Buddhist Influence on Chinese Religion

By | Jun 29, 2020 | Views: 651
A statue of the Buddha at Yungang Grottoes in in Datong city, Shanxi Province, China. This is just one of 51,000 Buddhist statues carved at the ancient cave site where Buddhist practice once flourished

A statue of the Buddha at Yungang Grottoes in Datong City, Shanxi Province, China. This is just one of 51,000 statues carved at the ancient cave site where Buddhist practice once flourished

 

Introduction

Since the time of the historical Buddha, the Sangha (ordained monastic community) have been sharing the Buddha’s teachings with many people from all walks of life. Over time, the Sangha travelled to many villages and cities, expanding their reach to different states in India, following various trade routes as recounted in many old Buddhist stories. This is how Buddhism spread within India and from India to many other countries.

During the Mauryan Empire (322-187 BCE), Buddhism spread north and north-west from its birthplace, from present day Bihar through the Kingdom of Kuru (present-day Uttar Predesh), up towards Gandhara (present-day north-west Pakistan and north-east Afghanistan) and Kashmir. It also spread south from Bihar to Maharashtra, and south-east to Andhra Pradesh and Sri Lanka.

It was after the era of the Mauryan Empire that Buddhism spread from Kashmir and Gandhara, along the ancient Silk Road through Central Asia and into China. Simultaneously, Buddhism also spread to China via sea through South-East Asia. Although Indian and Chinese cultures could not have been more different, Buddhism was adapted to suit Chinese perspectives. With the gradual spread of Buddhism throughout China in the 3rd Century CE, Indian Buddhist beliefs, literature, language and grammar had a major impact on early Chinese society and culture. These influences are still seen to this day.

A painting from the Ming Dynasty in China (1368-1644) depicting the most important figures of the three religions which helped to shape Chinese culture. Buddha Shakyamuni (left); Lao Tzu (centre); and Confucius (right).

A painting from the Ming Dynasty in China (1368-1644 CE) depicting the most important figures of the three religions which helped to shape Chinese culture. Buddha Shakyamuni (left); Lao Tzu (centre); and Confucius (right).

Today, the main Chinese religions include Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, and traditional beliefs related to or derived from these religions. According to Liu Mi, a late Song Dynasty Chinese elite,

“Buddhism is for the cultivation of mind, Daoism is for the training of the physical body and Confucianism is for the governance of society.”

This statement reflects the main functions of the three religions during the last 2,000 years in China. Confucianism, as the main belief that historical governance was based upon, was well-supported by both Buddhism and Daoism in China. These three religions did not and do not function as separate institutions within the Chinese context, but have also seen the spread of their individual practice lineages and traditions throughout various communities without discrimination.

Both Buddhism and the other Chinese philosophies encourage tolerance and open mindedness. Despite conflicts in Chinese history, the harmony and integration integral to these religions prevailed and were used to pacify conflict when necessary. Thus, scholars of Chinese religions agree that Buddhism played an important role in the formation and development of the country’s religious beliefs as a whole.

 

Buddhist Influence on Daoism

An example of early Buddhist art in China. Depictions of the Buddha and Buddhist figures took on distinctly Chinese artistic features.

An example of early Buddhist art in China. Depictions of the Buddha and Buddhist figures took on distinctly Chinese artistic features.

Buddhism entered China around the 2nd Century CE, with Buddhist monks and translators from India and Central Asia arriving in large numbers along the Silk Road and by sea. With their shaven heads, begging bowls and monastic robes, the monks had no homes or families, defying the already established Confucian tradition which emphasised producing heirs, having a family, and honouring the ancestors.

Buddhism arrived in China around the same time Christianity entered the Roman Empire from Palestine. Contrary to Christianity in Europe, Buddhism did not wipe out traditional Chinese religious beliefs and morals. In the beginning, Buddhism was simply viewed as another sect of Daoism, as stories circulated that Lao Zi, the founder of the Daoist religion, was reborn in the heavenly Buddhist Western Pure Land and became either the Buddha’s teacher or became a Buddha himself.

Daoism had not yet formed as a cohesive religion when Buddhism was introduced to China during the Han Dynasty. It was then simply a philosophy the Chinese learned and practised. From the 2nd to the 7th Centuries, Daoism developed dramatically. Many Daoist practices, texts and rituals were actually formed by absorbing both Confucianist and Buddhist teachings. During this period, Buddhism gradually took root in China as a large number of Buddhist scriptures from Central Asia and India were translated into Chinese. Daoism absorbed Buddhist ideology, practices, and organisational systems.

 

(1) Daoist Scripture and Schools

The full corpus of Daoist scripture is called the “Sandong”, and includes the following texts:

  1. Dongzhengbu
  2. Shangqing Jing
  3. Dongshengbu and many other ritual texts.

According to the findings of Chinese scholars, the term “Sandong” first appeared during the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420 CE) when Buddhism spread in China. Following the term used for the Buddhist canon “Sanzang” (‘Tripitaka’ in Sanskrit), the Daoists named their collection “Sandong”, referred to today as “Daozang”.

'Three Laughs at Tiger Brook', a litang style painting from the 12th Century Song Dynasty. It shows three men laughing by the river, representative of the harmony between China's three main religions: Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism.

‘Three Laughs at Tiger Brook’, a litang style painting from the 12th Century Song Dynasty. It shows three men laughing by the river, representative of the harmony between China’s three main religions: Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism.

The Daoist scholar Qing Xitai and many others also asserted that Daoists, especially those of the Lingbao School, borrowed many ideas and thoughts from Buddhist scripture when writing their own scripture. For example, a lot of the Daoist Lingbao Jing text was borrowed from the Buddhist Mahaparinirvana Sutra, which was translated into Chinese by the Indian monk Dharmaksema during the Northern Liang Dynasty (414-21 CE).

Qing Xitai also mentioned that the Zhongxuan Sect of the Daoist tradition was greatly influenced by the Buddhist Mahayana Prajnaparamita literature and Tiantai School, which was one of the leading Buddhist schools during the Sui Dynasty (581-618 CE). Zhongxuan literally translates as ’emphasis on metaphysics’ and was formed in the early Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE). It went on to become an important school of thought in Daoism.

 

(2) Ideas and Theories

The central deity in the Daoist Lingbao School, Yuanshi Tianzun, flanked by his two attendants

The central deity in the Daoist Lingbao School, Yuanshi Tianzun, flanked by his two attendants

The Buddhist teachings on karma and rebirth influenced Daoism, especially its description of heaven and hell. Daoists borrowed and incorporated many Buddhist terms into their teachings, and even mixed the Buddhist concept of karma and rebirth with the Daoist theory of Chengfu. This is the theory that future generations suffer from the consequences of the forefathers’ bad deeds, and was used to understand human misfortune in the world. They also adopted the Buddhist concept of Samsara or cyclic existence, which was not found in Chinese philosophy before the introduction of Buddhism.

The Lingbao School also worshiped a central deity, called Yuanshi Tianzun, combining the indigenous creator god Shangqing with the Buddha. The Daoists also reformed their cosmological model after the Buddhist system, asserting a total of 32 heavens, similar to the Buddhist concept of Trayastrimsa or the Heaven of the Thirty-Three.

 

(3) Monasticism

A rare photography of Chinese Buddhist monks during the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911 CE)

A rare photograph of Chinese Buddhist monks during the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911 CE)

Buddhism also influenced the establishment of the Daoist monastic system. Based on Qing Xitai’s findings, the historical figure Lu Xiujing (406–77 CE) reformed the Tianshi School of Daoism by incorporating various Buddhist ideas prevalent in the monastic system into the establishment of Daoist precepts. The well-known Daoist Tao Hongjing (456–536 CE) openly stated that the Buddha had prophesied him to be born as a bodhisattva, a being who can achieve complete liberation from suffering but delays doing so due to the compassionate motivation to help all other sentient beings out of their suffering as well. Tao Hongjing made vows to observe the Daoist Five Precepts (to refrain from 1. killing, 2. stealing, 3. sexual misconduct, 4. lying and 5. consuming intoxicants) in front of a Buddhist stupa built by the Indian Emperor Ashoka. In doing so, Daoists officially established their system of precepts and by extension monasticism based on the Buddhist one.

 

(4) Ritual

An illustration of a Daoist ritual for the dead, from the Chinese novel The Plum in the Golden Vase, circa 1700 CE. Scanned from Taoism and the Arts of China by Stephen Little. (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago. 2000. Page 192)

An illustration of a Daoist ritual for the dead, from the Chinese novel The Plum in the Golden Vase, circa 1700 CE. Scanned from Taoism and the Arts of China by Stephen Little. (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago. 2000. Page 192)

Daoist ritual was also influenced by Buddhism. Tantra was introduced to China in the mid-Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE)  by Subhakarasimha (637-735 CE), Vajrabodhi (671-741 CE), and Amoghavajra (705-74 CE). They translated many Buddhist tantric texts and introduced complicated tantric rituals, including various mandalas and mudras (hand gestures). Many of the Daoist rituals created at that time incorporated these rituals without modification. Daoists also began praying to several new guardian gods and protectors based on the Buddhist concept of a Bodhisattva and incorporated them into their various rituals. On the other hand, Buddhism in China itself was also influenced by Daoism as many terms were incorporated into the translation of Buddhist scripture. It was after this exchange of ideas that Daoism became an institutionalised religion with all the necessary religious elements.

 

Buddhist Inspired Religious Movements in History

Another painting showing harmony between practitioners of China's three main religions: Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism.

Another painting showing harmony between practitioners of China’s three main religions: Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism.

As Buddhism gradually integrated into Chinese culture and was accepted, many popular religious movements were formed throughout history, such as the White Lotus Society and the White Cloud Society. These movements appeared during the Song Dynasty (960-1279 CE) and continued through the Ming (1368–1644 CE) and even Qing (1644 to 1912 CE) Dynasties.

The White Lotus Society was established by Mao Zhiyuan as a society devoted to the recitation of the name of the Buddha Amitabha and practices leading to the Buddhist Western Pure Land. Mao advocated vegetarianism and the society’s teachings focused on the purification of the mind, so that practitioners could be reborn in the Pure Land. Both the cultivation of the mind, and the practices associated with achieving entry to the Pure Land were to be engaged in concurrently.

The society spread so fast it caught the attention of the Song government. Its founder was caught and expelled from the country for three years but was then allowed back and conferred a title by Emperor Gaozong. It was then that the society once again flourished in the country.

During the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368 CE), the White Lotus Society incorporated Chinese folk beliefs and spread rapidly, again attracting the government’s attention. According to the Yuan Shi or History of Yuan text, the society was banned in 1308, their monasteries destroyed and practitioners forced to return to lay life.

Later, Pudu, a Buddhist monk from Lushan, wrote the Lushan Lianzong Baojian text to explain the society’s doctrine. A few of the upper-classes supported his views, and so the society was once again allowed to spread among the people. It spread fast amongst the public, but its teachings morphed to instigate and stir up feelings against Yuan rule, leading to the fall of the Dynasty.

On the other hand, the White Cloud Society was originally a branch of the Buddhist Huayan School. Towards the end of the Song Dynasty, a monk from a White Cloud monastery, Kong Qingjue (1043-1121 CE), began to promote vegetarian meals to attract lay people. He considered the Huayanjing (Avatamsaka Sutra) an important Buddhist teaching, but he also advocated the syncretism of three religions, considering Confucianism the icon of loyalty and filial piety; Buddhism the icon of compassion; and Daoism the icon of a simple and quiet life without attachment.

kept in british library

Hand written Dunhuang version of the Avatamsaka Sutra currently kept in the British Library

The Society was considered heretical by the government as male and female practitioners practised together, so it was banished to the far south in 1116, but this banishment was later lifted. The Society diminished in 1202, when its practitioners were found to be practising at night, something which at the time was not considered a proper practice.

Daoan, the Buddhist abbot of Puning Monastery in Hongzhou, added work by the Society to an edition of the Tripitaka, called the Puning Edition, and revived the Society’s practices for a while until it was finally banned in 1320.

In addition to the two movements above, the Wuwei (Non-Action) Sect was founded by Luo Qing (1442-1527 CE). Luo was inspired by Buddhism, studied with various masters, and was particularly interested in Buddhist texts. His teachings were strongly influenced by Chan Buddhism, emphasising the discovery of one’s innate Buddha-nature (Sanskrit: Tathagatagarbha).

This tradition split into four sects after Luo Qing’s death. One of these developed into the popular I-Guan Dao (Consistent Way) that is very much active in Taiwan. Its practice of vegetarianism and worship of Guanyin are also heavily influenced by Buddhism. Apart from I-Guan Dao, the Sanyi Jiao (Three-in-One Teaching) School was founded by Lin Zhao’en (1517-98 CE). He combined the teachings of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism, but emphasised the Confucianist and Daoist concepts of internal alchemy, known as Quanzhen (Complete Realization) as opposed to the Buddhist concept of enlightenment.

 

Buddhist Influence on Popular Belief

Many of the images and iconographic details of the Buddhas, Boddhisattvas and Arhats were introduced to China at the same time Buddhist texts were. Some of these Buddhas and Bodhisattvas became quite popular amongst the Chinese people, who incorporated them into popular culture, turning them into Chinese gods. For example, Guanyin, the Chinese version of Avalokiteshvara; Mile, the Chinese version of Maitreya; and Dizang, the Chinese version of Ksitigarbha.

 

Guanyin (Avalokitesvara)

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Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy, is the most popular Buddhist Bodhisattva worshiped by Chinese people all around the world. Guanyin became popular in the Northern and Southern Dynasties (420-589 CE) and her popularity in China and East Asia continues to this day. Guanyin is also worshiped in Daoism as the True Man of Compassion or Great Person of Compassion. Within the Lingbao texts of the Daoist tradition, Guanyin was transformed into Jiuku Tianzun (Heavenly Venerable Saviour from Suffering).

 

Milefo (Maitreya)

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Milefo is the second most popular Buddhist Bodhisattva worshiped by the Chinese. He is also known as the Laughing Buddha; Mile with a Bag; Mile with a Big Belly; the Happy Buddha; the Peace Buddha; the Buddha of Good Fortune; and the Buddha of Wealth, etc.

According to Buddhist scripture, Maitreya currently resides in Tushita Heaven, where Lama Tsongkhapa also resides. Maitreya will appear on earth in the future to teach the Dharma again and bring us out of suffering when the world is dark and peoples’ delusions have worsened incredibly. He will become the next Buddha in our world. Iconographically, Maitreya sits upright and forward in full readiness to arrive and teach all beings, and his form resembles humans of this world. He will manifest in that way to help beings on earth to overcome their suffering.

Engaging in the practice of Maitreya now is said to assure practitioners the chance to become one of his foremost disciples when he teaches in the future. Many Buddhist practitioners, including the eminent Buddhist monk Daoan, vowed to be reborn in Tushita Heaven to be near Maitreya. Since the Northern and Southern Dynasties, many people have been inspired to use Maitreya’s image. From politicians and various cult leaders, people have used his future enlightenment to propagate their own versions of his arrival and to somehow legitimise any claims they made.

I-Guan Dao is one of the many popular Chinese religions that adopted Maitreya as their main deity and have asserted the reincarnations of their masters such as their 17th Patriarch Lu Zhongyi (1849-1925 CE), are in fact none other than Maitreya himself.

According to the Biography of Eminent Monks, during the late Five Dynasties (907–60 CE), there was a Buddhist monk, named Qici, who had a big belly. He often travelled around the Zhejiang province with a bag and begged for a living, so people called him Budai Heshang, which means the monk with a bag. Just before his death, Qici composed a stanza that reads: “Maitreya is a real Buddha, who manifests uncountable transformed bodies. Manifests constantly before living beings who are unable to recognize them.” Thus, people identified him as being Maitreya. According to Zhuang Chuo from the Song Dynasty, many made statues of Qici and worshiped him as Maitreya during that time.

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This tradition was adopted into Chinese Buddhism. We often see the Laughing Buddha being placed in the first shrine room as we enter a Chinese Buddhist monastery or temple. In 1098, the Song Dynasty Emperor Zhezong gave Maitreya an official title, the Great Master Dingying, which completely transformed the image of Maitreya into the Laughing Buddha.

The belief in Milefo continued to grow and became much more popular. Many texts were produced as a result, including Mile Sanhui Ji (Record of Maitreya’s Three Meetings), Longhua Huiji (Record of Longhua Meeting), Mile Sung (Praises of Maitreya), Milefoshuo Dizang Shiwang Baojuan (Treasure Scroll of Dizang and the Ten Kings preached by Maitreya Buddha), Dasheng Mile Huadu Baojuan (Treasure Scroll of the Great Saint Maitreya’s Conversion), Milefo Chuxi Baojuan (Treasure Scroll of Maitreya’s Appearance in the West), Budai Jing (Scripture of Budai), Mile Gufojiao Pian (The Ancient Buddha Maitreya’s Teaching), etc.

Today, Milefo or Maitreya is usually depicted in Chinese art as a laughing monk with a big belly to symbolise the spirit of open-mindedness and tolerance. The Chinese believe it represents the humanistic, practical, and happy attitude of life with a spirit to promote peace and prosperity in society.

 

Amitofo (Amitabha Buddha)

The Buddha Amitabha (centre) in his Western Pure Land, with his attendants.

The Buddha Amitabha (centre) in his Western Pure Land, with his attendants.

Amitofo is the most prominent deity in Pure Land Buddhism. According to the Wuliangshou Jing (Sukhavativyuha Sutra), there was a king who met Guan Zizaiwang Rulai (Tathagata Lokesvararaja), and renounced the world after learning the Buddha’s teaching. He became a monk, called Dharmakara, and made forty-eight vows to save people by creating a Pure Land. His 18th vow reads: 

“If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings in the lands of the ten quarters who sincerely and joyfully entrust themselves to me, desire to be born in my land, and call my name, even ten times, should not be born there, may I not attain perfect enlightenment. Excluded, however, are those who commit the five gravest offences and abuse the right Dharma.”

After he attained enlightenment, he was named Amita or Amitabha, which means “infinite light”, and the Pure Land he created is called the Sukhavati (in Sanskrit), which means the Western Paradise. Those who follow the Pure Land tradition recite the name of Amitabha Buddha, wishing to be born in his Pure Land according to his 18th vow.

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The two Bodhisattvas assistants of Amitabha Buddha are Guanyin (Avalokitesvara) and Dashizhi (Mahasthamaprapta). Together, with Amitabha, they are called the Three Saints of the West. The popularity of Amitabha in Chinese society is evident by the popular saying: “There are Amitabhas and Avalokitesvaras enshrined by each and every family”.

The practice of Amitabha is extremely important in Chinese religion and culture. When a person is close to death or has already passed on, often times family members, friends and even other volunteers chant the name of Amitabha and dedicated the merits to the dying person. This is done because they have the wish for him or her to be born in the Western Paradise. Family members also visit Buddhist monasteries to ask monks to perform rituals for the dead, including chanting of the name of Amitabha and the recitation of the short version of the Amitabha Sutra.

 

Belief in the Hells and its Ten Kings

The Bodhisattva Ksitigarba and his two attendants, flanked by the Ten Kings of Hell.

The Bodhisattva Ksitigarba and his two attendants, flanked by the Ten Kings of Hell.

According to Tang Yijian, a Chinese scholar, there was no belief in future lives in indigenous Chinese thought (Tang 1999, 164). The ancient Chinese believed that we go to hell when we die, but their idea of hell was quite vague. They believed in what was known as Taishan or Fengdu. According to the Shanguo Zhi text (History of the Three Kingdoms), Taishan was a place reserved for the governing of ghosts, not human beings (Chen 1964, 826). According to the ancient Book of Bowuzhi, Taishan was personified as the grandson of Heaven, and was in charge of all ghosts. Similarly, belief in Fengdu as the realm of ghosts can be found in Daoist books such as Ge Hong’s (284–363 CE) Zhenzhongshu and Tao Hongjing’s (456– 536 CE) Zhenlin Weiye Tu. Both of these figures were eminent Daoists in Chinese history.

However, one distinguishing feature compared to other belief systems is that hell is situated in the same realm as human beings. There was also a belief that there were many beings or deities in charge of the ‘departments’ or ‘offices’ for the different ‘districts’ of existence. This included hell, which was simply another ‘department’.

The introduction of hell as a separate realm came about through the introduction of Buddhism, and the various descriptions found in its scriptures. For example, the Dirga Agama text, translated into Chinese by Zhu Fonian in 413 CE includes a full description of hell. The popular belief in the 18 hells, however, was introduced to China during the 2nd Century, when An Shigao translated the Niraya Sutra, with its detailed description of the realm. The belief became popular during the Northen and Southern Dynasties, as the term ‘Eighteen Hells’ was mentioned in a story about Liu Sahe, recorded down in the Liang History Book.

Due to both the influence of indigenous beliefs and the introduction of Buddhism, a unique concept of the hells formed within Chinese culture. As Daoshi described it in his book Fayuan Zhulin (Forest of Gems in the Garden of the Dharma) compiled in 668 CE, there are 18 hells, with Yama (the God of Death) as their king, who commands 18 ministers that govern the realms. Therefore, today the belief in 18 hells is a combination of both Buddhist and Daoist tradition.

According to indigenous Chinese belief, the King of Eastern Mountain is the chieftain who governs hell. But in the Buddhist texts, Yama is described as the King of the Hells. This belief was originally found in the ancient Indian Hindu text known as the Yajur Veda. In it, he is known as Yamaraja, and Buddhism absorbed belief in this deity into their own cosmological system. The belief in Yama became widespread only during the Southern and Northern Dynasties. As the Biography of Han Qinhu in the Sui History text recounts, General Han Qinhu of the Northern Zhou Dynasty even made vows to be reborn as Yama, the King of the Hells.

A full description of the 10 Kings of Hell can be found in two versions of the apocryphal Scripture on the Ten Kings, which were written by a Buddhist monk, name Zangchuan. These were known as the Dizang Pusa Faxin Yingyuan Shiwang Jing (Scripture of the Ten Kings about the Causes of Kitigarbha Bodhisattva’s Taking of Vows) and Yanlouwang Shouji Linsizhong Nixiu Sheng Qizhai Gongde Wangsheng Jingtu Jing (Sutra of Yama’s Prediction that Allows the Fourfold Assembly to Practice the Seven Types of Rituals in Reverse to be Reborn in a Pure Land) which were both found in Dunhuang.

The Bodhisattva Ksitigarba with his two assistants, with the Ten Kings of Hell in attendance.

The Bodhisattva Ksitigarba with his two assistants, with the Ten Kings of Hell in attendance.

According to Stephen Teiser, the apocryphal Scripture on the Ten Kings came into being during the late 10th Century. After belief in them became stronger, they were considered to be subjects of the King of Eastern Mountain. Daoism however, assimilated the Buddhist idea of Yama and the 18 hells, and this view became popular during the Tang Dynasty. It is believed that there are 10 courts in the hell realms, each with its own king to pass judgement. The names of these kings are a fascinating blend of names of historical figures and those from Buddhist scriptures. They are (1) Qinguang, (2) Chujiang, (3) Songdi, (4) Wuguan, (5) Yanluo, (6) Biancheng, (7) Taishan, (8) Pingzheng, (9) Dushi, and (10) Zhuanlun. However, some lists enumerate them differently.

According to the scholar Zhiru, medieval sources indicate that by the end of the 8th Century, the worship of Dizang or the Buddhist Bodhisattva Ksitigarba, was incorporated into cults surrounding death and the afterlife. This was especially true in areas such as Dunhuang and Sichuan, where the Bodhisattva shows up frequently in portrayals of judgement in the afterlife. (Zhiru 2007, 198).

This Bodhisattva is well-known for his great vow to save beings suffering in the hells realms as recounted in the Sutra on the Original Vows of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, which is fundamentally a teaching concerning karmic retribution. It graphically describes the consequences of committing undesirable actions. His heroic vow reads: “Not until the hells are emptied will I become a Buddha.”

The Bodhisattva Ksitigarba

The Bodhisattva Ksitigarba

Dizang normally appears in hell as an intercessor; a ray of mercy and redemption in the afterlife’s judiciary process over which the Ten Kings preside. People believe that his worship during the Ghost Festival can save the suffering of their relatives in the afterlife because Dizang even has the capability of opening the doors to the hells, allowing the relatives respite or to receive offerings made for them.

In Daoist theology, the role of Dizang as Bodhisattva of the underworld was assumed by the deity Jiuku Tianzun. The cults of Dizang and Jiuku Tianzun offered people solace as they gave hope that the net of karma could be avoided through contrition, repentance, and faith in the power of a compassionate saviour.

 

The Mother Delivering Children

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There is another belief that influenced Chinese religion, and that is the belief in the mother of a child ghost. This came about from Buddhist tradition which speaks of a female ghost or ogress known as Hariti. She had five hundred children of her own, but used to eat other people’s children. Upon hearing this, Buddha Shakyamuni appeared and hid her youngest child. She could not find him anywhere and distraught asked Shakyamuni for help. He taught her to compare herself with other women who also have children. She realised her wrong deeds and instead became a powerful protector of children. She is worshiped in China by those who are childless and want offspring. She is appeased in the form of a mother who delivers children; middle-aged with many children around her, and at least one child in her arms.

 

Jigong, the Living Buddha

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Jigong is the honourable name for the Buddhist monk Jidian. His lay name was Li Xiuyuan and he lived during the Song Dynasty. Because of his good deeds helping people, he was named the Living Buddha Jigong after he died. He was a descendant of a military marshal, Lee Wenhe, from the Tiantai area. When he was 18 years old, he became a monk at Lingyin Monastery in Hangzhou, under his master, Huiyuan. Even though he was a monk, he did not follow the discipline of the monastery. He drank wine and eat meat; his speech was crude and his behaviour crazy. Other monks did not like him and thought to expel him from the monastery. However, his kind master kept him near until the master died. After that Jigong was expelled from Lingyin Monastery and moved to Jingci monastery, where he remained until his death in 1209.

According to legend, he had magical powers that he used to help people by curing their illnesses or predicting accidents, etc. As a result, people loved him and thought he was the incarnation of a Buddhist arhat, who had tamed a dragon. Thus, belief in Jigong became popular, and there are many folk stories about his life and legend. By the beginning of the Ming Dynasty, many storytellers propagated Jigong’s thaumaturgical stories. All the material enriched Jigong’s original history. Today, Jigong’s story is portrayed in TV shows popular in Taiwan, Mainland China, and the Tibetan Autonomous Region.

Jigong is an important figure in popular religion, as many sects regard him as a deity. For example, when people ‘Call Upon the Gods’ or hold the ‘Flying Phoenix Ritual’, Jigong is one of the major deities who possesses the mediums present. In I-Guan Dao, the disciples call Jigong ‘Lao Shi’, the ‘master’ or ‘teacher’, and they believe I-Guan Dao’s founder, Zhang Tianran, was the incarnation of Jigong. Another famous sect, Ci Hui Tang, incorporates the belief in mediums who are possessed by Jigong. In popular religion, although Jigong is not the highest god, he is a benevolent messenger who helps people.

 

Festivals Influenced by Buddhism

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Many festivals in China are influenced by Buddhist teachings, such as the Buddha’s birthday, which falls on the 8th day of the fourth month in the Chinese lunar calendar. Of course, it is mainly celebrated in Buddhist monasteries throughout China, but ordinary people, who are not particularly Buddhist, also attend the celebrations.

The second is the Yulanpen Festival, popularly known as the Ghost Festival, which is celebrated on the 15th day of the seventh month in the Chinese lunar calendar. The name Yulanpen is a Buddhist term from the Yulanpen Jing or Ullambana Sutra, which tells a story of how Maudgalyayana, a disciple of the Buddha, saved his mother from hell. It is a text that teaches filial piety. This festival became quite popular in the Tang Dynasty. Daoism also has its own festival, called Zhongyuan, celebrated on the same day with the same purpose – to save all souls from hell. Today, this festival is celebrated by all Chinese people, regardless of whether they are religious or not, because it is considered a form of ancestor worship.

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The third is the Laba Festival, which falls on the 8th day of the twelfth month in the Chinese lunar calendar. La means the end of the year, when the ancient Chinese made offerings to gods and ancestors for good fortune and blessings. Eight gods were worshipped during this time, such as the God of Harvest and the Insect God. After the introduction of Buddhism, it was made known that Buddha Shakyamuni attained enlightenment on the 8th day of the twelfth month, by meditating under a bodhi tree after eating congee (or the Indian equivalent; rice pudding) offered to him by a young lady. This took place after six long and futile years of mistaken ascetic practices. In commemoration of the event, Chinese monasteries began offering congee every year on this day. Thus, it became a tradition for people to enjoy bowls of congee for good luck and happiness. The Laba Festival therefore, has both indigenous and Buddhist characteristics.

 

Funerary Practices

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A central practice amongst the Chinese is to bury the dead in a thick coffin, as it is believed to be a filial act towards their deceased family member, as explained in the classic Chinese text Xiaojing. However, the practice of cremation was gradually accepted as Buddhism became an integral part of Chinese culture.

Buddhism, however, does not specify if a body should be cremated or buried as either a way to reach heaven, ensure a good rebirth, or as a crucial ritual act in treating the dead. Buddhist liberation has nothing to do with how a corpse is handled because the Buddhist attitude to the physical body is that it has only instrumental value. That being said, as Buddhists practiced cremation in India and they brought the tradition to China, it became widespread.

Beginning in the 10th Century, many people willingly gave up the long-established custom of burying bodies in coffins to follow the practice of cremating bodies and scattering the ashes over water, storing them in urns above ground, or burying the urn in a small grave. Throughout the Song Dynasty and its successor, the Yuan Dynasty founded by Mongol conquerors, cremation flourished, despite strong objections by the state and the educated Confucian elite. (Ebrey 1990, 406)

A Song Dynasty Chinese elite, Hong Mai (1123–1202 CE), stated in his work titled Rongzhai Suibi:

Once the Buddhist theory of transformation by fire arose, everywhere, there have been people who burn the corpse after death. When the weather is hot, out of dread of the foul secretions, they invariably lay out [the body] before the day is over and burn it before the flesh is cold. (Ebrey 1990, 410)

Of course, cremation was only an alternative. Many people still preferred to bury the dead. Cremation was preferred due to economic reasons, as there was a shortage of land for burial available to poor city dwellers, but others followed which ever custom they liked. According to a study by Ebrey, Buddhism provided the institutions necessary for the spread of cremation, as all the recorded crematoria were run by Buddhist temples. Some Buddhist temples even provided storage for the ash remains, and others had pools of water where they could be scattered. However, the practice of cremation declined from the Ming Dynasty due to criticism by the Confucians and government intervention.

The Confucians from the Song Dynasty argued cremation was a foreign custom introduced with Buddhism, and it was cruel, a desecration of the corpse, barbaric, and not filial. The well-known Neo-Confucian philosopher, Cheng Yi (1033–1107 CE), argued cremation was a severe way to handle a corpse: “Today if a fool or drunkard accidentally hits the coffin of a person’s ancestor, he will take great offense and want revenge. Yet, he may personally drag his parents and toss them into the flames, finding nothing odd in it”. Another Neo-Confucian, Zhu Xi (1130–1200 CE), also rejected cremation as an unacceptable practice. It was perhaps motivated by the Confucians that the Song government issued codes to prohibit cremation, but it was difficult to enforce. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the government’s codes became severe, and social control became more pervasive, so cremation declined rapidly. The practice of cremation continued, but it was confined to special circumstances, such as amongst Buddhist monks and nuns; and dead lepers, who were burnt to prevent disease.

Over time, however, cremation became a major practice as people became more aware that the physical body is just a natural product of their parents, and cremation is more environmentally friendly than other means of disposing the dead.

 

Conclusion

BICR026

The Buddhist influence on popular Chinese belief, especially amongst Daoist practitioners is very strong. Many Buddhist ideas and practices; and images of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas were incorporated into popular religious practices in China. Today, these Buddhist elements are seen in many areas of religious practice, however few people recognise them as such, though they have played a major role in Chinese religious traditions throughout the course of Buddhist history in China.

 
Sources:

  • https://www.quora.com/How-did-Buddhism-spread
  • http://factsanddetails.com/china/cat3/sub11/item94.html
  • https://classroom.synonym.com/how-did-buddhist-beliefs-impact-chinese-thoughts-12087528.html
  • https://classroom.synonym.com/cultural-diffusion-silk-route-ancient-china-6945.html
  • https://www.travelchinaguide.com/intro/religion/
  • https://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/buddhism.htm
  • https://www.ancient.eu/article/891/religion-in-ancient-china/
  • https://mediadiversified.org/2013/11/14/photo-gallery-taiwan-through-the-lens-of-the-people/11-prayers-and-incense-offered-at-longshan-temple-both-buddhist-and-taoist-by-benedict-young/
  • http://taoisttalisman.blogspot.rs/2006/
  • http://www.goodorient.com/blog/?p=481
  • https://www.thoughtco.com/the-three-purities-of-taoism-3182932

 
For more interesting information:

 

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Adeline Woon is a Buddhist Pastor and a Sangha-to-be in Kechara who enjoys learning and sharing the Dharma with others. Due to her deep interest in Buddhism from a young age, Adeline enrolled herself into the Dharma Drum University in Taiwan, where she graduated with a Master in Religious Studies in 2012.
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4 Responses to Buddhist Influence on Chinese Religion

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  1. Jacinta Goh on Feb 14, 2021 at 11:59 pm

    Up to this day, I am still having trouble differentiating between Confusion and Daoism. Thank Buddha I have a clearer understanding of Buddhism, especially Tibetan Buddhism. I’m glad that this article being discussed just now in the blog chat. Although I am still having difficulty in recognizing them, at least I learned some of their histories, their similarities with Buddhism as well as their differentiation. Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Adeline.

  2. Moon Chan on Jan 5, 2021 at 7:07 pm

    “Buddhism is for the cultivation of mind, Daoism is for the training of the physical body and Confucianism is for the governance of society.”

    Long time ago, I was told to defer Daoism between Buddhism, Daoism worship “human” figures, nor Buddhism is not. Therefore most of the time we see Buddha statue represents Buddhism, but Daoism has many different human form deities.

    There are many folktale in Daoism which are very interesting, I know Amitabha from a Daoism TV show during childhood. He was with many other deities in his heaven, now I realise it was the Pure Land he created, a place people longing to go after death. My experience of Chinese culture, its true I would say “Amitabha” when I see other beings are in suffer or death.

    The Daoists also asserting a total of 32 heavens, similar to the Buddhist concept of Trayastrimsa or the Heaven of the Thirty-Three. There are so many heaven up there, different heaven has different count in life time too. Interesting! So many history to discover, before this I thought only one heaven. In Tibetan Buddhism, Mandala is where the deities stay.

  3. Andrea Lai on Oct 8, 2020 at 1:10 am

    I’m used to be a Daoism practitioner because since young I was brought up in this way. Needless, I know not much until I growing up meeting friends and got know little better. Then when my mom converted into Buddhism, I only received very basic knowledge of Buddhism.
    Ever since I joined in Tibetan Buddhism, I found the teachings from Rinpoche have broadened up my horizon. In my opinion, Buddhism is not a religion it’s a philosophy of life, because we can apply it into our daily lives and it’s a cultural practice for all. Very informative info, thank you PAW. 🙏

  4. Samfoonheei on Jul 4, 2020 at 1:20 pm

    Buddhism started as a Hindu influenced religion in India. Buddhism has had a long history in China and has been instrumental in shaping Chinese culture and tradition. Over time Buddhism became a popular force in the lives of the Chinese and many others. Buddhists believe in a combination of Taoism and Mahayana Buddhism, the latter of which teaches that enlightenment can be achieved in a single lifetime. It was able to gain acceptance among the Chinese as it emphasis on non-violence and the sanctity of animal life. China hosts the world’s largest Buddhist population. Interesting read . At the time of commenting , I still have plenty to understand.
    Thank you Pastor Adeline for this sharing.

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  • 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
  • sarassitham
    Monday, Feb 22. 2021 11:55 PM
    There are lots of people have more than one reason for choosing vegetarianism. Many people choose a vegetarian diet out of concern over animal rights or the environment and others may be based on religious beliefs or even for healthier lifestyle.

    Regardless of whether you choose a vegetarian way of life, it’s always a healthy idea to eat a wide variety of foods and try out new foods when you can.

    Thank you for the sharing and compiling the list of vegetarian restaurants and organic shops in Klang Valley. I am glad to know whereabout and hoping to try them.

    https://bit.ly/3siC4tf
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Feb 22. 2021 03:30 PM
    Begtse Chen, a deity of alien origin, was incorporated into the pantheon of Tibetan Buddhism as a protector of the Dharma. This Proyector is one of the eight famous Dharmapala in Tantric Buddhism. Also known as red Mahakala and is especially revered in Mongolia where the origin of Begtse Chen can be traced to a pre-Buddhist deity in 16th century. It has become the mainstay of Protector practice in Mongolia. Interesting read.
    Thank you for this sharing .

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/the-dharma-protector-begtse-chen.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Feb 22. 2021 03:27 PM
    Interesting read of Kunkhyen Choku Ozer was a lineage master of the Manjushri Namasamgiti Tantra. He became known as Kunkhyen Choku Ozer due to his ability to penetrate the meaning of the great Buddhist treatises merely just by glancing at it. He could memolised texts just by reading it once. Reading this post and information at least I can know he is also a part of Dorje Shugden’s incarnation lineage. He is also famed for establishing the ancient monastery of Dakpo Tsele.
    Thank you Pastor David for this sharing as many of us would not have known this GREAT Lama was part of Dorje Shugden’s incarnation lineage.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/kunkhyen-choku-ozer-master-of-the-kalachakra-guhyasamaja-tantras.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Feb 22. 2021 03:25 PM
    Thank you Rinpoche for the teachings on Dorje Shugden and explanation on retreat. Learning and practicing this Dorje Shugden’s practice have indeed benefited many people. And more so when to do a retreat. . We are all very fortunate to be given an opportunity to meet Tsem Rinpoche and learning, practicing all these precious teachings coming from a pure lineage that can be traced back to the time of the great Lama Tsongkhapa. A very detailed explanation on why we need the retreat and the way to do the retreat.
    Thanks again Rinpoche with folded hands.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/dorje-shugden-retreat-a-powerful-practice-to-fulfill-wishes.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Feb 21. 2021 01:54 PM
    Tsem Rinpoche had been working tirelessly teaching Dharma in his whole life, giving many opportunities for us to learn , practice Dharma teachings. Whatever goes wrong we should admit it as our own fault and not our guru. Rinpoche ‘s love to spread Dharma teachings and nothing else. He had followed his advice of his guru to come all the way from India to teach in Malaysia. Reading all those meaningful quotes and sayings in this article tells us a thousand words of truth which we should not take it lightly. We could in fact learn from it and stop blaming others.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this profound teachings.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/is-it-the-gurus-fault.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Feb 21. 2021 01:51 PM
    HH the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso , the highest spiritual leader of Tibet, who is a living Bodhisattva, an emanation of Avalokiteśvara. Blessing to have a change looking at this rare picture taken years ago of Dalai lama on the throne . Dalai Lama is well known as a Buddhist Advocate for Peace and Freedom.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/his-holiness-the-supreme-holder-of-the-white-lotus.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Feb 21. 2021 01:48 PM
    Tibetans all over the world celebrates Losar, or Tibetan New Year with the beginning of Lunar year. This year it falls on the 12 February, every one will be looking forward to this day. A new year a new beginning , where the Panglung Oracle will take trance of the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden. As usual every year the Panglung Oracle will give advices, offering guidance, for the year ahead to everyone of what to do and so forth. Whatever advices given should not taken lightly. The Panglung Oracle as Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden will also give teachings and blessing . For this year Dorje Shugden gave a very powerful teachings and messages.
    Thank you for sharing this precious message.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/dorje-shugdens-2021-losar-advice.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, Feb 20. 2021 02:06 PM
    Interesting read , even though short but at least knowing the home Monastery of H E Tsem Rinpoche’s previous incarnation, Gedun Nyedrak. The monastery was called ‘Tsem’,where a custodian of a tooth relic of the great Lama Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
    Thank you Pastor David for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/gedun-nyedrak-an-abbot-of-gaden.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, Feb 20. 2021 01:59 PM
    News of UFO always fascinating to me . There are many UFO sighting hotspots exist across the globe, it has long since scientist have a keen interest to investigate further. UFOs has become a modern sensation for hunters , scientist and so forth. There was only the ambiguous testament of witnesses so far all happen and appeared mysteries without any substantial evidence. But the Japanese government has admitted and believes definitely they the UFO exist. Well the Japanese government has even made a statement about alien spacecraft appearing on Earth. Many people have denied the existence of UFOs, but with so many UFO sightings they cannot denied it after all. Sound interesting.
    The Buddha has once said that we are not the only beings in existence and we are not alone on earth. Interesting videos to watch.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/japanese-admits-ufo-exists.html

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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?
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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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Fragrant organic Thai basil harvested from our very own Kechara Forest Retreat farm!
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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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By the time I heard about Luang Phor Thong, he was already very old, in his late 80s. When I heard about him, I immediately wanted to go and pay my respects to him. - http://bit.ly/LuangPhorThong
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Kechara Forest Retreat is preparing for the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations. This is our holy Vajra Yogini stupa which is now surrounded by beautiful lanterns organised by our students.
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One of the most recent harvests from our Kechara Forest Retreat land. It was grown free of chemicals and pesticides, wonderful!
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Third picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal. Height: 33ft (10m)
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Second 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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The first title published by Kechara Comics is Karuna Finds A Way. It tells the tale of high-school sweethearts Karuna and Adam who had what some would call the dream life. Everything was going great for them until one day when reality came knocking on their door. Caught in a surprise swindle, this loving family who never harmed anyone found themselves out of luck and down on their fortune. Determined to save her family, Karuna goes all out to find a solution. See what she does- https://bit.ly/2LSKuWo
Very powerful story! Tibetan Resistance group Chushi Gangdruk reveals how Dalai Lama escaped in 1959- https://bit.ly/2S9VMGX
2 yearss ago
Very powerful story! Tibetan Resistance group Chushi Gangdruk reveals how Dalai Lama escaped in 1959- https://bit.ly/2S9VMGX
At Kechara Forest Retreat land we have nice fresh spinach growing free of chemicals and pesticides. Yes!
2 yearss ago
At Kechara Forest Retreat land we have nice fresh spinach growing free of chemicals and pesticides. Yes!
See beautiful pictures of Manjushri Guest House here- https://bit.ly/2WGo0ti
2 yearss ago
See beautiful pictures of Manjushri Guest House here- https://bit.ly/2WGo0ti
Beginner’s Introduction to Dorje Shugden~Very good overview https://bit.ly/2QQNfYv
2 yearss ago
Beginner’s Introduction to Dorje Shugden~Very good overview https://bit.ly/2QQNfYv
Fresh eggplants grown on Kechara Forest Retreat\'s land here in Malaysia
2 yearss ago
Fresh eggplants grown on Kechara Forest Retreat's land here in Malaysia
Most Venerable Uppalavanna – The Chief Female Disciple of Buddha Shakyamuni - She exhibited many supernatural abilities gained from meditation and proved to the world females and males are equal in spirituality- https://bit.ly/31d9Rat
2 yearss ago
Most Venerable Uppalavanna – The Chief Female Disciple of Buddha Shakyamuni - She exhibited many supernatural abilities gained from meditation and proved to the world females and males are equal in spirituality- https://bit.ly/31d9Rat
Thailand’s ‘Renegade’ Yet Powerful Buddhist Nuns~ https://bit.ly/2Z1C02m
2 yearss ago
Thailand’s ‘Renegade’ Yet Powerful Buddhist Nuns~ https://bit.ly/2Z1C02m
Mahapajapati Gotami – the first Buddhist nun ordained by Lord Buddha- https://bit.ly/2IjD8ru
2 yearss ago
Mahapajapati Gotami – the first Buddhist nun ordained by Lord Buddha- https://bit.ly/2IjD8ru
The Largest Buddha Shakyamuni in Russia | 俄罗斯最大的释迦牟尼佛画像- https://bit.ly/2Wpclni
2 yearss ago
The Largest Buddha Shakyamuni in Russia | 俄罗斯最大的释迦牟尼佛画像- https://bit.ly/2Wpclni
Sacred Vajra Yogini
2 yearss ago
Sacred Vajra Yogini
Dorje Shugden works & archives - a labour of commitment - https://bit.ly/30Tp2p8
2 yearss ago
Dorje Shugden works & archives - a labour of commitment - https://bit.ly/30Tp2p8
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha.
2 yearss ago
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha.
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.

  • 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.
  • January 12, 2021 00:32
    Laurence Brahm asked: Hello la. I would like to get in touch with Rinpoche. My name is Laurence Brahm and I've directed the two films including Searching for The Lotus Born Master. I would like to get in touch with Rinpoche in hopes he would kindly agree to an interview with our third production on Guru Rinpoche and also I would like to ask some questions concerning Shambala. I would be most grateful if Rinpoche would email me at himalayanconsensus2@gmail.com Thank you. With respects
    pastor answered: Dear Laurence Brahm, Thank you for your questions. This section is actually answered by Kechara's Pastors who were trained by His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche. Unfortunately, Tsem Rinpoche is no longer with us physically. He passed into Parinirvana in 2019. You can read more about this here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/me/the-parinirvana-of-kyabje-tsem-rinpoche.html If you would like to ask questions to any of the pastors regarding this, please email care@kechara.com with more information and mention that you would like to talk to one of the pastors. Thank you
  • December 31, 2020 14:46
    Jose Ajuria asked: What are the qualities of the Buddha Dharma and Sangha
    pastor answered: Dear Jose Ajuria, Here is a short article that discusses the qualities of the Three Jewels: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/taking-refuge-by-pabongka-rinpoche.html For a more in-depth text regarding this, please read Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand (https://www.vajrasecrets.com/lamrim-liberation-in-the-palm-of-your-hand). The text describes the qualities and benefits of taking refuge in each, in much more detail. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • December 30, 2020 09:55
    Dan asked: Dear pastors, some vegetarians said egg can eat. While some say no. What is your opinion on this. Thank you
    pastor answered: Dear Dan, Thank you for your question. There are differing views on eggs as part of the vegetarian diet. Some people would say that since eggs we get these days are not fertilized, then they are vegetarian since there is no life involved at that point. His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche was vegetarian but consumed eggs, as long as they were free-range and organic, because Rinpoche was against the battery farming system which produces the majority of eggs these days. There is a lot of animal cruelty involved with battery farming. Most people who do not include egg in their vegetarian diets do this because of the harm is causes the hens during the farming process, and also because they can view eating eggs as taking a life. That being said, within Buddhism, there are certain practices that strictly prohibit the consumption of eggs, as with other types of food. This can be for a number of reasons, which are too long to be discussed here. I would say that most people in the Kechara organisation eat eggs although vegetarian, but that may also be a cultural thing. Some people however, have taken the extra step and live a vegan lifestyle, which definitely does not include egg, as an extension of their practice of compassion for other sentient beings. I hope this explanation helps. Thank you.
  • December 5, 2020 00:25
    Bradley asked: Would offerings or prayers like Sangsol offering be more potent if we had the prayers translated to the language of a given geographical area? Example in England where Celtic was once spoken? Would the local deities or spirits be pleased we took the time to do so? They are far older than us.
    pastor answered: Dear Bradley, Thank you for your interesting question. Actually the sangsol prayers will be effective when done in any language. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that when you recite the sangsol prayer, you are actually invoking upon an enlightened being first, in this case, it is Dorje Shugden. Therefore, when you make the requests of the local deities to accept the offering, be calm and improve local circumstances etc, it is not coming from you. You are actually beseeching Dorje Shugden to help you in this matter. Hence, it is Dorje Shugden who is communicating with the local deities, not us. Secondly, deities and gods, as they do not have physical bodies, do not require ordinary language. Language as we know it is actually linked to our physical bodies. Local deities and gods, etc, because they don't have the same type of physical form as us, actually recognise our prayers through intention and effort rather than language. Therefore, prayers such as the sangsol prayers are effective no matter which language they are physical recited in. I hope this makes sense, if it does not, please let us know and we will clarify further. 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
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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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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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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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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 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
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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
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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
9 months ago
KSDS Level 2 virtual class, Lin Mun KSDS
KSDS Level 3 virtual class. Lin Mun KSDS
9 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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