The Practice of Sangha

Apr 21, 2016 | Views: 1,137

(By Tsem Rinpoche)

The Sangha is one of the Three Jewels which we take refuge in everyday while doing our daily sadhanas. However, do we actually know the meaning and reason for paying respects to the Sangha, and how does respecting the Sangha help us in our spiritual growth?

In everything we do within Buddhism, it is essential that we always check with ourselves if we truly understand the practice we are engaged in. If we realize that we lack the understanding, then we should seek knowledge, understand it and most importantly apply it and practise it.

Venerable Thich Nhat Han

Below is an article I found written by Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh, where he explains about the Sangha community. Although Thich Nhat Hanh is from a different tradition of Buddhism, the rules and vows that the Sangha community upholds as well as their purpose of existence is similar in all Buddhist traditions. I have been an admirer of Thich Nhat Hanh for many, many years and pray for his long life and good health. He is someone who has dedicated his life to the Buddha Dharma and has benefited countless sentient beings with his pure monk vows and bodhicitta.

Do read the article below as it will give you a good understanding about the Sangha and strengthen your faith in them. For my students who are Sangha-to-be, and also to the lay students in Kechara, please read this carefully. Understand what a real Sangha is about and act like good monks and nuns already so when you receive the holy vows, you will not find them difficult to hold. Always care for each other and respect one another. Be tolerant, forgiving and work hard with one another to create harmony and cooperation. No excuse and pettiness, just grow and become nicer, real and genuine with everyone. Then Dharma will grow in our minds and also outside in the form of Kechara, which is the physical manifestation of Dharma growth. Don’t be selective in being nice or tolerant towards certain people only based on personal relationships, preference and judgement, that is not genuine kindness nor will it lead to a community that practises authentic Dharma.  

As said by Thich Nhat Hanh in his article below, “The essence of a sangha is awareness, understanding, acceptance, harmony and love. When you do not see these in a community, it is not a true sangha… But when you find these elements are present in a community, you know that you have the happiness and fortune of being in a real sangha.” Being a Sangha is not just about putting on the robes. I hope everyone who crosses paths with Kechara finds true joy and happiness.

Sarva mangalam,
Tsem Rinpoche

 


 

Thich Nhat Hanh explains that sangha is more than a community, it’s a deep spiritual practice.

A sangha is a community of friends practicing the dharma together in order to bring about and to maintain awareness. The essence of a sangha is awareness, understanding, acceptance, harmony and love. When you do not see these in a community, it is not a true sangha, and you should have the courage to say so. But when you find these elements are present in a community, you know that you have the happiness and fortune of being in a real sangha.

In Matthew 5:13 in the New Testament of the Christian Bible, we find this statement: “Ye are the salt of the earth; but if the salt hath lost its savor, where with shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and to be trodden underfoot of men.” In this passage, Jesus describes his followers as salt. Food needs salt in order to be tasty. Life needs understanding, compassion and harmony in order to be livable. This is the most important contribution to life that the followers of Jesus can bring to the world. It means that the Kingdom of Heaven has to be realized here, not somewhere else, and that Christians need to practice in a way that they are the salt of life and a true community of Christians.

Salt is also an important image in the Buddhist canon, and this Christian teaching is equivalent to the Buddha’s teaching about sangha. The Buddha said that the water in the four oceans has only one taste, the taste of salt, just as his teaching has only one taste, the taste of liberation. Therefore the elements of sangha are the taste of life, the taste of liberation, and we have to practice in order to become the salt. When we say, “I take refuge in the sangha,” it is not a statement, it is a practice.

In the Buddhist scriptures it is said that there are four communities: monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen. But I also include elements that are not human in the sangha. The trees, water, air, birds, and so on can all be members of our sangha. A beautiful walking path may be part of our sangha. A good cushion can be also. We can make many things into supportive elements of our sangha. This idea is not entirely new; it can be found throughout the sutras and in the Abhidharma, too. A pebble, a leaf and a dahlia are mentioned in the Saddharmapundarika Sutra in this respect. It is said in the Pure Land Sutra that if you are mindful, then when the wind blows through the trees, you will hear the teaching of the Four Establishments of Mindfulness, the Eightfold Path, and so on. The whole cosmos is preaching the buddhadharma and practicing the buddhadharma. If you are attentive, you will get in touch with that sangha.

 

Sangha as our roots

I don’t think the Buddha wanted us to abandon our society, our culture or our roots in order to practice. The practice of Buddhism should help people go back to their families. It should help people re-enter society in order to rediscover and accept the good things that are there in their culture and to rebuild those that are not.

Our modern society creates so many young people without roots. They are uprooted from their families and their society; they wander around, not quite human beings, because they do not have roots. Quite a number of them come from broken families and feel rejected by society. They live on the margins, looking for a home, for something to belong to. They are like trees without roots. For these people, it’s very difficult to practice. A tree without roots cannot absorb anything; it cannot survive. Even if they practice intensively for ten years, it’s very hard for them to be transformed if they remain an island, if they cannot establish a link with other people.

A community of practice, a sangha, can provide a second chance to a young person who comes from a broken family or is alienated from his or her society. If the community of practice is organized as a family with a friendly, warm atmosphere, young people can succeed in their practice.

Thai monks in prayer

Suffering (dukkha) is one of the biggest problems of our times. First we have to recognize this suffering and acknowledge it. Then we need to look deeply into its nature in order to find a way out. If we look into the present situation in ourselves and our society, we can see much suffering. We need to call it by its true names—loneliness, the feeling of being cut off, alienation, division, the disintegration of the family, the disintegration of society.

Our civilization, our culture, has been characterized by individualism. The individual wants to be free from the society, from the family. The individual does not think he or she needs to take refuge in the family or in the society, and thinks that he or she can be happy without a sangha. That is why we do not have solidity, we do not have harmony, we do not have the communication that we so need.

The practice is, therefore, to grow some roots. The sangha is not a place to hide in order to avoid your responsibilities. The sangha is a place to practice for the transformation and the healing of self and society. When you are strong, you can be there in order to help society. If your society is in trouble, if your family is broken, if your church is no longer capable of providing you with spiritual life, then you work to take refuge in the sangha so that you can restore your strength, your understanding, your compassion, your confidence. And then in turn you can use that strength, understanding and compassion to rebuild your family and society, to renew your church, to restore communication and harmony. This can only be done as a community—not as an individual, but as a sangha.

In order for us to develop some roots, we need the kind of environment that can help us become rooted. A sangha is not a community of practice in which each person is an island, unable to communicate with each other—this is not a true sangha. No healing or transformation will result from such a sangha. A true sangha should be like a family in which there is a spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood.

There is a lot of suffering, yes, and we have to embrace all this suffering. But to get strong, we also need to touch the positive elements, and when we are strong, we can embrace the suffering in us and all around us. If we see a group of people living mindfully, capable of smiling, of loving, we gain confidence in our future. When we practice mindful breathing, smiling, resting, walking and working, then we become a positive element in society, and we will inspire confidence all around us. This is the way to avoid letting despair overwhelm us. It is also the way to help the younger generation so they do not lose hope. It is very important that we live our daily life in such a way that demonstrates that a future is possible.

 

We need a sangha

In my tradition we learn that as individuals we cannot do much. That is why taking refuge in the sangha, taking refuge in the community, is a very strong and important practice. When I say, “I take refuge in the sangha,” it does not mean that I want to express my devotion. No. It’s not a question of devotion; it’s a question of practice. Without being in a sangha, without being supported by a group of friends who are motivated by the same ideal and practice, we cannot go far.

If we do not have a supportive sangha, we may not be getting the kind of support we need for our practice, that we need to nourish our bodhichitta (the strong desire to cultivate love and understanding in ourselves). Sometimes we call it “beginner’s mind.” The mind of a beginner is always very beautiful, very strong. In a good and healthy sangha, there is encouragement for our beginner’s mind, for our bodhichitta. So the sangha is the soil and we are the seed. No matter how beautiful, how vigorous our seed is, if the soil does not provide us with vitality, our seed will die.

One of the brothers from Plum Village, Brother Phap Dung, went to Vietnam some years ago with a few members of the sangha. It was a very important experience for him. He had been in the West since he was a small child. Then when he went to northern Vietnam, he got in touch with some of the most ancient elements in Vietnamese culture and with the mountains and the rivers of northern Vietnam. He wrote to me and said, “Our land of Vietnam is so beautiful, it is as beautiful as a dream. I don’t dare take heavy steps on this earth of Vietnam.” By this he meant that he had right mindfulness when he walked. His right mindfulness was due to the practice and support he had in the sangha before he went to Vietnam. That is beginner’s mind, the mind you have in the beginning when you undertake the practice. It’s very beautiful and very precious, but that beginner’s mind can be broken, can be destroyed, can be lost if it is not nourished or supported by a sangha.

Tibetan monks engaged in debate

Although he had his little sangha near him in Vietnam, the environment was very distracting, and he saw that if he stayed too long without the larger sangha, he would be swept away by that environment, by his forgetfulness—not only his own forgetfulness, but the forgetfulness of everybody around him. This is because right mindfulness for someone who has only just started the practice is still weak, and the forgetfulness of the people around us is very great and capable of dragging us away in the direction of the five cravings.

To practice right mindfulness we need the right environment, and that environment is our sangha. Without a sangha we are very weak. In a society where everyone is rushing, everyone is being carried away by their habit energies, practice is very difficult. That is why the sangha is our salvation. The sangha where everyone is practicing mindful walking, mindful speaking, mindful eating seems to be the only chance for us to succeed in ending the vicious cycle.

And what is the sangha? The sangha is a community of people who agree with each other that if we do not practice right mindfulness, we will lose all the beautiful things in our soul and all around us. People in the sangha standing near us, practicing with us, support us so that we are not pulled away from the present moment. Whenever we find ourselves in a difficult situation, two or three friends in the sangha who are there for us, understanding and helping us, will get us through it. Even in our silent practice we help each other.

In my tradition they say that when a tiger leaves the mountain and goes to the lowland, it will be caught by humans and killed. When practitioners leave their sangha, they will abandon their practice after a few months. In order to continue our practice of transformation and healing, we need a sangha. With a sangha it’s much easier to practice, and that is why I always take refuge in my sangha.

 

How a sangha helps us

The presence of a sangha is a wonderful opportunity to allow the collective energy of the sangha to penetrate into our body and consciousness. We profit a lot from that collective energy. We can entrust ourselves to the sangha because the sangha is practicing, and the collective energy of mindfulness is strong. Although we can rely on the energy of mindfulness that is generated by our personal practice, sometimes it is not enough. But if you know how to use that energy of mindfulness in order to receive the collective energy of the sangha, you will have a powerful source of energy for your transformation and healing.

Your body, your consciousness, and your environment are like a garden. There may be a few trees and bushes that are dying, and you may feel overwhelmed by anguish and suffering at the sight of that. You may be unaware that there are still many trees in your garden that are solid, vigorous and beautiful. When members of your sangha come into your garden, they can help you see that you still have a lot of beautiful trees and that you can enjoy the things that have not gone wrong within your landscape. That is the role that the sangha can play. Many people in the sangha are capable of enjoying a beautiful sunset or a cup of tea. They dwell firmly in the present moment, not allowing worries or regrets to spoil the present moment. Sitting close to these people, walking close to these people, you can profit from their energy and restore your balance. When their energy of mindfulness is combined with yours, you will be able to touch beauty and happiness.

Nothing is more important than your peace and happiness in the here and now. One day you will lie like a dead body and no longer be able to touch the beauty of a flower. Make good use of your time; practice touching the positive aspects of life in you and around you.

Japanese Buddhist monks reciting sutras

Don’t lock yourself behind your door and fight alone. If you think that by yourself you cannot go back to embrace strong feelings, you can ask one, two or three friends to sit next to you and to help you with their support. They can give you mindfulness energy so that you can go back home with strength. They can say, “My brother, I know that the pain in you is very deep, and I am here for you.”

Taking refuge in the sangha is a very important practice. Abandoned, alone, you get lost, you get carried away. So taking refuge in the sangha is a very deep practice, especially for those of us who feel vulnerable, shaky, agitated and unstable. That is why you come to a practice center, to take refuge in the sangha. You allow the sangha to transport you like a boat so that you can cross the ocean of sorrow.

When we throw a rock into a river the rock will sink. But if we have a boat, the boat can carry hundreds of pounds of rocks and it will not sink. The same thing is true with our sorrow and pain. If we have a boat, we can carry our pain and sorrow, and we will not sink into the river of suffering. And what is that boat? That boat is, first of all, the energy of mindfulness that you generate by your practice. That boat is also the sangha—the community of practice consisting of brothers and sisters in the dharma.

We don’t have to bring just joy when we come to the sangha; we can also bring our suffering with us. But we have to walk on the path of joy with our suffering, we have to share joy with our brothers and sisters. Then we will be in touch with the seeds of happiness in ourselves, and the suffering will grow weaker and be transformed. Allow yourself to be supported, to be held by the sangha. When you allow yourself to be in a sangha the way a drop of water allows itself to be in a river, the energy of the sangha can penetrate into you, and transformation and healing will become possible.

 

Practice is easier with a sangha

The only way to support the Buddha, to support our sangha, to support the earth, to support our children and future generations, is to really be here for them. “Darling, I am here for you” is a statement of love. You need to be here. If you are not here, how can you love? That is why the practice of meditation is the practice of being here for the ones we love.

To be present sounds like an easy thing to do. For many of us, it is easy because we have made it a habit. We are in the habit of dwelling in the present moment, of touching the morning sunshine deeply, of drinking our morning tea deeply, of sitting and being present with the person we love. But for some of us it may not be so easy, because we have not cultivated the habit of being in the here and the now. We are always running, and it is hard for us to stop and be here in the present moment, to encounter life. For those of us who have not learned to be present, we need to be supported in that kind of learning. It’s not difficult when you are supported by the sangha. With sangha you will be able to learn the art of stopping.

The sangha is a wonderful home. Every time you go back to the sangha, you feel that you can breathe more easily, you can walk more mindfully, you can better enjoy the blue sky, the white clouds and the cypress tree in your yard. Why? Because the sangha members practice going home many times a day—through walking, breathing, cooking and doing their daily activities mindfully. Everyone in the sangha is practicing in the same way, walking mindfully, sitting mindfully, eating mindfully, smiling, enjoying each moment of life.

When I practice walking I make mindful and beautiful steps. I do that not only for myself but also for all of my friends who are here; because everyone who sees me taking a step like that has confidence and is reminded to do the same. And when they make a step in the present moment, smiling and making peace with themselves, they inspire all of us. You breathe for me, I walk for you, we do things together, and this is practicing as a sangha. You don’t need to make much effort; your practice is easy, because you feel that you are supported by the sangha.

Monks in Sri Lanka walk to beg for alms, a tradition that stretches back to the time of Buddha Shakyamuni himself

When we sit together as a sangha, we enjoy the collective energy of mindfulness, and each of us allows the mindful energy of the sangha to penetrate us. Even if you don’t do anything, if you just stop thinking and allow yourself to absorb the collective energy of the sangha, it’s very healing. Don’t struggle, don’t try to do something, just allow yourself to be with the sangha. Allow yourself to rest, and the energy of the sangha will help you, will carry and support you. The sangha is there to make the training easy. When we are surrounded by brothers and sisters doing exactly the same thing, it is easy to flow in the stream of the sangha.

As individuals we have problems, and we also have problems in our families, our societies and our nations. Meditation in the twenty-first century should become a collective practice; without a sangha we cannot achieve much. When we begin to focus our attention on the suffering on a larger scale, we begin to connect with and to relate to other people, who are also ourselves, and the little problems that we have within our individual circle will vanish. In this way our loneliness or our feeling of being cut off will no longer be there, and we will be able to do things together.

If we work on our problems alone, it becomes more difficult. When you have a strong emotion come up, you may feel that you cannot stand it. You may have a breakdown or want to die. But if you have someone, a good friend sitting with you, you feel much better. You feel supported and you have more strength in order to deal with your strong emotion. If you are taking something into your body that is toxic, even realizing that it will make you sick, you may not be able to change your habit. But if you are surrounded by people who do not have the same problem, it becomes easier to change. That is why it is very important to practice in the context of a sangha.

Because you feel supported there, the sangha is the most appropriate setting and environment for the practice of looking deeply. If you have a sangha of two, three, maybe even fifty people who are practicing correctly—getting joy, peace and happiness from the practice—then you are the luckiest person on earth.

So practice in the setting of the sangha is much easier. We don’t have to practice so intensely. Our practice becomes the practice of “non-practice.” That means a lot. We don’t have to force ourselves to practice. We can give up all the struggle and allow ourselves to be, to rest. For this, however, we need a little bit of training, and the sangha is there to make the training easy. Being aware that we are in a sangha where people are happy with being mindful, where people are living deeply the moments of their days, that is enough. I always feel happy in the presence of a happy sangha. If you put yourself in such an environment, then transformation will happen without much effort. This is my experience.

 

Practicing in the sangha

If you are a beginner in the practice, you should not worry about what is the correct thing to do. When surrounded by many people, we might be caught by the idea, “I don’t know what is the right thing to do.” That idea may make us very uncomfortable. We may think, “I feel embarrassed that I’m not doing the right thing. There are people who are bowing, and I am not bowing. People are walking slowly, and I am walking a little bit too fast.” So the idea that we may not be doing the right thing can embarrass us.

I would like to tell you what is really the right thing. The right thing is to do whatever you are doing in mindfulness. Mindfulness is keeping one’s consciousness alive to the present reality. To bow may not be the right thing to do if you don’t bow in mindfulness. If you don’t bow but are mindful, not bowing is the right thing. Even if people are walking slowly and you run, you are doing the right thing if you run mindfully. The wrong thing is whatever you do without mindfulness. If we understand this, we will not be embarrassed anymore. Everything we do is right provided we do it in mindfulness. To bow or not to bow, that is not the question. The question is whether to bow in mindfulness or not, or not to bow in mindfulness or not.

If you take a step and you feel peaceful and happy, you know that is the correct practice. You are the only one who knows whether you are doing it correctly or not. No one else can judge. When you practice breathing in and out, if you feel peaceful, if you enjoy your in-breath and out-breath, you know you are doing it correctly. You are the best one to know. Have confidence in yourself. Wherever you find yourself, if you feel you are at ease and peaceful, that you are not under pressure, then you know you are doing it right.

Young monks in Burma join their elders in begging for alms

The function of the bell in a sangha is to bring us back to ourselves. When we hear the bell we come back to ourselves and breathe, and at that point we improve the quality of the sangha energy. We know that our brother and our sister, wherever they are, will be stopping, breathing, and coming back to themselves. They will be generating the energy of right mindfulness, the sangha energy. When we look at each other, we feel confident, because everyone is practicing together in the same way and contributing to the quality of the sangha. So we are friends on the path of practice.

The sangha is made out of the work of individuals, so we have the duty to help create the energy of the sangha. Our presence, when it is a mindful presence, contributes to that energy. When we are absent during the activities of the sangha, we are not contributing to sangha energy. If we don’t go to a sitting meditation, we are not feeding our sangha. We are also letting ourselves go hungry, because we are not benefiting from the sangha.

We don’t profit from the sangha, and the sangha doesn’t profit from us. Don’t think that we sit for ourselves. You don’t sit for yourself alone, you sit for the whole sangha—not only the sangha, but also for the people in your city, because when one person in the city is less angry, is smiling more, the whole city profits. If we practice looking deeply, our understanding of interbeing will grow, and we will see that every smile, every step, every breath is for everybody. It is for our country, for the future, for our ancestors.

The best thing we can do is to transform ourselves into a positive element of the sangha. If members of the sangha see us practicing well, they will have confidence and do better. If there are two, three, four, five, six, seven of you like that in the sangha, I’m sure the sangha will be a happy sangha and will be the refuge of many people in the world.

 

The sangha isn’t perfect

Our transformation and healing depend on the quality of the sangha. If there are enough people smiling and happy in the sangha, the sangha has more power to heal and transform. So you have to invest in your sangha. Every member of the sangha has his or her weaknesses and strengths, and you have to recognize them in order to make good use of the positive elements for the sake of the whole sangha. You also have to recognize the negative elements so that you and the whole sangha can help embrace them. You don’t leave that negative element to the person alone, because he may not be able to hold and transform it by himself.

You don’t need a perfect sangha—a family or a community doesn’t have to be perfect in order to be helpful. In fact, the sangha at the time of the Buddha was not perfect. But it was enough for people to take refuge in, because in the sangha there were people who had enough compassion, solidity and insight to embrace others who did not have as much compassion, solidity and insight. I also have some difficulties with my sangha, but I’m very happy because everyone tries to practice in my sangha.

If we lived in a sangha where everyone was perfect, everyone was a bodhisattva or a buddha, that would be very difficult for us. Weakness in the other person is very important, and weakness within yourself is also very important. Anger is in us, jealousy is in us, arrogance is in us. These kinds of things are very human. It is thanks to the presence of weakness in you and weakness in a brother or a sister that you learn how to practice. To practice is to have an opportunity to transform. So it is through our shortcomings that we learn to practice.

There are some people who think of leaving the sangha when they encounter difficulties with other sangha members. They cannot bear little injustices inflicted on them because their hearts are small. To help your heart grow bigger and bigger, understanding and love are necessary. Your heart can grow as big as the cosmos; the growth of your heart is infinite. If your heart is like a big river, you can receive any amount of dirt. It will not affect you, and you can transform the dirt very easily.

Young children becoming ordained in Korea. At Chogye Temple in Seoul, children can be entered into the temple for 22 days to learn about Buddhism

The Buddha used this image. If you put a little dirt in a pitcher of water, then that water has to be thrown away. People cannot drink it. But if you put the same amount of dirt into a huge river, people can continue to drink from the river, because the river is so immense. Overnight that dirt will be transformed within the heart of the river. So if your heart is as big as a river, you can receive any amount of injustice and still live with happiness. You can transform overnight the injustices inflicted on you. If you still suffer, your heart is still not large enough. That is the teaching of forbearance and inclusiveness in Buddhism. You don’t practice to suppress your suffering; you practice in order for your heart to expand as big as a river.

One time the Buddha said to his disciples: “There are people among us who do not have the same capacity as we do. They do not have the capacity to act rightly or to speak rightly. But if we look deeply, we see in their hearts that there are good seeds, and therefore we have to treat those people in such a way that those good seeds will not be lost.”[1] Among us there are people who we may think do not have the capacity to practice as well as we do. But we should know that those people also have good seeds, and we have to cultivate those good seeds in such a way that these good seeds have a chance to be watered and to sprout.

The Buddha saw all his disciples as his children, and I think of mine in the same way. Any disciple of mine is my child that I have given birth to. In my heart I feel at ease, I feel light and happy, even though that child may still have a problem. You can use that method, too. If there is a person in the sangha who troubles you, don’t give up hope. Remember, “My teacher has given birth to that child. How can I practice in order to see that person as my sister? Then my heart will feel more at ease and I will be able to accept her. That person is still my sister, whether I want her to be or not.” That feeling and those words can help dissolve the irritation that you are having with that person.

If we have harmony in the sangha, we can give confidence to many people. We don’t need to be perfect. I myself am not perfect, and you don’t need to be perfect either. But if in your own way you can express your harmony in the sangha, this is your gift.

In the sangha there must be difficult people. These difficult people are a good thing for you—they will test your capacity of sangha-building and practicing. One day when that person says something that is not very nice to you, you’ll be able to smile and it won’t make you suffer at all. Your compassion will have been born and you will be capable of embracing him or her within your compassion and your understanding. Then you will know that your practice has grown. You should be delighted that such an act does not make you angry or sad anymore, that you have enough compassion and understanding to embrace it. That is why you should not be tempted to eliminate the elements that you think are difficult in your sangha.

I am speaking to you out of my experience. I now have a lot more patience and compassion, and because I have more patience and compassion, my happiness has grown much greater. You suffer because your understanding and compassion are not yet large enough to embrace difficult people, but with the practice you will grow, your heart will grow, your understanding and compassion will grow, and you won’t suffer anymore. And thanks to the sangha practicing together, thanks to your model of practice, those people will transform. That is a great success, much greater than in the case of people who are easy to get along with.

 

I take refuge in the sangha

The reason we take refuge in anything is because we need protection. But very often we take refuge in people or things that are not at all solid. We may feel that we are not strong enough to be on our own, so we are tempted to look for someone to take refuge in. We are inclined to think that if we have someone who is strong and can be our refuge, then our life will be easier. We need to be very careful, because if we take refuge in a person who has no stability at all, then the little bit of solidity we have ourselves will be entirely lost. Many people have done that and they have lost the little solidity and freedom they once had.

When a situation is dangerous, you need to escape, you need to take refuge in a place that is safe, that is solid. Earth is something we can take refuge in because it is solid. We can build houses on earth, but we cannot build on sand. The sangha is the same. Mindfulness, concentration and insight have built up sanghas and individuals that are solid, so when you take refuge in the sangha, you take refuge in the most solid elements.

When you are angry, if you know how to go back to your mindful breathing and take refuge in your mindfulness, you become strong. You can dwell peacefully in that moment and you are capable of dealing with the situation in a much more lucid way. You know that within you there are the elements of mindfulness, concentration and insight. Those seeds are always there. If you have a friend, a teacher, a sangha that can help you to touch those seeds and help them to grow, then you have the best kind of protection.

Monks in Wutaishan, China which is one of the abodes of Manjushri

This is the role sangha plays in supporting, protecting and nourishing us. In the sangha there is stability and joy. The sangha is devoted to the practice of mindfulness, concentration and insight, and while everyone in the sangha profits from his or her own mindfulness, they can also take refuge in the collective energy of mindfulness, concentration and insight of the sangha. That is why there is a sense of solidity and security in the sangha. We are not afraid because the sangha is there to protect us.

It is like the flocks of wild geese that travel together from the north to the south in huge numbers. If one bird goes off on its own, it will be easily caught, but if they stay together, they are much safer. Near Plum Village there are hunters who use a bird cry to lure the geese down. If a wild goose leaves the flock and comes down alone, he will easily be shot by the hunters.

It’s the same with the sangha. If we think we can live alone, apart from the sangha, we don’t know our own strength or our own weakness. Thanks to the sangha we do not enter paths of darkness and suffering. Even when the sangha doesn’t seem to be doing anything at all, in fact it is doing a lot, because in the sangha there is protection.

Without the sangha we easily fall into the traps of the five cravings. Once in those traps, we will be burnt by the flames of the afflictions and suffering. Keeping the mindfulness trainings and taking refuge in the sangha’s protection is a very good way to avoid being caught in the traps of the five cravings. We keep the mindfulness trainings so that they protect us. The rest of the sangha will also be keeping the same mindfulness trainings and helping us.

Some people have told me that they have never felt secure before coming to a retreat. Then after sitting, eating and walking mindfully with the sangha, for the first time they get a feeling of security. Even small creatures living nearby feel safer, because we are mindful and do our best not to harm them. That feeling of security can lead to joy. We can practice like this:

Breathing in, I see that I am part of a sangha, and I am being protected by my sangha.
Breathing out, I feel joy.

The dharma can protect you—dharma not in the sense of a dharma talk or a book—but dharma as the practice embodied by people like yourself. When you practice mindful breathing, mindful walking, mindful listening to the bell, you bring into yourself the elements of peace and stability, and you are protected during that time. You begin to radiate the energy of stability and peace all around you. This will help to protect your children and your loved ones. Although you may not give a dharma talk with your words, you are giving a dharma talk with your body, with your in-breath, with your out-breath, with your life. That is the living dharma. We need that very much, just as we need the living sangha.

Reprinted from Friends on the Path: Living Spiritual Communities (2002) by Thich Nhat Hanh with permission of Parallax Press, Berkeley, California (www.parallax.org).

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25 Responses to The Practice of Sangha

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  1. Julia Tan on Jul 4, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    This article opened my mind about sangha community. Especially on how we support each other to create the right condition for each other to make the practice easier. Sangha included everything around us that connected to us even the cushion that we meditate on. Every thoughts of right mindfuness is the root of our practice.

    Kechara Forest Retreat is our sangha community. I’m very blessed and fortunate just like Ven. Thich Nhat Hann said. I must not loose this precious opportunity to practice together with my Guru, my Dharma brothers and sisters. From here I can nurture and help my family and friends by connecting them to this blessed place.

  2. Karenc. on Jul 2, 2018 at 3:00 am

    This is a well-written yet easy to understand article. I like the idea mentioned that we should regard sanghas as our roots because the practise of Dharma should help people to go back to their families, re-enter the society, rebuild those from broken families, give those young people without roots a conducive environment to practise Dharma. It’s all based on eliminating people’s sufferings. Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh also mentioned the sangha community is not only the human beings, but also the animals and inanimate objects around us to support the system. This is something i never heard of or thought of. I believe when we’re mindful enough, we will find the harmony and balance in life with every single living beings or lifeless object around us. A true sangha community is a good support system that encompasses love, compassion, harmony, forgiving and gratefulness.

  3. Stella Cheang on Mar 9, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    When we take refuge in the Three Jewels, we are taking refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and the Sangha. In my mind, the Sangha is a community that preserve the Dharma, and that is the extend of my understanding. Until I read this article, it dawn upon me the importance of Sangha and how they can make or break one’s spiritual development. As individual, we are like the seed, while the Sangha is like the soil. Without the soil, no matter how beautiful the seed is (will be), it will not flourish; without the support of the Sangha environment, our mind can easily sway. Harmony, acceptance, mindfulness and love are the collective energy of the Sangha that nourish one to transform and heal, and in turn bring confidence to other members to do better. It is the essences of Buddhist practice. Thank you, Rinpoche for sharing this write up by Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh.

  4. Mingwen on Sep 23, 2016 at 10:36 pm

    “What is the sangha? The sangha is a community of people who agree with each other that if we do not practice right mindfulness, we will lose all the beautiful things in our soul and all around us.”

    Personally, I think that not only the Sangha need to be aware and agree that they have to be conscious and practise right mindfulness.

    Generally, we as human beings, need to possess the same mindset if we want to live more comfortable and peaceful on Earth. For instance, respect each others regardless of everyone’s skin colour, religion, language and more. Be responsible on what we do. Take care of our living areas and more actions.

    All these actions would build up a conscious community and living within will be content, free, joyful, and with peace.

  5. Wan Wai Meng on Sep 10, 2016 at 3:31 am

    The essence of a sangha is awareness, understanding, acceptance, harmony and love. ~ beautiful words from a Thich Nhat Hanh.

  6. Datuk May on Jul 25, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    The Sangha is one of the 3 Jewels, we Buddhists take refuge in. To have faith and take refuge is be protected on our spiritual path so as to not fall off the track.

    The Sangha or monastic order is something which I truly respect. Within their community living together, studying together and teaching lay people and debating among themselves, the Dharma is preserved. Powerful commentaries are versed to give us meaning to the Teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha, which is without contradiction and are perfect.

    It is sad to note that there are not that many monastic orders in Malaysia and with many of Kechara’s pastors who aspire to be monks/nuns, may this community of holy beings expand so that the Dharma can be taught.

  7. Fong on Jun 20, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    To me, a sangha is a community interlinked by a spiritual practice. The base of which is awareness- awareness of others within this link, awareness of the need for harmony to function, the need for peace to practice, awareness of being an example for other dharma sibling to emulate, to be a gentle guiding light and from there be more mindful.

    “A sangha is a community of friends practicing the dharma together in order to bring about and to maintain awareness. The essence of a sangha is awareness, understanding, acceptance, harmony and love. When you do not see these in a community, it is not a true sangha, and you should have the courage to say so. But when you find these elements are present in a community, you know that you have the happiness and fortune of being in a real sangha.”

    The opening paragraph of the article and what really struck me to the core. From, that I gather that it is not the robes that make a sangha but rather the awareness and mindfulness. The sangha is the helping hand extended in times of difficulty in practicing the dharma, the support system.

    Thank you, Rinpoche for sharing this beautiful article by the Venerable Thich Nhat Han.

  8. samfoonheei on Jun 6, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    .Dear Rinpoche.
    Thank you for this beautiful article of Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh and of the knowledge Sangha. Its worthwhile to read learn,understand and to practice with mindfulness. Even though i am new to Buddhism i do hope i can practice it with compassion and mindfulness
    Thanks again

  9. Alice Tay on Apr 27, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    本人是在大约一年前通过上师尊贵的詹杜固仁波切的博文里才认识这位受人尊敬的一行禅师。过了不久,在机缘巧合之下通过推特看到有位学生请教一行禅师关于“What is the hardest thing that you practice?” 在此短片里,尊敬的一行禅师是多么的平稳和非常的温和来回答这位学生。直到今天,本人隐约的记得一行禅师的回答“在战争时期,许多人杀与被杀。刚起好的建筑物,过不久又被炸坏,一直重复共4次。但是,不要失望,不要放弃也不要绝望。” 一行禅师还继续地说“如果没有佛法修持,是不能生存下去。” 一行禅师的这个看似简单的回答让当时的我觉得非常震撼。

    今天,非常感恩因为上师的关系再次有机会的阅读一行禅师这篇有关僧伽的文章。本人非常喜欢这篇博文,因为可以这篇博文可以让我们真正了解什么是僧伽和僧伽的重要性。以下是个人从这篇博文里得到的一些启发:

    1. 僧伽或僧团的意义
    a. 僧伽或是僧团是一个团体的人一起学习与实践佛法来保持意识与警觉性。如果一个团体失去了意识、互相理解与接受还有和睦相处,那么这就不是真正的僧团。
    b. 佛法经典有提到共有四个共同体,那就是男僧人、女僧人、普通男信徒和普通女信徒。但是一行禅师却包括了一些不是人类的元素如树、水、空气等等都可被称为僧伽。因为一行禅师相信我们所遇到的一切都是可以成为僧伽的元素。

    2. 僧伽的可靠性
    a. 当我们念三皈依时,不要只是随口而念“皈依僧”,而是要真正要实践佛法。
    b. 有很多人是来自破碎家庭和感到被社会抛弃。他们就像一颗树没有了根。此时此刻,僧团就是一个地方可以给他们第二次的机会重新建立信心来面对社会。
    c. 僧团是一个地方可以让我们去实践佛法,自我转变来利益社会。我们要建立信心,怀着正念,保持意识与警觉性。因为只有这样,我们才能变得更强来启发他人和可以走的更远。
    d. 有时我们在生活上遇到瓶颈的时候,都会面临情绪难以控制。这时候,佛法与僧团就好像我们的好朋友一样,一起面对眼前的困难,然后慢慢减轻我们所承受的压力。

    3. 对僧伽错误的想法
    a. 因为社会逐渐的步上文明导致一般人持有强烈的个人主义。这无形中,这一群人并不认为他们需要去投靠家庭或是社会。而且他们相信就算没有僧伽,他们也一样可以得到幸福。因为有这样的想法,造成如此多的不和谐的情况发生。
    b. 除此,如果我们认为我们可以独自生活而远离僧团,这样会让我们不会发现和知道我们自己的优点与缺点。唯有继续留在僧团里,让我们知道不会走错方向,踏上痛苦之门。

  10. Sharon Ong on Apr 25, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    This is one of the most beautiful read that contains so many powerful teachings in addition to the explanation to help us understand the role of the Sangha better. These are a few points that stood out to me.
    1. Life needs understanding, compassion and harmony in order to be livable.

    2. To practice right mindfulness we need the right environment, and that environment is our sangha. Without a sangha we are very weak. In a society where everyone is rushing, everyone is being carried away by their habit energies, practice is very difficult. That is why the sangha is our salvation.

    3. The sangha is a place to practice for the transformation and the healing of self and society.

    4. When we practice mindful breathing, smiling, resting, walking and working, then we become a positive element in society, and we will inspire confidence all around us. This is the way to avoid letting despair overwhelm us.

    5. So the sangha is the soil and we are the seed. No matter how beautiful, how vigorous our seed is, if the soil does not provide us with vitality, our seed will die.

    6. Nothing is more important than your peace and happiness in the here and now.

    7. You allow the sangha to transport you like a boat so that you can cross the ocean of sorrow.

    8. Allow yourself to be supported, to be held by the sangha. When you allow yourself to be in a sangha the way a drop of water allows itself to be in a river, the energy of the sangha can penetrate into you, and transformation and healing will become possible.

    9. When we begin to focus our attention on the suffering on a larger scale, we begin to connect with and to relate to other people, who are also ourselves, and the little problems that we have within our individual circle will vanish.

    10. The right thing is to do whatever you are doing in mindfulness. Mindfulness is keeping one’s consciousness alive to the present reality.

    11. It is thanks to the presence of weakness in you and weakness in a brother or a sister that you learn how to practice. To practice is to have an opportunity to transform. So it is through our shortcomings that we learn to practice.

    12. You don’t practice to suppress your suffering; you practice in order for your heart to expand as big as a river.

    13. Thanks to the sangha we do not enter paths of darkness and suffering. Even when the sangha doesn’t seem to be doing anything at all, in fact it is doing a lot, because in the sangha there is protection.

    14. The dharma can protect you—dharma not in the sense of a dharma talk or a book—but dharma as the practice embodied by people like yourself. When you practice mindful breathing, mindful walking, mindful listening to the bell, you bring into yourself the elements of peace and stability, and you are protected during that time. You begin to radiate the energy of stability and peace all around you. This will help to protect your children and your loved ones.

    While the language is expressed differently, the essence of the teachings is what Rinpoche has taught us previously and this is a great recap for me. Thank you for this post, Rinpoche.

  11. Pastor Han Nee on Apr 25, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    Thank you, Rinpoche, for sharing this beautiful and powerful teaching of Reverend Thich Nhat Hanh on how the sangha is more than a community, that it is a deep spiritual practice. If a sangha develops and grows five essential qualities, then it is a true Sangha. These qualities are awareness, understanding, acceptance, harmony and love. Developing these qualities will make the sangha a deeply rooted spiritual family, which is able to take care of its members within, and which is also able to welcome other people –especially the young and the rootless – into its fold.

    Following Reverend Thich’s guidelines, the first thing for the sangha to do is to grow strong roots. To begin with, there has to be strong communication and bonding within the Sangha family. No sangha should be like an island. I like Reverend Thich’s concept and vision of “inter-being” – the interdependence of every being on one another. “If we practice looking deeply, our understanding of inter-being will grow, and we will see that every smile, every step, every breath is for everybody”. The sangha has to realize inter-being to the fullest. The sangha must grow in mindfulness, understanding, acceptance, harmony and love. For the seed of bodhicitta in a “beginner’s mind” to grow into a tree and flower and fruit smoothly and steadily, the sangha family has to already be strong and rooted to be well-placed to provide the right environment (and support) for these beginners.

    It is through the strong collective energy of mindfulness of the sangha that we are supported and sustained to transform and heal . In the sangha there will be people who have enough compassion, solidity and insight to embrace others who do not have as much compassion, solidity and insight.

    Suffering will always be there, unless we begin to grow a big heart to encompass everyone. With the big heart of compassion, suffering lessens and ceases. The sangha must grow big hearts to encompass and embrace all in their suffering.

    Thus does the sangha grow into a true source of refuge and protection.

    To me, these guidelines seem to be the same guidelines for Kechara , as a whole, to grow into a powerful spiritual community and family to be able to draw in and support others in spirituality.

  12. Vinnie Tan on Apr 24, 2016 at 11:51 am

    Thank you Rinpoche for this extensive post about Sangha. To think about in, in Kechara we are staying in this manner as well. Although we are all lay practitioners, we are dharma brothers and sisters to each other. We support each other in our spiritual paths and not be pulled away from our dharma paths further.

    It is indeed true that with the support of each other, we are able to do our practices better and not dwell in the things that do not matter by the end of the day. Through the practice and application of dharma, we are happier and lighter. We can constantly feel this way because of the support that we have from our peers and not just the strength of ourselves. I really like the way how the article say that it is through Sangha that we are able to grow and find happiness.

    To me, that statement is very true. It is through Sanghas that we are able to receive the dharma and through that find peace in our minds.

  13. Pastor Loh Seng Piow on Apr 24, 2016 at 10:49 am

    Very beautifully written to let us truly understand what a sangha is and the roles of sangha. Sangha is a support community to uphold Buddha’s Dharma, it supports the lay people to be close to Dharma, and it also support its own sangha members to strengthen their Dharma practice. That’s why it is so important to protect and support the sangha, watch these relevant videos here:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZoxHRjJO5g
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROC2veZMqW0

  14. Pastor Antoinette Kass on Apr 24, 2016 at 10:25 am

    Dear Rinpoche,

    Indeed, when we have not much knowledge about something, we should find out, learn, understand and practice what we have learned.

    Thank You Rinpoche for this important teaching on the Sangha. To include also non-human elements like trees, water and birds, as Sangha is meaningful and beautiful.

    Roots is something very essential yet they are missing for some people as they may be have not been connected in a way that allowed them to develop roots. Without the feeling of being connected to others, many things are not meaningful. But with Sangha and their good example we can improve and develop qualities we were missing before.

    We take refuge in the Sangha as its essence is awareness, understanding, acceptance, harmony and love.

    I will read the article again and again and reflect on it.

    With folded hands,
    Pastor Antoinette

  15. Li kheng on Apr 24, 2016 at 6:23 am

    Thank you for this extensive post on the sangha. Very often people do not appreciate this samgha jewel compared to the Buddha and dharma. However, this article sheds light on why the sangha is equally precious especially during this degeneration.

    As external factors fuel and encourage selfishness, anger and ignorance as bliss, less and less would want to dedicate their life to virtue and serving others. I think, until we gather the courage to put on the robes, we should not criticise, disrespect pr put down the sangha. They are living examples of Buddhas teachings amongst men.

  16. Pastor Elena Khong Jean Ai on Apr 24, 2016 at 5:25 am

    This was a very powerful statement to read (and I’m only on the second paragraph of Venerable’s writings!) – “When we say, “I take refuge in the sangha,” it is not a statement, it is a practice.”

    It’s something Buddhists recite every day but for many of us, it has become so routine that we don’t think about the depth of what it truly means. It isn’t just something we should say out of habit, but understand that the Sangha is a powerful body of blessings to tap into, because it’s a group of people who have taken vows to generate liberation for all.

    What I also really like about Venerable’s view is how all-inclusive it is, including even the elements as members of our sangha. Holding such a broad, holistic view is what keeps us in harmony with our surroundings; when we see them as a part of us, we are less likely to think and act in such a way that brings harm to them. It’s when we draw a distinction between ourselves and others that conflict arises because we are naturally self-serving and if we do not include others in our self (even if that sense of self is empty), then we don’t habituate ourselves into serving them too.

    Face it – no man is an island and practitioners need a Sangha. We need to be surrounded by virtuous friends who will help us to take root and not get swept away by our negative karma, and who will encourage our good habits and nurture our spirituality.

    When we are with good friends, we feel calm, at peace and happy. We feel a sense of purpose. We feel a sense of belonging. We feel a sense of camaraderie that emboldens us to take steps along our spiritual path. With all of samsara out there aching to present every manifest form of distraction to us, the importance of having a good friend cannot be overstated.

    And finally, Venerable’s acknowledgement that the Sangha isn’t perfect is an important reminder. It is important for us to remember to rein in our expectations, and remember that our Sangha brothers and sisters are on the same path of improvement and liberation as we are. “Improvement” means that like ourselves, they are not perfect (yet!) and so to expect otherwise is to set ourselves up for disappointment. If they were perfect, they would be Buddhas and yet they are not, and we are not so who are we to expect their perfect behaviour and why should we?

    Managing our expectations and projections is managing the potential for us to experience affliction emotions and disappointment. When we lessen that risk, we experience fewer reasons for our emotions and mind to go up and down from happiness to disappointment, and back again. When we are frustrated 10 times then 9 times, then 8 times and so on – eventually, we are never frustrated. Eventually we will always be stable, happy, open and accepting. So this practice of acceptance of others (where Venerable talks about opening our hearts to grow bigger) will help us to let go of the things that annoy, anger and frustrate us when our expectations for others to behave in such and such a way were not fulfilled. It is that unfulfilled projected expectation (and the resulting disappointment) that robs us of our happiness.

    And finally, the passage can also apply to us because we too are a part of the Sangha. It helps us to accept ourselves and our shortcomings and points of improvement, and to practise compassion with ourselves. When we accept ourselves, when we generate less anxiety and frustration over our own insecurities, we radiate that kind of positive energy to touch everyone we meet.

    And isn’t that what all Buddhists want? What I like most about Venerable’s advice is that even if we are not Buddhist, the aspects that make up a harmonious Sangha as mentioned by Venerable, if practised by lay people also, will generate harmony, less conflict and more happiness. Just replace ‘Sangha’ with ‘good friend’ and you will find a piece of writing and advice that will benefit all.

  17. MartinC on Apr 24, 2016 at 5:14 am

    This is indeed a soulful and uplifting article.

    I love the following words –

    “You don’t need a perfect sangha—a family or a community doesn’t have to be perfect in order to be helpful. In fact, the sangha at the time of the Buddha was not perfect. But it was enough for people to take refuge in, because in the sangha there were people who had enough compassion, solidity and insight to embrace others who did not have as much compassion, solidity and insight”.

    I read the above passage and suddenly I have this tremendous sense of pride and hope in our Kechara Pastors. Many times, people are mistaken and think that Pastors have to be perfect. That is not right and not fair on the Pastors because our Pastors are human and caught in samsara just like you and I, and they too have their karmas to deal with.

    But even when our Pastors are not perfect and always correct, they have perfect motivation and in that, they are perfect in their efforts and perfect in their commitment to use the rest of their lives for the sake of others. Individually no one is perfect but collectively our Pastors will become perfects sanghas one day to take refuge in.

  18. Beatrix Ooi on Apr 24, 2016 at 2:50 am

    I never knew that the word Sangha does not only mean ordained nuns and monks but it actually involves everything that makes the Sangha and environment harmonious, basically it’s just like a community. This is a very educational article, it gives people a whole new perspective about Sanghas and what Sangha actually means.

    Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh is truly a great learned master, though me may not share the same background of Buddhism, but what he teaches definitely applies to all sects of Buddhism and even other religions. He has emphasised on the word ‘community’ and its importance in holding a group of spiritual people together. Very inspiring.

  19. Joy on Apr 24, 2016 at 2:25 am

    Thank you Rinpoche for this meaningful post and knowledge for this article that helps prepare ourselves to becoming good sangha, real sangha that supports one another with love, understanding and acceptance.

    These are some of the points that caught my attention in which I need to create instantly in my practice…

    1. “When we begin to focus our attention on the suffering on a larger scale, we begin to connect with and to relate to other people, who are also ourselves, and the little problems that we have within our individual circle will vanish. In this way our loneliness or our feeling of being cut off will no longer be there, and we will be able to do things together.”

    This is so apt and we all can apply this teaching in our daily life whether we are lay or sangha. This practice can help us reconnect within and without. I guess for some of us who have had a lot pain we tend to shut ourselves out and disconnect with the world because we do not ever want to feel that pain ever again. This makes us close up, makes us cold and makes us a horrible person to be around with and this is what I made myself to be because I did not know better. With Dharma I gain knowledge, with Rinpoche teaching me another perspective. And being with the right community, the right support, the right kind of people, it does help in our practice. Perhaps in the beginning it all seem bleak and the whole world is against you, and this is like detox, if we can get through the detox, then after that we will be able to experience relief, peace and beauty.

    2. “If we lived in a sangha where everyone was perfect, everyone was a bodhisattva or a buddha, that would be very difficult for us. Weakness in the other person is very important, and weakness within yourself is also very important. Anger is in us, jealousy is in us, arrogance is in us. These kinds of things are very human. It is thanks to the presence of weakness in you and weakness in a brother or a sister that you learn how to practice. To practice is to have an opportunity to transform. So it is through our shortcomings that we learn to practice.”

    I love this wisdom… because somehow I knew even at a very young age, all the pain, loneliness, suffering, anger, insecurities, jealousy must be a teaching in itself for us overcome. Without is how would we know compassion, kindness, generosity, self-esteem. The weakness in us is the same energy that makes us stronger. All it takes is an instant choice. Therefore we should remember to not be haste to judge or look down upon others.

    3. “There are some people who think of leaving the sangha when they encounter difficulties with other sangha members. They cannot bear little injustices inflicted on them because their hearts are small. To help your heart grow bigger and bigger, understanding and love are necessary. Your heart can grow as big as the cosmos; the growth of your heart is infinite. If your heart is like a big river, you can receive any amount of dirt. It will not affect you, and you can transform the dirt very easily.”

    I’ve been in Kechara Buddhist Organisation since it’s first conceptualisation and yes I’ve seen so many come and go, so many shocking tragedies of people whom you think were the “star”, were perfect, were so right turn out to be the ones that throws in the towel first. Beneath all the scholarly words, lies a huge ego monster. And some don’t even leave in peace, the leave with vengence and malice. It is disappointing but I will remember Rinpoche’s wisdom, it is better for them to be doing 5,8,10 years of Dharma when they were with us, than no Dharma at all and no seed planted! Wow that logic instantly changed my perspective from negative to positive and to me… this is how Rinpoche shows us how we can make our heart big like a big river 🙂

    “You don’t practice to suppress your suffering; you practice in order for your heart to expand as big as a river.”

    4. “My teacher has given birth to that child. How can I practice in order to see that person as my sister? Then my heart will feel more at ease and I will be able to accept her. That person is still my sister, whether I want her to be or not.” That feeling and those words can help dissolve the irritation that you are having with that person.”

    This is point is also being mentioned and explained in the 50 verses of Guru Devotion:
    (26) (Guard) your guru’s belongings as you would your own life. Treat even your guru’s beloved (family) with the same (respect you show) for him. (Have affectionate regard for) those closely around him as if they were your own dearest kin. Single-mindedly think (in this way) at all times.

    This point gives me a whole new perspective. A more positive one and it is a practice we can instantly apply as it is just an instant choice. I must admit that this is some thing many do not practice, but it is perhaps the best way to create harmony and unity in any community sangha or lay.

    5. “If we have harmony in the sangha, we can give confidence to many people. We don’t need to be perfect. I myself am not perfect, and you don’t need to be perfect either. But if in your own way you can express your harmony in the sangha, this is your gift.”

    Something Rinpoche has advised us many times even though we may be a dingbat but if we are sincere, genuine and real, people will be able to feel it and they’ll know. So how we act of behave has an impact on people’s mind and whether or not they wish to learn the Dharma. Hence we need to exude what we’ve learnt. Thank you!

  20. Pastor Adeline on Apr 24, 2016 at 12:37 am

    The above article by Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh is very gentle and beautifully written that brings warmth and touches one deeply. It connects many missing links I had personally in connecting with my sangha community.

    Many of us are influenced heavily by individualism and the advancement of technology, making us living in our world, continue to nourish our small hearts – the very cause of suffering. As a result, we are challenged mentally, imperfect, full of flaws yet think highly of ourselves, making us incapable of seeing the very problem of our own. Strangely enough, we can see others faults, thus reinforcing the idea of us being above of everyone.

    Self-examination requires one to open and accept the flaws in ourselves by first acknowledging them which we will then be able to deal with it. Denial and avoidance are our two best enemies we hold firmly as friends, stopping ourselves to advance further. When we are on our own and choose to surround by people who supports that, we are in the absence, not contributing positively to our environment, society, planet.

    For us who has chosen to pursue our spiritual practice, we are beginning to accept the very fact that we there’s need for us to expand our tiny heart and work on the causes of our sufferings. We bring with us our negativities and goodness, practice to our best to make our goodness surface more and shine. It makes perfect sense that focusing on suppressing our negativities is not worth the while but expanding the goodness does. It is like a drop of black ink in a clear glass of water. When we pour the water into a pail, well, lake, river, sea, the ink can no longer take effect, it dissolves and vanishes into the bigger pool of water. Same thing applies when we expand our heart, the goodness outshined the negativities, making it effortless in transforming. The sangha community supports this thus making it a refuge for dharma practitioners.

    Whether we see both good or bad within the sangha community, they are to be used with mindfulness for self-examination and reconnection to our beautiful nature. Rejecting the bad and accepting the good is imbalance since lotus can only arise out of the mud. Therefore, it is necessary for the two to exist.

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this wonderful article with us. There many points we can expand and elaborate on, and this article worth our while to read and contemplate on.

  21. kb thapa on Apr 24, 2016 at 12:29 am

    Yet another beautiful article ..The role sangha plays in supporting, protecting and nourishing us. In the sangha there is stability and joy. The sangha is devoted to the practice of mindfulness, concentration and insight, and while everyone in the sangha profits from his or her own mindfulness, they can also take refuge in the collective energy of mindfulness

  22. Valentina Suhendra on Apr 23, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    Dear Rinpoche

    Thank you for this beautiful article. Many years ago, I came across a book by Venerable Thich Nhat Han about Mindfulness. At the time, I was very busy with work and huge expectations on myself it created a lot of pressure in my mind. I was very tense and I thought I would go crazy. His mindfulness teaching and his advice to live in the present really was very powerful for me and I calmed down a lot after that.

    What I like about the article is Venerable Thich not explain about the good things of living among Sangha, but he also acknowledged that there are potential friction among Sangha members and how to handle it – by enlarging your heart.

    Valentina

  23. Pastor David Lai on Apr 23, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    This is a nice little post that gives a whole new dimension meaning to the third Sangha jewel. Often, people have this misconception that sangha only refers to the ordained Sangha alone and have little regard for the spiritual community they are in. On the other hand, the role of true spiritual friends within the spiritual community is for most people of paramount importance to the progress of one’s spiritual practice.

    The inspiration and positive encouragement from one’s teachers, Dharma brothers and sisters cannot be denied. It is true that people would easily abandon their practice or that it would fizzle out with the encouragement and inspiration from each other. This is a powerful teaching to illustrate the power and inspiration of the spiritual community. This is an apt teaching not just for the sangha to be but also the large community here in Kechara Forest Retreat.

  24. Pastor Niral Patel on Apr 23, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    A very big thank you to Rinpoche for sharing this powerful article by Thich Nhat Hanh. It’s hard to fully understand a foreign word, especially when it has such deep and meaningful connotations. The term ‘Sangha’ actually exists in my own language and for me includes elements of a strong sense of loving community, support and growth but this article has really led to a deeper and more appreciative understand to the meaning of Sangha.

    I’ve been reminded that I firstly I need to be part of this community which provide the most conducive conditions and environment in which to practice the Dharma, and at the same time to transform myself so that I can be a person that others can rely upon. This is a very powerful teaching, and to understand it strengthens one’s refuge in the Three Jewels. I am reminded of a time in which a member was asked to engage in a Refuge retreat by His Eminence, in which that person was to recite ‘Namo Guru Beh, Namo Buddhaya, Namo Dharmaya, Namo Sanghaya’ 100,000 times. Together with this reciting that person was to mediate on the qualities of the Three Jewels. This was in order to strengthen the taking of refuge. This article has really provided me with a better understanding of the Jewel that is the Sangha, and has really inspired me on my spiritual path. Now I have a better understanding of what His Eminence wanted the person to realise during the retreat meditations.

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  • sarassitham
    Friday, Sep 25. 2020 04:31 PM
    This is great, I love seeing new places and discovering the world. I believe that we must go to unique places out of our comfort zones. The imagination and creativity behind these places are amazing and wonderful.

    Thank you for the sharing, this is truly a masterpiece in terms of architecture.

    https://bit.ly/3cxgYk0
  • S.Prathap
    Thursday, Sep 24. 2020 04:20 PM
    This article had show scientific analysis through vocal test and get their foot prints to prove their are being like big foot existence in this world.Whether is not 100 percent proving. I am truthfully this creature existing in this world.

    Pastor David explains about evidences through dermal ridges and that it is nearly impossible to fake them.So it all comes to the conclusion that Bigfoot, Yeti, Sasquatch exist and that they are.

    https://bit.ly/3iZA84J
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Sep 24. 2020 02:46 PM
    Going on a pilgrimage to Lhasa , Tibet is worth . Lhasa was flocked with numerous monasteries and temples.It is world-famous for its sites of historical interest related to Buddhism, where hundred thousands of pilgrims and tourist go there yearly. The Tibetan have a long history in this region and very rich in culture. It is known for its splendid thousands of sacred lakes, and unique landscapes, with towering mountains.
    A beautiful and holy spiritual place for one to go , visiting holy places and connecting with the powerful energies. The Jokhang Monastery, Potala Palace, Norbulingka, Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery and Ganden Monastery are some of the monasteries one should pay a visit. My wishes came true last year, travelling with friends on a pilgrimage to Lhasa, Tibet. Reading this post helps a lot for those planning to go .
    Thank you Rinpoche and Stella for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/travel/wonderful-lhasa.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Sep 24. 2020 02:45 PM
    John Lautner was an American was one of the most important American architects of the twentieth century. Wow …..his career spanned fifty-five years and left an indelible mark on the built environment of Southern California. Looking at the picture at this post tells all. Very extra-ordinary house built on a very steep land surrounded by beautiful tree canopies. Did google more about this man who built this building. He had designed more than fifty significant unique structures in Southern California alone. Over the years he had gained increasing recognition since, with exhibitions, publications, a documentary, and did appeared in numerous films, commercials, and other media. His legacy remains vulnerable till today.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing from Thierry Janssens

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/art-architecture/extraordinary-house.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Sep 24. 2020 02:43 PM
    Going on a pilgrimage visiting Gaden Mosnastery in Tibet, was indeed once a life experience. Well…. Going there with an oxygen tank will be tough when one experienced difficulties in breathing due to high attitude. Nor matter what happen our Lama Rinpoche made it there back in December 2008 and early January 2009 during winter. I am lucky visiting Gaden Monastery with friends back in May 2019 without any hitch with our lama blessing then. It’s a beautiful monastery and its so holy one could feel the powerful energies there.
    For Rinpoche its home coming after so long. Seeing the pictures of Rinpoche standing in front of the Golden Stupa where the holy remains of Lama Tsongkhapa’s blessed body/clothes/relics were remind me of the great moment there. If given the opportunity again , I wish to visit the monastery again in the near future.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/i-visited-gaden-for-1st-time-with-an-oxygen-tank.html
  • sarassitham
    Wednesday, Sep 23. 2020 11:29 PM
    Thank you for the article sharing. Children learn a lot through activities that captures their attention and imaginations. They too have a strong desire to explore, discover through activities .

    It will be a great start for the kids to have dharma teaching activities at young age, because of their curiosity and desire to follows what they see and absorb the interest to learn from experiences.

    https://bit.ly/3hTDLaV
  • S.Prathap
    Wednesday, Sep 23. 2020 11:24 AM
    Happy to see that those kind people traveled across the world to bring awareness of dog meat trade and to make life better for another living being.Dogs are man’s best friend,give them love.

    Thank you for the people showing their compassion and rescued the dog. Hopefully this video create more awareness to let people know animals are sufferings because of the people satisfaction.Once again thank you for sharing this article.


    https://bit.ly/2HoyOKO
  • S.Prathap
    Tuesday, Sep 22. 2020 03:15 PM
    We are too busy with our daily worldly need but forgot to correct our merit for future life or our spiritual path. Some of us even too focus on the ritual and forgot about the meaning of the ritual.
    This book is so interesting and all chapter need to contemplate continuously to gain more meaning in this. Thank you very much for sharing with us.


    https://bit.ly/2EnF18H
  • S.Prathap
    Monday, Sep 21. 2020 12:01 PM
    The paranormal is a very interesting subject matter that many Malaysians would love to watch and talk about. I myself love anything to do with the Paranormal.The team really put efforts to produce the show .
    Like many other topics, the paranormal topic serves to counter our ideology that humans are the only beings ruling the world.All the best and congratulation.


    https://bit.ly/2FQoaM2
  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, Sep 19. 2020 02:40 PM
    The discovery of ancient Buddhist Monastery dated from 700 AD is amazing. Found in an archaeological excavation site at Moghalmari, India ,artifacts figure of Buddha and Buddhist inscriptions. The archeologists do believe that those structural components recovered are parts of a Buddhist monastic site . A more details study of inscriptions on clay tablets even suggested the presence of two monasteries on the basis of the structural plan. With the discovery of the site and the deciphering of the inscriptions has pointed that Buddhism had spread to India in the 7th century ago.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/travel/buddhist-monastery-from-700-ad-found.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, Sep 19. 2020 02:39 PM
    Buddhism and Hinduism are similar because of their architecture is vibrant and colourful. They both have dharma and believe in reincarnation. The symbolism and structure of a Hindu temples were dated century ago. I love to see their ancient architecture of temples wall and so forth. Its simply amazing looking at its structures , colour . To the Hindu, the colours have a very deep significance, transcending purely decorative values in their religion and culture. Great to know there are so many beautiful ancient Hindus Temples around the world. Would love to visit these places as stated in this post in the near future . Looking at the Virupaksha Temple, Ranganathaswamy Temple, Brihadeeswarar Temple to name a few tell all about the beauty of it.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/art-architecture/beautiful-hindu-temples.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, Sep 19. 2020 02:37 PM
    Wow ……having beautiful and short memes will benefit us on our spiritual path. Simplifying for all to understand and remember the benefits and qualities of Dorje Shugden. Especially for those who are new comers with Dorje Shugden. Merely by seeing it can bless us. Dorje Shugden is an emanation of Buddha Manjushri , will help us all regardless of race and religion when we trust the Powerful Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden.
    Thank you Rinpoche for all these creative memes.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/what-he-can-do-for-us.html
  • S.Prathap
    Friday, Sep 18. 2020 04:01 PM
    Pilgrimage is traditionally done on foot and often takes weeks or months to complete.The pilgrimage is about much more then just the destination however, the journey itself is actually the most important part of the practice.

    Now with these knowledge of where some of the relics are located, I will be able to visit the temples holding such precious blessings.Thank you very much for sharing this good article.


    https://bit.ly/32GEOGP
  • Samfoonheei
    Friday, Sep 18. 2020 03:39 PM
    The most popular Buddhist nun cook Jeong Kwan, is a Seon Buddhist monk and chef of Korean cuisine. She lives in the Chunjinam Hermitage at the Baegyangsa temple in South Korea, where she cooks for fellow nuns and monks. She also cooks for visitors as well. Inspiring ….. she discovered her calling of spreading dharma through cooking adopting a vegetarian diet . What a way to start off. She credits her joining the temple and her achievements to her mother, that’s wonderful to remember her mother. Due to her popularity she was invited to appear on TV show and cooking all the way to New York. Inspiring read.
    Thank you Rinpoche and Beatrix Ooi for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/jeong-kwan-the-zen-buddhist-chef.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Friday, Sep 18. 2020 03:38 PM
    Thank you Rinpoche for these profound teachings and sharing Pastor Henry’s update of his daily practice with us. A good example to follow . Death is something that no one could escape for sure. Its good to meditate on death nor matter how busy we are. The whole process of death and visualizing it is highly important for us . Reading this post will have us wake up , its time and never too late for anyone to practice.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/dear-henry-contemplate-daily.html

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

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  Bigfoot, Yeti, Sasquatch

The Unknown

The Known and unknown are both feared,
Known is being comfortable and stagnant,
The unknown may be growth and opportunities,
One shall never know if one fears the unknown more than the known.
Who says the unknown would be worse than the known?
But then again, the unknown is sometimes worse than the known. In the end nothing is known unless we endeavour,
So go pursue all the way with the unknown,
because all unknown with familiarity becomes the known.
~Tsem Rinpoche

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According to legend, Shambhala is a place where wisdom and love reign, and there is no crime. Doesn\'t this sound like the kind of place all of us would love to live in? https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=204874
8 months 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!
8 months 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
8 months 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
8 months 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!
8 months 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.
8 months 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
8 months 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.
8 months 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.
8 months 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!
8 months 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)
1 years 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)
1 years 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)
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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!
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
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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
1 years ago
Sacred Vajra Yogini
Dorje Shugden works & archives - a labour of commitment - https://bit.ly/30Tp2p8
1 years ago
Dorje Shugden works & archives - a labour of commitment - https://bit.ly/30Tp2p8
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha.
1 years 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.
1 years 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.
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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!!!
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years ago
Beautiful pictures of the huge Buddha in Longkou Nanshan- https://bit.ly/2LsBxVb
The reason-Very interesting thought- https://bit.ly/2V7VT5r
1 years ago
The reason-Very interesting thought- https://bit.ly/2V7VT5r
NEW Bigfoot cafe in Malaysia! Food is delicious!- https://bit.ly/2VxdGau
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years ago
Manjusri Kumara (bodhisattva of wisdom), India, Pala dynesty, 9th century, stone, Honolulu Academy of Arts
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    1 years ago
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    1 years ago
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  • Our Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir speaks so well, logically and regarding our country’s collaboration with China for growth. It is refreshing to listen to Dr. Mahathir’s thoughts. He said our country can look to China for many more things such as technology and so on. Tsem Rinpoche
    1 years 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.
    1 years 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.
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  • This dog thanks his hero in such a touching way. Tsem Rinpoche
    1 years 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
    1 years 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
    1 years 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.
  • Beautiful
    2 yearss ago
    Beautiful
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    2 yearss ago
    My little monster cute babies Dharma and Oser. Take a look and get a cute attack for the day! Tsem Rinpoche
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    2 yearss ago
    Plse watch this short video and see how all sentient beings are capable of tenderness and love. We should never hurt animals nor should we eat them. Tsem Rinpoche
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    2 yearss ago
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    2 yearss ago
    SUPER ADORABLE and must see
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    2 yearss ago
    Cute!
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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

Kechara Earth Project 13/9/2020
7 days ago
Kechara Earth Project 13/9/2020
Thank you Domino's Pizza Malaysia, Kasih & Piza campaign for sponsoring 85 boxes of pizza to our friends who live on the streets. Your flavourful pizzas have put a smile on their faces. Thank you! - Vivan @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #KasihdanPiza #ItsAllAboutYou
2 weeks ago
Thank you Domino's Pizza Malaysia, Kasih & Piza campaign for sponsoring 85 boxes of pizza to our friends who live on the streets. Your flavourful pizzas have put a smile on their faces. Thank you! - Vivan @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #KasihdanPiza #ItsAllAboutYou
Thank you Novo Nordisk! Your kind monetary donation and 1,320 boxes of masks will benefit many needy families under the Kechara Food Bank Program. Thank you! Much love from the needy families  ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #novonordisk #novonordiskmalaysia
4 weeks ago
Thank you Novo Nordisk! Your kind monetary donation and 1,320 boxes of masks will benefit many needy families under the Kechara Food Bank Program. Thank you! Much love from the needy families ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #novonordisk #novonordiskmalaysia
We were graced with the presence of Tengku Zatashah & The Alice Smith School Foundation yesterday. 130 homeless were blessed to be served by them. RM 20,000 donated by Alice Smith School Foundation will benefit 100 families registered under Kechara Food Bank Program. Thank you! Much love from the needy families ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #alicesmithschoolfoundation #alicesmithschool #volunteerism #homeless
4 weeks ago
We were graced with the presence of Tengku Zatashah & The Alice Smith School Foundation yesterday. 130 homeless were blessed to be served by them. RM 20,000 donated by Alice Smith School Foundation will benefit 100 families registered under Kechara Food Bank Program. Thank you! Much love from the needy families ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #alicesmithschoolfoundation #alicesmithschool #volunteerism #homeless
Thanks to the effort of our outstation team, we were able to mobilise food provisions to 600 families living in Kelantan, Penang, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor during the Raya period with each of these families receiving RM200 worth of provisions. Adding onto the current 368 families in Klang Valley, a total of 968 families were benefitted from this. Special thanks to the sponsors who have contributed especially Hong Leong Foundation and partially from Tesco Malaysia (where we also ordered the provisions from). ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
3 months ago
Thanks to the effort of our outstation team, we were able to mobilise food provisions to 600 families living in Kelantan, Penang, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor during the Raya period with each of these families receiving RM200 worth of provisions. Adding onto the current 368 families in Klang Valley, a total of 968 families were benefitted from this. Special thanks to the sponsors who have contributed especially Hong Leong Foundation and partially from Tesco Malaysia (where we also ordered the provisions from). ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
So glad that our soup kitchen operations are back in full swing. Good to see the clients are observing the SOPs. Some of them lost their job during MCO and ended up on the streets. Special thanks to our sponsors and volunteers for the great support! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
3 months ago
So glad that our soup kitchen operations are back in full swing. Good to see the clients are observing the SOPs. Some of them lost their job during MCO and ended up on the streets. Special thanks to our sponsors and volunteers for the great support! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
From serving cooked food to the homeless clients on the streets to mobilising provisions to the needy individuals in PPRs and shelters, we thank everyone of our Johor Bahru team for their kind contributions and effort to make it for the needy despite all the challenges! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
4 months ago
From serving cooked food to the homeless clients on the streets to mobilising provisions to the needy individuals in PPRs and shelters, we thank everyone of our Johor Bahru team for their kind contributions and effort to make it for the needy despite all the challenges! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
More photos taken from our "Hari Raya Hampers" distribution this week. Making sure everyone of our clients have something to be cheerful about. Apart from food, daily used items such as hygiene products, kitchen utensils, assorted fabric items, stationary items and toys were also included into our hamper bags making it extra heavier this month! Food items alone were about 35kg per family! Taking this opportunity to wish everyone of our Muslim volunteers, friends, supporters and clients a Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Maaf Zahir Batin. No doubt this year's celebration will be very different but appreciate everyone is safe and protected from the pandemic. We are in this together and let's work to fight this pandemic together! Thanking all sponsors and donors for the generous support enabling us to continue serve the needy with food, love and care. Big shoutout too to our wonderful team which already depleted by our very own strict SOP. All of you who worked tirelessly behind the s
4 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
4 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
4 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
4 months ago
KSDS Level 2 virtual class, Lin Mun KSDS
KSDS Level 3 virtual class. Lin Mun KSDS
4 months ago
KSDS Level 3 virtual class. Lin Mun KSDS
Wesak 2020
5 months ago
Wesak 2020
Recycle today for a better tomorrow. KEP-Serena
6 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
6 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
6 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
6 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
6 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
6 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
6 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
6 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
6 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.
6 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
7 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
7 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
7 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
7 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
7 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
7 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
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
7 months 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
7 months 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
7 months 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
7 months 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
7 months 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
7 months 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
7 months 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
7 months 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
7 months 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
7 months 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
7 months ago
Kechara Earth Project (KEP) 8/3/2020
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