Kukai Kobo Daishi: The Esoteric Monk of Shingon Buddhism

Nov 26, 2017 | Views: 2,989

(By Tsem Rinpoche)

Kukai (774 – 835 CE)

Kobo Daishi or Kukai (774 – 835 CE)

Kukai, also known posthumously as Kobo Daishi, was an influential and beloved figure in Japan. He played an instrumental role in establishing and spreading the Shingon Buddhist doctrine (also known as Shingon Mikkyo), one of the few esoteric forms of Buddhism outside Tibetan Buddhism, which he received from his root guru, Hui Kuo (746-805 CE).

Hui Kuo was a close disciple of Amoghavajra (705-774 CE), a renowned 8th Century Indian monk. Kukai himself is considered to be one of the eight patriarchs of Shingon Buddhism.

Throughout his lifetime, Kukai displayed many talents and worked tirelessly to benefit beings. His legacy can still be felt today, almost 1,200 years after his death. The Manno Reservoir that he helped to construct is the oldest and largest irrigation reservoir in Japan. His doctrine of Shingon Buddhism is still very much alive, and many pilgrims continue to visit Mount Koya, the retreat place he established to preserve and propagate the Shingon doctrine, to find solace and the deeper meaning of life.

This article aims to share a glimpse of Kukai’s incredible life story. It covers his early life, his travels to China, his meeting with his root teacher, his return to Japan and his establishment of Shingon Buddhism. It also encompasses his rise to fame, his many talents and achievements, the miracles he manifested, and his enduring legacy.

 

Auspicious Birth

Kukai was born into the influential aristocratic Saeki family in the Sanuki Province. His father was Saeki no Atai Tagimi and his mother was named Lady Tamayori Gozen. The newborn baby was given the name Mao (‘True Fish’) and the nickname Totomono (‘Precious Child’). He had several siblings — at least two brothers and one sister, although the exact number is unknown. One of his brothers, Shinga (801–879 CE), would become his disciple in later years.

One day before his birth, Kukai’s parents dreamt of an Indian Buddhist monk riding on a cloud and entering Lady Tamayori’s chest.

A day before his birth, Kukai’s parents dreamt of an Indian Buddhist monk riding on a cloud and entering Lady Tamayori’s chest.

One day before his birth, Kukai’s parents dreamt of an Indian Buddhist monk riding on a cloud, who entered Lady Tamayori’s chest. His date of birth is uncertain, but most believe that he was born on June 15, 774 CE. Coincidentally, this was also the day that Amoghavajra, one of the eight Shingon Buddhist patriarchs, passed away, thus strengthening the notion that Kukai was the reincarnation of Amoghavajra.

Today, a large Shingon temple, Zentsu–Ji, stands on the site where Kukai was born and is the 75th site on Shikoku Island’s renowned 88-site pilgrimage route. The 88 Shikoku pilgrimage sites are believed to be the locations where Kukai performed miraculous deeds. Many Shingon devotees believe that Kukai built Zentsu-Ji Temple to honour his father.

Zentsu-Ji Temple

Zentsu-Ji Temple

 

Early Life

According to legend, at least two miracles occurred to indicate Kukai’s potential to benefit many beings. When he was three years old, Kukai sculpted and knelt before a clay Buddha image. As he prostrated, the Four Heavenly Kings (Shitenno) surrounded him like protective angels.

The Four Heavenly Kings (Shitenno) came to surround Kukai like protective angels as he knelt before a clay Buddha image

The Four Heavenly Kings (Shitenno) surrounded Kukai like protective angels as he knelt before a clay Buddha image

When he was seven years old, Kukai went to the highest cliff behind Zentsu-ji, turned his head in the direction of India, and cried out to Lord Buddha:

“In order to save many people, I make a vow to devote my life to the pursuit of Buddhahood! If I am not capable of fulfilling this vow, then I do not deserve my existence!”

Nocoloff, Philip L., Sacred Koyasan: A Pilgrimage to the Mountain Temple of Saint Kobo Daishi and the Great Sun Buddha

After he made this declaration, Kukai threw himself off the cliff. As he fell, Buddha Shakyamuni miraculously appeared to save him so that he could live a life of service to the Dharma. In some sources, the Bodhisattva Kannon, a female form of Avalokiteshvara, is said to have appeared instead. This episode in Kukai’s life is known as ‘Cliff Jumping’ (Shashin-ga-take). Today, Shusshaka-ji Temple (Temple of Shakyamuni’s Appearance) stands at the foot of the mountain where the event occurred, and is the 73rd stop on Shikoku’s 88-site pilgrimage circuit.

 

The Fall of the Saeki Family

The fall of the Saeki family was triggered by an assassination scandal. In 785 CE, the head of the clan, Otomo no Tuguto, was held responsible for the murder of Fujiwara no Tanetsugu, a political rival. Having lost their influence and prestige in court, the Saeki family then placed their hopes on Kukai to reclaim the family’s honour by encouraging him towards the life of a court bureaucrat.

At 15 years old, Kukai was sent to Nara to study under the guidance of his maternal uncle, Ato Otari, who was also the tutor of Crown Prince Iyo

When he was 15 years old, Kukai was sent to Nara to study under the guidance of his maternal uncle, Ato Otari, who was also the tutor of Crown Prince Iyo

When he was 15 years old, he was sent to Nara to study the Confucian classics, poetry, and rhetoric under the guidance of his maternal uncle, Ato Otari, to prepare him for the university entrance examinations. Ato Otari was also the tutor of Crown Prince Iyo, the third son of Emperor Kanmu who reigned from 781 to 806 CE. At the age of 18, Kukai attended the State Confucian College in Nara to prepare him for a career in court.

Akashagarbha Bodhisattva or Kokuzo Bosatsu at Todai-ji Temple

Akashagarbha Bodhisattva or Kokuzo Bosatsu at Todai-ji Temple

However, his life took a different turn when he met a monk who introduced him to an esoteric meditation practice, Gumonji Ho, and the esoteric mantra of Akashagarbha Bodhisattva, also known as Kokuzo Bosatsu in Japan. Kukai began to voraciously read Mahayana Buddhist literature in addition to Confucian philosophy. He also skipped class to meditate in nearby forests and mountains, which had a lasting impact on his mind.

An illustration of Kukai entering the priesthood

An illustration of Kukai entering the priesthood

When he was between 20 and 24 years old, Kukai terminated his studies and became a wandering ascetic monk, much to the disappointment of his family. His novice ordination ceremony took place in Makino-san-ji Temple on the Izumi Mountains. It is said that Abbot Gonzo of Daian-ji Temple presided over the ceremony and gave him the name Kukai, ‘The Ocean of Emptiness‘.

Daian-ji Temple - It is believed that Abbot Gonzo from Daian-ji Temple presided over Kukai’s initial ordination ceremony

Daian-ji Temple: It is believed that Abbot Gonzo from Daian-ji Temple presided over Kukai’s ordination ceremony

 

Travel to China

As a wandering monk, Kukai divided his time between scholarly research in Japan’s large monasteries and meditation in the mountains.

“It is said that he read over 10,000 Mahayana and Theravada scriptures during this period of his life, but he was not satisfied (Shiba, 1978). The knowledge he was seeking was not found in any of the texts he had read. They were superficial texts and did not reveal the true nature of reality. For assistance, Kukai prayed in front of the large statue of the Cosmic Buddha, Dainichi Nyorai (Buddha Mahavairocana), at Todai Temple in Nara.”

http://www.worldhistory.biz/sundries/49301-kobo-daishi-and-shingon-buddhism.html

Mahavairocana Sutra

Mahavairocana Sutra

Around this time, Kukai came across the esoteric Sun Sutra, also known as Dainichi-kyo in Japanese and Mahavairocana Sutra in Sanskrit. He thought of the great sutra as the source of knowledge he had been searching for, and wrote:

“I had studied Buddhism both Hinayana and Mahayana, reading all sutras available, but I could not dismiss a doubt that prevented me from going on. So I prayed, day and night, for something that would guide me along. One night I had a dream: a man came to me and said that the Mahavairocana Sutra would be exactly the one I had been looking for. Overjoyed, I searched and searched until I found it in the basement of the east pagoda of Kume-dera Temple in Takechi County in the province of Yamato.”

http://www.worldhistory.biz/sundries/49301-kobo-daishi-and-shingon-buddhism.html

A deer and Buddhist monk just outside of Todai Temple in Nara, Japan, where Kukai prayed for assistance.

A deer and Buddhist monk just outside Todai Temple in Nara, Japan where Kukai prayed for assistance.

However, Kukai had difficulties understanding the Mahavairocana Sutra. Therefore, he prayed to visit Ch’ang-an (present-day Xi’an), which was then the centre of esoteric Buddhism. He did so in the hope of finding a teacher who could give him the necessary oral transmissions and commentaries on the text.

Kukai then applied for permission and funding from Emperor Kanmu to travel to China to study for 20 years. Fortunately, Emperor Kanmu agreed and endowed Kukai with the necessary funds for the trip. Another Buddhist priest named Saicho (767-822 CE), the founder of Tendai Buddhism in Japan, was also granted permission to travel to China. However, Kukai’s and Saicho’s paths would not cross until their return to Japan several years later.

A reconstructed 9th century ship of Japan’s mission to China

A reconstructed 9th century ship, similar to the ones used in Japan’s mission to China

A month before he departed, Kukai received his full ordination vows or final initiation into the priesthood at Todai-ji Monastery in Nara. In May 804 CE, Kukai embarked on his journey to China. There were four ships in total — Kukai was in the first ship with Kadonomaro, the leader of Japan’s mission to China, and Saicho was in the second ship with the other officials. The third ship carried accountants and secretaries, while the fourth carried translators and labourers. Unfortunately, only the first two ships successfully reached China. The third was badly damaged in a storm and had to return to Japan while the fourth was lost in the South China Sea.

When the ship that carried Kukai and Kadonomaro arrived in Fujian Province in China, the local authority treated the passengers with suspicion. To overcome the misgivings, Kukai wrote two elegant letters to the governor of Fujian Province. Upon reading the first letter, the governor gave a gracious reception to Kadonomaro and his party. The second letter created the opportunity for Kukai to go to Ch’ang-an, China’s capital at the time.

An illustration of Kukai’s voyage to China

An illustration of Kukai’s voyage to China

 

Meeting His Root Teacher

Xi Ming Temple in the present-day Xi’an. This is the temple where Kukai used to study

Xi Ming Temple in present-day Xi’an. This is where Kukai used to study

The Tang court granted permission for Kukai to stay in Xi Ming Temple to study Chinese Buddhism. Here, he also studied Sanskrit under the tutelage of Prajna (734–810 CE), who had attended the famed Nalanda Buddhist University in India.

In May 805 CE, Kukai met his root teacher Hui Kuo of Ch’ing-lung Temple, also known as Keika in Japan. Hui Kuo was a close disciple of the late famed esoteric Indian master Amoghavajra and a leading Chinese Shingon master of the time who had powerful influence in the Tang court.

When Kukai met Hui Kuo, the master was ill and had already prepared his last testament. Upon meeting Kukai, Hui Kuo was extremely delighted which can be seen in the following excerpt from Kukai’s account of their meeting in his report to the Japanese emperor:

“I called on the abbot [at Ch’ing-lung Temple] in the company of five or six monks from [Xi Ming] Temple. As soon as he saw me, he smiled with pleasure and joyfully said, ‘I knew that you would come! I have waited for such a long time. What pleasure it gives me to look upon you today at last! My life is drawing to an end, and until you came there was no one to whom I could transmit the teachings. Go without delay to the altar of abhisheka with incense and a flower.’ I returned to the temple where I had been staying and got the things which were necessary for the ceremony.”

Nocoloff, Philip L., Sacred Koyasan: A Pilgrimage to the Mountain Temple of Saint Kobo Daishi and the Great Sun Buddha

In May 805, Kukai met with his root teacher Hui-kuo, who transmitted all the necessary esoteric teachings to qualify Kukai to become the master of esoteric Buddhism

In May 805, Kukai met with his root teacher Hui Kuo, who transmitted all the necessary esoteric teachings that allowed Kukai to become a master of esoteric Buddhism

 

Initiation into the Esoteric Buddhist Tradition

Kukai returned to Ch’ing-lung Temple with his ritual instruments and the required offerings. Fortunately for Kukai, his research and study of Buddhism in Shikoku had prepared him for the instructions he was to receive from Hui Kuo in the short time they were together.

Hui-kuo (746 – 805 CE)

Hui Kuo (746 – 805 CE)

Hui Kuo instructed Kukai in the rituals and meditations of the Womb Realm (Taizo-kai) mandala. One ritual required Kukai to throw a flower into the mandala when he was blindfolded. The flower fell onto the central figure of the mandala, Dainichi Nyorai (Buddha Mahavairocana), and Hui Kuo remarked, “It is wonderful.”

In July, Kukai was initiated into the second of the two esoteric companion mandalas, the Diamond Realm (Kongo-kai) mandala, where the flower-throwing ritual was repeated. Once again, the flower fell on Dainichi Nyorai. In August, during the climactic initiation ritual, Kukai entered the denpo-kanjo ceremony to consecrate him to receive Dharma transmissions, and once again, the flower fell on the Dainichi Nyorai figure. After that, “Hui Kuo bestowed on him an epithet that conveyed this thrice proven link with the Great Sun Buddha: Henjo Kongo. Thus, Kukai became an inheritor and master of Esoteric Buddhism.

To express his gratitude, Kukai sponsored a meal for five hundred priests, including those who directly served in the Tang imperial court. Following this, Hui Kuo continued to train Kukai. Over 20 scribes were employed to copy the esoteric scriptures and their explanations, and many artists were engaged to reproduce the complex mandalas. The essential ritual implements were also collected.

Another image of Hui Kuo (left) and Kukai (right)

Hui Kuo (left) and Kukai (right)

Several days before his death, Hui Kuo gave Kukai his final piece of advice:

“When you arrived I feared I did not have enough time left to teach you everything, but now I have completed teaching you, and the work of copying the sutras and making the images has also been finished. Hasten back to your country, offer these things to the court, and spread the teachings throughout your country to increase the happiness of the people… In that way you will return thanks to the Buddha and to your teacher. That is also the way to show your devotion to your country and to your family. My disciple I-ming will carry on the teachings here. Your task is to transmit them to the Eastern Land. Do your best! Do your best!”

Nocoloff, Philip L., Sacred Koyasan: A Pilgrimage to the Mountain Temple of Saint Kobo Daishi and the Great Sun Buddha

Seven months after his first meeting with Kukai, Hui Kuo passed away. Before his death, Hui Kuo made the following remarks about Kukai:

“I conferred on him mystic rituals and mudras of both mandalas. He received them in Chinese as well as in Sanskrit without fault, just as water is poured from one jar to another.”

Nocoloff, Philip L., Sacred Koyasan: A Pilgrimage to the Mountain Temple of Saint Kobo Daishi and the Great Sun Buddha

Not long after his teacher’s passing, Kukai went into meditation where his teacher appeared and said, “You and I have long been pledged to propagate the Esoteric Buddhist teachings. If I am reborn in Japan, this time I shall be your disciple.

Kukai was selected to compose an epitaph for his teacher’s monument. He wrote,

“With heavy hearts we bury a jewel. With stricken souls we burn a magic herb. We close the doors of death forever.”

It is said that when writing, Kukai held five brushes at once — one with each hand, one with each foot, and the fifth with his mouth. Upon seeing this, the Chinese emperor gave him the title, “The Priest who writes with five brushes” (Gohitsu Osho).

 

Return to Japan and Temporary Exile

By the time of his master’s passing, Kukai had gained remarkable popularity in Ch’ang-an. The Chinese Emperor Xianzong of the Tang Dynasty is said to have given Kukai a farewell gift of prayer beads, and his eyes were filled with tears as he said:

My intention was that you should stay here and be my teacher. But I hear your [newly enthroned] Emperor Heizei (r. 806–809 CE) is anxiously awaiting your return, so I shall not urge you to stay.

Nocoloff, Philip L., Sacred Koyasan: A Pilgrimage to the Mountain Temple of Saint Kobo Daishi and the Great Sun Buddha

In the late summer of 806, before he embarked on the the ship to return to Japan, Kukai stood on the Chinese shore and instructed his golden three-pronged vajra (sanko) to go before him and find a suitable place for esoteric Buddhism in Japan.

In the late summer of 806 CE before he embarked the ship to Japan, Kukai stood on the Chinese shore and instructed his golden three-pronged vajra (sanko) to go before him and find a suitable place for esoteric Buddhism in Japan.

The Chinese emperor also asked Kukai to inscribe the reception hall at the imperial palace. Upon completing this project, the emperor granted him the title “Master of the Five Skills in Calligraphy”. As Kukai was preparing to depart to Japan, it is said that many adoring Chinese devotees pleaded with him to stay back and remain with them.

In the late summer of 806 CE, before he embarked the ship to return to Japan, Kukai stood on the Chinese shore and instructed his golden three-pronged vajra (sanko) to go before him and find a suitable place for esoteric Buddhism in Japan. The vajra flew in Japan’s direction and is said to have landed on Mount Koya.

A golden three-pronged vajra

A golden three-pronged vajra

While on the voyage home, Kukai’s ship encountered a great storm. Kukai prayed to the image of Fudo Myo-o that he had carved from a piece of wood given by his late teacher, Hui Kuo. Fudo Myo-o is a wrathful manifestation of Dainichi Nyorai (Buddha Mahavairocana), who converts anger into salvation. As Kukai prayed, the wrathful deity could be seen walking and cutting the waves with his sword.

Fudo Myo-o, a wrathful manifestation of Dainichi Nyorai

Fudo Myo-o, a wrathful manifestation of Dainichi Nyorai (Buddha Mahavairocana)

In October 806 CE, after he landed on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu, Kukai wrote to the newly enthroned Emperor Heizei to report of his success in meeting a qualified teacher who had initiated him into powerful esoteric practices. He described this as the quickest path to Enlightenment and also recorded in writing the many treasures and scriptures he had brought back to Japan and their significance. These treasures included 142 Sanskrit documents, 42 treatises and 32 other works. In addition, Kukai brought back five mandalas, five portraits of Buddhist icons, precious relics and ritual instruments. He also apologised for his early return, which violated his earlier commitment to remain in China for 20 years.

“Though I, Kūkai, may deserve to be punished by death because I did not arrive [at the appointed time], yet I am secretly delighted with my good luck that I am alive and that I have imported the Dharma that is difficult to obtain. I can hardly bear the feelings of fear and joy which alternate in my heart.”

Nocoloff, Philip L., Sacred Koyasan: A Pilgrimage to the Mountain Temple of Saint Kobo Daishi and the Great Sun Buddha

Kukai also stated he would rush to the capital once he received an invitation from the court. However, he would only be summoned to court three years later. There are a couple of possible reasons for this:

  • Saicho had introduced the esoteric Buddhist teachings to Japan and established the Tendai school one year before Kukai. Saicho had returned from China with 460 volumes of sacred texts that included the scriptures of Zen, Pure Land, and Tendai. Emperor Kanmu was pleased with Saicho’s success, and he granted the Tendai school the status of an independent Buddhist tradition with a headquarters on Mount Hiei.
  • Kukai’s maternal uncle, Ato Otari, was disgraced at court and had fled to Shikoku. Prince Iyo, Ato Otari’s royal pupil, had been imprisoned and forced to commit suicide under the suspicion of initiating rebellion.
Kume-dera Temple

Kume-dera Temple

There are various accounts of how Kukai spent his three years in temporary exile. Some accounts say he visited Kanzeon-ji Temple on Kyushu Island and Kume-dera Temple in Nara, the place where he first found the image of Dainichi Nyorai (Buddha Mahavairocana). Other accounts indicate that he briefly visited the capital during this period to submit the intermediary sutras and commentaries to the court.

Many legends also mention his travels during this period, where he must have learned that the existing Nara Buddhist practitioners were worried about Saicho’s rise to power — Saicho was promoting the Tendai School of Buddhism as being superior to all six Buddhist schools existent in Nara. This three-year period also gave Kukai the chance to systemise his Buddhist doctrine that would later become known as Shingon Buddhism.

However, everything was about to change. After reigning for three years, Emperor Heizei had become ill and decided to abdicate. He passed the throne to his younger brother, Emperor Saga (r. 809–823 CE), an artistic man who was passionate about Chinese literature and calligraphy. At the time, Kukai had become renowned as an accomplished calligrapher, literary theorist and poet. This literary ability may have prompted Emperor Saga to invite Kukai to court.

Finally, in 809 CE, Kukai received an imperial edict to reside at Takaosan-ji Temple, about 10 kilometres from the imperial palace.

 

Rise to Fame

Emperor Saga (r. 809 – 823 CE)

Emperor Saga (r. 809 – 823 CE)

Once in the capital, Kukai began introducing the calligraphy skills he had learned in China and Emperor Saga became Kukai’s eager disciple. The emperor also requested Kukai to compose poems and provide samples of various calligraphy styles both in Sanskrit and in Chinese.

Not long after he arrived at the centre of power, Kukai’s charm and political skills were rewarded. He attracted other individuals of power and learning and, within a year, was appointed the administrative director of Todai-ji Temple, which is regarded as the centre of the Japanese Buddhist universe and the home of the Great Sun Buddha, Mahavairocana.

Emperor Saga’s affection for Kukai appeared to be genuine, as can be seen in his letters. During one of Kukai’s absences from the capital to meditate in the mountains, Emperor Saga sent him a beautiful poem and some warm clothes.

This quiet monk has lived on the peak in the clouds
For a long time
Here far from you, I think of the deep mountain still cold
Even though it is Spring
The pines and cedars are keeping silent
How long have you been breathing the mist and fog?
No recent news has come from your abode of meditation.
The flowers are blooming and the willows are relaxing
Here at [Heian-kyō] in the Spring.
O Bodhisattva, do not reject this small present
And help the giver troubled with worldly concerns.

Nocoloff, Philip L., Sacred Koyasan: A Pilgrimage to the Mountain Temple of Saint Kobo Daishi and the Great Sun Buddha

Kukai is said to have responded in similar diction and rhythm modelled on Emperor Saga’s. As the emperor’s faith increased, so did Kukai’s power and popularity. He was entrusted to oversee many public projects, such as constructing the Manno Reservoir, To-Ji Temple, and the administration of many temples.

In 825 CE, Emperor Saga appointed Kukai as the tutor to the crown prince and in 827, Kukai was promoted to Daisozu, the priest with the capacity to preside over state rituals and those related to the emperor and the imperial family.

 

The Relationship between Kukai and Saicho

Not long after Kukai arrived at Takaosan-ji, Saicho sought him out. Saicho acknowledged his esoteric knowledge to be incomplete and he wanted to learn from the younger monk. The relationship between the two famous monks was cordial at first. Saicho borrowed some sutras and commentaries that Kukai had brought from China and sent some of his students to learn from Kukai.

“Although I have undertaken the long journey to China, willingly risking my life for the sake of the Dharma, I am still deficient in the way of [Shingon-dō]. The Master Kūkai fortunately was able to study this after reaching Ch’ang-an.”

Nocoloff, Philip L., Sacred Koyasan: A Pilgrimage to the Mountain Temple of Saint Kobo Daishi and the Great Sun Buddha

Saicho (767 – 822 CE)

Saicho (767 – 822 CE)

Although Saicho had received the Diamond Realm and Womb Realm mandalas initiations during his time in China, he was not initiated into the intermediate and final transmissions of the practice. When Saicho requested for the intermediate initiation, Kukai graciously agreed. The initiation was done for Saicho, Saicho’s disciples, several chief priests from the Nara Buddhist schools, and several members of the nobility.

The first crack in their relationship appeared when Saicho requested Kukai for the final initiation of Denpo-Kanjo, the consecration for the Transmission of the Dharma. This was a prerequisite to become a full master of esoteric Buddhism. However, the ceremony was never performed because Kukai insisted that Saicho had to study for three years before being eligible for the transmission. Despite their differences, Saicho continued to send his students to study with Kukai and in the spring of 813 CE, Kukai gave some of these disciples the Denpo-Kanjo initiation.

A letter written by Kukai to Saicho that is currently stored at To-ji Temple

Kukai’s letter to Saicho that is currently stored at To-ji Temple

Another sore point that soured their relationship was Saicho’s belief that Shingon and Tendai Buddhism stood on equal footing. Kukai would not accept this, although he agreed there was harmony between the Tendai and Shingon doctrines. Thus, the relationship between the two masters eventually ended. The situation worsened when one of Saicho’s closest followers, Taihan (778-858 CE), defected to Kukai’s side.

 

Kukai the Visionary

There are many tales of Kukai’s progressive thinking and his passion to improve the life of the people. It is said that Kukai was the first person to teach the Japanese how to use petroleum and coal, and also the first to promote the health benefits of hot springs. He was also known to be skilled in metallurgy, pharmaceuticals, physics, engineering, and astronomy.

Furthermore, Kukai’s ideas of educating children from all social classes and broadening the study curriculum, regardless of whether they intended to be Buddhist priests or laypeople, were visionary for Japanese society.

Kukai established Shugei-shuchi-in, a comprehensive school of sciences and arts in Kyoto that was open to students from all backgrounds

Kukai established Shugei-shuchi-in, a comprehensive school of sciences and arts in Kyoto that was open to students from all backgrounds

To realise his idea, Kukai established Shugei-shuchi-in, a comprehensive school of sciences and arts in Kyoto. The unique approaches of this school include:

  • Encouraging productive learning by establishing the school in a pastoral area near forest walks and flowing water
  • Being open to students from all social classes. Tuition was free and housing facilities and food were provided for those who lived far away. Before Kukai’s school was established, private educational institutions run by the nobility only admitted students from aristocratic families.
  • A broad curriculum. Until the establishment of Shugei-Shuchi-in, monastic students only studied the Buddhist scriptures while those training for government service only studied non-Buddhist texts. Kukai believed this narrow curriculum created obstacles for Enlightenment. Thus, he designed curriculums that included subjects such as astronomy, philosophy, medicine, grammar, mathematics, calligraphy, horsemanship, music, diplomacy, logic, law, Taoism, and Confucianism.

Kukai also encouraged the teachers at Shugei-Shuchi-in to approach the students with compassion and fairness, regardless of their family background. Unfortunately, 10 years after Kukai’s passing, Shugei-Shuchi-in was closed and the land was sold to purchase rice fields to sustain the monks in training. Having said that, the spirit of Kukai’s vision lives on at Shingon College located in the To-ji Temple grounds and in the schools around Koya mountain.

 

Talents and Achievements

Kukai was famous for his many talents and achievements, many of which survive today.

 

The Invention of Kana Script

It is widely believed that Kukai invented the Kana script, a phonetic form of Kanji imported from China. Since kanji was difficult, a high percentage of Japanese were illiterate at the time. The Kana script allowed people to improve their reading and writing skills and also made it possible for the Japanese to write with greater freedom of expression. Many examples of both prose and poetry were produced using this script.

 

Writings by Kukai

Kukai was a renowned and talented poet and writer, and these are some of his most popular works:

Essentials of the Three Teachings (Sangō Shiiki) 791 CE
In his first major work, Kukai writes about the superiority of Buddhism relative to Confucianism and Taoism, and emphasises that Buddhist doctrine contains everything that is good from the two other doctrines and more.

The Admonishments of Kōnin (Kōnin no Goyuikai) 813 CE
In this work, Kukai explains the objectives of practicing Shingon Buddhism.

The Difference Between Esoteric and Exoteric Buddhism (Benkenmitsu Nikyō Ron) 814 CE
In this work, Kukai declares Shingon Buddhism to be superior to all other forms of Buddhism in China and Japan.

The Transmission of Shingon Dharma (Shingon Fuhō Den) 814 CE
In this work, Kukai explaines the process of transmitting Shingon Dharma.

The Ten Stages of Consciousness (Jūjū Shinron) 830 CE
Written in Chinese poetic style, Kukai classifies Confucianism, Taoism, and other Buddhist literature into 10 stages, and places Shingon philosophy at the highest stage.

In addition to the above, Kukai wrote a guide on the rules of writing Chinese poetry.

 

Manno Reservoir

In 821, Kukai successfully led the reconstruction project of the then 100-year-old Manno Reservoir. Kagawa Prefecture had little rain; therefore the pond played an important role in providing water to the surrounding farms. However, despite many past repair works, the banks of the reservoir continued to break and peasants would often worry about their crops.

Emperor Saga requested Kukai, who had proven himself to be skilled in public matters, to lead the Manno Reservoir reconstruction effort. Through this project, Kukai not only showed himself to be a very capable civil engineer, but that he could also inspire many to join and participate.

Manno Reservoir is the oldest and largest reservoir in Japan

Manno Reservoir is the oldest and largest reservoir in Japan

Kukai travelled to Shikoku with four acolytes and one novice. He spent the following summer months supervising and redesigning the reservoir which was 20 kilometres in circumference. The project was completed in just three months and upon completion, even a typhoon could not break the walls down. Today, Manno Reservoir still exists as the largest and oldest irrigation reservoir in Japan.

 

Temple Reconstruction and Administration

Kukai is credited with establishing and administering hundreds of Shingon temples throughout Japan including Todai-ji in Nara, To-ji in Kyoto, Adashino Nenbutsu in Kyoto, Kanzenji Temple in Shizuoka, Shuzenji Temple in Izu, Atago-ji, Muro-ji, Kofuku,-ji and Daian-ji. The following are some of his most notable temple projects.

At the age of 36, Kukai was appointed as the head of the great Todai-ji Temple in Nara. In 784, Emperor Kanmu moved Japan’s capital from Nara to Kyoto, and instructed the powerful Buddhists from Nara Temple not to follow him. Then Emperor Kanmu commissioned two temples, Sai-ji (Western Temple) and To-ji (Eastern Temple), to protect the city from negative influences. However, even after 30 years, neither had come to fruition.

Five storied pagoda at To-ji Temple in Kyoto

Five storied pagoda at To-ji Temple in Kyoto

In 823, Emperor Saga requested Kukai to complete the building project and take over the administration of To-ji Temple. The emperor went even further and issued an imperial decree giving Kukai the right to use To-ji Temple for the Shingon School of Buddhism and permission to train 50 monks in the Shingon tradition.

Around the same time that Kukai took over the To-ji Temple project, he also established Zenpuku-ji Temple in Edo, present-day Tokyo. Zenpuku-ji is the second oldest temple in Tokyo.

Zenpuku-ji Temple in Tokyo

Zenpuku-ji Temple in Tokyo

Kukai would continue to build new structures in the To-ji Temple complex over time. In 825, he built a lecture hall in accordance with Shingon Buddhist principles. In 826, Kukai planned for the construction of a large pagoda at the To-ji Temple complex. However, he did not live to see the fruition of this pagoda, which was only completed over 800 years later by the third Tokugawa Shogun, Tokugawa Iemitsu.

 

The Establishment of Mount Koya

One day, as Kukai was travelling west from Yoshino, he met a tall hunter dressed in a blue outfit, armed with a bow and accompanied by his two dogs. Kukai asked the hunter if he knew of a suitable location for the establishment of a spiritual retreat centre for the study of Dharma and meditation. The hunter responded,

“Mount Kōya is in the province of Ki-no-kuni. You should look there. It contains a high valley protected by surrounding mountains. For many ages this valley has been a sacred place. In the daytime a purple cloud overhangs the valley, and at night a mysterious light appears. If you wish to see Mt. Kōya, please take my two dogs with you as companions, for they know the way.”

Nocoloff, Philip L., Sacred Koyasan: A Pilgrimage to the Mountain Temple of Saint Kobo Daishi and the Great Sun Buddha

An illustration of Kukai’s meeting with the hunter and his two dogs. The hunter advised Kukai to go to Mount Koya.

An illustration of Kukai’s meeting with the hunter and his two dogs.

The hunter disappeared upon giving this response and Kukai followed the two dogs. The following morning, as Kukai and the dogs entered Koya Mountain, a majestic lady appeared just as they were crossing the ridge. Dressed in blue with golden hair ornaments, she introduced herself as Niutsuhime no Mikoto, the mountain deity of Mount Koya.

She revealed that the hunter Kukai had met the day before was her son. Niutsuhime no Mikoto then gave permission for Kukai to enter the mountain. She also stated that if Kukai chose to build a Shingon monastery on Mount Koya, she and her son would remain close-by to protect the teachings, and they would continue to do so until Maitreya, also known as Miroku Bosatsu in Japan, came into the world.

An illustration of Kukai’s meeting with Niutsuhime no Mikoto

An illustration of Kukai’s meeting with Niutsuhime no Mikoto

Kukai climbed further up Mount Koya until they reached a beautiful valley surrounded by eight peaks that resembled the eight petals of a lotus blossom. Kukai then excitedly declared,

“Atop the mountain, there is a wide field like one would not expect, and in the surrounding mountains, lotus flowers are abundant, so this is a suitable place to spread the word of Shingon Mikkyo.”

On 19 June 816, Kukai submitted a formal request to Emperor Saga for permission to build a mountain retreat on Mount Koya. He began this letter by explaining that in China and India, many students of Buddhism preferred to meditate in the mountains because it was in these places that the Buddhas often preached and manifested themselves. He then proceeded to make the request by informing the emperor about his discovery of Mount Koya and his intent to make it a place of meditation practice for the benefit of the nation and for those who would like to discipline themselves. Kukai ended his request by saying:

“The rise or fall of the Dharma, indeed, depends on the mind of the emperor. Whether the object is small or large, I dare not make it mine until I have been granted your permission. I earnestly wish that the empty land be granted to me so that I may fulfil my humble desire.”

Nocoloff, Philip L., Sacred Koyasan: A Pilgrimage to the Mountain Temple of Saint Kobo Daishi and the Great Sun Buddha

In less than one month, Emperor Saga gave his permission on July 8, 816. Kukai then began to raise funds for the mountain retreat.

The following spring, Kukai sent two disciples, Jichie and Taihan, Saicho’s former disciple, to survey the valley of Mount Koya. Kukai would eventually entrust the responsibility of building the early structures on Mount Koya to these two disciples. On November 16, 818, Kukai climbed up Mount Koya to inspect the progress. In May 819, Kukai performed a consecration ceremony on Mount Koya that lasted seven days and seven nights. He then declared that Mount Koya would be the place for the propagation of esoteric wisdom.

As workers were clearing the vegetation on Mount Koya in preparation for construction works, Kukai noticed a light shining from among the trees. As he walked closer, he realised the light was coming from the golden vajra that he had thrown while standing on China’s shore many years earlier. He then instructed the workmen not to cut down that tree. Today, the tree is known as the Pine Tree of the Sanko (Sanko-no-matsu). Kukai would eventually name his remote mountain monastery Kongobu-ji or Vajra Peak Temple.

Another sacred object that was unearthed during the clearing process was a sword with an inscription that read, “In this place, Kasho (Kashyapa) entered into eternal meditation [Nirvana].” Kasho was one of the historical Buddhas who preceded India’s Buddha Shakyamuni.

UNESCO’s Koyasan the World Heritage Guide Map – click to enlarge

UNESCO’s Koyasan the World Heritage Guide Map – click to enlarge

Today, almost 12 centuries after construction originally began, Mount Koya is the centre of Shingon Buddhism and has evolved into a vast complex. It is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

PILGRIMAGE TO KOYASAN (English version)

Or view the video on the server at:
https://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/MountKoyaPilgrimage.mp4

 

The Many Miracles of Kukai

Kukai is known to have performed many miracles throughout his life. The following are selected accounts of Kukai’s miracles.

 

Shikoku’s 88 Site Pilgrimage

The popularity of Shikoku’s famed 88 pilgrimage sites seem to have come about through the efforts of one man named Emon Saburo. According to legend, he lived in Ebara Township in Ehime Prefecture. He is said to have been very wealthy, but miserly.

One day, a shabby monk came to his door to beg for alms. This monk was none other than Kukai. Emon Saburo was unhappy and cursed the monk. However, the monk would not give up and continued to come, repeatedly begging for alms. Finally, Saburo lost the little patience that he had. He grabbed and destroyed the monk’s begging bowl. From that moment onwards, the monk never showed himself again.

An illustration of Kukai travelling around Shikoku and exercise his esoteric practice to benefit beings in the area

An illustration of Kukai travelling around Shikoku, performing esoteric practices to benefit beings in the area

After the inauspicious event, Saburo’s eight children experienced severe misfortune and died one by one. Only then did Saburo realise the identity of the monk and regretted his actions:

“I, in my inhuman greed, without giving charity, and furthermore, I smashed Kukai’s teppachi. My children have also met ill fortune and died. This surely must be my divine punishment.”

http://www.koyasan.or.jp/en/shingonshu/temple.html

The map of Shikoku’s 88 pilgrimage sites

The map of Shikoku’s 88 pilgrimage sites

Upon making this declaration, Saburo donated his various properties to charity and commenced on a journey to seek out Kukai and apologise. He embarked on a pilgrimage to various temples around Shikoku where Kukai was thought to be performing ascetic practices. The sites that Saburo visited are now listed as part of the Shikoku Pilgrimage route, where people engage in their own spiritual practices.

 

Historic Pilgrimage: Shikoku Japan

Or view the video on the server at:
https://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/ShikokuPilgrimage.mp4

 

Overcoming Epidemics and Diseases

In 818 CE, Japan was rocked by a severe epidemic that claimed many lives. When Emperor Saga asked Kukai for advice on how to overcome the calamity, Kukai told Emperor Saga to transcribe the Heart Sutra (Hannya-Shingyo) and gave several lectures on the benefits of this sutra. Soon after, the epidemic subsided.

An illustration of Kukai giving lectures on the Heart Sutra

An illustration of Kukai giving lectures on the Heart Sutra

 

Overcoming Drought

In 824 CE, the region near the capital experienced a severe drought. There was no rain for three months, and the people were worried about the possibility of famine. The court instructed monks and nuns in the affected area to chant sutras for five days in a row and pray for rain. Emperor Junna (r. 823–833 CE) also solicited Kukai’s assistance.

Kukai set up an altar in the imperial palace gardens and performed the rituals to induce rain. Before he had even finished, rain began to fall and lasted for three days and three nights. This later became known as ‘Kobo’s rain’. Today, the location where Kukai performed this miracle is known as the Shinsen-en garden near Kyoto Nijo Castle.

An illustration of Kukai performing a ritual at the present-day Shinsen-en garden to overcome drought

An illustration of Kukai performing a ritual at present-day Shinsen-en Garden to overcome drought

 

The Passing of a Great Master

A prayer station before proceeding to Kobo Daishi Mausoleum where Kukai’s body was interred

A prayer station before proceeding to Kobo Daishi Mausoleum where Kukai’s body is interred

In 831 CE, Kukai requested the emperor’s permission to retire due to declining health. However, the emperor did not grant his wish and instead, gave him sick leave. In 832 CE, Kukai returned to Mount Koya where he spent the greater part of his remaining years. In 835 CE, the court gave Kukai permission to ordain three Shingon monks annually on Mount Koya. This was an indication that Mount Koya had become a state-sponsored institution.

Shortly before his death, Kukai addressed his followers:

“At first I thought that I should live until a hundred years old and convert all the people, but now that you are all grown up there is no need for my life to be prolonged, and I shall leave for the Eternal Samadhi on the twenty-first day of next month, March of 835. But you need by no means grieve, for my spiritual force will still be alive here. Even after entering into the eternal meditation.

I will save all sentient beings, accompanied by Maitreya Bodhisattva in the Tushita Heaven. Surely, I will return here again with the Bodhisattva, 5.6 million years later. Until you cease your suffering on earth, I will carefully watch you and save you from such suffering.”

Jeremiah, Ken. Living Buddhas: The Self-Mummified Monks of Yamagata, Japan

Miroku Bosatsu (Maitreya)

Miroku Bosatsu (Maitreya)

Kukai passed away at 4 am on March 21, 835 CE at the age of 60. Seven days before his passing, Kukai spoke his final words to his disciples and retreated to his room to meditate in front of Miroku Bosatsu (Maitreya). As the word spread that Kukai was dying, hundreds of devotees climbed Mount Koya to pray outside in the courtyard.

On March 21, one disciple observed that the master’s eyes had closed, although he continued to sit in his meditative position. After seven days of no change, his disciples decided to perform a memorial service every seven days. On the 49th day, several disciples entered the room and discovered that Kukai’s skin was still warm and moist, and that his hair continued to grow. The disciples shaved his head and beard and prepared for the funeral ceremony which was held the next day on May 10, at 4 pm. Kukai was interred in a mausoleum in Okunoin Cemetery on Mount Koya.

– Many pilgrims today came to Mount Koya to pay homage in front of Kobo Daishi’s mausoleum

Many pilgrims come to Mount Koya to pay homage at Kukai’s mausoleum

 

Posthumous Title and Legacy

83 years after his passing, Emperor Daigo granted Kukai the posthumous title of ‘Kobo Daishi’. The emperor also offered Kukai a new cypress-coloured imperial robe after having a dream of Kukai standing by his bedside requesting a new imperial robe as the one he was wearing had worn out.

83 years after Kukai’s passing, Emperor Daigo granted Kukai a posthumous title of Kobo Daishi and gave him a new cypress colored imperial robes after having a dream of Kukai standing on his bedside to request for a new imperial robes as the one he was wearing had worn out.

83 years after Kukai’s passing, Emperor Daigo granted Kukai the posthumous title of ‘Kobo Daishi’

Almost 1,200 years after his death, Kukai continues to be one of the most beloved figures in Japan. His legacy can still be felt today as hundreds of pilgrims still follow his trail by visiting the 88 sacred temples in Shikoku. To-ji Temple holds a monthly market on the 21st day of each month to commemorate the day of Kukai’s passing. Hundreds of temples around Japan celebrate his teachings and legendary life, including Kawasaki Daishi in Kawasaki near Tokyo. It is also said that the fire lit by Kukai is still burning in the temple of Mount Misen in Hiroshima.

Mount Koya, which Kukai established as the centre of Shingon Buddhism, has since evolved into a vast temple complex visited by hundreds of pilgrims every year. It was even listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, Kukai’s biggest legacy is his Shingon doctrine that is still alive today and continues to give hope and direct many people towards the path of Enlightenment.

 

Addendum: Recommended Reading

 

The Saintly Kobo Daishi in Popular Lore (click to download PDF)

Sacred Koyasan (click to download PDF)

Shikoku Pilgrimage For Non Japanese (click to download PDF)

Tantric Poetry of Kukai (click to download PDF)

The Weaving of Mantra (click to download PDF)

The Japanese Pilgrimage (click to download PDF)

The texts above were sourced from legitimate book-hosting services offering these texts for free download. They are made available here for purely educational, non-commercial purposes.

 
Sources:

  • Abe, Ryuichi. The Weaving of Mantra: Kukai and the Construction of Esoteric Buddhist Doctrine. New York. Columbia University Press. 2000. PDF.
  • Gibson, Morgan and Murakami, Hiroshi. Tantric Poetry of Kukai (Kobo Daishi) Japan’s Buddhist Saint. Buffalo. White Pine Press. 1987. PDF.
  • Casal, U. A. The Saintly Kobo Daishi in Popular Lore: A.D. 774-835. S.N. 1959. PDF.
  • Matsushita, Naoyuki. Shikoku Pilgrimage: A Guide For Non-Japanese. Tourism Tokushima. 2017. PDF.
  • Nicoloff, Philip L. Sacred Koyasan: A Pilgrimage to the Mountain Temple of Saint Kobo Daishi and the Great Sun Buddha. New York. State University of New York Press. 2007. PDF.
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kūkai
  • https://www.britannica.com/biography/Kukai
  • https://www.britannica.com/place/Japan/The-Heian-period-794-1185#ref168046
  • https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3919.html
  • http://www.japanvisitor.com/famous-japanese-people/kukai-kobo-daishi
  • http://www.shingonbuddhism.org/information/kukai/
  • http://www.koyasan.or.jp/en/shingonshu/kobodaishi.html
  • http://www.koyasan.or.jp/en/shingonshu/
  • http://www.koyasan.or.jp/en/shingonshu/temple.html
  • http://www.shikokuhenrotrail.com/shikoku/daishihistory.html
  • https://www.thoughtco.com/kukai-450199
  • https://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2010/05/15/our-lives/are-we-kobo-daishi-freaks/#.Wf9KdlKB2wQ
  • https://www.ancient.eu/Kukai/
  • http://www.worldhistory.biz/sundries/49301-kobo-daishi-and-shingon-buddhism.html
  • http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/artwork/11146
  • http://www.cjvlang.com/Dow/KoboD.html
  • http://www.visiblemantra.org/kukai.html
  • http://jayarava.blogspot.com/2009/07/kukais-journey-to-china-kentoshi-ships.html

 
For more interesting information:

 

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13 Responses to Kukai Kobo Daishi: The Esoteric Monk of Shingon Buddhism

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  1. Samfoonheei on Feb 10, 2021 at 3:53 pm

    Kobo Daishi, known as Kukai during his life, was a Japanese Buddhist monk, civil servant, engineer, scholar, poet, artist and calligrapher. He was an influential religious leader responsible for introducing Shingon Buddhism, a form of Esoteric Buddhism, to Japan in the in the ninth century. He became the country’s most important Buddhist saint and has been credited with all manner of minor miracles. Noted as a gifted sculptor and the inventor of Japanese writing, he had created the most important pilgrimage route which followed by followers as to this day. Interesting read of Kukai who is known to have performed many miracles throughout his life.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing of a great saint.

  2. Yee Yin on Nov 30, 2019 at 3:04 pm

    Thank you for sharing the story of Kukai Kobo Daishi with us. All the highly attained monks share the same qualities. They are very selfless, they are extremely devoted to their teacher and they follow then instructions of their teachers all the time. Everything they do, they don’t do it for themselves but with the motivation to benefit others. Even though they encounter difficulties in their Dharma career, but they never give up but find ways to overcome them. Without perseverance and determination, we will not have success.

  3. Valentina Suhendra on Jan 2, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    I first knew about Kobo Daishi when I was researching for Kansai article. I was very much attracted to this character and would like to know more about him. After I read through various sources of information, I became even more convinced that Kukai was someone special. He used his miracle power to help and inspire other sentient beings. How inspiring!

    I like people like Kukai because it seems that they have no fear and have a lot of courage to do what they would like to do. Often time people are afraid to sacrifice their comfort and attachment, and this prevents them to do more and reach their potential. Sometimes, they do have the thought to do better, but the environment tried to discourage them. It is for this reason that we need to continue to promote inspiring stories like Kukai.

    To be able to live such a blessed life, Kukai must have created a tremendous cause in his previous lives, even the potential of having a respected career in court did not move him, and he proceeded to become a monk, and he managed to travel to China and meet with his root teacher. When I read about this account, I could not help to wonder why did he choose China as opposed to another great Buddhist country like India for example. Destiny must have brought him back to his root teacher, Hui Kuo.

    Kukai is an example of a person who is visionary. Not only he was interested with the Sangha community, but he also is interested with the welfare of the lay community. and for that reason many people during his lifetime respect and honor him, and he continued to inspire many generations of people who would like to pursue their spiritual journey.

  4. Wai Meng Wan on Dec 29, 2017 at 1:10 am

    Feel really inspired reading about Kukai and how he worked within the framework of the Emperor and people of that time to bring esoteric Buddhism to Japan. For him to jump off the cliff, Kukai is no ordinary person, he was quite attained even before in this life.

  5. Stella Cheang on Dec 18, 2017 at 11:54 pm

    This is an amazing and well documented account of the renowned Japanese Buddhist Master, Kukai. There were many miracles Kukai performed, the most awe-inspiring one being the time when Kukai was about to depart China and invoked the powerful Fudo Myo-o to find a suitable place as his base once he returned to Japan. He displayed his power by sending his three-pronged vajra flying off ahead of his voyage!

    Despite his mastery over esoteric Buddhism, Kukai underwent hardship when he returned to Japan at a time when his family and people related to him were implicated in illicit activities one way or another. It reflects the socio-culture of the time and the influence of the people in power. Fortunately, after 3 years, things changed. Emperor Saga took over the throne and Kukai came into favour, with this, he had the opportunity to share and spread the many teachings that are still in practice today. Among them are the Kana Script and the infamous Shingon Dharma.

  6. Anne Ong on Dec 10, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    I love thisinspiring and interesting story about this esoteric monk, Kukai Kobo. Things that intrigues me in this post are, 1. When he was three years old, Kukai sculpted and knelt before a clay Buddha image. As he prostrated, the Four Heavenly Kings (Shitenno) surrounded him like protective angels. 2. The vajra flew in Japan’s direction and is said to have landed on Mount Koya. And the pictures on this post are very interesting and rich. Thank you very much Rinpoche and blog team for this great write up???

  7. Pastor Lim Han Nee on Dec 8, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    Kuko Kobo Daishi was a renowned monk who was instrumental in the establishment and spread of the Shingon doctrine in Japan. The multi-talented Kuko worked tirelessly and selflessly to promote the esoteric Shingon Buddhism as well as other projects which were most beneficial to others. Today he is remembered for the many legacies he has left behind. His doctrine of Shingon Buddhism is still very much alive. Pilgrims continue to flock to his Shingon Buddhist retreat place , Mount Koya, which has kept alive his Shingon Buddhist doctrine and is still a sanctuary for seekers of peace and healing.

    When he was only seven years old, he did a most remarkable thing. He went to the top of a mountain cliff, and declared to Lord Buddha that he would use his whole life in the pursuit of Buddhahood to save many people. If he were not capable of fulfilling this vow, he did not deserve to live. Then he threw himself down the cliff. Miraculously, Buddha Shakyamuni appeared and saved him so that he could live a life of service to the Dharma!

    His life took a spiritual turn , when he was introduced to esoteric meditation practice and the esoteric mantra of Akashagarbha Bodhisattva. He began to focus on exoteric meditation practice. At around 20 to24, he gave up the secular life and became a wandering ascetic monk. He was ordinated and given the name of Kukai meaning “Ocean of Emptiness”. He was told to focus on the Mahavairocana Sutra for the spiritual path and practice that was his, for which he decided to travel to China find a teacher to transmit the teachings to him.

    The next phase of his life saw him travelling to China. There he met his root teacher Hui Kuo, who transmitted to him all the necessary esoteric teachings that allowed Kukai to become a master of esoteric Buddhism. Upon his teacher’s passing, he returned to Japan , ready to establish and spread Shingon Buddhism there. Mount Koya was established as his seat for Shingon Buddhism in Japan, when his vajra flew in that direction.

    Kukai rose to fame rather swiftly in Japan. He swiftly established Shingon Buddhistm in Japan. Kukai who was multitalented, was a visionary and tried to establish a comprhensive school system, allowing people from all sectors of life – layman as well as monastics- to attend. True to his kind nature, he instructed the teachers to show care and compassion towards the students.

    Kukai also invented the Kana Script which gave greater freedom to the Japanese to express their thoughts. Kukai is also credited with establishing and administering hundreds of Shingon temples throughout Japan.

    Today, Mount Koya the retreat centre Kukai had established is the centre of Shingon Buddhism. Shortly before his death he spoke these words of great compassion to his followers : “Until you cease your suffering on earth, I will carefully watch you and save you from such suffering.”

  8. Datuk May on Dec 4, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    Whenever I read of great Buddhist Monks, a surge of appreciation and gratitude arises within me. It is for the works and legacies of such great Monks that the Dharma is preserved and handed to us years after their passing.

    Kukai Kobo Daishi, was outstanding and his abilities were limitless as he was not only profound in his Dharma knowledge but also a scientist with many talents from health to advance education.

    Kanji text is very similar to Chinese but to simply the ability of literacy to Japanese, he also developed Kan script. However, even until today, kanji text is still studied in Japan at tertiary level.

  9. Samfoonheei on Dec 1, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    Kukai or Kobo Daishi was a scholar, poet, a calligrapher , engineer and Buddhist monk who founded Shingon Buddhism in Japan. He was a man of huge talents, founding hundreds of temples throughout Japan.. He contributed greatly to the development of Japanese art and literature and pioneered in public education. Desiring to learn more about Buddhism, Kūkai went to China and met the great master of esoteric Buddhism,
    He passed away at 62 his body was not cremated but entombed, according to his will. Amazingly he left a huge legacy includes the Shikoku Pilgrimage of 88 temples . Kukai’s biggest legacy is the Buddhist sect he founded – Shingon.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these interesting article .

  10. Tan Soon Huat on Nov 30, 2017 at 12:52 am

    Thank You Rinpoche for sharing such legendary founder, Kukai, of Shingon Buddhism to us. What coincident that I was wondering about the Shingon sect a few days ago as I know there is one of famous Shingon Buddhist temple in Singapore; I was wondering about authentication of Shingon sect and its history. However, Dorje Shugden incident taught me that I should not conclude anything without studying and understanding it.

    I guess, with Rinpoche’s explanation in article, I understand better about Shingon Buddhism sect and its founder, a true legendary monk. I noticed there is a lot of similarity between Rinpoche and Kukai. Kukai has multi talents and strong Guru devotion to His root Guru, Hui Kuo. The interesting part is Hui Kuo will be reincarnated to be student of Kukai in future and Kukai was reincarnation of Hui Kuo’s master, Amoghavajra. The lineage of Shingon is very clear too.

    Kukai has developed a world famous retreat center in Mount Kaya with help of mountain deity, Niutsuhime no Mikoto. Whereas, Rinpoche is developing Kechara Forest Retreat in Bentong with help of powerful enlightened Dharma Protector, Dorje Shugden. Beside that, Kukai never bias, He built the Shugei-Shuchi-In school to benefit all beings regardless their family background which is same as Rinpoche; Rinpoche is introducing Dharma teachings and Dorje Shugden to benefit everyone regardless their races and background

    We should help Rinpoche to develop Kechara Forest Retreat to propagate Dharma teaching touching more people’s heart. Thank You Rinpoche and I am glad to be your student and I will help to develop Kechara Forest Retreat under your guidance.

  11. Choong on Nov 29, 2017 at 10:02 pm

    Thank you very much Rinpoche for introducing us to the history and lineage of Shingon Buddhism.

    Now I know that Shingon Buddhism can be traced back to Arya Nagarjuna (ca 150–250 AD) who received the Mahavairocana Tantra from Vajrasattva inside what is described as an Iron Stupa in Southern India.

    Hence Shingon Buddhism shares the same Wisdom root as Gelug (the tradition of Lama Tsongkhapa), which is the “Middle Way” (Madhyamaka) and which is based around the central notion of “emptiness” (Sunyata) or the absence of inherent existence.

  12. Cc on Nov 26, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing.

    Great to know that Kukai founded the Shingon Sect of Esoteric Buddhism, the Myo-o are revered which emphasizes the Great Sun Sutra (Maha-vairocana Sutra) and worships Dainichi Buddha as the Central “All-Encompassing” Buddha till today. Invited during pre loved sales.

    It is indeed interesting to know that Priest Kukai had contributed so much for dharma to florish till these days. He has exerted so much influence on the development of Japanese art to engineering.

    The katakana combined with kanji that is use till today started from him.

    The Ten Stages of Consciousness, written in Chinese in a poetic style, classified Confucianism, Taoism, and all the existing Buddhist literature into 10 stages, the last and highest stage being that of Shingon philosophy.
    His works have benefited of sentient beings.

    Thank you Rinpoche.
    ???

  13. Fong on Nov 26, 2017 at 11:51 am

    I must admit that I did not know much about Kukai but this has brought him to life. He must be a very attained being to be able to do so much, building temples, teaching, administering temples, building reservoirs, coming up with new scripts. And reading about his miracles make him larger than life, which in a way it is.

    The final part when he entered clear light was the most amazing as his hair was still growing even though he was no longer moving and the priests were already conducting his last rites. What gave hope was that his finals words indicated that he would be back with Maitreya in 1.5 million years!

    Thank you, Rinpoche for fleshing out his great master who was instrumental in establishing and spreading the Shingon Buddhist doctrine.

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Blog Chat

BLOG CHAT

Dear blog friends,

I’ve created this section for all of you to share your opinions, thoughts and feelings about whatever interests you.

Everyone has a different perspective, so this section is for you.

Tsem Rinpoche


SCHEDULED CHAT SESSIONS / 中文聊天室时间表

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KECHARA FOREST RETREAT PROGRESS UPDATES

Here is the latest news and pictorial updates, as it happens, of our upcoming forest retreat project.

The Kechara Forest Retreat is a unique holistic retreat centre focused on the total wellness of body, mind and spirit. This is a place where families and individuals will find peace, nourishment and inspiration in a natural forest environment. At Kechara Forest Retreat, we are committed to give back to society through instilling the next generation with universal positive values such as kindness and compassion.

For more information, please read here (english), here (chinese), or the official site: retreat.kechara.com.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

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The Unknown

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

Photos On The Go

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

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

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


Ask the Pastors

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

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

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

  • March 6, 2021 15:04
    asked:
    No reply yet
  • March 4, 2021 22:52
    Sandra asked: Respected pastors, Can a lay person work towards the preliminary practices by accumulating daily ? Many thanks.
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Yes, of course. Anyone can engage in the preliminary practices, you don't have to be ordained in order to do so. However for one's practice to be considered a full preliminary practice, you need to do 100,000 repetitions of whichever practice you are engaged in without break. That means you must engage in at least one session a day, until the count is completed. 10% of the count is also added on top, to make up for any unintentional mistakes. So the figure would actually be 110,000. If you skip a day, that means you have broken your preliminary retreat. If this occurs you can still dedicate the practice you have done so far, and you will still benefit from the merit generated and the purification of negative karma from the practice, but it is not counted as a full preliminary practice. Also you must adhere to the retreat procedures for the duration of the time it takes you to complete the particular preliminary practice. For example, an altar with daily offerings, retreat seat with swastika, refraining from eating black foods, etc. This may not be convenient for most people in our day and age. So what you can do is to spend a certain amount of time accumulating a specific figure, for example 10,000 repetitions of a particular practice. Seal the practice at the end with a strong dedication, like the King of Prayers. Later on, you can repeat the procedure more times until you complete 100,000. This method was given by H.E. Tsem Rinpoche for modern-day practitioners who do not have the time to complete 100,000 in one go. While it technically does not constitute a full preliminary retreat, you still gain immense merits and purification from engaging in the practice, even if spaced out. As Rinpoche said, it's better for you to do mini preliminary retreats than not doing any of the preliminary practices whatsoever. That being said, if you do have the ability to do a full preliminary retreat and it will not negatively impact you, such as create financial difficulties or strain familial relationships, then of course go ahead! To have the sincere wish to engage in any Dharma practice is wonderful. You can read more about the individual preliminary practices here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/preliminary-practice.html You can watch a short teaching on the preliminary practices by H.E. Tsem Rinpoche here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/cosmic-tantra.html
  • March 3, 2021 04:13
    Sandra asked: Dear respected pastors, what are dreams? Do dreams have significance? Are they simply images the mind views at night - do they resemble the dreamer's state of mind? Thank you for all your replies :) :)
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Hello. Nice to see you back here. On the normal level, both waking and dream states are both marred by our delusions. The teachings tell us that this deluded state continues through all our experiences, whether during the dreaming or waking states. The way to overcome this is to "wake up" from our delusions, or reach enlightenment. Normally when people think of dreams, they do so in psychological terms and so focus on the content of the dream. When we investigate the nature of the dream itself, we begin to investigate something deeper, the processes that underlies the whole of our existence. Understand this propels you further along the spiritual journey towards enlightenment. We have many dreams during one night of sleep, and may or may not consciously remember then when we wake up. In terms of content, dreams can be used to work through psychological issues or can indicate certain issues and overcoming them (as is common within Western psychological practices). In Tibetan Buddhism, dreams can be used for much more. In the advanced practices, one can transform ordinary dreams to further one's spiritual journey. This is not only in terms of working through psychological issues, but in terms of meditation and practice as well. Generally, there are three types of dreams as described below. Most of us only experience the first type, unless we progress on the spiritual path. 1. Samsaric dreams: these arise from karma and karmic traces in the mind. This can also include emotions, memories, etc. The meaning we find in these dreams are imputed by the dreamer, and not inherent in the dream. This also applies to waking life. We impute meaning onto situations and circumstances, rather than the meaning being inherent to the circumstance. It is like reading a book. Words in the book are just marks on paper, however, because we use our sense of meaning, we take a meaning out of it. However, this is always open to interpretation. For example, if you tell your dream to two people, they can interpret the meaning very differently, even though you told them the exact same details. 2. Clarity dreams: These dreams occur when you are fairly progressed in meditational practices and can carry this into the dream state. These dreams arise not from the emotions, or memories, etc., but from more subtler forms of karma and delusions. However, just like in waking mediational practice, you are not affected by the images or thoughts that appear to you. 3. Clear Light dreams: In the advanced tantric practices, there are teachings called dream yoga. The object of these is to achieve the clear light dreams, which are very difficult to achieve and take years and years of intense practice. The most important clear light mind that arises is actually at the time of our death, if we are trained enough in this very subtle state, we can actually control where we take rebirth. If we are more experienced in this state, then we can actually use it to meditate on the teachings and achieve enlightenment. Clear light dreams are a "lesser" type of clear light mind, that helps practitioners prepare for the time of death. When we have an auspicious dream such as of our teacher, our practice, the Buddhas, etc., even though this is auspicious, it is still more than likely to be just a samsaric dream. There are instances however, when the enlightened beings and Dharma protectors will send practitioners dreams to help with their practice or as methods of divination. Tsem Rinpoche once told us of a very powerful Nyingma lama known for his divination abilities. Students would ask him a question, then he would take a nap, and receive divination advice in this dreams, which he would then relay to his students. This lama was well-known for this ability because his dream divinations were extremely accurate. As I am sure you can tell, the scope of dreams with the Buddhist context is very vast and I will not be able to cover everything here. However, I hope that what I have written helps your understanding. Thank you.
  • March 1, 2021 23:37
    Sandra asked: Hello dear pastors, wish we could have an article like the one below to highlight the auspicious days of 2021. https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/auspicious-days.html
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Thank you for your suggestion. At the moment, there are no plans to publish another article with 2021 dates. But I have listed out some of the auspicious days and their dates for this year for you. I have only included future dates, not those that have already passed. Saga Dawa Duchen - 26th May 2021 Chokhor Duchen - 14th July 2021 Dorje Shugden Day - 24th August 2021 Lhabab Duchen - 27th October 2021 Gaden Ngamchoe or Tsongkhapa Day - 29th December 2021 I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • February 27, 2021 03:31
    Sandra asked: Respected pastors, Is it ok to pray from different areas in the house (even where there is no altar)? I was told you can't create 2 altars in 1 house.
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Thank you for your question and its nice to see you here again. The reason why we pray in front of our altars is because it becomes a focal point of the enlightened energies we are invoking. Therefore it becomes a kind of portal for the energies of transformation, peace, healing, prosperity and protection. It is also the place where we make offerings to the Buddhas. As such, most people usually only have 1 altar in their home. However, you can have more than 1 altar in your home. As it is an altar, it should be complete with representations of the body, speech and mind of the Buddhas. This would be an image (either a statue, thangka, tsa tsa, poster, framed picture, etc), a Dharma text and a stupa. In front of these, you should have at least 1 type of offering or more. This can be a fixed offering or maybe even a set of water offerings, which you make every day. Since practitioners make offerings on a daily basis, most opt to have only 1 altar, but there is no rule in Buddhism to say you can only have 1 altar. The altar however, should be placed in a respectful place. So, not in the bathroom. Or if in the bedroom, you should put a screen up to block it when you are changing, sleeping, etc. Alternatively, you can keep it in a cupboard, and close the doors during such activities. But altars should be dedicated places to the Buddhas, so don't put secular items in the same place, such as on the same shelf, etc. When it comes to praying, it is usually done in front of the altar, as you are invoking the enlightened beings. When you do your prayers there it becomes a powerful place in your home, and provides you with a sacred space to pray and meditate. However, if circumstances are difficult, then of course you can pray elsewhere. For example, when I first set up an altar, I was living in a single room with not much space. I set up an altar on a shelf but was not able to pray in front of it. Once I had made offerings, I would simply sit in another part of the room and do the prayers there. If it is really not convenient, then of course it is permissible to do the prayers elsewhere. It is better to do the prayers, than not do them at all if you can't be in front of your altar. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • February 25, 2021 01:33
    Kuenzang wangdi asked: What would be my most suitable colour ?
    pastor answered: Dear Kuenzang Wangdi, Thank you for your question. The following calculators may be of interest to you: Chinese Zodiac: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/horoscopes/the-chinese-zodiac.html Tibetan Astrology: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/tibetan-astrology/tibetan-astrology.html In relation to which colour if most favourable for you, unfortunately our calculators do not give this information. However, from a Buddhist practice viewpoint, what is more important is the transformation of the mind. Once we transform our minds according to teachings, we are able to overcome any obstacle and create good conditions for our lives. You can learn a very short mind transformation teaching here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/eight-verses-of-thought-transformation.html You can couple this with formal practice. If you are interested, a very good practice to bring energies of increase and generate a long life, merits, wealth and prosperity in your life, is the the practice of Gyenze. You can find information about the practice here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/prayers-and-sadhanas/dorje-shugden-gyenze-to-increase-life-merits-and-wealth.html. I hope this helps. Thanks.
  • February 22, 2021 22:14
    Naseer asked: Hi My name is Naseer Ahmed 8th dec 1979. Life path 1 Im looking to add to my name slightly... change it too... Naseer Al Ahmed... Would this be more complimentary as far as for the business front... or would it not make any difference
    pastor answered: Hello Naseer, As per your question, your Life Path Number is 1. The Life Path Number according to the system of numerology used on our website is calculated using your date of birth. Therefore, a change in name will not affect your Life Path Number. Some of the other calculators on the same page do however use your name. One of the smaller calculators you may be interested in is the Achievement Number, but again, this only uses your date of birth for the calculation. You can find it here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/numerology/numerology-calculator.html You may also be interested in two of our other pages: Chinese Zodiac - https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/horoscopes/the-chinese-zodiac.html Tibetan Astrology - https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/tibetan-astrology/tibetan-astrology.html Thank you for your question. I hope this helps.
  • February 20, 2021 18:36
    Sandra asked: After making a food offering to the three jewels (which we will eat for lunch etc), should we think of it as a blessing and partake?
    pastor answered: Hello Sandra, When making food offerings to the Three Jewels, which you eat yourself, when you recite the prayer and make the offering, you should visualise that the Buddhas receive your food offering and because you have made an offering, they are very pleased. It also fulfills one of the Refuge commitments, which is to offer the first portion of whatever we eat and drink to the Three Jewels, while remembering their kindness. You can then partake of the meal and consider it a blessing from the Three Jewels. Alternatively, you can set out a plate (which you reserve for this purpose) of food, which you can offer on your altar. Similarly, once the food has been left on your altar for a while, you can later remove it and consume it as a blessing. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • February 19, 2021 04:33
    Sandra asked: Is intovertedness a bad quality? Since Buddha is so altruistic and this is the opposite trait, it must be bad. How do you think one should lessen introverted tendencies?
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Introvertedness is not a bad quality. Altruism and compassion are different from being an introvert or extrovert. Introverts are generally quieter people, less expressive of their emotions, while extroverts are the opposite. Buddhist practice is not about expression of emotion. Rather the altruistic and compassionate teachings are more about how you help other people and sentient beings, physically or emotionally. If the qualities of introverted-ness are stopping you from developing these, then they need to change. But this may not be necessary, depending on the qualities that you are talking about. You can do simple meditations to building up the energy of compassion in your mindstream and you will see that you actions will automatically start to be more compassionate and altruistic. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • February 18, 2021 03:28
    Sandra asked: How should one behave when negative karma is being purified? How can we know if bad karma is being purified? Do we accumulate positive karma simultaneously when doing purification practices? Many thanks for your response.
    pastor answered: Hello again Sandra, There are two ways in which karma can be purified, the first is through our own efforts alone and the second is through our own effort, combined with a purification practice. Through our own efforts: this means that you transform your mind enough to not react negatively in any situation and only react in a positive manner. For example, you may have the karma to get angry. So you get into situations which makes you angry. If you react normally, then you will get angry again, this will only lead you to create more karma of being angry. But if you make the effort not to get angry in those situations then you do not create or multiply that karma. The original karma you have may lead you to be in those types of situations again, but if you do not get angry then after a while you start to purify that karma. Through your own efforts, combined with a purification practice: as you are working on transforming your mind, you can rely on the practices that help you to purify your karma, such as the practice of Vajrasattva or the 35 Confessional Buddhas. This boosts your ability to purify negative karma, based on the enlightened energies of the Buddhas. This however is only truly effective when combined with the Four Opponent Powers. You can read more about that here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/the-35-confessional-buddhas.html In general, when karma is being purified then you should remain level-headed and not act out of emotion or habit, but from your understanding of the workings of karma and the Dharma. But actually, this should not only be when karma is being purified. You should act and behave in this way all the time according to the Dharma, then you are, up to a point, always purifying karma. It is one of the reasons that so much emphasis is placed on refraining from negative actions and engaging in positive actions using your body, speech and mind, because these are the three means or 'doors' with which you interact with the world. At our level, we cannot tell if karma is being purified or not, only those who are more highly attained can tell. However, that is one of the reasons the Buddhist texts advise study of and belief in karma. If there is karma, then it can be purified, and the way to do so is transform your mind and invoke upon the enlightened beings. So if you are doing both, you can rest assured that you are in fact purifying your karma. When you purify negative karma, whether just through your own efforts or combined with a purification practice you collect merit, not positive karma. If you simply do a good action, you collect good karma. But if you are practicing the Dharma with the intention of achieving enlightenment, you take refuge, engage in the practice, and dedicate at the end, then you develop merit, not positive karma. If you want to read more about how karma works and how to purify it in more detail, I suggest you read a Lamrim text such as Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand, which you can order from your local bookstore or get online here (https://www.vajrasecrets.com/lamrim-liberation-in-the-palm-of-your-hand).
  • February 17, 2021 23:06
    Sandra asked: Hello pastors, thank you for your response to my earlier question. Do divination predictions change frequently? Why does that happen?
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Thank you for your question. Divinations, compared to astrological predictions, are much more accurate. There are many types of divination, but those based on the practice of enlightened beings are very accurate. Three of the most well-known in Tibetan Buddhism are the divination practices of Manjushri, Palden Lhamo and Dorje Shugden. You can read more about Dorje Shugden's dice divination here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/dorje-shugdens-dice-divination.html Questions that are asked during divinations are much more specific than the types of topics that astrological predictions can help with, therefore are based on very specific types of karma. This means that if you asked a divination question twice, without taking remedial actions in between, then the answer would most likely be the same, given that all the prerequisites have been held by the diviner and the divinations are genuine. However, if a divination is done and then remedial actions recommended, such as various practices or pujas, and these are done to the letter, then if the question is asked again, then the results would differ. This is because when engaging in these practices or pujas, either you generate the merit necessary to overpower the negative effects of the karma, or you purify the negative effects of the karma creating the situation. This however, is generally not done. You wouldn't ask the same question twice or over and over again. The reason for this is because one of the factors that comes into play when seeking divination is faith. This is faith in the fact that the remedial actions recommended will help whatever situation you are facing. Having seen H.E. Tsem Rinpoche do countless divinations for people, I can attest to this. Those who have faith and follow through with the advice, see a great improvement in the situation that led them to ask the divination question in the first place. Those that did not follow the advice either at all or not fully, did not see any improvement. And this makes sense, because they did not purify the effects of the karma enough, or generate enough merit. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • February 15, 2021 04:09
    sandra asked: How much importance should we give to astrological predictions or chart readings? Are these readings susceptible to change all the time,i.e, in the context of planetary movements? Can our own effort/actions supercede what is predicted in our birth chart?
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Thank you for your interesting question. You are absolutely correct about the universal principle of change. According to Buddhist practice, astrological predictions are based upon a fixed point in time. Take for example, your moment of birth, which most astrological readings take as the main point of reference. At that specific moment, there would have been various energies or planetary alignments, etc. Combined together, they are said to give an accurate prediction of what will occur to a person throughout their life. This however, is based on one's birth karma, to be born at that specific point in time and location. This birth karma also provides the driving force behind what will occur in a person's life, if that karma is not changed somehow. Hence, that is why astrological predictions can give very accurate readings on someone's personality, as well as life events. Birth karma provides the main force behind all other karma to come into play. That is why it is given importance in astrology. There are also more advanced methods to take into account planetary and energetical movements to give even more detailed and precise predictions that can even be made down to the month, day or hour of a person's life. In Buddhism, however, we believe that karma can be changed. It can multiply, be purified or exhausted, or the effects of that karma can be overpowered by another karma or spiritual merit. In these cases, the outcome will change. The way in which this happens is varied. It can be as simple as doing some prayers (to generate spiritual merit) or changing your behaviour, environment or location, the way you think, and the ways in which you react in various situations. That is why in Buddhist astrological systems, emphasis is placed on remedial measures to counteract negative outcomes. For example, someone may be born with an angry disposition from an astrological point of view. If this person goes through life acting from this anger, then the predictions based on the time of birth will occur. However, a remedial action can be undertaken, such as the person pracitising Chenrezig, who is the Buddha of compassion, or the person doing some form of charity work. These remedial actions generate compassion in the mind of the person, which counteracts the anger. As this happens and the karma is changed, then the person no longer needs to feels the negative effects of any bad astrological (or more correctly - karmic) situations. There are even some practices that specifically help to counteract negative astrological influences and help you to change things. Such an example is Black Manjushri. Within Tibetan Buddhism, according to your time and date of birth, you also have what is known as a 'Birth Buddha'. This is basically an enlightened being that you have an affinity with in this life. General remedial actions include making images of this particular Buddha or engaging in this Buddha's practice. This combined with a change in how we live - otherwise known as Mind Transformation in the Buddhist context - changes astrological outcomes. However, if we continue living without controlling our actions, words and thoughts, the predictions made using astrological readings will most likely still occur. I hope this explanation helps. Thank you.
  • February 7, 2021 00:16
    Purna Tamang asked: What is my lucky number and color ?
    pastor answered: Dear Purna Tamang, Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, none our horoscope apps on this page gives this information at this moment. However, you may find some of the other information provided useful. Below are the links: For Chinese Zodiac: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/horoscopes/the-chinese-zodiac.html For Tibetan astrology: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/tibetan-astrology/tibetan-astrology.html For Numerology: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/numerology/numerology-calculator.html For Fortune cookies: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/fortune-cookie Thank you and I hope you find something interesting in one of the apps.
  • January 20, 2021 03:32
    Sangita. asked: i want to buy my own house.which mantra i should chant to have my own house.kindly reply.
    pastor answered: Dear Sangita, Thank you for your question. Everything in our lives, whether good or bad is due to our karma. This is karma we have accumulated either in previous lives or earlier on in this life. You can learn more about this here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/discovering-yourself-a-teaching-on-karma-mindstream.html Sometimes, we go through obstacles or need some form of spiritual help to assist us in improving our situations. In these circumstances we can rely on the practice of certain deities. One of these deities is the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden. You can read more about this deity and his practice here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/beginners-introduction-to-dorje-shugden.html You can learn more about Dorje Shugden's practice here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/dorje-shugden-teaching-videos.html. I hope this helps. Thank you.
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CHAT PICTURES

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Re: Kechara Sunday Dharma School Online Teaching Every Sunday Morning 11am class, students attend Pastor Shin Class happily - KSDS Jayce Goh
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Re: Kechara Sunday Dharma School Online Teaching Every Sunday Morning 11am class, students attend Pastor Shin Class happily - KSDS Jayce Goh
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Update on Empowerment cookies, special holiday packaging. The bakers are most grateful for the overwhelming support of 834 tubs ordered, with a big order of 314 tubs from a group of friends. Thank you to those cookie lovers who couldn’t get enough of it. Watch out for the next update. Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
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Thank you, generous and kind donors, made possible by Alice Smith School's Official Site through their Build Kindness Campaign. The whooping amount of RM63,000 will provide much needed food to 25 poor families for the next 12 months. On behalf of these families, thank you! Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
The global pandemic hasn't been easy for all of us. Some find it diffucult to find a job to support the family. Despite that, we are still delivering basic food pack to our recipients nationwide. Thank you to our volunteers, donors, and sponsors. Without your support, we would be unable to reach out to many families. Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
2 months ago
The global pandemic hasn't been easy for all of us. Some find it diffucult to find a job to support the family. Despite that, we are still delivering basic food pack to our recipients nationwide. Thank you to our volunteers, donors, and sponsors. Without your support, we would be unable to reach out to many families. Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Thanks to Yap Optometry for gifting Robert a new pair of glasses to see better. We wish him many clear and bright days ahead. Thank you to all sponsors. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
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Thanks to Yap Optometry for gifting Robert a new pair of glasses to see better. We wish him many clear and bright days ahead. Thank you to all sponsors. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Donation received to date: RM33,468.00 Yes! We've achieved the target for the #TamanNegara project. Fundraising is closed for this project. Thank you to all donors, 113 Orang Asli families will benefit from it. Stay tuned! #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
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Donation received to date: RM33,468.00 Yes! We've achieved the target for the #TamanNegara project. Fundraising is closed for this project. Thank you to all donors, 113 Orang Asli families will benefit from it. Stay tuned! #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
FRESHLY BAKED by Kechara Empowerment trainees - Chocolate Chip Butter Cookies - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
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In memory of Wilson Lee, one of our most dedicated volunteers in Penang. Our heartfelt condolences to Wilson's wife, Tze Ling, family and friends. Our thoughts are with them for their loss. Thank you for your kindness and service to KSK Penang. From all of us in KSK.
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In memory of Wilson Lee, one of our most dedicated volunteers in Penang. Our heartfelt condolences to Wilson's wife, Tze Ling, family and friends. Our thoughts are with them for their loss. Thank you for your kindness and service to KSK Penang. From all of us in KSK.
Last weekend a Soup Kitchen activities @ Penang, Johor & Kuala Lumpur. Hot food, water, masks, biscuits, buns & fruits. This is what we give out to our friends living on the streets. Thank you to our sponsor & volunteers that make it happen. Come spread more love by being a volunteer at our activities. WhatsApp us today at 010-333-3260! See you soon! #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
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Last weekend a Soup Kitchen activities @ Penang, Johor & Kuala Lumpur. Hot food, water, masks, biscuits, buns & fruits. This is what we give out to our friends living on the streets. Thank you to our sponsor & volunteers that make it happen. Come spread more love by being a volunteer at our activities. WhatsApp us today at 010-333-3260! See you soon! #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Fwd: Dear Sotha
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Kechara Earth Project 13/9/2020
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Thank you Domino's Pizza Malaysia, Kasih & Piza campaign for sponsoring 85 boxes of pizza to our friends who live on the streets. Your flavourful pizzas have put a smile on their faces. Thank you! - Vivan @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #KasihdanPiza #ItsAllAboutYou
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Thank you Domino's Pizza Malaysia, Kasih & Piza campaign for sponsoring 85 boxes of pizza to our friends who live on the streets. Your flavourful pizzas have put a smile on their faces. Thank you! - Vivan @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #KasihdanPiza #ItsAllAboutYou
Thank you Novo Nordisk! Your kind monetary donation and 1,320 boxes of masks will benefit many needy families under the Kechara Food Bank Program. Thank you! Much love from the needy families  ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #novonordisk #novonordiskmalaysia
6 months ago
Thank you Novo Nordisk! Your kind monetary donation and 1,320 boxes of masks will benefit many needy families under the Kechara Food Bank Program. Thank you! Much love from the needy families ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #novonordisk #novonordiskmalaysia
We were graced with the presence of Tengku Zatashah & The Alice Smith School Foundation yesterday. 130 homeless were blessed to be served by them. RM 20,000 donated by Alice Smith School Foundation will benefit 100 families registered under Kechara Food Bank Program. Thank you! Much love from the needy families ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #alicesmithschoolfoundation #alicesmithschool #volunteerism #homeless
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We were graced with the presence of Tengku Zatashah & The Alice Smith School Foundation yesterday. 130 homeless were blessed to be served by them. RM 20,000 donated by Alice Smith School Foundation will benefit 100 families registered under Kechara Food Bank Program. Thank you! Much love from the needy families ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #alicesmithschoolfoundation #alicesmithschool #volunteerism #homeless
Thanks to the effort of our outstation team, we were able to mobilise food provisions to 600 families living in Kelantan, Penang, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor during the Raya period with each of these families receiving RM200 worth of provisions. Adding onto the current 368 families in Klang Valley, a total of 968 families were benefitted from this. Special thanks to the sponsors who have contributed especially Hong Leong Foundation and partially from Tesco Malaysia (where we also ordered the provisions from). ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
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Thanks to the effort of our outstation team, we were able to mobilise food provisions to 600 families living in Kelantan, Penang, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor during the Raya period with each of these families receiving RM200 worth of provisions. Adding onto the current 368 families in Klang Valley, a total of 968 families were benefitted from this. Special thanks to the sponsors who have contributed especially Hong Leong Foundation and partially from Tesco Malaysia (where we also ordered the provisions from). ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
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So glad that our soup kitchen operations are back in full swing. Good to see the clients are observing the SOPs. Some of them lost their job during MCO and ended up on the streets. Special thanks to our sponsors and volunteers for the great support! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
From serving cooked food to the homeless clients on the streets to mobilising provisions to the needy individuals in PPRs and shelters, we thank everyone of our Johor Bahru team for their kind contributions and effort to make it for the needy despite all the challenges! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
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From serving cooked food to the homeless clients on the streets to mobilising provisions to the needy individuals in PPRs and shelters, we thank everyone of our Johor Bahru team for their kind contributions and effort to make it for the needy despite all the challenges! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
More photos taken from our "Hari Raya Hampers" distribution this week. Making sure everyone of our clients have something to be cheerful about. Apart from food, daily used items such as hygiene products, kitchen utensils, assorted fabric items, stationary items and toys were also included into our hamper bags making it extra heavier this month! Food items alone were about 35kg per family! Taking this opportunity to wish everyone of our Muslim volunteers, friends, supporters and clients a Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Maaf Zahir Batin. No doubt this year's celebration will be very different but appreciate everyone is safe and protected from the pandemic. We are in this together and let's work to fight this pandemic together! Thanking all sponsors and donors for the generous support enabling us to continue serve the needy with food, love and care. Big shoutout too to our wonderful team which already depleted by our very own strict SOP. All of you who worked tirelessly behind the s
9 months ago
More photos taken from our "Hari Raya Hampers" distribution this week. Making sure everyone of our clients have something to be cheerful about. Apart from food, daily used items such as hygiene products, kitchen utensils, assorted fabric items, stationary items and toys were also included into our hamper bags making it extra heavier this month! Food items alone were about 35kg per family! Taking this opportunity to wish everyone of our Muslim volunteers, friends, supporters and clients a Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Maaf Zahir Batin. No doubt this year's celebration will be very different but appreciate everyone is safe and protected from the pandemic. We are in this together and let's work to fight this pandemic together! Thanking all sponsors and donors for the generous support enabling us to continue serve the needy with food, love and care. Big shoutout too to our wonderful team which already depleted by our very own strict SOP. All of you who worked tirelessly behind the s
Our team have been working extra hours for the past few weeks to deliver provisions and hamper goodies to the needy families before Hari Raya! Heart warming to see the smiling faces of our recipients upon receiving 3 bags full of food and daily used items. Thanks to everyone of you who have contributed to our foodbank enabling us to give all our recipients (especially those celebrating) a Raya to remember! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
9 months ago
Our team have been working extra hours for the past few weeks to deliver provisions and hamper goodies to the needy families before Hari Raya! Heart warming to see the smiling faces of our recipients upon receiving 3 bags full of food and daily used items. Thanks to everyone of you who have contributed to our foodbank enabling us to give all our recipients (especially those celebrating) a Raya to remember! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Thankful to all donors and those who have been committed in contributing not just money but time over the past testing weeks to help us ease the work of our frontliners and also the livelihood of the needy, their struggles over this pandemic period seemed a little easier to bear with because of your contributions! - Vivian @Kechara Soup Kitchen
9 months ago
Thankful to all donors and those who have been committed in contributing not just money but time over the past testing weeks to help us ease the work of our frontliners and also the livelihood of the needy, their struggles over this pandemic period seemed a little easier to bear with because of your contributions! - Vivian @Kechara Soup Kitchen
KSDS Level 2 virtual class, Lin Mun KSDS
10 months ago
KSDS Level 2 virtual class, Lin Mun KSDS
KSDS Level 3 virtual class. Lin Mun KSDS
10 months ago
KSDS Level 3 virtual class. Lin Mun KSDS
Wesak 2020
10 months ago
Wesak 2020
Recycle today for a better tomorrow. KEP-Serena
12 months ago
Recycle today for a better tomorrow. KEP-Serena
Today we are having recycling at Kechara Soup Kitchen. Do drop by here if you would like to get ride of the recyclable items from home. KEP - Serena
12 months ago
Today we are having recycling at Kechara Soup Kitchen. Do drop by here if you would like to get ride of the recyclable items from home. KEP - Serena
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Seen here is Bam, Vajrayogini’s seed syllable and also Kechara's logo. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Seen here is Bam, Vajrayogini’s seed syllable and also Kechara's logo. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: More melted butter was offered. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: More melted butter was offered. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
H.E. Zawa Rinpoche in deep concentration. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
H.E. Zawa Rinpoche in deep concentration. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Geshela is seen here wearing ceremonial hat called tsoksha. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Geshela is seen here wearing ceremonial hat called tsoksha. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
The Shize Fire Puja was performed according to scriptural sources. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
The Shize Fire Puja was performed according to scriptural sources. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
To find out more about the substances offered during jinsek/fire puja, have a read here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
To find out more about the substances offered during jinsek/fire puja, have a read here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
More about the symbolism of the offering items here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
More about the symbolism of the offering items here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Amongst all pujas, the fire puja is considered the king of all Pujas. It is the most powerful of all pujas within Tibetan Buddhism and its purpose is basically to remove all obstacles and its stains to enlightenment.
12 months ago
Amongst all pujas, the fire puja is considered the king of all Pujas. It is the most powerful of all pujas within Tibetan Buddhism and its purpose is basically to remove all obstacles and its stains to enlightenment.
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Graceful hand mudras were also part of the ritual. - shared Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Graceful hand mudras were also part of the ritual. - shared Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: One by one the offering substances were offered accompanied by traditional Tibetan recitations. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: One by one the offering substances were offered accompanied by traditional Tibetan recitations. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: JP Thong ensuring that Geshela's ritual items are within easy reach. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: JP Thong ensuring that Geshela's ritual items are within easy reach. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Pastor David Lai & Frederick Law were also on hand to assist with the puja ritual substances. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Pastor David Lai & Frederick Law were also on hand to assist with the puja ritual substances. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Pastor Niral Patel assisting H.E. Zawa Rinpoche during the puja. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Pastor Niral Patel assisting H.E. Zawa Rinpoche during the puja. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Peaceful fire pujas are excellent to remove inauspiciousness, problems that might be coming to our lifespan, wisdom, wealth, growth of Dharma. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Peaceful fire pujas are excellent to remove inauspiciousness, problems that might be coming to our lifespan, wisdom, wealth, growth of Dharma. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
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Dorje Shugden
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