Incredible Geshe Wangyal

Dec 8, 2013 | Views: 2,605

(By Tsem Rinpoche)

Dear respected friends around the world,

This is a must read article and very interesting. I learned from it also. I am so touched by all the work Geshe Wangyal has done in service of Dharma and humanity. Very touching.

I came across this wonderful article about how Tibetan Buddhism came to America and also a short history on the Kalmyks… it is the story about Geshe Ngawang Wangyal, the first Tibetan Buddhist lama who set foot on American soil. Unsurprisingly, he faced many challenges when bringing Buddhism to America! Geshe Wangyal was a Mongol (Kalmyk) which is the same ancestry as my mother.

The story of Geshe Wangyal was one that was told by a lifelong student, David Urubshurow who has been a student of Geshe Wangyal since he was 7 years old! I thank David Urubshurow for his devotion to Geshe Wangyal and this beautiful article. I have blogged it here so many will understand how much Geshe Wangyal did to bring Buddhism to America. I myself had the honour to meet Geshe Wangyal in his North New Jersey centre once many decades ago as a young boy.

Reading the biographies of great Lamas such as Geshe Wangyal is extremely beneficial for spiritual aspirants… similarly with reading biographies of Pabongkha Rinpoche and other great Mahasiddhas. I thought that I should share this article on Geshe Wangyal to all my blog readers in hopes that they will be both inspired and learn through the actions of this Enlightened master. We should never let challenges that seem vast stop us. We should never retire in retreat when it’s too hard. Nothing great comes with no effort.

“It always seems impossible until it is done.” ~Nelson Mandela

Tsem Rinpoche

 

P.S. I lived with my family on West 3rd Street, Howell New Jersey and Venerable Geshe Wangyal Lived on East 3rd Street. Amazing. That is just across the street from me and five minutes walk away! My root guru and first guru was Geshe Lobsang Tharchin. He was was brought to USA by Geshe Wangyal also!

 


From Russia with Love

The untold story of how Tibetan Buddhism first came to America
David Urubshurow

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By some estimates, there may now be three million or more people in the United States who identify themselves as Tibetan Buddhists. Sixty years ago, there were precisely 587 of us who could assert that claim—and we were all Kalmyk Mongols.

Eighteen years before Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche—the charismatic tulku widely assumed to have brought Tibetan Buddhism to North America—set foot in the States, a small band of Kalmyks, America’s earliest Tibetan Buddhists, would establish the religion’s first temple in the Western hemisphere. Refugees from Stalinism and unlikely beneficiaries of America’s early Cold War maneuverings, the Kalmyks transformed an unassuming town in the middle of New Jersey into the epicenter for Tibetan Buddhism in the West.

The community’s most learned lama, Geshe Ngawang Wangyal, was the first Tibetan Buddhist lama in the United States to take on American students. His long list of accomplishments would include pioneering efforts in establishing Tibetan Buddhism’s intellectual bona fides in American academia and popular culture, making possible the successful escape of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from Tibet in 1959 under contract with the CIA, and finally, spearheading a two-decade-long undertaking to remove political proscriptions on American visits by the Dalai Lama, an endeavor that reached up to the highest levels of US government. Not many Western Buddhists know this story—or that the tradition’s first congregation here would have such an improbable yet discernable and documentable impact on Tibetan Buddhism’s future in America.

In the summer of 1952, Jersey Shore–bound travelers zipping down US Route 9 would not have noticed anything that set Freewood Acres, New Jersey, apart from thousands of similar villages throughout America. Nothing on its public face suggested that Freewood Acres had, over the previous winter, become a demographically singular community on this side of the world. The distinction was due, in part, to the decision by a band of about 200 Kalmyks to resettle there permanently (amid an already established Cossack community) shortly after their 1951 Christmas Eve arrival in America. These Kalmyks had avoided all but certain extinction because of their propaganda value in a spirited battle for global domination being waged by their once and current sovereigns.

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The emigrants—nearly half of whom, myself included, were children under the age of 10—landed with only the tattered mementos of six joyless years in a series of Bavarian Displaced Persons (DP) camps cobbled together by the US Allied Forces in Germany to accommodate a portion of the millions uprooted by the Second World War. Each could trace his or her immediate origins to the Russian steppes northwest of the Caspian Sea, to a land they fondly called Hal’mag Tangach’, dubbed “Kalmykia” by their Russian and Cossack neighbors, from a word of Turkic origin meaning “to remain.” The Kalmyks had done just that after emigrating from western Mongolia to the Volga Basin in the early 17th century, establishing the only Buddhist polity in Europe at around the time the Puritans landed at Plymouth Rock.

Most of Freewood Acres’s Kalmyk adults had fought or worked for the Third Reich following the Nazi’s massive attack and subsequent occupation of their Russian Soviet Republic in the spring and summer of 1942. Spurred by the woes of Stalinist oppression, some became “guest workers”; the rest bore arms against the USSR, either as part of the doomed Russian Liberation Army or as members of the so-called Kalmyk Cavalry Corps, created by the German Wehrmacht during its Sixth Army’s brief occupation of Kalmykia as it mustered for the coming disaster in nearby Stalingrad. Understandably, no Kalmyks acknowledged this toxic allegiance in the wake of Germany’s defeat, and at war’s end each would profess involuntary servitude as the reason for his presence in Germany, usually under an assumed name.

Perhaps that was why we were among the very last of Europe’s DPs, still homeless and stateless six years after the end to hostilities. Desperate to preserve a unique cultural heritage in the midst of a physically devastated and morally depleted Germany, Kalmyk DPs rejected opportunities for individual or family resettlement, knowing that any attempt to break them up was tantamount to a death sentence for our culture and survival as a distinct people. Furthermore, in contrast to other past DPs, we were undeniably Asian, physically and culturally. Surprisingly urbane and broadly polyglot on the one hand, Kalmyk Mongols also unabashedly embraced and celebrated religious beliefs and core values found only in more exotic locales and distant times. For a mostly Christian Europe, this feature may have fostered a perception that Kalmyks were little more than godless primitives, perhaps not so far removed from our “barbarian” forebears. Little wonder, then, that there were few offers of safe haven from the community of nations.

In the immediate aftermath of Germany’s defeat, millions of their former countrymen and women—Cossacks, Soviet POWs, German collaborators, and other anti-Stalinists—were forcibly repatriated to Russia by its US and UK allies. Like most of those forcibly returned, Kalmyks harbored a visceral hatred of Communism and Stalin, nurtured in their beleaguered homeland and in European exile. In the early years of the Cold War, this particular stance, and the conviction with which Kalmyks held it, perhaps trumped the negative factors hindering our search for a permanent communal home. Impeccable anti-Communist credentials coupled with a history of persecution in the Soviet Union tipped the balance in our favor when the United States relented and offered Kalmyk Mongols permanent refuge. Our flight from Communist tyranny and eventual “redemption by the West” was valuable propaganda fodder for the political era that followed Mao’s revolution in China, witnessed an alarming upsurge in Communist-led national liberation movements in Southeast Asia, and saw the grisly escalation of hostilities on the Korean peninsula. Virulent anti-Communist Asians, it seems, were at a premium.

At first, the passage and enactment of the DP Act of 1948, a humanitarian measure to grant permanent US residence to 200,000 refugees still languishing in European DP camps, did not affect the Kalmyks’ eligibility, because its benefits applied only to white people. It was only with the help of Leo Tolstoy’s youngest daughter, Alexandra, one of perhaps a half-dozen Americans who even knew what a Kalmyk was, that we were granted asylum. Through her foundation, Tolstoy posited before an immigration tribunal that the Kalmyks’ centuries-old inhabitation of their own polity within European Russia far outweighed their actual and obvious Asiatic origin. In other words, Kalmyks were really Europeans. Despite the initial tribunal’s rejection of this argument, its appellate superiors, the Board of Immigration Appeals and the US Attorney General, reversed the decision months later, making theEuropean Kalmyks beneficiaries of an innovative legal ruling exempting us from the anti-Asian (“Yellow Peril”) hysteria that had swept America and found purchase in its immigration laws.

By figuratively sticking her foot in America’s front door and keeping it wedged there long enough for an anonymous band of war-tossed Mongols to navigate around daunting racial barriers, Countess Tolstoy not only became the architect of the Mongol “invasion” of New Jersey and the country’s first ethnic Mongolian community, she also served as the midwife for the birth of Tibetan Buddhism in America.

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One month short of the first anniversary of their arrival in America, the Kalmyks of Freewood Acres consecrated a communal worship center, their main priority since leaving the camps. The extensively renovated garage, once ritually transformed, symbolized the Kalmyks’ determination to bring their long, arduous journey to an end. The two modest bungalows that shared the site with the transformed garage became housing for the sangha of a half-dozen monks and lamas who had followed their parishioners out of Russia. They gave their new temple a traditional Tibetan name, Rashi Gempil Ling, hoping that it would indeed be a “Sanctuary for the Increase of Auspiciousness and Virtue.” That it was the first Tibetan Buddhist worship center established in the Western hemisphere probably was not foremost in anyone’s mind.

Coverage of the sanctifying rite in The New York Times betrayed the Cold War mentality typically found in the era’s news stories about recent refugees, fixing as it did on the group’s collective plight in recent years and its eventual deliverance from Soviet Communism by the US. The Siberian exile of the Kalmyks’ unfortunate compatriots in Russia was also mentioned, perhaps as an example of what these lucky ones had avoided through America’s compassionate intervention.

The brief article was the most prominent press attention Kalmyk DPs had received to date. And because it was published in the paper of record, it was the most widely disseminated account of the circumstances of our arrival the previous year. Beyond the hundreds of thousands of Times readers and subscribers learning for the first time that there were now “descendants of Genghis Khan” in their midst, the story’s reverberations eventually reached halfway around the globe to the West Bengal town of Kalimpong, India. There its message resonated with a fellow Kalmyk Mongolian who had been living in exile in the former hill station of the British Raj since shortly after the 1950 invasion of Tibet by China. Geshe Ngawang Wangyal’s curiosity was piqued.

The Kalmyk Autonomous Oblast in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic had barely celebrated its second anniversary in 1923 when 21-year-old Lidjiin Keerab, a Buddhist seminarian, left his home in the Lesser Derbet region to complete his ecclesiastical education in Tibet. He was one in a small but continuous trickle, beginning in the mid-to-late 1600s, of Kalmyk geshe-aspirants making the trek. He and his predecessors intended to eventually return home to disseminate buddhadharma among the Kalmyks, the world’s westernmost Buddhists. Keerab, who would complete his studies to become Geshe Wangyal, did not know that he would be the last Kalmyk to make that passage.

Keerab had been a gifted student in one of Kalmykia’s two monastic colleges (chöra) founded two decades earlier by his guru and patron Lama Agvan Dorjiev, a Buryat Mongol geshe from Siberia and an ecclesiastic tutor and debate partner to the 13th Dalai Lama. Although dragged into the geopolitical feuds of the time, Lama Dorjiev spent most of his life promoting the academic study of Buddhism in Mongolia, Buryatia, and Kalmykia according to a curriculum established by the Tibetan monk and scholar Lobsang Drakpa, better known as Tsongkhapa, the 15th-century founder of the Tibetan Gelug lineage.

Recognizing his protégé’s potential to successfully complete the demanding geshe curriculum at the Gelugpa monastic colleges of Tibet, Dorjiev handpicked the young Lidjiin Keerab to be a member of the Borisov Mission, a secret undertaking hatched by the USSR’s foreign ministry and Comintern functionaries. The expedition’s leader, Sergei Borisov, and his travel companions would pose as religious pilgrims while actually exploring opportunities for Communist proselytizing on the “roof of the world,” which conveniently overlooked colonial India, the crown jewel of Britain’s massive empire. Comrade Borisov, a seasoned Comintern operative of Central Asian descent, donned the robes and persona of a Buryat Mongol lama for the months-long trek to Lhasa. To add further credibility to the ruse, Borisov brought several genuine Russian Buddhist pilgrims into the party, including Lama Dorjiev’s promising disciple.

Knowing well the ulterior political motives of the caravan’s sponsors, Lama Dorjiev admonished Keerab to separate from the caravan before its entry into the holy city and to avoid being identified thereafter as a member of Borisov’s party. Borisov’s group would be the last sanctioned overland expedition from Russia to Tibet, ending a centuries-old practice by which Kalmyk traders, monk-students, and pilgrims could stockpile incalculable merit from completing the holy circuit.

Keerab completed his curricular obligations at Gomang Monastic College’s geshe-degree program in less than ten years, about half the time for typical geshe-aspirants. In 1933 or early ’34, Geshe Wangyal made his first (and last) attempt to return to Kalmykia, an endeavor cut short by the ongoing suppression of Buddhism along his proposed return route in Mongolia and even more vigorously at his intended destination. Stranded in Beijing, Geshe-la took a job with a Chinese publishing venture attempting to reconcile various versions of the Buddhist canon, taught school briefly in Inner Mongolia, and, presciently, began teaching himself English.

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Following a quick visit to England at the invitation of the author and mountaineer Marco Pallis, Geshe Wangyal returned to Tibet, resolving to spend the rest of his life there. For more than a decade, Geshe-la would spend most of the year in Lhasa and winter in Kalimpong, India, allowing him to conduct lucrative trade between the two countries and sometimes with China. It was a near-idyllic existence.

Late in 1950, however, the first Chinese Communist artillery shells fell on Eastern Tibet, ending the optimistic notion that Tibet could maintain its historical independence. The Asian expansion of Communism and the consequent devastation of Buddhism that Geshe-la had witnessed over the past three decades had finally caught up with him in Tibet, his most secure redoubt. He could not hope to remain in Lhasa, where his identity as a Russian subject was quite well known and his status as a lama and trader made him an obvious target for the coming wave of ideologues charged with purifying society of its bourgeois elements.

By the end of 1951, as Chinese propaganda cadres and armed forces expanded their presence into Central Tibet from the eastern provinces, Geshe Wangyal had permanently relocated to his winter refuge in India. Soon after, the jungle drums communication network of Kalimpong’s sizeable Tibetan exile community informed him that, according to an article in The New York Times, a group of his fellow Kalmyks had established a small community and congregation in a place called New Jersey.

For a full year thereafter, Geshe-la made multiple requests to the American Consul in New Delhi for a visa. It was eventually granted in late 1954 after the intervention of the Tolstoy Foundation a year earlier. With all his earthly possessions packed into two steamer trunks, Geshe-la made his way to France in time to catch La Liberté’s January 1955 departure for the port of New York. He would spend the next 28 years in New Jersey, the longest continuous residence in one place in his eventful life, making him, in a very real way, the first authentic American lama.

Following his arrival, Geshe Wangyal attempted to join the sanghas of the Kalmyks’ original temple organization, Rashi Gempil Ling, as well as the newest one, Tashi Lhunpo, built on a large communal plot in the adjacent Howell Township. He had been rebuffed by each primarily because of the interventions of *Dilowa Khutuktu, a Mongolian-born tulku who had been in America since 1949. The resulting acrimony in the community between Geshe-la’s defenders and detractors exposed fault lines along tribal and clan affiliations that had always been part of the Kalmyks’ group and individual identities.

Membership in either temple organization would have spared Geshe-la the necessity of raising the funds required to purchase property and build the facility he would need to house the modest Buddhist Studies and Tibetan Language program he hoped to start as a faint echo of the academies established in Kalmykia by his own guru, Lama Dorjiev. However, Geshe-la’s initial urgency to be accepted within the existing Kalmyk organizations appreciably diminished around the time he began his contract work for the CIA, in 1956 or early 1957. Recruited to the spy agency with the help of the Dalai Lama’s eldest brother, Thubten Jigme Norbu (Takster Rinpoche), Geshe Wangyal developed the Tibetan telecode the agency would use to communicate with the Tibetan Resistance, the newest surrogates for fighting communist expansion.

Takster Rinpoche emigrated to the United States under CIA sponsorship eight months to the day following Geshe-la’s arrival in New Jersey. His initial visit in 1951, referred to in some news accounts as a lecture tour of seminaries and colleges, was arranged by a CIA-front organization and used to present his own eyewitness accounts of the Chinese invasion and occupation of Tibet at very high levels of America’s foreign policy and intelligence communities. During his second visit, Rinpoche’s friend and colleague Geshe Wangyal served as his translator for the interview at the offices of Rinpoche’s US sponsor. The two had last seen each other in Lhasa 16 years earlier.

The Agency’s choice for its code designer was, according to Kenneth Conboy and James Morrison inThe CIA’s Secret War in Tibet, a given, since Geshe Wangyal was “the first (and at that time, only) qualified scholar of Tibetan … in the United States” who could develop the code and then train the Tibetan warriors (some of whom were only nominally literate) in its use. In other words, there was no one else in America who could have done it.

Geshe-la’s mandate within the task force also consisted of deciphering and encoding all messages between the Agency and the guerrilla forces for an extended period. Geshe-la, Takster Rinpoche, and the CIA spooks trained the first group of Tibetan guerrillas in the code and tradecraft for its use on the island of Saipan in the western Pacific in 1957. Later, the majority of CIA-trained nationalist forces would receive that training at Camp Hale, a decommissioned WWII– and Korean War–era army base in the Rocky Mountains outside of Leadville, Colorado. These Tibetans, after completing their training by the CIA, would be airdropped back into Tibet to gather intelligence and relay their information to Washington. They were also trained to recruit more resistance members and to conduct opportunistic sabotage.

The material rewards from Geshe Wangyal’s involvement with the US government became evident when he commissioned the construction of a nondescript, ranch-style home on East Third Street in Freewood Acres. Aside from the deer-and-dharma-wheel emblem (hand-carved by Geshe-la) displayed atop the portico of its front door, there was nothing about the typically suburban structure to indicate that it was America’s first center for the academic study of Tibetan Buddhism. The name on the corresponding mailbox at the edge of the street read Lamaist Buddhist Monastery of America(LBMA). From that point on, Geshe Wangyal would proceed according to his own agenda, which took a decisive turn in the year His Holiness the Dalai Lama escaped to India, a feat in which Geshe Wangyal played no small part.

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The combined efforts of Geshe Wangyal and Takster Rinpoche at the birth of the organized Tibetan resistance made it possible for ST Circus, the CIA’s codename for its anti-Chinese effort, to achieve its most notable success: the Dalai Lama’s escape from Tibet. Fortuitous contact by members of the first class of US-trained Tibetan resistance fighters with the Dalai Lama’s escape party in March 1959 allowed the CIA to be informed daily of the Dalai Lama’s whereabouts throughout the grueling ordeal. At the time, 50,000 People’s Liberation Army soldiers and dozens of spotter planes scoured the Tibetan side of the Himalayas trying to thwart his escape—or, as they suggested, to rescue him from kidnappers.

Besides keeping their CIA patrons updated on the escape party’s coordinates, the guerrillas used Geshe-la’s telecode to request from Prime Minister Nehru’s government political asylum in India for the Dalai Lama, his cabinet, and his family. Three years earlier, Nehru had turned away a similar request and essentially forced His Holiness to return to Tibet after a brief religious pilgrimage to India. It was thus a great relief when Nehru’s consent to the asylum request, after traveling through several bureaucratic levels of the US and Indian governments over a 24-hour period, was relayed to the Dalai Lama’s Lord Chamberlain by the CIA-trained guerrillas. That message permitted a then ailing Dalai Lama to cross into Indian refuge ahead of his pursuers.

His Holiness’s decision to leave Tibet at that time, almost nine years into China’s occupation, and the details of how and whether he was eluding the Chinese army became fodder for international journalistic speculation as hundreds of newsmen flocked to India’s remote Himalayan outposts hoping to witness his arrival. Few can remember today that this was the most internationally covered cliffhanger of that era, one that resonated well in the existential drama of the ongoing Cold War.

Once His Holiness the Dalai Lama was safely in India, Geshe Wangyal would soon discover that the follow-up task of bringing His Holiness to the United States might be more daunting than the just-concluded escape. For that project, he would need other allies—and plenty of patience.

In 1960, Geshe-la quit the CIA assignment. (The CIA’s Tibet program continued for more than a decade without him, until it was ended by order of Henry Kissinger when he began his courtship of Mao in the early 1970s.) As this was also his first year of eligibility, Geshe Wangyal petitioned for and received United States citizenship and an American passport. He used the latter to return that summer to India, where he met with the Dalai Lama, then into his second year of exile. Although Geshe-la, to my knowledge, never spoke openly of his private conversations with His Holiness—just as he never mentioned his involvement with the CIA’s Tibet Task Force—the results of their initial meetings became apparent in 1962 when His Holiness sent four Tibetan lamas from India to Geshe Wangyal’s center in Freewood Acres, primarily to learn English. The group included Geshe Lhundup Sopa, later a decades-long professor of Buddhism at the University of Wisconsin; Lama Kunga Thartse Rinpoche, founder of the Ewam Choden Buddhist center in California; and two teenage tulkus, Kamlung and Sharpa Rinpoches. The steady procession of Tibetan lamas to LBMA under this informal program continued for an additional ten years. Eventually the lamas’ mandate to learn English was expanded to include teaching Buddhism to receptive audiences. Many alumni of the program, like Geshe Sopa and Lama Kunga, would go on to establish their own active American dharma centers, which attracted hundreds of devoted followers and disciples. One of the last to arrive under this arrangement, Geshe Lobsang Tharchin, became the longest-serving abbot of the Kalmyk community’s Rashi Gempil Ling temple.

Shortly after the arrival of that first group of “ESL-lamas,” LBMA took in its first resident students when a trio of former Ivy Leaguers—Christopher George, Jeffrey Hopkins, and Robert Thurman—who, as The New York Times wrote, could “trace their American descent to the early days of the Republic,” came to begin study in Buddhism and Tibetan. In return for their studies with Geshe Wangyal and the new lamas, the Americans provided English language lessons for the newcomers and manpower for the addition of an altar room and dormitory, which Geshe-la ordered to accommodate LBMA’s sudden population explosion. The bargain struck between scions of America’s oldest settlers with members of its newest furthered the future expansion of Tibetan Buddhism in the West for decades to come, primarily from the efforts of two of these pioneers, Robert Thurman and Jeffrey Hopkins.

Dr. Thurman’s academic career and record of activism on and education about Tibetan spiritual, cultural, historical, and political issues in the past half-century is well documented, as are Professor Hopkins’s contributions to the academic study of Buddhism since his apprenticeship at LBMA. Teaching at Columbia University and the University of Virginia, respectively, together they form two pillars upon which much of Tibetan Buddhist studies in America rest today. These two trailblazers contributed to the emergence of a second generation of scholars, teachers, and activists who made their own unique contributions to the remarkable growth of interest in and understanding of Tibetan Buddhist doctrine in America.

In 1964, Geshe Wangyal traveled to India, taking Thurman along. He introduced him to the Dalai Lama, who had just moved to the hill town of Dharamsala. There, Thurman served a brief tenure as a Tibetan Buddhist monk—the first American to do so, and the first Westerner to be ordained by the Dalai Lama—before returning to America later in the 1960s and reentering Harvard University to earn his PhD in Buddhist Studies. While at Harvard, Thurman befriended two undergraduates, Joel McCleary and Joshua Cutler, who had been taking introductory Tibetan Buddhism classes with him. Both expressed a keen interest in continuing those studies after their upcoming graduation. Naturally, Thurman referred them to his own lama.

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More than 40 years later, McCleary still remembers the first task Geshe-la assigned him after he and Cutler arrived at the LBMA retreat house in the summer of 1971: Bring the Dalai Lama to America. Geshe-la’s decade of experience with bringing Tibetan lamas from India had been both rewarding and extremely frustrating. True, there were more Tibetan (and even Mongolian) lamas and geshes in the United States than at any other time. Yet seemingly intractable obstacles, mostly of a political nature, had thus far blocked any hope that the Dalai Lama would someday be able to join them. As early as December of 1959, President Eisenhower, on a state visit to India, refused to meet with His Holiness despite clear overtures from the Tibetan side requesting a meeting. That semi-public snub established the official policy of the United States toward the Dalai Lama for the next 20 years: His Holiness was persona non grata despite the absence of any formal announcement of such status.

At the time, much of America’s foreign policy regarding Asian issues was determined by supporters of Chiang Kai-shek and his Kuomintang regime’s claim to be the real government of China, even after its forces were driven out of power and into Taiwanese exile by Mao Zedong’s minions. This influential group was called the China Lobby, and their claims to ownership of Tibet mirrored the ones put forth by their political rivals. That the Dalai Lama’s Government-in-Exile was then promoting Tibet’s de facto independence since 1911 insured that neither Chinese faction would look favorably on any official contact between the United States and His Holiness, and that each, indeed, would do all it could to thwart it.
McCleary’s one-man letter-writing campaign to Congressional leaders, begun in response to Geshe-la’s request, took a substantial turn for the better when he became Deputy Assistant to the President for Political Liaison in the Carter Administration at the end of 1977. (McCleary’s path to the West Wing and eventful career as an international political consultant after leaving LBMA are explained in his essay “Confessions of a Buddhist Political Junkie,” published in Tricycle’s inaugural issue in the fall of 1991.)

Tom Beard, a fellow Deputy Assistant to President Carter at the time and a charter member of his team of outsiders known as the Georgia Mafia, freely admits that his own enthusiastic involvement in upending the State Department’s policy was based solely on McCleary’s compelling arguments in favor of its reversal. Many staunch supporters of the policy, with whom McCleary and Beard tussled, would later become the Dalai Lama’s best friends in America. Once Beard was on board, the two Deputy Assistants, with silent but solid backing from their colleagues in the White House, finally forced the issue of a Dalai Lama visit to vigorous debate at the highest levels of government, something no previous administration had dared to raise. What began as a series of calls to the American Embassy in New Delhi, announced by the intimidating words, The White House is calling, and asking the startled diplomats if they had read President Carter’s policy on human rights, soon became an agenda item before the National Security Council. There the debate would be joined by proponents of the visit, including Hopkins, Thurman, Tenzin N. Tethong (from the Office of Tibet in New York City), Beard, and McCleary, who presented it as a logical extension of President Carter’s commitment to human rights, the hallmark of his foreign policy following the “normalization” of relations with the People’s Republic of China shortly after taking office.

The important point here is not that the Tibetophiles won the debate, but rather that it took place at all. In retrospect, it is hard to imagine a similar scenario taking place in succeeding administrations, whose China policies and sensitivities were identical to those of the ones preceding President Carter’s and whose interest in human rights issues were demonstrably not as keen. If Joel McCleary had not been at the White House at that instant in history, it is doubtful that His Holiness could have come to America when he did—or come at all.

The Dalai Lama made his American debut in September 1979, beginning a seven-week, nationwide teaching tour from the campus of the Lamaist Buddhist Monastery of America in New Jersey. The first private audience His Holiness gave at LBMA on the morning of his first teaching in America was with Joel and April McCleary (and a very surprised yours truly). His Holiness’s maiden visit demolished any chance of reimposing the unspoken ban on US visits by the Dalai Lama. Instead, it marked the start of America’s—and the world’s—love affair with the “simple Buddhist monk.”

The Dalai Lama has returned to LBMA, renamed the Tibetan Buddhist Learning Center (TBLC) in 1984, a total of eight times since his first visit. The most recent came in 2008 when he delivered a six-day teaching, held at nearby Lehigh University, on Tsongkhapa’s The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment in appreciation of TBLC’s completion of the English translation of the three-volume magnum opus. The 12-year, multi-translator project had been overseen by Joshua Cutler, who first came to Geshe Wangyal’s center in 1970 with McCleary and stayed long enough to become Geshe-la’s principal disciple. Cutler and his wife Diana would become successors to their lama as TBLC’s Executive Directors upon Geshe Wangyal’s death in 1983.

On the first day of His Holiness’s marathon event, he recalled what proved to be his final meeting in 1981 with his old friend and colleague, “Wangyal-la.” Geshe-la had convened all of his disciples and closest friends in the library of the LBMA’s schoolhouse in preparation for a communal farewell to His Holiness after he concluded his second teaching visit to LBMA. When His Holiness entered and joined Geshe-la at the front of the room, Geshe Wangyal burst into uncontrollable tears even as His Holiness hugged him closely and playfully tugged at the whiskers of his long white goatee. Finally, His Holiness also succumbed to the poignancy of the moment and began weeping for reasons we all knew could never adequately be expressed with words. It was the most moving spiritual moment I have ever experienced; His Holiness thinks of it too whenever he recalls Geshe Wangyal.

The final piece of the narrative, for me, fell into place in southeastern Russia in the summer of 1991, a dozen years after His Holiness’s American debut. I was extremely privileged then to accompany the Dalai Lama on his first pastoral visit to Kalmykia. As His Holiness the Dalai Lama disembarked into a throng of jubilant Kalmyks waiting on the airport tarmac, someone cried out, “Your Holiness, why are you here?” Without hesitation, the Dalai Lama responded, “I’m here because of my friend Geshe Wangyal.”

David Urubshurow was a member of America’s first Tibetan Buddhist congregation. At age 7 he became Geshe Wangyal’s first, and lifelong, disciple in America. He is currently writing a coming-of-age memoir about these events.

[Extracted from: http://www.tricycle.com/feature/russia-love]

Image 1: Geshe Ngawang Wangyal, aboard La Liberté, arrives in America, February 3, 1955. John Lent/Associated Press

Image 2: The author, David Urubshurow, age 10, in the altar room of the Lamaist Buddhist Monastery of America in Freewood Acres, NJ, 1958. Courtesy of the author.

Image 3: David Urubshurow, age 11, lights a butter lamp in the original altar room of the Lamaist Buddhist Monastery of America while Geshe Ngawang Wangyal reads and translates sutras, 1959. Courtesy of the author. 

Image 4: (L-R): Jeffrey Hopkins, Geshe Ngawang Wangyal, Robert Thurman, and Christopher George in Tibetan translation class at the Lamaist Buddhist Monastery of America, 1963. Bettman/Corbis/Associated Press.

Image 5: Geshe Ngawang Wangyal and a boyhood friend from Kalmykia, Dorji Purview, in the new altar room of the Lamaist Buddhist Monastery of America, 1964. Courtesy of the author.

Image 6: Geshe Ngawang Wangyal with the 14th Dalai Lama during His Holiness’s second visit to the Lamaist Buddhist Monastery of America, August 1981. Courtesy of the author.

 

* Also spelled Telo Rinpoche

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14 Responses to Incredible Geshe Wangyal

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  1. Pastor Shin Tan on May 17, 2019 at 10:06 am

    The great Protector Manjushri Dorje Shugden depicted in the beautiful Mongolian style. I hope many Mongolians will print out this image and place in their houses to create an affinity with Dorje Shugden for greater blessings. To download a high resolution file: https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz

    The powerful Mongolian nation has a long history and connection with Manjushri Dorje Shugden, as expressed in the life of Venerable Choijin Lama, a State Oracle of Mongolia who took trance of Dorje Shugden among other Dharma Protectors. Read more about Choijin Lama: https://bit.ly/2GCyOUZ

    Mongolian Dorje Shugden 2

  2. Jacinta Goh on Aug 30, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    Dear Rinpoche,

    This morning when I visited Bodhi Bookstore, I was browsing some English Dharma books, there’s one particular book that I’ve found where the name of the author sounded so familiar to me. The Door of Liberation from Geshe Wangyal. I was hesitating whether I should buy this book or otherwise, because it’s a bit dusty and I would say, an old book to have as new. However, inside of me, I know I shouldn’t think that way and the “karma” of criticising a Dharma book. ?

    I have bought that book, and immediately I searched for this Geshe Wangyal in Rinpoche’s blog. I am grateful to read the incredible journey of Him and the big contribution that Geshe Wangyal has contributed in bringing Dharma to the West and also helping to shape the greater future of H.H. The Dalai Lama. Thank you Rinpoche for writing this article in this blog.

  3. Samfoonheei on Oct 18, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    Interesting article….. history of how Geshe Ngawang Wangyal the first Tibetan Buddhist lama to set foot in America. Geshe Ngawang Wangyal faced many challenges when bringing Buddhism to America.He did even helped in the escaping of the Dalai Lama to America from Tibet.
    Thank you Rinpoche for these touching story of Geshe Wangya struggles to spread Buddhism in America.And it is also a reminder for us not to give up in what ever things we do.
    Quoted ..should never let challenges that seem vast stop us. We should never retire in retreat when it’s too hard. Nothing great comes with no effort.

  4. Brittany Williams on Feb 25, 2015 at 7:06 am

    I have a relic my aunt has given me. It is a heart shaped amber wrapped in fragile metal pendent with butterflies and Buddha in the metal work. The amber has a small strip of saffron robe and a fly. Could you reference me in the right direction for how to learn more of its making and how to use it in my practice properly? The chain or string it was originally on is gone and I currently have it with zebra jasper beads. Do certain beads symbolize or have particular meaning?

  5. Sadi on Feb 21, 2015 at 4:18 am

    I like this blog post because it was imbibed with history and politics and life in the last century. It gave an insight into how tumultous the 20th century was for the world. With wars and political relations heightened with suspense and missions, the aim of dharma was continued and flourished from the small town centre to the America by the efforts of Geshe Wangyal. He offered relief and help to HHDL during those tense times of exile for His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I think the whole world is in debt of Geshe-la because without his initiatives and work to introduce HHDL to the west, the world wouldn’t have known of HHDL.

  6. Wan Wai Meng on Dec 22, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    Geshe Wangyal had done us a great favour of paving the way for Tibetan Buddhism to spread in the US plus the Dalai Lama entry to the US. I think if the Dalai Lama was not permitted to enter the US, I would think a precious gem like His Holiness would not have been revealed to the world.

    The fact that the dharma spread so fast and benefitted so many people is due to the presence of Dalai Lama. Tsem Rinpoche had great devotion and reverence towards Dalai Lama, all Tibetans and Mongolians would want to get a glimpse of the Dalai Lama before their passing.

  7. sweekeong on Dec 15, 2013 at 10:01 am

    The post speaks of effort, courage and the underlying compassionate nature of human who had played such a pivotal role in spreading the Buddhism into the West as we know of today. Also I see only a thin line of thread between an opportunity or missed opportunity if they have given up what they believe in. It is easy for me to take granted of what they have experienced from the acts of war. We can say it is their karma but we can also observed those who have chosen to create their own future with their own hands.

  8. Choongs on Dec 13, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    This article clearly shows the interdependent nature of everything.

  9. Choongs on Dec 12, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    My first comment is that those are really great photos. Look at the NYC skyline in the first photo, only the Empire State and Chrysler skyscrapers were there. Thank you to whom had foresight to take the photos.

  10. So Kin Hoe (Ipoh) on Dec 11, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing on this remarkable history of how the Tibetan Buddhism set foot in America. That was the historical moment where everything was begun from the starting point of spreading the Dharma by Geshe Ngawang Wangyal and then continued on by Geshe Lobsang Tharchin before Geshe Lobsang Tharchin became the root and first guru of Tsem Rinpoche. When Geshe Ngawang Wangyal met with H.H. Dalai Lama and exchanged their spiritual moments in Lamaist Buddhist Monastery of America (LBMA), I can truly feel the blessings and compassionate energies manifesting from the two great masters in our century. May all the people in America will get the blessings from all the spiritual masters.

  11. Keng nam on Dec 11, 2013 at 5:29 am

    Dear Rinpoche this is indeed an interesting article that traces the beginning of Tibetan Buddhism in the US. More pertinent to me is that Rinpoche was brought up in New Jersey so close to LBMA not by chance but by a clear choice from Rinpoche’s erudite past. You are truly an erudite master of modern times and so many people whose lives you graced are very ‘karmically’ fortunate. Thank you and I wish you long life and remain to turn the dharma wheel for more people.

  12. HeePeng@MBF on Dec 9, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Very interesting to read up about the great person who’s behind the master plan to bring H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama out of Tibet and subsequently to U.S. Many people have benefited from H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama and none of these would happen if not because of Geshe Ngawang Wangyal. Thank you for sharing Rinpoche.

  13. Tommie on Dec 9, 2013 at 9:07 am

    This was awesome. Great story of patience. Very touching. Thank you precious Guru for sharing.

  14. Tommie on Dec 9, 2013 at 9:05 am

    This was awesome. Thanks for sharing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/kunkhyen-choku-ozer-master-of-the-kalachakra-guhyasamaja-tantras.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Feb 22. 2021 03:25 PM
    Thank you Rinpoche for the teachings on Dorje Shugden and explanation on retreat. Learning and practicing this Dorje Shugden’s practice have indeed benefited many people. And more so when to do a retreat. . We are all very fortunate to be given an opportunity to meet Tsem Rinpoche and learning, practicing all these precious teachings coming from a pure lineage that can be traced back to the time of the great Lama Tsongkhapa. A very detailed explanation on why we need the retreat and the way to do the retreat.
    Thanks again Rinpoche with folded hands.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/dorje-shugden-retreat-a-powerful-practice-to-fulfill-wishes.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Feb 21. 2021 01:54 PM
    Tsem Rinpoche had been working tirelessly teaching Dharma in his whole life, giving many opportunities for us to learn , practice Dharma teachings. Whatever goes wrong we should admit it as our own fault and not our guru. Rinpoche ‘s love to spread Dharma teachings and nothing else. He had followed his advice of his guru to come all the way from India to teach in Malaysia. Reading all those meaningful quotes and sayings in this article tells us a thousand words of truth which we should not take it lightly. We could in fact learn from it and stop blaming others.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this profound teachings.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/is-it-the-gurus-fault.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Feb 21. 2021 01:51 PM
    HH the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso , the highest spiritual leader of Tibet, who is a living Bodhisattva, an emanation of Avalokiteśvara. Blessing to have a change looking at this rare picture taken years ago of Dalai lama on the throne . Dalai Lama is well known as a Buddhist Advocate for Peace and Freedom.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/his-holiness-the-supreme-holder-of-the-white-lotus.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Feb 21. 2021 01:48 PM
    Tibetans all over the world celebrates Losar, or Tibetan New Year with the beginning of Lunar year. This year it falls on the 12 February, every one will be looking forward to this day. A new year a new beginning , where the Panglung Oracle will take trance of the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden. As usual every year the Panglung Oracle will give advices, offering guidance, for the year ahead to everyone of what to do and so forth. Whatever advices given should not taken lightly. The Panglung Oracle as Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden will also give teachings and blessing . For this year Dorje Shugden gave a very powerful teachings and messages.
    Thank you for sharing this precious message.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/dorje-shugdens-2021-losar-advice.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, Feb 20. 2021 02:06 PM
    Interesting read , even though short but at least knowing the home Monastery of H E Tsem Rinpoche’s previous incarnation, Gedun Nyedrak. The monastery was called ‘Tsem’,where a custodian of a tooth relic of the great Lama Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
    Thank you Pastor David for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/gedun-nyedrak-an-abbot-of-gaden.html

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

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

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

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


Ask the Pastors

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

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

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

  • March 1, 2021 23:37
    Sandra asked: Hello dear pastors, wish we could have an article like the one below to highlight the auspicious days of 2021. https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/auspicious-days.html
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Thank you for your suggestion. At the moment, there are no plans to publish another article with 2021 dates. But I have listed out some of the auspicious days and their dates for this year for you. I have only included future dates, not those that have already passed. Saga Dawa Duchen - 26th May 2021 Chokhor Duchen - 14th July 2021 Dorje Shugden Day - 24th August 2021 Lhabab Duchen - 27th October 2021 Gaden Ngamchoe or Tsongkhapa Day - 29th December 2021 I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • February 27, 2021 03:31
    Sandra asked: Respected pastors, Is it ok to pray from different areas in the house (even where there is no altar)? I was told you can't create 2 altars in 1 house.
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Thank you for your question and its nice to see you here again. The reason why we pray in front of our altars is because it becomes a focal point of the enlightened energies we are invoking. Therefore it becomes a kind of portal for the energies of transformation, peace, healing, prosperity and protection. It is also the place where we make offerings to the Buddhas. As such, most people usually only have 1 altar in their home. However, you can have more than 1 altar in your home. As it is an altar, it should be complete with representations of the body, speech and mind of the Buddhas. This would be an image (either a statue, thangka, tsa tsa, poster, framed picture, etc), a Dharma text and a stupa. In front of these, you should have at least 1 type of offering or more. This can be a fixed offering or maybe even a set of water offerings, which you make every day. Since practitioners make offerings on a daily basis, most opt to have only 1 altar, but there is no rule in Buddhism to say you can only have 1 altar. The altar however, should be placed in a respectful place. So, not in the bathroom. Or if in the bedroom, you should put a screen up to block it when you are changing, sleeping, etc. Alternatively, you can keep it in a cupboard, and close the doors during such activities. But altars should be dedicated places to the Buddhas, so don't put secular items in the same place, such as on the same shelf, etc. When it comes to praying, it is usually done in front of the altar, as you are invoking the enlightened beings. When you do your prayers there it becomes a powerful place in your home, and provides you with a sacred space to pray and meditate. However, if circumstances are difficult, then of course you can pray elsewhere. For example, when I first set up an altar, I was living in a single room with not much space. I set up an altar on a shelf but was not able to pray in front of it. Once I had made offerings, I would simply sit in another part of the room and do the prayers there. If it is really not convenient, then of course it is permissible to do the prayers elsewhere. It is better to do the prayers, than not do them at all if you can't be in front of your altar. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • February 25, 2021 01:33
    Kuenzang wangdi asked: What would be my most suitable colour ?
    pastor answered: Dear Kuenzang Wangdi, Thank you for your question. The following calculators may be of interest to you: Chinese Zodiac: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/horoscopes/the-chinese-zodiac.html Tibetan Astrology: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/tibetan-astrology/tibetan-astrology.html In relation to which colour if most favourable for you, unfortunately our calculators do not give this information. However, from a Buddhist practice viewpoint, what is more important is the transformation of the mind. Once we transform our minds according to teachings, we are able to overcome any obstacle and create good conditions for our lives. You can learn a very short mind transformation teaching here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/eight-verses-of-thought-transformation.html You can couple this with formal practice. If you are interested, a very good practice to bring energies of increase and generate a long life, merits, wealth and prosperity in your life, is the the practice of Gyenze. You can find information about the practice here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/prayers-and-sadhanas/dorje-shugden-gyenze-to-increase-life-merits-and-wealth.html. I hope this helps. Thanks.
  • February 22, 2021 22:14
    Naseer asked: Hi My name is Naseer Ahmed 8th dec 1979. Life path 1 Im looking to add to my name slightly... change it too... Naseer Al Ahmed... Would this be more complimentary as far as for the business front... or would it not make any difference
    pastor answered: Hello Naseer, As per your question, your Life Path Number is 1. The Life Path Number according to the system of numerology used on our website is calculated using your date of birth. Therefore, a change in name will not affect your Life Path Number. Some of the other calculators on the same page do however use your name. One of the smaller calculators you may be interested in is the Achievement Number, but again, this only uses your date of birth for the calculation. You can find it here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/numerology/numerology-calculator.html You may also be interested in two of our other pages: Chinese Zodiac - https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/horoscopes/the-chinese-zodiac.html Tibetan Astrology - https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/tibetan-astrology/tibetan-astrology.html Thank you for your question. I hope this helps.
  • February 20, 2021 18:36
    Sandra asked: After making a food offering to the three jewels (which we will eat for lunch etc), should we think of it as a blessing and partake?
    pastor answered: Hello Sandra, When making food offerings to the Three Jewels, which you eat yourself, when you recite the prayer and make the offering, you should visualise that the Buddhas receive your food offering and because you have made an offering, they are very pleased. It also fulfills one of the Refuge commitments, which is to offer the first portion of whatever we eat and drink to the Three Jewels, while remembering their kindness. You can then partake of the meal and consider it a blessing from the Three Jewels. Alternatively, you can set out a plate (which you reserve for this purpose) of food, which you can offer on your altar. Similarly, once the food has been left on your altar for a while, you can later remove it and consume it as a blessing. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • February 19, 2021 04:33
    Sandra asked: Is intovertedness a bad quality? Since Buddha is so altruistic and this is the opposite trait, it must be bad. How do you think one should lessen introverted tendencies?
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Introvertedness is not a bad quality. Altruism and compassion are different from being an introvert or extrovert. Introverts are generally quieter people, less expressive of their emotions, while extroverts are the opposite. Buddhist practice is not about expression of emotion. Rather the altruistic and compassionate teachings are more about how you help other people and sentient beings, physically or emotionally. If the qualities of introverted-ness are stopping you from developing these, then they need to change. But this may not be necessary, depending on the qualities that you are talking about. You can do simple meditations to building up the energy of compassion in your mindstream and you will see that you actions will automatically start to be more compassionate and altruistic. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • February 18, 2021 03:28
    Sandra asked: How should one behave when negative karma is being purified? How can we know if bad karma is being purified? Do we accumulate positive karma simultaneously when doing purification practices? Many thanks for your response.
    pastor answered: Hello again Sandra, There are two ways in which karma can be purified, the first is through our own efforts alone and the second is through our own effort, combined with a purification practice. Through our own efforts: this means that you transform your mind enough to not react negatively in any situation and only react in a positive manner. For example, you may have the karma to get angry. So you get into situations which makes you angry. If you react normally, then you will get angry again, this will only lead you to create more karma of being angry. But if you make the effort not to get angry in those situations then you do not create or multiply that karma. The original karma you have may lead you to be in those types of situations again, but if you do not get angry then after a while you start to purify that karma. Through your own efforts, combined with a purification practice: as you are working on transforming your mind, you can rely on the practices that help you to purify your karma, such as the practice of Vajrasattva or the 35 Confessional Buddhas. This boosts your ability to purify negative karma, based on the enlightened energies of the Buddhas. This however is only truly effective when combined with the Four Opponent Powers. You can read more about that here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/the-35-confessional-buddhas.html In general, when karma is being purified then you should remain level-headed and not act out of emotion or habit, but from your understanding of the workings of karma and the Dharma. But actually, this should not only be when karma is being purified. You should act and behave in this way all the time according to the Dharma, then you are, up to a point, always purifying karma. It is one of the reasons that so much emphasis is placed on refraining from negative actions and engaging in positive actions using your body, speech and mind, because these are the three means or 'doors' with which you interact with the world. At our level, we cannot tell if karma is being purified or not, only those who are more highly attained can tell. However, that is one of the reasons the Buddhist texts advise study of and belief in karma. If there is karma, then it can be purified, and the way to do so is transform your mind and invoke upon the enlightened beings. So if you are doing both, you can rest assured that you are in fact purifying your karma. When you purify negative karma, whether just through your own efforts or combined with a purification practice you collect merit, not positive karma. If you simply do a good action, you collect good karma. But if you are practicing the Dharma with the intention of achieving enlightenment, you take refuge, engage in the practice, and dedicate at the end, then you develop merit, not positive karma. If you want to read more about how karma works and how to purify it in more detail, I suggest you read a Lamrim text such as Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand, which you can order from your local bookstore or get online here (https://www.vajrasecrets.com/lamrim-liberation-in-the-palm-of-your-hand).
  • February 17, 2021 23:06
    Sandra asked: Hello pastors, thank you for your response to my earlier question. Do divination predictions change frequently? Why does that happen?
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Thank you for your question. Divinations, compared to astrological predictions, are much more accurate. There are many types of divination, but those based on the practice of enlightened beings are very accurate. Three of the most well-known in Tibetan Buddhism are the divination practices of Manjushri, Palden Lhamo and Dorje Shugden. You can read more about Dorje Shugden's dice divination here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/dorje-shugdens-dice-divination.html Questions that are asked during divinations are much more specific than the types of topics that astrological predictions can help with, therefore are based on very specific types of karma. This means that if you asked a divination question twice, without taking remedial actions in between, then the answer would most likely be the same, given that all the prerequisites have been held by the diviner and the divinations are genuine. However, if a divination is done and then remedial actions recommended, such as various practices or pujas, and these are done to the letter, then if the question is asked again, then the results would differ. This is because when engaging in these practices or pujas, either you generate the merit necessary to overpower the negative effects of the karma, or you purify the negative effects of the karma creating the situation. This however, is generally not done. You wouldn't ask the same question twice or over and over again. The reason for this is because one of the factors that comes into play when seeking divination is faith. This is faith in the fact that the remedial actions recommended will help whatever situation you are facing. Having seen H.E. Tsem Rinpoche do countless divinations for people, I can attest to this. Those who have faith and follow through with the advice, see a great improvement in the situation that led them to ask the divination question in the first place. Those that did not follow the advice either at all or not fully, did not see any improvement. And this makes sense, because they did not purify the effects of the karma enough, or generate enough merit. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • February 15, 2021 04:09
    sandra asked: How much importance should we give to astrological predictions or chart readings? Are these readings susceptible to change all the time,i.e, in the context of planetary movements? Can our own effort/actions supercede what is predicted in our birth chart?
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Thank you for your interesting question. You are absolutely correct about the universal principle of change. According to Buddhist practice, astrological predictions are based upon a fixed point in time. Take for example, your moment of birth, which most astrological readings take as the main point of reference. At that specific moment, there would have been various energies or planetary alignments, etc. Combined together, they are said to give an accurate prediction of what will occur to a person throughout their life. This however, is based on one's birth karma, to be born at that specific point in time and location. This birth karma also provides the driving force behind what will occur in a person's life, if that karma is not changed somehow. Hence, that is why astrological predictions can give very accurate readings on someone's personality, as well as life events. Birth karma provides the main force behind all other karma to come into play. That is why it is given importance in astrology. There are also more advanced methods to take into account planetary and energetical movements to give even more detailed and precise predictions that can even be made down to the month, day or hour of a person's life. In Buddhism, however, we believe that karma can be changed. It can multiply, be purified or exhausted, or the effects of that karma can be overpowered by another karma or spiritual merit. In these cases, the outcome will change. The way in which this happens is varied. It can be as simple as doing some prayers (to generate spiritual merit) or changing your behaviour, environment or location, the way you think, and the ways in which you react in various situations. That is why in Buddhist astrological systems, emphasis is placed on remedial measures to counteract negative outcomes. For example, someone may be born with an angry disposition from an astrological point of view. If this person goes through life acting from this anger, then the predictions based on the time of birth will occur. However, a remedial action can be undertaken, such as the person pracitising Chenrezig, who is the Buddha of compassion, or the person doing some form of charity work. These remedial actions generate compassion in the mind of the person, which counteracts the anger. As this happens and the karma is changed, then the person no longer needs to feels the negative effects of any bad astrological (or more correctly - karmic) situations. There are even some practices that specifically help to counteract negative astrological influences and help you to change things. Such an example is Black Manjushri. Within Tibetan Buddhism, according to your time and date of birth, you also have what is known as a 'Birth Buddha'. This is basically an enlightened being that you have an affinity with in this life. General remedial actions include making images of this particular Buddha or engaging in this Buddha's practice. This combined with a change in how we live - otherwise known as Mind Transformation in the Buddhist context - changes astrological outcomes. However, if we continue living without controlling our actions, words and thoughts, the predictions made using astrological readings will most likely still occur. I hope this explanation helps. Thank you.
  • February 7, 2021 00:16
    Purna Tamang asked: What is my lucky number and color ?
    pastor answered: Dear Purna Tamang, Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, none our horoscope apps on this page gives this information at this moment. However, you may find some of the other information provided useful. Below are the links: For Chinese Zodiac: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/horoscopes/the-chinese-zodiac.html For Tibetan astrology: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/tibetan-astrology/tibetan-astrology.html For Numerology: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/numerology/numerology-calculator.html For Fortune cookies: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/fortune-cookie Thank you and I hope you find something interesting in one of the apps.
  • January 20, 2021 03:32
    Sangita. asked: i want to buy my own house.which mantra i should chant to have my own house.kindly reply.
    pastor answered: Dear Sangita, Thank you for your question. Everything in our lives, whether good or bad is due to our karma. This is karma we have accumulated either in previous lives or earlier on in this life. You can learn more about this here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/discovering-yourself-a-teaching-on-karma-mindstream.html Sometimes, we go through obstacles or need some form of spiritual help to assist us in improving our situations. In these circumstances we can rely on the practice of certain deities. One of these deities is the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden. You can read more about this deity and his practice here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/beginners-introduction-to-dorje-shugden.html You can learn more about Dorje Shugden's practice here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/dorje-shugden-teaching-videos.html. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • January 12, 2021 00:32
    Laurence Brahm asked: Hello la. I would like to get in touch with Rinpoche. My name is Laurence Brahm and I've directed the two films including Searching for The Lotus Born Master. I would like to get in touch with Rinpoche in hopes he would kindly agree to an interview with our third production on Guru Rinpoche and also I would like to ask some questions concerning Shambala. I would be most grateful if Rinpoche would email me at himalayanconsensus2@gmail.com Thank you. With respects
    pastor answered: Dear Laurence Brahm, Thank you for your questions. This section is actually answered by Kechara's Pastors who were trained by His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche. Unfortunately, Tsem Rinpoche is no longer with us physically. He passed into Parinirvana in 2019. You can read more about this here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/me/the-parinirvana-of-kyabje-tsem-rinpoche.html If you would like to ask questions to any of the pastors regarding this, please email care@kechara.com with more information and mention that you would like to talk to one of the pastors. Thank you
  • December 31, 2020 14:46
    Jose Ajuria asked: What are the qualities of the Buddha Dharma and Sangha
    pastor answered: Dear Jose Ajuria, Here is a short article that discusses the qualities of the Three Jewels: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/taking-refuge-by-pabongka-rinpoche.html For a more in-depth text regarding this, please read Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand (https://www.vajrasecrets.com/lamrim-liberation-in-the-palm-of-your-hand). The text describes the qualities and benefits of taking refuge in each, in much more detail. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • December 30, 2020 09:55
    Dan asked: Dear pastors, some vegetarians said egg can eat. While some say no. What is your opinion on this. Thank you
    pastor answered: Dear Dan, Thank you for your question. There are differing views on eggs as part of the vegetarian diet. Some people would say that since eggs we get these days are not fertilized, then they are vegetarian since there is no life involved at that point. His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche was vegetarian but consumed eggs, as long as they were free-range and organic, because Rinpoche was against the battery farming system which produces the majority of eggs these days. There is a lot of animal cruelty involved with battery farming. Most people who do not include egg in their vegetarian diets do this because of the harm is causes the hens during the farming process, and also because they can view eating eggs as taking a life. That being said, within Buddhism, there are certain practices that strictly prohibit the consumption of eggs, as with other types of food. This can be for a number of reasons, which are too long to be discussed here. I would say that most people in the Kechara organisation eat eggs although vegetarian, but that may also be a cultural thing. Some people however, have taken the extra step and live a vegan lifestyle, which definitely does not include egg, as an extension of their practice of compassion for other sentient beings. I hope this explanation helps. Thank you.
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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From serving cooked food to the homeless clients on the streets to mobilising provisions to the needy individuals in PPRs and shelters, we thank everyone of our Johor Bahru team for their kind contributions and effort to make it for the needy despite all the challenges! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
More photos taken from our "Hari Raya Hampers" distribution this week. Making sure everyone of our clients have something to be cheerful about. Apart from food, daily used items such as hygiene products, kitchen utensils, assorted fabric items, stationary items and toys were also included into our hamper bags making it extra heavier this month! Food items alone were about 35kg per family! Taking this opportunity to wish everyone of our Muslim volunteers, friends, supporters and clients a Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Maaf Zahir Batin. No doubt this year's celebration will be very different but appreciate everyone is safe and protected from the pandemic. We are in this together and let's work to fight this pandemic together! Thanking all sponsors and donors for the generous support enabling us to continue serve the needy with food, love and care. Big shoutout too to our wonderful team which already depleted by our very own strict SOP. All of you who worked tirelessly behind the s
9 months ago
More photos taken from our "Hari Raya Hampers" distribution this week. Making sure everyone of our clients have something to be cheerful about. Apart from food, daily used items such as hygiene products, kitchen utensils, assorted fabric items, stationary items and toys were also included into our hamper bags making it extra heavier this month! Food items alone were about 35kg per family! Taking this opportunity to wish everyone of our Muslim volunteers, friends, supporters and clients a Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Maaf Zahir Batin. No doubt this year's celebration will be very different but appreciate everyone is safe and protected from the pandemic. We are in this together and let's work to fight this pandemic together! Thanking all sponsors and donors for the generous support enabling us to continue serve the needy with food, love and care. Big shoutout too to our wonderful team which already depleted by our very own strict SOP. All of you who worked tirelessly behind the s
Our team have been working extra hours for the past few weeks to deliver provisions and hamper goodies to the needy families before Hari Raya! Heart warming to see the smiling faces of our recipients upon receiving 3 bags full of food and daily used items. Thanks to everyone of you who have contributed to our foodbank enabling us to give all our recipients (especially those celebrating) a Raya to remember! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
9 months ago
Our team have been working extra hours for the past few weeks to deliver provisions and hamper goodies to the needy families before Hari Raya! Heart warming to see the smiling faces of our recipients upon receiving 3 bags full of food and daily used items. Thanks to everyone of you who have contributed to our foodbank enabling us to give all our recipients (especially those celebrating) a Raya to remember! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Thankful to all donors and those who have been committed in contributing not just money but time over the past testing weeks to help us ease the work of our frontliners and also the livelihood of the needy, their struggles over this pandemic period seemed a little easier to bear with because of your contributions! - Vivian @Kechara Soup Kitchen
9 months ago
Thankful to all donors and those who have been committed in contributing not just money but time over the past testing weeks to help us ease the work of our frontliners and also the livelihood of the needy, their struggles over this pandemic period seemed a little easier to bear with because of your contributions! - Vivian @Kechara Soup Kitchen
KSDS Level 2 virtual class, Lin Mun KSDS
9 months ago
KSDS Level 2 virtual class, Lin Mun KSDS
KSDS Level 3 virtual class. Lin Mun KSDS
9 months ago
KSDS Level 3 virtual class. Lin Mun KSDS
Wesak 2020
10 months ago
Wesak 2020
Recycle today for a better tomorrow. KEP-Serena
12 months ago
Recycle today for a better tomorrow. KEP-Serena
Today we are having recycling at Kechara Soup Kitchen. Do drop by here if you would like to get ride of the recyclable items from home. KEP - Serena
12 months ago
Today we are having recycling at Kechara Soup Kitchen. Do drop by here if you would like to get ride of the recyclable items from home. KEP - Serena
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Seen here is Bam, Vajrayogini’s seed syllable and also Kechara's logo. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Seen here is Bam, Vajrayogini’s seed syllable and also Kechara's logo. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: More melted butter was offered. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: More melted butter was offered. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
H.E. Zawa Rinpoche in deep concentration. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
H.E. Zawa Rinpoche in deep concentration. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Geshela is seen here wearing ceremonial hat called tsoksha. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Geshela is seen here wearing ceremonial hat called tsoksha. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
The Shize Fire Puja was performed according to scriptural sources. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
The Shize Fire Puja was performed according to scriptural sources. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
To find out more about the substances offered during jinsek/fire puja, have a read here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
To find out more about the substances offered during jinsek/fire puja, have a read here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
More about the symbolism of the offering items here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
More about the symbolism of the offering items here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Amongst all pujas, the fire puja is considered the king of all Pujas. It is the most powerful of all pujas within Tibetan Buddhism and its purpose is basically to remove all obstacles and its stains to enlightenment.
12 months ago
Amongst all pujas, the fire puja is considered the king of all Pujas. It is the most powerful of all pujas within Tibetan Buddhism and its purpose is basically to remove all obstacles and its stains to enlightenment.
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Graceful hand mudras were also part of the ritual. - shared Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Graceful hand mudras were also part of the ritual. - shared Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: One by one the offering substances were offered accompanied by traditional Tibetan recitations. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: One by one the offering substances were offered accompanied by traditional Tibetan recitations. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: JP Thong ensuring that Geshela's ritual items are within easy reach. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: JP Thong ensuring that Geshela's ritual items are within easy reach. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Pastor David Lai & Frederick Law were also on hand to assist with the puja ritual substances. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Pastor David Lai & Frederick Law were also on hand to assist with the puja ritual substances. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Pastor Niral Patel assisting H.E. Zawa Rinpoche during the puja. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Pastor Niral Patel assisting H.E. Zawa Rinpoche during the puja. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Peaceful fire pujas are excellent to remove inauspiciousness, problems that might be coming to our lifespan, wisdom, wealth, growth of Dharma. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Peaceful fire pujas are excellent to remove inauspiciousness, problems that might be coming to our lifespan, wisdom, wealth, growth of Dharma. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
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Philippines 412,815
Indonesia 391,050
Germany 300,059
France 280,189
Brazil 211,094
Vietnam 189,143
Thailand 186,554
Taiwan 186,272
Italy 148,110
Spain 138,614
Mongolia 136,706
Portugal 131,122
Netherlands 127,712
Turkey 121,132
United Arab Emirates 113,216
Russia 100,874
Sri Lanka 97,862
Hong Kong 92,943
Romania 92,806
South Africa 92,048
Mexico 84,346
Myanmar (Burma) 78,452
New Zealand 77,177
China 75,351
Japan 74,114
Switzerland 73,753
South Korea 64,660
Cambodia 62,345
Pakistan 60,318
Bangladesh 57,453
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Dorje Shugden
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