Sonam Chopel

Apr 22, 2018 | Views: 309
Sonam Chopel

Sonam Chopel. Image credit: Treasury of Lives

བསོད་ནམས་ཆོས་འཕེལ།

b1595 – d.1658

Tradition: Geluk དགེ་ལུགས།
Geography: Lhasa ལྷ་ས།
Historical Period: 17th Century ༡༧ དུས་རབས།
Institution: Sera Monastery སེ་ར།; Drepung Monastery འབྲས་སྤུངས་།; Jonang Monastery ཇོ་ནང་།; Reting Monastery རྭ་སྒྲེང་།; Chokhor Gyel ཆོས་འཁོར་རྒྱལ།; Dzingchi རྫིང་ཕྱི་ཆོས་སྡེ།; Potala པོ་ཏ་ལ།; Zamkhar ཟམ་མཁར།; Dongkar Dzong གདོང་དཀར་རྫོང་།
Government Officers: Depa སྡེ་པ།
Name Variants: Awu; Chakdzo Sonam Chopel ཕྱག་མཛོད་བསོད་ནམས་ཆོས་འཕེལ།; Desi Sonam Chopel སྡེ་སྲིད་བསོད་ནམས་ཆོས་འཕེལ།; Gyale Chondze; Gyalo Chodze Sonam Chopel རྒྱ་ལོ་ཆོས་མཛད་བསོད་ནམས་ཆོས་འཕེལ།; Sonam Rabten བསོད་ནམས་རབ་བརྟན།; Zhelngo Sonam Rabten ཞལ་ངོ་བསོད་ནམས་རབ་བརྟན།

Sonam Chopel (bsod nams chos ‘phel) was born in 1595 at Gyale (rgya le) in Tibet’s Tolung (stod lung) valley to the west of Lhasa. (Zuiho Yamaguchi suggests that he was born in 1583 instead.) By 1603, when he was eight, he was enrolled at the great Geluk monastery of Drepung (‘bras spungs) just outside Lhasa. At the monastery he was called Gyale Chodze (chos mdzad), or Chodze from Gyale. The term signifies ‘Monk-sponsor,’ one whose family makes substantial donations to the monastery, thus exempting him from the menial duties of ordinary monks. Therefore he probably came from a prosperous family. He started off as a monk-administrator (las sne) of Ganden Podrang (dga’ ldan pho brang), the early Dalai Lamas’ residence at Drepung Monastery. He is first mentioned in the biography of the Fourth Dalai Lama Yonten Gyatso (tA la’I bla ma 04 yon tan rgya mtsho, 1589-1617) as a Ganden Podrang Chodze, at the age of eight, and listed among the welcoming party to greet the Fourth Dalai Lama when he arrived in Lhasa from Mongolia in 1603.

He first rose to prominence in 1613 as Principal Attendant (phyag mdzod) of the Fourth Dalai Lama and Treasurer (mdzod pa), i.e. the senior official of Ganden Podrang and thus by the time he was about twenty he had become one of the top administrators in the Geluk order.

Just after the Fourth Dalai Lama’s death, early in 1617, Sonam Chopel met the Fourth Panchen Lama Lobzang Chokyi Gyeltsen (pan chen bla ma 04 blo bzang chos kyi rgyal mtshan, 1570-1662) who was going to Ngari (mnga’ ris); he had to pass through Shigatse (gzhi ka rtse) and Sonam Chopel, concerned about the opposing power of Tsang (gtsang) being a threat to his safety on the way, tried to dissuade him. The Panchen Lama mentioned a Nyingma prophecy that Mongolians would invade Tibet and suggested that the late, once-powerful Fourth Dalai Lama would have been able to prevent it. He still hoped for peace and before leaving he exhorted Sonam Chopel to work for peace.

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Thangka of the Fourth Dalai Lama, Yonten Gyatso. Click to enlarge. Image credit: himalayanart.org

But peace was not to be. Due to historical political rivalry between leaders of U and Tsang, the sudden death at twenty-eight of the Fourth Dalai Lama, who, being of royal Mongolian birth, was championed by the Mongols, emboldened the fifth king of Tsang, Karma Puntsok Namgyel (karma phun tshogs rnam rgyal, 1587-1621) to attack and capture U by early 1618 when Sonam Chopel was just twenty-two. His forces plundered and wrecked Lhasa’s Geluk monasteries, particularly Drepung, killing hundreds of monks and forcing the rest to flee for their lives to the north. Many civilians were also slaughtered; all the local, Geluk-sympathetic Kyisho (skyid shod) nobility’s estates were captured; the Lhasa valley governor and his son had to flee to Tsokha (mtsho kha) and many Geluk monasteries were forcibly converted into Kagyu institutions. When the Tsang regime crowned the Tenth Karmapa as spiritual leader of all Tibet later that year, religious consolidation under the leadership of the Karma Kagyu order together with suppression of the Geluk became established Tsang policy.

As part of a resolution negotiated by Taklung Choje Ngawang Namgyel (stag lung chos rje ngag dbang rnam rgyal, 1571-1626), Treasurer Sonam Chopel had to arrange ransom of 300 gold coins for the return of the sacked monasteries of Drepung and Sera (se ra), 200 for Drepung and 100 for Sera, and deliver them under escort to Tsang, to the west of Lhasa. Since both monasteries’ funds had been exhausted, Sonam Chopel offered to collect the gold from the previous Dalai Lamas’ secret reserve at Chokhor Gyel (chos ‘khor rgyal). This monastery was a few days journey east but after leaving Lhasa for Chokhor Gyel Sonam Chopel evaded his Tsangpa escort and fled to the north.

 

Discovery of the Fifth Dalai Lama

Upon the early death of the Fourth Dalai Lama in 1617, the Tsang king placed a ban on the search for his reincarnation and prepared to invade and capture U. He bore a grudge against the Fourth Dalai Lama, who, he thought, had not only snubbed him but also cursed him and made him chronically ill. He therefore actively opposed the Geluk and he knew that the elimination of their most popular and important lama would have drastically weakened them. Sonam Chopel, however, being the late Fourth Dalai Lama’s Principal Attendant, secretly mounted a search. In 1619 he and his team, after covertly consulting oracles for clues, identified a strong candidate, a boy called Kunga Mingyur (kun dga mi ‘gyur), born late in 1617 at Chonggye (phyong rgyas) in the Yarlung Valley (yar lung). Then, faced with active hostility from the King of Tsang, Sonam Chopel secretly traveled to Kokonor to seek support from Mongol leaders there.

By 1620, tension was building up again in Lhasa. After their 1618 invasion, Tsang forces had established military bases to blockade Drepung and Sera monasteries and control the city. In 1619, following Sonam Chopel’s secret trip to Kokonor, Mongol soldiers expelled in 1605 started returning as pilgrims and camping outside Lhasa.

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Holy statue of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. Click to enlarge.

In 1621 or thereabouts, the Tsang King Karma Puntsok Namgyel died after invading Ladakh and U. Modern Bhutan was just being founded at this time by the Tibetan lama Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel (P509 zhabs drung ngag dbang rnam rgyal, 1594-1651) of the Drukpa Kagyu tradition; he had fled there from Tsang in 1616 to avoid arrest by the Tsang King, who had opposed and rejected his claim of being the incarnation of the Fourth Drukchen, Padma Karpo (P825, ‘brug chen pad+ma dkar po, 1527-1592). In exile, the Zhabdrung had been welcomed by the Drukpa Kagyu community in the western valleys of Thimpu (thim pu) and Punakha (spu na kha) and had assumed leadership mainly by popular acclaim. This was the beginning of his consolidation of the country into its modern form, gradually overcoming opposition from non-Drukpa groups who instigated an invasion from the Tsangpa King. It was said that the king died after this attack on the fledgling nation of Bhutan because, in his retreat cave, the Zhabdrung, a renowned tantric magician, had targeted him with wrathful rituals. The king, his wife and many of his family died of smallpox soon afterwards and the king was succeeded by his fifteen-year-old son Karma Tenkyong Wangpo (karma bstan skyong dbang po, 1606-1642). We shall see, however, that Sonam Chopel, instead of allying with the Zhabdrung as his co-opponent of the Tsangpa, made an enemy of him instead and, in the end, for all his successes against other political antagonists, the Zhabdrung proved to be Sonam Chopel’s bête noir.

During this time, Sonam Chopel had been keeping in touch secretly with the Mongols, hoping to engineer a counter-attack by them. In 1621 the Mongol cavalry suddenly attacked and routed the Tsangpa, who were now led by Karma Tenkyong, at Kyangtang Gang (rkyang thang sgang) near Lhasa. The teenaged king and his 10,000 Tibetan soldiers retreated and were surrounded at Chakpori Hill, facing starvation and massacre. By the intervention of Panchen Lama and the Thirty-fifth Ganden Tripa, Lingme Zhabdrung Konchok Chopel (gling smad zhabs drung dkon mchogs chos ‘phel, 1573-1646), further hostilities were avoided, the Tsang king and his army were freed and a favorable peace treaty was negotiated; lands and monasteries seized from the Geluk in 1618 and converted to Kagyu were returned.

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The Thirty-Fifth Ganden Tripa, Konchok Chopel. Image credit: Treasury of Lives

Panchen Lama and Ganden Tripa then secretly drew lots before the sacred image of Jowo Jampel Dorje (jo bo ‘jam dpal rdo rje) at Reting Monastery (rwa sgreng) and Sonam Chopel’s boy was chosen from three candidates. While the Panchen Lama lobbied the new king to lift the ban Sonam Chopel was currying favor with him and making gifts. The ban was lifted in 1621 and royal recognition for the reincarnation was sought and granted. The four year old Dalai Lama was revealed and installed at Drepung in the second month of 1622 and given the ordination name of Lobzang Gyatso (tA la’i bla ma 05 blo bzang rgya mtsho, 1617-1682) by the Panchen in the third month.

Three months later, when Mongols were insisting on taking Lobzang Gyatso with them to Kokonor and Mongolia, Sonam Chopel and his helpers, with the complicity and support of the Tsang king, discreetly hid him away for a year at Erigo (e ri sgo) in southern Tibet.

There are differing accounts concerning Kunga Mingyur’s subjection to the object-recognition test in which he had to differentiate his predecessor’s personal items from similar items which had not been his. The accounts differ about when and where the test took place, whether his eventual tutor Kachuwa or Kachu Genyen Dondrub (dka’ bcu dge bsnyen don grub) or Sonam Chopel carried it out and also whether the candidate passed the test.

Sources which assert that Sonam Chopel subjected Kunga Mingyur to the test in 1619, before he left Chonggye and before lots were drawn at Reting, maintain that the boy passed the test without hesitation.

In his autobiography, however, the Fifth Dalai Lama recalls the test was made after lots had been drawn, that they took place at Nakartse (sna dkar rtse) in Yardrok (yar ‘grog) and he frankly admits “I could utter no words to recognize [any of the objects].” It is still possible that he did recognize them but was unable to say so. He states that when his examiner Kachuwa went out of the room to report the result to other officials he declared himself convinced that the boy recognized the objects.

It is probable that the test was carried out twice, once by Sonam Chopel at Chonggye in 1619 when the two-year old was too young to recall the test, but also, according to Tibetan lore, still young enough to retain the memory of the objects from his previous life; and once by Kachuwa at Nakartse in 1621 when he was four and old enough to remember the test later, but, again according to Tibetan lore, too old to remember the objects from his previous life.

 

Relations with the Fifth Dalai Lama

When Kunga Migyur, now called Lobzang Gyatso, aged four, was installed at Drepung in 1622 as the Fifth Dalai Lama, it was the twenty-seven year old Sonam Chopel, head administrator of the Ganden Podrang, who became his Chakdzo, Manager and Principal Attendant, responsible for his upbringing, management and safety. It is normal practice for an important lama’s Chakdzo to exercise more or less total control over his charge in childhood and often to maintain such control long after the lama’s maturity, dominating him and running all his affairs, as Sonam Chopel did. In case of the lama’s death, the Chakdzo is often placed in charge of the search for his reincarnation, as Sonam Chopel was when the Fourth Dalai Lama died. The Chakdzo controls funds and property and is referred to as the ‘Treasurer.’ He takes care of public relations, controlling who can have an audience; he organizes the lama’s travels, accommodation, building and publishing projects and all of the lama’s family affairs as well as engagements, including his private and public teachings. Sonam Chopel took care of all such work with consummate skill.

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The Fifth Dalai Lama, Lobsang Gyatso. Image credit: Rigpa Wiki

In 1626 those duties included arranging funeral rites for Lobzang Gyatso’s father Hor Dudul Dorje (hor bdud ‘dul rdo rje) also called Dudul Rabten (bdud ‘dul rab brtan) who had died, possibly murdered, in the Tsang King’s prison. Although Hor Dudul Dorje had earlier been a friend and protégé of the king, in 1619 he contrived a plot against him, collaborating with the ruler Dakpo Kurab Namgyel (bdag po sku rab rnam gyal) who had led the king’s 1618 assault on Lhasa but subsequently fell out with him. The king was unhappy with Hor Dudul Dorje for allying with Kurab in this plot and imprisoned him. To assuage the king’s wrath, Dudul Dorje’s castle and estate at Chonggye Chingwa Taktse (‘phyongs rgyas ‘phying ba stag rtse) were offered to the king’s Foreign Minister Gangzukpa (phyi blon sgang zug pa). Hor Dudul Dorje’s wife Tricham (khri lcam) and the infant Kunga Mingyur were summoned to Tsang by the king but Tricham circumvented the order by moving to Nakartse where her brother, Yardrok Zhabdrung (yar ‘brog zhabs drung), took responsibility for them, with the consent of the king. Hor Dudul Dorje never saw his son again after 1619. Sonam Chopel, however, succeeded in sending him provisions after seeking the king’s permission. When Hor Dudul Dorje died in 1626 his corpse was discarded behind Zamkhar Castle (zam mkhar) whence it was recovered by a sage from Chonggye. Sonam Chopel then arranged for the appropriate funeral rites to be performed discreetly at local monasteries. Similarly, when the boy’s mother Tricham died at Nakartse in 1639 Sonam Chopel went there to arrange her funeral. At Lobzang Gyatso’s request he also took charge of the work to make a large silver statue of the Buddha for the funeral.

Sonam Chopel, being a monk, sometimes gave religious instruction to the boy, although he was not one of his official tutors. In 1626 Sonam Chopel saw Lobzang Gyatso was interested in a text on Hayagriva so he referred him to Lingme Zhabdrung Konchok Chopel who began to mentor him on this subject.

Chopel was a dynamic character, dealing with nobles, royalty and political leaders including foreign ones, and for many years routinely making critical decisions in all matters without reference to Lobzang Gyatso. Although Sonam Chopel as Regent from 1642 is generally accorded the title “Desi” by historians, in practice Lobzang Gyatso addressed him as “Zhelngo” (zhal ngo), meaning “The Presence” and later referred to him as “Depa”. He never used the term “Desi”, which was not in use at the time; it was only applied retroactively to Sonam Chopel and his successors in histories written later.

Moreover, according to his autobiography, Lobzang Gyatso initially found worldly affairs distasteful and preferred to study. He allowed Sonam Chopel to do as he liked, choosing to defer to him as a matter of course. He somewhat ruefully mentions being overruled on numerous occasions. For example, Sonam Chopel had indefinitely put off Lobzang Gyatso’s longstanding wish to make a new crown for a statue of Mahakarunika (thugs rje chen po) called Rangjon Ngaden (rang byon lnga ldan), judging that it was costly and would earn no recognition. Only after Sonam Chopel’s funeral in 1659 did Lobzang Gyatso feel able to set up a workshop to make the crown to his specifications. It was ready for him to offer to the statue early in 1660.

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Zur Choying Rangdrol. Image credit: rywiki.tsadra.org

Sonam Chopel disapproved of Lobzang Gyatso having a Nyingma teacher, the renowned master Zur Choying Rangdrol (zur ston chos dbyings rang grol, 1604-1669). In 1636 Lobzang Gyatso deceived Sonam Chopel by pretending he needed to ask questions of Zur, and perform rituals with him, when in fact he was receiving teachings from him.

In Lobzang Gyatso’s autobiography there are frequent instances of Sonam Chopel ignoring Lobzang Gyatso’s advice. For example, in 1637 Sonam Chopel asked him what murals to paint on the main hall at Drepung and Lobzang Gyatso suggested the hundred Jataka stories and The Wish-fulfilling Tree (dpag bsam ‘khri shing) of Ksemendra, but this did not suit Sonam Chopel so he had something else done. When he saw the results, Lobzang Gyatso wrote that it would have been better if his advice had been followed. In 1636 and 1637 Lobzang Gyatso also complained that Sonam Chopel would not approve of lamas being invited to give him teachings and initiations to increase his knowledge; in 1638 he complained that Sonam Chopel prevented him from meeting a lama he wanted to take as a master.

On the other hand, over the thirty-six years they spent working together, from 1622 to 1658, there were only a few instances of Sonam Chopel’s policies being challenged by Lobzang Gyatso. Two major examples are in 1641 when the twenty-three-year-old Lobzang Gyatso strongly disagreed with Sonam Chopel’s plan to attack Tsang; and in 1652, as he was leaving to visit the Shunzhi Emperor of China, Lobzang Gyatso issued a decree to repeal and prohibit any further promulgation of the “gross” sectarian practices carried out under Sonam Chopel’s rule. After Lobzang Gyatso’s return from China in 1653 Sonam Chopel took more of a back seat and the former, now thirty-five years old, took over running the government.

 

The ‘Geluk’ Mongol Army and Conquest of Tibet

In the 138 years between 1480 and 1618 the Geluk had suffered a series of at least sixteen military attacks of varying magnitude, mostly by forces coming to U from Tsang, but somehow they had managed to survive them all. The seventeenth, however, the new combined threat from Tsang, Chogthu, Ligdan and Beri was by far the deadliest peril they had faced to date. Hearing about it, the Geluk abbots and patrons convened an emergency meeting with Sonam Chopel to find a way to prevent the extinction of their tradition.

This crucial conference was held at the historic house called Chudingne where patrons of Ganden Podrang would gather. They made offerings to the Lamo Tsangpa Oracle (la mo tsang pa), seeking a divination to resolve their plight. The Oracle advised them to go and ask the four Oirat Mongol tribes for help.

The meeting resolved that Sonam Chopel and Garu Lotsāwa Nache should go to Mongolia to solicit these tribes, Geluk converts, to come to their aid. By 1634 Sonam Chopel had recruited the Oirats, Dzungars and Urluks, Geluk tribes which had many monks in the Geluk monasteries of Lhasa, and who were just as fierce as the Khalkhas and Chahars. Together the tribal leaders deputed Gushri Khan, Chief of the Oirat Khoshot tribe, to lead a combined Geluk Mongol army to Tibet in defense of the Geluk. Sonam Chopel returned to Lhasa with the good news and Gushri Khan travelled to Tibet disguised as a pilgrim to reconnoiter the situation.

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A depiction of Gushri Khan. Image credit: Treasury of Lives. Click to enlarge.

Ligdan died of smallpox on the Kokonor plain as he headed for Tibet with his army and in 1637 Gushri Khan attacked Chogthu in Amdo, destroying him and his large army with a much smaller force. In the meantime, Gushri Khan became a close disciple of Lobzang Gyatso. At a ceremony hosted by Lobzang Gyatso in Lhasa later in 1637 the victorious Gushri was then honored as a ‘Religious king and defender of Buddhism.’ He then returned to Amdo where he remained with his tribe at pasture until 1640.

Sonam Chopel was the principal actor behind all this, and the Tsang regime’s most implacable foe; and he was not satisfied. In 1639 Gushri Khan signaled to Sonam Chopel and Lobzang Gyatso his intention to attack and destroy the Lhasa Geluk’s two main political and religious rivals: Donyo Dorje, the Bon King of Beri in the east who persecuted all the Buddhist traditions, and the Tsang regime in the west which had a long history of oppressing the Geluk. Sonam Chopel was in full agreement with this but, according to his autobiography, Lobzang Gyatso argued against it. He ruled that there had been enough bloodshed already and it was not necessary to compete with and attack other Tibetan leaders or parties.

The politically ambitious Sonam Chopel, however, insisted on taking advantage of the availability of Gushri and his victorious army to establish a greater Geluk supremacy. He rejected Lobzang Gyatso’s wish for peaceful co-existence, saying the Geluk had been unduly persecuted, and laying out his vision for peace under a forcibly united country led by Lobzang Gyatso.

As supposed justification for the attack on Beri, some histories cite a letter from the Beri king to the Karmapa in Tsang, intercepted by Gushri Khan’s men, proposing to destroy the Geluk tradition forever through joint action.

Lobzang Gyatso’s autobiography, however, clearly dates that letter at 1629; it further asserts that Gushri Khan decided to go to war because it was reported to him in 1638 that the Tsang king was persecuting the Tashilhunpo monks while constructing a new monastery on the hill above Tashilhunpo. The king called this monastery Chokhor Dechen (chos ‘khor bde chen), not Trashi Zilnon (bkra shis zil gnon) as mentioned in later Geluk sources.

More recently, it has also been suggested as a rationale for this invasion that economic advantages from controlling Kham could also accrue to the Geluk, by bringing the lucrative Sino-Tibetan border trade, formerly monopolized by the older traditions, within their sphere of influence.

In the summer of 1639, according to Lobzang Gyatso, Sonam Chopel, in front of the 21 year-old Dalai Lama and in defiance of his stated position, sent his messenger Kachu Genyen Dondrub to Gushri Khan with his assent for him to destroy Beri and then return to his base in Amdo. In the winter, Gushri Khan left Kokonor with his army and marched south, going first to Kham to eliminate the Beri King en route to central Tibet. By the end of 1640 the Beri King had been defeated and killed after a hard-fought campaign. To proclaim and celebrate Gushri’s victory Sonam Chopel hoisted flags of good tidings in the four directions around Lhasa and caused the “Great Banner of Power and Fortune” to be raised at the central western gate of Lhasa called Sapokgang.

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Statues of the Fifth Dalai Lama and (apparently) Güshri Khan seen by Johann Grueber in the lobby of the Dalai Lama’s palace in 1661. Image credit: Wikipedia. Click to enlarge.

Sonam Chopel agreed with Gushri Khan that he should now march on to Tsang with his army and attack the King, but Lobzang Gyatso opposed it again, accusing Sonam Chopel of going too far. After defeating Donyo Dorje and releasing his prisoners, Lobzang Gyatso expected Gushri to return directly to Amdo, as Sonam Chopel had earlier arranged, taking his army with him. Sonam Chopel, however, had already deceived Lobzang Gyatso by covertly sending with Kachu Genyen Dondrub additional verbal instructions for Gushri Khan to go and destroy the Tsang King and his allies, the Kagyu establishments to which he belonged.

To save Sonam Chopel’s face Lobzang Gyatso therefore proposed to go to Gushri Khan himself to request him personally to turn back but Sonam Chopel would not agree. He demanded that Lobzang Gyatso carry out a dice divination, which he did before the deity Pelden Lhamo (dpal ldan lha mo). The divination said: “The immediate strategy is good, but bad for the long run.” Sonam Chopel took this as confirmation that his plan was right “because in the end we all die anyway” and Lobzang Gyatso could give no answer.

Thus, after Gushri Khan had executed the Beri King at Chamdo and subdued the Bon in Kham, early in 1641 Chopel sent Tardongne (star sdong nas), a capable and high-ranking official, to guide Gushri and his forces to Shigatse. However, the Tsang King had been forewarned. The border posts were guarded, supplies, arms and ammunition were stockpiled and a high stockade was erected around the castle and the monastery. By the time Gushri got there, the Tsang forces were so well prepared that his men could not break the siege. Sonam Chopel had been busy travelling around U to take over or harass areas ruled by Tsang. When he heard from his informers about Gushri’s failure to capture the fort, he sent a spy inside. The spy reported that the Tsang defenses were so strong it would be impossible to break the siege. Chopel then contritely asked Lobzang Gyatso to go and mediate a settlement but Lobzang Gyatso spoke harshly, blaming him for the difficult situation. He declared that it was now far too late to stand down and they must persevere, pointing out that in any case the Mongols would never agree to withdraw and leave at this late stage.

Stung into action, Sonam Chopel raised an army of Tibetans comprised partly of people who had lost their traditional estates and partly of novice monks from Sera and Drepung. They captured Dongkar Castle (gdong dkar rdzong) in one day. Seeing the fall of Dongkar, a whole series of other Tsang-held forts surrendered one after the other. Chopel had engineered a pretense of Lhasa neutrality, but this was now dropped. He marched his Tibetan army on Shigatse to join Gushri with fresh provisions, fodder and weapons. The siege efforts intensified and by early spring of 1642, Tsang defenses broke. The King and his two main ministers capitulated and all three were imprisoned. At this point Lobzang Gyatso was invited to come for the inauguration of his rule over Tibet in the great assembly hall of Samdrubtse Castle (bsam grub rtse pho brang). The victorious Gushri and Chopel rode out to meet him two days journey from Shigatse.

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A picture of Gyantse town and fortress taken in 1938. Image credit: Wikipedia. Click to enlarge.

Soon after this conclusion, Garpa Yabse (sgar pa yab sras) of the Garpa family (sgar pa), supported by Tanak O Lonpa, Zhokhawa, Jupa Purtse Lhagangpa (phur rtse) other commanders and followers of the Karma Kagyu military forces in Kongpo and elsewhere, including Bhutan, fomented an uprising against the new government. Their armies captured the town of Gyantse, burned Dzingchi Monastery (rdzing phyi chos sde) and inspired a major rebellion in the region of Kongpo. Sonam Chopel and Gushri Khan had to quell the revolt, their forces killing 7,000 or 8,000 rebels in one place and capturing many more. They then moved around southern Tibet wiping out resistance and residual rebel forces. In the course of this they captured the official cook of the Karmapa, one Jama Choying (sgar pa’i mi sna ja ma chos dbyings), who was found to be wearing an amulet which contained details of a plan to eliminate the new government and replace it with Tsang and Karmapa supporters. It was a letter attached to an order of the Karmapa saying that Gushri Khan and Sonam Chopel were to be assassinated and the Panchen Lama and the Dalai Lama imprisoned in Kongpo. As a result, the captured Tsang King and his chief ministers, the last representatives of Tsang and Kagyu power in Tibet, were executed by the enraged Gushri Khan. They were sewn up in ox-hides and thrown in the Tsangpo River (gtsang po), a sentence reserved in Tibet for rebellious nobles.

Thus, after a brief campaign, Sonam Chopel and his Mongol army ended the rebellion of the Karma Kagyu and the last vestiges of their backers in Tsang against the newly established Geluk government in Lhasa.

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The 10th Karmapa, Choying Dorje. Image credit: kagyuoffice.org

Attacks on the Geluk by Kagyu forces in 1537 and by expansionist Tsang forces in 1618 had involved the capture of many Geluk monasteries and their forced conversion to the Kagyu tradition. In 1621 when Mongols counter-attacked the Tsang military bases in Lhasa, as part of the settlement some of these monasteries were returned to the Geluk. After the 1640-1642 war, Lobzang Gyatso agreed with the Tenth Karmapa to leave the Karma Kagyu in possession of most of their monasteries, while suggesting to Sonam Chopel that the remaining Geluk monasteries that had been seized should be returned. After the rebellions that followed the war, however, some additional Kagyu monasteries were seized by the Geluk as punishment for rebelling and intending to destroy all Geluk monasteries, and some because they had become neglected. In 1648, due to political considerations, some Kagyu monasteries and, according to some histories, also some Sakya and Bon, were converted to Geluk, but details are scarce. Chimpu (mchims phu) Monastery near Samye (bsam yas) had been Nyingma but was forcibly converted to Kagyu and later seized by the Geluk; in 1651, Lobzang Gyatso offered it back to the Nyingma. Jonang Monastery (jo nang dgon) was closed down after its founder Taranatha’s death in 1650 and re-opened as Geluk in 1658, but, according to Samten Karmay, Lobzang Gyatso did not issue any formal edict banning the Jonang tradition or its doctrines; nevertheless, the tradition did not survive in central Tibet.

The Tenth Karmapa was exiled for the next twenty-four years but according to his biography by Mendong Tsampa (sman sdong mtshams pa), his deputy the Fifth Gyeltsab Rinpoche (rgyal tshab 05 grags pa mchog dbyangs, 1617-1658) went to Lhasa in 1653 and successfully petitioned Lobzang Gyatso, Sonam Chopel and Gushri Khan for the return of their twenty-one most important monasteries. By 1653 the local nobility were also in such decline that they could no longer support the non-Geluk sects, already impoverished by warfare; whereas the Geluk were constantly enriched by copious donations from the Mongols. Those sects had to abandon some monasteries, some of which were then, presumably, occupied and converted by the Geluk.

 

De facto ruler of Tibet

Sonam Chopel assumed the leadership of the government as Regent under the Dalai Lama as soon as the latter had been commonly acknowledged as titular head of state by the assembled Tibetan and Mongolian leaders and masses at a solemn ceremony held at Samdrubtse Castle in April 1642. Lobzang Gyatso’s superior status was indicated by his being seated on a higher throne than Sonam Chopel and Gushri Khan, who were both seated at an equal level below him.

It was only after this investiture in Samdrubtse and his assumption of the regency that he took the name of Sonam Chopel. Until then he had been known as Gyale Chodze or Sonam Rabten, with the titles ‘Chakdzo’ and ‘Depa.’ From 1642 he kept the title of ‘Depa’ and Lobzang Gyatso in his writings started using this title to refer to him instead of ‘Zhelngo’.

Lobzang Gyatso describes in his autobiography how, Sonam Chopel having returned to U, the latter now exhorted him to stay in Lhasa rather than at Drepung, and to take over more political responsibilities. Lobzang Gyatso records that he preferred to devote himself to religious study instead of dealing with administrative or political matters. In the autobiography, which is normally quite detailed and specific in such matters, there is no indication that Sonam Chopel underwent any change of status, duties or responsibilities, during or after Lobzang Gyatso’s assumption of full political and religious power over Tibet; Sonam Chopel is consistently framed as the ruler taking the pre-eminent role in political affairs. Although Gushri Khan is often referred to as ‘the King,’ even in the years before the civil war, he like Sonam Chopel assumed an inferior position to Lobzang Gyatso in formal seating arrangements. Modern studies confirm that the use of the title ‘King of Tibet’ by Gushri Khan was only thanks to its conferral on him by the Fifth Dalai Lama. Gushri did not interfere in the administration or try to control its policies. Lobzang Gyatso’s role seems to have been that of a figurehead, while Sonam Chopel acted as de facto ruler and only referred matters to him on major issues or when he was in doubt, which was not very often.

 

Activities as ruler of Tibet

In 1642, according to Bhutanese sources, after Geluk forces had defeated the Tsangpa who was their common enemy, the court of the Zhabdrung actually wished to establish friendly diplomatic relations between Bhutan and Tibet. To this end the court insisted that the Zhabdrung send an envoy to Lhasa with a conciliatory letter to congratulate the Ganden Podrang along with gifts of rice, textiles and horses for the Dalai Lama. On arrival in Lhasa the envoy, who was the Zhabdrung’s half brother Tenzin Drukdrak (bstan ‘dzin ‘brugs drags), first showed the Zhabdrung’s letter to Sonam Chopel. Sonam Chopel, however, fresh from their victories over all the Tibetan rivals of the Geluk, thought his combined Mongol/Tibetan forces were invincible. He asserted three improbable pre-conditions: first, the Zhabdrung had to return to Tibet; second, he had to restore the estates of the Lhapa Kagyus (lha pa bka’ brgyud) that he had seized; and third, the Zhabdrung should submit to the new Geluk hegemony.

Sonam-Chopel9-4-faced-mahakala

Four-Faced Mahakala. Click to enlarge.

When Tenzin Drukdrak sought the Zhabdrung’s advice, he was instructed simply to give the rice offering to a Sakya monastery and to return to Bhutan with the other gifts. An infuriated Sonam Chopel then sent an ultimatum to the Zhabdrung to fulfill his demands or risk the wrath of the Mongol King; sending him a bag full of tiny mustard seeds he added that there were as many Mongol soldiers ready to attack Bhutan as there were seeds in the bag. Zhabdrung’s response was to pulverize the seeds into a mash and send it back with the message that ‘if the Mongol King would not listen, his protective deity Mahakala (mgon po) would not listen either’. He also sent a rock and a needle saying that only if Sonam Chopel could pierce the rock with the needle would he agree to his demands. He then started raising an army and expelled all Geluk followers, with whom he had been hitherto on good terms, from Bhutan. In a tit for tat measure Sonam Chopel expelled many lamas of the Drukpa Kagyu school from Tibet.

In 1643 Sonam Chopel began organizing a census, starting with the provinces of To (stod) to the north and Tsang to the east, and formulating taxation laws. He commissioned a detailed survey of the land and population and gradually appointed officials to assess taxes.

In 1644, following the post-war rebellion of the Karmapa, Sonam Chopel and Gushri Khan were patrolling the southern borders of the Tibetan plateau with their army to wipe out any residual resistance. Arriving in Lhodrak, to the west of Tsang and to the north of Bhutan, they drove the Karmapa and his remaining rebels eastwards, into Kham. At this point, Sonam Chopel suddenly decided to send seven hundred mixed Tibetan and Mongol troops south from Lhodrak into Bhutan, apparently in two detachments. One detachment was sent southwest towards Thimpu and Punakha a hundred or so kilometers to the west and across the border from Phari in Tibet, which comprised all the territory that the Zhabdrung had so far consolidated. Another column was sent south into Bumthang valley (Bum-thang) where it was defeated, presumably at the hand of the forces of the King of Bumthang; this central valley was not consolidated into Bhutan for another decade. Thus Sonam Chopel’s aim was more likely to punish the inhabitants of the region in general for aiding and abetting Tibetan rebels, rather than targeting the Zhabdrung specifically.

The detachment that went towards Thimpu met the Zhabdrung’s forces and fought an inconclusive battle where Paro town now stands, followed by an impasse lasting until the spring of 1645 with the invaders unused to the precipitous and dense jungle terrain and unable to cope with the heat and humidity; the Mongol troop division retreated, leaving the Tibetans to face defeat and shattering the myth of Mongol invincibility. Three Tibetan commanders, Nangso Ngodrup (nang so dngos grup), Drongtsene (‘brong rtse nas) and Duchungne (‘dus byung nas) and twenty two other officers, twenty five in all, were taken prisoner and held hostage at Punakha Dzong. Ordinary Tibetan soldiers who failed to escape the Bhutanese were disarmed, escorted back to the border and let go; all their weaponry and armor were seized and offered to the protector deities in their chapel at Punakha Dzong, where they remain till this day.

Sonam-Chopel10-Punakha Dzong

A picture of Punakha Dzong taken in 1637. Image credit: Treasury of Lives.

In 1645 Sonam Chopel met with Lobzang Gyatso and Gushri Khan and they decided to construct the Potala Palace (po ta la). They visited the proposed site together and arranged consecration rituals to prepare for construction to begin. The initial external structure of the White Palace was built over the next three years with the help of indentured labor from U and Tsang. By 1649, the structure was finished, allowing Lobzang Gyatso to move in. In 1646 Sonam Chopel negotiated a peace treaty with Bhutan to release the three hostages, who were sent back to Tibet with gifts the following year. The previous status quo and original borders were reinstated and both sides committed themselves to harmonious coexistence. The Bhutanese also undertook to pay an annual tribute of rice which they had previously offered to the Tsang King; now they would pay it to the Dalai Lama’s government instead. However, in early 1648 Sonam Chopel broke the 1646 treaty by ordering a new, three-pronged invasion of Bhutan with his younger brother Norbu (nor bu) in command of the main army. This supposedly well-organized expedition ended in disaster. The attempt met with an even worse fate than the first one, with Norbu’s column fleeing in terror, causing the other columns to retreat as well. Again, most of the armor, weapons and supplies were lost to the Bhutanese. Norbu, in his defeat, was accused of colluding with the Bhutanese.

Ngawang Namgyel’s success and his decisive victories over Sonam Chopel’s attempts to invade Bhutan in 1644 and 1648 were attributed to his effective use of occult powers, rather than to superior Bhutanese prowess in battle. Previously, as a last resort during the 1639-42 Tibetan civil wars, Sonam Chopel had himself reluctantly resorted to the use of magic rituals. He had requested Nyingma rituals to be performed by Lobzang Gyatso and his Nyingma lama Zur Choying Rangdrol to apparent great effect. Now, in 1650 or 1651, Sonam Chopel requested Zur to arrange such a rite against Bhutan at Phari (phag ri) by the border. When Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel suddenly died from unknown causes four months later, Sonam Chopel complimented Zur and his assistant on the efficacy of their magical rites.

Sonam-Chopel11-Shunxi-Emperor

Qing Shunzhi Emperor, the Third Emperor of China. Image credit: Wikipedia

As mentioned above, in 1648 after the defeat in Bhutan, various Kagyu and possibly some Sakya and Bon monasteries were seized and converted to the Geluk. Moreover, monks from traditions other than the Geluk were forbidden to wear their traditional styles of hats that showed their affiliation. Other mechanisms were implemented to systematically convert and absorb the other institutions into the Geluk: they were banned from recruiting new monks and there was a ban on the maintenance of border-taming temples built by pre-Geluk traditions. All these measures stemmed from Sonam Chopel’s influence. These sectarian policies continued for several years, up to the eve of Lobzang Gyatso’s departure to meet the Qing Shunzhi Emperor (1638-1661) in the summer of 1652, when Lobzang Gyatso issued a decree forbidding all such practices.

When Lobzang Gyatso returned from Beijing seventeen months later, in December 1653, Sonam Chopel met him at Gamo (dga’ mo) with a welcoming party including not only Geluk lamas but also Drigung Kagyu and Taklung Kagyu lamas and others. Sonam Chopel apparently wished to show that he had mended his sectarian ways. In addition, as mentioned in the Karmapa’s biography, the twenty-one most important Kagyu monasteries that had been seized by the Geluk in 1648 were given back to the tradition soon after Lobzang Gyatso’s return.

 

Final Years

Gushri Khan, Lobzang Gyatso’s pious and devoted disciple, always made his army and his advice available to Sonam Chopel in their joint collaboration. This ensured Lobzang Gyatso’s authority was maintained over the widest unified Tibetan Kingdom established since the time of King Tri Udumtsen (khri ur dum btsan, r.836-842), also known as Langdarma, in the ninth century. However, after all the earlier conquests, Sonam Chopel’s prestige suffered from his serial failures to take Bhutan, especially since these were blamed on his brother Norbu, whom he had appointed to lead the army.

In the summer of 1656 Sonam Chopel launched a third military invasion of Bhutan, with Norbu commanding four armies advancing from U, Tsang, Kham and Kongpo.

He went to the border area to supervise but the result was as before. After a year of guerrilla tactics by the Bhutanese in their jungles and ravines, the Tibetan armies, bogged down with sickness and low morale, suffered another ignominious defeat and retreated in disarray. Once again, Norbu was accused of colluding with the Bhutanese. Sonam Chopel returned to Lhasa with demoralized survivors late in the summer of 1657; there is scarce further mention of him until the spring of 1658 when he fell ill and Lobzang Gyatso ordered prayers and rituals to be done for his health and long life. However, on the third day of the third Tibetan month, Sonam Chopel suddenly died following an epileptic fit. He was sixty-three years old.

Lobzang Gyatso kept the death a secret for thirteen months while arranging rituals to be done for his welfare as if he were alive. When the death was announced he ordered and oversaw the funerary rituals. Offerings to the value of 14,000 tons of barley were made to 125,000 participating monks. Listed over several pages, they included 50 kilos of gold, 44,000 bolts of different kinds of cloth and 65,000 ceremonial scarves.

In contrast, Lobzang Gyatso paid somewhat muted written tribute to the deceased: “Sonam Chopel took on not only many troubles for the sake of the Geluk, but also performed other extensive activities that are undeniable and known to all.”

Following the death of his main collaborator Gushri Khan in 1655, Sonam Chopel had become a rather insignificant figure, apart from his involvement in his third ill-fated Bhutan war. Judging by the faint praise afforded to him by Lobzang Gyatso after his death in 1658, and given that Sonam Chopel’s activities are hardly mentioned in the autobiography after 1653, it appears that Sonam Chopel was semi-retired and it was Lobzang Gyatso, now forty years old, who was running the government.

Nevertheless, Sonam Chopel remains a key person in Tibetan history who, in his prime, manipulated people and events to establish the Dalai Lama dynasty which continued to rule Tibet and Tibetans to one extent or another until the present era, that of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama.

He left his brother Norbu in a position to succeed him and Lobzang Gyatso, although he often criticized Norbu in his autobiography, felt obliged to appoint him as his second Depa, Desi or Regent, in the midsummer of 1659, on the sixteenth day of the sixth month of the Tibetan Earth-pig year.

 

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Source: Sean Jones, “Sonam Chopel,” Treasury of Lives, accessed July 11, 2018, http://treasuryoflives.org/biographies/view/Sonam-Chopel/6874.

 


 

Sean Jones left school in England in the 1960s to travel overland to India and lived in the Himalayan regions for a decade, before returning to London to establish a successful travel business. From 1985 he travelled all over Tibet and in the UK he co-founded a number of Tibet-related organizations. An autodidact, he has written and published various articles on Tibet, its people and its history, including in Wikipedia.

Published September 2017
Updated May 2018

Disclaimer: All rights are reserved by the author. The article is reproduced here for educational purposes only.

 

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  1. Pastor Adeline Woon on Jul 28, 2018 at 7:00 am

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    Chogyam Trungpa was a Tibetan Buddhist meditation master and holder of both the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. He was recognized for playing a pivotal role in the transmission of genuine Buddhadharma to the West. Simple and meaningful advice by Chogyam Trungpa. Nothing is easy and no short cut to learning Dharma. We have to endure hardship to learn something like Dharma or what ever so. Never give up once we decided to learn and practice. We must face the problems or rather obstacles along the way, there is always a way to over come it with courage.

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    Buton Rinchen Drup, 11th Abbot of Shalu Monastery, was a 14th-century Sakya master and Tibetan Buddhist leader. Buton Rinchen Drub is considered to be one of Tibet’s greatest scholars, historians, translators, and writers . Shalu Monastery became one of the most renowned and important monastery in Tibet . He had influenced the Gelug and Sakya traditions as well, having helped to preserve and propagate the teachings throughout Tibet. He left a legacy worth of translated teachings into the encyclopedic Kangyur and Tangyur collections. That’s is inspiring. These collections have become well known by all of the schools of Buddhism in Tibet, till to this day. Even after retiring he continued composing a number volumes of commentaries and he wrote the famous book, the “History of Buddhism in India and Tibet. Many Tibetan scholars still utilize his work in their studies which is still continuing to this day, and cannot be underestimated. He truly was one of the brightest lights of Tibetan Buddhism. Interesting read.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing of a Great Lama.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/buton-rinchen-drub.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Jun 28. 2022 02:15 PM
    Wonderful indeed………our Guru Kyabje Tsem Rinpoche’s biography “The Promise” in Mongolian for those Mongolian readers. More people will be able to read and understand better. The truth and the only truth all about Rinpoche and Dorje Shugden controversy. The Mongolian has a long history and connection with Manjushri Dorje Shugden.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/me/tsem-rinpoches-short-biography-mongolian.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Jun 28. 2022 02:10 PM
    Thank you Dr Matthew William King great work done on the research on Dorje Shugden . His research shows that Dorje Shugden had played a central role in both monastic and political life in Mongolia. Zaya Pandita, an accomplished translator, linguist and scholar, Lobsang Tamdin, a prolific author and Mongolian lamas had preserved the tradition of Dorje Shugden through ways as such scholarship and study, and also via active propitiation. Mongolia’s own lamas did independently promoting and encouraging the practice centuries ago. Yet there is still some who claimed Dorje Shugden is a evil spirit. Even though there is clear evidence ,Mongolia’s long history of reliance on this enlightened Protector. Zaya Pandita and Lobsang Tamdin were masters of sutra, tantric adepts, and the peers and equals of Tibetan lamas of their time, they cannot be wrong about Dorje Shugden. Interesting read article on The Mongol Invention of the Dorjé Shukden and Trülku Drakpa Gyeltsen Literary Corpus (1913-1919) by Dr Matthew William King.
    Thank you with folded hands Zava Damdin Rinpoche for preserving the works for generations to come.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing for more and more people to understand better.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/how-mongolia-saved-dorje-shugden.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Jun 28. 2022 01:59 PM
    Looking at these beautiful pictures of the Holy entourage of Powerful Protector Dorje Shugden in Kechara Forest Retreat is a blessing. We are indeed fortunate able to view all the Holy beings at one go with the world largest Dorje Shugden. In Kechara Forest Retreat , Bentong Pahang, Wisdom Hall a special Chapel dedicated to World Peace Protector Dorje Shugden.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/downloads/main-assistants-of-the-dharma-king.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Jun 28. 2022 01:54 PM
    We are very blessed for being able to learn Buddhism . Learning Dharma and putting into actions remind us of the Buddha’s teachings. The Dharma reveals truths as taught by the Buddha. It also gives us a way to live life that transform our mind and leading us towards achieving enlightenment. Having the opportunity to learn the Buddha’s teachings and cultivate ourselves is indeed very precious. We have to sincerely and consistently practice nor matter what happens and be true to ourselves. The efficaciousness of this all depends on our faith, loyalty and devotion to our Guru. Dharma is beautiful I do agree with it as explained by Rinpoche. Dharma is the moral law combined with spiritual discipline that guides one’s life. And is extremely approachable by everyone and has since changed my life.
    Thank you Rinpoche with folded hands

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/instructions-for-tsem-rinpoches-name-mantra-retreat.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Jun 22. 2022 01:15 PM
    Dulduityn Danzanravjaa was a prominent Mongolian writer, composer, painter, Buddhist scholar, physician and was the Fifth Noyon Khutagt. Talented known as the Lama of the Gobi and was an extraordinary polymath having authored hundreds of spiritual songs. Danzan Ravjaa is significant for his eclectic religious outlook that combined both the reformed ‘Yellow Hat’ and the unreformed ‘Red Hat’ sects of Tibetan. Famous for his poetry and songs in which he did composed more than hundreds of poems to date. He was well known for his medical skills, prophecies, and his knowledge of philosophy and astrology. Inspiring indeed , well respected by many.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing a multi-talented Lama.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/danzan-ravjaa-the-controversial-mongolian-monk.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Jun 22. 2022 01:13 PM
    One of the few surviving historic Buddhist buildings in Mongolia. The temple of the Choijin Lama is an important example of Chinese-style religious architecture. It is one of the few surviving historic Buddhist buildings in Mongolia. Hidden among the tallest sky scappers this hidden gem is an architectural wonder. It was the home of Luvsan Haidav Choijin Lama, who is the state oracle and brother of the Bogd Khan. The State Oracle of Mongolia had a long historic connection with Dorje Shugden. Even took trance of 3 different deities , Nechung, Tsiu Marpo and Dorje Shugden. It is a temple with a lot of old, ancient artifacts as Choijin Lama would go into a trance. After been through historic changes it was reopened as a museum. The Choijin Lama Temple’s history is documented with many religious hardships and interesting happenings. Interesting read and detailed explanation for one to understand better . A must see place when travelling there .
    Thank you Rinpoche and Seow Choong Liang for this sharing

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/choijin-lama-the-state-oracle-of-mongolia.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Jun 22. 2022 01:10 PM
    Merely looking at these rare precious pictures of great masters is a blessing. Two great tutors HH Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and HH Kyabje Ling Rinpoche of H H Dalai Lama as seen in these pictures tells us a thousands words. Ling Rinpoche was considered an emanation of Yamantaka while Trijang Rinpoche was considered an emanation of Heruka/Vajra Yogini.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/blessed-upon-sight-of-these-masters.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Jun 15. 2022 03:53 PM
    Very rare precious pictures of HH Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and HH Kyabje Zong Rinpoche had lunch together in their previous lives. Well amazingly now in this life they meet again and having lunch together. Beautiful pictures we have the fortune to see this. Looking at this pictures paints a thousand words. Both have returned many times since the time of Lord Buddha incarnating in many forms to benefit sentient beings. Having a very close relationship throughout their previous incarnations.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these rare pictures with folded hands.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/perfect-practice-equals-perfect-rebirths.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Jun 15. 2022 03:50 PM
    Breaking news the Tribune Journal published December 15, 2017 H H Dalai-lama planning to visit China. Since exile HH the Dalai Lama left Tibet in 1959, returning to China will be a wonderful reunion for many. This potential visit to China by HH the Dalai Lama might lead to those who left their homeland able to visit Tibet again. Millions of Tibetans in Tibet would definitely wish to see Dalai Lama again. The Dalai Lama would be too happy as great memories to see places as such his palace, relatives and so forth. If the return is successful all negative attacks on Dorje Shugden practitioners should cease immediately. There are indeed many benefits if Dalai Lama visit to China as it would clear the doubts of some. May Dalai Lama fondest wish come true soon.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this news

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/the-tribune-publishes-dalai-lama-planning-to-visit-china.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Jun 15. 2022 03:47 PM
    This mandala offering is the symbolic offering of the prosperity of the whole universe. Mandala offering is a powerful method for accumulating extensive merit if we do it with proper visualization. Doing it this way we dedicate the merit from each offering for the sentient beings as it is performed. It is very effective for the mind. It is important to understand all about the offerings. Doing the mandala offering is a way of clearing out all these negative states of mind. The mandala offering purifies our attachment, the stinginess, the miserliness, the clinging mind. It enriches the mind with the positive potential from giving. We create a lot of positive potential or merit just by giving. The mandala offering is training us to develop the mind that takes delight and joy in making other people happy. In doing so, we create merit. Interesting read.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing with explanations.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/mandala-offering-a-powerful-method-to-accumulate-merits.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Jun 15. 2022 03:45 PM
    Changkya Rolpai Dorje a Grand Lama of China, Imperial Art Consultant, a principal Tibetan Buddhist teacher in the Qing court. He is closely associate with Qianlong Emperor of China. This relationship proved extremely significant. He served as Qianlong’s main Buddhist teacher and adviser in matters related to Buddhism. Including art, literature, religious initiations and practices, and diplomacy. He was recognized as a reincarnation of the previous Changkya Lama. As a Buddhist administrator in Beijing, he played an important role in founding Yonghegong Temple , a monastic college for Mongol, Manchu, and Chinese monks. He was also instrumental in developing the systems of iconography, cataloguing, and inscribing that would prove so important to the Qianlong emperor’s projects in Buddhist art. Truly talented.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing of a Great Lama.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/the-third-changkya-rolpai-dorje.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Jun 12. 2022 02:49 PM
    Giuseppe Tucci was a scholar of oriental cultures, specializing in Tibet and the history of Buddhism. He is considered one of the founders of the academic field of Buddhist Studies. Tibetan painted scrolls, also known as thangkas came to Tibet from India. They
    are synonymous with Tibetan culture and religion.The tradition of thangka painting which is also known as scroll painting came to Tibet from India. It was largely influenced by the art form developed in Nepal. Tucci, highly literate in Sanskrit and Tibetan as well as fluent in many Himalayan languages, was the first western scholar to travel widely through the Tibet and India. Thangka served as important teaching tools depicting the life of the Buddha. The scroll paintings are framed with colour stain ,an art form with unique features in Tibetan culture. Wow in one of the thangkas he even described the mythical kingdom related with the Kalachakra Tantra and its divine kings. What he did was truly amazing.
    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Niral for this wonderful sharing explaining all about it.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/art-architecture/tibetan-painted-scrolls-the-land-of-shambhala.html

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

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I must thank my dharma blog team who are great assets to me, Kechara and growth of dharma in this wonderful region. I am honoured and thrilled to work with them. I really am. Maybe I don't say it enough to them, but I am saying it now. I APPRECIATE THESE GUYS VERY MUCH!

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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

Photos On The Go

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

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

Always be kind to animals and eat vegetarian- https://bit.ly/2Psp8h2
3 years ago
My Dharma boy (left) and Oser girl loves to laze around on the veranda in the mornings. They enjoy all the trees, grass and relaxing under the hot sun. Sunbathing is a favorite daily activity. I care about these two doggies of mine very much and I enjoy seeing them happy. They are with me always. Tsem Rinpoche Always be kind to animals and eat vegetarian- https://bit.ly/2Psp8h2
After you left me Mumu, I was alone. I have no family or kin. You were my family. I can\'t stop thinking of you and I can\'t forget you. My bond and connection with you is so strong. I wish you were by my side. Tsem Rinpoche
3 years ago
After you left me Mumu, I was alone. I have no family or kin. You were my family. I can't stop thinking of you and I can't forget you. My bond and connection with you is so strong. I wish you were by my side. Tsem Rinpoche
This story is a life-changer. Learn about the incredible Forest Man of India | 印度“森林之子”- https://bit.ly/2Eh4vRS
3 years ago
This story is a life-changer. Learn about the incredible Forest Man of India | 印度“森林之子”- https://bit.ly/2Eh4vRS
Part 2-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
3 years ago
Part 2-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
Part 1-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
3 years ago
Part 1-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
The great Protector Manjushri Dorje Shugden depicted in the beautiful Mongolian style. To download a high resolution file: https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
3 years ago
The great Protector Manjushri Dorje Shugden depicted in the beautiful Mongolian style. To download a high resolution file: https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
The Mystical land of Shambhala is finally ready for everyone to feast their eyes and be blessed. A beautiful post with information, art work, history, spirituality and a beautiful book composed by His Holiness the 6th Panchen Rinpoche. ~ https://bit.ly/309MHBi
3 years ago
The Mystical land of Shambhala is finally ready for everyone to feast their eyes and be blessed. A beautiful post with information, art work, history, spirituality and a beautiful book composed by His Holiness the 6th Panchen Rinpoche. ~ https://bit.ly/309MHBi
Beautiful pictures of the huge Buddha in Longkou Nanshan- https://bit.ly/2LsBxVb
3 years ago
Beautiful pictures of the huge Buddha in Longkou Nanshan- https://bit.ly/2LsBxVb
The reason-Very interesting thought- https://bit.ly/2V7VT5r
3 years ago
The reason-Very interesting thought- https://bit.ly/2V7VT5r
NEW Bigfoot cafe in Malaysia! Food is delicious!- https://bit.ly/2VxdGau
3 years ago
NEW Bigfoot cafe in Malaysia! Food is delicious!- https://bit.ly/2VxdGau
DON\'T MISS THIS!~How brave Bonnie survived by living with a herd of deer~ https://bit.ly/2Lre2eY
3 years ago
DON'T MISS THIS!~How brave Bonnie survived by living with a herd of deer~ https://bit.ly/2Lre2eY
Global Superpower China Will Cut Meat Consumption by 50%! Very interesting, find out more- https://bit.ly/2V1sJFh
3 years ago
Global Superpower China Will Cut Meat Consumption by 50%! Very interesting, find out more- https://bit.ly/2V1sJFh
You can download this beautiful Egyptian style Dorje Shugden Free- https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
3 years ago
You can download this beautiful Egyptian style Dorje Shugden Free- https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
Beautiful high file for print of Lord Manjushri. May you be blessed- https://bit.ly/2V8mwZe
3 years ago
Beautiful high file for print of Lord Manjushri. May you be blessed- https://bit.ly/2V8mwZe
Mongolian (Oymiakon) Shaman in Siberia, Russia. That is his real outfit he wears. Very unique. TR
3 years ago
Mongolian (Oymiakon) Shaman in Siberia, Russia. That is his real outfit he wears. Very unique. TR
Find one of the most beautiful temples in the world in Nara, Japan. It is the 1,267 year old Todai-ji temple that houses a 15 meter Buddha Vairocana statue who is a cosmic and timeless Buddha. Emperor Shomu who sponsored this beautiful temple eventually abdicated and ordained as a Buddhist monk. Very interesting history and story. One of the places everyone should visit- https://bit.ly/2VgsHhK
3 years ago
Find one of the most beautiful temples in the world in Nara, Japan. It is the 1,267 year old Todai-ji temple that houses a 15 meter Buddha Vairocana statue who is a cosmic and timeless Buddha. Emperor Shomu who sponsored this beautiful temple eventually abdicated and ordained as a Buddhist monk. Very interesting history and story. One of the places everyone should visit- https://bit.ly/2VgsHhK
Manjusri Kumara (bodhisattva of wisdom), India, Pala dynesty, 9th century, stone, Honolulu Academy of Arts
3 years ago
Manjusri Kumara (bodhisattva of wisdom), India, Pala dynesty, 9th century, stone, Honolulu Academy of Arts
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    Bodha stupa July 2019-
    Rainy period
  • Cute Tara girl having a snack. She is one of Kechara Forest Retreat’s resident doggies.
    3 yearss ago
    Cute Tara girl having a snack. She is one of Kechara Forest Retreat’s resident doggies.
  • Your Next Meal!
    3 yearss ago
    Your Next Meal!
    Yummy? Tasty? Behind the scenes of the meat on your plates. Meat is a killing industry.
  • This is Daw
    3 yearss ago
    This is Daw
    This is what they do to get meat on tables, and to produce belts and jackets. Think twice before your next purchase.
  • Don’t Take My Mummy Away!
    3 yearss ago
    Don’t Take My Mummy Away!
    Look at the poor baby chasing after the mother. Why do we do that to them? It's time to seriously think about our choices in life and how they affect others. Be kind. Don't break up families.
  • They do this every day!
    3 yearss ago
    They do this every day!
    This is how they are being treated every day of their lives. Please do something to stop the brutality. Listen to their cries for help!
  • What happened at Fair Oaks Farm?
    3 yearss ago
    What happened at Fair Oaks Farm?
    The largest undercover dairy investigation of all time. See what they found out at Fair Oaks Farm.
  • She’s going to spend her whole life here without being able to move correctly. Like a machine. They are the slaves of the people and are viewed as a product. It’s immoral. Billions of terrestrial animals die annually. Billions. You can’t even imagine it. And all that because people don’t want to give up meat, even though there are so many alternatives. ~ Gabriel Azimov
    3 yearss ago
    She’s going to spend her whole life here without being able to move correctly. Like a machine. They are the slaves of the people and are viewed as a product. It’s immoral. Billions of terrestrial animals die annually. Billions. You can’t even imagine it. And all that because people don’t want to give up meat, even though there are so many alternatives. ~ Gabriel Azimov
  • Our Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir speaks so well, logically and regarding our country’s collaboration with China for growth. It is refreshing to listen to Dr. Mahathir’s thoughts. He said our country can look to China for many more things such as technology and so on. Tsem Rinpoche
    3 yearss ago
    Our Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir speaks so well, logically and regarding our country’s collaboration with China for growth. It is refreshing to listen to Dr. Mahathir’s thoughts. He said our country can look to China for many more things such as technology and so on. Tsem Rinpoche
  • This is the first time His Holiness Dalai Lama mentions he had some very serious illness. Very worrying. This video is captured April 2019.
    3 yearss ago
    This is the first time His Holiness Dalai Lama mentions he had some very serious illness. Very worrying. This video is captured April 2019.
  • Beautiful Monastery in Hong Kong
    3 yearss ago
    Beautiful Monastery in Hong Kong
  • This dog thanks his hero in such a touching way. Tsem Rinpoche
    3 yearss ago
    This dog thanks his hero in such a touching way. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Join Tsem Rinpoche in prayer for H.H. Dalai Lama’s long life~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYy7JcveikU&feature=youtu.be
    3 yearss ago
    Join Tsem Rinpoche in prayer for H.H. Dalai Lama’s long life~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYy7JcveikU&feature=youtu.be
  • These people going on pilgrimage to a holy mountain and prostrating out of devotion and for pilgrimage in Tibet. Such determination for spiritual practice. Tsem Rinpoche
    3 yearss ago
    These people going on pilgrimage to a holy mountain and prostrating out of devotion and for pilgrimage in Tibet. Such determination for spiritual practice. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Beautiful new casing in Kechara for Vajra Yogini. Tsem Rinpoche
    3 yearss ago
    Beautiful new casing in Kechara for Vajra Yogini. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Get ready to laugh real hard. This is Kechara’s version of “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane!” We have some real talents in this video clip.
    3 yearss ago
    Get ready to laugh real hard. This is Kechara’s version of “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane!” We have some real talents in this video clip.
  • Recitation of Dorje Dermo‘s mantra or the Dharani of Glorious Vajra Claws. This powerful mantra is meant to destroy all obstacles that come in our way. Beneficial to play this mantra in our environments.
    3 yearss ago
    Recitation of Dorje Dermo‘s mantra or the Dharani of Glorious Vajra Claws. This powerful mantra is meant to destroy all obstacles that come in our way. Beneficial to play this mantra in our environments.
  • Beautiful
    3 yearss ago
    Beautiful
    Beautiful sacred Severed Head Vajra Yogini from Tsem Rinpoche's personal shrine.
  • My little monster cute babies Dharma and Oser. Take a look and get a cute attack for the day! Tsem Rinpoche
    3 yearss ago
    My little monster cute babies Dharma and Oser. Take a look and get a cute attack for the day! Tsem Rinpoche
  • Plse watch this short video and see how all sentient beings are capable of tenderness and love. We should never hurt animals nor should we eat them. Tsem Rinpoche
    3 yearss ago
    Plse watch this short video and see how all sentient beings are capable of tenderness and love. We should never hurt animals nor should we eat them. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Cruelty of some people have no limits and it’s heartbreaking. Being kind cost nothing. Tsem Rinpoche
    3 yearss ago
    Cruelty of some people have no limits and it’s heartbreaking. Being kind cost nothing. Tsem Rinpoche
  • SUPER ADORABLE and must see
    3 yearss ago
    SUPER ADORABLE and must see
    Tsem Rinpoche's dog Oser girl enjoying her snack in her play pen.
  • Cute!
    3 yearss ago
    Cute!
    Oser girl loves the balcony so much. - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTcoWpKJm2c
  • Uncle Wong
    3 yearss ago
    Uncle Wong
    We were told by Uncle Wong he is very faithful toward Dorje Shugden. Dorje Shugden has extended help to him on several occasions and now Uncle Wong comes daily to make incense offerings to Dorje Shugden. He is grateful towards the help he was given.
  • Tsem Rinpoche’s Schnauzer Dharma boy fights Robot sphere from Arkonide!
    3 yearss ago
    Tsem Rinpoche’s Schnauzer Dharma boy fights Robot sphere from Arkonide!
  • Cute baby owl found and rescued
    4 yearss ago
    Cute baby owl found and rescued
    We rescued a lost baby owl in Kechara Forest Retreat.
  • Nice cups from Kechara!!
    4 yearss ago
    Nice cups from Kechara!!
    Dorje Shugden people's lives matter!
  • Enjoy a peaceful morning at Kechara Forest Retreat
    4 yearss ago
    Enjoy a peaceful morning at Kechara Forest Retreat
    Chirping birds and other forest animals create a joyful melody at the Vajrayogini stupa in Kechara Forest Retreat (Bentong, Malaysia).
  • This topic is so hot in many circles right now.
    5 yearss ago
    This topic is so hot in many circles right now.
    This video is thought-provoking and very interesting. Watch! Thanks so much to our friends at LIVEKINDLY.
  • Chiropractic CHANGES LIFE for teenager with acute PAIN & DEAD LEG.
    5 yearss ago
    Chiropractic CHANGES LIFE for teenager with acute PAIN & DEAD LEG.
  • BEAUTIFUL PLACE IN NEW YORK STATE-AMAZING.
    5 yearss ago
    BEAUTIFUL PLACE IN NEW YORK STATE-AMAZING.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio takes on the meat Industry with real action.
    5 yearss ago
    Leonardo DiCaprio takes on the meat Industry with real action.
  • Do psychic mediums have messages from beyond?
    5 yearss ago
    Do psychic mediums have messages from beyond?
  • Lovely gift for my 52nd Birthday. Tsem Rinpoche
    5 yearss ago
    Lovely gift for my 52nd Birthday. Tsem Rinpoche
  • This 59-year-old chimpanzee was refusing food and ready to die until...
    5 yearss ago
    This 59-year-old chimpanzee was refusing food and ready to die until...
    she received “one last visit from an old friend” 💔💔
  • Bigfoot sighted again and made it to the news.
    5 yearss ago
    Bigfoot sighted again and made it to the news.
  • Casper is such a cute and adorable. I like him.
    5 yearss ago
    Casper is such a cute and adorable. I like him.
  • Dorje Shugden Monastery Amarbayasgalant  Mongolia's Ancient Hidden Gem
    5 yearss ago
    Dorje Shugden Monastery Amarbayasgalant Mongolia's Ancient Hidden Gem
  • Don't you love Hamburgers? See how 'delicious' it is here!
    5 yearss ago
    Don't you love Hamburgers? See how 'delicious' it is here!
  • Such a beautiful and powerful message from a person who knows the meaning of life. Tsem Rinpoche
    5 yearss ago
    Such a beautiful and powerful message from a person who knows the meaning of life. Tsem Rinpoche
  • What the meat industry figured out is that you don't need healthy animals to make a profit.
    5 yearss ago
    What the meat industry figured out is that you don't need healthy animals to make a profit.
    Sick animals are more profitable... farms calculate how close to death they can keep animals without killing them. That's the business model. How quickly they can be made to grow, how tightly they can be packed, how much or how little can they eat, how sick they can get without dying... We live in a world in which it's conventional to treat an animal like a block of wood. ~ Jonathan Safran Foer
  • This video went viral and it's a must watch!!
    5 yearss ago
    This video went viral and it's a must watch!!
  • SEE HOW THIS ANIMAL SERIAL KILLER HAS NO ISSUE BLUDGEONING THIS DEFENSELESS BEING.
    5 yearss ago
    SEE HOW THIS ANIMAL SERIAL KILLER HAS NO ISSUE BLUDGEONING THIS DEFENSELESS BEING.
    This happens daily in slaughterhouse so you can get your pork and Bak ku teh. Stop eating meat.

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.

View All Questions

CHAT PICTURES

Kechara Earth Project 12 June 2022
2 weeks ago
Kechara Earth Project 12 June 2022
#Throwback. Visitation of Ven. Zawa Tulku Rinpoche and Ven. Geshe Jangchup Gyaltsen to Kechara Penang Chapel on 17/5/2022. We did a short prayers together. Really happy for the short visit. Kechara Penang Study Group~ by Jacinta
1 month ago
#Throwback. Visitation of Ven. Zawa Tulku Rinpoche and Ven. Geshe Jangchup Gyaltsen to Kechara Penang Chapel on 17/5/2022. We did a short prayers together. Really happy for the short visit. Kechara Penang Study Group~ by Jacinta
Photo from JC
1 month ago
Photo from JC
Trying to WE-fie. Do we get that just alright, lol? Come and join us next time at Jalan Seang Tek, Kechara Penang Chapel. Celebrate Wesak with us ~ by Jacinta
2 months ago
Trying to WE-fie. Do we get that just alright, lol? Come and join us next time at Jalan Seang Tek, Kechara Penang Chapel. Celebrate Wesak with us ~ by Jacinta
Trying to "WE-fie". Do we get that just alright, lol? Come and join us next time at Jalan Seang Tek, Kechara Penang Chapel. Celebrate Wesak with us ~ by Jacinta
2 months ago
Trying to "WE-fie". Do we get that just alright, lol? Come and join us next time at Jalan Seang Tek, Kechara Penang Chapel. Celebrate Wesak with us ~ by Jacinta
Celebrated Wesak Day 2022 in Penang, with a group of fun, committed, helpful and also devoted friends & family. Kechara Penang Study Group 15/5/2022 ~by Jacinta
2 months ago
Celebrated Wesak Day 2022 in Penang, with a group of fun, committed, helpful and also devoted friends & family. Kechara Penang Study Group 15/5/2022 ~by Jacinta
Vesak Day 2022 - Bird liberation. Kechara Penang Study Group ~by Jacinta
2 months ago
Vesak Day 2022 - Bird liberation. Kechara Penang Study Group ~by Jacinta
All attendees are paying homage to Rinpoche and Buddhas before the start of our weekly Dorje Shugden puja. Outwardly, it seems that Dorje Shugden helps practitioners overcoming their obstacles and problems but ultimately Dorje Shugden’s supreme purpose is to help practitioners on their path to Enlightenment. Do join in our weekly DS puja, every Saturday @3 pm at Jalan Seang Tek, Penang. ~by Jacinta
2 months ago
All attendees are paying homage to Rinpoche and Buddhas before the start of our weekly Dorje Shugden puja. Outwardly, it seems that Dorje Shugden helps practitioners overcoming their obstacles and problems but ultimately Dorje Shugden’s supreme purpose is to help practitioners on their path to Enlightenment. Do join in our weekly DS puja, every Saturday @3 pm at Jalan Seang Tek, Penang. ~by Jacinta
All of us are practicing on how to properly use dorje(Vajra), bell and damaru ~ Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta
2 months ago
All of us are practicing on how to properly use dorje(Vajra), bell and damaru ~ Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta
After inviting Dorje Shugden Wangze, Pastor Seng Piow teaches us how to use ritual objects and the full set of prayer accompanying it. Kechara Penang Study Group ~by Jacinta
2 months ago
After inviting Dorje Shugden Wangze, Pastor Seng Piow teaches us how to use ritual objects and the full set of prayer accompanying it. Kechara Penang Study Group ~by Jacinta
With great happiness, merits and excitement that Penang Group have invited Buddha Wangzey to Penang chapel, complete with full rituals and prayer. 30th April 2022 Kechara Penang Study Group ~by Jacinta
2 months ago
With great happiness, merits and excitement that Penang Group have invited Buddha Wangzey to Penang chapel, complete with full rituals and prayer. 30th April 2022 Kechara Penang Study Group ~by Jacinta
Come and get your blessing from Lama Tsongkhapa and Dorje Shugden in Penang @ Jalan Seang Tek ~ by Jacinta.
2 months ago
Come and get your blessing from Lama Tsongkhapa and Dorje Shugden in Penang @ Jalan Seang Tek ~ by Jacinta.
Special thanks to one of our dedicated Penang group members, Choong for superb tormas. Swift Return Puja @ every Saturday, 3pm. Do contact William for more info ~ by Jacinta
2 months ago
Special thanks to one of our dedicated Penang group members, Choong for superb tormas. Swift Return Puja @ every Saturday, 3pm. Do contact William for more info ~ by Jacinta
Thanks to William for being the Umze for Swift Return Puja at Penang Centre. ~ by Jacinta
2 months ago
Thanks to William for being the Umze for Swift Return Puja at Penang Centre. ~ by Jacinta
The members of Kechara Penang Study Group are offering serkym to Dorje Shugden and His entourage. There's puja every Saturday @ 3 pm at Penang Chapel, Jalan Seang Tek. All are welcome. ~by Jacinta
2 months ago
The members of Kechara Penang Study Group are offering serkym to Dorje Shugden and His entourage. There's puja every Saturday @ 3 pm at Penang Chapel, Jalan Seang Tek. All are welcome. ~by Jacinta
We are in the third week of Ramadan this year, and kind volunteers have never failed to feed people in need since Tengku Zatashah started this meaningful #zerofoodwastage initiative in 2016. The aim is to benefit the underprivileged with nice surplus food collected from Ramadan buffets. Every night during the month of Ramadan, volunteers collect surplus cooked food from hotels and distribute it to charity homes and low-income families. THANK YOU, Tengku, dedicated volunteers and hotel partners, for making this Ramadan special for the underprivileged. #kecharasoupkitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment - KSK @ Vivian
2 months ago
We are in the third week of Ramadan this year, and kind volunteers have never failed to feed people in need since Tengku Zatashah started this meaningful #zerofoodwastage initiative in 2016. The aim is to benefit the underprivileged with nice surplus food collected from Ramadan buffets. Every night during the month of Ramadan, volunteers collect surplus cooked food from hotels and distribute it to charity homes and low-income families. THANK YOU, Tengku, dedicated volunteers and hotel partners, for making this Ramadan special for the underprivileged. #kecharasoupkitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment - KSK @ Vivian
We were chanting Migsetma mantra at the time this picture was taken. Thanks to all our Penang members who are very committed to attend Swift Return puja weekly. Kechara Penang Study Group, every Saturday @ 3pm. ~by Jacinta
3 months ago
We were chanting Migsetma mantra at the time this picture was taken. Thanks to all our Penang members who are very committed to attend Swift Return puja weekly. Kechara Penang Study Group, every Saturday @ 3pm. ~by Jacinta
William, who is our leader/ Umze is cleaning the pantry and Gordon offered up 4 carton of packet drinks today. We cannot thank you enough for all kind hearted who sponsored various offerings weekly. Kechara Penang Study Group ~by Jacinta
3 months ago
William, who is our leader/ Umze is cleaning the pantry and Gordon offered up 4 carton of packet drinks today. We cannot thank you enough for all kind hearted who sponsored various offerings weekly. Kechara Penang Study Group ~by Jacinta
Siew Hong came with a basket of fruits while Choong, who is expert in baking offered tormas today for our Swift Return Puja. Kechara Penang Study Group ~by Jacinta
3 months ago
Siew Hong came with a basket of fruits while Choong, who is expert in baking offered tormas today for our Swift Return Puja. Kechara Penang Study Group ~by Jacinta
Dedicated sisters, Sharyn and Swee Bee. They always make sure our puja offerings, especially fruits are arranged nicely. Kechara Penang Study Group ~ by Jacinta
3 months ago
Dedicated sisters, Sharyn and Swee Bee. They always make sure our puja offerings, especially fruits are arranged nicely. Kechara Penang Study Group ~ by Jacinta
Committed and hardworking Kechara Penang members, Mr. Tang and Mr. Huey. Really appreciate having you both at our weekly puja . Kechara Penang Study Group ~ by Jacinta
3 months ago
Committed and hardworking Kechara Penang members, Mr. Tang and Mr. Huey. Really appreciate having you both at our weekly puja . Kechara Penang Study Group ~ by Jacinta
KSK medic personnel have been tending to the needs of the clients every week. Their consistent kindness helps improve the medical welfare of those without a home. Thank you for serving and making them your priority on your weekends. #medicteam #kecharasoupkitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment
4 months ago
KSK medic personnel have been tending to the needs of the clients every week. Their consistent kindness helps improve the medical welfare of those without a home. Thank you for serving and making them your priority on your weekends. #medicteam #kecharasoupkitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment
In the midst of chaos, let's start healing. We have Dorje Shugden Puja every Saturday @ 3 pm. Contact William for more info. Kechara Penang Study Group. ~ by Jacinta.
4 months ago
In the midst of chaos, let's start healing. We have Dorje Shugden Puja every Saturday @ 3 pm. Contact William for more info. Kechara Penang Study Group. ~ by Jacinta.
4 months ago
Pastor is in da' house!!!! Kechara Penang Study Group @ Saturday, 3 pm. Contact William for more info ~ by Jacinta
4 months ago
Pastor is in da' house!!!! Kechara Penang Study Group @ Saturday, 3 pm. Contact William for more info ~ by Jacinta
4 months ago
5 months ago
After Dorje Shugden puja @Penang Chapel, Jalan Seang Tek, members went to a nearby vegetarian shop for gathering. #CNY2022 #HappyReunion by Jacinta.
5 months ago
After Dorje Shugden puja @Penang Chapel, Jalan Seang Tek, members went to a nearby vegetarian shop for gathering. #CNY2022 #HappyReunion by Jacinta.
In 2021, we've encountered far too many challenges—Pandemic, months-long lockdown, landslide, and flood. We are proud to witness Malaysians helping one another as these agonies come sequentially. Looking back to 2021, Kechara Soup Kitchen has made significant progress, with more to come in 2022. Every year, we move a little closer to our vision. We are immensely thankful to have such dedicated teams of volunteers willing to go above and beyond for our clients. Not to mention our sponsors and donors; none of this would have been possible without you. Thank you. Thank you for being you. Thank you for helping the underprivileged to a better future. Have a blessed year ahead from our hearts to your hearts. #2022 #newyear #kecharasoupkitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment
6 months ago
In 2021, we've encountered far too many challenges—Pandemic, months-long lockdown, landslide, and flood. We are proud to witness Malaysians helping one another as these agonies come sequentially. Looking back to 2021, Kechara Soup Kitchen has made significant progress, with more to come in 2022. Every year, we move a little closer to our vision. We are immensely thankful to have such dedicated teams of volunteers willing to go above and beyond for our clients. Not to mention our sponsors and donors; none of this would have been possible without you. Thank you. Thank you for being you. Thank you for helping the underprivileged to a better future. Have a blessed year ahead from our hearts to your hearts. #2022 #newyear #kecharasoupkitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment
Ipoh members were taking turns to offer Serkym and lights to Dorje Shugden. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
7 months ago
Ipoh members were taking turns to offer Serkym and lights to Dorje Shugden. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Kechara Ipoh members were preparing for Dorje Shugden puja. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
7 months ago
Kechara Ipoh members were preparing for Dorje Shugden puja. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Kechara Ipoh Study Group has carried out Dorje Shugden puja in Ipoh on 4th Dec 2021. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
7 months ago
Kechara Ipoh Study Group has carried out Dorje Shugden puja in Ipoh on 4th Dec 2021. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Jun, our new Ipoh member, offered lights to Lama Tsongkhapa, Dorje Shugden & The Three Jewels. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
7 months ago
Jun, our new Ipoh member, offered lights to Lama Tsongkhapa, Dorje Shugden & The Three Jewels. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Mr. Cheah has offered 3 sets of Serkym prior to Dorje Shugden puja in Ipoh. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
7 months ago
Mr. Cheah has offered 3 sets of Serkym prior to Dorje Shugden puja in Ipoh. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Kechara Ipoh Study Group has completed a Dorje Shugden puja in Ipoh on 20th Nov '21. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
7 months ago
Kechara Ipoh Study Group has completed a Dorje Shugden puja in Ipoh on 20th Nov '21. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Mr. Philip, our new visitor to Ipoh centre, offered lights to Lama Tsongkhapa and the Three Jewels prior to DS puja. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
8 months ago
Mr. Philip, our new visitor to Ipoh centre, offered lights to Lama Tsongkhapa and the Three Jewels prior to DS puja. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Kechara Ipoh Study Group has resumed our Dorje Shugden puja in Ipoh on 6th Nov 2021. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
8 months ago
Kechara Ipoh Study Group has resumed our Dorje Shugden puja in Ipoh on 6th Nov 2021. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
8 months ago
Mark your calendars - we are about to embark on an epic ride! Kechara Food Bank will be travelling across the Peninsular in our giant truck to send dry food to over 2300 families. Thank you Volvo Trucks Malaysia for your generous donation of this custom-designed truck. What’s more – PPB Group Bhd is generously donating the food provision for this one-of-a-kind journey. Thank you on behalf of our grateful beneficiaries! Want to see all of this in action? Join us live or watch the videos and photos on our social media. Stay tuned!
9 months ago
Mark your calendars - we are about to embark on an epic ride! Kechara Food Bank will be travelling across the Peninsular in our giant truck to send dry food to over 2300 families. Thank you Volvo Trucks Malaysia for your generous donation of this custom-designed truck. What’s more – PPB Group Bhd is generously donating the food provision for this one-of-a-kind journey. Thank you on behalf of our grateful beneficiaries! Want to see all of this in action? Join us live or watch the videos and photos on our social media. Stay tuned!
Underprivileged residents of two PPRs in Kuala Lumpur recently received a total of 427kg from our longterm surplus produce sponsor, Lotuss Stores (formerly Tesco Stores). The 65 families are our regular beneficiaries, and are grateful to receive fresh vegetables on a consistent basis right at their doorstep. One of our recipients, Rajeswari, 52, single mother of 2 children, shared that she stopped receiving welfare aid due to unforeseen circumstances. Her words: "Saya cakap untuk Kechara [Soup Kitchen] banyak terima kasih sebab kasi makanan. Dan lebih mau tolong orang lain yang susah seperti saya". Our heartfelt thank-you goes to Lotuss Stores for being a dependable source of food aid and for #helpingthepoor with us. #kecharafoodbank #makingadifference #kitajagakita #charity #foodbank #bantuan #ngomalaysia #givingback #strongertogether - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
1 years ago
Underprivileged residents of two PPRs in Kuala Lumpur recently received a total of 427kg from our longterm surplus produce sponsor, Lotuss Stores (formerly Tesco Stores). The 65 families are our regular beneficiaries, and are grateful to receive fresh vegetables on a consistent basis right at their doorstep. One of our recipients, Rajeswari, 52, single mother of 2 children, shared that she stopped receiving welfare aid due to unforeseen circumstances. Her words: "Saya cakap untuk Kechara [Soup Kitchen] banyak terima kasih sebab kasi makanan. Dan lebih mau tolong orang lain yang susah seperti saya". Our heartfelt thank-you goes to Lotuss Stores for being a dependable source of food aid and for #helpingthepoor with us. #kecharafoodbank #makingadifference #kitajagakita #charity #foodbank #bantuan #ngomalaysia #givingback #strongertogether - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
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Dorje Shugden
Click to watch my talk about Dorje Shugden....