The Art of Thangka Painting

Jun 15, 2015 | Views: 2,953

(By Tsem Rinpoche)

As Tibetan Buddhism gains prominence in the world, so too is Tibetan art being appreciated more and more. Today, many sacred Tibetan thangkas can be found in art exhibitions and museums.

Just like any Buddha image, deity thangkas are considered to be holy objects and bestow great blessings to their surroundings and the sentient beings within. Deity thangkas are very important to practitioners, especially to many Buddhist nomads for whom statues would be just too bulky to travel with. For example, during the escape from Tibet to India in 1959, H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama travelled with a sacred Dorje Shugden thangka on his back, as the need for secrecy and stealth required everyone to travel light.

Some time ago, I came across this wonderful write-up about thangka painting, which is very well researched and written. It shares briefly about the history of thangka painting, the different types of thangkas, the process of creating a traditional thangka, and most importantly, how thangka painting was traditionally a form of Dharma practice.

In the olden Tibetan tradition, a thangka painter was typically a sincere practitioner of Buddhism who, through practice and study would be familiar with the various deities, their implements, symbolism and benefits. Having generated the correct motivation, the artist would imbue each thangka painting with the energy of that specific deity through the power of meditation and visualization, during the process of painting it. Some of the most famous thangka painters of recent times, such as Gen. Jamyang of Dharamsala, were known to be attained practitioners who could produce intricate thangkas of the most complicated deities (such as the sixty-two deity mandala of Heruka Chakrasamvara) from memory alone, through their intimate knowledge of the scriptures. Thangkas painted by such artists are said to be ‘alive’ and highly blessed through the power of the artist’s practice and attainments.

Another characteristic of artists for whom thangka painting is a form of practice, not business, is that requests for thangkas to be painted are never accompanied by discussions of money and payment. The artist creates the thangka as an expression of his spirituality and with the motivation to benefit the patron, while the patron makes a monetary offering to the artist in gratitude and thanksgiving, similar to how “kuyong” or monetary offerings are given to monks during pujas and prayers in the monastery.

Unfortunately, thangka painting today has become a popular way of doing business – every commission and sale involves haggling of the thangka price, and many thangka schools have been established where students paint thangkas en masse (which are later sold to unsuspecting tourists) while learning the fundamentals of thangka painting.

So I thought it would be very good for those interested in Tibetan arts and culture to learn more about the interesting history behind thangka making. When we have more knowledge, we can appreciate the effort that goes into creating a high quality Buddhist thangka and the deeper significance of having one in our presence.

Tsem Rinpoche

 


 

THANKA PAINTING

Mathew Kapsner & Tania Wynniatte-Husey

 

Legendary Origins

The painted image of the Buddha is said to have originated in central India, in the area now known as Bihar. It is said that during Buddha’s lifetime, two Kings, Utayana and Bimbisara, who lived in the region used to exchange gifts and that one day King Bimbisara, upon receiving a priceless gem from King Utayana decided, after much thought, to have an image of the Buddha painted on cloth to give in return. After receiving the consent of the Buddha, Bimbisara sent some of his court artists to paint the Buddha’s portrait. When the artists looked upon the Buddha, however, they were so filled with wonder that they were unable to draw and so the Buddha led one of the artists to a clear pool and told him to paint his likeness from the reflection in the water. This the artist did, surrounding the portrait with images of the twelve links of dependent arising and with some words of religious advice, as recommended by the Buddha. When Utayana saw the gift he was greatly moved and later that day, after prayers and meditation on the symbols of the twelve links, he attained the path of seeing. As a result, this style of painting came to be known as ‘The image of the Sage taken from the water’ (Chu-len-ma).

Another account relates the first paintings of the Buddha to an occasion when he was teaching in Kapilavastu. At that time there was a king called Mahanama, whose wife had a maidservant, named Rohita. Whilst the Buddha was teaching nearby the Queen sent Rohita to deliver a necklace of jewels to him. On the way she was attacked by a girl herding cows and was killed. Due to her faith in the Buddha she was reborn as the daughter of the King of Sri Lanka. When the princess was a young girl she heard of the teachings of the Buddha and experienced a re-awakening of faith from her former life. She sent a letter to the Buddha with a gift of pearls and in reply, the Buddha sent her a letter and an image of himself on which an artist had outlined the rays of light surrounding his body. This style became known as ‘The image of the Sage taken from the rays’.

 

Origins in Tibet

Tibetan thanka painting is based upon the Indian religious art of pata and mandala, complex paintings whose designs were used in certain religious rites. As the Tibetans closely adhered to the religious teachings of the Indian Pandits, so too did they follow the strict guidelines laid down by Indian and later, Nepalese and Chinese artists. Eventually it was the Nepalese and Chinese painters who had the most far-reaching influence on the development of the Tibetan thanka.

The principal artistic schools from which Tibetan painting is derived were in Western India and date back to the 7th and 8th centuries. The influence of these schools was felt throughout Central and Eastern India, eventually reaching Nepal from where it filtered into Tibet.

It was in the 7th century, during the reign of Songsten Gampo, that Buddhism and its associated art forms made considerable advances throughout Tibet. Songsten Gampo’s marriage to both a Nepalese and a Chinese princess brought Nepalese and Chinese artists into the region where they worked to further the spread of Buddhism through art.

Later, during the 11th century, thanka painting in Western Tibet began to draw from the Kashmiri school when the great monk translator Rinchen Zangpo, brought a number of artists from Kashmir to Tibet, in the first half of the century. The paintings of these artists hung in temples as pictorial representations of the Dharma, furthering the spread of Buddhism amongst the Tibetans of that region. Influenced by Kashmiri art as well as Central Indian art, Western Tibetan painting developed a style of its own, a style, however, which grew stale and which eventually disappeared, during the 17th century.

Over the centuries, the Nepalese influence upon Tibetan painting was pervasive and dominant, remaining uninterrupted for years, whilst the influence of the Indian artists faded with the Moslem invasions of India. Chinese influence, on the other hand, fluctuated according to the changing political relations between Tibet and China and it was not really until the 18th century that Chinese influence began to be felt, revitalizing Tibetan painting which had begun to flounder in its strict adherence to the archaic styles of Nepal and India. As Guiseppe Tucci states in Tibetan Painted Scrolls, ‘the development of Tibetan painting consists in a mutual approach and blending of the Chinese and Nepalese manners’.

As time went on, these external influences, which provided the initial direction and rules of Tibetan painting, began to give way to a more distinctly Tibetan style of painting. For later, even when absorbing Chinese influence, the Tibetans learnt to interpret it in their own ways, no longer simply imitating the style as they had formerly done.

 

Development of Tibetan Styles

The three major styles of Tibetan paintings practiced today are the ‘Menri’, the ‘Mensar’ and the ‘Karma Gadri’ styles. These are the styles of individual artists whose work played an influential role in the development of Tibetan painting.

The ‘Menri’ style, the oldest of the three forms, dates back to 1440 C.E. and was developed by Menla Dhondrup who studied under the artist, Dhopa Tashi Gyatso, an expert in Nepalese style painting. Through acquiring a thorough knowledge of the new style, Menla Dhondrup went on to revise the proportions and composition of religious figures as well as developing new pigments. In addition he defined the religious requirements of both the artist and patron, demonstrated the need for accurate painting, showing the consequences of inaccurate work and gave instruction in various methods of painting. It was these revisions that came to be known as the ‘Menri’ style.

In the year 1645 C.E., the incarnate master Chöying Gyatso developed a style of his own, known as the ‘Mensar’ or the ‘new Menri’ style. Based on the Menri school, he developed his own approach, making innovations and revisions in the tone, pigment and texture.

Namka Tashi, an incarnate Karmapa artist, born in 1500 C.E. developed the ‘Karma Gadri’ school, or the ‘camp style of the Karma (Kagyu school)’. He first studied painting under Könchok Penday, from whom he learnt the strict proportions developed by the Sharli, a metal casting school of India. He also studied under the 5th Sharmapa, Könchok Yenlak as well as the 4th Gyaltsap Rinpochey, Drakpa Dondrup, who taught him how to paint in a distinctive style which was based upon such examples as: the Chinese thanka given to the 5th Karmapa by the Ming emperor of China; the ‘dashelma’ masks, made by artists who had witnessed the revelation of Rangjung Dorjey’s face in the full moon and a Chinese thanka, the ‘Yerwa Rawama’, that depicts the sixteen Arhats of early Buddhist tradition. Thus, Namka Tashi’s style incorporated components from three foreign sources: Indian forms, Chinese colour and texture and traditional Tibetan composition. Of the three styles practiced today, the Karma Gadri is not as prevalent as the Menri or Mensar.

As thanka painting is strictly governed by iconographic rules the separate styles are hard to discern. They can be most easily characterized by their treatment of the background to the paintings. 

The Menri style is distinguished by its individual representation of nature. In a painting typical of the Menri school, the clouds flow and curl like rushing water, the mountains are low and rounded and are less packed with detail than the other major styles of painting. The Mensar school on the other hand, employs more detail and is characterized by round and thick or long and thin clouds. The mountains tend to be sharp with steep peaks, which give them an exaggerated appearance. In a Karma Gadri painting, more natural forms are given greater emphasis. They are depicted in a more realistic fashion and are not so exaggerated or dream-like. There is also more open space and the colour green tends to predominate.

Many other artists played an important role in the development of Tibetan thanka painting. With these, however, the styles tended to be absorbed by one of the schools rather than achieving a distinction of their own. One skilled artist of the Gadri style was Karma Sidral or Gamnyon, thought to be an emanation of the 8th Karmapa. He developed a style of his own based upon that of the Gadri school which became known as the ‘Second Gadri’. Another artist of inestimable value was the great master Dakpo Rabjum Tenpay Gyeltsen, who was highly skilled in drawing the proportion of the three religious symbols, which led to his proportional style also being adopted by the Gadri school.

A number of unique styles emerged that were also basically proponents of the Karma Gadri school. One of these belonged to the 10th Karmapa, Chöying Dorjey, who was born in the year 1604. During his early career as an artist he studied the elements of the Menri style under the master Lhodrak Tulku Tsering. Subsequently he developed his own style, incorporating techniques from the Chinese and Gadri styles. Another example is the style of Tsuklak Chökyi Nangwa, which was very similar to the original styles of the ‘Three Tashis’ of the Karma Gadri school. This tradition became widespread in eastern Tibet, in such regions as Nangchen and Dergey, as well as Karmay Gönchen and Chamdo, where many skilled painters existed who were called ‘Karsho’.

At the time that Menla Dhondrup’s innovations were first being felt Khyentse Chenmo was born in Gangkar Gangto. He developed an individual style, known as ‘Khyenri’, which in fact became a tradition distinct from Menri or any other school.

The artist Patshu Byiu of Yarto was an incarnate being and learned person who studied painting extensively. He studied all the techniques of the various schools selecting the best of each and combining them along with his own innovations to form also a style of his own. This became known as ‘Byiuris’, after his nickname Byiu, meaning bird and is distinguished by the manner of shading and the choice of colours.

 

The Purpose of a Thanka Painting

A thanka painting is not simply a decoration or a creation of beauty, but a religious object and a medium for expressing Buddhist ideals. These works of art function as models on which the practitioner can reflect and meditate.

There are many reasons for commissioning a thanka, the most common being to create an object of worship which will lead to the accumulation of merit. For even looking at a thanka is in itself a good deed. By meditating on such objects, one can train the mind and gain an understanding of certain types of awareness that that specific image portrays. Other reasons for commissioning a thanka painting may be to bring about good health, prosperity or long life. Sometimes they are commissioned to aid the recovery of a sick person, or to protect a person through vulnerable periods in his or her life, or to help in the rebirth of someone who has recently died. In all these cases, a lama is usually consulted to advice on which deity should be painted to give the greatest assistance to that person. So if somebody dies, the family of the deceased will consult a lama or an astrologer who will advise them which deity would be the most propitious in assisting a good rebirth.

Thus, there are many different forms a thanka may take depending on what the patron wishes to use the painting for. It may portray peaceful or wrathful deities, meditational deities, Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Dharma Protectors or saints and their lives. Green Tara, for example, is a female deity who is seen as the embodiment of all the Buddhas’ enlightened activities and may be commissioned to ensure success either in a particular project or in a person’s long life generally. Thankas may also depict Buddhist doctrine such as the arrangement of the physical universe as taught in the Abhidharma, the layout of the animate universe in the form of the Wheel of Existence, illustrations of monastic garb, implements and practices, as taught in the Vinaya, as well as medical and astrological charts and diagrams. There is a wealth of subjects to be drawn from and many reasons for commissioning a thanka, so much so that a person may have quite a number painted over a period of time.

 

The Painter and His Preparations

Whatever form the thanka takes and for whatever reason it is commissioned, it is of the utmost importance that the works are prepared properly and with the greatest care. For if not, they will be of no benefit to the artist nor to the patron, whose devout intentions will be lost on an improper work of art.

Traditionally it is said that an artist should possess certain characteristics: modesty, devotion to religion, soundness of all senses, diligence and a kindly disposition. In addition, depending on the subject of the work, it is said that the artist may have to follow certain personal restrictions: abstinence from meat, alcohol, onion and garlic and strict personal cleanliness.

How strictly an artist adheres to such ‘rules’ of conduct varies from artist to artist and on the work that is being carried out. Cleanliness, both in mind and body is of the utmost importance when working on a piece and although it is unlikely that the artist will abstain from eating meat, onion or garlic, unless real purity is particularly desired, he will not over indulge and often not consume alcohol during that period.

Correct preparation, then, is very important in order to ensure a high standard of cleanliness. Normally, the artist will get up, clean his room and wash himself before laying out the canvas, paints and brushes. The brushes are contained in a special box with three holes, one for each of the deities: Avalokiteshvara (compassion), Vajrapani (power) and Manjushri (wisdom) who help the artist to achieve perfection in his work. Having prepared his tools and work area, the artist then makes a water offering, the purest of all offerings and if he is about to start a new thanka will do a short meditation on emptiness to purify his mind.

The meditation may take many forms. One way is for the painter to meditate on a particular deity, which is not necessarily the one that will be featured in the painting. The image of the deity, Manjushri, the deity of wisdom, for example, may be used and is placed in front of the artist, who imagines the image melting into his body before he generates himself as Manjushri.

The next step is to invoke the image of the deity about to be painted. If it is one of the Taras, for example, the artist will visualize the goddess who then dissolves into the canvas, brushes and paints, thus making them the essence of that deity.

The final step is the motivation for creating the thanka, when the artist thinks of all the suffering beings in all the different realms and remembers that he is painting the thanka for the benefit of them all.

 As well as playing a role in the purification process, religion also underlies the necessity of cleanliness in thanka painting. For if the artist’s mind and body are not clean, he will be unable to invoke the deities. It has been said that in order to paint certain images, the artist must be an initiate of the specific cycle of teachings they belong to. Thus, if the artist wants to paint an image of the Kalachakra, he must have received the initiation first. This need not always be the case. Unless it is a particular thanka, the artist will not have necessarily received the initiations in advance. One monk artist related how, for example, he had once been commissioned to paint a thanka of Vajrakila for His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He received a blessing from a lama who showed him how to generate the deity, but otherwise it was not his normal practice.

 

The Preparation of the Canvas

‘The painters of Tibet pursue their art in an orderly and systemic way. When creating thanka paintings they proceed through six clearly defined steps. The first is the preparation of the painting surface. Second comes the establishment of a design on that surface by means of a sketch or transfer. The third step involves the initial coats of paint, and that is followed by steps four and five: shading and outlining. The sixth and last step consists of several finishing touches.’

As a thanka painting is made to be rolled up in a scroll fashion, it is painted on cloth whose surface has two layers: the support and ground. The most common cloth, or support, used today is light-weight Indian cotton of fine but slightly open weave. An open weave allows the ‘gesso’ a kind of white paint to settle more evenly. This underlying material holds the subsequent layer of ground and paint. Once the artist has acquired the cloth, it is washed, dried and cut to fit the wooden frame upon which it is stretched. This must be done carefully to avoid any bulging which, if it occurs, will be permanent.

Once the fabric is secured onto the frame three steps are taken to prepare the cloth for painting. First is the sizing of the cloth, which involves the preparation of a warm solution of hide glue which is applied to both sides of the cloth with a large brush or a wadded rag. Once the cloth is saturated, any excess is removed and the cord that connects the cloth to the stretcher is tightened. Then the canvas is set aside to dry.

Secondly, the cotton support is coated with gesso. The gesso used is a solution of either chalk or white clay, whichever is the most available and is combined with size solution until it reaches the consistency of buttermilk. The mixture is then strained through a cloth to remove any lumps and is applied to both sides of the cloth in thin even coats with a wadding rag or gesso knife. When the first coat has dried the artist determines if another is necessary by holding the canvas up to the light. If light comes through, another application of gesso is applied.

Finally the surface is polished until it is perfectly smooth and ready for use.

 

The Painting of the Thanka

The drawing of a thanka is done in several stages – first are the lines of orientation. The most important line is the central vertical axis, which forms the exact centre of the painting around which the composition will be laid out. The vertical axis usually marks the centre of the main figure – in relation to which all the other figures of the composition are to be positioned. The figures portrayed have to be in perfect relationship to the central axis, any mistakes affect the religious value of the painting.

There are eight major lines of orientation to be drawn. The first of these are the two diagonals. These are drawn from one corner of the canvas to its diagonal opposite and enable the drawing of these two axes. Such lines are drawn with the use of a chalk line or a compass. The second lines to be drawn are the vertical axis and the horizontal line and finally the four outer lines that define the edges of the painting are added.

Once the eight major lines are established the artist can begin his sketching. The first step is to establish the area of the main figure on the vertical axis and its position in relation to the horizontal axis. In order to sketch the figure properly the artist must know the iconographic measurements of each deity as established by Buddhist tradition. The main iconographic classes, in order, are: buddhas, peaceful bodhisattvas, goddesses, tall wrathful figures, short wrathful figures, and humans. Other iconographical systems exist with more classes that are basically subdivisions of the above classes with the addition of some rare types.

Once the main figure is drawn, if other figures are to be included their position is established, according to their status. Next, the artist works on the surrounding area, sketching in the landscape, offerings and so forth. For the drawing of the preliminary sketch, the artist uses a graphite pencil or a charcoal crayon, which allows for corrections to be made. Once the sketching is complete the artist finalizes it by going over the pencil sketch with a brush and black ink. Inking in is done with great care, making every effort to correct and improve upon the pencil sketch, for, with the exception of minor details, it determines the final design of the painting.

The next step is to apply paint to the canvas. This is a two step process which includes filling in the areas of different base colours and shading and outlining these areas. Mineral pigments, mixed with a binder of either size or glue, are used for the initial coats of colour, while dye and lakes are used for the shading and outlining.

The progressive application of paint follows four principles. To begin with, the paint is applied to the more distant planes of the picture – sky and landscape – then progress to the primary figure. One colour is used at a time, being applied to all the appropriate places whilst the paint is still fresh. Due to the shading and tinting techniques used, the lighter colours are applied first and the darker colours for shading and tinting are applied later. Finally, the small features of the painting, those that are important and to be done in light colours, are done last so that they are not smudged during the remainder of the painting process.

A simple example of the paint application process would be a small one-deity thanka with a simple landscape. The main planes are (according to distance) – the sky, the landscape, the deity’s nimbus, and the figure of the deity. To paint the sky, the artist prepares by hand a suitable blue paint. He then applies this blue first to the sky and then to wherever it is needed around the figure, beginning with the nimbus and then the body. After blue the next colour used is green, which is applied in a similar manner working from the background forward to the figure. After blues and greens the artist applies the white and bluish and greenish-off whites to distant objects such as the clouds and snowy peaks. For the most part, the remaining colours are used in the forward plane, in this order: reds, oranges, yellow, ochre, brown, pink, white and gold.

The application of the initial coats of paint, depending on the size and complexity of the work, can take from a few hours or days, to a few weeks to complete. Once complete, the artist scrapes the painting surface smooth, in preparation for the finishing steps. After scraping and dusting the artist rubs the surface with a small ball of dry dough. The application of gold cannot be done until after the scraping and cleaning as gold needs a smooth undercoat on which to adhere properly. Nearly every thanka has at least a little gold on it as a religious offering.

After applying the initial coats of colour the next step is the shading. Shading, shadowing and gradation of tones are done to give a three dimensional quality to objects such as clouds. There are two main methods of shading: wet and dry. Wet shading is the blending of two wet colours, which is done during the application of the initial coats of colour. Dry shading is usually a secondary step and is the application of successive thin washes of colour over the dry preliminary coat. The main shading colours are organic dyes and lakes; mainly indigo (blue) and lac dye (red). Other dyes used are mainly yellow and orange. Typically, indigo is used to shade the initial blues and greens, lac dye is used for the areas of red, maroon, orange, yellow or flesh colour, while yellow is used to intensify and highlight the greens. Shading is done much as the initial coats of colours are applied – working from the farthest planes to the closest and working with as much of one colour at once as possible. Shading is an important feature of thanka painting, taking up a large portion of the artist’s time, and is done very carefully and precisely.

Outlining is one of the final steps in the process of thanka painting. It is done to intensify distinct objects, setting them off from their surroundings. It is used to indicate any small or fine details. The colours mainly used in outlining are indigo and lac dye, each used to outline shaded areas of the same colour. Other colours used are: white, for water and bone ornaments; gold, for nimbuses, seats, flowers, leaves, robes, multi-coloured lotuses and rocky crags. These are applied in stronger concentrations than in shading to contrast the base colour and the background more sharply.

The last major step in painting the thanka is drawing the faces of the main figures. This demands great attention. Of the facial features the eyes receive the greatest care, for the eyes bring the painting to life. Of course the shapes and dimensions of the facial features are determined by iconographic traditions. The application of the gold with a burnishing tool is the final step in thanka painting. There are two main types of burnishing, flat burnishing, in which large areas of gold are uniformly polished, and selective burnishing, polishing certain areas or drawing designs onto the gold with the point of the burnisher.

 

Mounting the Thanka

Most thanka paintings are mounted in a brocade frame. Although there is nothing to stipulate that it has to be brocade or even cloth, it is a tradition that has continued from the past.

Silk brocade is the most popular form of mounting since it is seen as having greater religious merit than other less expensive types of cloth. The quality of brocade used, varies from patron to patron, but again it is generally thought that the higher the quality, the greater the religious value the painting will assume. Likewise, the greater the number of brocades used, the greater the enhancement of the painting. Often, for example, a brocade square is sewn on to the mount below the picture to draw attention to the subject, whilst other paintings are framed with one or two thin strips of brocade, often red and yellow, before being placed on the main brocade, again for emphasis.

The proportions of the mounts tend to be the same, although sizes may vary according to the intended wall space on which the painting is to be hung. Normally, the amount of brocade used at the bottom equals half the size of the thanka, whilst the amount at the top is a quarter of the size of the thanka. Similarly, the mounting at the edge is equal to one eighth of the size of the thanka.

One final addition may be a curtain, which tends to be a piece of orange or yellow cotton material attached to the top of the brocade mount and which, when let down, covers the painting. Two thin red strips of material often hang down in front of this. The purpose of the curtain is mainly twofold, although not all thankas have them. First, it is used as a form of protection, preventing the accumulation of dust and is raised only on special occasions and secondly it is an extra adornment to enhance the value of the work further.

Since a thanka painting is a religious work, it is usual to place a white scarf at the brocade which is not only an offering but also acts as a protection. 

 

Consecration

Finally, if the painting is to function as a sacred object it is consecrated through a ritual of consecration, which is performed by a lama. During this ceremony, which is a combination of meditation, incantation and the recitation of prescribed mantras, the back of the painting is inscribed with the three syllables, which indicate the body, speech and mind of the main figure, along with names of certain deities and prayers of request or praise. Sometimes the hand-prints, or fingerprints, of respected teachers are placed on the back of the painting as well.

 

Characteristics of a Quality Thanka Painting

Most of all the painting must be appealing, beautiful and pleasing to the eye. The image must appear to be well proportioned. There are certain characteristics to look for in determining if the image has been done properly. In a well executed thanka painting the feet and hands are youthful with long tapering fingers and toes, marked with the sign of the wheel (dharmachakra) and the endless knot. The limbs are graceful, unblemished and the anklebones hidden. In the case of a thanka painting depicting a Buddha, his stomach is wide; the navel twisted clockwise, the waist well-defined and the upper body broad with rounded shoulders. The throat is tapered, the lips red and the nose long and pointed. The eye, the most important detail, should resemble lotus petals with the whites and pupils clearly defined. The eyebrows must be distinct and should feature a fine white hair (urna) between them, whilst the head should be large and rounded with a broad forehead, distinct hairline and the ears long and lobed. Gema Lama states in his book The Principals of Tibetan Art that, ‘Generally the form is meant to be large and erect, with dignified bearing and pleasing mien’. He goes on to point out that the masculine and feminine features ‘should be clearly defined and the clothing graceful’.

Unfortunately, today, thanka painting and with it, other aspects of Tibetan art are threatened by the influx of fake or badly finished paintings. In many tourist areas such as Delhi, Srinagaror, Kathmandu, these pieces are offered to the unsuspecting buyer as authentic thankas. Many have been prematurely ‘aged’ by holding them over butter lamps for long periods or by twisting them tightly thereby cracking the paint to give the effect of an old, much-used item. The symbols used in some of these paintings have been incorporated with little or no regard to the traditional guidelines laid down over the centuries. Often the grids have been badly or incorrectly drawn and the figures and features from many different mandalas combined into one picture. Furthermore, the silks and paints used are often of inferior quality, which often leads to cracking.

Though authentic thanka paintings belonging to Tibetans may have been sold in the years immediately following their flight from Tibet because of the initial hardship suffered by many families, it is very doubtful that authentic thanka paintings are for sale everywhere now. The sale of religious artifacts is contrary to Buddhist principles and only through the commissioning of an artist as outlined earlier can one acquire a thanka painting. The inferior paintings available at present are of little or no artistic value as most are of crude workmanship and resemble a mosaic of Buddhist symbols, deities, entourage and environments rather than a properly constructed painting. These paintings certainly have no religious value because of the lack of religious intent by the artist and as His Holiness the Dalai Lama has frequently pointed out it benefits neither Tibetans nor Tibetan art and culture for this trade to continue. Thanka paintings are religious works of art intended to aid the devotion and prayers of Buddhist practitioners and herein lies their true value.

 

Mural Painting

Many of the techniques used in mural painting are similar to those used in thanka painting and often in the past qualified thanka painters were commissioned to decorate the walls and even furniture of public buildings, monasteries and private houses in Tibet.

Whereas the function of a thanka painting is primarily religious and serves as a means of protection, the purpose of a mural painting is more decorative. Its subjects, therefore, tend to be diverse ranging from mythological figures and auspicious symbols to animals, birds, trees and flowers. They are often subjects that may feature in a thanka painting but never as the focal point. Thus in private houses, it would be quite common to have a series of ‘medallions’, about a metre in diameter, drawn on the walls of a room depicting scenes from various mythological tales, known stories such as ‘The Four Harmonious Brothers’ which in this case would feature the grouse, the hare, the monkey and the elephant. Ordinary people and events were also often drawn, particularly in important buildings, such as the Potala, where a mural would always be painted depicting the building’s construction, as well as the ground plans.

Mural paintings are always enhanced with a border painted immediately below the ceiling. Ornately decorated with a pattern of flowers, the border is made to look like a curtain, where even the folds of the material as well as the tassles are carefully drawn in. This is usually balanced by three stripes, again florally decorated, which line the walls at the base of the windows running parallel to the border at the top.

In addition to those of non-religious subjects, many religious murals also exist. The decorations in temples are always religious and feature many deities, all of whom have a certain position within the building according to their status and function. Pictures of the more exalted figures, such as the Lord Buddha are always painted behind the main altar and face the protective deities who line the back wall of the temple. In front of the main door are placed the Four Guardian Kings, whose bodies are painted white, blue, red and yellow as they protect the East, South, West and North respectively and who stand next to a painting of the wheel of cyclic existence.

When a religious mural is painted, the artist follows the same traditional guidelines carried out in thanka painting. Thus the same careful preparation and rituals are done before the work is begun and he uses the same system of grids and proportions as those used in a thanka painting. Likewise, the painting is consecrated upon completion.

The same bright colours that are used in thanka painting are used in mural work, although the type of paint is different as well as the method of application because of the contrasting surfaces. Unlike thanka painting, where the colours are added one on top of each other to achieve a fine degree of shading, when painting a mural, the colours are applied at the same time and mixed on the wall itself to achieve the desired shade, thus using the wall as a kind of palette. So, when painting a pink flower, both the white and red paint are applied together and mixed until the correct pink is obtained.

Mural painting has always featured heavily in Tibetan architecture, much of which was unfortunately destroyed by the Chinese during the Cultural Revolution. Brightly painted furniture, for example, which was found in most Tibetan households, had to be painted over, or in the case of poorer people who could not afford the paint, darkened with mud or charcoal and it was a long time before it could be removed. It is only recently that mural painting has begun to be revived properly both in Tibet and in exile, where, as the need to ensure that Tibetan culture does not die, every effort is being made to revive and continue the traditions carried out in the past.

 

Painting Guilds

Most thanka painters in Tibet belonged to a painting guild. For not only was it considered prestigious, since entry was difficult, but it automatically guaranteed a steady income of work at a high level.

As with other building guilds, the artistic guilds carried out a variety of work, both public and private, which ranged from the creation of thanka paintings, private mural work and the painting of furniture to the restoration and decoration of larger edifices, such as monasteries, temples and public buildings.

Hierarchy played a considerable role, not only amongst the artistic guilds but amongst the other building guilds as well. Since much of the painters’ work was of a religious nature, the artistic guilds assumed a superior status to those of the carpenters’ or masons’ guilds. It was for this reason that they were also exempt from having an organized administration, which gave them greater individual freedom in the type of work they undertook. Levels of superiority also featured amongst the artistic guilds themselves. The ones with the greatest prestige were the five or six who had official recognition and who consequently carried out all government work. This, however, did not prevent the other guilds from carrying out any type of work. Then, within the guilds themselves, five or six ranks of seniority existed.

The guilds mostly collapsed or became inactive following the Chinese occupation, especially during the Cultural Revolution when art and culture was repressed.

In the late 1970s, when restoration work began and artists were allowed to paint openly again, instead of reestablishing the guilds, government-run cooperatives were set up, to which all artists had to belong if they wanted to work. Even today, when much greater freedom reigns, the guilds are yet to reappear.

 

Bibliography

  • Dagyab, Loden Sherap, Tibetan Religious Art, Wiesbaden, Otto Harrassowitz, 1977.
  • Jackson, David P. & Janice A., Tibetan Thangka Painting, London, Serindia Publications, 1984.
  • Lama, Gega, Principles of Tibetan Art, Belgium, Karma Sonam Gyantso Ling.
  • Pal, Pratapaditya, Tibetan Paintings, Switzerland, Basilius Press, 1984.
  • Tucci, Guiseppe, Tibetan Painted Scrolls, Kyoto, Rinsen Book Co., 1980 (originally published by Liberia Dello Sato, 1949.)
  • With special thanks to Venerable Sangyay Yeshe and Temba Chöphel.

 

A Dorje Shugden thangka that belonged to H.H. Trijang Dorje Chang. H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama and his entourage traveled with this thangka as they escaped Tibet for India

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20 Responses to The Art of Thangka Painting

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  1. Pastor Henry Ooi on Jun 7, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    Another form of thangka art is appliqué –
    ornamental needlework in which pieces of fabric are sewn on to a larger piece of fabric after the outline of the deity or deities are drawn.
    Modern day thangkas are commercialised and are referred to as tourists thangka – much cheaper production of much lesser quality. As the name implies, these thangkas are sold to tourists looking to buy souvenirs that do not cost an arm or a leg.

  2. Katie Choong on Jun 7, 2018 at 1:12 am

    What an impressive spirit of an artist! I love the practice where the production is never accompanied by discussion of money and payment. Instead, the artist creates the Thangka as an expression of his spirituality and with good motivation, while the patron makes a monetary offering to the artist in gratitude and thanksgiving. A great reflection on the basis of morality! ☘️

  3. Pastor Albert on Jun 6, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    When I first get to know Kechara, they were having Thangka exhibition in a mall, many Thangka were displayed for people to see and invite home, I do like and enjoy the artwork of the Thangka before knowing the benefit and the purpose of a Thangka, I only enjoy it as a piece of art. Then later on only I learn that Thangka is more than just an art..

    In fact not just Thangka, even religion today have been used to business purposes, it is very sad to see the degenerate age today.. But when i look at another way, even though when thangka was being used for gaining self profit, but when someone bought a thangka home, they get to connect to the Buddha and some seeds will be planted to them for them to enter into spiritual in their future lives.

    Traditionally are hand painted Thangka, but with the advance technology today, there are also printed Thangkas for easy to take care and maintenance. It is great to have Thangka at home and whenever our guests or relatives visit, they too get the blessing from the Buddha when they sees the Thangka.

  4. June Kang on Jun 6, 2018 at 8:32 am

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this article, it helps us to understand the different of Thangka painting and others type of painting . Thangka is not only a painting. My understanding is thangkas are complicated composite objects which are designed to communicate iconographic ideas in a beautiful and practical form, and it help us in our practice for making our visualization of the deities much more easy during our retreat Appreciate for the Thangka painters contributions.

  5. Mingwen on Jun 6, 2018 at 8:28 am

    Thangka painting & all art works that are religious deserve respect because all religion teach good.

    I always rejoice & admire people who are good in art such as drawing, singing & acting. If these talented people able to tap into the spiritual path and utilize his/ her talents, one could benefit a lot of people by sharing whatever that are teached in all religion, by attracting the audiences with only good intentions.

  6. Pastor Chia on Jun 6, 2018 at 5:22 am

    I always love thangka painting. Thangka is good to have for retreat. It will help your visualisation easy of deity iconograpy you visualising. The true value to understanding thangka is not just the artwork. Seeing deity as painting in thangka as real deity you try to acheive during retreat. Is important to let high lama consicrated to bless the thangka.

    Many year ago i witness one auspicious sigh when rinpoche receive the Setrap thangka from monastery. The light turn on and off 3 time when rinpoche first saw this thangka. I felt this Setrap thangka is alive and look like Setrap is giving sign to Rinpoche.

  7. Tek Lee on Jun 6, 2018 at 2:55 am

    It is very fascinating to know the origin of Thangka. Actually before I become a Tibetan Buddhism practitioner, I didn’t know anything regarding Thangka. After joining Kechara, I came across many different Thangkas, and after reading this article, only I know the origin and the types of Thangka that we have. It requires so much patience, so much hardwork, so much knowledge and so much practice in producing a beautiful Thangka, yet with blessing in it. My wife and I are so bless that we have a very big Thangka at home. We love it and we appreciate it very very much. ❤️

  8. Vivian Ong on Jun 6, 2018 at 1:28 am

    Thangka is a beautiful piece of art. It is even more blessed if it’s drawn by someone with good motivation. Prior to joining Tibetan Buddhism, I haven’t come across a Tibetan style thangka before. Personally, I prefer a statue but if were to depict a guru tree or a mandala of a particular diety then a thangka will be the best. I also didn’t know that there were so many rules and regulations for drawing a thangka until I read this article. A drawn thangka will be more valuable compared to a printed one.

  9. Andrea Lai on Jun 6, 2018 at 12:59 am

    Thangka is one of new thing I learn from Tibetan Buddhism. I thought in Buddhism the only prayer is to statues needless have knowledge of others. What I very fascinated about thangka was the tender skill, sharp eyesight and patience to put onto this art work. Moreover, performing ritual like prayer, meditation or visualization on deities before starting the works, representing this effort is very sacred and holy. I think thangka painting is a form of art which show skill and artistic. I ❤️ art.

  10. Datuk May on Jun 6, 2018 at 12:18 am

    Thangka has the ability to tell a story of the deity of which it is painted off. As in the case of Dorje Shugden thangka, it shows the main form and the 4 emanations together with the palace of Tsongkhapa and Amitabha and also Dorje Shugden’s entourage.

    As such thangkas are more than art pieces they are also educational tools for the Tibetan Lamas who travelled all over Tibet to teach the Dharma.

    Knowing the motivation from which a Thangka originates from the devoted disciple it is always such a blessing to gaze upon a Thangka when we recite our daily prayers.

    It is also such a wise and compassionate way to teach the Dharma with something so beautiful and captivating.

  11. julia on Jun 6, 2018 at 12:10 am

    Thangka painting is not only a piece of drawing and painting but it is much more than that. Traditionally thangka painting is a retreat or a puja. I am amazed on how the artist draw the Thangka with so much of care and effort. Basically Thangka artist is not just a good artist, he has to be a practitioner who knows how to meditate and make sure he’s in a good state of mind too. Not only that, there were reincarnate artists before. To the patron (the person who commission the thangka) the Thangka will receive with high respect. A Thangka was never a trade or business but an offerings.

    Today Thangka painting is just a business product. The special tradition has no longer been practiced. Today people treasure money and profit above all. As long as you can paint you can be a thangka artist. I do hope someone somewhere still practicing and carry on the special thangka tradition.

  12. nicholas on Jun 5, 2018 at 11:14 pm

    I used to see Thangka as an intended to convey iconography information in a pictorial manner and it’s very helpful in my visualisation. After reading this article it gave me a clearer picture of how Thangka being done in a spiritual perspective. Thangka paintings are the visual expression of fully awakened state of enlightened. That’s why Thangka sometimes called the roadmap to enlightened. To produce a Thangka the painter needs an exact knowledge of the measurements and proportions of the deity as established by Buddhist iconography and artistic practice. Producing a Thangka is not a work but purely a spiritual practice that need so much of passion, effort and consistency. By understanding how a Thangka being made really make me appreciate them very much not just the beauty of the outcome but the effort and the contribution from the painter through their spiritual effort that make the Thangka blessed.

  13. pammie yap on Jun 5, 2018 at 10:55 pm

    I am not an artistic person but I am always fascinated with thangkas. I love the colors that the artists use to enhance the images. A lot of the paintings are actually very alive. Especially the wrathful ones. The details drawn are perfect and proportionate. Unfortunately thangkas nowadays are massively produced for material gains. Not easy to find those done by authenticate masters.
    Personally, I prefer silk appliqué thangkas because of the way that they are embroidered together with so much fine details like the White Tara thangka I have.

    F56673DE-9819-4629-9046-314BCB2B6A7A

    7A86EB92-ABB6-451A-9C30-94371BF921EF

  14. Bonnie on Dec 18, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    Dear Rimpoche:

    Please pardon the length of my note. I initially visited your website, thanks to a video post on youtube showing your pearlesque (?) goldfish pond (cute!), then I read your article on Mumu’s passing. I cried!, as I lost Stilpho, my 13yr old, cat child/companion in August 2017, (whom I raised since he was 3-4 days old and rejected/abandoned by his mother when a Tom cat kiled his litter mates, and small enough for his entire body to fit in just the center of my open palm, and I raised by syringe feeding him until he was big enough to take a bottle, then gruel, then solid food, so in essence, and as I have no children, he was my child, and with me every day), due to an unexpected brain tumor, and I was crushed. I too had made a promise to be with him always, and take care of him. I mistakenly thought his issue was a simple bug bite, but he ended up never coming home. Not because of the time nor expense related to his continued care, but because my Vet told me his brain tumor was incurable, and he would just get even worse, and I could not take his being in more pain and possibly suffering even more. My heart broke that day, and remains so..I cry from the pain of his loss often when I think of him, the ache and hole in my heart is still so fresh (and even now as I type this) Therefore, you have my heartfelt, and sincere sympathies and condolences, and so do all who loved and were touched by MuMu! Obviously, you and so many others really cared for him, and he was truly blessed to have been surrounded by so much love. Smiles…Thank you for sharing his story, life, and photos. While painful, because I felt his loss acutely, because of my own personal loss, still, I throughly enjoyed reading about his life, family, and many loving friends.

    I then found your article on your student artist, whom you encouraged to explore Thangka paintings. She is extremely talented, and her paintings are beautiful. And, since I am a graphite and digital artist (or at least, I dabble at being one), I was intrigued, and went on to read the above articles about Thangka style paintings.

    WOW!, Thank You, so much for both posting about the topic of Thangka painting, and especially for sharing this wonderful article about the history and true level of commitment and effort required of a masterful artist, that goes into the creation of any true Thangka style painting. Even with the little information that the Thangka article above provided, versus an in-depth study at a University or an Art School lecture, etc. (which has inspired me to go on to learn even more about this style), I still feel a world class difference in my knowledge level regarding Tibetan Artistry from my knowledge level before reading it. I have never really looked into Thangka paintings before now; however, I now can honestly say that I will NEVER again look at a Thangka style painting again, without pausing to truly appreciate the effort and artistic skill, along with the religious symbolism, and tremendous number of preset requirements, and the messages contain therein. A change in my perspective level that would certainly benefit anyone, regardless of their religious affiliation, or artistic skill level, expert to layman, should all pause a moment, and truly appreciate the history, and the Herculean effort it took in order to create (true and properly made), Tibetian Thangka style artworks! Just knowing what I do now about the requirements of the religious iconography, the multiple different types of painting styles, the proportion requirements, the steps of how a Thangka is made, what colors are utilized, and why, while not making me anywhwere near an expert, all certainly better equips me, and ensures that when I view a Thangka, that I will look on it with an unblinded eye, and be much better equipped to detect a true Thangka, which should and deserves to be revered by its viewers, from a fake, sad cultural parody of one, the likes of which are now currently being mass produced just for thier monetary gain. Not that I have funds to buy any, but I can certainly now more fully appreciate the true ones from afar. So, again, Thank you for enlightening myself and others on this subject. Smiles…

    Best Regards to you and yours, and to all at your Centers…I wish you good Health, true Wealth, and increased Enlightenment as you continue on your unending journey.

  15. Freon on Mar 20, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    I always thought that Thangka original was from Tibet. From this article, i learned that Thangka have such a long history, begin from Buddha Shakyamuni time. And, the influent on the Thangka drawing is from India, Nepal and China.

    From this article, i learned that Thangka is not just an art, it is a subject that we can pray to, especially the Thangka drawing mostly related to Buddhism
    During the drawing of the Thangka, the artist have to clean himself, and also focus, it is like doing meditation while making the Thangka.

    The making of Thangka, from selection of the cloth to the material to paint the Thangka have are carefully considered and selected.

    Interesting article

  16. Fong on Aug 11, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    It is interesting to note that thangkas were done as part of practice with meditation and visualization. The whole process and motivation is very complex and pure. Along the way, the painter/practitioner imbues the thangka with the positive energies of the deities.

    The whole style had matured over the years after the initial influence of India and china, and thus the Tibetan style is born and is unique despite the 2 different schools of Menri and Mendar.

    Reading about the whole process, I am awed by the intricacies of the thangka and its history. This has helped me appreciate thangkas a whole lot more. But, as suggested in the article it is very difficult to have a good quality thangka with the correct iconography and detailing. So, we shall contend ourselves by appreciating the thangkas in monasteries.

    Thank you for sharing this article. It has taught me be grateful to the practitioners who paint thangkas as part of their meditation and visualization with sincere motivation to benefit the future owner. It has taught me to be more aware of the details in thangkas and the skills and concentration required to paint a thangka. It has also taught me that the thangka is not a piece of commodity to be traded but an object of reverence and respect as it is the holy image of the Buddhas, just like a statue with positive energies imbued.

  17. Sunapati Thangka School on Dec 17, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    Dear Rimpoche, thank you for this article.
    Its not well known the amount of work and effort that is required to create a thangka painting.
    The commitment of our small school is to keep this tradition alive and support the artists and students that, as many here in Nepal, are facing many difficulties at this time.
    Thank you for sharing and caring.

    Blessing
    traditionalartofnepal.com

    • Tsem Rinpoche on Dec 17, 2015 at 7:04 pm

      Dear Sunapati Thangka School,

      I wish you all the best and success. I hope you all will overcome your difficulties. It is noble to struggle to keep up the powerful tradition. You have my good wishes. I hope blogging here about this special tradition will bring more awareness. Tsem Rinpoche

  18. Alice Tay on Aug 26, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    It is not easy to produce a good quality of a thangka painting. A responsible artist would have compassion coupled with good motivation
    while creating the thangka. The artist would think of all the suffering of other beings in the different realms and therefore he is painting the thangka for the benefit of all sentient beings.

    Other than the good motivation, the artists may have strong devotion to religion, modesty and other good qualities and also follow certain personal restrictions eg abstain from eating meat, onion or garlic, alcohol, strict personal cleanliness in both body and mind and etc etc.

    Having considered thangka painting is also a holy objects which could bless to all the sentient beings, the hardwork by the artists who are follow strictly to the rules of thangka painting and devotion to religion is very much appreciated.

    Thank you Rinpoche for this wonderful sharing about thangka painting.

  19. Loh Ann Leong (Penang) on Jun 29, 2015 at 9:14 am

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing the information of intricacies of A to Z preparations till finishing touch, values and history of thangka as representation of Buddhist object aside of art beauty or as decoration. It does create awareness for me after reading this blog, of much and vast merits of the thangka painter with having pure motivations when preparing the thangka.

    OM BENZA WIKI BITANA SOHA _/|\_

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  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Apr 6. 2020 03:40 PM
    Kuan Yin is one of the major deities in Buddhism and one of the most popular deities. Also known as the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion . Kuan Yin is regarded as male in India, and slowly transformed to have a female image in China. She is known for her kindness and can also be regarded as an icon of femininity in modern Buddhism. In this beautiful thangka Kuan Yin is depicted with Wei Tuo who is the great Dharma Protector in Buddhism who protects the Dharma, the teachings of the Buddha and those who cultivate the Dharma. Together with Dorje Shugden also a Dharma protector in order to safeguard the Buddha’s teachings. Dorje Shugden who is an emanation of the Buddha of Wisdom, Manjushri as depicted makes a powerful thangka to have.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/goddess-kuan-yin-the-embodiment-of-compassion
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Apr 6. 2020 03:38 PM
    Born into a noble family the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje was spiritual leader of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. He was well respected and consulted by high lamas of other lineages. He was given many names expressing this respect, including “King of the Yogis”. Interesting short life history of a great lama.
    Lama Jigme Rinpoche an accomplished teacher of the Kagyu lineage has once said….
    “Although the 16th Karmapa appeared and acted as a human being, his mind was completely open, without any limitation. He knew everything in an instant and without having to think about it.”
    Depicted in this beautiful thangka with Dorje Shugden who is an emanation of the Buddha of Wisdom, Manjushri. He took the form of a Dharma protector in order to safeguard the Buddha’s teachings.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/his-holiness-the-16th-karmapa-rangjung-rigpe-dorje
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Apr 6. 2020 03:37 PM
    Chenrezig, also known as ‘All-Seeing Lord’.” is the most revered of all Bodhisattva, embodying the compassion of all Buddhas. Chenrezig listens to the prayers of all sentient beings in times of challenge and difficulty. His vow is to remain in samsara until all beings have been freed, especially lessens anger and also for those who suffer from depression. Here Chenrezig is depicted together with Dorje Shugden the dharma protector who is an emanation of the Buddha of Wisdom, Manjushri. A beautiful thangka to have.
    Thank you.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/semnyi-ngalso-chenrezig
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Apr 5. 2020 03:25 PM
    Nairatmya is the Buddha Mother of the Sakya sect and is the embodiment of prajna wisdom. As well as a meditational deity and the consort of Hevajra which has many different forms and combinations of forms for these two deities. She has phenomenal power which enables practitioners to break through the ignorance of afflictions and increase the practitioners’ Buddha wisdom and merits. She did appeared to the Mahasiddha Virupa urging him to continue with his tantric practice. Depicted with the dharma protector Dorje Shugden forms a beautiful and powerful thangka.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/nairatmya-she-who-has-no-self
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Apr 5. 2020 03:23 PM
    Born as a prince …Siddhartha Gautama but then became known as Shakyamuni only after he became the Buddha . Buddha gave teachings or compassionately turning the wheel of Dharma at a variety of places for many years until his parinirvana. Through these teachings, Buddha showed the way that leads all beings to the experience of awakening and liberation from samsara. In this beautiful thanka Buddha is depicted with his many disciples and Dorje Shugden who is an emanation of the Buddha of Wisdom, Manjushri.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/buddha-shakyamuni-turning-the-wheel-of-dharma
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Apr 5. 2020 03:21 PM
    The Buddha was a philosopher, mendicant, meditator, spiritual teacher, and religious leader who lived in ancient India. He is revered as the founder of the world religion of Buddhism. Life as a prince living in the wealthy circumstances of a noble family . In his late twenties, Prince Siddhartha encountered the “four signs” during excursions from the palace. He realized that the only way out of this suffering world of samsara was through finding and following the right spiritual path. He gave up the ascetic way of life and turned to meditation, until he reached his goal of enlightenment under the Bodhi-tree in Bodhgaya. Interesting story of who the noble prince was, the major events of his life, and the incredible legacy that he left behind for the world with the creation of Buddhism.
    In this beautiful thangka , depicted together with Dorje Shugden who is an emanation of the Buddha of Wisdom, Manjushri. As a dharma protector in order to safeguard the Buddha’s teachings .

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/the-noble-prince-who-founded-buddhism
  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, Apr 4. 2020 06:15 PM
    Nor matter what race or religion, one of the most beautiful qualities of friendship is to understand and be understood. Animals of different species can be together, playing together and have a close bond, we as human too could do it. Dogs aren’t only man’s best friend, there are other animals playing together. With patience, the seeds of loving-kindness, and understanding even our enemies can become friends. Most important whether that person is of the same race, faith, rich or poor, good or bad ,all are treated equally. There is a time for silence with the one who hurts us and yet a time to let go of the past. We should love all beings too.
    I have seen wonderful pictures of people and animals hugging, playing together, it tell us a special bond between them. When we love them….the animals will gives you loves.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing and teachings.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/external-article/absence-of-hatred
  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, Apr 4. 2020 06:14 PM
    Jetsun Milarepa was a Tibetan siddha, who famously was a murderer as a young man then turned to Buddhism to become an accomplished buddha despite his past. He is generally considered as one of Tibet’s most famous yogis and poets, serving as an example for the Buddhist life. Interesting biography of Milarepa which I truly enjoying and inspiring story of him. Depicted with Mahasiddha Marpa a great translator, Vajravarahi is a semi-wrathful form of Vajra Yogini, and Dorje Shugden is an emanation of the Buddha of Wisdom, created a beautiful powerful thangka .

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/the-incredible-poet-and-yogi-jetsun-milarepa
  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, Apr 4. 2020 06:13 PM
    Lama Tsongkhapa is a “Buddha of our times” in the Gelug Vajrayana tradition. As an enlightened being, Buddha Tsongkhapa has the same realizations as all of the Buddhas. His practice is very powerful reliable and beneficial, as he was an emanation of Avalokitesvara , Manjushri , and Vajrapani . Among the many renowned teachings he gave and dharma texts he composed, Lama Tsongkhapa’s Lamrim Chenmo. We are fortunate , having the chance to receive and practice Dharma teachings from Lama Tsongkhapa through our lama. Beautiful thangka depicted along with Dorje Shugden the powerful Dharma Protector.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing and with short explanations.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/lama-tsongkhapa-sitting-on-a-lotus
  • Lin Mun
    Saturday, Apr 4. 2020 03:13 PM
    It is interesting that there are certain people who have psychic power or some sort of ability that a normal person may not have. Hard to explain why they are special scientifically but I believe each person have different capabilities in this world. For me if a person if gifted with certain capabilities, then they should use it to benefit others and not bring harm for own benefit and greed. Many however, will abuse the abilities to make profit and for personal agenda.

    On the other subject on mantra, it is powerful words of Buddha which brings benefit to not only to the person who recite it but can be dedicated to all sentient beings. Appreciation to Buddha for providing mantra for us to recite and opportunity to change the situation to be better.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/psychic-power-sabine-thing.html
  • sarassitham
    Saturday, Apr 4. 2020 01:52 AM
    Thank you for the sharing, an inspiring article of a family growing up their kids and Living Off-The Grid in Lenggong Valley of Perak. I believe this is the positive mind set of the couples living closer to nature, explore to new ideas, being creativity, to live simple and happy with farming activities .

    There are number of people who are attracted to mother nature, they love the breezing air, greenery environment, and healthy living. Not many love to do this in this modern era where technology are vast growing where people are looking for more comfort and luxury homes.

    I loved the concept and the wonderful ideas of Tan and Ladia Kuta, being innovative, to facilitate, improve and to expend their living style. Thanks to The Coconut KL to introduce the Lenggong Valley and helping the couples to expend. Hope to get an opportunity to visit and enjoy the nature environment stay.
  • Samfoonheei
    Friday, Apr 3. 2020 08:50 PM
    Heard of this mythical creatures during my school days. Interesting stories and in Scottish folklore been told years ago. The Loch Ness monster is a marine creature that inhabits in the Scottish highlands waters. Recording to eye witness it is described as large in size with a long neck and one or more humps protruding from the water. There have been thousands of reported sightings of these creatures date back to ancient times. They ranged from eyewitness accounts by visitors to the area to unusual objects spotted by people. Many even has captured images of this creature but so forth there no hard evidence of it. Well I do believe that there was once do exist in ancient times .
    Thank you Pastor Loh Seng Piow for this interesting sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/english-loch-ness-monster.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Friday, Apr 3. 2020 08:49 PM
    Reading all these inspiring worthy words appealing to H H Dalai Lama to lift the ban on Dorje Shugden, it tell us a thousand words. How much love and respect our Lama Tsem Rinpoche to H H Dalai Lama. Our lama always teaches us to respect H H Dalai Lama. This Dorje Shugden ‘s practice was passed down by generations of erudite lamas of the pure lineage since 400 years ago. For hundreds of years , many highly attained lamas has been propitiating and relying on Dorje Shugden as an Dharma Protector in the practice. They cannot be wrong in the practice. Because of the Tibetan Leadership political agenda, many has suffered such as services denied, families and monasteries divided and so forth.
    May H H Dalai Lama please have a dialogue with Dorje Shugden’s practitioner , to resolve the ban which is affecting millions of people.
    Thank you Rinpoche with these inspiring worthy words of appeals.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/appeal-to-h-h-the-dalai-lama.html
  • S.Prathap
    Friday, Apr 3. 2020 05:38 PM
    It is not coincidental that past and present masters praised Diamond Lady , Vajrayogini as our saviour during this materialistic, desire driven times. As Rinpoche had said, her practice is most appropriate for us.
    Across the world more female are working than ever before, and are very successful holding the top post. Thank you very much for nice write up.
  • sarassitham
    Thursday, Apr 2. 2020 11:26 PM
    Extremely happy to see the Green Girls efforts to the success of Kechara’s Organic Farm. I liked they idea, to cultivate the space to grow their own delicious, greenery, fresh and healthy vegetables. Of course we know organic vegetables contain’s more nutritious, healthier and safe.

    Apart of looking at these attractive farm, I believe this farm will improves the ecology of the surrounding environment. Looking on the support of the volunteers, I hope this project will meet their goals and achieve to a greater extent.

    I’m sure this though role activity involved will help the green girls and Kechara volunteers to maintain a healthy mind and body.

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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The Unknown

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

Photos On The Go

Click on the images to view the bigger version. And scroll down and click on "View All Photos" to view more images.
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
2 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!
2 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
2 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
3 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!
3 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.
3 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
3 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.
3 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.
3 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!
3 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)
8 months 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)
8 months 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)
8 months 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
9 months 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
9 months 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!
9 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months ago
Sacred Vajra Yogini
Dorje Shugden works & archives - a labour of commitment - https://bit.ly/30Tp2p8
10 months ago
Dorje Shugden works & archives - a labour of commitment - https://bit.ly/30Tp2p8
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha.
10 months 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.
10 months 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.
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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!!!
10 months 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
10 months 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
11 months 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
11 months 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
11 months 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
11 months 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
11 months 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
11 months 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
11 months ago
Beautiful pictures of the huge Buddha in Longkou Nanshan- https://bit.ly/2LsBxVb
The reason-Very interesting thought- https://bit.ly/2V7VT5r
11 months ago
The reason-Very interesting thought- https://bit.ly/2V7VT5r
NEW Bigfoot cafe in Malaysia! Food is delicious!- https://bit.ly/2VxdGau
11 months 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
11 months 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
11 months 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
11 months 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
11 months 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
11 months 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
11 months 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
11 months ago
Manjusri Kumara (bodhisattva of wisdom), India, Pala dynesty, 9th century, stone, Honolulu Academy of Arts
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Videos On The Go

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  • Pig puts his toys away
    3 months ago
    Pig puts his toys away
    Animals are so intelligent. They can feel happiness, joy, pain, sorrow, just like humans. Always show kindness to them. Always show kindness to everyone.
  • Always be kind to animals-They deserve to live just like us.
    9 months ago
    Always be kind to animals-They deserve to live just like us.
    Whales and dolphins playing with each other in the Pacific sea. Nature is truly incredible!
  • Bodha stupa July 2019-
    9 months ago
    Bodha stupa July 2019-
    Rainy period
  • Cute Tara girl having a snack. She is one of Kechara Forest Retreat’s resident doggies.
    9 months ago
    Cute Tara girl having a snack. She is one of Kechara Forest Retreat’s resident doggies.
  • Your Next Meal!
    10 months ago
    Your Next Meal!
    Yummy? Tasty? Behind the scenes of the meat on your plates. Meat is a killing industry.
  • This is Daw
    10 months ago
    This is Daw
    This is what they do to get meat on tables, and to produce belts and jackets. Think twice before your next purchase.
  • Don’t Take My Mummy Away!
    10 months ago
    Don’t Take My Mummy Away!
    Look at the poor baby chasing after the mother. Why do we do that to them? It's time to seriously think about our choices in life and how they affect others. Be kind. Don't break up families.
  • They do this every day!
    10 months ago
    They do this every day!
    This is how they are being treated every day of their lives. Please do something to stop the brutality. Listen to their cries for help!
  • What happened at Fair Oaks Farm?
    10 months ago
    What happened at Fair Oaks Farm?
    The largest undercover dairy investigation of all time. See what they found out at Fair Oaks Farm.
  • She’s going to spend her whole life here without being able to move correctly. Like a machine. They are the slaves of the people and are viewed as a product. It’s immoral. Billions of terrestrial animals die annually. Billions. You can’t even imagine it. And all that because people don’t want to give up meat, even though there are so many alternatives. ~ Gabriel Azimov
    10 months ago
    She’s going to spend her whole life here without being able to move correctly. Like a machine. They are the slaves of the people and are viewed as a product. It’s immoral. Billions of terrestrial animals die annually. Billions. You can’t even imagine it. And all that because people don’t want to give up meat, even though there are so many alternatives. ~ Gabriel Azimov
  • Our Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir speaks so well, logically and regarding our country’s collaboration with China for growth. It is refreshing to listen to Dr. Mahathir’s thoughts. He said our country can look to China for many more things such as technology and so on. Tsem Rinpoche
    11 months ago
    Our Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir speaks so well, logically and regarding our country’s collaboration with China for growth. It is refreshing to listen to Dr. Mahathir’s thoughts. He said our country can look to China for many more things such as technology and so on. Tsem Rinpoche
  • This is the first time His Holiness Dalai Lama mentions he had some very serious illness. Very worrying. This video is captured April 2019.
    11 months ago
    This is the first time His Holiness Dalai Lama mentions he had some very serious illness. Very worrying. This video is captured April 2019.
  • Beautiful Monastery in Hong Kong
    12 months ago
    Beautiful Monastery in Hong Kong
  • This dog thanks his hero in such a touching way. Tsem Rinpoche
    12 months ago
    This dog thanks his hero in such a touching way. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Join Tsem Rinpoche in prayer for H.H. Dalai Lama’s long life~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYy7JcveikU&feature=youtu.be
    12 months ago
    Join Tsem Rinpoche in prayer for H.H. Dalai Lama’s long life~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYy7JcveikU&feature=youtu.be
  • These people going on pilgrimage to a holy mountain and prostrating out of devotion and for pilgrimage in Tibet. Such determination for spiritual practice. Tsem Rinpoche
    12 months ago
    These people going on pilgrimage to a holy mountain and prostrating out of devotion and for pilgrimage in Tibet. Such determination for spiritual practice. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Beautiful new casing in Kechara for Vajra Yogini. Tsem Rinpoche
    1 years ago
    Beautiful new casing in Kechara for Vajra Yogini. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Get ready to laugh real hard. This is Kechara’s version of “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane!” We have some real talents in this video clip.
    1 years ago
    Get ready to laugh real hard. This is Kechara’s version of “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane!” We have some real talents in this video clip.
  • Recitation of Dorje Dermo‘s mantra or the Dharani of Glorious Vajra Claws. This powerful mantra is meant to destroy all obstacles that come in our way. Beneficial to play this mantra in our environments.
    1 years ago
    Recitation of Dorje Dermo‘s mantra or the Dharani of Glorious Vajra Claws. This powerful mantra is meant to destroy all obstacles that come in our way. Beneficial to play this mantra in our environments.
  • Beautiful
    1 years ago
    Beautiful
    Beautiful sacred Severed Head Vajra Yogini from Tsem Rinpoche's personal shrine.
  • My little monster cute babies Dharma and Oser. Take a look and get a cute attack for the day! Tsem Rinpoche
    1 years ago
    My little monster cute babies Dharma and Oser. Take a look and get a cute attack for the day! Tsem Rinpoche
  • Plse watch this short video and see how all sentient beings are capable of tenderness and love. We should never hurt animals nor should we eat them. Tsem Rinpoche
    1 years ago
    Plse watch this short video and see how all sentient beings are capable of tenderness and love. We should never hurt animals nor should we eat them. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Cruelty of some people have no limits and it’s heartbreaking. Being kind cost nothing. Tsem Rinpoche
    1 years ago
    Cruelty of some people have no limits and it’s heartbreaking. Being kind cost nothing. Tsem Rinpoche
  • SUPER ADORABLE and must see
    1 years ago
    SUPER ADORABLE and must see
    Tsem Rinpoche's dog Oser girl enjoying her snack in her play pen.
  • Cute!
    1 years ago
    Cute!
    Oser girl loves the balcony so much. - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTcoWpKJm2c
  • Uncle Wong
    1 years ago
    Uncle Wong
    We were told by Uncle Wong he is very faithful toward Dorje Shugden. Dorje Shugden has extended help to him on several occasions and now Uncle Wong comes daily to make incense offerings to Dorje Shugden. He is grateful towards the help he was given.
  • Tsem Rinpoche’s Schnauzer Dharma boy fights Robot sphere from Arkonide!
    1 years ago
    Tsem Rinpoche’s Schnauzer Dharma boy fights Robot sphere from Arkonide!
  • Cute baby owl found and rescued
    1 years ago
    Cute baby owl found and rescued
    We rescued a lost baby owl in Kechara Forest Retreat.
  • Nice cups from Kechara!!
    1 years ago
    Nice cups from Kechara!!
    Dorje Shugden people's lives matter!
  • Enjoy a peaceful morning at Kechara Forest Retreat
    1 years ago
    Enjoy a peaceful morning at Kechara Forest Retreat
    Chirping birds and other forest animals create a joyful melody at the Vajrayogini stupa in Kechara Forest Retreat (Bentong, Malaysia).
  • This topic is so hot in many circles right now.
    2 yearss ago
    This topic is so hot in many circles right now.
    This video is thought-provoking and very interesting. Watch! Thanks so much to our friends at LIVEKINDLY.
  • Chiropractic CHANGES LIFE for teenager with acute PAIN & DEAD LEG.
    2 yearss ago
    Chiropractic CHANGES LIFE for teenager with acute PAIN & DEAD LEG.
  • BEAUTIFUL PLACE IN NEW YORK STATE-AMAZING.
    2 yearss ago
    BEAUTIFUL PLACE IN NEW YORK STATE-AMAZING.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio takes on the meat Industry with real action.
    2 yearss ago
    Leonardo DiCaprio takes on the meat Industry with real action.
  • Do psychic mediums have messages from beyond?
    2 yearss ago
    Do psychic mediums have messages from beyond?
  • Lovely gift for my 52nd Birthday. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 yearss ago
    Lovely gift for my 52nd Birthday. Tsem Rinpoche
  • This 59-year-old chimpanzee was refusing food and ready to die until...
    2 yearss ago
    This 59-year-old chimpanzee was refusing food and ready to die until...
    she received “one last visit from an old friend” 💔💔
  • Bigfoot sighted again and made it to the news.
    2 yearss ago
    Bigfoot sighted again and made it to the news.
  • Casper is such a cute and adorable. I like him.
    2 yearss ago
    Casper is such a cute and adorable. I like him.
  • Dorje Shugden Monastery Amarbayasgalant  Mongolia's Ancient Hidden Gem
    2 yearss ago
    Dorje Shugden Monastery Amarbayasgalant Mongolia's Ancient Hidden Gem
  • Don't you love Hamburgers? See how 'delicious' it is here!
    2 yearss ago
    Don't you love Hamburgers? See how 'delicious' it is here!
  • Such a beautiful and powerful message from a person who knows the meaning of life. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 yearss ago
    Such a beautiful and powerful message from a person who knows the meaning of life. Tsem Rinpoche
  • What the meat industry figured out is that you don't need healthy animals to make a profit.
    2 yearss ago
    What the meat industry figured out is that you don't need healthy animals to make a profit.
    Sick animals are more profitable... farms calculate how close to death they can keep animals without killing them. That's the business model. How quickly they can be made to grow, how tightly they can be packed, how much or how little can they eat, how sick they can get without dying... We live in a world in which it's conventional to treat an animal like a block of wood. ~ Jonathan Safran Foer
  • This video went viral and it's a must watch!!
    2 yearss ago
    This video went viral and it's a must watch!!
  • 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.

ASK A PASTOR


Ask the Pastors

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

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

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

View All Questions

CHAT PICTURES

Recycle today for a better tomorrow. KEP-Serena
3 weeks 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
3 weeks 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
4 weeks 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
4 weeks 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
4 weeks 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
4 weeks 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
4 weeks 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
4 weeks 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
4 weeks 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.
4 weeks 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
4 weeks 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
4 weeks 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
4 weeks 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
4 weeks 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
4 weeks 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
4 weeks 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
4 weeks 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
4 weeks 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
4 weeks 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
4 weeks 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
4 weeks 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
4 weeks 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
4 weeks 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
4 weeks 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
4 weeks 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
4 weeks 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
Kechara Earth Project (KEP) 8/3/2020
4 weeks ago
Kechara Earth Project (KEP) 8/3/2020
Dear Kecharians and friends, We are pleased to announce that as part of the preparations for H.E. Tsem Rinpoche's reliquary stupas and incarnation chapel, mantra rolling sessions have begun in Kechara Forest Retreat. We are calling for volunteers to join us in this holy activity. DATE Daily starting 5th March 2020 until further notice TIME (1) Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday - 10am to 10pm (2) Thursday & Sunday - 10am to 6pm VENUE Art Studio (Kechara Saraswati Arts) Kechara Forest Retreat If you're interested, kindly contact: Wong Yew Kien 012-3717896 or Karen Chong 012-7710289 We look forward to seeing you soon!
4 weeks ago
Dear Kecharians and friends, We are pleased to announce that as part of the preparations for H.E. Tsem Rinpoche's reliquary stupas and incarnation chapel, mantra rolling sessions have begun in Kechara Forest Retreat. We are calling for volunteers to join us in this holy activity. DATE Daily starting 5th March 2020 until further notice TIME (1) Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday - 10am to 10pm (2) Thursday & Sunday - 10am to 6pm VENUE Art Studio (Kechara Saraswati Arts) Kechara Forest Retreat If you're interested, kindly contact: Wong Yew Kien 012-3717896 or Karen Chong 012-7710289 We look forward to seeing you soon!
Join us for a Peaceful Fire Puja based on Dorje Shugden’s pacifying form. This blessed puja will be conducted at the future site of H.E. Tsem Rinpoche’s outdoor reliquary stupa to pacify obstacles and for the success of the project. EVENT DETAILS • Date: Sunday, 8 March 2020 • Time: 6.00pm – 8.30pm • Venue: Kechara Forest Retreat, Bentong Admission is free, all are welcome. ADDITIONAL BENEFITS FOR SPONSORS AND ATTENDEES • Healing from illness and disease • Overcoming obstacles • Purifying past negative deeds and negative karma • Calming the environment, natural disasters and calamities • Helping the deceased to take a good rebirth • Accumulation of merits for spiritual realisations and attainments
4 weeks ago
Join us for a Peaceful Fire Puja based on Dorje Shugden’s pacifying form. This blessed puja will be conducted at the future site of H.E. Tsem Rinpoche’s outdoor reliquary stupa to pacify obstacles and for the success of the project. EVENT DETAILS • Date: Sunday, 8 March 2020 • Time: 6.00pm – 8.30pm • Venue: Kechara Forest Retreat, Bentong Admission is free, all are welcome. ADDITIONAL BENEFITS FOR SPONSORS AND ATTENDEES • Healing from illness and disease • Overcoming obstacles • Purifying past negative deeds and negative karma • Calming the environment, natural disasters and calamities • Helping the deceased to take a good rebirth • Accumulation of merits for spiritual realisations and attainments
Join us this weekend for Spiritual Saturday in Kechara Forest Retreat! SATURDAY, 7 MARCH 9.30 am: Polish Gyenze's wish-fulfilling lamps 11.15 am: Introduction to Ayurveda 1.00 pm: Lunch INTERESTED? WhatsApp us at +6017 672 0757 to RSVP your place (and your meal!) See all March activities: bit.ly/2vAGpjF
4 weeks ago
Join us this weekend for Spiritual Saturday in Kechara Forest Retreat! SATURDAY, 7 MARCH 9.30 am: Polish Gyenze's wish-fulfilling lamps 11.15 am: Introduction to Ayurveda 1.00 pm: Lunch INTERESTED? WhatsApp us at +6017 672 0757 to RSVP your place (and your meal!) See all March activities: bit.ly/2vAGpjF
Kechara Earth Project- new site at Damansara
1 month ago
Kechara Earth Project- new site at Damansara
For those who did not manage to join in for our Loma Gyonma mantra recitation, here's the prayer that you can do daily at home as a preventive measure to ward off unwanted infections and illnesses, especially contagious diseases such as Coronavirus & H1N1. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
2 months ago
For those who did not manage to join in for our Loma Gyonma mantra recitation, here's the prayer that you can do daily at home as a preventive measure to ward off unwanted infections and illnesses, especially contagious diseases such as Coronavirus & H1N1. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Special prayer session in Kechara Forest Retreat where we will be collectively accumulating a minimum of 25,000 Loma Gyonma mantras, combined with circumambulations and 108 candle offerings each to Loma Gyonma and Dorje Shugden. To receive the blessings of Loma Gyonma, the Goddess of Healing and Epidemic Diseases, and to pray for all who are at risk from the novel coronavirus to be healed and protected. -photo credit Cynthia Ng - shared by Pastor Antoinette
2 months ago
Special prayer session in Kechara Forest Retreat where we will be collectively accumulating a minimum of 25,000 Loma Gyonma mantras, combined with circumambulations and 108 candle offerings each to Loma Gyonma and Dorje Shugden. To receive the blessings of Loma Gyonma, the Goddess of Healing and Epidemic Diseases, and to pray for all who are at risk from the novel coronavirus to be healed and protected. -photo credit Cynthia Ng - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Back during the H1N1 outbreak in 2009, Rinpoche advised everyone to quickly accumulate 25,000 recitations of Loma Gyonma’s essence mantra ASAP, combined with daily recitation of both Loma Gyonma and Shize’s mantra. In view of the current situation with the global spread of the novel coronavirus, you are invited to a special prayer session in Kechara Forest Retreat where we will be collectively accumulating a minimum of 25,000 Loma Gyonma mantras, combined with circumambulations and 108 candle offerings each to Loma Gyonma and Dorje Shugden. DATE: Saturday, 15 February 2020 TIME: 3.00pm - 6.30pm VENUE: Wisdom Hall, Kechara Forest Retreat
2 months ago
Back during the H1N1 outbreak in 2009, Rinpoche advised everyone to quickly accumulate 25,000 recitations of Loma Gyonma’s essence mantra ASAP, combined with daily recitation of both Loma Gyonma and Shize’s mantra. In view of the current situation with the global spread of the novel coronavirus, you are invited to a special prayer session in Kechara Forest Retreat where we will be collectively accumulating a minimum of 25,000 Loma Gyonma mantras, combined with circumambulations and 108 candle offerings each to Loma Gyonma and Dorje Shugden. DATE: Saturday, 15 February 2020 TIME: 3.00pm - 6.30pm VENUE: Wisdom Hall, Kechara Forest Retreat
Mr. Chan Weng Khong & Yee Mun released the birds after the mantra recitations. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
2 months ago
Mr. Chan Weng Khong & Yee Mun released the birds after the mantra recitations. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
KISG has carried out monthly Animals Liberation activity at DR Park, Ipoh. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
2 months ago
KISG has carried out monthly Animals Liberation activity at DR Park, Ipoh. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Children are all excited to the Kids Camp. Lin Mun KSDS
2 months ago
Children are all excited to the Kids Camp. Lin Mun KSDS
Kids Camp 2019 - Visiting Kechara Farm. Lin Mun KSDS
2 months ago
Kids Camp 2019 - Visiting Kechara Farm. Lin Mun KSDS
Children learning to do water offering to Buddha. Lin Mun KSDS
2 months ago
Children learning to do water offering to Buddha. Lin Mun KSDS
Painting Vajrayogini tsa tsa during Wesak Day 2019. Lin Mun KSDS
2 months ago
Painting Vajrayogini tsa tsa during Wesak Day 2019. Lin Mun KSDS
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Dorje Shugden
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