Sacred Places in Kathmandu

Jun 19, 2020 | Views: 976
Kathmandu Valley

A picturesque view of the Kathmandu Valley

Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, is a world-famous pilgrimage destination. Its rich cultural heritage is attested to by ancient temples and monuments which create an environment ripe for spiritual experiences, whether or not you are religious.

In Hindu mythology the Great Himalayan Range has always been the Abode of the Gods.

The sages and seers of the Indian sub-continent envisioned the snow-peaks as the thrones of divine authority. Their remoteness and inaccessibility, their majesty and magnificence, and the symbolic significance of their immutable mass imparted a divine aura.

Lying in the lap of these mountains is the Kathmandu Valley, a fertile, well watered, undulating valley, with a temperate climate, surrounded on all sides by a mountainous rim. The Kathmandu Valley is called the playground of the gods.

Bubriski K and Dowman K, Power Places of Kathmandu: Hindu and Buddhist Holy Sites in the Sacred Valley of Nepal, [website],1995, http://keithdowman.net/books/power-places-of-kathmandu.html, (accessed 27 March 2018).

Street processions and religious celebrations infuse the air with a vibrant hum throughout the year in this ‘City of Temples’. The eternal tales and legends of these temples and their deities still enrapture the ears of young and old, Nepali and visitor alike. They speak not of faraway places but of the rivers, stones, mountains and monuments you can see and touch even today, just as the Gods and Goddesses did.

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Sacred masked dances are a common sight throughout Nepal

The holy 15th century Swayambhu Purana text is intimately connected to the legend of Kathmandu’s birth. It tells us that a lake once covered the entire valley, and held at its centre a miraculous lotus radiating brilliant light.

The Bodhisattva Manjushri cut a gorge in the earth to release the water from the lake. The valley became inhabitable and the Swayambhunath temple spontaneously arose at the site where the miraculous lotus had been. The Swayambhunath complex is among at least 130 monuments and seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the area.

A view of Kathmandu

A view of Kathmandu

Bask in awe at magnificent architecture, revel in the wonderful colours and sounds of spiritual and religious festivities, and let the silence of the temples and the bustle of the city infuse your soul. Nepal has repeatedly been voted one of the best destinations in the world by respected travel publications like Lonely Planet, and by leading newspapers, including the U.K.’s The Guardian. With such endorsements, good weather, great food and affordable accommodation, there is no reason not to visit this very hospitable destination. The 1 million international tourists who came in 2018 alone can’t be wrong.

Patan Durbar Square, one of the three Durbar Squares in the Kathmandu Valley

Patan Durbar Square, one of the three Durbar Squares in the Kathmandu Valley

 

Sacred Places in Kathmandu

Self-Arising Tara

Self-arising Ganesh, with Green Tara on the side

Self-arising Ganesh, with the smaller self-arising Green Tara to the right

One of the holy sites in Pharping is the Ganesh-Saraswati Temple, which includes the self-arising images of Tara and Ganesh. Tara, identified as Saraswati by Hindus, is considered to be the mother of all the Buddhas. Ganesh, also known as Ganapati and Vinayaka, is the Hindu god of good fortune, prosperity, and success. This temple is a small room opposite a prayer hall on the steps that lead up to the Rigzin Phodrang Monastery. The self-arising images of Ganesh and Tara emerged from the rock on their own. To read more about the Pharping area, click here.

Ganesh-Saraswati Temple on the steps that lead up to the Rigzin Phodrang Monastery

Ganesh-Saraswati Temple on the steps that lead up to the Rigzin Phodrang Monastery

Signage to the temple

Signage at the front of the temple

Many miracles have been associated with these two holy images. Tara has been known to emit nectar on auspicious occasions while the image of Ganesh is said to have repaired itself. Apparently, pieces broke off when someone tried to extract it from the rock. Devotees say that they have observed the image over time and the damage appears to have been partially repaired. They believe this is “done by the God himself”.

Cash being offered in front of the holy images by international visitors

Various items, including khatas, token monetary offerings and mandala offerings in front of the holy images. These were offered by the many local and international visitors who visit the temple every day.

The two images of Tara and Ganesh were self-arising, meaning they were not made but manifested on their own. It was in 1979 that Venerable Drubthob Rinpoche first saw the self-emerged images of Tara and Ganesh among the rocks in Pharping. Over time, the images became increasingly well-defined. That was how this temple started and began to grow in popularity. Today it is one of the top must-visit destinations in Pharping.

 

Tara in Nepal

Tara, also known as “She who liberates”, is considered the mother of all Buddhas. The most well-known aspects of Tara are the Twenty-One Taras and the Taras who Protect from the Eight Great Fears. She is popular in Tibet, Mongolia, Nepal and Bhutan, and is worshipped in many Buddhist communities around the world. Tara is an especially popular figure among the Newar Buddhists in Nepal, where two main forms of Tara are predominantly worshiped. Green Tara is known as Arya Tara or the “Noble Tara”, while White Tara is called Saptalocana Tara or “Seven-Eyed Tara”.

Arya Tara dance is a popular classical dance of Nepal devoted to Tara “The Holy Mother

Arya Tara dance is a popular genre of classical dance in Nepal devoted to Tara

As Tara is recognised as the consort of Amoghasiddhi, one of the Five Buddhas (Panca-Jina) of the Newari, you can find images of Tara in abundance throughout Newari temples. She is often depicted in Newari paintings and sculptures, too. It is common for the family of an ill person to request a bajracharya (Buddhist priest) to perform a Satva Vidhana Tara Puja, a ritual of offering 108, 360 or 1000 candles, together with bowls of water, cups of rice and a coin to Tara. These are accompanied by offerings of food, flowers, peacock feathers, vegetables and fruits. Such pujas are highly effective in invoking upon the energies of Tara for the purposes of healing the sick. It is also well-known that Tara comes quickly to the aid those who venerate her, therefore she is venerated as a Buddha that is very swift in her actions.

Another common practice among Newari is the Tara Vrata, a one-day rite of fasting and ritual purity for the purpose of healing, good health, long life, or for the fulfilment of a wish. Two of the most popular places to engage in Tara Vrata in Nepal are at Itum Bahal and Tara Tirtha. Itum Bahal houses the Mahashantasweta Dharma Chakra Tara statue which is reported to have flown from Tibet to it’s current location and preached Dharma under a sandalwood tree. Tara Tirtha is a cremation ghat on the bank of the Bagmati River where Tara manifested to give blessings to devotees.

 

About the Self-Arising Tara

Close-up of the self-arising Tara

Close-up of the self-arising Tara

It is said that self-arising images appear as a representation of the attainments of the practitioners who meditated there, imbued with their energy and the blessings of the deity. On numerous occasions, crowds have witnessed holy nectar flowing from the self-arisen images at Pharping. It is recorded that in 2005, the image of Tara emitted a significant amount of nectar when a group of sincere pilgrims performed puja (prayers) at the location. This is believed to be a sign that the pilgrims had unshakable faith in the goddess and of their deep-rooted connection with her. News of the miracle spread like wildfire among the locals and a temple was built around these holy images. The nectar was collected in small bottles and distributed to devotees. Handmade sculptures of the Twenty-One Taras were enshrined in cabinets above the self-arisen images, and painted forms of each Tara were created on the surrounding walls too.

Various forms of Tara in the cabinets above the self-arising images

Various forms of Tara in the cabinets above the self-arisen images

Painting of 21 Taras on the wall in the temple

Paintings of 21 Taras on the wall in the temple

Tara is known to remove obstacles, grant long life, fulfil wishes, and bequeath children to childless couples. Pujas are done at the temple every day and devotees can request for a Tara puja to be conducted without needing to be present at the temple themselves. A common prayer called “Praise to the 21 Taras” is often performed at the temple as well. Retreat rooms above the temple are available for those who wish to engage in longer sessions of concentrated meditation.

 

Self-Arising Tara


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Asura Cave

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Asura Cave in Pharping is also known as Yanglesho or Guru Rinpoche’s Cave. It is the place where the Lotus-Born master, Guru Rinpoche, manifested the third level of the four stages of a Vidhyadhara or “Knowledge-holder” according to the Dzogchen tradition of Buddhist practice. This is equivalent to the eighth and ninth levels of the Ten Grounds of a Bodhisattva, which is a more common classification of spiritual attainments within Tibetan Buddhism. In other words, it was here that he achieved the penultimate level of realisation before gaining full enlightenment. Guru Rinpoche, also known as Padmasambhava was a renowned Indian tantric master and mystic who is credited with introducing Tantric Buddhism to Tibet and aiding in the establishment of the first Buddhist monastery there late in the 8th Century. Due to his life and deeds, he is widely venerated as a ‘Second Buddha’ across Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, and the Himalayan states of India.

Guru Rinpoche or Padmasambhava in a glass case at the main road of Pharping, Nepal

Guru Rinpoche or Padmasambhava statue in a glass case on the main road of Pharping, Nepal

Asura Cave now has a monastery built around it, constructed by the Master Tulku Orgyen. Known to Newari Buddhists by his Newari name, Uddyana Bacharya, he was a “red hat” lama, meaning he belonged to the Nyingma order. The masters of this order are known to wear red pandit’s hats, therefore the order came to be known colloquially as the ‘red hat sect’. Only older Newari priests who have received the appropriate initiations are allowed to wear the Newari equivalent, the “mukuti” or crown. Even today, the main initiation for the most senior monk in Kathmandu is known as ‘Uddiya Dopuli,’ which refers to Padmasambhava’s hat.

A terma (Hidden Treasure) revealed by the master Nyangral Nyima Odzer mentioned that Guru Rinpoche attained Mahamudra, also known as the “Great Seal”, one of the most advanced meditations on the nature of the mind that allows enlightened attainments to manifest, through the combined practice of Yangdag Heruka and Vajrakilaya at Yanglesho (the Tibetan name for Pharping). To read more about Pharping, click here.

Guru Rinpoche initially practised the sadhana of Yangdak Heruka with his consort, Princess Shakyadevi, at Yanglesho. However, powerful spirits began to create problems.

The Nagas, Rakshas and sky demons conspired to cause a three-year drought and famine in Nepal, Tibet and India. The Appearance of Death provoked Guru Rinpoche to the realisation that he must destroy the power of those demons if he was to attain Mahamudra.

Giving an ounce of gold dust to his Nepali disciples Jila Jisad and Kunlakubzhi, he sent a plea to his Pandita Gurus in India to send the means to achieve the subjugation of the obstructing spirits. He was instructed to apply to Prabhahasti, which he did, and he received the text of the Phurba Vitotama, which two men could barely carry. Immediately upon the appearance of the text in Yanglesho, the ocean threw up gifts, the earth was suddenly fertile and clouds gathered in the sky. Rain fell upon the parched soil and simultaneously shoots, leaves, buds and fruit matured.

By eating this fruit both men and cattle were cured of disease and the kingdom was filled with happiness and laughter.

Practising their combined rites, he attained Supreme Mahamudra Siddhi. Through that night, at evening, at midnight and before dawn, various spirits came to him offering their life essence, and he bound them all to pledges to serve as Dorje Phurba’s Logos Protectors. Thus, Guru Rinpoche overcame the arrogant spirits of the Mandala of Divine form. He brought all sound and vibration of the Mandala of Mantra under his control; and every mental construct and thought, and all the five poisons were rendered void as they arose into the mandala of the True Nature of Mind, into the reality of indeterminate, non-conceptual purity. In the plenum of Innate purity, he entered the unchangeable Mind of Mahamudra.”

‘Pharping – Asura Cave – Kathmandu,’ http://goldenturtle.biz, [website], http://www.goldenturtle.biz/pharping-amp.html, (accessed April 26, 2018).

Vajrakilaya

Vajrakilaya

In short, the obstacles were pacified the moment the text of Phurba Vitotama (Vajrakilaya) arrived from Guru Rinpoche’s teachers, and both Guru Rinpoche and Princess Shakyadevi attained the third level of a Vidyadhara, becoming Vidyadharas of Mahamudra.

Guru Rinpoche recognised that while the practice of Yangdak Heruka is great, the obstacles, too, could be great. Vajrakilaya is like an armed escort, necessary for protection from those obstacles and to overcome them. Hence, Guru Rinpoche composed combined sadhanas of Yangdak Heruka and Vajrakilaya, binding the guardians of Vajrakilaya to protect the teachings. Asura Cave is also said to be the place where Guru Rinpoche accepted the oath from the Twelve Tenma goddesses to protect Tibet.

 

About Asura Cave

Inside Asura Cave

The inside of Asura Cave

Visitors will find images of Guru Rinpoche, Yangdag Heruka and Vajrakilaya in the cave. As you enter, pilgrims should take note of the rock above which seems to be about to split open. It is said that a yogi was trying to recover one of the many termas concealed by Guru Rinpoche in the cave, but he realised that the time was not ripe to disclose the secret. He broke his meditation and the rock, which was about to break, was frozen in time like this. Outside the cave, to the left of the entrance, there is a handprint seal on the rock. There are also footprints in the rock in front of the entrance. These are revered by pilgrims and said to have been left by Guru Rinpoche himself.

Handprint at the entrance of Asura Cave

Handprint at the entrance of Asura Cave

 

Asura Cave


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Naropa & Tilopa’s Caves

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Compared to the grandeur of the Pashupatinath Temple complex, the caves near the ghats may seem ordinary and are likely to be skipped by visitors unaware of their history. However, the pair of names written above the entrances of the two caves at Surya Ghat are not ordinary; in fact, they are the names of celebrated lineage holders and teachers of the great masters of Tibet. To read more about Pashupatinath, click here.

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Vajra Yogini. Click on image to enlarge or click here for more beautiful thangkas.

Tilopa (988-1069), and his famed disciple Naropa (1016-1100) were Buddhist Mahasiddhas or Great Adepts who achieved high spiritual attainments through their tantric practices. They were the forefathers of a lineage of Buddhist tantra that became known as the Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism. Their successor, Marpa (1012-1096), was a great translator who became a teacher to Milarepa, one of Tibet’s most famous saints and poets. Tilopa and Naropa were also masters in the practice of Vajra Yogini/Vajravarahi. Tilopa had many visions of this deity, and passed the practice to his student, Naropa.

The most prevalent form of Vajra Yogini that Naropa is associated with is Naro Khacho, or “Naropa’s dakini”. This form of the deity became the focus of the practice in the Sakya tradition, based on Naropa’s own encounter and vision of Vajra Yogini. The practice includes eleven special yogas, which have retained great importance in the Sakya spiritual curriculum and were incorporated into the Gelug tradition in the 18th Century.

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The Mahasiddha Tilopa. Click on image to enlarge or click here for more beautiful thangkas.

The caves of Naropa and Tilopa serve as a testament to Naropa’s practice of guru devotion, an important practice of Vajrayana Buddhism. One legend tells us of how Tilopa once said to Naropa, “If I had a disciple worthy of the name, he would jump off the roof of this building.” Naropa immediately jumped and ended up in agony on the ground. Fortunately, Naropa was healed by Tilopa’s magical power, and his trust and devotion to his teacher enabled him to attain enlightenment during that very lifetime. This famous anecdote is often cited as an example of how a student should devote themselves wholeheartedly to their teacher.

 

Vajra Yogini – from Nepal to Tibet

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The Vidyesvari form of Vajra Yogini, also known as Flying Vajra Yogini. Click on image to enlarge or click here for more beautiful thangkas.

As Tilopa and Naropa were masters of Vajra Yogini, it is important to know more about the practice of Vajra Yogini in Nepal and it is connection to these masters. The practice of Naro Khacho was passed on by Naropa solely to his Nepali students, the two Pamthingpa brothers, Vagisvarakirti and Bodhibhadra. The Pamthingpa brothers spent many years in retreat at their hermitage in Pharping. They then passed the teachings and lineage to Melgyo Lotsawa (Mal Lotsawa) Lodro Drakpa, a Sakya translator, practitioner and teacher of Khon Konchog Gyalpo and Sachen Kunga Nyingpo. The practice was eventually incorporated within the Sakya lineage in Tibet. It has been said that “more masters have realised Buddhahood in the Sakya lineage through the practice of Vajra Yogini than through any other practice”.

In Nepal, Vajra Yogini is worshiped primarily at four main temples. These are Guhyesvari (also worshiped as Prajnaparamita, Nairatmya and Agniyogini), Vidyesvari (Bidjeshwori), at Sankhu, and at Pharping. Vajra Yogini is considered the tutelary deity of Sankhu. In the Newar tradition, the rites have been adapted to suit tantric initiates who are householders as compared to monastics, although the pre-eminence of Vajra Yogini in the tantric pantheon is retained as the rituals and initiation into her practice reflects her supreme position in the hierarchy of Newar Buddhist practice.

The ancient Vajrayogini temple at Pharping

The ancient Vajra Yogini temple at Pharping

 

Tilopa (988-1069)

Born to a Brahmin family in East Bengal, India, Tilopa met the great Bodhisattva, Nagarjuna, who gave him preliminary teachings on the Mahayana path. Tilopa later became the ruler of a kingdom in Bhalenta but gave up the royal life and took ordination at the Tantric Temple of Somapuri in Bengal. Tilopa had several teachers, but his root guru was Buddha Vajradhara, who transmitted many esoteric teachings directly to Tilopa, including the practice of Mahamudra. He also received several teachings and transmissions from great masters such as the translator Acharya Charyawa, and the Siddha Lawapa.

Mahasiddha Tilopa

Mahasiddha Tilopa

Tilopa became a master of the instruction and practice of Bardo (the intermediate state between death and rebirth), Phowa (the transference of consciousness), Tummo (the practice of inner heat), and many other oral-pith instructions. Tilopa also received the transmission of the Chakrasamvara Tantra from a dakini. He devoted himself to these practices for 12 years but was expelled from the monastic order when it emerged he had taken a yogini as his secret consort. Tilopa spent the rest of his life in solitude. Naropa was one of his most devoted disciples.

 

Naropa (1016-1100)

Naropa was born to a royal family in Bengal, India. He journeyed to Kashmir to study with the master, Arya Akasha and received lay ordination when he was just eight years old. Naropa was forced by his parents to marry a Brahmin princess. However, when Naropa revealed his spiritual aspirations to his wife, she decided not to be a hindrance on his path. Naropa then became a novice monk and, later, was fully ordained in Kashmir. He studied in Pullahari Monastery as well as at Nalanda University. Naropa became the Chancellor of Nalanda University and was victorious in difficult debates with several non-Buddhist scholars.

Mahasiddha Naropa

Mahasiddha Naropa

A dakini appeared before him and advised him to seek the guidance of Tilopa, a great master who could lead him to realise the ultimate nature of the mind. It was then that Naropa decided to travel eastward to meet Tilopa. Naropa experienced 12 major and 12 lesser hardships to purify his karma during his training with Tilopa, and attained high realisation. He himself taught in many places and had many disciples, especially in Kashmir.

 

About Naropa & Tilopa’s Caves

The caves of Naropa and Tilopa are located at Surje Ghat or Surya Ghat, which is a hundred yards upriver from Arje Ghat at the Pashupatinath Temple complex. For many centuries, this quiet place of solitude has been the home of yogins who settled themselves in its caves, which were carved from the living rock above the ghat. It is said that it was in these caves that Tilopa gained siddhi (spiritual powers and attainments) and initiated Naropa. It was also here that Naropa engaged in his Vajra Yogini retreat and gained visions of the deity. The names of the two masters are painted in English and Tibetan at the entrances.

 

Naropa/Tilopa Cave


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Boudhanath Stupa

Boudhanath Stupa

Boudhanath Stupa

Boudhanath Stupa, also known as Chorten Chenpo (the Great Stupa) or Jarung Khashor, is located approximately 5 km (3.1 mi) from the centre of Kathmandu. It is one of the biggest stupas in the world. It is believed that Boudhanath contains the relics of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni, and for this reason, it is considered one of the most sacred power places for Buddhists. Boudhanath Stupa is also a popular tourist destination in Nepal. The stupa’s magnificent structure is a sight of wonder and a reflection of its builders’ devotion to Lord Buddha. Boudhanath’s irreplaceable historical value, sublime beauty, and place in ancient legends led UNESCO to declare it a World Heritage Site in 1979. To read more about the Boudha area, click here.

No one knows for certain when the Boudhanath Stupa was actually built or when it was first considered a sacred place. However, there are several popular legends as to how the stupa came to be.

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Legend 1

Standing Guru Rinpoche. Click on image to enlarge or click here for more beautiful thangkas.

Many centuries ago, there was a man named Jadzimo who had four sons. They were inspired to build a stupa and saved their earnings for this purpose. Finally, Jadzimo and his sons managed to build the stupa on one of the Eight Great Cremation Grounds, which was named Spontaneously Amassed. The stupa is believed to have contained sacred relics and when the stupa was consecrated, 100 million Buddhas were said to have dissolved into it.

Guru Rinpoche elaborated on this legend at Samye Monastery. He explained that the devoted prayers of Jadzimo’s sons led them to be reborn as Guru Rinpoche, King Trisong Detsen, Santaraksita, and Ba Salnang, who were responsible for the spreading of Buddha’s teachings in Tibet in the 7th Century C.E. Because they had been brothers in their previous lives, their first meeting in their new lives felt like a reunion. Guru Rinpoche also predicted that Boudhanath Stupa would fall into ruin and a reincarnated Lama would restore the structure. Guru Rinpoche’s prediction came true. In the 16th Century, the stupa did indeed fall into ruin before a Nyingma Lama called Ngakchang Shakya Zangpo stumbled upon it and took on the task of returning it to its former glory.

 

Legend 2

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An image of Vajra Yogini. Click on image to enlarge or click here for more beautiful thangkas.

In the 5th Century, the Licchavi Kingdom of Nepal was experiencing severe drought. The monarch, King Vishvadeva consulted the court astrologers on how to end the drought and to prevent the looming famine. They suggested that the drought would end if the king was to sacrifice a virtuous man. The king then concluded that he himself qualified as the sacrifice. Without revealing this to his son, Manadeva, the king instructed him to go to a royal well on a dark night and decapitate the person he would find there. Manadeva followed these instructions and was horrified to discover that he had beheaded his own father. Manadeva then consulted the female Buddha Vajra Yogini at Sankhu on how to purify his negative karma. Vajra Yogini released a bird with instruction for Manadeva to build a stupa at the place where the bird landed. Manadeva built Boudhanath Stupa at that site.

 

Legend 3

According to the third legend, the Tibetan king, Songsten Gampo, built the Boudhanath Stupa upon the encouragement of his two Buddhist wives. The stupa was destroyed by the Mughal invaders in the 14th Century but has since been restored to its former glory.

 

Legend 4

Another legend tells the story of the daughter of Indra, the Hindu god who has power over war, storms, and rainfall. Indra’s daughter stole flowers from the heavens and was punished to be reborn in the human realm as the daughter of a poultry farmer. In this new life, she decided she would like to pay homage to the previous Buddha by building a monument. She negotiated with a local ruler to obtain the land, and was told that he would give as much land as could be covered with a buffalo hide. Indra’s daughter ingeniously cut the hide into very thin strips and tied them together. She used these strips to cover a large area on which she would later build the temple.

 

About Boudhanath Stupa

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Boudhanath Stupa is believed to contain the relics of an enlightened being (perhaps even part of the historical Buddha’s body such as bones or teeth), sacred texts and other holy objects. Boudhanath Stupa is built on a huge three-level platform in the style of a mandala. The stupa is approximately 36 m (118 ft) in height and over 100 m (328 ft) in diameter. Its base is surrounded by 108 images of Amitabha, one of the Dhyani Buddhas and 147 prayer wheels which are positioned in groups. The mantra of Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of Compassion, is crafted on each of the prayer wheels.

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Boudhanath Stupa is a typical Buddhist stupa. Its constituent parts serve to remind practitioners of the path to Enlightenment. The key features of the stupa are:

  • Plinth – the stupa’s lowest level. It consists of a three-level square, terraced plinth which represents the earth element. The four sides of the terraces represent the four immeasurable qualities – joy, compassion, love, and equanimity – and the four states of mindfulness – mindfulness of the body, feelings, mind, and Dharma.
  • Kumbha – resting on top of the plinth is a dome similar in shape to an upturned pot of rice. The dome represents the water element. It is whitewashed annually and a pattern that represents lotus petals is painted onto its surface.
  • Harmika – is the square tower above the kumbha which represents the fire element. Usually, each side of the harmika is painted with the Buddha’s eyes. Between each pair of Buddha’s eyes, there is a third eye to represent the Buddha’s wisdom.
  • Spire – the 13-level tower that represents the 13 stages to enlightenment through which human beings must pass to achieve nirvana or liberation.
  • Umbrella – an elaborate golden ceremonial umbrella tops the structure, also representative of the air element.

Around the stupa, there are many prayer flags that carry prayers and mantras into the universe. Generally, prayer flags come in sets of five, one in each of the five colours to represent the five Dhyani Buddhas and purified forms of the five aggregates – form, feeling, discrimination, compositional factors, and consciousness. The Boudhanath Stupa is famous for its blessed energy. In fact, many Tibetan devotees consider it the second most sacred Tibetan Buddhist temple outside of Tibet, the first being Bodhgaya in India. They believed that prayers offered here will surely be fulfilled. Thousands of pilgrims circumambulate the stupa in a clockwise direction every day. Many of them recite mantras and spin the prayer wheels. It is believed that spinning one prayer wheel is equal to reciting the mantra embossed on the prayer wheel 11,000 times. Therefore, if the pilgrim spins all 147 prayer wheels, he or she accumulates the merits equal to 1,617,000 prayers on that one round alone.

Pilgrims at Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu

Pilgrims at Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu

A monk feeding birds at Boudhanath Stupa complex

A monk feeding birds at Boudhanath Stupa complex

 

Maintenance of Boudhanath Stupa

During Boudhanath Stupa annual maintenance, a skilled worker then throws saffron water on the lotus petal pattern in a bow. When the drops of water land on the stupa, they create a beautiful round shape.

During the annual maintenance of Boudhanath Stupa, a skilled worker throws saffron water on the lotus petal pattern using an arched motion. When the drops of water land on the stupa, they create beautiful curved shapes.

The Boudhanath Stupa undergoes a period of extensive maintenance every year. During this process, water mixed with lime powder is used for the decorative paint finish as it allows the structure to breathe. A skilled worker then throws saffron water on the lotus petal pattern. When the drops of water land on the stupa, they create a beautiful curved shape.

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Reconstruction of Boudhanath Stupa After the Nepal Earthquake

In April 2015, Nepal was hit by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that killed approximately 9,000 people and injured 22,000 others. Boudhanath Stupa was badly damaged by this earthquake and its spire was severely cracked. Due to the severity of the damage, the structure on top of the dome and the religious relics inside it had to be removed. The removal process was completed in October 2015. The actual reconstruction work started in November 2015 and was completed in November 2016.

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Boudhanath Stupa


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Swayambhunath Stupa

Swayambhunath Stupa

Swayambhunath Stupa

Swayambhunath Stupa, also known as Swayambu or Swoyambhu, is one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites in Nepal. It is popular with both Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims from around the world. According to legend, Swayambhunath Stupa arose from the lotus flower that grew on a lake which covered what is the present-day Kathmandu Valley. The stupa is believed to radiate blessings and wish-fulfilling energies. Swayambhunath Stupa is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. To read more about the Swayambhu area, click here.

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The incredible legend of the origin of Swayambhunath Stupa is recorded in the 15th Century Buddhist scripture titled Swayambhu Purana. It contains the accounts of the first and the second Buddhas and enlightened masters who came to Kathmandu. According to the Swayambhu Purana, Kathmandu Valley was a huge lake in prehistoric times. This lake attracted many saints and attained masters. One of the pilgrims was Buddha Vipashyin, who was the first Buddha of our current aeon. Buddha Vipashyin threw a seed into the lake, and the seed grew into a beautiful lotus flower. From the centre of this sacred lotus flower, a self-arising (swayambhu) stupa appeared and radiated light. Swayambhunath Stupa is said to have the power to fulfil wishes and it is said that those who are touched by wind which has passed over the stupa will have the seed of liberation planted in their minds.

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Thangka of Manjushri in Newari style. Click on image to enlarge or click here for more beautiful thangkas.

Manjushri, the Buddha of Wisdom, was at his earthly abode on Mount Wutai at the time and had a vision of this stupa. He decided to pay homage to the self-arisen stupa in the form of Manjudeva. It is believed that Manjushri took his two consorts, Kesini and Upakesini (Wealth and Learning), his sword of wisdom, and his book, the Perfection of Wisdom Sutra (Prajnaparamita) on this journey. He mounted a lion and made his way to the lake. When they arrived, Manjushri and his retinue were enchanted by the magnificence of the stupa at the middle of the lake. Realising that those without supernatural powers would not be able to reach it, Manjushri decided to meditate in the surrounding mountains for a suitable place to drain the lake. He was rewarded with an answer and made his way to Turtle Mountain.

At a place which is today known as Chobar, Manjushri made a cleft in Turtle Mountain with his sword and the water from the lake started to flow out. The naga kings who resided in the lake realised that their home was about to be destroyed and prepared to abandon it. However, Manjushri knew that the kings had power over the seasonal rains and their presence in the valley was essential for the rainfall to continue. He convinced them to stay in the valley at Lake Taudaha, south of Chobar. After the bigger lake was drained, it became apparent that the Lotus flower, where the wish-fulfilling Swayambhunath Stupa had appeared, continued to grow on the small amount of water remaining on top of Mount Vajrakuta Parvata.

Sacred hill and stupa of Swayambhunath, Kathmandu, Nepal

Swayambhunath Stupa atop its sacred hill, Kathmandu, Nepal

Manjushri then meditated on this mountain and built a temple there in the form of a three-petaled lotus, known as Manjudeva Stupa. He then built a beautiful city called Manjupattna between this temple and the Swayambhunath Stupa. Buddha Kashyapa also went to pay homage to the Swayambhunath and the Manjudeva stupas. He then travelled to India where he met a king named Prachanda Deva. The king wishing to be ordained, gave up his kingdom to go to the Kathmandu Valley to engage in meditation. While he was meditating on Mount Vajrakuta Parvata, Manjushri appeared and advised him to build a larger stupa to cover and protect the Swayambhunath Stupa. The former king then took the Vajrachaya ordination, which was the prerequisite to building the stupa. He was given the ordination name of Santikar Acarya. Santikar Acarya then covered the original Swayambhunath Stupa with precious stones and had it covered with an outer stupa. He also had images of the Five Dhyani Buddhas crafted on the stupa.

Santikar Acarya then covered the original Swayambhunath Stupa with precious stones and had it covered with an outer stupa

Santikar Acarya covered the original Swayambhunath Stupa with precious stones and had it covered with an outer stupa

 

Renovation of the Stupa

The Swayambhunath Stupa has undergone several renovations and the most recent took place between June 2008 and May 2010. A Tibetan Nyingma Meditation Center in California sponsored this renovation. It was the first major renovation since 1921 and the fifteenth in the 1,500 years since it was built.

 

About Swayambhunath Stupa

365-step stairway toward Swayambhunath Stupa

365-step stairway toward Swayambhunath Stupa

Swayambhunath Stupa is located west of Kathmandu. There are two access points to enter the stupa. One is the 365-step stairway which regales the visitor with a scenic view of the surrounding woods, this will lead you directly to the main platform of the temple. The other option is to go by car around the hill to the southwest entrance. The stupa is also known as the Monkey Temple because there are many monkeys living at its north-western side. These monkeys are regarded as holy due to the legend of their birth from Manjushri’s hair. While Manjushri was building around the stupa, he left his hair long, attracting head lice. These later left his hair and transformed into the monkeys that live around the stupa.

The monkeys are considered holy because the legend says they were born from Manjushri’s lice.

The monkeys are regarded as holy due to the legend of their birth from Manjushri’s hair

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At the base of the stupa, there are special shrines to honour the Five Dhyani Buddhas. Four of these shrines face the four cardinal directions, and another one is located slightly to the left on the east side to represent the centre direction. In between these shrines, there are four shrines to consorts of the Five Dhyani Buddha’s, making nine shrines in total. A chain of prayer wheels and butter lamps links these shrines together.

 

Swayambhunath Stupa – Monkey Temple


Or view the video on the server at:
https://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/Swayambhunath.mp4

 

Go to Manjushri’s Site

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Manjushri’s Teaching Site

H.E. the 25th Tsem Rinpoche and pilgrims recited Manjushri prayer at Manjushri’s teaching site

H.E. the 25th Tsem Rinpoche and pilgrims reciting prayers at Manjushri’s Teaching Site

Manjushri’s Teaching Site is a courtyard located a short walk away from the sacred Swayambhunath Stupa. It is believed that Manjushri still visits this place every year to give teachings. Therefore, visiting Manjushri’s Teaching Site and making aspirational prayers are good ways to connect with the Buddha of Wisdom. The History of Manjushri’s Teaching Site is closely linked to the history of the Swayambhunath Stupa. To read more about the Swayambhu area, click here.

 

About Manjushri’s Teaching Site

The site where Manjushri is said to teach local deities is relatively simple and contains trees, prayer flags and prayer wheels.

The site where Manjushri is said to teach local deities is relatively simple with trees, prayer flags and prayer wheels.

Not far from Swayambhunath Stupa, there is a special courtyard where Manjushri is believed to give teachings to celestial beings every year. Although most ordinary people cannot see this wonderful sight, in the past, certain individuals with special psychic abilities were able to perceive what took place here. It is an auspicious place to build a connection with the Buddha of Wisdom. Visitors can recite prayers to Manjushri here, such as Gangloma, to establish and strengthen such a connection. The courtyard is relatively simple with trees, prayer flags and prayer wheels, yet many visitors can feel the vibrant energy here.

Next to this sacred courtyard, about 50 m (164 ft) to the west of Swayambhunath Stupa, is a Manjushri-Saraswati Shrine. This place is particularly popular among Buddhist and Hindu devotees. It is customary for school children to visit the shrine during the Saraswati Puja (Prayer to the Goddess of Learning), which usually falls between late January and early February, to have their pens, pencils and books blessed.

 

Go to Seto & Rato Macchendranath

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Seto & Rato Macchendranath

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There is a beautifully-carved image of Buddha on the stone pillar at Macchendra Bahal, also known as Jana Baha, at the junction called Kel Tole. A large pagoda-style temple dedicated to Seto (white) Macchendranath is located past the gateway. This deity is recognised by Hindus as the god of rain as well as an incarnation of Shiva who blesses barren women with fertility and bestows longevity to children. Buddhists, on the other hand, worship him as an aspect of Chenrezig or Avalokiteshvara.

The temple is located between Ason and Indra Chowk in central Kathmandu and believed to have been established around the 10th Century C.E. Every year during spring, from the 8th to the 10th day of the sixth lunar month of the Nepali calendar, the Jana Baha Dyah Jatra (or Seto Macchendranath Jatra) is celebrated. During this three-day festival, the sacred Seto Macchendranath is bathed, repainted and carried in a towering 35-foot-high chariot for a procession through old Kathmandu. To read more about Kathmandu, click here.

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The Seto Macchendranath in Jana Bahal, Kathmandu and the Rato (red) Macchendranath in Bungamati, Lalitpur are two of the best-known Macchendranath statues in Nepal. The Newari refer to Seto Macchendranath as “Jana Bahal Dya” or the God of Jana Bahal; and Rato Macchendranath as “Bunga Dya”, God of Bungamati. Both will be discussed below.

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The sacred Seto (White) Macchendranath statue

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The sacred Rato (Red) Macchendranath statue

 

Seto Macchendranath

 

Legend of the Seto Macchendranath

According to the inscriptions still visible in the Jana Baha courtyard, the deity originated at the Hamhal Monastery in Ranipokhari and was moved to Kel Tole later. There is a legend that supports this. Based on the legend, Jamal was initially a kingdom named Jamadesh and ruled by King Yakshya Malla. At that time, there was a divine place near a holy river called Kantipuri where people bathed every morning before visiting Swayambhunath. These virtuous actions led them to heaven after death. When Yamraj, the God of Death, saw that people in Kantipuri did not go to hell after death, he came to understand that the cause was the divine power of Swayambhunath. He decided to go to Kantipuri with his followers to pay homage to Swayambhunath.

As he was returning, King Yakshya Malla and his tantric guru captured Yamraj and his retinue, and asked for immortality in return for their freedom. Being mortal himself, Yamraj could not give such a boon. The king insisted and said he would not let Yamraj go unless he bestowed that blessing. The frightened Yamraj then prayed to Avalokitesvara and requested for help to be freed. Hearing the prayer, the lord instantly appeared before them from the water. He had a white-coloured body and half-closed eyes looking downwards as if in meditation. The lord said that a temple needed to be built wherever the Kalmati and Bagmati Rivers meet. Those who visit it shall always be prosperous and live long. Avalokitesvara told the king to organise a Ratha Yatra (chariot festival) starting from the date of Chaitra Sukla Astami, every year for three days. This was so that the king could go to the houses of people who were disabled or could not move and stay at their houses to bless them with happiness and long life. The Ratha Yatra was to start from the place where Avalokitesvara appeared, in the present-day Ranipokhari area. The Seto Macchendranath temple originated here, and was later moved to Kel Tole.

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About Seto Macchendranath

The age of the Seto Macchendranath Temple is not known but it was restored during the 17th Century. The temple’s arched entrance is marked by a small Buddha figure on a high stone pillar in front of two metal lions. The arched entrance to the temple was destroyed in the 2015 earthquake and the temple was closed for repair works. Within the temple are numerous smaller shrines, chaityas (small stupas) and statues, including a mysteriously European-looking female figure that faces the temple and is surrounded by candles. It seems that it was brought from Europe or gifted to the temple by someone who had come from the faraway continent. What is certain is that she has been accepted into the pantheon of gods at the shrine. Right in front of the temple, facing the other way, are two bronze Taras gracefully seated atop tall pillars.

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Seto Macchendranath is always adorned with flowers. This is the statue that is taken out during the Seto Macchendranath festival in March/April each year on a procession around the city in a chariot. In the courtyard, there is a sculpture of men holding what looks like a bizarre string instrument. It is actually a tool used to fluff and separate down, like cotton padding, that is sold in bulk nearby. The string is plucked by a wooden double-headed implement that looks like a cross between a dumb-bell and a rolling pin. There are also several stores here that sell incense sticks, flowers, grains and other items required for offerings. People also feed corn grain to the birds there. To the north of the temple, on the Bhedasingh side street, are shops that sell topi (cloth hats) and Nepali traditional dress, daura suruwal (a long shirt over tapered drainpipe trousers), including adorable miniature versions for children. On the left, near the temple’s exit, is a small tantric temple, the triple-roofed Lunchun Lunbun Ajima, that is covered in red tiles around the lower level.

 

Ritual of Seto Macchendranath

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The Jana Baha Dyah Jatra (chariot festival) is believed to have been started by King Pratap Malla, a descendant of King Yakshya Malla. On this day, the Newari Shakya priests take the White Padmapani Avalokitesvara (Seto Macchendranath) statue for a procession to Jamal, beside Ranipokhari, where a large chariot is on standby to receive it. The procession begins with people playing various musical instruments and dancing to the tunes. The chariot makes its way down the town alleys pulled by enthusiastic youths as people sing hymns and pray. Butter lamps are lit and the smell of the incense gives the scene a wondrous aura filled with divine power that is difficult to describe. People from all walks of life come together for the procession and pray for long life and prosperity.

The procession covers the Jamal, Ratnapark, Bhotahity and Ason areas on the first day. The next day, it starts from Ason and moves on to Balkumari, Kel Tole, Indra Chowk, Makhan and the rest of the Hanuman Dhoka area. The main highlight of this event is that the living goddess Kumari attends this ritual. The worship of Kumari Devi is traditional in Nepal. They believe certain young pre-pubescent girls are manifestations of the divine female energy or Devi in Hindu religious traditions.

The Kumari Devi worship is a tradition in Nepal.

The worship of young girls as the manifestation of the divine feminine energy, who are known as Kumari Devi, is traditional in Nepal.

The procession moves from Hanuman Dhoka to Maru, Chikan Mangal, Jaisidewal, Jya Baha and then Lagan Tole on the final day. The procession ends after the circumambulation of a special tree three times. According to Buddhist belief, the festival must be completed before the Purnima (the full moon) of the month, which normally falls on the third day of the event. On the fourth day, the sacred Padmapani Avalokitesvara is brought back to the temple after a special puja. One interesting point to take note is that the start, stop and finish points of the procession follows a hierarchy of open spaces and affirms socio-cultural meaning to existing pilgrimage sites, squares and streets. The procession pierces through the densely-populated areas of the city in the day and stops at the Chowks or the Durbar squares that are locations of religious or political importance. These locations serve as congregational points where religious activities take place for the locals.

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The bathing ritual of Seto Macchendranath

In the month of Poush, the third month of the Nepali lunar calendar, a ceremony is held to bathe and repaint the Seto Macchendranath. The Seto Macchendranath statue is brought into the temple courtyard during the event. Its ornaments and accoutrements are removed and it is given a bath of cold and hot water, milk, ghee, and honey by the temple priests. The living goddess Kumari will also attend this ritual. The annual bathing and repainting ritual symbolises the changes that occur throughout our lives.

 

Rato Macchendranath

 

Legend of the Rato Macchendranath

Once, the Kathmandu valley experienced drought and famine for 12 years. A saint told the king and his subjects that Gorakhnath, a master with significant spiritual power, had been angered by the nagas when he came to Kathmandu. He had imprisoned them but because the nagas held power over the rains, this had caused a drought.

In order to appease Gorakhnath, the locals held a procession through the city with the statue of Macchendranath, the father of Gorakhnath. They pulled the chariot on which the statue was placed with all their energy and great fervour. Gorakhnath was well pleased, the nagas were immediately released and rain came pouring down on the valley. From then onwards, the locals started a tradition to please Rato Macchendranath with an annual festival. It lasts for about six months from December to June.

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Ritual of Rato Macchendranath

Every year during the chariot procession, thousands of people gather to worship and observe the Ratha Yatra. On the first day, Rato Macchendranath is carried out and pulled towards Ganabahal. On the second and third days, the statue is taken to Sundhara and Lagankhel respectively.

The Rato Macchendranath rests in Lagankhel for two to three days and people come to worship every morning and night. A holy coconut (the Fruit of Faith) will be thrown from the top of Rato Macchendranath Chariot in Lagankhel. It is believed that whoever manages to grab it will have his wishes granted. This makes the efforts by the crowd to catch it very competitive. The lucky individual is given the privilege of offering it to the chariot together with a donation. The chariot is then brought to Thali. The next morning, only women are allowed to pull the chariot.

The exciting sounds coming from the traditional musical instruments Dhime (drums) and Bhushya (a pair of big brass cymbals) adds to the festive mood of the procession.

The exciting sounds coming from the traditional musical instruments Dhime (drums) and Bhushya (a pair of big brass cymbals) adds to the festive mood of the procession.

The display of Lord Macchendranath’s Bhoto (vest) called “Bhota Jatra”. Those who had a glance at the Bhoto will bestow them with good luck.

The display of Lord Macchendranath’s Bhoto (vest) called “Bhota Jatra”. Those who glance at the Bhoto will be bestowed with good luck.

The tradition is to have a Newari band play music during the procession. In addition, the Nepal Government’s Sarduljung battalion’s band also plays at the Jatra, a Newari festival that includes a street carnival. The sword of 17th Century ruler, King Siddhi Narshing Malla’s battle sword is exhibited, always kept under a parasol. The chariot is then brought to Thahiti Tole, where it remains for a few days. Knowledgeable priests ascertain the most auspicious day to display Lord Macchendranath’s Bhoto (vest), which is called “Bhota Jatra”. Thousands of people and foreigners gather to catch a glimpse of the Bhota Jatra during a grand ceremony; it is believed that a single glance at the Bhoto will bestow them with good luck.

In the past, the king and queen used to grace the Jatra. Today, the President and other senior government officials participate as guests. It is a holiday for those residing in the Kathmandu Valley. On the last day, Rato Macchendranath is invited back to its residence in Bungamati. He will remain there for 6 months before he is again escorted to the chariot for the following season which starts from Pulchowk. The exact date is determined by a priest for its auspiciousness in the calendar. The chariot is traditionally dismantled at Pulchowk every year, except for every twelfth year, when this is done in Bungamati.

 

Go to Itum Bahal Tara Chapel

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Itum Bahal Tara Chapel

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The sacred images at the Itum Bahal Chapel: Yellow Prajnaparamita Tara (left), White Tara (centre) and Green Tara (right)

White Tara represents the motherly aspect of compassion. Her white colour indicates purity and truth, complete and undifferentiated. Altogether, she has seven eyes, including one in the centre of her forehead, two on her hands and two on her feet. The eyes represent her seeing of all suffering and cries for help from sentient beings, through ordinary and extraordinary or psychic means. The eyes also symbolise the vigilance of her compassion, always on the lookout to help.

Tara is, without doubt, the most beloved female deity in Tibetan Buddhism, revered for her swiftness in helping those who rely on her. She has been described as a Buddha for our modern age, a sublime personification of compassion and wisdom in female form at a time when sorrow and suffering seem to be increasing everywhere. Of all the Buddhas, Tara is the most accessible.

Rinpoche, Acharya Zasep Tulku, Tara in the Palm of Your Hand, British Columbia, Wind Horse Press, 2013, p. 1.

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White Tara. Click on image to enlarge or click here for more beautiful thangkas.

Her right hand is held in a boon-granting mudra, her left hand holds the stem of a white flower between thumb and fourth finger in the protection mudra. The flower is an utpala flower and contains three blooms: the first, which has gone to fruit, is a representation of the past Buddha Kashyapa; the second, in full bloom, is a symbol of the present Buddha Shakyamuni; and the third, budding and about to bloom, represents the future Buddha Maitreya. This signifies that White Tara is the essence of all past, present and future Buddhas. She sits crossed-legged in the vajra (diamond) position and displays regal grace and calm.

Kyabje Zong Rinpoche explained that Tara is very sacred and that even gazing at her image is a holy act that reaps many benefits. Her body, speech and mind, and anything that has to do with Tara are so sacred that her images do not require further blessings. Zong Rinpoche said that any image of Tara does not even need to be consecrated because Tara is that powerful and sacred. Tara had a very special place in Zong Rinpoche’s heart and he gave her a lot of reverence, performed pujas to her every month and engaged in her recitations every single day.

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His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche

 

The Stories of Tara

Click on image to enlarge

Green Tara. Click on image to enlarge or click here for more beautiful thangkas.

Tara is the most popular goddess in the Buddhist pantheon, especially in Tibetan Buddhism, and is considered to be the Goddess of Universal Compassion who represents virtuous and enlightened activity. Tara means ‘Female Saviour’. One of the most popular legends about Tara tells of her being born from the compassionate tears of Avalokiteshvara. Avalokiteshvara wept when he saw the suffering of the world. As the tears streamed down his face, two Taras were born, the peaceful White Tara from the left and, from the right, Green Tara. Thus, Tara is often referred to as Avalokiteshvara’s consort. In Tibetan history, Tara is associated with the two pious and virtuous wives of one of the Three Great Dharma Kings, Songtsen Gampo. Princess Wen Cheng from China is associated with White Tara and Princess Bhrkuti Devi from Nepal is identified with Green Tara. These two are the most popular of all the known forms of Tara widely worshipped by Buddhists.

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King Songtsen Gampo (centre) and his sacred consorts, Princess Wen Cheng (right) and Princess Brikuti Devi (left)

According to the Tara Tantra, she originated aeons ago when she was born as a princess who had a strong spiritual and compassionate nature. The princess regularly gave offerings and prayers to the Buddhist sangha, allowing her to develop a great amount of merit. Monks told her that because of her spiritual strength, they would pray that she would be born as a man and spread Buddhist teachings. She responded that she wished to remain in female form to serve sentient beings until everyone reached enlightenment because nothing existed in reality; there is no male and no female. Her response implied a flaw in the monks’ knowledge that assumed that the male form is superior in Buddhism. Hence, Tara may be considered one of the earliest feminists.

 

About Itum Bahal Tara Chapel

Itum Bahal courtyard

Itum Bahal courtyard

In the metropolitan city of Kathmandu, there are 18 main Mahayana Buddhist Mahaviharas (Great Mahayana Buddhist Monasteries). To read more about Kathmandu, click here. Among them is the Itumba (Itum Bahal), one of the oldest, most important and most well-known of them all. It is widely accepted to have been built in the middle of 11th Century C.E. by Keshchandra at the centre of Kantipur city (Kathmandu). Its full name in Sanskrit is Shree Bhaskardeva Samskarita Sata Shree Keshavachandra Krit Paravat Mahavihara, Itumba. Understandably, it is known popularly as Itum Bahal. On special occasions, an ancient bilanpau (scroll painting) that records the legend of the monastery’s founding is displayed to the public. Itum Bahal hosts Nepal’s most famous Tara, the Mahashanta Shweta Tara. It is a large bronze statue of White Tara, also known as “The Great Peaceful White Tara Who Turned the Wheel of Dharma”. 

According to Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, this Tara flew miraculously to Kathmandu from Tibet. The statue is said to have landed at the white sandalwood tree at the site and spoke to spread Buddhist teachings. The Mahashanta Shweta Tara then flew to other parts of Nepal to be of benefit to the beings there. It also spoke to great masters who paid homage to her. Although Tara was not a major deity prayed to by the Newari Buddhists, she is highly revered with the Tara Vrata, a special ritual observed by the Newari Buddhist community during which the devotees fast and maintain a state of purity for a day. This White Tara is found in a side courtyard (nani bahal) north of the old courtyard of Itum Bahal. The statue on her right is Prajnaparamita Tara, and on its left is Green Tara. It is considered one of the most powerful images of White Tara in the world.

 

About Itum Bahal

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Shree Bhaskardeva Samskarita Sata Shree Keshavachandra Krit Paravat Mahavihara (Itum Bahal) is originally believed to have been built after Buddha Shakyamuni’s visit to the Kathmandu Valley for the darshan (viewing) of the Swayambhu Jyotirupa Mahachaitya, also known as the Swayambhunath Stupa. Indian Emperor Ashoka’s Dharmadutas (messengers of Dharma) had visited this vihara and asked for an Ashokan caitya (a sacred place) to be built at Itum Bahal. This caitya still exists in good condition at the centre of the vihara courtyard. It is very difficult to put an exact date to when the vihara was constructed and consecrated because no historical evidence has been found that mentions these details. However, most historians concur that this is one of the oldest viharas in Kathmandu Valley.

Most of the Buddhist viharas in Kathmandu Valley were built during the time of the Licchavi kings. By looking at the Sanskrit name of the vihara, historians have discovered that the words “Bhaskardeva Samskarita” means that the vihara was built by a ‘King Bhaskardeva’. If we go through the Gopal Vamsavali (also known as Gopalraj, the oldest Nepali chronicle), there appears to be only three such names:

  • Bhaskardeva Varma;
  • Bhaskardeva, the Thakuri king from Nuwakot; and
  • Bhaskarmalla Deva

King Bhaskardeva Varma lived in the 7th Century and ruled Nepal for 13 years. During his reign, large quantities of gold amassed from invasions of countries to the south were used to build the golden city of Kantipur. The Gopal Vamsavali is the only historical book that mentions that the king offered gold to make the golden roof of Pashupatinath Temple.

King Bhaskardeva, the Thakuri king from Nuwakot, lived in the 10th Century. Historical records show he only ruled Kathmandu itself for three years. However, he ruled the Nuwakot area for 15 years when Kathmandu did not have a king due to the massacre of 12 members of the ruling lineage. He built Buddhist viharas in Lalitpur City and in Kathmandu during his three-year reign. Two of the viharas in Lalitpur were completed in this period while the one in Kathmandu was completed later.

King Bhaskarmalla Deva lived in the 17th Century. He ruled Kathmandu for eight years and also seems to have renovated the vihara in Kathmandu and was present at its consecration.

 

Special Feature of Itum Bahal

One of the special features of Itum Bahal Newar Buddhist monasticism is that members of the sangha are not celibate. Instead, they live at home with wives and children. One of the male children in every local Newar Buddhist family is ordained for four days and then returns the novice monk vows and disrobes. He remains a member of the monastery for life after that. Today, the monastery has about 450 members from 118 families in Itum Bahal.

Itum Bahal is very closely aligned with the Bungadhyo Buddhist ritual ceremonies (of the Rato Machhendranath of Bungamati Village) that originated from Kamarukachhe in the state of Assam in India. King Narendradeva of Bhaktapur, Priest Vandudatta from Kathmandu Tebahal and Rathanchakra, a farmer from Lalitpur are credited with the transfer of this knowledge. As Rato Machhendranath resides at a temple at Lalitpur, holy water from Itum Bahal is carried there every year. This water is used to bathe the holy statue on the festival day of Baisakhkrishnaprtipada.

It is believed that a very big white sandalwood tree stood in Itum Bahal many centuries ago, and that the Mahashanta Shweta Tara used to preach Dharma under it. A vihara stood beside the root of the tree, which is why it was named Tarumula Mahavihara or Sikanmoo Baha in the local Newari language. Every year during the month of Shrawan, members of the Salanpa Guthi (Trust) in Itum Bahal arrange for a two-week exhibition of the Tara statues, along with other Buddhist statues of the vihara. The Salanpa Guthi is solemnised by vajracharya (Buddhist tantric masters) from different Buddhist viharas of central Kathmandu who recite the Astasahashrika Prajnaparamita (Wisdom of Perfection Sutra in 8,000 lines) for one week. 200 vajracharya are invited from four different viharas to Itum Bahal on this day to do the recitation and they are offered dana following the recitation.

Every year in the month of Gunla (from Shrawan Shuklapratipada to Bhadra Krishna Amawasya), the vihara’s sangha members go to the Swayambhu hillside with a band of Gunla Bajan (religious musicians) and devotees early in the morning. They circumambulate the Swayambhunath Stupa while reciting Buddhist hymns. A completion feast is organised by the Gunla Bajan Khala when the month ends. Every year during the month of Ashad, sthaviras (senior sangha members) observe a special fast in a ceremony called Kayetamadu Dhalan. This fast ensures that the rains come, contributing to a good rice harvest. This is done by observing the Naga Sadhana to please Naga beings in order to make rain. Women are not allowed to be present or take part in the fasting.

The daily prayers known as Nitya Puja are performed at the main shrine four times a day: early in the morning, at 9am, at 2pm, and in the evening. Sangha members who are ordained take turns to carry out their one-week responsibility for Nitya Puja. No sangha member can be exempted from this responsibility.

 

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The Mahabauddha Temple

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The life story of Buddha Shakyamuni begins in Lumbini, near the border of Nepal and India, about 2,600 years ago. The Buddha was born Prince Siddhartha Gautama. Despite being born a prince, he began to realise that life should have meaning beyond materialism, despite the many comforts it provided, for lasting happiness or protection from suffering. He then became an ascetic for six years before realising that even that could not bear results. He had finally understood that just like a sitar will not play well if a string is too loose or too tight, the solution was the ‘Middle Path’. It was then that he achieved the state of unconditional and lasting happiness, the state of Enlightenment, of being fully awake, of Buddhahood. This state of mind is free from disturbing emotions and expresses itself through fearlessness, joy, active compassion and wisdom. For the remainder 45 years of his life, the Buddha taught the profound Dharma he had realised.

Lumbini, the Buddha’s birth place

Lumbini, the Buddha’s birth place

Ukubaha is located in the south-eastern quarter of Patan, about an eight-hour drive from Lumbini. To read more about Patan, click here. It is here that the Mahabauddha temple is located. The temple is modelled on the Mahabodhi Temple at Bodhgaya, India, where the Buddha achieved enlightenment. It is often called the “Temple of a Thousand Buddhas” because one thousand Buddha figures of various sizes are carved into the nine thousand terracotta bricks from which the temple is constructed. The construction of the temple began around 1584 and was inspired by a priest of Patan, Abhaya Raj. He once went to Bodhgaya for pilgrimage and was inspired by the architecture of the Mahabodhi temple there. After returning from a three-year pilgrimage, he sought to construct a similar but smaller version in Patan, dedicated to Buddha Shakyamuni, his life and his teachings. Some legends say that the Lord Buddha appeared to him in a dream and commanded him to do so while Hindu legends claim that Abhaya Raj’s fifth son Bauddhaju dreamed of the goddess Vidyadhara who commanded him to finish the construction just when he was about to give up on it.

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One unique aspect of the Mahabauddha Temple is its architecture which does not exhibit Nepali influence. It is the only major stupa in the Kathmandu Valley built in an early Shikhara style. The temple’s surface is covered with terracotta tiles, many of which depict the Buddha in the ‘earth-touching’ mudra that represents the moment of the Buddha’s awakening as he claims the earth as witness to his enlightenment. A larger Buddha Shakyamuni statue is displayed on the ground floor, also in ‘earth-touching’ mudra. On the first floor, there is a statue of Buddha Amitabha. On the second, third, fourth and fifth floors are the Panchajinalaya Svayambhu Chaitya, Dharmadhatu Mandala, Vajradhatu Mandala, and Sunyaniranjan Chaitya respectively. At the top of the temple is the Usnish Cudamani Suvarna Chaitya, which takes its total height to approximately 18.2 m (60 ft).

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Before the construction of the Mahabauddha Temple, the Temple of Akasha Jogini Shree Vidhyadhari Devi, a form of Vajra Yogini, already existed at the site, which also housed an image of Manjushri. An old manuscript of the Prajnaparmita Sutra is also preserved here and recited daily. At the front entrance of the shrine is a pyramid-shaped candle stand on which devotees and visitors place lit butter lamps. The Mahabauddha Temple is a popular pilgrimage site, especially for Tibetan Buddhists. Every day, Buddhist monks and devout practitioners travel to Patan to perform pujas there. Devotees may visit on important days or festivals with the motivation to receive good luck. The busiest time of year is the month of Wesak when devotees come together to join prayer gatherings and activities in remembrance of the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and parinirvarna.

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Jowo Rinpoche Chapel in Sakya Tharig Monastery

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The Sakya Tharig Monastery in the Boudha area of Nepal houses a very special statue. It is a replica of the original Jowo Rinpoche statue which is currently housed in the Jokhang Cathedral in Lhasa, Tibet.

 

History of the Original Jowo Rinpoche Statue

The Jowo Rinpoche, also known as Jowo Shakyamuni, is considered the most sacred and important image of Buddha in Tibet. It is very old, from the time of Lord Buddha, and Lord Buddha is believed to have blessed it himself when it was completed. Texts such as the 11th Century Vase-Shaped Pillar Testament suggest that the Jowo Shakyamuni statue was fashioned from a life portrait of the Buddha. It is said that it was created in India by the celestial architect, Vishvakarma, who is sometimes called the Principal Architect of the Universe. Jowo Rinpoche is one of only two Buddha images carved by someone who personally knew what the Buddha looked like; the other is in the Mahabodhi Temple at Bodhgaya. Hence, these images are extremely sacred. The Jowo Rinpoche is doubly blessed since it is derived from the actual likeness of the Buddha and was carved by a celestial being.

Statues of Princess Wencheng (right), Ling Songtsen Gampo (middle) and Princess Bhrikuti from Nepal (left)

Statues of Princess Wencheng (right), King Songtsen Gampo (middle) and Princess Bhrikuti from Nepal (left)

However, the earliest written mention of the statue dates back to the 7th Century when China gifted India with a rare and expensive fabric, which legend says had no beginning or end. It is said that the fabric was made by female celestial deities called dakinis. In return, India gifted China with the great statue of Jowo Rinpoche. When the Chinese princess, Wen Cheng was to wed the Tibetan Dharma King, Songsten Gampo in 641, she brought Jowo Rinpoche with her to Tibet as a gift to the King. This date coincides with the time that Buddhism began to take root in Tibet. During the reign of Mangsong Mangsten (649 – 679), when there was fear of an invasion by the Tang Dynasty, Princess Wen Cheng hid the statue in a secret chamber in the Jokhang Cathedral. Sometime after the year 710, the princess took it out and placed it in Jokhang’s central chapel. Later, it was placed at Ramoche Temple beside a small bronze statue depicting the Buddha when he was eight year old, called the Jowo Mikyo Dorje, apparently also carved by Vishvakarma. This is another important Jowo statue and was brought to Lhasa by Bhrikuti, the Nepali queen of Songtsen Gampo.

The Jowo Mikyö Dorje of the RamocheTemple that was restored by Ribur Rinpoche to its present glory and grandeur

The Jowo Mikyo Dorje of the Ramoche Temple that was restored by Ribur Rinpoche to its present glory and grandeur

Ribur Rinpoche worked with the 10th Panchen Lama in recovering and restoring the famous Jowo Mikyö Dorje statue in the Ramoche temple

Ribur Rinpoche worked with H.H. the 10th Panchen Lama in recovering and restoring the famous Jowo Rinpoche statue

In the 14th Century, Lama Tsongkhapa made an offering of jewelled ornaments to the statue, dressing its original Nirmanakaya form with Sambogakaya ornaments. Hence, Tsongkhapa transformed Jowo Rinpoche into a Sambogakaya Buddha. The Nirmanakaya form depicts the Buddha in his regular robes, whereas the Sambogakaya form shows the Buddha in beautiful ornaments and jewels such as bracelets, anklets, arm bands, necklaces, earrings, and a jewelled crown. In 1959, during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, the Ramoche Temple was partially destroyed and the statue disappeared. In 1983, the lower part of the statue was discovered in a rubbish heap and the upper part, somewhere in Beijing. They were joined, restored, and taken back to Ramoche Temple in 1986. However, the damage was still visible.

When Ribur Rinpoche was given a position at the Office of Religious Affairs of Tibet, he had the statue taken back to the Jokhang Cathedral. His mission was to recover and restore sacred treasures, especially those that had been dispersed or lost during the Cultural Revolution. He did this with the help of His Holiness the 10th Panchen Lama, who explained to the Chinese government how sacred and valuable the Jowo statues were to Tibetans. They acquiesced to Ribur Rinpoche’s quest as proof of the sincerity of the new religious policies in China.

 

About the Original Jowo Rinpoche Statue

The Jowo Rinpoche statue sits in a lotus posture with his right hand in the significant pose of touching the ground known as “calling the earth to witness”. This was during his final battle with Mara and achieved full enlightenment.

The Jowo Rinpoche statue sits in lotus posture with his right hand in the ‘earth-touching’ mudra.

The Jowo Rinpoche is a magnificent life-size statue of Buddha Shakyamuni that is housed in the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, Tibet. The Jowo Rinpoche statue sits in lotus position or padmasana in Sanskrit, with his left hand in meditation mudra and his right hand in ‘earth-touching’ mudra. This signifies the crucial moment when Buddha achieved enlightenment. The statue is dressed in a magnificent jewelled crown and robes heavily adorned with precious stones that have been added to the statue over many years. The figure is seated on a stunning and bejeweled throne made of gold. The statue has gone through several restorations and reconstructions over the course of its history. It is one of the greatest treasures of religious and cultural importance in Tibet.

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Monks adding more gold as an offering to sacred Jowo Rinpoche statue

Monks adding more gold as an offering to the sacred Jowo Rinpoche statue

 

About Sakya Tharig Monastery

The Sakya Tharig Monastery in Boudha, Nepal is also called Tse Chen She Dup Ling. It was built in 1969 by the 6th Tharig Rinpoche, Jamyang Dhamchoe Nyima. A well-known Nepali Priest, Chini Lama (1915-1983), donated the land on which the monastery has been built. To read more about Boudha, click here.

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Tse Chen She Dup Ling was the first monastery that built its Gompa (Prayer Hall) in the Boudhanath area. Later, other monasteries followed suit. The monastery was blessed by the presence of His Eminence Chogye Trichen Rinpoche (1921-2007) who gave many teachings here before establishing his own monastery, Matrya Gompa, on the outer periphery of the Boudhanath Stupa in 1984. Another great teacher who lived and gave many important teachings here was His Eminence Dezhung Rinpoche (1915-1987). In 1986, he, too, moved to his own monastery.

Tharig Monastery has hosted many honoured guests and high lamas, including His Eminence Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche. Whenever he came to Kathmandu to receive teachings, empowerments, instructions and oral transmissions from great masters like His Eminence Dezhung Rinpoche, he stayed at Tharig Monastery. The living quarters he occupied next to the Mahakala Shrine Room is now named after him. The monastery has also been graced and blessed by visits from renowned high lamas like His Holiness Sakya Trizin, who at the time of his visit was the Supreme Head of the Sakya tradition. Tharig Monastery has also had the honour of hosting His Eminence Luding Khenchen Rinpoche. This master and H.H. Sakya Trizin eventually became patrons of the monastery, giving valuable advice and supervising its day-to-day activities.

 

Shrines of Tharig Sakya Monastery

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The monastery is divided into four areas or wings which contain several important shrines. There is the Mahakala shrine where pujas and special propitiations to Mahakala are conducted; the Hevajra Mandala Shrine which houses the grand three-dimensional celestial mansion of nine-deity Hevajra Mandala; and the Kagyur Lhakang shrine that contains the complete set of the Kangyur, the written words of the Buddha. This consists of over three hundred volumes, together with various scriptures with painted covers and illustrations. Then there is the Yarney Lhakang shrine where the Sangha gather to recite the Vinaya Sutra during their one-and-a-half-month long summer retreat; and the Jokhang shrine, also known as Jokhang Chapel that contains the glorious replica of Jowo Rinpoche. This Buddha has been sculpted and dressed to resemble the holy Jowo Rinpoche statue in Jokhang Temple, Lhasa. Since the Jowo image is considered one of the holiest and most sacred of Buddha images, this means its replica also carries the same significant blessings. Hence, visiting the Jowo Rinpoche image in Tharig Sakya Monastery is the same as visiting the Jowo Rinpoche in Jokhang, Lhasa. The blessings are the same if one has faith.

The magnificent Jowo Rinpoche statue in Tharig Sakya Monastery is said to be very similar to the holy Jowo statue in Jokhang, Lhasa

The magnificent Jowo Rinpoche statue in Tharig Sakya Monastery is said to be very similar to the holy Jowo statue in Jokhang, Lhasa

In Tibet, when someone is ill or is about to pass away, the relatives of the person traditionally make precious offerings such as gold to be painted on Buddha statues. The gold that is applied on the face and body of the Buddha creates a great amount of spiritual merit for the person who made the offering or the one it is dedicated towards. Besides that, a sick or dead person’s name can be written in gold on a red piece of paper called Ser Yek Dak, which means ‘Golden Letters’. These papers will then be burned in front of sacred Buddha images like the Jowo Rinpoche. Tibetans pray to see the statue of Jowo Rinpoche before they die because they believe that the blessings and energy from this sacred statue will transform their karma and this will help them at the time of death. That is how much faith Tibetans have in Jowo Rinpoche.

This is not uncommon because faith and devotion can transform an object from ordinary to something real, and in this case, the sacred Jowo statue into a real Buddha. Therefore, it is easy to receive blessings especially when one believes that what they are seeing is the real Buddha himself.

The 6th Tharig Rinpoche (1923-1998) comes from the unbroken lineage of Nagarakchita (Khon Lui Wangpo Sungwa), who is the direct disciple of Guru Padsambhava and Shantarakchita. He is one of the first seven monks under probation during the time of King Trisong Deutsen during the 7th century. Hence, it is believed that the current Tharig Tulku is the direct descendent of Nagarakchita.

The 6th Tharig Rinpoche (1923-1998) comes from the unbroken lineage of Nagarakshita (Khon Lui Wangpo Sungwa), who was the direct disciple of Guru Rinpoche and Santarakshita. Nagarakshita was one of the first seven novice monks during the time of King Trisong Deutsen in the 7th Century.

Many believe that there is no need to meditate or recite mantras when you visit the sacred Jowos because “the statue will change the person’s energy to positive” on sight. This is called “liberation through seeing”. Of course, the result will depend on one’s mindset, which is based on one’s motivation, devotion, and compassion. Hence, the Jowo Rinpoche in Tharig Sakya Monastery will have the same effect as the original. However, when you are there, and if you wish to do some prayers and meditate, you are more than welcome. Click here for some recommendations on what prayers you can do if you do not have your own personal sadhana.

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Phelgyeling Monastery

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The Nyanang Phelgyeling Monastery in Nepal was built after the 1959 Cultural Revolution in Tibet as the successor to the Nyanang Shedrup Gaden Phelgyeling Monastery which was located in Nyanang, near the Tibet-Nepal border. Today, the monastery sits at the foot of the famous Swayambhunath Stupa in Kathmandu. It follows the Gelug tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. To read more about Swayambhu, click here.

The 5th Dalai Lama Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso

The 5th Dalai Lama Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso

In 1689, His Holiness the 5th Dalai Lama established Nyanang Shedrup Gaden Phelgyeling Monastery in Tibet. His Holiness considered it a branch of the great Sera Mey Monastery. The Nyanang area was also one of the four great hermitage places of the brilliant meditator Jetsun Milarepa. The monastery’s population peaked at around 150 monks. During the Cultural Revolution in 1959, some of the monks escaped to Nepal with many precious relics and sacred objects. In the beginning, they were scattered and stayed in many different monasteries in Kathmandu. With the help of Serkong Tsenshab Rinpoche, Nyanang Phelgyeling Monastery was established in Nepal.

The view of Phelgyeling Monastery in Tibet from Milarepa’s Cave

The view of Phelgyeling Monastery in Tibet from Milarepa’s Cave

Serkong Tsenshab Rinpoche helped established Nyanang Phelgyeling Monastery in Nepal

Serkong Tsenshab Rinpoche helped established Nyanang Phelgyeling Monastery in Nepal

Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche

Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche

The pioneers were Gelong Pasang, Gelong Jampa, and Gelong Ukyen Kelsang. Gelong Pasang served as the monastery’s first Abbot, and Gelong Ukyen Kelsang served as the first Chant Master. The monastery sits at the foot of the famous Swayambhunath Stupa, which is one of the holiest places in Kathmandu and is associated with Manjushri. Besides helping in establishing Phelgyeling Monastery, Serkong Tsenshab Rinpoche also created the monthly schedule for rituals and prayers in Phelgyeling. In 1966, he advised the monks of the monastery to conduct Dorje Shugden kangso (fulfilment) rituals on a monthly basis.

His Holiness the 5th Dalai Lama composed the four exhortation verses (‘phrin bskul) to Dorje Shugden while His Holiness Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche created the rituals. Both these verses and rituals are practised in their original form at Phelgyeling Monastery even today. Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche started the celebration known as Phayul Gaden Monlam Festival in Phelgyeling in 1991. It is held at the start of the new year and attracts thousands of devotees.

Over the years, Phelgyeling Monastery has had the great honour of hosting many esteemed Lamas who came to confer precious Dharma teachings and oral transmissions. Among them are:

  • Kyabje Zong Dorje Chang – Conducted a repair and purification ceremony for monastic vows (Tashi Sojong) and spoke on Lam Rim (The Stages of the Path to Enlightenment).
  • Kyabje Serkong Tsenshab Rinpoche – Elaborated on Lam Rim Chen Mo (The Great Text on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment) which was written by Je Tsongkhapa.
  • Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche – Spoke on Je Tsongkhapa’s text, The Three Principal Paths, as well as Guru Puja and Vajra Yogini. He also touched on Guhyasamaja, Chakrasamvara, and Yamantaka, and their empowerments.
  • Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche – Rinpoche has often given teachings and transmissions here, including those on Guru Puja, Yamantaka, as well as Je Tsongkhapa’s The Three Principal Paths and the Lam Rim Chen Mo.
  • Kyabje Pabongkha Choktrul Dorje Chang – Graced one of the first Phayul Gaden Monlam Festivals as Monlam Tripa (Head of Ceremonies).

This is just a small selection of the many eminent teachers, illustrious masters and scholars who have graced Nyanang Phelgyeling.

 

About Phelgyeling Monastery

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The monastery is currently home to 45 devoted monks, ranging in age from just eight years to 72 years. The daily schedule consists of pujas, study, practices and various other activities under the tutelage of the abbot, Khen Rinpoche Jampa Losang. A monk’s day begins at 5am, the first morning puja starts by 5.30am and lasts about 2 hours. The monastery’s regular puja sessions are from 9am to 2pm. The monks gather and begin with a recitation of various prayers and supplications. These include the Hundreds of Deities of Tushita (Ganden Lhagyama), The Source of All Good Perfections (Yonten Shigyurma), Mandala Offering Prayer, Praises to Arya Tara, Sutra of The Three Superior Heaps (Confession to 35 Buddhas), and Trusol (extensive bath offering to all of the Lineage Gurus). The monks then engage in practices like memorising scriptures, practising Tibetan writing, ritual practices, and making torma (food) offerings and butter sculptures. They also have English and Nepali language lessons.

The monks at Phelgyeling Monastery conduct pujas, offering ceremonies, and various other prayer services in accordance with the authentic traditions of the Gelug lineage. People can ask for these pujas to be conducted and dedicated for themselves, their family and friends, or for all sentient beings. The monks also perform pujas in sponsors’ homes in Nepal.

Monks of Phelgyeling during the Great Prayer Festival of Lama Tsongkhapa

Monks of Phelgyeling during the Great Prayer Festival of Lama Tsongkhapa

Puja in Tibetan Buddhism is used to describe various types of ritual performances and prayers. Pujas are performed for us to collect an enormous amount of merit in a short span of time to avert or clear obstacles. These obstacles arise because of our lack of merit  or build up of negative karma, and they prevent us from achieving our worldly and, more importantly, our spiritual goals. Throughout the year, Phelgyeling Monastery conducts various types of pujas and spiritual programs. There are annual pujas and daily pujas. If you happen to be there when a puja is about to take place or is in progress, it is good to make a small token contribution of any amount towards the puja. This will enable you to collect some merits from the puja. Once the pujas are done, the monks usually hand out blessed food offered as a blessing from the particular deity of the puja performed. For example, if they did a Manjushri puja, the food offerings were blessed by Buddha Manjushri. The food offerings are highly energized and will bless one’s mindstream and body when one partakes of them.

Phelgyeling houses several precious holy items that were brought out of Tibet during the 1959 Cultural Revolution. Some of these treasures date back thousands of years and they continue to be a great source of blessings and inspiration to devotees. Visitors are welcome, regardless of their religion and ethnicity.

 

Sacred Buddha Images in Phelgyeling Monastery

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When the monks fled Nyanang for Nepal, they managed to bring with them some very holy and precious treasures. Today, Phelgyeling Monastery in Nepal is home to some of these sacred and well-preserved artifacts. The holy items enshrined in Phelgyeling include the following:

A famous image of Tara which is known to have spoken to those with sincere minds.

A famous image of Tara which is known to have spoken to those with sincere minds. (click to enlarge)

The holy statue of Dharmapala Dorje Shugden made by His Holiness the 5th Dalai Lama

The holy statue of Dharmapala Dorje Shugden made by His Holiness the 5th Dalai Lama (click to enlarge)

A rare statue of Jetsun Milarepa (1052— 1135 CE) made by his heart-disciple, Rechungpa during his lifetime.

A rare statue of Jetsun Milarepa (1052— 1135 CE) made by his heart-disciple, Rechungpa during his lifetime. (click to enlarge)

The footprints of His Holiness the 6th Dalai Lama, Tsangyang Gyatso (1682 – 1706).

The footprints of His Holiness the 6th Dalai Lama, Tsangyang Gyatso (1682 – 1706). (click to enlarge)

A very holy statue of Buddha Shakyamuni from the time of King Langdharma (838 - 841 CE) of Tibet. King Langdharma tried very hard to suppress Buddhism and ordered every statue that could not speak to prove its worthiness to be destroyed. This statue was spared because it spoke directly to the king.

A very holy statue of Buddha Shakyamuni from the time of King Langdharma (838 – 841 CE) of Tibet. King Langdharma tried very hard to suppress Buddhism and ordered every statue that could not speak to prove its worthiness or be destroyed. This statue was spared because it spoke directly to the king. (click to enlarge)

 

Dorje Shugden in Phelgyeling Monastery

The very holy Dorje Shugden statue, made by His Holiness the 5th Dalai Lama covered in silk brocade

The very holy Dorje Shugden statue, made by His Holiness the 5th Dalai Lama covered in silk brocade

Old records show that the original Phelgyeling Monastery in Nyanang, Tibet was actually a Kagyu monastery and that its main Dharma Protector was Dorje Shugden. This was during the time of the 5th Dalai Lama and His Holiness personally made a very holy Dorje Shugden statue that is still displayed at the monastery. In one of her books, Buddhist researcher Ursula Bernis describes the Dorje Shugden statue as being about 12 to 16 inches in height and heavily covered in silk brocade so that only the face of Dorje Shugden is visible.

When Phelgyeling was converted to a Gelug monastery in 1665, it did not halt the propitiation to Dharmapala Dorje Shugden. The monastery was also famous for its Nyingma cham dance ritual of Dorje Drolo. In the Nyanang area itself, there were various Nyingma and Kagyu monasteries where Dorje Shugden was revered. This shows us clearly that Dorje Shugden was widely accepted and that there was great harmony between the different lineages.

 

Phelgyeling Monastery’s Cham Dance Performance During a Festival Attended by Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche


Or view the video on the server at:
https://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/PhagyelingCham.mp4

 

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Devotional Practice in Holy Places

At many shrines, temples and holy sites, you can offer light in the form of oil lamps or butter lamps prepared by the caretakers of the designated areas. These offerings of light represent the dispelling of ignorance and acquisition of wisdom. Other common offerings at Buddhist holy sites include offering of khatas (silk scarves) that symbolically carry our prayers and aspirations to the divine; offerings of flower garlands along with fruits, milk and tea that represent the gaining of sustenance; and incense, which usually consists of juniper powder or stick incense offered outside the shrine. Pilgrims also leave offerings of wealth in the form of a small amount of rupees, usually placed near the holy images, to accumulate merit.

You may also see the offering of sindoor (vermilion) powder at holy places related to Vajra Yogini. It is offered to represent the sindoor powder that spontaneously appears on the crown of our heads when we gain realisations from her practice. This is an auspicious sign that Vajra Yogini will take us to Kechara Paradise upon our passing. Sindoor is also representative of Vajra Yogini’s holy mandala or abode, which is frequently drawn using sindoor during empowerment into her practice, and is known as Vajra Yogini’s Sindoor Mandala. Apart from making offerings, pilgrims can also engage in prostrations – full-length on the ground, half-length or just bowing towards the holy images. You can see pilgrims performing this devotional act at many holy places in Nepal. Most Nepali pilgrimage sites have a circuit laid out around the temple or shrine that allows pilgrims to circumambulate in a clockwise direction.

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As you circumambulate, you can recite holy mantras such as the mantras of Lama Tsongkhapa (Migtsema), Manjushri, Chenrezig, Medicine Buddha, Tara, or the mantra of one’s Guru. Those with the appropriate initiations or permissions should recite the mantra of their yidam (meditational deity). You can also make powerful prayers and aspirations of your own faith while visiting these holy places. Many temples and shrines also have prayer wheels built along the circumambulation circuit for pilgrims to turn. The turning of the prayer wheels clockwise is said to multiply the effects of mantra recitation.

At some locations, you may be able to purchase and hang prayer flags, which are pieces of colourful rectangular cloth with printed mantras and images. They are commonly hung from a height, usually from the tops of sites of religious significance such as temples, monasteries and stupas. It is believed that the prayers and mantras will be carried by the wind and spread their blessings onto everything they touch. If you are unfamiliar with any of these practices, you can simply sit back and enjoy the calmness, blessings and positive vibes of these holy places. It is an atmosphere where spirituality and everyday life are completely intertwined. There are plenty of options for meditation, Dharma classes, and retreats, if that appeals to you.

 

Interesting Places in Kathmandu

About Pashupatinath

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Located 5 km (3.1 mi) north-east of Kathmandu City, in the eastern part of Kathmandu Valley, Pashupatinath is considered, by the Nepali, to be the equivalent of Varanasi in India, an important Hindu site. Around 6 million pilgrims make the journey here every year. The Bagmati River, revered as the source of Nepali civilisation and considered a sacred river, runs by Pashupatinath. Numerous Hindu temples are located on its banks. According to the Nepali Hindu tradition, a dead body must be dipped three times into the Bagmati River before cremation to end the reincarnation cycle for the deceased. The cremation ghats (terraces) along the Bagmati are the city’s most important location for open-air cremations. Bodies are wrapped in shrouds and laid out along the riverbank, then cremated on a wooden pyre. Hence, this is a powerful location to meditate on death and mortality. A series of yogi’s caves at the north end of the ghats at Pashupatinath have been in use since medieval times.

Pashupatinath is also where Nepal’s most important Hindu temple, the seat of Nepal’s national deity, Lord Pashupatinath, is located. This sprawling temple complex located on the banks of the Bagmati River has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1979. It is surrounded by a bustling market selling religious paraphernalia where you can have a religious, cultural and spiritual experience.

 

About Pharping

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19 km (11.8 mi) southwest of Kathmandu, on a hillside above the main valley, is the thriving town of Pharping. It is home to many holy pilgrimage sites such as the Dashin Kali, the main temple in Nepal dedicated to Goddess Kali. There are also a number of Buddhist holy sites like the Asura Cave where Guru Rinpoche is said to have meditated, as well as a famous Vajra Yogini temple. The self-arising Ganesha and Tara statues are also located here, just below the Asura Cave complex. It is a popular destination for pilgrims all year long. Called “Farping” by the locals, Pharping is known to the Tibetans as Yanglesho. It is also sometimes referred to as Phamting, said to be the birthplace of the Phamtingpa brothers, the heart-sons of Naropa.

 

About Swayambhu

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Swayambhunath is the second most sacred pilgrimage site (after Boudha) to visit if you are a Tibetan Buddhist in Kathmandu. This ancient monument of religious architecture sits on top of a hill in the Kathmandu Valley, west of Kathmandu City. In Tibetan, its name means ‘Sublime Trees’, a reference to the many different species of trees around the sacred hill. Swayambhunath is also known as the Monkey Temple because its north-western part is home to many monkeys. The Swayambhunath area consists of a grand stupa, various temples and shrines, some of which date back to the Licchavi period. There is a small Tibetan monastery as well, worth a visit for its museum and library.

The stupa has a domed base which represents the entire world, and the upper structure is painted with the eyes of the Buddha which represents rising to the awakened state, the combination of wisdom and compassion.

There are two ways to reach the site; the first is via a long staircase that leads directly to the main temple, east from the top of the hill, while the second is via a road which goes around the hill from the south and leads to the south-west entrance. There are several shops, restaurants and hostels in the surrounding area. Swayambhunath vibrates positive divine energies and is definitely a pilgrimage site not to be missed, even if you are not a Buddhist. It will leave you energised and awaken your spiritual consciousness.

 

About Boudha

Boudha or Boudhanath is well known for its huge, dome-shaped stupa. For centuries, it has been one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Buddhists, Nepalis and meditators from all over the world. Today, it is the number one pilgrimage site to visit when you are in Kathmandu. Located on the north-eastern outskirts of Kathmandu City, around 11 km (6.8 mi) from the main city centre, the stupa was built in an area which lay on a major trade route between Nepal and Tibet. Travelling merchants used Boudha as a resting point before continuing their journey to the other parts of the Himalayan region. Over the years, the influx of refugees from Tibet has seen the construction of many Tibetan Monasteries, gompas (Tibetan prayer halls) and shrines around Boudha. There are at least 29 monasteries and over 50 gompas to date.

The influence of Himalayan culture is very strong and Tibetans and Sherpas are a common sight. There are also many restaurants selling Tibetan culinary favourites like momo and thukpa. There are also other restaurants that serve international cuisine, as well as plenty of cafes and many rows of shops selling the finest Nepali art. Buddha images, traditional thangkas (traditional Tibetan paintings), jewellery, and souvenirs are sold all around the stupa complex and it is a haven for anyone looking for a meaningful memento of their trip here.

Maroon-clad Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns can be seen doing their practices such as circumambulation of the stupa and purification practices like full-length prostrations. Pilgrims walk around the stupa at least three times, chanting mantras like ‘Om Mani Padme Hum‘ and spinning prayer wheels as they go.

On special occasions and days of celebration, which usually fall on the full moon, you will find the air thick with incense as mantras vibrate through the atmosphere. Boudha will be packed with a sea of people walking around the stupa in a clockwise direction. The whole area is filled with a powerful positive energy and this is what makes Boudha the most sacred iconic site to visit in Kathmandu.

 

About Kathmandu City

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The history of Buddhism among the Newars of the Kathmandu Valley begins in ancient times. The Swayambhu Purana (a Buddhist scripture about the origins and history of Kathmandu Valley) describe the Swayambhunath Stupa as being raised many aeons ago by Lord Manjushri in order to commemorate the miraculous draining of the Kathmandu Valley.

The entire valley was once filled by an enormous lake with a lotus growing at its centre. Lord Manjushri had a vision of this lotus and travelled to worship it at the valley. Upon seeing the valley, he recognised that it had the potential to be a good settlement. To make the area more accessible to pilgrims, Lord Manjushri cut a gorge at Chobar and drained the lake, revealing the valley in which Kathmandu now lies. The lotus then transformed into a hill on top of which is the Swayambhunath Stupa.

 

About Patan

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The city of Patan is defined by four great stupas with uncertain construction dates. However, their initial construction must have predated the Hindu dominance that began in the 4th Century, indicating early Buddhist influence in the area. Located outside the boundaries of Patan, the four stupas are constructed in alignment with the four cardinal points of the compass, while a fifth is located in the city centre. Legends tell us that Emperor Ashoka, who founded the city, had the design and layout created to resemble the Buddhist Dharmachakra.

Go to Selected Holy Places in Kathmandu

 
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  • ‘Pharping – Asura Cave – Kathmandu,’ http://goldenturtle.biz, [website], http://www.goldenturtle.biz/pharping-amp.html, (accessed April 26, 2018).
  • Dalton, Jacob, ‘The Early Development of the Padmasambhava Legend in Tibet: A Study of IOL Tib J 644 and Pelliot tibetain 307’, Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol 124 no.4, p. 759, http://doi.org/10.2307/4132116, (accessed March 27, 2018)
  • Monaghan, Patricia (ed.), Goddesses in World Culture: Volume 1 Asia and Africa, Santa Barbara, ABC-Clio LLC, 2010.
  • ‘Nectar flows out from self-arising Tara at Pharping! (2005)’, http://www.mothertaramiracles.com, [Website], 2018,
    http://www.mothertaramiracles.com/single-post/Nectar-flows-from-self-arising-Tara-at-Pharping, (accessed 27 March 2018).
  • ‘Pharping,’ Lonely Planet, [website], 2018,
    http://www.lonelyplanet.com/nepal/around-the-kathmandu-valley/pharping, (accessed 27 March 2018).

 
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3 Responses to Sacred Places in Kathmandu

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  1. Tsa Tsa Anne on Jul 14, 2020 at 2:20 pm

    I truly enjoyed reading these sacred places in Kathmandu like my favorite Self-Arising Tara, Asura Cave, Naropa & Tilopa’s Cave and the interesting video clips. Really great for people who wish to visit these places and for people like me who is unable to travel for pilgrimage. Thank you very much Rinpoche and blog team for this wonderful write up!🙏🌈😍😘👍🕉☸️💜

  2. Jacinta Goh on Jun 24, 2020 at 5:56 pm

    I must say, a very extensive research done. All the necessary but important details are given and it’s easy to understand. I like the part where each sacred location are narrated in such a way where the spirituality and its values are highlighted. Thank you so much for that! 💕 Have read part of it and will continue to do so.

    Thank you so much..

  3. Samfoonheei on Jun 21, 2020 at 3:02 pm

    Kathmandu, Nepal is definitely in my next pilgrimage trip I truly wish to go. The Kathmandu historically known as Nepal Valley or as the city of temples, with one of the oldest pagoda. It lies at the crossroads of ancient civilizations of the Indian subcontinent. It has at least 130 important monuments, including several pilgrimage sites for Hindus and Buddhists. There are many ancient temples and where Hinduism and Buddhism co-exist in perfect harmony. That’s wonderful to have a harmonious environment, a perfect place to go on a pilgrimage for sure. Reading this wonderful article will be easier for anyone planning to go there. Kathmandu is a place with beautiful temples, monuments, ancient architectural buildings and so forth to offer to tourist as well as pilgrims. Wow….Nepal has repeatedly been voted one of the best destinations in the world. With such good weather, great food and affordable accommodation, will definitely attracts many more people going there and trekkers as well on the way to Mt Everest.
    Thank you for this wonderful sharing.

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  • sarassitham
    Wednesday, Sep 30. 2020 06:40 PM
    Thank you for the sharing, this article has very good information and guidance for the present and future generation. There is a saying that “whatever we reap today is what we sow later”.

    Similarly, our good conduct and hardship will be also be an example to our kids, we must also encourage them that nothing is impossible if there is effort to succeed in any circumstances.

    https://bit.ly/30kJrow
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Sep 30. 2020 10:29 AM
    I found Beng Kooi 2nd row number 6 from the right as one look at the picture. Hope I am right. Well it is Beng kooi when I read those comments below. From the picture she still look the same. Yes Beng Kooi is one fully committed person, helpful, hardworking and friendly once one get to know her. I have the chance to meet her while volunteering at Kechara Forest Retreat. We have a friendly chat at that time.
    Oops so Su Ming is beside Beng Kooi, they are classmates. Fun as it bring back great memories by looking at old pictures.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/students-friends/can-you-find-beng-kooi-su-ming.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Sep 30. 2020 10:28 AM
    Dawn Giordano Garofalo is a classmate of Tsem Rinpoche while in Howell, New Jersey. Tsem Rinpoche had not met her 35 years but not forgotten as both of them has great memories . Its great that she allowed the bio research team to interview in the last minutes. She had shared her memories with Rinpoche of their childhood.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/students-friends/dawn-giordano-garofalo.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Sep 30. 2020 10:25 AM
    Watching the video tells a us a powerful message, go on meatless, vegetarian or vegan is the best choice to live a healthy lifestyle. Choosing a vegetarian diet is inherently healthful because vegetarians consume less animal fat and cholesterol . Nowadays more people are health conscious as they have seen animals been killed in a cruel way. Social media have sent out a powerful message eating meat is bad for health and many related diseases are the main cause of it. Go green to be healthy, nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on earth by eating meat. Eating a healthy diet high in fruit, vegetables and whole grains, will be good for our health. By reducing demand of meat we can safe animals from the slaughter house.
    Thank you Rinpoche, for sharing this video with us.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/very-interesting-video-must-watch.html
  • S.Prathap
    Tuesday, Sep 29. 2020 12:17 PM
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge on topic of equanimity and emptiness. Equanimity is the basis to develop Bodhicitta, equanimity to me helps us to maintain a balanced outlook towards people and situations.

    With a balanced concern for all sentient beings, we can further develop our minds to have the happiness of others as a priority.Once again thank you for sharing this good article with us.


    https://bit.ly/2S7Zn93
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Sep 29. 2020 11:42 AM
    Interesting and educational post by Pastor David . Pastor explained well about the iconography of Buddhas’ statues and Buddhas paintings on Thangkas. A very informative about the different Buddha which has so many forms and the reason of their appearance in peaceful and wrathful forms .
    Thank you Pastor for this sharing where new comers will get to understand better.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/liaisons/buddha-statues-iconography-by-david-lai.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Sep 29. 2020 11:40 AM
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these precious rare pictures of great masters whose other than H.H. Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and H.H. Kyabje Ling Rinpoche. We are truly fortunate able to view these rare pictures. Looking at the pictures tells us a thousand words and it’s a blessing merely by seeing it. The two great masters were tutors of His Holiness Dalai Lama and been travelling with Dalai Lama everywhere.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/blessed-upon-sight-of-these-masters.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Sep 29. 2020 11:39 AM
    The Tibetan Leadership (CTA) said that Dorje Shugden is an evil spirit yet at the same time they recognise the reincarnations of the Dorje Shugden lamas. That’s not logic at all. Reading this article tells one more than that, many great lamas have been reincarnated back again and again such as H E Serkong Dorje Chang, H E Gyara Rinpoche, H E Kyabje Lati Rinpoche , H E Khari Kentrul Rinpoche and many more. Many high lamas and monks have engaged in Dorje Shugden’s practice over the years. When they passed away, their undisputed incarnation has returned , it has proven that those who practised Dorje Shugden’s practice do not go to the lower realm as claimed by CTA. Some of the past great lamas even composed the Dorje Shugden puja and prayers had it proven too that this practice is not a minor practice. It has been around more than 400 years old. Dorje Shugden was a pervasive practice within the Gelugpas before the ban.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this well explained article for more people to understand .

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/dorje-shugden-people-do-not-go-to-the-three-lower-realms.html
  • sarassitham
    Monday, Sep 28. 2020 05:36 PM
    Amazing and wonderful information of Mount Wu Thai and the holy sites of Manjushri in China . I believe with its particular geological structure and stunning natural landscape, the mountain has been listed in the World Heritage List by the UNESCO.

    I very fortunate to read this article and discover further about the historic land that encompasses ancient history, urban wonders, spectacular vistas and rich cultural experiences which makes it a popular destination for world travelers.

    Thank you for the beautiful scenery photos , hope to visit the peak mountain once in lifetime.
  • S.Prathap
    Monday, Sep 28. 2020 03:59 PM
    ts really beautiful and amazing to see from the images above especially those at the rice fields. Looking at the huge buddha statue it really brings a sense of calm and peace looking at this big buddha adorning the big skyline.

    Big statues and religious Artifacts of Buddha images are used as inspirations to create and spread rememberances of good humane qualities, such as compassion and loving kindness, as-well-as inner peace .Thank you very much for this beautiful article.


    https://bit.ly/3kS8iaV
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Sep 28. 2020 01:57 PM
    Revisit this article again…..very interesting read about Guru Padmasambhava born from a lotus in the land of Oddiyana , India and grew up a prince . Guru Rinpoche is the founder of Tibetan Buddhism and the Buddha of our time where he is known as the second Buddha. Interesting read of his biography and prophecies.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/padmasambhava.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Sep 28. 2020 01:55 PM
    Beautiful sharing about Kyabje Tsem Rinpoche by Geshe Lobsang Phuntsok . Geshe Lobsang Phuntsok speaks about his experience and shares his thoughts on Tsem Rinpoche’s Dharma activities. As its true that Rinpoche has contributed financially to Gaden Monastery and many other monasteries. Giving teachings in Malaysia and uphold the lineage of Tsongkhapa and Dorje Shugden in a modern way. Many of us and others across the globe indeed have benefited learning and practicing through Rinpoche ‘s blog. I am one of them. We are fortunate to have Rinpoche here and have change the lives of many. Rinpoche’s qualities is simply extraordinary, incredible, and a down to earth Lama, where no words can describe him.
    Thank you writers team for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/geshe-lobsang-phuntsok-speaks-so-eloquently-about-tsem-rinpoche.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Sep 28. 2020 01:54 PM
    Well done the writers team from Kechara who had interviewed Geshe Lobsang Wangchuk , spoke what his thoughts of all about Kyabje Tsem Rinpoche our Lama. He is a personal friend of Tsem Rinpoche spoke the truth and only truth. Gen Wangchuk recounted Tsem Rinpoche’s Guru devotion, kindness and had help many monks from his home and headquarters Gaden Shartse Monastery, and even monks from different monasteries. Tsem Rinpoche understand the hardships of monks gave what he could even he had little for himself. Many monks have benefited from his kindness, Tsem Rinpoche was one of the few international lamas living overseas that had contributed significantly to monasteries. Rinpoche gave all that he had to benefit others, and even to beggars on the streets Rinpoche met. Rinpoche’s help had made a difference in the monk’s lives, supporting, encouragement, sponsoring dharma books and so forth.
    Thank you writers team for this wonderful sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/geshe-lobsang-wangchuk.html
  • sarassitham
    Friday, Sep 25. 2020 04:31 PM
    This is great, I love seeing new places and discovering the world. I believe that we must go to unique places out of our comfort zones. The imagination and creativity behind these places are amazing and wonderful.

    Thank you for the sharing, this is truly a masterpiece in terms of architecture.

    https://bit.ly/3cxgYk0
  • S.Prathap
    Thursday, Sep 24. 2020 04:20 PM
    This article had show scientific analysis through vocal test and get their foot prints to prove their are being like big foot existence in this world.Whether is not 100 percent proving. I am truthfully this creature existing in this world.

    Pastor David explains about evidences through dermal ridges and that it is nearly impossible to fake them.So it all comes to the conclusion that Bigfoot, Yeti, Sasquatch exist and that they are.

    https://bit.ly/3iZA84J

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

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

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  Bigfoot, Yeti, Sasquatch

The Unknown

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

Photos On The Go

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According to legend, Shambhala is a place where wisdom and love reign, and there is no crime. Doesn\'t this sound like the kind of place all of us would love to live in? https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=204874
8 months ago
According to legend, Shambhala is a place where wisdom and love reign, and there is no crime. Doesn't this sound like the kind of place all of us would love to live in? https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=204874
108 candles and sang (incense) offered at our Wish-Fulfilling Grotto, invoking Dorje Shugden\'s blessings for friends, sponsors and supporters, wonderful!
8 months ago
108 candles and sang (incense) offered at our Wish-Fulfilling Grotto, invoking Dorje Shugden's blessings for friends, sponsors and supporters, wonderful!
Dharmapalas are not exclusive to Tibetan culture and their practice is widespread throughout the Buddhist world - https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=193645
8 months ago
Dharmapalas are not exclusive to Tibetan culture and their practice is widespread throughout the Buddhist world - https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=193645
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
8 months ago
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
Fragrant organic Thai basil harvested from our very own Kechara Forest Retreat farm!
8 months ago
Fragrant organic Thai basil harvested from our very own Kechara Forest Retreat farm!
On behalf of our Puja House team, Pastor Tat Ming receives food and drinks from Rinpoche. Rinpoche wanted to make sure the hardworking Puja House team are always taken care of.
8 months ago
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.
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
9 months ago
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
It\'s very nice to see volunteers helping maintain holy sites in Kechara Forest Retreat, it\'s very good for them. Cleaning Buddha statues is a very powerful and effective way of purifying body karma.
9 months ago
It's very nice to see volunteers helping maintain holy sites in Kechara Forest Retreat, it's very good for them. Cleaning Buddha statues is a very powerful and effective way of purifying body karma.
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.
9 months ago
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.
One of the most recent harvests from our Kechara Forest Retreat land. It was grown free of chemicals and pesticides, wonderful!
9 months ago
One of the most recent harvests from our Kechara Forest Retreat land. It was grown free of chemicals and pesticides, wonderful!
Third picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal.
Height: 33ft (10m)
1 years ago
Third picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal. Height: 33ft (10m)
Second picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal.
Height: 33ft (10m)
1 years ago
Second picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal. Height: 33ft (10m)
First picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal.
Height: 33ft (10m)
1 years ago
First picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal. Height: 33ft (10m)
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
1 years ago
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
1 years 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!
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years ago
Sacred Vajra Yogini
Dorje Shugden works & archives - a labour of commitment - https://bit.ly/30Tp2p8
1 years ago
Dorje Shugden works & archives - a labour of commitment - https://bit.ly/30Tp2p8
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha.
1 years 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.
1 years 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.
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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!!!
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years ago
Beautiful pictures of the huge Buddha in Longkou Nanshan- https://bit.ly/2LsBxVb
The reason-Very interesting thought- https://bit.ly/2V7VT5r
1 years ago
The reason-Very interesting thought- https://bit.ly/2V7VT5r
NEW Bigfoot cafe in Malaysia! Food is delicious!- https://bit.ly/2VxdGau
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years ago
Manjusri Kumara (bodhisattva of wisdom), India, Pala dynesty, 9th century, stone, Honolulu Academy of Arts
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  • SEE HOW THIS ANIMAL SERIAL KILLER HAS NO ISSUE BLUDGEONING THIS DEFENSELESS BEING.
    3 yearss ago
    SEE HOW THIS ANIMAL SERIAL KILLER HAS NO ISSUE BLUDGEONING THIS DEFENSELESS BEING.
    This happens daily in slaughterhouse so you can get your pork and Bak ku teh. Stop eating meat.

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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.

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CHAT PICTURES

Fwd: Dear Sotha
6 hours ago
Fwd: Dear Sotha
Kechara Earth Project 13/9/2020
2 weeks ago
Kechara Earth Project 13/9/2020
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
3 weeks ago
Thank you Domino's Pizza Malaysia, Kasih & Piza campaign for sponsoring 85 boxes of pizza to our friends who live on the streets. Your flavourful pizzas have put a smile on their faces. Thank you! - Vivan @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #KasihdanPiza #ItsAllAboutYou
Thank you Novo Nordisk! Your kind monetary donation and 1,320 boxes of masks will benefit many needy families under the Kechara Food Bank Program. Thank you! Much love from the needy families  ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #novonordisk #novonordiskmalaysia
1 month ago
Thank you Novo Nordisk! Your kind monetary donation and 1,320 boxes of masks will benefit many needy families under the Kechara Food Bank Program. Thank you! Much love from the needy families ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #novonordisk #novonordiskmalaysia
We were graced with the presence of Tengku Zatashah & The Alice Smith School Foundation yesterday. 130 homeless were blessed to be served by them. RM 20,000 donated by Alice Smith School Foundation will benefit 100 families registered under Kechara Food Bank Program. Thank you! Much love from the needy families ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #alicesmithschoolfoundation #alicesmithschool #volunteerism #homeless
1 month ago
We were graced with the presence of Tengku Zatashah & The Alice Smith School Foundation yesterday. 130 homeless were blessed to be served by them. RM 20,000 donated by Alice Smith School Foundation will benefit 100 families registered under Kechara Food Bank Program. Thank you! Much love from the needy families ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #alicesmithschoolfoundation #alicesmithschool #volunteerism #homeless
Thanks to the effort of our outstation team, we were able to mobilise food provisions to 600 families living in Kelantan, Penang, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor during the Raya period with each of these families receiving RM200 worth of provisions. Adding onto the current 368 families in Klang Valley, a total of 968 families were benefitted from this. Special thanks to the sponsors who have contributed especially Hong Leong Foundation and partially from Tesco Malaysia (where we also ordered the provisions from). ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
3 months ago
Thanks to the effort of our outstation team, we were able to mobilise food provisions to 600 families living in Kelantan, Penang, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor during the Raya period with each of these families receiving RM200 worth of provisions. Adding onto the current 368 families in Klang Valley, a total of 968 families were benefitted from this. Special thanks to the sponsors who have contributed especially Hong Leong Foundation and partially from Tesco Malaysia (where we also ordered the provisions from). ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
So glad that our soup kitchen operations are back in full swing. Good to see the clients are observing the SOPs. Some of them lost their job during MCO and ended up on the streets. Special thanks to our sponsors and volunteers for the great support! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
3 months ago
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
4 months ago
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
4 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
4 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
4 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
4 months ago
KSDS Level 2 virtual class, Lin Mun KSDS
KSDS Level 3 virtual class. Lin Mun KSDS
4 months ago
KSDS Level 3 virtual class. Lin Mun KSDS
Wesak 2020
5 months ago
Wesak 2020
Recycle today for a better tomorrow. KEP-Serena
7 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
7 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
7 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
7 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
7 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
7 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
7 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
7 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
7 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.
7 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
7 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
7 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
7 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
7 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
7 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
7 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
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Over 100 Kecharians & their loved ones spent the Sunday evening immersed in this obstacle pacifying puja. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
7 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Over 100 Kecharians & their loved ones spent the Sunday evening immersed in this obstacle pacifying puja. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: H.E. Zawa Dakpa and Geshe Janchup Gyaltsen Lama inspecting the offering substances. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
7 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: H.E. Zawa Dakpa and Geshe Janchup Gyaltsen Lama inspecting the offering substances. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: H.E. Zawa Rinpoche & Geshe Janchup making last minute checks before the commencement of the Jinsek or Fire Puja. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
7 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: H.E. Zawa Rinpoche & Geshe Janchup making last minute checks before the commencement of the Jinsek or Fire Puja. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: The arrival of the Sangha conducting this sacred puja accompanied by Changtso Beng Kooi and Pastor Niral Patel - shared by Pastor Antoinette
7 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: The arrival of the Sangha conducting this sacred puja accompanied by Changtso Beng Kooi and Pastor Niral Patel - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: The site of the Peaceful Fire Puja the calls upon the pacifying energies of Shize Shugden. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
7 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: The site of the Peaceful Fire Puja the calls upon the pacifying energies of Shize Shugden. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: A close-up of the ladle. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
7 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: A close-up of the ladle. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Substances such as sticks, melted butter, kusha grass, lentils and barley were traditionally offered during the prayers to create the causes for merits, long life and to pacify obstacles. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
7 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Substances such as sticks, melted butter, kusha grass, lentils and barley were traditionally offered during the prayers to create the causes for merits, long life and to pacify obstacles. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Beautifully handcrafted torma or food offering to the Buddha. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
7 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Beautifully handcrafted torma or food offering to the Buddha. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Some of the many offering items & substances used during this highly blessed Fire Puja. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
7 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Some of the many offering items & substances used during this highly blessed Fire Puja. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja in Kechara Forest Retreat: A special mandala at the base where the fire puja ritual was conducted. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
7 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja in Kechara Forest Retreat: A special mandala at the base where the fire puja ritual was conducted. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
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Dorje Shugden
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