meditating on equanimity

  • To cultivate equanimity, this helps me to tame my mind or to transform my mind towards love and compassion.
  • The best way to practice equanimity is through meditating. Begin from the neutral person, to a friend or family member we are attached to and finally to an enemy.

 

Point 4: Cyclic Existence

Notes from the book:

  • Cyclic existence- a state impelled by the force of actions and afflictions in which one is forced to assume a contaminated mind and body.
  • Caught in the process of cyclic existence, one must then be born, grow old, become sick, and die again and again in the six types of migrations.
  • The afflictions of desire, hatred, and ignorance are the support of contaminated actions and thus are the final root of cyclic existence. All common beings powerlessly engage in actions through these three poisons.
  • One must develop the wish definitely to leave this state and attain a peace in which all suffering is extinguished. This can be understood through the four noble truths: true suffering, true origins of suffering, true cessations of suffering, true paths.
  • According to the Svatantrika-Madhyamika system, there is a subtle mental consciousness that is the person who has travelled from life to life since beginningless cyclic existence. The predispositions or seeds for generating the capacity to free oneself from bondage are established on this subtle mental consciousness by hearing about the wish to leave cyclic existence.
  • When one hears or thinks of this doctrine, these potencies are activated, providing the capacity for quickly generating the paths of liberation.
  • One should generate the thought “ I will free myself from misery and attain the peace of extinguishment. Then, having fulfilled my own aims, I will cause all beings throughout space to abandon suffering.”

Effects

1)    Understanding the horrible of the cyclic existence

  • At this point, I understand that I can never leave this cyclic existence. I will be wandering in the six realms again and again, suffer the pain of being reborn to death, powerlessly, under the influence of the 3 poisons.

2)    The importance of sharing Dharma with people

  • From the book, by listening to why we must leave cyclic existence it will leave a seeds of enlightenment for people. Hence, I shall inform people that I come across, about cyclic existence and other dharma knowledge. At least this is a gift for the person I care for not only this life but also their life after life. I believe in previous life, there must be some one who was kind and brave enough to tell me this doctrine and thus today I am fortunate to hear and learn more about cyclic existence and the methods to leave it.

 

Point 5:  Importance of Altruism, Love & compassion, Assuming the burden

Notes from the book:

Altruism

  • If the intention to overcome the process of cyclic existence is not conjoined with altruism, one will attain only freedom from suffering, not the Buddhahood….Therefore, the altruistic aspiration, called the mind of enlightenment (bodhichitta) is most important
  • The aspirational mind of enlightenment is the wish to attain Buddhahood in order to help all sentient beings; it marks the beginning of a Bodhisattva’s accumulation of meritorious power in conjunction with wisdom and continues until Buddhahood…
  • To become a Bodhisattva …. It involves 7 steps in the system transmitted from Buddha to Maitreya to Asanga:
  1. recognition of all sentient beings as mothers,
  2. becoming mindful of their kindness
  3. intending to repay their kindness
  4. love
  5. compassion
  6. unusual attitude
  7. altruistic mind generation

Love & compassion

  • The King of Meditation Sutra (Samadhiraja) says that the benefit of cultivating love with all sentient beings as the field of observation is immeasurably greater than that of offering to Buddhas and Bodhisattva over many aeons …
  • To cultivate Love… one should first take as the object of observation a friend… when this becomes easy, one should consider a neutral person … then, one should consider an enemy and cultivate love until there is no different between the wish for happiness that one has for the friend, the neutral person, and the enemy. The meditation should be extended slowly to all sentient beings throughout space…
  • The next step is to cultivate compassion. …A compassionate mind is all sentient beings who have any of the three suffering- of pain, of change, and of being so composed as to be always ready to undergo pain.

Assuming the burden

  • …for generating a mind of enlightenment is the unusual attitude, which involves cultivation of love and compassion with special force….
  • One should take upon oneself the task of making them happy and freeing them from suffering
  • Persons who have generated the unusual attitude need to know how sentient beings can be freed from suffering and made happy; otherwise their meditation can only be a wish
  • Upon investigation they discover that only those who have the status of a blessed Buddha can actually bring vast benefit to others.

Effects

1)    I have to cultivate Altruism, Love and compassion, Assuming the burden.

  • Without these 3 precepts, I can never understand the way to cultivate towards enlightenment mind. If I care about the people around me, and I understand that the person around me no matter they are my friend or enemy or neutral now, somehow we have karmic connection for many life times. By understanding the suffering that I am facing and they are facing; I will therefore learn to cultivate Altruism, Love and compassion. But without Assuming the burden, it is hard to free others.
  • Thus it is essential to begin at this life, where I can still understand the Dharma and I can still practice.
  • With the mind that I can’t control my rebirth. People around me too suffer on wandering in samsara, thus,  If I am truly sincere in caring for the people around me, this life is the chances for me to cultivate these 3 precepts and benefit others.

 

Point 6: Realized the emptiness of inherent existence

Notes from the book:

  • The cause behind sentient beings’ uncontrolled travelling in cyclic existence is misconception of the nature of the objects.
  • Wisdom that realized the emptiness of inherent existence is like a mother giving birth to the auspicious attainments in Hinayana and Mahayana, allowing abandonment of obstructions and attainment of the fruits of both vehicles.

Effects

  • Without realizing the emptiness of inherent existence. I will look at things and phenomena that happen around me as permanent, as real.
  • Hence, I will still develop the 3 poisons, which will lead me to stay in the wheel of karma, dragged down by currents of samsara,  “pleasure” which is actually impermanent and not at real peace.
  • I tends to forget that whatever happens now is like a dream. If I understand more  in emptiness, contemplate on it, it will be easy for me to cultivate equanimity, love and compassion and thus liberate myself from samsara.

 

Point 7: Importance of Giving

Notes from the book:

  • The supramundane perfection of giving Is the first supramundane cause of complete enlightenment
  • Bodhisattva has no taints of attachment with respect to giving away his body, life, and resources. Even though he gives away, his continuum remains firm without changing its aspect
  • The Subduer, understanding the thought of all migrators and knowing that these resources arise from merit accumulated by previous giving, discoursed on giving from the very first for it is easy to engage in this method.
  • Chandrakirti’s root says:

All these beings want happiness, but human

Happiness does not occur without resources

Knowing that resources arise from giving

The subdue first discoursed on that

  • With respect to putting into practice now …you should, through imagination, train in giving your own body to others and in the special ways of generating joy. .. You should consider that even if you do not give these away, they will disintegrate; thereby, you will have to lose them, and thus it would be better to give them first through your own thought as if you were actually giving them.

Effects

1)    Importance of Giving

  • At this point, I learned that to gain resources; to collect merits we are to learn how to give. 
  • Through giving we are not only able to extinguish immediately the suffering of others, this creates the causes to meet a Superior being and able to gain the supreme joy.

 

Point 8: Importance of Ethics

Notes from the book:

  • [Having] ‘proper ethics’ (shila) means that one does not assume afflictions which motivate faulty ethics and that sinful actions discordant with formulated codes do not arise.
  • … due to its being a cause of happiness, it is taught by the excellent
  • …if you lack of proper ethics, the resources that are the fruit of giving will mature not in happy migration but in a bad one.
  • It is extremely rare to achieve virtue during a bad migration, in which the accumulation of sins is extremely powerful; thus, one must continue in only bad migrations.
  • Faulty ethics is a source of many faults, such as being led to a bad migration; therefore, immediately after discoursing on giving, the Conqueror who had overcome all sins spoke on the achievement of accompanying giving with ethics so that the benefits there of would not be wasted.

Effects

1)    Important of Ethics

  • At this point, I learned that to reborn in a good state, keeping good ethics is very important. 
  • For instance if I become an animal, e.g: cats. I can only keep on doing non-virtuous actions. Such as killing for food, to be ignorant etc. And, I can never get out from this bad state unless I begin to keep the ethics.
  • This is the reason we take refuge under the Three Jewels, we have 5 precepts to follows. These precepts are not to limit our freedom but to free us from future bad migration. 

 

Point 9: Importance of Patience

Notes from the book:

  • If you become angry with someone who harmed you, then since the harmed cannot be reversed, does resenting him reverse the harm already done? It does not; therefore, resentment is certainly senseless here.
  • Resentment…not only is it purposeless, but it is also unfavorable to your welfare in future lives because time spent in anger impels unpleasant fruition after death
  • Impatience not only is a cause projecting vast unpleasantness as its fruition but also consumes collections of merit accumulated over a long time.
  • When anger is generated, it destroys roots of virtue even if neither the object not the base are Bodhisattvas
  • Through cultivating patience…. One attains a beautiful body, is dear to and cherished by holy beings, becomes skilled in knowing the right-the suitable-and the wrong-the unsuitable, after death takes birth as a human or god, and removes non-virtues accumulated through anger and so forth. Reflecting on these, you should generate the power of patience
  • …a Conqueror Child has the pure perfection of patience, so he attains the four pure concentrations….
  • A Bodhisattva on the third ground overcomes the darkness of faults that destroy virtues, he becomes very sharp like the sun, but he does not get angry with faulty beings. This is because he has become extremely well accustomed to patience….

Effects

1)    Important of Patience

  • At this point, I have learned that it is senseless to get angry, instead it is very important to cultivate patience. 
  • Patience is important to hold the virtues deeds that we have accumulated since the start of time.

 

Point 10: Importance of Effort and concentration

Notes from the book:

  • All auspicious attainment follow after effort, the cause of the two collections of merit and wisdom

Effects

1)    Importance of Effort and concentration

  • At this point, I have learnt that laziness and the inability to concentrate will hinder me to collect merits and wisdom. Thus in order to collect merits and wisdom, I will need to learn to make the right effort with full concentration.

 

Summary

Before I read this book, I was not aware that how a Buddhist is supposed to practice in daily life. Why is it important to have mind transformation? This is a very good book that shares on the methods to escape from cyclic existence to the ways to achieve enlightenment. It also covers on the grounds of Bodhisattvas level, what have the Bodhisattva achieves, the importance of reaching each Bodhisattva level and what is in the level and how to reach it. This book also clarifies on what are the wrong views that we use to have in Dharma. In this book, it also shared on how to meditate on certain topics.

I also learnt about some of the qualities that an enlightenment beings have. I have learned that some qualities are essential to free myself and others, such as practicing equanimity, love and compassion, important of practicing Giving, patience etc. To my surprise these fundamental qualities are actually part of Bodhisattva path. To think deeply, it is important to cultivate these 10 points while I am still in a human forms, and at least not to be reborn in a bad state, if possible aim to be free from cyclic existence not only for myself but also the people around me.

I thanks H.E Tsem Rinpoche for this book that open up my mind. May I transform quickly and remember the essential points mentioned above.

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8 Responses to Tsongkhapa’s Way of Compassion

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  1. Michael C. on May 21, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    I have a lot to work on

  2. A special day!! | Tsem Rinpoche on Dec 17, 2013 at 6:52 am

    […] Tsongkhapa’s way of Compassion […]

  3. Soon Huat on May 7, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche, Freon and Swee Keong for sharing this article with us. Honestly, I have just finished the introduction written by Swee Keong and I found that it is very true. People used to say “By the rule of cause-effect. The ordinary people only scare of effect/result but Bodhisattva worry about cause which will become effect in future life”. We are too busy with our daily worldly need but forgot to correct our merit for future life or our spiritual path. Some of us even too focus on the ritual and forgot about the meaning of the ritual. My dearest and Holy Rinpoche, I promised that I will try to purchase the book and read it thoroughly. Thanks again Rinpoche, Swee Keong and Freon for the valuable sharing.

    Swee Keong and Freon,

    Hopefully I can make my effort to contribute to Kechara like both of you. I would like salute to both of you with my highest respect.

  4. Elsie Toy on Apr 30, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    wow this is really mind blowing for me. Thank you Freon and Swee Keong for the review. In order to constantly reminds me of it I printed it out and have it at my work station. So it can also benefit colleagues and friend to come by my desk. They will be able to benefit from it. Thank you Rinpoche for having Freon and Swee Keong to review the key points for us. Thank you once again.

  5. David Lai on Apr 17, 2013 at 12:39 am

    Wow! What an extensive book review from both of them. Thank you very much Rinpoche for sharing them with us. Rinpoche’s blog is truly always a great spiritual learning experience. Reading through the review reminds me of the lamrim. It must be derived from one of the great lineages of lamrim, perhaps simplified and catered to spiritual aspirants of today.

    I appreciate the honesty from the beginning of the text in which categorized people today in the lowest level, in which people are seeking only temporary happiness because they lack conviction in the existence of a next life. I think the teachings are meant to provide a perspective and logic to perceive the existence of the future lives and shift from this level to the lowest scope of entering the spiritual path with the goal of attaining a favorable future life as a start.

    Then the various teachings come into play and when we have contemplated and meditated enough these teachings, our motivation will automatically shift higher. That’s how I see the path as laid out in these teachings. It is of course much more than that but I think it is important to start where we are at and move up from there.

  6. Lim Han Nee on Apr 16, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    I have just completed the reading of Swee Keong’s report on the ten chapters of “Meditations of a Tantric Master” by Kensur Lekden.Swee Keong’s report is clear and from it I have gleaned the points of a very powerful Dharma text.The following are some points that impacted me.

    One is that a person can only be called religious if they are concerned with future lives. Then they are ready to begin their spiritual journey as a small scope being.

    We are free to choose whether we want happiness or suffering. If we decide to pursue negative acts that bring harm to others, then we will reap the just desert of suffering and even of going to the lower realms in out next rebirth. if we choose to abandon non-virtue, we will then create the cause for happiness. Hence, believing in karma, we take refuge in the Three Jewels (who are the most infallible and reliable source of refuge), as we embark on our spiritual journey.

    We must acknowledge that we are in the grip of the three poisons of desire, hatred and ignorance, and under this grip, we have committed innumerable negativities of body, speech and mind, which will cause immeasurable suffering to us. But just as we acknowledge suffering, we also know there is a cure.The ultimate antidote, as we sit in meditation to realize it, is emptiness.

    The compassion that we feel must encompass all beings, as all have been our mothers before. However, the road to compassion begins with developing equanimity. As we develop love and compassion for all with the seven-point cause and effect meditation, the labels of friends and strangers and enemies will fade away.With the aid of the Three Jewels,we will yet achieve enlightenment for the sake of all mother beings.

  7. Lim (KH JB) on Apr 16, 2013 at 2:10 am

    Thanks Swee Keong and Freon sharing ur summary points with us.

    This book is so interesting and all chapter need to contemplate continuously to gain more meaning in this. May all readers can apply the teaching daily to make their Dharma path more smoothly and gains more merits by the teaching inside…

  8. May Ong on Apr 15, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    I have been waiting for these 2 reports from Wai Meng and Freon since Rinpoche gave them this assignment and the book to read. I’ve just read the summary report of the first 10 chapters on “Meditation of a Tantric Abbot” and will continue to read the rest – carefully, digesting the points made and contemplate deeper their meanings, especially on how I can apply them to my own spiritual growth.

    It is not easy to find books that were written by highly attained tantric masters. I am grateful Rinpoche shared their reports here with us to further our buddhist studies and learning.

    With folded hand, thank you.

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this article.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

CREDITS

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

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

Tsem Rinpoche

What Am I Writing Now

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The Unknown

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

Photos On The Go

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

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

Videos On The Go

Please click on the images to watch video
  • Please watch this video, it's heartbreaking to see how people have to suffer.
    1 week ago
    Please watch this video, it's heartbreaking to see how people have to suffer.
  • Lady saves puppy from potential abuser
    2 weeks ago
    Lady saves puppy from potential abuser
  • Mr. Denzel Washington is a very intelligent man. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 weeks ago
    Mr. Denzel Washington is a very intelligent man. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Dear friends, please see this educational video on suffering for the sake of others.
    2 weeks ago
    Dear friends, please see this educational video on suffering for the sake of others.
  • A very neat footage of Bigfoot captured by Patterson-Gimlin.
    3 weeks ago
    A very neat footage of Bigfoot captured by Patterson-Gimlin.
  • [11/02/2017] Mumu darling is a very good boy.
    1 month ago
    [11/02/2017] Mumu darling is a very good boy.
  • [11/02/2017] Mumu wants to go bye bye!
    1 month ago
    [11/02/2017] Mumu wants to go bye bye!
  • [11/02/2017] I love you mumu boy
    1 month ago
    [11/02/2017] I love you mumu boy
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ASK A PASTOR


Ask the Pastors

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

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

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

  • March 27, 2017 04:19
    Dongho asked: I have been reading on the tunes of certain sects and would like to ask on this. From what I've read, there are certain tunes to each sect and school of certain chants. Exactly where can I find the sheet music for these percussion and horns with the chants, such as to the one for invoking Kache Marpo or Dorje Shugden? Would it be possible to use school instruments for this?
    pastor answered: Dear Dongho, Thank you for your question, it is good to see you back and asking more questions. Yes you are right, there are differences in the tunes and chants between the lineages. The differences can vary significantly between the traditions, for example the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism is known for its extremely deep throat singing which is very powerful and is characterised by a low, booming voice, in contrast to the other traditions. Even within a particular tradition, there can be slight variations as to the manner in which the chants and tunes are performed. For example those monasteries are which are affiliated with Gyume will have one way of throat singing, where those affiliated with Gyuto will have another. As far as I am aware there is no professional sheet music for the rituals, most probably because the music is actually an integral part of the ritual itself. Therefore the music, tunes, and chants are all taught at the same time the ritual and prayers are. The tunes, and use of the instruments all have specific meanings, because they are considered to be offerings to the deities in the form of sound. The monasteries would not have copies of sheet music either, because sheet music is western practice. The use of ritual music within Tibetan Buddhism is more of one based on memory. In the Kechara organisation, the puja team was trained in such ritual instruments at the same time they learnt the particular ritual from monks from the monastery, such as the puja of Dorje Shugden. From what I saw of the training, the musical tunes, and use of instruments was not written down but taught experientially at the same time as the chanting. I have not come across any other instruments being used in pujas apart from the traditional ritual instruments, because even the instruments themselves have a specific meaning. That is not say that school instruments cannot be used. This is because, as long as the offering is sincere, the Buddhas and enlightened deities will accept it, and in turn you will generate great amounts of merit. Offerings should be made to the best of our ability, therefore if you do not have access to the ritual instruments, or do not know how to play them, but you know how to play other instruments, and use these instruments as offerings to the Buddhas during pujas, the amount of merit you generate will be the same. This is because you are sincere with your offering. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • March 26, 2017 02:14
    Kunga asked: Does the Gelug have Begtse a protector? If so, could you please provide a sadhana for him here?
    pastor answered: Dear Kunga, Yes the Dharma protector Begtse exists within the Gelug tradition. He is also known as Chamsing. Begtse’s practice stems from India and was introduced to Tibet and therefore Tibetan Buddhism by the translator Nyen Lotsawa. Marpa Lotsawa also practiced Begtse, and so the practice exists in the Kagyu traditions. This practice was eventually transmitted to Sachen Kunga Nyingpo, the first of the five patriarchs of the Sakya tradition, who were the founding fathers of that tradition. Over time the practice of Begtse was incorporated into the Gelug tradition, founded by Lama Tsongkhapa, and was notably practiced by the 1st and 2nd Dalai Lamas. Over time the practice gained popularity within the lineage, especially when it spread to Mongolia. There the practice became an important one within the lineage as upheld there. Begtse is also affectionately known as the Dharma protector of Mongolia, because his practice is so popular there. If I am not mistaken, there is an oracle of Begtse in Mongolia as well. There is a mistaken account that the practice originated around the time of the 3rd Dalai Lama, with the subjugation of a Mongolian war god, but Begtse was definitely practiced before that time in the Gelug, Kagyu and Sakya traditions. While the practice of Begtse is very effective, I have not come across the practice of Begtse in my personal practice, therefore I do not have access to the Begtse sadhana to provide to you. Instead Begtse is propitiated in prayers that incorporate many other Dharma protectors, and Begtse is also considered one of the nine protectors of the Hayagriva (Tamdrin) cycle of tantric teachings. Therefore Begtse is included in the Dharma protector sections of the Hayagriva tantras. Surrounding Begtse are his sister, Sing Ma, and his main minister, Le Khan Mar Po. His inner retinue comprises of eight butchers who wield copper swords in their right hands and skull-cups full of blood in their left hands. They are portrayed as naked and are very ugly. His outer retinue comprises a further twenty-one butchers, who hold copper swords in their right hands, and this time, the entrails of butchered enemies. They wear the skins humans and oxen as clothes, with ornaments made from human bone. While this may seem violent, Begtse is actually a very powerful and beneficial protector, who helps practitioners clear their obstacles and create conducive conditions for their spiritual evolution. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • March 24, 2017 20:12
    Azair asked: Venerable Rinpoche, I am doing a study in Kalachakra Tantra and I've heard from most of the lama's too that if you practice the Kalachakra Tantra, you'll be able to take control of your next rebirth. Ofcourse, it has been said that we will get our rebirth according to our Karma and desires but whether those dreams will get fulfilled will depend upon the actions that we take in this life. Thus, practicing the Kalachakra(till the end) after initiation will give you the opportunity to take rebirth anywhere you desire regardless of your Karma. My question is that, is there some truth in this statement.? Does this statement hold true for other tantra practices, such as Vajrayogini Tantra, Ghuyasamaja Tantra, Heruka Tantra, etc. I would really really like to know. Thankyou in anticipation, regards, Azair
    pastor answered: Dear Azair, Thank you for your question. Yes there is truth to this statement, both from a scriptural perspective and also by example, as the great masters have shown us. This is a unique feature of all Anuttarayoga Tantras or Highest Yoga Tantras, which Kalachakra, Vajrayogini, Guhyasama and Heruka are all examples of. This category of tantric practice can actually lead a practitioner to full enlightenment in this very lifetime. Even if enlightenment is not reached, very high levels of attainment can be reached nonetheless. This includes the ability to take control over your next rebirth. This is primarily engaged in so that the practitioner is born in an environment where they can eventually pick up their practice and further their spiritual path to enlightenment, or in order to be born in a place where they can benefit sentient beings the most, as part of the spiritual journey over many lifetimes. One of the reasons such an ability is very necessary on the spiritual path, is that usual death and rebirth occurs at the mercy of ones karma, specifically what is known as the ‘throwing karma’ or the karma that dictates what sort of rebirth a person is going to take. This opens up at the time of ordinary death, which most people have no control over. During the death process, many of our disturbing emotions will arise. Whichever of these is the strongest at the point of death triggers open a latent karmic potential, which becomes the ‘throwing karma’ and dictates where we are going to take rebirth and if that life will generally be full of suffering or not. Within Anuttarayoga Tantra, one of the key points of practice is to prepare for one’s death. This is done by simulating the dying process during one’s meditations, so that one becomes familiar with it. At the most pivotal part of this process, one practices achieving either the rainbow body or great bliss (in the case of the father tantras); or clear light (in the case of mother tantras). The tantras themselves are not defined in terms of the gender of the central deity, but by the method used to gain enlightenment. This is either the rainbow body/great bliss (classified as male, therefore labelled ‘father’) or clear light (classified as female, therefore labelled ‘mother’). Non-dual tantras such as the Kalachakra tantra can employ either of the two methods, a mixture of both, or alternate methods. In the case of superior practitioners, due to the power of their practice, they can achieve either of these two methods in their current body. Since they have familiarised themselves with the dying process, and a particular method of practice, they can also achieve enlightenment during their physical death. The great Lama Tsongkhapa is said to have achieved enlightenment at the moment of physical death, using the second of these. For other practitioners, they may not be able to achieve this either in their meditations while they are alive, or during the death process. However because they have familiarised themselves with the dying process, they remain in complete concentration at the time of death, not allowing any disturbing emotions to arise. Due to this level of concentration, meditation and awareness during the dying process, they are able to control where they next take rebirth. This is evident in the tantric scriptures themselves, and the life stories of many masters, who can state exactly where, when and to whom they will take their next rebirth, as they are in full control of the dying and rebirth process. There is a type of meditation called ‘thukdam’ which has been translated into ‘death meditation’. This is a final meditation some masters choose to engage in. During this meditation, the master themselves consciously begin the physical dying process themselves, engage in the meditation of dissolving the winds into the heart centre and remain in the most pivotal part of the death process, the mind of clear light of death. During this point they engage in meditations, either the methods of the father or mother tantras as mentioned previously, and or consciously choose where they are to next take rebirth. They can remain in this death meditation for long periods of time, days at an end, in which their consciousness has not yet left their body, although for all intents and purposes they are dead according to medical science, e.g. they have no heartbeat. At the end of their meditation, a drop of blood will be emitted from their nostril, and their head will slump over a little. Masters who engage in this meditation usually sit in full meditation posture, and their body remain supple and soft even though they have passed away from a medical point of view. I hope this brief explanation helps. Thank you.
  • March 23, 2017 23:01
    Brad asked: What is the significance of offering the Seven precious emblems of royalty to the Buddhas and enlightened Dharma Protectors? What are we symbolically offering up?
    pastor answered: Dear Brad, Thank you for your question. The ‘saptaratna’ or seven precious emblems represent on the one hand the ultimate state of temporal power, and on the other hand the ultimate spiritual attainments that we can achieve. By offering these to the Buddhas, we are actually creating the causes to achieve what they represent. Therefore it is good to know the meaning of each, so we can understand what we are creating the causes for by offering them up: Please see below for an explanation of the seven royal emblems: 1. The Precious Wheel: a thousand spoked wheel, representing the universal power of the Buddhas, as well as the teachings of the thousand Buddhas of our aeon. It is represented by the Dharmachakra, symbolising the ‘turning of the wheel’ or teaching of the Noble Eightfold Path. It is a symbol of a universal emperor’s spiritual and temporal power. It is also represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect mindfulness, especially that of our own mind, thoughts, delusions and afflictions. 2. The Precious Jewel: an eight sided wish-granting gem, which fulfils all the needs of a universal emperor. This jewel has eight special qualities: it illuminates the night sky for hundreds of leagues; it is cooling when the temperature is hot and warming when the temperature is cold; it makes manifest whatever the holder wants; when thirsty it causes a fresh-water spring to appear; it has the ability to control the nagas, and other supernatural beings, as well as preventing natural disasters such as storms, floods, etc.; it gives off multi-coloured lighted which heals the various mental and emotional afflictions; it cures all illnesses; and it ensures that one dies a natural death, not an untimely one. It is a symbol of a universal emperor’s spiritual and temporal power. It is also represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect mindfulness, or perfect discrimination, so one knows what to abandon and what to keep in the mindstream during the spiritual journey to enlightenment. 3. The Precious Queen: the most beautiful and virtuous of all women. She is described as a goddess who is the epitome of someone: with devotion; without jealousy; who is the embodiment of fertility; who works for the welfare of all beings; who possess feminine wisdom; speaks the truth; not attract to sensual pleasures or material possessions; and does not have false views. She is adored by all. She also represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect effort. This is necessary to keep meditating until one gains spiritual attainments. 4. The Precious Minister: who has sharp intelligence, patience, and the ability to give wise counsel to the emperor. He is so attuned to the emperor that even before the emperor has spoken, the minister is already carrying out his command. He only wishes to support the Dharma, help sentient beings, and is an excellent strategist. He also represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect joy. This is also akin to the attainment of the first bodhisattva level, because you have come to an understanding of your own mind, which is like pouring ice-cold water into boiling water. The water stops boiling, as does the thoughts, projections, and delusions in the mind. He represents the path of the bodhisattva. 5. The Precious Elephant: who has the strength of a thousand normal elephants. He is white, with the perfect features that an elephant could have. He is majestic, graceful, and gentle, but in battle is fearsome, fearless and unyielding. He communicates with the emperor through a telepathic link. He represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect adaptability. This is important, as one needs to be able to adapt to the various mental afflictions as they arise, and suitably counter them. 6. The Precious Horse: who has all the marks of a celestial horse. Known as wind-horse, he is able to travel extremely fast, and can circumambulate the entire universe three time in just a single day. He is never fearful or startled, never makes a sound when galloping, and has extremely soft hairs on his body. He represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is single-pointed concentration. This is important because without this form of concentration, once cannot engage in the analytical meditations that lead to an understanding of emptiness, and therefore enlightenment. 7. The Precious General: who has mastered the arts of war and always wins in battle. He wears battle armour and holds many different weapons. He tries to avoid battle, but when necessary fights, and never gives up until he has won. He is fearless, and courageous in carrying out the emperors commands and ensures the emperors army carries out their duties. He represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect equanimity. This is because he overcomes all warfare, which is akin to the battle between things were are attached to and things we have an aversion for in our minds. In short, what you are offering up is the highest of all temporal treasures and abilities, as well as the entire path of the Dharma. Doing so creates the causes for you to receive all of this on your spiritual journey towards enlightenment. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • March 20, 2017 10:16
    Grigoris asked: Excuse me, but I would like to ask, what does the prayer to Shangmo Dorje Putri say exactly? I can't read Tibetan, but would like to see the description that the prayer gives. I am not planning to say the prayer or make interaction(as it would be very dangerous), but would like to see what it actually says from the Tibetan text. Here's the link: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/shangmo-dorje-putri-the-bamo-of-sakya.html
    pastor answered: Dear Grigoris, Thank you for your question. Shangmo Dorje Putri is indeed a fascinating unenlightened Dharma protector. Unfortunately at the moment, we do not have a translated copy of the text in English that we can provide. The usual format for such texts, would include an invocation, making offerings to appease them, and then exhortations for them to perform their activities, possibly followed by thanking them for their help. One thing is for certain, due to the nature of Shangmo Dorje Putri her prayer is sure to include violent imagery, just like many other Dharma protectors, such as Achi Chokyi Drolma (who even though has a peaceful appearance, has a lot of violent imagery in her prayers). The reason behind the violent imagery is explained in the post about Achi Chokyi Drolma here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/achi-chokyi-drolma-chief-protectress-of-the-drikung-kagyu.html
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Dorje Shugden
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