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

Jan 6, 2017 | Views: 2,065

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

 

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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  • Yee Yin
    Saturday, Nov 17. 2018 06:12 PM
    Mount Wu Tai is the sacred abode of Buddha Manjushri. Many people and great Buddhist masters will make pilgrimage trips to Mount Wu Tai to collect merits and to connect with Buddha Manjushri. If we have the opportunity, we should make at least one pilgrimage trip to Mount Wu Tai.

    Read this article to find out what to visit when you are in Mount Wu Tai:
    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/wonderful-wu-tai-shan-manjushri-holy-place.html
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  • Yee Yin
    Saturday, Nov 17. 2018 05:59 PM
    Dorje Shugden has 5 emanations, each emanation has different functions to address different problems. Shize is the pacify form of Dorje Shugden, he looks very peaceful and he rides on an elephant. His practice is for healing and longevity.

    Learn how to engage his practice:
    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/downloads/shize-a-practice-for-healing-and-long-life.html
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  • Yee Yin
    Saturday, Nov 17. 2018 05:50 PM
    Are you a lover of Indian vegetarian meals? If you are not, then you have to try these Indian food recipes. They are very flavourful and tasty, and best of all they are cruelty-free meals!

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/food-recipes/delicious-indian-food-recipes.html
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  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, Nov 17. 2018 02:00 PM
    In many parts of the world , women do not enjoy equal opportunities to earn, participate in politics or get an education. They can face gender-based violence and discrimination. Women through history have not always had that choice. Now its natural to see female politicians, doctors, business leaders, and writers. Inspiring …… many courtesans who lived in ancient and medieval India were women who managed to make a mark in the male dominated society of those times. These courtesans were trained in many arts of poetry, music, dance and philosophy. They knew their talents, were confident of their abilities and choosing the path of philosophy along with their profession.
    In Buddhism there is no discrimination toward women , gender is just another label. Men and women are equal both in enlightenment and in practice. It has proven that many female Mahasiddhas and Yoginis have gained full enlightenment in a female body.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing….Truly agree that everyone deserves equal respect.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/courtesans-of-ancient-india.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, Nov 17. 2018 01:59 PM
    India has a long tradition of peace and amity. The reported remarks of the Dalai Lama, Tibetan spiritual leader, about the result of the recent elections in Bihar state has been misquoted by some. The results of the Bihar polls show that forces of tolerance are not only active but are in majority. Dalai Lama’s comments on intolerance should not be misinterpreted as criticism of the government. A majority of Hindus preferred harmony received the support of the Janata Dal while the Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP ) played down the statement. Referring the Dalai Lama’s remarks as an attack on ‘extremist elements’, and the Tibetan spiritual leader has been in India for long and is aware of Indian culture. The BJP tried to maintain communal harmony in the state at all costs.
    As HH Dalai Lama is an icon of peace and harmony , should then look into the welfare of those Tibetans in exile, they have been sufferings, discriminated since the ban on Dorje Shugden over a period of time. May HH Dalai Lama please lift the ban for the sake of unity , peace and harmony .
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.


    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/india-downplays-dalai-lama-remarks-on-intolerance.html
  • Sofi
    Saturday, Nov 17. 2018 01:21 AM
    Talk on Reincarnation by H.H. Dalai Lama

    Hmm, tihs should be interesting since the Dalai Lama advocated DS practitioners will go to hell and the DS high Lamas just kept coming back in compassion which proves his theory wrong.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/talk-on-reincarnation-by-h-h-dalai-lama.html
  • Sofi
    Saturday, Nov 17. 2018 12:38 AM
    Making Water Offerings to the Buddhas

    Making water offerings to the Buddha generates great blessings and counters your miserliness. making water offerings is a direct method for creating wealth and purifying poverty. Easy to do yet offerings of water gives us tremendous benefits for our spiritual practice.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/making-water-offerings-to-the-buddhas.html
  • Sofi
    Saturday, Nov 17. 2018 12:25 AM
    The Buddha didn’t just believe in rebirth, he argued for it

    How interesting! Certainly warrant looking into further. How did Buddha argue and did he win the argument?

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/the-buddha-didnt-just-believe-in-rebirth-he-argued-for-it.html
  • Yee Yin
    Friday, Nov 16. 2018 05:56 PM
    Dorje Shugden has 5 different emanations. Each emanation has different functions to solve different problems. Trakze is the most wrathful of all 5 forms, he rides on a Garuda with a snake in his mouth. Trakze is very effective to dispel black magic or serious negative energy disturbances.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/trakze-to-dispel-black-magic-spirits.html
    [no sender]
  • Yee Yin
    Friday, Nov 16. 2018 05:53 PM
    Why not consider going on a vegetarian diet? It is scientifically proven that the vegetarian diet can improve our health. We will feel lighter as our body does not have to spend so much energy to digest the food. In addition, the risk of getting heart diseases and cancer is also reduced. Here are some very delicious vegetarian food recipes for you to try at home.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/dr-jiangs-delicious-healthy-recipesvideos.html
    [no sender]
  • Yee Yin
    Friday, Nov 16. 2018 05:49 PM
    What is your goal in your life? Getting a good job, earning good money, getting a big house, a big car and have a family? This is what most people pursue in their lives. But Nick Keomahavong has realised something higher, he realised that even if he has achieved all of the above, he is still not happy. However, he found his answer in spirituality. He decided to give up all the material things he has and became an ordained monk.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/why-i-left-everything-to-become-a-buddhist-monk.html
    [no sender]
  • Samfoonheei
    Friday, Nov 16. 2018 11:10 AM
    Beautiful story of how Rinpoche got his first mala. Rinpoche just found one which came from nowhere on the road. As Rinpoche needed the mala for dharma practice at those difficult times in Howell, New Jersey and Rinpoche literally found one. Good things will come when we do good and have good thoughts.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/autobiography/the-mala.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Friday, Nov 16. 2018 11:09 AM
    Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics. His work is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science. Buddhism was close to Einstein’s heart and part of him from the many quotes he wrote . ( Buddhism has the characteristics of what would be expected in a cosmic religion for the future ) He did not consider himself a Buddhist but it appears from his actual writings that he did have a favourable view of the Buddha and Buddhism. Interesting post which I do enjoyed.
    Thank you Rinpoche.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/einstein-on-buddhism.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Nov 15. 2018 12:40 PM
    Its great sharing …… Rinpoche’s biography “The Promise” in Mongolian for those Mongolian friends .May more and more people do read it to understand better about Rinpoche and the Dorje Shugden controversy. May Rinpoche’s teachings spread to every corners of the world. Thank you Rinpoche and writers team for this wonderful sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/me/%D1%82%D0%BE%D0%B2%D1%87-%D0%BD%D0%B0%D0%BC%D1%82%D0%B0%D1%80-tsem-rinpoches-short-biography-in-mongolian.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Nov 15. 2018 12:39 PM
    Interesting biography of a great and influential Gelug religious lady……the Lady Lhalu Lhacham Yangdzom Tsering, who was one of the most popular and also an important aristocratic students of Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche. She was one of the influential Gelug religious figures in the Lhasa at that time. The Lhacham’s devotion to the controversial protector deity Dorje Shugden whose practice she received from Kyabje Phabongkha Rinpoche is beautifully reflected in her deep spiritual conviction in the very deities and practices. Interesting read of a GREAT spiritual lady of how she struggles in life and never gave up her commitments to her guru Kyabje Pabongka Dorjechang. Her dertermination, motivation and inspiration are indeed incredible .
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing of Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche and his yogini student, the Lady Lhalu.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/pabongka-rinpoche-and-his-yogini-student-the-lady-lhalu.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

Click on the images to view the bigger version. And scroll down and click on "View All Photos" to view more images.
I was given this beautiful gift today from Karen Chong. It is an enormous gift. I really treasure this. I love anything to do with invoking Manjushri or connecting with Him. Thank you so much. Tsem Rinpoche
3 days ago
I was given this beautiful gift today from Karen Chong. It is an enormous gift. I really treasure this. I love anything to do with invoking Manjushri or connecting with Him. Thank you so much. Tsem Rinpoche
I requesed His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche to write out the mantra of Vajra Yogini. He immediately compassionately obliged me. This is the mantra as written by His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. I\'ve had this in a safe plastic wrap and wore it around my neck in a small yellow cloth \'bag\' for many years. Tsem Rinpoche
5 days ago
I requesed His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche to write out the mantra of Vajra Yogini. He immediately compassionately obliged me. This is the mantra as written by His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. I've had this in a safe plastic wrap and wore it around my neck in a small yellow cloth 'bag' for many years. Tsem Rinpoche
If there were just 10 persons you should know about in your lifetime, one of them is this incredible Dr. Ambedkar. Enrich your life and don\'t miss this: https://bit.ly/2Dub7xu
1 week ago
If there were just 10 persons you should know about in your lifetime, one of them is this incredible Dr. Ambedkar. Enrich your life and don't miss this: https://bit.ly/2Dub7xu
Dear friends, watch this short 11mins video. It is so nice. My dream idea of living. I love the fresh things they grow for their own food. I wish our culture here was more geared toward this type of living. Watch plse. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=do1O5Avw_SQ&feature=share
1 week ago
Dear friends, watch this short 11mins video. It is so nice. My dream idea of living. I love the fresh things they grow for their own food. I wish our culture here was more geared toward this type of living. Watch plse. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=do1O5Avw_SQ&feature=share
No one stays around, do not depend on anyone. Let go of them before they let go of you...it is inevitable. Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
No one stays around, do not depend on anyone. Let go of them before they let go of you...it is inevitable. Tsem Rinpoche
Outdoor stunning Tara at Kechara Forest Retreat in Malaysia.
2 weeks ago
Outdoor stunning Tara at Kechara Forest Retreat in Malaysia.
The Promise - https://bit.ly/2NfHJjQ
2 weeks ago
Hunting is a horrible \'sport\' because it is not necessary and unfair. Killing animals is vicious and inhuman. Hurting animals does not help us, our karma, our mind and it does not help the animals. Killing animals serves no benefit and it stunts our spiritual growth. Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
Hunting is a horrible 'sport' because it is not necessary and unfair. Killing animals is vicious and inhuman. Hurting animals does not help us, our karma, our mind and it does not help the animals. Killing animals serves no benefit and it stunts our spiritual growth. Tsem Rinpoche
This is a beautiful Yamantaka
3 weeks ago
This is a beautiful Yamantaka
This is so powerful. This is so true. This is something we must remember about our self worth. We must value ourselves without arrogance.
3 weeks ago
This is so powerful. This is so true. This is something we must remember about our self worth. We must value ourselves without arrogance.
Nothing is for free for sure.
3 weeks ago
Nothing is for free for sure.
Beautiful Dorje Yudroma protector. A gentle Goddess I\'ve had the pleasure to meet via her oracle.
3 weeks ago
Beautiful Dorje Yudroma protector. A gentle Goddess I've had the pleasure to meet via her oracle.
Beautiful Kalachakra painting
3 weeks ago
Beautiful Kalachakra painting
I like this picture of my teacher behind me.
3 weeks ago
I like this picture of my teacher behind me.
This magnificent Dorje Shugden statue is enshrined at Choijin Lama Museum in Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia. The museum was the home of the Choijin Lama, the State Oracle of Mongolia. Choijin Lama was an oracle of the Nechung deity and the brother of the 8th Bogd Khaan Jebzundamba (1869-1924), the de facto leader of Outer Mongolia. - https://palyulmedia.smugmug.com/Worldwide-Palyul/MongoliaConnections/Mongolia-Choijin-Lama-Museum/i-TQ8CmHM
3 weeks ago
This magnificent Dorje Shugden statue is enshrined at Choijin Lama Museum in Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia. The museum was the home of the Choijin Lama, the State Oracle of Mongolia. Choijin Lama was an oracle of the Nechung deity and the brother of the 8th Bogd Khaan Jebzundamba (1869-1924), the de facto leader of Outer Mongolia. - https://palyulmedia.smugmug.com/Worldwide-Palyul/MongoliaConnections/Mongolia-Choijin-Lama-Museum/i-TQ8CmHM
Please download this and share this meme with others. Thanks.
3 weeks ago
Please download this and share this meme with others. Thanks.
Beautiful Tibetan art for FREE download: https://bit.ly/2oxb4qU
3 weeks ago
Beautiful Tibetan art for FREE download: https://bit.ly/2oxb4qU
Sacred Protector Dorje Shugden can help you, if you invoke Him sincerely..
4 weeks ago
Sacred Protector Dorje Shugden can help you, if you invoke Him sincerely..
Now there is a Tsem Rinpoche blog  site in Nepalese language! Check it out:  https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/l/np/
4 weeks ago
Now there is a Tsem Rinpoche blog site in Nepalese language! Check it out: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/l/np/
The Reasons Why People Who Practice Dorje Shugden Do Not Go To the Three Lower Realms- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSBbFiexCCE
1 month ago
The Reasons Why People Who Practice Dorje Shugden Do Not Go To the Three Lower Realms- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSBbFiexCCE
Very interesting blog post that goes along with this depiction of the Yeti. - https://bit.ly/2E43COF
1 month ago
Very interesting blog post that goes along with this depiction of the Yeti. - https://bit.ly/2E43COF
His Holiness Sharpa Choje Rinpoche Jetsun Lobsang Nyima of Gaden Shartse Monastery. He was a supreme master of both Sutra and Tantra. He served as abbot of both Gaden Shartse Monastery as well as Gyuto Tantric college. After serving as abbot of Gyuto Tantric college he entered into a few long term (3 year, 3 month and 3 day) Vajra Yogini retreats in the forest. He completed that long retreat twice and was going to enter it again till he was asked to be abbot of Gaden Shartse Monastery by H.H. the Dalai Lama. He was a great practitioner of Vajra Yogini\'s tantra as well as Dorje Shugden. He was a scholar of the highest renown and he was highly sought after for teachings. He was very devoted to Dorje Shugden throughout his whole life as a pure monk. I was fortunate enough to have him as one of my teachers. Humbly, Tsem Rinpoche

To read more- https://bit.ly/2zW2Grz
1 month ago
His Holiness Sharpa Choje Rinpoche Jetsun Lobsang Nyima of Gaden Shartse Monastery. He was a supreme master of both Sutra and Tantra. He served as abbot of both Gaden Shartse Monastery as well as Gyuto Tantric college. After serving as abbot of Gyuto Tantric college he entered into a few long term (3 year, 3 month and 3 day) Vajra Yogini retreats in the forest. He completed that long retreat twice and was going to enter it again till he was asked to be abbot of Gaden Shartse Monastery by H.H. the Dalai Lama. He was a great practitioner of Vajra Yogini's tantra as well as Dorje Shugden. He was a scholar of the highest renown and he was highly sought after for teachings. He was very devoted to Dorje Shugden throughout his whole life as a pure monk. I was fortunate enough to have him as one of my teachers. Humbly, Tsem Rinpoche To read more- https://bit.ly/2zW2Grz
Beautiful thangka painting of Lord Yamantaka the slayer of ignorance and who bestows supreme wisdom that eradicates all projections.
1 month ago
Beautiful thangka painting of Lord Yamantaka the slayer of ignorance and who bestows supreme wisdom that eradicates all projections.
Kadroma Metsik Nakmo or Dakini Ucchusma who purifies and heals the body.
1 month ago
Kadroma Metsik Nakmo or Dakini Ucchusma who purifies and heals the body.
I am reciting a daily prayer to Dorje Shugden. Here is the youtube link to the audio- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-OSudd323A
1 month ago
I am reciting a daily prayer to Dorje Shugden. Here is the youtube link to the audio- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-OSudd323A
It\'s hard to not fall in love with little cute Pema baby girl. She is so light, happy and wags her tail super fast when she sees us or anyone. Super friendly. She is a heart breaker for sure. Teehee...She is our Kechara Forest Retreat doggie and runs free throughout our sacred land. Her name Pema means lotus. Tsem Rinpoche
2 months ago
It's hard to not fall in love with little cute Pema baby girl. She is so light, happy and wags her tail super fast when she sees us or anyone. Super friendly. She is a heart breaker for sure. Teehee...She is our Kechara Forest Retreat doggie and runs free throughout our sacred land. Her name Pema means lotus. Tsem Rinpoche
My Nepalese boys work hard and I appreciate them. Today we have purchased special foods for them to snack on and also to cook with so they won\'t be so homesick. These foods are all imported from their country. There\'s a street in downtown K.L. that sell all this. So happy to get this for them. Tsem Rinpoche
2 months ago
My Nepalese boys work hard and I appreciate them. Today we have purchased special foods for them to snack on and also to cook with so they won't be so homesick. These foods are all imported from their country. There's a street in downtown K.L. that sell all this. So happy to get this for them. Tsem Rinpoche
I come out of the bathroom to be greeted by the mess the two monsters made...Some more they want snacks! Monster Oser girl and Monster Dharma boy.
2 months ago
I come out of the bathroom to be greeted by the mess the two monsters made...Some more they want snacks! Monster Oser girl and Monster Dharma boy.
This blog post has had amazing response. Since published on July 27, 2018, there has been 114,788 views and still increasing. I am happy to see how this post has made things clearer. Do visit this post here-  https://bit.ly/2MATbGe
2 months ago
This blog post has had amazing response. Since published on July 27, 2018, there has been 114,788 views and still increasing. I am happy to see how this post has made things clearer. Do visit this post here- https://bit.ly/2MATbGe
His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche with his disciple Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche. Beautiful picture.
2 months ago
His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche with his disciple Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche. Beautiful picture.
This monk takes trance of Dorje Shugden and he was happy to receive THE PROMISE book in Tibet
2 months ago
This monk takes trance of Dorje Shugden and he was happy to receive THE PROMISE book in Tibet
Find out about the blessed healing water for health and healing at Kechara Forest Retreat- https://bit.ly/2CtVQNk
2 months ago
Find out about the blessed healing water for health and healing at Kechara Forest Retreat- https://bit.ly/2CtVQNk
This is my ultimate home!!! Blue waters, trees, skies, mountains, house that is open, retreat, meditation, Buddha images and purple flowers. Wow. Such a perfect place for me. Tsem Rinpoche
2 months ago
This is my ultimate home!!! Blue waters, trees, skies, mountains, house that is open, retreat, meditation, Buddha images and purple flowers. Wow. Such a perfect place for me. Tsem Rinpoche
To see other beautiful portrayals of Dorje Shugden, click here: https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
2 months ago
To see other beautiful portrayals of Dorje Shugden, click here: https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
Severed head Vajra Yogini has a brilliant orange body, orange darting eyes, wearing a necklace of freshly cut human heads firmly standing within a wisdom fire emanating from her sacred body reminding us to cut off our self damaging ego. Without the ego, our sufferings cannot survive and our happiness will arise. Tsem Rinpoche
2 months ago
Severed head Vajra Yogini has a brilliant orange body, orange darting eyes, wearing a necklace of freshly cut human heads firmly standing within a wisdom fire emanating from her sacred body reminding us to cut off our self damaging ego. Without the ego, our sufferings cannot survive and our happiness will arise. Tsem Rinpoche
A thought on how to repay the kindness of the guru
2 months ago
A thought on how to repay the kindness of the guru
Very nice old artwork on the Bodha Stupa in Nepal.
2 months ago
Very nice old artwork on the Bodha Stupa in Nepal.
This is quite interesting....
2 months ago
This is quite interesting....
Wonderful statement by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Although Dorje Shugden is not negative, lets hope His Holiness can apply this to the Shugden issue. Then there will be peace.
2 months ago
Wonderful statement by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Although Dorje Shugden is not negative, lets hope His Holiness can apply this to the Shugden issue. Then there will be peace.
Left to right: Tritul Rinpoche, Gaden Tripa Rinpoche, Zong Rinpoche and Tsem Rinpoche in Gaden Shartse Monastic prayer hall during puja.
2 months ago
Left to right: Tritul Rinpoche, Gaden Tripa Rinpoche, Zong Rinpoche and Tsem Rinpoche in Gaden Shartse Monastic prayer hall during puja.
The oracle of Dorje Shugden Choyang Dulzin Kuten of Gaden making offerings to Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche during a teaching in Gaden Shartse Monastery.
2 months ago
The oracle of Dorje Shugden Choyang Dulzin Kuten of Gaden making offerings to Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche during a teaching in Gaden Shartse Monastery.
Their Holinesses Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and Kyabje Zong Rinpoche
2 months ago
Their Holinesses Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and Kyabje Zong Rinpoche
Please click on this picture and see how tragic this is.
2 months ago
Please click on this picture and see how tragic this is.
Advice by His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche- https://bit.ly/2NiryBg
2 months ago
Advice by His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche- https://bit.ly/2NiryBg
Zong Rinpoche and Tsem Rinpoche in 1987 Los Angeles.
2 months ago
Zong Rinpoche and Tsem Rinpoche in 1987 Los Angeles.
Beautiful Yamantaka print
2 months ago
Beautiful Yamantaka print
Beautiful and sacred Vajra Yogini painting for you to download free in high file to print out, frame and place on your shrine or share with friends. May you be blessed. Download here: 
 https://bit.ly/2N5zI02
3 months ago
Beautiful and sacred Vajra Yogini painting for you to download free in high file to print out, frame and place on your shrine or share with friends. May you be blessed. Download here: https://bit.ly/2N5zI02
The Fifth Dalai Lama & Dorje Shugden | ༧གོང་ས་ལྔ་པ་ཆེན་པོ་དང་རྡོ་རྗེ་ཤུགས་ལྡན། | 第五世达赖尊者与多杰雄登---read more--- https://bit.ly/2C65Iwr
3 months ago
The Fifth Dalai Lama & Dorje Shugden | ༧གོང་ས་ལྔ་པ་ཆེན་པོ་དང་རྡོ་རྗེ་ཤུགས་ལྡན། | 第五世达赖尊者与多杰雄登---read more--- https://bit.ly/2C65Iwr
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Videos On The Go

Please click on the images to watch video
  • If there were more schools like this, then our kids would grow up with more caring awareness and kind emotions towards our environment and the people around them. They would grow up knowing that chasing materialism is not going to bring any happiness. I hope very much more schools like this would materialise. I hope in my future life I can attend a school like this. Tsem Rinpoche
    1 week ago
    If there were more schools like this, then our kids would grow up with more caring awareness and kind emotions towards our environment and the people around them. They would grow up knowing that chasing materialism is not going to bring any happiness. I hope very much more schools like this would materialise. I hope in my future life I can attend a school like this. Tsem Rinpoche
  • My Oser girl and Dharma boy in their cosy little bedroom next to me sleeping away. Cute.
    2 weeks ago
    My Oser girl and Dharma boy in their cosy little bedroom next to me sleeping away. Cute.
  • It is incredible how smart Oser girl is. She can steal the treat away from Dharma boy and so casually. Wow. She is so smart. Tsem Rinpoche
    3 weeks ago
    It is incredible how smart Oser girl is. She can steal the treat away from Dharma boy and so casually. Wow. She is so smart. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Kechara Forest Retreat Dogs. Dharma boy is tiny and trying to scare off big boy Johnny. Johnny is so patient and just ignores Dharma. They are both cute and both live in Kechara Forest Retreat-Malaysia. Tsem Rinpoche
    3 weeks ago
    Kechara Forest Retreat Dogs. Dharma boy is tiny and trying to scare off big boy Johnny. Johnny is so patient and just ignores Dharma. They are both cute and both live in Kechara Forest Retreat-Malaysia. Tsem Rinpoche
  • BREAKING EYEWITNESS FOOTAGE: Workers violently punched, kicked, cussed out, & left sheep to die on dozens of Scottish farms 💔 Sheep bled after rough shearing & were stitched up without painkillers.–From Peta2
    3 weeks ago
    BREAKING EYEWITNESS FOOTAGE: Workers violently punched, kicked, cussed out, & left sheep to die on dozens of Scottish farms 💔 Sheep bled after rough shearing & were stitched up without painkillers.–From Peta2
  • Super cute seal and so gentle. Must watch this video and realize we are all one. Tsem Rinpoche
    3 weeks ago
    Super cute seal and so gentle. Must watch this video and realize we are all one. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Legendary Heart sings “Stairway to Heaven” in tribute to Led Zeppelin. Incredible tribute and rendition. Everyone is blown away. TR
    4 weeks ago
    Legendary Heart sings “Stairway to Heaven” in tribute to Led Zeppelin. Incredible tribute and rendition. Everyone is blown away. TR
  • In a low-income neighbourhood, this man is growing his own organic produce, and giving extras away for free to neighbours who can’t afford fresh ingredients from the store. Must watch!
    1 month ago
    In a low-income neighbourhood, this man is growing his own organic produce, and giving extras away for free to neighbours who can’t afford fresh ingredients from the store. Must watch!
  • Neat little video
    1 month ago
    Neat little video
  • It is nice to see sangha release animals into the wild. Gen Kunchok Palden and Chodrak contributed to releasing of frogs back into the wild. This is wonderful. Compassion is the mainstay of all spirituality. Tsem Rinpoche
    1 month ago
    It is nice to see sangha release animals into the wild. Gen Kunchok Palden and Chodrak contributed to releasing of frogs back into the wild. This is wonderful. Compassion is the mainstay of all spirituality. Tsem Rinpoche
  • This is a special ‘carpet’ for dogs that you hide their snacks and they have to go digging for it. It is challenging and fun where they use their nose, paws and all to dig and find the snacks in between. This dog play carpet is ordered online. You can see little Zopa baby who is a Kechara resident doggie looking for the snacks in this cute video. She is kept busy and entertained! Tsem Rinpoche
    1 month ago
    This is a special ‘carpet’ for dogs that you hide their snacks and they have to go digging for it. It is challenging and fun where they use their nose, paws and all to dig and find the snacks in between. This dog play carpet is ordered online. You can see little Zopa baby who is a Kechara resident doggie looking for the snacks in this cute video. She is kept busy and entertained! Tsem Rinpoche
  • Kechara Forest Retreat in Bentong, Malaysia’s dog Pema is super adorable and cute. Everyone loves her. She is wearing a Manjushri blessing pendant.
    2 months ago
    Kechara Forest Retreat in Bentong, Malaysia’s dog Pema is super adorable and cute. Everyone loves her. She is wearing a Manjushri blessing pendant.
  • Spontaneous trance in Tibet by powerful healing Protector Dorje Shugden of a monk who usually takes trance.
    2 months ago
    Spontaneous trance in Tibet by powerful healing Protector Dorje Shugden of a monk who usually takes trance.
  • 喀切玛波向詹杜固仁波切献供养
    2 months ago
    喀切玛波向詹杜固仁波切献供养
    喀切玛波护法降神,向詹杜固仁波切献供曼扎及身语意之供养,同时也加持马来西亚克切拉禅修林道场。喀切玛波护法乃古时候的紫玛护法,他是藏地首座佛教寺院桑耶寺的护法神
  • Huge Chenresig statue being built. Very beautiful.
    2 months ago
    Huge Chenresig statue being built. Very beautiful.
  • Sacred Kache Marpo in trance of oracle makes offerings to Tsem Rinpoche and blesses the temple in Kechara Forest Retreat in Malaysia. Kache Marpo in ancient times was known as Tsiu Marpo the great protector of Samye Monastery which is the first monastery of Tibet.
    2 months ago
    Sacred Kache Marpo in trance of oracle makes offerings to Tsem Rinpoche and blesses the temple in Kechara Forest Retreat in Malaysia. Kache Marpo in ancient times was known as Tsiu Marpo the great protector of Samye Monastery which is the first monastery of Tibet.
  • Shugden practice in Tibet strong and growing
    3 months ago
    Shugden practice in Tibet strong and growing
  • It is Tsunmo Nunnery in Tibet. This nunnery all practise Dorje Shugden.
    3 months ago
    It is Tsunmo Nunnery in Tibet. This nunnery all practise Dorje Shugden.
  • Light offerings to the outdoor Buddha Tara shrine in Kechara Forest Retreat, Malaysia at night. Beautiful.
    3 months ago
    Light offerings to the outdoor Buddha Tara shrine in Kechara Forest Retreat, Malaysia at night. Beautiful.
  • Interesting new interview of Boy George where he mentions about his practicing Buddhism- See the clip I snagged for you above. It’s beautiful to see him chanting. Tsem Rinpoche
    4 months ago
    Interesting new interview of Boy George where he mentions about his practicing Buddhism- See the clip I snagged for you above. It’s beautiful to see him chanting. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Dharma boy is always mooching for a free snack! As shown in the video, Dharma gave up real fast and is waiting anxiously for a free snack!
    4 months ago
    Dharma boy is always mooching for a free snack! As shown in the video, Dharma gave up real fast and is waiting anxiously for a free snack!
  • Oser girl is very determined to get the snacks out! Look at how her cute little hands hold onto the ball.
    4 months ago
    Oser girl is very determined to get the snacks out! Look at how her cute little hands hold onto the ball.
  • Yudroma takes trance at Gyuto
    4 months ago
    Yudroma takes trance at Gyuto
    In Dharamsala there is a famous oracle to the Goddess Yudroma. She is the protector of Gyuto Tantric Monastic College. Many monks consult her for guidance. Here she is attending a puja session at Gyuto Tantric Monastic College where she is pleased with the people helping the monastery and takes trance spontaneously to express this. Tsem Rinpoche
  • The Simpsons: Lisa becomes a Buddhist
    4 months ago
    The Simpsons: Lisa becomes a Buddhist
  • Considering getting a tattoo of a Buddha image? Watch this video.
    4 months ago
    Considering getting a tattoo of a Buddha image? Watch this video.
  • Tsem Rinpoche’s personal shrine. May everyone who view the shrine be blessed and have peace.
    4 months ago
    Tsem Rinpoche’s personal shrine. May everyone who view the shrine be blessed and have peace.
  • Very powerful and heartwarming short video about love. A must watch and a must share. Tsem Rinpoche
    4 months ago
    Very powerful and heartwarming short video about love. A must watch and a must share. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Megnath is such a devotee of Bhagawan Dorje Shugden where he brought this protector to many people. Must watch this short video of him with the school kids. Lovely. Tsem Rinpoche
    4 months ago
    Megnath is such a devotee of Bhagawan Dorje Shugden where he brought this protector to many people. Must watch this short video of him with the school kids. Lovely. Tsem Rinpoche
  • My super adorable Oser girl Schnauzer reaching for a carrot on a chair. Her face looks like a stuffed animal toy. Tsem Rinpoche
    4 months ago
    My super adorable Oser girl Schnauzer reaching for a carrot on a chair. Her face looks like a stuffed animal toy. Tsem Rinpoche
  • This is the shrine next to my working table where I sit daily. Tsem Rinpoche
    4 months ago
    This is the shrine next to my working table where I sit daily. Tsem Rinpoche
  • This topic is so hot in many circles right now.
    1 years 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.
    1 years ago
    Chiropractic CHANGES LIFE for teenager with acute PAIN & DEAD LEG.
  • BEAUTIFUL PLACE IN NEW YORK STATE-AMAZING.
    1 years ago
    BEAUTIFUL PLACE IN NEW YORK STATE-AMAZING.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio takes on the meat Industry with real action.
    1 years ago
    Leonardo DiCaprio takes on the meat Industry with real action.
  • Do psychic mediums have messages from beyond?
    1 years ago
    Do psychic mediums have messages from beyond?
  • Lovely gift for my 52nd Birthday. Tsem Rinpoche
    1 years ago
    Lovely gift for my 52nd Birthday. Tsem Rinpoche
  • This 59-year-old chimpanzee was refusing food and ready to die until...
    1 years 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.
    1 years ago
    Bigfoot sighted again and made it to the news.
  • Casper is such a cute and adorable. I like him.
    1 years ago
    Casper is such a cute and adorable. I like him.
  • Dorje Shugden Monastery Amarbayasgalant  Mongolia's Ancient Hidden Gem
    1 years ago
    Dorje Shugden Monastery Amarbayasgalant Mongolia's Ancient Hidden Gem
  • Don't you love Hamburgers? See how 'delicious' it is here!
    1 years 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
    1 years 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.
    1 years 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!!
    1 years ago
    This video went viral and it's a must watch!!
  • SEE HOW THIS ANIMAL SERIAL KILLER HAS NO ISSUE BLUDGEONING THIS DEFENSELESS BEING.
    1 years 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.

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CHAT PICTURES

Big thanks to the cheerful team from GBG Malaysia! With busy lives, it can be really hard to find time to volunteer. However, the benefits of volunteering are enormous to you, your family, and your community. The right match can help you to reduce stress, find friends, reach out to the community, learn new skills, and even advance your career. Giving to others can also help protect your mental and physical health. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
1 hour ago
Big thanks to the cheerful team from GBG Malaysia! With busy lives, it can be really hard to find time to volunteer. However, the benefits of volunteering are enormous to you, your family, and your community. The right match can help you to reduce stress, find friends, reach out to the community, learn new skills, and even advance your career. Giving to others can also help protect your mental and physical health. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Surplus food were distributed to 30 needy families staying around Jalan Sungai. Thank you to all volunteers ! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
5 hours ago
Surplus food were distributed to 30 needy families staying around Jalan Sungai. Thank you to all volunteers ! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Are you Ready??? Stay tuned on "KSDS Graduation Day" 18/11/18 9am At Kechara House. KSDS Together We Care. By Asyley Chia KSDS
yesterday
Are you Ready??? Stay tuned on "KSDS Graduation Day" 18/11/18 9am At Kechara House. KSDS Together We Care. By Asyley Chia KSDS
Are you Ready??? Stay tuned on "KSDS Graduation Day" 18/11/18 9am At Kechara House. KSDS Together We Care. By Asyley Chia KSDS
yesterday
Are you Ready??? Stay tuned on "KSDS Graduation Day" 18/11/18 9am At Kechara House. KSDS Together We Care. By Asyley Chia KSDS
Are you Ready??? Stay tuned on "KSDS Graduation Day" 18/11/18 9am At Kechara House. KSDS Together We Care. By Asyley Chia KSDS
yesterday
Are you Ready??? Stay tuned on "KSDS Graduation Day" 18/11/18 9am At Kechara House. KSDS Together We Care. By Asyley Chia KSDS
Are you Ready??? Stay tuned on "KSDS Graduation Day" 18/11/18 9am At Kechara House. KSDS Together We Care. By Asyley Chia KSDS
yesterday
Are you Ready??? Stay tuned on "KSDS Graduation Day" 18/11/18 9am At Kechara House. KSDS Together We Care. By Asyley Chia KSDS
2 days ago
4 days ago
KSDS - Pilgrimage cum Camp 2018 We will be organising KSDS very first family pilgrimage cum camp this 24th and ‪25th November‬ 2018 (Saturday and Sunday). Don’t miss this opportunity to have a Family Getaway in the holy place of Kechara Forest Retreat.by Asyley Chia KSDS
5 days ago
KSDS - Pilgrimage cum Camp 2018 We will be organising KSDS very first family pilgrimage cum camp this 24th and ‪25th November‬ 2018 (Saturday and Sunday). Don’t miss this opportunity to have a Family Getaway in the holy place of Kechara Forest Retreat.by Asyley Chia KSDS
What's so happening at Kechara House? Rehearsal for Graduation Day on this coming Sunday 18/11/18. Stay tuned.KSDS Together We Care.By Asyley Chia KSDS
5 days ago
What's so happening at Kechara House? Rehearsal for Graduation Day on this coming Sunday 18/11/18. Stay tuned.KSDS Together We Care.By Asyley Chia KSDS
What's so happening at Kechara House? Rehearsal for Graduation Day on this coming Sunday 18/11/18. Stay tuned.KSDS Together We Care.By Asyley Chia KSDS
5 days ago
What's so happening at Kechara House? Rehearsal for Graduation Day on this coming Sunday 18/11/18. Stay tuned.KSDS Together We Care.By Asyley Chia KSDS
What's so happening at Kechara House? Rehearsal for Graduation Day on this coming Sunday 18/11/18. Stay tuned.KSDS Together We Care.By Asyley Chia KSDS
5 days ago
What's so happening at Kechara House? Rehearsal for Graduation Day on this coming Sunday 18/11/18. Stay tuned.KSDS Together We Care.By Asyley Chia KSDS
What's so happening at Kechara House? Rehearsal for Graduation Day on this coming Sunday 18/11/18. Stay tuned.KSDS Together We Care.By Asyley Chia KSDS
5 days ago
What's so happening at Kechara House? Rehearsal for Graduation Day on this coming Sunday 18/11/18. Stay tuned.KSDS Together We Care.By Asyley Chia KSDS
What's so happening at Kechara House? Rehearsal for Graduation Day on this coming Sunday 18/11/18. Stay tuned.KSDS Together We Care.By Asyley Chia KSDS
5 days ago
What's so happening at Kechara House? Rehearsal for Graduation Day on this coming Sunday 18/11/18. Stay tuned.KSDS Together We Care.By Asyley Chia KSDS
What's so happening at Kechara House? Rehearsal for Graduation Day on this coming Sunday 18/11/18. Stay tuned.KSDS Together We Care.By Asyley Chia KSDS
5 days ago
What's so happening at Kechara House? Rehearsal for Graduation Day on this coming Sunday 18/11/18. Stay tuned.KSDS Together We Care.By Asyley Chia KSDS
What's so happening at Kechara House? Rehearsal for Graduation Day on this coming Sunday 18/11/18. Stay tuned.KSDS Together We Care.By Asyley Chia KSDS
5 days ago
What's so happening at Kechara House? Rehearsal for Graduation Day on this coming Sunday 18/11/18. Stay tuned.KSDS Together We Care.By Asyley Chia KSDS
What's so happening at Kechara House? Rehearsal for Graduation Day on this coming Sunday 18/11/18. Stay tuned.KSDS Together We Care.By Asyley Chia KSDS
5 days ago
What's so happening at Kechara House? Rehearsal for Graduation Day on this coming Sunday 18/11/18. Stay tuned.KSDS Together We Care.By Asyley Chia KSDS
What's so happening at Kechara House? Rehearsal for Graduation Day on this coming Sunday 18/11/18. Stay tuned.KSDS Together We Care.By Asyley Chia KSDS
5 days ago
What's so happening at Kechara House? Rehearsal for Graduation Day on this coming Sunday 18/11/18. Stay tuned.KSDS Together We Care.By Asyley Chia KSDS
What's so happening at Kechara House? Rehearsal for Graduation Day on this coming Sunday 18/11/18. Stay tuned.KSDS Together We Care.By Asyley Chia KSDS
5 days ago
What's so happening at Kechara House? Rehearsal for Graduation Day on this coming Sunday 18/11/18. Stay tuned.KSDS Together We Care.By Asyley Chia KSDS
What's so happening at Kechara House? Rehearsal for Graduation Day on this coming Sunday 18/11/18. Stay tuned.KSDS Together We Care.By Asyley Chia KSDS
5 days ago
What's so happening at Kechara House? Rehearsal for Graduation Day on this coming Sunday 18/11/18. Stay tuned.KSDS Together We Care.By Asyley Chia KSDS
What's so happening at Kechara House? Rehearsal for Graduation Day on this coming Sunday 18/11/18. Stay tuned.KSDS Together We Care.By Asyley Chia KSDS
5 days ago
What's so happening at Kechara House? Rehearsal for Graduation Day on this coming Sunday 18/11/18. Stay tuned.KSDS Together We Care.By Asyley Chia KSDS
What's so happening at Kechara House? Rehearsal for Graduation Day on this coming Sunday 18/11/18. Stay tuned.KSDS Together We Care.By Asyley Chia KSDS
5 days ago
What's so happening at Kechara House? Rehearsal for Graduation Day on this coming Sunday 18/11/18. Stay tuned.KSDS Together We Care.By Asyley Chia KSDS
What's so happening at Kechara House? Rehearsal for Graduation Day on this coming Sunday 18/11/18. Stay tuned.KSDS Together We Care.By Asyley Chia KSDS
5 days ago
What's so happening at Kechara House? Rehearsal for Graduation Day on this coming Sunday 18/11/18. Stay tuned.KSDS Together We Care.By Asyley Chia KSDS
What's so happening at Kechara House? Rehearsal for Graduation Day on this coming Sunday 18/11/18. Stay tuned.KSDS Together We Care.By Asyley Chia KSDS
5 days ago
What's so happening at Kechara House? Rehearsal for Graduation Day on this coming Sunday 18/11/18. Stay tuned.KSDS Together We Care.By Asyley Chia KSDS
What's so happening at Kechara House? Rehearsal for Graduation Day on this coming Sunday 18/11/18. Stay tuned.KSDS Together We Care.By Asyley Chia KSDS
5 days ago
What's so happening at Kechara House? Rehearsal for Graduation Day on this coming Sunday 18/11/18. Stay tuned.KSDS Together We Care.By Asyley Chia KSDS
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Dorje Shugden
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