The Fifth Dalai Lama and his Reunification of Tibet

Feb 16, 2016 | Views: 5,985

Dear friends around the world,

This is a very interesting article on His Holiness the 5th Dalai Lama. He was the first Dalai Lama to take over complete secular rule of Tibet. There was much political intrigue, conflicts with other schools of Buddhism (Kagyu,etc) and murders of high lamas such as Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen by his regents to establish his rule. The Mongols played a huge role during this period. There is so much information here and good to read. I have placed this here for strictly educational purposes.

Tsem Rinpoche

 

The Fifth Dalai Lama and his Reunification of Tibet

by Samten G. Karmay

At the time of the Fifth Dalai Lama’s birth, Tibet was in a state of religious, social and political turmoil. Political power was shared among various factions supported by different religious schools who not only wished to propagate their teachings, but also to establish their economic power and political influence. In Tibet, religious, political and economic power have always been closely entwined. Tibetan political theory is based on the coalition of politics and religion in the form of Lamaism, finding its expression in chöyön, a “preceptor-patron” relationship in which both parties are considered equal – the preceptor giving the patron religious teachings and spiritual guidance in return for material and political protection. In addition, political protection allowed the religious schools to increase the number of their disciples and hence their wealth. The term chöyön was often used to designate, in particular, the relationship between a Tibetan lama and the leader of a foreign country, such as that between Phagpa Lodrö Gyeltsen (1235–1280), the head of the Sakya school, and Khubilai Khan, the Mongol emperor, in the 13th century. An understanding of the interdependence of politics and religion is essential for the study of Tibetan history.

The circumstances and strife surrounding the Fifth Dalai Lama’s birth are important to recall in order to understand the decisive role this exceptional man played in the reunification of Tibet.

 

A Country Torn Apart

In 1548, the aristocrat Zhingshag Tseten Dorje was appointed governor of Tsang province by the ruler of central Tibet, a Rinpung lord and a supporter of the Karma Kagyupa order. The newly appointed governor settled into the palace of Samdrubtse (also called Shigatse), situated near the Gelukpa monastery Tashilunpo. Shortly after, he rebelled against the Rinpung lords and proclaimed himself King of Tsang. Together with his nine sons he gradually expanded his kingdom and established control over both Ü and Tsang, the two main provinces of central Tibet. This was the first time since the collapse of the Tibetan empire in the 9th century that Tibet was ruled by a lay government.

The new government’s ambition was to revive the institutions of the imperial period and to bring peace and prosperity to the country by applying a five-point policy, the so-called “five great actions”. The plan was supported by various religious schools such as the Sakyapa, the Jonangpa, and, more particularly, by the great hierarchs of the Karma Kagyupa school. As the legitimate representative of authority, Zhingshag Tseten Dorje maintained equally good relations with the Gelukpa abbots of Tashilunpo who, however, remained suspicious of the new dynasty’s intentions.

The Third Dalai Lama, Sonam Gyatso (1543–1588) © Himalayan Art Resources

Moreover, during the same period the new Gelukpa school had founded a number of large monasteries in Ü province, namely Drepung, Sera and Ganden near Lhasa, the former imperial capital. The Gelukpa school, whose monasteries were supported by the laity and a number of nobles of Ü, had significant influence on the religious as well as on the political scene. In 1577–78 the conversion to Buddhism of Altan Khan, the leader of the Tumed Mongols, and all his subjects by Sonam Gyatso (1543–1588), the Abbot of Drepung (who received the title Dalai Lama from the Khan and was later recognized as the third to hold this title) was a spectacular success for the Gelukpa school. The secular government in Samdrubtse, however, viewed the event as a politico-religious alliance between the Gelukpa school and a foreign power. In fact, it was a strategic move in a struggle between two Buddhist religious schools – in this case the Gelukpa and the Karma Kagyupa – to secure the support of a patron without which neither could survive.

In 1589, the conflict was exacerbated when the Gelukpa recognized a child born that year to a Mongol family as the reincarnation of the Third Dalai Lama. The royal government took this as a clear indication of the Gelukpa school’s intentions to seek a foreign ally. After the child was installed in Ganden Phodrang at Drepung and enthroned as abbot, Mongol intervention in Gelukpa, and therefore in Tibetan, affairs increased. Moreover, the new Dalai Lama refused to bless the king of Tsang when they met. He came to be regarded as an expert in magic and was suspected of having performed a magic ritual against the king. However, he died shortly after at Drepung in 1616 at the age of twenty-eight, and the royal government forbade the search for his reincarnation.

In 1618, the Mongols and the Gelukpa monks began to attack the royal officials residing in Lhasa. This escalated into a general conflict between the government’s forces and the Gelukpa monks supported by the Mongols and several nobles of Ü. Fighting continued intermittently until 1621 and led to the establishment in the region of a great number of Mongols determined to protect Gelukpa interests. In 1621 near Lhasa, a battle that would have resulted in a great massacre on both sides was averted through the intervention of Panchen Lama Lobzang Chögyen (1567–1662), the Abbot of Tashilunpo (who was later regarded as the First Panchen Lama).

 

The New Dalai Lama

It was against this background of turmoil that in 1617 a son was born to the noble Zahor family. From about the 14th century the family resided in the Taktse castle, the former stronghold of the Yarlung kings. The officials of Ganden Phodrang at Drepung had not renounced the search for the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation despite the ban by the Tsang king and the war between Ü and Tsang.

They had secretly discovered and selected three children whom they thought likely to be the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation. The child born to the famous Zahor family seemed the most convincing candidate. The family’s status was evidently a determining factor since two other schools, the Drukpa Kagyupa and the Karma Kagyupa, sought to claim the child as the reincarnation of one of their lamas since a lama of each school had also died in 1616. The family had resisted their solicitations despite the father’s friendly relations with the Drukpa Kagyupa school. In addition, the mother was connected to the Jonangpa school through her family, which was established at the castle of Nakartse. The names of both the mother and the son, Kunga Lhadze and Kunga Minjur, betray this link. We may therefore assume that the Jonangpa school hoped just as strongly to win the child over to their cause. This, however, was not to be the case, as we shall see.

The first six years of the Fifth Dalai Lama’s life resemble a novel. In 1618, his father, Düdül Rabten, was involved in a plot against the royal government, which brought the king’s wrath upon him. Around the same period, the Gelukpa, as already mentioned, secretly chose his son as the reincarnation of the Fourth Dalai Lama after the three candidates drew lots before the holy image of Radreng monastery. In the meantime, Panchen Lama Lobzang Chögyen had convinced the king to lift the ban on the quest for the new incarnation.

Panchen Lama Lobzang Chögyen (1567–1662) © Himalayan Art Resources

Nevertheless, the king ordered the Zahor family to leave their castle at Taktse. Düdül Rabten had attempted to escape to eastern Tibet but was prevented by royal envoys and brought to court at Samdrubtse where he remained under arrest until his death in 1626, without ever seeing his son again. His wife and son (aged three) were forced to remain in Dekyiling, then in Lhazong. The king suggested they come to live at court in Samdrubtse because of the insecurity caused by the war. But the mother, suspicious of the king’s real intentions, preferred to ignore his request and return to her family at the Nakartse castle. As soon as the ban on the quest for the reincarnation was lifted, Ganden Phodrang sent envoys accompanied by Mongol delegates to the king’s court, under the pretext of a diplomatic mission sent by Panchen Lama Lobzang Chögyen, to request official recognition of the boy now living at Nakartse as the Fourth Dalai Lama’s reincarnation.

The child spent the first six years of his life in this castle and, in order to verify the authenticity of the reincarnation, he was subjected to the traditional “tests” bearing on his “memories” of his previous life. Among these “tests”, the best known is that of presenting the candidate with objects belonging to the previous incarnation along with other identical objects. If the child chooses the real objects he is proclaimed tulku, “reincarnate”. However, contrary to tradition, the boy belonging to the Zahor family had already been chosen by the drawing of lots before being submitted to the traditional tests.

One of the other two candidates, Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen (1619–1656), was recognized as the reincarnation of another Gelukpa hierarch of Drepung. He was installed in the Zimkhang Gongma or “Upper Chamber”, and was to become a redoubtable rival of the Fifth Dalai Lama, as we shall see.

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

Since there was a large Mongol army in the country and the Tibetan leaders were forced to yield much of their land to them, it became customary to recognize the sons of Mongol leaders as reincarnations. It was said that I too was one (even though I was not a Mongol)!¹

As for his success at passing the traditional “tests”, he is equally straightforward: “The official Tsawa Kachu of Ganden Phodrang showed me statues and rosaries (that belonged to the Fourth Dalai Lama and other people), but I was unable to distinguish between them! When he left the room I heard him tell the people outside that I had successfully passed the tests. Later, when he became my tutor, he would often admonish me and say: ‘You must work hard, since you were unable to recognize the objects!’”²

The Fifth Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lobzang Gyatso (1617–1682) © Rubin Museum of Art

The child was brought to Ganden Phodrang, also known as Zimkhang Wog, the “Lower Chamber”. He was enthroned as the Fifth Dalai Lama and received the name of Lobzang Gyatso from Panchen Lama Lobzang Chögyen, who became one of his spiritual masters. As soon as he was installed, the Mongols wanted him to go to Kokonor. His entourage considered him too young to undertake such a journey, but it soon became obvious that if they refused, the Mongols would take him by force. With the king’s permission, the officials of Ganden Phodrang therefore secretly transferred him to Rigo, in the south. This episode clearly shows that the alliance between the Gelukpa and the Mongols supported by the nobles of Ü was not without difficulties. The Fifth Dalai Lama was forced to remain in hiding in Rigo for a year. During that time he began to learn how to read and write.

From the age of six years, until he was twenty-four, his studies were devoted to traditional subjects such as Buddhist philosophy, Sanskrit and poetry. He developed a keen interest in Buddhist philosophy, the focus of study for the Gelukpa school, and was later to write a number of treatises on the subject. At the same time, he also had to perform his duty as abbot of Drepung monastery whose throne he occupied. In 1633, he met Konchok Lhundrub (1561–1637), a master of the Nyingmapa school, whose teachings were not always recognized by the Gelukpa school. This meeting was to be a turning point in his life: he received teachings and initiations into certain mystical practices and tantric rituals of which he hitherto had no knowledge. The young hierarch realized that his philosophical training at the monastery alone was not sufficient to attain spiritual enlightenment.

In the meantime, the “Upper Chamber” reincarnation, Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen, had won fame in both Tibet and Mongolia as a brilliant scholar and spiritually accomplished person. This aroused envy in the Dalai Lama’s entourage even though Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen had always proclaimed himself a disciple of the Fifth Dalai Lama. This situation was to have an unsettling effect on the harmony within the monastery.

Through the diplomacy of Panchen Lama Lobzang Chögyen, the king and his government had ceased hostilities against the Gelukpa from the moment of the Fifth Dalai Lama’s enthronement. The Gelukpa community of Tsang, however, felt threatened by the establishment of a Karma Kagyupa monastery near Tashilunpo. Because of this, Mongol intervention on the Tibetan political scene was again to endanger the precarious balance of Tibetan politics.

 

The Mongols Intervene

Sonam Chöphel (1595–1657), the treasurer of Ganden Phodrang, was the prime architect of the Gelukpa school’s rise to political power. Later he received the title of Zhelngo, “the Leader”, which we will use hereafter when referring to him. He sought the support of the Jungar from western Mongolia and inspired them with a military stratagem that consisted of successively attacking the other Mongol tribes sympathetic to the king of Tsang, then the south-eastern Tibetans of Kham – who were also partisans of the royal government – and finally, the king and his entourage in Tsang, giving rise to Gelukpa political and religious supremacy.

Gushri Khan (1582–1655), Fresco in Jokhang temple, Tibet. Photography: Brian J. McMorrow

The Jungar had been actively supporting the Gelukpa school in their own country. In 1636, one of their leaders, Gushri Khan of the Khoshut tribe, decided to attack the Mongol tribe of Chogthur, an ally of the king of Tsang. Originally from the Khalkha tribe, Chogthur’s tribe had been expelled from central Mongolia in 1634 and had set up their main camp in the Kokonor region in Amdo, in north-eastern Tibet. In 1637, after having defeated Chogthur and his 40,000 men in Kokonor, Gushri Khan, too, chose to make his camp in this territory of Tibetan nomads and soon became the sole leader of the Mongols in the region. He and several of his men travelled to central Tibet that year disguised as pilgrims. He was received in audience and it was at this time that the Fifth Dalai Lama bestowed on him the name of Tenzin Chögyel before the holy image of the Buddha in the Jokhang temple in Lhasa for having defended Gelukpa interests in the Kokonor region. The meeting was to have far-reaching historical consequences. As soon as he returned to the Kokonor region, the Mongol chief began to prepare his campaign against Donyö, king of Beri, in the province of Kham in south-eastern Tibet. Donyö was an ally of the king of Tsang, and, moreover, a Bön practitioner, which made him a staunch enemy of the Mongols who had just recently converted to Buddhism. In 1641, after a year of fighting, Gushri Khan defeated the king of Beri. His prestige as a warrior was now unequalled as much among Tibetans as among Mongols.

During the campaign against Beri, the Fifth Dalai Lama and the Zhelngo discussed the question of whether Gushri Khan and his men should return to Kokonor. They decided to send an emissary to Kham to contact the Mongol chief. In the presence of both the Dalai Lama and the emissary, the Zhelngo pretended to agree with the Dalai Lama that Gushri Khan should return to Kokonor after his campaign in south-eastern Tibet. However, just as the emissary was about to leave, the Zhelngo ordered him to tell Gushri Khan to lead his army against Tsang.

At the beginning of 1642, during the annual festival of the Great Prayer in Lhasa, presided over by the Fifth Dalai Lama, news of Gushri Khan’s victory in south-eastern Tibet and his army’s advance against Tsang reached the city. The news greatly surprised the Dalai Lama and the Zhelngo finally told him the truth: that in fact he himself had issued this order in the Dalai Lama’s name! Shortly after, Gushri Khan’s army confronted the king’s troops. It was to be a long and bloody war. After many months of battle, the king’s troops finally withdrew behind the walls of their stronghold at Samdrubtse. The Mongol troops, who had the advantage in open battle on the plain, now had to wait for the provisions of the king’s army to run out. The Zhelngo, more and more concerned over the course the events were taking, requested the Dalai Lama to go to Tsang as mediator. The Dalai Lama then displayed his true political stature by saying:

I have told you many times that I do not like this kind of thing (i.e., war). But you never listened to me. Now all know that the partisans of Ganden Phodrang have rebelled and that our man, Tardongpa, leads the Mongol army. Can there be any hope of mediation at present? The king and his entourage, being wise, might respond favourably to my approach. But the Mongols will never leave now. For my part, I am determined not to remain under the king’s rule.³

 

The Fifth Dalai Lama: Sovereign of Tibet

Towards the end of 1642, having resisted the Mongols for almost a year, the king and his two ministers finally surrendered. The Zhelngo and Gushri Khan then invited the Dalai Lama to Samdrubtse. Gushri Khan and the Zhelngo went to greet the hierarch and his entourage in Thobgyel. The next day he was received by a long procession consisting of the local population headed by six hundred horsemen. The Dalai Lama was then enthroned as King of Tibet at Samdrubtse and Gushri Khan offered him his conquests of central and eastern Tibet as a gift. The year 1642 was a crucial year and marked a turning point in Tibetan history because, for the first time, a Dalai Lama, previously merely the abbot of a monastery and leader of one religious school among several others, became the head of the country. The consequences of his rise to power were to be tremendous.

Although he had firmly established his power in central Tibet, the Dalai Lama still had to face various military conflicts in other regions, especially in Kongpo and the south, to which the leader of the Karma Kagyupa school had escaped and where the population, who for the most part belonged to this school, was determined to resist. In the following years, the Fifth Dalai Lama travelled extensively in order to ease the situation. During the same period, the Zhelngo took on the function of Desi, “regent”, and became responsible for governmental affairs, while Gushri Khan, who never claimed a political position, retained his role as the defender of the new government, always ready to intervene with his army if the need arose. The Fifth Dalai Lama continued to address him as “king” since he was the king of the Mongols of Kokonor (though he resided at Gongkar, about one hundred kilometres from Lhasa) and not “King of Tibet” as has often been falsely claimed.

The political structure of the new state began to take shape. The Dalai Lama was head of state. He was therefore placed above the chöyön structure, the “patron-preceptor” relationship. The Desi assumed the role of preceptor and Gushri Khan that of patron even though he was not really considered a foreigner since he had established himself in the Tibetan region of Kokonor and had placed himself entirely at the service of the Dalai Lama.

Ganden Phodrang, situated as it was within the monastic complex of Drepung, no longer befitted the purposes of the new state, since Drepung could not be considered the political capital of Tibet. This was equally true of Gonkar castle, Gushri Khan’s residence. Since the political situation in Kongpo – and even more so in southern Tibet – remained tense, the construction of a reliable stronghold that would also serve as the new seat of government was deemed necessary. Konchok Chöphel (d. 1646), who was a tutor of the Fifth Dalai Lama and, at the time, occupied the throne of Tsongkhapa (founder of the Gelukpa school), suggested Marpori, the Red Hill, as an ideal site, as it was situated between the monasteries of Drepung and Sera and the city of Lhasa. The construction of the Potala began in 1645 and its eastern section, Phodrang Karpo, the “White Palace”, was completed in 1649. That same year, the Fifth Dalai Lama and his government were installed there.

Ernst Schäfer Expedition to Tibet, Potala (1938) Photographer: Krause, Ernst / Licence CC-BY-SA 3.0 © Bundesarchiv: Bild 135-KA-07-002

Shortly after moving to the Potala, the Fifth Dalai Lama had to deal with political issues beyond Tibet, especially concerning relations with the Manchu empire, relations that were to have great consequence on the future of Tibet.

 

The Journey to Beijing

The Manchus had recently emerged as a new power in the east. They had conquered China and established their capital in Beijing. Mongolia represented a serious threat for the new empire. Fearing Mongol attacks, the Manchus desperately needed peace to be maintained, and here the Dalai Lama played an essential role. He had considerable religious and political influence in Mongolia, whose population had for the most part converted to the Gelukpa school of Buddhism, and in the Kokonor region.

After having received several invitations from the Manchu Emperor Shunzi to make a state visit to Beijing, the Dalai Lama finally accepted in 1652. He set out with an entourage of three thousand men, and the journey took nine months. When the Dalai Lama reached the Sino-Tibetan border in Amdo, he sent a message asking the Emperor to meet him at the border. This request provoked divergent reactions between the Manchu and Chinese officials of the imperial court. While the Manchus were willing to comply, the Chinese officials were not. Finally, the Tibetan and imperial officials reached a compromise to solve this problem of protocol. Since the Dalai Lama was a guest he would travel into Chinese territory, to Kirutaka where the Manchu government had erected a residence to accommodate him. Because of the poor harvest and an epidemic in China that year, it was agreed that the Dalai Lama would proceed from there with only three hundred men. The Emperor would await the Dalai Lama at Ridak Khoto, a place where he often went hunting.

As soon as the Dalai Lama entered Chinese territory, the Emperor sent emissaries, mostly members of the imperial family, to greet him all along his way. The Fifth Dalai Lama himself recounts in his writings his meeting with the Emperor and all the intricacies of protocol surrounding it:

The 16th of the twelfth month, I met the king. We entered a place surrounded by walls, and the seven royal emblems, symbols of the Universal King, unravelled before us. They were all impressive and comparable to the glory of Indra. When the throne became visible, those near me dismounted and continued on foot. I proceeded some forty metres further and then dismounted, while the king also descended from his throne and walked approximately ten metres towards me. He took my hands and welcomed me with interpreters. He then returned to his throne whose height reached a man’s hip. On the throne stood a low stool on which he sat. A metre away another throne had been erected for me. It was slightly lower (due to the small stool on the other). When tea was served, the king asked me to drink first. I replied that this would not be proper. So he suggested we drink at the same time. He showed much respect (to his guest).⁴

During his sojourn in Beijing, the Dalai Lama resided in the Yellow Palace specially built near Beijing for the state visit. His stay there lasted two months and was marked by two grand imperial receptions given in his honour and by various other official receptions that the two heads of state gave one another. He left Beijing at the beginning of 1653 for Kirutaka where he remained three months to prepare his return journey to Lhasa.

Just a few days before his departure for Tibet, a gold seal and a gold plaque engraved with a decree were hastily sent to him from Beijing. The imperial functionaries had not dared present the seal to the Dalai Lama in front of the Emperor while the Dalai Lama was officially visiting Beijing as head of state of a foreign country. Since the seal was given to the Dalai Lama with no particular form of protocol, he attached little importance to it. He simply remarks in his autobiography that the Tibetan translation of the title engraved on the seal was very poor.⁵ The seal, however, is currently exploited by the Chinese authorities for propaganda purposes to justify their policy towards Tibet.

 

Politics and Intrigues

For having successfully achieved this long and hazardous journey, the Dalai Lama was welcomed with great pomp by the whole population of Lhasa and representatives of all the other regions of Tibet, who organized a triumphant march in his honour. The number of gifts he received from the Amdo Tibetans, Mongols, Manchus and Chinese for the Buddhist teachings he had dispensed throughout his journey was impressive: thousands of horses, camels and precious objects.

Upon his return, the Dalai Lama was again faced with internal political problems that put his abilities as a negotiator to the test. He took the opportunity while visiting Samdrubtse in 1654 to resolve a politico-religious problem that had been hindering his rule for a long time. In 1621, the king of Tsang entrusted the organization of the annual festival of the Great Prayer in Lhasa to Panchen Lama Lobzang Chögyen and his monastery, Tashilunpo, in order to thank him for his mediation between the royal forces and the Gelukpa monks of Lhasa, supported by the Mongols. The Desi, always primarily concerned with the interests of Drepung, reclaimed the duty of organizing the yearly festival for his own monastery, as had always been the case prior to 1621. In 1632, Tashilunpo was forced to return this function to Drepung, but relations between Panchen Lama Lobzang Chögyen and the Desi remained strained. They were finally reconciled by the Dalai Lama when he visited Samdrubtse in 1654.

Furthermore, in 1674, the Dalai Lama received the Karmapa hierarch at the Potala with all the respect due to his rank, a reconciliation welcomed by both parties after the many conflicts and misunderstandings that had lasted from 1612 to 1642. But he was not so lenient towards the other schools. For instance, the Jonangpa school, which had hoped to obtain him, when he was a child, as one of their own reincarnations, did not survive in Central Tibet.* As for the Bönpo monasteries, several were forced to convert to the Gelukpa tradition.** The new government’s attitude, however, was in fact determined by political rather than religious considerations.

Two other incidents during the rule of the Fifth Dalai Lama provide an interesting insight into the court intrigues at the time, and more specifically into the relations between religion and politics and their effects, which can still be felt today.

In 1656, Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen, the reincarnation who was installed in the “Upper Chamber” at Drepung, died. It should be recalled that he had been one of the candidates for the reincarnation of the Fourth Dalai Lama. As a result, he was always seen as a rival of the Fifth Dalai Lama even though he invariably proclaimed himself a disciple of the latter. He came to be despised by a number of officials and especially the Desi. The circumstances of his death, whether natural or not, were contested and part of the Gelukpa school believed that the official Norbu, acting under the Desi’s orders, had assassinated him. Whatever the truth, the search for his reincarnation was banned, which suggests that the affair must have been quite serious indeed. In 1658, the actual building of the “Upper Chamber” was destroyed and the stupa containing the remains of the Lama was supposedly thrown into the Kyichu river. It was then believed that the spirit of Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen had returned and he was subsequently deified as a sort of “protector of the Buddhist religion”. This marked the beginning of his cult as a protective deity, later named Dorje Shukden by the fundamentalist faction of the Gelukpa. This cult however has always been a controversial issue and was recently banned by the Fourteenth Dalai Lama in India. The mystery surrounding Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen’s death thus remains one of the most enigmatic aspects of the Fifth Dalai Lama’s rule. Indeed, in 1659, the official Norbu, who had settled at Gekha Sapa, a residence belonging to Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen’s family, fomented a rebellion against the Fifth Dalai Lama’s government. He was suspected of conspiring with the Drukpa Kagyupa power in Bhutan, a great enemy of the Gelukpa. The conflict was resolved through the intervention of Panchen Lama Lobzang Chögyen.

In 1662, Panchen Lama Lobzang Chögyen died at the age of 93. The Fifth Dalai Lama immediately decided to establish the system of his reincarnation. He ordered the monks of the great monasteries to recite a prayer he composed himself, requesting the master “to return”. The reincarnation was discovered in 1667 in the Dru family, one of the five great lineages of the Bön tradition, probably in a gesture of reconciliation with this particular religious tradition, which, in a 1679 edict, the Fifth Dalai Lama recognized as one of the official religions in Tibet. The consequences of the official establishment of this system of reincarnation have not always been favourable to the political unity of the Gelukpa, and therefore to Tibetan unity as a whole. The lamas of this series of reincarnation later became known as the Panchen Lama and were often considered spiritually eminent, but on the political level their relations with the Dalai Lamas were often difficult despite the spiritual master-disciple relationship they were supposed to maintain with one another. The Panchen Lama was often the object of manipulation against the Dalai Lama, first by the Manchus, then the British in India, and finally, by both the Kuomintang and communist Chinese.

 

Head of a Powerful State

The Fifth Dalai Lama’s ever increasing diplomatic activities, often dictated by the circumstances of the day, covered not only the whole of the Tibetan world – Mongolia, Ladakh and Bhutan – but also extended as far as China. The danger of conflicts breaking out was ever present, and the Dalai Lama not only had to ensure the survival of his own government but also act as a mediator between the various rising political powers that were always threatening to disrupt the established order.

The 5th Dalai Lama Ngagwang Lobzang Gyatso © Himalayan Art Resources

Under the Fifth Dalai Lama’s rule, as under the ancient Tibetan empire, Kokonor in Amdo became one of the most strategically important regions. The hierarch was quick to realize this as he travelled through the region, first in 1652 and then in 1653. Eight of Gushri Khan’s ten sons with their respective tribes had settled there in 1638 after their arrival from western Mongolia. The brothers were constantly engaged in territorial quarrels. In 1656 and in 1659, the Dalai Lama sent a number of governors to Kokonor. One of them divided the local populations in accordance with different territories and called them the right and left “horns” following the example of central Tibet at the time of the imperial period. The Mongols of this region were later completely Tibetanized but continued to enjoy considerable prestige among the Tibetans as descendants of Gushri Khan. They clearly played a significant role in the expansion of the Gelukpa school in Amdo. On several occasions in 1667, 1674 and 1675, at the request of the Manchu Emperor, the Dalai Lama played an important diplomatic role as a mediator in the military conflicts between Manchus and Mongols, and between the Manchu Emperor and a minister of his predecessor. These mediations clearly show the importance of the Dalai Lama’s political and religious influence over the Mongol, Manchu, Chinese and Tibetan populations.

Two other important diplomatic events also marked his reign. Under the rule of the king of Tsang, relations between Tibet and Bhutan, then simply designated as Mön or Lho Mön, entered a difficult phase. Again the issue concerned a reincarnation. There were two candidates for the reincarnation of Pema Karpo (1527–1592), the great scholar of the Drukpa Kagyupa school. Around 1615, the candidacy of Ngawang Namgyel (1594–1651) for the reincarnation was supported by his own family of Ralung, the seat of the school, while the other candidate, Pagsam Wangpo (1593–1641), a cousin of the Fifth Dalai Lama, was supported by the king of Tsang. Ngawang Namgyel had defied the king’s order to bring to the court the holy bone image of Khasarpani, obtained from the cremation of Tsangpa Gyare (1161–1211), founder of the Drukpa Kagyupa school. It was kept by the family of Ralung. Indeed, this would have meant that Ngawang Namgyel renounced his claim as the reincarnation of Pema Karpo. His refusal angered the king and he was finally forced to flee to Mön taking the relic with him. There he established his own politico-religious power and administration over a great part of the local population, thus unifying what has become known as Bhutan. The constitution of a Drukpa Kagyupa state headed by a religious and political enemy did not greatly appeal to the Lhasa government. Following territorial skirmishes, in 1647 the Desi decided to launch a military campaign against Bhutan; however, this ended in a humiliating defeat for the Gelukpa and their Mongol allies.

On the other hand, the campaign against Ladakh in 1679 was crowned with success and the regions of Ngari in Western Tibet, which the kings of Ladakh had annexed, were taken back. Thus, under the Fifth Dalai Lama, Tibet, from Ngari in the west to Dartsedo, Kham, in the south-east and to Kokonor in Amdo in the north-east was reunified for the first time since the collapse of the Tibetan empire in the 9th century A.D.

 

Writer and Mystic

Over and above his political achievements, the Fifth Dalai Lama was far more concerned with spiritual matters. Writing was his favourite occupation and he never interrupted it whatever the circumstances, whether he was travelling or in retreat. His works fill twenty-seven volumes. Besides writing a number of treatises on various subjects, he also related his visionary experiences, which he kept secret because of his own religious school’s disapproval of such matters. He wrote in a very free and personal style that allowed him to express his own feelings, which were at once both frank and ironic. His autobiography is characterized by his spontaneity, his sarcasm and his humorous remarks concerning his own status as a reincarnation and the fundamentalist attitude of his own school, the Gelukpa. Very often, unlike other traditional Gelukpa authors, he gives his own independent interpretation, which he never attempts to impose. Concerning two of his treatises, he writes: “When I finished the Jampel Zhelung, I had to leave the ranks of the Gelukpa. Today, having completed the Rigzin Zhelung, I think I will probably have to leave the Nyingmapa ranks as well!”⁶ In fact, both texts later came to be considered masterpieces and works of reference by all the Tibetan Buddhist schools. His approach to the various religious and philosophical traditions was indeed universal, which helped his rule, which in turn was marked by great tolerance towards the other schools. The Bönpo, followers of the Bön religion, the only non-Buddhist religion of Tibet, were, after certain difficulties at the beginning of his rule, respected both at the doctrinal and political levels.

The Fifth Dalai Lama continued to write until a few months before his death in 1682, at the age of 65. His exceptional personality, both complex and engaging, made him undeniably one of the most important figures in Tibetan history. His legacy was to have a profound effect on almost every aspect of the country’s culture, notably architecture, poetry, historiography, civil administration, painting and, of course, philosophy and Buddhist meditation. He was both a remarkable statesman and Buddhist monk, thus embodying the Buddhist ideal of a “great being”. Tibetan tradition still venerates him as the “Great Fifth”. His strict monastic discipline concealed yet another facet of his spiritual life: his great interest for tantric, more or less magical rituals, and, above all, his inclination for mystic meditation, which provided him with a series of visionary experiences throughout his life. These he revealed only in his writings, which remained little known in his time and which show his never ceasing concern for the welfare of his country and people. ■

 


 

Bibliographical sources

Ngag-dbang blo-bzang rgya-mtsho, the Fifth Dalai Lama

rJe btsun thams cad mkhyen pa bsod nams rgya mtsho’i rnam thar dngos grub rgya mtsho’i shing rta, The Collected Works of the Vth Dalai Lama, Gangtok: Sikkim Research Institute of Tibetology, 1991, Vol. 8 (Nya), 31-245.

Ngag-dbang blo-bzang rgya-mtsho, the Fifth Dalai Lama

’Jig rten dbang phyug thams cad mkhyen pa yon tan rgya mtsho dpal bzang po’i rnam par thar pa nor bu’i ’pheng ba, ditto, 247-349.

Ngag-dbang blo-bzang rgya-mtsho, the Fifth Dalai Lama

Khyab bdag ’khor lo’i dbang phyug dpal ’byor lhub grub kyi rnam thar skal bzang dad pa’i shing rta, ditto, 610-696.

Ngag-dbang blo-bzang rgya-mtsho, the Fifth Dalai Lama Byang bdag rig ’dzin ngag gi dbang po’i rnam thar ngo mtshar bkod pa rgya mtsho, ditto, 687-823.

Ngag-dbang blo-bzang rgya-mtsho, the Fifth Dalai Lama

Dukula, Za hor gyi ban de ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho’i ’di snang ’khrul ba’i rol rtsed rtogs brjod kyi tshul du bkod pa dukula’i gos bzang, (Lhasa): Bod-ljongs midmangs dpe-skrun khang, Vols. I-III, 1989.

 


 

Footnotes

¹ Dukula, Vol I, 48.

² Dukula, Vol I, 55.

³ Dukula, Vol I, 204.

⁴ Dukula, Vol I, 393.

⁵ Dukula, Vol I, 415–16.

⁶ Dukula, Vol II, 380.

* This sentence is revised by me, the author Samten Karmay. (Feb. 24, 2016)

** The conversion of the monasteries was actually carried out by Desi Sangye Gyatso (1658-1705) in 1686 in Khyungpo, Kham, cf. Samten Karmay, The Arrow and the Spindle, Vol.II, 2005, p.164. (Feb. 24, 2016)

 

Source: http://www.info-buddhism.com/The_Great_5th-Dalai_Lama-Ngagwang_Lobzang_Gyatso_Samten_Karmay.html

 

The renowned and spiritually attained Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen who was a great Drepung hierarch. His Ladrang (residence) was called Zimkhang Gongma. Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen's only 'crime' was to be highly learned, an erudite scholar and be spiritually achieved. Because of this, he was seen as a threat to the 5th Dalai Lama in gaining more students and support. For this he was murdered by Desi Sangye Gyatso, the regent and main assistant to the 5th Dalai Lama. After his murder, his residence Zimkhang Gongma was destroyed and banned. His voluminous writings were burned, the remains of his body were thrown into the Kyichu River and all of his future incarnations were banned. Having said that, his future incarnations still returned because on a government level they were able to 'ban' his recinarnation to cover their crime. On a spiritual level however, he continued to reincarnate to benefit others, as is believed within the Gelugpa school.

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The 5th Dalai Lama with his teacher, the 4th Panchen Lama. Click on image to enlarge or click here for more beautiful thangkas.

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4 Responses to The Fifth Dalai Lama and his Reunification of Tibet

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  1. Samfoonheei on Jun 26, 2018 at 9:05 am

    Interesting …reading this article the 5th Dalai Lama,who was the first Dalai Lama to become spiritual and political leader of Tibet. It is also a story of political intrigue that continued for many years even after he died. He is remembered by Tibetans as the “Great Fifth.” He did wrote a praise to Dorje Shugden too. He did established diplomatic relations with China and other regional countries and even met early European explorers. Amazingly , he wrote numerous volumes of scholarly and religious works on a wide range of subjects. The Great Fifth was a prolific writer and his written work include a history of Tibet and his own autobiography. He was renowned for his cycle of pure vision teachings at that time.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this interesting sharing.

  2. Stella Cheang on Sep 24, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    It is fascinating to read about the story of Dalai Lama especially His Holiness’ 5th reincarnation. 1642 marked a significant year for the 5th Dalai Lama was installed as the king of Tibet and it changed history forever. 1649 is the year when the famous Potala palace was completed and it is still standing tall today. It is notable that the 5th Dalai Lama visited Beijing in the year 1652 at the beginning of the Qing dynasty. During the early years that the 5th Dalai Lama was in power, his attendants were jealous of the renowned Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen and assassinated him in the year 1656. Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen arose as the Dharma Protector in the form of Dorje Shugden. Some years later, in 1662, Panchen Lama entered clear light.

  3. Wan Wai Meng on Jul 24, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso, 5th Dalai Lama wrote a praise to Dorje Shugden, when he realized the true nature of the Dharmapala.

    This is a insightful look into the workings of the 5th Dalai Lama and also 4th Panchen Lama. It is clearly seen that Sonam Gyatso’s works to bring buddhism to the Mongols was no mere coincidence and that perhaps it was to lay the foundation of later events.

    I felt the 5th Dalai Lama, was many a times forced to act, based on situations to make things less explosive than it already is. He was sometimes put into such situations by his regent Desi Sangye. The 5th Dalai Lama was not just a simple monk and scholar, having survived so many conflicts and difficult situations, with Tibetans, Manchus and Mongolian factions. He wrote profusely through his career and his writings were very insightful. He wasn’t a man who would be easily manipulated to do just about anyone’s bidding and when he needed to act he would take action, if needed to reconcile he would also do that. His actions towards the suppression of Bon and Jonangpas are clear indication of his ability to take decisive action. His reconciliationary gestures towards the Karmapa hiearchy due to much misunderstandings and miscommunications from 1612-1642.

    The Panchen Lama who are the reincarnations of Amitabha, always brought warring and conflicting factions together. Something I have did really come across before. Refreshing outlook on the Panchen Lama’s role. The Panchen Lama besides being a defender of the Tibetans was also very much a scholar and writer.

  4. Pema Thinley on Feb 20, 2016 at 2:06 am

    Dear Rinpoche,

    This is very very informative. I am surprised to know that the fleeing of Ngawang Namgyel to Bhutan and the assassination of Tulku Dragpa Gyeltshen happened during the reign of same conflicts in Tibet. I could clearly relate to the part of History I read during my school days about Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. The protector arose from such conflicts. These make whole lot of sense that Dharmapala have the strong and true lineage who stemmed from Tulku dragpa Gyeltshen _()_. How auspicious to read such authentic history and the stories presented here made me trust more as the piece of history I read in Bhutan are fitting in it so well. _()_ thank you so much Rinpoche

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  • Lin Mun
    Sunday, Dec 15. 2019 08:35 PM
    We are so fortunate to have a guru who can lead us in our spiritual path by giving us the right method and teaching. Guru is indeed like our Spiritual Doctor, giving us the treatment to our sickness and prescribing the medicine to us. Unfortunately, we students do not follow the instructions and neglect the kindness of our guru. Hence, when our negative karma ripen, we should not blame anyone but us, why didn’t we take the ‘medicine’ prescribed ? No point complaining if we are the one who do not want to change.

    Thank you Pastor David for sharing this article and explanation.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/like-a-skilful-doctor
  • Lin Mun
    Sunday, Dec 15. 2019 08:18 PM
    It is simply amazing how Edward Leedskalnin can move coral stones of up to 30 tonnes by himself with simple tools. Something which I think science can’t explained like how pyramid is built during that period without machines.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/coral-castle.html
  • Anonymous
    Sunday, Dec 15. 2019 06:46 PM
    It is nice to see these warm stories of how human helped marine animals out from their life-threatening situation. There are a lot of attention given to prevent animal abuse in cases of dogs and cats. However, there are only a handful of attention given to marine animals.

    Fishes aren’t given the attention that they deserve because their cries normally went unheard. However, fishes are animals too and they do feel what a human being will feel. We should treat all animals the same and stop creating more suffering for them.

    http://bit.ly/2Eh1VLa
  • Sofi
    Saturday, Dec 14. 2019 09:39 PM
    The 14th Dalai Lama’s prayer to Dorje Shugden

    If Dalai Lama has been worshipping Dorje Shugden for decades, consulted his oracles, composed prayers for Dorje Shugden, then how can he finally and suddenly see Dorje Shugden as negative? How could Dorje Shugden have ‘fooled’ or ‘misled’ such a high being as the Dalai Lama for so many years? That does not make sense. Since Dalai Lama is a highly realized being, he should be able to see Dorje Shugden as a superior being or a negative being from the very first time they ‘met’. This ability is inherent in highly attained beings such as H.H. the Dalai Lama. If we are to hypothetically say His Holiness the Dalai Lama can make mistakes, then this puts us all in a quandary because he saw Shugden as superior in earlier years but later as malevolent. Does this make sense? Because if he can make a mistake once, he can hypothetically make another one. So the ban and his current negative views about Dorje Shugden perhaps can be wrong? I am just presenting some hypothetics.

    Read and decide for yourself of Rinpoche’s hypothesis: http://bit.ly/14DalaiLamaDSPrayer
  • Yee Yin
    Saturday, Dec 14. 2019 02:32 PM
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing with us the mysterious part on Buddhism. I didn’t know divination is also practised in Buddhism, I have always thought divination is only practised by non-Buddhist. This shows how compassionate Buddha is, Buddha will use different ways to help people.

    Since most of us don’t have the karma or merit to connect with Buddha directly, divination is the best way to seek advice from an enlightened being. Taking refuge and asking for advice from an enlightened being is safe because Buddha is omniscient and Buddha will give us guidance that will truly benefit us.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/dorje-shugdens-dice-divination.html
  • Sofi
    Friday, Dec 13. 2019 11:50 PM
    Dromton Gyelwa Jungne

    Dromtonpa has come down in history as both an enforcer of Second Propagation ethical standards and a holder of Atisa’s tantric lineage. According to the Blue Annals, Dromton was charged with expelling tantric practitioners from Atisa’s audience, this despite the fact that at Samye Chimpu (bsam yas ‘chims phu) Atisa gave Dromton initiation into tantric systems, including the Doha tradition of Bengal. The Blue Annals credits him with revising the translations of both sutra and tantras, including the Astasahastrika Prajnaparamita, and the Jnanasiddhi Tantra.

    Read about this great disciple of Atisha and his attainments: http://bit.ly/Dromtonpa
  • Sofi
    Friday, Dec 13. 2019 11:40 PM
    The Fifth Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lobzang Gyatso

    In 1622 he was identified as the rebirth of the Fourth Dalai Lama, Yonten Gyatso (ta la’i bla ma 04, yon tan rgya mtsho, 1589-1616) by Lobzang Chokyi Gyeltsen (blo bzang chos kyi rgyal mtshan, 1570-1662), who had been the tutor to the Fourth Dalai Lama. Lobzang Chokyi Gyeltsen gave him the name Lobzang Gyatso (blo bzang rgya mtsho) and enthroned him at Drepung Monastery (’bras spungs dgon). Much later the Fifth Dalai Lama gave Lobzang Chokyi Gyeltsen the title of Panchen Lama.

    Read about the greatness of the 5th Dalai Lama and his association with Dorje Shugden: http://bit.ly/5thDalaiLama
  • sarassitham
    Friday, Dec 13. 2019 03:53 PM
    Thank you for the sharing, I do agree in the article say man are responsible for everything in their life. In simply way man are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Only man use the reason and conscience with which they are endowed to act with humanity toward human, animal and planet.

    I truly agree with this article. Every single action that man has to do and done has to connect to one another for perfection in this world.
  • Anonymous
    Friday, Dec 13. 2019 03:03 PM
    Thank you, Rinpoche for telling us this story for us to learn from it. Rinpoche gives a lot of advice and instructions to many people and students to help them. However, no all of the recipient of Rinpoche’s kindness will be willing to go all the way with Rinpoche’s advice and instructions even though it is for our own good. Some will stick all the way but some will stop halfway due to their laziness and fears due to the lack of faith in Rinpoche.

    Rinpoche will not give any advice that will harm us. Sometimes, the instructions might seem to be harming us or unreasonable, but we have to have faith in Rinpoche that eventually it will be beneficial for us in the long run.

    http://bit.ly/2Pjba3C
  • Yee Yin
    Friday, Dec 13. 2019 02:43 PM
    It is very good to know about the origin and the story of the Buddhist deity. The story of Methar shows us how the Tibetan leadership has been operating since the older time, how powerful highly attained lamas are and how an evil spirit can be subdued to do good to help others.

    Power and money are what the Tibetan leadership is interested in. They will make false accusations on someone to take over someone’s wealth and power, like in the case of Demo Rinpoche and Methar. Methar turned into an angry spirit after he was killed. However, due to the power of Serkong Rinpoche and his deep Dharma imprint, Methar was subdued and agreed to give his service to Kache Marpo.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/methar-of-tengyeling-monastery.html
  • Pastor Lanse
    Thursday, Dec 12. 2019 05:30 PM
    Kyabje Zong Rinpoche: Birth, Death & Bardo

    Birth, death and bardo: what are these three things? How do people die? We have to understand what we mean by birth, death and bardo in general. We must know how the bardo is entered. We die, go into bardo, take birth, again die going yet again into bardo. There is an unending cycle of the three; no end to it at all. It is useful to develop aversion to Samsara (or Cyclic Existence) and very good for practice to know this.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/zong-rinpoche-birth-death-and-bardo.html
  • S.Prathap
    Thursday, Dec 12. 2019 04:02 PM
    This is interesting and good article to read and provided many information of holy places.It is always good to visit spiritual power places. it can open up dharma seeds within us and bless our minds to engage in spiritual practice.
    Great to get know what we suppose to do at these Holy place ,recite prayers, make offerings and so forth to intoxicate one selves with the blessings of the place.Thank you so much for the article and beautiful pictures.

    Read more : https://bit.ly/2Pw2Jko
  • Yee Yin
    Thursday, Dec 12. 2019 01:43 PM
    People often relate witchcraft to evil practice. However, in this modern time, no one is penalised for practising witchcraft. It is not a main stream religious practice and people can practise it freely.

    Therefore, it is very ridiculous for the Tibetan leadership to penalise Dorje Shugden practitioners because of their faith. Dorje Shugden practice started about 300-400 years ago and it has never been a threat to national security, there is no reason it should be banned. May the ban be lifted soon and no more discrimination against Dorje Shugden practitioners.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/witches.html
  • S.Prathap
    Wednesday, Dec 11. 2019 05:13 PM
    Rinpoche have shown us an example to have faith and trust in Buddha. When pray sincerely, have trust and faith our wishes will be fulfilled.Buddha will bless us when we have sincere motivation.
    Really a good article about Medicine Buddha .It is really inspiring and thank you very much for sharing with us.
  • nicholas
    Wednesday, Dec 11. 2019 05:04 PM
    The Rain Stopper

    A few years ago, I think in 2005, His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche and a few of us went to Kathmandu, Nepal to buy Buddha statues for our outlets in Malaysia, it was around July and it was a rainy season in Nepal, so it rained almost daily during the daytime and it made the shopping trip somewhat troublesome, because the statue shops in Nepal are mostly in Boudanath and it was not a covered shopping mall, you have to go from shop to shop in the rain. We were staying in Hyatt Regency Kathmandu then and it was raining quite heavily as we were waiting at the lobby for the taxis to bring us to Boudanath, Rinpoche commented that it was another tiresome rainy day, and he said to us “You guys wait here, I am going to talk to my friends”, then Rinpoche left the seat, walked towards the hotel entrance, and start staring at the gloomy sky while mumbling something. The few of us who looked at each other, and all turned to stared at Rinpoche, this lasted for about 5 minutes, then Rinpoche walked back to us and said “It’s ok now, I just talked to them and they are OK with it, we can leave soon.” True enough, in about 5 minutes, the downpour turned into drizzle, and we hopped into the taxis, by the time the taxis were speeding along the bustling streets of Kathmandu, the rain stopped completely.

    http://bit.ly/2m9CLIr

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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)
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Height: 33ft (10m)
5 months 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 months 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 months 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 months 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
6 months 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
6 months 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
6 months 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
6 months 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
6 months 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
6 months 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
6 months 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
6 months ago
Sacred Vajra Yogini
Dorje Shugden works & archives - a labour of commitment - https://bit.ly/30Tp2p8
6 months ago
Dorje Shugden works & archives - a labour of commitment - https://bit.ly/30Tp2p8
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha.
7 months 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.
7 months 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.
7 months 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
7 months 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
7 months 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!!!
7 months 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
7 months 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
7 months 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
7 months 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
7 months 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
7 months 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
7 months 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
7 months 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
7 months ago
Beautiful pictures of the huge Buddha in Longkou Nanshan- https://bit.ly/2LsBxVb
The reason-Very interesting thought- https://bit.ly/2V7VT5r
7 months ago
The reason-Very interesting thought- https://bit.ly/2V7VT5r
NEW Bigfoot cafe in Malaysia! Food is delicious!- https://bit.ly/2VxdGau
7 months 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
7 months 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
7 months 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
7 months 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
7 months 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
7 months 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
7 months 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
7 months ago
Manjusri Kumara (bodhisattva of wisdom), India, Pala dynesty, 9th century, stone, Honolulu Academy of Arts
Silver Manjusri figure from Ngemplak Semongan (Indonesia). Apparently during the Shailendra Dynasty, Mahayana Buddhism was very strong in Indonesia. This Dynasty promoted Mahayana Buddhism and Manjushri was a principal Buddha of worship.
7 months ago
Silver Manjusri figure from Ngemplak Semongan (Indonesia). Apparently during the Shailendra Dynasty, Mahayana Buddhism was very strong in Indonesia. This Dynasty promoted Mahayana Buddhism and Manjushri was a principal Buddha of worship.
In Buddhism: The Importance of Having a Clean Room- https://bit.ly/2ZgrbKS
7 months ago
In Buddhism: The Importance of Having a Clean Room- https://bit.ly/2ZgrbKS
There is an area near Lumbini, Nepal, they have sightings of Yeti for hundreds of years. So they have signages in the area with Yeti artwork to highlight this. Interesting. TR
7 months ago
There is an area near Lumbini, Nepal, they have sightings of Yeti for hundreds of years. So they have signages in the area with Yeti artwork to highlight this. Interesting. TR
Photos of footprints (Yeti) are from a high altitude pass (Darwa Pass) connecting Gangotri valley to Yamunotri valley through old pilgrim route.
7 months ago
Photos of footprints (Yeti) are from a high altitude pass (Darwa Pass) connecting Gangotri valley to Yamunotri valley through old pilgrim route.
Beautiful picture. Rare. Three holy beings.
7 months ago
Beautiful picture. Rare. Three holy beings.
May 1, 2019-I really enjoy this picture of these visitors visiting Dorje Shugden\'s grotto in Kechara Forest Retreat today. They look happy, light and blessed after doing their prayers to Dorje Shugden. I wanted to share this picture.- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
7 months ago
May 1, 2019-I really enjoy this picture of these visitors visiting Dorje Shugden's grotto in Kechara Forest Retreat today. They look happy, light and blessed after doing their prayers to Dorje Shugden. I wanted to share this picture.- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
A postcard of my great grand aunt Princess Nirgidma of Torghut-Tsem Rinpoche
8 months ago
A postcard of my great grand aunt Princess Nirgidma of Torghut-Tsem Rinpoche
Rei Kawakubo – Grand Dame of ‘Hiroshima Chic’- https://bit.ly/2Vz4N06
8 months ago
Rei Kawakubo – Grand Dame of ‘Hiroshima Chic’- https://bit.ly/2Vz4N06
Just now, this beautiful grape and orange infused water drink with a blue glass was brought in for me. I was amazed at the colors. Tsem Rinpoche
8 months ago
Just now, this beautiful grape and orange infused water drink with a blue glass was brought in for me. I was amazed at the colors. Tsem Rinpoche
We have to look in and change from within to find the way out of all that makes us unhappy.~Tsem Rinpoche 

www.tsemrinpoche.com
8 months ago
We have to look in and change from within to find the way out of all that makes us unhappy.~Tsem Rinpoche http://www.tsemrinpoche.com
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Videos On The Go

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  • Always be kind to animals-They deserve to live just like us.
    5 months ago
    Always be kind to animals-They deserve to live just like us.
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  • Bodha stupa July 2019-
    5 months ago
    Bodha stupa July 2019-
    Rainy period
  • Cute Tara girl having a snack. She is one of Kechara Forest Retreat’s resident doggies.
    6 months ago
    Cute Tara girl having a snack. She is one of Kechara Forest Retreat’s resident doggies.
  • Your Next Meal!
    6 months ago
    Your Next Meal!
    Yummy? Tasty? Behind the scenes of the meat on your plates. Meat is a killing industry.
  • This is Daw
    6 months ago
    This is Daw
    This is what they do to get meat on tables, and to produce belts and jackets. Think twice before your next purchase.
  • Don’t Take My Mummy Away!
    6 months ago
    Don’t Take My Mummy Away!
    Look at the poor baby chasing after the mother. Why do we do that to them? It's time to seriously think about our choices in life and how they affect others. Be kind. Don't break up families.
  • They do this every day!
    6 months ago
    They do this every day!
    This is how they are being treated every day of their lives. Please do something to stop the brutality. Listen to their cries for help!
  • What happened at Fair Oaks Farm?
    6 months ago
    What happened at Fair Oaks Farm?
    The largest undercover dairy investigation of all time. See what they found out at Fair Oaks Farm.
  • She’s going to spend her whole life here without being able to move correctly. Like a machine. They are the slaves of the people and are viewed as a product. It’s immoral. Billions of terrestrial animals die annually. Billions. You can’t even imagine it. And all that because people don’t want to give up meat, even though there are so many alternatives. ~ Gabriel Azimov
    6 months ago
    She’s going to spend her whole life here without being able to move correctly. Like a machine. They are the slaves of the people and are viewed as a product. It’s immoral. Billions of terrestrial animals die annually. Billions. You can’t even imagine it. And all that because people don’t want to give up meat, even though there are so many alternatives. ~ Gabriel Azimov
  • Our Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir speaks so well, logically and regarding our country’s collaboration with China for growth. It is refreshing to listen to Dr. Mahathir’s thoughts. He said our country can look to China for many more things such as technology and so on. Tsem Rinpoche
    8 months ago
    Our Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir speaks so well, logically and regarding our country’s collaboration with China for growth. It is refreshing to listen to Dr. Mahathir’s thoughts. He said our country can look to China for many more things such as technology and so on. Tsem Rinpoche
  • This is the first time His Holiness Dalai Lama mentions he had some very serious illness. Very worrying. This video is captured April 2019.
    8 months ago
    This is the first time His Holiness Dalai Lama mentions he had some very serious illness. Very worrying. This video is captured April 2019.
  • Beautiful Monastery in Hong Kong
    8 months ago
    Beautiful Monastery in Hong Kong
  • This dog thanks his hero in such a touching way. Tsem Rinpoche
    8 months ago
    This dog thanks his hero in such a touching way. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Join Tsem Rinpoche in prayer for H.H. Dalai Lama’s long life~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYy7JcveikU&feature=youtu.be
    8 months ago
    Join Tsem Rinpoche in prayer for H.H. Dalai Lama’s long life~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYy7JcveikU&feature=youtu.be
  • These people going on pilgrimage to a holy mountain and prostrating out of devotion and for pilgrimage in Tibet. Such determination for spiritual practice. Tsem Rinpoche
    8 months ago
    These people going on pilgrimage to a holy mountain and prostrating out of devotion and for pilgrimage in Tibet. Such determination for spiritual practice. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Beautiful new casing in Kechara for Vajra Yogini. Tsem Rinpoche
    8 months ago
    Beautiful new casing in Kechara for Vajra Yogini. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Get ready to laugh real hard. This is Kechara’s version of “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane!” We have some real talents in this video clip.
    8 months ago
    Get ready to laugh real hard. This is Kechara’s version of “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane!” We have some real talents in this video clip.
  • Recitation of Dorje Dermo‘s mantra or the Dharani of Glorious Vajra Claws. This powerful mantra is meant to destroy all obstacles that come in our way. Beneficial to play this mantra in our environments.
    9 months ago
    Recitation of Dorje Dermo‘s mantra or the Dharani of Glorious Vajra Claws. This powerful mantra is meant to destroy all obstacles that come in our way. Beneficial to play this mantra in our environments.
  • Beautiful
    9 months ago
    Beautiful
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  • My little monster cute babies Dharma and Oser. Take a look and get a cute attack for the day! Tsem Rinpoche
    9 months ago
    My little monster cute babies Dharma and Oser. Take a look and get a cute attack for the day! Tsem Rinpoche
  • Plse watch this short video and see how all sentient beings are capable of tenderness and love. We should never hurt animals nor should we eat them. Tsem Rinpoche
    9 months ago
    Plse watch this short video and see how all sentient beings are capable of tenderness and love. We should never hurt animals nor should we eat them. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Cruelty of some people have no limits and it’s heartbreaking. Being kind cost nothing. Tsem Rinpoche
    10 months ago
    Cruelty of some people have no limits and it’s heartbreaking. Being kind cost nothing. Tsem Rinpoche
  • SUPER ADORABLE and must see
    11 months ago
    SUPER ADORABLE and must see
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  • Cute!
    11 months ago
    Cute!
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    11 months ago
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    Tsem Rinpoche’s Schnauzer Dharma boy fights Robot sphere from Arkonide!
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    11 months ago
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    12 months ago
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  • Enjoy a peaceful morning at Kechara Forest Retreat
    1 years ago
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  • His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche makes offering of khata to Dorje Shugden.
    1 years ago
    His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche makes offering of khata to Dorje Shugden.
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  • What the meat industry figured out is that you don't need healthy animals to make a profit.
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    What the meat industry figured out is that you don't need healthy animals to make a profit.
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  • This video went viral and it's a must watch!!
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  • SEE HOW THIS ANIMAL SERIAL KILLER HAS NO ISSUE BLUDGEONING THIS DEFENSELESS BEING.
    2 yearss ago
    SEE HOW THIS ANIMAL SERIAL KILLER HAS NO ISSUE BLUDGEONING THIS DEFENSELESS BEING.
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CHAT PICTURES

Kids camp 2019 - Meditation session for all participants. A great way to calm our mind & stay focus. Lin Mun KSDS
50 minutes ago
Kids camp 2019 - Meditation session for all participants. A great way to calm our mind & stay focus. Lin Mun KSDS
Kids camp 2019 - Who can resist this smiley face fried rice ? Lin Mun KSDS
51 minutes ago
Kids camp 2019 - Who can resist this smiley face fried rice ? Lin Mun KSDS
Kids camp 2019 - Participants writing their appreciation message to parents / guardians who sent them to this camp. Lin Mun KSDS
53 minutes ago
Kids camp 2019 - Participants writing their appreciation message to parents / guardians who sent them to this camp. Lin Mun KSDS
Kids camp 2019 - Big thanks to the dedicated food team for the delicious food prepared in the 3 days camp. Lin Mun KSDS
55 minutes ago
Kids camp 2019 - Big thanks to the dedicated food team for the delicious food prepared in the 3 days camp. Lin Mun KSDS
56 minutes ago
60 minutes ago
Kids camp 2019 - Sun team is showing their puzzle. It’s all about team work. Lin Mun KSDS
1 hour ago
Kids camp 2019 - Sun team is showing their puzzle. It’s all about team work. Lin Mun KSDS
Kechara Kids Camp 2019 - Art time at beautiful yard in Enchanted Forest -Jayce Goh
3 days ago
Kechara Kids Camp 2019 - Art time at beautiful yard in Enchanted Forest -Jayce Goh
Kechara Kids Camp 2019 , cute meal - KSDS Jayce Goh
3 days ago
Kechara Kids Camp 2019 , cute meal - KSDS Jayce Goh
Kechara Kids Camp rules Wake up on time and wash themselves independently - KSDS Jayce Goh
3 days ago
Kechara Kids Camp rules Wake up on time and wash themselves independently - KSDS Jayce Goh
Re: Kechara Kids Camp 2019 , Beautiful Tents setup - KSDS Jayce Goh
3 days ago
Re: Kechara Kids Camp 2019 , Beautiful Tents setup - KSDS Jayce Goh
Re: Kechara Kids Camp 2019 - Caring assitant help students to dry up their hair - KSDS Jayce Goh
3 days ago
Re: Kechara Kids Camp 2019 - Caring assitant help students to dry up their hair - KSDS Jayce Goh
Kechara Kids Camp 2019 , Teamwork to accomplish the leaky pipe games - KSDS Jayce Goh
3 days ago
Kechara Kids Camp 2019 , Teamwork to accomplish the leaky pipe games - KSDS Jayce Goh
Kechara Kids Camp -meal time - KSDS Jayce Goh
3 days ago
Kechara Kids Camp -meal time - KSDS Jayce Goh
Re: Kechara Kids Camp rules wash own dishes after meal - KSDS Jayce Goh
3 days ago
Re: Kechara Kids Camp rules wash own dishes after meal - KSDS Jayce Goh
Re: Kechara Kids Camp 2019 -
3 days ago
Re: Kechara Kids Camp 2019 -
Re: Kechara Kids Camp - 3D2N , kids enjoying dining at Enchanted Forest - Jayce Goh
3 days ago
Re: Kechara Kids Camp - 3D2N , kids enjoying dining at Enchanted Forest - Jayce Goh
Re: Kechara Kids Camp - Violet taste fresh flower roselle from Kechara Farm, so cute of her !! - Jayce Goh
3 days ago
Re: Kechara Kids Camp - Violet taste fresh flower roselle from Kechara Farm, so cute of her !! - Jayce Goh
Kechara Kids Camp - Teacher Lin Mun and teacher alice guiding the children to present their artwork piece - KSDS Jayce Goh
3 days ago
Kechara Kids Camp - Teacher Lin Mun and teacher alice guiding the children to present their artwork piece - KSDS Jayce Goh
Re: Kechara Kids Camp - Caring teacher Kien to give a hug when the kid need advise
3 days ago
Re: Kechara Kids Camp - Caring teacher Kien to give a hug when the kid need advise
Re: Kechara Kids Camp - 3D2N of Fun-Filled Adventures Under the Stars!
3 days ago
Re: Kechara Kids Camp - 3D2N of Fun-Filled Adventures Under the Stars!
Kechara Kids Camp - 3D2N of Fun-Filled Adventures Under the Stars!
3 days ago
Kechara Kids Camp - 3D2N of Fun-Filled Adventures Under the Stars!
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