The Great Female Master- Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche

Jul 30, 2017 | Views: 3,833
Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche (1865 – 1951)

Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche (1865 – 1951) (click to enlarge)

(By Tsem Rinpoche)

Lochen Chönyi Zangmo, better known as Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche (1865 – 1951), was an attained female practitioner of the Nyingma and Kagyu traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. She was believed to be the incarnation of Machig Labdrön, an 11th century Tibetan Buddhist tantric practitioner.

Lochen Rinpoche was born amidst auspicious signs, and the many miraculous events that happened throughout her life indicated that she was a special being who lived her life to benefit others. In learning, she had the good fortune of meeting and studying from other attained Buddhist practitioners such as Pema Gyatso, Khamnyön Dharma Sengey (Dharma Sengey), Taglung Matrul Rinpoche (Matrul Rinpoche), Thrulshig Rinpoche, and Togden Semnyi Rinpoche (Semnyi Rinpoche).

However, she was no stranger to controversy. The dates of her birth and her death alone often have become a subject of dispute. However, for the purposes of this article, we will follow the dating stated in Hanna Havnevik’s book, The Life of Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche (1865 – 1951) as Told in Her Autobiography Vol. 1 and 2.

The biographies of attained beings are written to inspire readers and help them in their practice. There are three types of biography:

  • Outer biography (spyi) – contains information about ordinary life events
  • Inner biography (nang) – contains information about Buddhist teachings received and given
  • Esoteric or secret biography (gsang) – contains information about special dreams, visions, and revelations

The biography of an attained being represents the holy Buddha’s speech. Thus, it is not unusual to see Tibetan Buddhists touch these biographies to their forehead in order to transfer the blessing of the sacred and holy words.

We invite you to read about Lochen Rinpoche and be inspired by her devotion to her Dharma practice, courage, and resulting attainments.

Tsem Rinpoche


 

Challenging Childhood (1865 – 1877)

Lochen Rinpoche was born in Tso Pema (Rewalsar), North India.

Lochen Rinpoche was born in Tso Pema (Rewalsar), North India.

In 1865, Lochen Rinpoche, then known by her birth name as Sonam Peldzom, was born in Tso Pema (Rewalsar) in Northern India, to Penpa Dronma, a Nepali woman, and Thongleg Tashi, a Tibetan man of noble ancestry. Rewalsar was the site where Guru Rinpoche, an 8th century Indian Buddhist sage who brought Buddhism to Tibet, taught Tantra to his consort, Princess Mandarava.

The altar inside Guru Rinpoche’s meditation cave in Rewalsar, India.

The altar inside Guru Rinpoche’s meditation cave in Rewalsar, India.

Prior to meeting Penpa Dronma, Thongleg Tashi, previously known as Dondrup Namgyal, had served his nephew and an incarnate Lama, Yandro Yonten Tulku, in the U Province in Central Tibet. However, due to being temperamental, he became involved in a conflict with some of the local residents, and had to leave the area.

Dondrup Namgyal ended up in Bhutan where he served another Buddhist teacher, Lama Gangdu. At the time, Lama Gangdu was trying to regain control of the Swayambhunath Stupa in Nepal, of which custody had been lost to the Gorkhalis. It was when Thongleg Tashi worked for him that Lama Gangdu was able to regain control of the stupa.

Swayambhunath Stupa in Khatmandu, Nepal

Swayambhunath Stupa in Khatmandu, Nepal

Because of this fortunate coincidence, he gave Dondrup Namgyal the name Thongleg Tashi, which in Tibetan means ‘good fortune’. After serving Lama Gangdu for several years, Thongleg Tashi moved on to serve an elderly Bhutanese Drukpa Kagyu Lama, named Khaliwa, and his young consort, Penpa Dronma. Not long after, Lama Khaliwa passed away of old age, leaving his widow deeply saddened. One day, Penpa Dronma dreamt of her late husband who gave her the advice:

“As there is no essence connected to the actions of samsara, the time has come (for you) to wander aimlessly through the realms (of the world).”

Havnevik, Hanna. The Life of Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche (1865 – 1951) as Told in Her Autobiography Vol. 2. 1st ed. Unipub, Akademika AS, 1999. Print.

Although at first she had some reservation about leaving her sheltered domesticated life, Penpa Dronma went on a pilgrimage to Nepal, India, and Western Tibet with Thongleg Tashi. Their journeys drew the two closer. Penpa Dronma who had always regretted her childless existence, followed the suggestion of an elderly village woman on how to conceive a son. She collected stones from various holy places and carried them on her back.

She soon began having a series of auspicious dreams, and she felt that her wishes were nearing fulfilment. In one of her dreams, she saw herself washing her hair in a spring alongside a group of women claiming to be from Gyamo Khom. When she looked up, she saw a lama, adorned in Heruka’s attire, watching her.

After having these dreams, Penpa Dronma believed that she had conceived a special male child. In 1865, she gave birth painlessly to Lochen Rinpoche accompanied by a rain of flowers, a slight tremor of the earth, and voices reciting the mantra of Avalokiteshvara, Om Mani Peme Hum. In addition, according to her autobiography, Lochen Rinpoche was born surrounded by the umbilical cord, as if it were a meditation cord. Her legs were half crossed, her hands seemed to be in the positions of holding the ritual drum (damaru) and the bell (drilbu), and her eyes were wide open, looking straight. From her mouth, she clearly expressed A and mani, and her body was decorated with red and white drops (thig le) of bodhicitta (brang sems).

After the birth of the child, the relationship between Thongleg Tashi and Penpa Dronma took a turn for the worse. Thongleg Tashi regularly beat up and mocked his wife for giving birth to a daughter instead of a special son. He berated her for her dreams, and forced the child to stay outside the tent, just because she was a girl.

When Lochen Rinpoche was only several months old, Thongleg Tashi sold his wife for three rupees and his daughter for two rupees. Fortunately for them, Norbu Wanggye, a local chieftain, saved them from a life of slavery.

Initially, Penpa Dronma asked not to be returned to her brutish husband, but Thongleg Tashi was remorseful and pleaded to be at least given the custody of his daughter. Thongleg Tashi went as far as to make an oath to eliminate his violent temper and actions. The three of them reconciled and worked as Norbu Wanggye’s servants for a period of time. Then, they continued on their travels.

 

A Miracle Foreshadows Lochen Rinpoche’s Future

A more recent picture of Spiti Valley.

A more recent picture of Spiti Valley

One day, on their way to Spiti Valley, the family found themselves in front of a huge river with a strong current. There was no bridge or ferry to help them across. Penpa Dronma found a sword at the bank of the river, and took this as an auspicious sign. Before crossing the bridge, she uttered a prayer, saying if her daughter was of use to the Dharma, that they would be able to cross the river. If not, then the river could consume both mother and child.

Penpa Dronma strapped Lochen Rinpoche to her back, entered the water, and proceeded to cross to the other side. Unfortunately, she lost her balance, but before she drowned a miracle happened. A woman came from the sky with a sharp, cracking sound, followed by the mantra of the four classes of dakinis of HA RI NI SA. The woman grabbed Penpa Dronma by the hand and pulled her to the other side.

As soon as they reached the river’s bank, the woman became invisible, and Penpa Dronma cried. After the event, several villagers told Penpa Dronma that they saw a female figure in the sky.

 

Being Abused by Her Father and Giving Her First Dharma Talk

Machig Labdrön

Machig Labdrön (click to enlarge)

Although he had some affection for his daughter, Thongleg Tashi, continued to have momentary lapses due to his drinking problem. One day, he did not have enough money to pay for his drinks, so he sold Lochen Rinpoche for a handful of silver to a merchant. To save her daughter, Penpa Dronma waited patiently in front of the merchant’s house until Lochen Rinpoche came out. The moment she saw her daughter, she picked her up and ran away. After the incident, Thongleg Tashi made another promise not to sell his wife or daughter ever again.

However, when Thongleg Tashi once again became intoxicated, he told Penpa Dronma that he wished to be separated from her, and proposed to cut their daughter in half so each of them could have their fair share. When she overheard this conversation, Lochen Rinpoche was terrified and ran away. She hid under some thorny bushes.

As she was hiding, Lochen Rinpoche suddenly felt light and blissful. She heard a melodious sound around her. Without her realising it, one week had passed. Her parents and most of the villagers were under the assumption that she had been eaten either by demons or wild animals. When she emerged from her hiding, many children in her neighbourhood were amazed and developed faith in her. Some erected a throne, some prostrated, some pretended to blow trumpets (dung chen), some pretended to beat drums, and some acted as though they were asking for religious instruction. With that, Lochen Rinpoche spoke on the doctrine.

The four-year-old Lochen Rinpoche taught about basic Buddhist practices. She mentioned that Avalokiteshvara is the protective deity of Tibet, and advised the audience to meditate on him and recite his mantra, Om Mani Peme Hum. The villagers promised to recite many of his mantras and to take refuge, and many became religious.

Many people at the time thought that it was harmful for a small child like Lochen Rinpoche to impart Dharma teachings. However, a person named Lochen Gokar, the nephew of an attained Avalokiteshvara practitioner, defended her, saying that the way Lochen Rinpoche recited Avalokiteshvara’s mantra was akin to that practiced by the Lochens, ma ni beggars. Lochen Gokar also declared that the girl was either an emanation of Jetsun Dolma (Tara) or Machig Labdrön.

Although Thongleg Tashi was never really kind to Penpa Dronma, he was capable of acts of goodness toward his daughter. When Lochen Rinpoche was five years old, he took her to a former government official so that he could teach her to read and write, which Lochen Rinpoche did with great ease.

At six years old, Lochen Rinpoche started to give teachings, and gained a sponsor, Khampa Tashi, who was a merchant. Khampa Tashi erected a throne for Lochen Rinpoche and offered a mandala. Every time she gave teachings, many people would gather around her. Lochen Rinpoche continued to teach in Western Tibet and inspired faith in people’s minds.

One morning when the family was taking refuge in a small straw hut, Thongleg Tashi heard a voice singing on the roof. When he looked around, he saw that the voice came from an Indian sadhu, “You are one who sell your children and eat your own flesh and drink your own blood.” The next day, the sadhu came with a burnt rosary. Thongleg Tashi did not see the use of the burnt rosary and mocked the sadhu. That night when Lochen Rinpoche and her father were sleeping, the fire from the fireplace suddenly spread and touched Lochen Rinpoche’s foot. The sadhu came and carried Lochen Rinpoche to a riverbank and advised her to put her foot in the water, and her foot was instantly healed.

Thongleg Tashi thought that the sadhu had stolen his daughter, and he gave chase. When he found them near the river, he ordered the sadhu to put his daughter down. The sadhu did as he was told, went to the other side of the river, and vanished.

Even after all these signs, Thongleg Tashi continued with his drunken ways, causing his family much suffering. One day when he was drunk, Thongleg Tashi threatened to burn down a local house. Those who heard him were outraged and started to beat him until Lochen Rinpoche begged them to stop. The villagers muttered “The father is like a demon, but the girl is like a god; how can this be?”

Lochen Rinpoche’s parents continued to travel with her until 1876. That very year, Thongleg Tashi fell in love with a woman named Ama Droltsho. Penpa Dronma and Lochen Rinpoche decided to let him be and went on to Nepal themselves. Several days later, Thongleg Tashi caught up with them and inquired about their travel plan. Before the mother and daughter were able to respond, Thongleg Tashi said, “If you go East, I’ll head West!” After this, Thongleg Tashi disappeared from his daughter’s life for 20 years.

 

Meeting Her Root Teacher, Pema Gyatso (1877 – 1889)

The mountain landscape in Kyirong. Lochen Rinpoche had her first audience with her root teacher, Pema Gyatso in Kyirong.

The mountain landscape in Kyirong – Lochen Rinpoche had her first audience with her root teacher, Pema Gyatso in Kyirong.

When she was thirteen, Lochen Rinpoche met a nun named Lobsang Drolma, who served in the court of King Mandi. Lobsang Drolma said that her maternal uncle was Pema Gyatso, a personal disciple of ‘the Lord of Refuge’ Shabkar, and now staying in Kyirong. The nun also told Lochen Rinpoche that Pema Gyatso was Lochen Rinpoche’s teacher in her previous lives. Lochen Rinpoche felt moved and was determined to find this lama.

Pema Gyatso or Chime Dorje (1829 – 1890) was an attained Nyingma Lama and a disciple of a famous lama, Shabkar Tsokdruk Rangdrol (1781 – 1851). Pema Gyatso was also a student of Pema Rangdol (1786 – 1838) and Gon Lhakha of Rekong.

Shabkar Tsokdruk Rangdrol (1781 – 1851)

Shabkar Tsokdruk Rangdrol (1781 – 1851) (click to enlarge)

Lochen Rinpoche searched high and low for Pema Gyatso’s whereabouts, and was overjoyed when she finally found him. She bought an offering of milk from the nomads who lived nearby and went towards the cave where Pema Gyatso resided. On the way to the cave, Lochen Rinpoche met a nun who was carrying a container full of water, which was an allegory of her future fame. It is said that due to her offering milk to the lama, many years later someone offered her a cow that continuously produced milk for eight or nine years although it bore no calf.

At their first meeting, Pema Gyatso asked, “Where have you come from, who are you, and what is your purpose?” In response to this question, Lochen Rinpoche introduced herself and informed the Lama of her wish to study the Dharma. Pema Gyatso accepted Lochen Rinpoche as his student and advised her to follow the ascetic precepts known as Kadam’s Ten Innermost Jewels.

Lochen Rinpoche received various teachings from Pema Gyatso including the empowerments, explanation, and transmission of Longchenpas’ Heart Drop instructions of Dzogchen or the Great Completion, and one hundred initiations of gCod, the ritual to sever the ego.

One day, Lochen Rinpoche went begging for alms and passed through a small nunnery in Nubri Kog where she met a young nun who gave her milk and a lump of butter. However, the milk was poisoned, and Lochen Rinpoche became very ill after drinking it. During this ordeal, Lochen Rinpoche prayed to her teacher and repeatedly practiced the vase breathing meditation exercise. She eventually vomited the milk in the shape of a poisonous snake. After this, Lochen Rinpoche developed compassion for the nun and all other female poisoners.

After becoming Pema Gyatso’s student, Lochen Rinpoche and her mother stayed in one of the caves in Kyirong. Pema Gyatso treated Lochen Rinpoche harshly in order to break her pride. However, Lochen Rinpoche never lost faith and never doubted his pure intention. Lochen Rinpoche interpreted his actions as skillful methods (upāya) to help her understand the fundamental religious truths.

Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche

On one occasion, when Pema Gyatso was reciting his mantra while his caretaker was drumming, the Lama asked “Who is drumming now? You (female) beggar, it seems to be you!” To which Lochen Rinpoche replied “It was not me, it was the caretaker.” Pema Gyatso became angry. He took a long stick and chased Lochen Rinpoche, who immediately ran and jumped down the stairs.

On another occasion, Lochen Rinpoche was begging for alms, and because many people had faith in her, she received many offerings. Another teacher in the area, Chosang, received far fewer offerings and became jealous of Lochen Rinpoche’s success. Chosang came to Pema Gyatso and reported that Lochen Rinpoche received a lot of offerings because she claimed to be the incarnation of Dorje Phagmo. Later, when Lochen Rinpoche came to him with the offerings, Pema Gyatso accused her of being a deceiver, and proceeded to drag her to the roof, throw her off the roof, and pelt her with different objects. Lochen Rinpoche was frightened, but not hurt. She put her lama’s boot on her head, which has been thrown at her, said a prayer, and went back inside.

When she was 17 years old, Lochen Rinpoche meditated on wind energy and psychic channels. She consulted Pema Gyatso who gave her a text and agreed to guide her. However, during the next day, the lama told her that she should not be doing this practice and asked her to return the text because he had an ominous dream. Instead, Pema Gyatso gave her the practice of Vase-liked Wind meditation and stopped there.

However, when Lochen Rinpoche and several other students went out to beg for alms, Pema Gyatso gave the very teaching that Lochen Rinpoche requested, about how to meditate on the winds and channels. Lochen Rinpoche was very upset when she knew about this. She again requested the lama to give her the teaching. She was overjoyed when Pema Gyatso agreed. She immediately prepared the white shawl and the meditation band that were required to do the practice.

On another occasion, Lochen Rinpoche saw a fellow student, Ani Tshulthrim, steal a coral. Lochen Rinpoche told Emche, another Dharma sister about the incident, and the news reached Pema Gyatso. The Lama called Lochen Rinpoche and scolded her, saying that her first previous offence was when she blamed the lama when saying to Ani Ucho that when many sentient beings take life, bad karma will come to everyone. Her second previous offence, Pema Gyatso continued, was that she had claimed to be Dorje Phagmo, and acted as a deceiver. Now, she had accused Ani Tshulthrim of stealing a coral and told this to everyone, this was the third offence. Therefore, a dog-stamp (khyi dam) would be set on her forehead, she would not be allowed in his presence.

Pokhara in Nepal

Pokhara in Nepal

Pema Gyatso ordered Lochen Rinpoche and her family to leave for the area called Pokhara in Nepal. Lochen Rinpoche prostrated herself on the floor and begged the Lama to be allowed to stay. When he refused, she left with her mother and two other companions, Tshering Gyalmo and Kathog. On her way to Pokhara, Lochen Rinpoche continued to propagate the teaching of Avalokiteshvara’s mantra and encouraged the people that she met to recite it fervently. Many people responded to her teachings and gave her offerings.

While her journey was not without difficulties, she always managed to overcome them all. One day when Lochen Rinpoche and her companions were begging for alms, her companion Tshering Gyalmo sang a song which had improper words in the Tibetan language. A man in the crowd understood the Tibetan language and was offended. He reported Tshering Gyalmo to the king, and Tshering Gyalmo was arrested. To make matters worse, when Lochen Rinpoche was out to beg for alms, her friend Kathog fell into the river. Lochen Rinpoche prayed to her lama and performed breathing exercises. She also generated the compassionate thought of “May I have the strength to pull all the sentient beings from samsara, the ocean of suffering!”

After that, Lochen Rinpoche jumped into the river to save Kathog, and the two managed to swim and climb onto a big rock. Many people who saw this incident developed faith in her, and a man in the crowd reported the event to the king and told him Lochen Rinpoche was the manifestation of a wisdom dakini. The king was so moved that he released Tshering Gyalmo from prison, invited Lochen Rinpoche and her companions to have an audience with him, and made many offerings to her. After that, the group continued their journey to Pokhara.

After they had reached Pokhara, Lochen Rinpoche continued to propagate Dharma teachings and encourage those she met to recite the Avalokiteshvara mantra. When Lochen Rinpoche informed her travelling companions that she wanted to see Pema Gyatso again, Kathog and Tshering Gyalmo had some reservations about going back because they were afraid of the lama’s scolding, Lochen Rinpoche advised them to not have irreverent thoughts, and to remember the Lama and their religious friends.

Lochen Rinpoche and her companions went to see Pema Gyatso. When they met, Lochen Rinpoche related their travel experiences to her Lama. Pema Gyatso was delighted after hearing her story although he was not too impressed with how Lochen Rinpoche and Kathog had not been hurt when they had fallen into the river.

Not long after their meeting, Pema Gyatso made a fire offering puja, and Lochen Rinpoche presided over the ritual. Because, Lochen Rinpoche was already very famous then, many people had gathered to witness the ritual.

 

Pilgrimage with Her Root Teacher

Lochen Rinpoche’s pilgrimage route from 1865 – 1904. (click to enlarge)

Lochen Rinpoche’s pilgrimage route from 1865 – 1904 – Source: The Life of Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche (1865 -1951) as Told in Her Autobiography Vol. I by Hanna Havnevik (click to enlarge)

Not long after, Pema Gyatso and some of his students, including Lochen Rinpoche, went on a pilgrimage to the holy places connected to the saints of Nyingma Tradition such as Padmasambhava, Milarepa, Machig Labdrön, and Padampa Sangye. In addition, Pema Gyatso and his students visited a Sakya Monastery, the Potala Palace, and the three great Gelug monasteries, Gaden, Sera, and Drepung.

One day during their journey, they saw a large rock. Pema Gyatso told Lochen Rinpoche to pierce the rock with a staff. When she did, dog excrement spurted out. Pema Gyatso then hit the stone with his stick, and a sacred relief of Avalokiteshvara’s mantra manifested itself. At that moment, Lochen Rinpoche realised that her lama was not only clairvoyant, but highly attained and could perform many miracles.

For the next several years, Lochen Rinpoche continued to follow her lama and her Dharma brothers and sisters on various pilgrimages around Tibet and Nepal. Sometimes, when the group stopped at barely-inhabited places, they had to eat nettle soup, like Milarepa, and their urine turned blue. In these places, Lochen Rinpoche gave Dharma teachings, and most of the locals usually gave generous food offerings. One time, Lochen Rinpoche received an offering of tea leaves. Because she was unfamiliar with how to treat tea leaves, she thought it was a kind of vegetable. Lochen Rinpoche cooked the leaves, removed all the liquid, and ate the leaves instead.

When the group reached Henang, Lochen Rinpoche entered a meditational retreat in Nagtshel Monastery where she obtained visions of a woman in local costume who invited Lochen Rinpoche to her sacred land. In the vision, many ritual texts appeared. When she awoke, she wrote many of the sacred texts down on slates of birch-bark. Then the teacher Chosang, who had always been jealous of her, appeared and burnt all the birch-bark slates. Lochen Rinpoche cried in desperation, and one of her Dharma sisters, Ani Osel consoled her.

Places visited by Lochen Rinpoche in Central Tibet. (Click to enlarge)

Places visited by Lochen Rinpoche in Central Tibet – Source: The Life of Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche (1865 -1951) as Told in Her Autobiography Vol. I by Hanna Havnevik (Click to enlarge)

Milarepa's Meditation Cave

Milarepa’s meditation cave

The group continued on their journey through Western and Central Tibet and Nepal, and performed many Dharma activities along the way. They restored a monastery, consecrated a village and monastery, printed a catalog, whitewashed three stupas in Nepal, helped eliminate the custom of killing buffaloes in certain areas, and many other beneficial activities. When the group arrived at Milarepa’s meditation cave, Pema Gyatso stayed there for several months. At some of the pilgrimage places, Lochen Rinpoche saw a statue of Shabkar Rinpoche, Pema Gyatso’s root teacher, and a deep and genuine faith arose in her heart. Lochen Rinpoche even recited a prayer about her spontaneous faith in Shabkar Rinpoche, his disciples, and the Dharma.

Tshecholing Monastery

Tshechogling Monastery – Source: The Life of Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche (1865 -1951) as Told in Her Autobiography Vol. I by Hanna Havnevik

When they reached Lhasa, they met with Dharma Sengey who was engaged in a retreat in Bumpa Ri. Pema Gyatso and some of his disciples, including Lochen Rinpoche, also had an audience with His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama. They offered him a mandala, and in return the Dalai Lama offered them the transmission of Je Tsongkhapa’s mantra, the Migtsema, and Gaden Lhagyama. The group visited many sacred places in Lhasa. Pema Gyatso and Dharma Sengey stayed in Tshechogling Monastery, while Lochen Rinpoche stayed in a rented house. It is said that from Dharma Sengey, Lochen Rinpoche received the initiation for the transference of consciousness and the transmission of Yu Thog Snying Thig. The group met the 13th Dalai Lama on another occasion to request the transmission of ‘Phags Bstod, the famous prayer to Avalokiteshvara. Lochen Rinpoche met the 13th Dalai Lama on at least three occasions during her lifetime.

His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama. Lochen Rinpoche met the 13th Dalai Lama on at least three occasions during her lifetime.

His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama. Lochen Rinpoche met the 13th Dalai Lama on at least three occasions during her lifetime.

One day when Lochen Rinpoche was performing a fire offering puja, she fell asleep. Pema Gyatso saw this, took a ladle and hit Lochen Rinpoche on the head. She felt ashamed, but her mind became clear and her confusion dissipated.

One day in 1889, Pema Gyatso fell ill after eating a pork dish at a patron’s house. Despite all attempts to cure him, he never recovered. Pema Gyatso passed away on February 17, 1889. At the moment of his passing, Lochen Rinpoche saw many rainbows. His death was followed by the passing of Lochen Rinpoche’s other teacher, Dharma Sengey on March 17, 1889.

 

Ordination, Retreats, and Pilgrimages (1889 – 1904)

After the death of Pema Gyatso, Lochen Rinpoche went to meet with Gyagari Dorje Phagmo and requested to be her student. However, she was rejected. This rejection deeply affected Lochen Rinpoche, and she was determined not to refuse those who needed help in the future. Lochen Rinpoche then turned to a Kagyupa Lama, Matrul Rinpoche, one of the lamas who helped with the memorial rituals for Pema Gyatso, for advice and religious guidance. Matrul Rinpoche became her new root teacher.

Then, Lochen Rinpoche entered into a strict three-year retreat on Hayagriva and Vajravarahi. This was followed by another meditational retreat on gcod. After she had completed the retreat, she made a fire offering puja. During the ritual, a huge stone fell onto the mandala. Later, when she was in Lhasa and had an audience with Matrul Rinpoche, she told him about the falling stone. Her teacher replied that it was a positive indication of realisation.

On her travels to Gangthok, she received several practices from Lama Sangye Tendzin, the disciple of Patrul Rinpoche, that included the Bodhicaryavatara, dNgul ti’ka, sDom Gsum Rab Dbye, BZang Spyod, bShes Spring, Shing Rta Rnam Gnyis, and an oral instruction of Bla Ma Yang Tig. Upon receiving these teachings, Lochen Rinpoche entered into another retreat in Zangyag Drag and then in various caves in Gangri Thokar. It is said that it was here that she imparted the teachings of the Bodhicaryavatara one hundred times to humans, gods, and demons.

Lochen Rinpoche’s meditation cave in Gangri Thokar.

Lochen Rinpoche’s meditation cave in Gangri Thokar – Source: The Life of Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche (1865 -1951) as Told in Her Autobiography Vol. I by Hanna Havnevik

Her compassion had commanded the respect of not only men, but also animals. One day, when she was meditating in Tewa Cave, she heard the fearful cry of a dog that came to her cave and hid on her lap. Not long after that, a leopard came to search for the dog with the intent to attack it. Lochen Rinpoche, realising that all phenomena were illusions, did not see the need to fear. Lochen Rinpoche meditated on compassion and commanded the leopard to sit on her right. Lochen Rinpoche preached Dharma to them to plant the seed of altruism in their mind streams.

Lochen Rinpoche had several audiences with the 13th Dalai Lama at Potala Palace.

Lochen Rinpoche had several audiences with the 13th Dalai Lama at the Potala Palace.

Around this period, Lochen Rinpoche had another audience with the Dalai Lama. To be allowed to enter the audience room, Lochen Rinpoche brought a chuba made from felt. Once the audience was over, she was summoned yet again by the Dalai Lama. In her second audience, the Dalai Lama offered her tea and kapsey and a big container wrapped in silk cloth. Lochen Rinpoche offered the container back. After that, Lochen Rinpoche met with Matrul Rinpoche and received the teaching Klong Chen Snying Thig and other teachings from the Kagyu tradition.

Lochen Rinpoche decided to be ordained as a novice nun after her teacher, Matrul Rinpoche, advised her that it would be good for her to become a nun. Two days later, Lochen Rinpoche was ordained by Ngawang Tenpe Nyima and received the ordination name of Ngawang Dragpa Namgyal. Although she had been ordained, Lochen Rinpoche kept her hair long to express her allegiance to her tantric path.

At the beginning of their relationship, Matrul Rinpoche was not impressed with the rumours surrounding Lochen Rinpoche’s incarnation lineage. However, this was about to change. One day, Lochen Rinpoche behaved in an unusual way as she was speaking in a language that could not be understood by the local people. Matrul Rinpoche recognised the language as Sanskrit, and that the words muttered contained predictions of future events. Later, Matrul Rinpoche recognised Lochen Rinpoche as the incarnation of Machig Labdrön.

Lochen Rinpoche spent the subsequent period visiting pilgrimage sites or in retreat. Unusual events and miracles continued to happen around her. One day in Zangyag Drag, Lochen Rinpoche entered a six-month meditation retreat. During this retreat, she died and woke up after three weeks. After that, she lamented the following:

“Na mo (prostrate to) Padma ka ra ye (Sanskrit: Karaya). At the great holy sites in general, but especially at Tibet’s five –peaked mountain, under which Guru Pema Jungne’s (Byung gnas) site of meditation called Zangyag Drag is situated, I performed the propitiation ritual to Avalokiteshvara. A boundless compassion for all mother sentient beings arose, so that other beings became dearer than myself. My mind was rendered powerless. May the highest root-Lama who knows look to the suffering of all the sentient beings who are without dharma and feel compassion for all those who have bad karma. Oh the Lama knows! Oh, oh, the Lama knows!”

Havnevik, Hanna. The Life of Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche (1865 – 1951) as Told in Her Autobiography Vol. 2. 1st ed. Unipub, Akademika AS, 1999. Print.

On another occasion, Lochen Rinpoche recited the Avalokiteshvara mantra, and water came out of a cliff surface. Many practitioners in the area used this water to make tea. Because of this, Lochen Rinpoche obtained the nickname of Chudon Kushab or ‘the master who extracted water’.

In the mid-1890s, when Lochen Rinpoche was meditating in Zangri Kharmar, Thongleg Tashi reappeared in his daughter’s life with some food offerings. Lochen Rinpoche revealed to Thongleg Tashi all the derogatory remarks that he had uttered about his daughter along the way, which indicated Lochen Rinpoche’s clairvoyance. Because of this revelation, Thongleg Tashi developed faith in his daughter. In the early 1900s, Thongleg Tashi visited his daughter again in Zangyag Drag, but he was not mentioned in her autobiography after that.

At times, Lochen Rinpoche’s behaviour could be seen by others as strange, and people wondered whether she was mad. Penpa Dronma consulted Matrul Rinpoche, who advised to let her daughter be one who was not like others.

Later, Lochen Rinpoche met Shabkar Tulku Tenpe Gyaltsen who advised her to receive oral transmission and instructions of the Wish fulfilling Gem of Liberation, and to engage in yidam meditation with the objective of obtaining siddhis. When she followed the advice and entered into a meditation retreat, Lochen Rinpoche received many auspicious signs, as if she could see the three worlds in the palm of her hand, her body was light and pleasant, her mind in harmony, her mouth inseparable from song, her arms inseparable from a dancing pose, and her mind inseparable from Samadhi, not being separated from an all-penetrating awareness without middle or end.

His Holiness the 15th Karmapa Khakhyap Dorjé (1871 – 1922)

His Holiness the 15th Karmapa Khakhyap Dorjé (1871 – 1922) (click to enlarge)

One day, through the power of her thought, Lochen Rinpoche went to Tshurphu to meet His Holiness the 15th Karmapa Khakhyap Dorjé (1871 – 1922). When she arrived, the Karmapa pretended not to recognise her and asked, “What is the name of your region, what is that place, which lama do you rely on?” In response to his question, Lochen Rinpoche sang a song to introduce herself to the Karmapa. After she had finished, the Karmapa mentioned that in the past, Lochen Rinpoche had been the disciple of Jetsun Milarepa. She received many practices from the Karmapa including the empowerment of gCig shes kun grol, Na roc hos drug, and rDo rje’I tshigs rkang. After that, Lochen Rinpoche experienced spiritual clearness and bliss.

One day, Lochen Rinpoche’s body life wind entered into her central channel, and her body started dancing, jumping, and running. When the body suddenly fell and her breathing stopped, Penpa Dronma and her companions thought that Lochen Rinpoche had passed away. They started to prepare for her funeral while lamenting and crying.

Jetsun Milarepa (1052 – 1135 CE)

Jetsun Milarepa (1052 – 1135 CE)

Although her body was lifeless, her awareness increased nine-fold. Later on she said her consciousness had gone to meet a one-eyed lady who offered to take her to the Pure Land of Padmasambhava. Lochen Rinpoche agreed. When she met with Padmasambhava, he advised her to be the master and teacher of sentient beings. Padmasambhava then blessed her body with his body, her speech with his speech, her mind with his mind. He said many prayers, and she received four empowerments (dbang gzhi). Her body became numb, her flesh moved, and she was shaking. She sang many melodious prayers.

Lochen Rinpoche then went on to visit the six realms and witnessed unbearable suffering in the regions of hell, and decided to meet the Lord of Death. As they met, Lochen Rinpoche told him about her compassion for those suffering in hell, and even though the people there told her to go on her path towards liberation, she requested the Lord of Death to release them.

In response, the Lord of Death advised Lochen Rinpoche about the importance of virtuous actions, praised her merits, and the consequences of good and bad actions. After that Lochen Rinpoche envisioned her body as Avalokiteshvara, her voice as the six-syllable Avalokiteshvara mantra, and her mind as the Perfection of Wisdom, the Diamond cutter, and prayed for the release of the dead from the infernal realms. Due to her powerful entreaties, many beings transmigrated from the realms of hell. Then, Lochen Rinpoche entered her former body and regained consciousness.

In the late 1890s, Lochen Rinpoche met another teacher who would play an important role in her life, Thrulshig Rinpoche. Thrulshig Rinpoche gave her the practice of Yang Ti Nag Po. Lochen Rinpoche joined Thrulshig Rinpoche’s entourage for several years during which time she alternated in receiving instruction from Thrulshig Rinpoche and meditating in the dark. Lochen Rinpoche left the Thrulshig group and returned to Zangyag Drag in 1903.

 

Encounter with Dorje Shugden

Dorje Shugden

Dorje Shugden

When Lochen Rinpoche visited Dophung Chokhor Monastery in Lhoka, Tibet, famous for its image of a talking Tara, she performed a Tara ritual. As she was about to leave the monastery, Dorje Shugden entered an oracle and told her to bring the key to the grain storage house. Then the monastery gave her approximately 136 kg (299.83 lbs) of grain, and requested her to perform the Tara rituals for one week. However, she was unable to fulfill this request because Lochen Rinpoche was occupied with other matters. Instead, she performed the Tara rituals for one day before she left for an area called Nelphu.

 

Shugseb Monastery and Semnyi Rinpoche (1904 – 1922)

In the early 1900s, Thongleg Tashi brought a lama named Semnyi Rinpoche to meet with Lochen Rinpoche in Zangyag Drag, but they were not able to meet because she was still in retreat. Later, Lochen Rinpoche’s death-like states and strange behaviour worried her mother. Therefore, Penpa Dronma went to see Semnyi Rinpoche to ask him to care for her daughter.

Shugseb Monastery

Shugseb Monastery – Source: The Life of Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche (1865 -1951) as Told in Her Autobiography Vol. I by Hanna Havnevik

When the British soldiers under the leadership of Colonel Younghusband entered Tibet between 1903 and 1904, Lochen Rinpoche decided to stay at Shugseb Monastery, which at the time was mostly deserted. At first, Lochen Rinpoche and her companions, who were the female students of the late Pema Gyatso, experienced many difficulties in obtaining permission to stay at Shugseb Monastery from the religious authority at the Gelugpa Beser Monastery. Lochen Rinpoche then asked Matrul Rinpoche for any predictions on her future permanent residence.

The choices included Zangyag Drag, Zangri Kharmar, Shugseb Monastery, and Khareg Jomo Dro. Shugseb Monastery came up as the first choice. At first, only Semnyi Rinpoche and his attendant were given permission to stay at the monastery. To support Lochen Rinpoche, Semnyi Rinpoche said that all the nuns headed by Ani Lochen came here and placed their hope in me. The prediction of Matrul Rinpoche then came true, and eventually, Lochen Rinpoche and her companions were allowed to stay.

Semnyi Rinpoche then became the lama of Shugseb Monastery and moved to the lama-residence above the monastery. Lochen Rinpoche occupied the room of the monastery caretaker. Semnyi Rinpoche gave Lochen Rinpoche the teachings of the Nyingmapa tradition such as Yon Tan Mdzod and Klong Chen Snying Thig. Semnyi Rinpoche advised Lochen Rinpoche to adopt the path of the Hidden Yogi, to hide her body and speech, to stay alone on a desolate mount and cut her relations, as per the advice of Patrul Rinpoche.

Patrul Rinpoche (1808 - 1887)

Patrul Rinpoche (1808 – 1887) (click to enlarge)

Throughout their relationship as teacher and disciple, Lochen Rinpoche stayed in solitary meditation retreat most of the time. Lochen Rinpoche became the devoted disciple of Semnyi Rinpoche until his death in the 1920s. Semnyi Rinpoche was a terton, the revealer of terma or ancient hidden texts. Lochen Rinpoche realised about her master’s religious attainment when she came to clean Semnyi Retreat place but was not able to find him. This indicated that Semnyi Rinpoche had attained the siddhi of invisibility.

In 1915, Matrul Rinpoche passed away. Before his passing, Lochen Rinpoche had a dream of visiting Matrul Rinpoche and receiving relics wrapped in clothes from him. Upon his passing, one of Matrul Rinpoche’s students, Gangshar Rinpoche came to Lochen Rinpoche with a letter from Matrul Rinpoche that stated Gangshar Rinpoche was the incarnation of Thonyon Samdrup, the son of Lochen Rinpoche’s previous incarnation, Machig Labdrön. Although she had some doubt about her karmic connection with Gangshar Rinpoche, she maintained a relationship with him that lasted until her death.

As she was getting older, Penpa Dronma began receiving invitations from the land of happiness (bde can zhing), and so she moved to a cave near Shugseb Monastery so her death would not bring pollution to the monastery. As a sign of spiritual accomplishment, her body became smaller. During her lifetime, she had recited several hundred million Amitabha mantras. Penpa Dronma passed away in 1909, and she was believed to have lived to be 99 years old.

Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche

After the death of her mother, Lochen Rinpoche was depressed. She was determined to end her own life, and became very ill. Her disciples were worried and invited a doctor to examine her. The doctor concluded that her illness was not caused by a disorder of the elements. The doctor advised the disciple to offer long-life prayers to get rid of the dakinis who were trying to take her to the pure lands. After this advice had been followed, Lochen Rinpoche recovered.

When Lochen Rinpoche was staying at the Shugseb Monastery, her other teacher Thrulshig Rinpoche sent repeated invitations to Lochen Rinpoche to visit him. However, most of these invitations were turned down. Sometime before 1910, Thrulshig Rinpoche came to Shugseb Monastery with some of his students. Lochen Rinpoche performed a ceremony to avert obstacles for him. Thrulshig Rinpoche was pleased with the rituals and sang many religious songs.

In 1915, Thrulshig Rinpoche visited Shugseb Monastery again with a lama named Yongdzin Rinpoche, and stayed in a village near Shugseb because they tried to avoid the exhausting climb to the Monastery. When Lochen Rinpoche refused to meet them because she was in retreat, Thrulshig Rinpoche responded to her rejection by claiming that it was wonderful for her to do a meditation retreat, but strange not to meet her lama when was at her door.

In 1920, Thrulshig Rinpoche sent another invitation to Lochen Rinpoche to visit him in Yamdrog. However, Lochen Rinpoche continued to delay her visit and eventually only sent a nun with a present to her teacher. When the nun came back with the news that Thrulshig Rinpoche had passed away, Lochen Rinpoche deeply regretted her refusal to visit Thrulshig Rinpoche, and performed annual meditations and rituals dedicated to him.

The spiritual guidance of Shugseb Monastery depended on Lochen Rinpoche and Semnyi Rinpoche until one day, when a young girl came to have an audience with both of them and requested to take refuge vows and to be ordained. She was given the ordination name of Ogyen Chodzom. Proving to be a talented and hardworking student, Ogyen Chodzom managed to memorise Tri Kunzang Lama Shelung by Patrul Rinpoche, one of the main Dzogchen texts. Lochen Rinpoche groomed her to be the next throne holder of Shugseb Monastery and gave her more responsibilities.

Because of Ogyen Chodzom, Lochen Rinpoche had more time for retreats. Around this time, Lochen Rinpoche entered into a one-year White Tara meditation retreat. After completing the retreat, Lochen Rinpoche gave a series of teachings to her disciples that included the Perfection of Wisdom Sutra, Sungdu, a collection of precious sutras and tantras, the Seven Treasures of Longchenpa, the songs of Shabkar Rinpoche, and the songs of Milarepa.

While staying at Shugseb Monastery, Lochen Rinpoche mostly lived on ritual cakes that she rolled into small pellets and put inside her soup. She mentioned that this simple dish was more delicious than the noodle soup served to the aristocrats in Lhasa.

The Buddha of Compassion, Avalokiteshvara

The Buddha of Compassion, Avalokiteshvara (click to enlarge)

Before 1920, one of the Shugseb Monastery’s patrons, Sonam Wangdu, and his wife, Wangden, visited. They built a temple inside the monastery complex and pledged to build a statue of Avalokiteshvara. In addition, they requested Lochen Rinpoche and Semnyi Rinpoche to take their daughter to be their disciple. This daughter would become one of the most respected nuns at Shugseb Monastery after Lochen Rinpoche and Ogyen Chodzom. Lochen Rinpoche gave her the name of Thinley Chodron and the vows of lay followers. Semnyi Rinpoche gave her the novice nun’s vows.

On one occasion in autumn, after completing a one-year Phur Pa meditation retreat, Lochen Rinpoche gave her disciples a practice called Khor Das Ru Shan. After that, Lochen Rinpoche became ill and died for a short time. When Semnyi Rinpoche was about to perform the transference of consciousness, his colleague, Tshagu Rinpoche advised not to do so because Lochen Rinpoche’s heart was still warm.

During this experience, Lochen Rinpoche’s mind wandered to many different lands and heard different languages. After she came back to her body, many of her patrons and disciples requested that Semnyi Rinpoche extend her life. Semnyi Rinpoche was irritated, but gave her long life empowerment. After that, he instructed Lochen Rinpoche to promise to live as long as Machig Labdrön, as if she did not, her religious friends would think as if Semnyi Rinpoche had killed her, and start a war against him. After that she fully recovered.

One winter, Semnyi Rinpoche fell ill. During his illness, Semnyi Rinpoche allowed his disciples to perform many long life prayers for him. However, Semnyi Rinpoche passed away in March 1922. Lochen Rinpoche made a prayer for the favourable rebirth of Semnyi Rinpoche and together with his other disciples erected an earth reliquary stupa and a silver reliquary stupa in his honour.

 

The Head of Shugseb Monastery (1922 – 1950)

The nun cells at Shugseb Monastery

The nun cells at Shugseb Monastery – Source: The Life of Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche (1865 -1951) as Told in Her Autobiography Vol. I by Hanna Havnevik

Upon the passing of Semnyi Rinpoche, Lochen Rinpoche thought about going on a pilgrimage to Mount Kailash to follow the instruction of her late teacher, Thrulshig Rinpoche. She made secret preparations for this journey, but her plans were found out by several of Semnyi Rinpoche’s disciples. They refused to let Lochen Rinpoche go, and requested her to be the head of Shugseb Monastery. Lochen Rinpoche agreed and accepted the position. Under her leadership, the resident sangha at Shugseb Monastery increased to 300, the number of disciples increased, and thousands of people came to attend her teachings.

Although Ogyen Chodzom took on her responsibilities by giving many teachings and performing religious activities, she chose to leave Shugseb Monastery and became a consort to Dzogchen Khenpo Ngawang Norbu. She wanted to fulfil a prophecy that she was to be the mother of a high lama, against the advice of Lochen Rinpoche and other nuns at Shugseb Monastery. However, she passed away on May 11, 1932, before the prophecy came to pass. Upon the passing of Ogyen Chodzom, Lochen Rinpoche passed her teachings to Thinley Chodron, and she became the teacher of all the nuns.

Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche

In 1933, Lochen Rinpoche recognised the son of Lama Gyurme Kundrol and Ani Jamyang Wangmo as the reincarnation of her late teacher, Semnyi Rinpoche, and gave him many teachings and empowerments.

In 1936, on the advice of a certain Zhago Nangnyer, Lochen Rinpoche invited a lama named Drubchen Dawa Rinpoche to help cure a sick nun. Dawa Rinpoche arrived on February 14, 1936 in simple attire and without any servants. He composed a prayer to the local deity of Shugseb Monastery. When Lochen Rinpoche examined the words, faith instantly arose within her. She requested the teaching on the Hundred Empowerment of Tshe and the teaching of the three yogas. Dawa Rinpoche was successful in curing the sick nun. One night after having an auspicious dream, Lochen Rinpoche was convinced that Dawa Rinpoche was the reincarnation of her late teacher Pema Gyatso, and Gangshar Rinpoche confirmed this conviction.

In 1937, Dawa Rinpoche persistently requested that Lochen Rinpoche put to record her own life story, to which Lochen Rinpoche agreed in the end. As her fame continued to grow, Lochen Rinpoche entertained many important personalities in Tibet who came to her for advice, such as Reting Rinpoche, His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, and the King of Lingtshang. When Reting Rinpoche came for an audience in the late 1930s, Lochen Rinpoche made some incomprehensible statements, which was interpreted as an indication of Reting Rinpoche’s impending political problems. Several years later, Reting Rinpoche lost his position as Regent and eventually died of poisoning in a Lhasa prison in 1947. Both the 16th Karmapa and the King of Lingtshang recognised Lochen Rinpoche as the incarnation of Machig Labdrön and requested teachings and empowerments from her.

The 5th Reting Rinpoche Jamphel Yeshe Gyaltsen (1912 - 1947)

The 5th Reting Rinpoche Jamphel Yeshe Gyaltsen (1912 – 1947) who came to Lochen Rinpoche for an audience.

 

Death and Aftermath

Shugseb Monastery Nuns in Vinaya robes

Shugseb Monastery Nuns in Vinaya robes –
Source: The Life of Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche (1865 -1951) as Told in Her Autobiography Vol. I by Hanna Havnevik

Toward the end of her life, Lochen Rinpoche was not able to walk, hear, or see. However, her mind remained alert and, through her clairvoyant abilities, could read people’s thoughts. Even in her old age, Lochen Rinpoche continued to inspire devotion. Lobsang P. Lhalungpa, a Tibetan writer and scholar who visited Lochen Rinpoche in the early 1940s, said that she was an extraordinary woman, small in stature, with a serene face radiating compassion and sensitivity, with only her white hair betraying her age. Her awesome power permeated her visitors’ streams of being, and her teachings and blessings gave inner strength and inspiration. Lhalungpa went on to claim that Lochen Rinpoche was the personification of the great female teachers of Tibet.

One devotee called Lady Nedo recalled that she initially did not have much faith in Lochen Rinpoche, but in 1948, she stayed at her nunnery for more than a month. At Shugseb, people from all walks of life, nobles and businessmen, peasants and nomads, came from Lhasa, Western Tibet (Ngari), Shigatse, Lhoka, Kham, Bhutan, and different villages in the vicinity to visit the monastery. When the pilgrims gathered in the monastery kitchen and the assembly-hall, Jetsun Lochen told the nuns to feed them all. Since her private quarters was so small, the devotees had to wait in line to receive her blessings and advice. She treated everyone alike, making no distinction between high and low. Jetsun Lochen would say, “yar shog, yar shog” or “come in, come in!”

One day, Lady Nedo was invited into her private room at the time of her morning routine when she got ready. She had heard that Jetsun Lochen liked French perfume, and offered her a small blue bottle of expensive perfume which she had bought in Lhasa. Jetsun Lochen was so old she could not move or walk, and when the nuns lifted her naked body, her legs remained in a cross-legged position. When they tried to stretch them out, her legs immediately resumed the meditation position, and there were even bumps on them marked by years of sitting in this position. The nuns changed Jetsun Lochen’s diapers, which were made of soft wool, but even after many days in meditation, her urine did not smell bad. Lady Nedo remarked that she had never seen anything like this, and she had great faith in Jetsun Rinpoche, exclaiming that “She is the real Machig Labdrön, and the real Tara (Goddess of Compassion)!”

In her old age, Lochen Rinpoche was still engaging in four sessions of meditation every day. Before she passed away, she indicated that she would be reborn as a boy in her next life. Lochen Rinpoche passed away on March 13, 1951 amidst auspicious signs, such as rainbows, and a white conch shell manifesting around her right eye.

The nuns at Shugseb Monastery Assembly Hall

The nuns at Shugseb Monastery Assembly Hall – Source: The Life of Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche (1865 -1951) as Told in Her Autobiography Vol. I by Hanna Havnevik

One of her disciples recorded that she had stayed in the death meditation for one week. According to Jigme Dorje Rinpoche who had known Lochen Rinpoche for most of her life, white and red drops came from the nostrils of her dead body, symbolic of the female and male aspects of existence.

Lochen Rinpoche’s body was embalmed, her face was covered with gold-leaf, and her body was enshrined in the Shugseb Monastery’s assembly hall. Unfortunately, when the Chinese army came, Shugseb Monastery was destroyed, and Lochen Rinpoche’s body was thrown away to the hillside. None of her disciples were able to recover any remains. Amidst all these difficulties, Thinley Chodron insisted on doing her religious practice. She was then imprisoned in Lhasa and passed away there. It is said that her body remained in death meditation for two days following her passing.

In 1953, a boy named Dorje Rabden was born to a patron family of Shugseb Monastery. He was recognised as the incarnation of Lochen Rinpoche. He graduated from Lhasa University in 1981 and worked at a Tibetan radio station in Lhasa. Although Shugseb Monastery was rebuilt in the 1980s, Dorje Rabden continued to lead a lay life in Lhasa and only visited the monastery on several occasions.

Dorje Rabden, the incarnation of Lochen Rinpoche.

Dorje Rabden, the incarnation of Lochen Rinpoche. Source: The Life of Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche (1865 -1951) as Told in Her Autobiography Vol. I by Hanna Havnevik

Jigme Dorje Rinpoche (left) and Dorje Rabden (right)

Jigme Dorje Rinpoche (left) and Dorje Rabden (right) – Source: The Life of Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche (1865 -1951) as Told in Her Autobiography Vol. I by Hanna Havnevik

 


 

Addendum: An Account of Lochen Rinpoche’s Experience when She was in Meditation Retreat in 1889

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The texts above are not being used for any commercial purposes. They are being used for educational purpose only.
Sources:

  • McKay, Alex. Pilgrimage in Tibet. Routledge, 2015, http://books.google.com
  • Havnevik, Hanna. The Life of Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche (1865 – 1951) as Told in Her Autobiography Vol. 1. 1st ed. Unipub, Akademika AS, 1999. Print.
  • Havnevik, Hanna. The Life of Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche (1865 – 1951) as Told in Her Autobiography Vol. 2. 1st ed. Unipub, Akademika AS, 1999. Print.
  • Gyatso, Janet and Havnevik. Women in Tibet: Past and Present. Columbia University Press, 2006, http://books.google.com
  • Reynolds, David K. Plunging Through the Clouds: Constructive Living Currents. State University of New York Press, 1993, http://books.google.com
  • Thondup, Tulku. Incarnation: The History and Mysticism of the Tulku Tradition of Tibet. Shambala, 2011, http://books.google.com
  • Willis, Janice. Feminine Ground: Essays on Women and Tibet. Snow Lion Publications, 1989, http://books.google.com
  • Jacoby, Sarah. Love and Liberation: Autobiographical Writings of the Tibetan Buddhist Visionary Sera Khandro. Columbia University Press, 2015, http://books.google.com
  • http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/ani-lochen
  • http://theyoginiproject.org/yoginis-dakinis-dakinis-warm-breath
  • https://tnp.org/shugsep-jetsun-the-story-of-a-tibetan-yogini/
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machig_Labdrön
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jetsun

For more interesting links:

 

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23 Responses to The Great Female Master- Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche

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  1. S.Prathap on Jul 8, 2020 at 12:31 pm

    She was was revered as one of the last century’s best known woman teachers and most influential women in Tibetan spiritual history.Many extraordinary stories are told of her remarkable abilities, she was an extraordinary woman.
    It is inspiring to read how much she had to endure from childhood and later under her lama but she never broke down, felt sorry for herself or got angry.Thank you for sharing this wonderful article.

  2. Sofi on Feb 18, 2019 at 8:44 pm

    What an amazing read this story of Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche. She had lead such an incredible life that seems so magical and not possible in today’s world, but it is possible as proven by Lochen Rinpoche. It is not surprising when she is the reincarnation of Machig Labdron, another amazing attained lady who formulated the practice of Chod which is still practiced in all schools of Tibetan Buddhism today. It is so inspiring to read their stories, their dedication towards their spiritual path and how they never gave up even when faced with tough adversities. It would seem such a pity that her incarnation, Dorje Rabden is living the lay person’s life but then again being of the same enlightened mindstream, there must be a purpose for him to adopt this way of living. Thank you, Rinpoche for sharing these inspiring stories with us and helping us to realise that attainments are possible. May we always have the correct view and strong dedication as Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche towards gaining fulfillment of our spiritual aspiration.

  3. Jacinta Goh on May 23, 2018 at 9:59 am

    Very very happy to find this article again!!!
    I was looking for it but forgot the name. And also Samding Dorje Phagmo.

    Reading the life histories about them brings back the “emotional moments” that I had when I read them for the first time. Thank you to Rinpoche

  4. shelly tai on Sep 30, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for this inspiring story of Lochen Rinpoche. After reading her life story it just so tough her life yet she has so much faith on the Buddha Dharma, is a shame for the modern practitioner like us who always complain about the practice is difficult we are so fortunate to be able to receive the teaching so easily I think is good to read all these inspiring story is to remind us not to complain just practice.

  5. Caryn Wong on Sep 28, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    A very inspirational life story. Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche had a tough life since the day she was born and though her learning of the dharma was not a smooth journey but she never lost faith. Tolerance, perseverance and determination are the keys to her receiving many great teachings from great Masters and her compassion conquers all.

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing such an inspiring biography _/\_

  6. Cc on Sep 28, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    It is really amazing and inspiring on how Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche overcome obstacles. Her guru devotion and motivation was so strong.
    She is like a wonder woman / super woman.

    ???

    Thank you Rinpoche

  7. Lim Han Nee on Sep 28, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche was a remarkable practitioner, with her extraordinary faith and devotion to her Guru and her great compassion.

    Her faith in her Guru was deep and unwavering : she was always able to see the pure motivation of her Guru even as she received the harshest treatment from him. The following example of Guru Devotion leaves one in no doubt about this. Once when she was accused of deceit, her Guru literally threw her off the roof. Yet she just picked herself up,and put her Guru’s boot on her head in veneration.

    Her compassion too was most extraordinary and powerful. When she was poisoned with milk a nun had given her, she prayed for all women poisoners! On another occasion, she was visiting the six realms, and witnessed the unbearable suffering of the Hell realm. She made very powerful prayers and entreaties. Out of great compassion and because of that, many beings transmigrated from Hell to higher realms!

    IT is amazing that even as a child, people were inspired by her and had great faith in her. They had strong convictions that she was an incarnation of Tara or Machig Labdron!

  8. Lum Kok Luen on Sep 28, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    Lochen Rinpoche’s life as a Dharma teacher, practitioner and students is so amazing. She had many teachers and the common trait is that she had solid Guru devotion and would gain realization when badly treated (in our perception).

    She is and remains a great inspiration for nuns to progress deeply into Dharma practice and thus will inspire many others to devote to Dharma.

    I would like to read or know more of her next incarnation after Dorje Rabden.

    Thank you.

  9. Sarah on Aug 16, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    Jetsunma Lochen Rinpoche was certainly one of the most amazing gcod masters of the last century. She was born amidst many auspicious signs and during her lifetime, mastered the highest siddhis. Being an incarnation of Machig Labdron, it is not surprising. I find her life and achievements truly inspiring, especially to women practitioners.

  10. wan wai meng on Aug 12, 2017 at 1:13 am

    A very inspirational master of the dharma told in this story. She kept on teaching and benefitting sentient beings all the time, and she willingly allowed herself to be trained in the buddha dharma, no matter how her teachers treated her or challenged her.

    Giving dharma to others constantly and all the time, that is how compassionate she is.

  11. Paul Yap on Aug 8, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche had a very tough life since young. However she has been consistent with her dharma practice and had studies under many great teachers. Even though she has demonstrated some miraculous ability since young, she has lives a simple life not using that for her personal fame. She has developed great compassion for all sentient beings and has the ability to tame wild animals. She had done numerous retreat and at her old age, she maintain meditation post all the time. Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche is a great example for Dharma practitioners. She is truly an attained master who lives to benefits many.

  12. Choong on Aug 8, 2017 at 11:32 am

    The trajectory her life took from an early age is reminiscent of the great Indian Mahasiddhas. It is no wonder that she was recognized as a student of Milarepa. Her karmic imprints as a meditator-practitioner are certainly strong.

    To read about her life is inspiring especially because she lived not quite long ago. I liked reading the Addendum very much.

  13. Samfoonheei on Aug 6, 2017 at 11:16 am

    Truly inspiring and incredible lifestory of a great female master.I do enjoyed reading it.Her spiritual journey as from childhood till her death at 101 years old was amazing. She was was revered as one of the last century’s best known woman teachers and most influential women in Tibetan spiritual history.Many extraordinary stories are told of her remarkable abilities, she was an extraordinary woman. Her teachings and blessings have given inner strength and inspiration to many people and other practitioners .
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these incredble and inspiring article.

    • Valentina Suhendra on Aug 7, 2017 at 11:21 pm

      Dear Samfoonheei

      Thank you for your comment. I do agree with you that the life of Ani Lochen Rinpoche was very inspiring and incredible. One of the defining qualities of her life that lead to her many attainments was her relationship with her first teacher, Pema Gyatso. Pema Gyatso often abused her physically and put her down with harsh words. However, Lochen Rinpoche had never lost her faith in her teacher. I think her great devotion to the teacher and her perseverance in her practice are what led her to become a powerful practitioner in her later life.

      Sincerely

      Valentina

  14. Ucle Lai on Aug 3, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    This is another story of a great master Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche with so much suffering and obstacle yet she never gave up. Even her own farther sold her away to feed his weakness but she stayed on with him until he found another woman and left them (Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche and her mother Penpa Dronma)

    This is another story of a Bodhisattva teach us tolerance, perseverance and determination will lead to achieve the goal.

  15. Jacinta on Aug 3, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    Dear Rinpoche,

    Her character seemed ordinary but we can see her persistence in Dharma and having to live a simple life, yet not so simple from our naked eyes as she can performed many miracles and touched others deeply trough Dharma. Even in the account of her attainments, it was not simple at all ?. She even liberated the dead from the hell to the other shore when she was in deep meditation. On another account, she gave teachings not only for human, but Gods and Demons too. This moves my heart as the wish to gain attainments are for greater purpose. Just like how Rinpoche has mentioned from time to time, when we create the causes and pray for Enlightenment, all other purposes are encompassed. With attainments and siddhis, we can help more… in fact being more skilful in the methods that we used. We might thought it’s so simple but it’s more than that. Just like we do our small sadhana, seemingly small but it can help many. Many which are not visible to our naked eyes. I do hope I can achieve the same just like her.

    From the very beginning she just wanted to devote herself for Dharma. Even in finding Lama, she didn’t even care how she was treated and always maintain pure view.

    Thank you Rinpoche

  16. Fong on Aug 2, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    By all accounts, a biography that instills faith in the reader. Very awe inspiring persona.

    Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche’s childhood sounds like stuff from a movie except that this is no movie but instead is the life of an extraordinary being. So very many extraordinary happenings from a young age. And, that she continued her meditation till a ripe old age and such that even her limbs will not move out of meditation posture.

    So, we have to believe that such people of devotion and faith do exist and serves as a great example for us not to give up but to forge on.

    • Valentina Suhendra on Aug 3, 2017 at 7:10 am

      Dear Fong

      Actually, the biography of Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche, especially his childhood reminded me of Tsem Rinpoche’s challenging childhood and teenage years.

      Her experience with her first teacher Pema Gyatso reminded me of her experience with Milarepa. And yet she kept her devotion toward her teacher intact. Her devotion is so amazing.

      Valentina

  17. Stella Cheang on Aug 2, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    It is truly inspiring to read teh biography of such an accomplished female practitioner. Lochen Rinpoche is an extraordinary person, who despite being the reincarnation of Machig Labdrön, an accomplished Tantric Yogini in the 11th century, has been very humble in her life, seeking teachings from various learned masters. Her journey was not an easy one. Yet Lochen Rinpcohe and her mother, Penpa Dronma, soildered on single mindedly so that Lochen Rinpoche can spread the dharma. It is admirable to learn about Lochen Rinpoche’s guru devotion, which is a good example to us all.

  18. Datuk May on Aug 1, 2017 at 11:47 pm

    It is always inspiring to read about great female practitioners who achieved great attainments and their reincarnations are recognised. Such is the proof of how highly attained Bodhisattvas return to this earthly existences to continue their work and practice to save sentient beings from Samsara.

    This is a great story of how Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche overcame all obstacles with perseverance and her goal of saving sentient beings from suffering.

  19. Pastor David Lai on Jul 30, 2017 at 11:22 pm

    I just read Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche’s lifestory and I was just amazed of how simple, devoted and attained she is. It’s incredible how Tibet was able to produce such incredibly attained beings that transcend gender and time. It was obvious her lama did much to train her in order to fulfil her destiny to guide others.

    It is inspiring to read how much she had to endure from childhood and later under her lama but she never broke down, felt sorry for herself or got angry. She was confident of the intent of her lama and carried on. Her story truly inspires people not to take things at face value especially in relations to one’s lama and instead have confidence based on faith and prior experience.

  20. Tsem Rinpoche on Jul 30, 2017 at 11:58 am

    It is wonderful to know about this great female master. I hope more people will read about her and be inspired.

    • Anne Ong on Jul 30, 2017 at 10:08 pm

      This is a really interesting story as it is very rare to read about female incarnations. Both touching and inspiring. Love many parts of the story of her spiritual attainments. Thank you very much Rinpoche and writers for doing this wonderful and inspiring story of “The Great Female Master- Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche” . _/\_

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Blog Chat

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

Tsem Rinpoche


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/kunkhyen-choku-ozer-master-of-the-kalachakra-guhyasamaja-tantras.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Feb 22. 2021 03:25 PM
    Thank you Rinpoche for the teachings on Dorje Shugden and explanation on retreat. Learning and practicing this Dorje Shugden’s practice have indeed benefited many people. And more so when to do a retreat. . We are all very fortunate to be given an opportunity to meet Tsem Rinpoche and learning, practicing all these precious teachings coming from a pure lineage that can be traced back to the time of the great Lama Tsongkhapa. A very detailed explanation on why we need the retreat and the way to do the retreat.
    Thanks again Rinpoche with folded hands.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/dorje-shugden-retreat-a-powerful-practice-to-fulfill-wishes.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Feb 21. 2021 01:54 PM
    Tsem Rinpoche had been working tirelessly teaching Dharma in his whole life, giving many opportunities for us to learn , practice Dharma teachings. Whatever goes wrong we should admit it as our own fault and not our guru. Rinpoche ‘s love to spread Dharma teachings and nothing else. He had followed his advice of his guru to come all the way from India to teach in Malaysia. Reading all those meaningful quotes and sayings in this article tells us a thousand words of truth which we should not take it lightly. We could in fact learn from it and stop blaming others.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this profound teachings.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/is-it-the-gurus-fault.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Feb 21. 2021 01:51 PM
    HH the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso , the highest spiritual leader of Tibet, who is a living Bodhisattva, an emanation of Avalokiteśvara. Blessing to have a change looking at this rare picture taken years ago of Dalai lama on the throne . Dalai Lama is well known as a Buddhist Advocate for Peace and Freedom.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/his-holiness-the-supreme-holder-of-the-white-lotus.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Feb 21. 2021 01:48 PM
    Tibetans all over the world celebrates Losar, or Tibetan New Year with the beginning of Lunar year. This year it falls on the 12 February, every one will be looking forward to this day. A new year a new beginning , where the Panglung Oracle will take trance of the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden. As usual every year the Panglung Oracle will give advices, offering guidance, for the year ahead to everyone of what to do and so forth. Whatever advices given should not taken lightly. The Panglung Oracle as Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden will also give teachings and blessing . For this year Dorje Shugden gave a very powerful teachings and messages.
    Thank you for sharing this precious message.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/dorje-shugdens-2021-losar-advice.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, Feb 20. 2021 02:06 PM
    Interesting read , even though short but at least knowing the home Monastery of H E Tsem Rinpoche’s previous incarnation, Gedun Nyedrak. The monastery was called ‘Tsem’,where a custodian of a tooth relic of the great Lama Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
    Thank you Pastor David for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/gedun-nyedrak-an-abbot-of-gaden.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, Feb 20. 2021 01:59 PM
    News of UFO always fascinating to me . There are many UFO sighting hotspots exist across the globe, it has long since scientist have a keen interest to investigate further. UFOs has become a modern sensation for hunters , scientist and so forth. There was only the ambiguous testament of witnesses so far all happen and appeared mysteries without any substantial evidence. But the Japanese government has admitted and believes definitely they the UFO exist. Well the Japanese government has even made a statement about alien spacecraft appearing on Earth. Many people have denied the existence of UFOs, but with so many UFO sightings they cannot denied it after all. Sound interesting.
    The Buddha has once said that we are not the only beings in existence and we are not alone on earth. Interesting videos to watch.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/japanese-admits-ufo-exists.html

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The Unknown

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

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

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

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


Ask the Pastors

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

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

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

  • February 27, 2021 03:31
    Sandra asked: Respected pastors, Is it ok to pray from different areas in the house (even where there is no altar)? I was told you can't create 2 altars in 1 house.
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Thank you for your question and its nice to see you here again. The reason why we pray in front of our altars is because it becomes a focal point of the enlightened energies we are invoking. Therefore it becomes a kind of portal for the energies of transformation, peace, healing, prosperity and protection. It is also the place where we make offerings to the Buddhas. As such, most people usually only have 1 altar in their home. However, you can have more than 1 altar in your home. As it is an altar, it should be complete with representations of the body, speech and mind of the Buddhas. This would be an image (either a statue, thangka, tsa tsa, poster, framed picture, etc), a Dharma text and a stupa. In front of these, you should have at least 1 type of offering or more. This can be a fixed offering or maybe even a set of water offerings, which you make every day. Since practitioners make offerings on a daily basis, most opt to have only 1 altar, but there is no rule in Buddhism to say you can only have 1 altar. The altar however, should be placed in a respectful place. So, not in the bathroom. Or if in the bedroom, you should put a screen up to block it when you are changing, sleeping, etc. Alternatively, you can keep it in a cupboard, and close the doors during such activities. But altars should be dedicated places to the Buddhas, so don't put secular items in the same place, such as on the same shelf, etc. When it comes to praying, it is usually done in front of the altar, as you are invoking the enlightened beings. When you do your prayers there it becomes a powerful place in your home, and provides you with a sacred space to pray and meditate. However, if circumstances are difficult, then of course you can pray elsewhere. For example, when I first set up an altar, I was living in a single room with not much space. I set up an altar on a shelf but was not able to pray in front of it. Once I had made offerings, I would simply sit in another part of the room and do the prayers there. If it is really not convenient, then of course it is permissible to do the prayers elsewhere. It is better to do the prayers, than not do them at all if you can't be in front of your altar. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • February 25, 2021 01:33
    Kuenzang wangdi asked: What would be my most suitable colour ?
    pastor answered: Dear Kuenzang Wangdi, Thank you for your question. The following calculators may be of interest to you: Chinese Zodiac: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/horoscopes/the-chinese-zodiac.html Tibetan Astrology: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/tibetan-astrology/tibetan-astrology.html In relation to which colour if most favourable for you, unfortunately our calculators do not give this information. However, from a Buddhist practice viewpoint, what is more important is the transformation of the mind. Once we transform our minds according to teachings, we are able to overcome any obstacle and create good conditions for our lives. You can learn a very short mind transformation teaching here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/eight-verses-of-thought-transformation.html You can couple this with formal practice. If you are interested, a very good practice to bring energies of increase and generate a long life, merits, wealth and prosperity in your life, is the the practice of Gyenze. You can find information about the practice here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/prayers-and-sadhanas/dorje-shugden-gyenze-to-increase-life-merits-and-wealth.html. I hope this helps. Thanks.
  • February 22, 2021 22:14
    Naseer asked: Hi My name is Naseer Ahmed 8th dec 1979. Life path 1 Im looking to add to my name slightly... change it too... Naseer Al Ahmed... Would this be more complimentary as far as for the business front... or would it not make any difference
    pastor answered: Hello Naseer, As per your question, your Life Path Number is 1. The Life Path Number according to the system of numerology used on our website is calculated using your date of birth. Therefore, a change in name will not affect your Life Path Number. Some of the other calculators on the same page do however use your name. One of the smaller calculators you may be interested in is the Achievement Number, but again, this only uses your date of birth for the calculation. You can find it here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/numerology/numerology-calculator.html You may also be interested in two of our other pages: Chinese Zodiac - https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/horoscopes/the-chinese-zodiac.html Tibetan Astrology - https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/tibetan-astrology/tibetan-astrology.html Thank you for your question. I hope this helps.
  • February 20, 2021 18:36
    Sandra asked: After making a food offering to the three jewels (which we will eat for lunch etc), should we think of it as a blessing and partake?
    pastor answered: Hello Sandra, When making food offerings to the Three Jewels, which you eat yourself, when you recite the prayer and make the offering, you should visualise that the Buddhas receive your food offering and because you have made an offering, they are very pleased. It also fulfills one of the Refuge commitments, which is to offer the first portion of whatever we eat and drink to the Three Jewels, while remembering their kindness. You can then partake of the meal and consider it a blessing from the Three Jewels. Alternatively, you can set out a plate (which you reserve for this purpose) of food, which you can offer on your altar. Similarly, once the food has been left on your altar for a while, you can later remove it and consume it as a blessing. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • February 19, 2021 04:33
    Sandra asked: Is intovertedness a bad quality? Since Buddha is so altruistic and this is the opposite trait, it must be bad. How do you think one should lessen introverted tendencies?
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Introvertedness is not a bad quality. Altruism and compassion are different from being an introvert or extrovert. Introverts are generally quieter people, less expressive of their emotions, while extroverts are the opposite. Buddhist practice is not about expression of emotion. Rather the altruistic and compassionate teachings are more about how you help other people and sentient beings, physically or emotionally. If the qualities of introverted-ness are stopping you from developing these, then they need to change. But this may not be necessary, depending on the qualities that you are talking about. You can do simple meditations to building up the energy of compassion in your mindstream and you will see that you actions will automatically start to be more compassionate and altruistic. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • February 18, 2021 03:28
    Sandra asked: How should one behave when negative karma is being purified? How can we know if bad karma is being purified? Do we accumulate positive karma simultaneously when doing purification practices? Many thanks for your response.
    pastor answered: Hello again Sandra, There are two ways in which karma can be purified, the first is through our own efforts alone and the second is through our own effort, combined with a purification practice. Through our own efforts: this means that you transform your mind enough to not react negatively in any situation and only react in a positive manner. For example, you may have the karma to get angry. So you get into situations which makes you angry. If you react normally, then you will get angry again, this will only lead you to create more karma of being angry. But if you make the effort not to get angry in those situations then you do not create or multiply that karma. The original karma you have may lead you to be in those types of situations again, but if you do not get angry then after a while you start to purify that karma. Through your own efforts, combined with a purification practice: as you are working on transforming your mind, you can rely on the practices that help you to purify your karma, such as the practice of Vajrasattva or the 35 Confessional Buddhas. This boosts your ability to purify negative karma, based on the enlightened energies of the Buddhas. This however is only truly effective when combined with the Four Opponent Powers. You can read more about that here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/the-35-confessional-buddhas.html In general, when karma is being purified then you should remain level-headed and not act out of emotion or habit, but from your understanding of the workings of karma and the Dharma. But actually, this should not only be when karma is being purified. You should act and behave in this way all the time according to the Dharma, then you are, up to a point, always purifying karma. It is one of the reasons that so much emphasis is placed on refraining from negative actions and engaging in positive actions using your body, speech and mind, because these are the three means or 'doors' with which you interact with the world. At our level, we cannot tell if karma is being purified or not, only those who are more highly attained can tell. However, that is one of the reasons the Buddhist texts advise study of and belief in karma. If there is karma, then it can be purified, and the way to do so is transform your mind and invoke upon the enlightened beings. So if you are doing both, you can rest assured that you are in fact purifying your karma. When you purify negative karma, whether just through your own efforts or combined with a purification practice you collect merit, not positive karma. If you simply do a good action, you collect good karma. But if you are practicing the Dharma with the intention of achieving enlightenment, you take refuge, engage in the practice, and dedicate at the end, then you develop merit, not positive karma. If you want to read more about how karma works and how to purify it in more detail, I suggest you read a Lamrim text such as Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand, which you can order from your local bookstore or get online here (https://www.vajrasecrets.com/lamrim-liberation-in-the-palm-of-your-hand).
  • February 17, 2021 23:06
    Sandra asked: Hello pastors, thank you for your response to my earlier question. Do divination predictions change frequently? Why does that happen?
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Thank you for your question. Divinations, compared to astrological predictions, are much more accurate. There are many types of divination, but those based on the practice of enlightened beings are very accurate. Three of the most well-known in Tibetan Buddhism are the divination practices of Manjushri, Palden Lhamo and Dorje Shugden. You can read more about Dorje Shugden's dice divination here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/dorje-shugdens-dice-divination.html Questions that are asked during divinations are much more specific than the types of topics that astrological predictions can help with, therefore are based on very specific types of karma. This means that if you asked a divination question twice, without taking remedial actions in between, then the answer would most likely be the same, given that all the prerequisites have been held by the diviner and the divinations are genuine. However, if a divination is done and then remedial actions recommended, such as various practices or pujas, and these are done to the letter, then if the question is asked again, then the results would differ. This is because when engaging in these practices or pujas, either you generate the merit necessary to overpower the negative effects of the karma, or you purify the negative effects of the karma creating the situation. This however, is generally not done. You wouldn't ask the same question twice or over and over again. The reason for this is because one of the factors that comes into play when seeking divination is faith. This is faith in the fact that the remedial actions recommended will help whatever situation you are facing. Having seen H.E. Tsem Rinpoche do countless divinations for people, I can attest to this. Those who have faith and follow through with the advice, see a great improvement in the situation that led them to ask the divination question in the first place. Those that did not follow the advice either at all or not fully, did not see any improvement. And this makes sense, because they did not purify the effects of the karma enough, or generate enough merit. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • February 15, 2021 04:09
    sandra asked: How much importance should we give to astrological predictions or chart readings? Are these readings susceptible to change all the time,i.e, in the context of planetary movements? Can our own effort/actions supercede what is predicted in our birth chart?
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Thank you for your interesting question. You are absolutely correct about the universal principle of change. According to Buddhist practice, astrological predictions are based upon a fixed point in time. Take for example, your moment of birth, which most astrological readings take as the main point of reference. At that specific moment, there would have been various energies or planetary alignments, etc. Combined together, they are said to give an accurate prediction of what will occur to a person throughout their life. This however, is based on one's birth karma, to be born at that specific point in time and location. This birth karma also provides the driving force behind what will occur in a person's life, if that karma is not changed somehow. Hence, that is why astrological predictions can give very accurate readings on someone's personality, as well as life events. Birth karma provides the main force behind all other karma to come into play. That is why it is given importance in astrology. There are also more advanced methods to take into account planetary and energetical movements to give even more detailed and precise predictions that can even be made down to the month, day or hour of a person's life. In Buddhism, however, we believe that karma can be changed. It can multiply, be purified or exhausted, or the effects of that karma can be overpowered by another karma or spiritual merit. In these cases, the outcome will change. The way in which this happens is varied. It can be as simple as doing some prayers (to generate spiritual merit) or changing your behaviour, environment or location, the way you think, and the ways in which you react in various situations. That is why in Buddhist astrological systems, emphasis is placed on remedial measures to counteract negative outcomes. For example, someone may be born with an angry disposition from an astrological point of view. If this person goes through life acting from this anger, then the predictions based on the time of birth will occur. However, a remedial action can be undertaken, such as the person pracitising Chenrezig, who is the Buddha of compassion, or the person doing some form of charity work. These remedial actions generate compassion in the mind of the person, which counteracts the anger. As this happens and the karma is changed, then the person no longer needs to feels the negative effects of any bad astrological (or more correctly - karmic) situations. There are even some practices that specifically help to counteract negative astrological influences and help you to change things. Such an example is Black Manjushri. Within Tibetan Buddhism, according to your time and date of birth, you also have what is known as a 'Birth Buddha'. This is basically an enlightened being that you have an affinity with in this life. General remedial actions include making images of this particular Buddha or engaging in this Buddha's practice. This combined with a change in how we live - otherwise known as Mind Transformation in the Buddhist context - changes astrological outcomes. However, if we continue living without controlling our actions, words and thoughts, the predictions made using astrological readings will most likely still occur. I hope this explanation helps. Thank you.
  • February 7, 2021 00:16
    Purna Tamang asked: What is my lucky number and color ?
    pastor answered: Dear Purna Tamang, Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, none our horoscope apps on this page gives this information at this moment. However, you may find some of the other information provided useful. Below are the links: For Chinese Zodiac: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/horoscopes/the-chinese-zodiac.html For Tibetan astrology: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/tibetan-astrology/tibetan-astrology.html For Numerology: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/numerology/numerology-calculator.html For Fortune cookies: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/fortune-cookie Thank you and I hope you find something interesting in one of the apps.
  • January 20, 2021 03:32
    Sangita. asked: i want to buy my own house.which mantra i should chant to have my own house.kindly reply.
    pastor answered: Dear Sangita, Thank you for your question. Everything in our lives, whether good or bad is due to our karma. This is karma we have accumulated either in previous lives or earlier on in this life. You can learn more about this here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/discovering-yourself-a-teaching-on-karma-mindstream.html Sometimes, we go through obstacles or need some form of spiritual help to assist us in improving our situations. In these circumstances we can rely on the practice of certain deities. One of these deities is the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden. You can read more about this deity and his practice here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/beginners-introduction-to-dorje-shugden.html You can learn more about Dorje Shugden's practice here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/dorje-shugden-teaching-videos.html. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • January 12, 2021 00:32
    Laurence Brahm asked: Hello la. I would like to get in touch with Rinpoche. My name is Laurence Brahm and I've directed the two films including Searching for The Lotus Born Master. I would like to get in touch with Rinpoche in hopes he would kindly agree to an interview with our third production on Guru Rinpoche and also I would like to ask some questions concerning Shambala. I would be most grateful if Rinpoche would email me at himalayanconsensus2@gmail.com Thank you. With respects
    pastor answered: Dear Laurence Brahm, Thank you for your questions. This section is actually answered by Kechara's Pastors who were trained by His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche. Unfortunately, Tsem Rinpoche is no longer with us physically. He passed into Parinirvana in 2019. You can read more about this here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/me/the-parinirvana-of-kyabje-tsem-rinpoche.html If you would like to ask questions to any of the pastors regarding this, please email care@kechara.com with more information and mention that you would like to talk to one of the pastors. Thank you
  • December 31, 2020 14:46
    Jose Ajuria asked: What are the qualities of the Buddha Dharma and Sangha
    pastor answered: Dear Jose Ajuria, Here is a short article that discusses the qualities of the Three Jewels: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/taking-refuge-by-pabongka-rinpoche.html For a more in-depth text regarding this, please read Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand (https://www.vajrasecrets.com/lamrim-liberation-in-the-palm-of-your-hand). The text describes the qualities and benefits of taking refuge in each, in much more detail. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • December 30, 2020 09:55
    Dan asked: Dear pastors, some vegetarians said egg can eat. While some say no. What is your opinion on this. Thank you
    pastor answered: Dear Dan, Thank you for your question. There are differing views on eggs as part of the vegetarian diet. Some people would say that since eggs we get these days are not fertilized, then they are vegetarian since there is no life involved at that point. His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche was vegetarian but consumed eggs, as long as they were free-range and organic, because Rinpoche was against the battery farming system which produces the majority of eggs these days. There is a lot of animal cruelty involved with battery farming. Most people who do not include egg in their vegetarian diets do this because of the harm is causes the hens during the farming process, and also because they can view eating eggs as taking a life. That being said, within Buddhism, there are certain practices that strictly prohibit the consumption of eggs, as with other types of food. This can be for a number of reasons, which are too long to be discussed here. I would say that most people in the Kechara organisation eat eggs although vegetarian, but that may also be a cultural thing. Some people however, have taken the extra step and live a vegan lifestyle, which definitely does not include egg, as an extension of their practice of compassion for other sentient beings. I hope this explanation helps. Thank you.
  • December 5, 2020 00:25
    Bradley asked: Would offerings or prayers like Sangsol offering be more potent if we had the prayers translated to the language of a given geographical area? Example in England where Celtic was once spoken? Would the local deities or spirits be pleased we took the time to do so? They are far older than us.
    pastor answered: Dear Bradley, Thank you for your interesting question. Actually the sangsol prayers will be effective when done in any language. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that when you recite the sangsol prayer, you are actually invoking upon an enlightened being first, in this case, it is Dorje Shugden. Therefore, when you make the requests of the local deities to accept the offering, be calm and improve local circumstances etc, it is not coming from you. You are actually beseeching Dorje Shugden to help you in this matter. Hence, it is Dorje Shugden who is communicating with the local deities, not us. Secondly, deities and gods, as they do not have physical bodies, do not require ordinary language. Language as we know it is actually linked to our physical bodies. Local deities and gods, etc, because they don't have the same type of physical form as us, actually recognise our prayers through intention and effort rather than language. Therefore, prayers such as the sangsol prayers are effective no matter which language they are physical recited in. I hope this makes sense, if it does not, please let us know and we will clarify further. Thank you.
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CHAT PICTURES

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