Mongols believed 5th Dalai Lama was someone else

Dec 5, 2018 | Views: 13,540
The applique thangka of Tulku Drakpa Gyaltsen that Matthew Kapstein came across during his research and travels in Mongolia. Kapstein discovered that some Mongols believed Tulku Drakpa Gyaltsen was the real and unmistaken reincarnation of the 4th Dalai Lama, and should have been enthroned as the 5th Dalai Lama. Click to enlarge.

The applique thangka of Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen that Matthew Kapstein came across during his research and travels in Mongolia. Kapstein discovered that some Mongols believed Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen was the real and unmistaken reincarnation of the 4th Dalai Lama, and should have been enthroned as the 5th Dalai Lama. Click to enlarge.

Dear friends around the world,

Some friends of mine recently came across this document which they found to be quite interesting. The article is actually an examination of the validity of a terma text which was practised by His Holiness 5th Dalai Lama. But what’s really interesting is that at the beginning of the article, it says that Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen was the real 5th Dalai Lama!

This is not unusual, by the way. There are other examples of other lamas in Tibetan Buddhist history where the wrong or mistaken candidate was enthroned for financial or political reasons. Or they were enthroned under different names to protect them, or because their original incarnation lineage was banned. For example, Pabongka Rinpoche was not recognised as the reincarnation of Changkya Rolpai Dorje (a tutor of the Chinese Emperor Qianglong) because the name had associations with China. At the time of his birth, there were political troubles between Tibet and China and therefore, to protect him during this time of political sensitivity, he was recognised as the reincarnation of the Abbot of Pabongka Monastery. It was a much ‘smaller’ and unknown recognition compared to being recognised the reincarnation of the Chinese Emperor’s tutor. He should have, by right, been recognised as the reincarnation of Changkya.

Even the tutor of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, the famed Trijang Rinpoche Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso had a rival challenge his recognition as Trijang Rinpoche when he was younger. It got to the point the rival claimant’s family plotted to kidnap and even kill Trijang Rinpoche. Thankfully, their claim was resoundingly rejected by the Tibetan establishment of the day and the rightful Trijang Rinpoche was able to ascend to the throne. Even the Lady Lhalu Lhacham Yangdzom Tsering, a student of Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche had, when she was younger, been considered a candidate for the recognition of the 12th Dalai Lama! That is an interesting story which you have to read at another time.

There are also modern-day recognitions which are still disputed like that of the 17th Karmapa. In any case, these types of disputed enthronements or recognitions are not exclusive to Tibetan Buddhism, and have been known to take place in the secular world too. Until her death, Queen Elizabeth I faced criticism and people challenged the legitimacy of her throne because she had been declared the illegitimate daughter of her father, King Henry VIII. And in spite of her immense power, the Empress Dowager Cixi was criticised as a pretender to the throne of China; being a woman, it was not possible for her to assume ultimate power and rule over all of China.

So it is not surprising that Mongols thought that the wrong candidate was enthroned as the 5th Dalai Lama, and it should have been Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen. Whatever the case may be, in the end Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen was recognised as a lama of Zimkhang Gongma and as you know, Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen was a contemporary and Dharma brother of the 5th Dalai Lama. When he was very young, Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen was one of the potential candidates to be recognised as the 5th Dalai Lama. In the end, another boy was enthroned as the 5th Dalai Lama while Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen was recognised and enthroned as the reincarnation of luminaries such as Panchen Sonam Drakpa and Duldzin Drakpa Gyaltsen, one of the heart disciples of Je Tsongkhapa.

As they grew up, the 5th Dalai Lama and Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen became very close and were considered Dharma brothers. They were both educated in and became incumbent lamas of Drepung Monastery, and had the same illustrious teacher which is His Holiness the 4th Panchen Lama Lobsang Chokyi Gyaltsen. Of course as you know, the 5th Dalai Lama later rose to become a huge unifying and political force in Tibet, while Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen was widely respected as an erudite scholar and lama, who was later murdered and arose as the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden.

The inscription at the bottom of the Mongolian thangka of Tulku Drakpa Gyaltsen. It reads "Drakpa Gyaltsen" in Tibetan script. The thangka is currently in Erdene-Zuu Monastery in Mongolia. Click to enlarge.

The inscription at the bottom of the Mongolian thangka of Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen. It reads “Drakpa Gyeltsen” in Tibetan script. The thangka is currently in Erdene Zuu Monastery in Mongolia. Click to enlarge.

So this academic article is important because it is a scholarly analysis in which the author makes the clear, objective statement that Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen was the real 5th Dalai Lama. This type of statement which is made without bias, is totally contrary to what the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) say about Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen. The CTA, who are the Tibetan leadership in exile, falsely claim that Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen died and returned as an angry, vengeful spirit. But that does not make sense because how can someone who is qualified enough to potentially be the 5th Dalai Lama, also have the potential to return as a so-called spirit? If you believe the Dalai Lama to be an emanation of Chenrezig, how can someone who was going to be recognised as an emanation of Chenrezig end up as a spirit? That is illogical.

The point is even if he didn’t get enthroned as the 5th Dalai Lama, as a child Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen exhibited very special spiritual qualities and attainments to be even considered. He was a naturally very spiritual and highly realised being; in the end, he was recognised as the reincarnation of luminaries like Panchen Sonam Drakpa who is the only person to have ever served as the abbot of Gaden, Sera and Drepung Monasteries. Panchen Sonam Drakpa also became the 15th Gaden throne-holder and by the end of his life, had authored 14 volumes of texts. These texts constitute the main syllabus that continues to be used in most Gelugpa monasteries today, especially by Drepung Loseling and Gaden Shartse.

So Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen was recognised as the reincarnation of this illustrious scholar and practitioner who was so highly attained, that his texts have been used to teach thousands of monks how to practise and gain enlightenment. And just like his predecessor, Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen grew up to be very learned, extremely beneficial and saintly, and his teachings were highly sought-after; during large events, before the Dalai Lama took power in Tibet, Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen’s throne was set up equal to his Dharma brother the 5th Dalai Lama. The 5th Dalai Lama and Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen are both high incarnations who hail from Drepung Monastery and as Dharma brothers, they received the same teachings from the same teacher (His Holiness the 4th Panchen Lama) and spent much time together, according to multiple sources.

Even after Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen died and arose as the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden, the Great 5th Dalai Lama had special prayers done for him, and also hand-made a statue of Dorje Shugden and built a special chapel in Lhasa (Trode Khangsar) dedicated to his late friend Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen. The Great 5th Dalai Lama even acknowledged that his spiritually-attained friend Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen arose, as he said he would, in the form of the powerful protector Dorje Shugden by composing a prayer to Dorje Shugden for everyone to recite. This prayer has been translated into English. So there are many signs of their closeness, with both of them sharing so many similar spiritual qualities that both were seen equally as candidates to become the Great 5th Dalai Lama.

Anyway, I had my students extract for you below some of the sections that mention Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen. In the text below, Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen is referred to as Gzims-khang-gong sprul-sku, or Zimkhang Gong Tulku which means the reincarnate lama (tulku) of Zimkhang Gongma, which was the name of Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen’s Ladrang (a lama’s private household) in Drepung Monastery. I thought some of you might find these extracts educational and interesting. Please do read it carefully and leave me your thoughts below.

Tsem Rinpoche

Another view of the Tulku Drakpa Gyaltsen thangka that Kapstein came across in Mongolia. People only commission thangkas of lamas and deities that they have faith in and want to worship. So it does not make sense that the Tibetan leadership say Tulku Drakpa Gyaltsen died and became a so-called evil spirit. How can someone who is worthy of taking refuge in, end up as a spirit? Click to enlarge.

Another view of the Tulku Drakpa Gyaltsen thangka that is today in Mongolia. Click to enlarge.

Another view of the Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen thangka that Matthew Kapstein came across in Mongolia. People only commission and sponsor thangkas of lamas and deities that they have faith in and want to worship. The central figure will be the main object of the commissioner’s worship and focus of their faith. In this thangka, Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen is the central figure. Above him, Kapstein writes that from left to right are the Mongolian lama Jetsundampa Zanabazar, Vajradhara, and Green Tara. Furthermore, Kapstein also states that below him are Yellow Dzambala, Six-Armed Mahakala and Kalarupa.

If Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen is supposed to have taken rebirth as a so-called spirit, how is someone supposed to make offerings and pay homage to the enlightened deities in this thangka? So it does not make sense when the Tibetan leadership say that Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen died and became a so-called evil spirit. How can someone who could have been recognised as the 5th Dalai Lama, and someone who is worthy of appearing as a central figure in a thangka with enlightened deities, end up as a spirit? Click to enlarge.

 


 

Gter-Ma (Terma) as Imperial Treasure:
the 1755 Beijing Edition of Padma Bka’ Thang (Pema Kathang)

Click here to download the PDF

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It is 1719, at the height of the Zunghar invasion of Central Tibet, and Sle-lung (Lelung) has been ordered to appear at the offices of the Zunghar administration in Lhasa:

Once the lord ordered me to come to the Khrom-gzigs-khang (Tromzigkhang). The lord and Chos-’phel-can (Chophel Chen), who was there, had many questions about the situation and whether or not O-rgyan (Urgyan) was reliable. About the All-knowing Great Fifth, in general and in particular, to their question as to whether Ngag-dbang-blo-bzang-rgya-mtsho (Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso) was Rgyal-ba Yon-tan-rgyamtsho’s sprul-sku (Gyalwa Yonten Gyatso’s tulku), I responded: “What do I know? The former all-knowing Paṇ-chen (Panchen) and other reliable holy persons performed the recognition without error, declaring him to be the Exalted Fifth.” To which they said, “It seems that the Paṇ-chen Rin-po-che (Panchen Rinpoche) did not perform such a recognition. It was the Gzims-khang-gong sprul-sku (Zimkhang Gong Tulku) who was the inerrant birth of Yon-tan-rgya-mtsho (Yonten Gyatso). Because Ngag-dbang-blo-bzang-rgya-mtsho (Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso) was jealous at that he was angered and his intentions toward those who were close were not at ease. In our land, we call the Gzims-khang-gong sprul-sku (Zimkhang Gong Tulku) the Bha-ga ta-la’i bla-ma (the ‘little’ [< Mong. baɣa] Dalai Lama).”1

~ Kapstein, Matthew T. (2015). Gter-Ma as Imperial Treasure: the 1755 Beijing Edition of Padma Bka’ Thang, Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines, Vol 31, pp. 167-187.

Gzims-khang-gong sprul-sku is read as Zimkhang Gong Tulku, and this refers to Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen who was recognised as the reincarnate lama (tulku) of Zimkhang Gongma which is the name of his Ladrang (a lama’s private household) in Drepung Monastery. After Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen was murdered by jealous attendants of the 5th Dalai Lama, his Ladrang was dissolved and the search for his reincarnation was banned.

In any case, this highlighted sentence is saying very clearly and unequivocally that there were people during the 5th Dalai Lama’s time who fully believed that Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen was the 5th Dalai Lama i.e. the unmistaken reincarnation of the 4th Dalai Lama Yonten Gyatso (Yon-tan-rgya-mtsho). This conversation that Matthew Kapstein is quoting comes from the autobiography of Lelung Zhepa’i Dorje (1697-1740).

But my own attention was drawn above all to these initial lines, for, just a few days before, while visiting the monastery of Erdeni-zuu, I had been surprised to see there an appliqué thang-ka (thangka) of a figure labeled as Grags-pa-rgyal-mtshan2 (Drakpa Gyeltsen). This is perhaps none other than the Gzims-khang-gong-ma sprul-sku (Zimkhang Gong Tulku) referred to above and the focal point of much acrimony in contemporary Tibetan Buddhism; for it was this figure who, following his suicide (1654), which was presumed to have been an outcome of his rivalry with the Fifth Dalai Lama, would later reemerge as the contentious spirit Rdo-rje-shugs-ldan3 (Dorje Shugden).

~ Kapstein, Matthew T. (2015). Gter-Ma as Imperial Treasure: the 1755 Beijing Edition of Padma Bka’ Thang, Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines, Vol 31, pp. 167-187.

In the course of his research, Kapstein came across a thangka of Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen in Erdene Zuu, a monastery in Mongolia. He mentions here clearly that Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen took rebirth as Dorje Shugden, although he inaccurately states this was the result of suicide (in fact, Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen was murdered by the 5th Dalai Lama’s jealous attendants).

Nevertheless, the fact this thangka exists is proof of Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen’s nature as an enlightened being. People will only sponsor and commission thangkas of lamas and deities that they have faith in and will worship. No one would commission and preserve the thangka of a lama who later became what the CTA claims is a so-called spirit.

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The testimony of Sle-lung (Lelung) confirms that some factions among the Mongols had decided at a relatively early date that the Gzims-khang-gong-ma Grags-pa-rgyal-mtshan (Zimkhang Gongma Drakpa Gyeltsen) was the authentic rebirth of the Fourth Dalai Lama, Yon-tan-rgya-mtsho (1589-1617; Yonten Gyatso). I have not yet been able to determine whether this opinion was shared by the leading Khalkha hierarch, Rje-btsundam-pa Zanabazar (1635-1723; Jetsun Dampa Zanabazar), who is depicted in the upper left-hand corner of the thang-ka I saw at Erdeni-zuu.4 Be this as it may, it is notable that in Sle-lung’s (Lelung’s) text the several questions concerning the Fifth Dalai Lama are preceded by an inquiry into the reliability of O-rgyan (Urgyan), i.e. Padmasambhava. As this too is an issue that has arisen repeatedly in connection with the cult of Grags-pa-rgyal-mtshan’s (Drakpa Gyeltsen’s) apotheosis as Rdo-rje-shugs-ldan (Dorje Shugden), it is perhaps not surprising that we should find the issue debated within the Dge-lugs-pa (Gelugpa) order and among its Mongol adherents during the same period in which the dispute concerning the Fourth Dalai Lama’s true incarnation arose. It so happens, then, that a group of contested questions that might not, at first glance, seem necessarily to be connected, in due course came to be indissociably interlaced. These include the authority of the Padmasambhava traditions, the authenticity of the Fifth Dalai Lama and the status of Grags-pa-rgyal-mtshan (Drakpa Gyeltsen), as well as the paternity of the Sde-srid (Desi) and the implications this had in regard to the Fifth Dalai Lama’s monastic vows.

~ Kapstein, Matthew T. (2015). Gter-Ma as Imperial Treasure: the 1755 Beijing Edition of Padma Bka’Thang, Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines, Vol 31, pp. 167-187.

Once again Kapstein clearly states that some Mongols believed that Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen was the 5th Dalai Lama, and the unmistaken reincarnation of the 4th Dalai Lama Yonten Gyatso.

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GTER-MA (Terma) AS IMPERIAL TREASURE: THE 1755 BEIJING EDITION OF THE PADMA BKA’ THANG (Pema Kathang)

By Matthew T. Kapstein

In his communication to the Thirteenth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, held in Ulaanbataar in July 2013, Elliot Sperling introduced a remarkable passage gleaned from the autobiography of an outstanding eighteenth-century visionary, Sle-lung Bzhad-pa’i-rdo-rje (1697-1740; Lelung Zhepa’i Dorje). It is 1719, at the height of the Zunghar invasion of Central Tibet, and Sle-lung (Lelung) has been ordered to appear at the offices of the Zunghar administration in Lhasa:

Once the lord ordered me to come to the Khrom-gzigs-khang (Tromzigkhang). The lord and Chos-’phel-can (Chophel Chen), who was there, had many questions about the situation and whether or not O-rgyan (Urgyan) was reliable. About the All-knowing Great Fifth, in general and in particular, to their question as to whether Ngag-dbang-blo-bzang-rgya-mtsho (Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso) was Rgyal-ba Yon-tan-rgyamtsho’s sprul-sku (Gyalwa Yonten Gyatso’s tulku), I responded: “What do I know? The former all-knowing Paṇ-chen (Panchen) and other reliable holy persons performed the recognition without error, declaring him to be the Exalted Fifth.” To which they said, “It seems that the Paṇ-chen Rin-po-che (Panchen Rinpoche) did not perform such a recognition. It was the Gzims-khang-gong sprul-sku (Zimkhang Gong Tulku) who was the inerrant birth of Yon-tan-rgya-mtsho (Yonten Gyatso). Because Ngag-dbang-blo-bzang-rgya-mtsho (Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso) was jealous at that he was angered and his intentions toward those who were close were not at ease. In our land, we call the Gzims-khang-gong sprul-sku (Zimkhang Gong Tulku) the Bha-ga ta-la’i bla-ma (the ‘little’ [< Mong. baɣa] Dalai Lama).”[1]

In citing this passage, Elliot was in fact primarily interested in what followed this opening, for there we find an early discussion of the topic to which his communication was dedicated, the oft-repeated rumor of the Fifth Dalai Lama’s (1617-1682) paternity of his regent Sde-srid Sangs-rgyas-rgya-mtsho (1653-1705; Desi Sangye Gyatso). But my own attention was drawn above all to these initial lines, for, just a few days before, while visiting the monastery of Erdeni-zuu, I had been surprised to see there an appliqué thang-ka (thangka) of a figure labeled as Grags-pa-rgyal-mtshan (Drakpa Gyeltsen).[2] This is perhaps none other than the Gzims-khang-gong-ma sprul-sku (Zimkhang Gongma Tulku) referred to above and the focal point of much acrimony in contemporary Tibetan Buddhism; for it was this figure who, following his suicide (1654), which was presumed to have been an outcome of his rivalry with the Fifth Dalai Lama, would later reemerge as the contentious spirit Rdo-rje-shugs-ldan (Dorje Shugden).[3]

The testimony of Sle-lung (Lelung) confirms that some factions among the Mongols had decided at a relatively early date that the Gzims-khang-gong-ma Grags-pa-rgyal-mtshan (Zimkhang Gongma Drakpa Gyeltsen) was the authentic rebirth of the Fourth Dalai Lama, Yon-tan-rgya-mtsho (1589-1617; Yonten Gyatso). I have not yet been able to determine whether this opinion was shared by the leading Khalkha hierarch, Rje-btsun-dam-pa Zanabazar (1635-1723; Jetsun Dampa Zanabazar), who is depicted in the upper left-hand corner of the thang-ka (thangka) I saw at Erdeni-zuu.[4] Be this as it may, it is notable that in Sle-lung’s (Lelung’s) text the several questions concerning the Fifth Dalai Lama are preceded by an inquiry into the reliability of O-rgyan (Urgyan), i.e. Padmasambhava. As this too is an issue that has arisen repeatedly in connection with the cult of Grags-pa-rgyal-mtshan’s (Drakpa Gyeltsen’s) apotheosis as Rdo-rje-shugs-ldan (Dorje Shugden), it is perhaps not surprising that we should find the issue debated within the Dge-lugs-pa (Gelugpa) order and among its Mongol adherents during the same period in which the dispute concerning the Fourth Dalai Lama’s true incarnation arose. It so happens, then, that a group of contested questions that might not, at first glance, seem necessarily to be connected, in due course came to be indissociably interlaced. These include the authority of the Padmasambhava traditions, the authenticity of the Fifth Dalai Lama and the status of Grags-pa-rgyal-mtshan (Drakpa Gyeltsen), as well as the paternity of the Sde-srid (Desi) and the implications this had in regard to the Fifth Dalai Lama’s monastic vows.

In relation to all this, the issue of Padmasambhava appears to be in some respects tangential to the rest. Its importance in this context was no doubt due to the Great Fifth’s well-known Rnying-ma-pa (Nyingmapa) sympathies, but perhaps more precisely to his family’s ties to the old seat of the Tibetan empire in Yar-lung (Yarlung) and the sense of historical warrant that this imparted to his claims. For these reasons, perhaps, the “reliability of O-rgyan” (Urgyan) could serve as a clear, but still cautiously indirect, signifier of one’s allegiances. For the remainder of this short essay I shall therefore be concerned primarily with an aspect of the contested question of the “reliability of O-rgyan,” (Urgyan) focusing on the well-known account of Padmasambhava, the Padma bka’ thang (Pema Kathang). The reception of the text during the period of the Dga’-ldan pho-brang’s (Gaden Phodrang) rise reflects the fissure that the Fifth Dalai Lama’s robust advocacy of devotion to the Lotus Guru aroused within some factions of the Dge-lugs-pa (Gelugpa) clergy and the countervailing determination of the Great Fifth’s loyalists to uphold Padmasambhava’s cult.

***

Writing in 1782, the noted Mongol polymath Sum-pa mkhan-po Ye-shes-dpal-‘byor (1704-1788; Sumpa Khenpo Yeshe Peljor) listed the famed Testament of Padmasambhava — the Padma bka’ thang (Pema Kathang) of O-rgyan-gling-pa (var. U-rgyan-gling-pa; Urgyan Lingpa) — among inauthentic works. As in the case of the Maṇi bka’ ‘bum (Mani Kambum), which he similarly excoriated, his condemnation was not in this case directed at a marginal work preserved only by a non-mainstream sect, but at a major Tibetan revelation that had been actively promoted during the preceding centuries by leading adherents of the Dge-lugs-pa (Gelugpa) order he championed.[5] The apparent oddness of the Dge-lugs-pa (Gelugpa) embrace of the Rnying-ma-pa gter-ma (Nyingmapa terma) was underscored not just by Sum-pa mkhan-po (Sumpa Khenpo). A half century ago, the great authority on the history of Mongolian printing, Walther Heissig, in commenting upon the early eighteenth century publication in Beijing of the Mongolian translation of the Padma bka’ thang (Pema Kathang), asked just what the Dge-lugs-pa (Gelugpa) interest might have been in what he described as a Rotmützenlegende, a “red-bonnet tale.”[6] His question is precisely what concerns us here.

In naming the Padma bka’ thang (Pema Kathang) as a key example of a textual forgery, Sum-pa mkhan-po (Sumpa Khenpo) may have had it in mind that his renowned contemporary Lcang-skya Rol-pa’i-rdo-rje (1717-1786; Changkya Rolpai Dorje), the Tibetan Buddhist tutor of the Qianlong emperor, had sponsored the publication of an edition of the work in Beijing, probably in 1755. In this, Lcang-skya (Changkya) was consciously following a long-established precedent and in fact reproduced in his edition, prior to his own brief colophon, a series of earlier colophons, which together allow us to reconstruct important aspects of the reception and publication history of O-rgyan-gling-pa’s gter-ma (Urgyan Lingpa’s terma). These are in fact derived from the Sde-dge (Derge) edition, dating no doubt to the 1730s, which, as we shall see, was Lcang-skya’s (Changkya’s) immediate source. There were other precedents, too, for his publication: Heissig’s note on the Kangxi edition of the Mongolian translation has been mentioned above, and in 1730, the eighth reign year of the Yongzheng emperor, an imperial palace edition of the Maṇi bka’ ‘bum (Mani Kambum) in Tibetan had been also produced.[7]

The earliest of the colophons that are reproduced and translated below is taken from a well-known sixteenth-century edition published with the support of the Fifth Dalai Lama’s great-grandfather, the lord of ‘Phyong-rgyas (Chongye) under the Phag-mo-gru-pa (Phagmo Drupa) regime, Mi-dbang Bsod-nams-stobs-rgyal (Miwang Sonam Topgyal). He was, according to the Great Fifth, encouraged in this by his Rnying-ma-pa (Nyingmapa) teacher, the famed ‘Phreng-po gter-ston Shes-rab-‘od-zer (1518-1584; Trengpo Terton Sherab Oser), the founder of Dpal-ri (Palri) monastery (where ‘Jigs-med-gling-pa [1730-1798; Jigme Lingpa] would later be educated) and situated within Bsod-nams-stobs-rgyal’s (Sonam Topgyal’s) domains.[8] The colophon notes that, as the state of most copies of the text was editorially poor, an effort was made to produce the best possible edition, relying upon a manuscript said to have been copied directly from an earlier manuscript written in O-rgyan-gling-pa’s (Urgyan Lingpa’s) own hand, as well as an illuminated “archaic manuscript” (yig-rnying; yin nying) and, most interestingly, a printed edition from the region of E in southern Tibet, that had been published by members of O-rgyan-gling-pa’s (Urgyan Lingpa’s) own family line (gdung-brgyud; dung gyu). No trace of this early xylograph of the Padma bka’ thang (Pema Kathang) has, to the best of my knowledge, so far emerged.

Bsod-nams-stobs-rgyal’s (Sonam Topgyal’s) colophon is followed by a long poem in praise of Padmasambhava, introducing the colophon written by the Fifth Dalai Lama, in which interlinear notes (mchan-bu; chen bu) clarify the allusions made in the poem itself to “sophists” who had discredited the teaching through false views. Those named are the Rtag-brtan sprul-sku Kun-dga’-snying-po (Dakden Tulku Kunga Nyingpo), that is to say Tāranātha,[9] Rgyal-mtshan gnyug rab-‘byams-pa (Gyeltsen Nyug Rabjampa), Brag-sgo rab-‘byams-pa (Drakgo Rabjampa), and Lho-brag sprul-sku Gtsug-lag-phreng-ba (Lhodrag Tulku Tsuglag Threngwa).[10] Though the first and last mentioned are of course well-known masters of the Jo-nang-pa (Jonangpa) and Karma bka’-brgyud-pa (Karma Kagyupa) orders which the Great Fifth vociferously opposed, Brag-sgo rab-‘byams-pa (Drakgo Rabjampa), it emerges, was a Dge-lugs-pa (Gelugpa) disciple of the Fifth himself.[11] I have so far found no information concerning Rgyal-mtshan gnyug rab-‘byams-pa (Gyeltsen Nyug Rabjampa), though his title suggests that he may have also been a Dge-lugs-pa (Gelugpa). That the Great Fifth may therefore have been using the publication of the Padma bka’ thang (Pema Kathang) to mark a fault-line not just within Tibetan Buddhism generally, but even within his own church, is of considerable interest, given especially the later rejection of the text by some Dge-lugs-pa (Gelugpa), such as Sum-pa mkhan-po (Sumpa Khenpo). The Fifth’s colophon concludes by reiterating the history of the Phyong-rgyas Dpal-ri (Chongye Palri) edition, amplifying some details concerning the editorial history of the text,[12] and specifying that this new colophon is written for the publication of the work at Dga’-ldan Phun-tshogs-gling (Gaden Phuntsok Ling), the converted Jo-nang-pa (Jonangpa) seat, with the encouragements of Grong-smad-pa Sangs-rgyas-rgya-mtsho (Drongmepa Sangye Gyatso). In signing, the Fifth uses his title as a gter-ston (terton), Rdo-rje Thogs-med-rtsal (Dorje Togme Tsel), and notes that the place of composition is Dga’-ldan Phun-tshogs-gling (Gaden Phuntsok Ling), in the wood hare year corresponding to 1676, that is, two years before Sangs-rgyas-rgya-mtsho (Sangye Gyatso) accepted his elevation to the post of sde-srid (Desi).

The colophon of the Sde-dge (Derge) edition takes pains to note that the publication, sponsored by the Sde-dge (Derge) prince and based directly upon the Dga’-ldan phun-tshogs-gling (Gaden Phuntsok Ling) edition, takes place under the ægis of the Ngor-pa (Ngorpa) order, founded by the “second Jina” Ngor-chen Kun-dga’-bzang-po (1382-1456; Ngorchen Kunga Sangpo). This is significant, as the Ngor-pa (Ngorpa), following the lead of Ngor-chen (Ngorchen), had sometimes been hostile to the cult of Padmasambhava. No indication is furnished as to just why the publication was undertaken at the recently founded Sde-dge (Derge) printery, though I think it plausible that this reflected more the interests of the Derge court than of the Ngor-pa (Ngorpa) order.

The last colophon given is that of the daguoshi Lcang-skya Khutughtu (Changkya Khutughtu), i.e. Rol-pa’i rdo-rje (Rolpai Dorje), who cites the precedents of both the Fifth Dalai Lama’s and the Sde-dge (Derge) edition as the inspiration for his own efforts. Little additional information is provided, besides the year of publication, given as the earth pig corresponding to the nineteenth reign year. This is a problem, as, during the entire Qing dynasty, there appears to have been no earth pig year corresponding to the nineteenth regnal year of any emperor. My best guess, then, is that this should be emended to be the wood pig corresponding to Qianlong’s twentieth year on the throne, that is, 1755. If the production of the edition had been begun during his nineteenth year, but was only completed in his twentieth, this would perhaps explain the error. About the apparently mistaken element, earth for wood, I have not yet been able to determine whether this is simply an error, or is due to an actual difference in the calendrical system used here.[13] However this may be, as the edition definitely belongs to the eighteenth century, and as any other explanation of the date seems even more awkward than this, I think that we may accept here, if tentatively, the “inference to the least bad conclusion” and assign the publication to the year proposed above. In any event, 1755 would be an attractive date for a Qianlong edition of the Padma bka’ thang (Pema Kathang) as there were other reasons for which the lotus guru may have been on the mind of the emperor and his tutor, for it was in this year that the construction of the Puningsi was begun in Jehol (Chengde). The temple was modeled on Bsam-yas (Samye) and edified to celebrate the defeat of the Zunghar Mongols in Xinjiang, the same Zunghars who, thirty-five years earlier, had ordered Sle-lung (Lelung) to the Khrom-gzigs-khang (Tromzigkhang) to discuss the authenticity of O-rgyan (Urgyan) and of the Fifth Dalai Lama.[14]

These last details remind us that the Padma bka’ thang (Pema Kathang) had also a history among the Mongols, some knowledge of which both complicates and advances our understanding of the material we have just reviewed. For, following the conversion of Altan Khan in 1578, though the Dge-lugs-pa (Gelugpa) emerged as the predominant Tibetan sectarian trend among the Mongols, a number of gter-ma (terma) traditions were soon promulgated among them as well, above all those of the Maṇi bka’ ‘bum (Mani Kambum) and Padma bka’ thang (Pema Kathang). The role of these works in underwriting the religio-political order of the Tibetan world was no doubt already established in Phag-mo-gru-pa (Phagmo Drupa) times:

Mi-dbang Bsod-nams-stobs-rgyal’s (Miwang Sonam Topgyal’s) publication of the latter perhaps supports this.[15] And it was in this role that their diffusion among the Mongols was advanced. That this was so is suggested by a striking passage in the Jewel Translucent Sūtra concerning Altan Khan’s conversion, a work studied not long ago by Johan Elverskog and assigned by him to roughly the period during which the Maṇi bka’ ‘bum (Mani Kambum) and Padma bka’ thang (Pema Kathang) were translated into Mongolian. Here, in one crucial scene, Altan Khan’s envoys arrive to extend their lord’s invitation to Bsod-nams-rgya-mtsho (Sonam Gyatso) when, in front of the image of the Lhasa Jo-bo (Jowo), the divinity Pehar possesses a medium:

In front of the Juu Rinpoche, the image of the Bhagavan Buddha Teacher,
King Pehar spoke to the victorious All-knowing Dalai Lama and the assembled Samgha,
To those many assembled Tibetan great and small Alms-masters,
and particularly to the Mongol envoys.

“By decree of the Crown Jewel Master Padmasambhava,
Which reveals the prophecy of the Superior Horse-Headed Powerful King
Entirely, the words of me, Pehar Khan, should be seen as conventional and ultimate truth.
The ultimate truth is particularly beyond comprehension.

The conventional truth is visualizing the deeds of the Eight Names and Five Bodies.
I see that the helpful Dalai Lama, who by sight knows all conditions,
And the virtuous Bodhisattva Altan Khan, when we were there, all together striving,
Took a vow in front of Padmasambhava on the summit of the glorious Copper Colored mountain.

By the power of the blessings of the merits vowed by them together,
The incarnation of Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara, meritorious Dalai Lama was born in the West,
The Blessed Altan Khan was born in the East in the land of the Mongols.
A sign that the religion of the Blessed Ones will spread like the sun.

For this reason, you, the Dalai Lama, whom to behold is completely beneficial,
You should go there according to the decree of the Mongol Khan.
Evenly all living beings will be enlightened and the sun of the jewel religion will rise.”[16]

In the eyes of some Mongols, therefore, the authority of the Dalai Lama in relation to the Mongols had its warrant in vows witnessed by Padmasambhava himself.

As for the Mongolian Padma bka’-thang (Pema Kathang), Heissig shows that the translation, Badma γatang sudur-un orusiba by Sakiya töröb kelemürči, was executed under the patronage of Erdeni Mangγus qulači baγatur tayiji, a great grand-nephew of Altan Khan through the latter’s brother Mergen jinong, in the early seventeenth century (c. 1615). The xylographic edition was published nearly a century later in Beijing under the reign of Kangxi, at about the same time as that of the Mongolian Mani gambu (1712). The explicit association with the line of Altan Khan seems to further confirm the legitimating role attributed to these works in connection with the religio-political order.[17]

With this in mind, an additional observation seems warranted. Phreng-po gter-ston Shes-rab-‘od-zer (Trengpo Terton Sherab Oser), the guru of the Great Fifth’s ancestor, was himself a noted revealer of prophetic treasures; his prophecies came to be particularly stressed in the writings of the Dalai Lama. Indeed, one of the notable innovations of the Fifth’s works, and those of his regent Sangs-rgyas-rgya-mtsho (Sangye Gyatso), was their explicit political use of prophecy drawn from gter-ma (terma). In this connection, the Padma bka’ thang (Pema Kathang), with its elaborate prophecies of the gter-ston (terton) themselves, that is, its prophecies of the prophets, must have assumed a privileged position, the mother, as it were, of Tibetan prophetic revelations in general.[18] With the Great Fifth’s confirmation of the exalted station of O-rgyan-gling-pa’s (Urgyan Lingpa’s) text, it became an established treasure of the throne. Hence, its embematic adoption, too, by rulers allied with and favoring the Dalai Lamas.

***

The story of the political use of the prophetic book, as we have begun to sketch it out here, may be further clarified by a brief comparative exercise. The late Anna Seidel once undertook to survey the transformations of the notion of “royal treaure” in early China. Under the Zhou, she wrote:

[T]reasures guaranteed the ruling family’s possession of the mandate. Kaltenmark has shown that these objects, called pao 寶, “treasures”, in ancient China, were not necessarily unique or precious. They were not used in any kind of commercial exchange and only exceptionally as gifts, but they were kept hidden and their possession had the mystical value of symbolizing a clan’s good fortune. In the case of the royal family, they constituted the sacra or regalia of the dynasty. Their presence testified to the possession of the mandate and to heaven’s continuing support.

f the royal treasure-houses originally contained objects like stones, jade pieces, bronzes and weapons, they in time came to include talismans, magic diagrams, charts, prophetic adages, secret recipes for personal longevity and for the prosperity of the state and, finally, dissertations on moral and political doctrines. These texts soon were valued as more efficacious than the traditional object of the family treasure. […]

When the Han order had so far decayed that people wondered whether its mandate was exhausted, the first prognostic text (ch’an shu 讖書) revealing divine intentions to renew the mandate was brought to court. […] This was the first revealed scripture to be used in Han politics. Previously the will of Heaven had been read only from natural phenomena, from auspicious objects and their occasional short inscriptions, a practice that continued under Wang Mang. […] In the politico-religious propaganda that brought the first emperor of the Latter Han, Kuang-wu, to power, the written word of Heaven in ch’an texts came to be valued and utilized far more than auspicious objects or natural phenomena. […] The real content of the apocrypha was a collection of ancient legends and omen-lore recorded and elaborated for the legitimation of the Han.[19]

“The real content of the apocrypha was a collection of ancient legends” — can we imagine a description more fit for the Tibetan revelations of the life and deeds of Padmasambhava? As the warrant for imperial prophecies in general, can we imagine a more suitable treasure than that of O-rgyan-gling-pa (Urgyan Lingpa)? What is remarkable in this case is the evident congruence between the Tibetan revelation and Chinese conceptions of imperial treasure. That the prophetic books thought to be in the background of Tibetan and Mongol power were published in their Tibetan and Mongolian versions under the Manchu emperors in Beijing may perhaps be seen, therefore, as part of the ongoing response to the perpetual challenge of renewing the mandate of Heaven. Not surprisingly, the Zunghar Mongols and their supporters, who most firmly resisted Chinese power in Inner Asia, rejected the Tibetan tokens of that power as well.

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The colophons of the 1755 Beijing edition of the Padma bka’ thang (Pema Kathang) of O-rgyan-gling-pa (Urgyan Lingpa)

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Fols. 455b, 456a-b, 457a. Za-hor Mi-dbang Bsod-nams-stobs-rgyal’s (Zahor Miwang Sonam Topgyal) colophon begins at 455b4 and concludes at 457a3, after which is the start of the verse section of the Fifth Dalai Lama’s colophon.

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Fols. 457b, 458a-b, 459a. Continuation of the verse section of the Fifth Dalai Lama’s colophon.

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Fols. 459b, 460a-b, 461a. The verse section of the Fifth Dalai Lama’s colophon concludes at 460b4, where the prose section begins with the line’s final syllable ces.

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Fols. 461b, 462a-b, 463a. The Fifth Dalai Lama’s colophon concludes at 462b2. The brief Derge colophon occupies 462b3-463a4, to sarba mangga laṃ (sarva mangalam), after which Lcang-skya’s (Changkya’s) colophon begins.

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Fols. 463b. Conclusion of Lcang-skya’s (Changkya’s) colophon.

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[1. The colophon of Za-hor Mi-dbang Bsod-nams-stobs-rgyal (Zahor Miwang Sonam Topgyal), fols. 455b4-457a3.]

Among the amazing and wonderful biographies of Padmasambhava, the great master from glorious Oḍḍiyāna, that were composed, beyond imagination, in accord with the perspectives of those to be trained, the so-called Padma bka’i thang yig (Pema Kathang Yig), in particular, is universally famed. It was brought forth by the treasure-discoverer U-rgyan-gling-pa (Urgyan Lingpa), who was the rebirth of the king of Za-hor (Zahor), Gtsug-lag-‘dzin (Tsuglag Zin),[20] and who was accompanied by the so-called Hor sgom-pa Shā-kya (Hor Gompa Shakya), a fortunate individual, when this royal lineage of Sa-ho-ra [= Za-hor] was residing in the pleasure garden of Gzhu (Shu), from the Lotus Crystal Cave, which is the palace on the face of the Lotus Pinnacle Fortress of the Crystal Rock Mountain of Yar-klung (Yarlung).[21] Because this version is widely distributed, in order to promote in all quarters the expansion of the enlightened activities of the great master of the vidyādharas, Padamsambhava, and the precious teaching of the most secret Vajrayāna according to the ancient translations, as well as the welfare and happiness of living creatures, the Lord of Men, Bsod-nams-stobs-kyi-rgyal-po (Sonam Tobkyi Gyalpo) of Za-hor (Zahor), has, as a religious donation, multiplied it as an inexhaustible print. To this end, although the true original is in verse alone, most have [previously] produced texts according to their own assertions, so that it appears that the section breaks throughout have been lost, understandings confounded, copyists’ errors multiplied, and sometimes even superfluous insertions invented by arrogant fools. For this reason, I have amassed a number of original exemplars, in particular, one said to have been copied from the treasure-discoverer’s manuscript, one in archaic writing with illustrations of divinities at the beginning, and a print from E that was published by U-rgyan-gling-pa’s (Urgyan Lingpa’s) descendants. Because these three are to some extent correct, I have left as is their common points as well as the archaicisms and provincialisms that occasionally appear. At some points, because there are various incoherencies, I have compared it with the treasure of Lord Nyang that is well known as the Copper Island Biography,[22] etc., and, without being careless about it, have made efforts to correct and to purify the text. So it should be considered reliable by discerning intellects.

[2. The colophon of the Fifth Dalai Lama, fols. 457a3-462b2.]

Salutations to Padmasambhava, the consummation of Buddhas!

Your dharmakāya, the Omnibeneficent Limitless Light, is the essence, primordially pure;
Your sambhogakāya is Lord Avalokita, the natural manifestation of the hundred clans, spontaneously present;
You are the nirmāṇakāya, Padmasambhava, ceaseless compassion, transforming in myriad ways —
a ho! May the red dust of your toenails fall on my crown so as to confer omniscience!

The form of E is the wisdom of emptiness, [Ye-shes] Mtsho-rgyal (Yeshe Tsogyal),
In union with the syllable WAṂ, the means of great bliss,
The pervading lord, Skull-garlanded Vajradhara,
Chief cakravartin of the ocean of maṇḍalas,

Who, like a dancer changing from one into many forms,
Presents an array of embodiments, the Eight Names, to disciples,
As when varied hues are brightened when refracted through crystal
And shine forth unmixed — what an amazement you are!

Wielding with compassionate hand
The sword of method and wisdom
To sever the net of sin and pollution for all beings lost in saṃsāra
Is the glory, Lord! of your tireless action.

Above all, in the guise of the pandits and siddhas of India and Nepal,
You have stolen the light of a thousand suns
With pervasive compassion, maintaining, increasing, protecting
The precious teaching of the fourth Guide [Śākyamuni].

Most particularly, with the taintless vision of the lord of the dance,
Born from a lotus, here in Jambudvīpa,
With the skill of great gnostic vows,
Your grace for the creatures of the Glacial Land knows no limit.

Though it may be easy to count up the sands of Ganges river,
Besides omniscient gnosis
No mirror is sufficiently clear
As to take the measure, Lord! of your amazing deeds.

You make manifest transformations befitting each creature’s vision,
Changing æons into moments, and moments into æons;
Laughable, then, to calculate the months and years
As if your life were that of a common pandit or siddha![23]

Because with the fixed habit of rehearsing other histories,
Even those who are learned and discerning,
Uphold only what appears in later compositions
And so magnify the stream of mistakes, now is the time to open the dharma-eye!

With the fire of errant assertions based on sophistical speech,
Feeble minds who burn virtue’s luxurious tree[24]
Are like those in haste to suffer indigestion[25]
From the fruit of unpleasant, evil lands.

But with heartfelt devotion to that lord,
Those who read, expound, or write[26] his avadānas
Not only arrive at the heavens and the stage of liberation,
But visibly dispel the harm caused by the eight classes of desirous spirits[27] — who is your peer?

Hence, without following those who blather,
Or fools who take daddy’s bowl to be clean,[28]
But with the faith of sharp wits, following you,
I am inspired to publish this print, an inexhausible religious donation.

Having met the true face of the real Padmasambhava,
The intuitive awareness primordially penetrating the vase body of youth in the heart,
There is no guru besides him;
Without seeking him elsewhere, but united in single essence — this is the salutation.

The object of worship, the worshipper, worship itself — all these
Are certainly only the emanations of mind alone;
With this knowledge, the outer, inner and secret offerings
Are given as an oblation by self to self.

As the solar orb is perpetually free from darkness,
So intuitive awareness is in fact untainted by the two obscurations,
But as in a dream, though they are unreal appearances,
I repent of them in relative terms.

In unlimited realms beyond counting,
All the Sugatas of the ten directions and four times,
Who are none other that Lotus Skull-Garland himself,
Inexhaustibly cause disciples to enter the way — in this I rejoice!

Throughout the trichiliocosm and the regions beyond this world,
As many as the ineffable number of particles,
Are Buddhas and Lotus Gurus —
I pray that they turn the wheel, as befits the disciples, of sūtra and tantra united!

Though many of the Guides have accepted to enter nirvāṇa,
May you, who have attained the rainbow body, the body of the great transference,
Unwavering from your comportment,
Remain firmly embodied with five certainties! [29]

By the virtues acquired by this,
May all merits throughout the three times ripen so that here in the Glacial Land
The enlightened activity of the Lotus Vajra pervades
And beings enjoy the glories of well-being and happiness!

By the efforts of body, speech and mind for this publication,
And all reading and expounding of it,
May we, throughout all rebirths,
Vanquish hoards of enemies, demons and obstructions, and rival Vaiśravaṇa in lifespan, riches and power!

Abandoning successively the fruits of taints born of affliction,
Reborn to see Padmasambhava’s face and to hear his speech,
Entering, before long, the ranks of the vidyādharas of Camaradvīpa,
May we attain freedom through Creation, Perfection, and Great Perfection!

In the cool shade of the spreading leaves
Of the new creeper that embraces all merits,
May the world at large and the Tibetans in particular
Enjoy the fruit that is happy and secure!

Beginning with the words svasti prajābhyaḥ,
The song of the queen of the perfect spring
Captures the summertime youth’s delight —
may it spread everywhere by the benedictions of virtue in the beginning, middle, and end!

Thus, it appears that, in accordance with the aptitudes of those to be taught, there are various different biographies of the glorious second Buddha, the great master from Oḍḍiyāna, Padmasambhava, including the abbreviated and expanded versions that have come from the treasures, such as the former and later treasures, those of Ba-khal-smug-po (Bakhel Mukpo), etc.[30] And among [those bearing the title] Padma bka’i thang yig (Pema Kathang Yig), as well, there are several treasures such as those of rdo-rje- gling-pa (Dorje Lingpa), sangs-rgyas-gling-pa (Sangye Lingpa), etc.[31] among them, this Padma bka’i thang yig (Pema Kathang Yig) of Yar-rje O-rgyan-gling-pa (Yarje Urgyan Lingpa) — the Rgyal-sras lha-rje (Gyalse Lhaje) who underwent thirteen lifetimes just as a treasure-discoverer, and who, because he revealed limitless precepts of the Dharma, beginning with the Ocean of Dharma Gathering the Teachings (Bka’ ‘dus chos kyi rgya mtsho; Kadu Chokyi Gyatso), came to be famed as “treasure mad” — was brought forth as treasure on the eighth day of the fourth month of the water-dragon year (1352), when the moon was in conjunction with the constellation dbo (wo; Skt. uttaraphālgunī), from the heart of Mahāviṣṇu [= Rahula], the gate-protector of the Lotus Crystal Cave on the face of the rock fortress of the Lotus Pinnacle of the Crystal Mountain of Yar-klungs (Yarlung), by Gu-ru U-rgyan-gling-pa (Guru Urgyan Lingpa), whose fortunate associate was Gzhu Kun-ra-ba Hor Bsgom-shāk (Shu Kunrawa Hor Gom Shak). Because there were various copies with interpolations, in order to fulfill the intentions of the treasure-discoverer Shes-rab-‘od-zer (Sherab Oser) [i.e. ‘Phreng-po gter-ston (Trengpo Terton)], who was the emanation of the great translator Vairocana, Hor Mi-dbang Bsod-nams-stobs-rgyal (Hor Miwang Sonam Topgyal) of the Indian royal family of the great Sā-la-pa, the minister of the glorious Phag-mo-gru-pa (Phagmo Drupa) who is the king mandated by heaven here in Tibet, acted as patron, and based on a written copy that was the son of the mother, the manuscript in the treasure-discoverer’s hand, and other reliable old manuscripts, he produced, with the corrections of the great pandit Ri-zangs-tog-pa (Rizang Togpa), the so-called “‘Phyong-rgyas Dpal-ri print,” (Chongye Palri) which is authoritative. Nevertheless, despite its very great beneficial activity, syllables were lost, or became unclear or separated [owing to the deterioration of the blocks]. Because, in accord with the Religious History of Lho-brag sprul-sku (Lhodrag Tulku),[32] and with the biography of the great O-rgyan (Urgyan) composed by the discerning Sog-bzlog-pa Blo-gros-rgyal-mtshan (Sogdokpa Lodro Gyeltsen),[33] the old exemplar of the prophecy of treasure-discoverer Rdo-rje-gro-lod (Dorje Drolo) obtained from an iron pen (lcags-smyug-ma; Chag Nyugma)[34] and the Signs of the Times (dus rtags; du tag) of Mchog-sprul Legs-ldan-rdo-rje (Chocktrul Legden Dorje),[35] and so on, appear clear, besides some new additions there is no alteration [in the present text].[36] With the encouragements of Grong-smad-pa Sangs-rgyas-rgya-mtsho (Drongmepa Sangye Gyatso), who, being captivated by the transmissions[37] of the profound treasures of the great and glorious O-rgyan (Urgyan), suggested that new printing blocks might be carved I, too, with my thoughts guided by undivided faith, solely to benefit the inhabitants of the Land of Snows with the religious gift of an inexhaustible print, being an old mantra-adept from the clan of Za-hor (Zahor) called by the name Rdo-rje Thogs-med-rtsal (Dorje Thogme Tsel), given by Padma, the Play Gathering the Supreme Heruka (Che-mchog ‘Dus-pa-rtsal; Chechog Dupa Tsel), have assembled the requisites, together with [the composition of] the print colophon, and have completed this at Dga’-ldan Phun-tshogs-gling (Gaden Phuntsok Ling) in the year of the wood hare (1676).

[3. The Derge colophon, fols.462b3-463a4.]

Subsequently, in accord with the order of Mkhan-chen Dpal-ldan-chos-skyong (Khenchen Palden Chokyong),[38] empowered in the great, sacred Dharma-realm of the second Jina, Kun-dga’-bzang-po (Kunga Sangpo),[39] the earth-protecting Lama named Kun-dga’-‘phrin-las-rgya-mtsho’i-sde (Kunga Trinley Gyatso’i De),[40] who controls with the measureless stride of his power the entire maṇḍala of the broad earth, in the center of victory over all the quarters, the royal capital of Lhun-grub-steng (Lhundrub Teng) in Derge, having been entrusted as the authentic original source with the Dga’-ldan Phun-tshogs-gling (Gaden Phuntsok Ling) print which was purified by triple examination, achieved an original source [i.e. the printing blocks] whereby his religious gift would flow forth continuously. Hence, may it be the basis for expansion and increase throughout all quarters, times, and conditions! Sarvamaṅgalam!

[4. Lcang-skya Rol-pa’i-rdo-rje’s (Changkya Rolpai Dorje’s) colophon, fols. 463a4-463b6.]

The biography of Padmasambhava — the great master from O-rgyan (Urgyan), the second Buddha who is the general form of all Jinas of the three times, whose kindness to the totality of the teaching and beings, in general and in particular, cannot be requited — which is well known as the Padma bka’i thang yig (Pema Kathang Yig), was kindly bestowed by the Great Fifth, the Supreme Jina and Lord of Refuges, as an inexhaustible religious donation, together with the colophon of the print, and it was [re]published as a print of the Derge earth-protector. In accordance with this, without alteration or interpolation, the one addressed as daguoshi Lcang-skya Khutughtu (Changkya Khutughtu), with a pure intention assembled the necessary resources for an original source [i.e. the printing blocks] whereby his religious gift would flow forth continuously, which was well achieved in the nineteenth throne year of Qianlong (Srid gsal; sid sel), the earth-pig year, on the tenth day of the waning fortnight of the month of Pauṣa, which is the special festival when the ḍākinīs gather. By this virtue, may the precious teaching of the Jina expand and increase in all quarters and times, remaining long present. And may I and beings without exception be taken into the following of the second Buddha from O-rgyan (Urgyan)!

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Footnotes

[1] As given in Smith n.d., p.98 (underlined text corresponds to the use of red in Smith’s transcription): skabs shig khrom gzigs khang du dpon gyis shog zer bar/ dpon dang chos ‘phel can ‘dug par rang bzhin gyi dri ba shin tu mang ba dang/ o rgyan tshad ldan yin min/ kun mkhyen lnga pa chen po ‘i skor spyi dang khyad par du ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho rgyal ba yon tan rgya mtaho’ i skye ba yin nam min zer bar/ nged rang tsho ci shes pan chen thams cad mkhyen pa sku gong ma sogs skyes chen dam pa tshad ldan rnams kyis ‘khrul med du ngos ‘dzin mdzad pa ni gong sa 7 lnga pa yin par ‘dug byas pas/ pan chen rin po ches ngos ‘dzin de ltar mdzad med pa ‘dra/ gzims khang gong sprul sku yon tan rgya mtsho ‘i skye ba ‘khrul med yin par de la ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtshos phrag dog gi rnam pas sdang (f. 183r) shugs dang nye rigs rnams la yang dgongs par mi bde ba mdzad ‘dug/ nged tsho ‘ i lud [sic! to be emended to lung — MK] par gzims khang gong sprul skur bha ga ta la’ i bla ma zer gyin yod zer.

[2] A guide affiliated with the Erdeni-juu with whom I discussed the thang-ka was convinced that it depicts the noted Sa-skya-pa (Sakyapa) master Rje-btsun Grags-pa-rgyal-mtshan (1147-1216; Jetsun Drakpa Gyeltsen), who is said to have prophesied his nephew Sa-skya Paṇḍita’s (Sakya Pandita’s) mission to the Mongols. When I pointed out that the Sa-skya-pa (Sakyapas) master was a layman, not a monk as seen here, I was told that “Mongol artists were ignorant of these details,” a response that strikes me as implausible when considering a thang-ka (thangka) that is otherwise iconographically precise. Another suggestion is that the figure in question is Tsong-kha-pa’s (Tsongkhapa’s) disciple ‘Dul-‘dzin Grags-pa-rgyal-mtshan (Duldzin Drakpa Gyaltsen), though the clearly tantric elements (the right hand, for instance, holds a brimming skull-cup) as well as the absence of context seems to rule that out. Besides modern images of the Gzims-khang-gong-ma Grags-pa-rgyal-mtshan (Zimkhang Gongma Drakpa Gyeltsen), as seen on websites devotes to the Shugs-ldan (Shugden) controversy, the only early image of him of which I am aware is in a thang-ka (thangka) of Mag-zor-rgyal-mo (Magzor Gyalmo) in which he and the Fifth Dalai Lama appear in the upper register in miniature, but as this thang-ka (thangka) certainly dates to the youth of the subjects, when they were both resident at the ‘Bras-spungs dga’-ldan pho-brang (Drepung Gaden Phodrang), it probably cannot serve as a reference for the identity of the figure at Erdeni-juu. I am grateful to Amy Heller for calling my attention to the painting of Mag-zor-rgyal-mo (Magzo Gyalpo) in question, from the John and Berthe Ford Collection, which has been published in Rhie and Thurman 2000 and in Pal and Woodward 2001.

[3] Dreyfus 1998 remains the best overview of the affair. See, too, Lopez, 1998: 188-201.

[4] It appears, in any case, that Zanabazar’s relations with the Fifth Dalai Lama did deteriorate, though in fact this occurred during the period following the Fifth’s death, when his passing was being concealed by Sde-srid Sangs-rgyas-rgya-mtsho (Desi Sangye Gyatso), who seems to have been the real object of Zanabazar’s misgivings. The tensions here were exacerbated by the mounting conflict between Khalkha and Zunghar, culminating in the former’s assault, under Galdan’s leadership, on the latter in 1695, and the subsequent Manchu intervention. On the question that concerns us here, Bawden 1998: 69 comments: “The personal antipathy of the Khutuktu [Zanabazar] for the Dalai Lama and the regent was in fact the pretext for Galdan’s invasion of Khalkha.”

[5] On Sum-pa mkhan-po’s (Sumpa Khenpo’s) critique of the gter-ma (terma) traditions, including the Padma bka’ thang (Pema Kathang), see Kapstein 1989, 2000 (ch. 7).

[6] Heissig 1954: 31.

[7] This edition appears to have been prepared somewhat carelessly. For instance, the colophon refers to the emperor as being in his sixty-fourth year, but this calculation is clearly in error by one duodeccenial cycle: Yongzheng (1678-1735) was in fact fifty-two during his eighth reign year. And the spelling is frequently atrocious: one sees grtags bdun (tag dun) for rta bdun (ta dun), brjigs pa’i sku (jig pa’i ku) for brjid pa’i sku (ji pa’i ku), migs dbang (mig wang) for mi dbang (mi wang), zhungs dags (!; shung dag) for zhus dag (shu dag), etc. The year of the composition of the colophon is given as me-bya (1717; me-ja) instead of sa-bya (1729; sa-ja).

[8] On ‘Phreng-po gter-ston (Trengpo Terton), refer to Deroche 2009, 201–1.

[9] Tāranātha (1575-1634) was, of course, a major target of the Fifth Dalai Lama’s ire, but it is not clear that the former’s biography of Padmasambhava, Slob dpon padma ‘byung gnas kyi rnam par thar pa gsal bar byed pa’i yi ge yid ches gsum ldan (lobpon pema jungney kyi nampar tharpa selwar jedpa’i yige yi che sumden) , which purports to represent exclusively India traditions, was particularly singled out for criticism. Most likely the Fifth just objected to it in principle, as he seems to have done in the other cases he mentions, as being yet another effort on the part of “ordinary intellects” to rationalize the extraordinary career of Padmasambhava. Tāranātha’s text, which has been published many times (e.g., in Tseten 1973), has now been translated twice into English: Ngawang Zangpo 2002 and De Falco 2012.

[10] The treatment of Dpa’-bo Gtsug-lag-phreng-ba (1504-1566; Pawo Tsuglag Threngwa) here is somewhat puzzling. As will be seen below (n. 27), the placement of the mchan-bu (chen-bu) mentioning him is itself unclear. And later in the colophon (see n. 32), it seems that the Fifth voices qualified approval of his work, despite his sharp (and often misplaced) criticisms of Dpa’-bo’s Chos ‘byung mkhas pa’i dga’ ston (Pawo’s chojung khepa’i gaton) in his own history. Perhaps Dpa’-bo’s (Pawo’s) association with the Karma Bka’-brgyud (Karma Kagyu) factions that sharply opposed the Dge-lugs-pa (Gelugpa) in the Lhasa region during the early sixteenth century plays a role here sotto voce.

[11] Brag-sgo rab-‘byams-pa (Drakgo Rabjampa), n.d., is a sharp critique of the historical credentials of the Padma bka’ thang (Pema Kathang), focusing upon, among other matters, inconsistencies of dating. The Dalai Lama’s colophon demonstrates that this issue was a particular target of his rebuke. An extended response to Brag-sgo rab-‘byams-pa (Drakgo Rabjampa) may be found in Rtse-le (Tsele) 1979. despite this, Brag-sgo rab-‘byams-pa (Drakgo Rabjampa) proclaims himself the faithful disciple of the Great Fifth in the colophon of his work, an assertion confirmed in the autobiography of the Fifth himself: Karmay 2014: 375. Further confirmation of their relationship is implied in a thang-ka (thangka) of Mag-zor-rgyal-mo (Magzor Gyalmo) (Linrothe and Watt 2004, cat. no. 31), in which the Dalai Lama and Brag-sgo rab-‘byams-pa (Drakgo Rabjampa) figure together in the lineage in the upper register.

[12] It is of interest to note that the Fifth Dalai Lama alters Bsod-nams-stobs-rgyal’s (Sonam Topgyal) modest claim that one of his sources was “said to have been copied from the treasure-discoverer’s manuscript” (gter ston gyi phyag bris las bshus zer ba shig; terton gyi chag tri le shu zer wa shig) in order to assert more robustly that the manuscript in question was the “son [= direct copy] of the mother, the treasure-discoverer’s manuscript” (gter ston gyi phyag bris ma’i bu yig; terton gyi chag tri ma’i bu yig).

[13] Cf. n. 7 above.

[14] The campaigns of 1755 figured prominently among what Perdue 2005: 270-289 terms “the death knell of the Zunghar state.” Chayet 1985: 28-34 offers a description of the Puningsi and its relation to these events.

[15] On the 1521 Gung-thang “royal print” of the Maṇi bka’ ‘bum (Mani Kambum), see now Ehrhard 2013. It may be noted that the Fifth Dalai Lama duly notes his ancestor’s printing activities, including the publication of the Padma bka’ thang (Pema Kathang), in his history of Tibet: Nor-brang (Nortrang) 1993: 421.

[16] Elverskog 2003: 143-5, lines 674-92.

[17] Heissig 1954: 47-48.

[18] A curious example of this is the strange story of O-rgyan-gling-pa’s (Urgyan Lingpa’s) mummified corpse, which was purloined by seekers of magical medicines who believed that the flesh was suffused with the properties attributed to one who had been born as a brahman throughout seven consecutive lives; see Dudjom 1991, vol. 1: 775-779. The basis for all this was no doubt the 102nd chapter of the Padma bka’ thang (Pema Kathang) itself, prophesying the benefits of such flesh. In all events, the condition of O-rgyan-gling-pa’s (Urgyan Lingpa’s) corpse became eventually an affair of state, requiring the intercession of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama.

[19] Seidel 1983: 299-307.

[20] I.e., the father of Padmasambhava’s Indian consort, the lady Mandāravā.

[21] The “speaking image” (zhal-byon-ma; shel jon ma) of Padmasambhava said also to have been discovered there remains a treasure of Khra-‘brug (Tradruk) monastery. See Kapstein 2000: 156, figure 8.2.

[22] This is the zangs-gling-ma (shang ling ma) version of Padmasambhava’s story, revealed by Nyang-ral Nyi-ma-‘od-zer (1124-1192; Nyang Ral Nyima Oser), for an English translation of which, see Kunsang 1993.

[23] This verse is clearly aimed at those who, like Brag-sgo rab-‘byams-pa (Drakgo Rabjampa), criticized the Padma bka’ thang (Pema Kathang) on the basis of its treatment of chronological details.

[24] An annotation on this line, found in the Derge edition as well, reads “for example, Rtag-brtan sprul-sku Kun-dga’-snying-po (Dakden Tulku Kunga Nyingpo), Rgyal-mtshan gnyug rab-‘byams-pa (Gyeltsen Nyug Rabjampa), Brag-sgo rab-‘byams-pa (Drakgo Rabjampa).” Refer to notes 9 and 11 above.

[25] The verb spron pa (tron pa) is unfamiliar and I have guessed that it might be related to skran (tren), which would at least serve to connect it to the bad fruit of the previous line (the following line in the translation). I will be grateful to readers who might be able to confirm this interpretation or to supply a better explanation.

[26] Reading here ‘bri (tri) for ‘dri (dri), “to question,” a common orthographic variation.

[27] An annotation at this point, similarly placed in the Derge edition as well, reads: “Lho-brag sprul-sku Gtsug-lag-phreng-ba (Lhodrag Tulku Tsuglag Threngwa).” I am not sure that I understand the point here. Is it that the Dpa’-bo Rin-po-che (Pawo Rinpoche) is being identified with the harmful classes of worldly spirits? Or is it not more likely that the thig-phreng (thig threng), the dots connecting the annotation with the text, have been misplaced and should lead instead to the phrase “those who blather” in the first line of the following verse. See also n. 10 above.

[28] The phrase here expresses disdain for those who are so fixed in their established habitudes that they are oblivious to the merits of positive developments around them. Cf. Dudjom 1991, vol. 1: 968 and n. 1386.

[29] The five certainties are those of teacher, retinue, teaching, place and time.

[30] The “former and later treasures” (gter kha gong ‘og; terkha gong og) designate the discoveries of Nyang-ral Nyi-ma-‘od-zer (Nyang Ral Nyima Oser) and Gu-ru Chos-kyi-dbang-phyug (1212-1270; Guru Chokyi Wangchuk). Ba-khal-smug-po (Bakhel Mukpo) appears to have been another early gter-ston (terton), who is best known for the celebrated litany addressed to Padmasambhava entitled Gsol ‘debs bar chad lam sel (soldeb barche lamsel).

[31] Refer to Dudjom 1991, vol. 1: 784-792.

[32] I.e., Dpa’-bo Gtsug-lag-phreng-ba’s (Pawo Tsuglag Threngwa’s) Chos ‘byung mkhas pa’i dga’ ston (chojung khepa’i gaton), of which the Great Fifth tended to be otherwise quite critical (see above). Is the suggestion here that he accepts the accuracy of Dpa’-bo’s (Pawo’s) transcriptions of texts, even if not agreeing always with his interpretations of them?

[33] Sog-bzlog-pa (Sogdokpa) 1984.

[34] Unidentified

[35] This is the second Rdo-rje-brag Rig-‘dzin (Dorje Drak Rigzin), the younger brother of Mnga’-ris Paṇ-chen Padma-dbang-rgyal (1487-1543; Ngari Panchen Pema Wangyal).

[36] This entire sentence is difficult to construe and I am not altogether satisfied with the present interpretation. The Fifth seems to be saying, in all events, that he has introduced some editorial changes into the Padma bka’ thang (Pema Kathang) on the basis of the authorities here cited.

[37] Or: “who has been prophesied in the transmissions…”

[38] Dpal-ldan-chos-skyong (1702-1760; Palden Chokyong) was the 34th Ngor mkhan-chen (Ngor Khenchen), a position he occupied in 1733-1740.

[39] I.e. Ngor-chen Kun-dga’-bzang-po (1382-1456; Ngorchen Kunga Sangpo).

[40] This was one of the sons of the Derge printery’s founder, Bstan-pa-tshe-ring (1678-1738; Tenpa Tsering). Also known as Bla-chen Phun-tshogs-tshe-ring (Lachen Phuntsok Tsering), he continued his father’s work above all by achieving the publication of the Tengyur under the editorship of Zhu-chen Tshul-khrims-rin-chen (1697-1774; Shuchen Tsultrim Rinchen).

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References

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Brag-sgo rab-‘byams-pa Phun-tshogs-rgyal-mtshan (Drakgo Rabjampa Phuntsok Gyeltsen). n.d. Padma bka’thang la ‘gal ‘du rags pa’i ngo sprod dang blo dman gyi dogs slong (pema kathang la gel du rag pa’i ngo trod dan lo men gyi dog long). In Lta ba’i skor las ‘phros pa’i mkhas pa’i legs bshad gces sgrig (ta wa’i kor le tro pa’i khe pa’i leg shed che thrig). Gangs can khyad nor dpe tshogs (gang chen khyed nor pe tsog) 325. Lhasa: Ser gtsug nang bstan dpe rnying ‘tshol bsdu phyogs sgrig khang (ser tsug nang ten pe nying stol du chog tri khang), 269-290.

Chayet, Anne. 1985. Les Temples de Jehol et leurs modèles tibétains. Synthèse 19. Paris: Editions Recherche sur les Civilisations.

De Falco, Christiana, trans. 2012. The Life of Padmasambhava by Kunga Nyingpo Taranatha. Amazon.

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____, 2011. Prajñāraśmi (‘Phreng po gter ston Shes rab ‘od zer, Tibet, 1518-1584; Threngpo Terton Sherab Oser): Vie, œuvre et contribution à la tradition ancienne (rnying ma) et au mouvement non-partisan (ris med; rime). Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Paris: École Pratique des Hautes Études.

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____, 2000. The Tibetan Assimilation of Buddhism: Conversion, Contestation and Memory. Oxford University Press.

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____, 1755. Gu ru padma ‘byung gnas kyi rnam par thar pa rgyas par bkod pa (guru pema jung ne kyi nam par thar pa gye par kod pa). Beijing xylograph. Lessing Collection (Berkeley, Starr Library) no. 274. An incomplete copy of the same edition may be found in the Laufer Collection (shelflist no. 221) of the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago.

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Seidel, Anna. 1983. “Imperial Treasures and Taoist Sacraments: Taoist Roots in the Apocrypha,” in Michel Strickmann, ed., Tantric and Taoist Studies in Honour of R. A. Stein, vol.2, pp.291-371. Mélanges Chinois et Bouddhiques XXI. Brussels: Institut Belge des Hautes Études Chinois.

Sog-bzlog-pa Blo-gros-rgyal-mtshan (Sogdokpa Lodro Gyeltsen). 1984. Slob dpon sans rgyas gñis pa padma ‘byun gnas kyi rnam par thar pa yid kyi mun sel (lobpon sangye nipa pema juney kyi nampar tharpa yidkyi munsel): The life of the peerless guru of O-rgyan (Urgyan), Padmasambhava. Thimphu, Bhutan: National Library of Bhutan.

Smith, Ellis Gene. n.d. Transcription of Sle-lung Bzhad-pa’i-rdo-rje, rig pa ‘dzin pa Blo bzang ‘phrin las kyi rtogs pa brjod pa skal bzang dga’ ston. (Lelung Zhepa’i Dorje; rigpa zinpa lobsang trinley kyi togpa jopa kelsang gaton) TBRC Digital Archive W1KG9286.

Tseten Dorji, ed., 1973. accounts of the Lives of the manifestations of Gu-ru rin-po-che from the Discoveries of Stag-śam Nus-ldan-rdo-rje and Mchog-gyur-gliṅ-pa and the Slob dpon Padma’i rnam thar rgya gar lugs of Taranatha. Tezu, a.p: Tibetan Nyingmapa Monastery.

 

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16 Responses to Mongols believed 5th Dalai Lama was someone else

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  1. Pastor Shin on May 17, 2019 at 9:26 am

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

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

  2. Harold Musetescu on Jan 4, 2019 at 3:39 am

    It was not only Professor Kapstein that published any article about the Mongolians not believing the 5th was the real Dalai Lama but it was Tulku Drakpa Gyaltsen.

    Here is an email I got from Assistant Professor Chis Bell whom Tsem Tulku has written about in the past. In this email he states that the Georges Dreyful also wrote and article on the same topic with the same finds.

    Quote
    From
    Christopher Bell
    Wed, Jan 2, 4:36 PM (21 hours ago)
    to me (Harold Musetescu_

    Great to hear from you, Harold! I appreciated all your comments via Academia.edu and your previous emails on Shangmo and the like. A larger Shugden book project is still years down the road, but I’ll definitely keep this all in mind. I believe Georges Dreyfus in his Shugden article also talked about some of the voices claiming that Drakpa Gyeltsen was the true 5th Dalai Lama. These conflicting accounts are hard to untangle but definitely fascinating!

    Happy New Year!

    Chris

    Christopher Bell, Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor
    Stetson University
    Department of Religious Studies
    Unquote

    It appears that your were right in your article about all of this Your Eminence Tsem Tulku Rinpoche.

  3. Wai Meng Wan on Dec 27, 2018 at 4:05 am

    High beings work on levels and dimensions that us mere mortals can only dream of.

    I recall that the Trijang Rinpoche and the Karmapa played a game that they swapped their incarnations. Karmapa became Trijang Rinpoche and vice versa and they played their roles perfectly. Buddhas are similar to one another, like pouring water into another receptacle for water.

  4. Chris on Dec 22, 2018 at 3:27 am

    This is certainly an interesting article. During the search of the 5th Dalai Lama, other than the later chosen candidate as the 5th Dalai Lama, there is another boy that is surrounded by miracles and auspicious signs will the boy which was later known as Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen.

    It was said that due to politics and personal gains, perhaps the wrong boy was chosen to be the 5th Dalai Lama. When both of the boys are growing up, they are as good as each other in terms of study and shows signs of being an extraordinary being. They were close Dharma brothers despite the people around them view them as competitions.

    Eventually, the 5ft Dalai Lama grew up to be a huge influential lama that unified Tibet while Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen arose as Dharma Protector when he was murdered by the assistants of the 5th Dalai Lama due to his rising fame and power. Tulku Drakpa Gyelse is attainments can be said to be on par with the 5th Dalai Lama and hence there is a possibility that he is the real 5th Dalai Lama.

  5. Cc on Dec 20, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    Thank you for sharing. Good research.???

  6. Eric woody on Dec 19, 2018 at 10:10 am

    What if avitlokeshevra hasnt recarninated since the 4th dalai lama

  7. Harold Musetescu on Dec 16, 2018 at 8:41 pm

    Dear Tsem Tulku

    Could you please ask the Panglung Oracle to allow Dorje Shugden to take trance of him.
    You could then find out from Dorje Shugden if the Mongolians were right that Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen was and is the true unmistaken Dalai Lama.

    Merry Christmas

  8. Harold Musetescu on Dec 12, 2018 at 11:13 am

    The monks of Tengyeling Monastery in 1910 also knew what the “General” of the Mongolian Army in Lhasa knew.

    They both knew that the Dalai Lama was not the true Dalai Lama but a total fake.

    From 1910 through 1912 the monks of Tengyeling Monastery fought side by side the with Chinese troops garrisoned at their Monastery.

    The monks all fought against the 13th Dalai Lama and his corrupt government.

    Many monks were wounds and many monks died in their battle to free Tibet and the Gelugpa sect of this fraud and his Government.

    This was the ONE AND ONLY TIME in the history of the Gelugpa Sect that there was an internal CIVIL WAR to oust the Dalai Lama.

    Who told these monks to fight against the 13th Dalai Lama and his Government?

    It was none other than Kache (Tsiu) Marpo the Dharma Protector of both Tengyeling Monastery and their leader H.H. Demo Tulku (who was MURDERED by the 13th Dalai Lama and his corrupt government).

    Yes it was the “First Minister” of King Dorje Shugden who through the Tengyeling Oracle told the monks to rise up and overthrow the Dalai Lama and his Government.

    Please read the two articles that H.E. Tsem Tulku posted on this website regarding the truth about the MURDERS of H.H. Demo Tulku, Nyari Tulku, Methar (who is now a Dharmapala in the retinue of Dorje Shugden), the Oracle of Tengyeling and the DESTRUCTION of Tengyeling Monastery.

    The article are ” Methar of Tengyeling” and the other on Nyatrul aka Nyari Tulku.

    That you Tsem Tulku for finally telling the world the truth about what happened at Tengyeling Monastery.

    So know you know that it just wasn’t the Mongolian General who thought that the 5th Dalai Lama was a total fake.

    Please remember H.H. Demo Tulku, Nyari Tulku, Methar and Tengyeling Monastery in your thoughts and prayers.

    Kache (Tsiu) Marpo also knew this to be the truth and told the world through the
    Tengyeling Oracle in 1910.

    That you Your Eminence Tsem Tulku for the wonderful article you have written.

  9. Harold Musetescu on Dec 10, 2018 at 1:59 am

    If the 5th Dalai Lama had found out the highest ranking Mongolian an others in Lhasa were questioning whether he was the true Dalai Lama what would he do?

    If he knew that these Mongolians including the “LORD” of the Mongolian Military Government in Lhasa thought that Tulku Drakpa Gyaltsen was in fact the true 5th Dalai Lama what would he do?

    Did the 5th Dalai Lama fear that the “Head” of Mongolian Buddhism and the “Khan” were aware of the suspicions their “General” in Lhasa held?

    If the 5th Dalai Lama feared all of the above what would he do?

    ORDER THE MURDER TULKU DRAKPA GYALTSEN?

    With the murder of Tulku Drakpa Gyaltsen the 5th would have no fear of being overthrown by the Mongolian Khan and his troops and replaced by Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen.

    To avoid suspicion the 5th could make it look like it was done by rogue monks as an act of revenge without his knowledge or consent.

    Or the Dalai Lama and his government could create a false story that Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen had committed SUICIDE.

    If the Mongolians in Lhasa were right then the 5th Dalai Lama was a total fraud.

    All bought and paid for by corrupt noble families and corrupt members of the Dalai Lama’s governments.

    If they were right then it means that the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th Dalai Lama’s were and are all total frauds.

    That Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen has been the TRUE DALAI LAMA all the way back from the 5th to the present 14th Dalai Lama.

    The present day Tengyeling Oracle has been saying this for years.

    Thank you Tsem Tulku for this most insightful article.

    It should open up everyones eye to a new way of see Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen.

    AS THE TRUE DALAI LAMA!!!

  10. Valentina Suhendra on Dec 9, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    Mantras are sacred verbalized words that invoke the protection and blessings of the deity to whom the mantra is ascribed. Mantras are also the manifestations of Buddhas in the form of ‘sounds’, hence the various mantras of Dorje Shugden contain the essence of the Protector.

    Dorje Shugden’s main mantra 多杰雄登主要咒语
    OM BENZA WIKI BITANA SOHA

    Dorje Shugden’s mantra for peace 平和咒语
    For gaining attainments through the energy of Peaceful Shugden, peace of environment and mind, harmony in one’s abode and dwelling area, and calming of disasters
    OM BENZA WIKI BITANA SHANTI SIDDHI HUNG

    Dorje Shugden’s mantra for health 福寿安康咒语
    For long life, increasing life, healing of disease and protection from diseases
    OM BENZA WIKI BITANA AYU SIDDHI HUNG

    Dorje Shugden’s mantra for increase 增长咒语
    For gaining great merits and increase of all necessary needs, both material and spiritual
    OM BENZA WIKI BITANA PUNYE SIDDHI HUNG

    Dorje Shugden’s mantra for control 控制咒语
    Of worldly deities, negative people and nagas and for influencing friends towards the positive
    OM BENZA WIKI BITANA WASHAM KURU HO

    Dorje Shugden’s mantra to grant protection 庇护咒语
    Visualize that you are in the Protector’s mandala, fully protected from outside interferences. Recite when in danger or for dangerous situations, for protection while travelling or when residing in dangerous/hostile places
    OM BENZA WIKI BITANA RAKYA RAKYA HUNG

    https://video.tsemtulku.com/videouploads/comment-1544345059.mp4


  11. Mason on Dec 8, 2018 at 6:46 am

    Fascinating information Tsem, thank you for sharing. I came across this while Googling for information about termas and their validity. I was always under the impression that Shugden is a malevolent being, at least that’s what I was told, but that thought never did fully sit right with me. I always had a small element of doubt because I was always told that the Dalai Lama’s tutor relied on him and that in his previous life he had been a great lama, Tulku Dragpa Gyaltsen. Your post here just confirmed it. He was so great, the Mongols actually thought he was the 5th Dalai Lama and Lelung had it recorded all along.

    Having said that, what I found odd about that particular episode of Tibetan history is the Tibetan government has never denied that Tulku Dragpa Gyaltsen was murdered. What THEY say is that he became a spirit after he was murdered.

    Now what struck me as odd about that is why they’re trying to suppress him now. I’m not saying he’s a spirit or not a spirit, I’m not concluding either way. Personally, I don’t practice Shugden and have never felt the need to. But it occurred to me that if what the Tibetan government says is true, that Shugden is a spirit because of a murder committed by one of THEIR people, then what they should be doing is apologizing for their actions and trying to make amends. They were the one who murdered somebody, so why are they blaming Shugden if he’s angry? They gave him a reason to be angry by murdering him! Well, I’m not saying appease the spirit but I’m saying well, if he’s vengeful, it must mean he’s got a reason for it or he’s got something to avenge. So figure out what it is and resolve it so Shugden no longer has a reason to be angry. That makes so much more sense to me than talking over and over again about his bad qualities. What good is that going to do? Instead of spending all your time warning people off of him, why not just neutralize whatever reasons he’s got to be so angry?

    Anyway thanks for your great work Tsem, very useful what you publish on your blog. I’m in a place where there are few Dharma centers so the work you put out is extremely helpful to my practice.

    • Bryan Williams on Dec 18, 2018 at 6:35 pm

      Mason, your take on this is interesting. I read about this subject some 16 years ago and was a little perturbed how a murder can happen in a high office. Being a ‘fledgling’ practitioner, I was best to keep my opinion or what I read to myself. There weren’t many articles online those days, too. This blog has given me much ‘food’ for thoughts and as time goes, there seems to be more clarity in my understanding…

      Dorje Shugden arose some 350/400 years ago to protect a certain lineage teachings and at the point of his murder, wrath manifested – which ‘IMHO’ is distinct from anger.

      Besides, with so many high lamas around at that time, how was it that they were unable to subdue an ‘angry spirit’? Perhaps because he wasn’t an ‘angry spirit’ but one in nature with The Blessed One – the Universal Conqueror.

  12. Pastor Han Nee on Dec 7, 2018 at 3:38 pm

    This latest article about the Mongols believing (with clear objective arguments and reasoning) that Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen is the actual 5th Dalai Lama is yet more logical evidence to show that he is in NO WAY the vengeful spirit out to harm , that the CTA claims he is . How could the pure monk , believed to be the emanation of Chenrezig , ever be a a spirit?

    In any case, there was never any logical evidence, in the first place, to support this unfounded claim. How could the incarnation of the illustrious Panchen Sonam Drakpa ever be a vengeful spirit? Panchen Sonam Drakpa was in his lifetime the 15th Gaden Throne-holder, abbot of the three great “flagship ” monasteries of Lama Tsongkhapa -Gaden, Sera and Drepung, and the prolific writer of 14 texts that still continue to form the main syllabus of most Gelug monasteries till today.

    In his own rights, Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen was an extraordinary holy being even when he was young. Always seeking to benefit others, always sought after as a great teacher, a monk of incredible scholastic achievements and highly attained as well, how could such a great and compassionate being ever become a vengeful spirit?

    Again, the claim that the 5th Dalai Lama saw him as a vengeful spirit, is immediately rubbished by what the Dalai Lama actually did upon discovering that Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen had been murdered. He wrote a lovely praise and prayer for the daily propitiation of Dorje Shugden by everyone. How could a spirit ever be propitiated in this way by the Dalai Lama? He also hand made a statue to Dorje Shugden and built the Trode Khangsar Chapel dedicated to Dorje Shugden. It is in this Chapel that Dorje Shugden would be later enthroned :
    “His Holiness the 11th Dalai Lama, the Qing Amban(representative of the Qing Emperor), Reting Rinpoche, the Dorje Shugden oracle and various monks held a grand ceremony in the courtyard of Trode Khangsar, and the pandit’s hat was placed over its doors”.
    http://www.dorjeshugden.org/temples/trode-khangsar

    Finally, how could a spirit be worshipped as a central figure in this beautiful thangka that Matthew Kapstein came across in Mongolia? This thangka alone establishes, without doubt, that Tulku Drakpa Gyelsten is an enlightened being.

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this article which once again reminds us how ridiculous is the claim the Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen became a vengeful spirit.

  13. TsaTsa Ong on Dec 6, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    Very interesting article and findings about Mongolians believing the 5th Dalai Lama is someone else. It’s really discriminating and prejudice that other lamas in Tibetan Buddhist history where the wrong or mistaken candidate was enthroned for financial or political reasons, or because the name had associations with China. Hope history wont repeat itself for future incarnated Lamas. Thank you Rinpoche and writers for sharing such an interesting article ???

  14. Harold Musetescu on Dec 6, 2018 at 8:20 am

    The present day Tengyeling Oracle has stated publicly for years that Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen was the real 5th Dalai Lama. That his title was stolen by wealth noble families and corrupt government officials.

    The Oracle has stated that the next Chinese 15th Dalai Lama will be the reincarnation of Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen. That the Chinese 15th Dalai Lama will the help of the Panchen Lama will make Dorje Shugden the “Protector” of Tibet, the “State Oracle of Tibet” and finally he will make Dorje Shugden a YIDAM.

  15. Choong on Dec 5, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    The Fifth Dalai Lama himself was circumspect with regards to him being the incarnation of the Fourth Dalai Lama.

    In Chapter 5 of the book “Lhasa in the Seventeenth Century: The Capital of the Dalai Lamas”, page 69, in an article written for the book by Samten Karmay entitled “The Fifth Dalai Lama and His Reunification of Tibet”, Samten writes:

    He retained bitter memories of his childhood during which the philosophical and religious precepts relative to the notion of reincarnation served political purposes. In his writings he would often recall with irony the political manipulations of his own school, which involved the Mongols in all its affairs. Thus he wrote in his autobiography, the Dukula:

    Since there was a large Mongol army in the country and the Tibetan leaders were forced to yield much of their land to them, it became customary to recognize the sons of Mongol leaders as reincarnations. It was said that I too was one (even though I was not a Mongol)!

    As for his success at passing the traditional “tests”, he is equally straightforward: “The official Tsawa Kachu of Ganden Phodrang showed me statues and rosaries (that belonged to the Fourth Dalai Lama and other people), but I was unable to distinguish between them! When he left the room I heard him tell the people outside that I had successfully passed the tests. Later, when he became my tutor, he would often admonish me and say: ‘You must work hard, since you were unable to recognize the objects!

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  • astrogurutips
    Friday, Mar 5. 2021 08:11 PM
    Great article! Thank you so much for this decent article. I love the way you present your article. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.astrogurutips&hl=en
  • Samfoonheei
    Friday, Mar 5. 2021 04:19 PM
    In Mahayana Buddhism, a bodhisattva refers to anyone who has generated bodhicitta, a spontaneous wish and compassionate mind to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings. Bodhisattvas are common figures in Buddhist literature and art. They exist as guides and providers to help us following the teachings about generosity, patience, meditative balance, and insight into what is essential, so we can come to live in a way that benefits others. At the same time, we learn compassion for ourselves and see that we are not separate from the people we have imagined are estranged from us. Self and other heal together.
    Thank you for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/external-article/a-bodhisatta-is-a-being-devoted-to-enlightenment
  • Samfoonheei
    Friday, Mar 5. 2021 04:17 PM
    Thanks to Dr. Matthew William King who did a detail well research article regarding Dorje Shugden in Mongolia. Through his research he has confirmed that even long before H H Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche’s time, at least a century before, Dorje Shugden practice was already popularized in Lhasa. The practice of Dorje Shugden by the great lamas and many others had widely invoked the dharma Protector in Mongolia. Dr King’s research clearly demonstrates that Mongolia’s lamas had been promoting and encouraging the practice. Dorje Shugden was an established practice in the Sakya School for hundreds of years before Pabongka Rinpoche’s time. Hence Dorje Shugden definitely not a evil or spirits as claimed by the Tibetan leadership. Reading through this interesting article we could understand better how Mongolian lamas have been all along protecting and preserving not only the practice of Dorje Shugden, but also of Buddhism’s revival as a whole in modern-day Mongolia.
    THANK YOU for this interesting sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/how-mongolia-saved-dorje-shugden.html
  • sarassitham
    Friday, Mar 5. 2021 01:55 AM
    Very informative and interesting article, Sri Lanka offers everything that makes one escape a memorable one!. Being awarded a best tourist destinations with various fascinating attraction, ancient historic site from soulful Buddhist monasteries, temples to exotic and impeccable spots rarely explored. Thanks for the beautiful scenery photos sharing and hope to visit this beautiful Island and enjoy my stay.

    https://bit.ly/38aT3WI
  • sarassitham
    Wednesday, Mar 3. 2021 03:22 PM
    In the present-day many people suffers from eye problems .These disorders are usually overcome using powerful glasses and lenses, However using powerful glasses can worsen eye problems.

    This is really a great article for all of us. I am blessed to come across of these practice and teaching, hope to start soon and overcome my eye problem. Thank you so much for the sharing.

    https://bit.ly/3kMZiFu
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Mar 1. 2021 04:01 PM
    Interesting read with the discovery of various legends, texts by archaeologists thousands years ago. Historians and experts had investigated and found evidence of contact between humans and extra-terrestrial life very much earlier. Their findings theory seem that extra-terrestrials have visited Earth for millions of years. Since the age of the dinosaurs to ancient Egypt, from early cave drawings to continued mass sightings in the US. Historians had revealed that aliens have been with us all along. Encounters with strange beings and sightings of mysterious objects in the sky have been recorded. Such as Christopher Columbus’ first voyage to America witnessed strange lights in the sky and sightings of flying cigar-shaped crafts were reported during the Black Plague that struck Europe and Asia in the mid-1300s. There were many others historical evidence of early civilization that had close encounters with Aliens. Interesting read and to watch the video.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/kunkhyen-choku-ozer-master-of-the-kalachakra-guhyasamaja-tantras.html

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

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The Unknown

The Known and unknown are both feared,
Known is being comfortable and stagnant,
The unknown may be growth and opportunities,
One shall never know if one fears the unknown more than the known.
Who says the unknown would be worse than the known?
But then again, the unknown is sometimes worse than the known. In the end nothing is known unless we endeavour,
So go pursue all the way with the unknown,
because all unknown with familiarity becomes the known.
~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
1 year ago
According to legend, Shambhala is a place where wisdom and love reign, and there is no crime. Doesn't this sound like the kind of place all of us would love to live in? https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=204874
108 candles and sang (incense) offered at our Wish-Fulfilling Grotto, invoking Dorje Shugden\'s blessings for friends, sponsors and supporters, wonderful!
1 year ago
108 candles and sang (incense) offered at our Wish-Fulfilling Grotto, invoking Dorje Shugden's blessings for friends, sponsors and supporters, wonderful!
Dharmapalas are not exclusive to Tibetan culture and their practice is widespread throughout the Buddhist world - https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=193645
1 year ago
Dharmapalas are not exclusive to Tibetan culture and their practice is widespread throughout the Buddhist world - https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=193645
One of our adorable Kechara Forest Retreat\'s doggies, Tara, happy and safe, and enjoying herself in front of Wisdom Hall which has been decorated for Chinese New Year
1 year ago
One of our adorable Kechara Forest Retreat's doggies, Tara, happy and safe, and enjoying herself in front of Wisdom Hall which has been decorated for Chinese New Year
Fragrant organic Thai basil harvested from our very own Kechara Forest Retreat farm!
1 year ago
Fragrant organic Thai basil harvested from our very own Kechara Forest Retreat farm!
On behalf of our Puja House team, Pastor Tat Ming receives food and drinks from Rinpoche. Rinpoche wanted to make sure the hardworking Puja House team are always taken care of.
1 year ago
On behalf of our Puja House team, Pastor Tat Ming receives food and drinks from Rinpoche. Rinpoche wanted to make sure the hardworking Puja House team are always taken care of.
By the time I heard about Luang Phor Thong, he was already very old, in his late 80s. When I heard about him, I immediately wanted to go and pay my respects to him. - http://bit.ly/LuangPhorThong
1 year ago
By the time I heard about Luang Phor Thong, he was already very old, in his late 80s. When I heard about him, I immediately wanted to go and pay my respects to him. - http://bit.ly/LuangPhorThong
It\'s very nice to see volunteers helping maintain holy sites in Kechara Forest Retreat, it\'s very good for them. Cleaning Buddha statues is a very powerful and effective way of purifying body karma.
1 year ago
It's very nice to see volunteers helping maintain holy sites in Kechara Forest Retreat, it's very good for them. Cleaning Buddha statues is a very powerful and effective way of purifying body karma.
Kechara Forest Retreat is preparing for the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations. This is our holy Vajra Yogini stupa which is now surrounded by beautiful lanterns organised by our students.
1 year ago
Kechara Forest Retreat is preparing for the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations. This is our holy Vajra Yogini stupa which is now surrounded by beautiful lanterns organised by our students.
One of the most recent harvests from our Kechara Forest Retreat land. It was grown free of chemicals and pesticides, wonderful!
1 year ago
One of the most recent harvests from our Kechara Forest Retreat land. It was grown free of chemicals and pesticides, wonderful!
Third picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal.
Height: 33ft (10m)
2 yearss ago
Third picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal. Height: 33ft (10m)
Second picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal.
Height: 33ft (10m)
2 yearss ago
Second picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal. Height: 33ft (10m)
First picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal.
Height: 33ft (10m)
2 yearss ago
First picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal. Height: 33ft (10m)
The first title published by Kechara Comics is Karuna Finds A Way. It tells the tale of high-school sweethearts Karuna and Adam who had what some would call the dream life. Everything was going great for them until one day when reality came knocking on their door. Caught in a surprise swindle, this loving family who never harmed anyone found themselves out of luck and down on their fortune. Determined to save her family, Karuna goes all out to find a solution. See what she does- https://bit.ly/2LSKuWo
2 yearss ago
The first title published by Kechara Comics is Karuna Finds A Way. It tells the tale of high-school sweethearts Karuna and Adam who had what some would call the dream life. Everything was going great for them until one day when reality came knocking on their door. Caught in a surprise swindle, this loving family who never harmed anyone found themselves out of luck and down on their fortune. Determined to save her family, Karuna goes all out to find a solution. See what she does- https://bit.ly/2LSKuWo
Very powerful story! Tibetan Resistance group Chushi Gangdruk reveals how Dalai Lama escaped in 1959- https://bit.ly/2S9VMGX
2 yearss ago
Very powerful story! Tibetan Resistance group Chushi Gangdruk reveals how Dalai Lama escaped in 1959- https://bit.ly/2S9VMGX
At Kechara Forest Retreat land we have nice fresh spinach growing free of chemicals and pesticides. Yes!
2 yearss ago
At Kechara Forest Retreat land we have nice fresh spinach growing free of chemicals and pesticides. Yes!
See beautiful pictures of Manjushri Guest House here- https://bit.ly/2WGo0ti
2 yearss ago
See beautiful pictures of Manjushri Guest House here- https://bit.ly/2WGo0ti
Beginner’s Introduction to Dorje Shugden~Very good overview https://bit.ly/2QQNfYv
2 yearss ago
Beginner’s Introduction to Dorje Shugden~Very good overview https://bit.ly/2QQNfYv
Fresh eggplants grown on Kechara Forest Retreat\'s land here in Malaysia
2 yearss ago
Fresh eggplants grown on Kechara Forest Retreat's land here in Malaysia
Most Venerable Uppalavanna – The Chief Female Disciple of Buddha Shakyamuni - She exhibited many supernatural abilities gained from meditation and proved to the world females and males are equal in spirituality- https://bit.ly/31d9Rat
2 yearss ago
Most Venerable Uppalavanna – The Chief Female Disciple of Buddha Shakyamuni - She exhibited many supernatural abilities gained from meditation and proved to the world females and males are equal in spirituality- https://bit.ly/31d9Rat
Thailand’s ‘Renegade’ Yet Powerful Buddhist Nuns~ https://bit.ly/2Z1C02m
2 yearss ago
Thailand’s ‘Renegade’ Yet Powerful Buddhist Nuns~ https://bit.ly/2Z1C02m
Mahapajapati Gotami – the first Buddhist nun ordained by Lord Buddha- https://bit.ly/2IjD8ru
2 yearss ago
Mahapajapati Gotami – the first Buddhist nun ordained by Lord Buddha- https://bit.ly/2IjD8ru
The Largest Buddha Shakyamuni in Russia | 俄罗斯最大的释迦牟尼佛画像- https://bit.ly/2Wpclni
2 yearss ago
The Largest Buddha Shakyamuni in Russia | 俄罗斯最大的释迦牟尼佛画像- https://bit.ly/2Wpclni
Sacred Vajra Yogini
2 yearss ago
Sacred Vajra Yogini
Dorje Shugden works & archives - a labour of commitment - https://bit.ly/30Tp2p8
2 yearss ago
Dorje Shugden works & archives - a labour of commitment - https://bit.ly/30Tp2p8
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha.
2 yearss ago
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha.
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha. She was his step-mother and aunt. Buddha\'s mother had passed away at his birth so he was raised by Gotami.
2 yearss ago
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha. She was his step-mother and aunt. Buddha's mother had passed away at his birth so he was raised by Gotami.
Another nun disciple of Lord Buddha\'s. She had achieved great spiritual abilities and high attainments. She would be a proper object of refuge. This image of the eminent bhikkhuni (nun) disciple of the Buddha, Uppalavanna Theri.
2 yearss ago
Another nun disciple of Lord Buddha's. She had achieved great spiritual abilities and high attainments. She would be a proper object of refuge. This image of the eminent bhikkhuni (nun) disciple of the Buddha, Uppalavanna Theri.
Wandering Ascetic Painting by Nirdesha Munasinghe
2 yearss ago
Wandering Ascetic Painting by Nirdesha Munasinghe
High Sri Lankan monks visit Kechara to bless our land, temple, Buddha and Dorje Shugden images. They were very kind-see pictures- https://bit.ly/2HQie2M
2 yearss ago
High Sri Lankan monks visit Kechara to bless our land, temple, Buddha and Dorje Shugden images. They were very kind-see pictures- https://bit.ly/2HQie2M
This is pretty amazing!

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

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


Ask the Pastors

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

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

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

  • March 6, 2021 15:04
    asked:
    No reply yet
  • March 4, 2021 22:52
    Sandra asked: Respected pastors, Can a lay person work towards the preliminary practices by accumulating daily ? Many thanks.
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Yes, of course. Anyone can engage in the preliminary practices, you don't have to be ordained in order to do so. However for one's practice to be considered a full preliminary practice, you need to do 100,000 repetitions of whichever practice you are engaged in without break. That means you must engage in at least one session a day, until the count is completed. 10% of the count is also added on top, to make up for any unintentional mistakes. So the figure would actually be 110,000. If you skip a day, that means you have broken your preliminary retreat. If this occurs you can still dedicate the practice you have done so far, and you will still benefit from the merit generated and the purification of negative karma from the practice, but it is not counted as a full preliminary practice. Also you must adhere to the retreat procedures for the duration of the time it takes you to complete the particular preliminary practice. For example, an altar with daily offerings, retreat seat with swastika, refraining from eating black foods, etc. This may not be convenient for most people in our day and age. So what you can do is to spend a certain amount of time accumulating a specific figure, for example 10,000 repetitions of a particular practice. Seal the practice at the end with a strong dedication, like the King of Prayers. Later on, you can repeat the procedure more times until you complete 100,000. This method was given by H.E. Tsem Rinpoche for modern-day practitioners who do not have the time to complete 100,000 in one go. While it technically does not constitute a full preliminary retreat, you still gain immense merits and purification from engaging in the practice, even if spaced out. As Rinpoche said, it's better for you to do mini preliminary retreats than not doing any of the preliminary practices whatsoever. That being said, if you do have the ability to do a full preliminary retreat and it will not negatively impact you, such as create financial difficulties or strain familial relationships, then of course go ahead! To have the sincere wish to engage in any Dharma practice is wonderful. You can read more about the individual preliminary practices here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/preliminary-practice.html You can watch a short teaching on the preliminary practices by H.E. Tsem Rinpoche here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/cosmic-tantra.html
  • March 3, 2021 04:13
    Sandra asked: Dear respected pastors, what are dreams? Do dreams have significance? Are they simply images the mind views at night - do they resemble the dreamer's state of mind? Thank you for all your replies :) :)
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Hello. Nice to see you back here. On the normal level, both waking and dream states are both marred by our delusions. The teachings tell us that this deluded state continues through all our experiences, whether during the dreaming or waking states. The way to overcome this is to "wake up" from our delusions, or reach enlightenment. Normally when people think of dreams, they do so in psychological terms and so focus on the content of the dream. When we investigate the nature of the dream itself, we begin to investigate something deeper, the processes that underlies the whole of our existence. Understand this propels you further along the spiritual journey towards enlightenment. We have many dreams during one night of sleep, and may or may not consciously remember then when we wake up. In terms of content, dreams can be used to work through psychological issues or can indicate certain issues and overcoming them (as is common within Western psychological practices). In Tibetan Buddhism, dreams can be used for much more. In the advanced practices, one can transform ordinary dreams to further one's spiritual journey. This is not only in terms of working through psychological issues, but in terms of meditation and practice as well. Generally, there are three types of dreams as described below. Most of us only experience the first type, unless we progress on the spiritual path. 1. Samsaric dreams: these arise from karma and karmic traces in the mind. This can also include emotions, memories, etc. The meaning we find in these dreams are imputed by the dreamer, and not inherent in the dream. This also applies to waking life. We impute meaning onto situations and circumstances, rather than the meaning being inherent to the circumstance. It is like reading a book. Words in the book are just marks on paper, however, because we use our sense of meaning, we take a meaning out of it. However, this is always open to interpretation. For example, if you tell your dream to two people, they can interpret the meaning very differently, even though you told them the exact same details. 2. Clarity dreams: These dreams occur when you are fairly progressed in meditational practices and can carry this into the dream state. These dreams arise not from the emotions, or memories, etc., but from more subtler forms of karma and delusions. However, just like in waking mediational practice, you are not affected by the images or thoughts that appear to you. 3. Clear Light dreams: In the advanced tantric practices, there are teachings called dream yoga. The object of these is to achieve the clear light dreams, which are very difficult to achieve and take years and years of intense practice. The most important clear light mind that arises is actually at the time of our death, if we are trained enough in this very subtle state, we can actually control where we take rebirth. If we are more experienced in this state, then we can actually use it to meditate on the teachings and achieve enlightenment. Clear light dreams are a "lesser" type of clear light mind, that helps practitioners prepare for the time of death. When we have an auspicious dream such as of our teacher, our practice, the Buddhas, etc., even though this is auspicious, it is still more than likely to be just a samsaric dream. There are instances however, when the enlightened beings and Dharma protectors will send practitioners dreams to help with their practice or as methods of divination. Tsem Rinpoche once told us of a very powerful Nyingma lama known for his divination abilities. Students would ask him a question, then he would take a nap, and receive divination advice in this dreams, which he would then relay to his students. This lama was well-known for this ability because his dream divinations were extremely accurate. As I am sure you can tell, the scope of dreams with the Buddhist context is very vast and I will not be able to cover everything here. However, I hope that what I have written helps your understanding. Thank you.
  • March 1, 2021 23:37
    Sandra asked: Hello dear pastors, wish we could have an article like the one below to highlight the auspicious days of 2021. https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/auspicious-days.html
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Thank you for your suggestion. At the moment, there are no plans to publish another article with 2021 dates. But I have listed out some of the auspicious days and their dates for this year for you. I have only included future dates, not those that have already passed. Saga Dawa Duchen - 26th May 2021 Chokhor Duchen - 14th July 2021 Dorje Shugden Day - 24th August 2021 Lhabab Duchen - 27th October 2021 Gaden Ngamchoe or Tsongkhapa Day - 29th December 2021 I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • February 27, 2021 03:31
    Sandra asked: Respected pastors, Is it ok to pray from different areas in the house (even where there is no altar)? I was told you can't create 2 altars in 1 house.
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Thank you for your question and its nice to see you here again. The reason why we pray in front of our altars is because it becomes a focal point of the enlightened energies we are invoking. Therefore it becomes a kind of portal for the energies of transformation, peace, healing, prosperity and protection. It is also the place where we make offerings to the Buddhas. As such, most people usually only have 1 altar in their home. However, you can have more than 1 altar in your home. As it is an altar, it should be complete with representations of the body, speech and mind of the Buddhas. This would be an image (either a statue, thangka, tsa tsa, poster, framed picture, etc), a Dharma text and a stupa. In front of these, you should have at least 1 type of offering or more. This can be a fixed offering or maybe even a set of water offerings, which you make every day. Since practitioners make offerings on a daily basis, most opt to have only 1 altar, but there is no rule in Buddhism to say you can only have 1 altar. The altar however, should be placed in a respectful place. So, not in the bathroom. Or if in the bedroom, you should put a screen up to block it when you are changing, sleeping, etc. Alternatively, you can keep it in a cupboard, and close the doors during such activities. But altars should be dedicated places to the Buddhas, so don't put secular items in the same place, such as on the same shelf, etc. When it comes to praying, it is usually done in front of the altar, as you are invoking the enlightened beings. When you do your prayers there it becomes a powerful place in your home, and provides you with a sacred space to pray and meditate. However, if circumstances are difficult, then of course you can pray elsewhere. For example, when I first set up an altar, I was living in a single room with not much space. I set up an altar on a shelf but was not able to pray in front of it. Once I had made offerings, I would simply sit in another part of the room and do the prayers there. If it is really not convenient, then of course it is permissible to do the prayers elsewhere. It is better to do the prayers, than not do them at all if you can't be in front of your altar. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • February 25, 2021 01:33
    Kuenzang wangdi asked: What would be my most suitable colour ?
    pastor answered: Dear Kuenzang Wangdi, Thank you for your question. The following calculators may be of interest to you: Chinese Zodiac: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/horoscopes/the-chinese-zodiac.html Tibetan Astrology: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/tibetan-astrology/tibetan-astrology.html In relation to which colour if most favourable for you, unfortunately our calculators do not give this information. However, from a Buddhist practice viewpoint, what is more important is the transformation of the mind. Once we transform our minds according to teachings, we are able to overcome any obstacle and create good conditions for our lives. You can learn a very short mind transformation teaching here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/eight-verses-of-thought-transformation.html You can couple this with formal practice. If you are interested, a very good practice to bring energies of increase and generate a long life, merits, wealth and prosperity in your life, is the the practice of Gyenze. You can find information about the practice here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/prayers-and-sadhanas/dorje-shugden-gyenze-to-increase-life-merits-and-wealth.html. I hope this helps. Thanks.
  • February 22, 2021 22:14
    Naseer asked: Hi My name is Naseer Ahmed 8th dec 1979. Life path 1 Im looking to add to my name slightly... change it too... Naseer Al Ahmed... Would this be more complimentary as far as for the business front... or would it not make any difference
    pastor answered: Hello Naseer, As per your question, your Life Path Number is 1. The Life Path Number according to the system of numerology used on our website is calculated using your date of birth. Therefore, a change in name will not affect your Life Path Number. Some of the other calculators on the same page do however use your name. One of the smaller calculators you may be interested in is the Achievement Number, but again, this only uses your date of birth for the calculation. You can find it here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/numerology/numerology-calculator.html You may also be interested in two of our other pages: Chinese Zodiac - https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/horoscopes/the-chinese-zodiac.html Tibetan Astrology - https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/tibetan-astrology/tibetan-astrology.html Thank you for your question. I hope this helps.
  • February 20, 2021 18:36
    Sandra asked: After making a food offering to the three jewels (which we will eat for lunch etc), should we think of it as a blessing and partake?
    pastor answered: Hello Sandra, When making food offerings to the Three Jewels, which you eat yourself, when you recite the prayer and make the offering, you should visualise that the Buddhas receive your food offering and because you have made an offering, they are very pleased. It also fulfills one of the Refuge commitments, which is to offer the first portion of whatever we eat and drink to the Three Jewels, while remembering their kindness. You can then partake of the meal and consider it a blessing from the Three Jewels. Alternatively, you can set out a plate (which you reserve for this purpose) of food, which you can offer on your altar. Similarly, once the food has been left on your altar for a while, you can later remove it and consume it as a blessing. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • February 19, 2021 04:33
    Sandra asked: Is intovertedness a bad quality? Since Buddha is so altruistic and this is the opposite trait, it must be bad. How do you think one should lessen introverted tendencies?
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Introvertedness is not a bad quality. Altruism and compassion are different from being an introvert or extrovert. Introverts are generally quieter people, less expressive of their emotions, while extroverts are the opposite. Buddhist practice is not about expression of emotion. Rather the altruistic and compassionate teachings are more about how you help other people and sentient beings, physically or emotionally. If the qualities of introverted-ness are stopping you from developing these, then they need to change. But this may not be necessary, depending on the qualities that you are talking about. You can do simple meditations to building up the energy of compassion in your mindstream and you will see that you actions will automatically start to be more compassionate and altruistic. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • February 18, 2021 03:28
    Sandra asked: How should one behave when negative karma is being purified? How can we know if bad karma is being purified? Do we accumulate positive karma simultaneously when doing purification practices? Many thanks for your response.
    pastor answered: Hello again Sandra, There are two ways in which karma can be purified, the first is through our own efforts alone and the second is through our own effort, combined with a purification practice. Through our own efforts: this means that you transform your mind enough to not react negatively in any situation and only react in a positive manner. For example, you may have the karma to get angry. So you get into situations which makes you angry. If you react normally, then you will get angry again, this will only lead you to create more karma of being angry. But if you make the effort not to get angry in those situations then you do not create or multiply that karma. The original karma you have may lead you to be in those types of situations again, but if you do not get angry then after a while you start to purify that karma. Through your own efforts, combined with a purification practice: as you are working on transforming your mind, you can rely on the practices that help you to purify your karma, such as the practice of Vajrasattva or the 35 Confessional Buddhas. This boosts your ability to purify negative karma, based on the enlightened energies of the Buddhas. This however is only truly effective when combined with the Four Opponent Powers. You can read more about that here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/the-35-confessional-buddhas.html In general, when karma is being purified then you should remain level-headed and not act out of emotion or habit, but from your understanding of the workings of karma and the Dharma. But actually, this should not only be when karma is being purified. You should act and behave in this way all the time according to the Dharma, then you are, up to a point, always purifying karma. It is one of the reasons that so much emphasis is placed on refraining from negative actions and engaging in positive actions using your body, speech and mind, because these are the three means or 'doors' with which you interact with the world. At our level, we cannot tell if karma is being purified or not, only those who are more highly attained can tell. However, that is one of the reasons the Buddhist texts advise study of and belief in karma. If there is karma, then it can be purified, and the way to do so is transform your mind and invoke upon the enlightened beings. So if you are doing both, you can rest assured that you are in fact purifying your karma. When you purify negative karma, whether just through your own efforts or combined with a purification practice you collect merit, not positive karma. If you simply do a good action, you collect good karma. But if you are practicing the Dharma with the intention of achieving enlightenment, you take refuge, engage in the practice, and dedicate at the end, then you develop merit, not positive karma. If you want to read more about how karma works and how to purify it in more detail, I suggest you read a Lamrim text such as Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand, which you can order from your local bookstore or get online here (https://www.vajrasecrets.com/lamrim-liberation-in-the-palm-of-your-hand).
  • February 17, 2021 23:06
    Sandra asked: Hello pastors, thank you for your response to my earlier question. Do divination predictions change frequently? Why does that happen?
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Thank you for your question. Divinations, compared to astrological predictions, are much more accurate. There are many types of divination, but those based on the practice of enlightened beings are very accurate. Three of the most well-known in Tibetan Buddhism are the divination practices of Manjushri, Palden Lhamo and Dorje Shugden. You can read more about Dorje Shugden's dice divination here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/dorje-shugdens-dice-divination.html Questions that are asked during divinations are much more specific than the types of topics that astrological predictions can help with, therefore are based on very specific types of karma. This means that if you asked a divination question twice, without taking remedial actions in between, then the answer would most likely be the same, given that all the prerequisites have been held by the diviner and the divinations are genuine. However, if a divination is done and then remedial actions recommended, such as various practices or pujas, and these are done to the letter, then if the question is asked again, then the results would differ. This is because when engaging in these practices or pujas, either you generate the merit necessary to overpower the negative effects of the karma, or you purify the negative effects of the karma creating the situation. This however, is generally not done. You wouldn't ask the same question twice or over and over again. The reason for this is because one of the factors that comes into play when seeking divination is faith. This is faith in the fact that the remedial actions recommended will help whatever situation you are facing. Having seen H.E. Tsem Rinpoche do countless divinations for people, I can attest to this. Those who have faith and follow through with the advice, see a great improvement in the situation that led them to ask the divination question in the first place. Those that did not follow the advice either at all or not fully, did not see any improvement. And this makes sense, because they did not purify the effects of the karma enough, or generate enough merit. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • February 15, 2021 04:09
    sandra asked: How much importance should we give to astrological predictions or chart readings? Are these readings susceptible to change all the time,i.e, in the context of planetary movements? Can our own effort/actions supercede what is predicted in our birth chart?
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Thank you for your interesting question. You are absolutely correct about the universal principle of change. According to Buddhist practice, astrological predictions are based upon a fixed point in time. Take for example, your moment of birth, which most astrological readings take as the main point of reference. At that specific moment, there would have been various energies or planetary alignments, etc. Combined together, they are said to give an accurate prediction of what will occur to a person throughout their life. This however, is based on one's birth karma, to be born at that specific point in time and location. This birth karma also provides the driving force behind what will occur in a person's life, if that karma is not changed somehow. Hence, that is why astrological predictions can give very accurate readings on someone's personality, as well as life events. Birth karma provides the main force behind all other karma to come into play. That is why it is given importance in astrology. There are also more advanced methods to take into account planetary and energetical movements to give even more detailed and precise predictions that can even be made down to the month, day or hour of a person's life. In Buddhism, however, we believe that karma can be changed. It can multiply, be purified or exhausted, or the effects of that karma can be overpowered by another karma or spiritual merit. In these cases, the outcome will change. The way in which this happens is varied. It can be as simple as doing some prayers (to generate spiritual merit) or changing your behaviour, environment or location, the way you think, and the ways in which you react in various situations. That is why in Buddhist astrological systems, emphasis is placed on remedial measures to counteract negative outcomes. For example, someone may be born with an angry disposition from an astrological point of view. If this person goes through life acting from this anger, then the predictions based on the time of birth will occur. However, a remedial action can be undertaken, such as the person pracitising Chenrezig, who is the Buddha of compassion, or the person doing some form of charity work. These remedial actions generate compassion in the mind of the person, which counteracts the anger. As this happens and the karma is changed, then the person no longer needs to feels the negative effects of any bad astrological (or more correctly - karmic) situations. There are even some practices that specifically help to counteract negative astrological influences and help you to change things. Such an example is Black Manjushri. Within Tibetan Buddhism, according to your time and date of birth, you also have what is known as a 'Birth Buddha'. This is basically an enlightened being that you have an affinity with in this life. General remedial actions include making images of this particular Buddha or engaging in this Buddha's practice. This combined with a change in how we live - otherwise known as Mind Transformation in the Buddhist context - changes astrological outcomes. However, if we continue living without controlling our actions, words and thoughts, the predictions made using astrological readings will most likely still occur. I hope this explanation helps. Thank you.
  • February 7, 2021 00:16
    Purna Tamang asked: What is my lucky number and color ?
    pastor answered: Dear Purna Tamang, Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, none our horoscope apps on this page gives this information at this moment. However, you may find some of the other information provided useful. Below are the links: For Chinese Zodiac: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/horoscopes/the-chinese-zodiac.html For Tibetan astrology: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/tibetan-astrology/tibetan-astrology.html For Numerology: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/numerology/numerology-calculator.html For Fortune cookies: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/fortune-cookie Thank you and I hope you find something interesting in one of the apps.
  • January 20, 2021 03:32
    Sangita. asked: i want to buy my own house.which mantra i should chant to have my own house.kindly reply.
    pastor answered: Dear Sangita, Thank you for your question. Everything in our lives, whether good or bad is due to our karma. This is karma we have accumulated either in previous lives or earlier on in this life. You can learn more about this here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/discovering-yourself-a-teaching-on-karma-mindstream.html Sometimes, we go through obstacles or need some form of spiritual help to assist us in improving our situations. In these circumstances we can rely on the practice of certain deities. One of these deities is the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden. You can read more about this deity and his practice here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/beginners-introduction-to-dorje-shugden.html You can learn more about Dorje Shugden's practice here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/dorje-shugden-teaching-videos.html. I hope this helps. Thank you.
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6 months ago
Kechara Earth Project 13/9/2020
Thank you Domino's Pizza Malaysia, Kasih & Piza campaign for sponsoring 85 boxes of pizza to our friends who live on the streets. Your flavourful pizzas have put a smile on their faces. Thank you! - Vivan @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #KasihdanPiza #ItsAllAboutYou
6 months ago
Thank you Domino's Pizza Malaysia, Kasih & Piza campaign for sponsoring 85 boxes of pizza to our friends who live on the streets. Your flavourful pizzas have put a smile on their faces. Thank you! - Vivan @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #KasihdanPiza #ItsAllAboutYou
Thank you Novo Nordisk! Your kind monetary donation and 1,320 boxes of masks will benefit many needy families under the Kechara Food Bank Program. Thank you! Much love from the needy families  ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #novonordisk #novonordiskmalaysia
6 months ago
Thank you Novo Nordisk! Your kind monetary donation and 1,320 boxes of masks will benefit many needy families under the Kechara Food Bank Program. Thank you! Much love from the needy families ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #novonordisk #novonordiskmalaysia
We were graced with the presence of Tengku Zatashah & The Alice Smith School Foundation yesterday. 130 homeless were blessed to be served by them. RM 20,000 donated by Alice Smith School Foundation will benefit 100 families registered under Kechara Food Bank Program. Thank you! Much love from the needy families ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #alicesmithschoolfoundation #alicesmithschool #volunteerism #homeless
6 months ago
We were graced with the presence of Tengku Zatashah & The Alice Smith School Foundation yesterday. 130 homeless were blessed to be served by them. RM 20,000 donated by Alice Smith School Foundation will benefit 100 families registered under Kechara Food Bank Program. Thank you! Much love from the needy families ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #alicesmithschoolfoundation #alicesmithschool #volunteerism #homeless
Thanks to the effort of our outstation team, we were able to mobilise food provisions to 600 families living in Kelantan, Penang, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor during the Raya period with each of these families receiving RM200 worth of provisions. Adding onto the current 368 families in Klang Valley, a total of 968 families were benefitted from this. Special thanks to the sponsors who have contributed especially Hong Leong Foundation and partially from Tesco Malaysia (where we also ordered the provisions from). ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
8 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
9 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
9 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
9 months ago
More photos taken from our "Hari Raya Hampers" distribution this week. Making sure everyone of our clients have something to be cheerful about. Apart from food, daily used items such as hygiene products, kitchen utensils, assorted fabric items, stationary items and toys were also included into our hamper bags making it extra heavier this month! Food items alone were about 35kg per family! Taking this opportunity to wish everyone of our Muslim volunteers, friends, supporters and clients a Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Maaf Zahir Batin. No doubt this year's celebration will be very different but appreciate everyone is safe and protected from the pandemic. We are in this together and let's work to fight this pandemic together! Thanking all sponsors and donors for the generous support enabling us to continue serve the needy with food, love and care. Big shoutout too to our wonderful team which already depleted by our very own strict SOP. All of you who worked tirelessly behind the s
Our team have been working extra hours for the past few weeks to deliver provisions and hamper goodies to the needy families before Hari Raya! Heart warming to see the smiling faces of our recipients upon receiving 3 bags full of food and daily used items. Thanks to everyone of you who have contributed to our foodbank enabling us to give all our recipients (especially those celebrating) a Raya to remember! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
9 months ago
Our team have been working extra hours for the past few weeks to deliver provisions and hamper goodies to the needy families before Hari Raya! Heart warming to see the smiling faces of our recipients upon receiving 3 bags full of food and daily used items. Thanks to everyone of you who have contributed to our foodbank enabling us to give all our recipients (especially those celebrating) a Raya to remember! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Thankful to all donors and those who have been committed in contributing not just money but time over the past testing weeks to help us ease the work of our frontliners and also the livelihood of the needy, their struggles over this pandemic period seemed a little easier to bear with because of your contributions! - Vivian @Kechara Soup Kitchen
9 months ago
Thankful to all donors and those who have been committed in contributing not just money but time over the past testing weeks to help us ease the work of our frontliners and also the livelihood of the needy, their struggles over this pandemic period seemed a little easier to bear with because of your contributions! - Vivian @Kechara Soup Kitchen
KSDS Level 2 virtual class, Lin Mun KSDS
10 months ago
KSDS Level 2 virtual class, Lin Mun KSDS
KSDS Level 3 virtual class. Lin Mun KSDS
10 months ago
KSDS Level 3 virtual class. Lin Mun KSDS
Wesak 2020
10 months ago
Wesak 2020
Recycle today for a better tomorrow. KEP-Serena
12 months ago
Recycle today for a better tomorrow. KEP-Serena
Today we are having recycling at Kechara Soup Kitchen. Do drop by here if you would like to get ride of the recyclable items from home. KEP - Serena
12 months ago
Today we are having recycling at Kechara Soup Kitchen. Do drop by here if you would like to get ride of the recyclable items from home. KEP - Serena
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Seen here is Bam, Vajrayogini’s seed syllable and also Kechara's logo. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Seen here is Bam, Vajrayogini’s seed syllable and also Kechara's logo. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: More melted butter was offered. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: More melted butter was offered. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
H.E. Zawa Rinpoche in deep concentration. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
H.E. Zawa Rinpoche in deep concentration. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Geshela is seen here wearing ceremonial hat called tsoksha. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Geshela is seen here wearing ceremonial hat called tsoksha. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
The Shize Fire Puja was performed according to scriptural sources. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
The Shize Fire Puja was performed according to scriptural sources. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
To find out more about the substances offered during jinsek/fire puja, have a read here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
To find out more about the substances offered during jinsek/fire puja, have a read here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
More about the symbolism of the offering items here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
More about the symbolism of the offering items here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Amongst all pujas, the fire puja is considered the king of all Pujas. It is the most powerful of all pujas within Tibetan Buddhism and its purpose is basically to remove all obstacles and its stains to enlightenment.
12 months ago
Amongst all pujas, the fire puja is considered the king of all Pujas. It is the most powerful of all pujas within Tibetan Buddhism and its purpose is basically to remove all obstacles and its stains to enlightenment.
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Graceful hand mudras were also part of the ritual. - shared Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Graceful hand mudras were also part of the ritual. - shared Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: One by one the offering substances were offered accompanied by traditional Tibetan recitations. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: One by one the offering substances were offered accompanied by traditional Tibetan recitations. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: JP Thong ensuring that Geshela's ritual items are within easy reach. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: JP Thong ensuring that Geshela's ritual items are within easy reach. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Pastor David Lai & Frederick Law were also on hand to assist with the puja ritual substances. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Pastor David Lai & Frederick Law were also on hand to assist with the puja ritual substances. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Pastor Niral Patel assisting H.E. Zawa Rinpoche during the puja. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Pastor Niral Patel assisting H.E. Zawa Rinpoche during the puja. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Peaceful fire pujas are excellent to remove inauspiciousness, problems that might be coming to our lifespan, wisdom, wealth, growth of Dharma. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Peaceful fire pujas are excellent to remove inauspiciousness, problems that might be coming to our lifespan, wisdom, wealth, growth of Dharma. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
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