The Dharma Protector Begtse Chen

Jan 21, 2020 | Views: 550
A thangka of Begtse Chen. Image credit: himalayanart.org. Click on image to enlarge.

A thangka of Begtse Chen. Image credit: himalayanart.org. Click on image to enlarge.

The practice of ‘Dharmapalas‘, literally meaning ‘Dharma Protectors’ in Sanskrit, was introduced to Tibet during the period of the north Indian Pala Dynasty. It was an era of territorial conquests and Dharma Protectors were used by both secular and religious authorities to protect the State and religion. Dharmapalas are not exclusive to Tibetan culture and their practice is widespread throughout the Buddhist world. Mirroring the secular setup of a country’s ruler and their generals who protect their borders, Dharmapalas protect sincere practitioners of the Buddha’s teachings from all forms of negativity and hindrances in order that they can transform themselves into kinder, compassionate, wiser and therefore more spiritual people.

Many Buddhist practitioners propitiate Dharmapalas for protection from obstacles and dangers as well as to mitigate the effects of ripened or ripening negative karma. This is, however, a narrow description of the role of Dharma Protectors. In fact, the functions of Dharma Protectors are much more than what has been mentioned and the specific functions of these Dharmapalas in relation to Buddhism will be discussed in greater detail in the sections below.

 

Begtse with his retinue. Image credit: Collection of the Zanzibar Museum of Fine Arts. Click on image to enlarge.

Begtse with his retinue. Image credit: Collection of the Zanzibar Museum of Fine Arts. Click on image to enlarge.

The law of karma is a universal law. Karma can be described, in simplistic terms, as the opening of an energy that we have sent out to others in this life and previous lives. This leads to our needing to experience the results of this energy returning to us whether in this present life or in future lives. We create and experience both positive karma and negative karma due to our ignorance of the true nature of reality, which is empty of inherent existence. Naturally, all of us only wish to experience the effects of good karma and we fear the effects of negative karma.

The experiences of the ripening of negative karma can be frightening. It might return in the form of illness, depression, material loss, accidents, falls, etc. Intellectually, we can understand that we will experience the results of our karma, including the inevitability of death as we are aware of our mortality, but most of us do not know the subtle levels of cause and effect. We will definitely reap the positive or negative effects of karma either in this life or in our future rebirths.

Karma cannot be stopped apart from when we reach the exalted state of enlightenment. When we reach that state we are no longer bound to the law of karma but transcend it entirely. In the meantime however, it can be diverted before it opens by purifying it through use of the Four Opponent Powers:

  1. Taking refuge in the Three Jewels (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha)
  2. Sincerely regretting our negative actions
  3. Engaging in actions that remedy or purify the karma we created
  4. Generating the strong resolve to not engage in that action again

There are many practices that we can engage in to purify our negative karma such as Vajrasattva, prostrations, water offering, mandala offering, meditation on emptiness, making offerings, and serving your Guru, to name a few. The effectiveness of these practices are multiplied when done in conjunction with the Four Opponent Powers.

A statue of Begtse Chen. Image credit: himalayanart.org. Click on image to enlarge.

A statue of Begtse Chen. Image credit: himalayanart.org. Click on image to enlarge.

On the path to gaining enlightenment, we must purify our karma. According to the law of cause and effect, karma can be purified or mitigated and even exhausted through purification practices. If we do not purify our karma, we cannot progress towards the enlightened state because karma, especially on the subtlest levels, obscures our ability to gain realisations that lead to that state.

Within the Tibetan tradition, there are many competent masters who, having tested the methods and their effects in the light of their experience, are able to teach us many practices that are effective in helping us to overcome our problems. One of the methods is by invoking the aid of spiritual beings who have the powers to intercede and to help in matters that are beyond our control, namely having to experience the effects of ripening karma. This gives us the ability and time to purify the negative karma, so we do not need to experience its effects in the future. These spiritual beings have the power of clairvoyance, compassion, wisdom and skillful means.

When we invoke upon their power and compassion, they are able to effect a change in the circumstances of our lives and even in our mind. This can happen when we have the positive karma and or spiritual merit to support the presence of a powerful spiritual being in our lives. They can be enlightened spiritual beings such as Shakyamuni Buddha, Tara, Marici, Mahakala, etc., or even unenlightened spiritual beings who have vowed to help practitioners in this manner. However, unenlightened beings propitiated in this manner only have the ability to help us with our physical circumstances; they do not have the ability to aid us in mental, emotional and spiritual matters, like the enlightened beings can.

One class of beings who can assist us in clearing obstacles towards our practice are beings known as Dharma Protectors. There are three categories of Dharma Protectors:

  1. Enlightened beings who are emanations of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, appearing in enlightened forms
  2. Enlightened beings who manifest as unenlightened or ordinary beings, and
  3. Unenlightened beings who have sworn an oath of allegiance to the Dharma and thus, are bound by oath to assist people
Manjushri in the form of Dorje Shugden manifests as a Dharma Protector of Je Tsongkapa’s teachings, to preserve the lineage and the practitioners who have entered into the teachings of the Second Buddha, Je Tsongkapa. Click on image to enlarge.

Manjushri in the form of Dorje Shugden manifests as a Dharma Protector of Je Tsongkapa’s teachings, to preserve the lineage and its practitioners. Click on image to enlarge.

When it comes to unenlightened beings, many highly attained masters in Tibet have connected with and contained the power of unenlightened mountain deities and devas that have existed for hundreds of years. Thus, they are able to tap into the energies of these beings. These energies can either be positive or negative but they are contained and the deities are forced to perform positive actions that are beneficial.

Lamas are able to tap into the power of these beings because they really do exist. They can be devas, mountain deities, or powerful people who have passed away, etc., who are subdued and bound by oath so that they can become Protectors. Many texts and scriptures have been written about tapping into these energies to help us connect with these spiritual beings.

On the other hand, enlightened Dharma Protectors are emanations of enlightened beings such as Four-Faced Mahakala, considered to be an emanation of Manjushri as well as Six-Armed Mahakala, who is considered an emanation of Avalokiteshvara or Kwan Yin. Others are emanations of Vajrapani, Samantabhadra and so on. The power of these Protectors is always positive, direct and obvious.

Enlightened Dharma Protectors are a source of refuge and can provide the circumstances to assist us to achieve high spiritual attainments and even enlightenment itself, whereas unenlightened Dharma Protectors can only help to alleviate our obstacles and create conducive conditions that are favourable to our spiritual practice. It is important to remember that in order to receive the protection of a Dharmapala, we have to be consistent in our main practice which is our daily prayers to our Yidam (meditational deity) or our Guru Yoga practice. Dharma Protector practice supports this main practice.

 

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Origin of Begtse Chen

A thangka of Padmasambhava as central figure. Click for high-resolution image

The earliest Dharma Protectors found in the Mahayana and Theravada traditions were heavily influenced by Indian/Hindu traditions. In Tibet and later in Mongolia, many local frightening and harmful spirits were added to the pantheon of Dharma Protectors as the practice of using Dharma Protectors developed, and these spirits were subdued to never harm again.

Powerful masters such as Padmasambhava tamed these spiritual beings and bound them by oath to protect the Dharma and its practitioners. This practice of using Dharma Protectors extended to territorial conflicts in Tibet, Mongolia and Central Asia. It was not uncommon to conscript the enemy’s powerful protectors and turn them against their original masters to defeat them. This secular tactic however, does not adhere to the true function of Dharma Protectors, which is to aid spiritual practice.

This was the time when Trisong Detsen, the King of Tibet, was engaged in his mission to unify parts of Tibet and further establish the practice of Buddhism in the county. He invited the great Indian master Shantarakshita to Tibet in order to establish a community of ordained monks in Tibet. The master however, was beset with calamities caused by powerful and malevolent beings who did not want the Dharma to spread there. It was then that the king invited the tantric adept, Padmasambhava, to subdue these beings and put them under oath to protect the Dharma. One such being was Pehar Gyalpo, colloquially referred to as Nechung. Contrary to many accounts that Begtse Chen is a subdued being from Mongolia, he is in fact a Dharma Protector of Indian origin. Begtse Chen is also known simply as Begtse, or as Trichapa Chamsing (Tibetan), Prana Atma (Sanskrit), and Jamsran (Mongolian). Colloquially, he is sometimes also referred to as Red Mahakala.

Begtse is an enlightened Dharma Protector belonging to a group called the Eight Wrathful Ones. This grouping is particular of the Gelug tradition and denotes a group of wrathful deities, rather than just a group of all Dharma Protectors. This group consists of two Yidams or meditational deities, four enlightened or wisdom Dharma Protectors and two worldly Dharma Protectors. Their names are as follows:

Meditational Deities:

Wisdom Protectors (enlightened Dharma Protectors):

Worldly Protectors (unenlightened Dharma Protectors):

  • Vaishravana riding a lion
  • Tsangpa Karpo
Mongolian ritual mask of Begtse. Image credit: Artribune. Click on image to enlarge.

Mongolian ritual mask of Begtse. Image credit: Artribune. Click on image to enlarge.

Begtse’s practice began in India and entered Tibet due to the efforts of Nyen Lotsawa in the 11th Century. Begtse, also known as Trichapa Chamsing, is a Dharma Protector that became widely propitiated by the Sakya and Kagyu Schools in the 11th Century through the work of Marpa Lotsawa and Sachen Kunga Nyingpo.

He is is considered an important enlightened protector and while he remains one of the more important protectors in the Sakya School, his practice has virtually disappeared from the Kagyu tradition. However, it was embraced by the Gelug School of Lama Tsongkhapa and subsequently became popular in the 17th Century in Mongolia, a region that predominantly follows the Gelug tradition. Begtse is also the main Dharma Protector associated with the Hayagriva tantric meditation practice.

 

Different Tales of Begtse’s Origination

Tsarchen Losal Gyatso

According to the Sakya Lama Tsarchen Losal Gyatso, in a previous life, two sons were born into the family of King Sergyi Shugchen and Queen Upale Ke. The older son was called Dragden and the younger son’s name was Draggye. In this former life, Begtse was the younger of the two sons.

The two brothers had constant arguments over their different religious beliefs. They held many debates with the ruling that the loser would have to follow the winner’s religion. Despite losing, the younger brother refused to concede and instead ran away. The older brother caught him and tried to punish him, but the younger brother said,

“Even if you try to kill me I will not accept your religion, please let me go and I promise in the future when you reach enlightenment, I will protect your teachings.”

The older brother released him and gave him a set of copper armour, a coral stick, a bow and an arrow; and he also gave him the name Sogdag Yamshi Marpo. Then they parted ways.

In this form Ekajati is regarded as the mother of Mahakala. Image credit: himalayanart.org. Click on image to enlarge.

In this form Ekajati is regarded as the mother of Mahakala. Image credit: himalayanart.org. Click on image to enlarge.

In another lifetime, the older brother became Buddha (Shakyamuni) while the younger brother was born in the North West Marutse Cemetery. His father’s name was Nujin Zangki Ralpachen and his mother’s name was Sinmo Dragi Ralpachen. The parents laid two eggs, one of them was coral, the other one was “se” (an agate-like stone). The two eggs flew into the sky, attacking many gods, then they flew down under the earth, attacking the nagas. They even threatened their own parents.

The parents asked Ekajati, Mahakala’s mother, for protection and Ekajati threw her katvanga (ritual staff) at the eggs and broke them apart. From the coral egg, a coral man with yellow hair came out. He was wearing copper armour, carrying a copper sword, bow and arrow, and a coral stick. He said: “My name is Sogdag Yamshi Marpo/

From the other egg, a blue goddess came out. She had shell teeth, turquoise eyebrows, and her hair was made of fire. She was wearing an agate and lapis lazuli necklace. In her hands were a copper knife and a phurba (a ritual three-sided dagger) and she was riding a man-eating bear. Ekajati subdued them both and together they became the Dharma Protectors, Begtse and his consort, Rigpay Lhamo.

Another depiction of H.H the 3rd Dalai Lama, Sonam Gyatso. Image credit: himalayanart.org. Click on image to enlarge.

A depiction of H.H. the 3rd Dalai Lama, Sonam Gyatso. Image credit: himalayanart.org. Click on image to enlarge.

There is another version of how Begtse originated. According to the Mongolian Sayang Secen’s Precious Summary, Begtse was subdued by Sonam Gyatso, the Third Dalai Lama of Tibet. When Sonam Gyatso was traveling to Mongolia to meet with Altan Khan, Begtse used demons in the form of animals as obstructions on his journey.

Sonam Gyatso, in response, took the form of the Four-Armed Avalokiteshvara and his horse’s hoofs left imprints of the mantra OM MANI PADME HUM on the ground. Begtse immediately conceded defeat at the sight of the mantra and converted to Buddhism.

However, it should be noted that in the biography of the First Dalai Lama, Gendun Drub (1391-1474), it was mentioned that Begtse was already being worshipped during his rule, well before Sonam Gyatso became the Third Dalai Lama.

 

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Appearance

Iconography of Begtse

In his iconography, Begtse is represented as red in colour with one face and two hands, wearing protective armour like a Tibetan warrior.

An 18th century statue of Begtse Chen. Image credit: Rubin Museum of Art, New York (USA). Click on image to enlarge.

An 18th century statue of Begtse Chen. Image credit: Rubin Museum of Art, New York (USA). Click on image to enlarge.

He stands surrounded by flames of pristine awareness on a lotus base, with his right leg bent on the corpse of a horse and left leg extended on the corpse of a human, a typical stance for wrathful deities.

He has three wide open protruding eyes and a wrathful countenance on his face. Four fangs appear in his open mouth.

Begtse wears a crown of five skulls, red silk garments and a garland made of freshly severed heads. On his chest is a mirror with the seed syllable, BRAM.

His right hand brandishes a scorpion-handled sword, and his left hand holds the heart of the enemy (representing the death of our ego). In the crook of his arm, there is a bow and arrow with a banner, and a long lance rests on his shoulder. Occasionally, he is represented holding both a heart and kidneys in his left hand.

 

His Consort, the Goddess of Life (Rigpay Lhamo)

A brass figure of Begtse’s consort, Rigpay Lhamo, the Goddess of Life. Click on image to enlarge.

A brass figure of Begtse’s consort, Rigpay Lhamo, the Goddess of Life. Click on image to enlarge.

His consort, the Goddess of Life, is depicted with a red face and three eyes, four fangs, a half-open mouth and a naked dark blue body.

In the right hand, she holds aloft a sword and in the left, she holds an iron phurba, a three-sided dagger, threatening adversaries. She wears ornaments made of bone.

As her mount, she rides a bear clutching a human corpse in its jaws, riding over a sea of blood.

She is Begtse’s constant companion and is usually depicted riding her mount on his right side.

 

His Son, the Lord of Life

Lord of Life, son of Begtse. Click on image to enlarge.

Lord of Life, son of Begtse. Click on image to enlarge.

Usually depicted to Begtse’s left is his son, the Lord of Life, red in colour with one face and two hands, dressed in similar attire as his father.

He holds a lasso in the right hand, ready to capture evil spirits and subdue them, and a spear in his left. He rides a rabid blue wolf. Sometimes he is depicted as holding a heart instead of a lasso.

 

His Retinue of Twenty-Nine

Begtse with his consort, son and entourage. Click on image to enlarge.

Begtse with his consort, son and entourage. Click on image to enlarge.

Surrounding the central figure is a retinue of 29 butcher demons.

The inner retinue consists of eight butchers or sword-bearers, red in colour, with one face and two hands. They are often included in Mongolian Tsam dances.

The outer retinue consists of 21 assassins draped in the skins of their enemies, holding various instruments and engaged in the work of carving the flesh and body parts from corpses.

There are, in total, 32 deities in Begtse’s mandala including Begtse himself, his consort, his son and 29 butcher demons.

 

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Tsam Dances and Begtse’s Role in Them

The Mongolian Tsam (Tibetan: Cham) dance is a complex mixture of art and religion that has its origins in Tibet. It has evolved with the influence of Mongolian culture to include more of the country’s character. It is the expression of mind, body and language integrated in the form of dance movements with chant melodies and meditation.

Gandantegchenling Monastery in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. Image credit: wikipedia. Click on image to enlarge.

Gandantegchenling Monastery in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. Image credit: wikipedia.
Click on image to enlarge.

Many different types of Tsam dances are practised in different monasteries throughout Mongolia. Tsam dancing was prohibited in 1937 but it was revived in 1992 at the Gandantegchenling Monastery in Ulaanbaatar.

Mongolian deity Begtse in a cham-dance. Image credit: wikimedia. Click on image to enlarge.

Begtse in a Mongolian Tsam dance. Image credit: wikimedia. Click on image to enlarge.

In 1836, the dance rituals and instructions of Tsam dancing were recorded in a handbook by the Head Abbot of Ikh Khuree. This manual contains all the teachings and rules related to Tsam. The other source regarding the practice of Khuree Tsam is found in a document kept in the National Archives of Mongolia.

Many Tsam dances are performed annually according to strict preparations by ordained monks who have to learn tantric rites and hold ceremonies to invite the various deities of the Tsam dance.

The popular Tsam dance that is practised in the Dashchoilin Monastery is the Ikh Khuree dance. Complex rituals and prayers are done by all the monks in the monastery to prepare for the performance. The preparations include four days of initiations and Begtse makes his appearance on the actual day of the performance as one of the three Dharma Protector deities accompanied by attendants.

 

Protector Deities, Begtse and Mongolian Heroes

Mongolia embraced Buddhism in the second half of the 16th Century and the spread of Buddhism subsequently evolved to include the widespread practice of protective deities to aid in the country’s military struggles. The frightening and majestic appearance of these protector deities, giving the impression of strength and power, came to be associated with the great Mongolian warriors and heroes of the past.

Click on image to enlarge

A thangka of Vajrapani as the central figure. Click on image to enlarge

Traditional Mongolian culture venerates hero warriors since they are seen as representations of bravery, strength and great virtue. As a result, fierce deity practices were easily absorbed into the culture. They became accepted not only as guardians of the State, its people and the Dharma but also as examples for Mongolian men to emulate.

These deities manifest according to whatever social and cultural circumstances require, although their fundamental characteristics remain unchanged. They will manifest as human heroes in times of danger and adversity. Their attributes are embodied in the human heroes and their virtuous deeds and accomplishments are to be emulated. Despite their ferocious forms and actions, they are considered to be a positive influence committed to eradicating evil and protecting the Dharma and those who uphold it. Through the example of their heroic activities, the Dharma Protectors reveal to the Mongolian warriors that they have the potential to achieve the same qualities in one lifetime.

In particular, Vajrapani and Begtse (better known as Jamsran in Mongolia) have become part of the Mongolian national and heroic culture. They are used in secular and religious ceremonies to expel and punish enemies of the State and Buddhism. In return, by Mongolian State decree, they are worshipped with offerings and eulogies in both religious and State ceremonies.

H.H. the 1st The First Dalai Lama, Gendun Drub. Image credit: himalayanart.org. Click on image to enlarge.

H.H. the 1st Dalai Lama, Gendun Drup. Image credit: himalayanart.org. Click on image to enlarge.

Begtse, believed to have been introduced to Mongolia in the 16th Century as Jamsran, is also popularly known in Mongolia as the Red Protector. He was already practised in Tibet as early as the 15th Century. The first recorded mention of Begtse is found in the biography of the First Dalai Lama, Gendun Drub. Together with his consort Rigpay Lhamo, Begtse was the guardian of the personal monastery of the Second Dalai Lama, Gendun Gyatso. It was during his role as the personal Dharma Protector of the Third Dalai Lama, Sonam Gyatso, in the latter half of the 16th Century that the worship of Begtse became widespread through the diffusion of Gelugpa teachings in Kham and Mongolia.

Begtse’s role as a prominent Dharma Protector in the Sakya and Kagyu traditions is reflected in prayers from the Hayagriva Tantra practised in those lineages. In addition, Begtse is also associated with the Tantric practice of Hayagriva in the Gelugpa tradition. Begtse is extolled as an emanation of Hayagriva’s mind in the Mongolian Hymn of Praise to Jamsran, composed by Badamjalbuuzal who praised his fiery temperament and role in Mongolia which were subsequently emulated by some of the most renowned Mongolian war heroes. Here is a section of the verses from the Hymn of Praise to Jamsran:

“Jee! I extol you, the Magnificent one, greatly fierce to all,
An emanation of the powerful Hayagriva’s mind,
(And) a supreme tutelary deity of the yogis,
Who performs a ferocious dance to tame various disrupters!

I extol you who disrupts the lives of the adversaries,
Who strikes a thunderbolt on the heads of those with deteriorated commitments,
Who grants the accomplishment of the supreme and ordinary siddhis
(Even) to those who have merely mentioned you!

I extol you, the military governor and hero,
Who wages war and flies a pennant,
Partake of the lungs and hearts of the saboteurs in your mouth,
(And) wield a greatly blazing copper sword against the enemy!

I extol you, who became a sister of the yogi
And the mother, Ulaan Kanshaart, who kills the adversary,
Who nakedly rides a dark blue bear,
(And) manifests the unbearable magic powers in the east!

I extol you, the fierce, red Lord of Life,
A consumer of the warm blood of the enemy’s heart,
Who visits the three worlds riding a jackal,
The essence of the friends who listen and act on the ordinance!”

(Prayer extracted from the article, What do Protective Deities, Mongolians and Fast Steeds have in Common? by Vesna A. Wallace.)

In one Mongolian confessional prayer, A Confession of Transgressions against Jamsran, he is seen as the “benevolent guru” who should be perceived as Vajradhara.

“Jee. Root Guru, be pleased with me,
I remorsefully confess the deeds accumulated through mistakes,
Wrongfully grasped by not having purified the view of the Self,
And the root of the accomplishment
To always see the benevolent guru as the Lord Vajradhara!”

(Prayer extracted from the article, What do Protective Deities, Mongolians and Fast Steeds have in Common? by Vesna A. Wallace.)

Some Gelugpa practitioners regard Begtse as an emanation of Amitabha or Yamantaka. In the Mongolian prayer to him, The Offering to the Red Protector he is invoked as a heroic “yaksa”, a military commander sworn to defy and conquer enemies and to punish those who break their commitments to him. The offering prayer starts with the following verses:

“Jee. Yaksa Jamsaran, I summon you,
The protector of Dharma,
By the order of the Victorious Vajradhara,

Come swiftly, without delay!

Hero, let us see (your) body
On the top of the human and equine corpses,
On the top of the southern lotus and the sun!
Prevail extremely strong!

Openly providing the sight of the external eyes,
The things of an inner pledge
And the torma offering,
I present to you who are transmuting (them).

I present to you a ritual cake of the varied, desirable abilities,
Of the supreme elixir,
And of thoroughly red blood and flesh,
Enjoying (it), accomplish the tasks!

I pay homage to you, fierce Yaksa,
Having a fierce and angry body,
The mandate song of the fierce dharani,
And the fierce mind, free of attachment.

Having worshipped you, Protector,
I pray, evoking you,
Becoming a safeguarding ally, and protecting
May you counteract the demons!

Completely accomplish the works,
Especially those mentioned!
May you grant the appropriate siddhi
That eliminates obstacles.

By the kindness of the splendid, precious Guru,
The tutelary deity and the dakinis,
The Dharma Protectors,
And you, Yaksa!

May the feet of the Holy Lama be firm!
May the Dharma of the Three Wheels blaze!
May my life and virtue increase!
May there be good fortune and happiness!”

(Prayer extracted from the article, “What do Protective Deities, Mongolians and Fast Steeds have in Common?” by Vesna A. Wallace.)

Begtse’s popularity in Mongolia peaked in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries which coincided with Mongolia’s struggle for independence from the Qing Dynasty and the People’s Republic of China. Although temples to Begtse were destroyed and his practice was forbidden during the Stalin era and during the socialist period, it has since been revived with the democratisation of Mongolia and the reinstatement of religious freedom. Annual prayer services to Jamsran are regularly performed in the Gandantegchenling Monastery in Ulaanbaatar, sponsored by the Ministry of Defense and Internal Affairs.

 

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Legends and Feats of Begtse

There are accounts of how Begtse emanated in various situations and even in human form throughout Mongolia’s history of strife and war.

 

Zanabazar

There is a story of how Begtse (Mongolian: Jamsran) came to the rescue of the first spiritual and political leader of the Khalkha Mongols, Zanabazar.

Zanabazar, the high saint of Mongolia (1635-1723). Click on image to enlarge.

Zanabazar was spending the night in the Golok region of Tibet when a thief stole seven of his horses. He was wondering why his Protector, Begtse had failed to guard his horses when a cloud of red dust announced the return of his stolen horses. Tied to the tails of two horses were fresh human heads, presumably belonging to the horse thieves.

When he realised that it was his Protector Begtse who accomplished what he himself was not able to do, Zanabazar offered serkym (golden drink offering) in gratitude.

With Begtse’s assistance, the delegation was able to safely arrive at Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in Shigatse, Tibet within a week. This incident inspired Zanabazar to compose the offering prayer to Begtse titled The Cloud of Offering the Goods to Dharma Protector, the Fierce Begtse.

Begtse is believed to have manifested various human and divine forms in Mongolian history. Some Mongolian war heroes who fought for Mongolian independence from the Qing Dynasty rulers and the Chinese Republic during the outbreak of World War I in the early 20th Century were deemed to be Begtse’s emanations. Begtse’s emanations were incapable of defeat. They could suppress oppression and defeat the enemies of the State.

Tashi Lhunpo Monastery. Image credit: wikipedia

 

Sandagdorjiin Magsarjav

A war hero, Sandagdorjiin Magsarjav, was recognised as a 20th Century emanation of Begtse. Magsarjav was never ordained or trained in a monastery. As a child, he heard many stories of legendary and epic war heroes and dreamt of being one. He realised his childhood dreams when, in 1921, he led a group of young men from various Mongolian tribes to liberate the western front from Qing Dynasty rule.

Click on image to enlarge

A thangka of Vajrapani as the central figure. Click for high resolution image.

Prior to the battle, Magsarjav was reported to have recited the fierce mantra of Vajrapani. Magsarjav’s martial acumen and courage were evident during the battle. After winning this battle, Magsarjav continued a ten-year war against the Chinese forces in his struggle for freedom and independence for Mongolia.

He was never defeated in about 30 small and large battles while fighting on horseback. There are gory details of Magsarjav’s extremely violent exploits which mirror Mongolia’s ancient martial tradition of tearing out the heart of dead enemies and drinking their blood.

In particular, this recalls Begtse’s image as mentioned in exhortations and prayers to him. However, Magsarjav was also known to do evening prayers to Tara with his soldiers and to pay homage to the banner of the protective deity, Begtse.

Between 1919 and 1920, Magsarjav built a monastery to Begtse which was popularly known as Khatanbaatar’s Monastery. It had a special temple dedicated to the worship of Begtse, the Red Protector. Prayers and offerings were made to him on a regular basis. As a result of his military victories and graphically violent tendencies on the battlefield, Magsarjav was said to be greatly feared by the Chinese military.

 

Video: A video of Magsarjav in Mongolian


Or view the video on the server at:
https://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/begtse-Magsarjav.mp4

 

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Lineage of Begtse’s Practice

Great learned masters have said that the pure lineage of whatever teaching we are studying is very important. If it is Tantra, its source should be Vajradhara and if Sutra, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. As such, the lineage of Begtse is listed as follows:

Lineage from India:

  • Vajradhara
  • Mahadeva
  • Nyi Od Dragpa
  • Dawa Nagpo
  • Shridhara Krashu
  • Nyen Lotsawa Dharma Drag
  • Khau Chokyi Gyaltsen a.k.a. Lama Namkaupa
  • Sachen Kunga Nyingpo (1092-1158)

 

Vajradhara

Vajradhara is the primordial Buddha, the personification of the Dharmakaya, truth body of enlightenment and originator of Tantra.

An old thangka of Vajradhara as the central figure. Image credit: himalayanart.org. Click on image to enlarge.

An old thangka of Vajradhara as the central figure. Image credit: himalayanart.org. Click on image to enlarge.

The New (Sarma) Schools, from the 11th Century onwards, believe that Vajradhara is the secret, or inner, form of Shakyamuni Buddha and the combined essence of all the Buddhas of the ten directions and three periods of time gathered as one. In Highest Yoga Tantra, it is Vajradhara who emanates as the forms of the Five Dhyani Buddhas and Vajrasattva, followed by the meditational deities such as Guhyasamaja, Yamantaka, Shri Hevajra and Chakrasamvara.

The Guhyasamaja Tantra is actually one of the oldest Tantric systems to exist in written form arising from India. Holding particular significance for the Gelugpa school, Lama Tsongkhapa classified this Tantra as the main system of Father Tantras because it is so extensive that it actually provides the structure that is followed in all other Higher Yoga Tantra systems.

From Vajradhara, the lineage of Begtse was passed down until it reached Nyen Lotsawa and Marpa Lotsawa. Nyen Lotsawa gave it to Lama Namkaupa. Namkaupa gave it to Sachen Kunga Nyingpo, one of the Five Founding Patriarchs of the Sakya School. In this way, Begtse and his consort became Dharma Protectors of the Sakyapa.

 
Sachen Kunga Nyingpo

Sachen Kunga Nyingpo is the first of the Five Founding Patriarchs of the Sakya School. The five founding members were all members of the Khon Family who are credited with laying the foundation of the Sakya tradition. Sachen Kunga Nyingpo was recognised as the emanation of Avalokiteshvara and has strong associations with Manjushri, Bodhisattva of Wisdom due to his visions related to the deity.

An old statue of Sachen Kunga Nyingpo. Image credit: himalayanart.org. Click on image to enlarge.

An old statue of Sachen Kunga Nyingpo. Image credit: himalayanart.org. Click on image to enlarge.

He became the throneholder of Sakya Monastery at the age of 21. Significantly, Sachen Kunga Nyingpo received the Lamdre teachings, which would become the core of the Sakya tradition. He spent 18 years meditating on the teachings as instructed by his teacher, Zhangton Gonpaba Chobar, before he started teaching and writing extensively about the practice. Sachen Kunga Nyingpo is said to have been the first to record in writing the previously orally transmitted Vajra Verses, the foundational teachings of the Lamdre tradition attributed to the Mahasiddha Virupa, which were introduced to Tibet by Shakya Yeshe.

Later in life, Sachen Kunga Nyingpo went into a coma as a result of an attempt on his life using poison. He recovered but with a complete loss of memory. Later, he miraculously recovered his memory after he went into retreat. He subsequently died at the age of 67 in 1158 while he was living in the Kyabo Kadang Monastery of Jang.

Considered an emanation of Hayagriva, it is little surprise therefore that Begtse is the main Dharma Protector of all the Hayagriva Tantras and is propitiated within the long sadhana of Hayagriva Samdrub. This practice is especially popular within the Sakya and Gelug lineages, where it has been passed down from master to disciple until today. Within the Sakya lineage, Tsarchen Losel Gyatso is invoked as one of the main lineage masters while in the Gelug tradition, Lama Tsongkhapa is invoked as one of the main lineage masters. The power of this practice is reflected in the fact these two great lamas preserved the practice and spread it to others.

 

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Conclusion

Throughout the history of Tibetan Buddhism, Dharma Protectors have demonstrated their ability to come to the aid of practitioners who request for their assistance. They have shown great efficacy in adapting to circumstances and socio-cultural situations when they manifested in various forms to assist in times of peril and adversity.

The practice of Begtse originated in India but subsequently spread to regions sharing its borders such as Tibet and beyond. Mongolia, in particular, embraced the worship of Begtse whose fierce war-like characteristics and activities had a strong appeal for the Mongolians who traditionally venerated war heroes. Furthermore, Begtse became a figure whose qualities were emulated by Mongolian men who wanted to embody the much-admired traits of power, strength and virtue. Despite suppression and persecution, Begtse’s practice has survived and since the 1990s, it has become the mainstay of Protector practice in Mongolia.

 
Sources / References:

  • Collection of the Zanzibar Museum of Fine Arts
  • Vesna A. Wallace, Buddhism in Mongolian History, Culture and Society
  • https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/19083065.pdf
  • https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/complete-commentary-on-50-verses-of-guru-devotion.html
  • https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/h-h-kyabje-zong-rinpoches-commentary-on-guhyasamaja.html
  • Buddhism in Mongolian History, Culture, and Society edited by Vesna A. Wallace

 

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3 Responses to The Dharma Protector Begtse Chen

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  1. Bradley Kassian on Feb 5, 2020 at 6:26 pm

    I enjoyed very much reading about Begtse Chen who is very much revered in Mongolia and is one of the main protectors of the various Tibetan Traditions. He is believed to have originated from India and is sometimes known as Red Mahakala. He has various origin stories but I really like the story of the Third Dalai Lama of Tibet subduing him with the mantra OM Mani Padme Hum well taking the form of Four-Armed Avalokiteshvara.

  2. Tsa Tsa Ong on Jan 24, 2020 at 1:57 pm

    I truly enjoyed reading this interesting write up about dharma protectors and the origin of Begtse Chen who is a subdued being from Mongolia, he is in fact a Dharma Protector of Indian origin. Begtse Chen is also known simply as Begtse, or as Trichapa Chamsing (Tibetan), Prana Atma (Sanskrit), and Jamsran (Mongolian). Colloquially, he is sometimes also referred to as Red Mahakala. According to the Sakya Lama Tsarchen Losal Gyatso, in a previous life, two sons were born into the family of King Sergyi Shugchen and Queen Upale Ke. The older son was called Dragden and the younger son’s name was Draggye. In this former life, Begtse was the younger of the two sons. The two brothers had constant arguments over their different religious beliefs. Looking forward to have this great topic on blog chat soon. Thank you very much Rinpoche and blog team for this wonderful article. 👍😘😀😍🙏

  3. Samfoonheei on Jan 23, 2020 at 8:11 pm

    Begtse Chen is one of the main protectors of the Geluk School of Tibetan Buddhism and especially revered in Mongolia. The origin of Begtse Chen can be traced to a pre-Buddhist deity in 16th century . Begtse Chen is the main protector associated with the Hayagriva cycle of Tantric Deity meditation practice.
    In Tibetan Buddhism Begtse is believed to have originated in India. The practice entered Tibet with Nyen Lotsawa in the 11th century. As a protector deity that does battle with the forces of evil and the wicked and guards the righteous and faithful . His terrifying, monstrous face it appearance serves only to frighten demons and dark spirits away and serves as a beacon of justice as well as a guardian of wisdom to all who see and revere him. Their wrathful forms depicting their believed willingness to defend and guard everyone from dangers and enemies. Interesting read to understand better of this Dharma Protector.
    Thank you for this sharing.

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  • sarassitham
    Thursday, Apr 2. 2020 11:26 PM
    Extremely happy to see the Green Girls efforts to the success of Kechara’s Organic Farm. I liked they idea, to cultivate the space to grow their own delicious, greenery, fresh and healthy vegetables. Of course we know organic vegetables contain’s more nutritious, healthier and safe.

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

    I’m sure this though role activity involved will help the green girls and Kechara volunteers to maintain a healthy mind and body.
  • S.Prathap
    Thursday, Apr 2. 2020 03:50 PM
    I like the Dorje Shugden’s Tsa-tsa. It is very detail in making and beautiful. Not only easy to carry during travel also can use for premises decoration to further bless the premises. Now i know how it was made , and the history after reading this post. So they made based on the tradition in Tibet and everyone could invite home and for traveling as well as the beautiful Tsa-tsa is small and convenience. Thank you for the informative article.

  • sarassitham
    Wednesday, Apr 1. 2020 10:26 PM
    Thank you for the sharing, I never heard about it before, it’s the belief that there’s a divine, mystical relationship between numbers and the projection of life. There is one thing important to know that every number has a unique vibration by itself.

    I had a good read to know the auspicious sign of number seven belongs to Buddha Tara. It ‘s also the culture believe that all numbers has it own qualities. What I understand from this article is there is a hidden supreme power and spirituality behind every numbers.
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Apr 1. 2020 06:41 PM
    Traditionally, the Stupa is a representation of the enlightened mind of the Buddha and, as such, is a method for harmonizing, purifying, and balancing the elements of the environment. Stupas are structures that have been built for thousands of years, representing the highest potential of the mind, and bringing peace, harmony, health, and happiness to the surroundings areas. By participating in the building of a stupa, it is an extremely great merits ,to purifying our negative Karma and obstacles and it will enriches one’s own body and mind. Rejoice to Ms Veronika Tupayachi, been involved in the construction of a Stupa in Cusco, Peru. The very first stupa been built in Peru with the effort of Buddhist practitioners of various traditions and supporters. This project finally constructed after a few years and glad to hear from Ms Veronika who has not forgotten Rinpoche’s generosity and advices . May more people in Peru get to receive the blessing .
    Thank you for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/letters-cards-gifts/letter-and-gifts-from-cusco-peru.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Apr 1. 2020 06:39 PM
    Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices. Buddhism is a path of practice and spiritual development leading to insight into the true nature of reality. As a Buddhists I do believe that nothing is permanent and that change is always possible.
    Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding. When anger rises, think of the consequences. For every minute we remain angry, we will give up sixty seconds of peace of mind. Well in Buddhist teachings, it tell us that patience is the antidote to anger and aggression. Purifying ourselves of anger is essential to Buddhist practice. We have to embrace our anger with patience and compassion for all beings as anger is one of the three poisons.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this teachings.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/external-article/working-with-anger
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Apr 1. 2020 06:31 PM
    There is a saying that we got to watch our thoughts, they will become our words. From our words, they become our actions. From what we do that’s our actions will become our habits. With our habits, they soon become our character.
    A change in our bad habits , leads a change in our life. Our success in work and life with be determined by the kinds of habits , we develop over times. All goes to practice what we want in life stepping out of our comfort zone to improve ourselves and transform our mind. Practicing and learning dharma makes permanent.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this teachings.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/external-article/habits-practice
  • sarassitham
    Wednesday, Apr 1. 2020 01:02 AM
    Thank you for the sharing, sad to read about the poor little creature has to suffer so much just for human entertainment, fun and pleasure. I never thought of frog had a huge demand till I came across of this article.

    Every creation of God has a reason for living on earth with the same feelings. The feeling of pain, happiness, anger, depression etc. is the same for all. However, since animals and plants do not speak, we humans abuse them to such a great extent, that if they could respond back, we would have suffered much more and create the negative karma.
  • S.Prathap
    Tuesday, Mar 31. 2020 10:39 PM
    Thank you for the good article. Buddhism is about mind transformation. When we transform our mind, not only we will become happier but we will also bring happiness to others.
    Ultimately, real worship of the deity is mind transformation and developing a mind of wisdom and compassion.It’s kind of understanding Rinpoche a bit more through this story of Goddess Saraswati.

    https://bit.ly/2UPgEot
  • sarassitham
    Monday, Mar 30. 2020 10:42 PM
    Thank you for the sharing I had a good read of the article and a clear picture of the blind corner of each decade. I believe people grow through the lessons that they experience in their life journey. Throughout life, we go through many challenges and painful experience some changing us for the better, others for the worse.

    I never heard about 9 is the changing point of our live, what i know in every aspect of our bad time, we struggle, every point we learn, think positively, pray and to be wise. Only painful experience gives a good lesson because God has a plan for everything that happens in our lives and we need to go through it due to our past karma.
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Mar 30. 2020 08:59 PM
    Interesting history behind the eighth Jebtsundamba . As a young boy, he was recognized as the new incarnation of the Bogd Gegen in Potala in the presence of the 13th Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama. When northern Mongolia declared independence in 1911, the eighth Jebtsundamba was elevated to theocratic ruler, called Bogd Khan. As the 8th Jebtsundamba Khutuktu, he was the third most important person in the Tibetan Buddhist hierarchy after the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama. He was the spiritual leader of Outer Mongolia’s Tibetan Buddhism also known as the “Bogdo Lama. In this beautiful thangka he is depicted with Dorje Shugden the powerful dharma protector who is an emanation of the Buddha of Wisdom, Manjushri. We are blessed merely by looking at this beautiful thangka.
    Thanks for sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/the-bogd-khan-of-outer-mongolia
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Mar 30. 2020 08:55 PM
    Ganapati is known as Ganesha, and also known by numerous other names as well by different tradition. Ganapati is one of the best-known and most worshipped deities in the Hindu tradition. The primary function of Ganapati in Tantric Buddhism is that of a wealth deity and is widely revered as the remover of obstacles. Ganapati has been represented with the head of an elephant. There many myths and stories as how he got his elephant head and in many forms as well. Here depicted together with the Dharma protector Dorje Shugden forms a powerful pair to help overcome obstacles and creating suitable conditions for our spiritual practice to flourish. Beautiful thangka.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/the-indian-god-who-removes-obstacles
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Mar 30. 2020 08:53 PM
    Shakyamuni Buddha is the founder of the Buddhist religion. Born as the crown prince of the great Shakya Kingdom 2,500 years ago.He forgo everything living luxury in the palace to find the causes of suffering and the means to overcome it. After a long spiritual search he went into deep meditation, self-deprivation, and finally he become an enlightened one. Soon his teachings became the basis for the Buddhist faith. In this beautiful thangka as depicted with Dorje Shugden who is an emanation of the Buddha of Wisdom, Manjushri, in order to safeguard the Buddha’s teachings.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/the-extraordinary-indian-prince-siddhartha-gautama
  • S.Prathap
    Monday, Mar 30. 2020 02:26 PM
    The Yant tattoos have developed over the centuries under the influence of several different religious.They have their reasons to do it as it represents vows and commitments, blessings, kindness and love. It is a spiritual method to help someone become a better person.
    From this article we can see most people are seeking for mundane help which is quite common but what most important is how one would be able to transform their mind for better and ultimately achieve liberation from suffering.Thank you very much for this interesting article and video for exploring another type of unique spiritual tradition.

    https://bit.ly/3dH8JlA
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Mar 29. 2020 01:26 PM
    Beautiful thangka of Mahasiddha Naropa and Niguma, the Lady of Illusion paints a thousand words. In this painting the great Tantric mahasiddha Naropa sits gazing up,together with Niguma a dakini and was one of the influential yoginis and Vajrayana teachers. Niguma is one of the two female founders of the Shangpa Kagyu school of Vajrayana Buddhism. A beautiful thangka depicted with the powerful dharma protector Dorje Shugden will be wonderful to have.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/mahasiddha-naropa-and-niguma-the-lady-of-illusion
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Mar 29. 2020 01:25 PM
    Janguli is a Buddhist goddess who protects from snakes and poisons, worshiped in the ancient past. By nature Janguli is actually Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of Compassion who will protects us against snakes but actually dissolving our anger. Our anger is the root cause for destruction of merits and causes us to stay in samsara longer. A beautiful thangka depicted with Dorje Shugden the Buddha of Wisdom, Manjushri will definitely wonderful to have in our home protecting us and helping us to clear obstacles in our spiritual path.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/janguli-the-ancient-snake-goddess

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10 months ago
Fresh eggplants grown on Kechara Forest Retreat's land here in Malaysia
Most Venerable Uppalavanna – The Chief Female Disciple of Buddha Shakyamuni - She exhibited many supernatural abilities gained from meditation and proved to the world females and males are equal in spirituality- https://bit.ly/31d9Rat
10 months ago
Most Venerable Uppalavanna – The Chief Female Disciple of Buddha Shakyamuni - She exhibited many supernatural abilities gained from meditation and proved to the world females and males are equal in spirituality- https://bit.ly/31d9Rat
Thailand’s ‘Renegade’ Yet Powerful Buddhist Nuns~ https://bit.ly/2Z1C02m
10 months ago
Thailand’s ‘Renegade’ Yet Powerful Buddhist Nuns~ https://bit.ly/2Z1C02m
Mahapajapati Gotami – the first Buddhist nun ordained by Lord Buddha- https://bit.ly/2IjD8ru
10 months ago
Mahapajapati Gotami – the first Buddhist nun ordained by Lord Buddha- https://bit.ly/2IjD8ru
The Largest Buddha Shakyamuni in Russia | 俄罗斯最大的释迦牟尼佛画像- https://bit.ly/2Wpclni
10 months ago
The Largest Buddha Shakyamuni in Russia | 俄罗斯最大的释迦牟尼佛画像- https://bit.ly/2Wpclni
Sacred Vajra Yogini
10 months ago
Sacred Vajra Yogini
Dorje Shugden works & archives - a labour of commitment - https://bit.ly/30Tp2p8
10 months ago
Dorje Shugden works & archives - a labour of commitment - https://bit.ly/30Tp2p8
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha.
10 months ago
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha.
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha. She was his step-mother and aunt. Buddha\'s mother had passed away at his birth so he was raised by Gotami.
10 months ago
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha. She was his step-mother and aunt. Buddha's mother had passed away at his birth so he was raised by Gotami.
Another nun disciple of Lord Buddha\'s. She had achieved great spiritual abilities and high attainments. She would be a proper object of refuge. This image of the eminent bhikkhuni (nun) disciple of the Buddha, Uppalavanna Theri.
10 months ago
Another nun disciple of Lord Buddha's. She had achieved great spiritual abilities and high attainments. She would be a proper object of refuge. This image of the eminent bhikkhuni (nun) disciple of the Buddha, Uppalavanna Theri.
Wandering Ascetic Painting by Nirdesha Munasinghe
10 months ago
Wandering Ascetic Painting by Nirdesha Munasinghe
High Sri Lankan monks visit Kechara to bless our land, temple, Buddha and Dorje Shugden images. They were very kind-see pictures- https://bit.ly/2HQie2M
10 months ago
High Sri Lankan monks visit Kechara to bless our land, temple, Buddha and Dorje Shugden images. They were very kind-see pictures- https://bit.ly/2HQie2M
This is pretty amazing!

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

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

Please click on the images to watch video
  • Pig puts his toys away
    3 months ago
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    9 months ago
    Always be kind to animals-They deserve to live just like us.
    Whales and dolphins playing with each other in the Pacific sea. Nature is truly incredible!
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    9 months ago
    Bodha stupa July 2019-
    Rainy period
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    9 months ago
    Cute Tara girl having a snack. She is one of Kechara Forest Retreat’s resident doggies.
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    10 months ago
    Your Next Meal!
    Yummy? Tasty? Behind the scenes of the meat on your plates. Meat is a killing industry.
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    10 months ago
    This is Daw
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  • Don’t Take My Mummy Away!
    10 months ago
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    10 months ago
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    10 months ago
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    10 months ago
    She’s going to spend her whole life here without being able to move correctly. Like a machine. They are the slaves of the people and are viewed as a product. It’s immoral. Billions of terrestrial animals die annually. Billions. You can’t even imagine it. And all that because people don’t want to give up meat, even though there are so many alternatives. ~ Gabriel Azimov
  • Our Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir speaks so well, logically and regarding our country’s collaboration with China for growth. It is refreshing to listen to Dr. Mahathir’s thoughts. He said our country can look to China for many more things such as technology and so on. Tsem Rinpoche
    11 months ago
    Our Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir speaks so well, logically and regarding our country’s collaboration with China for growth. It is refreshing to listen to Dr. Mahathir’s thoughts. He said our country can look to China for many more things such as technology and so on. Tsem Rinpoche
  • This is the first time His Holiness Dalai Lama mentions he had some very serious illness. Very worrying. This video is captured April 2019.
    11 months ago
    This is the first time His Holiness Dalai Lama mentions he had some very serious illness. Very worrying. This video is captured April 2019.
  • Beautiful Monastery in Hong Kong
    12 months ago
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  • This dog thanks his hero in such a touching way. Tsem Rinpoche
    12 months ago
    This dog thanks his hero in such a touching way. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Join Tsem Rinpoche in prayer for H.H. Dalai Lama’s long life~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYy7JcveikU&feature=youtu.be
    12 months ago
    Join Tsem Rinpoche in prayer for H.H. Dalai Lama’s long life~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYy7JcveikU&feature=youtu.be
  • These people going on pilgrimage to a holy mountain and prostrating out of devotion and for pilgrimage in Tibet. Such determination for spiritual practice. Tsem Rinpoche
    12 months ago
    These people going on pilgrimage to a holy mountain and prostrating out of devotion and for pilgrimage in Tibet. Such determination for spiritual practice. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Beautiful new casing in Kechara for Vajra Yogini. Tsem Rinpoche
    1 years ago
    Beautiful new casing in Kechara for Vajra Yogini. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Get ready to laugh real hard. This is Kechara’s version of “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane!” We have some real talents in this video clip.
    1 years ago
    Get ready to laugh real hard. This is Kechara’s version of “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane!” We have some real talents in this video clip.
  • Recitation of Dorje Dermo‘s mantra or the Dharani of Glorious Vajra Claws. This powerful mantra is meant to destroy all obstacles that come in our way. Beneficial to play this mantra in our environments.
    1 years ago
    Recitation of Dorje Dermo‘s mantra or the Dharani of Glorious Vajra Claws. This powerful mantra is meant to destroy all obstacles that come in our way. Beneficial to play this mantra in our environments.
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    1 years ago
    Beautiful
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  • My little monster cute babies Dharma and Oser. Take a look and get a cute attack for the day! Tsem Rinpoche
    1 years ago
    My little monster cute babies Dharma and Oser. Take a look and get a cute attack for the day! Tsem Rinpoche
  • Plse watch this short video and see how all sentient beings are capable of tenderness and love. We should never hurt animals nor should we eat them. Tsem Rinpoche
    1 years ago
    Plse watch this short video and see how all sentient beings are capable of tenderness and love. We should never hurt animals nor should we eat them. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Cruelty of some people have no limits and it’s heartbreaking. Being kind cost nothing. Tsem Rinpoche
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    Cruelty of some people have no limits and it’s heartbreaking. Being kind cost nothing. Tsem Rinpoche
  • SUPER ADORABLE and must see
    1 years ago
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    1 years ago
    Cute!
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    Tsem Rinpoche’s Schnauzer Dharma boy fights Robot sphere from Arkonide!
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    1 years ago
    Cute baby owl found and rescued
    We rescued a lost baby owl in Kechara Forest Retreat.
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    1 years ago
    Enjoy a peaceful morning at Kechara Forest Retreat
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  • What the meat industry figured out is that you don't need healthy animals to make a profit.
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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.

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CHAT PICTURES

Recycle today for a better tomorrow. KEP-Serena
3 weeks ago
Recycle today for a better tomorrow. KEP-Serena
Today we are having recycling at Kechara Soup Kitchen. Do drop by here if you would like to get ride of the recyclable items from home. KEP - Serena
3 weeks ago
Today we are having recycling at Kechara Soup Kitchen. Do drop by here if you would like to get ride of the recyclable items from home. KEP - Serena
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Seen here is Bam, Vajrayogini’s seed syllable and also Kechara's logo. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 weeks ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Seen here is Bam, Vajrayogini’s seed syllable and also Kechara's logo. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: More melted butter was offered. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 weeks ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: More melted butter was offered. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
H.E. Zawa Rinpoche in deep concentration. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 weeks ago
H.E. Zawa Rinpoche in deep concentration. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Geshela is seen here wearing ceremonial hat called tsoksha. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 weeks ago
Geshela is seen here wearing ceremonial hat called tsoksha. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
The Shize Fire Puja was performed according to scriptural sources. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 weeks ago
The Shize Fire Puja was performed according to scriptural sources. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
To find out more about the substances offered during jinsek/fire puja, have a read here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 weeks ago
To find out more about the substances offered during jinsek/fire puja, have a read here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
More about the symbolism of the offering items here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 weeks ago
More about the symbolism of the offering items here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Amongst all pujas, the fire puja is considered the king of all Pujas. It is the most powerful of all pujas within Tibetan Buddhism and its purpose is basically to remove all obstacles and its stains to enlightenment.
3 weeks ago
Amongst all pujas, the fire puja is considered the king of all Pujas. It is the most powerful of all pujas within Tibetan Buddhism and its purpose is basically to remove all obstacles and its stains to enlightenment.
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Graceful hand mudras were also part of the ritual. - shared Pastor Antoinette
3 weeks ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Graceful hand mudras were also part of the ritual. - shared Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: One by one the offering substances were offered accompanied by traditional Tibetan recitations. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 weeks ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: One by one the offering substances were offered accompanied by traditional Tibetan recitations. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: JP Thong ensuring that Geshela's ritual items are within easy reach. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 weeks ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: JP Thong ensuring that Geshela's ritual items are within easy reach. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Pastor David Lai & Frederick Law were also on hand to assist with the puja ritual substances. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 weeks ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Pastor David Lai & Frederick Law were also on hand to assist with the puja ritual substances. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Pastor Niral Patel assisting H.E. Zawa Rinpoche during the puja. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 weeks ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Pastor Niral Patel assisting H.E. Zawa Rinpoche during the puja. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Peaceful fire pujas are excellent to remove inauspiciousness, problems that might be coming to our lifespan, wisdom, wealth, growth of Dharma. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 weeks ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Peaceful fire pujas are excellent to remove inauspiciousness, problems that might be coming to our lifespan, wisdom, wealth, growth of Dharma. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Over 100 Kecharians & their loved ones spent the Sunday evening immersed in this obstacle pacifying puja. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 weeks ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Over 100 Kecharians & their loved ones spent the Sunday evening immersed in this obstacle pacifying puja. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: H.E. Zawa Dakpa and Geshe Janchup Gyaltsen Lama inspecting the offering substances. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 weeks ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: H.E. Zawa Dakpa and Geshe Janchup Gyaltsen Lama inspecting the offering substances. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: H.E. Zawa Rinpoche & Geshe Janchup making last minute checks before the commencement of the Jinsek or Fire Puja. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 weeks ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: H.E. Zawa Rinpoche & Geshe Janchup making last minute checks before the commencement of the Jinsek or Fire Puja. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: The arrival of the Sangha conducting this sacred puja accompanied by Changtso Beng Kooi and Pastor Niral Patel - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 weeks ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: The arrival of the Sangha conducting this sacred puja accompanied by Changtso Beng Kooi and Pastor Niral Patel - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: The site of the Peaceful Fire Puja the calls upon the pacifying energies of Shize Shugden. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 weeks ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: The site of the Peaceful Fire Puja the calls upon the pacifying energies of Shize Shugden. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: A close-up of the ladle. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 weeks ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: A close-up of the ladle. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Substances such as sticks, melted butter, kusha grass, lentils and barley were traditionally offered during the prayers to create the causes for merits, long life and to pacify obstacles. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 weeks ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Substances such as sticks, melted butter, kusha grass, lentils and barley were traditionally offered during the prayers to create the causes for merits, long life and to pacify obstacles. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Beautifully handcrafted torma or food offering to the Buddha. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 weeks ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Beautifully handcrafted torma or food offering to the Buddha. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Some of the many offering items & substances used during this highly blessed Fire Puja. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 weeks ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Some of the many offering items & substances used during this highly blessed Fire Puja. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja in Kechara Forest Retreat: A special mandala at the base where the fire puja ritual was conducted. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 weeks ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja in Kechara Forest Retreat: A special mandala at the base where the fire puja ritual was conducted. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Kechara Earth Project (KEP) 8/3/2020
3 weeks ago
Kechara Earth Project (KEP) 8/3/2020
Dear Kecharians and friends, We are pleased to announce that as part of the preparations for H.E. Tsem Rinpoche's reliquary stupas and incarnation chapel, mantra rolling sessions have begun in Kechara Forest Retreat. We are calling for volunteers to join us in this holy activity. DATE Daily starting 5th March 2020 until further notice TIME (1) Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday - 10am to 10pm (2) Thursday & Sunday - 10am to 6pm VENUE Art Studio (Kechara Saraswati Arts) Kechara Forest Retreat If you're interested, kindly contact: Wong Yew Kien 012-3717896 or Karen Chong 012-7710289 We look forward to seeing you soon!
4 weeks ago
Dear Kecharians and friends, We are pleased to announce that as part of the preparations for H.E. Tsem Rinpoche's reliquary stupas and incarnation chapel, mantra rolling sessions have begun in Kechara Forest Retreat. We are calling for volunteers to join us in this holy activity. DATE Daily starting 5th March 2020 until further notice TIME (1) Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday - 10am to 10pm (2) Thursday & Sunday - 10am to 6pm VENUE Art Studio (Kechara Saraswati Arts) Kechara Forest Retreat If you're interested, kindly contact: Wong Yew Kien 012-3717896 or Karen Chong 012-7710289 We look forward to seeing you soon!
Join us for a Peaceful Fire Puja based on Dorje Shugden’s pacifying form. This blessed puja will be conducted at the future site of H.E. Tsem Rinpoche’s outdoor reliquary stupa to pacify obstacles and for the success of the project. EVENT DETAILS • Date: Sunday, 8 March 2020 • Time: 6.00pm – 8.30pm • Venue: Kechara Forest Retreat, Bentong Admission is free, all are welcome. ADDITIONAL BENEFITS FOR SPONSORS AND ATTENDEES • Healing from illness and disease • Overcoming obstacles • Purifying past negative deeds and negative karma • Calming the environment, natural disasters and calamities • Helping the deceased to take a good rebirth • Accumulation of merits for spiritual realisations and attainments
4 weeks ago
Join us for a Peaceful Fire Puja based on Dorje Shugden’s pacifying form. This blessed puja will be conducted at the future site of H.E. Tsem Rinpoche’s outdoor reliquary stupa to pacify obstacles and for the success of the project. EVENT DETAILS • Date: Sunday, 8 March 2020 • Time: 6.00pm – 8.30pm • Venue: Kechara Forest Retreat, Bentong Admission is free, all are welcome. ADDITIONAL BENEFITS FOR SPONSORS AND ATTENDEES • Healing from illness and disease • Overcoming obstacles • Purifying past negative deeds and negative karma • Calming the environment, natural disasters and calamities • Helping the deceased to take a good rebirth • Accumulation of merits for spiritual realisations and attainments
Join us this weekend for Spiritual Saturday in Kechara Forest Retreat! SATURDAY, 7 MARCH 9.30 am: Polish Gyenze's wish-fulfilling lamps 11.15 am: Introduction to Ayurveda 1.00 pm: Lunch INTERESTED? WhatsApp us at +6017 672 0757 to RSVP your place (and your meal!) See all March activities: bit.ly/2vAGpjF
4 weeks ago
Join us this weekend for Spiritual Saturday in Kechara Forest Retreat! SATURDAY, 7 MARCH 9.30 am: Polish Gyenze's wish-fulfilling lamps 11.15 am: Introduction to Ayurveda 1.00 pm: Lunch INTERESTED? WhatsApp us at +6017 672 0757 to RSVP your place (and your meal!) See all March activities: bit.ly/2vAGpjF
Kechara Earth Project- new site at Damansara
1 month ago
Kechara Earth Project- new site at Damansara
For those who did not manage to join in for our Loma Gyonma mantra recitation, here's the prayer that you can do daily at home as a preventive measure to ward off unwanted infections and illnesses, especially contagious diseases such as Coronavirus & H1N1. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
1 month ago
For those who did not manage to join in for our Loma Gyonma mantra recitation, here's the prayer that you can do daily at home as a preventive measure to ward off unwanted infections and illnesses, especially contagious diseases such as Coronavirus & H1N1. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Special prayer session in Kechara Forest Retreat where we will be collectively accumulating a minimum of 25,000 Loma Gyonma mantras, combined with circumambulations and 108 candle offerings each to Loma Gyonma and Dorje Shugden. To receive the blessings of Loma Gyonma, the Goddess of Healing and Epidemic Diseases, and to pray for all who are at risk from the novel coronavirus to be healed and protected. -photo credit Cynthia Ng - shared by Pastor Antoinette
1 month ago
Special prayer session in Kechara Forest Retreat where we will be collectively accumulating a minimum of 25,000 Loma Gyonma mantras, combined with circumambulations and 108 candle offerings each to Loma Gyonma and Dorje Shugden. To receive the blessings of Loma Gyonma, the Goddess of Healing and Epidemic Diseases, and to pray for all who are at risk from the novel coronavirus to be healed and protected. -photo credit Cynthia Ng - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Back during the H1N1 outbreak in 2009, Rinpoche advised everyone to quickly accumulate 25,000 recitations of Loma Gyonma’s essence mantra ASAP, combined with daily recitation of both Loma Gyonma and Shize’s mantra. In view of the current situation with the global spread of the novel coronavirus, you are invited to a special prayer session in Kechara Forest Retreat where we will be collectively accumulating a minimum of 25,000 Loma Gyonma mantras, combined with circumambulations and 108 candle offerings each to Loma Gyonma and Dorje Shugden. DATE: Saturday, 15 February 2020 TIME: 3.00pm - 6.30pm VENUE: Wisdom Hall, Kechara Forest Retreat
2 months ago
Back during the H1N1 outbreak in 2009, Rinpoche advised everyone to quickly accumulate 25,000 recitations of Loma Gyonma’s essence mantra ASAP, combined with daily recitation of both Loma Gyonma and Shize’s mantra. In view of the current situation with the global spread of the novel coronavirus, you are invited to a special prayer session in Kechara Forest Retreat where we will be collectively accumulating a minimum of 25,000 Loma Gyonma mantras, combined with circumambulations and 108 candle offerings each to Loma Gyonma and Dorje Shugden. DATE: Saturday, 15 February 2020 TIME: 3.00pm - 6.30pm VENUE: Wisdom Hall, Kechara Forest Retreat
Mr. Chan Weng Khong & Yee Mun released the birds after the mantra recitations. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
2 months ago
Mr. Chan Weng Khong & Yee Mun released the birds after the mantra recitations. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
KISG has carried out monthly Animals Liberation activity at DR Park, Ipoh. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
2 months ago
KISG has carried out monthly Animals Liberation activity at DR Park, Ipoh. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Children are all excited to the Kids Camp. Lin Mun KSDS
2 months ago
Children are all excited to the Kids Camp. Lin Mun KSDS
Kids Camp 2019 - Visiting Kechara Farm. Lin Mun KSDS
2 months ago
Kids Camp 2019 - Visiting Kechara Farm. Lin Mun KSDS
Children learning to do water offering to Buddha. Lin Mun KSDS
2 months ago
Children learning to do water offering to Buddha. Lin Mun KSDS
Painting Vajrayogini tsa tsa during Wesak Day 2019. Lin Mun KSDS
2 months ago
Painting Vajrayogini tsa tsa during Wesak Day 2019. Lin Mun KSDS
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Dorje Shugden
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