The Thirteenth Dalai Lama, Tubten Gyatso

Apr 22, 2018 | Views: 85,938
H.H. the 13th Dalai Lama, Tubten Gyatso. Image credit: Treasury of Lives. Click on image to enlarge.

H.H. the 13th Dalai Lama, Tubten Gyatso. Image credit: Treasury of Lives. Click on image to enlarge.

b.1876 – d.1933

Incarnations: Dalai Lama ཏ་ལའི་བླ་མ།
Tradition: Geluk དགེ་ལུགས།
Geography: Mongolia
Historical Period: 19th Century ༡༩ དུས་རབས། / 20th Century ༢༠ དུས་རབས།
Institution: Ganden དགའ་ལྡན་།; Sera Monastery སེ་ར།; Drepung Monastery འབྲས་སྤུངས་།; Tashilhunpo བཀྲ་ཤིས་ལྷུན་པོ།; Kumbum Jampa Ling སྐུ་འབུམ་བྱམས་པ་གླིང།; Tsel Gungtang ཚལ་གུང་ཐང།; Ralung Monastery རྭ་ལུང་དགོན་པ།; Gyuto Dratsang རྒྱུད་སྟོད་གྲྭ་ཚང།; Reting Monastery རྭ་སྒྲེང།; Drepung Gomang Dratsang སྒོ་མང་གྲྭ་ཚང།; Langdun Manor House གླང་མདུན་གཟིམས་ཤག།; Lhasa Tsuklakhang ལྷ་ས་གཙུག་ལག་ཁང།; Shol Printery ཞོལ་སྤར་ཁང་ཤར་དགའ་ལྡན་ཕུན་ཚོགས་གླིང།; Namgyel རྣམ་རྒྱལ་།; Potala པོ་ཏ་ལ།; Norbulingka ནོར་བུ་གླིང་ཁ།; Mentsikhang སྨན་རྩིས་ཁང།; Ikh Khuree ད་ཁུ་རེ་དགོན།; Tsari ཙཱ་རི།; Bhutan House མི་འགྱུར་ངོན་དཔར་དག་བའི་ཕོ་བྲང།; Wutai Shan རི་བོ་རྩེ་ལྔ།; Bodhgaya རྡོ་རྗེ་གདན།; Lhamo Latso ལྷ་མོའི་བླ་མཚོ།

When the Twelfth Dalai Lama, Trinle Gyatso (ta la’i bla ma 13 ‘phrin la rgya mtsho, 1856-1875) died at the young age of twenty in 1875, his face is said to have turned toward the south-east, which was taken as a sign that the new incarnation would be born in that direction. This was confirmed by the Nechung Oracle (nas chung), and by the Eighth Panchen Lama, Tenpai Wangchuk (paN chen 08 bstan pa’i dbang phyug, 1855-1882). According to Tibetan accounts, the Nechung Oracle was consulted three times. At the third consultation, the oracle gave precise details and foretold the names of the parents. The father’s name would be Kunga Rinchen (kun dga’ rin chen) and the mother’s name Lobzang Dolma (blo bzang sgrol ma).

The then Regent of Tibet, the Tenth Tatsak, Ngawang Pelden Chokyi Gyeltsen (rta tshag 10 ngag dbang dpal ldan chos kyi rgyal mtshan, 1850-1886), who was also known as the Second Kundeling (kun bde gling 02), and the Kashak (bka’ shag), or Council of Ministers, appointed a former abbot of Gyuto Monastery named Khenzur Lobzang Dargye (mkhan zur blo bzang dar rgyas, d.u.) to head a search party to locate the new Dalai Lama. As was customary practice, Khenzur Lobzang Dargye went to the sacred lake of Lhamo Lhatso (lha mo lha mtsho) to seek a vision of the location and any other indications that might be revealed of the whereabouts of the Dalai Lama. When the Khenzur reached the lake it was a bitterly cold winter’s day, but the surface of the lake was clear as “a mirror cleansed a hundred times”. On the surface of the lake, the Khenzur is said to have seen a vision of a hamlet and a couple bringing out a child from a house, saying this is the Dalai Lama. In the Khenzur’s vision, the boy blessed the Khenzur by touching his forehead. Later, when Khenzur Lobzang Dargye arrived at the village he could recognize the place from the vision he had seen on the surface of the lake.

Sacred lake of Lhamo Lhatso. Click on image to enlarge.

The sacred lake of Lhamo Lhatso. Click on image to enlarge.

The boy who would soon be identified as the Thirteenth Dalai Lama was born on May 27, 1876. Many auspicious signs accompanied his birth. One year earlier, an earthquake had struck the Dakpo (dags po) area, and all the houses in the village where the Dalai Lama was born, Langdun (glang mdun), were destroyed or badly damaged. Only the house of the future Dalai Lama remained intact. At first this was seen as inauspicious, but a lama told the family that this was an auspicious sign. The boy’s mother is said to have received many dreams prior to his birth indicating that he was the rebirth of the Dalai Lama, and other mystical signs are said to have appeared, such as a tree flowering out of season and rainbow lights in the sky. The newborn is said to have had a fair complexion and a parasol-like head, with shining black hair with a single strand of white hair in the center.

When the child was two years old, the search party lead by Khenzur Lobzang Dargye arrived in Langdun. Satisfied with their discovery, they reported back to Lhasa and received confirmation from the Nechung Oracle.

Since there were no other candidates, the Regent submitted the name of the boy and details of discovery to the Machu Guangxu Emperor (光緒, r.1875-1908), who sent his official endorsement. The young boy and his parents were taken to Lhasa accompanied by an escort of one hundred Tibetan soldiers and monks. The party rested at Tsel Gungtang (tshal gung thang), a monastery fifteen miles from Lhasa, for three months, while the city prepared to welcome the new Dalai Lama. While at Tsel Gungtang, the Regent, members of the Kashak, the abbots of the three great monasteries, the Amban Songgui, who was the Qing representative in Tibet from 1874 to 1879, and the Gorkha representative in Tibet known as the Vikal, all came to pay their respects.

The impending arrival of the new Dalai Lama in early 1878 caused great excitement in Lhasa. Every building in the city was painted with fresh coats of whitewash and rooftops were strung with new prayer flags. The boy was brought to the Potala Palace where the Panchen Lama performed the haircutting ceremony (gtsug phud) in the Nyeryo (nyed yod) Chamber and bestowed the name Jetsun Ngawang Lobzang Tubten Gyatso Jikdrel Wangchuk Chokle Namgyel Pelzangpo (blo bzang thub bstan rgya mtsho ‘jigs bral dbang phyug phyogs las rnams rgyal dpal bzang po). The Thirteenth Dalai Lama generally came to be known by his abbreviated name of Tubten Gyatso, (thub stan rgya mtsho). The young Dalai Lama’s family was ennobled and took the name of Yabzhi Langdun (yab bzhis glang mdun). As was customary, the Qing Emperor bestowed the title of Gong (公) on the Kunga Rinchen (glang mdun kun dga’ rin chen, d. 1887), the father of the Dalai Lama.

Potala Palace. Image credit: Treasury of Lives. Click on image to enlarge.

The Potala Palace. Image credit: Treasury of Lives. Click on image to enlarge.

The Dalai Lama was formally enthroned on August first, 1879. His early childhood was spent in the Potala Palace during the winter seasons, and in the Norbulingka during the summer, surrounded by monk officials who had served the Twelfth Dalai Lama. When the Dalai Lama reached the age of six, his religious training began with the taking of getsul (dge tsul, novice) vows. The Regent, the Tenth Tatsak, was appointed as the Dalai Lama’s senior tutor, even as he also continued to oversee the operation of the government. After the Regent’s death in 1886, he was succeeded as Regent by the Ninth Demo, Ngawang Lobzang Trinle Rabgye (de mo 09 ngag dbang blo bzang ‘phrin las rab rgyas, 1855-1900).

The Third Purchok, Jampa Gyatso (phur lcog 03 byams pa rgya mtsho, 1824-1901) of Sera Monastery, who had served as a tutor to the Twelfth Dalai Lama, was appointed as the junior tutor to the Thirteenth. The young Dalai Lama became close to his junior tutor, whom he held in great affection. After Purchok’s death, the Thirteenth Dalai Lama wrote a moving biography of his teacher, and later wrote that “the kindness of my teacher can not be repaid even at the cost of the heaps of jewels that fill the three worlds.”

The Dalai Lama’s early years were governed by formality and a strict regime of learning. He was attended by elderly monks who taught him writing and reading and, as he became proficient, Purchok began his formal training in Buddhist scriptures. During his childhood the Dalai Lama also suffered from various illnesses, the most serious being in 1882 when he fell ill during a smallpox (‘brum) epidemic in Lhasa.

 

Problems with the British

One of the pressing problems facing Tibet during the early years of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama’s reign was the menace of the British in India. The Tibetans became increasingly aware of the British interest in their country and the strengthening of British rule in the foothills of the Himalayas during this period. In 1885 the British sought permission from the Chinese Qing government to send a mission to Lhasa. This British mission, lead by Colman Macaulay, arrived with military escort on the frontier between Sikkim and Tibet. The Tibetans, however, viewing the military escort as an indication of British readiness to invade Tibet, refused to allow the mission to enter the country, and the British stood down.

An 1876 map of Sikkim. Image credit:Wikipedia. Click on image to enlarge.

An 1876 map of Sikkim. Image credit: Wikipedia. Click on image to enlarge.

With a new sense of urgency, the Tibetan Government then gave orders to mobilize a new army to protect its border. Two military officials, Dapon Lhading (mda’ dpon lha sding, d.u.) and Tsedron Sonam Gyeltsen (rtse mgron bsod nams rgyal mtshan, d.u.) were sent to recruit soldiers from Kongpo in southern Tibet. One thousand soldiers were also brought from Drakyab (brag g.yab) in Kham. In 1880, nine hundred Tibetan soldiers were sent to the border of Sikkim to guard against any possible British invasion, after receiving the blessing of the Dalai Lama.

This Tibetan army, lead by Depon Ngapo (mda dpon nga phod, d.u.) and Surkhang (zur khang, d.u.), moved into Lungtar (rlung thar), a high pass between Sikkim and Tibet which Tibetans regarded as part of their country. The British demanded that the Tibetans withdraw, claiming the area was part of Sikkim. When the Tibetans refused, the British attacked the Tibetan camp in March 1888 and drove the Tibetan army out of the area. This was the first armed clash between the Tibetans and technologically superior British army. In 1890 in Darjeeling, the British government and the Chinese Qing government signed a treaty known as the “Anglo-Chinese Convention Relating to Sikkim and Tibet.” The treaty granted the British right to trade and send missions to Tibet, and defined the frontier between Tibet and Sikkim. However, the Tibetans disregarded all agreements signed between China and Britain regarding Tibet, taking the position that it was for Lhasa alone to negotiate with foreign powers on Tibet’s behalf.

British army firing at Tibetans.

The British army firing at Tibetans. Click on image to enlarge.

When the Dalai Lama was thirteen years old, he recorded a dream in which “a black man visited and told him that he would face many difficulties and that he would be forced to travel to Mongolia, China and India”. The figure in the dream also prophesied that he would live longer then any other Dalai Lama. The prophecy appeared to be stikingly born out when the Dalai Lama was later exiled to the countries foretold in the dream.

 

Assumption of Power

Until the age of twenty, the Thirteenth Dalai Lama devoted himself to religious studies and refused to assume political power despite repeated request. Historically the Dalai Lamas assumed political power at the age of eighteen. The Thirteenth Dalai Lama however told the Kashak that he wanted to wait until he had completed his religious studies.

On the first day of the eighth Tibetan month of the wood-sheep year, or 1895, the Dalai Lama was given full ordination, or gelong (dge slong) vows. The ceremony took place at the central Lhasa cathedral, the Jokhang, with monks from the three main Geluk monasteries in attendance. The Third Purchok, Jampa Gyatso (pur bu lcog 03 byams pa rgya mtsho, 1825-1901) acted as preceptor. The Ninth Panchen Lama, Lobzang Tubten Chokyi Nyima (paN chen 09 blo bzang thub bstan chos kyi nyi ma, 1883-1937), was at the time too young to participate as would otherwise have been expected.

13thDalailama7

A picture of H.H. the 13th Dalai Lama, Tubten Gyatso in a less formal setting. Click on image to enlarge.

Despite the Dalai Lama’s continued disinclination to take on the political duties of his office, that year the National Assembly of the Tibetan Government (tshongs ‘du rgyas ‘dzom) was convened, attended by all the nobility and abbots of three great monasteries. The Assembly unanimously called on the Dalai Lama to assume power. The Dalai Lama responded to the assembly’s request by saying that the threat from Britain still had not yet passed and, as the country still faced danger, that more experienced leaders should administrate the country. However, the Dalai Lama told the assembly and the Kashak that they should consult the Nechung Oracle first, and that he would follow the guidance of the oracle. The oracle subsequently told the government officials that the time had indeed come for the Dalai Lama to lead. Thus, on the eighth day of the eighth month of the year, a ceremony was held in the Potala Palace marking the assumption of temporal power of Tibet by the Dalai Lama.

The first two years of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama’s reign passed peacefully. The Dalai Lama mainly visited monasteries and conferred recognition on other lamas. In 1896, however, the Chinese Governor of Sichuan, Lu Chuanlin 鹿傳霖, launched a military attack in Kham in an attempt to gain control of an area called Nyarong (nyag rong), which had been governed by Lhasa since the Lhasa government’s defeat of the regional warlord Gonpo Namgyel (mgon po rnam rgyal, d. 1865) and the conclusion of the Nyarong War in 1865. General Zhou Wanshun 周萬順 led an army to attack a detachment of Tibetan forces in Nyarong and established Chinese control there. The Thirteenth Dalai Lama dispatched a secret mission to Beijing via Calcutta and then by sea, led by Sherab Chonpel (shes rab chos ‘phel, d.u.). This secret mission was a shrewd decision by the young Dalai Lama and circumvented Chinese officials in Lhasa. The Guangxu Emperor (光緒, r. 1875-1908) agreed to the Dalai Lama’s demand for the withdrawal of Chinese soldiers from Nyarong, and the territory was returned to the direct rule of Lhasa.

13thDalailama1

Another picture of H.H. the 13th Dalai Lama, Tubten Gyatso. Click on image to enlarge.

When the Dalai Lama reached the age of twenty-four, he began to have recurring and disturbing dreams which he noted down on paper. The Dalai Lama consulted Terton Sogyel, Lerab Lingpa (gter ston bsod rgyal las rab gling pa, 1856-1926), a Nyingma treasure revealer, about his recurring dreams. Terton Sogyel saw these dreams as an ominous sign that the Dalai Lama’s life was in danger. This view was further confirmed by the Nechung Oracle’s pronouncements. The Dalai Lama was advised to perform various rituals and good deeds to avert the danger to his life. In 1899, the Third Purchok advised that he should take the exam for the degree of Geshe Lharampa (dge bshes lha rams pa). This is the highest academic degree awarded within the Gelukpa monastic educational system. On the seventh day of the first Tibetan month in the earth-pig year, 1899, in front of a gathering of all the abbots and the monks of the great monasteries of Tibet, the Dalai Lama was examined by his teachers and debated with other Geshes. He became the first Dalai Lama to earn the Lharampa degree.

 

The Case of Enchanted Boots

In 1900, when the Thirteenth Dalai Lama reached the age of twenty-five — a perilous year according to Tibetan astrology, which holds that every thirteenth year is “obstructed” (skyeg) — the Nechung Oracle repeated his prophecy that the Dalai Lama’s life was in danger. That year the Dalai Lama fell ill frequently, had a low appetite, and grew physically weak. According to one account of the incident, the Dalai Lama noticed that his health deteriorated whenever he wore boots presented to him by Terton Sogyel. When his attendants examined the boots carefully they found a harmful mantra hidden in the sole. The government questioned Terton Sogyel, who declared his innocence and told them that when he wore the boot he also began to bleed from the nose. He told the officials the boots were a gift from another lama from Nyarong named Nyaktrul (nyag sprul) who was renowned for his magical powers. In another account, the boot had been giving to Terton Sogyel by the Ninth Demo, Ngawang Lobzang Trinle Rabgye (ngag dbang blo bzang ‘phrin las rab rgyas, 1855-1899), and were never worn by the Dalai Lama. In this version it was the Nechung Oracle was the one who called attention to the boots.

A picture of the incumbent Nechung Oracle taking trance.

The incumbent Nechung Oracle taking trance. Click on image to enlarge.

In either case, when Nyaktrul was interrogated he confessed that he had been recruited by the former regent, the Ninth Demo, and his brother and manager, Norbu Tsering (nor bu tshe ring, d.u.). Using a form of Yamantaka called Shinje Tsedak (gshin rje tshe bdag), he had prepared an image of a man with outstretched arms and legs with mantra surrounding it, and with the name Tubten Gyatso and the word chiwa (byi ba), the birth year of the Dalai Lama, inside the figure. This he put inside the boots, and had also buried magical mantras in the four corners of the Potala Palace and in Samye Monastery (bsam yas). The intention was to murder the Dalai Lama.

The government arrested the Ninth Demo and members of his family, and under questioning Demo admitted his role in the plot. The Demo’s estates were confiscated and he was imprisoned in Lhasa. According to Goldstein, the Demo’s motivation for the affair was that after stepping down from office the Demo’s enemies began threatening him and his family; he attempted to murder the Dalai Lama in order to resume power. The Demo, his brother, and Nyaktrul all died in custody. Although some argued that the Demo was framed by his political enemies, the Dalai Lama later told Charles Bell that he believed the Demo had participated in the plot. The Dalai Lama forbade the identification of the Demo’s reincarnation, but several years later his followers did so anyway — in the person of the Dalai Lama’s own nephew, Trinle Rabgye (‘phrin las rab rgyas, d.u.), whom the Dalai Lama allowed to be confirmed as the Tenth Demo.

After the incident, the Dalai Lama went on pilgrimage to holy places in Tibet, most notably to Dakpa Shelri (dag pa shel ri) in Tsari (rtsa ri), southern Tibet. On the way, he visited Langdun, the village where he was born. In 1902 the Dalai Lama ordained the Ninth Panchen Lama in the Jokhang.

 

The British Invasion and the Flight to Mongolia

By 1900, the British government had started receiving reports from missionaries based in Tibet and on the Sikkim border that there were hundreds of Russian military advisors in Lhasa and that the Dalai Lama and the Tsar had formed a secret alliance. These reports alarmed Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of India. The British suspicion was further fuelled by information they learned through Russian press, which reported the visit of the Buriyat Lama Agvan Dorjiev (1854-1938) to St Petersburg in 1901. Dorjiev had first come to Lhasa in 1880 to study at Drepung, where it was customary for monks of Mongolian origin to enroll at Gomang College. There he excelled in his studies and was appointed as a debating partner, or tsenzhab (mtshan zhabs) to the Dalai Lama.

Agvan Dorjiev. Click on image to enlarge.

Agvan Dorjiev. Click on image to enlarge.

As a debating partner, Dorjiev had ample time to meet with the Dalai Lama and they soon established a close friendship. It was through Dorjiev that the Dalai Lama learned of Russia and its increasing influence in Central Asia. For the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government, this seemed an opportune time to establish closer relations with Russia. The Tibetans realized from earlier clashes with the British at the Sikkim frontier that China was nether inclined nor able to aid Tibet; in order to deter British interest in Tibet, Lhasa was eager to establish contact with other powers. Dorjiev and others close to the Thirteenth Dalai Lama were particularly concerned about British interest in Tibet because they feared that the British were hostile to Buddhism and that a British presence in Tibet would involve Christian missionizing.

In the summer of 1901, Dorjiev arrived in St Petersburg with a letter from the Thirteenth Dalai Lama and one from the Kashak. The Dalai Lama’s letter was formal and expressed his appreciation of the Tsar’s treatment of his Buddhist subjects (mainly Mongolians living within the greater Russian Empire). The letter from the Kashak was explicit in soliciting Russian support against the British. When the British learned of the purpose of Dorjiev visit, they viewed it as a real threat to the security of British India. At this time, during what is often called the “Great Game” period of Asian imperial and colonial rivalries, the British were particularly concerned to counter what they viewed as growing Russian influence and territorial aspirations.

Despite Russian statements to the British that they would not in fact intervene in Tibet, the British remained suspicious. At first, the British demanded that the Chinese Qing government ‘open up’ Tibet to the British. However, the British soon realized that China lacked any real authority in Tibet, and Lord Curzon decided to take a more direct approach by sending a mission to Lhasa with the goal of setting up a permanent British mission in Tibet.

Lieutenant Colonel Sir Francis Edward Younghusband, Image credit: wikipedia. Click on image to enlarge.

Lieutenant Colonel Sir Francis Edward Younghusband. Image credit: Wikipedia. Click on image to enlarge.

In January 1904, under the leadership of Colonial Francis Younghusband, the British mobilized over eight thousand soldiers and launched an invasion of Tibet from the Sikkim frontier. The ill-equipped Tibetan army was no match for the well-trained British soldiers, and the Tibetans lost over a thousand men in a series of one- sided confrontations. The British marched toward Lhasa.

With Lhasa in a panic, the Tsokdu (tshogs ‘du), or Tibetan National Assembly, convened to discuss the matter. The majority of the assembly members full-heartedly argued that Tibet should fight the British until the last man. At the time, the most senior Minister, Shedra Peljor Dorje (bshad sgra dpal ‘byor rdo rje, d. 1919/1920) argued for the need to conclude a settlement with the British. Shedra was one of the few Tibetan officials who had travelled outside Tibet and knew the real strength of the British army. The hot-headed members of the Tsokdu attacked Shedra, and accused him of being pro-British. The assembly impeached Shedra and four other ministers and imprisoned them. At the time the Dalai Lama was in a three year solitary meditation retreat, which excluded him from intervening in the day-to-day affairs of the state. When he came out, and learned of the arrests, he immediately ordered their release.

At the end of July of 1904, the news reached Norbulingka that the British had reached Chakzam (lcags zam), a day’s ride from Lhasa. The Dalai Lama appointed the Eighty-sixth Ganden Tripa, Lobzang Gyeltsen (dga’ ldan khri pa 86 blo bzang rgyal mtshan, b. 1840) as the Regent, and, at midnight, accompanied by a few of his trusted servants, fled Lhasa.

When the party reached Reting (rwa sgreng) Monastery the Dalai Lama changed into a dress worn by wealthy Mongolian merchants and proceeded towards Ngakchu (ngag chu) in northern Tibet. The journey was arduous and the Dalai Lama and his party faced many difficulties. On the Jangtang (byang thang), the vast northern plain, the party encountered such howling wind that they were unable to pitch tents, forcing the Dalai Lama to sleep in the open. After three months of travel the Dalai Lama and his party arrived in Mongolia and were met at the border by the brother of the Eighth Jetsundampa Khutughtu (1869-1924), the highest ranking Mongolian lama. They were escorted to Urga, the capital of Mongolia.

The 8th Khalkha Jetsundampa Khutuktu Ngawang Lobsang Chokyi Nyima. Click on image to enlarge.

The 8th Khalkha Jetsundampa Khutuktu Ngawang Lobsang Chokyi Nyima. Click on image to enlarge.

Mongolia and Tibet shared a close religious and cultural affinity. In addition, serious practical political considerations influenced the Dalai Lama’s decision to go to Mongolia. The Dalai Lama knew that going to China would mean symbolically placing Tibet under Chinese control. The second important consideration was that, per the advice of Dorjiev, who accompanied the Dalai Lama’s party, once in Urga the Tibetans could seek the help of the Russian Tsar. Indeed, soon after their arrival in Urga, the Dalai Lama dispatched Dorjiev to St Petersburg. In a meeting with Shishmaryov, the Russian Consul in Urga, the Dalai Lama asked him directly if Russia would be willing to protect Tibet from China and Britain. As it turned out, however, Russia was facing more pressing problems at home and abroad, including war with Japan, and the Tsar was in no position to offer help to the Tibetans. However, Tsar instructed the ambassador in Beijing to travel to Urga and meet with the Dalai Lama.

The Dalai Lama’s stay in Urga had caused a serious rift with Jetsundampa, the ruler of Mongolia. It would seem that the popularity of the Dalai Lama eclipsed that of the Jetsundampa, who had refused to meet the Dalai Lama on his arrival in Urga. The Jetsundampa had asserted that it was more appropriate for the Dalai Lama to come to him. The Jetsundampa went as far as ordering a throne that had been created for the Dalai Lama to be dismantled. A Mongolian witness recorded that once the Jetsundampa entered a temple where the Dalai Lama had earlier given a teaching. A chair had been placed in front of Jetsundampa’s throne. The lama enquired as to why the chair had been placed in front of his throne and, when told it was for the Dalai Lama, he kicked it. Increasing tension between the two lamas made staying in Urga untenable.

Finally, in 1907, the British and the Russians signed an agreement that neither would act in Tibet. This essentially removed Tibet from the so-called Great Game. As a result, and as a result of the above mentioned tensions with the Jetsundampa, the Thirteenth Dalai Lama left Urga some time in 1907.

 

Sojourn in Beijing

After leaving Urga the Dalai Lama travelled in Amdo giving teachings. He stayed primarily at Kumbum (sku ‘bum) Monastery, which marks the spot of Tsongkhapa‘s birth. There he received a delegation from Lhasa which brought news of events in Lhasa and urged him to return. The Dalai Lama decided instead to go to Beijing, leaving in the summer of 1908.

On route to Beijing the Dalai Lama stopped at Wutai Shan (ri bo rtse lnga, 清凉山), in Shanxi, a mountain sacred to the bodhisattva Manjusri which had long been a center of Tibetan and Chinese interaction. There he encountered William Rockhill, who was then the American Ambassador to China. This was the first formal contact between Tibet and the United States. The Dalai Lama presented Rockhill with a painting of Tsongkhapa and a letter to President Roosevelt. Rockhill wrote to Roosevelt describing the meeting as “the most unique experience of my life” and went on to describe the Dalai Lama as a “vigorous young man, intelligent and friendly”. He further wrote that the Dalai Lama “is a man of undoubted intelligence and ability, of quick understanding and of force of character. He is broad-minded — and of great natural dignity” and goes on to say that “he is a quick tempered and impulsive, but cheerful and kindly.”

In September 1908, the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan party arrived in Beijing. Rockhill witnessed the arrival of the Dalai Lama in the city and later wrote “[the Dalai Lama] had been treated with all the ceremony which could have been accorded to any independent sovereign, and nothing can be found in Chinese works to indicate that he was looked upon in any other light.”

While in Beijing the Chinese authorities tried to prevent the Dalai Lama from meeting foreign diplomats. The Tibetans, however, were keen to establish contacts with Japan, an emerging power since its defeat of the Russian fleet in the Pacific. The Dalai Lama met with the Japanese Ambassador and military adviser. As a result of the discussions, after the Dalai Lama’s return to Lhasa in 1909, the Japanese sent military advisors to train and modernize the Tibetan army.

Dowager Empress Cixi. Image credit: wikipedia. Click on image to enlarge.

The Dowager Empress Cixi. Image credit: Wikipedia. Click on image to enlarge.

The Dalai Lama refused to meet with intermediary Chinese officials and insisted on discussing Tibetan affairs directly with Dowager Empress Cixi (慈禧, 1835-1908), then the acting ruler of China. The meeting with Cixi took place on October 14, 1908. On that same day the Dalai Lama met with the young Emperor Xuantong (宣統, r. 1908-1911). According to Rockhill, the Dalai Lama refused to kowtow — bow down in obeisance — before the young Emperor. Tibetan sources have it that when the Dalai Lama entered the imperial chamber the Emperor rose from his throne and met the Dalai Lama, but that the Emperor’s throne was raised slightly higher.

The Dalai Lama had several meetings with the Dowager and the Emperor. The descriptions in the Dalai Lama’s biography indicate a close relationship between the Dowager and the Dalai Lama; when she passed away in November 1908, the Dalai Lama performed funeral rituals and composed a long eulogy. However, the description of the relationship found in the biography of the Dalai Lama needs to be read with some suspicion. There was conflict over the Dalai Lama’s titles, and over issues his rights of access to the Dowager and the young Emperor.

 

Return to Lhasa and Flight to India

In 1909, on the ninth day of the eleventh month of the earth-bird year, the Dalai Lama arrived in Lhasa. He had been in exile for nearly five years. They were met in Nakchu (nag chu) by the Third Tsemonling, Ngawang Lobzang Tenpai Gyeltsen (tshe smon gling 03 ngag dbang blo bzang bstan pa’i rgyal mtshan, 1864-1919), who was then serving as the Eighty-seventh Ganden Tripa (dga’ ldan khri pa 87), and the members of the Kashak and high lamas from multiple monasteries. A few days after arrival in Lhasa, a ceremony was held in the Potala Palace marking the formal handing over of the government to the Dalai Lama. At the ceremony a new gold seal was presented to the Dalai Lama which described his authority over Tibet as “indestructible as a diamond”.

While the Dalai Lama had been traveling through Amdo and China, the Manchu leadership in Beijing had responded to the 1904 British invasion of Tibet with a plan to strengthen their own presence in Tibet. The Qing had long sought to increase their administration of the border regions, sending ill-fated military missions into the Gyelrong region in the mid-eighteenth centuries, and distributing titles to many petty kingdoms across Kham and Amdo. In 1905, ostensibly in response to a local Tibetan attack on Christian missionaries in Batang (‘ba’ thang), the Chinese sent forces into Kham with the aim of exerting complete control. By 1906 the Manchu general Zhao Erfeng (趙爾豊, 1845-1911) was in charge of the operation. Zhao was so ruthless in his methods that he earned the nickname “the Butcher of Kham.” (It was Zhao who gave Dartsedo its modern Chinese name: Kangding 康定, short for Kangfang pinding 康方平定, the “Pacification of Kham.)

Manchu general Zhao Erfeng. Image credit: wikipedia. Click on image to enlarge.

The Manchu general Zhao Erfeng. Image credit: Wikipedia. Click on image to enlarge.

The same year that the Dalai Lama assumed leadership in Lhasa, General Zhao successfully petitioned Beijing to appoint him Amban in Lhasa and to allow him to bring his army with him. The Dalai Lama was informed that his religious authority would be protected, but no mention was made of his political authority. The Tibetans concluded that the Chinese were intending to overthrow the Dalai Lama, and sent an appeal to Beijing via Calcutta, to no effect. With no functioning Tibetan army since the defeat by the British, the Tibetans had no means to defend themselves against Zhao’s forces.

In February 1910 Zhao’s army arrived in Lhasa and quickly crushed Tibetan resistance. Yabzhi Punkhang (yab gzhis phun khang, d.u.) who was the head of the newly created Tibetan foreign office, was taken prisoner and two of his officials were killed. The Dalai Lama, informed that Zhao intended to take him prisoner, and fearing that there would be bloodshed in Lhasa as the public would try to protect him from the Chinese soldiers, decided to leave Lhasa. On the night of the third day of the first Tibetan month, the Dalai Lama summoned the Ganden Tripa, Tsemonling Ngawang Lobzang, and appointed him Regent. That night the Dalai Lama, accompanied by members of the Kashak, fled from Lhasa.

The next day when the Chinese learned of his flight, they sent an army to stop the party but the Dalai Lama managed to escape to India. According to one of his biographies, the Dalai Lama intended to go to Beijing to negotiate with the Qing Emperor personally. Soon after arriving in India, however, he received a letter in which the Emperor stated that he was powerless; he had been deposed. Indeed, in 1911 the Manchu Qing government of China fell, to be replaced by a shifting field of Republican, warlord, and in 1949, Chinese Communist Party leadership.

During his exile in India, the British treated the Dalai Lama with great respect. Charles Bell, a political officer in Sikkim, was appointed to look after the Dalai Lama. Bell had been involved in Tibetan affairs since 1904 and was a fluent Tibetan speaker. To the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan party, the reception they received from the British was a surprise, given the hostilities of the previous decade. Bell described the thirty-four year old Dalai Lama as follows:

The Dalai Lama was about five feet six inches in height. His complexion was the darker hue of one who is lowly born. The nose was lightly aquiline. The large well-set ears were a sign that he was an incarnation of Chen-re-zi. Eyebrows curved high and a full moustache with the ends well waxed, accentuated the alertness of the administrator, rather than the priest meditating apart. His dark-brown eyes were large and very prominent. They lit up as he spoke or listened, and his whole countenance shone with a quiet eagerness. He had small, neat hands and the closely shaven head of the priest.

The British found themselves in a predicament. The Tibetans were requesting direct military help against General Zhao, but the Anglo-Russian Agreement of 1907 forbade Britain from intervening in Tibet. Charles Bell writes “the order came through from London that our attitude towards him [the Dalai Lama] was to be one of neutrality.” He goes on to say that when he delivered this message from the British government the Dalai Lama “was so surprised and distressed that for a minute or two he lost the power of speech”. Without the direct support of the British, the Dalai Lama had to rethink his strategy. In India, the Dalai Lama received disastrous news from Tibet that the Chinese soldiers were looting the city and were bent on attacking Sera Monastery. The government ministers appointed by the Dalai Lama had been arrested, and the Chinese were threatening to execute some of the Tibetan officials.

The Dalai Lama spent roughly three months in India, during which he made pilgrimages to Kapilavastu and Bodhgaya, the sites of the Buddha’s birth and enlightenment. In Kalimpong, at the invitation of Raja Urgyen Dorje (o rgyan rdo rje, 1855-1916), he stayed at the newly built Bhutan House, which he named The Palace of Unchanging Supreme Joy (mi ‘gyur ngon dpar dga ba’i pho brang).

With the Dalai Lama in India, the Republican Chinese government realized that their policy had been a miscalculation. Far from strengthening their position in Tibet, the invasion and the flight of the Dalai Lama had driven the Tibetans further into the British camp. Also, the actions adopted by Zhao Erfeng’s army had antagonized the Tibetan populace. The Chinese government stripped Zhao Erfeng of his appointment. With the understanding that the British would not assist them, the Tibetans for their part decided to organize a full scale resistance inside Tibet. The diplomat, military leader, and strong proponent of modernizationg, Tsarong Dasang Damdul (tsha rong zla bzang dgra’ ‘dul, d. 1959), was secretly sent to Lhasa to organize the revolt.

By October 1911, the Qing Dynasty in China had collapsed. For the new government under Yuan Shikai (袁世凱, 1859-1916), Tibet was a lesser problem compared with civil war at home. The Chinese soldiers in Tibet mutinied and the Tibetans were able to take advantage of the situation and gain control of the country. In 1912, on the tenth day of the fifth Tibetan month in the year of the water-mouse, the Dalai Lama left India for Tibet and a week later he arrived in Samding Monastery (bsam sdings dgon). The Dalai Lama remained there for a month watching the situation in Lhasa. While at Samding the Dalai Lama received a surrender letter from the Chinese Amban.

H.H the 9th Panchen Lama, Thubten Choekyi Nyima, Image credit: wikipedia. Click to enlarge.

H.H. the 9th Panchen Lama, Thubten Choekyi Nyima, Image credit: Wikipedia. Click to enlarge.

The Ninth Panchen Lama met the Dalai Lama at Ralung Monastery (rwa lung dgon), and on the sixteenth day of the eighth Tibetan month the Dalai Lama entered Lhasa. Tibetan sources state that he was welcomed by thousands of people lining the city streets. However, it should be noted that many Tibetans had sided with the Chinese; four members of the Kashak would subsequently be executed for their role in aiding Zhao Erfeng.

Just weeks after his return to Lhasa, on February 13, 1913, the Dalai Lama issued a proclamation severing all ties with China and declared Tibet an independent country. The proclamation said that in light of Chinese hostile attempts to take control of Tibet, the traditional relationship between Tibet and China governed by the historic model of “patron and priest” had “faded like a rainbow in the sky.” It was the first expression of Tibetan nationalism from a Dalai Lama, a line of incarnations that had since the sixteenth century relied on foreign patronage. (In this proclamation, the Dalai Lama also stresses the importance of “the preservation of sacred places” and mentions the Jokhang in particular. It is likely after soon after this period that the Dalai Lama restored the Jokhang by repairing the chapels, halls, murals and the roofs.) The Dalai Lama also convened a special meeting of the National Assembly, where all officials from the furthest districts were summoned. At the meeting, the Dalai Lama announced his decision to institute major reforms in Tibet. It was also announced that both the Amban and the Chinese army stationed in Tibet would be expelled. The Tibetan National Assembly also demanded that Chinese settled in Tibet must leave within the next three years.

 

Reforms and Modernisation

During his travels in Mongolia, China and India the Thirteenth Dalai Lama had witnessed changes in the world, and realized how far Tibet lagged behind in terms of developments elsewhere. Therefore, the Dalai Lama was determined to bring about political and social reforms in Tibet. These reforms included the establishment of a new medical school, the Mentsikhang (sman rtsis khang) in Lhasa. Designed to improve the training of Tibetan doctors, it was intended to ensure that every locality should have access to medical practitioners.

He sent four Tibetan boys to study in England, who returned to Tibet in the 1920s. One trained in electrical engineering and installed the first power station in Tibet; by 1924 the streets of Lhasa had electric lights. Another trained as a military officer and began to train the Tibetan army. A third, who trained in telegraphy, established a telegraph line from Lhasa to Gyantse (rgyal rtse), thus enabling Tibet to communicate with the outside world. In 1924, the Dalai Lama invited foreign advisors to Tibet to build schools and train the army. Frank Ludlow, inspector of schools in India, was appointed to set up a school in Gyantse modelled on English grammar schools.

Yasujiro Yajima, a Japanese military expert, was appointed to train the Tibetan army and new military equipment was purchased from the British. A communication system between different regions of Tibet was established and a government postal system was introduced in Tibet for the first time. New paper currency was introduced to raise revenue for the modernization program.

Jokhang Monastery. Click to enlarge.

Jokhang Monastery. Click to enlarge.

In the winter of 1913 the Dalai Lama gave a major public teaching of the Lamrim Chenmo (lam rim chen mo), a teaching that was attended by lamas, monks and hundreds of lay people. He also decided to renovate the Jokhang and other temples in central Tibet. He sponsored the reprinting of important religious texts and established the Shol Printing Press in Lhasa. The press later became the government-printing center, not only for the printing of religious texts but also for printed military training manuals translated from Japanese, Russian and English.

Although the Manchu Amban and the Chinese soldiers stationed in central Tibet were expelled, much of Kham and Amdo remained under Chinese control. In 1913, the Dalai Lama sent Prime Minister (srid blon) Lochen Shatra Peljor Dorje (blon chen bshad sgra dpal ‘byor rdo rje, 1860-1919) to Simla in India to attend a conference of representatives from China, Britain and Tibet. The main agenda for the conference was to delimit and define the boundary between Tibet and China. The Tibetans demanded the return of all Tibetan territories occupied by the Chinese in Kham and Amdo. The British proposed the creation of an Inner and Outer Tibet, which seemed to imply that the Dalai Lama was willing to surrender claims over territories east of Drichu River (‘bris chu; the Upper Yangdze) in return for the tacit acceptance of Tibetan independence by China. The representatives of Tibet, China and Britain initialled the final agreement. However, the respective governments never ratified the agreement.

In 1917, fighting broke out between the Tibetan army and Chinese troops still stationed in Chamdo — a city to the west of the Drichu and thus in “Inner Tibet”. The Tibetan army, under the command of Kalon Jampa Tendar (bka’ blon byams pa bstan dar, d. 1922), defeated the Chinese and set about reasserting Tibetan authority in most parts of Kham. The success of the Tibetan campaign was largely due to the military reequipping of the Tibetan army and reforms introduced by the Dalai Lama. The British, however did not want to see the extension of Tibetan rule in Kham and refused to supply arms, thus halting Tibetan advances.

A picture of Tashilhunpo Monastery taken within the period of 1900 to 1901. Image credit: World Digital Library. Click on image to enlarge.

A picture of Tashilhunpo Monastery taken within the period of 1900 to 1901. Image credit: World Digital Library. Click on image to enlarge.

The cost of war in Kham and of the reforms were enormous for the Tibetan government. Yet the decision to increase government revenue was unpopular with monasteries and wealthy estates. This brought new tensions between the major monastic estates and the government. In order to pay for the increase in the size and professionalism of the Tibetan army, the government proposed that Tashilhunpo, the estate of the Panchen Lama, should pay for one quarter of the cost of the army. In principle, Tashilhunpo agreed to contribute as they had done in the past, but as they found it was a huge drain on their resources they failed to send the funds. This led to a serious strain on the relationship between Lhasa and Tashilhunpo, and the Panchen Lama wrote to the Dalai Lama asking for a personal meeting. The request seems to have been partly religious in nature: he complained that his training remained incomplete without empowerments and initiations into various rites from the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama replied with the usual modesty expressed by all lamas, that he was not worthy to give teachings.

He also requested that the Panchen Lama to come to Lhasa secretly with a small escort. This alarmed the Tashilhunpo officials who feared that the Panchen Lama might be detained in Lhasa. As a result, in November 1923, the Panchen Lama, accompanied by few Tashilhunpo officials, fled Shigatse and went into exile in China.

The biography of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama gives an impression that the personal relationship between the two lamas was one of mutual admiration and respect. It is described as “sandalwood and its fragrance” one inseparable from the other. Yet there was a serious divergence of views on politics and secular affairs. Whatever the personal relationship might have been between the two lamas, the flight of the Panchen Lama to China was to have disastrous consequences for Tibet. The Panchen Lama came under the influence of the Chinese government and never returned to Tibet. His reincarnation, the Tenth Panchen Lama, Lobzang Trinle Lhundrub Chokyi Gyatso (paN chen 10 blo bzang phrin las lhun grub chos kyi rgyal mtshan, 1938-1989), would play a central role in Tibetan accommodation and resistance to Communist rule in Tibet.

H.H the 10th Panchen Lama, Lobzang Trinle Lhundrub Chokyi Gyatso. Click on image to enlarge.

H.H. the 10th Panchen Lama, Lobzang Trinle Lhundrub Chokyi Gyatso. Click on image to enlarge.

The Thirteenth Dalai Lama faced considerable opposition to his reforms from many quarters. The English-style school established in Gyantse had to close because the monasteries saw it as an intrusion of foreign values challenging their monopoly over the education of the young. They also feared the success of the schools would reduce the number of monks. Similarly, when one of the Tibetans who had studied engineering in England proposed developing gold mining in Tibet, monk officials argued that mining would disturb the earth deities.

By the 1920s, Tibetan society was rapidly changing and new foreign influences were affecting people’s lifestyle and habits. Fashionable people began to adopt western style dresses and cigarettes had become popular. Not open to all modernizing trends, the Dalai Lama banned the import of tobacco and the customs office was ordered to seize all cigarettes and tobacco. The Dalai Lama also banned aristocrats from wearing Western style dress, especially when attending government meetings and functions. He forbade ostentatious displays of wealth and the wearing of expensive jewellery by aristocratic ladies, saying that doing so created unnecessary jealousy and rivalry among the people. He also issued an order banning the slaughtering of animals in Tibet, which , if it had been fully implemented, would have prevented Tibetans from eating meat.

The Dalai Lama’s religious practice was also a source of conflict with senior Geluk lamas. The Thirteenth Dalai Lama, like the Fifth Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lobzang Gyatso (tA la’i bla ma 05 ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho, 1617-1682), received teachings from many traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. His taking of initiation from Nyingma lamas in particular eventually led to conflict with one of the most influential Geluk lamas of the day, Pabongkha Dechen Nyingpo (pha bong kha bde chen snying po, 1878-1941) on the issue of the propitiation of a deity called Dorje Shugden. The worship of this deity continues to divide the Geluk community both inside and outside of Tibet.

H.H the 5th Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lobzang Gyatso. Image credit: himalayanart.org. Click on image to enlarge.

H.H. the 5th Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lobzang Gyatso. Image credit: himalayanart.org. Click on image to enlarge.

Most scholars consider the Dalai Lama’s reform efforts to have failed. His attempt to build a strong and well-trained army could not be realized, not only because of internal opposition but because the British refused to supply adequate and sufficient weapons. Other reforms could not be carried out because Tibet’s economy could not sustain the cost. The government had no means of raising hard revenue or foreign currency. Its largest expenditure was on religion, supporting monasteries and religious ceremonies and festivals, and the monastic community opposed any change to this.

The Dalai Lama also weakened his own reforms by some of his policies. Before his rule as Dalai Lama, monks could not serve in the Kashak. This barred the clergy from direct interference in the highest decision making body of the government. The Dalai Lama allowed monks to become members of the Kashak, and later, those monk officials obstructed his reforms. Also, until the time of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama there was an unwritten consensus among the Tibetan ruling elite that no member of the Dalai Lama’s family should occupy a senior post in the government during the lifetime of the Dalai Lama. Yet, in 1926, the Dalai Lama appointed his nephew Kunga Wangchuk (kun dga’ dbang phyug, b.1907) as Prime Minster (srid blon). At the time Kunga Wangchuk was only nineteen years old and lacked experience in political affairs. This appointment left Tibet without an experienced and able leader.

Nearing the end of his life, the Dalai Lama became anxious about the fate of his country. He had kept himself informed of the events in Mongolia after the Communist Revolution there, as refugees arriving in Lhasa told him of the Stalin’s repressive measures. The Dalai Lama also saw the Civil War in China as a real threat. During his public sermons he repeated the need for Tibet to change in order to protect itself against foreign powers. A year before his death the Dalai Lama gave a teaching at Reting Monastery which has come to be regarded as his last testament. Speaking “as a father would advise his son” he warned of the danger awaiting Tibet in time to come. He began by recounting his life and troubles Tibet faced during his rule and continued:

I am now in the fifty-eighth year of my life. Everyone must know that I may not be around for more than a few years to discharge my temporal and religious responsibilities. You must develop a good diplomatic relationship with our two powerful neighbors: India and China. Efficient and well-equipped troops must be stationed even on the minor frontiers bordering hostile forces. Such an army must be well trained in warfare as a sure deterrent against any adversaries.

Furthermore, this present era is rampant with the five forms of degenerations, in particular the red ideology. In Outer Mongolia, the search for the reincarnation of Jetsundampa was banned; the monastic properties and endowments were confiscated; the lamas and monks forced into the army: and the Buddhist religion destroyed, leaving no trace of identity. Such a system, according to the reports still being received, has been established in Ulan Bator.

In future, this system will be certainly be forced either from within or from outside the land that cherished the joint spiritual and temporal system. If, in such an event, we fail to defend our land, the holy lamas including “the triumphant father and son” [the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama] will be eliminated without a trace of their names remaining; the properties of the reincarnate lamas and of the monasteries along with their endowments for religious services will be seized. Moreover, our political system originated by the three ancient kings will be reduced to empty name; my officials, deprived of their patrimony and property, will be subjugated, as slaves for the enemies; and my people subjected to fear and miseries, will be unable to endure day or night. Such an era will certainly come.

In 1933, on the thirteenth day of the tenth Tibetan month in the water-bird year, the Dalai Lama became ill and began to suffer from a bout of coughing. A day later, he lost his appetite and became short of breath. Despite his illness, for several days he continued with his duties, meeting his officials and monks. Natural calamities such as an earthquake in Kongpo, the destruction of Tsari (tsa ri) Monastery, which the Dalai Lama had visited, were taken as black omens that the Dalai Lama would not live long. Moreover, in the Western and Eastern Halls of the Potala Palace the sound of a woman weeping was heard, just as was reported at the time of the death of the Seventh Dalai Lama, Kelzang Gyatso (tA la’i bla ma 07 bskal bzang rgya mtsho, 1708-1757). One day an owl perched on the roof of Nechung Monastery hooted the sound ha ha ha continually for two nights. Then the crocodile shaped mouth of a gutter on the roof of Tsuklakhang began to drip water, and the source of the drip could not be located.

The Dalai Lama’s servants asked him what the meaning of these phenomena was. He replied that the portentous sound of the owl indicated that the time had come for him to depart his earthly existence. On thirtieth day of tenth Tibetan month, at midday, the Dalai Lama lay down on his bed feeling weak. At 7:30 that evening the Dalai Lama sat up and placed himself in a meditation posture, he closed his eyes and departed from earthly existence.

When the golden reliquary was planned to entomb his body, it was agreed that the Thirteenth Dalai Lama’s tomb should be the largest of the Dalai Lamas’, just a fraction higher then that of the Fifth Dalai Lama.

Note: This essay was adapted from “The Thirteenth Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso” in Martin Brauen, ed. The Dalai Lamas: A Visual History. London: Serindia, pp. 137-161.

 

ཏ་ལའི་བླ་མ ༡༣ ཐུབ་བསྟན་རྒྱ་མཚོ།

༧རྒྱལ་དབང་སྐུ་ཕྲེང་བཅུ་གསུམ་པ་ཐུབ་བསྟན་རྒྱ་མཚོ་ནི་འཛམ་གླིང་སྤྱི་དང་ལྷག་པར་བོད་གངས་ཅན་པའི་ལོ་རྒྱུས་ནང་དུས་ཚོད་དཀའ་རྙོག་ཆེ་ཤོས་ཤིག་གི་སྐབས་བྱོན་པ་དང་། ཁོང་ནི་ཐོག་མར་དབྱིན་ཇིའི་བཙན་འཛུལ་དང། དེ་རྗེས་མན་ཆིང་རྒྱ་ནག་གིས་བཙན་འཛུལ་བྱས་པ་ལ་བརྟེན་ནས་ཕྱི་རྒྱལ་དུ་བྲོས་བྱོལ་ལ་ཕེབས་དགོས་བྱུང་ཡོད། འོན་ཀྱང་སྐབས་དེར་ཁོང་ནས་དེང་རབས་ཀྱི་ཚན་རིག་ལག་རྩལ་དང་སྲིད་གཞུང་སྣ་ཚོགས་སོགས་ལ་མཁྱེན་རྟོགས་ཆེན་པོ་གནང་ཐུབ་པ་བྱུང་ཡོད། དེ་ནས་རྒྱ་ནག་མན་ཆིང་རྒྱལ་རབས་ཀྱི་སྲིད་གཞུང་མགོ་རྟིང་ལོག་རྗེས་ཁོང་གིས་བོད་རང་བཙན་གཙང་མ་ཡིན་པའི་གསལ་བསྒྲགས་གནང་། ཁོང་གིས་གསར་བརྗེའི་ལས་འགུལ་དང་ཆོས་ལུགས་མཐུན་ལམ་སོགས་ལས་གཞི་མང་པོ་ཞིག་བརྩམས་པར་བརྟེན། རྙིང་ཞེན་ཅན་གྱི་དགེ་ལྡན་པའི་བླ་སྤྲུལ་སོགས་མང་པོ་ཞིག་གིས་འགོག་རྐྱེན་བྱས་ཤིང་། མཐའ་མ་བོད་དེ་དེང་རབས་ཅན་གྱི་ལམ་དུ་བསྐྱོད་རྒྱུའི་དགོངས་བཞེད་མངོན་གྱུར་མ་ཐུབ་པར་ལུས་སོ།།

 

Teachers

  • The Third Purchok, Jampa Gyatso ཕུར་ལྕོག ༠༣ བྱམས་པ་རྒྱ་མཚོ། b.1825 – d.1901
  • The Fourth Amdo Zhamar, Gendun Tendzin Gyatso ཨ་མདོ་ཞྭ་དམར ༠༤ དགེ་འདུན་བསྟན་འཛིན་རྒྱ་མཚོ། b.1852 – d.1912
  • The Fifth Ling Rinpoche, blo bzang lung rtogs bstan ‘dzin ‘phrin las གླིང་རིན་པོ་ཆེ ༠༥ བློ་བཟང་ལུང་རྟོགས་བསྟན་འཛིན་འཕྲིན་ལས། b.1850 – d.1902
  • The Tenth Tatsak Jedrung, Ngawang Pelden Chokyi Gyeltsen རྟ་ཚག་རྗེ་དྲུང ༡༠ ངག་དབང་དཔལ་ལྡན་ཆོས་ཀྱི་རྒྱལ་མཚན། b.1850 – d.1886
  • blo bzang rab gsal བློ་བཟང་རབ་གསལ། b.1840
  • The Eighty-Second Ganden Tripa, Yeshe Chopel དགའ་ལྡན་ཁྲི་པ ༨༢ ཡེ་ཤེས་ཆོས་འཕེལ། b.early 19th cent. – d.late 19th cent.
  • Lerab Lingpa ལས་རབ་གླིང་པ། b.1856 – d.1926
  • Agvan Dorjiev ངག་དབང་བློ་བཟང། b.1854 – d.1938

 

Students

  • thub bstan rnam grol ཐུབ་བསྟན་རྣམ་གྲོལ། b.1906
  • The Fifth Reting Rinpoche, thub bstan ‘jam dpal ye shes bstan pa’i rgyal mtshan ༠༥ ཐུབ་བསྟན་འཇམ་དཔལ་ཡེ་ཤེས་བསྟན་པའི་རྒྱལ་མཚན། d.1947
  • The Ninth Panchen Lama, thub bstan chos kyi nyi ma པཎ་ཆེན་བླ་མ ༠༩ ཐུབ་བསྟན་ཆོས་ཀྱི་ཉི་མ། b.1883 – d.1937
  • dge ‘dun lung rtogs rab rgyas དགེ་འདུན་ལུང་རྟོགས་རབ་རྒྱས། b.1895 – d.1952
  • The Ninth Dorje Drak Rigdzin, Tubten Chowang Nyamnyi Dorje རྡོ་རྗེ་བྲག་རིག་འཛིན ༠༩ ཐུབ་བསྟན་ཆོས་དབང་མཉམ་ཉིད་རྡོ་རྗེ། b.1886 – d.1933
  • The Sixteenth Karmapa, rang byung rig pa’i rdo rje ཀརྨ་པ ༡༦ རང་བྱུང་རིག་པའི་རྡོ་རྗེ། b.1924 – d.1981
  • mkhyen brtse ‘od zer མཁྱེན་བརྩེ་འོད་ཟེར། b.1904 – d.1953?
  • The Eleventh Tongkhor, Lobzang Jigme Tsultrim Gyatso སྟོང་འཁོར ༡༡ བློ་བཟང་འཇིགས་མེད་ཚུལ་ཁྲིམས་རྒྱ་མཚོ། b.1891 – d.1909
  • The Fifth Kondor Tulku, Lobzang Namgyel Tendzin Lhundrub དཀོན་རྡོར་སྤྲུལ་སྐུ ༠༥ བློ་བཟང་འརྣམ་རྒྱལ་བསྟན་འཛིན་ལྷུན་གྲུབ། b.1894 – d.1950
  • Jampa Taye བྱམས་པ་མཐའ་ཡས། b.1894 – d.1949

 

Previous Incarnations

  • The First Dalai Lama, Gendun Drub ཏ་ལའི་བླ་མ ༠༡ དགེ་འདུན་གྲུབ་པ། b.1391 – d.1474
  • The Second Dalai Lama, Gendun Gyatso ཏ་ལའི་བླ་མ ༠༢ དགེ་འདུན་རྒྱ་མཚོ། b.1476 – d.1542
  • The Third Dalai Lama, Sonam Gyatso ཏ་ལའི་བླ་མ ༠༣ བསོད་ནམས་རྒྱ་མཚོ། b.1543 – d.1588
  • The Fourth Dalai Lama, Yonten Gyatso ཏ་ལའི་བླ་མ ༠༤ ཡོན་ཏན་རྒྱ་མཚོ། b.1589 – d.1617
  • The Fifth Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lobzang Gyatso ཏ་ལའི་བླ་མ ༠༥ ངག་དབང་བློ་བཟང་རྒྱ་མཚོ། b.1617 – d.1682
  • The Sixth Dalai Lama, Tsangyang Gyatso ཏ་ལའི་བླ་མ ༠༦ ཚངས་དབྱངས་རྒྱ་མཚོ། b.1683 – d.1706
  • The Seventh Dalai Lama, Kelzang Gyatso ཏ་ལའི་བླ་མ ༠༧ སྐལ་བཟང་རྒྱ་མཚོ། b.1708 – d.1757
  • The Eighth Dalai Lama, Jampel Gyatso ཏ་ལའི་བླ་མ ༠༨ འཇམ་དཔལ་རྒྱ་མཚོ། b.1758 – d.1804
  • The Ninth Dalai Lama, Lungtok Gyatso ཏ་ལའི་བླ་མ ༠༩ ལུང་རྟོགས་རྒྱ་མཚོ། b.1805 – d.1815
  • The Tenth Dalai Lama, Tsultrim Gyatso ཏ་ལའི་བླ་མ ༡༠ ཚུལ་ཁྲིམས་རྒྱ་མཚོ། b.1816 – d.1837
  • The Eleventh Dalai Lama, Khedrub Gyatso ཏ་ལའི་བླ་མ ༡༡ མཁས་གྲུབ་རྒྱ་མཚོ། b.1838 – d.1855
  • The Twelfth Dalai Lama, Trinle Gyatso ཏ་ལའི་བླ་མ ༡༢ འཕྲིན་ལས་རྒྱ་མཚོ། b.1856 – d.1875

 

Subsequent Incarnations

  • The Fourteenth Dalai Lama, Tendzin Gyatso ཏ་ལའི་བླ་མ ༡༤ བསྟན་འཛིན་རྒྱ་མཚོ། b.1935

 

Bibliography

  • Anon. N.d. Bstan rgyal gling gi rgyal zur bka’ khrims phogs pa’i lo rgyus. Manuscript in the Van Manen Papers, in the Instittut Kern, Leiden. TBRC W1GS46465.
  • Anon. 1997. Thub bstan rgya mtsho’i lo rgyus nyung bsdus/bod rgya shan sbyar/ mi rigs dpe mdzod khang. In Mi rigs dpe mdzod khang gi dpe tho las gsung ‘bum skor gyi dkar chag shes bya’i gter mdzod, vol. 2, pp. 270-276. Chengdu: Si khron mi rigs dpe skrun khang.TBRC W19837.
  • Anon. 2009. Spyan ras gzigs sdom brtson gyi rnam par byon pa rgyal dbang sku ‘phreng bcu gsum pa chen po’i rnam par thar pa’i skor/ (dkar chag sbrags ma). In Mdzad rnam rgya chen snying rje’i rol mtsho, vol. 1, pp. 167-169. Dharamsala: Norbulingka.TBRC W2CZ7990.
  • Bell, Charles. 1946. Portrait of the Dalai Lama. London: Colins.
  • Damdinsüren. 1997. Tales of An Old Lama. Tring: The Institute of Buddhist Studies.
  • Goldstein, Melvyn. 1989. A History of Modern Tibet, 1913-1959: The Demise of the Lamaist State. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • ‘Jigs med bsam grub. 2000. Rgyal ba sku phreng bcu gsum pa thub bstan rgya mtsho’i chos srid mdzad rnam. In Gong sa tA la’i bla ma sku phreng rim byon gyi chos srid mdzad rnam, pp. 705-835. Beijing: Mi rigs dpe skrun khang. TBRC W21672.
  • Kuleshov, Nikolai S. 1996. Russia’s Tibet File, Dharamsala: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives.
  • Mi nyag mgon po, et. al. 1996-2000. Rgyal ba thub bstan rgya mtsho’i rnam thar mdor bsdus (1876-1933). In Gangs can mkhas dbang rim byon gyi rnam thar mdor bsdus, pp. 769-781. Beijing: Krung go’i bod kyi shes rig dpe skrun khang.TBRC W25268.
  • Phur lcog thub bstan byams pa tshul khrims. Lhar bcas srid zhi’i gtsug rgyan gong sa rgyal ba’i dbang po kha’ drin mtshungs med sku phring bcu gsum pa chen po’i rnam par thar pa rgya mtsho lta bu las mdo tsam brjod pa ngo mtshar rin po che’i phreng ba. TBRC W3087andTBRC W2CZ7859.
  • Rockhill, W.W. 1910. “The Dalai Lama of Lhasa and their relations with Manchu Emperors of China, 1644-1908” T’oung Pao, vol. 11, pp: 1-104.
  • Tsering Shakya. 2005. “The Thirteenth Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso.” In Brauen, Martin, ed. The Dalai Lamas: A Visual History. London: Serindia, pp. 137-161.
  • Ya Hanzhang. 1991. The Biographies of the Dalai Lamas. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press.
  • Zha skab pa dbang phyug bde ldan. 1976. Bod kyi srid don rgyal rabs. New Delhi.

Source: Tsering Shakya, “The Thirteenth Dalai Lama, Tubten Gyatso,” Treasury of Lives, accessed July 22, 2018, http://treasuryoflives.org/biographies/view/Thirteenth-Dalai-Lama-Tubten-Gyatso/3307.

 


 

Tsering Shakya is Canadian Research Chair in Religion and Contemporary Society in Asia at the Institute of Asian Research at the University of British Columbia.

Published May 2013

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

 

About Treasury of Lives

The Treasury of Lives is a biographical encyclopedia of Tibet, Inner Asia, and the Himalaya. It provides an accessible and well-researched biography of a wide range of figures, from Buddhist masters to artists and political officials, many of which are peer reviewed.

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Source: https://treasuryoflives.org/biographies/view/Thirteenth-Dalai-Lama-Tubten-Gyatso/P197. Click on image to enlarge.

Source: https://treasuryoflives.org/biographies/view/Thirteenth-Dalai-Lama-Tubten-Gyatso/P197. Click on image to enlarge.

 

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4 Responses to The Thirteenth Dalai Lama, Tubten Gyatso

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  1. Samfoonheei on Jun 6, 2020 at 2:02 pm

    Thubten Gyatso was the 13th Dalai Lama of Tibet was recognized as the as the reincarnation of the 12th Dalai Lama. He is a man of strong character but of kind disposition and is strict observer of religious ceremonies. He pays great attention to the details of administration, who proved himself a skillful politician. He was responsible for countering the British expedition to Tibet and was involved with the anti-foreign Tibetan Rebellion. He survived the ordeals of both experiences of the British and Chinese invasion with his authority enormously enhanced. Sadly, before accomplishing his goal for Tibet’s modernization he passed away at the age of fifty-eight. Interesting read of a Great Lama who determined to bring about political and social reforms in Tibet.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

  2. Samfoonheei on Aug 27, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    The Thirteenth Dalai Lama, Thupten Gyatso, was born into a peasant family in southern Tibet. Many auspicious signs accompanied his birth. He was recognized as the tulku of the 12th Dalai Lama. The 13th Dalai Lama devoted himself to religious studies and assumed political power until the age of 20. He was well known for his efforts to modernize Tibet at that time. The 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso was a true temporal and spiritual leader who guided his people through a firestorm of challenges to the survival of Tibet. Interesting read.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

  3. Pastor Adeline Woon on Jul 28, 2018 at 7:04 am

    Nice short video of a new LED signage reminding us of who we can go to for blessings in case of need: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBwrkaKUoH0

  4. Joy Kam on Jul 26, 2018 at 4:25 am

    Listening to the chanting of sacred words, melodies, mantras, sutras and prayers has a very powerful healing effect on our outer and inner environments. It clears the chakras, spiritual toxins, the paths where our ‘chi’ travels within our bodies for health as well as for clearing the mind. It is soothing and relaxing but at the same time invigorates us with positive energy. The sacred sounds invite positive beings to inhabit our environment, expels negative beings and brings the sound of growth to the land, animals, water and plants. Sacred chants bless all living beings on our land as well as inanimate objects. Do download and play while in traffic to relax, when you are about to sleep, during meditation, during stress or just anytime. Great to play for animals and children. Share with friends the blessing of a full Dorje Shugden puja performed at Kechara Forest Retreat by our puja department for the benefit of others. Tsem Rinpoche

    Listen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbzgskLKxT8&t=5821s

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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

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

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

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The Unknown

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

Photos On The Go

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

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

Always be kind to animals and eat vegetarian- https://bit.ly/2Psp8h2
2 yearss ago
My Dharma boy (left) and Oser girl loves to laze around on the veranda in the mornings. They enjoy all the trees, grass and relaxing under the hot sun. Sunbathing is a favorite daily activity. I care about these two doggies of mine very much and I enjoy seeing them happy. They are with me always. Tsem Rinpoche Always be kind to animals and eat vegetarian- https://bit.ly/2Psp8h2
After you left me Mumu, I was alone. I have no family or kin. You were my family. I can\'t stop thinking of you and I can\'t forget you. My bond and connection with you is so strong. I wish you were by my side. Tsem Rinpoche
2 yearss ago
After you left me Mumu, I was alone. I have no family or kin. You were my family. I can't stop thinking of you and I can't forget you. My bond and connection with you is so strong. I wish you were by my side. Tsem Rinpoche
This story is a life-changer. Learn about the incredible Forest Man of India | 印度“森林之子”- https://bit.ly/2Eh4vRS
2 yearss ago
This story is a life-changer. Learn about the incredible Forest Man of India | 印度“森林之子”- https://bit.ly/2Eh4vRS
Part 2-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
2 yearss ago
Part 2-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
Part 1-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
2 yearss ago
Part 1-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
The great Protector Manjushri Dorje Shugden depicted in the beautiful Mongolian style. To download a high resolution file: https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
2 yearss ago
The great Protector Manjushri Dorje Shugden depicted in the beautiful Mongolian style. To download a high resolution file: https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
The Mystical land of Shambhala is finally ready for everyone to feast their eyes and be blessed. A beautiful post with information, art work, history, spirituality and a beautiful book composed by His Holiness the 6th Panchen Rinpoche. ~ https://bit.ly/309MHBi
2 yearss ago
The Mystical land of Shambhala is finally ready for everyone to feast their eyes and be blessed. A beautiful post with information, art work, history, spirituality and a beautiful book composed by His Holiness the 6th Panchen Rinpoche. ~ https://bit.ly/309MHBi
Beautiful pictures of the huge Buddha in Longkou Nanshan- https://bit.ly/2LsBxVb
2 yearss ago
Beautiful pictures of the huge Buddha in Longkou Nanshan- https://bit.ly/2LsBxVb
The reason-Very interesting thought- https://bit.ly/2V7VT5r
2 yearss ago
The reason-Very interesting thought- https://bit.ly/2V7VT5r
NEW Bigfoot cafe in Malaysia! Food is delicious!- https://bit.ly/2VxdGau
2 yearss ago
NEW Bigfoot cafe in Malaysia! Food is delicious!- https://bit.ly/2VxdGau
DON\'T MISS THIS!~How brave Bonnie survived by living with a herd of deer~ https://bit.ly/2Lre2eY
2 yearss ago
DON'T MISS THIS!~How brave Bonnie survived by living with a herd of deer~ https://bit.ly/2Lre2eY
Global Superpower China Will Cut Meat Consumption by 50%! Very interesting, find out more- https://bit.ly/2V1sJFh
2 yearss ago
Global Superpower China Will Cut Meat Consumption by 50%! Very interesting, find out more- https://bit.ly/2V1sJFh
You can download this beautiful Egyptian style Dorje Shugden Free- https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
2 yearss ago
You can download this beautiful Egyptian style Dorje Shugden Free- https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
Beautiful high file for print of Lord Manjushri. May you be blessed- https://bit.ly/2V8mwZe
2 yearss ago
Beautiful high file for print of Lord Manjushri. May you be blessed- https://bit.ly/2V8mwZe
Mongolian (Oymiakon) Shaman in Siberia, Russia. That is his real outfit he wears. Very unique. TR
2 yearss ago
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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6 months ago
Thank you Novo Nordisk! Your kind monetary donation and 1,320 boxes of masks will benefit many needy families under the Kechara Food Bank Program. Thank you! Much love from the needy families ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #novonordisk #novonordiskmalaysia
We were graced with the presence of Tengku Zatashah & The Alice Smith School Foundation yesterday. 130 homeless were blessed to be served by them. RM 20,000 donated by Alice Smith School Foundation will benefit 100 families registered under Kechara Food Bank Program. Thank you! Much love from the needy families ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #alicesmithschoolfoundation #alicesmithschool #volunteerism #homeless
6 months ago
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
8 months ago
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
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
8 months ago
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
9 months ago
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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