Bill Porter (Red Pine): The Translator of Chinese Poems and Promoter of Zen Buddhism

Jan 6, 2017 | Views: 2,770

Bill 1

(By Tsem Rinpoche)

Early Years

Bill Porter was born on 3 October 1943 in Los Angeles, California. His father, William A. Porter, was a convicted bank robber who was sentenced to 20 years in prison in Michigan in the 1920s. During this unfavourable time, William’s sisters Pearlie and Pauline moved to Michigan to be closer to their brother. Both Pearlie and Pauline worked as waitresses in an upscale restaurant where the Michigan governor at the time often dined. Both women seized this opportunity to tell the governor about their brother. Fortune started to shine on the Porter family when the governor decided to issue a pardon for William A. Porter. By the time he was released, William A. Porter only served six out of the 20-year prison sentence.

After his release, William A. Porter secured a job in the hospitality industry and eventually became a wealthy man by establishing his hotel chain. Following his success, William A. Porter became a big sponsor of the Democratic Party and a close friend of the Kennedy family. Porter grew up in a privileged environment. He attended prestigious boarding schools in Los Angeles and San Francisco but unlike most privileged children, Porter became disillusioned with wealth. He could see the superficiality of many people who surrounded those with money.

In his later years, misfortune came back to haunt his father William A. Porter. William’s marriage ended in divorce and his hotel business was crumbling from a series of lawsuits. He quickly lost most of his wealth, and his family was back to experiencing financial hardship. However, instead of lamenting the misfortune, Porter was relieved that he did not have to inherit a vast fortune. He was happy to be released from the social pressure of having to act like people with money. In his later years, Porter revealed his feeling about the loss of his father’s fortune:

Meeting powerful people and seeing what facades their characters were, how false they were. I didn’t realise what I was being introduced to, but I realised that money and fame are not worth seeking and are even worth avoiding. I still remember how good I felt when I realised my father was losing all his money because then I realised I wouldn’t have to inherit it. Not that I couldn’t use a little money right now, but at the time I was so turned off by it because of all these fake people I met all the time as a child.

 

Formative Years

University of California, Santa Barbara where Bill Porter used to study.

University of California, Santa Barbara where Bill Porter used to study.

After he finished high school, Porter enrolled at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1961. However, he was not mentally ready for college and consequently, he dropped out from the university and two other junior colleges. In 1964, he received the draft notice and subsequently joined the military. He went on a three-year tour to Germany in his capacity as a medical clerk. After completing his military tenure, Porter went back to the University of California, Santa Barbara to major in Anthropology. It was in college that he developed an interest in Buddhism after having read a book by Alan Watts titled The Way of Zen and another book by Edward Conze titled Introduction to Buddhism. Porter recalled his thoughts when reading the two books:

It was then that I finally felt I’d found something that made sense to me about what was going on in this life. But, I was really still looking on these books as something I was doing on my own, on the side.

After obtaining his bachelor degree, he enrolled at Columbia University as a graduate student in anthropology and Chinese language. He spent his junior year at the University of Goettingen in Germany and realised that his real interest was Buddhism. Porter recalled his feeling then:

Everything I was studying then started to dovetail with Buddhism. They all were saying the same thing to me in terms of how to discover what’s real. I was ready for Buddhism when it came along. But the thing about Buddhism was that it was so much broader in scope, far more poetic as well — a way of life as well as a way of thinking.

Columbia University where Bill Porter used to enroll as a graduate student in anthropology.

Columbia University where Bill Porter used to enroll as a graduate student of anthropology.

When he came back to Columbia University, his interest in anthropology had waned. He found it challenging to write papers, and felt that the subject would not serve his purpose to find the meaning of life. He started to attend meditation classes taught by a Hua-Yen Buddhist monk, Ven. Shou Yeh, on weekends at a temple that was located north of New York City. He was never able to communicate properly with Shou Yeh because he could not speak fluent Chinese, and Ven. Shou Yeh only spoke limited English. However, Porter enjoyed observing Ven. Shou Yeh’s calm and peaceful demeanour.

In 1972, Porter made a decision to drop out of Columbia University to join a Buddhist monastery in Taiwan. His schoolmate informed him of a newly established monastery in Taiwan, Fo Kwang Shan Monastery. He wrote a letter to the monastery to express his interest in joining them. Much to his surprise, the abbot of Fo Kwang Shan agreed to let him stay. Porter’s supportive father bought him a one-way ticket to Taiwan and gave him US$200 to enable him to fulfil his desire to study Buddhism.

 

Two Decades in Asia

 

Fo Kwang Shan and Hai Ming Monastery

Fo Kwang Shan Monastery in Taiwan where Bill Porter spent one year to study Buddhist teachings.

Fo Kwang Shan Monastery in Taiwan where Bill Porter spent one year to study Buddhist teachings.

Initially, Porter wanted to stay longer at Fo Kwang Shan Monastery because the monastery offered many classes on Buddhist teachings and sutras. However, as a western Buddhist practitioner who lived in the monastery, he attracted unwanted attention. Porter felt distracted by the visitors who were curious to see him. He recalled:

All the people there thought it was the strangest thing to have a foreigner studying Buddhism. It was like being on a foreign planet. When the public came through the monastery it was sort of touristy, and I got tired of being gawked at so I decided to go…

College of Chinese Culture where Bill Porter used to enroll as a student majoring in Philosophy.

College of Chinese Culture where Bill Porter used to enroll as a student of Philosophy.

Therefore, after staying at Fo Kwang Shan Monastery for only one year, Porter decided to move out and enrolled himself at the College of Chinese Culture majoring in Philosophy. He lived in the dormitory together with other students, and took classes on philosophy, Chinese arts and Taoism. He particularly liked the classes taught by Prof. C.H. Wu who had published an English translation of Tao Te Ching, a fundamental Chinese text on Taoism. It was in this university he met the woman who would later become his wife, Ku Lien Chang. After about one year, Porter became disinterested with academic life. He dropped out of college and joined Hai Ming Monastery, about 20 km outside Taipei, Taiwan.

Hai Ming Monastery

Hai Ming Monastery

At the time, Hai Ming Monastery’s abbot was Ven. Wu Ming, the personal master of Chiang Kai Shek. Ven. Wu Ming had previously written commentaries and published the poems by the Tang Dynasty poet Cold Mountain, also known as Hanshan. Although not much was known about Cold Mountain’s personal life, he was regarded as an emanation of the Bodhisattva Manjushri. Cold Mountain is believed to have written over 600 poems, out of which only over 300 poems survived to this day. Porter was very much attracted to the Cold Mountain’s poems and decided to translate them. He recalled:

Cold Mountain really spoke to my heart. It was the first deep voice I had encountered who spoke so simply and so truly about living a simple life and not being distracted or seduced by the things that bothered me when I was younger, wealth and power and all that sort of stuff.

A recent picture of Ven. Wu Ming during his 100th birthday celebration.

A recent picture of Ven. Wu Ming during his 100th birthday celebration.

Porter was given the name Victorious Cloud at the monastery, where he would spend most of his time studying and meditating. He recalled, “I had got hold of all these classic texts with both Chinese and English characters, and I went through most of the sutras.” He also improved his grasp of the Chinese language by doing the translation of sacred Buddhist scriptures and Cold Mountain’s poems. He ended up studying there for about 2.5 years. During his stay in the monastery, Porter was still courting Ku Lien Chang and would travel to Taipei on weekends to see her. Ku introduced him to intellectuals who gathered at the Astoria Bakery / coffee shop. When the time came for Porter to decide whether or not to become a monk, he decided to leave the monastery. Before he left however, he took the lay precepts vows, to commit himself to Buddhism. The lay precepts are the basic ethical code of conduct for lay Buddhist practitioners.

 

Becoming Red Pine

After he left the monastery, Porter rented a stone farm house in Bamboo Lake, Yang Ming Mountain. Around this time, he decided to adopt the pen name ‘Red Pine’. He recalled:

…one day I’m coming down the mountain on a bus, and it came to a stop right next to a billboard advertising Black Pine Cola. I say ‘that’s the name!’ But black is not a Chinese colour. Red is a Chinese colour. Red Pine! That’s my new name.

Several months later, Porter found out that Red Pine was also the name of a great Taoist master, the rain master of the Yellow Emperor. He used the name Red Pine because he was inspired by Chinese poets such as Cold Mountain or Stonehouse who used symbolic names.

Bill Porter and his wife, Ku Lien Chang, in front of their home in Port Townsend, Washington.

Bill Porter and his wife, Ku Lien Chang, in front of their home in Port Townsend, Washington.

After many years of courtship, Porter finally married his long-time partner, Ku Lien Chang. In 1982, the union bore a son named Red Cloud and in 1987, a daughter named Irish. The financial pressure of a growing family led him to take a full-time job as a national news editor at the International Community Radio in Taipei.

John Blofeld (1913 – 1987), the person who was Bill Porter’s mentor.

John Blofeld (1913 – 1987), the person who was Bill Porter’s mentor.

During his stay in Bamboo Lake, Porter continued to translate Cold Mountain’s poems. He submitted his translation work of Cold Mountain’s poems to several publishers such as Shambala, Weatherhill and Tuttle, but he was rejected by all three. Refusing to give up, Porter sought an advice from a famous writer and translator, John Blofeld (1913 – 1987), who would become his mentor. Blofeld encouraged Porter to translate all the surviving poems by Cold Mountain and helped him by giving valuable feedback throughout the process. Upon completing the translation of Cold Mountain’s poems, Porter submitted his work to Copper Canyon Press to be considered for publication. This time he was successful. In 1983, Cold Mountain’s translated poems were published as a book titled The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain under his pen name, Red Pine. Blofeld wrote an introduction to the book. Although the quality of the translation was good, The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain was not a best seller book.

Hanshan, a poet who was also known as Cold Mountain.

Hanshan, a poet who was also known as Cold Mountain.

Excerpts from The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain:

Today I sat before the cliff,
sat a long time till mists had cleared.
A single thread, the clear stream runs cold;
a thousand yards the green peaks lift their heads.

White clouds – the morning light is still.
Moonrise – the lamp of night drifts upward.
Body free from dust and stain,
what care could trouble my mind?

Following on from the modest success of his first book, Porter persevered in his effort and continued to translate other Chinese poems. His subsequent works, P’u Ming’s Oxherding Pictures and Verses in 1983 and From Temple Walls: The Collected Poems of Big Shield & Pickup in 1984 were published by Empty Bowl Press. Empty Bowl Press specialised in publishing artistic and bohemian writing works targeted at a unique audience.

Book covers for The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain and P’u Ming’s Oxherding Pictures and Verses.

Book covers for The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain and P’u Ming’s Oxherding Pictures and Verses.

Shiwu, a poet who was also known as Stonehouse.

Shiwu, a poet who was also known as Stonehouse.

Porter started to receive serious acclaim after his book The Mountain Poems of Stonehouse containing a collection of poems by Stonehouse was published by Copper Canyon Press. The process of translating Stonehouse’s poems made a deep impression on Porter. He felt a strong connection to and was moved by the poems that described the life of a Zen hermit with all the hardships and happiness. Stonehouse, born in Changshu, China in 1272, was a Zen master, hermit and poet who eventually became a highly respected Dharma master in the Chinese Zen Buddhist tradition.

The following is the excerpt from The Mountain Poems of Stonehouse:

Snow-filled nights a fire is my lone companion
frost-covered dawns I hear a gibbon howl
my tattered monk’s robe isn’t easy to mend
I cut a new patch when a cloud rolls in

From outside my round pointed-roof hut
who would guess at the space inside
all the worlds in the universe are there
with room to spare for a meditation cushion

The poems that Stonehouse composed elegantly describe his Zen hermit lifestyle and, in an honest and humorous way, describe his experience when meditating on a mountain. The poems often mention the tiny stove that was used by Stonehouse during his solitary retreat to provide warmth and to make tea and simple meals. Stonehouse’s rare poems, combined with Porter’s ability to express the poet’s intention in his own words, made The Mountain Poems of Stonehouse a big success in the heart of its readers and secured positive reviews for Porter.

The book covers for The Mountain Poems of Stonehouse and The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma.

The book covers for The Mountain Poems of Stonehouse and The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma.

After the success of The Mountains Poems of Stonehouse, Bill Porter soon returned to work. He translated the teachings of Bodhidharma for his next book titled The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma. Bodhidharma was a Buddhist monk who lived between the 5th and the 6th centuries and is often regarded as the practitioner who brought Chan Buddhism to China. Although not much is known about this monk, he is often depicted as a big-eyed and bearded man who hails from Central Asia.

Bodhidharma’s teachings focused on the Lankavatara Sutra and meditation. In Japan, Bodhidharma is known as Daruma. The first edition of The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma was published by Empty Bowl Press in 1987 and the second edition was published in 1989 by North Point Press.

Porter confessed that The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma is the first book translated in his own voice:

With Stonehouse it was somewhere in between. I think I didn’t really discover my translation voice until I did Bodhidharma, which gave me a chance to find the rhythms of my language.

Porter regards the Chinese language as abstract and telegraphic, and many Chinese authors focus more on the substance and not the form. Therefore, good translators should be able to understand the meaning and context of the words prior to executing the translation to their native languages.

Porter on translating Chinese poems:

It’s like I see a beautiful woman dancing on the dance floor and I’m so attracted [and] I want to dance with her but I don’t hear the music. I’m deaf. I have no idea what’s impelling her to dance but I want to dance with her, so I do. But I would never want to put my feet on top of her feet to dance.

This is what most people think is translation – dancing with your feet on top of someone else’s feet. That way it’s literal and it’s accurate but it’s not because it kills the dancer. And you can’t dance across the room either. You have to get close enough to feel the energy.

Winston Wong Wen-Young who funded Bill Porter research on Buddhist hermits.

Winston Wong Wen-Young who funded Bill Porter research on Buddhist hermits.

After Porter completed the translation of Cold Mountain’s and Stonehouse’s poems, he wondered if Buddhist hermits still exist in modern times. To fulfil his curiosity, Porter applied for a grant from the Guggenheim Foundation to engage in research in this area. However, before he heard the news from the Guggenheim Foundation about the status of his application, he had a chance to interview the son of the wealthiest man in Taiwan, Winston Wong Wen-Young from Formosa Plastics, one of largest plastic companies in the world. Porter informed Wong that he was waiting to hear from the Gunggenheim Foundation about the grant to research about Buddhist hermits. Wong told him that if Porter did not obtain the grant, he would be happy to help. As it turned out, the Guggenheim Foundation rejected Porter’s application, leading Wong to help to fund his research. In total, it took him 1.5 years to complete his first book, Road to Heaven: Encounters with Chinese Hermits. The book was published by Mercury House in 1993.

After completing Road to Heaven: Encounters with Chinese Hermits, Porter had another project in mind. He wanted to research the origins of Chinese culture, and he contacted Wong to request the necessary funding which was around US$9,000 to pay for his three-month journey to China. Once again, Wong agreed. During his research, Porter focused his attention on the Yellow River and the surrounding areas in China because he believed that they were the centre of cultural assimilation between the native Chinese and other nationalities who came to trade via the Silk Road route.

The book covers of Road to Heaven: : Encounters with Chinese Hermits and Yellow River Odyssey.

The book covers of Road to Heaven: Encounters with Chinese Hermits and Yellow River Odyssey.

After Porter came back from his research, his superior at the radio station in Taiwan, Bryan Curtis, was offered an opportunity to become the head of a new radio station, Metro News. Curtis asked Porter to come with him, and Porter agreed. In Hong Kong, Porter pitched his idea to produce his own radio series on Chinese history called Yellow River Odyssey. The idea was accepted and he signed a two-year contract. In total Porter successfully wrote and produced five radio series covering Silk Road to Islamabad, the tribes who lived on the hill in southern China, Jiangnan region, and the Three Gorges. After working in Hong Kong for two years, Porter saved enough money to return to the United States with his family and put a down payment on the house the family is now still living in.

In 2014, Porter rewrote the radio scripts into a book titled Yellow River Odyssey. The book includes photographs of his travels and information about religious sites that are connected to Confucius, Mencius, Laozi and Zhuang Zhou.

 

Returning to the United States

Port Townsend in Washington, USA where Bill Porter and his family currently live.

Port Townsend in Washington, USA where Bill Porter and his family currently live.

After working in Hong Kong for two years, Porter saved enough money to return back to the United States with his family. In 1993, Porter and his family moved to the United States and settled down in Port Townsend in Washington State, a coastal town of 8,000 people. Prior to this move, Porter had visited the city several times before because Copper Canyon Press that published many of his books was based in Port Townsend. He was particularly enamoured with the fresh and peaceful nature that the city offered. The family bought a house for US$93,000 and they have been living in that house ever since.

Initially, the family experienced financial hardship. For some time, Porter had to work two jobs in a bakery and a restaurant as a waiter to support his family. Juggling two jobs was challenging and left Porter too exhausted to do his translation and writing works. After one year of focusing on his jobs, Porter realised that he missed writing and translation work, and decided to prioritise these over his two jobs. He started using credit cards to pay for his family expenses. Although his literary aspirations were fulfilled, debt quickly accumulated and although he was able to write book, however, the proceeds from the book royalties were insufficient to cover his family’s living expenses.

At the time, Porter had 15 books in print and he was able to sell 1,000 books a year on average. He earned US$1.50 per book as his royalties, and therefore was making US$15,000 per year on average. For some time, the family lived frugally and relied on food stamps. In interviews, Porter has seriously and sincerely thanked the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Stamp Program and the Port Townsend Food Bank for providing meals for his family.

 

Bill Porter’s View on Zen Buddhism

An artist’s illustration of Bodhidharma.

An artist’s illustration of Bodhidharma.

Porter is very much interested in Zen Buddhism. Zen Buddhism is a branch or school of Mahayana Buddhism that teaches its practitioners to exercise self-control and meditation. It encourages practitioners to understand the nature of Lord Buddha so they can also practise their understanding of every aspect of their daily lives for the benefit of sentient beings. The teachings of Zen Buddhism are believed to have been brought by Bodhidharma to China during the 5th or 6th century.

Porter has previously expressed that he agrees with the idea of Zen Buddhism to free one’s mind from concepts, languages and attachments. Porter’s belief that Zen Buddhism is more a way of life than a religion, has compelled him to write and translate books related to the subject, such as The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain, The Zen Works of Stonehouse, The Mountain Poems of Stonehouse, The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma and Zen Baggage. To Porter, the belief that Zen Buddhism is more a way of life has fuelled his interest in Buddhist Zen hermits because their commitment to live in isolation to meditate is the true essence of Zen Buddhism.

 

A Conversation on Zen Buddhism with Bill Porter

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

 

 

Bill Porter’s Impact on Modern Chinese Readers

One fateful day, Porter met Tang Xiaoming, the manager of Beijing Reader Publishing in the Cypress Grove Monastery, Beijing. Porter was visiting the monastery to do research for his upcoming book, The Zen Baggage. At the time, Tang Xiaoming had started to become interested in Buddhism, and he was impressed with Porter’s work and how he conveyed the substance of Chinese poetry and writers. As a result, Tang Xiaoming was interested in publishing Porter’s works, although Beijing Reader Publishing usually only publishes business-related books.

Bill Porter during an interview session with a Chinese hermit.

Bill Porter during an interview session with a Chinese hermit.

In 2001, Porter had published a book titled Secluded Orchids in a Deserted Valley about Buddhist hermits and other noble characters. In Tang Xiaoming’s opinion, the previous publisher of this book did not represent the text well. Thinking that the time had come for the Chinese to reconnect with their religious roots, Tang Xiaoming decided to re-publish the book in 2009. He was right. Secluded Orchids in a Deserted Valley received positive reviews in China and sold over 100,000 copies. Porter became a foreign sensation in China, and a page in Baidu Baike, the Chinese version of Wikipedia was dedicated to him. In addition, the book prompted hermit tourism in China. Porter believed the reason behind his book’s success was because many Chinese readers were eager to learn about their cultural heritage.

The book covers for The Heart Sutra and The Diamond Sutra.

The book covers for The Heart Sutra and The Diamond Sutra.

In 2009, Porter’s English versions of The Heart Sutra and The Diamond Sutra, along with his commentaries, were translated back into Chinese. The publisher felt that compared to the original Chinese version, Porter’s translations were easier to understand after being translated back to Chinese. In 2011, Tang Xiaoming released the Chinese version of Porter’s The Zen Baggage in China. The book received critical acclaim and 50,000 copies were sold. For the first time in his life, Porter received a commission and down payment to write a book based on his old radio show script in Hong Kong, Yellow River Odyssey. In 2012, it became known that Porter had earned US$30,000 from his book sales in China alone. After several years of struggle, he was finally able to provide for his family without relying on the government’s Food Stamp Program.

 

Awards and Grants

One of Porter’s books titled In Such Hard Times: The Poetry of Wei Yingwu was awarded the 2007 PEN Translation Fund Grant from PEN American Center. In 2010, the same book also won the American Literary Translators Association’s inaugural Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize.

 

Future Plans

The book cover of Finding Them Gone.

The book cover of Finding Them Gone.

In 2011, Porter received a grant from the Guggenheim Foundation after being rejected seven times in a row. The grant was utilised to fund his research in 20 locations in China that are associated with poetry. Porter used the information from the trip to write a book about the ancient Chinese poets titled Finding Them Gone: Visiting China’s Poets of the Past. The book was released in 2016.

Now that Porter is in his 70s, he will soon be retiring from the literary world. Initially, he used Buddhist texts as a functional way to understand the Chinese language and had not planned on translating them into English. These days, Porter finds more meaning connecting with other people, instead of going around China to research for his books. He has plans to visit Europe where he used to serve as a medical clerk for three years, and to visit Taiwan. Although Porter does not plan to write or translate any more books, he will always be remembered as a gifted translator and prolific author who pours his heart into his works.

 

Promotional Video on Finding Them Gone

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

 

W.S. Merwin, a National Book Award-winning poet, once gave a thoughtful comment on the translation work of Red Pine, especially for his book titled The Mountain Poems of Stonehouse:

…they’re not like any others. Love of language, love of tradition, accuracy and power of language. I am so indebted to him (Bill Porter). I’ll be reading his Stonehouse translations for the rest of my days.

 

List of Bill Porter’s books:

No. Book Title Publisher Year
1. The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain (translator) Copper Canyon Press 1983
2. P’u Ming’s OXHERDING PICTURES & VERSES (translator) Empty Bowl Press 1983
3. From Temple Walls: The Collected Poems of Big Shield & Pickup (translator) Empty Bowl Press 1984
4. The Mountain Poems of Stonehouse (translator) Empty Bowl Press 1986
5. The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma (translator) North Point Press 1987
6. Road to Heaven: Encounters with Chinese Hermits (author) Mercury House 1993
7. Guide to Capturing a Plum Blossom (translator) Mercury House 1995
8. The Zen Works of Stonehouse: Poems and Talks of a 14th-Century Chinese Hermit (translator) Mercury House 1997
9. The Clouds Should Know Me By Now: Buddhist Poet Monks of China (translator) Wisdom Publications 1998
10. Secluded Orchid in a Deserted Valley (author) Contemporary China Press 2001
11. The Diamond Sutra (translator) Counterpoint Press 2002
12. Poems of the Masters: China’s Classic Anthology of T’ang and Sung Dynasty Verse (translator) Copper Canyon Press 2003
13. The Heart Sutra (translator) Counterpoint Press 2004
14. Platform Sutra (translator) Counterpoint Press 2006
15. Zen Baggage: A Pilgrimage to China (author) Counterpoint Press 2005
16. Lao-tzu’s Taoteching (translator) Copper Canyon Press 2009
17. In Such Hard Times: The Poetry of Wei Ying-wu (translator) Copper Canyon Press 2009
18. The Lankavatara Sutra: Translation and Commentary (translator) Counterpoint Press 2012
19. Yellow River Odyssey (author) Chin Music Press 2014
20. Finding Them Gone: Visiting China’s Poets of the Past (author) Copper Canyon Press 2015
21. South of the Clouds: Travels in Southwest China (author) Counterpoint Press 2015
22. South of Yangtze (author) Counterpoint Press 2016
23. The Silk Road (author) Counterpoint Press 2016

 


 

Addendum

Hermit: a documentary

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

 

Cold Mountain

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

 

Click on image to enlarge

Ksitigarbha, Buddha Amitabha and Dorje Shugden. Click on image to enlarge or for more high resolution thangka downloads click here.

Click on image to enlarge

Three Saints of the Western Pureland – Amituofo, Dashizhi and Kuan Yin together with Dorje Shugden. Click on image to enlarge or for more high resolution thangka downloads click here.

Click on image to enlarge

Buddha Amitabha and Kuan Yin together with Dorje Shugden. Click on image to enlarge or for more high resolution thangka downloads click here.

Click on image to enlarge

Kuan Yin (Goddess of Compassion), Wei Tuo and Dorje Shugden. Click on image to enlarge or click here for more beautiful thangkas.


 

Sources:

  • http://www.kyotojournal.org/the-journal/fiction-poetry/dancing-with-words/
  • https://royhamric.wordpress.com/2010/08/14/red-pine-language-poetry-translation/
  • http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/la-caw-paperback-writers19-2009jul19-story.html
  • http://www.oregonlive.com/books/index.ssf/2013/12/post_47.html
  • http://old.seattletimes.com/html/books/2001845874_redpine29.html
  • http://www.drbu.org/blog/poem-cold-mountain
  • http://beijingbookworm.com/happenings/meet-the-author-bill-porter/
  • http://sinosphere.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/07/17/q-and-a-bill-porter-on-travel-writing-in-china/?_r=0
  • https://www.coppercanyonpress.org/pages/browse/book.asp?bg={92D32EA4-CD76-4275-AC49-F64217BC9D0B}
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Pine_(author)
  • http://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/article/1495760/my-life-red-pine
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanshan_(poet)
  • http://terebess.hu/zen/mesterek/RedPine.html
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanshan_(poet)
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tao_Te_Ching
  • http://www.eclectica.org/v18n4/purdy_pine.html
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhidharma
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zen

 
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39 Responses to Bill Porter (Red Pine): The Translator of Chinese Poems and Promoter of Zen Buddhism

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  1. Pastor Shin on Jun 24, 2018 at 7:33 am

    These are my thoughts on the – Hermits: a documentary

    1. The importance of meditation. The focus and discipline of these interviewees of different background: laypeople, ordained Sangha, Buddhists, and Taoists were to lead a life of practice. It is only through meditation and practice that one can achieve the results of enlightenment.

    One monk said in the video, “Someone else’s enlightenment is for reference only and we have to look for enlightenment deep in our own minds”. This reminded me of what His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche said, “First you should listen, then try to understand the meaning and, finally, meditate. If you practice in that way, you can attain enlightenment.” If we just refer to others’ enlightenment and do not go through the process ourselves, it will remain intellectual understanding and we will not achieve much spiritual progress.

    This also reminded me of His Holiness Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche’s realisation of the Lamrim, different from his Geshe peers who perhaps had studied and performed better academically compared to Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche who was considered a dull learner and never completed his Lharam Geshe degree. It was through intense Lam Rim meditation that Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche attained realisation.

    2. The documentary presented an interesting perspective of spirituality vs materialism. There is a sharp contrast between the interviewer Bill Porter, a layperson and the interviewees, mostly ordained hermits from Zhongnan Mountain. However, A few of these hermits/ practitioners have heard of or read Bill Porter’s book, 《空谷幽兰–寻访现代中国隐士》 (Road to Heaven: Encounters with Hermits) and some only relented to speak to Bill Porter after knowing that he’s the author of this book (a practitioner) and not a tourist. Although Porter does not practice by staying in the mountains to lead a life of hermit nor serve the community as an ordained person,his work has left a huge impact in inspiring and leading many to the Dharma. In fact, a hermit monk in the video praised Porter for his two contributions to Buddhism of studying the spiritual practitioners of Zhongnan Mountain, as well as his translations of scriptures.

    Another hermit monk said that masters or practitioners who maintain centers may appear commercial, but they may not necessarily be inferior compared to hermits as they take on the responsiblity and burden to perform Buddhist ceremony and teach Buddhism on the outside world.

    Going into retreat and a hermit life may be blissful as we are removed from the distractions of the outside world, but that is not the goal. Like the lay hermit said, we have to develop the state of mind that we do something, for example not killing an insect because it comes from the heart that we cannot bear to see another being suffer, something that is second nature or becomes natural to us, instead of just a restrain in behaviour (e.g. holding refuge vows of not killing). In the same way, the purpose of practice is for us to achieve a state of mind when we are no longer distracted or interested in samsara, and not just be contented when we are temporarily removed or restrained from being distracted by samsaric activities by going into a retreat or becoming a hermit.

  2. Joy Kam on Jun 23, 2018 at 10:38 pm

    These are my thoughts on the – Hermits: a documentary…

    1) Seeing how these hermits take on the path to cultivate their mind and practice the Dharma by living in the mountains in solitude, away from the chaos of the city/samsara, is very inspiring and somewhat inviting. I can feel a sense of serene, calmness, peaceful, as the environment creates the conducive condition for deep meditation to tame one’s mind. You have no distractions, you have to deal and face yourself and it makes it so much easier to do retreats and one’s practices, perfect for doing one’s sadhana, readings, contemplations to bring one to a higher state of mind. I can understand now why Rinpoche always tells us about being with nature, in the forest, or mountains will help us cultivate our mind and make our spiritual practice easier. It made me ask myself could I live like this, in nature alone, would I be up for the challenge, maybe 10 years ago I would say no, but now I would say yes though it may be a little bit scary at night, but going into a strict retreat does seem very enticing.

    2) I like their simplistic lifestyle whereby these hermits are self-sustaining, growing their own vegetables to cook and eat. They just make do with whatever they have and their main focus is to cultivate their mind to find liberation. Without being attached to comfort, and to be surrounded with “things”, living minimalist, using only what is necessary, makes one feels so much lighter as seen in each hermit. Makes me realise how spoil we are and how we over consume so many things in life, collecting junk, creating a lot of baggages that seem to drag us down further.

    3) In the very beginning, the nun said her teacher said everything is a practice when Bill commented amongst so many retreat huts, this was his favourite as it is so well-kept, tidy and clean, unlike many other places. This reminds me of why Rinpoche is always telling us to keep our centre, building, office, even our personal spaces clean and tidy as it is a reflection of one’s mind and practice. How a simple discipline, to be clean and tidy is a practice in itself of self-awareness and state of mind. When the mind is clear, so will the space we occupy.

    4) The other thing that stuck out about what the first nun said was that she said she never left her teacher’s side since the time she joined about 35 years ago. She never left to go back to visit anyone, instead, her friends came back to see her. This shows her devotion to her teacher and her commitment toward her practice. This also made me relate back to why Rinpoche does not encourage those who are serious in their practice to keep going back to the city and as I learned from yesterday’s pilgrimage, how each time when we leave to go back to the city, we can be easily influenced by the many negative energies we are not even aware of that we encounter each time we meet of family or friends and places we go in the city. And these energies can affect our mind making it go up and down and at times trigger our negative karma or create more negative karma. This made me understand and appreciate the reason why we should not keep going back to the city or see our family so often because it can influence our spiritual practice.

    5) One lay hermit was explaining to Bill that learning Buddhism or the Dharma isn’t something we just study and read about, which many can do and have done so, which is just intellectual understanding. To really learn the Dharma, one needs to actually put it to practice and to do so from the heart for without actually practising it, one will never truly gain anything. However, study and understanding the Dharma is the first step, that brings one to the door, once we arrive there in front of the door, it all depends on us and if we open the door to begin one’s journey of practising what was leaned. Hence, this explains how many of us can be in the Dharma for years and even with a lot of knowledge, we fail, and some even give up and go back to samsara or even turn against the Guru, because of this very lack of application. This explains why it is slow for us to transform our mind. This explains why we keep making the same mistakes over and over again. The lack of application and effort from the heart.

    6) I really like the lay hermit, who decided to take on the path to cultivate his mind because it shows that one does not need to become a monk or a nun to start living and practising renunciation, as he said he is there to do his practice, and so he does not think or let his mind wander to think about his family and friends so much. Instead, he calms his mind and learns to let go, which to me means, he doesn’t give in to his attachments, and instead of grasping, he releases. Letting go should not be mistaken for forgetting those we love. It just means we do not allow our “attachments” towards them distract us and create obstacles to our practice in cultivating our mind. Everything seems like just an excuse, like what Rinpoche said to the pilgrims, we either want to counter our attachments or we don’t which makes it faster for us to transform or slower. When we don’t and we give reasons why we cannot, it is very obvious, that it’s all just excuses to delay our transformation. Hence, the slowness in improving ourselves and moving up to the next level of consciousness. So when I look at this boy, it reminds me how we create so much mind games and excuses to limit/hinder our own progress.

    7) There was one thing that seems to be common in all these hermits, all of them went through or is still going through some kind of hardship as they walk on their spiritual path but these kind of hardships are good as it will help learn more and help us grow to the next level awareness, experience and realisation. At the end of the day, what do we want from learning or being in the dharma if it is not realisations? So yesterday’s pilgrimage around KFR, which was designed specifically for us by Rinpoche, gave me a tiny glimpse of the hardships these hermits would have to endure in living and meditating in the mountains. And it is a humbling experience, it makes one feel grateful for many things in life which we so often forget and overlooked.

    Thank you Rinpoche asking us to watch this inspiring documentary, and thank you for the simplest yet profound practice and teaching. ???

  3. Valentina Suhendra on Jun 22, 2018 at 5:51 am

    These are my thoughts on the – Hermits: a documentary:

    1. The hermits are living simple lives, but they seemed to be very content. None of them are complaining about how challenging their lives are.
    2. The hermits show us that we do not need many things to be happy
    3. I think it is beautiful that these hermits are self-sufficient. They grow their vegetables, make their bread, and so forth. These hermits are working very hard and forgoing modern convenience for the sake of their Dharma practice.
    4. The hermits chose to live in isolation on the mountain to concentrate on their practice, and they seem to be at peace with their choice.
    5. Most of the hermits seem to trust bill Porter because of the books he had written. They think by talking to Mr. Porter, he will help to spread the hermit practice and inspire others to pursue spirituality.
    6. I could see that some of the hermits stay in challenging terrain. This is an indication of the sincerity of their wish to do their practice in isolation.

  4. Pastor Adeline on Jun 22, 2018 at 2:59 am

    These are my thoughts on the – Hermits: a documentary

    1) Difficulties are mandatory in elevating one’s spiritual practice. However, it is important to strike a balance between difficulties and ease in order to avoid falling onto either side of the extreme. The Buddha has shown by example the six years of austerity was an extreme which he abandoned after hearing the conversation between the sitar teacher and his student: “The string too slack has no sound, and the music dies. The string too slack has no sound, and the music dies.” The Middle Way is what we should achieve.

    2) Being in nature benefits one’s spiritual practice not so much to be away from people, rather to go back to the root of our being and to be in tune with nature. Our body is formed by the four elements: earth, water, wind, heat. Getting in touch with nature allows our body to heal naturally and to go back to their natural state free from blockages often formed by negative emotions, processed food and pollutions. This will allow one to expedite her spiritual practice.

    3) Living a simple life allows the mind to calm down with less grasping on outer materials and on human touch. A calm mind is satisfied, light, and free from the desire to distractions such as entertainment, good food, nice clothes, travel etc. When the mind is calm, it works like a mirror to all the thoughts within so one gets to eliminate thoughts that are formed based on one’s perceptions and get closer to truth. A simple life also means minimum but consistent activities that allow the mind to be stable.

    4) Just like the softness and flexibility of water yet having the power to create a dent in hard stone, spiritual practice requires consistency to attain its results. It also requires one to live in the moment, not to live in the past or plan for the future, but to be mindful of the surrounding and what one is doing at the moment without reacting to the changes but to go with the flow without resistance or dissatisfaction.

    5) The Guru, Buddha and Dharma are pointers to one’s true nature. Without putting the pointers into practise, they are merely words that are useless and meaningless. Dharma is concepts and methods when applied will bring one to her nature and realisation of the truth. When she reached that point, she is one nature with her Guru, Buddha and Dharma, thus no longer reauire any of them externally.

  5. Edward on Jun 21, 2018 at 8:46 am

    These are my thoughts on the – Hermits: a documentary

    What I have learnt from the video is that these hermit live on with a strong concept of minimalism. We hear and a lot from the video that they spent as little as they can on food, clothings and shelter. Like the first lady mentioned, she only eats when she feels hungry. In other words, she or they do not practice eating at the times we have our meals, or basically having a schedule on when to eat. I have heard that doing so actually makes our body even more active as it fully digest the food we have in our body and no nutrients go to waste. They also choose to meditate in very remote areas to avoid materialistic distractions and to have better focus in their meditation. Most of them go into retreats alone, I don’t really understand the meaning of it. However I do like to believe it tells us that we come and will leave this world alone, and so, the only person who can help us to take better rebirths in the future is ourselves which is why solitary retreats are usually preferred?

    My favourite person that Bill had interviewed is probably the layman who appeared at the start of the video. Even though he doesn’t speak very clearly, (I have found another video with English subtitles. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHZ98u_1h1A&t=912s ), and he is a layman he was very genuine, honest and in my opinion, has a lot of wisdom or has read many books regarding to Buddhism. In Bill’s interview with him, he talked about having minimal attachments in life and we should learn to let go as much as possible. Also practice to not have any desires or urges to kill.

    In order to achieve a higher state of mind or to become even more successful in terms of wealth, we need to get out of our comfort zone. I personally has never been good at that aspect like a mindless vehicle on neutral mode. Learning the dharma is good thing but we have to also apply it in our daily lives.

  6. Wei Theng on Jun 21, 2018 at 8:45 am

    These are my thoughts on the – Hermits: a documentary

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this inspiring video to me. A few points that stood out for me:

    1. Bill Porter (Red Pine) is very inspiring. In 1993, he wrote a book on the Chinese Hermits after visiting Zhong Nan Mountain. However, he revisited Zhong Nan Mountain in 2014 to know more about the Hermits. This time, he is 71-year-old but he can still walk and climb the mountain to look for the hermits.

    – In one of the interview, a monk mentioned that due to Porter is practicing Buddhism and has less worldly worries so he can still be so healthy and have a clear mind.

    – In another interview, another monk also said that Porter is working very good as he practiced Buddhism but at the same time also wrote books and did translation to let more people learn Buddhism. This remind me of Rinpoche, the writers and the translators who work so hard to bring Buddhism to others.

    – I found one article that wrote about him before he revisited ZhongNan Mountain. This is a good read to understand about his background: https://tricycle.org/magazine/the-chinese-hermit-tradition-an-interview-with-red-pine/

    2. The hermits, the monks and nuns who stay in the Zhong Nan Mountain live a very simple lives. They focus most of their time on meditation, read sutra, do their practice. They eat very simple meals and some plant their own veggies. There is one lady yogi mentioned that she only have less than 10 kati’s food per month! They are all very inspiring that their focus is on practice only. Hope one day I can do the same too with KFR community.

    3. There is a temple with a layout that tourists can visit the front part while the back part of the temple are for monks to practice so that there is less disturbances. It is like Rinpoche’s plan for KFR that a temple at the front for visitors while the back part will be for serious practitioners to do their practices and will not be disturbed.

    4. A nun shared that “Hardship is part of the PATH”. Sometimes modern practitioners like us needs to go through some hardship and uncomfortable situation so that we can realise the Dharma better. She also mentioned that it is good to have strong motivation, but it is even better to have perseverance and determination when we walk the path so that we will not give up when we face obstacles. This also reminds me on Rinpoche’s way of training us to have perseverance and consistency in our practice and work hard.

    5. A monk mentioned that we need to respect some monks who are not able to do meditation in the mountain but instead stay at Buddhist centres in the cities to spread Dharma to others. This again remind me on Rinpoche who gives up the pleasure to meditate in the mountain but to work so hard to bring DS and VY to others and most of the time also have to bear with clowns.

  7. Abby Foo on Jun 21, 2018 at 8:39 am

    These are my thoughts on the – Hermits: a documentary

    I have watched this video. My thoughts:

    1) This mountain is a very special place because it contains hermits from different background – Taoist, Buddhist. The mountain itself is like a community that formed naturally, no pre plan involved. I like how this mountain is ‘serving’ the hermit.

    2) People living in the nature and relying the nature are more grateful people and don’t take things for granted. If compared them with the city people, city people are spoilt brat and arrogant. City people generally are taking everything for granted they don’t care about animals and their surroundings.

    3) These hermits show the world this is the right way to live. Looking at people nowadays work their whole life to buy houses or to to pay rental for the 4 walls and a roof to live and the price is so high that the ‘system’ even take away the rights for some people to have a place to live, to me this is really crazy. I always think this ‘system’ is crazy and now human wants to take away animal’s rights to live in the jungle also when they destroying the forest.

    4) These hermits are totally different from the people I know from China. Literally everyone I know in China, the Chinese, they have been telling me they want to or they need to have more money. I feel sorry for them as I know not all want more money out of greed but they need to ‘survive’. These hermits also talk and act very differently and to me, they live and act accordingly to our ancestors wisdom. This is how Chinese should live their life, not like the ‘modern’ Chinese in China always talk about money and materialism.

    5) There are a few of the hermits really inspire me. I like the young Taoist lady. She is smart, talks well and fast hehehe. I also the hermit monk that talks about some attained sangha living in the city to help people doesn’t mean they are lesser than the hermits. I agree with this very much and I relate his point to Rinpoche’s case. Also this hermit monk said just merely telling the people the theory is not enough even the people accept and understand the teachings, but guiding them, leading them to do practice is more important. Again, I can relate this to Rinpoche’s situation. In fact, it is the high Boddhisattva will choose the harder path to help people and this is exactly what Rinpoche is doing. Another hermit nun also said better life condition makes ones practice degenerate. This is somehow true. When we have more it is not necessarily beneficial and this is why ‘less is more’. Another nun, Nengren fashi where her body was not decomposed after her death is so cool. It is like what happened to the high lamas in Tibetan. Her death is not a waste of time at all and very meaningful.

  8. Edward Ooi on Jun 21, 2018 at 1:59 am

    What I have learnt from the video is that these hermit live on with a strong concept of minimalism. We hear and a lot from the video that they spent as little as they can on food, clothings and shelter. Like the first lady mentioned, she only eats when she feels hungry. In other words, she or they do not practice eating at the times we have our meals, or basically having a schedule on when to eat. I have heard that doing so actually makes our body even more active as it fully digest the food we have in our body and no nutrients go to waste. They also choose to meditate in very remote areas to avoid materialistic distractions and to have better focus in their meditation. Most of them go into retreats alone, I don’t really understand the meaning of it. However I do like to believe it tells us that we come and will leave this world alone, and so, the only person who can help us to take better rebirths in the future is ourselves which is why solitary retreats are usually preferred?

    My favourite person that Bill had interviewed is probably the layman who appeared at the start of the video. Even though he didn’t look highly educated, probably not very wealthy in terms of money and is a layman, I found him very genuine, honest and in my opinion, has a lot of wisdom or has read many books regarding to Buddhism. In Bill’s interview with him, he talked about having minimal attachments in life and we should learn to let go as much as possible. Also practice to not have any desires or urges to kill.

    In order to achieve a higher state of mind or to become even more successful in terms of wealth, we need to get out of our comfort zone. I personally has never been good at that aspect like a mindless vehicle on neutral mode. Learning the dharma is good thing but we have to also apply it in our daily lives.

  9. Sharon Ong on Jun 20, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    These are my thoughts on the – Hermits: a documentary

    I have just finished watching this. They may look like simpletons but they are actually very profound. They live the teachings of the Buddha, not just study them. The Buddha Dharma is sooo strong in all of them that they are able to share the Dharma so effortlessly. I particularly like the poetic verses.

    This is a good one to revisit from time to time. Thank you for sharing this gem, Rinpoche!

  10. Karen Chong on Jun 20, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    These are my thoughts on the – Hermits: a documentary

    I’ve finish watching the documentary about Bill Porter revisiting Zhong Nan Mountain. A few things stood out for me:

    1. The whole Zhong Nan mountain seems so energised as there are so many Dharma practitioners living up there.I especially like the last part of the documentary, the male hermit who is also a kungfu practitioner, he is so cheerful and always laughing, from his laughter one could feel he is so light, worries-free and i guess it’s the result from his practise that he has developed such a state of mind. The rain scene in the very last few minutes in the documentary brings out the tranquility of the mountain, making it looks like a heaven. hehe

    2. One of the masters told Bill that in this modern days, he used to teach Dharma to his lay students in the class, but after a while, he finds that by just teaching in class it doesn’t help the students, because the students can understand the teaching very well intellectually however they are not able to put the teaching into practise when they face troubles in life. The same master also said that in the past when the society is not so developed and commercialised, the environment is so conducive for everyone to practise dharma anytime anywhere without much distractions.

    It’s a very inspiring video. Thanks for sharing Rinpoche.

  11. Sock Wan on Jun 20, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    These are my thoughts on the – Hermits: a documentary

    Some of my thoughts after watching the Hermits Red Pine.

    1. In modern days, our merits is not enough to support our spiritual practice because our physical environment is full of samsaric distraction, unlike in the past where the environment was very conducive for spiritual practice. Because of the samsaric distraction, we have to retreat further away from the city to practice.

    2. Several hermits mentioned that understanding Dharma and realising Dharma is very different. You can understand Dharma from written words but to realise it, we need to practice, we need to experience. Self-experiencing is important to achieve realisation. Understanding is the first step, putting what we learn into action is how we can gain realisation.

    3. We can live very simple and be very happy. It is whether we want it or not. One of the hermit says he can live with only RMB60 per month. It is our want that makes us poorer and imprison ourselves in financial difficulty. Therefore, happiness is not relative to monetary or outer wealth.

    4. Another thing the hermits have mentioned is that the book Billy Porter has written and the translation he did are very meritorious. His works has helped the spread of spirituality.

    When the hermit choose to retreat in a mountain it is because they are moving themselves away from samsaric distractions, so they can concentrate in their practice. They are practising to detach from the comfort of the modern world, from the family, from materialism. When our mind is not stable, it is better we pull ourselves away from our attachments. Instead of retreating to a cave in a mountain without modern facility and a lot of hardship, TR created KFR for us to practise and retreat from samsara. We must cherish it. Spiritual practice is not superficial, is not how we pretend to be a good or holy person, it’s about truly transforming our mind and do good virtues naturally.

  12. Wylfred Ng on Jun 20, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    These are my thoughts on the – Hermits: a documentary

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing the video with us. The video is nice and these are some of the point that I would like to highlight.

    1. The first nun in the video, have been staying in the mountain for 35 years. Along the years, she never leave her Guru, and even her Guru already pass away, she still stay in the hermit house to continue to practice.

    2. In the video, Bill Porter said that the hermit houses are now even more that 25 years ago since he first visits Zhong Nan Mountain. Even though China had developed so intensively, but there are people found that spiritual practice is more important.

    3. The lady Taoist practitioner that recommended ginger, she do not eat much, she only eat when she feel hungry. They eat to survive, not to enjoy the food. She also seldom talks when there are no visitors. The Taoist practitioner cultivates “qi” in their body. When they do not talk, they cultivate the qi.

    4. We can see that the hermit in Zhong Nan Mountain feel happy. Even though they need to stand the cold and sometimes hunger, but for them, these are not suffering. The suffering is just the projection from the lay person.

    5. I can imagine that in future, there will be many people doing retreat in KFR just like the hermit in Zhong Nan Mountain. Thank you Rinpoche for the sharing.

    Thank you

  13. Lew on Jun 20, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    These are my thoughts on the – Hermits: a documentary

    Dear Rinpoche,

    Thank you for sharing such meaning video for us to watch. A few things stood out for me:

    1. Bill Porter is amazing, in promoting the Zhong Nan Mountain hermits, and also come back after 25 years (at the age of 71) to revisit. He seems to remember the places very well.

    2. What is touching to know, is that there are more practitioners as compared to 25 years ago.

    3. I can see that there are similar rock caves between Zhong Nan mountain and those in Sri Lanka. They are both natural, and thousands of years ago, people has already started using them as shelter for meditation.

    4. In one of the interviews, it is said that ginger is good to counter the cold ahd humidity in the mountains.

    5. Tourism is inevitable, so some temples setup a public area for tourists to make offering, but they have private place for monks to do their retreat. If not mistaken, he mentioned that it will take up to 1 hour go into the “inner temple”, so that it does not disturb the practice. I feel this is very much what Rinpoche is establish her in KFR.

    We are indeed very fortunate to have a place in Bentong, small town, not too far away from city, and yet distant enough to have the tranquility and environment to star practicing. I feel Rinpoche knows that we city dwellers are “wild animals”, and that’s why Rinpoche started something “easy” for us, such as daily circumambulation and prostration. I feel this is to prepare us to go into longer retreats in future.

  14. Cindy Hew on Jun 20, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    These are my thoughts on the – Hermits: a documentary

    Interactions of Bill Porter & Master Chengbo
    I really liked how Master Chengbo’s guru is a real-life example of a practitioner who truly embrace everything in her life as a practice. Be it housekeeping which is seen as practice of mindfulness to the conditioning of her mind/thinking to always see the truth of the matter (instead of heavily bogged down by “tainted” perceptions) and hence, able to stay happily unaffected no matter the situation.

    In fact, it appears to have “rubbed off” on Master Chengbo who gives out a calm, collected and ever grateful vibe. Both serve as good reminder to view everything as practice. It also reminded me how more often than not, I am guilty of a disconnect in my learning and my practice which primarily stems from compartmentalising mind (and the need to work on it).

    Exchanges with a lay practitioner (man in red shirt & straw hat) at mountains
    The lay practitioner sincerity shines through despite him maintaining that his Dharma knowledge is lesser than Bill Porter. This is apparent when;

    (i) he responded that he came to the mountains to practice and so, he tries not to think about things which would cause him to waver like his families, friends and life in the city. On this note, he has really changed his environment in order to further his spiritual journey.

    (ii) he used the example of refraining from killing an insect where he stresses that the point is not the restraint but rather to rid of the cause of such killing instinct which he attributes to anger.

    In this sense, it shows that he really contemplates on things and makes the effort to re-program his habits so that the positive thinking/realisations become his second nature.

    I also agree with the both of them that it is not how much you know but how much you practice that matters. After all, Dharma is never meant to be academic or intellectual stimulant only. To render Dharma as academic or intellectual pursuits, is basically missing the whole plot all together.

    For this segment, I find the lay practitioner’s sincerity to his practice very admirable and I pray that his fears of being driven out of the mountains due to the government’s economic development initiatives do not materialise so he can continue his practice peacefully.

    On that note, similarly like Lew, I remain grateful to Rinpoche for conceptualising KFR where we are given a safe and somewhat isolated environment which is highly blessed and energised with holy “energies” for us to effect a change in our environment and re-program ourselves.

    Compassionately taking into account our limitations, karma and temperaments, Rinpoche has painstakingly and skilfully created conditions to ease us into practising and also preparing ourselves/creating the causes for us to deepen our Dharma practice.

    Exchanges with a lady practitioner who carved out her private cave
    I was just as surprised as Bill that this lady painstakingly carved out more space within the cave with basic tools, a chisel and hammer, but what I really like is her pragmatic approach where she did it in order to make it more conducive for her to meditate and practice. I am inclined to believe that her pragmatic attitude also prompted her to take interest in farming as well as herbs or plants with medicinal properties for self-sustaining purposes.

    Interestingly, she also mentioned taking ginger (and Sichuan pepper) as means to address the cold and dampness.

    It is very nice and inspirational to see real spiritual practitioner in action regardless that she is of a different faith (Daoism).

    Interactions with a practitioner at Master Kuanqi’s abode
    Both of them mentioned that when you practice you have less worries which leads to longer life. I believe in addition to that, the mantra and prayers we recite contributes towards prolonging our lives in order for us to further our spiritual practice (subject to our karma). After all, apart from mantras being holy energies of the Buddhas in the form of sound, it is said that mantras invoke upon the Buddhas, and so they can be used for healing and for blessing the sick as well as those deceased. That coupled the purification practices and merit generating activities (which Dharma practitioners engage in as part of the practice) would contribute accordingly too.

    Further, the practitioner’s comment about Bill Porter’s publications to spread Dharma to the modern society as an example of the old and new Bodhisattva path brings to mind Rinpoche’s multi-facetted “unconventional” ways of spreading Dharma geared towards engaging the minds of today’s generation.

    Discussion about Master Nengren
    Hearing about the illustrious history of Lama Cave in Jiawutai which was used for meditation from 627-649 AD (ancient Tang Dynasty of China), makes me feel like going there myself. Although admittedly I don’t really know of the meditators mentioned (from 39:09 onwards) but it is something to KIV.

    The events leading to Master Nengren’s final resting place are also very fascinating serving as a clear testament to her attainments. A bonus for me was to be able to see footages of her body which hadn’t decomposed over the years since those involved actually captured it on record.

    Exchanges with a Mahayana practitioner
    The boat parable mentioned by the practitioner is one of my favourite from before I was really involved in Dharma. Ironically, I heard it from an atheist, we were having a conversation and he raised it to highlight the dangers of fixated religious views. When I subsequently read up on the parable, for some reason it really drove the point home for me about the importance of learning Dharma properly and the danger of clinging to views, even if such views are stainless as the problem then lies in the grasping and not the object.

    Exchanges with monk at temple mountain which is partially opened to public
    A few things that stood out to me;

    (i) I liked the pragmatic view of the monk in coming to a workable compromise between the growing interest of tourists and the need for solitude for further practice i.e. segregated the areas for tourists and also place where serious practitioners can proceed undisturbed. After all, it would also benefit those tourists to be at such place with real serious practitioners especially since such tourists would have some good karma/merits driving them to go there since it is not an easy hike up (took Bill about 5 hours).

    (ii) I agree that actions do speak louder than words. Regardless if hours of talking is a manner which appealed to or easily accepted by some or not, the fact remains that a speaker will be more convincing if such speaker walks the talk.

    (iii) The lack of sense of superiority from the monk for abandoning samsaric life to practice in the mountains reflect his real practice. I also like how he is very respectful of those who opt to put aside their wish to go into retreat at secluded places but instead stay within the modern society to spread the Dharma.

    Exchanges with Taoist Master Ren Farong
    The logic behind Rinpoche’s wishes for a spiritual community is also echoed by Master Ren Farong who also believes it will help with the spiritual aspirants practice to be in an environment where there are other fellow practitioners – be it for ease of reference/study or the encouragement to practice.

    Exchanges with Master Zongjing
    A few things that stood out to me;
    Master Zongjing views some hardship necessary for realisation of Dharma based on her observation that the living conditions for hermits/meditators at the mountains are better but at the same time the understanding of Dharma has rescinded (in that comparatively, great master of the past who stayed in harsher conditions fare way better in term of Dharma practice). Despite still being wary of hardships, I would agree since from personal experience, some of the Dharma teachings made more sense quicker and are more relatable due to certain challenging/difficult past experiences.

    Further, just like Rinpoche, Master Zongjing also stresses on the importance of consistency, determination and perseverance in spiritual practice.

    Overall, another aspect which appealed to me from this video (apart from me having a thing about mountains) is how it now serves as another candid “truth bomb” for me to “pull out” to “jolt” myself whenever things get really challenging for me. After all, these are real life examples of sincere practitioners who walk the talk and keep practicing even in harsh conditions. As one of the practitioners have mentioned, someone else’s enlightenment through practising Dharma or their dedication towards spiritual practice is good as reference. Thank you, Rinpoche for sharing this fascinating video.

  15. Wah Ying on Jun 20, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    These are my thoughts on the – Hermits: a documentary

    Dear Rinpoche,

    I have finished watching this documentary. It’s beautiful and surprisingly I like it, especially the way it was filmed and conversations between Bill Porter withe the hermits in ZhongNan Mountain. It’s filmed in a way which is natural and “raw”. Bill Porter was inspired by poet Tao Yuan Ming to go into the mountain to look for real life hermits and end up with coming out a beautiful book titled “Road to Heaven”, and re-visit to the mountain 20 years later when he was 71 years old. I guess, if not because of his trip to look for real life hermits, he might be spending his whole life in Seattle and imaging the life of hermits via the poems composed by the poets, instead of getting first hand investigation and inspired to engage deeper in meditation and his practice.

    Some of the things I learned from this video are:

    – Watching the Buddhists monks, priests, and hermits who live in the mountain covered by white clouds and trees, is “familiar” in a way this way of life was described in details in novel and poems I read, and films I watched when I was young. And there are hermits living in the mountains in real life in this era.

    – The first nun Bill Porter interviewed when she mentioned she has lived in the mountain for 35 years and she never leave her guru…she mentioned this with some simple words and “unintentionally”, but one can feel her devotion and love to her guru.

    – It was amazing that after China society become more open and people are richer, the people are more open to spiritual practice and religion instead. It’s happy to know also Buddhism thrives after the Cultural Revolution, and even more people come and live in ZhongNan Mountain to engage in spiritual practice. There might be people who are trying to escape from their setbacks in real life to seek peace in the mountain, but from the conversations of Bill Porter with the hermits, and how the hermits live their life, there are definitely more and more people seeking for simpler life and focus on spiritual than materialism in life; and seeking for real happiness/more meaning in life.

    – The life of a hermit is so simple that only requires 50 to 60 RMB per month — that’s something quite “unbelievable” for city people or we who are desire so much in life. This shows lufe can be as simple as this, it’s our choice. And, it’s so true that letting go is not about we restrain ourself but do not have such thoughts.

    – Even though many spiritual inspirants meditate in the mountain but this does not mean those sangha or people who stay in the city to perform ritual, taking care of their temples and helping people are less in anyway of their spiritual practice.

    – Hardship is part of the path, hardship can help spiritual seekers in a way it becomes their foundation to the next level. Hardship is not something negative or prevent us from achieving our goal but helping us in achieving our goal.

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing with me this inspiring documentary.

  16. Alice Tay on Jun 20, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    These are my thoughts on the – Hermits: a documentary

    Dearest Rinpoche,

    3 years ago, I read an article “Amongst White Clouds – Amazing!” in Rinpoche’s blog, and that was first article I read about hermit. The video inspired and attracted me a lot with the peaceful environment in mountain. Today, I am very grateful Rinpoche sharing this video done by the same author, Bill Porter, and I humbly to share some of my thoughts here:

    Inspiration by Bill Porter
    I admire and respect Bill Porter in his high age for over 71 years old, he still have good motivation to visit the hermits in high mountain, to write and share all these hermits’ stories just to inspire the people especially American to do practice. Besides, he worked hard to translate for a few sutras in English for the benefit of people. Because of one of his writings “Road To Heaven”, many people were only came to know about Zhongnan Mountain. This is similar to Rinpoche’s virtue works in spreading Dorje Shugden and dharma via online. Rinpoche and the writer team’s hard work in sharing histories and real facts of Dorje Shugden including the relationship between Dorje Shugden and other lineages as well as other useful information in TR. com are really benefited to many others from all over the world.

    Let go and stay a simple life
    In this video, most of the hermits are living in simple hut but they look happy to stay there. The hermits understand that in order to have peace of mind, they have to let go something. This can be related to Rinpoche always advise us to stay near or at KFR which can really help us to focus and not easy to get distracted by material things and people. Simple living is actually helps to increase our wisdom to overcome problems/obstacles. Dharma and practice cannot be learned from the books but through the practice of mind. Just like one of hermits said if we tell too much to a person and he did not put into the practice, it actually cannot help him. Therefore, we can show the person how to pray to Buddha, do offerings, guide him do meditation and chant sutras. Even though we only give him a little hint, but through our practice, it can help the person.

    Gratitude, Perseverance and determination
    It is very inspiring when one of the lady hermits carved a staying place for herself (together with her friends) by using chisel only. This is not an easy task but she able to do that with her determination so that she can do practice in the mountain. This reminds me to be grateful that I have a guru who is very kind and compassionate and allowing me to stay near to guru to learn and practice dharma. Gratitude to all the sponsors to build KFR as a peaceful place for practicing dharma. With that, I should have strong faith, motivation and never give up easily the dharma for the benefit of others.

    Diligence in the practice
    Master Nengren passed away in 1995, but dead body found in 2009 in perfect condition. This is the only one imperishable fleshes being gilded and enshrined in Zhongnan Mountain. This showed that when we practice diligently with full concentration, persistency with right view and understanding, eventually it leads us to achieve the enlightenment.

    Thank you Rinpoche. I humbly hope more people to watch this video and get inspired to practice not only for themselves but for all sentient beings.

    Thank you and take much care.

    Yours humbly with folded hands.

  17. Chon Kong on Jun 20, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    These are my thoughts on the – Hermits: a documentary

    Bill Porter’s deep interest in Buddhist practice and spirituality led him to write a book “Road to Heaven” on the hermit practitioner’s way, hoping to encourage Americans to learn the way they practiced in a comfortable environment. Through his book, he compassionately generates interests and encourages more people to participate in meditation. By translating books, he helped many Chinese find the path to practice Dharma.

    It is not easy for ordinary people to practice Dharma or spirituality because they are disturbed by the external environment and the secular system. The practitioners in the video can let go of the secular things, including comfortable living environment, city life and go practice in the mountains. This is something that surprised me. I admire the persistence and belief of hermits and want to learn from them.

    They travel long distances to climb the mountains, only to get away from the city and find a quiet environment to practice alone. In contrast, we are fortunate as our retreat center(KFR) has good environment and very good facilities. Fortunately, we have Rinpoche teachings and blessings in learning Dharma. I am very grateful. This video reminds myself again , there is no reason why we cannot concentrate on practicing the Dharma.

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this video.

  18. Phoebe Yong on Jun 20, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    These are my thoughts on the – Hermits: a documentary

    Dear Rinpoche,

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing such a beautiful documentary with us.

    I am so amaze with Bill Porter who is already 71 years old in the video still manage to climbed the mountains and cliffs to visits the huts. He is really a talented person who had translated the sutra teaching into English and had encouraged more people to learn Dharma.

    Bill Porter has shared his initial intention to publish his book “Road to Heaven” was to encourage the US people with modern and comfort living style, they should engage in practice by looking how the practitioners at Chungnan mountains. The practitioners in the video have shown great respect to him, it is because of his book “Road to Heaven”, many people know able the hermits and the huts in mountains. There is more people go into mountains and engage practice now.

    I do agree with Bill Porter that in current society, we have money but there is something missing in our life which is money cannot buy. That’s is Dharma. Through the dharma practice, our worried will be lesser and our mind will be widen, we also realise the suffering in samsara and gain realisation. When we have more money and living in comfort, we will get attached and will not engage in practice.

    The first interviewed nun gave me a deep impression who stay at the mountain for 35 years. She has shown great respect to her guru because even though her guru has passed on, she said she is always here and never left her guru. She is very devoted to her guru.

    Another monk who gave me deep impression, he had said in our modern society, it is hard to escape from reality, like tourism. He said if able to plan properly, the temple can be separate front area for public and the back area for the monks to do practice. This make me think of KFR. And he also said that if every masters live in the mountains, there will be no people to spread the Dharma. This make me immediately think of Rinpoche. Thank you Rinpoche for your compassion and kindness to spread Dharma to benefit us and many more people.

    The practitioners shown they are living simple life with very basic needs. Most of their time they are used to do Dharma practice. This is so wonderful. They are look happy and peace from within. They speak softly and humble. They are all smart people because they learn the survival skills how to get their needs like water, woods and food in the mountains.

    By looking at these practitioners, I am very fortunate to be able to do Dharma works and Dharma practice in KFR now where Rinpoche stay.

    Thank you Rinpoche for all the love and care to me and my family.

    With loves and folded hands,

  19. Karl Young on Oct 17, 2017 at 6:10 am

    Hard to quantify what an influence Bill Porter has been on me (so I won’t try). I’ve been through the Cold Mountain and Stonehouse poems numerous times (I though maybe I’d pick up the Chinese character set by scanning the characters before reading the translation – so far I’,ve got one, two, three, and mountain… maybe after next time through I’ll be fluent) and have a majority of his translations and commentaries. I was with a group that chanted the Diamond Sutra a few times and I really appreciated that we used his translation.

    It was nice to see some biographical details (other than the great travel details in Road to Heaven, The Silk Road, and Zen Baggage). My only regret is that I somehow end up only hearing about talks he’s given after they’ve occurred – oh well, I guess when I’m ready I’ll stumble on the right Dharma center page before a talk.

    SONY DSC

  20. JP on Feb 13, 2017 at 12:28 am

    It is very inspiring to read about Bill Porter’s tenacity and determination to explore Buddhism and how it led him to translate some important Chinese literature and do research on hermits in China. As a result of his years of hardship, his works became well known in China and his financial situation improved as a result. The bottom line is most goals can be achieved if we put our heart and soul towards them.

  21. wan wai meng on Feb 12, 2017 at 12:02 am

    It was probably a struggle for Bill in his earlier years as a writer. I liked that he wrote to learn something, as obviously one need to be a master of the subject matter to write anything.

    Interesting to know that Zen is one of first spiritual traditions in China that encouraged practicing as a community.

  22. Samfoonheei on Feb 6, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    Very inspiring article of Bill Porter. His determination and will power in learning Buddhism has took him across many countries just to learn Buddhism. Despite facing many obstacles in his Life. he never give up even to the extend to learn totally a new language and doing translating work. it is not easy to learn a new language in a new place and so forth which resulted in numerous work that benefited many people.
    Bill Porter will be remembered as a gifted translator and prolific author .Thank you Rinpoche and Valentina Suhendra for sharing this inspiring article to motivate and inspire us.

  23. Mingwen on Feb 1, 2017 at 8:32 am

    Nothing is impossible, it’s just difficult.

    Determination, good motivations, hardworking, have faith and passion, by combining all these great qualities, the key to the door of SUCCESS will be create.

  24. Pastor Chia on Feb 1, 2017 at 8:32 am

    Bill porter one of the great translator of poems to promote Zen Buddhism. I had seen some of his book sales at the bookstore but rarely know about his background. I admired his knowledge learning about Buddhism and able to translate many poems which hard to understand especially Zen Buddhism. Bill Porter ready blessed by Manjushiri by doing translate Tang Dynasty poet Cold Mountain, also known as Hanshan. He was regarded as an emanation of the Bodhisattva Manjushri. Cold Mountain is believed to have written over 600 poems, out of which only over 300 poems survived to this day. Porter was very much attracted to the Cold Mountain’s poems and decided to translate them. Thanks to Bill Porter hardwork produce many Buddhist books, benefit many people understand the profound teaching of Zen Buddhism.

  25. Pastor Albert on Feb 1, 2017 at 8:21 am

    A very beneficial interest Porter has and with his passionate work, he has benefited countless people by translating the Buddhist text. Buddhism can really touched many people with it’s logic and teachings, whether you are from Asia, Western country, Europe country or any country with any background or culture, Buddhism will still make sense and it will answer lots of our doubts in life, because Buddhism is all about our life.

    Porter’s work is very consistent and he never give up even when there are challengers, he learn a totally new language to learn more about Buddhism by doing translating work, it is not easy to learn a new language and giving up our lifestyle to live in a foreign country, we have to adapt a new culture, people, language, and everything, but Porter has done it, his action reminded me of H.E. the 25th Tsem Rinpoche, who also found Buddhism in USA and travel all the way to India to pursue his spiritual practice.

  26. Pastor Antoinette on Feb 1, 2017 at 8:16 am

    Bill Porter or Red Pine is an extraordinary translator and author. With his long and in depth studies and John Blofeld as his mentor, his translations are very accurate. Having the interest to research and write himself, he found a sponsor to allow him to research and write “Road to Heaven: Encounters with Chinese Hermits”. It is interesting to see how many hardships he had to take to be able to follow his calling.

    Thank you Rinpoche and Valentina for sharing about Bill Porter whose books are for sure beneficial to read.

  27. Julia Tan on Feb 1, 2017 at 1:58 am

    I think being a translator is not only putting the words of the author into other language but he or she is responsible to understand fully of what the author is trying to express and the essence of story and then written them into other language with the spirit and essence of the author. A true translator like Bill Porter, He’s one that went deep into understanding Buddhism. With his passion in Buddhism, enable many to receive Dharma.

  28. Andrea Lai on Feb 1, 2017 at 12:49 am

    I admired Bill Porter of his interest, passion and his strong determination to explored the knowledge of Buddhism despite facing any obstacle in his Life. Success goes to determine people who never give up on his dream.

    Very inspiring.Thank you Rinpoche for sharing and Valentina for writing this wonderful article.

  29. June Kang on Jan 31, 2017 at 11:53 pm

    How fortunate we have Bill Porter took up Chinese language and translate chinese book to English. I like the “The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain” and is truly a valuable book. He has made Han Shan’s spontaneous poems accessible to Western readers. He is great. In the Buddhist tradition Hanshan is honored as emanations of the Bodhisattvas Manjushri. In his poem you can find the compassion of the Bodhisattvas and how he taught Dharma in “unusual” way to benefit many people.

  30. Eric kksiow on Jan 31, 2017 at 11:01 pm

    This is the 1st time i heard of Bill Porter name, much thanks to Valentina for this article ( i learned more of Bill Porter ) and i found this from FB, Bill Porter FB admin helped him to post all the interesting pictures to share with all of Bill Porter fans.

    Please check out his FB page – https://www.facebook.com/pg/Red-Pine-translator-Bill-Porter-author-141241929246990/about/?ref=page_internal

  31. nicholas on Jan 31, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    Bill Porter is truly inspiring. His determination in learning Buddhism has resulted in numerous work that benefited many people.
    He traveled around many places to record and introduce Buddhism to the world. The geographical play a main role for Bill Porter to introduce Zen Buddhism.

    His work really benefitted others especially his translating work which open up to more westerner. May he continue with his meritorious work.

  32. Pastor Henry Ooi on Jan 31, 2017 at 7:37 pm

    Bill Porter is a man of inspiration. He shows that while education is important but never giving up is more important. A good attitude rather than just a paper chase. Like everyone else, he made mistakes and that landed him in jail. Instead of mulling and regretting his mistakes, he focused in changing his life for the better.

  33. pammie yap on Jan 31, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    Mr Porter has an interesting life! And I really do have to agree, ‘Meeting powerful people and seeing what facades their characters were, how false they were.’
    But the best part was reading how he realized it and how he don’t even want to be a part of it.

    It is really good to know that he persevered with his work and never gave up even when there were obstacles. And his interests in Buddhism kept growing and he did more translations. How fortunate are those who got to read translated versions of such esteemed teachings and poems. I know I would enjoy reading it as I can’t read Chinese as well. Hope that his works will continue to benefit many.

  34. Pastor Han Nee on Jan 13, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    Thank you Valentina for this well-researches article.

    Bill Porter’s non -attachment to worldly fame and wealth makes a rare individual in this modern materialistic age.Even from a young age, Bill Porter showed his disdain of wealth and fame. He was sharply perceptive of how superficial or faked people were around wealth. Hence, he was even happy when his family’s fortunes changed and they became poor . He was so relieved that he did not have to inherit wealth and to have people who were merely hangers on as friends.He was relieved of the burden of the social pressure and expectations on people with money.

    When he finally decided to go to college to undertake serious study, he discovered Buddhism, after reading a book on Zen Buddhism and another on an Introduction to Buddhism. He said he had finally ” found something that made sense to him about what was going on in this life”. Buddhism showed him the meaning and purpose of life. After a year of college in Germany, he finally realised that his real interest was Buddhism. Everything he was studying started to dovetail with Buddhism. They were all saying the same thing about how to discover the reality of life.Buddhism became a way of life as well as a way of thinking.

    After dropping out of University in America, he went on to spend the next two decades in Asia. He first entered Fo Kwang Shan in Taiwan , where he stayed for 1 year, then moved to the College of Chinese Culture to study Philosophy.Chinese Arts and Taoism. However, he became disillusioned with academic life . He dropped out of college and entered Hai Ming Monastery. He was drawn to the Tang Dynasty poet Cold Mountain, who appealed to him because his poems spoke so sincerely about living a simple life and not to be distracted by fame or wealth. In fact Cold Mountain was regarded as an emanation of Manjushri.

    Then he began to translate the Buddhist scriptures and Cold Mountain poems, for which he earned his special fame as a writer.He decided to leave the monastery but he took the lay precepts as a personal commitment to Buddhism. Later, he adopted the pen name of “Red Pine”.

    Through translating the Stonehouse Cold Mountain poems, he felt a strong connection to and was moved by the poems that described the life of a Zen hermit with all the hardships and happiness. From then on his fascination for the Chinese Buddhist hermit’s way of life led him to research and write about them. Meanwhile he continued to be drawn to Zen Buddhism. It reinforced his fascination with Stonehouse, this great Tang Dynasty poet , who was himself a Zen Master and a hermit! Bill Porter was drawn to Zen Buddhism because it seeks to free the mind from concepts,languages and attachments. Buddhist Zen hermits especially attracted his attention because they were committed to living in isolation to meditate, which is the real essence of Zen Buddhism .

    Bill Porter is a fascinating and inspiring person. His passion to explore the truth stripped of any facade, has led him on a journey of searching and researching and writing about it. His works show his love of the Chinese language, the culture and the history. He writes with commitment to accuracy.

  35. Sock Wan on Jan 12, 2017 at 7:07 pm

    Bill Porter is so impressive! He is not a Chinese but has put in so much time and effort try to understand Chinese culture and language and bring it to people all around the world. He is very passionate of his works, despite financial difficulty, he continues to do what he likes, he never gives up. Another thing that strikes me is that he had realised very early in his life how wealth would not help him in finding the meaning of life or making him happier. How many of us actually have this kind of realisation if we were born in a wealthy environment? I like his persistence, perseverance and passion, he won’t achieve what he has so far without all these qualities.

  36. justin on Jan 11, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    I believe he is a firm believer of Buddhism and was very keen to explore. The fact that he saw many lives were taken away from war during his stint as a medical personnel during war time. He must have seen it all and came to a realisation that he should make more effort into helping people finding answers in life.

    His tenacity is there for everyone to read. His works are apparent spanning 30 over years of in depth studies of Buddhism. There was one line that particularly touched me. He applied for grants from Guggenheim Foundation and got rejected for 7 consecutive times which says a lot about himself really. He took up Chinese language and another breathtaking thing that he did was being so expert in Chinese language till he can translate it out back to English.

    He is one real master for me.

  37. Echeah on Jan 9, 2017 at 12:42 am

    It goes to show that life is full of twist and turns. We can make the best of plans, firmest objectives, study in the supposed chosen field, embark on the relevant profession. Then as life unravels itself, you find that you lose conviction in your earlier plans and then decide you no longer want to do what you had set out to do. You change courses and sometimes the same scenario keeps repeating itself and life seems rudderless.

    Then you find your niche and happily pursue it thinking that would be the last, until you begin to get tired of it again and want out. I believe that’s the story of many people’s lives. People change, situations change, needs change. I suppose that only thing that’s constant is change.

    Life can be directionless until you stumble on something and you find real purpose.

  38. Datuk May on Jan 7, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    Bill Porter is an artist, one who follows his heart to something which is passionate for him, although initially, he did not totally grasp what he was going after.

    However if you read between the lines, his imprint was to learn Buddhism and to do so was to learn the Chinese language. Chinese is a very daunting language to master, and it is with perseverance and hard work that Bill Porter succeeded.

    All his works are inspirational, as a foreigner to translate works of poetry and Buddhism from Chinese to English.

    What I get to be best lesson from Bill Porter is that he realised to be effective in his translation is not to get a “word for word” translation but rather to completing understand the contents and context of the writing and from there to have the translation done.

    It is good to learn that because Bill Porter Zen Buddhism can be understood both by Chinese and English language readers. What a benefit to others.

  39. Fong on Jan 7, 2017 at 12:57 am

    A man connected to dharma in ways not fully understood by himself. But, at the end of the day, he did what he loved most which is translating dharma works. And, now he has benefited many with his translation.

    And, he finally managed to provide for his family from his writings. So, if you create the merits by doing virtuous work, you reap its rewards.

    Thank you for this sharing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    https://bit.ly/37DAV7y
  • sarassitham
    Monday, Feb 22. 2021 11:55 PM
    There are lots of people have more than one reason for choosing vegetarianism. Many people choose a vegetarian diet out of concern over animal rights or the environment and others may be based on religious beliefs or even for healthier lifestyle.

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

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

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

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

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/kunkhyen-choku-ozer-master-of-the-kalachakra-guhyasamaja-tantras.html

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

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According to legend, Shambhala is a place where wisdom and love reign, and there is no crime. Doesn\'t this sound like the kind of place all of us would love to live in? https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=204874
1 year 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!
1 year 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
1 year 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
1 year 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!
1 year ago
Fragrant organic Thai basil harvested from our very own Kechara Forest Retreat farm!
On behalf of our Puja House team, Pastor Tat Ming receives food and drinks from Rinpoche. Rinpoche wanted to make sure the hardworking Puja House team are always taken care of.
1 year 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
1 year 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.
1 year 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.
1 year 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!
1 year ago
One of the most recent harvests from our Kechara Forest Retreat land. It was grown free of chemicals and pesticides, wonderful!
Third picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal.
Height: 33ft (10m)
2 yearss 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)
2 yearss ago
Second picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal. Height: 33ft (10m)
First picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal.
Height: 33ft (10m)
2 yearss 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
2 yearss 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
2 yearss ago
Very powerful story! Tibetan Resistance group Chushi Gangdruk reveals how Dalai Lama escaped in 1959- https://bit.ly/2S9VMGX
At Kechara Forest Retreat land we have nice fresh spinach growing free of chemicals and pesticides. Yes!
2 yearss ago
At Kechara Forest Retreat land we have nice fresh spinach growing free of chemicals and pesticides. Yes!
See beautiful pictures of Manjushri Guest House here- https://bit.ly/2WGo0ti
2 yearss ago
See beautiful pictures of Manjushri Guest House here- https://bit.ly/2WGo0ti
Beginner’s Introduction to Dorje Shugden~Very good overview https://bit.ly/2QQNfYv
2 yearss ago
Beginner’s Introduction to Dorje Shugden~Very good overview https://bit.ly/2QQNfYv
Fresh eggplants grown on Kechara Forest Retreat\'s land here in Malaysia
2 yearss ago
Fresh eggplants grown on Kechara Forest Retreat's land here in Malaysia
Most Venerable Uppalavanna – The Chief Female Disciple of Buddha Shakyamuni - She exhibited many supernatural abilities gained from meditation and proved to the world females and males are equal in spirituality- https://bit.ly/31d9Rat
2 yearss ago
Most Venerable Uppalavanna – The Chief Female Disciple of Buddha Shakyamuni - She exhibited many supernatural abilities gained from meditation and proved to the world females and males are equal in spirituality- https://bit.ly/31d9Rat
Thailand’s ‘Renegade’ Yet Powerful Buddhist Nuns~ https://bit.ly/2Z1C02m
2 yearss ago
Thailand’s ‘Renegade’ Yet Powerful Buddhist Nuns~ https://bit.ly/2Z1C02m
Mahapajapati Gotami – the first Buddhist nun ordained by Lord Buddha- https://bit.ly/2IjD8ru
2 yearss ago
Mahapajapati Gotami – the first Buddhist nun ordained by Lord Buddha- https://bit.ly/2IjD8ru
The Largest Buddha Shakyamuni in Russia | 俄罗斯最大的释迦牟尼佛画像- https://bit.ly/2Wpclni
2 yearss ago
The Largest Buddha Shakyamuni in Russia | 俄罗斯最大的释迦牟尼佛画像- https://bit.ly/2Wpclni
Sacred Vajra Yogini
2 yearss ago
Sacred Vajra Yogini
Dorje Shugden works & archives - a labour of commitment - https://bit.ly/30Tp2p8
2 yearss ago
Dorje Shugden works & archives - a labour of commitment - https://bit.ly/30Tp2p8
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha.
2 yearss ago
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha.
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha. She was his step-mother and aunt. Buddha\'s mother had passed away at his birth so he was raised by Gotami.
2 yearss ago
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha. She was his step-mother and aunt. Buddha's mother had passed away at his birth so he was raised by Gotami.
Another nun disciple of Lord Buddha\'s. She had achieved great spiritual abilities and high attainments. She would be a proper object of refuge. This image of the eminent bhikkhuni (nun) disciple of the Buddha, Uppalavanna Theri.
2 yearss ago
Another nun disciple of Lord Buddha's. She had achieved great spiritual abilities and high attainments. She would be a proper object of refuge. This image of the eminent bhikkhuni (nun) disciple of the Buddha, Uppalavanna Theri.
Wandering Ascetic Painting by Nirdesha Munasinghe
2 yearss ago
Wandering Ascetic Painting by Nirdesha Munasinghe
High Sri Lankan monks visit Kechara to bless our land, temple, Buddha and Dorje Shugden images. They were very kind-see pictures- https://bit.ly/2HQie2M
2 yearss ago
High Sri Lankan monks visit Kechara to bless our land, temple, Buddha and Dorje Shugden images. They were very kind-see pictures- https://bit.ly/2HQie2M
This is pretty amazing!

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

Always be kind to animals and eat vegetarian- https://bit.ly/2Psp8h2
2 yearss ago
My Dharma boy (left) and Oser girl loves to laze around on the veranda in the mornings. They enjoy all the trees, grass and relaxing under the hot sun. Sunbathing is a favorite daily activity. I care about these two doggies of mine very much and I enjoy seeing them happy. They are with me always. Tsem Rinpoche Always be kind to animals and eat vegetarian- https://bit.ly/2Psp8h2
After you left me Mumu, I was alone. I have no family or kin. You were my family. I can\'t stop thinking of you and I can\'t forget you. My bond and connection with you is so strong. I wish you were by my side. Tsem Rinpoche
2 yearss ago
After you left me Mumu, I was alone. I have no family or kin. You were my family. I can't stop thinking of you and I can't forget you. My bond and connection with you is so strong. I wish you were by my side. Tsem Rinpoche
This story is a life-changer. Learn about the incredible Forest Man of India | 印度“森林之子”- https://bit.ly/2Eh4vRS
2 yearss ago
This story is a life-changer. Learn about the incredible Forest Man of India | 印度“森林之子”- https://bit.ly/2Eh4vRS
Part 2-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
2 yearss ago
Part 2-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
Part 1-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
2 yearss ago
Part 1-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
The great Protector Manjushri Dorje Shugden depicted in the beautiful Mongolian style. To download a high resolution file: https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
2 yearss ago
The great Protector Manjushri Dorje Shugden depicted in the beautiful Mongolian style. To download a high resolution file: https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
The Mystical land of Shambhala is finally ready for everyone to feast their eyes and be blessed. A beautiful post with information, art work, history, spirituality and a beautiful book composed by His Holiness the 6th Panchen Rinpoche. ~ https://bit.ly/309MHBi
2 yearss ago
The Mystical land of Shambhala is finally ready for everyone to feast their eyes and be blessed. A beautiful post with information, art work, history, spirituality and a beautiful book composed by His Holiness the 6th Panchen Rinpoche. ~ https://bit.ly/309MHBi
Beautiful pictures of the huge Buddha in Longkou Nanshan- https://bit.ly/2LsBxVb
2 yearss ago
Beautiful pictures of the huge Buddha in Longkou Nanshan- https://bit.ly/2LsBxVb
The reason-Very interesting thought- https://bit.ly/2V7VT5r
2 yearss ago
The reason-Very interesting thought- https://bit.ly/2V7VT5r
NEW Bigfoot cafe in Malaysia! Food is delicious!- https://bit.ly/2VxdGau
2 yearss ago
NEW Bigfoot cafe in Malaysia! Food is delicious!- https://bit.ly/2VxdGau
DON\'T MISS THIS!~How brave Bonnie survived by living with a herd of deer~ https://bit.ly/2Lre2eY
2 yearss ago
DON'T MISS THIS!~How brave Bonnie survived by living with a herd of deer~ https://bit.ly/2Lre2eY
Global Superpower China Will Cut Meat Consumption by 50%! Very interesting, find out more- https://bit.ly/2V1sJFh
2 yearss ago
Global Superpower China Will Cut Meat Consumption by 50%! Very interesting, find out more- https://bit.ly/2V1sJFh
You can download this beautiful Egyptian style Dorje Shugden Free- https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
2 yearss ago
You can download this beautiful Egyptian style Dorje Shugden Free- https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
Beautiful high file for print of Lord Manjushri. May you be blessed- https://bit.ly/2V8mwZe
2 yearss ago
Beautiful high file for print of Lord Manjushri. May you be blessed- https://bit.ly/2V8mwZe
Mongolian (Oymiakon) Shaman in Siberia, Russia. That is his real outfit he wears. Very unique. TR
2 yearss ago
Mongolian (Oymiakon) Shaman in Siberia, Russia. That is his real outfit he wears. Very unique. TR
Find one of the most beautiful temples in the world in Nara, Japan. It is the 1,267 year old Todai-ji temple that houses a 15 meter Buddha Vairocana statue who is a cosmic and timeless Buddha. Emperor Shomu who sponsored this beautiful temple eventually abdicated and ordained as a Buddhist monk. Very interesting history and story. One of the places everyone should visit- https://bit.ly/2VgsHhK
2 yearss ago
Find one of the most beautiful temples in the world in Nara, Japan. It is the 1,267 year old Todai-ji temple that houses a 15 meter Buddha Vairocana statue who is a cosmic and timeless Buddha. Emperor Shomu who sponsored this beautiful temple eventually abdicated and ordained as a Buddhist monk. Very interesting history and story. One of the places everyone should visit- https://bit.ly/2VgsHhK
Manjusri Kumara (bodhisattva of wisdom), India, Pala dynesty, 9th century, stone, Honolulu Academy of Arts
2 yearss ago
Manjusri Kumara (bodhisattva of wisdom), India, Pala dynesty, 9th century, stone, Honolulu Academy of Arts
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    Join Tsem Rinpoche in prayer for H.H. Dalai Lama’s long life~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYy7JcveikU&feature=youtu.be
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    2 yearss 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.
    2 yearss 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.
    2 yearss 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
    2 yearss 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
    2 yearss 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
    2 yearss 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
    2 yearss ago
    Cruelty of some people have no limits and it’s heartbreaking. Being kind cost nothing. Tsem Rinpoche
  • SUPER ADORABLE and must see
    2 yearss ago
    SUPER ADORABLE and must see
    Tsem Rinpoche's dog Oser girl enjoying her snack in her play pen.
  • Cute!
    2 yearss ago
    Cute!
    Oser girl loves the balcony so much. - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTcoWpKJm2c
  • Uncle Wong
    2 yearss 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!
    2 yearss ago
    Tsem Rinpoche’s Schnauzer Dharma boy fights Robot sphere from Arkonide!
  • Cute baby owl found and rescued
    2 yearss ago
    Cute baby owl found and rescued
    We rescued a lost baby owl in Kechara Forest Retreat.
  • Nice cups from Kechara!!
    2 yearss ago
    Nice cups from Kechara!!
    Dorje Shugden people's lives matter!
  • Enjoy a peaceful morning at Kechara Forest Retreat
    2 yearss 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.
    3 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.
    3 yearss ago
    Chiropractic CHANGES LIFE for teenager with acute PAIN & DEAD LEG.
  • BEAUTIFUL PLACE IN NEW YORK STATE-AMAZING.
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    BEAUTIFUL PLACE IN NEW YORK STATE-AMAZING.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio takes on the meat Industry with real action.
    3 yearss ago
    Leonardo DiCaprio takes on the meat Industry with real action.
  • Do psychic mediums have messages from beyond?
    3 yearss ago
    Do psychic mediums have messages from beyond?
  • Lovely gift for my 52nd Birthday. Tsem Rinpoche
    3 yearss ago
    Lovely gift for my 52nd Birthday. Tsem Rinpoche
  • This 59-year-old chimpanzee was refusing food and ready to die until...
    3 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.
    3 yearss ago
    Bigfoot sighted again and made it to the news.
  • Casper is such a cute and adorable. I like him.
    3 yearss ago
    Casper is such a cute and adorable. I like him.
  • Dorje Shugden Monastery Amarbayasgalant  Mongolia's Ancient Hidden Gem
    3 yearss ago
    Dorje Shugden Monastery Amarbayasgalant Mongolia's Ancient Hidden Gem
  • Don't you love Hamburgers? See how 'delicious' it is here!
    3 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
    3 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.
    3 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!!
    3 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.

  • March 7, 2021 17:30
    Sandra asked: Respected pastors, Do you recommend doing Tsem Rinpoche’s guru yoga as part of daily Sadhana? I am sure I read on the article for the name retreat that it could be done as daily prayers but now I can’t see that sentence? Thank you.
    No reply yet
  • March 4, 2021 22:52
    Sandra asked: Respected pastors, Can a lay person work towards the preliminary practices by accumulating daily ? Many thanks.
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Yes, of course. Anyone can engage in the preliminary practices, you don't have to be ordained in order to do so. However for one's practice to be considered a full preliminary practice, you need to do 100,000 repetitions of whichever practice you are engaged in without break. That means you must engage in at least one session a day, until the count is completed. 10% of the count is also added on top, to make up for any unintentional mistakes. So the figure would actually be 110,000. If you skip a day, that means you have broken your preliminary retreat. If this occurs you can still dedicate the practice you have done so far, and you will still benefit from the merit generated and the purification of negative karma from the practice, but it is not counted as a full preliminary practice. Also you must adhere to the retreat procedures for the duration of the time it takes you to complete the particular preliminary practice. For example, an altar with daily offerings, retreat seat with swastika, refraining from eating black foods, etc. This may not be convenient for most people in our day and age. So what you can do is to spend a certain amount of time accumulating a specific figure, for example 10,000 repetitions of a particular practice. Seal the practice at the end with a strong dedication, like the King of Prayers. Later on, you can repeat the procedure more times until you complete 100,000. This method was given by H.E. Tsem Rinpoche for modern-day practitioners who do not have the time to complete 100,000 in one go. While it technically does not constitute a full preliminary retreat, you still gain immense merits and purification from engaging in the practice, even if spaced out. As Rinpoche said, it's better for you to do mini preliminary retreats than not doing any of the preliminary practices whatsoever. That being said, if you do have the ability to do a full preliminary retreat and it will not negatively impact you, such as create financial difficulties or strain familial relationships, then of course go ahead! To have the sincere wish to engage in any Dharma practice is wonderful. You can read more about the individual preliminary practices here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/preliminary-practice.html You can watch a short teaching on the preliminary practices by H.E. Tsem Rinpoche here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/cosmic-tantra.html
  • March 3, 2021 04:13
    Sandra asked: Dear respected pastors, what are dreams? Do dreams have significance? Are they simply images the mind views at night - do they resemble the dreamer's state of mind? Thank you for all your replies :) :)
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Hello. Nice to see you back here. On the normal level, both waking and dream states are both marred by our delusions. The teachings tell us that this deluded state continues through all our experiences, whether during the dreaming or waking states. The way to overcome this is to "wake up" from our delusions, or reach enlightenment. Normally when people think of dreams, they do so in psychological terms and so focus on the content of the dream. When we investigate the nature of the dream itself, we begin to investigate something deeper, the processes that underlies the whole of our existence. Understand this propels you further along the spiritual journey towards enlightenment. We have many dreams during one night of sleep, and may or may not consciously remember then when we wake up. In terms of content, dreams can be used to work through psychological issues or can indicate certain issues and overcoming them (as is common within Western psychological practices). In Tibetan Buddhism, dreams can be used for much more. In the advanced practices, one can transform ordinary dreams to further one's spiritual journey. This is not only in terms of working through psychological issues, but in terms of meditation and practice as well. Generally, there are three types of dreams as described below. Most of us only experience the first type, unless we progress on the spiritual path. 1. Samsaric dreams: these arise from karma and karmic traces in the mind. This can also include emotions, memories, etc. The meaning we find in these dreams are imputed by the dreamer, and not inherent in the dream. This also applies to waking life. We impute meaning onto situations and circumstances, rather than the meaning being inherent to the circumstance. It is like reading a book. Words in the book are just marks on paper, however, because we use our sense of meaning, we take a meaning out of it. However, this is always open to interpretation. For example, if you tell your dream to two people, they can interpret the meaning very differently, even though you told them the exact same details. 2. Clarity dreams: These dreams occur when you are fairly progressed in meditational practices and can carry this into the dream state. These dreams arise not from the emotions, or memories, etc., but from more subtler forms of karma and delusions. However, just like in waking mediational practice, you are not affected by the images or thoughts that appear to you. 3. Clear Light dreams: In the advanced tantric practices, there are teachings called dream yoga. The object of these is to achieve the clear light dreams, which are very difficult to achieve and take years and years of intense practice. The most important clear light mind that arises is actually at the time of our death, if we are trained enough in this very subtle state, we can actually control where we take rebirth. If we are more experienced in this state, then we can actually use it to meditate on the teachings and achieve enlightenment. Clear light dreams are a "lesser" type of clear light mind, that helps practitioners prepare for the time of death. When we have an auspicious dream such as of our teacher, our practice, the Buddhas, etc., even though this is auspicious, it is still more than likely to be just a samsaric dream. There are instances however, when the enlightened beings and Dharma protectors will send practitioners dreams to help with their practice or as methods of divination. Tsem Rinpoche once told us of a very powerful Nyingma lama known for his divination abilities. Students would ask him a question, then he would take a nap, and receive divination advice in this dreams, which he would then relay to his students. This lama was well-known for this ability because his dream divinations were extremely accurate. As I am sure you can tell, the scope of dreams with the Buddhist context is very vast and I will not be able to cover everything here. However, I hope that what I have written helps your understanding. Thank you.
  • March 1, 2021 23:37
    Sandra asked: Hello dear pastors, wish we could have an article like the one below to highlight the auspicious days of 2021. https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/auspicious-days.html
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Thank you for your suggestion. At the moment, there are no plans to publish another article with 2021 dates. But I have listed out some of the auspicious days and their dates for this year for you. I have only included future dates, not those that have already passed. Saga Dawa Duchen - 26th May 2021 Chokhor Duchen - 14th July 2021 Dorje Shugden Day - 24th August 2021 Lhabab Duchen - 27th October 2021 Gaden Ngamchoe or Tsongkhapa Day - 29th December 2021 I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • February 27, 2021 03:31
    Sandra asked: Respected pastors, Is it ok to pray from different areas in the house (even where there is no altar)? I was told you can't create 2 altars in 1 house.
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Thank you for your question and its nice to see you here again. The reason why we pray in front of our altars is because it becomes a focal point of the enlightened energies we are invoking. Therefore it becomes a kind of portal for the energies of transformation, peace, healing, prosperity and protection. It is also the place where we make offerings to the Buddhas. As such, most people usually only have 1 altar in their home. However, you can have more than 1 altar in your home. As it is an altar, it should be complete with representations of the body, speech and mind of the Buddhas. This would be an image (either a statue, thangka, tsa tsa, poster, framed picture, etc), a Dharma text and a stupa. In front of these, you should have at least 1 type of offering or more. This can be a fixed offering or maybe even a set of water offerings, which you make every day. Since practitioners make offerings on a daily basis, most opt to have only 1 altar, but there is no rule in Buddhism to say you can only have 1 altar. The altar however, should be placed in a respectful place. So, not in the bathroom. Or if in the bedroom, you should put a screen up to block it when you are changing, sleeping, etc. Alternatively, you can keep it in a cupboard, and close the doors during such activities. But altars should be dedicated places to the Buddhas, so don't put secular items in the same place, such as on the same shelf, etc. When it comes to praying, it is usually done in front of the altar, as you are invoking the enlightened beings. When you do your prayers there it becomes a powerful place in your home, and provides you with a sacred space to pray and meditate. However, if circumstances are difficult, then of course you can pray elsewhere. For example, when I first set up an altar, I was living in a single room with not much space. I set up an altar on a shelf but was not able to pray in front of it. Once I had made offerings, I would simply sit in another part of the room and do the prayers there. If it is really not convenient, then of course it is permissible to do the prayers elsewhere. It is better to do the prayers, than not do them at all if you can't be in front of your altar. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • February 25, 2021 01:33
    Kuenzang wangdi asked: What would be my most suitable colour ?
    pastor answered: Dear Kuenzang Wangdi, Thank you for your question. The following calculators may be of interest to you: Chinese Zodiac: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/horoscopes/the-chinese-zodiac.html Tibetan Astrology: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/tibetan-astrology/tibetan-astrology.html In relation to which colour if most favourable for you, unfortunately our calculators do not give this information. However, from a Buddhist practice viewpoint, what is more important is the transformation of the mind. Once we transform our minds according to teachings, we are able to overcome any obstacle and create good conditions for our lives. You can learn a very short mind transformation teaching here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/eight-verses-of-thought-transformation.html You can couple this with formal practice. If you are interested, a very good practice to bring energies of increase and generate a long life, merits, wealth and prosperity in your life, is the the practice of Gyenze. You can find information about the practice here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/prayers-and-sadhanas/dorje-shugden-gyenze-to-increase-life-merits-and-wealth.html. I hope this helps. Thanks.
  • February 22, 2021 22:14
    Naseer asked: Hi My name is Naseer Ahmed 8th dec 1979. Life path 1 Im looking to add to my name slightly... change it too... Naseer Al Ahmed... Would this be more complimentary as far as for the business front... or would it not make any difference
    pastor answered: Hello Naseer, As per your question, your Life Path Number is 1. The Life Path Number according to the system of numerology used on our website is calculated using your date of birth. Therefore, a change in name will not affect your Life Path Number. Some of the other calculators on the same page do however use your name. One of the smaller calculators you may be interested in is the Achievement Number, but again, this only uses your date of birth for the calculation. You can find it here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/numerology/numerology-calculator.html You may also be interested in two of our other pages: Chinese Zodiac - https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/horoscopes/the-chinese-zodiac.html Tibetan Astrology - https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/tibetan-astrology/tibetan-astrology.html Thank you for your question. I hope this helps.
  • February 20, 2021 18:36
    Sandra asked: After making a food offering to the three jewels (which we will eat for lunch etc), should we think of it as a blessing and partake?
    pastor answered: Hello Sandra, When making food offerings to the Three Jewels, which you eat yourself, when you recite the prayer and make the offering, you should visualise that the Buddhas receive your food offering and because you have made an offering, they are very pleased. It also fulfills one of the Refuge commitments, which is to offer the first portion of whatever we eat and drink to the Three Jewels, while remembering their kindness. You can then partake of the meal and consider it a blessing from the Three Jewels. Alternatively, you can set out a plate (which you reserve for this purpose) of food, which you can offer on your altar. Similarly, once the food has been left on your altar for a while, you can later remove it and consume it as a blessing. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • February 19, 2021 04:33
    Sandra asked: Is intovertedness a bad quality? Since Buddha is so altruistic and this is the opposite trait, it must be bad. How do you think one should lessen introverted tendencies?
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Introvertedness is not a bad quality. Altruism and compassion are different from being an introvert or extrovert. Introverts are generally quieter people, less expressive of their emotions, while extroverts are the opposite. Buddhist practice is not about expression of emotion. Rather the altruistic and compassionate teachings are more about how you help other people and sentient beings, physically or emotionally. If the qualities of introverted-ness are stopping you from developing these, then they need to change. But this may not be necessary, depending on the qualities that you are talking about. You can do simple meditations to building up the energy of compassion in your mindstream and you will see that you actions will automatically start to be more compassionate and altruistic. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • February 18, 2021 03:28
    Sandra asked: How should one behave when negative karma is being purified? How can we know if bad karma is being purified? Do we accumulate positive karma simultaneously when doing purification practices? Many thanks for your response.
    pastor answered: Hello again Sandra, There are two ways in which karma can be purified, the first is through our own efforts alone and the second is through our own effort, combined with a purification practice. Through our own efforts: this means that you transform your mind enough to not react negatively in any situation and only react in a positive manner. For example, you may have the karma to get angry. So you get into situations which makes you angry. If you react normally, then you will get angry again, this will only lead you to create more karma of being angry. But if you make the effort not to get angry in those situations then you do not create or multiply that karma. The original karma you have may lead you to be in those types of situations again, but if you do not get angry then after a while you start to purify that karma. Through your own efforts, combined with a purification practice: as you are working on transforming your mind, you can rely on the practices that help you to purify your karma, such as the practice of Vajrasattva or the 35 Confessional Buddhas. This boosts your ability to purify negative karma, based on the enlightened energies of the Buddhas. This however is only truly effective when combined with the Four Opponent Powers. You can read more about that here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/the-35-confessional-buddhas.html In general, when karma is being purified then you should remain level-headed and not act out of emotion or habit, but from your understanding of the workings of karma and the Dharma. But actually, this should not only be when karma is being purified. You should act and behave in this way all the time according to the Dharma, then you are, up to a point, always purifying karma. It is one of the reasons that so much emphasis is placed on refraining from negative actions and engaging in positive actions using your body, speech and mind, because these are the three means or 'doors' with which you interact with the world. At our level, we cannot tell if karma is being purified or not, only those who are more highly attained can tell. However, that is one of the reasons the Buddhist texts advise study of and belief in karma. If there is karma, then it can be purified, and the way to do so is transform your mind and invoke upon the enlightened beings. So if you are doing both, you can rest assured that you are in fact purifying your karma. When you purify negative karma, whether just through your own efforts or combined with a purification practice you collect merit, not positive karma. If you simply do a good action, you collect good karma. But if you are practicing the Dharma with the intention of achieving enlightenment, you take refuge, engage in the practice, and dedicate at the end, then you develop merit, not positive karma. If you want to read more about how karma works and how to purify it in more detail, I suggest you read a Lamrim text such as Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand, which you can order from your local bookstore or get online here (https://www.vajrasecrets.com/lamrim-liberation-in-the-palm-of-your-hand).
  • February 17, 2021 23:06
    Sandra asked: Hello pastors, thank you for your response to my earlier question. Do divination predictions change frequently? Why does that happen?
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Thank you for your question. Divinations, compared to astrological predictions, are much more accurate. There are many types of divination, but those based on the practice of enlightened beings are very accurate. Three of the most well-known in Tibetan Buddhism are the divination practices of Manjushri, Palden Lhamo and Dorje Shugden. You can read more about Dorje Shugden's dice divination here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/dorje-shugdens-dice-divination.html Questions that are asked during divinations are much more specific than the types of topics that astrological predictions can help with, therefore are based on very specific types of karma. This means that if you asked a divination question twice, without taking remedial actions in between, then the answer would most likely be the same, given that all the prerequisites have been held by the diviner and the divinations are genuine. However, if a divination is done and then remedial actions recommended, such as various practices or pujas, and these are done to the letter, then if the question is asked again, then the results would differ. This is because when engaging in these practices or pujas, either you generate the merit necessary to overpower the negative effects of the karma, or you purify the negative effects of the karma creating the situation. This however, is generally not done. You wouldn't ask the same question twice or over and over again. The reason for this is because one of the factors that comes into play when seeking divination is faith. This is faith in the fact that the remedial actions recommended will help whatever situation you are facing. Having seen H.E. Tsem Rinpoche do countless divinations for people, I can attest to this. Those who have faith and follow through with the advice, see a great improvement in the situation that led them to ask the divination question in the first place. Those that did not follow the advice either at all or not fully, did not see any improvement. And this makes sense, because they did not purify the effects of the karma enough, or generate enough merit. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • February 15, 2021 04:09
    sandra asked: How much importance should we give to astrological predictions or chart readings? Are these readings susceptible to change all the time,i.e, in the context of planetary movements? Can our own effort/actions supercede what is predicted in our birth chart?
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Thank you for your interesting question. You are absolutely correct about the universal principle of change. According to Buddhist practice, astrological predictions are based upon a fixed point in time. Take for example, your moment of birth, which most astrological readings take as the main point of reference. At that specific moment, there would have been various energies or planetary alignments, etc. Combined together, they are said to give an accurate prediction of what will occur to a person throughout their life. This however, is based on one's birth karma, to be born at that specific point in time and location. This birth karma also provides the driving force behind what will occur in a person's life, if that karma is not changed somehow. Hence, that is why astrological predictions can give very accurate readings on someone's personality, as well as life events. Birth karma provides the main force behind all other karma to come into play. That is why it is given importance in astrology. There are also more advanced methods to take into account planetary and energetical movements to give even more detailed and precise predictions that can even be made down to the month, day or hour of a person's life. In Buddhism, however, we believe that karma can be changed. It can multiply, be purified or exhausted, or the effects of that karma can be overpowered by another karma or spiritual merit. In these cases, the outcome will change. The way in which this happens is varied. It can be as simple as doing some prayers (to generate spiritual merit) or changing your behaviour, environment or location, the way you think, and the ways in which you react in various situations. That is why in Buddhist astrological systems, emphasis is placed on remedial measures to counteract negative outcomes. For example, someone may be born with an angry disposition from an astrological point of view. If this person goes through life acting from this anger, then the predictions based on the time of birth will occur. However, a remedial action can be undertaken, such as the person pracitising Chenrezig, who is the Buddha of compassion, or the person doing some form of charity work. These remedial actions generate compassion in the mind of the person, which counteracts the anger. As this happens and the karma is changed, then the person no longer needs to feels the negative effects of any bad astrological (or more correctly - karmic) situations. There are even some practices that specifically help to counteract negative astrological influences and help you to change things. Such an example is Black Manjushri. Within Tibetan Buddhism, according to your time and date of birth, you also have what is known as a 'Birth Buddha'. This is basically an enlightened being that you have an affinity with in this life. General remedial actions include making images of this particular Buddha or engaging in this Buddha's practice. This combined with a change in how we live - otherwise known as Mind Transformation in the Buddhist context - changes astrological outcomes. However, if we continue living without controlling our actions, words and thoughts, the predictions made using astrological readings will most likely still occur. I hope this explanation helps. Thank you.
  • February 7, 2021 00:16
    Purna Tamang asked: What is my lucky number and color ?
    pastor answered: Dear Purna Tamang, Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, none our horoscope apps on this page gives this information at this moment. However, you may find some of the other information provided useful. Below are the links: For Chinese Zodiac: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/horoscopes/the-chinese-zodiac.html For Tibetan astrology: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/tibetan-astrology/tibetan-astrology.html For Numerology: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/numerology/numerology-calculator.html For Fortune cookies: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/fortune-cookie Thank you and I hope you find something interesting in one of the apps.
  • January 20, 2021 03:32
    Sangita. asked: i want to buy my own house.which mantra i should chant to have my own house.kindly reply.
    pastor answered: Dear Sangita, Thank you for your question. Everything in our lives, whether good or bad is due to our karma. This is karma we have accumulated either in previous lives or earlier on in this life. You can learn more about this here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/discovering-yourself-a-teaching-on-karma-mindstream.html Sometimes, we go through obstacles or need some form of spiritual help to assist us in improving our situations. In these circumstances we can rely on the practice of certain deities. One of these deities is the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden. You can read more about this deity and his practice here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/beginners-introduction-to-dorje-shugden.html You can learn more about Dorje Shugden's practice here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/dorje-shugden-teaching-videos.html. I hope this helps. Thank you.
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Re: Kechara Sunday Dharma School Online Teaching Every Sunday Morning 11am class, students attend Pastor Shin Class happily - KSDS Jayce Goh
1 month ago
Re: Kechara Sunday Dharma School Online Teaching Every Sunday Morning 11am class, students attend Pastor Shin Class happily - KSDS Jayce Goh
Update on Empowerment cookies, special holiday packaging. The bakers are most grateful for the overwhelming support of 834 tubs ordered, with a big order of 314 tubs from a group of friends. Thank you to those cookie lovers who couldn’t get enough of it. Watch out for the next update. Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
2 months ago
Update on Empowerment cookies, special holiday packaging. The bakers are most grateful for the overwhelming support of 834 tubs ordered, with a big order of 314 tubs from a group of friends. Thank you to those cookie lovers who couldn’t get enough of it. Watch out for the next update. Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Thank you, generous and kind donors, made possible by Alice Smith School's Official Site through their Build Kindness Campaign. The whooping amount of RM63,000 will provide much needed food to 25 poor families for the next 12 months. On behalf of these families, thank you! Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
2 months ago
Thank you, generous and kind donors, made possible by Alice Smith School's Official Site through their Build Kindness Campaign. The whooping amount of RM63,000 will provide much needed food to 25 poor families for the next 12 months. On behalf of these families, thank you! Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
The global pandemic hasn't been easy for all of us. Some find it diffucult to find a job to support the family. Despite that, we are still delivering basic food pack to our recipients nationwide. Thank you to our volunteers, donors, and sponsors. Without your support, we would be unable to reach out to many families. Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
2 months ago
The global pandemic hasn't been easy for all of us. Some find it diffucult to find a job to support the family. Despite that, we are still delivering basic food pack to our recipients nationwide. Thank you to our volunteers, donors, and sponsors. Without your support, we would be unable to reach out to many families. Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Thanks to Yap Optometry for gifting Robert a new pair of glasses to see better. We wish him many clear and bright days ahead. Thank you to all sponsors. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
4 months ago
Thanks to Yap Optometry for gifting Robert a new pair of glasses to see better. We wish him many clear and bright days ahead. Thank you to all sponsors. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Donation received to date: RM33,468.00 Yes! We've achieved the target for the #TamanNegara project. Fundraising is closed for this project. Thank you to all donors, 113 Orang Asli families will benefit from it. Stay tuned! #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
4 months ago
Donation received to date: RM33,468.00 Yes! We've achieved the target for the #TamanNegara project. Fundraising is closed for this project. Thank you to all donors, 113 Orang Asli families will benefit from it. Stay tuned! #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
FRESHLY BAKED by Kechara Empowerment trainees - Chocolate Chip Butter Cookies - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
4 months ago
FRESHLY BAKED by Kechara Empowerment trainees - Chocolate Chip Butter Cookies - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
In memory of Wilson Lee, one of our most dedicated volunteers in Penang. Our heartfelt condolences to Wilson's wife, Tze Ling, family and friends. Our thoughts are with them for their loss. Thank you for your kindness and service to KSK Penang. From all of us in KSK.
4 months ago
In memory of Wilson Lee, one of our most dedicated volunteers in Penang. Our heartfelt condolences to Wilson's wife, Tze Ling, family and friends. Our thoughts are with them for their loss. Thank you for your kindness and service to KSK Penang. From all of us in KSK.
Last weekend a Soup Kitchen activities @ Penang, Johor & Kuala Lumpur. Hot food, water, masks, biscuits, buns & fruits. This is what we give out to our friends living on the streets. Thank you to our sponsor & volunteers that make it happen. Come spread more love by being a volunteer at our activities. WhatsApp us today at 010-333-3260! See you soon! #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
5 months ago
Last weekend a Soup Kitchen activities @ Penang, Johor & Kuala Lumpur. Hot food, water, masks, biscuits, buns & fruits. This is what we give out to our friends living on the streets. Thank you to our sponsor & volunteers that make it happen. Come spread more love by being a volunteer at our activities. WhatsApp us today at 010-333-3260! See you soon! #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Fwd: Dear Sotha
5 months ago
Fwd: Dear Sotha
Kechara Earth Project 13/9/2020
6 months ago
Kechara Earth Project 13/9/2020
Thank you Domino's Pizza Malaysia, Kasih & Piza campaign for sponsoring 85 boxes of pizza to our friends who live on the streets. Your flavourful pizzas have put a smile on their faces. Thank you! - Vivan @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #KasihdanPiza #ItsAllAboutYou
6 months ago
Thank you Domino's Pizza Malaysia, Kasih & Piza campaign for sponsoring 85 boxes of pizza to our friends who live on the streets. Your flavourful pizzas have put a smile on their faces. Thank you! - Vivan @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #KasihdanPiza #ItsAllAboutYou
Thank you Novo Nordisk! Your kind monetary donation and 1,320 boxes of masks will benefit many needy families under the Kechara Food Bank Program. Thank you! Much love from the needy families  ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #novonordisk #novonordiskmalaysia
6 months ago
Thank you Novo Nordisk! Your kind monetary donation and 1,320 boxes of masks will benefit many needy families under the Kechara Food Bank Program. Thank you! Much love from the needy families ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #novonordisk #novonordiskmalaysia
We were graced with the presence of Tengku Zatashah & The Alice Smith School Foundation yesterday. 130 homeless were blessed to be served by them. RM 20,000 donated by Alice Smith School Foundation will benefit 100 families registered under Kechara Food Bank Program. Thank you! Much love from the needy families ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #alicesmithschoolfoundation #alicesmithschool #volunteerism #homeless
6 months ago
We were graced with the presence of Tengku Zatashah & The Alice Smith School Foundation yesterday. 130 homeless were blessed to be served by them. RM 20,000 donated by Alice Smith School Foundation will benefit 100 families registered under Kechara Food Bank Program. Thank you! Much love from the needy families ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #alicesmithschoolfoundation #alicesmithschool #volunteerism #homeless
Thanks to the effort of our outstation team, we were able to mobilise food provisions to 600 families living in Kelantan, Penang, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor during the Raya period with each of these families receiving RM200 worth of provisions. Adding onto the current 368 families in Klang Valley, a total of 968 families were benefitted from this. Special thanks to the sponsors who have contributed especially Hong Leong Foundation and partially from Tesco Malaysia (where we also ordered the provisions from). ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
8 months ago
Thanks to the effort of our outstation team, we were able to mobilise food provisions to 600 families living in Kelantan, Penang, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor during the Raya period with each of these families receiving RM200 worth of provisions. Adding onto the current 368 families in Klang Valley, a total of 968 families were benefitted from this. Special thanks to the sponsors who have contributed especially Hong Leong Foundation and partially from Tesco Malaysia (where we also ordered the provisions from). ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
So glad that our soup kitchen operations are back in full swing. Good to see the clients are observing the SOPs. Some of them lost their job during MCO and ended up on the streets. Special thanks to our sponsors and volunteers for the great support! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
9 months ago
So glad that our soup kitchen operations are back in full swing. Good to see the clients are observing the SOPs. Some of them lost their job during MCO and ended up on the streets. Special thanks to our sponsors and volunteers for the great support! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
From serving cooked food to the homeless clients on the streets to mobilising provisions to the needy individuals in PPRs and shelters, we thank everyone of our Johor Bahru team for their kind contributions and effort to make it for the needy despite all the challenges! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
9 months ago
From serving cooked food to the homeless clients on the streets to mobilising provisions to the needy individuals in PPRs and shelters, we thank everyone of our Johor Bahru team for their kind contributions and effort to make it for the needy despite all the challenges! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
More photos taken from our "Hari Raya Hampers" distribution this week. Making sure everyone of our clients have something to be cheerful about. Apart from food, daily used items such as hygiene products, kitchen utensils, assorted fabric items, stationary items and toys were also included into our hamper bags making it extra heavier this month! Food items alone were about 35kg per family! Taking this opportunity to wish everyone of our Muslim volunteers, friends, supporters and clients a Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Maaf Zahir Batin. No doubt this year's celebration will be very different but appreciate everyone is safe and protected from the pandemic. We are in this together and let's work to fight this pandemic together! Thanking all sponsors and donors for the generous support enabling us to continue serve the needy with food, love and care. Big shoutout too to our wonderful team which already depleted by our very own strict SOP. All of you who worked tirelessly behind the s
9 months ago
More photos taken from our "Hari Raya Hampers" distribution this week. Making sure everyone of our clients have something to be cheerful about. Apart from food, daily used items such as hygiene products, kitchen utensils, assorted fabric items, stationary items and toys were also included into our hamper bags making it extra heavier this month! Food items alone were about 35kg per family! Taking this opportunity to wish everyone of our Muslim volunteers, friends, supporters and clients a Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Maaf Zahir Batin. No doubt this year's celebration will be very different but appreciate everyone is safe and protected from the pandemic. We are in this together and let's work to fight this pandemic together! Thanking all sponsors and donors for the generous support enabling us to continue serve the needy with food, love and care. Big shoutout too to our wonderful team which already depleted by our very own strict SOP. All of you who worked tirelessly behind the s
Our team have been working extra hours for the past few weeks to deliver provisions and hamper goodies to the needy families before Hari Raya! Heart warming to see the smiling faces of our recipients upon receiving 3 bags full of food and daily used items. Thanks to everyone of you who have contributed to our foodbank enabling us to give all our recipients (especially those celebrating) a Raya to remember! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
9 months ago
Our team have been working extra hours for the past few weeks to deliver provisions and hamper goodies to the needy families before Hari Raya! Heart warming to see the smiling faces of our recipients upon receiving 3 bags full of food and daily used items. Thanks to everyone of you who have contributed to our foodbank enabling us to give all our recipients (especially those celebrating) a Raya to remember! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Thankful to all donors and those who have been committed in contributing not just money but time over the past testing weeks to help us ease the work of our frontliners and also the livelihood of the needy, their struggles over this pandemic period seemed a little easier to bear with because of your contributions! - Vivian @Kechara Soup Kitchen
9 months ago
Thankful to all donors and those who have been committed in contributing not just money but time over the past testing weeks to help us ease the work of our frontliners and also the livelihood of the needy, their struggles over this pandemic period seemed a little easier to bear with because of your contributions! - Vivian @Kechara Soup Kitchen
KSDS Level 2 virtual class, Lin Mun KSDS
10 months ago
KSDS Level 2 virtual class, Lin Mun KSDS
KSDS Level 3 virtual class. Lin Mun KSDS
10 months ago
KSDS Level 3 virtual class. Lin Mun KSDS
Wesak 2020
10 months ago
Wesak 2020
Recycle today for a better tomorrow. KEP-Serena
12 months ago
Recycle today for a better tomorrow. KEP-Serena
Today we are having recycling at Kechara Soup Kitchen. Do drop by here if you would like to get ride of the recyclable items from home. KEP - Serena
12 months ago
Today we are having recycling at Kechara Soup Kitchen. Do drop by here if you would like to get ride of the recyclable items from home. KEP - Serena
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Seen here is Bam, Vajrayogini’s seed syllable and also Kechara's logo. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Seen here is Bam, Vajrayogini’s seed syllable and also Kechara's logo. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: More melted butter was offered. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: More melted butter was offered. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
H.E. Zawa Rinpoche in deep concentration. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
H.E. Zawa Rinpoche in deep concentration. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Geshela is seen here wearing ceremonial hat called tsoksha. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Geshela is seen here wearing ceremonial hat called tsoksha. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
The Shize Fire Puja was performed according to scriptural sources. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
The Shize Fire Puja was performed according to scriptural sources. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
To find out more about the substances offered during jinsek/fire puja, have a read here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
To find out more about the substances offered during jinsek/fire puja, have a read here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
More about the symbolism of the offering items here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
More about the symbolism of the offering items here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Amongst all pujas, the fire puja is considered the king of all Pujas. It is the most powerful of all pujas within Tibetan Buddhism and its purpose is basically to remove all obstacles and its stains to enlightenment.
12 months ago
Amongst all pujas, the fire puja is considered the king of all Pujas. It is the most powerful of all pujas within Tibetan Buddhism and its purpose is basically to remove all obstacles and its stains to enlightenment.
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Graceful hand mudras were also part of the ritual. - shared Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Graceful hand mudras were also part of the ritual. - shared Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: One by one the offering substances were offered accompanied by traditional Tibetan recitations. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: One by one the offering substances were offered accompanied by traditional Tibetan recitations. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: JP Thong ensuring that Geshela's ritual items are within easy reach. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: JP Thong ensuring that Geshela's ritual items are within easy reach. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Pastor David Lai & Frederick Law were also on hand to assist with the puja ritual substances. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Pastor David Lai & Frederick Law were also on hand to assist with the puja ritual substances. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Pastor Niral Patel assisting H.E. Zawa Rinpoche during the puja. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Pastor Niral Patel assisting H.E. Zawa Rinpoche during the puja. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Peaceful fire pujas are excellent to remove inauspiciousness, problems that might be coming to our lifespan, wisdom, wealth, growth of Dharma. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Peaceful fire pujas are excellent to remove inauspiciousness, problems that might be coming to our lifespan, wisdom, wealth, growth of Dharma. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
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