Gawai Dayak – The Celebration of Bountiful Harvest

Nov 29, 2016 | Views: 403
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Dear friends around the world,

I have lived in Malaysia for over 20 years, and I have since developed a great appreciation for Malaysia’s various culture and customs. During this time, I have developed a great appreciation for the cultures and customs that exist in Malaysia, which has inspired me to share more about the aspects of Malaysia that enrich its culture.

One such tradition is the Gawai Dayak, a harvest festival widely celebrated by the Dayak people in Sarawak and Kalimantan, respectively the Malaysian and Indonesian parts of the isle of Borneo. This article will focus on the Gawai Dayak celebration in Sarawak, and we will take you through its origins, the activities that take place during the festival, and how visitors can participate in this celebration.

Tsem Rinpoche

 


 

The Dayak People of Sarawak

Iban people in traditional attire

Iban people in traditional attire

The Dayak community in Sarawak consists of two major ethnic groups, the Iban and the Bidayuh, as well as several smaller tribes such as the Murut, the Kelabit, the Kenyah, and the Kayan. Sarawak has the highest Iban population in Borneo, where about 745,400 people, or 28% of the state population (based on the 2016 survey) are Ibans. The Bidayuh ethnic group, sometimes called the Land Dayak because they traditionally live near limestone mountains, mainly live in the Southern Sarawak region. Although the Dayaks’ faith was originally mostly Paganism, the majority of Iban and Bidayuh people have since converted to Christianity.

A traditional Bidayuh longhouse

A traditional Bidayuh longhouse

Traditionally, a Dayak family lives in a Rumah Panjang, or Longhouse, alongside several other families. Each longhouse has a Tuai Rumah, or a longhouse chief, a designated leader of the house. A relatively small longhouse has approximately 10 to 30 family rooms. A medium longhouse can house 31 to 50 family rooms, while a big longhouse can have up to 100 family rooms.

 

The history of Gawai Dayak

Dayak community during Gawai Dayak celebration in Sarawak, Malaysia

Dayak community during Gawai Dayak celebration in Sarawak, Malaysia

Gawai Dayak is a festival that marks the end of the rice-planting cycle, and is celebrated by the Dayak ethnic group to show gratitude for the bountiful harvest and pray for a better result in the coming year. According to the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia, the festival “has become a symbol of unity, aspiration, and hope for the Dayak community.” The adoption of Gawai Dayak into the Malaysian culture shows how the authority acknowledges the multi-ethnic nature of the Malaysian population, and embraces the various customs to enrich Malaysia’s culture and identity.

Gawai is a term in the Iban language that means “festival” and Dayak is the name of a collective indigenous ethnic group in Sarawak. Gawai Dayak is formally celebrated on 31 May and 1 June of each year. However, the festival traditionally lasts until the end of June. The idea of celebrating Gawai Dayak was first proposed in 1957 by two local radio hosts, Tan Kingsley and Owen Liang, and their suggestion received a warm reception from the Dayak community. However, Sarawak was still occupied by Britain at the time, and the British Colonial Administration were concerned that if they allowed a festival specifically for the Dayak community, other ethnic groups would request the same recognition. Therefore, Gawai Dayak was initially known as Sarawak Day in order to include all ethnic groups in Sarawak.

Malaysia’s Independence Ceremony at Merdeka Stadium on 31 August 1957

Malaysia’s Independence Ceremony at Merdeka Stadium on 31 August 1957

On 31 August 1957, Malaysia gained its independence from Britain, and in 1962, Gawai Dayak was recognised as a Dayak celebration. On 25 September 1964, upon the establishment of the Malaysian Federation, the 1st of June was recognised as the Gawai Dayak public holiday, and the first celebration of this holiday was in 1965.

 

What happens during the Gawai Dayak celebration?

Penganan Iri

Penganan Iri

Preparation: Food and drinks

When a longhouse is to host the Gawai Dayak, its residents have to prepare the food and drinks beforehand. They ensure that an adequate amount of paddy is available to prepare tuak, the traditional Dayak liquor. Tuak is a type of rice wine, made by distilling glutinous rice and yeast one month ahead of the celebrations.

Ant Nest cake or also known as Sarang Semut

Ant nest cake or also known as Sarang Semut

The hosts must prepare traditional snacks and cakes such as Kuih Sepit (folded wafers), Sarang Semut (Ant Nest cake), Cuwan (molded cake) and Penganan Iri (a discus-shaped cake). Most of these snacks, except Penganan Iri, can be prepared several days in advance and kept inside sealed jars. Often times, the longhouse chief organises fishing and hunting trips to obtain meats to be preserved for the festival.

Another picture of Dayak people on hunting trip

A picture of Dayak people on hunting trip

 

Preparation: Longhouse decoration

Prior to the Gawai Dayak celebration, the longhouse residents work together to clean, repaint and repair the house. The walls inside the longhouse are decorated with mural carvings, and traditional, hand-woven rattan mats are also laid out for guests to sit on.

A traditional Dayak carving

A traditional Dayak carving

A traditional hand-woven rattan mat

A traditional hand-woven rattan mat

 

What happens on the eve of Gawai Dayak?

 

The cooking continues

On the eve of Gawai Dayak, those who are participating in the festival gather early in the morning to collect the necessary food and ingredients, such as palm oil, aping, sago, coconut palm shoots, bamboo shoots, tapioca leaves, brinjals, fiddle head ferns, and so on. These ingredients will be used to make soup and other dishes. The Dayak cook glutinous rice in bamboo logs that will result in a unique aroma. The rice can also be cooked using a gas stove or rice cooker. Upon gathering the necessary ingredients, the participants cook the preserved and fresh meat with various herbs such as lemon grass, ginger, bungkang leaves and salt. Tuak is often served with roasted animal meat.

Cooking rice inside bamboo logs

Cooking rice inside bamboo logs

Glutinous rice cooked inside bamboo logs

Glutinous rice cooked inside bamboo logs

Traditional Dayak dishes

Traditional Dayak dishes

 

Getting Rid of Greed

On 31st May, one day before Gawai Dayak, two men or two children will go around the longhouse with a basket each to gather unwanted items from the other families. These unwanted items are then thrown out the back end of the longhouse to get rid of the spirit of greed.

 

Offerings to the deities

Traditional Dayak offerings to the deities

Traditional Dayak offerings to the deities

When dusk comes, a ritual offering is performed in each family room, where ceramic plates, tabak (brass trophy), and split bamboo skin containers are offered to the deities. According to Sadin B. in his literary work, Raja Durong, the Dayak people believe in seven main deities:

  • Sengalang Burong – the god of war
  • Biku Bunsu Petara – the great priest’s second in command
  • Menjaya Manang – the first shaman and god of medicine
  • Sempulang Gana with Semerugah – the god of agriculture and land
  • Selampadai – the god of creation and procreation
  • Ini Inee/Andan – the god of justice
  • Anda Mara – the god of wealth

In addition to invoking the gods’ blessings, the Dayak people invoke spirits that have been helpful to them in the past. Offerings to the deities are put at the four corners of each family room, in the kitchen, inside the rice jar, in the gallery, the tanju (verandah wall), and in the farm. Other precious possession can also be offered to the deities and spirits.

The seven traditional offerings are tobacco nipah leaves, betel nut, betel leaves, glutinous rice, rice cakes, sungki (glutinous rice cooked with buwan leaves), glutinous rice cooked in bamboo logs, Ant Nest cakes, moulded cakes and Penganan Iri (glutinous rice flour with nipah and sugar), pop rice (glutinous paddy grains heated in a wok or pot), hard boiled eggs, and rice wine in a small bamboo container. After the offerings have been laid out, the longhouse chief presides over the festival to show gratitude to the deities for the bountiful harvest, and requests the deities’ blessings, guidance and longevity. The chief then offers a dead rooster to the deities by including the roosters’ blood-soaked wing feathers in each offering set.

An old picture of a longhouse chief wearing a traditional attire and holding a rooster

An old picture of a longhouse chief wearing a traditional attire and holding a rooster

After the offering ritual is completed, all the longhouse families gather and eat their dinner in the gallery. This activity is called makai rami or festival meal. Each family who lives in the longhouse has contributed to this festival meal. Before midnight, a procession to welcome the deities and spirits is performed in the gallery. Sometimes the longhouse residents also organise a pageant to choose the Gawai’s king and queen, also known as Keling and Kumang Gawai. The elders and the chief of the longhouse then give advice about the importance of peace, harmony and order. Fines are imposed to those who break the customary tradition and ground rules by fighting, quarrelling, behaving drunkenly or vandalism.

Gawai’s king and queen or Keling and Kumang Gawai

Gawai’s king and queen or Keling and Kumang Gawai

For the Dayak community members that have converted to Christianity, instead of participating in the deity offering ritual, they go to the church to show their gratitude to God for the harvest before going back to the longhouses and participating in the dinner celebration.

 

Dinner

At midnight, a gong is rung to summon the guests and residents of the long-house. The chief then offers a toast of longevity (Ai Pengayu), recites a prayer of good wishes, and the attendees reply with the festival greetings, “Gayu Guru, Gerai Nyamai, Senang Lantang Nguan Menua.” If a poet is amongst the attendees, he can be asked to recite “timang ai pengayu” to bless the longevity water. All past conflicts and faults are forgiven during this time.

Ngajat Dance performance

Ngajat Dance performance

Ngajat Dance performance

Ngajat Dance performance

After the dinner, there are less formal performances such as the traditional Ngajat (welcome) dance, the sword dance, and self-defence martial arts performances. For the Bidayuh Dayak, they may dance the Tolak Bala (Danger Repealing Dance), the Before Harvest Dance to request protection for the community, Totokng dance to invoke paddy soul and guests, and the Langi Julang Dance performed at the end of Harvest festival to show gratitude to the deities for the bountiful harvest and good health.

Tolak Bala Dance

Tolak Bala Dance

After dinner, the guests are lined up based on their social rank. The women offer the men a bowl of tuak accompanied by a woman singing. This is followed by traditional poem recitations including pelandai, ramban, pantun, jawang, and sanggai.

 

Gawai Dayak in Sarawak, Malaysia

http://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/GawaiDayak.flv

Or view the video on the server at:
http://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/GawaiDayak.flv

 

Ngabang

On 1 June, the longhouses are opened to ngabang (guests). Open house events can also be organised by the longhouse residents, non-governmental organisations, or Dayak community associations. Visitors and tourists are often invited to join Gawai Dayak on this day. When the guests arrive, the women of the house stand by to water the guests in the tradition of Nyibur Temuai where several rounds of tuak are served, such as the Nyambut Pengabang (welcoming drinks), Ai Aus (thirst quenching drinks), Ai Basu (washing drinks), Ai Untong (profit drinks), and the Ai Basa (respect drinks).

Delicious snacks served during Gawai Dayak celebration

Delicious snacks served during Gawai Dayak celebration

The tradition of drinking tuak is still retained today within the Dayak culture

The tradition of drinking tuak is still retained today within the Dayak culture

During the open house, the chief or chosen elder makes a jaku ansah or sharpening speech to introduce the guest of honour. After the guest of honour arrives, he is expected to perform Muka Kuta (opening a fort) by slashing a bamboo fence with a sword and reciting a poem. Then, at the foot of a ladder, an animal is speared (mankan). During the event, the Ngajat dancers and the band lead the guests to their respective seats. After everyone is seated, either the chief or the poet recites prayers for the guests while swaying a chicken over their heads. Before the food is offered to the guests, a special speech called Muka Kujuk is delivered to open the traditionally woven cloth that covers the food. During the Bantil or persuaded drink activity, women give tuak drinks to men while singing traditional pantun (poem) to overcome the opposite sex’s shyness. It is customary for the men to reject the first drink as a sign of respect for the host.

Gawai Dayak also includes a fortune-telling element. In the activity called uti, a special guest is asked to open a coconut placed on a ceramic plate, using a blunt knife, and without holding the coconut or breaking the plate. If the coconut shows white flesh, it means good fortune, while black flesh spells bad fortune. Although Gawai Dayak is celebrated on the 1st of June, the festival can last for several days to a month. During that month, many Dayak weddings often take place. To mark the end of the celebrations, the tradition of Ngiling Bidai or rolling the hand-woven mats that are laid out at the beginning of Gawai Dayak is performed.

Many Dayak weddings often take place during the Gawai Dayak month

Many Dayak weddings often take place during the Gawai Dayak month

 

Clothing requirements

A traditional Dayak costume, Ngepan

A traditional Dayak costume, Ngepan

When attending the Gawai Dayak celebrations, visitors can either wear Dayak traditional attire, ngepan (a traditional costume), or ordinary modern clothing. Usually, the chief wears a traditional outfit made out of a loincloth, an animal skin coat, and peacock feathers on his head. Oftentimes, the men are decorated in traditional tattoos that signify their experience. For example, a frog design on the front neck, or a tegulun design on the back of the hands signifies that the person has killed another person in war. The tattoos can also be in the form of marine life designs that signify protection from water elements.

A longhouse chief with traditional tattoos

A longhouse chief with traditional tattoos

Traditional Dayak clothing for women are kain betating, a sort of hand-woven cloth, worn on the waist, and a rattan corset on the upper part of the body. Women can also wear a selampai or scarf over the shoulders, or a woven bead chain over the neck. Their hair are typically tied up and secured with a high comb, and they also wear a lampit (silver belt), armlets, anklets, and a purse. If you wish to visit, remember that Malaysia is a tropical country, so most its people wear clothing made from light and breathable fabrics. It is recommended to bring several lightweight tops, shorts and skirts that are about knee-length, dresses, slacks, sunglasses, hat, sweaters and at least one scarf or shawl. You can also consider bringing flats or comfortable shoes.

 

Visiting Malaysia and Sarawak

 

Travel document requirements to enter Malaysia

Visitors who wish to visit Malaysia should have passports with at least a six-month validity. Citizens of ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) can stay in Malaysia up to 30 days without a Malaysian visa. Visitors from other nations can either apply for the visa in advance or apply for Visa on Arrival (VOA) for RM 330 (USD75). Recently, citizens of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), India, Bangladesh, and Nepal have been made eligible to apply for e-Visas.

 

Where to stay

If you wish stay with the Dayak throughout their celebrations and get a full cultural experience, there are several longhouses that provide homestay services for visitors such as:

Anna Rais Bidayuh Longhouse

Anna Rais Bidayuh longhouse

Anna Rais Bidayuh longhouse

Anna Rais Bidayuh longhouse

Anna Rais Bidayuh longhouse

According to their website, the Anna Rais Bidayuh Longhouse has 175 years of written history and over 500 years of unwritten history. One of the key attractions at the Anna Rais Bidayuh Longhouse a natural hot spring located nearby.

Address:
Kampung Annah Rais
Padawan, 94700 Kuching
Sarawak, Malaysia

Phone: +65 9004 9762

How to get there:

Anna Rais longhouse is located at the Padawan District, about 60 kilometres away from Kuching, the capital city of Sarawak. Since the Anna Rais Bidayuh Longhouse is located in a remote location, visitors will need to arrange for a taxi service, which can be done through the longhouse coordinator.

Rumah Nyuka Longhouse

Rumah Nyuka Longhouse

Rumah Nyuka Longhouse

The Rumah Nyuka Longhouse is the first longhouse in Sarikei Division that was approved by the Malaysian Ministry of Tourism’s National Homestay Programme. This longhouse was built using Belian wood in 1955, and still stands strong today. Visitors can join the longhouse residents’ daily activities, such as tapping rubber or go Dabai – collecting local olive fruits. Visitors can also go swimming in the nearby waterfalls.

Address:
C/O Rh. Nyuka Ak. Itam, Lubuk Lemba
Ulu Sarikei
96100 Sarikei
Sarawak

Phone: +6019-4687518

How to get there:

The Rumah Nyuka Longhouse is located approximately 17 kilometres from the Bayong Junction at the Sarikei highway. It can be reach by taxi, which you can arrange with the longhouse coordinator.

Other Longhouses

The Sarawak Tourism Board also recommends visitors to check out the Bawang Assan Iban Longhouses in Sibu, and various other longhouses in Kapit Town. Visitors can also find recommendations from local travel agents, or arrange for special tours to visit one of these longhouses.

 

What to do when staying in longhouses

 

Outdoor activities

Jungle trekking

Jungle trekking

Bamboo rafting

Bamboo rafting

Visitors can enjoy various activities such as jungle trekking, hunting with blowguns, bamboo rafting, barbecuing by the riverside, harvesting rice between the months of February and April, rubber tapping, and Dabai during the fruit-bearing seasons from November to December.

Rubber tapping

Rubber tapping

Indoor activities

Traditional Dayak dance performed at Anna Rais Bidayuh Longhouse

A traditional Dayak dance performed at Anna Rais Bidayuh Longhouse

Visitors can learn how to cook traditional dishes such as bamboo rice, play traditional musical instruments, weave baskets from natural materials, or taste local foods and drinks such as Cempedak or tuak. Longhouses residents will also organise indoor sporting activities for visitors, such as blowgun competitions, or Dayak traditional dance lessons.

Basket weaving

Basket weaving

Sources:

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gawai_Dayak
  • http://publicholidays.com.my/hari-gawai/
  • http://goseasia.about.com/od/eventsfestiva2/a/gawai_dayak_festival_malaysia.htm
  • http://blog.sarawakborneotour.com/P/105/What-Is-Gawai-Festival-All-ABout
  • http://robinsonmike.blogspot.my/2013/08/hari-gawai-dayak.html
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarawak
  • http://www.theborneopost.com/2016/05/11/many-events-lined-up-to-celebrate-harvest-festival/
  • http://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/06/148983/sarawak-comes-alive-gawai
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longhouse
  • http://www.malaysia.travel/en/sa/events/2015/6/gawai-dayak-festival
  • https://sarawaktourism.com
  • http://www.longhouseadventure.com/accommodation/
  • https://ibancustoms.wordpress.com/iban-literature/

 
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11 Responses to Gawai Dayak – The Celebration of Bountiful Harvest

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  1. wan wai meng on Jan 19, 2017 at 3:47 am

    Diversity is strength, we must have never forget that. Different ideas and different views, can only enrich our experiences. Then our experience of our world is no longer 1 dimensional. I really enjoyed reading this article and helped me to understand much more about Dayak and their culture.

  2. Larry Anak Asap on Dec 24, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    Thanks Rinpoche for this beautiful article about Dayak. I am Iban (One of Dayak Ethnic) from Sarawak. Deeply exlained. All correct.

    If my memory serve me right, i started to research about Buddhism in 2009-2010. My cousin (Chinese Mix Iban) came to Kuching and stayed with me during my study. He wanted to find a job. Then after dinner he played a Buddhist song. Avalokistevara Mantra song. I asked him what kind of song is that. He told me that is Buddha Mantra. That song captured my heart and feeling. I felt deep inner peace. i started to find another Buddha song. I found Medicine Buddha Mantra song. Again it make me feel peace.

    Then i started to do my research regarding on Buddhism. My understand was so limited. I really do not know where to start. Which temple to go. Who to ask. i keep on reading and reading. Thinking and thinking. Then i decided to enter this religion. Again i do not know how to become a Buddhist. The internet told me if you can not find temple you can take refuge infron of Buddha images and say the refuge prayer. I opened my lap top, find the Buddha images, and say the refuge prayer.

    I search the Buddha master through facebook and i found Tsem Tulku Rinpoche fanpage. I read your post but again i can not understand the subject matter that you posted. I almost give during my spiritual journey.

    In 2015, i found Guan Yin Citta Dharma door through facebook. I joined this dharma door around 6 months. Then i quit from this Dharma door and join the local Buddhist Community at Kapit, Sarawak. They are very supportive.

    There are a lot of Rinpoche and Lama come to Kapit and give teaching at here. As for now, i am learning Tibetan Buddhism.

    Anyway, i still have a lot of questions about Tibetan Buddhism. I would like to share my deepest gratitude to you Tsem Tulku Rinpoche. Your teaching in this blog and in youtube have guided me a lot.

    I wanted to become a monk. Hopefully i can make it as soon as possible.

    IMG_5247

    • Valentina Suhendra on Dec 26, 2016 at 2:16 pm

      Dear Larry Anak Asap

      Thank you for you kind comment on Tsem Rinpoche’s blog. I am a student of H.E. the 25th Tsem Rinpoche, and am happy that you found this post beautiful. Tsem Rinpoche appreciate the rich and diverse Malaysian culture, and therefore he posted this article on the beautiful Dayak tradition. Since you have found this blog, I hope it will serve to enrich your knowledge on Buddhist teachings.

      I am also happy to hear that you have found a supportive Dharma centre in Kapit, Sarawak. Do persevere in your study, and I pray that you will gain realisation. Should you have any queries, do not hesitate to contact us, by leaving a comment in this blog post, the chatroom below or ask the pastor section.

      Sincerely yours
      Valentina

  3. Lew on Dec 19, 2016 at 1:45 am

    Thank you for the detail information about Gawai. I know Sarawak has very diverse culture and I have always looked at it from a cultural point of view. However, I have not looked at it from a spiritual point of view. I am really fascinated by the spiritual aspect of what is shared in this article.

    I have been to a Bidayuh homestay and my family & kids totally love it. There are so many to see in Sarawak and of course Gawai is the ultimate experience. If you only have 1 chance to visit Sarawak, then you must come around June to join Gawai.

    Also, if you do visit Sarawak, make sure you visit the Sarawak Cultural Village in Santubong. More information here: http://www.scv.com.my/

  4. Samfoonheei on Dec 11, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    Very informative ,beautiful and interesting traditional festival.The history of Gawai Dayak will be very helpful for those visiting there for a very first time like me.The Gawai Dayak, a harvest festival celebrated by the Dayak people in Sarawak and Kalimantan. Its good to know more of the Gawai Dayak celebrations..I have not been to there and witness the celebrations yet hope maybe in the near future.I love to see the beautiful traditional costume of the Dayak.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing those beautiful pictures as well as the interesting article.

  5. Lin Mun on Dec 4, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing the article on Dayak Festival and its community and cultures. It is very interesting to learn about the other races cultures. We in Malaysia are so fortunate that we are expose to so many differences and yet live harmoniously.

  6. Pastor Han Nee on Dec 3, 2016 at 11:47 am

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing about this beautiful traditional festival.

    The Gawai Dayak Festival is testimony to the rich cultural diversity of Malaysia’s multi-ethnic and multicultural background. Gawai Dayak is a festival that marks the end of the rice-planting cycle, and is celebrated by the Dayak ethnic group to show gratitude for the bountiful harvest and pray for a better result in the coming year.

    The Festival’s celebration is steeped in tradition. I like especially how the residents of the host longhouse get together to work as a team to prepare their family rooms for the festival -cleaning, repairing and decorating, as well as to prepare the food, cakes, snacks and drinks for the festival . There are many uniquely traditional items in the food ,like the traditional rice wine drink called the tuak, and the glutinous rice cooked inside bamboo logs.

    I like the significance of some of the rituals. Take for example the ritual to get rid of greed, which involves the gathering of unwanted items from the families and throwing this out at the back end of the longhouse to get rid of the “spirit of greed”. There is the ritual of making offerings to the deities to show gratitude and thank them for a good harvest , and to request the deities’ blessings, guidance and longevity.

    Furthermore, on this occasion, the elders take the opportunity to give advice about the importance of peace, harmony and order.Discipline is strictly enforced -fines are imposed on those who break the customary tradition and ground rules by fighting, quarrelling, behaving drunkenly or vandalism.

    All in all, i feel that the beautiful meaningful aspects of this festival should be preserved.

  7. Fong on Nov 30, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    The Dayaks still hold on to their traditions which is a good sign as many traditions are disappearing and people are getting lost in the modern world. They are still very close to nature.

    I used to hear and see my friends celebrating the Gawai festival even though they were not Dayaks. It’s the spirit of solidarity and togetherness that is so very much a part of life on Sarawak. It was an event which they looked forward to with great anticipation.

    That is the beauty of Malaysia, that we all celebrate our differences and similarities. That is what enriches the diversity of Malaysia.

  8. Justin Cheah on Nov 29, 2016 at 11:23 pm

    I am always proud to be living in Malaysia and being a Malaysian because we are all derived from so many different races and ethnic but are able to stay peaceful in one place. Malaysia is truly Asia and there are a lot of people out there who are surprise and at the same time envy of us being able to live together harmoniously.

  9. Choong on Nov 29, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    The Dayak communities still maintain their strong links with the environment and this is to be much appreciated given the destruction we have seen on a global scale. It is now even more important for their closeness and respect for nature to be preserved. One way is via festivals such as the Gawai.

    One of my favorite artists is a Bidayuh (Raphael Scott Ahbeng) whose works span decades and has a strong environmental element to it. You can enjoy some of his creations on his Facebook page here:

    https://www.facebook.com/pg/rsamuseum/photos/?ref=page_internal

  10. Yvonne on Nov 29, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    Malaysia is rich in cultural diversity. It’s always a challenge to unify these diversity. The leaders need to reconcile all the different races. We need to have the 1 Malaysia spirit

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

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

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  • Alice Tay
    Tuesday, Apr 25. 2017 04:26 PM
    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Adeline sharing this interesting post about Bodhidharma, a great master favoured meditation and introduced the Lankavatara Sutra to Chinese Buddhism.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Han Nee for this article.

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

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/interesting-signs-of-reincarnation.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Apr 23. 2017 08:29 PM
    Thank you Rinpoche for your teachings.
    Always be generous and kind in what ever we could do even its little help.It’s the little things in life that bring the greatest happiness. Its between us and our Buddha ,so we would not bother what the receipient thinks and say of us. What ever was said ,should not deter our motivation to do Dharma work.
    (It will change people’s lives in one way or another. It will change your life for the better.)….well said by Rinpoche.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/its-not-between-you-and-the-recipient.html
  • Lin Mun
    Sunday, Apr 23. 2017 07:16 PM
    Thank you Grace for this interesting articles about hair. There are just so much info which we do not know previously. Most of the time we may neglect the details, thinking as long as we clean our hair everyday it is sufficient. But there are so many things we need to know for example types of hair, scalp condition, our environment and our physical condition which may affect our hair. Great tips.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/guest-contributors/how-much-do-you-know-about-hair.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Apr 23. 2017 03:31 PM
    Amazing miracles……….its show that the practice of Dorje Shugden is so powerful and will help whoever needs help regardless of race and religIon, far or near as long we have faith and trust. Dorje Shugden is an emanation of Manjushri , arose to protect the teachings of Lama Tsongkhapa. Dorje Shugden helps us to purify our own negative karma and clearing o bstacles .It is a very beneficial practice and we can in turn to help our friends and people in need.
    The two stories told by Datuk May was one of those miracles that Dorje Shugden has helped.
    Thank you Datuk May for sharing these amazing miracles.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/guest-contributors/%EF%BB%BF%EF%BB%BFdorje-shugden-miracles.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Apr 23. 2017 12:19 PM
    Well i do not have much knowledge obout hair till i read these imformative article.Thank you Ms Grace Leong,,,i do enjoyed reading it as i learned some knowledge from it at least i could know what hair type i do have and taking caring of it.Very useful tips too.
    Yes it true,most of us spend more time and money on our face and less on our hair. With your useful tips ,i am sure more people will be taking care of their hair and scalp too .
    Thank again Ms Grace Leong for sharing
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/guest-contributors/how-much-do-you-know-about-hair.html
  • Valentina Suhendra
    Sunday, Apr 23. 2017 09:20 AM
    Pig Slaughter

    When you watch how the poor pig cried for his life in this article’s video, you will understand that animals have feeling too. None of them are willing to be slaughtered to satisfy our taste buds. Please be kind to animals and be vegetarian.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/pig-slaughter.html
  • Tsem Rinpoche
    Sunday, Apr 23. 2017 03:33 AM
    This is a powerful movie. The Tillerman siblings are forced to fend for themselves when they are abandoned by their mother in the parking lot of a shopping mall. Heart wrenching to see. Abandonment is very hard and affects you for the rest of your life. They eventually meet their grandmother (Anne Bancroft), a loner who is reluctant to take them in. The acting is excellent. The plot was powerful. The struggles are believable. The ending was beautiful and everyone should have a good ending. Must watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yN6HQGHVYaA
  • Jason
    Sunday, Apr 23. 2017 02:28 AM
    Dorje Shugden( DS)is World Peace Dharma Protector and he is emanation of Manjushri (Buddha of Wisdom). DS always help anyone to clear inner or outer obstacles in order for us to have a conducive environment to practice Dharma.
    From above miracles cases, we can see that DS really compassion to help layman in samsara to overcome problems or difficulties.
    In return to DS, we must practice Dharma to nurture or cultivate wisdom and compassion to benefits more people.
    Thanks Datum May for sharing her own experiences to us.

    Jason

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/guest-contributors/%EF%BB%BF%EF%BB%BFdorje-shugden-miracles.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Saturday, Apr 22. 2017 04:07 PM
    Thank you, Nicholas, for sharing with us how you started with Kechara. It is very inspiring to learn that Nicholas started volunteering at KSK, no doubt being nudged to do so, but it was with noble and unconditional intention and had gone all the way since then.

    Each and every one of us has unique affinity, hence, different preference in setting our foot out of our comfort zone to start benefitting others. It is because of this reason; Rinpoche initiated many departments so that people with different preference can find an area that calls out to them.

    I hope more people will volunteer their time for a cause, it not only make our life more meaningful but also expand our horizon as well as benefit many people along the way.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-soup-kitchen-ksk/my-first-time-volunteering-in-kechara.html
  • Lin Mun
    Saturday, Apr 22. 2017 02:51 PM
    It is indeed difficult when a person loss his/her pet. It is never easy because for many pet owners they don’t treat their dog/cat literally but as part of their family. Especially for dog and their nature, they are so loyal and the bonding with human is very strong. Hence, it is understandable that pet owners will grieve over the death of their dog. Every pet owners will mourn or grieve at different extent. As family member and friends we should understand the situation and extend our assistance to comfort them.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/why-losing-a-dog-can-be-harder-than-losing-a-relative-or-friend.html

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Messages from Rinpoche

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

Tsem Rinpoche

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The Unknown

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

Photos On The Go

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


Ask the Pastors

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

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

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

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