Amazing Angkor: A Guide to the Buddhist Temples of Siem Reap

May 13, 2018 | Views: 1,765

Angkor-feat

As the country with the largest majority of Buddhists in the world (97% of Cambodians are active practitioners of Buddhism according to the ‘Global Religious Landscape’ report by the Pew Research Centre), Cambodia is a nation rich with spirituality. Called ‘wat’ in Cambodia, Buddhist temples can be found everywhere and one cannot walk down a street without passing a saffron-robed monk.

Another indication of how deeply spirituality is intertwined with everyday living in Cambodia is that three of the country’s most important annual holidays are big Buddhist festivals:

  • Meak Bochea’ or ‘Magha Puja’, commemorating the auspicious occasion of 1,250 Buddhists coming together spontaneously to venerate the Buddha at Veluvana bamboo grove, is celebrated on the day of the full moon every third lunar month;
  • Visak Bochea Day’, the Cambodian name for ‘Wesak Day’, celebrates the birth, Enlightenment and parinirvana of the Buddha;
  • The 15-day long ‘Pchum Ben’ also known as ‘Ancestors’ Day’ or the ‘Hungry Ghost Festival‘ culminates in a three-day public holiday.
Cambodia 01 - Meak Bochea

Monks in Cambodia celebrating Meak Bochea, one of the biggest holidays of the year. Held on the full moon of the lunar calendar in March, Buddhists celebrate with a candlelight procession. Image credit: Flickr

Cambodia is where the world’s largest religious structure ever built can be found — Angkor Wat, the greatest legacy of the mighty Khmer Empire. Meaning ‘Temple City’, Angkor Wat was originally constructed as a Hindu temple but gradually transformed into a Buddhist one commencing from the late 12th century.

A visit to Angkor Wat is an experience of a time in our history when spirituality influenced every facet of society, from living ethics and the arts to the government and building architecture. Early in 2017, Angkor Wat was voted “the world’s most popular landmark” by travel portal TripAdvisor. This is not the first time either; Angkor Wat was also ranked the “#1 sight in the world” in 2015 by the largest travel guide book publisher in the world, Lonely Planet.

Cambodia 02 - Visak Bochea

Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia was named the world’s most popular landmark in 2017 by the popular travel website Tripadvisor

 

VIDEO: The #1 sight in the world, as voted by Lonely Planet

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Cambodia is also home to ancient Angkor, one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World”. In its heyday, it was a megacity the size of present-day Los Angeles and was home to hundreds of thousands (and estimated at up to three-quarters of a million people when the Khmer civilisation was at its peak).

Cambodia Khmer Stele

A rare inscribed sandstone stele with a figure of the Buddha and finely inscribed on all sides. (Khmer, Baphuon Period, 11th Century) 33½ in. (85 cm.) high. Image credit: Christie’s

Influenced by the Mahayana Buddhism of the great Nalanda University in India — regarded as the world’s oldest university — the Khmer kings established a civilisation with a foundation based on Indian Shaivite and Mahayana Buddhist cosmology that produced progressive life and social sciences, cutting-edge building technology and an empire that stood for 600 years.

The province of Siem Reap is where most of Cambodia’s ancient Khmer temples can be found. The wats of ancient Khmer which make this country so popular with tourists, also make it a top choice destination for Buddhist pilgrims to reconnect with their Buddha-nature and to pay homage to the spiritual awakening which inspired some of the world’s greatest monuments ever built by man.

Siem Reap is also the location of Cambodia’s most sacred mountain. Mount Kulen or ‘Phnom Kulen‘ is a distinguished pilgrimage site for local Hindus and Buddhists containing many historical shrines such as Preah Ang Thom, a 16th-century Buddhist monastery which houses Cambodia’s largest reclining Buddha statue carved from solid rock. Siem Reap has also been named by TripAdvisor as “The Top Destination in Asia” and placed second in the list of “Traveller’s Choice Top 25 Destinations in the World” for 2017.

Cambodia 03 - Siem Reap TripAdvisor Top Destinations

For 2017, TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel website, placed Siem Reap as the second most popular destination in Asia.

 

Siem Reap: An Overview

In the north-west of Cambodia, close to the borders of Thailand, Siem Reap Province was the seat of the ancient Khmer Empire at Angkor — the source of Cambodia’s rich spiritual history. The capital city of the province, also called Siem Reap, is the second largest city in Cambodia and the gateway to over a thousand of Angkor’s temple structures.

Attracting millions of visitors in recent years, Siem Reap is a buzzing cosmopolitan city (and the country’s most developed) catering to every kind of traveller — from guesthouses for backpackers to boutique hotels, diverse world-class cuisines, spas, shopping, and a creative cultural scene that includes artisans, contemporary art galleries and museums. It is also home to the famous Phare, Cambodia’s leading circus known as the “Cambodian Cirque du Soleil.” The city’s airport is the second biggest international airport in Cambodia.

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Once a laid-back river town that served as the gateway to Angkor Wat, Siem Reap has since become a destination entirely of its own

Cambodia 05 - Phare Cambodian Circus

The Phare Cambodian Circus is a contemporary circus in the tradition of the Cirque Du Soleil with a cast of talented young Cambodian performers accomplished in acrobatics, contortion, aerial ballet, balancing, tightrope walking, fire dancing, vaulting, juggling, music, dance, drama, mime and comedy.

 

VIDEO: What to do in Siam Reap, Cambodia

Apart from Angkor, Siem Reap has its own allure, with enticing dining options, stylish shops, genial residents and a laid-back river town ambiance.

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VIDEO: Things to Do and What to Eat in Siam Reap, Cambodia

This insightful travel vlog looks at Food and Beverage social enterprises in Siem Reap — restaurants and cafes that serve highly-rated cuisine along with contributing valuable resources and time to the local Cambodian community.

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Angkor Archaeological Park

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1992, Angkor Archaeological Park is a 400-square kilometre site containing the magnificent remains — nearly 40 temple structures — of the Khmer Empire. Gradually built over half a millennia from the 9th to the 15th centuries, Angkor is now known to be the largest pre-industrial city in the world.

The most iconic monuments at Angkor Park are the Angkor Wat Temple and the Bayon Temple at Angkor Thom with its giant faces of Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of Compassion, carved in stone.

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Laser surveys conducted in 2012 and 2015 revealed that the temples in Angkor Park were once surrounded by a sprawling urban network spread over an area larger than modern-day Paris. Image credit: © flickr user: chrisjunker, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The early temples of Angkor were built as Hindu temples but became Buddhist in the 12th century when Jayavarman VII converted to Mahayana Buddhism. Following his conversion, this Khmer king commenced on an ambitious era of sophisticated development including the building of the new capital city of Angkor Thom containing the monumental Buddhist temples of Bayon, Ta Prohm and Preah Khan. The rule of Jayavarman VII is regarded as “the golden era” of the Khmer.

Cambodia 07 - Angkor 2 (Map)

With over 150 significant monuments, Angkor was the crown jewel of the Khmer civilisation. Apart from being an outstanding cultural heritage site, it is also an ecological site with reservoirs (the famous barays), ponds and canals as well as forests and rice paddies. Home to around 130,000 local inhabitants scattered over 112 villages, Angkor is a living heritage site. Moreover, it is a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists both from Cambodia and from abroad who come regularly to pray, organise sacred ceremonies and worship their deities in the pagodas inside Angkor Wat, in front of Bayon Temple as well as in Bakong and Lolei. Monks still live in pagodas and monastic life continues as it was in the past. Due to its outstanding universal values, the 401 sq km site has been included on UNESCO´s World Heritage List since 1992. Source: Official Angkor Park website, http://www.angkor.com.kh

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Cambodia 09 - Angkor 3 (Lidar)

In 2007, an international team of researchers using satellite photographs and other modern techniques concluded that “Angkor had been the largest pre-industrial city in the world,” with an elaborate infrastructure system connecting an urban sprawl of at least 1,000 square kilometres to the well-known temples at its core. Angkor is considered to be a “hydraulic city” because it had a complicated water management network, which was used for systematically stabilising, storing, and dispersing water throughout the area. This network is believed to have been used for irrigation in order to offset the unpredictable monsoon season and to also support the increasing population. Although the size of its population remains a topic of research and debate, newly identified agricultural systems in the Angkor area may have supported up to one million people. Source: Wikipedia; Image credit: Damian Evans/Cambodian Archaeological Lidar Initiative

After the Mahayana Buddhist rule under Jayavarman VII and his son Indravarman II, the Khmer Empire reverted to Hinduism for a short period but eventually returned to becoming a Buddhist kingdom until its fall to the Thai kingdom of Ayutthaya. Many of the remaining temples in the Angkor Archeological Park, originally built as palatial dwellings for the gods, continue to be holy pilgrimage sites for Cambodians and foreign visitors, including monks.

The Angkor Archaeological Park registered two million tourists last year and entry into the park is via a ticketing system. Visitor details along with tips for pilgrims to Angkor Park and the temples in Siem Reap are listed in the section below.

 

VIDEO: A clip on Angkor Wat from the documentary ‘Prajna Earth’, the second part of The Journey Into Buddhism ‘Yatra Trilogy’ series.

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Angkor Wat

The only man-made building to have a place on a country’s national flag, Angkor Wat is the pride of Cambodia. Surrounded by moats and built in the “temple-mountain” style, Angkor Wat is a highly symbolic mountain-like building topped by five towers. Called ‘gopuras’, the five towers represent the five peaks of the mythical Mount Meru.

“Grander than anything left to us by Greece or Rome” was the judgment of young French explorer Henri Mouhot when he first stumbled across Angkor Wat in 1858. He described the complex as “a rival [to the temple] of Solomon, erected by some ancient Michelangelo”.

Cambodia 10 - Angkor Wat 1 (Henri Mouhot)

In 1858, Henri Mouhot, a French naturalist and explorer, travelled to Indochina to conduct a series of botanical expeditions. An English version of his travel journal was published in London in 1864. In it, he introduced the Temple of Angkor to the western world, and this publication, with his exquisitely detailed engravings, helped to popularise the now famous complex of ruined temples. Image credit: A drawing of Angkor Wat by Henri Mouhot from 1864

This temple, originally dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, was built by King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century and remains the largest religious complex in the world. Unrivalled in scale and grandeur, the temple’s five gopuras rise above a 400-acre precinct — four times larger than Vatican City. The period when Angkor Wat was built also marks the beginning of the golden age of the Khmer Empire. Later in the century, Angkor Wat was converted into a Buddhist temple by King Suryavarman II’s successor, Jayavarman VII.

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A statue of Buddha Shakyamuni at the entrance to the inner sanctuary of the central tower of Angkor Wat

Although Angkor Wat’s precious statues and art were targeted for destruction by the Khmer Rouge during their violent reign in the late 70s, and were looted and sold on the black market in the following decades, there still remains many archeological treasures to be viewed and admired. Glorious to behold even with their heads removed, Buddha statues sit in meditation along the corridors of Angkor Wat as a silent reminder of both Cambodia’s past glory and its violent history.

Constructed in the form of a mandala and positioned to align with astrological events, Angkor Wat has long corridors and open galleries with 1,700 devatas (deities) and 1,200 square metres of Hindu epics carved into the bas-reliefs decorating the temple’s walls. The most renowned is the creation epic ‘Churning the Ocean of Milk’ depicting the beginning of time and the creation of the universe in an equally epic 49-metre-long wall carving — Vishnu commanding a giant naga to be pulled back and forth by 108 devas (gods) and asuras (demons), churning the primordial ocean for a thousand years until ‘amrita‘, the nectar of life develops. It is a tale that represents the divine paradox where the forces of dark and light work relentlessly together for one’s spiritual awakening.

Country: Cambodia Site: Angkor Wat Caption: Churning of the Sea of Milk bas relief, long view Image Date: c1996 Photographer: John Stubbs/WMF Provenance: Site Visit Original: from slide collection

View of the 49-metre wall with its intricately sculpted bas-relief ‘Churning the Ocean of Milk’ at Angkor Wat.

The place of the Khmer kings in Angkor Wat has long passed down the corridor of time but for the Buddha, it is still ever present. Like most of the temples in Angkor Park, Angkor Wat houses many active Buddhist altars and shrines complete with larger-than-life Buddha statues carved from stone which are cared for by local monks from nearby temples and the laity with daily venerations and offerings of candles, joss-sticks (incense sticks), flowers and fruit. One of the most popular sites in Angkor Wat, with many shrines for veneration, is ‘Preah Poan’ — the Hall of a Thousand Buddhas.

One of the best times of the year to visit Angkor Wat is during any one of the three big Buddhist holidays. On Magha Puja and Wesak Day, Angkor Wat becomes a sea of saffron as thousands of monks converge on the temple grounds to offer devotional chanting and recitations, pray and meditate. During the 15-day-long Cambodian Ancestor’s Day Festival called ‘Pchum Ben’, the altars and shrines in Angkor Wat are a venue of feasts, as long lines of food, cakes and fruits are laid out in front of Buddha statues together with incense, flowers and other offerings, to appease and relieve the sufferings of the deceased in the afterlife.

Cambodia 13 - Angkor Wat 4 (Visak Bochea)

Monks from all over the country and region gather for the annual Visak Bochea or Wesak Day festival

 

Angkor Thom

Sited after Angkor Wat in the archaeological park is Angkor Thom — the last capital of the ancient Khmer — built progressively over a few centuries by successive kings but mostly (including the iconic Bayon Temple) by the Buddhist King Jayavarman VII. Unlike Angkor Wat which was built as a temple, Angkor Thom was a whole city comprising of temples, palaces and other buildings for civic use including hospitals. Meaning “Great City”, the magnificence of Angkor Thom is in the sum of its parts, right from the entry bridge which is flanked by 54 devas and asuras on each side.

While wooden palatial and civic buildings only have their foundations remaining today, the buildings that are still standing after centuries are the ones worthy enough to have been constructed from stone — the temples built to house the divine.

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Angkor Thom was a fortified city enclosing temples, monasteries, residences of palace officials and the military, as well as buildings for administering the kingdom

 

The Bayon

Set in the centre of the ten square kilometre city of Angkor Thom, all the buildings in this last (and most impressive) capital of the Khmer Empire radiate outwards from the iconic Bayon Temple. Dedicated to the Buddha of Compassion, Bayon has 37 peaks containing more than two hundred stone faces of Avalokiteshvara. Each larger-than-life face is ten feet in height.

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The magnificient Bayon Temple is located at the centre of Angkor Thom

Much smaller in size than Angkor Wat but no less impressive, Bayon is composed of three enclosures with tightly spaced galleries. The main gallery is on an upper terrace and, similar to Angkor Wat, all of Bayon’s gallery walls are filled with superbly carved bas-reliefs.

Uniquely, the bas-reliefs found in Bayon and many of the temples of Angkor Thom also feature depictions of important events and everyday living in this great ancient city. These ‘snapshots’ carved into the stone walls of the outer enclosure are an invaluable window looking back hundreds of years, documenting the people of the ancient Khmer civilisation and their lives.

Cambodia 17 - Bayon 2 (Bas Relief)

The well-preserved bas reliefs of Bayon Temple depict scenes of major events and Khmer life from the period between the 12th and 14th centuries

Although built as a Buddhist temple, the Bayon, like most ancient temples in Southeast Asia, contains tributes to Hindu cosmology — the inner enclosure has walls with reliefs of scenes from the popular Ramayana and Mahabharata epics.

The Bayon’s main gallery on the top level is where the famous “face towers” of the temple can be found. At the centre of this gallery is the central gopura with a sanctuary that, during the time of the Khmer, was the original location of the famous Buddha statue of Bayon — a 3.6 metre tall Buddha in meditation pose, sheltered from the elements by the flared hood of the serpent king Mucalinda.

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The famous “face towers” of Bayon

This statue was thought to be lost but then was found in 1933 at the bottom of a well. The magnificent 12th century Buddha has since been restored and is now on display in its own pavilion outside the Bayon. In the sanctuary today, sits a newer statue of Buddha Shakyamuni.

Cambodia 19 - Bayon 4 (Original Bayon Buddha)

The famous Bayon Buddha sits in meditative equipoise on the trunk of a naga coiled three times to serve as a throne, and whose seven heads spread into a hood to shelter the Enlightened One. This statue was originally located in the central sanctuary of the Bayon temple but is now housed at Vihear Prampil Loveng (Wat Prampei Loveng)

Besides the central gopura, the inner galleries and smaller towers of the Bayon also have sanctuaries and chapels. Some still house the original Buddha statues as centrepieces while others feature more recent replicas. All of these are active shrines of worship and, from time to time, serve as temporary chapels complete with a variety of Buddha statues and altars for making devotions and offerings.

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The many shrines in Bayon Temple make these ancient ruins an active site for Buddhist devotion. Shrines like this can also be found in many other temples in Angkor Park

 

Baphuon Temple

Older than Angkor Wat, Baphuon is said to have been one of the most spectacular of Angkor’s temples during its heyday. Located north-west of Bayon, it was also constructed as a pyramidal representation of the mythical Mount Meru.

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The Baphuon, one of the largest and oldest temples at Angkor Park, lay in hundreds of thousands of pieces for decades, interrupted by the civil war. Restoration works commenced in 1995 and the temple was reopened to the public in 2011.

The temple of Baphuon was the centre of the old Khmer capital that existed before the construction of Angkor Thom. When first built, Baphuon was the state temple of King Udayadityavarman II and was dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.

Later in the 15th century, the Baphuon was converted to a Buddhist temple and a massive 9-metre-tall by 70-metre-long reclining Buddha was built into the wall on the west side.

Cambodia 20 - Baphuon 20 (Reclining Buddha)

When the Baphuon was converted into a Buddhist temple in the 15th century, a massive 70-metre-long reclining Buddha was built into the side of the west wall

When it was found, much of the temple had collapsed and restoration efforts were challenging, particularly after the Khmer Rouge came to power in the 70s and all archaeological records marking the positions of the stones were lost. Nicknamed “the world’s largest jigsaw puzzle”, a team of archaeologists started in 1995 to reassemble the temple from 300,000 stones! After 16 years, the Baphuon Temple was fully restored and reopened its doors to the public in 2011.

 

Terrace of the Elephants

Named for the carvings of elephants on its eastern face, the Terrace of the Elephants was used as a royal viewing gallery for Jayavarman VII — a platform for the Khmer king to view his victorious returning army — and for public ceremonies.

Attached to the Phimeanakas Palace, it also served as a base for the king’s grand audience hall. It is a 350-metre-long stage famous for its life-size reliefs of garudas and lions, and facing either end are marching elephants complete with mahouts.

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During the heyday of the Khmer Empire, the Terrace of the Elephants was the stage for royal processions and ceremonies

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Preah Palilay

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The Buddha statue in the pavilion at the entrance of Preah Palilay was missing its head until the early 1930s when it was found entangled in the roots of a tree

Set in a forested location a short walk from the Terrace of the Elephants and the Phimeanakas Palace is Preah Palilay, a small Buddhist temple. According to Khmer folklore, Preah Palilay takes its name after the Parileyyaka Forest that features in the stories of the Buddha.

Surrounded by towering trees, this temple is highly regarded for having many Buddhist carvings largely intact and in better condition than those vandalised and destroyed in other Angkor temples, first by the Hindu Khmer revival under Jayavarman VIII then by the Khmer Rouge.

Under a pavilion at the front of the temple grounds is a large Buddha statue that was missing its head until it was found entwined in the roots of a tree in the early 1930s. Sitting serenely on a lotus, Buddha Shakyamuni, in the iconic “calling the earth to witness” mudra, greets visitors at the start of a cross-shaped terrace with seven-headed naga balustrades leading to the main entrance of the temple.

 

VIDEO: Cambodia Preah Palilay

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At the doorways of the gopura of Preah Palilay are exquisite carvings with scenes from the life of the Buddha. One scene with elephants, monkeys and peacocks is believed to be from “The offerings of the animals to the Buddha in the forest of Parileyyaka”. Other scenes include the offering of rice-milk by Sujata and the subjugation of the elephant Nalagiri. These scenes also feature exquisite carvings depicting a reclining, seated and standing Buddha in each.

Close to the site is a Buddhist monastery, and the regular presence of monks and nuns at the temple provide Preah Palilay with a living spiritual energy. The temple also has on its grounds the remains of two guardians called dvarapalas and a lion.

 

Tep Pranam

Consisting of little more than an elevated cross-shaped terrace, Tep Pranam was once the base of a pagoda. Although it is listed as one of the least impressive structures in the Angkor Archeological Park, Tep Pranam is undoubtedly an important temple to visit for Buddhist pilgrims.

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To this day, the Buddhist shrines at Tep Pranam carry great religious significance for many Cambodians who come here to pray and make offerings

Tep Pranam means “the adoring God” and this temple is home to two enormous 16th century Buddha statues which have been restored in cement from their original sandstone blocks. The first, towering at 6 metres in height, is Buddha Shakyamuni seated on a lotus in the “calling the earth to witness” mudra. The other has the Buddha standing at 4 metres tall in the “absence of fear” mudra with both palms facing outwards. Each magnificent stone Buddha statue is under a gazebo with shrines for devotions and many Cambodians visit to make prayers and offerings.

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A Buddha statue sitting in the lotus position in Tep Pranam. The 6-metre-high statue dates back to the 16th century, but was restored in 1950

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The Standing Buddha at Tep Pranam has been reconstructed with a mixture of concrete and its original sandstone pieces. Standing at over 4 metres in height, the Buddha’s hands are in the “absence of fear” mudra. Right image credit: National Museum of Cambodia. Left image credit: travelvideophoto.com

A stele found near Tep Pranam has inscriptions on its four sides telling of an ancient Buddhist monastery or “asrama” founded by King Yasovarman at the end of the 9th century. The inscriptions also describe the various rules of asrama. It is quite common to find monks and nuns living in retreat in wooden huts on the wooded fringes of Tep Pranam.

 

Preah Khan

One of the largest temple complexes in Angkor, Preah Khan was built by Jayavarman VII in the baroque Bayon style with many finely carved bas-reliefs. More than just a temple, Preah Khan was founded as a Buddhist university housing more than a thousand teachers, monks and nuns along with royal residences. The monastic complex is older than Angkor Thom and it is believed that this may have been a miniature city that served as a temporary capital while Angkor Thom was being constructed.

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Cambodia 29 - Preah Khan 2

Built as a monastery for Buddhist learning, Preah Khan is not to be missed for anyone making a pilgrimage to Angkor

A large stone stele at Preah Khan provides detailed historical information of its founding and role as a centre for Mahayana Buddhist worship and learning. The inscriptions on the Preah Khan Foundation Stele start with invocations to the Three Jewels, Lokeshvara (Avalokiteshvara) and Prajnaparamita. The stele also describes Preah Khan to be a dedication to the king’s father, Dharanindravarman, who is represented by a statue of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara constructed in his likeness at the temple’s central sanctuary.

Cambodia 30 - Preah Khan 3 (Stele)

Extracted from ‘The Stele Inscription of Preah Khan, Angkor Text with Translation and Commentary’ by Thomas S. Maxwell, University of Bonn

Cambodia 31 - Preah Khan 4 (Bas Relief)

Many of the magnificent bas-reliefs on the walls of Preah Khan are very well preserved

Cambodia 34 - Preah Khan 7 (Stupa)

In the central shrine of Preah Khan is a stupa where visitors and pilgrims can make offerings and perform devotions

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A replica of the kneeling Prajnaparamita statue from Preah Khan is on display at the National Museum of Cambodia in Phnom Penh

At its height, Preah Khan once had shrines devoted to 430 secondary deities, but nearly all of the Buddha statues and images were either completely destroyed or defaced by the Hindu revivalist, Jayavarman VIII, including the Avalokiteshvara statue in the central sanctuary. In its place today is a stone stupa that is also the main shrine for devotions at Preah Khan.

One of the finest Khmer statues found at Angkor Park was from Preah Khan — a kneeling Prajnaparamita, the Bodhisattva who represents the “perfection of wisdom”. The original is presently at the Musée Guimet in Paris and a replica is on display at Cambodia’s National Museum in Phnom Penh.

 

Ta Prohm

Most famously known as the “Tomb Raider Temple,” Ta Prohm provided the location in the blockbuster movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider starring Angelina Jolie. Unlike most Angkor temples which have had their sites cleared and structures restored, Ta Prohm has been preserved almost exactly as it was found — a temple reclaimed by nature complete with tentacled roots and large trees growing out of the ruins. It is this fantasy-like enchanted forest atmosphere that makes Ta Prohm one of the most popular temples at Angkor.

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Ta Prohm achieved international fame for being the location set for the action-adventure movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider with Angelina Jolie as the main star

Originally known as ‘Rajavihara‘ (meaning “Monastery of the King”), Ta Prohm was a Mahayana Buddhist temple built in the 12th century by Jayavarman VII who dedicated it to his mother.

Shrines at Ta Prohm

As with Preah Khan which had the likeness of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara dedicated to his father, the great Buddhist Khmer King dedicated Ta Prohm to his mother in the form of the Bodhisattva Prajnaparamita.

The temple was an important Buddhist monastery and university, and was home to over 10,000 people including thousands of monks and nuns. It also contained a stele which provided detailed records of its construction, purpose and maintenance.

400 years after European explorers rediscovered Ta Prohm, the temple’s appearance is not so different from when it was found. It was decided that Ta Prohm should remain exactly as it was to show the conquering power of nature over man.

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Inside Ta Prohm’s dark maze-like corridors and galleries, pilgrims will find some of the most magical-looking Buddhist shrines in Angkor.

Many Buddhist scenes can also be found here including a bas-relief illustrating the “Great Departure” of Siddhartha from his father’s palace and a scene from the Jataka Tale of Prince Vessantara who, after giving away his two children as servants, poured water into the hands of the Brahmin Jujuka as a symbolic act of renunciation in order to practise the virtue of charity.

Other reliefs are of devatas, meditating monks and ascetics, and dvarapalas (temple guardians).

Cambodia 38 - Ta Phrom 4 (Bas Relief)

Ta Prohm was built by King Jayavarman VII in honour of his mother, whose image was used for the main statue of the temple, Prajnaparamita, a symbol of wisdom in Mahayana Buddhism. Image credit: passenger6a.com

 

VIDEO: Journey Inside the Ghostly Temple of Trees

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Neak Pean and Krol Ko

100 metres from each other, Neak Pean and Krol Ko are two temples in Angkor with symbolic representations of Buddhist cosmology in accordance with Mahayana tradition. Meaning ‘twin nagas’ or ‘entwined nagas’ — ‘neak’ being the Khmer word for naga — Neak Pean is a small but astounding temple. It is set on an artificial island built on a small lake with a central gopura encircled by a pair of nagas, claimed to be Nanda and Upananda of Lake Anavatapta. According to Buddhist cosmology, Anavatapta is a mythical lake at the centre of the world in the Himalayas with waters that can cure illnesses and remove suffering.

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Neak Pean is a small temple built on a man-made island on a lake with shrines that reflect Buddhist cosmology

Neak Pean was built by Jayavarman VII as a hospital and place of healing dedicated to the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. Once, four sculptures stood on the bed of the lake but the only one remaining today is that of ‘Balaha’, Avalokiteshvara emanating in the form of a horse. This sculpture of a flying horse rising from the water with a group of men holding onto its tail recounts the tale of Balaha rescuing merchants at sea from an ogress.

Out of four statues that previously arose from the lake, the last remaining is that of Balaha, an emanation of Avalokiteshvara in the form of a horse

From the shores of the lake, visitors get to Neak Pean either via a long wooden walkway or by boat. The temple structure itself contains pools of water with four small chapels at the corners. Inside are carved stone heads — a king, lion, horse and elephant respectively — that serve as waterspouts. The water is channeled from the central pool to smaller basins in each chapel. At present, all the chapels in Neak Pean are active shrines housing small stone Buddhas for devotions, and devotees also come here to collect the healing waters.

Cambodia 41 - Neak Pean 3 (Shrine)

Neak Pean, originally built as a centre of healing, continues to attract visitors and pilgrims from all over Cambodia. The waters from the shrines are also sought after as they are believed to contain healing properties.

Krol Ko, a small temple structure a short distance from Neak Pean is believed to be the chapel for the hospital. On its grounds are pediments with intricate reliefs of both Hindu and Buddhist origins — among the most famous is the restored pediment with Avalokiteshvara.

Cambodia 42 - Krol Ko

Krol Ko means ‘Shed of the Oxen’ in Khmer. The temple is located northwest of Neak Pean, 100 metres from the road. The well-preserved stone carvings at Krol Ko feature scenes with Avalokiteshvara and make this small temple worth visiting.

 

Ta Som

Relatively smaller than most of the temples in Angkor, Ta Som is a compact temple consisting of a single shrine enclosed by walls and entrance gopuras that have well-preserved towers. Although clearly built as a Buddhist temple in the Bayon style, with each tower featuring the four faces of Avalokiteshvara, little is known about the temple’s history and purpose.

Ta Som was built by King Jayavarman VII at the end of the 12th century, dedicated to his father Dharanindravarman II.

Like its more famous counterpart Ta Prohm, Ta Som is a temple that has been reclaimed by nature. It is most famous for its east entrance which has a gopura completely enveloped by a giant Bodhi tree. Its doorway, which appears as an opening through the tree’s long flowing roots, is also one of the most photographed sites in Angkor.

Another must-see at Ta Som is a large lintel with exquisite reliefs depicting Avalokiteshvara surrounded by a crowd offering devotions. The temple is also rich in architectural detail with finely carved stone sculptures of nagas and garudas.

For a long time, Ta Som remained in a state of advanced ruin but it has since been recently restored.

 

VIDEO: Ta Som Temple

Or view the video on the server at:
https://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/Cambodia-V7a-TaSom.mp4

 

Banteay Kdei and Srah Srang

The next in the long list of temples built by Jayavarman VII is Banteay Kdei, a Bayon-style monastery constructed between the 12th and 13th centuries. Often overlooked by tourists, Banteay Kdei, which means “A Citadel of Chambers”, has gopuras crowned with towers featuring giant carvings of Avalokiteshvara’s face on all four sides.

Cambodia 44 - Banteay Kdei 1

Banteay Kdei is the Khmer name meaning “A Citadel of Chambers” or “Citadel of Monks’ Cells”

It is widely believed that this monastic complex was dedicated to the prolific Khmer King’s Buddhist teacher. Built as a residence for monks, Banteay Kdei is filled with Buddhist-themed bas-reliefs and stone carvings. While much of it has been defaced, there are still many in relatively good condition including a giant Buddha Shakyamuni statue in meditation position at the central shrine. Another well-preserved Buddha image can be found at the entrance to the moat.

Up until the 1960s, monks were still living at Banteay Kdei. In the late 90s, archaeologists unearthed a large cache of nearly 300 Buddhist statues and artefacts — these have since been taken off-site for study and archival purposes.

Built as a monastery, Banteay Kdei was occupied by monks at various intervals over the centuries until the 1960s

Banteay Kdei is also recommended as an alternative site to watch the sun rise over Angkor, away from the hordes of visitors at Angkor Wat especially during peak season. It offers a quiet but no less magical view of the sun rising and reflecting off the mirror-like surface of Srah Srang.

Located by the Banteay Kdei Temple, Srah Srang, the “Royal Bathing Pool” or “Pool of Ablutions” was built by an earlier king and later renovated by Jayavarman VII. This massive 20,000 square feet pond was used only by the king and members of the royal family. The sides of the pool are decorated with delicate carvings and stone statues of lions and nagas. A wooden temple once stood on a small man-made island at the centre of the pond; however, all that remains today is its stone base.

The long promenades lined with naga balustrades are a quieter but no less magnificent alternative to Angkor Wat for watching the sunrise

 

Prasat Bat Chum

Less popular with the average tourist, Prasat Bat Chum, a small temple consisting of three gopuras at the top of a terraced hill, will hold interest for the Buddhist pilgrim. Built in the 10th century by the predecessor of King Jayavarman VII at a time when the Khmer Empire was still Hindu, it is the first Buddhist temple ever built in the Angkor region.

Prasat Bat Chum is considered to be the first Buddhist sanctuary in Angkor. Its three towers were dedicated to the Mahayana Buddhist trinity of Buddha Shakyamuni (central gopura), Avalokiteshvara (southern gopura) and Prajnaparamita (northern gopura)

There are Buddhist inscriptions on the doorjambs of Prasat Bat Chum, crediting the ‘architect’ or official in-charge of the construction of the temple. This individual has been identified as the same person also responsible for building Srah Srang. Records also show that there were once houses and a Buddhist monastery located near the temple but these structures were made of wood and are now long gone.

During the excavations in the 1950s, flagstones showing yantras were found. These were later reconstituted to match the Buddhist divinities mentioned in the doorjamb inscriptions.

 

Other Temples to Visit in Angkor Park

Koh Ker, Kbal Spean, Phnom Bakheng, Phimeanakas, Banteay Srei and Prasat Phnom Kron are among the more significant temples to visit, particularly for their Hindu Khmer art and architecture. The Roluos group of temples is a remote collection of structures and another of the Khmer Empire’s early capitals before Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom were built. All the temples in the Roluos group were built for Hindu devotions, while two modern pagodas can be found at Prasat Bakong and Prasat Lolei. Both are very popular places of worship for the local Khmer and Cambodian population.

Cambodia 49 - Roluos 1

The Roluos group, built in the late 9th century, is the oldest site in Angkor Park that is open to visitors

The carvings on the temples of the Roluos group is, according to some prominent art historians, “the most beautiful of all Khmer art”

 

Getting to Angkor Park

 

VIDEO: Before You Visit Angkor Wat, Here’s What You Need to Know

Or view the video on the server at:
https://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/Cambodia-V8a -Before-Visit.mp4

 

Opening Hours

Angkor Park is managed by the ‘Authority for the Protection and Safeguarding of Angkor and the Region of Angkor’ (APSARA Authority). Its operating hours are from 7.30 am to 5.50 pm, except the following temples which open earlier and close later for sunrise and sunset views:

  • Angkor Wat and Srah Srang: Open from 5.00 am to 5.30 pm
  • Phnom Bakheng and Pre Rup: Open from 5.00 am to 7.00 pm

 

Getting In: The Angkor Pass

To gain entry into Angkor Park, an entrance ticket — called an ‘Angkor Pass’ — must be purchased beforehand. There are three types of passes with prices as follows:

  • 1-Day Angkor Pass: USD $37
  • 3-Day Angkor Pass: USD $62 (any three days within seven days from purchase date)
  • 7-Day Angkor Pass: USD $72 (any seven days within a calendar month from purchase date)
Cambodia 53 - Angkor Pass

Entry into Angkor Park is with an Angkor Pass

Angkor Passes are only issued at the official ticket office (open from 5.00 am to 5.30 pm daily), operated by Angkor Enterprise for APSARA Authority. It is located on the corner of Street 60 and Apsara Road, the road to the West Gate entrance, which is the entry gate closest to Angkor Wat. Every private car rental or tuk-tuk driver knows where it is.

Cambodia 51 - Angkor Enterprise 1

Cambodia 52 - Angkor Enterprise 2 (Ticket Counters)

Angkor Enterprise Ticket Office

The Angkor Pass requires a photograph of the visitor, which is taken at the ticket counter during the time of purchase. Every visitor is required to be present in person for the pass to be issued.

There are strict dress codes which apply to all visitors, men and women alike, forbidding exposure of knees and shoulders and revealing clothing. If you are not dressed appropriately, you will not be issued a pass.

All Angkor Passes are non-transferable and fines are severe, from USD $100 up to $300 if you lose your pass while in the park. So do remember to keep your passes safely on your person at all times!

With every Angkor Pass purchased, USD $2 goes to the Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital Fund — a non-profit hospital which has treated 18 million children since 1992. Kantha Bopha operates solely through donations and gives treatments to Cambodian children for free.

Cambodia 52 - Angkor Entrance Tickets Regulations

Angkor Entrance Tickets Regulations. Click to enlarge.

Visitors who meet the following conditions are exempt from having to purchase a pass to enter the park:

  • All Cambodian nationals
  • Foreigners of Cambodian birth or whose parents are Cambodian (either father or mother). A ‘K’ type Cambodian visa is required.
  • Foreigners who have been granted Cambodian citizenship. A national identity card is required.
  • Children aged 12 and below. Proof of age with either passport or national identity card is required.

Angkor Passes can only be purchased with cash. The ticket office does not accept credit or debit cards. ATMs are available at the office premises but it is recommended that you prepare all the necessary cash beforehand because queues for the ATM can be very long (and slow!) during peak hours, especially in the morning with crowds of visitors rushing to get in for the sunrise.

For the latest information, visit the APSARA official website: angkor.com.kh

TIP: Avoid morning crowds and purchase your passes after 5.00 pm on the day prior to your visit, especially if you are only getting a one-day pass. Tickets sold after this time are valid for the following day, plus you will be able to enter the park on the evening of the purchase to catch an extra view of the sunset!

 

Getting Around

 

Tuk Tuks

Also called ‘remorks‘ or ‘remorques‘, as they were known by the French, tuk tuks are said to be the best way to get around Angkor Park. These open-sided two-wheeler carriages pulled by motorcycles seat two people comfortably and are a breezy enjoyable ride. They are cheaper than hiring a car and driver. Plus, they allow you to get closer to where you want to go, which can be a temple, a restaurant or even an elephant!

Tuk tuk rates generally start from USD $8 for a standard 8-hour day to USD $20 for the entire day (before sunrise till after sunset). Hotels in Siem Reap are usually happy to make tuk tuk bookings for you but the rates may be higher than if you were to organise it on your own. Learn more about getting around by tuk tuk at http://www.movetocambodia.com/living-in-cambodia/transportation/getting-around-by-tuk-tuk/

Cambodia 54 - Tuk Tuk

Tuk tuks are the most popular mode for getting to and around Angkor Park

 

Hired Car and Driver

If you are travelling in a group or with elderly companions, or if you just like the comfort, then an air-conditioned car or mini-van is easy to hire in Siem Reap. In particular, when it comes to visiting temples outside Angkor Park such as Beng Mealea or Phnom Kulen, hiring a car and driver is highly recommended as the journey to these remote locations can take several hours on bumpy roads.

Most hotels will be able to arrange a hire car and driver which generally starts from USD $30 to $40 a day and more for bigger cars like mini vans or luxury models.

 

Motorcycle Taxis

If you’re travelling alone and are the adventurous sort, then hiring a motorcycle taxi — called ‘motodup’ in Cambodian or ‘moto’ for short — is just the thing for you. Motos are zippy rides and can go off road which means you’ll be able to see places and sights most travellers in tuk tuks and cars may not be able to. The downside is that it’s not as comfortable especially during the rainy season — be sure to have a poncho with you if you choose to get around by moto.

Motodups are usually hired for an entire day and cost only USD $8 from before sunrise till after sunset.

 

Bicycles

For the super adventurous with lots of time to explore the park at leisure, bicycles can be a really enjoyable mode of getting around Angkor. Bicycle hires start from as little as US $2 to $3 a day for a basic bicycle and between USD $6 to $7 for a mountain bike.

REMINDER: If you are planning on cycling in Siem Reap and Angkor, make sure you have travel insurance and take all necessary safety precautions — wear a helmet, get a bike light, etc. — because roads in Siem Reap and to Angkor are heavily trafficked and road accidents are common.

 

Getting a Guide

Because Angkor is an enormous park with many temple sites, it can be an overwhelming experience especially for first-time visitors. Therefore, hiring a local guide to help you plan which temples to visit, to help you get around and to learn more about the temples is an option worth considering.

Official Angkor guides, trained and licensed by the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism can be hired through your hotel or travel company.

Cambodia 55 - Official Angkor Guide

Hiring a trained guide is highly recommended for first-time visitors to Angkor Park

The price for hiring a guide can range from USD $25 to $40 a day for just the guide and up to USD $70 for a package which includes a guide, an air-conditioned vehicle with driver and bottled mineral water.

RECOMMENDATION: For visitors planning on making a proper Buddhist pilgrimage, allocate a minimum of three days (if you can) at Angkor Park. For the first day, hire a guide to help you get oriented with the many temples in the park and identify the ones you want to spend time in prayer at. Then return on your own the following two days to visit or revisit those temples.

 

Angkor Park Official Code of Conduct

Besides Angkor Park’s archeological and historical value as a “living heritage”, this UNESCO World Heritage Zone is still home to over 130,000 people living in 112 villages throughout the region. Many of the park’s temples are still daily places of worship for Angkor residents and visiting Buddhist pilgrims.

The Angkor Code of Conduct released by APSARA Authority ensures that visitors to the park maintain appropriate decorum and modesty in dressing that will not offend the religious and cultural values of the place and its people.

 

DON’TS:

  • Don’t dress inappropriately, meaning don’t wear attire that shows too much leg, shoulder or back. When visiting the park, do not wear shorts, short skirts (skirt-lines above the knee) and tops that are revealing. This includes shoe-string straps, halter-neck tops, bikinis for women, and going shirtless for men.
  • Don’t touch the monuments or handle statues or carvings. These are centuries-old artefacts and can be easily damaged.
  • Don’t talk or laugh loudly because it is not in the local culture to do so. Cambodians speak with soft tones and it is considered disrespectful to have loud conversations or raised voices.
  • Don’t violate Angkor Park rules at all times. For visitor safety as well as to show respect to the site, do not enter restricted areas, climb the outside of temples or over stones.
  • Don’t smoke or litter. Smoking is banned throughout Angkor Park and strict smoking and littering penalties are imposed to ensure the park’s environment is clean and safe for all visitors.
  • Don’t buy items being sold by children or give them money. Impoverished families often send their children to the park to sell a variety of goods from souvenir trinkets to devotional items. The Cambodian authorities wish to discourage this practice so that the children will remain in school.
  • Don’t act disrespectfully to monks. Everywhere in Cambodia and especially so in Angkor, monks are often present. Monks observe very strict rules of etiquette and visitors are reminded to be respectful when they are present — do not get close to or touch them and especially, do not take photographs either of or with them without first asking their permission.

 

DOs:

  • Wear modest clothing that is not revealing — trousers or skirts should not go higher than the knee and tops should not be sleeveless. For comfort and protection from the sun, opt for light-weight clothes that are loose and comfortable — cotton or linen is ideal. Put on comfortable shoes for walking and stay away from heels. You might also want to bring these items with you – a hat, sunglasses, sunblock, mosquito repellent, a towel and/or wet wipes.
  • Be mindful not to touch, hold or knock on walls, stones, sculptures and carvings.
  • Keep your voice down and speak with soft tones.
  • Observe Angkor Park rules at all times. Angkor is one of the world’s most important historical complexes and, while it is important to keep it open for the public to learn from, it is equally as important that visitors take heed of the rules so these beautiful structures can be preserved for posterity.
  • Carry your disposables with you until you find a rubbish bin.
  • Support impoverished families and children by contributing to the various groups and organisations working to improve the lives of these people.
  • Revere the Sangha. Bowing to monks is considered very respectful. And it is recommended to seek permission before approaching or speaking with them.

The Angkor Visitor Code of Conduct issued by APSARA Authority. Click to enlarge.

 

VIDEO: Angkor Visitor Code of Conduct

Or view the video on the server at:
https://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/Cambodia-V9a-Visitor-Code.mp4

 

VIDEO: Sampeah Etiquette in Khmer

Greetings are important in Cambodia. The style of greeting called “Sampeah” in Khmer language is performed by placing both palms together in the manner of praying, accompanied by a slight bow of the head. It is similar to the Thai ‘wai’.

Or view the video on the server at:
https://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/Cambodia-V10a-Sampeah.mp4

 

When to Visit

The peak season to visit Angkor Park is from November till February when the weather is cool and windy, almost Mediterranean-like. This time of the year is known as the Cambodian ‘winter’ but bear in mind that you’ll be competing with hordes of other visitors to view the sights. Prices for goods and services like tuk tuks are also higher, driven by demand.

March and April, although dry, are the hottest months.

The low season coincides with the monsoon season, which runs from May until September. However, as rainfall is intermittent with heavy downpours lasting around two hours at most, many travel sites recommend this period as the best time to visit Angkor Park, as the jungles are lusher and landscapes more verdant. It is also far less crowded and pilgrims will have fewer tourists to contend with in the temples and around the shrines. Prices are also lower with hotels and travel companies offering discounts or value packages during the rainy season.

From October onwards, Angkor (and Siem Reap in general) starts to get crowded again.

If you don’t mind a bit of rain, the monsoon season allows visitors to explore Angkor Park without the peak season crowds

 

Useful Links

 

Beng Mealea

Located a significant distance away from the Angkor Archeological Park, Beng Mealea is one of the oldest temples, built in the classical Khmer style identical to Angkor Wat. It is in a state of advanced ruin and, like Ta Prohm, is covered in vegetation.

Cambodia 59 - Beng Mealea 1

Travel guide Lonely Planet lists Beng Mealea as a ‘top choice Buddhist temple’ and describes it as “the ultimate Indiana Jones experience”.

Meaning “Lotus Pond”, Beng Mealea is surrounded by mystery and the purpose of the temple is still unknown. Many sections of the temple have collapsed into massive heaps of sandstone rubble but, unlike the temples at Angkor Park, visitors are allowed to climb them. Official temple guides are present in most parts of the temple and they also act as safety guides, advising visitors where it is safe for climbing and where it’s not. In recent times, a raised walkway was built to allow less-adventurous tourists to navigate through the various sections of the temple.

Cambodia 60 - Beng Mealea 2

Until today, the history of Beng Mealea temple is still unknown

The temple’s ruined condition was further damaged by looters over several decades towards the end of the last century. The looters used dynamite to access high value antiquities — fine stone sculptures and relief carvings — from amongst the twisting tree roots and piles of stones. More recently, a well-preserved naga balustrade was found buried deep underground.

At present, Beng Mealea is an active archeological site and carvings showing legends of Vishnu, Shiva and the Buddha have been discovered. Although there are no active shrines, Beng Mealea remains a popular local pilgrimage site for both the monastic community and laity.

 

Getting to Beng Mealea

Beng Mealea is an adventure entirely on its own as is the 80 kilometre journey to get there from Siem Reap (1.5 to 2 hours by road). It is advised that visitors set aside at least half a day to visit this temple. Entry into Beng Mealea is not included in the Angkor Pass and an admission fee of USD $5 is payable at the ticket office by the main entrance.

Although it is possible to get to the temple by tuk tuk, be warned that the journey there is via bumpy (and dusty) backroads. The best way for pilgrims and tourists to get to Beng Mealea is to hire a car and a driver. A trip to Beng Mealea combines well with a visit to either Phnom Kulen or Banteay Srei.

RECOMMENDATION: Hire a car and a driver for the day and visit Beng Mealea as well as Phnom Kulen. Departing by 6.30 am from Siem Reap for Beng Mealea will allow you more than sufficient time for a thorough visit, and you can arrive at the gates of Phnom Kulen in time to enter. The road up to Phnom Kulen operates on a contra-flow — one-way traffic up the mountain is only until noon, then the traffic flow switches to downhill only from 1.00 pm until the road closes at night.

 

Useful Links:

 

Phnom Kulen Mountain

No pilgrimage to Cambodia is complete without a visit to Phnom Kulen, which literally means “Mountain of Lychees”. Considered the most sacred mountain for the Khmer, it is an important place for the faithful to make devotions on weekends and during festivals.

Phnom Kulen is the most sacred mountain for the Khmer in Cambodia

The mountain also has symbolic and historical importance as this is where Jayavarman II declared independence from the Javanese Empire and proclaimed himself a “devaraja” — a god-king with the title “chakravartin”. As the birthplace of the Khmer Empire and Angkor, this first and once-mythical capital city known as “Mahendraparvata” meaning “The Mountain of Great Indra”, is believed to have been as big as Angkor.

Cambodia 62 - Phnom Kulen 2 (Mahendraparvata)

The ancient city, Mahendraparvata, includes temples hidden for centuries by jungle, many of which have not been looted. Click to enlarge.

The mountain is also a protected natural and cultural reserve, designated as Phnom Kulen National Park. The Angkor Pass does not include entrance into the park and foreign visitors entering the site have to pay an entrance fee of USD $20.

Today, Cambodians along with foreign pilgrims visit Phnom Kulen to make devotions at the temple named Preah Ang Thom at the peak of the mountain (home to Cambodia’s largest reclining Buddha), the shrines at Chup Preah and the “Bat Cave”, a meditation cave and hermitage for monks.

 

VIDEO: Discover Phnom Kulen National Park, Cambodia

Or view the video on the server at:
https://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/Cambodia-V11a-Phnom-Kulen-National-Park.mp4

 

Chup Preah

Best known for its waterfalls, Chup Preah is also a pilgrimage site. Wat Preah Chup houses a tall Buddha statue along with several smaller ones and reliefs that date back to the 16th century. These statues are housed in shrines close to the famous 15-metre-tall Cham Pa tree. With a trunk that is seven metres wide at the base, this tree is regarded by the Khmer as the guardian of this sacred valley. Local land spirits propitiated by the Khmer, known as “Teak Na”, also have shrines here.

Cambodia 63 - Phnom Kulen 3 (Wat Preah Chup)

Local Cambodians trekking up the holy mountain of Phnom Kulen often stop at Wat Preah Chup to make prayers and request blessings for safe passage

Cambodia 64 - Phnom Kulen 4 (Chup Preah Waterfall)

The famous Chup Preah waterfalls at Phnom Kulen

 

Preah Ang Thom

A 500-year-old monastery at the peak of the mountain, Preah Ang Thom is the main pilgrimage site at Phnom Kulen. It is home to a massive 17-metre-long reclining Buddha carved out of a giant sandstone boulder in the side of the mountain, the largest such statue in Cambodia.

The gold-painted reclining Buddha is one of the country’s most venerated monuments, and members of the Cambodian royal family and dignitaries have made pilgrimages here to offer devotions and receive blessings from resident monks.

Cambodia 61 - Phnom Kulen 1 (Sleeping Buddha)

The massive 17-metre-long reclining Buddha in Preah Ang Thom

Cambodia 65 - Phnom Kulen 5 (Preah Ang Thom 1)

The Buddhas at Preah Ang Thom, the main pilgrimage site atop Phnom Kulen

At the beginning of the long stairway leading up to the temple are sacred shrines with reliquaries such as a footprint of the Buddha, a holy lingga (a symbolic phallic representation of the Hindu deity Shiva) and a Dharmachakra wheel. The top of the temple offers magnificent views of the surrounding countryside and nearby caves also function as holy hermitages.

REMINDER: When visiting Preah Ang Thom, you must remove your shoes and hat (or any head covering). The same dress codes and rules of conduct for Angkor Park also apply to those visiting Phnom Kulen.

Centuries-old intricate carvings adorn a cave on Phnom Kulen

Cambodia 68 - Phnom Kulen 8 (Preah Ang Thom 4)

Phnom Kulen attracts thousands of visitors each year, both pilgrims and tourists

 

Bat Cave Hermitage

The ‘Bat Cave’ of Phnom Kulen is a remote and secluded cave which is popular amongst tourists for being home to thousands of bats! This cave is also a holy Buddhist site with many shrines and a meditation cave as well as a hermitage.

The Bat Cave on Phnom Kulen is a secluded cave which is home to thousands of bats. It is also a meditation hermitage for monks and lay Buddhists.

Strings of colourful prayer flags welcome visitors at the well-camouflaged, moss-covered entrance. The small cave opening leads into narrow passageways that open into several larger chambers.

Apart from monks, the cave also attracts devotees who come from all over Cambodia as well as from neighbouring countries to spend time here in ascetic meditation, and to learn and practise Dharma with the monks in the cave.

 

Other Places of Interest in Phnom Kulen

Other sites of interest in Phnom Kulen include Kbal Spean, the “River of a Thousand Linggas” where hundreds of linggas and yonis are carved into the sandstone riverbed and rocks on the sides. Visitors come here for the water, which is believed to have potent blessings to aid with fertility.

Cambodia 70 - Phnom Kulen 10 (Kbal Spean)

Another popular site in Phnom Kulen is Kbal Spean, the River of a Thousand Linggas

Srah Damrei or the “Elephant Pond”, with its life-sized stone animal carvings well over a thousand years old, is in a hard-to-find but very scenic location in the jungle. The highlight is a massive four-metre-long elephant standing at three metres tall. The site offers spectacular views across the plains below.

Life-sized stone carvings of elephants and other animals are some of the sights scattered all over Phnom Kulen Mountain. These are pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that is the ancient city of Mahendraparvata.

Prasat Rong Chen, identified as one of the first temple-mountains, is believed to be the temple at the centre of the lost city of Mahendraparvata, and the site of Jayavarman II’s historical proclamation. It is a tiered pyramid not dissimilar to ancient Mayan pyramids in a clearing hidden deeply in the jungle.

Believed to be the temple at the centre of the lost city of Mahendraparvata, Prasat Rong Chen has been described as “the centre of the Khmer universe”.

 

Getting to Phnom Kulen

Getting to this sacred mountain of the Khmers takes at least two hours (usually more) by road from Siem Reap on steep and unpaved roads. Phnom Kulen is too steep for tuk tuks so the only options are with a guided tour, a hired car with driver, or on a motodup.

For the young-at-heart and adventure lovers, a motodup provides thrills and fast travels to the sights on Phnom Kulen.

The going rate is double that of Angkor Park. A moto will cost about USD $20 and car hire comes with a surcharge, starting from USD $50 onwards, depending on the type of vehicle and the number of other places you want to visit.

TIP: Remote places such as the Bat Caves, Srah Damrei and Prasat Rong Chen can be quite difficult to reach, particularly during the wet season. Hence, you may have to hire a specialist guide. You can ask your hotel if they can organise one for you or check if your hired car driver can.

 

Useful Links

 

Tips for Pilgrims Visiting the Temples of Siem Reap and Angkor Park

Unlike conventional holidays, the aim of going on pilgrimage is for the betterment of our spiritual practice. Spiritual power places are charged with sacred energy from the presence of enlightened beings or attained masters who have resided there, or accumulated over time from virtuous and beneficial activities performed there.

Thus, when we visit these power places, show reverence, make offerings and aspirational prayers, we create the direct causes as well as generate merits for us to attain the same state of compassion, awareness and qualities of the enlightened beings.

To help you make the most out of your pilgrimage to the temples of Siem Reap and Angkor Park, here are some tips:

1. Plan your trip well
Research the places you want to visit so you can plan what practices you want to do at each site. Be sure to allocate sufficient time so you are not rushed.

2. Set your motivation
Make the aspiration for your journey to be a reminder and a homage to the noble enlightened qualities of the Buddha; with the result from the pilgrimage being purification of negative karma and accumulation of merit to advance your spiritual practice for the benefit of all sentient beings.

3. Prepare for your practices
There are many practices you can engage in while on pilgrimage. Some of the most popular are circumambulations, making offerings, reciting prayers, mantras and sutras, and even prostrations. Engaging in such virtuous activities while immersed in the blessed energies of holy pilgrimage sites will plant powerful seeds in your mindstream and open up your imprints to further your spiritual path.

Here are some recommended practices that can be done at the temples of Siem Reap and Angkor Park:

  • Make offerings of food, flowers and incense to holy Buddha images
  • Offer robes and dana to the Sangha
  • Recite mantras. The mantras of Shakyamuni, Migtsema, Chenrezig, Manjushri and Dorje Shugden are recommended because many of the Angkorian temples were dedicated to Avalokiteshvara and Prajnaparamita. Your yidam and your guru’s mantra are also excellent to recite.
  • Circumambulate Buddha statues and the stupa at Preah Khan
  • Recite the King of Prayers at the conclusion of your pilgrimage.
  • Engage in the preliminaries such as prostrations and mandala offerings

 

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10 Responses to Amazing Angkor: A Guide to the Buddhist Temples of Siem Reap

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  1. Samfoonheei on May 24, 2020 at 4:56 pm

    Buddhist Temples of Siem Reap , Cambodia is amazing filled with incredible architecture, Khmer Culture. The beautiful temples in Siem Reap is a must-see place when visiting. Buddhist Temples in Siem Reap each year attracted millions of visitors, especially those in the expansive Angkor Archeological Park. Well listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1992, there are about 50 Buddhist and Hindu temples dating back to the 12th century within its grounds. Simply amazing to see but I have not been there yet. Would wish to see for myself those beautiful ancient architectural temples.
    Looking at those beautiful pictures paints a thousands words. So many Buddhist temples to visit .
    Thank you Rinpoche for this wonderful sharing.

  2. Alexa Rank on Oct 17, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    The Youtube subscribers will boost your enterprise exposure and advertise
    you all the way to good results. How does business owners turn out to
    be effective in their selected organization?

  3. Pastor Adeline Woon on Jul 28, 2018 at 6:18 am

    Nice short video of a new LED signage reminding us of who we can go to for blessings in case of need: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBwrkaKUoH0

  4. Joy Kam on Jul 26, 2018 at 3:20 am

    Listening to the chanting of sacred words, melodies, mantras, sutras and prayers has a very powerful healing effect on our outer and inner environments. It clears the chakras, spiritual toxins, the paths where our ‘chi’ travels within our bodies for health as well as for clearing the mind. It is soothing and relaxing but at the same time invigorates us with positive energy. The sacred sounds invite positive beings to inhabit our environment, expels negative beings and brings the sound of growth to the land, animals, water and plants. Sacred chants bless all living beings on our land as well as inanimate objects. Do download and play while in traffic to relax, when you are about to sleep, during meditation, during stress or just anytime. Great to play for animals and children. Share with friends the blessing of a full Dorje Shugden puja performed at Kechara Forest Retreat by our puja department for the benefit of others. Tsem Rinpoche

    Listen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbzgskLKxT8&t=5821s

  5. wan wai meng on Jun 26, 2018 at 8:19 pm

    A breathtaking view of the buddhist culture and heritage that once graced the land of the Khmers. The amount of spiritual monuments and structures is a strong indication of what was really important to the ancient Cambodians, their spiritual development and practice.

    Thank you to Rinpoche and the blog team for giving some guidance on how to make the trip to Cambodia an especially spiritual and special one.

    • wan wai meng on Jun 26, 2018 at 8:28 pm

      Excited about the recent discovery of a mountain pyramid Koh Ker in Northern Cambodia. Wonder what we can find there if we do visit that location.

  6. Anne Ong on Jun 25, 2018 at 8:46 pm

    Beautiful sacred and and holy placs of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap. Love the interesting pictures and videos too. Thank you very much Rinpoche and blog team for sharing about Angkor Wat in Siem Reap.???

  7. cc on May 18, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    Thanks for sharing.

    Cambodia is a great place to visit.

    Full of historical and amazing architecture and love the place alot but unfortunately alot of Buddha’s head were missing.

    Is a great place for backpack and retreat.
    Alot of walking and climbing and is super sunny.

  8. Samfoonheei on May 15, 2018 at 3:23 pm

    Siem Reap is the major tourist attraction in Cambodia, as it is the closest city to the world famous temples of Angkor. Truly amazing………Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world and one of the seven Wonder of the world. It was built in the first half of the 12th century and most known iconic temples which took about 30 years to build. It seems to be an impressiveness greater than that of the Pyramids, an artistic distinctiveness as fine as that of the Taj Mahal in the recent survey. Angkor Wat is an architectural masterpiece and well preserved for its amazing sculptures making it as one of the finest monuments in the world. I have not been there before ,will make a trip to see for myself the beauty of this Seven Wonder of the world.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this interesting post.

  9. Datuk May on May 15, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    Cambodia is a country that had suffered atrocities and violence to her own people during the reign of the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970’s.

    However, Cambodia and her citizens had survived and has inherited the iconic Buddhist temple complex called Angkor duly anointed by Unesco as a world heritage. Many have visited and all are totally mesmerised by the grandeur of the Buddhist Temple complex.

    What really stands out for me is how such a holy place can adapt to being a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu to current Buddhist temple dedicated to Shakymuni Buddha and the Dharma.

    Besides being an iconic Buddhist centre, the history of Angkor is testament to the “goodness” of pure religions that no wars nor blood need to be shed in migrating from an Hindu centre to that of Buddhism. That is the true essence of perfect wisdom and acceptance of the best for human beings.

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Blog Chat

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

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  • sarassitham
    Monday, Mar 8. 2021 04:38 PM
    Water is the best liquid to keep the body well hydrated and healthy, contributing to the well-being of the blood vessels. However, drinking plenty of water is a great and cheap way to improve blood circulation naturally. I found this is a surprising health benefits that water could prevent, relieve and cure many painful, degenerative diseases.

    Thank you for the discovering and sharing, Hope to practice the advice soon.



    https://bit.ly/38BDgRh
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Mar 8. 2021 03:30 PM
    Amazing India’s western state of Gujarat had planned to build a 354-foot seated statue of the Buddha. It seem to be the second-tallest Buddha statue in the world after China’s Spring Temple Buddha and the world’s tallest seated Buddha . The gujarat government is all set to build a 108metre statue of sitting Buddha but somehow as to these days no further progress has been made .
    Interesting discovery by the state archaeologist near Shamlaji, a remains of a Buddhist monastery dated 3rd-4th century AD were discovered. Shamlaji was once an important Hindu pilgrimage destination, during 1960-1963. Wow……a casket was found, which as per its inscription, contained relics of Gautam Budhha. The 1700-year-old casket is currently kept at the MS University of Baroda in Vadodara.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/good-news-2.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Mar 8. 2021 03:28 PM
    Standing on a hilltop at Air Itam, near Penang Hill, Kek Lok Si is the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia. There is stunning bronze statue of the Goddess of Mercy, Kuan Yin . I did visited years back just completed then. Merely looking at it is a blessing . So So… Rinpoche did visited before. Now Kok Lok Si Temple, has become one of a tourist hot spot. Many people visited this beautiful temple and especially the Kuan Yin Statue.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/visiting-the-huge-kuan-yin-in-penang.html
  • astrogurutips
    Friday, Mar 5. 2021 08:11 PM
    Great article! Thank you so much for this decent article. I love the way you present your article. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.astrogurutips&hl=en
  • Samfoonheei
    Friday, Mar 5. 2021 04:19 PM
    In Mahayana Buddhism, a bodhisattva refers to anyone who has generated bodhicitta, a spontaneous wish and compassionate mind to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings. Bodhisattvas are common figures in Buddhist literature and art. They exist as guides and providers to help us following the teachings about generosity, patience, meditative balance, and insight into what is essential, so we can come to live in a way that benefits others. At the same time, we learn compassion for ourselves and see that we are not separate from the people we have imagined are estranged from us. Self and other heal together.
    Thank you for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/external-article/a-bodhisatta-is-a-being-devoted-to-enlightenment
  • Samfoonheei
    Friday, Mar 5. 2021 04:17 PM
    Thanks to Dr. Matthew William King who did a detail well research article regarding Dorje Shugden in Mongolia. Through his research he has confirmed that even long before H H Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche’s time, at least a century before, Dorje Shugden practice was already popularized in Lhasa. The practice of Dorje Shugden by the great lamas and many others had widely invoked the dharma Protector in Mongolia. Dr King’s research clearly demonstrates that Mongolia’s lamas had been promoting and encouraging the practice. Dorje Shugden was an established practice in the Sakya School for hundreds of years before Pabongka Rinpoche’s time. Hence Dorje Shugden definitely not a evil or spirits as claimed by the Tibetan leadership. Reading through this interesting article we could understand better how Mongolian lamas have been all along protecting and preserving not only the practice of Dorje Shugden, but also of Buddhism’s revival as a whole in modern-day Mongolia.
    THANK YOU for this interesting sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/how-mongolia-saved-dorje-shugden.html
  • sarassitham
    Friday, Mar 5. 2021 01:55 AM
    Very informative and interesting article, Sri Lanka offers everything that makes one escape a memorable one!. Being awarded a best tourist destinations with various fascinating attraction, ancient historic site from soulful Buddhist monasteries, temples to exotic and impeccable spots rarely explored. Thanks for the beautiful scenery photos sharing and hope to visit this beautiful Island and enjoy my stay.

    https://bit.ly/38aT3WI
  • sarassitham
    Wednesday, Mar 3. 2021 03:22 PM
    In the present-day many people suffers from eye problems .These disorders are usually overcome using powerful glasses and lenses, However using powerful glasses can worsen eye problems.

    This is really a great article for all of us. I am blessed to come across of these practice and teaching, hope to start soon and overcome my eye problem. Thank you so much for the sharing.

    https://bit.ly/3kMZiFu
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Mar 1. 2021 04:01 PM
    Interesting read with the discovery of various legends, texts by archaeologists thousands years ago. Historians and experts had investigated and found evidence of contact between humans and extra-terrestrial life very much earlier. Their findings theory seem that extra-terrestrials have visited Earth for millions of years. Since the age of the dinosaurs to ancient Egypt, from early cave drawings to continued mass sightings in the US. Historians had revealed that aliens have been with us all along. Encounters with strange beings and sightings of mysterious objects in the sky have been recorded. Such as Christopher Columbus’ first voyage to America witnessed strange lights in the sky and sightings of flying cigar-shaped crafts were reported during the Black Plague that struck Europe and Asia in the mid-1300s. There were many others historical evidence of early civilization that had close encounters with Aliens. Interesting read and to watch the video.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/ancient-aliens-closer-encounters.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, Feb 27. 2021 05:33 PM
    Watching the videos and looking at those pictures in this post tell us more. Sad to see the working conditions really bad especially in the brick kilns of Andhra Pradesh,India. We could see those working men, women and younf children are working round the clock 12 just to earn a living.
    We are considered more fortunate enough than them and we should not complain of what we have, live and so on. We should appreciate every moment , what we have now to do good and beneficial for others, no matter how hard and difficult at times as others might be worse than us.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing with us .

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/you-have-to-see-this.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, Feb 27. 2021 05:32 PM
    Wow…..wonderful dog lovers should read to help them to be more caring, loving having a pet. Once we have them as our pet we have the responsibility to give care and love to them. Dogs have feelings like us and is men best friend.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this essential facts for dog lovers.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/20-essential-facts-dog-lovers-must-always-remember.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, Feb 27. 2021 05:31 PM
    Scientists had looking at long term, discovered that estimated about 100 to 10,000 species will be extinct soon if nothing is done. Could imagine from microscopic organisms to large plants and animals will go extinct each year. Animal such as sharks, lions, Pit bulls dogs and so forth as mentioned in this blog can become extinct when humans over hunt and over fish, pollute the environment, destroy habitats , and many others. Reading this post tells us more those world’s most dangerous animals are in fact in danger themselves. But the actions of humans toward those dangerous animal has proven more dangerous than that of the animal. Interesting read .
    Thank you Shakila Rajendra for this sharing…..good knowledge . May more people are aware of the harm they are doing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/the-worlds-most-dangerous-animals-in-danger-themselves.html
  • sarassitham
    Thursday, Feb 25. 2021 01:04 AM
    This is kind of hard to believe and shocking to imagine the weirdest addiction of people in this planet, they are extremely strange. People can become addicted to actions, feelings, or behaviors, not just substances. There must be something behind of every addiction, I don’t think they are crazy or mentally ill, it’s their weird enjoyment for a short time.

    I had a friend in my primary school who eats mud during rainy days, she told me, it smells good and she enjoys doing it during her play time. I found it strange but has she grow up in different environment she forget about her addiction. So, I strongly believe, all behaviors can be changed when the person gains self-awareness and actually wants to change. Thanks for the interesting sharing and recall of my childhood friend.
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Feb 24. 2021 01:33 PM
    nteresting read of this history of how Dorje Shugden practice came into light . Since Dorje Shugden was introduced into the Sakya tradition, there have been many Sakya throne holders that practiced Dorje Shugden. Out of the 42 supreme throne holders throughout the history of the Sakya tradition, six of the thrones holders are confirmed to have practiced Dorje Shugden. They have built chapels to him, composed prayers and pujas (kangsols) to him and even propagated his practice amongst their disciples. They cannot be wrong and in fact as confirmed by the 39th Sakya Trizin Dragshul Trinley Rinchen Dorje Shugden is an enlightened being. Dorje Shugden kangsol (prayer) to invoke the blessings of Dorje Shugden composed by him is still widely used today. Dorje Shugden must be a powerful Dharma protector that Sakya tradition have been long relying. It has proven that Dorje Shugden is not a minor practice. Interesting read , may more people read this post to understand better.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this post .

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/sakya-trizins-dorje-shugden-prayer.html
  • sarassitham
    Tuesday, Feb 23. 2021 11:23 PM
    Thank you for sharing this yummy recipe. It looks very delicious, healthy and nutritious. I can’t wait to try making it has the ingredients are easy to purchase and methods are simple. I wonder what it taste like.

    https://bit.ly/37DAV7y

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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

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According to legend, Shambhala is a place where wisdom and love reign, and there is no crime. Doesn\'t this sound like the kind of place all of us would love to live in? https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=204874
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108 candles and sang (incense) offered at our Wish-Fulfilling Grotto, invoking Dorje Shugden's blessings for friends, sponsors and supporters, wonderful!
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One of our adorable Kechara Forest Retreat\'s doggies, Tara, happy and safe, and enjoying herself in front of Wisdom Hall which has been decorated for Chinese New Year
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1 year ago
Fragrant organic Thai basil harvested from our very own Kechara Forest Retreat farm!
On behalf of our Puja House team, Pastor Tat Ming receives food and drinks from Rinpoche. Rinpoche wanted to make sure the hardworking Puja House team are always taken care of.
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On behalf of our Puja House team, Pastor Tat Ming receives food and drinks from Rinpoche. Rinpoche wanted to make sure the hardworking Puja House team are always taken care of.
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1 year ago
One of the most recent harvests from our Kechara Forest Retreat land. It was grown free of chemicals and pesticides, wonderful!
Third picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal.
Height: 33ft (10m)
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Third picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal. Height: 33ft (10m)
Second picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal.
Height: 33ft (10m)
2 yearss ago
Second picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal. Height: 33ft (10m)
First picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal.
Height: 33ft (10m)
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First picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal. Height: 33ft (10m)
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Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha. She was his step-mother and aunt. Buddha\'s mother had passed away at his birth so he was raised by Gotami.
2 yearss ago
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha. She was his step-mother and aunt. Buddha's mother had passed away at his birth so he was raised by Gotami.
Another nun disciple of Lord Buddha\'s. She had achieved great spiritual abilities and high attainments. She would be a proper object of refuge. This image of the eminent bhikkhuni (nun) disciple of the Buddha, Uppalavanna Theri.
2 yearss ago
Another nun disciple of Lord Buddha's. She had achieved great spiritual abilities and high attainments. She would be a proper object of refuge. This image of the eminent bhikkhuni (nun) disciple of the Buddha, Uppalavanna Theri.
Wandering Ascetic Painting by Nirdesha Munasinghe
2 yearss ago
Wandering Ascetic Painting by Nirdesha Munasinghe
High Sri Lankan monks visit Kechara to bless our land, temple, Buddha and Dorje Shugden images. They were very kind-see pictures- https://bit.ly/2HQie2M
2 yearss ago
High Sri Lankan monks visit Kechara to bless our land, temple, Buddha and Dorje Shugden images. They were very kind-see pictures- https://bit.ly/2HQie2M
This is pretty amazing!

First Sri Lankan Buddhist temple opened in Dubai!!!
2 yearss ago
This is pretty amazing! First Sri Lankan Buddhist temple opened in Dubai!!!
My Dharma boy (left) and Oser girl loves to laze around on the veranda in the mornings. They enjoy all the trees, grass and relaxing under the hot sun. Sunbathing is a favorite daily activity. I care about these two doggies of mine very much and I enjoy seeing them happy. They are with me always. Tsem Rinpoche

Always be kind to animals and eat vegetarian- https://bit.ly/2Psp8h2
2 yearss ago
My Dharma boy (left) and Oser girl loves to laze around on the veranda in the mornings. They enjoy all the trees, grass and relaxing under the hot sun. Sunbathing is a favorite daily activity. I care about these two doggies of mine very much and I enjoy seeing them happy. They are with me always. Tsem Rinpoche Always be kind to animals and eat vegetarian- https://bit.ly/2Psp8h2
After you left me Mumu, I was alone. I have no family or kin. You were my family. I can\'t stop thinking of you and I can\'t forget you. My bond and connection with you is so strong. I wish you were by my side. Tsem Rinpoche
2 yearss ago
After you left me Mumu, I was alone. I have no family or kin. You were my family. I can't stop thinking of you and I can't forget you. My bond and connection with you is so strong. I wish you were by my side. Tsem Rinpoche
This story is a life-changer. Learn about the incredible Forest Man of India | 印度“森林之子”- https://bit.ly/2Eh4vRS
2 yearss ago
This story is a life-changer. Learn about the incredible Forest Man of India | 印度“森林之子”- https://bit.ly/2Eh4vRS
Part 2-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
2 yearss ago
Part 2-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
Part 1-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
2 yearss ago
Part 1-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
The great Protector Manjushri Dorje Shugden depicted in the beautiful Mongolian style. To download a high resolution file: https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
2 yearss ago
The great Protector Manjushri Dorje Shugden depicted in the beautiful Mongolian style. To download a high resolution file: https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
The Mystical land of Shambhala is finally ready for everyone to feast their eyes and be blessed. A beautiful post with information, art work, history, spirituality and a beautiful book composed by His Holiness the 6th Panchen Rinpoche. ~ https://bit.ly/309MHBi
2 yearss ago
The Mystical land of Shambhala is finally ready for everyone to feast their eyes and be blessed. A beautiful post with information, art work, history, spirituality and a beautiful book composed by His Holiness the 6th Panchen Rinpoche. ~ https://bit.ly/309MHBi
Beautiful pictures of the huge Buddha in Longkou Nanshan- https://bit.ly/2LsBxVb
2 yearss ago
Beautiful pictures of the huge Buddha in Longkou Nanshan- https://bit.ly/2LsBxVb
The reason-Very interesting thought- https://bit.ly/2V7VT5r
2 yearss ago
The reason-Very interesting thought- https://bit.ly/2V7VT5r
NEW Bigfoot cafe in Malaysia! Food is delicious!- https://bit.ly/2VxdGau
2 yearss ago
NEW Bigfoot cafe in Malaysia! Food is delicious!- https://bit.ly/2VxdGau
DON\'T MISS THIS!~How brave Bonnie survived by living with a herd of deer~ https://bit.ly/2Lre2eY
2 yearss ago
DON'T MISS THIS!~How brave Bonnie survived by living with a herd of deer~ https://bit.ly/2Lre2eY
Global Superpower China Will Cut Meat Consumption by 50%! Very interesting, find out more- https://bit.ly/2V1sJFh
2 yearss ago
Global Superpower China Will Cut Meat Consumption by 50%! Very interesting, find out more- https://bit.ly/2V1sJFh
You can download this beautiful Egyptian style Dorje Shugden Free- https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
2 yearss ago
You can download this beautiful Egyptian style Dorje Shugden Free- https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
Beautiful high file for print of Lord Manjushri. May you be blessed- https://bit.ly/2V8mwZe
2 yearss ago
Beautiful high file for print of Lord Manjushri. May you be blessed- https://bit.ly/2V8mwZe
Mongolian (Oymiakon) Shaman in Siberia, Russia. That is his real outfit he wears. Very unique. TR
2 yearss ago
Mongolian (Oymiakon) Shaman in Siberia, Russia. That is his real outfit he wears. Very unique. TR
Find one of the most beautiful temples in the world in Nara, Japan. It is the 1,267 year old Todai-ji temple that houses a 15 meter Buddha Vairocana statue who is a cosmic and timeless Buddha. Emperor Shomu who sponsored this beautiful temple eventually abdicated and ordained as a Buddhist monk. Very interesting history and story. One of the places everyone should visit- https://bit.ly/2VgsHhK
2 yearss ago
Find one of the most beautiful temples in the world in Nara, Japan. It is the 1,267 year old Todai-ji temple that houses a 15 meter Buddha Vairocana statue who is a cosmic and timeless Buddha. Emperor Shomu who sponsored this beautiful temple eventually abdicated and ordained as a Buddhist monk. Very interesting history and story. One of the places everyone should visit- https://bit.ly/2VgsHhK
Manjusri Kumara (bodhisattva of wisdom), India, Pala dynesty, 9th century, stone, Honolulu Academy of Arts
2 yearss ago
Manjusri Kumara (bodhisattva of wisdom), India, Pala dynesty, 9th century, stone, Honolulu Academy of Arts
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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 7, 2021 17:30
    Sandra asked: Respected pastors, Do you recommend doing Tsem Rinpoche’s guru yoga as part of daily Sadhana? I am sure I read on the article for the name retreat that it could be done as daily prayers but now I can’t see that sentence? Thank you.
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Yes of course, you may include Tsem Rinpoche's Guru Yoga as part of your daily sadhana if you wish. This creates a very strong bond with Tsem Rinpoche. If you are following the Diamond Path sadhana (https://www.vajrasecrets.com/diamond-path), you insert the Guru Yoga after you have completed the Gaden Lhagyama (Guru Yoga of Lama Tsongkhapa). Alternative, if you are using a different prayer text, you insert the Guru Yoga after Gaden Lhagyama, or before any deity prayers that you do such as Manjushri, Tara, etc. After you complete the deity practice section of your sadhana, you continue on to your Dharma protector practice, and finish with your completion dedication. I hope this helps. Do let us know if this is not clear. Thanks.
  • March 4, 2021 22:52
    Sandra asked: Respected pastors, Can a lay person work towards the preliminary practices by accumulating daily ? Many thanks.
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Yes, of course. Anyone can engage in the preliminary practices, you don't have to be ordained in order to do so. However for one's practice to be considered a full preliminary practice, you need to do 100,000 repetitions of whichever practice you are engaged in without break. That means you must engage in at least one session a day, until the count is completed. 10% of the count is also added on top, to make up for any unintentional mistakes. So the figure would actually be 110,000. If you skip a day, that means you have broken your preliminary retreat. If this occurs you can still dedicate the practice you have done so far, and you will still benefit from the merit generated and the purification of negative karma from the practice, but it is not counted as a full preliminary practice. Also you must adhere to the retreat procedures for the duration of the time it takes you to complete the particular preliminary practice. For example, an altar with daily offerings, retreat seat with swastika, refraining from eating black foods, etc. This may not be convenient for most people in our day and age. So what you can do is to spend a certain amount of time accumulating a specific figure, for example 10,000 repetitions of a particular practice. Seal the practice at the end with a strong dedication, like the King of Prayers. Later on, you can repeat the procedure more times until you complete 100,000. This method was given by H.E. Tsem Rinpoche for modern-day practitioners who do not have the time to complete 100,000 in one go. While it technically does not constitute a full preliminary retreat, you still gain immense merits and purification from engaging in the practice, even if spaced out. As Rinpoche said, it's better for you to do mini preliminary retreats than not doing any of the preliminary practices whatsoever. That being said, if you do have the ability to do a full preliminary retreat and it will not negatively impact you, such as create financial difficulties or strain familial relationships, then of course go ahead! To have the sincere wish to engage in any Dharma practice is wonderful. You can read more about the individual preliminary practices here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/preliminary-practice.html You can watch a short teaching on the preliminary practices by H.E. Tsem Rinpoche here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/cosmic-tantra.html
  • March 3, 2021 04:13
    Sandra asked: Dear respected pastors, what are dreams? Do dreams have significance? Are they simply images the mind views at night - do they resemble the dreamer's state of mind? Thank you for all your replies :) :)
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Hello. Nice to see you back here. On the normal level, both waking and dream states are both marred by our delusions. The teachings tell us that this deluded state continues through all our experiences, whether during the dreaming or waking states. The way to overcome this is to "wake up" from our delusions, or reach enlightenment. Normally when people think of dreams, they do so in psychological terms and so focus on the content of the dream. When we investigate the nature of the dream itself, we begin to investigate something deeper, the processes that underlies the whole of our existence. Understand this propels you further along the spiritual journey towards enlightenment. We have many dreams during one night of sleep, and may or may not consciously remember then when we wake up. In terms of content, dreams can be used to work through psychological issues or can indicate certain issues and overcoming them (as is common within Western psychological practices). In Tibetan Buddhism, dreams can be used for much more. In the advanced practices, one can transform ordinary dreams to further one's spiritual journey. This is not only in terms of working through psychological issues, but in terms of meditation and practice as well. Generally, there are three types of dreams as described below. Most of us only experience the first type, unless we progress on the spiritual path. 1. Samsaric dreams: these arise from karma and karmic traces in the mind. This can also include emotions, memories, etc. The meaning we find in these dreams are imputed by the dreamer, and not inherent in the dream. This also applies to waking life. We impute meaning onto situations and circumstances, rather than the meaning being inherent to the circumstance. It is like reading a book. Words in the book are just marks on paper, however, because we use our sense of meaning, we take a meaning out of it. However, this is always open to interpretation. For example, if you tell your dream to two people, they can interpret the meaning very differently, even though you told them the exact same details. 2. Clarity dreams: These dreams occur when you are fairly progressed in meditational practices and can carry this into the dream state. These dreams arise not from the emotions, or memories, etc., but from more subtler forms of karma and delusions. However, just like in waking mediational practice, you are not affected by the images or thoughts that appear to you. 3. Clear Light dreams: In the advanced tantric practices, there are teachings called dream yoga. The object of these is to achieve the clear light dreams, which are very difficult to achieve and take years and years of intense practice. The most important clear light mind that arises is actually at the time of our death, if we are trained enough in this very subtle state, we can actually control where we take rebirth. If we are more experienced in this state, then we can actually use it to meditate on the teachings and achieve enlightenment. Clear light dreams are a "lesser" type of clear light mind, that helps practitioners prepare for the time of death. When we have an auspicious dream such as of our teacher, our practice, the Buddhas, etc., even though this is auspicious, it is still more than likely to be just a samsaric dream. There are instances however, when the enlightened beings and Dharma protectors will send practitioners dreams to help with their practice or as methods of divination. Tsem Rinpoche once told us of a very powerful Nyingma lama known for his divination abilities. Students would ask him a question, then he would take a nap, and receive divination advice in this dreams, which he would then relay to his students. This lama was well-known for this ability because his dream divinations were extremely accurate. As I am sure you can tell, the scope of dreams with the Buddhist context is very vast and I will not be able to cover everything here. However, I hope that what I have written helps your understanding. Thank you.
  • March 1, 2021 23:37
    Sandra asked: Hello dear pastors, wish we could have an article like the one below to highlight the auspicious days of 2021. https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/auspicious-days.html
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Thank you for your suggestion. At the moment, there are no plans to publish another article with 2021 dates. But I have listed out some of the auspicious days and their dates for this year for you. I have only included future dates, not those that have already passed. Saga Dawa Duchen - 26th May 2021 Chokhor Duchen - 14th July 2021 Dorje Shugden Day - 24th August 2021 Lhabab Duchen - 27th October 2021 Gaden Ngamchoe or Tsongkhapa Day - 29th December 2021 I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • February 27, 2021 03:31
    Sandra asked: Respected pastors, Is it ok to pray from different areas in the house (even where there is no altar)? I was told you can't create 2 altars in 1 house.
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Thank you for your question and its nice to see you here again. The reason why we pray in front of our altars is because it becomes a focal point of the enlightened energies we are invoking. Therefore it becomes a kind of portal for the energies of transformation, peace, healing, prosperity and protection. It is also the place where we make offerings to the Buddhas. As such, most people usually only have 1 altar in their home. However, you can have more than 1 altar in your home. As it is an altar, it should be complete with representations of the body, speech and mind of the Buddhas. This would be an image (either a statue, thangka, tsa tsa, poster, framed picture, etc), a Dharma text and a stupa. In front of these, you should have at least 1 type of offering or more. This can be a fixed offering or maybe even a set of water offerings, which you make every day. Since practitioners make offerings on a daily basis, most opt to have only 1 altar, but there is no rule in Buddhism to say you can only have 1 altar. The altar however, should be placed in a respectful place. So, not in the bathroom. Or if in the bedroom, you should put a screen up to block it when you are changing, sleeping, etc. Alternatively, you can keep it in a cupboard, and close the doors during such activities. But altars should be dedicated places to the Buddhas, so don't put secular items in the same place, such as on the same shelf, etc. When it comes to praying, it is usually done in front of the altar, as you are invoking the enlightened beings. When you do your prayers there it becomes a powerful place in your home, and provides you with a sacred space to pray and meditate. However, if circumstances are difficult, then of course you can pray elsewhere. For example, when I first set up an altar, I was living in a single room with not much space. I set up an altar on a shelf but was not able to pray in front of it. Once I had made offerings, I would simply sit in another part of the room and do the prayers there. If it is really not convenient, then of course it is permissible to do the prayers elsewhere. It is better to do the prayers, than not do them at all if you can't be in front of your altar. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • February 25, 2021 01:33
    Kuenzang wangdi asked: What would be my most suitable colour ?
    pastor answered: Dear Kuenzang Wangdi, Thank you for your question. The following calculators may be of interest to you: Chinese Zodiac: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/horoscopes/the-chinese-zodiac.html Tibetan Astrology: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/tibetan-astrology/tibetan-astrology.html In relation to which colour if most favourable for you, unfortunately our calculators do not give this information. However, from a Buddhist practice viewpoint, what is more important is the transformation of the mind. Once we transform our minds according to teachings, we are able to overcome any obstacle and create good conditions for our lives. You can learn a very short mind transformation teaching here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/eight-verses-of-thought-transformation.html You can couple this with formal practice. If you are interested, a very good practice to bring energies of increase and generate a long life, merits, wealth and prosperity in your life, is the the practice of Gyenze. You can find information about the practice here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/prayers-and-sadhanas/dorje-shugden-gyenze-to-increase-life-merits-and-wealth.html. I hope this helps. Thanks.
  • February 22, 2021 22:14
    Naseer asked: Hi My name is Naseer Ahmed 8th dec 1979. Life path 1 Im looking to add to my name slightly... change it too... Naseer Al Ahmed... Would this be more complimentary as far as for the business front... or would it not make any difference
    pastor answered: Hello Naseer, As per your question, your Life Path Number is 1. The Life Path Number according to the system of numerology used on our website is calculated using your date of birth. Therefore, a change in name will not affect your Life Path Number. Some of the other calculators on the same page do however use your name. One of the smaller calculators you may be interested in is the Achievement Number, but again, this only uses your date of birth for the calculation. You can find it here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/numerology/numerology-calculator.html You may also be interested in two of our other pages: Chinese Zodiac - https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/horoscopes/the-chinese-zodiac.html Tibetan Astrology - https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/tibetan-astrology/tibetan-astrology.html Thank you for your question. I hope this helps.
  • February 20, 2021 18:36
    Sandra asked: After making a food offering to the three jewels (which we will eat for lunch etc), should we think of it as a blessing and partake?
    pastor answered: Hello Sandra, When making food offerings to the Three Jewels, which you eat yourself, when you recite the prayer and make the offering, you should visualise that the Buddhas receive your food offering and because you have made an offering, they are very pleased. It also fulfills one of the Refuge commitments, which is to offer the first portion of whatever we eat and drink to the Three Jewels, while remembering their kindness. You can then partake of the meal and consider it a blessing from the Three Jewels. Alternatively, you can set out a plate (which you reserve for this purpose) of food, which you can offer on your altar. Similarly, once the food has been left on your altar for a while, you can later remove it and consume it as a blessing. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • February 19, 2021 04:33
    Sandra asked: Is intovertedness a bad quality? Since Buddha is so altruistic and this is the opposite trait, it must be bad. How do you think one should lessen introverted tendencies?
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Introvertedness is not a bad quality. Altruism and compassion are different from being an introvert or extrovert. Introverts are generally quieter people, less expressive of their emotions, while extroverts are the opposite. Buddhist practice is not about expression of emotion. Rather the altruistic and compassionate teachings are more about how you help other people and sentient beings, physically or emotionally. If the qualities of introverted-ness are stopping you from developing these, then they need to change. But this may not be necessary, depending on the qualities that you are talking about. You can do simple meditations to building up the energy of compassion in your mindstream and you will see that you actions will automatically start to be more compassionate and altruistic. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • February 18, 2021 03:28
    Sandra asked: How should one behave when negative karma is being purified? How can we know if bad karma is being purified? Do we accumulate positive karma simultaneously when doing purification practices? Many thanks for your response.
    pastor answered: Hello again Sandra, There are two ways in which karma can be purified, the first is through our own efforts alone and the second is through our own effort, combined with a purification practice. Through our own efforts: this means that you transform your mind enough to not react negatively in any situation and only react in a positive manner. For example, you may have the karma to get angry. So you get into situations which makes you angry. If you react normally, then you will get angry again, this will only lead you to create more karma of being angry. But if you make the effort not to get angry in those situations then you do not create or multiply that karma. The original karma you have may lead you to be in those types of situations again, but if you do not get angry then after a while you start to purify that karma. Through your own efforts, combined with a purification practice: as you are working on transforming your mind, you can rely on the practices that help you to purify your karma, such as the practice of Vajrasattva or the 35 Confessional Buddhas. This boosts your ability to purify negative karma, based on the enlightened energies of the Buddhas. This however is only truly effective when combined with the Four Opponent Powers. You can read more about that here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/the-35-confessional-buddhas.html In general, when karma is being purified then you should remain level-headed and not act out of emotion or habit, but from your understanding of the workings of karma and the Dharma. But actually, this should not only be when karma is being purified. You should act and behave in this way all the time according to the Dharma, then you are, up to a point, always purifying karma. It is one of the reasons that so much emphasis is placed on refraining from negative actions and engaging in positive actions using your body, speech and mind, because these are the three means or 'doors' with which you interact with the world. At our level, we cannot tell if karma is being purified or not, only those who are more highly attained can tell. However, that is one of the reasons the Buddhist texts advise study of and belief in karma. If there is karma, then it can be purified, and the way to do so is transform your mind and invoke upon the enlightened beings. So if you are doing both, you can rest assured that you are in fact purifying your karma. When you purify negative karma, whether just through your own efforts or combined with a purification practice you collect merit, not positive karma. If you simply do a good action, you collect good karma. But if you are practicing the Dharma with the intention of achieving enlightenment, you take refuge, engage in the practice, and dedicate at the end, then you develop merit, not positive karma. If you want to read more about how karma works and how to purify it in more detail, I suggest you read a Lamrim text such as Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand, which you can order from your local bookstore or get online here (https://www.vajrasecrets.com/lamrim-liberation-in-the-palm-of-your-hand).
  • February 17, 2021 23:06
    Sandra asked: Hello pastors, thank you for your response to my earlier question. Do divination predictions change frequently? Why does that happen?
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Thank you for your question. Divinations, compared to astrological predictions, are much more accurate. There are many types of divination, but those based on the practice of enlightened beings are very accurate. Three of the most well-known in Tibetan Buddhism are the divination practices of Manjushri, Palden Lhamo and Dorje Shugden. You can read more about Dorje Shugden's dice divination here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/dorje-shugdens-dice-divination.html Questions that are asked during divinations are much more specific than the types of topics that astrological predictions can help with, therefore are based on very specific types of karma. This means that if you asked a divination question twice, without taking remedial actions in between, then the answer would most likely be the same, given that all the prerequisites have been held by the diviner and the divinations are genuine. However, if a divination is done and then remedial actions recommended, such as various practices or pujas, and these are done to the letter, then if the question is asked again, then the results would differ. This is because when engaging in these practices or pujas, either you generate the merit necessary to overpower the negative effects of the karma, or you purify the negative effects of the karma creating the situation. This however, is generally not done. You wouldn't ask the same question twice or over and over again. The reason for this is because one of the factors that comes into play when seeking divination is faith. This is faith in the fact that the remedial actions recommended will help whatever situation you are facing. Having seen H.E. Tsem Rinpoche do countless divinations for people, I can attest to this. Those who have faith and follow through with the advice, see a great improvement in the situation that led them to ask the divination question in the first place. Those that did not follow the advice either at all or not fully, did not see any improvement. And this makes sense, because they did not purify the effects of the karma enough, or generate enough merit. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • February 15, 2021 04:09
    sandra asked: How much importance should we give to astrological predictions or chart readings? Are these readings susceptible to change all the time,i.e, in the context of planetary movements? Can our own effort/actions supercede what is predicted in our birth chart?
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Thank you for your interesting question. You are absolutely correct about the universal principle of change. According to Buddhist practice, astrological predictions are based upon a fixed point in time. Take for example, your moment of birth, which most astrological readings take as the main point of reference. At that specific moment, there would have been various energies or planetary alignments, etc. Combined together, they are said to give an accurate prediction of what will occur to a person throughout their life. This however, is based on one's birth karma, to be born at that specific point in time and location. This birth karma also provides the driving force behind what will occur in a person's life, if that karma is not changed somehow. Hence, that is why astrological predictions can give very accurate readings on someone's personality, as well as life events. Birth karma provides the main force behind all other karma to come into play. That is why it is given importance in astrology. There are also more advanced methods to take into account planetary and energetical movements to give even more detailed and precise predictions that can even be made down to the month, day or hour of a person's life. In Buddhism, however, we believe that karma can be changed. It can multiply, be purified or exhausted, or the effects of that karma can be overpowered by another karma or spiritual merit. In these cases, the outcome will change. The way in which this happens is varied. It can be as simple as doing some prayers (to generate spiritual merit) or changing your behaviour, environment or location, the way you think, and the ways in which you react in various situations. That is why in Buddhist astrological systems, emphasis is placed on remedial measures to counteract negative outcomes. For example, someone may be born with an angry disposition from an astrological point of view. If this person goes through life acting from this anger, then the predictions based on the time of birth will occur. However, a remedial action can be undertaken, such as the person pracitising Chenrezig, who is the Buddha of compassion, or the person doing some form of charity work. These remedial actions generate compassion in the mind of the person, which counteracts the anger. As this happens and the karma is changed, then the person no longer needs to feels the negative effects of any bad astrological (or more correctly - karmic) situations. There are even some practices that specifically help to counteract negative astrological influences and help you to change things. Such an example is Black Manjushri. Within Tibetan Buddhism, according to your time and date of birth, you also have what is known as a 'Birth Buddha'. This is basically an enlightened being that you have an affinity with in this life. General remedial actions include making images of this particular Buddha or engaging in this Buddha's practice. This combined with a change in how we live - otherwise known as Mind Transformation in the Buddhist context - changes astrological outcomes. However, if we continue living without controlling our actions, words and thoughts, the predictions made using astrological readings will most likely still occur. I hope this explanation helps. Thank you.
  • February 7, 2021 00:16
    Purna Tamang asked: What is my lucky number and color ?
    pastor answered: Dear Purna Tamang, Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, none our horoscope apps on this page gives this information at this moment. However, you may find some of the other information provided useful. Below are the links: For Chinese Zodiac: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/horoscopes/the-chinese-zodiac.html For Tibetan astrology: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/tibetan-astrology/tibetan-astrology.html For Numerology: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/numerology/numerology-calculator.html For Fortune cookies: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/fortune-cookie Thank you and I hope you find something interesting in one of the apps.
  • January 20, 2021 03:32
    Sangita. asked: i want to buy my own house.which mantra i should chant to have my own house.kindly reply.
    pastor answered: Dear Sangita, Thank you for your question. Everything in our lives, whether good or bad is due to our karma. This is karma we have accumulated either in previous lives or earlier on in this life. You can learn more about this here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/discovering-yourself-a-teaching-on-karma-mindstream.html Sometimes, we go through obstacles or need some form of spiritual help to assist us in improving our situations. In these circumstances we can rely on the practice of certain deities. One of these deities is the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden. You can read more about this deity and his practice here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/beginners-introduction-to-dorje-shugden.html You can learn more about Dorje Shugden's practice here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/dorje-shugden-teaching-videos.html. I hope this helps. Thank you.
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Update on Empowerment cookies, special holiday packaging. The bakers are most grateful for the overwhelming support of 834 tubs ordered, with a big order of 314 tubs from a group of friends. Thank you to those cookie lovers who couldn’t get enough of it. Watch out for the next update. Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
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Thank you, generous and kind donors, made possible by Alice Smith School's Official Site through their Build Kindness Campaign. The whooping amount of RM63,000 will provide much needed food to 25 poor families for the next 12 months. On behalf of these families, thank you! Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
The global pandemic hasn't been easy for all of us. Some find it diffucult to find a job to support the family. Despite that, we are still delivering basic food pack to our recipients nationwide. Thank you to our volunteers, donors, and sponsors. Without your support, we would be unable to reach out to many families. Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
2 months ago
The global pandemic hasn't been easy for all of us. Some find it diffucult to find a job to support the family. Despite that, we are still delivering basic food pack to our recipients nationwide. Thank you to our volunteers, donors, and sponsors. Without your support, we would be unable to reach out to many families. Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Thanks to Yap Optometry for gifting Robert a new pair of glasses to see better. We wish him many clear and bright days ahead. Thank you to all sponsors. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
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Thanks to Yap Optometry for gifting Robert a new pair of glasses to see better. We wish him many clear and bright days ahead. Thank you to all sponsors. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Donation received to date: RM33,468.00 Yes! We've achieved the target for the #TamanNegara project. Fundraising is closed for this project. Thank you to all donors, 113 Orang Asli families will benefit from it. Stay tuned! #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
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Donation received to date: RM33,468.00 Yes! We've achieved the target for the #TamanNegara project. Fundraising is closed for this project. Thank you to all donors, 113 Orang Asli families will benefit from it. Stay tuned! #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
FRESHLY BAKED by Kechara Empowerment trainees - Chocolate Chip Butter Cookies - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
4 months ago
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In memory of Wilson Lee, one of our most dedicated volunteers in Penang. Our heartfelt condolences to Wilson's wife, Tze Ling, family and friends. Our thoughts are with them for their loss. Thank you for your kindness and service to KSK Penang. From all of us in KSK.
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In memory of Wilson Lee, one of our most dedicated volunteers in Penang. Our heartfelt condolences to Wilson's wife, Tze Ling, family and friends. Our thoughts are with them for their loss. Thank you for your kindness and service to KSK Penang. From all of us in KSK.
Last weekend a Soup Kitchen activities @ Penang, Johor & Kuala Lumpur. Hot food, water, masks, biscuits, buns & fruits. This is what we give out to our friends living on the streets. Thank you to our sponsor & volunteers that make it happen. Come spread more love by being a volunteer at our activities. WhatsApp us today at 010-333-3260! See you soon! #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
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Last weekend a Soup Kitchen activities @ Penang, Johor & Kuala Lumpur. Hot food, water, masks, biscuits, buns & fruits. This is what we give out to our friends living on the streets. Thank you to our sponsor & volunteers that make it happen. Come spread more love by being a volunteer at our activities. WhatsApp us today at 010-333-3260! See you soon! #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Fwd: Dear Sotha
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Kechara Earth Project 13/9/2020
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Thank you Domino's Pizza Malaysia, Kasih & Piza campaign for sponsoring 85 boxes of pizza to our friends who live on the streets. Your flavourful pizzas have put a smile on their faces. Thank you! - Vivan @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #KasihdanPiza #ItsAllAboutYou
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Thank you Domino's Pizza Malaysia, Kasih & Piza campaign for sponsoring 85 boxes of pizza to our friends who live on the streets. Your flavourful pizzas have put a smile on their faces. Thank you! - Vivan @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #KasihdanPiza #ItsAllAboutYou
Thank you Novo Nordisk! Your kind monetary donation and 1,320 boxes of masks will benefit many needy families under the Kechara Food Bank Program. Thank you! Much love from the needy families  ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #novonordisk #novonordiskmalaysia
6 months ago
Thank you Novo Nordisk! Your kind monetary donation and 1,320 boxes of masks will benefit many needy families under the Kechara Food Bank Program. Thank you! Much love from the needy families ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #novonordisk #novonordiskmalaysia
We were graced with the presence of Tengku Zatashah & The Alice Smith School Foundation yesterday. 130 homeless were blessed to be served by them. RM 20,000 donated by Alice Smith School Foundation will benefit 100 families registered under Kechara Food Bank Program. Thank you! Much love from the needy families ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #alicesmithschoolfoundation #alicesmithschool #volunteerism #homeless
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We were graced with the presence of Tengku Zatashah & The Alice Smith School Foundation yesterday. 130 homeless were blessed to be served by them. RM 20,000 donated by Alice Smith School Foundation will benefit 100 families registered under Kechara Food Bank Program. Thank you! Much love from the needy families ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #alicesmithschoolfoundation #alicesmithschool #volunteerism #homeless
Thanks to the effort of our outstation team, we were able to mobilise food provisions to 600 families living in Kelantan, Penang, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor during the Raya period with each of these families receiving RM200 worth of provisions. Adding onto the current 368 families in Klang Valley, a total of 968 families were benefitted from this. Special thanks to the sponsors who have contributed especially Hong Leong Foundation and partially from Tesco Malaysia (where we also ordered the provisions from). ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
8 months ago
Thanks to the effort of our outstation team, we were able to mobilise food provisions to 600 families living in Kelantan, Penang, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor during the Raya period with each of these families receiving RM200 worth of provisions. Adding onto the current 368 families in Klang Valley, a total of 968 families were benefitted from this. Special thanks to the sponsors who have contributed especially Hong Leong Foundation and partially from Tesco Malaysia (where we also ordered the provisions from). ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
So glad that our soup kitchen operations are back in full swing. Good to see the clients are observing the SOPs. Some of them lost their job during MCO and ended up on the streets. Special thanks to our sponsors and volunteers for the great support! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
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So glad that our soup kitchen operations are back in full swing. Good to see the clients are observing the SOPs. Some of them lost their job during MCO and ended up on the streets. Special thanks to our sponsors and volunteers for the great support! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
From serving cooked food to the homeless clients on the streets to mobilising provisions to the needy individuals in PPRs and shelters, we thank everyone of our Johor Bahru team for their kind contributions and effort to make it for the needy despite all the challenges! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
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From serving cooked food to the homeless clients on the streets to mobilising provisions to the needy individuals in PPRs and shelters, we thank everyone of our Johor Bahru team for their kind contributions and effort to make it for the needy despite all the challenges! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
More photos taken from our "Hari Raya Hampers" distribution this week. Making sure everyone of our clients have something to be cheerful about. Apart from food, daily used items such as hygiene products, kitchen utensils, assorted fabric items, stationary items and toys were also included into our hamper bags making it extra heavier this month! Food items alone were about 35kg per family! Taking this opportunity to wish everyone of our Muslim volunteers, friends, supporters and clients a Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Maaf Zahir Batin. No doubt this year's celebration will be very different but appreciate everyone is safe and protected from the pandemic. We are in this together and let's work to fight this pandemic together! Thanking all sponsors and donors for the generous support enabling us to continue serve the needy with food, love and care. Big shoutout too to our wonderful team which already depleted by our very own strict SOP. All of you who worked tirelessly behind the s
9 months ago
More photos taken from our "Hari Raya Hampers" distribution this week. Making sure everyone of our clients have something to be cheerful about. Apart from food, daily used items such as hygiene products, kitchen utensils, assorted fabric items, stationary items and toys were also included into our hamper bags making it extra heavier this month! Food items alone were about 35kg per family! Taking this opportunity to wish everyone of our Muslim volunteers, friends, supporters and clients a Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Maaf Zahir Batin. No doubt this year's celebration will be very different but appreciate everyone is safe and protected from the pandemic. We are in this together and let's work to fight this pandemic together! Thanking all sponsors and donors for the generous support enabling us to continue serve the needy with food, love and care. Big shoutout too to our wonderful team which already depleted by our very own strict SOP. All of you who worked tirelessly behind the s
Our team have been working extra hours for the past few weeks to deliver provisions and hamper goodies to the needy families before Hari Raya! Heart warming to see the smiling faces of our recipients upon receiving 3 bags full of food and daily used items. Thanks to everyone of you who have contributed to our foodbank enabling us to give all our recipients (especially those celebrating) a Raya to remember! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
9 months ago
Our team have been working extra hours for the past few weeks to deliver provisions and hamper goodies to the needy families before Hari Raya! Heart warming to see the smiling faces of our recipients upon receiving 3 bags full of food and daily used items. Thanks to everyone of you who have contributed to our foodbank enabling us to give all our recipients (especially those celebrating) a Raya to remember! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Thankful to all donors and those who have been committed in contributing not just money but time over the past testing weeks to help us ease the work of our frontliners and also the livelihood of the needy, their struggles over this pandemic period seemed a little easier to bear with because of your contributions! - Vivian @Kechara Soup Kitchen
9 months ago
Thankful to all donors and those who have been committed in contributing not just money but time over the past testing weeks to help us ease the work of our frontliners and also the livelihood of the needy, their struggles over this pandemic period seemed a little easier to bear with because of your contributions! - Vivian @Kechara Soup Kitchen
KSDS Level 2 virtual class, Lin Mun KSDS
10 months ago
KSDS Level 2 virtual class, Lin Mun KSDS
KSDS Level 3 virtual class. Lin Mun KSDS
10 months ago
KSDS Level 3 virtual class. Lin Mun KSDS
Wesak 2020
10 months ago
Wesak 2020
Recycle today for a better tomorrow. KEP-Serena
12 months ago
Recycle today for a better tomorrow. KEP-Serena
Today we are having recycling at Kechara Soup Kitchen. Do drop by here if you would like to get ride of the recyclable items from home. KEP - Serena
12 months ago
Today we are having recycling at Kechara Soup Kitchen. Do drop by here if you would like to get ride of the recyclable items from home. KEP - Serena
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Seen here is Bam, Vajrayogini’s seed syllable and also Kechara's logo. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Seen here is Bam, Vajrayogini’s seed syllable and also Kechara's logo. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: More melted butter was offered. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: More melted butter was offered. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
H.E. Zawa Rinpoche in deep concentration. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
H.E. Zawa Rinpoche in deep concentration. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Geshela is seen here wearing ceremonial hat called tsoksha. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Geshela is seen here wearing ceremonial hat called tsoksha. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
The Shize Fire Puja was performed according to scriptural sources. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
The Shize Fire Puja was performed according to scriptural sources. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
To find out more about the substances offered during jinsek/fire puja, have a read here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
To find out more about the substances offered during jinsek/fire puja, have a read here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
More about the symbolism of the offering items here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
More about the symbolism of the offering items here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Amongst all pujas, the fire puja is considered the king of all Pujas. It is the most powerful of all pujas within Tibetan Buddhism and its purpose is basically to remove all obstacles and its stains to enlightenment.
12 months ago
Amongst all pujas, the fire puja is considered the king of all Pujas. It is the most powerful of all pujas within Tibetan Buddhism and its purpose is basically to remove all obstacles and its stains to enlightenment.
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Graceful hand mudras were also part of the ritual. - shared Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Graceful hand mudras were also part of the ritual. - shared Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: One by one the offering substances were offered accompanied by traditional Tibetan recitations. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: One by one the offering substances were offered accompanied by traditional Tibetan recitations. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: JP Thong ensuring that Geshela's ritual items are within easy reach. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: JP Thong ensuring that Geshela's ritual items are within easy reach. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Pastor David Lai & Frederick Law were also on hand to assist with the puja ritual substances. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Pastor David Lai & Frederick Law were also on hand to assist with the puja ritual substances. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Pastor Niral Patel assisting H.E. Zawa Rinpoche during the puja. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Pastor Niral Patel assisting H.E. Zawa Rinpoche during the puja. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Peaceful fire pujas are excellent to remove inauspiciousness, problems that might be coming to our lifespan, wisdom, wealth, growth of Dharma. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Peaceful fire pujas are excellent to remove inauspiciousness, problems that might be coming to our lifespan, wisdom, wealth, growth of Dharma. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
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Germany 300,423
France 280,394
Brazil 211,413
Vietnam 189,365
Thailand 186,711
Taiwan 186,419
Italy 148,263
Spain 138,799
Mongolia 136,798
Portugal 131,177
Netherlands 127,904
Turkey 121,181
United Arab Emirates 113,284
Russia 101,014
Sri Lanka 98,042
Hong Kong 93,038
Romania 92,872
South Africa 92,208
Mexico 84,456
Myanmar (Burma) 78,491
New Zealand 77,292
China 75,598
Japan 74,278
Switzerland 73,829
South Korea 64,736
Cambodia 62,430
Pakistan 60,409
Bangladesh 57,499
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Dorje Shugden
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