Master Hongyi – The Maverick Patriarch of the Chinese Buddhism

By | Sep 16, 2022 | Views: 1,070

HY000
(By Tsem Rinpoche and Pastor Adeline Woon)

It’s intolerable to see
The continual endless suffering
Of all living beings
[When its source is their delusion];
And it’s unbearable to witness
The Sage’s teaching in decline
[Where it once was well established
For over a millennia].

– – –

Outside the long pavilion walkway,
Along both sides of an old path,
There grow the most fragrant wild grasses
Whose vivid green blends into the sky.
[It’s always there to teach
And ready to be realized,
With sound,
With no sound.]

– – –

While the evening wind chases a flute’s song,
The setting sun slowly turns away…
Within the wide expanse of sky,
And all corners of the earth,
Who truly encounters another?
[Without saying a word,
By just ringing a bell,
They naturally
Understand each other.]

 

Introduction

A portrait of Master Hongyi

A portrait of Master Hongyi

The history of Buddhism is the history of virtuous individuals who have connected with and explored the Three Jewels – the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. They have come from all walks of life; from commoners to royalty, artists to scientists, and nameless wanderers to renowned achievers.

Despite their differences, they are bound by the ancient profound wisdom of the Buddha and the noble character of Dharma.

And while many have developed an appreciation for the Three Jewels, rarer still are those who have taken the selfless step of completely renouncing secular life and joining the Sangha order, spending their lives achieving the Truth. One such person was Master Hongyi.

Born into a wealthy and illustrious family, Master Hongyi made a name for himself as an especially gifted artist. At the peak of his artistic and personal life, he renounced the material world and embraced the robes of an ordained Buddhist monk.

Master Hongyi dedicated the rest of his life to Buddhist practice and became one of the most prominent monks of 20th Century China.

The well-known adherent of the Vinaya path of Chinese Buddhism tradition, Master Hongyi

The well-known adherent of the Vinaya path of Chinese Buddhism tradition, Master Hongyi

He was a well-known adherent of the Vinaya path of Chinese Buddhism tradition, a talented multi-disciplinary artist and a charismatic teacher. Although he was also called Wentao (文涛), Guanghou (广侯) and Shutong (叔同), Hongyi (弘一) is the name by which he is most commonly known.

Master Hongyi was a master of painting, calligraphy, music, drama, song writing, acting, poetry and seal-carving. His early life, when he was known as Li Shutong, coincided with what is often referred to as China’s ‘transitional period’ between the 1890s to 1911, which saw the collapse of China’s last imperial dynasty.

This ‘transitional period’ was also marked by the rise to prominence of reformers who emphasised the social and political relevance of culture. Their goal was to reform the nation through the expression of Chinese culture through reimagined lens.

 

Life as Li Shutong, Master of Arts

Li Shutong in his youth. After becoming ordained as a monk, he took the name Hongyi.

Li Shutong in his youth. After becoming ordained as a monk, he took the name Hongyi.

Master Hongyi (弘一大师, October 23, 1880 – October 13, 1942) was born Li Shutong (李叔同) to wealthy parents in the northern commercial city of Tianjin. The well-educated family was originally from Hongdong County, Shanxi and had migrated to Tianjin during the Ming Dynasty.

Li Shutong’s grandfather was a wealthy banker and salt merchant while his father, Li Shizhen (李世珍), was a scholar and devoted reader of Chan Buddhism and the works of Ming Neo-Confucian thinker, Wang Yangming (1472-1529).

His mother had a much simpler upbringing – she was a farmer’s daughter from Pinghu in Zhejiang Province. She was his father’s fourth wife in the multi-courtyard household, and was only 20 when he was born; his father was 68.

Master Hongyi’s father passed away when he was just four. Living under her eldest son’s roof, his mother struggled to maintain her position while navigating the complicated dynamics of the household. Li Shutong, however, was fortunate that two of his elder half-brothers took him under their wing in his early years. He was able to receive a good education and a solid grounding in the Confucian classics.

The young Li Shutong mastered the art of calligraphy and after his ordination as Master Hongyi, he continued to engage in this artistic tradition. This calligraphy, produced during the period of his life when he was known as Master Hongyi, reads from right to left

The young Li Shutong mastered the art of calligraphy and after his ordination as Master Hongyi, he continued to engage in this artistic tradition. This calligraphy, produced during the period of his life when he was known as Master Hongyi, reads from right to left “Zijing Qixin” (自净其意). It means “to cleanse one’s mind” and is an extract from a famous verse.

Li Shutong exhibited precocious intelligence and talent, and became exceptionally good at calligraphy, seal-carving and poetry. He also displayed an early preoccupation with religion, memorising ritual texts recited by Buddhist monks at family memorial services.

“When I was only five years old,” he wrote in an essay published in 1937, “I often met monks and many of them performed religious services at our home. By the time I was 12 or 13, I could already recite rituals of exorcism.”

Although there were clear signs that Li Shutong was inclined towards study and contemplating Buddhist philosophy before he was ordained, he was by no means a hermit or a recluse. In 1897, when he was only 17, he was wedded to a girl older than him by two years in a marriage arranged by his mother.

1905年,弘一大师(李叔同)赴日留学前,在天津自宅与其兄下围棋留影。左为弘一大师。

This rare picture was taken in 1905. Li Shutong (left) is seen here playing chess with his elder brother (right) at their Tianjin home before he left to Japan to further his studies.

It was a loveless marriage that Li Shutong did not enjoy. The couple had three sons together, the eldest of whom passed away at a young age.

Li Shutong took part in various political reform movements during his teenage years, and the volatility of the political environment compelled him to move in 1898 to the relative safety of Shanghai with his family.

In 1901, he enrolled at Nanyang Public School, which would later be known as Jiaotong University. Li had joined the Union of Shanghai Calligraphers and Painters the year before, and it served to showcase his prodigious talents in calligraphy, literature and painting. His reputation spread not only for his creative accomplishments but also for a love affair with a famous Shanghai beauty Xie Qiuyun (谢秋云), to whom he wrote this poem:

Recalling my frivolous past,
I regret indulging myself in sensual pleasure…

japanese

Li Shutong during his time in Japan, when he studied at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts.

Li Shutong used many pen names throughout his life, choosing a new one whenever a particularly momentous event occurred. When his mother passed away in 1905, Li Shutong changed his name to Li Ao (“Li who mourns for his mother”) and left for Japan, where he was already very well-known.

At the Tokyo School of Fine Arts in Ueno Park, Li studied Western oil painting under a leading Japanese oil painter, Kuroda Seiki (1866-1924). He also studied piano and composition, and composed many songs using the Western harmonic-melodic models.

In 1906, he took on the role of editor at Little Music magazine. In the magazine’s preface written January 3, 1906, Li Shutong produced an intense effect of being downhearted and trapped while contemplating the fate of the nation in the final paragraph:

An anxious moon and a desolate wind accompany the uneven sounds of a reed pipe. China’s uncertain future hangs in the balance. In the corner of a tavern I sit alone, the evenings pass by like years. I pick up my pen but can’t write a word, reduced as I am to weeping tears.

Li Shutong's charcoal drawing titled 'Maiden'

Li Shutong’s charcoal drawing titled ‘Maiden’

Despite his penchant for drawing, painting and music, Master Hongyi attracted the most attention for his works in the field of drama.

He was a skilled amateur performer of Chinese opera. In 1906, he formed the Spring Willow Society with a number of overseas Chinese theatre enthusiasts in Tokyo and often played the female lead in a drama troupe co-founded with the overseas Chinese student community.

The following year, the Society performed a number of plays, including Black Slaves Cry to Heaven, based on Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novels, as well as La Dame aux camélias and Uncle Tom’s Cabin, translated by Lin Shu. These plays took the Tokyo drama world by storm and their performances were a roaring success acclaimed by both Chinese and Japanese critics.

he formed the Spring Willow Society

A group picture of the Spring Willow Society members

Li Shutong left the Spring Willow Society in the winter of 1908 to focus on painting and music. He also met his lover, Yukiko, who bore him a son and a daughter. In March 1910, he graduated from the Tokyo School of Fine Arts and returned to Tianjin with their children. He took up a position as a teacher of drawing at the Zhili Normal Technical Institute in Tianjin.

Li settled into long-term employment in 1912 at the Hangzhou Zhejiang Province First Normal College as a music and art teacher. The college was relatively new and at the forefront of China’s emerging education reformation. Li Shutong also taught art history while continuing with his calligraphy, music composition, painting, seal-carving, poetry and songwriting.

"A Half-naked Woman" by Li Shutong, collected by CAFA Art Museum, China

“A Half-naked Woman” by Li Shutong, collected by CAFA Art Museum, China

The 1912 stock market collapse exacted a severe toll on the Li family fortune; Li Shutong and his two half-brothers found themselves on the brink of bankruptcy. He moved back to Shanghai in the spring and taught music at East Shanghai Girls’ School. He also became actively involved in several newly-formed literary societies in the early days of the new Chinese republic.

Master Hongyi with his students, Liu Zhi Ping (left) and Feng Zikai (right), before entering into a retreat in 1918.

Master Hongyi with his students, Liu Zhi Ping (left) and Feng Zikai (right), before entering into a retreat in 1918.

Li Shutong was appointed to Tianjin’s Bei-yang Advanced Industry School and took various art-related jobs to support his growing family. As one of the leading figures who introduced modern – in this case, ‘Western’ – elements into the Chinese arts scene, Li Shutong was actively engaged with leading arts figures in Shanghai’s booming creative circles.

He was the first Chinese art educator to introduce nude models in his painting classes, as well as the first teacher who taught Western music in China. Some students whom he personally groomed, such as contemporary Chinese artist, educator and musician Feng Zikai (丰子恺), and Singaporean artist Chen Wenxi (陳文希), went on to become accomplished artists in their own right.

 

Ordination

Li Shutong holding his 21-day fasting diary

Li Shutong holding his 21-day fasting diary

It was during this period that Li Shutong came into more meaningful contact with Buddhism. In 1916, he undertook a 21-day fast at a temple in Hangzhou to experience for himself aspects of the spiritual path. This would lead to his embrace of the ordained life not very long after.

A mid-life transition to monkhood was a very unusual thing in early 20th Century China, particularly for an upper class, highly educated and professionally successful person like Li Shutong. Though he had shown a penchant for both solitude and abruptness, these were traits associated with his artistic pursuits rather than his social interactions.

Li Shutong’s decision to renounce secular life was relatively sudden; most spend years thinking about the commitment and engage in it one step at a time. He instead took refuge in the Three Jewels in 1917 and was ordained a Buddhist monk less than two years after his first encounter with monastic life.

Those two intervening years were the fundamental pivot point of his life. They were the transition from secular life to a spiritual one, dedicated to practising and propagating the Buddha’s teachings, particularly those on code of conduct (Vinaya).

There is a couplet that reflects his state of mind after becoming a monk:

Truth and error in history are only a fleeting dream,
A word of scripture redeems the soul.

In 1918, he was just 38 and a well-known figure on the arts scene. After becoming a monk, Li became known as Master Hongyi and practised only calligraphy. He developed a simple and unadorned, yet unique style that remains widely treasured today.

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Li Shutong received his ordination vows at Hangzhou’s well-known Lingyin Monastery (灵隐寺). Here is a tale of Li Shutong’s transition.

In 1916 he was feeling very uncomfortable with himself, such that he sought relief. To address this ailment of shenjing shuairuo (神經衰弱), which in Europe and the United States was called “neurasthenia” and described there as a modern disease of intellectual workers overcome by the tensions of the new age, Li Shutong had read in a Japanese magazine of a method of self-cure involving a graduated diet during a twenty-one day period of seclusion at the coldest period of the year. During the winter break from his job as music and art instructor at the Zhejiang Province First Normal College in Hangzhou, Li Shutong made arrangements through friends and took quiet lodging at a local Buddhist monastery beside West Lake, the Dinghuisi (定慧寺), located at Hupao (虎跑). This monastery is sometimes known as Hupaosi.

Arriving on December 14, 1916, he was given a guest room in the abbot’s building. He later described this period as the first opportunity he had to observe Buddhist monks within their own habitat. Earlier he had come into contact with troupes of monks hired to carry out memorial and consecration rites, who had come to his family compound in Tianjin, beginning with the rites that followed the death of his father. As he notes:

“Although from the age of five sui onward I often met monks, on those occasions I often saw monks who came to our home to chant scriptures and carry out worship and repentance rites. I even studied the fang yankou (放焰口) at age twelve or thirteen. But I never lived together with “having the Way” monks, and I didn’t know what it was like inside a monastery, nor what monks’ lives were like. When I went to Hupao Monastery, I saw their sort of lives. Not only was I very glad, but moreover I came to admire their way of life.”

When Li Shutong was around eight, one of the female relatives in his household began studying with a learned monk in Tianjin, and she began to chant some of the basic prayers, such as the Dabei zhou (大悲咒, Great Compassion Incantation). Li Shutong also would chant with her and soon memorized a number of these foundational works. Although they were forgotten later on, perhaps these early practices as a child formed a kind of hidden basis for a later affinity with Buddhist monastic life.

As an adult, he also had enjoyed casual strolls through accessible monasteries near his Hangzhou lodgings. But this experience at Hupao was different. He had the opportunity to observe on a daily basis a monk— not the abbot or other senior figure, just an ordinary monk in the monastery— whom he found admirable, who seemed to reflect in his countenance a kind of happiness that had entirely eluded the famous artist.

According to the diary that Li Shutong kept while in residence at Hupao (a peculiarly obsessive and self-regarding document that in some ways is vivid witness to his self-diagnosis), for these three weeks he continued some usual practices, mainly reading and calligraphic work. But his interest had been piqued, and he engaged this monk— who lived on the upper floor of the building where Li Shutong was quartered— in conversation, after which the monk introduced him to some Buddhist texts. The experience moved him in unforeseen ways. As he later wrote:

“Even though I only lived within the monastery precincts for a bit more than a half- month, my heart was utterly joyful. And I enjoyed eating their vegetarian food. After I returned to school, I asked the workers to prepare dishes in that style for me to eat. It can be said that the near cause for my becoming a monk was this time in which I went to Hupao to fast. By the second half of Minguo 6 [1917], I had decided to eat [only] vegetarian food. Then during that winter I sought out many scriptures, such as the “Chapter on Puxian’s Acts and Vows” [from the Huayanjing], the Lengyanjing, the Treatise on Arising Trust in Mahāyāna – many Buddhist scriptures – and in my room I also gathered together images of Buddhist figures such as the bodhisattvas Dizang and Guanshiyin, and I burned incense before them every day.”

During this same period, he regularly visited a friend, the somewhat reclusive and brilliantly learned philosopher Ma Yifu 馬一浮 (1883-1967), for instruction and conversation on Buddhist views. Li Shutong’s student at the time, the later very famous artist and essayist Feng Zikai 豐子愷 (1898-1975), sometimes accompanied his teacher to Ma Yifu’s house and listened quietly; he reports that the conversation was far over his head.

Step by step, Li Shutong’s mind turned toward the notion of a Buddhist inflected life. Early in 1918, roughly a year after the fast at Hupao, he made the ritual commitment to enter the Buddhist community as a layperson by taking refuge in the Three Jewels (the sanbao guiyi 三寶皈依 rite). This ceremony was presided over by a senior monk, the teacher of the monk whom he so admired at Hupao. He began gravitating more and more toward Buddhist life, spending school holidays in the Hupao monastery rather than visiting family or going on outings. There was something about it that suited him. As he tried on the clothes and customs of this world, they began to feel comfortable.

Two years after the fast, he left his teaching position at the end of the academic year, moved into the monastery at Hupao, and then “left home” (chujia 出家), which is the initial stage in becoming a monastic in the Chinese Buddhist tradition. While some novices take a year or so to get accustomed to monastic life and memorize the basic daily liturgies before committing to receive the full monastic precepts (“ordination”), Li Shutong immediately sought out the opportunity to make this commitment. Only a month after joining the Order, he was able to go through the preparatory training and then the full ordination rites at the largest monastery in Hangzhou, the Lingyinsi. Thereafter, he was known by the monastic names Yanyin (演音) and Hongyi (弘一).

(Source: Zhe, J., Goossaert, V., & Ownby, D. (2017). Making Saints in Modern China. New York (N.Y.): Oxford University press.)

 

Life as Master Hongyi, Patriarch of the Vinaya School of Chinese Buddhism

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For Master Hongyi, the three milestones that mark his passage from ordination as a novice monk to full ordination as a bhikshu took place in fairly close succession.

The adoption of a vegetarian diet was the first step in changing his daily activities to align with Buddhist teachings. Master Hongyi noted that it was the vital turning point to establishing a new life as an ordained monk.

He let go of his lay identity and success to lead a life guided by the 250 monastic precepts of behaviour. These range from serious transgressions such as killing, stealing, sexual misconduct and lying about one’s attainments, etc., to auxiliary transgressions such as those covering acts like walking, sitting and even one’s eating posture.

In addition, Master Hongyi also took the Bodhisattva Precepts which include fundamental Mahayana vows to seek liberation in order to aid all sentient beings. Precepts and vows are similar but not identical:

  • Precepts (rules): for the most part, to restrain and to control one’s speech and behaviour
  • Vows: to direct one’s inner life and to establish aspirations that give defined meaning to one’s actions

Precepts and vows are central to a Buddhist life. In many of Master Hongyi’s writings, one can see very clearly how these two aspects became the main focus of his life after he embraced the path to Enlightenment.

Master Hongyi studied and practised the Vinaya all his ordained life. His interest was not limited to clarifying the Vinaya but extended to restoring its central daily practices, such as the taking of two meals before noon, which had largely fallen out of practice in China at the time.

This was a significant departure from the life Master Hongyi had led up to that point, a life which was characterised by hedonism and a lack of restraint. The calligraphic works he created during his ordained life reflect his departure from that existence, to his concerns with vows made by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to aid all sentient beings.

 

Significant Events in Master Hongyi’s Ordained Life

Love Is Compassion

Stage photo from Spring Willow Society

Stage photo from Spring Willow Society

Both Master Hongyi’s wives were baffled with his decision and understandably reluctant to let him go. His Japanese wife was especially confused because he had once told her she was the ‘search of his life’ and that they were destined to be together.

An arrangement was made for them to meet and she asked him, “What is love?”

To her, the nature of love was to hold her beloved to her heart. It was difficult to let him go as she really loved him. However, Master Hongyi’s perspective of love had grown beyond that basic manifestation of love.

His answer was short and simple, yet profound: “Love is compassion.”

According to Buddhist teachings, true love is the ever-open hand that lets go of attachment and traditional perspectives of the beloved, and instead gives freely and equally to all.

 

An Advocate of Compassion

An illustration from the Pictorial Series on Protection of Life

An illustration from the Pictorial Series on Protection of Life

Master Hongyi authored the famous Poem & Pictorial Series on Protection of Life (《护生画集》) that expressed his mindful practice of the precepts and his message of compassion in every facet of life.

His exhortations were not just for others; Master Hongyi, the Maverick Monk, practised what he preached, inspecting his seat or bed closely before sitting or lying down, lest he harmed the smallest insect.

He would chant Amituofo (Amitabha Buddha) to bless any bug he found before releasing it. This was his way of advocating the importance of valuing the sanctity of life, no matter the size of the earthly vessel within which it was contained.

 

Attitude Towards Basic Needs

Master Hongyi had a remarkable attitude towards food, as captured in this commonly recounted tale:

One day Xia Mianzun, a well-known educator of that time, saw the venerable monk eating a simple dinner of a single dish of pickled vegetables. Feeling sorry, Xia Mianzun asked, “Don’t you think that the pickled vegetables are too salty?” Venerable Hongyi replied, “A salty taste has its own appeal.”

After dinner, the monk poured himself a glass of water. “Why not drink a cup of tea?” Xia asked, “Water is so bland.” Smiling, Master Hongyi replied, “Blandness has its own taste, too.”

The way the Master viewed food revealed not only that he had truly integrated Dharma into his daily life, but also how joyful a life of Chan can be.

Guo Beiping's oil painting of Master Hongyi

Guo Beiping’s oil painting of Master Hongyi

He was also known for his great frugality. For example, he would repair and keep using ragged robes and shoes, worn towels, old bedding and other personal items instead of replacing them with new ones. He would politely refuse any offer of new or better replacements simply because he was truly content with the little he had, not out of pride or stubbornness.

As an ordained monk, he saw no need to exchange what he felt was adequate with something that could be used to benefit others.

 

Cherish Our Blessings

Master Yinguang

Master Yinguang

Once, Master Hongyi stayed with Master Yinguang (印光大师), the 13th patriarch of the Pureland School of Chinese Buddhism, for seven days and spent time observing his practice of Dharma in everyday life.

When they were having a meal together, Master Hongyi emulated Master Yinguang’s practice of adding water to the food scraps in his bowl at the end of a meal and drinking the food ‘juice’. Master Yinguang responded by saying, “Yao xi fu ah!” (We must cherish our blessings!)

In the Mahayana teachings, it is said that gratitude for what we have, however small, is one of the fundamentals that gear us towards higher spiritual attainments, compassion, bodhi mind and wisdom.

A simple act like washing down one’s food can therefore become a Dharma practice that can be aligned with the path to Enlightenment.

 

Virtue of Humility

As Li Shutong, he was arrogant and proud of his background and achievements but reborn as Master Hongyi, he would humbly ask student monks for advice to improve his teaching of Dharma. Instead of rationalising his apparent faults, Master Hongyi would ask for his students’ feedback, humbly and without defending himself when a student monk was displeased with him due to a misunderstanding.

This was contrary to the usual expectations that a master is always perfect and flawless, and any apparent faults they may have must be rationalised without any doubt.

Once, Master Hongyi requested to be Master Yinguang’s disciple. Upon receiving the request, the latter humbly declined and thought it was more appropriate that they become Dharma co-practitioners and learn from each other’s virtues, so as to make up for each other’s faults.

Master Yinguang taught,

Constantly maintain a humble and repentful heart; even if one has upheld true cultivation, one should still feel one’s practice is shallow and never boast. One should mind one’s own business and not the business of others. Only look after the good examples of others in-stead of bad ones. One should see oneself as mundane and everyone else as Bodhisattvas. If one can cultivate according to these teachings, one is sure to reach the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss [Amituofo’s Pure Land]…

…Whether one is a layperson or has left the home-life, one should respect elders and be harmonious to those surrounding him. One should endure what others cannot, and practice what others cannot achieve. One should take others’ difficulties unto oneself and help them succeed in their undertakings.

While sitting quietly, one should often reflect upon one’s own faults, and when chatting with friends, one should not discuss the rights and wrongs of others.

In every action one makes, whether dressing or eating, from dawn to dusk and dusk till dawn, one should not cease to recite the Buddha’s name. Aside from Buddha recitation, whether reciting quietly or silently, one should not give rise to other improper thoughts. If wandering thoughts appear, one should immediately dismiss them.

(Source: “印光大師留世之作.” Southern Taiwan University of Science and Technology. STUST. Accessed May 26, 2020. http://faculty.stust.edu.tw/~tang/Mahayana/teacher/master.htm.)

Later, Master Yinguang was revealed to be a manifestation of the Mahastamaprapta Bodhisattva (Dashizhi Pusa), to whom Master Hongyi was particularly attracted. This made such an important lesson of humility even more significant!

 

Song of the Triple Gem: A Collaboration

Master Hongyi (left) and Master Taixu (right) with whom he collaborated for the song

Master Hongyi (left) and Master Taixu (right) with whom he collaborated for the song “San Bao Ge” (Song of the Triple Gem).

Master Hongyi composed the music for the song San Bao Ge (《三宝歌》, Song of the Triple Gem) and had Master Taixu compose the words for it. The Chinese Buddhist community has since adopted it as an anthem. Master Taixu, being a great Buddhist education reformer, used the lyrics of this song to remind fellow Buddhist practitioners that ‘Buddhism is for the world’.

Master Hongyi’s encounters with the great masters of his time clearly show that the interest and focus of his ordained life never deviated from propagating Buddhism and preserving the Buddhadharma for the generations to come.

 

San Bao Ge (《三宝歌》, Song of the Triple Gem)

Or view the video on Youtube at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvPgTXdxCb8

 

《三宝歌》

人天长夜 宇宙黮黯 谁启以光明
三界火宅 众苦煎迫 谁济以安宁
大悲大智大雄力 南无佛陀耶
昭朗万有 衽席群生 功德莫能名
今乃知 唯此是 真正皈依处
尽形寿 献身命 信受勤奉行

二谛总持 三学增上 恢恢法界身
净德既圆 染患斯寂 荡荡涅槃城
众缘性空唯识现 南无达摩耶
理无不彰 蔽无不解 焕乎其大明
今乃知 唯此是 真正皈依处
尽形寿 献身命 信受勤奉行

依净律仪 成妙和合 灵山遗芳形
修行证果 弘法利世 焰续佛灯明
三乘圣贤何济济 南无僧伽耶
统理大众 一切无碍 住持正法城
今乃知 唯此是 真正皈依处
尽形寿 献身命 信受勤奉行

English translation

Song of The Three Jewels

Night is endless, man’s world is dark, who lead us to the light
Who will free all living creatures from the scorching fire
Mercy wisdom and Great Might, Namo Buddhaya
You are lighting up my hearts and warming my body
Follow you, then I know, it is just the time
From now on, believe in you, offer all my life

Here we have “two truths” and “three studies” farming grand Dharma
Bondless pious deed help me enter land of Nirvana
Cause and impermanence decide all, Namo Dharmaya
You can uncover all the truths and as sun shining bright
Follow you, then I know, it is just the time
From now on, believe in you, offer all my life

Obey discipline, show the kindness, paragons from Linshan
Spiritual progress does good to the world
Buddha lamps never die
Men of virtue so many, Namo Sanghaya
You can command the people to guard the sublime
Follow you, then I know, it is just the time
From now on, believe in you, offer all my life

 

The End of His Life

By early 1942, austerities and fasts began to take their toll on Master Hongyi’s health and by mid-May, his health was deteriorating rapidly.

Three days before he passed away at Busi Temple in Quanzhou, Fujian Province on October 13, 1942, Master Hongyi wrote his last brushstrokes of calligraphy: “Sorrow and Joy Comingle”, “Worldly Sorrows and Joy Are Intertwined”, or “Sorrow or Joy Are Inextricably Bound to Each Other” (《悲欣交集》, Beixin jiaoji).

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His state of mind was revealed through the strokes of these Chinese characters. The word “sorrow” (悲) closely resembled his facial expression and his life. Despite Master Hongyi’s great accomplishments in many fields of the arts, he was alone.

He believed that there were three stages in human life: material, intellectual and spiritual. Intellectual life is the life of ordinary intellectuals. Spiritual life refers to the religious realm.

Material, intellectual, spiritual; beauty, profundity, deity. These are largely associated with abstinence, composure and wisdom in Buddhism.

Abstinence refers to the abandonment of the materialistic life. Composure stands for deep meditation, tranquil and remote, which finally leads to the attainment of wisdom. The image of Venerable Hongyi being sorrowful and joyful (欣) represented the interplay between the various aspects.

The paranirvana of Master Hongyi

The paranirvana of Master Hongyi

Beyond Master Hongyi’s transformation that shocked his family and peers, it is indeed incredible that he is now celebrated as much for his accomplishments as a monk as he was for his contributions to the artistic and cultural world.

By the last stage of his life, not only were his teachings remarkably clear and powerful, but his fluent calligraphy had been pared down to a distinctive style that remains the graphic look of Chinese Buddhism for many. It embodies a sense of purity and calmness associated in China with Buddhist cultivation.

These qualities were developed, not descriptors of this great monk in the years before he became a monk.

 

Poetry and Legacy

Li Shutong also wrote the famous poem Farewell (《送别》, Song Bie) that was later made into the widely sung The Farewell Song (《送别歌》, Song Bie Ge).

《送别歌》

长亭外 古道边 芳草碧连天
晚风拂柳笛声残 夕阳山外山

天之涯 地之角 知交半零落
一觚浊酒尽余欢 今宵別梦寒

English translation

The Farewell Song

Outside the long pavilion, along the ancient route, fragrant green grass joins the sky,
The evening wind caressing willow trees, the sound of the flute piercing the heart, sunset over mountains beyond mountains.

At the brink of the sky, at the corners of the earth, my familiar friends wander in loneliness and far from home,
One more ladle of wine to conclude the little happiness that remains; don’t have any sad dreams tonight.

He arranged the lyrics to the melody of the mid-19th Century song Dreaming of Home and Mother by American composer John P. Ordway. When Ordway’s work was introduced into Japan, musician Kyuukei Inudou (犬童球渓) translated it, with a few modifications, into the Japanese version titled Loneliness on a Journey (《旅愁》) that was published in 1904. Li Shutong was introduced to this melody when he was studying in Japan between 1905 and 1910. He was moved by its melody and wrote Farewell in 1915 based on Ordway’s original work when he returned to China.

Later, the Beijing-based progressive-metal rock band, The Tang Dynasty, recorded a rock-version of The Farewell Song on their second album, Epic.

 

Song Bie, performed by the Tang Dynasty

Or view the video on Bilibili at:
https://www.bilibili.com/video/av200834435/

 
A special 130th anniversary celebration of Master Hongyi, showcasing his calligraphy and painting works, was held in 2010 in Shanghai. It was sponsored in part by the Pinghu Municipal Government and attended by a granddaughter of Hongyi.

 

Important Works

  • Collections
  • Happy Stones
  • Li Shutong’s Seals

 

Articles

  • How to Paint (《圖畫修得法》)
  • An Introduction to Watercolours (《水彩畫法說略》)

 

Lyrics

  • The Farewell Song (《送别歌》)

 

Music

  • Childhood Memories
  • Song of Three Jewels (《三宝歌》), Master Taixu lyrics

 
Sources:

  • http://www.pacificbuddha.org/chinese-poetry
  • http://www.khenposodargye.org/2016/03/chapter-seven-pravrajya-ordination-and-practice/
  • https://moonpointer.com/new/2009/09/a-full-bright-moon-radiant-with-compassion/
  • http://animperfectpen.blogspot.my/2009/02/li-shutong-and-writing-lifes-stories.html
  • The Poetry of Sculpture, Weishan Wu, World Scientific, 2008
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Songbie_(song)
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Yi
  • http://faculty.stust.edu.tw/~tang/Mahayana/teacher/master.htm
  • Making Saints in Modern China, edited by David Ownby, Vincent Gossaert, Ji Zhe

 

For more interesting information:

 

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Pastor Adeline Woon
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About Pastor Adeline Woon

Adeline Woon is a Buddhist Pastor and a Sangha-to-be in Kechara who enjoys learning and sharing the Dharma with others. Due to her deep interest in Buddhism from a young age, Adeline enrolled herself into the Dharma Drum University in Taiwan, where she graduated with a Master in Religious Studies in 2012.
Pastor Adeline Woon
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2 Responses to Master Hongyi – The Maverick Patriarch of the Chinese Buddhism

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  1. Jacinta Goh on Jan 2, 2023 at 4:17 pm

    Now, I know the composer for this song 三宝歌. It’s Master Hong Yi! 💕

    I heard this song for the very first time when I attended a Buddhism event in Kuala Lumpur. KS Tan, my hubby (my boyfriend then) brought me there and thanks to his active involvement in Buddhism, I slowly came to know more about Buddhism and Kechara later on. Besides Rinpoche, he was the one who changed my life then. However, I must have somehow created the cause for it too, because Rinpoche said before, ‘It’s not fated but it’s due to causes and conditions’.

    I like the tune of it. Very cheerful and motivating tune (at that time I do not understand the meaning of this song as my Mandarin is limited) 我的中文水平还是挺有限的😆

    Thank you Pastor for sharing this article. I learnt that Dharma realisation can happened in any period of our life, not only when we are young. Also. I learnt that we have to apply Dharma in all aspects of our life from how we eat, sleep to how we react with others and especially in how we think. I admit, in this juncture of my life, practicing is not easy, let alone practicing it seriously. Everytime I have to remind myself to try. Try and try. I can’t emulate Master Hong Yi but I can draw the inspiration from Him. Thank you Pastor for this post.

  2. Samfoonheei on Sep 22, 2022 at 1:25 pm

    Master Hongyi, a multitalented Buddhist Monk famous for being a talented writer and musician . He was one of the most celebrated and admired Buddhist monks in modern Chinese history. Born in wealthy family yet he choose to he was ordained as a Buddhist monk. Already, even as a child, developed an extraordinarily where he could memorised Buddhist text. Master Hongyi dedicated the rest of his life to Buddhist practice and became one of the most prominent monks of 20 Century China. Interesting read.
    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Adeline for this sharing of a great Lama Master.

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  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, Apr 20. 2024 04:08 PM
    Momo is a dumpling made of all-purpose flour and filled with either meat or vegetables. Inspired by Tibetan dumplings, the dish is a very popular Nepali street food. It is one of my favourite foods. Last year while in Kathmandu I am fortunate given the opportunity to learn and made vegetarian Momos.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing as it reminds me of trip there visiting some of the Holiest sites and trying my hand making momos then.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/students-friends/making-nepalese-momos.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, Apr 20. 2024 04:06 PM
    Bouddha, also known as Boudhanath, is a stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal which is located about 11 km from outskirts of Kathmandu. Its massive mandala makes it one of the largest spherical stupas in Nepal and the world. The Boudhanath Stupa pyramid is coated with over 60 pounds of gold, is one of the largest and one of the most significant Buddhist monuments in the world. This great Stupa is home to precious relics and this semi-circular structure stands out with its majestic mandala, recognized by UNESCO in 1979 as a World Heritage Site. The Boudhanath is the most sacred sites in Tibetan Buddhism outside of Tibet, reflecting the cosmological tenets of Buddhism. Was there last year June joining thousands of pilgrims circumambulate the stupa.
    The aerial view of this Boudhanath Stupa is magnificent indeed. Looking merely at the pictures is a blessing.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/art-architecture/aerial-view-of-bodha-stupa.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, Apr 20. 2024 04:04 PM
    Shanti Stupa in Pokhara was built by Nipponzan-Myōhōji monk Morioka Sonin with local supporters under the guidance of Nichidatsu Fujii, a Buddhist monk and the founder of Nipponzan-Myōhōji
    A famous site where locals as well as foreign tourists will go there throughout the year. One have to climb 400 steep steps to get to the Pagoda, it was worth the climb, as its situated on the Anadu Hill at the height of 1100 meters.
    Shanti Stupa shrine was built as a symbol of peace designed to provide a focus for people of all races and creeds, and to help unite them in their search for world peace. It has also become a tourist attraction as it provides a panoramic view of the Annapurna range, Pokhara city and Fewa Lake. The white pagoda has two tiers for tourists and religious visitors to circumambulate. Its location on the hilltop provides a splendid view of sunrise and sunset for visitors. Hopefully I could visit this amazing Holy site soon.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this great sharing

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/art-architecture/pokhara-stupa.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, Apr 20. 2024 04:04 PM
    Its an old blog yet its hold many wonderful memories for The Tsem Ladrang team , I am sure. They are the ones who found a beautiful house in the hills of Naranthan in Kathmandu, Nepal. The place is serene and peaceful with beautiful mountains ranges. Looking at the old pictures its breath-taking and brilliant. The Ladrang is surrounded by scenery of outstanding natural beauty. Having a spacious yard, guest quarters, butterlamp house, to mention a few. The Ladrang has a spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and Kathmandu Valley.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing and teachings.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/me/tsem-ladrang-naranthan-nepal.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, Apr 20. 2024 04:02 PM
    Buddhist Pilgrimage in Nepal is the best trip that takes us to the spiritual centers where Buddhism’s practices and meditations emerged. Nepal is popular for its Buddhism practices and itself is the birthplace of the originator Gautam Buddha. This beautiful Himalayan nation hosts the amazing Buddhist trails, monuments and stupas. It’s the place where the Buddha meditated and the Buddha enlightened the people with wisdom. Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, boasts many caves, stupas, and monasteries that are associated with Bodhisattvas, Buddha and Siddhas. The cave of Naropa and his guru Tilopa is beside Pashupatinath temple, bank of the holy Bagmati River. All these caves is considered as the holy site and Buddhist pilgrimage sites as the caves is the place where Naropa received training, teachings and had visions of Vajrayogini.
    I am fortunate to have visited this Holy caves while at Kathmandu last year.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing .

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/travel/puja-at-naropas-cave-kathmandu-nepal.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, Apr 20. 2024 04:00 PM
    The Lord Buddha was born in 623 BC in the sacred area of Lumbini, southern Nepal.Lumbini is one of the world’s most important spiritual sites for the Buddhist pilgrims from around the world. The site is a popular place of Buddhist pilgrimage for many yearly. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997. The tranquility, aura and peace that we would experience in Lumbini makes it among the most holy places to visit in the world. I am fortunate going to this holiest place of Buddha birthplace last year with my Dharma brothers and sisters .It is the place where, according to Buddhist tradition, worth visiting
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/external-article/the-birth-palace-of-gautam-buddha
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Apr 2. 2024 02:06 PM
    Very interesting and informative article. In most cultures, women is consider as lower in status compared with men. Ancient times in India, man took the lead while women is seconded. But times has changed for the better where women are not degraded in society. They receive equal recognition, appreciation, and stature, yet in countries and places around the world, women are still viewed as inferior and treated accordingly. But in Buddhism women have been increasing in number and has proven that many of them have gained full enlightenment in a female body. In Buddhism is concerned there’s no discrimination toward women ,both men and women are equal. There‘s many female Mahasiddhas and Yoginis as in this blog. May it inspired many more to come. Interesting article and its great sharing knowledge.
    Thank you Rinpoche with folded hands,

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/courtesans-of-ancient-india.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Apr 2. 2024 02:05 PM
    Sleep paralysis is a feeling of being conscious but unable to move. It occurs when a person passes between stages of wakefulness and sleep. During these transitions, one may be unable to move or speak for a few seconds up to a few minutes. Some people may also feel pressure or a sense of choking. Sleep paralysis is a temporary inability to move or speak. It’s not harmful and should pass quickly, but at times can be frightening. It can affect anyone but is most common in young adults and they might have hallucination. The scary facts about sleep paralysis is those who suffer from it have said it felt like someone was choking them on their chest so they could not breathe.
    As for me I have not experience as such before as least i know now what i can to do.
    Thank you Vinnie Tan for sharing. Interesting read of these stories related to sleep paralysis.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/sleep-paralysis-medical-or-paranormal.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Apr 2. 2024 02:03 PM
    nteresting as this texts been composed after being inspired to do so . That’s interesting as this nature are traditionally considered exceptionally potent in their blessings if the claim of divine inspiration is authentic. According to the account in the introduction, the author composed this text after being divinely inspired to do so. It’s a very rare kind and its acceptance been recognised and received praise by very high lamas of our tradition. Reading this article tell us all of how powerful Dorje Shugden when we invoke in our prayers.
    Interesting read of the short biography of Ven. Geshe Kunchok Gyaltsen, the author of Mass of Vajra Fire.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/mass-of-vajra-fire-invocation-of-the-mighty-dorje-shugden.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Apr 2. 2024 02:01 PM
    That’s wonderful Rinpoche has composed prayers in English so as everyone could recite and practice. For beginners is such a meaningful insights and perspectives without commitments and initiation. Moreover each prayers is for a specific blessing that helps practitioners to gain attainments and overcome obstacles. Easy and simple for everyone to start off.
    We are fortunate that everything Rinpoche did brought tremendous benefit to all sentient beings. Whatever prayers Rinpoche has composed are especially potent with blessings.
    Thank you Rinpoche and writers for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/holy-prayers-to-invoke-the-divine.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Apr 2. 2024 01:59 PM
    A great article , revisit this again of Tibetan Lamas and their dogs. As now I have a pet doggie with me, I came to understand more of them . Dogs are the most amazing creatures, they give us unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive. Buddhists believe dogs also have the potential to become enlightened and can teach us about responsibility, love, and other Buddhist principles. The Q & A by Sandra Klein’s interview with the Venerable Gonsar Rinpoche gave us a better understanding and very informative of Tibetan dogs under Lamas care. ccording to the Buddha Dharma, all sentient beings have Buddha nature — from ants to humans. Though we often look at dogs as wonderful companions an teach us to embrace Buddhist principles. They, themselves, embody many of these principles.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this great sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/dogs-in-tibetan-monasteries.html
  • Brent
    Tuesday, Mar 26. 2024 04:47 PM
    Living with my wife, whose world is meticulously painted with the hues of OCD, is a journey that intertwines the essence of love with the complexities of the human mind. Her relentless pursuit of cleanliness and order, transforming even the most negligible corner into a testament of organization, often dances on the fine line between admiration and frustration. The sight of her steering clear from trash bins as if they were labyrinths of chaos, serves as a poignant reminder of the battles she fights within. Yet, it’s through these very battles that I’ve learned the profound language of patience and the unspoken strength of support. Therapy, in its gentle embrace, has been a beacon of light for her, guiding her through the stormy seas of OCD. It has not only offered her solace but has also unveiled the strength of her spirit, teaching us both the beauty of resilience. As she journeys through the pathways of healing, I stand by her, a testament to the power of love and the enduring promise of hope. Together, we navigate the complexities of her world, discovering that within the challenges lie opportunities for growth, understanding, and an unbreakable bond. https://www.mindfullyaliveonline.com/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/
  • Samfoonheei
    Friday, Mar 15. 2024 07:31 PM
    Venerable Ajahn Chah was a Thai Buddhist teacher of the Buddhadhamma and a founder of two major monasteries in the Thai Forest Tradition. Well respected and loved as a man of great wisdom, he was also instrumental in establishing Theravada Buddhism in the West. Interesting life story, how he chose to leave the settled monastic life and became a wandering ascetic. Walking across Thailand, lived in forests, caves and cremation grounds while learning from the meditation monks of the Forest of various monasteries. He wandered through the countryside in quest of quiet and secluded places for developing meditation. He even lived in tiger and cobra infested jungles, using reflections on death to penetrate to the true meaning of life. After years of wandering, Venerable Ajahn Chah established a monastery where he taught simple, practice-based form of meditation, and attracted a numerous of students including western foreigners. He was one of the greatest Dhamma teachers of the modern era. His wise teachings have continued to guide thousands of people along the path of Dharma. Venerable Ajahn Chah’s teachings of the Thai Forest Tradition gradually spread across all over the world. Several of Ajahn Chah’s Western students have since established monasteries throughout the world. Just in Thailand itself, there are more than 300 branch monasteries in Ajahn Chah’s tradition. Ven erable Ajahn Chah used his ill health as a teaching point, emphasizing that it was a living example of the impermanence of all things and reminded people to endeavour to find a true refuge within themselves. The legacy of Venerable Ajahn Chah’s teachings and legacy continues into the modern age.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this great sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/venerable-ajahn-chah-the-forest-monk.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Friday, Mar 15. 2024 07:30 PM
    Wonderful blog written on the practice of Kalarupa for us to understand better. As an emanation of Manjushri, Kalarupa’s practice helps us to destroy ignorance and to develop wisdom overcoming our anger and suffering . Awesome Kalarupa manifested in multiple forms to help sentient beings who personifies enlightenment by the conquest of anger. Kalarupa also regard as one of the three main Dharma protectors of the Gelugpa is extremely fierce and ugly, and tames all kinds of spiritual ugliness. The fierceness of his iconography teaches us to remind ourselves that all the causes and effects of anger arising from ignorance are dreadful and distorted.
    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Antionette for this detailed sharing,

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/kalarupa.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Friday, Mar 15. 2024 07:27 PM
    Nepal is a very spiritual country, having a huge Dorje Shugden mural in Kathmandu, is indeed a big achievement for Kechara. Located on Charkhal Road in Dilli Bazaar, the mural can be found midway between our two Dorje Shugden chapels which are in Putalisadak and Chabahil. It is also very close to one of Kathmandu’s largest shopping malls. Many locals , tourist will be able to connect them to a powerful deity that is so closely associated with their culture. Well the mural not only beautiful but also full of symbolism and everyone merely by seeing it is blessed. Thanks to those talented artists and generous sponsors making it a success.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/travel/spectacular-dorje-shugden-mural-in-kathmandu-nepal.html

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

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

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

Pastor Seng Piow guides us on the flow of Dorje Shugden puja, its benefits, significant of Chanting the names of Manjushri and also explaining the dedication for the sponsors and to those in need before we start the puja as we have 2 newcomers today.
4 days ago
Pastor Seng Piow guides us on the flow of Dorje Shugden puja, its benefits, significant of Chanting the names of Manjushri and also explaining the dedication for the sponsors and to those in need before we start the puja as we have 2 newcomers today.
Two Pastors in da house! Double the merits, double the happiness. Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta
4 days ago
Two Pastors in da house! Double the merits, double the happiness. Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta
Mr. Cheah Fook Wan offered lights and incense to The Three Jewels prior to the puja in Ipoh. (KISG - Kin Hoe)
1 week ago
Mr. Cheah Fook Wan offered lights and incense to The Three Jewels prior to the puja in Ipoh. (KISG - Kin Hoe)
Kechara Ipoh Study Group has carried out Mother Tara prayer recitations on Sunday afternoon in Ipoh. (KISG- Kin Hoe)
1 week ago
Kechara Ipoh Study Group has carried out Mother Tara prayer recitations on Sunday afternoon in Ipoh. (KISG- Kin Hoe)
Powerful Dorje Shugden puja @ Jalan Seang Tek, Penang. Every Saturday, 3 pm. Remove obstacles and grant blessings to fulfil wishes. Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta. 6th April 2024
3 weeks ago
Powerful Dorje Shugden puja @ Jalan Seang Tek, Penang. Every Saturday, 3 pm. Remove obstacles and grant blessings to fulfil wishes. Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta. 6th April 2024
Rejoice to the volunteers (also kind sponsors) who cleaned the Gyenze Chapel and made abundant offerings to Gyenze. ~ Alice
4 weeks ago
Rejoice to the volunteers (also kind sponsors) who cleaned the Gyenze Chapel and made abundant offerings to Gyenze. ~ Alice
Offered beautiful flowers abundantly to Gyenze. ~ Alice
4 weeks ago
Offered beautiful flowers abundantly to Gyenze. ~ Alice
Offered beautiful flowers abundantly to Gyenze. ~ Alice
4 weeks ago
Offered beautiful flowers abundantly to Gyenze. ~ Alice
Our weekly Dorje Shugden Puja @ 23/3/2024 . William, as the umze is seen here burning incense powder as we are about to recite the Sangsol Prayer to Dorje Shugden composed by Ganden Serkong. Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta.
1 month ago
Our weekly Dorje Shugden Puja @ 23/3/2024 . William, as the umze is seen here burning incense powder as we are about to recite the Sangsol Prayer to Dorje Shugden composed by Ganden Serkong. Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta.
And here's Mr Wong of KSK Ipoh who dropped by to pray and offered some donation to the Chapel. Kechara Penang Study Group. Pic by Siew Hong & uploaded by Jacinta.
1 month ago
And here's Mr Wong of KSK Ipoh who dropped by to pray and offered some donation to the Chapel. Kechara Penang Study Group. Pic by Siew Hong & uploaded by Jacinta.
Today's puja (16/3/2024) ended around 420pm, Jacinta was the umze of the day. Pic by Siew Hong. Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta.
1 month ago
Today's puja (16/3/2024) ended around 420pm, Jacinta was the umze of the day. Pic by Siew Hong. Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta.
Group photo taken after the last session, sealed with King of Prayers. Come and join us next time! Sayonara - 9-10th March 2024 - Kechara Penang DS Retreat by Jacinta.
1 month ago
Group photo taken after the last session, sealed with King of Prayers. Come and join us next time! Sayonara - 9-10th March 2024 - Kechara Penang DS Retreat by Jacinta.
Abundance altar! Fruits, flowers, Mee Koo (traditional Penang buns), Bee Hoon, sourdoughs and snacks are some of the offerings to Rinpoche, Buddhas & Bodhisattvas. Kechara Penang Dorje Shugden Retreat 9-10th March, 2024 by Jacinta.
1 month ago
Abundance altar! Fruits, flowers, Mee Koo (traditional Penang buns), Bee Hoon, sourdoughs and snacks are some of the offerings to Rinpoche, Buddhas & Bodhisattvas. Kechara Penang Dorje Shugden Retreat 9-10th March, 2024 by Jacinta.
Siew Hong, one of retreatants and an active member of Kechara Penang group proudly presented her torma to be used during the Kalarupa puja. Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta
1 month ago
Siew Hong, one of retreatants and an active member of Kechara Penang group proudly presented her torma to be used during the Kalarupa puja. Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta
Torma making was taught by Pastor Seng Piow and held one day before the retreat. Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta
1 month ago
Torma making was taught by Pastor Seng Piow and held one day before the retreat. Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta
Penang Dorje Shugden Retreat cum Puja, 9-10th March 2024 led by Pastor Seng Piow with 12 retreatants. Uploaded by Jacinta
1 month ago
Penang Dorje Shugden Retreat cum Puja, 9-10th March 2024 led by Pastor Seng Piow with 12 retreatants. Uploaded by Jacinta
The celebration ended with a Dorje Shugden puja, dedicated to all the sponsors, our loved ones and as well as for the happiness & good health for all sentient beings. May Rinpoche return swiftly too and taking this opportunity wishing all Happy Chinese New Year and Gong Xi Fa Cai from all of us, Kechara Penang Study Group. Uploaded by Jacinta.
2 months ago
The celebration ended with a Dorje Shugden puja, dedicated to all the sponsors, our loved ones and as well as for the happiness & good health for all sentient beings. May Rinpoche return swiftly too and taking this opportunity wishing all Happy Chinese New Year and Gong Xi Fa Cai from all of us, Kechara Penang Study Group. Uploaded by Jacinta.
Seen here, Pastor Seng Piow set off firecrackers - welcoming of the upcoming year with enthusiasm and positive energy. Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta
2 months ago
Seen here, Pastor Seng Piow set off firecrackers - welcoming of the upcoming year with enthusiasm and positive energy. Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta
In this pic, Pastor Seng Piow is sharing Dharma with newbies ~ Sharyn's friends. It's always good to make light offerings at the beginning of new year. By making light offerings, you are able to dispel the darkness of ignorance and achieve wisdom. Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta.
2 months ago
In this pic, Pastor Seng Piow is sharing Dharma with newbies ~ Sharyn's friends. It's always good to make light offerings at the beginning of new year. By making light offerings, you are able to dispel the darkness of ignorance and achieve wisdom. Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta.
One the day of Losar (new lunar year), it is always beneficial for Buddhist practitioners to get together in making abundant offerings to Buddhas on the altar to usher in goodness, prosperity and well-being of our loved ones. It's more auspicious this year as Losar and the Chinese New Year begin on the same date, 10th Feb, 2024. Back in Penang, our Kechara members came together to decorate the altar with abundance offerings for Dorje Shugden puja @3pm. Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta.
2 months ago
One the day of Losar (new lunar year), it is always beneficial for Buddhist practitioners to get together in making abundant offerings to Buddhas on the altar to usher in goodness, prosperity and well-being of our loved ones. It's more auspicious this year as Losar and the Chinese New Year begin on the same date, 10th Feb, 2024. Back in Penang, our Kechara members came together to decorate the altar with abundance offerings for Dorje Shugden puja @3pm. Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta.
Mr. Dared Lim was offering water bowls on behalf of Kechara Ipoh Study Group. (Kin Hoe)
3 months ago
Mr. Dared Lim was offering water bowls on behalf of Kechara Ipoh Study Group. (Kin Hoe)
Jun from Ipoh was offering mandarin oranges to Mother Tara and The Three Jewels. (Kin Hoe)
3 months ago
Jun from Ipoh was offering mandarin oranges to Mother Tara and The Three Jewels. (Kin Hoe)
Prior to our puja in Ipoh, Mr. & Mrs. Cheah Fook Wan were preparing for the offerings to the Buddhas. (Kin Hoe)
3 months ago
Prior to our puja in Ipoh, Mr. & Mrs. Cheah Fook Wan were preparing for the offerings to the Buddhas. (Kin Hoe)
On Sunday afternoon, Kechara Ipoh Study Group has carried out Mother Tara prayer recitations in Ipoh. (Kin Hoe)
3 months ago
On Sunday afternoon, Kechara Ipoh Study Group has carried out Mother Tara prayer recitations in Ipoh. (Kin Hoe)
Some of the best shots taken during Thaipusam in Penang. Swee Bee, Huey, Tang KS, Nathan, Choong SH and Jacinta volunteered. Wai Meng came all the way from KL to help out. Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta
3 months ago
Some of the best shots taken during Thaipusam in Penang. Swee Bee, Huey, Tang KS, Nathan, Choong SH and Jacinta volunteered. Wai Meng came all the way from KL to help out. Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta
Simple yet powerful ally ~ Bhagawan Dorje Shuden. Kechara Penang Study Group consists of Chien Seong, Hue, Choong SH, Tang KS, Swee Bee and Jacinta. Wai Meng came all the way from KL to help out. Uploaded by Jacinta.
3 months ago
Simple yet powerful ally ~ Bhagawan Dorje Shuden. Kechara Penang Study Group consists of Chien Seong, Hue, Choong SH, Tang KS, Swee Bee and Jacinta. Wai Meng came all the way from KL to help out. Uploaded by Jacinta.
Thaipusam in Penang. Some of the best shots. Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta
3 months ago
Thaipusam in Penang. Some of the best shots. Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta
Nothing beats having a sacred audience with our lineage lamas. It's not selfie or wefie, but we have the best 'groufie'!!! 20th Jan 2024, Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta.
3 months ago
Nothing beats having a sacred audience with our lineage lamas. It's not selfie or wefie, but we have the best 'groufie'!!! 20th Jan 2024, Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta.
Welcoming our lineage Gurus to our Penang Chapel today! Pastor Seng Piow explained the significance of having Guru Tree and introduced to us our lineage lamas, Buddhas, deities, protectors and etc.
3 months ago
Welcoming our lineage Gurus to our Penang Chapel today! Pastor Seng Piow explained the significance of having Guru Tree and introduced to us our lineage lamas, Buddhas, deities, protectors and etc.
Umze for the day was Siew Hong. She's just been with us for slightly more than a year now but she's proven her capability in leading the puja. Our Penang group members are so proud of her and her commitment in attending the weekly puja. Despite being eloquence and smart, she has beautiful chant as well. When she leads, make sure you are there to hear her chant for yourself! Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta.
4 months ago
Umze for the day was Siew Hong. She's just been with us for slightly more than a year now but she's proven her capability in leading the puja. Our Penang group members are so proud of her and her commitment in attending the weekly puja. Despite being eloquence and smart, she has beautiful chant as well. When she leads, make sure you are there to hear her chant for yourself! Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta.
Umze for the day was Siew Hong. She's just been with us for slightly more than a year now but she's proven her capability in leading the puja. Our Penang group members are so proud of her and her commitment in attending the weekly puja. Despite being eloquence and smart, she has beautiful chant as well. When she leads, make sure you are there to hear her chant for yourself! Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta.
4 months ago
Umze for the day was Siew Hong. She's just been with us for slightly more than a year now but she's proven her capability in leading the puja. Our Penang group members are so proud of her and her commitment in attending the weekly puja. Despite being eloquence and smart, she has beautiful chant as well. When she leads, make sure you are there to hear her chant for yourself! Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta.
Tara Recitation is on now at KISG - Wai Meng
4 months ago
Tara Recitation is on now at KISG - Wai Meng
Photo from Wan Wai Meng
4 months ago
Photo from Wan Wai Meng
A sea of yellow ~usually in Tibetan Buddhism yellow represents growth. We prayed that our Penang group will grow in terms of people, wealth and attainments too. _/\_ Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta.
4 months ago
A sea of yellow ~usually in Tibetan Buddhism yellow represents growth. We prayed that our Penang group will grow in terms of people, wealth and attainments too. _/_ Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta.
After Dorje Shugden puja @3pm, we had Rinpoche's Swift Return puja too. We laughed as Sis Swee Bee was commenting that Tang should smile ~ here's the reason why we laughed.  Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta Goh
4 months ago
After Dorje Shugden puja @3pm, we had Rinpoche's Swift Return puja too. We laughed as Sis Swee Bee was commenting that Tang should smile ~ here's the reason why we laughed. Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta Goh
4 months ago
Today's (9/12/2023)Dorje Shugden puja led by Gordon. Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta.
4 months ago
Today's (9/12/2023)Dorje Shugden puja led by Gordon. Kechara Penang Study Group by Jacinta.
4 months ago
4 months ago
Dharma sharing by Hue before we proceeded with DS puja & Rinpoche Swift Return puja. Hue is one of the long time Kechara Penang members and he comes to puja regularly. He shared that he truly believes that Dorje Shugden and Rinpoche always there guiding him. He shared how sometimes DS will give him hints to avert troubles ahead or to alert him when he 'misbehaved'. Hope many will come to know more about this powerful Dharma Protector, Dorje Shugden aka DS. Having Dorje Shugden is like having a powerful ally that will protect us day and night. Just trust Him and have faith. Kechara Penang Study Group, 25/11/2023 by Jacinta.
5 months ago
Dharma sharing by Hue before we proceeded with DS puja & Rinpoche Swift Return puja. Hue is one of the long time Kechara Penang members and he comes to puja regularly. He shared that he truly believes that Dorje Shugden and Rinpoche always there guiding him. He shared how sometimes DS will give him hints to avert troubles ahead or to alert him when he 'misbehaved'. Hope many will come to know more about this powerful Dharma Protector, Dorje Shugden aka DS. Having Dorje Shugden is like having a powerful ally that will protect us day and night. Just trust Him and have faith. Kechara Penang Study Group, 25/11/2023 by Jacinta.
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Dorje Shugden
Click to watch my talk about Dorje Shugden....