Emperor Ashoka the Great

Aug 16, 2016 | Views: 17,585
Emperor Ashoka the Great

Emperor Ashoka the Great

(By Tsem Rinpoche and P. Prashant)

Dear readers,

I am thrilled to have been given this opportunity to write about Emperor Ashoka the Great. During his early reign, he was a fierce ruler and yet he was able to change his way in later life and became a compassionate ruler. This is inspiring in itself because change can be a difficult thing to do, especially when you are habituated to do and think in a certain way. For this reason, I admire his resolve and courage to stop the cycle of war and violence.

Although India is no longer a Buddhist country, the results of Emperor Ashoka’s considerable effort and dedication in spreading the Dharma to neighboring countries can still be felt. I hope you will find this article exciting and informative on the life, works and accomplishments of this great ruler. Enjoy and be inspired by Emperor Ashoka!

Sincerely,
P. Prashant

 


 

ASHOKA THE GREAT

Emperor Ashoka, also known as ‘Ashoka the Great’, was the third ruler of the Mauryan Empire, and many consider him to be one of the greatest rulers in Indian history. H.G. Wells, a 20th century English writer, called him the ‘Greatest of Kings.’

During Emperor Ashoka’s reign, India had a relatively well-managed government system. The reign of Emperor Ashoka is considered to be one of the most glorious periods in Indian history. During the first part of his reign, he worked systematically to consolidate and expand his empire. He ruled over the entire Indian subcontinent, except for the southernmost parts (i.e., Tamil Nadu and Kerala). During the later part of his reign, he is largely credited and admired for spreading the message of Buddhism and peace in many parts of the world. Although Buddhism faded in India after his death, it continued to flourish and spread in other parts of the world, primarily in East and Southeast Asia.

Emperor Bindusara Maurya

Emperor Bindusara Maurya

Emperor Ashoka remained ambitious and fearsome until the annexation of Kalinga, a feudal republic located on the coast of the present day Indian state of Odisha and northern parts of Andhra Pradesh. The war to occupy Kalinga was considered the bloodiest and most lethal that Emperor Ashoka had ever waged. The massive loss of lives and damage left him shattered and regretful, which ultimately caused him to transform from a fierce and vengeful ruler to a peaceful and benevolent emperor. He is said to have constructed approximately 84,000 stupas and pillars across his empire during his lifetime. The most significant of these are the Ashoka Pillars that contain the image of the Lion Capital of Ashoka, which is now regarded as India’s national emblem, and the Ashoka Chakras, inscribed on many of his stone inscriptions.

 

ASHOKA’S FAMILY AND CHILDHOOD

Our knowledge about the history of his reign is based on inscriptions engraved on rocks and pillars, many of which still can be seen today. However, these inscriptions do not provide much information about his early life. For this we have to depend solely on Buddhist texts like the Divyavadana and Ceylonese chronicles like Avadana, Dipavamsa and Mahavamsa to obtain the information regarding his early life.

Ashoka (304 – 232 BCE) was born in the town of Pataliputra and was given the name Devanampriya Priyadarshi Samrat Ashoka. He was born to the second emperor of the Mauryan Dynasty, Emperor Bindusara and his relatively lower ranking wife, Shubhadrangi also known as Maharani Dharma, as stated in the Avadana text. By the virtue of his parenting, he was the grandson of the Founder of the Mauryan Dynasty, Chandragupta Maurya. According to the Ashokavadana, an Indian text in Sanskrit that describes the birth and reign of the Emperor Ashoka, Shubhadrangi was the daughter of a Brahmin from the city of Champa. The legend says that through palace intrigue she was initially kept away from Emperor Bindusara. However, she eventually gained access to him and was able to bear him a son. It is from her exclamation “I am now without sorrow” that Ashoka got his name which means “painless, without sorrow” in the ancient Sanskrit language.

Emperor Chandragupta Maurya

Emperor Chandragupta Maurya

Ashoka’s father, Emperor Bindusara (b. 320 – 273 BCE), was the son of Emperor Chandragupta Maurya and one of his wives, Durdhara. She died giving birth to Bindusara. When she was pregnant, she ate with her husband, the emperor. Durdhara was not informed that the food eaten by Emperor Chandragupta always had a controlled amount of poison to build up his immunity towards being poisoned. The poison was added to the food by his Chief Minister, Chanakya, as a precautionary measure to protect Emperor Chandragupta because he had many enemies, and many attempts were made to poison him. Therefore, when Durdhara ate the same food as the emperor, she did not have the immune system to neutralise the poison and her body reacted negatively. Before she took her last breath, Chanakya who had mastered Ayurveda knowledge and skills, removed Bindusara from his mother’s womb by performing a cesarean section. Durdhara died after giving birth to Bindusara.

A depiction of Chanakya.

Chanakya, the famous minister of both Emperor Chandragupta and Bindusara’s courts

Emperor Chandragupta Maurya left his son, Bindusara, a large and extensive empire. Bindusara was enthroned in 298 BCE. Chanakya was the most famous minister under Chandragupta’s rule, and he continued to be one of the principal ministers during Emperor Bindusara’s reign. Chanakya further extended the Mauryan Empire during the reign of Emperor Bindusara Maurya. The Empire is said to have extended from the east to the west and can be explained by the fact that it stretched from the eastern sea in Bengal to the western sea in Saurashtra.

Like his father, Emperor Bindusara Maurya also maintained good diplomatic relations with the Greek rulers and his step grandfather Selecus Nicator, a former general of Alexander the Great. He also shared cordial relations with his step uncle, the Syrian King, and the Egyptian rulers. Scholars from Egypt and Syria lived in his palace as ambassadors. Emperor Bindusara was passionate about culture and philosophy. He is believed to have been tolerant of all religious sects and saints of various religions visited his court. Ashoka might have learnt from the very men who graced his father’s court.

Ashoka had several elder siblings, all of whom were his half-brothers from the other wives of Emperor Bindusara, who had 16 wives and approximately 101 sons. The name of his eldest son is said to have been Susima and the name of the youngest son was Tishya.

Selecus Nicator

Selecus Nicator

Having been born into a royal family, Emperor Ashoka received extensive royal military training, and he was believed to be the most intelligent among the many sons of his father. He was intellectual, energetic, fearless, strong, fought well and possessed great military skills. He also excelled in hunting, which was evident from his ability to kill a lion with only a wooden rod. It was because of these attributes that Ashoka is said to have been the favorite of his grandfather, Emperor Chandragupta. According to legend, Ashoka recovered Chandragupta’s sword after he cast it away prior to embarking on the life of a Jain ascetic.

 

ASHOKA’S LIFE BEFORE ENTHRONEMENT

The depiction of Emperor Ashoka during his younger days.

A depiction of Emperor Ashoka during his younger days

Ashoka grew to become an extraordinary warrior and a shrewd statesman. He commanded several regiments of the Mauryan army. His growing popularity across the Mauryan Empire made his elder brothers feel insecure about their chances of becoming the next king. In a feeble attempt to end Ashoka’s life in war, or to destroy his reputation through failure, Prince Susima, the eldest son and crown prince to the throne, asked their father Emperor Bindusara to assign Ashoka on a mission to quell an uprising in the city of Taxila in the Northwestern province of Sindh. Ironically, Susima was actually the governor of this city. Susima and his officials did not govern Taxila well, and this caused civil unrest.

The ruin of Taxila.

The ruin of Taxila

Because Susima’s mother was a princess, Susima was King Bindusara’s favorite son. By comparison, Ashoka’s mother was a commoner by birth and King Bindusara is said to have not liked Ashoka very much initially. Perhaps it was because of this reason that Bindusara accepted Susima’s suggestion and commanded Ashoka to quell the uprising in Taxila. Ashoka, being the fearless war general that he was, complied with his father’s request. Upon hearing the news that Ashoka and his army were coming, the militias surprisingly welcomed him and almost immediately ended the uprising without a fight.

Ashoka’s success made Emperor Bindusara’s many sons wary of his intentions of succeeding the throne, and once again Susima suggested to Emperor Bindusara to send Ashoka away. This time he was sent into exile in Kalinga. During his stay there, he fell in love with a fisherwoman named Karuvaki who, according to inscriptions that were found recently, became Ashoka’s second or third wife.

Maharani Devi: First Queen of Ashoka the Great

Maharani Devi: First Queen of Ashoka the Great

After Ashoka was exiled for two years, a violent uprising broke out in Ujjain. King Bindusara sent Ashoka and his generals to quell the uprising there. Although Ashoka was injured during battle, his generals managed to complete the task successfully. After his injury, Ashoka was treated by Buddhist monks (bhikshus) and nuns (bhikshunis) in hiding to prevent those loyal to Susima from harming him. This is where he first learnt of Buddha’s teachings. He had a personal nurse, Devi, who was a merchant’s daughter from the famous Shakya clan. Her full name was Mahadevi Shakya Kumari and she was born in Vidisa. Ashoka grew fond of Devi and married her.

Emperor Bindusara disliked the fact that Ashoka married a Buddhist and thus forbade Ashoka to stay in Pataliputra. He sent him back to Ujjain with the title of Provincial Governor. Emperor Bindusara’s dislike of Ashoka’s marriage was most likely due to Buddhism’s rejection of the caste system. This rejection was considered to be socially dangerous, with the potential to destabilise the status quo and therefore seen as a threat to the monarchy. Buddhism also denied the authority and roles of the Brahmins, which are the highest class of Hindu society. As a result, Buddhists were seen as undermining India’s social system.

 

EMPEROR ASHOKA’S FAMILY & PRIVATE LIFE

When Emperor Ashoka was 20 years old, one of his wives, Maharani Devi gave birth to twins, a son named Mahendra and a daughter named Sanghamitta. Later, both Mahendra and Sanghamitta contributed and played a great role in the spread of Buddhism after their father sent them to preach Buddhism outside India.

Emperor Ashoka had several wives although the exact number is unclear. There are references to at least three empresses in the chronicles and Buddhist texts like the Mahavamsa and Divyavadana. Emperor Ashoka’s Chief Empress for most of his reign was Empress Asandhimittra who passed away four years before King Ashoka’s own passing. Upon the passing of Empress Asandhimittra, Tissarakkha was given the position of Chief Empress. It is said that this empress had a very great influence on Ashoka.

The second empress of Ashoka was Karuvaki, the mother of Trivara as mentioned in the Empress’s edict. Another Empress referred to in the Divyavadana as his third wife was Padmavati who was the mother of the crown prince Kunala, also known as Dharma-vivardhana. The Chinese Buddhist monk, Faxian, who travelled from China to India by foot on a mission to acquire Buddhist texts, also mentioned Dharma-vivardhana, who was the Viceroy of Gandhara, to be the son of Emperor Ashoka. From Rajatarangini, a historical chronicle, we can find references to the other sons of Emperor Ashoka, Jalauka and Tivara, who were the sons of Empress Karuvaki. From the information given, it is reasonable to believe that although Emperor Ashoka was a Buddhist, he had a number of empresses and concubines.

There is little information available concerning Emperor Ashoka’s private life and habits. From Rock Edict 6, we have an indirect reference as to how he would spend his time when he was not attending to official business. When a certain Dr Bhandarkar, an Indian scholar, was analysing the information found in Rock Edict 6, he noted that in Emperor Ashoka’s moments of leisure, when he was not asleep, he could be found at his capital either regaling the dining hall or engaging with his wives and concubines. Emperor Ashoka also enjoyed riding his horse or simply passing time in the orchard. From one of his edicts it is known that he even controlled the slaughter of animals by only permitting two peacocks and one deer to be killed for his royal meals. This gives us an idea of the kind of food that gratified his royal palate.

As an Emperor, before his conversion into Buddhism, Ashoka seemed to have done what the rulers of ancient India would do. He entertained his subjects by continuing the tradition of Samajas. The Samajas consisted of entertaining people with a banquet feast with meat dishes. Other Samajas consisted of dancing, music and wrestling, which were performed in an amphitheatre. Hunting was also a big part of the entertainment. According to Nilkanta Sastri, an Indian historian who wrote on South Indian history, these Samajas were unquestionably a diplomatic method of keeping the people pleased and satisfied. However, such Samajas were all stopped after Ashoka embraced Buddhism.

 

RISE TO POWER

According to the Mahavamsa, Ashoka was in Ujjain when he heard the news concerning his father’s ill health and he hurried towards the capital city of Pataliputra. There he killed 99 of his brothers, except the youngest, Tishya in order to become the new emperor. According to one legend, Ashoka was portrayed as a person with a bad temper and wicked nature. He was said to have built “Ashoka’s Hell”, an elaborate torture chamber disguised as a beautiful palace, which earned him the name of Chanda Ashoka (meaning Ashoka the Fierce).

Depiction of Ashoka’s Hell.

Ashoka’s Hell

Historically, there was a four-year gap between Emperor Bindusara’s death in 273 BCE and Emperor Ashoka’s coronation in 269 BCE. This leads historians to believe that Emperor Bindusara’s death led to a power struggle amongst his sons. According to the Divyavadana, Emperor Bindusara wanted his son Susima to succeed him but Ashoka was supported by his father’s ministers, who found Susima to be arrogant and disrespectful towards them. Ashoka managed to rise to the throne with the support of Emperor Bindusara’s ministers, headed by his Chief Minister Radhagupta (also known as Khallataka).

According to several inscriptions, which were erected long after his coronation, Emperor Ashoka referred to his ‘brothers and sisters’ and other relatives for whose welfare he was most concerned. Inscriptional evidence also indirectly suggests that some of his brothers served as his viceroys in important places such as Taxila, Tosali, Ujjayini and Suvaranagiri and what is more, they were addressed as the Kumaras and Aryaputras. According to the Mahavamsa, Ashoka even appointed his youngest brother Tishya as the Uparaja or the Deputy King. Therefore, the Buddhist legends about his cruelty and the killing of his 99 brothers do not seem to possess much historical substance.

 

The Reign of King Ashoka

Ashoka pursued a policy of expansion for the Mauryan Empire, following the ideal of his predecessors. Eight years after ascending the throne, Emperor Ashoka significantly expanded his empire. It grew from the present-day boundaries of Bangladesh and the Indian state of Assam in the east side, to the present-day territories of Afghanistan and Iran in the west. The empire also grew from the Palmir Knots in the north to the most peninsular part of Southern India. This would be recorded as the greatest geographical expansion of the Mauryan Empire.

The Conquests of Chandragupta, Bindusara and Ashoka.

The Conquests of Emperors Chandragupta, Bindusara and Ashoka. Click on image to enlarge.

Despite the mighty size of this Empire which was built by three successive generations of the Mauryan Emperors (i.e., Chandragupta, Bindusara and Ashoka), it did not include a prominent kingdom which was adjacent to the epicentre of the Mauryan Empire (i.e., Magadha or Kalinga). For eight years after the coronation, Emperor Ashoka ruled his empire with an iron fist. He was perceived to be a strong ruler and lived the usual life of a great emperor with pomp, splendour and pleasure. He did not fight external wars, even though he had the power for aggression. He also had no threat or fear of invasion from the Greek kings with whom he had good diplomatic relations dating back to the time of his father.

During the first 12 years of his reign, Emperor Ashoka was occupied with internal administrative work. His position only grew stronger after his coronation. At the time when Emperor Ashoka enjoyed absolute imperial authority, he gained confidence and decided make a move to annex Kalinga. At that time, Emperor Ashoka commanded the largest army of his time consisting of 600,000 infantry, 30,000 cavalry and 9,000 war elephants.

In 265 BCE, Emperor Ashoka waged war against Kalinga, a state that prided itself on its sovereignty and democracy. This war lasted two years between 265 BCE and 263 BCE, and is famously known as the Conquest of Kalinga. The cause and pretext of the war is uncertain but it was most likely purely territorial. Kalinga occupied a strategic position controlling the routes to South India by land and sea. However, there is speculation that his brothers fled to Kalinga and were granted refugee status, which angered Emperor Ashoka greatly. With the advice, support and urging of his ministers, he waged war on Kalinga to take revenge for their treacherous act.

Emperor Ashoka asked Kalinga’s royalty to submit to the Mauryan Empire’s supremacy but they defied him. Emperor Ashoka went on to send one of his generals to force them to submit, but instead his general and his forces were outsmarted and defeated by Kalinga’s leader who was a brilliant and skilled tactician. Emperor Ashoka was shocked and perhaps humiliated by this defeat. In his anger, he launched the greatest invasion ever recorded in Indian history at that time. Kalinga managed to put up a fight, but they were ultimately defeated by Emperor Ashoka’s massive army. The entire kingdom of Kalinga was destroyed and resulted in approximately 100,000 casualties on the Kalinga side, and 10,000 casualties on the Mauryan side. Although this war caused incredible human suffering, it was also Emperor Ashoka’s final war.

 

CONVERSION TO BUDDHISM

The Battle of Kalingga.

The Battle of Kalingga

In his Rock Edict 13, Emperor Ashoka referred to the Conquest of Kalinga and the resulting great loss of lives. The Rock Edict reads, “One hundred and fifty thousand persons were captured, one hundred thousand were killed and many times that number perished.” The destructive nature of the Kalinga war created an emotional shock in Emperor Ashoka. He regretted the fact that he was responsible for so much suffering of fellow human beings. Upon seeing firsthand the damage this war has caused, Emperor Ashoka was deeply regretful and he cried out the famous sentence, “What have I done?”

While Ashoka was this penitent mood, he met the Buddhist monk Upagupta who taught him the Dharma and the teachings touched his heart. He converted to Buddhism and embraced their concept of non-violence, vowing to serve all human beings. This change of heart that Emperor Ashoka experienced was eventually reflected in his internal and foreign policies.

Emperor Ashoka’s decision to abandon the policy of war made it possible for some states in the south to maintain their independence. He then went on to pursue a policy of friendship towards all nations of the time. He used his position as Emperor to spread the relatively new teachings of Buddhism as far as Ancient Rome and Alexandria, Egypt.

Around 260 BCE, Emperor Ashoka declared Buddhism to be the state religion and started the Vibhajyavada School of Buddhism. Vibhajya means ‘dividing or analysing’ and Vada means ‘doctrine or meaning’.

The Vibhajyavadins, meaning “those who make distinctions”, were the followers of Buddhist Schools founded by Emperor Ashoka. They have a strong presence in South India where they called themselves Theravadans. They rejected the claims of Sarvastivada, an earlier school of Buddhism, that all Dharmas exist in the past, present and future. Instead the Vibhajyavadins made a distinction between Dharmas that exist and Dharmas that do not exist. Their standpoints were formulated by Moggaliputtatissa, a Buddhist monk and one of Ashoka’s spiritual teachers. It is also listed in a Buddhist scripture known as Kathavatthu, one of the seven books in the Theravada Abhidhamma Pitaka, which is a branch of Buddhism that uses the teachings of the Pali Canon, also known as the most complete of the early Buddhist canons.

 

ANOTHER VERSION OF EMPEROR ASHOKA’S CONVERSION TO BUDDHISM

Another account of Emperor Ashoka’s conversion to Buddhism is recorded in the Ashokavadana. The text does not refer to the Battle of Kalinga and appears to be more mythical than the previous historical reference. It does, however, contain interesting details about Emperor Ashoka’s practice of Buddhism.

In this text, a Buddhist monk named Samudra appears at what he thought was a palace in Emperor Ashoka’s capital but in reality, it was a new building dedicated to the ‘art of execution’. The young monk, Samudra who was begging for alms became a potential victim of the palace’s guardian, Chandagirika who was to kill whoever stepped through the door. Chandagirika liked to torture and kill, and had already callously dispatched his own parents. Chandagirika agreed to a seven-day delay when the monk Samudra, who feared death, begged him for mercy.

Meanwhile, another youth and one of the women of the royal household caused some offence to Chandagirika, who immediately ordered their execution. He then had their bodies crushed with pestles in an iron mortar before Samudra. While witnessing this horrible execution, Samudra suddenly realised the truth of the Buddha’s teaching of impermanence and became an arhat (liberated being).

The next morning, the time of his execution arrived but Samudra was calm and not afraid. He said to Chandagirika, “True, my night of ignorance has cleared and the sun of my good fortune is at its height. You may do as you wish, my friend.” The executioner was quite unmoved and threw Samudra into a cauldron of water mixed with blood. However, as hard as Chandagirika tried to light a fire underneath the cauldron, it would not light. Looking into the cauldron, he was amazed to see Samudra calmly sitting in the lotus position. He immediately went to find Emperor Ashoka to show him this miracle, together with hundreds of his subjects. Samudra realised that the time had ripened for Emperor Ashoka to receive Buddhist teachings, which the text explains:

Miraculously, Samudra floated up in the air and stunned Ashoka.
For from half his body water poured down;
from the other half fire blazed forth;
Raining and flaming, he shone in the sky.
Ashoka folded his hands and asked to be initiated into the mysteries of the Dharma.

After the event, Emperor Ashoka converted to Buddhism and became a lay-devotee (upasaka). Samudra informed Ashoka that Buddha Shakyamuni had predicted that the Emperor would build 84,000 stupas to contain his bodily relics. He was supposed to fulfil this prophecy but instead, the Emperor had built a Palace of Execution. Emperor Ashoka then begged for forgiveness and took the three refuge vows by which one becomes a Buddhist (Refuge in the Three Jewels – the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha). He also pledged to build stupas to house the Buddha’s sacred relics. Then the monk Samudra vanished.

As Emperor Ashoka was about to leave himself, his executioner challenged him that his boon had not been granted, and that he still had the right to execute the first person who had entered the Palace. Surprised that his servant apparently intended to execute his master, Emperor Ashoka responded that since Chandagirika had in fact entered before him, he was the one who should die. Chandagirika was duly executed and the palace of horrors (described as hell in the text) was destroyed.

The text continues with the story of how Emperor Ashoka recovered the relics from eight stupas that were built previously, and constructed the new stupas as he had promised. On one occasion, in order to earn some merit, he traveled throughout his realm incognito as a mendicant and experienced the lifestyle of a monk. The phrase yam me samghe upeti, which translates as “going to the Sangha”, has led some scholars to claim that Emperor Ashoka was a full-time mendicant but it probably implies that he visited and spent time listening to the monks. It is said that Emperor Ashoka venerated monks and he donated generously to the Sangha.

Both versions of the story regarding Emperor Ashoka’s conversion to Buddhism record that he had a change of heart that involved the repudiation of slaughter, and the development of a commitment to peace and the precepts of Buddhism.

Diodotus I

Diodotus I

Some historians have interpreted Emperor Ashoka’s transformation to be a ruse, and accuse him of being afraid of more war. However, among his neighboring kingdoms including the Seleucid Empire and the Greco-Bactrian kingdom established by Diodotus I, none could match the military strength of the Mauryan Empire. Ashoka reigned during the same period as both Antiochus I Soter and his successor, Antiochus II Theos, of the Seleucid dynasty as well as Diodotus I and his son Diodotus II of the Greco-Bactrian kingdom. His inscriptions and edicts state that he was familiar with the Hellenic world and some of them were even written in Greek, but he was never in awe of this part of the world. His edicts, which talk of his friendly relations, include the names of both Antiochus of the Seleucid Empire and Ptolemy III of Egypt. The Mauryan Empire had been famous since the time Emperor Chandragupta Maurya defeated Selecus Nicator, the founder of the Seleucid Dynasty. Another indication of the relationship between the Mauryan Empire and Greece can be found in the works of Greek historians who wrote about the Empire’s history. As a result of Alexander the Great’s imperial and cultural projects, the Indian and the Hellenic world were now linked.

Emperor Ashoka undoubtedly deserves the credit for making the first serious attempt to develop governmental policies that were based on Buddhist teachings, effectively putting into practice the Buddha’s own advice on kingship and governance that were contained in the Dasa Raja Dharma (Buddhist principles for leaders to abide by), including the following ten precepts :

  • To be liberal and avoid selfishness
  • To be a person of high moral character
  • To be prepared to sacrifice one’s own pleasure for the well-being of one’s subjects
  • To be honest and maintain absolute integrity
  • To be kind and gentle
  • To set an example by leading a simple life for the subjects to emulate
  • To be free from hatred of any kind
  • To exercise non-violent means
  • To practice patience
  • To respect public opinion to promote peace and harmony

Emperor Ashoka published 14 edicts as the basis on his new policies. These are:

  1. No living being was to be slaughtered or sacrificed
  2. Humans and animals were to be provided medical care throughout his territory
  3. Every five years the monks would tour the empire to teach the Dharma
  4. Everyone should respect their parents, priests and monks
  5. Prisoners must be treated humanely
  6. Concerns regarding the welfare of his people must be reported to him at all times no matter where he was or what he was doing
  7. Since all religions desire self-control and purity of heart, everyone is welcome
  8. He preferred to give to monks, Brahmins and to the needy than to receive gifts from others
  9. Reverence for the Dharma and a proper attitude towards teachers is better than marriage or other worldly celebrations
  10. Glory and fame meant nothing if his people did not respect the Dharma
  11. Giving the Dharma to others is the best gift anyone could have
  12. Whoever praises his own religion due to excessive devotion, and condemns others with the thought ‘Let me glorify my own religion’ only harms his own religion. Therefore, contact (between religions) was encouraged
  13. Conquering through the Dharma was superior to conquering by force but if conquest by force was to be carried out, it should be done so with forbearance and light punishment
  14. He had his edicts written so that people might act accordingly

Emperor Ashoka replaced conquest by force with what he called “conquest by righteousness” (dhammavijaya). He was possibly the first emperor to renounce violence, yet he remained an influential and powerful ruler during his reign.

 

THE SPREADING OF BUDDHISM

Emperor Ashoka sent a branch of Bodhi Tree to Ceylon via his daughter, Sanghamitta.

Emperor Ashoka sent a branch of Bodhi Tree to Ceylon via his daughter, Sanghamitta

Emperor Ashoka is mainly remembered in the ancient texts as the patron of Buddhism. His son, Venerable Mahendra, and daughter, Sanghamitta, a nun whose name means ‘friend of the Sangha’, were also proponents of this cause. They established Buddhism in Ceylon (present day Sri Lanka) and took copies of the Pali Canon of Buddhist scripture (the Tipitaka) with them, which was rectified by the 3rd Buddhist Council presided over by their father. Emperor Ashoka built thousands of stupas and Viharas (monasteries / temples) for Buddhist followers. Some of his missionary monks may even have been Greek. One of Emperor Ashoka’s stupas, the Sanchi Stupa, is famous worldwide.

Sanchi Stupa

Sanchi Stupa

Emperor Ashoka pursued a policy of ahimsa (non-violence). He passed laws against hunting animals and branding, effectively ending unnecessary animal slaughter and mutilation. Even though he promoted the concept of vegetarianism, he permitted limited hunting for consumption purposes as a testament to his tolerance for the beliefs of others. He showed mercy to prisoners by allowing them one day of freedom per year. Universities were built to allow everyone, both men and women, to have access to education. He built water transit and irrigation systems to support agriculture and trade. His subjects were treated as equals, regardless of their caste, political views or religion. His neighbouring kingdoms, which he could have easily conquered, were made into allies.

Emperor Ashoka is credited for constructing veterinary hospitals and renovating major roads throughout India. After his transformation, Emperor Ashoka came to be known as Dhammashoka meaning ‘Ashoka, the follower of Dharma’ in Sanskrit. Emperor Ashoka adopted the main principles of the Dharma. These principles suggested a general ethic of behavior to which no religious or social group could object. Indeed, from his 12th edict, Ashoka appears to have pioneered not only inter-religious dialogue but also the concept that all religions share common values which are virtuous.

Mahendra before leaving for Ceylon.

Mahendra before leaving for Ceylon

Besides spreading Buddhist values throughout his own land, Emperor Ashoka also sent missionaries to other countries. According to one of his rock edicts, he sent envoys to various Mediterranean countries such as Syria, Egypt and Macedonia, which were ruled by the Greeks at that time. However, no record exists of the results that these envoys brought.

On the other hand, Ceylon was very receptive to the mission led by Mahendra. Sri Lanka was converted and regarded as the place of the subsequent spread of the Buddhadharma. The Buddhist chronicles kept in Sri Lanka, like the Mahavamsa and Dipavamsa, provide us with information about Ashoka’s life. However with these texts it is less certain where history ends and legend beings, compared to the various edicts. The chronicles tell us that Ashoka sent his son Mahendra and his daughter Sanghamitta to the court of King Tissa of Ceylon. Soon the king and his court were converted to Buddhism and from that time onward, for the last 23 centuries up until the modern day, Buddhism has been practised in Ceylon (today’s Sri Lanka).

Therefore, although Emperor Ashoka’s envoys may have had little effect in the Mediterranean, they found an audience in countries that surround India, including Nepal and Burma, and Buddhism gradually spread to these countries. This was aided by written teachings of the Buddha and his disciples, which were recorded down by the 4th Buddhist Council in Ceylon. From there, Theravada Buddhism spread to Thailand, Cambodia and other countries in Southeast Asia.

Venerable Sanghamitta

Venerable Sanghamitta, who was Ashoka’s daughter

The role that Emperor Ashoka played in spreading Buddhism can not be underestimated. Nuns in Sri Lanka today trace their lineage right back to Emperor Ashoka’s daughter Sanghamitta, and to the retinue of nuns who traveled to Sri Lanka with her. Although the order later became absent for 1000 years in Sri Lanka, it was preserved in Korea and Japan and re-introduced to Sri Lanka within the last century. Sri Lanka thus remains one of the most important Buddhist countries today and is a centre of Buddhist scholarship. If Emperor Ashoka had not put effort to spreading Buddhism beyond India, it might not have survived as it was largely disappearing from India (until its re-emergence in the modern era) with the exception of the area of East Bengal bordering on Burma. Instead, Buddhism spread to China, Japan and beyond. Origen Adamantius, a Greek Christian theologian who spent half of his career in Alexandria, referred to Buddhist missionaries who even visited England. Buddhism on the whole may not have reached China until the 1st CE, but there are stories of one of Emperor Ashoka’s missionaries visiting China. The revival of interest in Buddhism in India has also been attributed to Emperor Ashoka, since the discovery of his edicts helped to stimulate interest.

Buddhist chronicles state that in 250 BCE, Emperor Ashoka personally convened the 3rd Buddhist Council in Pataliputra with two objectives in mind. First, he was responding to reports of heretical views and dissension among the monks in Pataliputra. Emperor Ashoka is said to have interviewed each monk personally and dismissed monks who held beliefs contrary to the Buddha’s teachings, in particular to a belief in an eternal, unchanging self.

Secondly, Emperor Ashoka used this opportunity to appoint knowledgable monks to journey to other lands as emissaries to teach the Dharma. This part of the story is confirmed by the edicts. Buddhist monks like Madhyamik Sthavira were sent to modern-day Kashmir and Afghanistan. Maharaskshit Sthavira was sent to Syria, Persia / Iran, Egypt, Greece, Italy and Turkey. Massim Sthavira travelled to Nepal, Bhutan, China and Mongolia, and Sohn Uttar Sthavira journeyed to modern-day Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand (which was then known as Survarnabhumi) and Vietnam. Mahadharmarakshita Sthavira travelled to Maharashtra and Maharakshita Sthavira and Yavandharmarakshita Sthavira went to South India.

Not all of these missions were successful. For example, Buddhism did not take root in Thailand or Burma until a few more centuries after the 3rd Council was convened. However, the missions to Greece and Egypt may have had some interesting effects. Scholars have long noted some blending of Hellenic and Buddhist thought that began about that time. There is also some archaeological evidence of Buddhists living in Alexandria.

 

SYMBOLS AND ARCHITECTURE

The Ashoka Chakra, ‘the Wheel of Righteousness’. Click on image to enlarge.

The Ashoka Chakra, ‘the Wheel of Righteousness’. Click on image to enlarge.

The Ashoka Chakra (the wheel of Ashoka) is a depiction of the Dharmachakra (the Wheel of Dharma). The wheel has 24 spokes which represent the 12 Laws of Dependent Origination and the 12 Laws of Dependent Termination. The Ashoka Chakra has been widely inscribed on many relics of the Mauryan Emperor, most prominent among which is The Lion Capital of Sarnath and The Ashoka Pillar. The most visible use of the Ashoka Chakra today is at the centre of the National Flag of the Republic of India (adopted on 22th July 1947), where it is rendered as navy-blue in color on a white background. This replaces Chakra symbol (spinning wheel) of the pre-independence versions of the flag. The Ashoka Chakra can also been seen on the base of the Lion Capital of Emperor Ashoka which has been adopted as the National Emblem of India.

The Ashoka Chakra was created by Emperor Ashoka during his reign. Chakra is a Sanskrit word which also means ‘cycle’ or ‘self-repeating process’. The process it signifies is the cycle of time – how the world changes with time.

A few days before India became independent in August 1947, the specially formed Constituent Assembly decided that the flag of India must be acceptable to all parties and communities. A flag with three colours, saffron, white and green with the Ashoka Chakra was selected.

Pillars of Ashoka (Ashokstambha).

Pillars of Ashoka (Ashokstambha)

The pillars of Ashoka are a series of columns erected by Ashoka during his reign. Their locations are dispersed throughout the northern Indian subcontinent. Originally, there must have been many Ashokan pillars although only 10 with inscriptions survive to this day. Averaging between 40 and 50-ft in height, and weighing up to 50 tons each, all the pillars were excavated in Chunar, just south of Varanasi and transported, sometimes hundreds of miles, to the place where they were erected. The first Ashokan Pillar was found in the 16th Century by Thomas Coryat among the ruins of ancient Delhi. The wheel represents the cycle of time and Buddhist law, while the swastika stands for the cosmic dance around a fixed centre and acted as guardian against evil.

Lion Capital of Ashoka (Ashokmudra).

Lion Capital of Ashoka (Ashokmudra)

The Lion Capital of Ashoka is a sculpture of four lions standing back to back. It was originally placed on top of the Ashokan Pillar in Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh, India. The pillar, sometimes called the Ashoka Column is still in its original location, but the Lion Capital is now placed in the Sarnath Museum. This Lion Capital was adopted as the National Emblem of India. The Sarnath Pillar contained one of the Edicts of Emperor Ashoka, an inscription against division within the Buddhist community, which reads “No one shall cause division in the order of monks”.

The Capital contains the image of four lions (Indian / Asiatic Lions), standing back to back, mounted on an abacus, with a frieze carrying sculptures in high relief of an elephant, a galloping horse, a bull, and a lion, separated by intervening spoked chariot-wheels over a bell-shaped lotus. Carved out of a single block of polished sandstone, the capital was believed to be crowned by a Dharmachakra.

The four animals in the Sarnath capital are believed to symbolise different stages of Buddha Shakyamuni’s life:

  • The elephant represents the Buddha’s birth in reference to the dream of Queen Maya of a white elephant entering her womb
  • The bull represents desire during the life of the Buddha as a prince
  • The horse represents Buddha’s departure from palatial life
  • The lion represents the accomplishment of Buddha

In addition to religious interpretations, there are some non-religious interpretations regarding these symbols. According to these, the four lions symbolise Emperor Ashoka’s rule over the four directions, the wheels as symbols of his enlightened rule (Chakravartin) and the four animals as symbols of the four adjoining territories of India.

 

STRUCTURES CREDITED TO ASHOKA

Mahabodhi Temple, built on the site of a previously built temple by Emperor Ashoka (c. 250 BCE) to mark the spot of Buddha Shakyamuni’s enlightenment was restored by the British and Indian governments. The British restoration was executed under guidance from Weligama Sri Sumangala.

Mahabodhi Temple

Mahabodhi Temple

Other structures built by Ashoka include:

  • Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh, India
  • Dhamek Stupa, Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh, India
  • Barabar Caves, Bihar, India
  • Nalanda Mahavihara, (some portions like Sariputta Stupa), Bihar, India
  • Taxila University, (some portions like Dharmarajika Stupa and Kunala Stupa), Taxila, Pakistan
  • Bhir Mound, (reconstructed), Taxila, Pakistan
  • Bharhut stupa, Madhya Pradesh, India
  • Deorkothar Stupa, Madhya Pradesh, India
  • Butkara Stupa, Swat, Pakistan
  • Sannati Stupa, Karnataka, India: The only known sculptural depiction of Emperor Ashoka
  • Mir Rukun Stupa Nawabshah, Pakistan

 

DEATH AND LEGACY

Emperor Ashoka reigned for an estimated 40 years and after his death, the Mauryan Dynasty lasted for just 50 more years. Emperor Ashoka had many wives and children but except for a few, many of them remain obscure in history. He had entrusted to Mahendra and Sanghamitta the task of spreading Buddhism in Ceylon, making them famous across the world.

The reign of Emperor Ashoka could easily have disappeared into obscurity as the ages passed by, if he had not left behind a record of his edicts. The testimony of this wise emperor are embodied magnificently in sculpted pillars and boulders with a variety of teachings intricately etched into the stone. What Emperor Ashoka left behind was the first written language in India since the ancient city of Harappa. Rather than Sanskrit, the language used for the inscriptions was the current spoken form of Prakrit.

In addition to his legacy as the first Buddhist emperor and one of the pioneers of an alternative approach to governance, Emperor Ashoka was an efficient administrator. His empire was divided into five provinces, with major cities at Taxila, Ujjain, Tosali, Suvarnagiri and Patilaputra. A Kumara (prince) governed each province. These were sub-divided into groups of several villages. Each village was headed by a Gramika. At the centre, Ministers of State (Mantris) dealt with judiciary matters and taxation. Emperor Ashoka issued Sasanasad (ordinances), and listened to people’s concerns and consulted not only his ministers but common people as well. He was very concerned that fair justice was carried out and during his rule, he made the system much more open than it had been before. Death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment and were open to appeal. He wrote:

“I even go this far, to grant a three-day stay for those in prison who have been tried and sentenced to death. During this time their relatives can make appeals to have the prisoners’ lives spared. If there is none to appeal on their behalf, the prisoners can give gifts in order to make merit for the next world, or observe fasts.” (Pillar Edict 4)

Public funds were spent on major projects, including agriculture to feed the poor, to dig wells, and also to plant trees so that people could benefit from the shade they gave in the hottest conditions. Art and culture flourished (both show signs of Greek and Persian influence) and both were conscripted to help the spread of Buddhism. He also provided free medical care for people and animals.

The Chinese scholar Faxian traveled to India in search of great Buddhist books of discipline between 399 – 414 CE. Whilst in India, he reported seeing works of art, rock caves, palaces and exemplary buildings from Emperor Ashoka’s period. From this he concluded that there must have been a very sophisticated civil service. A characteristic of Mauryan art was the mirror-like finish to the pillars, which has survived centuries of exposure to wind and sun.

Emperor Ashoka combined personal and state ethics and tried to bridge the divides in his multi-cultural empire. He wrote, “You are true to your own belief is you accord kindly treatments to adherents of other faiths. You ham you own religion by harassing followers of other creeds” (Emperor Ashoka, Rock Edict 3).

He believed that his code of reverence and compassion was based on universal values. His 14-point code was aimed for both inner morality and outer action in harmony. He turned away from kingship based on power, compulsion and self-interest, and dared to believe that he could construct a different kind of kingdom based on causing no one harm. It has been suggested that no greater or better kingdom has yet been known amongst men. In Kalinga Rock Edict One, he instructed his judicial officers, warning them that they would not be promoted unless they furthered his desire:

“All men are my children. What I desire for my own children, and I desire their welfare and happiness both in this world and the next, that I desire for all men. You do not understand to what extent I desire this, and if some of you do understand, you do not understand the full extent of my desire.”

Emperor Ashoka’s policy of non-violence was also revived during the independence struggle against the British, by the nationalist leader and Hindu philosopher Mahatma Gandhi. In addition, when India finally gained independence from the British Empire in 1947, it symbolically adopted Emperor Ashoka’s emblem for its own, placing the Dharmachakra that crowned his many columns on the flag of the newly independent state of India.

But his contribution towards Buddhism itself is perhaps the most substantial one of all. In India, Emperor Ashoka essentially turned Buddhism from a tradition into an official state ideology. It was due to his support that Buddhism transformed from being a local Indian cult into a world religion, which today has an estimated 470 million followers according to the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs. It was through his deeds and action that Buddhism spread outside of India and began its long transformation to becoming one of the world’s greatest religions. Indeed the world owes Emperor Ashoka for his contribution in making Buddhism into what it is today.

 

THE FATE OF THE MAURYAN EMPIRE AND INDIA POST ASHOKA

The Brahman priests who had been sidelined by Emperor Ashoka’s Buddhist policies, encouraged civil war by working to undermine his policies. Emperor Ashoka’s time had been one of unification, bringing small kingdoms together, but sadly, it was followed by a time of fragmentation.

In the year 185 CE, about 50 years after Ashoka’s death, the last Mauryan ruler, Brihadratha, was brutally murdered by the commander of the Mauryan army, Pusyamitra Sunga, while he was taking the Guard of Honor of his forces. Pusyamitra Sunga then founded the Sunga Dynasty (185 – 78 CE) and ruled just a small part of the Mauryan Empire. The empire’s decline is mainly attributable to the weak leadership that succeeded Ashoka’s rule. Several other factors also contributed to the decline of the Mauryan Empire, including the downsizing of the military, who lost their jobs under Emperor Ashoka’s policy of non-violence and were subsequently unable to offer adequate defence. The large administration required strong leadership and when this was not forthcoming, provinces tended to assert independence from the central government.

It would not be until some 2000 years later, under Akbar the Great and his great-grandson Aurangzeb, that a large portion of the Indian subcontinent would again be united under a single ruler.

 

BUDDHISM TODAY

Buddhism has approximately 470 million followers across the globe. It represents a major component of the spiritual heritage of East and Southeast Asia. The two main branches of Buddhism are Mahayana and Theravada. Mahayana Buddhism is practiced by around 185 million people and is the dominant form of Buddhism in China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Vietnam. Theravada Buddhism has about 125 million followers and is dominant in Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Sri Lanka and Burma. Another significant strand of Buddhism related to the Mahayana is Tibetan Buddhism, which is practiced by 20 million people largely in Tibet, Bhutan, Mongolia, and surrounding areas in India, China and Russia. Buddhism is a growing spiritual influence in the West, and many new religious movements are affiliated with Buddhism, especially in Japan and Korea.
Sources:

  • http://nationalviews.com/samrat-bindusara-wives-sons-facts-history
  • https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashoka
  • https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bindusara
  • https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subhadrangi
  • https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susima
  • https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashokavadana
  • https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalinga_War
  • https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origen
  • https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faxian
  • http://www.ancient.eu/Ashoka/
  • http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Ashoka
  • http://classroom.synonym.com/did-buddhism-begin-spread-outside-india-during-mauryan-empire-5860.html
  • http://buddhism.about.com/od/theemperorashoka/
  • http://buddhism.about.com/od/theemperorashoka/fl/The-Emperor-Ashoka-Patron-of-Buddhism.htm
  • http://www.historydiscussion.net/biography/ashoka/biography-of-ashoka-early-life-kalinga-war-and-reforms/5717
  • http://www.historydiscussion.net/history-of-india/asokas-early-life-and-his-accession-to-throne/2417
  • http://www.importantindia.com/7096/bindusara-maurya/
  • http://www.importantindia.com/9193/early-life-of-asoka-the-great-devanampriya-priyadarshi/
  • http://www.importantindia.com/9480/short-biography-of-ashoka-the-great/
  • https://www.quora.com/Did-King-Ashoka-killed-his-brothers-How-many-brothers-he-had
  • http://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/ashoka-6226.php
  • http://www.iloveindia.com/history/ancient-india/maurya-dynasty/ashoka.html
  • https://www.cs.colostate.edu/~malaiya/ashoka.html
  • https://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/essays/demographics-of-buddhism

 

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31 Responses to Emperor Ashoka the Great

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  1. S.Prathap on Jun 11, 2019 at 10:26 am

    This is really a good and inspiring article.We know wellEmperor Ashoka was the greatest Indian ruler, but I had no idea about the extent of his contributions to spread Buddhism all over the world.
    This is a story of a great King which can resonate with many of us who are still stuck in our bad habits. It is inspiring because it shows that if we are truly sincere and feel regret and remorse for what we have done, and seek refuge and apply the Dharma, we are able to achieve great things.
    Thanks for the sharing a good article.

  2. Tsa Tsa Ong on Nov 2, 2018 at 10:22 pm

    It is very inspiring that such a influencial person like Emperor Ashoka was convinced by the teaching of Buddha and converted into a Buddhist. With his governmental policies that were based on Buddhist teachings, the people and even animals under the reign of his empire had benefitted greatly because of him following the non-violent way of Buddhisim. Thank you Rinpoche and blog team for such an interesting write up????

  3. Choong on Sep 24, 2017 at 10:30 am

    From: Buddhism in Mongolia: Three or Five Waves of Cultural Blossoming
    By Glenn Mullin

    According to the Origins of Dharma in the Hor Regions by the great Mongolian scholar Lobsang Tamdrin, Buddhism came to the Hor region in three waves.

    1.The first Mongolian Buddhist wave began in the third century B.C., during the time of the Indian Emperor Ashoka, three centuries before Buddhism took root in China, and some eight centuries before it became firmly established in Tibet. Traditionally Mongolians recognize their second highest incarnate lama, Zaya Pandita, as being an emanation of Emperor Ashoka, perhaps in honor of this early connection.

    According to Lobsang Tamdrin, Ashoka extended his empire northward all the way to the Silk Road, and eventually captured the city of Khotan. Khotan was the westernmost region of Hor, and thus in Lobsang Tamdrin’s eyes was part of Mongolia. Emperor Ashoka was a strong Buddhist, and actively promoted Buddhism as the national religion of all lands under his rule.

    From Khotan Buddhism gradually spread eastward to the Mongolian Gobi kingdoms along the Silk Road. Lobsang Tamdrin comments that Hor supported a population of over 100,000 Buddhist monks even in these ancient days.

    Cave paintings along the Hor section of the Silk Road certainly bear witness to an early Mongol enthusiasm for Buddhism. The cave paintings in Dung Huang of modern-day China are an excellent example. Dung Huang at the time was part of the Mongolian patchwork of kingdoms. It was conquered by the Tibetan emperor Songtsen Gampo in the seventh century A.D., reverted to Mongolia under Chinggis Khan.

  4. Datuk May on Apr 28, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    This is truly a very inspiring story of King Ashoka the Great, a King who changed from a warrior who killed and conquered and created a huge empire to that of a Buddhist who also did great things like building 84,000 stupas and propagating the Dharma.

    It is because of King Ashoka who brought Buddhism to many lands outside of India that now we have the opportunity to practise Buddhist.

    I also read that it was during the time of King Ashoka that the relics of Shakyamuni Buddha were sent to other countries to share the blessings of the Buddha and many stupas were built to house these relics.

  5. freon on Nov 30, 2016 at 12:14 am

    Normally to rulers who dare to let go of violence and rule with compassion is very rare. Emperor Ashoka has ruled his kingdom by using Dharma concept. By reading the article, I can even feel the harmony and peace that this Emperor has gave for his subjects. He is great, to me because he dare to practice compassion and equanimity in his reign.
    Emperor Ashoka has treated the animals well. He promoted vegetarian, less hunting and he had medical care for animal at his time ! To me, this is the first Emperor that has medicine to treat the animal.
    For prisoner, Emperor Ashoka will give chances to the prisoner to collect merit, for the prisoner future life!

    His children have also play an important role in spreading the dharma. By reading this article, only I knew that the Nun System was established by his daughter name Sanghamitta

    It is so lucky to have a leader like Emperor Ashoka who apply dharma in his leadership. If the world have many leaders that apply more spiritual knowledge into their countries, there would not be war, but, more peace, harmony in this world.

  6. Wan Wai Meng on Nov 28, 2016 at 1:29 am

    We do owe King Ashoka for all the work he had done to bring Buddhism to the world, without his work buddhism could have just remained in India and might have become extinguished in the land of its birth if it was not spread to other parts of the world.

    His story also draws parellels to the story of Kang Xi, who grew up in political intrigue, but managed to overcome people who wanted to harm his claim to the throne, despite being young age. Both of them were very capable administrators and rulers, it is right they are remembered for their works in bringing the dharma to many during their lifetime.

  7. Sock Wan on Oct 1, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    Similarly to Tang or Qing Dynasty, when the ruler adopt Buddhist practice, the development of the country, sentiments of the citizen seemed to be at its best. Buddhist philosophy believes everything on earth, in the universe are interdependent, interrelated, we must respect each other in order to create harmony and balance in our community. When we start to hurt each other, taking revenge, full of anger, we lose the balance, we lose the harmony, there will be no peace.

    King Ashoka also demonstrated to us as long as we are regretful and remorse for the wrongs we have done, we would be able to make it up. We cannot turn back the time to make our wrongs right, but we can do the right things to make up the wrongs we have done.

  8. shelly tai on Oct 1, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    This is really a inspiring post to read , from a vicious ruler to a very compassionate ruler that benefits many sentient beings, what more important is the Dharma that preserved by him up till today.

  9. Albert on Sep 29, 2016 at 9:05 am

    This is a really classic story to read, King Ashoka, someone who kill his brothers, kill thousands of people and never need to consider twice, in order to get what he want, he will never hesitate to kill, but for someone who is so cruel and cold can change 180 degree because of Dharma, he listen to it, applied and totally change the whole situation, peace was created and many people’s life was spare from it.

    Because of King Ashoka’s implementation of Buddhism in India, it get to spread to around the world and benefited people till today’s world. This story of King Ashoka also told us that no matter what we have done previously, it is not permanent, it doesn’t mean we are forever a bad person, as long as we willing to change and amend what is wrong, we can still be a better person and work to the benefit of others, this seems to be hard, but it is possible.

    Thank you Prashant for sharing such inspiring story with us.

  10. Pastor Chia on Sep 29, 2016 at 8:41 am

    Is interesting reading King Ashoka life story and know how he from the warrior king using buddhism to rule his country. Despite through the war by killing thousand and thousand people. King Asoka after met buddhism regret he action had done by killing so many people through the war.Building thousand and thousand stupa is powerful way of purification from his negative karma. The most important how King Asoka implemented buddhist teaching to rule his empire become peace and harmony instate or using violent way cause many harm and suffering. king Ashoka contribution to promote buddhism benefited many people study dharma over century even he had pass away thousand over year until now.

  11. Julia Tan on Sep 29, 2016 at 1:06 am

    The King is always the most powerful and influential one. Hence the fortune of the people strongly depend on how the King rule his country. Being the emperor of India, with so much of power, he had killed many due to greed and anger. Fortunately, he realised his downfall and regret greatly, hence he transformed himself to become a Dharma king and rule the country base on Buddha’s teaching ever after. He reminded me of the Emperor of China Kangxi whom brought tremendous benefit to the people of China.

    One with power can destroy everything. One with power also can unite and benefits all.

  12. Mingwen on Sep 29, 2016 at 12:49 am

    “One hundred and fifty thousand persons were captured, one hundred thousand were killed and many times that number perished.” The destructive nature of the Kalinga war created an emotional shock in Emperor Ashoka. He regretted the fact that he was responsible for so much suffering of fellow human beings. Upon seeing firsthand the damage this war has caused, Emperor Ashoka was deeply regretful and he cried out the famous sentence, “What have I done?”

    A Chinese’s well known quote, “放下屠刀, 立地成佛” which means Slaughter would stop killing and motivated to become a Buddha.

    It’s okay and we have always tend to make wrong moves throughout our lives and regret later. What’s really matter is we do learn a lesson and transform into a version of ourselves after every mistake we did.

  13. Pastor Antoinette on Sep 29, 2016 at 12:06 am

    King Ashoka the Great’s story shows again how someone extremely brutal, selfish and cruel like this warrier can turn around and become someone who spreads Dharma to innumerable amount of people.

    During his reign Buddhism spread so much and it become an official state ideology, the beginning of a world religion. King Ashoka’s legacy is indeed amazing. He helped his people in an extraordinary way we providing free medical care for his people and even for animals. His government helped to feed the poor through farming, digged wells and even planted trees to provide shade.

    Thank you for this amazing historic account.

  14. June Kang on Sep 28, 2016 at 11:46 pm

    读阿育王的故事,我很敬佩他把佛法用在治理国家,阿育王在位37年间,不仅统一全印度,他广泛宣传佛教教义和宗教道德, 他大力宣扬佛教慈悲思想,禁止杀。

    阿育王为了驱除了外道,举行第三次结集,由王与七十二高龄的目犍连子帝须亲临主持,整理了经典,并编撰了“论事”。

    阿育王宣传佛教的最得力的方式是广建佛塔,然而阿育王对佛教的贡献远远不止于此,他的奉行正法,也可说是佛陀遗教的一种实践。重要的是阿育王所做的种种佛教事业是促进了佛教在社会各阶层中的广泛传播,也为佛教走向世界打开了通道。更重要的是,印度在阿育王的统治下是空前的繁荣,这证明了佛法也可以用来“治国平天下”。

  15. nicholas on Sep 28, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    Ashoka indeed contributed in a wide spread of Buddhism in many parts of the world. The effect after the war had made him realised and the turn around of him improve the situation alot. He even attempt to develop governmental policies that based on Buddhist teaching which this is a direct governance to his people. With his enthusiasm which also followed by his childrens that had made a great established Buddhism in other country which we can see it today.

    What I admire about Ashoka is he can govern his empire under non-violance policy and follow through the Buddhism precept. His contribution in Buddhism even spread beyond by sending knowledgable monk to teach in other country. Ashoka indeed had left a great marked in spreading Buddhism from India.

  16. Eric kksiow on Sep 28, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    The emperor Ashoka is considered to be one of India’s greatest monarchs, he is widely remembered as a Buddhist ruler, and it was his contributions to Buddhism and morality that made him such a renowned figure in Indian history.

    Thank You
    Eric kksiow

  17. Khoo Hou Haw on Sep 28, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    It is very inspiring that such a influencial person like Ashoka was convinced by the teaching of Buddha and converted into a Buddhist. With his governmental policies that were based on Buddhist teachings, the people and even animals under the reign of his empire had benefitted greatly because of him following the non-violent way of Buddhisim. Another great person, Mahatma Ghandi who followed his way of non-violent again brought peace to the people of India. Imagine how much benefits can sentient being receive if everyone practise dharma.

  18. Li Kheng on Sep 28, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    Wow, Ashoka is truly a great conqueror. He first conquered land to gain power, wealth and status but later he conquered his own mind. That is the greatest of his conquest. From a King who could instigate and fuel the disastrous Kalinga war that killed and harmed hundreds of thousands, King Ashoka was able to regret and take actions to heal the suffering he caused and ultimately benefit lives beyond his own lifetime.

    This is a reflection of the power of pure Dharma. It is so accurate and irrefutably true that even the mind of a feared and “indestructible” king like ashoka could be transformed.

    king Ashoka’s conversion to Buddhism continue to benefit mankind in modern history as it is through his contribution that buddhism continue to spread into societies in the day and age across oceans in various continents.

    Thank you for sharing such an ancient legacy. The efforts of compiling facts and data of such a historical figure is certainly no easy feat!

  19. Pastor Henry Ooi on Sep 28, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    One man, that’s all it takes to create history. But a special man, with passion, vision, determination, wisdom, effort, love, compassion. Similar to the Buddha and other great men in history, Emperor Ashoka left a legacy. And what a legacy. If not for him, Buddhism might have taken a much longer time to reach other lands outside of India. Today, 470 million Buddhists are grateful to this great Indian Emperor for his great compassion.

  20. pammie yap on Sep 28, 2016 at 10:11 pm

    Very good and detailed write up on King Ashoka. There were so many ‘dramatic’ events in his life! All the killings and torturing was really scary to read about. But the best part is how he went through all the dramas that eventually led him to Buddhism. And from there, he practiced and did the best he can spreading Buddhism beyond India and also got his children to do the same which resulted in Buddhism surviving in a few countries and practiced widely.
    This shows that no matter how cruel someone can be, with the correct teachings and guidance, Buddhism can help and change our mind for better as what we can see here with King Ashoka.

  21. Moh Mei on Sep 28, 2016 at 10:03 pm

    Pastor Henry pointed out during our discussion, history is usually created by one person. It is true though, we often remember that one great leader, that one famous actor, that one genius scientist, that one Lama, etc. History seldom remember the whole nation, the community, the company, the team or the crew.

    No doubt Ashoka was a great king. As a king one holds the power to do great many things but somethings the same position can also become a restriction. It is rare for a person of such stature as king to change religion or beliefs. Leaders have been known to perish from power when they attempt to do so.

    Ashoka’s conversion to Buddhism and his commitment in dharma after left a permanent impact in history.

  22. Jace Chong on Sep 28, 2016 at 9:58 pm

    Thanks Rinpoche, P.Prashant and the blog team for the extensive information about Ashoka.

    I first heard about Ashoka was in Bodhgaya near Maha Bodhi Stupa, there is an Ashoka Pillar there and I got to know about the story of Ashoka through the tour guide when he is explaining about the pillar.

    I still remember clearly that he said Ashoka was in the great war of Kalinga, Ashoka and his troops killed hundred thousands of people. After the was, Ashoka was very thirsty, he asked his soldier to bring him some water to drink. The soldier brought him a cup of blood and Ashoka asked why. The soldier said there was no water he can find, even the river has became blood river because there were so many people died. The Kalinga war was a great turning point for Ashoka to realize “What have I done.”

    I admire his ruling policy adapting Buddhism and make Buddhist teachings very practical to everyone. However it didn’t last long. Nonetheless, the life story of Ashoka reflects that no matter how much bad deeds one did, there’s chance for him/her to turn around, to connect to our true self, to practice kindness, compassion and wisdom from the Buddha.

    Thank you.

  23. Bradley Kassian on Aug 28, 2016 at 1:09 am

    I really think people haven’t considered how crucial this individual is in preserving and increasing the Dharma far and wide. It is from people like him that Buddha Dharma really took hold across India & the rest of Asia in various countries, and although he did send scholars and monks westward the impact there was much less but there are records that some monks made it to Alexandria in Egypt. I personally believe some Buddhist teachings heavily influenced early Christianity since the teachings did make it to Israel and the surrounding areas. Ashoka the Great was a prolific builder, and supporter of Buddhism. Ajatashatru the King of Magadha had a great impact in the preservation of the teachings for future generations but it was Emperor Ashoka who helped spread them. His immense influence can still be felt across Asia and now the world.

  24. Sheila on Aug 26, 2016 at 2:17 am

    A very informative and entertaining read. We know too well Ashoka was the greatest Indian ruler, but I had no idea about the extent of his contributions to spread Buddhism all over the world.
    I especially enjoyed reading about how he interpreted Buddhism as a method of governance.
    Looking forward to another thought provoking read.

  25. Paul Yap on Aug 25, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    King Ashoka has transformed from a cruel, fierce ruler to a kind, compassionate and generous Buddhist practitioner. Over time, he has build many Buddhist temples and holy sites, he also rules his country with Buddhist principles. Its amazing when one’s who guided properly, the mind could change for better, thus benefited millions of peoples for the better.

  26. Pastor KH Ng on Aug 25, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    Emperor Ashoka the Great is widely credited to be the person most responsible for spreading Buddhism outside of India, especially the Therevadan tradition via Ceylon. Without the him, Buddhism would not be what it is today.

    In my mind Emperor Ashoka was a Chakravartin King or Universal Emperor consistent with what are described in the Buddhist texts. He showed us what is wrong; killing, violence, self pleasure; and what is right; compassion, love and tolerance; even while being a King; and normally a king will “need” to act in contrary to those benevolent values in order to rule. This is the outstanding different of Emperor Ashoka and other great rulers in history and he is unique in this way with the exception of Emperor Kangxi of Qing China.

  27. Stella Cheang on Aug 24, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    It is an exhilarating read about King Ashoka. The Kalinga War is quite widely known, and from here in this article, we are brought to face with the brutality of King Ashoka before he became a true devotee of Buddhism. The virtuous deeds through King Ashoka’s proliferation of Buddha Dharma actually stayed longer and deeper in the heart of many compared to his callous history. Two thousand over years after his passing, many Buddhism artifacts like the Pillars of Ashoka and Lion Capital of Ashoka are still being revered as the symbol of an integral and inseparable part of history of India. Thank you P. Prashant for this interesting article.

  28. Fong on Aug 24, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    Ashoka was indeed a very great ruler. From being a vengeful, violent warrior ruler to a compassionate and tolerant ruler. The list of his accomplishment is longer than my arm.

    Though he had a change of heart that involved the repudiation of slaughter, and the development of a commitment to peace and the precepts of Buddhism, he did not force anyone to complete change to fit into his new believes.

    What struck me most is that he sent his children out to other parts of the world to spread Buddhism. If not for that, Buddhism might have declined in India with the Mauryan empire.

    Thank you, for a very informative and interesting read.

  29. Pastor David Lai on Aug 23, 2016 at 12:48 am

    Wow! What a good article. It left a lingering feeling of awe and nostalgia after reading it. I like how the article was written based on very believable hypothesis that was derived from excavated stone carved edicts.

    I love the story, the legend and the origin of Ashoka and the dramatic transformation from a war-mongering to a peace-loving emperor. There were plenty of details within the story that pulled Ashoka off from the history books into a seamless story. It is pretty obvious that from Ashokan’s reign that Buddhism gradually became mainstream all over.

  30. Joy on Aug 19, 2016 at 1:19 am

    This is a truly interesting account on King Ashoka. Thank you P. Prashant for this wonderful detailed historical write up. Every Buddhist ought to know this story of the fist Buddhist King who ruled his Kingdom with Dharma! Being the first emperor to renounce violence, replacing conquest by force with what he called “conquest by righteousness”. But what truly struck me the most was that He was not all that goody goody and holy.

    Before He became a Buddhist, he was known to be a fierce, shrewd, power hungry King. He slaughtered hundreds of thousands of people, and his last battle known as Battle of Kalinga, and it is from this blood shed war, did it dawn on to him the intense suffering he caused, which made him transform himself due to much regret. This is a story of a great King which can resonate with many of us who are still stuck in our bad habits. It is inspiring because it shows that if we are truly sincere and feel regret and remorse for what we have done, and seek refuge and apply the Dharma, we are able to achieve great things. It is because of King Ashoka’s deeds and action that Buddhism managed to spread outside of India, and the rest is history! We owe much to King Ashoka for the spread of Buddhism and I am amazed how much he did after that. Now I know the signiicance of the Mahaboddhi Temple and the person who built it! Thank you!

  31. Sofi on Aug 18, 2016 at 10:41 pm

    Thank you P. Prashant for such an interesting article. I had heard of this great Emperor but mostly with reference to the bloodbath of Kalinga war. I had also gone on pilgrimage to where some of Ashoka’s pillars and stupas still stand. However this article really brought to life the history of Mauryan Empire and Emperor Ashoka. He certainly stands out as a well loved Emperor with his caring governance towards his people, even prisoners on death sentence. He proofed that governance with accordance to Buddhist tenets need not be weak. In fact it is the opposite as citizens were happy with his fair rule and neighbours based on diplomatic friendliness are content with status quo. Emperor Ashoka had ruled his people with firmness but wisely and with plenty of care.

    With this in mind, I wish that the Dalai Lama and CTA will emulate the policies of Emperor Ashoka in their governance and religious edict. Acceptance of another’s religious practise was norm and Emperor Ashoka was respectfully considerate, right down to their food intake. The Dalai Lama and CTA should respect the Protector Dorje Shugden practitioners and accord them the respect as those of other religions. When will they wake up to proclaim “What have I done” and lift the illogical ban on Dorje Shugden?

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  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Aug 2. 2021 03:36 PM
    Yes is a great honour to have an abbot emeritus, who was the first abbot of Shar Gaden Monastery visiting Kechara to meet Tsem Tsem Rinpoche in Malaysia. His Eminence Kensur Rinpoche Jetsun Lobsang Phende, accompanied by his devoted attendant Gen Wangyal came visiting Kechara Forest Retreat at Bentong. Kensur Rinpoche had established Shar Gaden Monastery as a Dorje Shugden stronghold where the practice and lineage could be protected and preserved. Kensur Rinpoche have not met Tsem Rinpoche since 20 years ago in Gaden Shartse Monastery. That’s was before the Dorje Shugden ban was enforced. Meeting up again here Malaysia are beautifully arranged and the precious pictures in this post paints a thousand words. Each of them having each uniqueness, and their life experience are very special. Compassion conquers all.
    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Elena Khong Jean Ai for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/most-venerable-kensur-rinpoche-lobsang-phende-visits-tsem-rinpoche.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Aug 2. 2021 03:32 PM
    Located in the corner of Bhakor streets is the temple Trode Khangsar the exact same place where Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen’s body had been cremated.Not easy to find this 300 years old temple without asking for direction. The entrance to Trode Khangsar is now a little obscured. Built by His Holiness the 5th Dalai Lama somewhere end of the 17th Century He had realised Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen had arisen as an enlightened Dharma protector. He built this Trode Khangsar dedicated Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen and composed a praise to Dorje Shugden and created a statue with his own hands Dorje Shugden is the Dharma protector within Tibetan Buddhism, to protect the Buddhist teachings in general. Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen arose as Dorje Shugden in order to benefit countless sentient beings. This 400 years old chapel are of important historical significance to many . Interesting read.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/dorje-shugden/trode-khangsar-a-400-year-old-dorje-shugden-chapel-in-lhasa.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, Jul 31. 2021 04:09 PM
    Looking at those pictures in the post tells us more, it is a final resting place of all Emperors, Empress, and so forth of the Qing dynasty. Amazing each tomb was constructed facing different direction. The imperial tomb of Emperor Kangxi, located in the Eastern Qing Tombs. Surrounded by mountains and rivers, the mausoleum offers a more expansive view and now a place of pilgrimage for locals and tourist visiting these place full of historic views. The Eastern Qing Tombs are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tombs are known to be the biggest and best preserved of all existing mausoleum complexes in China.
    Emperor Kangxi one of China’s greatest emperors was the third Emperor of the Qing dynasty. Having ruled China for 61 years that makes him the longest-reigning emperor in Chinese history . During his reign, he brought about long-term stability and relative wealth after years of war and chaos. Emperor Kangxi was a great consolidator of the Qing dynasty. Many Buddhist temples and monasteries were established, preserved or restored during his reign.
    Interesting read and looking at the pictures , one could see the beauty of this place.
    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Niral for this write-up of a GREAT Emperor.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/art-architecture/the-imperial-tomb-of-emperor-kangxi.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, Jul 31. 2021 04:08 PM
    The HH Tenth Panchen Lama, Panchen Lobsang Trinley Lhundrup Choekyi Gyaltsen, of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism was widely regarded as human emanations of Buddha Amitabha, the Buddha of Limitless Light. The 10th Panchen Lama is an extraordinarily fearless Tibetan who showed unwavering courage to work for the general cause of Tibet and its people he travelled extensively throughout Tibet working to preserve the Tibetan culture. He had propitiated Dorje Shugden and did composed a prayers texts which are still used today. Even have a special temple and chapel dedicated to the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden. He had a strong feelings that Dorje Shugden has been working hard to protect the Buddhadharma in general and the lineage of Lama Tsongkhapa specifically. Interesting read.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/downloads/panchen-lama-sungbum.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Jul 29. 2021 03:53 PM
    Interesting reading all the misconception of tales, stories and mysteries . Many tends to believe the misconceptions without finding the details to understand it. They choose to believe the many misconceptions following cultural beliefs, rather looking at all corners from information. Most of us do not know about the truth behind it. At one time I do believed King Tut’s tomb had a curse declaring death on anyone who entered it . It is incorrect because based on my faulty thinking and reading it. Its only later with advance technology of laptops and after researched through it I realised the truth. Interesting read.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.


    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/etc/misconceptions-we-want-to-believe.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Jul 29. 2021 03:51 PM
    A placid, and tranquil place called Tsem Ladrang at Naranthan Nepal is simply the best location. Surrounded by nature’s beauty will be a perfect place for prayers, meditation and retreats. Having beautiful hills and mountain behind the Ladrang, from the Ladrang one could watch sunset in the evenings. That’s wonderful indeed. I do hope I have the opportunity to visit this breath-taking panoramic Ladrang in future. Looking at those pictures tells us all the beautiful, outdoorsy Ladrang with great scenery.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing and teachings on butterlamp offerings and the lighting of 1100 butterlamps as well.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/me/tsem-ladrang-naranthan-nepal.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Jul 29. 2021 03:48 PM
    Interesting read of Tsem Rinpoche’s Torghut Ancestry’s history. Beautiful to know all about family biologically descended having related to Gelugpa lineage and as well as family line of Genghis Khan.
    Thank you Rinpoche and Seow Choong Liang for this sharing

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/me/tsem-rinpoches-torghut-ancestry.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Jul 28. 2021 02:52 PM
    Everyone’s dream home is different. Buying a house is everyone’s dream simply because that is how we have been mentally and socially conditioned. All happiness moments start with family under the roof. Having simple and spacious house surrounding by greenery environment would be wonderful for me.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing and thoughts of a dream house.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/me/my-kind-of-architecture.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Jul 28. 2021 02:50 PM
    Reading this inspiring story tells us more. … how our Guru Tsem Rinpoche through all the odds and struggles to be where he was. Without family and relative ‘s support he had gone through hardship. Rinpoche leaving a comfort zone to a place of hunger and poverty, just for Dharma. Travelling across half the globe from US to India to a new environment all alone just for the love of Dharma . Rinpoche was so determined to continue Dharma no matter what happened.
    To those who knew nothing of Kechara it will say it’s a cult but not me . Coming to Kechara, and meeting Rinpoche it has changed my life . Learning and practicing Dharma from Rinpoche ‘s blog had thought me to be a better person, and spending my life meaningfully. Still learning to improve myself .
    Thank you Rinpoche with folded hands.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/me/i-joined-a-cult.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Jul 28. 2021 02:48 PM
    Esquire is an American men’s magazine based in New York City , it has been published by the Hearst Corporation since 1986. Found this old post and realised such an international magazine had interviewed our Guru Tsem Rinpoche long ago. Esquire described our Rinpoche as one of the country’s most avant-garde spiritual leaders. That’s true Tsem Rinpoche down to earth very special Lama and founded the Buddhist organization Kechara. We are fortunate to have Rinpoche in Malaysia, showing us the way.
    Thank you Rinpoche with folded hands

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/me/esquire-magazine-calls.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Jul 27. 2021 04:10 PM
    Wonderful to have the story in Mongolian of Tsem Rinpoche home at Gaden ,India. More Mongolian will understand better of the life of Tsem Rinpoche . What Rinpoche had experienced and struggles to pursue Dharma goals no matter what happens and condition Rinpoche faced living in cowshed then.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/me/the-cowshed-that-was-my-home-in-gaden-mongolian.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Jul 27. 2021 04:07 PM
    Women were frequently characterized as second-class citizens those days. There were many notable women who were able to break from societal norms to live the kind of life they chose for themselves. I could tell many women throughout these three eras were not given a chance to outspoken than men. Well those days women were treated as an entirely separate group, regardless of their social status. They had numerous legal, religious, and economic challenges hurdles to go through.
    Reading this inspiring post of famous women ,they deserve at least a worthy mention and not forgotten. I only know the inspiring story of Joan of Arc during my school days. Glad to know more heroines from this post. I am sure there were more throughout the centuries, living as independent women, equal to men. Inspiring indeed how these women standing against the odds and having their own vision . The stories of Lyudmila Pavlichenko the deadliest women and Annie Smith Peck the explorer adventurer and supporter of the women’s suffragette movement stood up well in history.
    Thank you Rinpoche and Shakila Rajendra for this inspiring sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/the-heroines-time-forgot.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Jul 27. 2021 04:05 PM
    In certain parts of China is actually famous for its dog meat consumption. Despite the widespread outcry against the country’s notorious eating habits there’s still restaurants serving dog’s meat.
    Many locals are aware of the obscene cruelty of the animals being killed for their meat. The government is drawing up laws to prohibit the trade of wildlife and protect those animals and safety of its people. So its not surprised when the locals got angry and putting things into their own hands beating the two dog thieves savagely. Angry villager even attacks the two thieves’ car, smashed the car window. Got red handed and beaten badly till the police came. Nowadays locals gave up dogs meats for health reason and they are aware of it. Hope more could be done to safe those dogs.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing .

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/do-you-know-this-is-happening-in-southern-china.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Friday, Jul 23. 2021 04:55 PM
    Thank you Rinpoche, for this important knowledge what to look for signs that our doggie in pain. By knowing what to do and look out for, it will certainly help owners to detect the situation. When we spend time with them we could understand them better when they are in pain. Since they are not able to tell us we have the responsibility to take care of them. Pain can be difficult to detect in older dogs. Doggie in pain tend to be more vocal, it’s not always easy to spot immediately. They will only express in a number of ways such as whining, whimpering, growling, and so forth. It is important for dog owners to recognize subtle signs of pain in their dog. Hence reading this post have help me to observe my doggie better.


    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/7-signs-your-dog-is-in-pain-and-trying-to-hide-it.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Friday, Jul 23. 2021 04:53 PM
    Inspiring post of a soldier turned Buddhist monk living in remote raw Ural mountains of Russia . With little and much hardship , they never give up feeling happy with their struggles. They managed to build a spiritual community up in the remote mountains. Led by Mikhail Sannikov, now known as Lama Dokshit, a veteran of the USSR’s Afghanistan war . He established a monastery on an isolated mountaintop named Shad Tchup Ling, meaning “place of practice and realisation. The monastery is visited by thousands yearly by tourist and locals.
    But sadly this monastery was built on private lands own by a metallurgical mining company . Since 2016, it has been desired to demolish the Buddhist Shedrub Ling temple on Mount Kachkanar. The Buddhist community have tried many times to legalize the structures. The mining and others have claimed rights to the land. The Buddhist community was asked to leave then. The latest update dated second February 2021 is that the monastery will be under the security of the mining company where the Urals Buddhists are allowed back to the mountain only certain days of the week. May this inspiring monastery up in the mountains continue to flourish and may the mining company not demolished it .
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.
    READ MORE AT…for the latest news
    https://www2.stetson.edu/religious-news/210202a.html

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/buddhist-monks-far-off-in-the-russian-mountains.html

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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

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According to legend, Shambhala is a place where wisdom and love reign, and there is no crime. Doesn\'t this sound like the kind of place all of us would love to live in? https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=204874
2 yearss ago
According to legend, Shambhala is a place where wisdom and love reign, and there is no crime. Doesn't this sound like the kind of place all of us would love to live in? https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=204874
108 candles and sang (incense) offered at our Wish-Fulfilling Grotto, invoking Dorje Shugden\'s blessings for friends, sponsors and supporters, wonderful!
2 yearss ago
108 candles and sang (incense) offered at our Wish-Fulfilling Grotto, invoking Dorje Shugden's blessings for friends, sponsors and supporters, wonderful!
Dharmapalas are not exclusive to Tibetan culture and their practice is widespread throughout the Buddhist world - https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=193645
2 yearss ago
Dharmapalas are not exclusive to Tibetan culture and their practice is widespread throughout the Buddhist world - https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=193645
One of our adorable Kechara Forest Retreat\'s doggies, Tara, happy and safe, and enjoying herself in front of Wisdom Hall which has been decorated for Chinese New Year
2 yearss ago
One of our adorable Kechara Forest Retreat's doggies, Tara, happy and safe, and enjoying herself in front of Wisdom Hall which has been decorated for Chinese New Year
Fragrant organic Thai basil harvested from our very own Kechara Forest Retreat farm!
2 yearss ago
Fragrant organic Thai basil harvested from our very own Kechara Forest Retreat farm!
On behalf of our Puja House team, Pastor Tat Ming receives food and drinks from Rinpoche. Rinpoche wanted to make sure the hardworking Puja House team are always taken care of.
2 yearss ago
On behalf of our Puja House team, Pastor Tat Ming receives food and drinks from Rinpoche. Rinpoche wanted to make sure the hardworking Puja House team are always taken care of.
By the time I heard about Luang Phor Thong, he was already very old, in his late 80s. When I heard about him, I immediately wanted to go and pay my respects to him. - http://bit.ly/LuangPhorThong
2 yearss ago
By the time I heard about Luang Phor Thong, he was already very old, in his late 80s. When I heard about him, I immediately wanted to go and pay my respects to him. - http://bit.ly/LuangPhorThong
It\'s very nice to see volunteers helping maintain holy sites in Kechara Forest Retreat, it\'s very good for them. Cleaning Buddha statues is a very powerful and effective way of purifying body karma.
2 yearss ago
It's very nice to see volunteers helping maintain holy sites in Kechara Forest Retreat, it's very good for them. Cleaning Buddha statues is a very powerful and effective way of purifying body karma.
Kechara Forest Retreat is preparing for the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations. This is our holy Vajra Yogini stupa which is now surrounded by beautiful lanterns organised by our students.
2 yearss ago
Kechara Forest Retreat is preparing for the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations. This is our holy Vajra Yogini stupa which is now surrounded by beautiful lanterns organised by our students.
One of the most recent harvests from our Kechara Forest Retreat land. It was grown free of chemicals and pesticides, wonderful!
2 yearss ago
One of the most recent harvests from our Kechara Forest Retreat land. It was grown free of chemicals and pesticides, wonderful!
Third picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal.
Height: 33ft (10m)
2 yearss ago
Third picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal. Height: 33ft (10m)
Second picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal.
Height: 33ft (10m)
2 yearss ago
Second picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal. Height: 33ft (10m)
First picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal.
Height: 33ft (10m)
2 yearss ago
First picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal. Height: 33ft (10m)
The first title published by Kechara Comics is Karuna Finds A Way. It tells the tale of high-school sweethearts Karuna and Adam who had what some would call the dream life. Everything was going great for them until one day when reality came knocking on their door. Caught in a surprise swindle, this loving family who never harmed anyone found themselves out of luck and down on their fortune. Determined to save her family, Karuna goes all out to find a solution. See what she does- https://bit.ly/2LSKuWo
2 yearss ago
The first title published by Kechara Comics is Karuna Finds A Way. It tells the tale of high-school sweethearts Karuna and Adam who had what some would call the dream life. Everything was going great for them until one day when reality came knocking on their door. Caught in a surprise swindle, this loving family who never harmed anyone found themselves out of luck and down on their fortune. Determined to save her family, Karuna goes all out to find a solution. See what she does- https://bit.ly/2LSKuWo
Very powerful story! Tibetan Resistance group Chushi Gangdruk reveals how Dalai Lama escaped in 1959- https://bit.ly/2S9VMGX
2 yearss ago
Very powerful story! Tibetan Resistance group Chushi Gangdruk reveals how Dalai Lama escaped in 1959- https://bit.ly/2S9VMGX
At Kechara Forest Retreat land we have nice fresh spinach growing free of chemicals and pesticides. Yes!
2 yearss ago
At Kechara Forest Retreat land we have nice fresh spinach growing free of chemicals and pesticides. Yes!
See beautiful pictures of Manjushri Guest House here- https://bit.ly/2WGo0ti
2 yearss ago
See beautiful pictures of Manjushri Guest House here- https://bit.ly/2WGo0ti
Beginner’s Introduction to Dorje Shugden~Very good overview https://bit.ly/2QQNfYv
2 yearss ago
Beginner’s Introduction to Dorje Shugden~Very good overview https://bit.ly/2QQNfYv
Fresh eggplants grown on Kechara Forest Retreat\'s land here in Malaysia
2 yearss ago
Fresh eggplants grown on Kechara Forest Retreat's land here in Malaysia
Most Venerable Uppalavanna – The Chief Female Disciple of Buddha Shakyamuni - She exhibited many supernatural abilities gained from meditation and proved to the world females and males are equal in spirituality- https://bit.ly/31d9Rat
2 yearss ago
Most Venerable Uppalavanna – The Chief Female Disciple of Buddha Shakyamuni - She exhibited many supernatural abilities gained from meditation and proved to the world females and males are equal in spirituality- https://bit.ly/31d9Rat
Thailand’s ‘Renegade’ Yet Powerful Buddhist Nuns~ https://bit.ly/2Z1C02m
2 yearss ago
Thailand’s ‘Renegade’ Yet Powerful Buddhist Nuns~ https://bit.ly/2Z1C02m
Mahapajapati Gotami – the first Buddhist nun ordained by Lord Buddha- https://bit.ly/2IjD8ru
2 yearss ago
Mahapajapati Gotami – the first Buddhist nun ordained by Lord Buddha- https://bit.ly/2IjD8ru
The Largest Buddha Shakyamuni in Russia | 俄罗斯最大的释迦牟尼佛画像- https://bit.ly/2Wpclni
2 yearss ago
The Largest Buddha Shakyamuni in Russia | 俄罗斯最大的释迦牟尼佛画像- https://bit.ly/2Wpclni
Sacred Vajra Yogini
2 yearss ago
Sacred Vajra Yogini
Dorje Shugden works & archives - a labour of commitment - https://bit.ly/30Tp2p8
2 yearss ago
Dorje Shugden works & archives - a labour of commitment - https://bit.ly/30Tp2p8
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha.
2 yearss ago
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha.
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha. She was his step-mother and aunt. Buddha\'s mother had passed away at his birth so he was raised by Gotami.
2 yearss ago
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha. She was his step-mother and aunt. Buddha's mother had passed away at his birth so he was raised by Gotami.
Another nun disciple of Lord Buddha\'s. She had achieved great spiritual abilities and high attainments. She would be a proper object of refuge. This image of the eminent bhikkhuni (nun) disciple of the Buddha, Uppalavanna Theri.
2 yearss ago
Another nun disciple of Lord Buddha's. She had achieved great spiritual abilities and high attainments. She would be a proper object of refuge. This image of the eminent bhikkhuni (nun) disciple of the Buddha, Uppalavanna Theri.
Wandering Ascetic Painting by Nirdesha Munasinghe
2 yearss ago
Wandering Ascetic Painting by Nirdesha Munasinghe
High Sri Lankan monks visit Kechara to bless our land, temple, Buddha and Dorje Shugden images. They were very kind-see pictures- https://bit.ly/2HQie2M
2 yearss ago
High Sri Lankan monks visit Kechara to bless our land, temple, Buddha and Dorje Shugden images. They were very kind-see pictures- https://bit.ly/2HQie2M
This is pretty amazing!

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

Always be kind to animals and eat vegetarian- https://bit.ly/2Psp8h2
2 yearss ago
My Dharma boy (left) and Oser girl loves to laze around on the veranda in the mornings. They enjoy all the trees, grass and relaxing under the hot sun. Sunbathing is a favorite daily activity. I care about these two doggies of mine very much and I enjoy seeing them happy. They are with me always. Tsem Rinpoche Always be kind to animals and eat vegetarian- https://bit.ly/2Psp8h2
After you left me Mumu, I was alone. I have no family or kin. You were my family. I can\'t stop thinking of you and I can\'t forget you. My bond and connection with you is so strong. I wish you were by my side. Tsem Rinpoche
2 yearss ago
After you left me Mumu, I was alone. I have no family or kin. You were my family. I can't stop thinking of you and I can't forget you. My bond and connection with you is so strong. I wish you were by my side. Tsem Rinpoche
This story is a life-changer. Learn about the incredible Forest Man of India | 印度“森林之子”- https://bit.ly/2Eh4vRS
2 yearss ago
This story is a life-changer. Learn about the incredible Forest Man of India | 印度“森林之子”- https://bit.ly/2Eh4vRS
Part 2-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
2 yearss ago
Part 2-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
Part 1-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
2 yearss ago
Part 1-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
The great Protector Manjushri Dorje Shugden depicted in the beautiful Mongolian style. To download a high resolution file: https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
2 yearss ago
The great Protector Manjushri Dorje Shugden depicted in the beautiful Mongolian style. To download a high resolution file: https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
The Mystical land of Shambhala is finally ready for everyone to feast their eyes and be blessed. A beautiful post with information, art work, history, spirituality and a beautiful book composed by His Holiness the 6th Panchen Rinpoche. ~ https://bit.ly/309MHBi
2 yearss ago
The Mystical land of Shambhala is finally ready for everyone to feast their eyes and be blessed. A beautiful post with information, art work, history, spirituality and a beautiful book composed by His Holiness the 6th Panchen Rinpoche. ~ https://bit.ly/309MHBi
Beautiful pictures of the huge Buddha in Longkou Nanshan- https://bit.ly/2LsBxVb
2 yearss ago
Beautiful pictures of the huge Buddha in Longkou Nanshan- https://bit.ly/2LsBxVb
The reason-Very interesting thought- https://bit.ly/2V7VT5r
2 yearss ago
The reason-Very interesting thought- https://bit.ly/2V7VT5r
NEW Bigfoot cafe in Malaysia! Food is delicious!- https://bit.ly/2VxdGau
2 yearss ago
NEW Bigfoot cafe in Malaysia! Food is delicious!- https://bit.ly/2VxdGau
DON\'T MISS THIS!~How brave Bonnie survived by living with a herd of deer~ https://bit.ly/2Lre2eY
2 yearss ago
DON'T MISS THIS!~How brave Bonnie survived by living with a herd of deer~ https://bit.ly/2Lre2eY
Global Superpower China Will Cut Meat Consumption by 50%! Very interesting, find out more- https://bit.ly/2V1sJFh
2 yearss ago
Global Superpower China Will Cut Meat Consumption by 50%! Very interesting, find out more- https://bit.ly/2V1sJFh
You can download this beautiful Egyptian style Dorje Shugden Free- https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
2 yearss ago
You can download this beautiful Egyptian style Dorje Shugden Free- https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
Beautiful high file for print of Lord Manjushri. May you be blessed- https://bit.ly/2V8mwZe
2 yearss ago
Beautiful high file for print of Lord Manjushri. May you be blessed- https://bit.ly/2V8mwZe
Mongolian (Oymiakon) Shaman in Siberia, Russia. That is his real outfit he wears. Very unique. TR
2 yearss ago
Mongolian (Oymiakon) Shaman in Siberia, Russia. That is his real outfit he wears. Very unique. TR
Find one of the most beautiful temples in the world in Nara, Japan. It is the 1,267 year old Todai-ji temple that houses a 15 meter Buddha Vairocana statue who is a cosmic and timeless Buddha. Emperor Shomu who sponsored this beautiful temple eventually abdicated and ordained as a Buddhist monk. Very interesting history and story. One of the places everyone should visit- https://bit.ly/2VgsHhK
2 yearss ago
Find one of the most beautiful temples in the world in Nara, Japan. It is the 1,267 year old Todai-ji temple that houses a 15 meter Buddha Vairocana statue who is a cosmic and timeless Buddha. Emperor Shomu who sponsored this beautiful temple eventually abdicated and ordained as a Buddhist monk. Very interesting history and story. One of the places everyone should visit- https://bit.ly/2VgsHhK
Manjusri Kumara (bodhisattva of wisdom), India, Pala dynesty, 9th century, stone, Honolulu Academy of Arts
2 yearss ago
Manjusri Kumara (bodhisattva of wisdom), India, Pala dynesty, 9th century, stone, Honolulu Academy of Arts
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Videos On The Go

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  • Our Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir speaks so well, logically and regarding our country’s collaboration with China for growth. It is refreshing to listen to Dr. Mahathir’s thoughts. He said our country can look to China for many more things such as technology and so on. Tsem Rinpoche
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    This is the first time His Holiness Dalai Lama mentions he had some very serious illness. Very worrying. This video is captured April 2019.
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  • This dog thanks his hero in such a touching way. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 yearss ago
    This dog thanks his hero in such a touching way. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Join Tsem Rinpoche in prayer for H.H. Dalai Lama’s long life~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYy7JcveikU&feature=youtu.be
    2 yearss ago
    Join Tsem Rinpoche in prayer for H.H. Dalai Lama’s long life~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYy7JcveikU&feature=youtu.be
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    2 yearss ago
    These people going on pilgrimage to a holy mountain and prostrating out of devotion and for pilgrimage in Tibet. Such determination for spiritual practice. Tsem Rinpoche
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  • Get ready to laugh real hard. This is Kechara’s version of “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane!” We have some real talents in this video clip.
    2 yearss ago
    Get ready to laugh real hard. This is Kechara’s version of “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane!” We have some real talents in this video clip.
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    Plse watch this short video and see how all sentient beings are capable of tenderness and love. We should never hurt animals nor should we eat them. Tsem Rinpoche
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A section for you to clarify your Dharma questions with Kechara’s esteemed pastors.

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CHAT PICTURES

Underprivileged residents of two PPRs in Kuala Lumpur recently received a total of 427kg from our longterm surplus produce sponsor, Lotuss Stores (formerly Tesco Stores). The 65 families are our regular beneficiaries, and are grateful to receive fresh vegetables on a consistent basis right at their doorstep. One of our recipients, Rajeswari, 52, single mother of 2 children, shared that she stopped receiving welfare aid due to unforeseen circumstances. Her words: "Saya cakap untuk Kechara [Soup Kitchen] banyak terima kasih sebab kasi makanan. Dan lebih mau tolong orang lain yang susah seperti saya". Our heartfelt thank-you goes to Lotuss Stores for being a dependable source of food aid and for #helpingthepoor with us. #kecharafoodbank #makingadifference #kitajagakita #charity #foodbank #bantuan #ngomalaysia #givingback #strongertogether - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
2 months ago
Underprivileged residents of two PPRs in Kuala Lumpur recently received a total of 427kg from our longterm surplus produce sponsor, Lotuss Stores (formerly Tesco Stores). The 65 families are our regular beneficiaries, and are grateful to receive fresh vegetables on a consistent basis right at their doorstep. One of our recipients, Rajeswari, 52, single mother of 2 children, shared that she stopped receiving welfare aid due to unforeseen circumstances. Her words: "Saya cakap untuk Kechara [Soup Kitchen] banyak terima kasih sebab kasi makanan. Dan lebih mau tolong orang lain yang susah seperti saya". Our heartfelt thank-you goes to Lotuss Stores for being a dependable source of food aid and for #helpingthepoor with us. #kecharafoodbank #makingadifference #kitajagakita #charity #foodbank #bantuan #ngomalaysia #givingback #strongertogether - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Pastor Shin winning some mystery gifts for being the 1st person to answer a BONUS question during last Sunday's Blog chat quiz. Blog chat is a fun way to learn the Dharma. To find out more, check out > tsemrinpoche.com/chat. Joy - Moderator
3 months ago
Pastor Shin winning some mystery gifts for being the 1st person to answer a BONUS question during last Sunday's Blog chat quiz. Blog chat is a fun way to learn the Dharma. To find out more, check out > tsemrinpoche.com/chat. Joy - Moderator
Here is Pastor Antoinette who won some mystery gifts for being the 2nd person to answer a BONUS question during last Sunday's Blog Chat quiz/discussion. To find out more check out our blog chat section for our weekly topic! Joy - Moderator
3 months ago
Here is Pastor Antoinette who won some mystery gifts for being the 2nd person to answer a BONUS question during last Sunday's Blog Chat quiz/discussion. To find out more check out our blog chat section for our weekly topic! Joy - Moderator
#KFBBentong: Ready for some exciting news? We are now at RM154,523.94 - surpassing the funds required for our Pahang food bank operations! Thank you to all who kindly donated, we are deeply moved by your care and generosity towards the less fortunate struggling in our midst. To make our shared goal to continue #helpingthepoor a reality, we are now eagerly looking for suitable premises in Bentong. We will update soon on our progress, so stay tuned! #kecharafoodbank #foodaid #bantuan #kitajagakita #hungerknowsnobarriers #endhunger #charity #ngomalaysia #Pahang - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
4 months ago
#KFBBentong: Ready for some exciting news? We are now at RM154,523.94 - surpassing the funds required for our Pahang food bank operations! Thank you to all who kindly donated, we are deeply moved by your care and generosity towards the less fortunate struggling in our midst. To make our shared goal to continue #helpingthepoor a reality, we are now eagerly looking for suitable premises in Bentong. We will update soon on our progress, so stay tuned! #kecharafoodbank #foodaid #bantuan #kitajagakita #hungerknowsnobarriers #endhunger #charity #ngomalaysia #Pahang - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
#kecharafoodbank: In collaboration with Good Shepherd Services (GSS) based in Ipoh, we travelled to Buntong with food rations for 33 families. Some of the food items given include rice, noodles, cooking oil and biscuits; in total, we gave 726kg of food to these beneficiaries from the underprivileged class. We are glad to have been able to contribute, especially to families with children and in poor living conditions. We wish to thank GSS for alerting us about those in need, and we look forward to extending more support in the future together with this not-for-profit organization doing good work. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
5 months ago
#kecharafoodbank: In collaboration with Good Shepherd Services (GSS) based in Ipoh, we travelled to Buntong with food rations for 33 families. Some of the food items given include rice, noodles, cooking oil and biscuits; in total, we gave 726kg of food to these beneficiaries from the underprivileged class. We are glad to have been able to contribute, especially to families with children and in poor living conditions. We wish to thank GSS for alerting us about those in need, and we look forward to extending more support in the future together with this not-for-profit organization doing good work. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
In an urgent effort to provide food and necessities to the poverty-stricken in Bentong and rural areas of Pahang, we are launching Food Bank Bentong. With your support, Food Bank Bentong would be able to feed 500 families totaling 2,300 people on a regular basis, giving them a chance to enjoy a basic sense of security we consider a human right. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
5 months ago
In an urgent effort to provide food and necessities to the poverty-stricken in Bentong and rural areas of Pahang, we are launching Food Bank Bentong. With your support, Food Bank Bentong would be able to feed 500 families totaling 2,300 people on a regular basis, giving them a chance to enjoy a basic sense of security we consider a human right. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Kechara Sunday Dharma School Online Teaching Every Sunday Morning 11am class - KSDS Jayce Goh
6 months ago
Kechara Sunday Dharma School Online Teaching Every Sunday Morning 11am class - KSDS Jayce Goh
Re: Kechara Sunday Dharma School Online Teaching Every Sunday Morning 11am class, students attend Pastor Shin Class happily - KSDS Jayce Goh
6 months ago
Re: Kechara Sunday Dharma School Online Teaching Every Sunday Morning 11am class, students attend Pastor Shin Class happily - KSDS Jayce Goh
Update on Empowerment cookies, special holiday packaging. The bakers are most grateful for the overwhelming support of 834 tubs ordered, with a big order of 314 tubs from a group of friends. Thank you to those cookie lovers who couldn’t get enough of it. Watch out for the next update. Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
7 months ago
Update on Empowerment cookies, special holiday packaging. The bakers are most grateful for the overwhelming support of 834 tubs ordered, with a big order of 314 tubs from a group of friends. Thank you to those cookie lovers who couldn’t get enough of it. Watch out for the next update. Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Thank you, generous and kind donors, made possible by Alice Smith School's Official Site through their Build Kindness Campaign. The whooping amount of RM63,000 will provide much needed food to 25 poor families for the next 12 months. On behalf of these families, thank you! Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
7 months ago
Thank you, generous and kind donors, made possible by Alice Smith School's Official Site through their Build Kindness Campaign. The whooping amount of RM63,000 will provide much needed food to 25 poor families for the next 12 months. On behalf of these families, thank you! Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
The global pandemic hasn't been easy for all of us. Some find it diffucult to find a job to support the family. Despite that, we are still delivering basic food pack to our recipients nationwide. Thank you to our volunteers, donors, and sponsors. Without your support, we would be unable to reach out to many families. Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
7 months ago
The global pandemic hasn't been easy for all of us. Some find it diffucult to find a job to support the family. Despite that, we are still delivering basic food pack to our recipients nationwide. Thank you to our volunteers, donors, and sponsors. Without your support, we would be unable to reach out to many families. Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Thanks to Yap Optometry for gifting Robert a new pair of glasses to see better. We wish him many clear and bright days ahead. Thank you to all sponsors. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
8 months ago
Thanks to Yap Optometry for gifting Robert a new pair of glasses to see better. We wish him many clear and bright days ahead. Thank you to all sponsors. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Donation received to date: RM33,468.00 Yes! We've achieved the target for the #TamanNegara project. Fundraising is closed for this project. Thank you to all donors, 113 Orang Asli families will benefit from it. Stay tuned! #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
8 months ago
Donation received to date: RM33,468.00 Yes! We've achieved the target for the #TamanNegara project. Fundraising is closed for this project. Thank you to all donors, 113 Orang Asli families will benefit from it. Stay tuned! #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
FRESHLY BAKED by Kechara Empowerment trainees - Chocolate Chip Butter Cookies - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
8 months ago
FRESHLY BAKED by Kechara Empowerment trainees - Chocolate Chip Butter Cookies - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
In memory of Wilson Lee, one of our most dedicated volunteers in Penang. Our heartfelt condolences to Wilson's wife, Tze Ling, family and friends. Our thoughts are with them for their loss. Thank you for your kindness and service to KSK Penang. From all of us in KSK.
8 months ago
In memory of Wilson Lee, one of our most dedicated volunteers in Penang. Our heartfelt condolences to Wilson's wife, Tze Ling, family and friends. Our thoughts are with them for their loss. Thank you for your kindness and service to KSK Penang. From all of us in KSK.
Last weekend a Soup Kitchen activities @ Penang, Johor & Kuala Lumpur. Hot food, water, masks, biscuits, buns & fruits. This is what we give out to our friends living on the streets. Thank you to our sponsor & volunteers that make it happen. Come spread more love by being a volunteer at our activities. WhatsApp us today at 010-333-3260! See you soon! #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
10 months ago
Last weekend a Soup Kitchen activities @ Penang, Johor & Kuala Lumpur. Hot food, water, masks, biscuits, buns & fruits. This is what we give out to our friends living on the streets. Thank you to our sponsor & volunteers that make it happen. Come spread more love by being a volunteer at our activities. WhatsApp us today at 010-333-3260! See you soon! #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Kechara Earth Project 13/9/2020
10 months ago
Kechara Earth Project 13/9/2020
Thank you Domino's Pizza Malaysia, Kasih & Piza campaign for sponsoring 85 boxes of pizza to our friends who live on the streets. Your flavourful pizzas have put a smile on their faces. Thank you! - Vivan @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #KasihdanPiza #ItsAllAboutYou
11 months ago
Thank you Domino's Pizza Malaysia, Kasih & Piza campaign for sponsoring 85 boxes of pizza to our friends who live on the streets. Your flavourful pizzas have put a smile on their faces. Thank you! - Vivan @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #KasihdanPiza #ItsAllAboutYou
Thank you Novo Nordisk! Your kind monetary donation and 1,320 boxes of masks will benefit many needy families under the Kechara Food Bank Program. Thank you! Much love from the needy families  ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #novonordisk #novonordiskmalaysia
11 months ago
Thank you Novo Nordisk! Your kind monetary donation and 1,320 boxes of masks will benefit many needy families under the Kechara Food Bank Program. Thank you! Much love from the needy families ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #novonordisk #novonordiskmalaysia
We were graced with the presence of Tengku Zatashah & The Alice Smith School Foundation yesterday. 130 homeless were blessed to be served by them. RM 20,000 donated by Alice Smith School Foundation will benefit 100 families registered under Kechara Food Bank Program. Thank you! Much love from the needy families ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #alicesmithschoolfoundation #alicesmithschool #volunteerism #homeless
11 months ago
We were graced with the presence of Tengku Zatashah & The Alice Smith School Foundation yesterday. 130 homeless were blessed to be served by them. RM 20,000 donated by Alice Smith School Foundation will benefit 100 families registered under Kechara Food Bank Program. Thank you! Much love from the needy families ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #alicesmithschoolfoundation #alicesmithschool #volunteerism #homeless
Thanks to the effort of our outstation team, we were able to mobilise food provisions to 600 families living in Kelantan, Penang, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor during the Raya period with each of these families receiving RM200 worth of provisions. Adding onto the current 368 families in Klang Valley, a total of 968 families were benefitted from this. Special thanks to the sponsors who have contributed especially Hong Leong Foundation and partially from Tesco Malaysia (where we also ordered the provisions from). ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
1 years ago
Thanks to the effort of our outstation team, we were able to mobilise food provisions to 600 families living in Kelantan, Penang, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor during the Raya period with each of these families receiving RM200 worth of provisions. Adding onto the current 368 families in Klang Valley, a total of 968 families were benefitted from this. Special thanks to the sponsors who have contributed especially Hong Leong Foundation and partially from Tesco Malaysia (where we also ordered the provisions from). ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
So glad that our soup kitchen operations are back in full swing. Good to see the clients are observing the SOPs. Some of them lost their job during MCO and ended up on the streets. Special thanks to our sponsors and volunteers for the great support! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
1 years ago
So glad that our soup kitchen operations are back in full swing. Good to see the clients are observing the SOPs. Some of them lost their job during MCO and ended up on the streets. Special thanks to our sponsors and volunteers for the great support! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
From serving cooked food to the homeless clients on the streets to mobilising provisions to the needy individuals in PPRs and shelters, we thank everyone of our Johor Bahru team for their kind contributions and effort to make it for the needy despite all the challenges! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
1 years ago
From serving cooked food to the homeless clients on the streets to mobilising provisions to the needy individuals in PPRs and shelters, we thank everyone of our Johor Bahru team for their kind contributions and effort to make it for the needy despite all the challenges! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
More photos taken from our "Hari Raya Hampers" distribution this week. Making sure everyone of our clients have something to be cheerful about. Apart from food, daily used items such as hygiene products, kitchen utensils, assorted fabric items, stationary items and toys were also included into our hamper bags making it extra heavier this month! Food items alone were about 35kg per family! Taking this opportunity to wish everyone of our Muslim volunteers, friends, supporters and clients a Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Maaf Zahir Batin. No doubt this year's celebration will be very different but appreciate everyone is safe and protected from the pandemic. We are in this together and let's work to fight this pandemic together! Thanking all sponsors and donors for the generous support enabling us to continue serve the needy with food, love and care. Big shoutout too to our wonderful team which already depleted by our very own strict SOP. All of you who worked tirelessly behind the s
1 years ago
More photos taken from our "Hari Raya Hampers" distribution this week. Making sure everyone of our clients have something to be cheerful about. Apart from food, daily used items such as hygiene products, kitchen utensils, assorted fabric items, stationary items and toys were also included into our hamper bags making it extra heavier this month! Food items alone were about 35kg per family! Taking this opportunity to wish everyone of our Muslim volunteers, friends, supporters and clients a Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Maaf Zahir Batin. No doubt this year's celebration will be very different but appreciate everyone is safe and protected from the pandemic. We are in this together and let's work to fight this pandemic together! Thanking all sponsors and donors for the generous support enabling us to continue serve the needy with food, love and care. Big shoutout too to our wonderful team which already depleted by our very own strict SOP. All of you who worked tirelessly behind the s
Our team have been working extra hours for the past few weeks to deliver provisions and hamper goodies to the needy families before Hari Raya! Heart warming to see the smiling faces of our recipients upon receiving 3 bags full of food and daily used items. Thanks to everyone of you who have contributed to our foodbank enabling us to give all our recipients (especially those celebrating) a Raya to remember! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
1 years ago
Our team have been working extra hours for the past few weeks to deliver provisions and hamper goodies to the needy families before Hari Raya! Heart warming to see the smiling faces of our recipients upon receiving 3 bags full of food and daily used items. Thanks to everyone of you who have contributed to our foodbank enabling us to give all our recipients (especially those celebrating) a Raya to remember! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Thankful to all donors and those who have been committed in contributing not just money but time over the past testing weeks to help us ease the work of our frontliners and also the livelihood of the needy, their struggles over this pandemic period seemed a little easier to bear with because of your contributions! - Vivian @Kechara Soup Kitchen
1 years ago
Thankful to all donors and those who have been committed in contributing not just money but time over the past testing weeks to help us ease the work of our frontliners and also the livelihood of the needy, their struggles over this pandemic period seemed a little easier to bear with because of your contributions! - Vivian @Kechara Soup Kitchen
KSDS Level 2 virtual class, Lin Mun KSDS
1 years ago
KSDS Level 2 virtual class, Lin Mun KSDS
KSDS Level 3 virtual class. Lin Mun KSDS
1 years ago
KSDS Level 3 virtual class. Lin Mun KSDS
Wesak 2020
1 years ago
Wesak 2020
Recycle today for a better tomorrow. KEP-Serena
1 years ago
Recycle today for a better tomorrow. KEP-Serena
Today we are having recycling at Kechara Soup Kitchen. Do drop by here if you would like to get ride of the recyclable items from home. KEP - Serena
1 years ago
Today we are having recycling at Kechara Soup Kitchen. Do drop by here if you would like to get ride of the recyclable items from home. KEP - Serena
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Seen here is Bam, Vajrayogini’s seed syllable and also Kechara's logo. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
1 years ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Seen here is Bam, Vajrayogini’s seed syllable and also Kechara's logo. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: More melted butter was offered. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
1 years ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: More melted butter was offered. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
H.E. Zawa Rinpoche in deep concentration. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
1 years ago
H.E. Zawa Rinpoche in deep concentration. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Geshela is seen here wearing ceremonial hat called tsoksha. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
1 years ago
Geshela is seen here wearing ceremonial hat called tsoksha. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
The Shize Fire Puja was performed according to scriptural sources. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
1 years ago
The Shize Fire Puja was performed according to scriptural sources. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
To find out more about the substances offered during jinsek/fire puja, have a read here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
1 years ago
To find out more about the substances offered during jinsek/fire puja, have a read here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
More about the symbolism of the offering items here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
1 years ago
More about the symbolism of the offering items here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Amongst all pujas, the fire puja is considered the king of all Pujas. It is the most powerful of all pujas within Tibetan Buddhism and its purpose is basically to remove all obstacles and its stains to enlightenment.
1 years ago
Amongst all pujas, the fire puja is considered the king of all Pujas. It is the most powerful of all pujas within Tibetan Buddhism and its purpose is basically to remove all obstacles and its stains to enlightenment.
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Graceful hand mudras were also part of the ritual. - shared Pastor Antoinette
1 years ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Graceful hand mudras were also part of the ritual. - shared Pastor Antoinette
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