Kalmyk People’s Origin – VERY INTERESTING

Sep 21, 2010 | Views: 25,791

 

Regions with significant populations

Kalmyks in Russia
172,000

Oirats in Mongolia
205,000

Oirats in China
139,000

Languages
Kalmyk, Russian

Religion
– Predominantly Tibetan Buddhism
– Minority Orthodox Christianity

Related ethnic groups
Oirats, Mongols, Buryats

Kalmyk people (or Kalmyks) (Kalmyk: Хальмгуд, Halm’gud) is the name given to the Oirats, western Mongols in Russia, whose descendants migrated from Dzhungaria in 1607. Today they form a majority in the autonomous Republic of Kalmykia on the western shore of the Caspian Sea. Kalmykia is Europe’s only Buddhist government. Through emigration, small Kalmyk communities have been established in the United States, France, Germany, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic.

 

Early history of the Oirats

An illustration of the Kalmyk exodus from Russia to Dzungaria, an image by Charles Michel Geoffroy, 1845

An illustration of the Kalmyk exodus from Russia to Dzungaria in 1771, an image by Charles Michel Geoffroy, 1845

The Kalmyks are a branch of the Oirats whose ancient grazing lands are now located in Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia and the People’s Republic of China. After the fall of the Yuan Dynasty in 1368, the Oirats emerged as a formidable foe against the Eastern Mongols, the Ming Chinese and their successor, the Manchu who founded the Qing Dynasty, in a nearly 400 year military struggle for domination and control over both Inner Mongolia and Outer Mongolia. The struggle ended in 1757 with the defeat of the Oirats in Dzungaria, the last of the Mongol groups to resist vassalage to China (Grousset, 1970: 502-541).

At the start of this 400-year era, the Western Mongol people designated themselves as Dörben Oirat (“Four Oirats”). The alliance comprised four major Western Mongol tribes: Khoshut, Choros, Torghut and Dörbet. Collectively, the Dörben Oirat sought to position themselves as an alternative to the Mongols who were the patrilineal heirs to the legacy of Genghis Khan.

In furtherance of its military objectives, the Dörben Oirat incorporated neighbouring tribes or splinter groups of them so that there was a great deal of fluctuation in the composition of the alliance with larger tribes dominating or absorbing the smaller ones. Smaller tribes belonging to the confederation include the Khoits, Zakhchin, Bayids and Mangits.

A portrait of Oirat caravan taken in the early 20th century

Portrait of an Oirat caravan taken in the early 20th century

Together, these tribes roamed the grassy plains of western Inner Asia, between Lake Balkhash in present-day eastern Kazakhstan and Lake Baikal in present-day Russia, north of central Mongolia, where they freely pitched their yurt (gher) and kept their herds of cattle, flock of sheep, horses, donkeys and camels.

Paul Pelliot translated the name “Torghut” as garde de jour. He wrote that the Torghuts owed their name either to the memory of the guard of Genghis Khan or, as descendants of the Keraits, to the old garde de jour which existed among the Keraits, as we know from the Secret History of the Mongols, before it was taken over by Genghis Khan (Pelliot, 1930:30).

Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal

 

Period of open conflict

A painting of Mongolian Nomadic Life by Tsogbayar Chuluunbaatar

A painting of Mongolian nomadic life by Tsogbayar Chuluunbaatar

The Dörben Oirat was a political entity formed by the four major Oirat tribes. During 15-17th century, they established under name “10 tumen Mongols” included 4 tumen oirats and 6 tumen Mongols They re-established their traditional pastoral nomadic lifestyle during the end of the Yuan Dynasty. The Oirats formed this alliance to defend themselves against the Eastern Mongols and also to pursue the greater objective of reunifying Mongolia under their helm.

During its existence, the alliance was decentralised, informal and unstable. For instance, the Dörben Oirat did not have a central location from which it was governed, and it was not governed by a central figure for most of its existence. Further, the four Oirats did not establish a single military or even a unified monastic system. Lastly, it was not until 1640 that the Oirats adopted uniform customary laws.

As pastoral nomadists, the Oirats were organised at the tribal level where each tribe was ruled by a noyon (prince) who also functioned as the Chief Tayishi (Chieftain). The Chief Tayishi governed with the support of lesser noyons who were also called Tayisihi. These minor noyons controlled divisions of the tribe (ulus) and were politically and economically independent of the Chief Tayishi. The Chief Tayishi sought to influence and, in some cases, dominate the Chief Tayishis of the other tribes, causing inter-tribal rivalry, dissension and periodic skirmishes.

Esen, Chief Tayishi of the Choros tribe

Esen, Chief Tayishi of the Choros tribe

Under the leadership of Esen, Chief Tayishi of the Choros tribe, the Dörben Oirat unified Mongolia for a short period. After Esen’s death in 1455, the political union of the Dörben Oirat dissolved quickly, resulting in two decades of Oirat-Eastern Mongol conflict. The deadlock ended during the reign of Dayan Khan, a five-year old boy in whose name the loyal Eastern Mongol forces rallied. Dayan Khan took advantage of Oirat disunity and weakness and brought Oirats back under Mongolian rule. In doing so, he regained control of the Mongol homeland and restored the hegemony of the Eastern Mongols.

After the death of Dayan in 1543, the Oirats and the Eastern Mongols resumed their conflict. The Oirat forces thrust eastward, but Dayan’s youngest son, Geresandza, was given command of the Eastern Mongol forces and drove the Oirats to Ubsa Nor in northwest Mongolia. In 1552, after the Oirats once again challenged the Eastern Mongols, Altan Khan swept up from Inner Mongolia with Tümed and Ordos cavalry units, pushing elements of various Oirat tribes from Karakorum to the Kobdo region in northwest Mongolia, reuniting most of Mongolia in the process (Grousset, 1970:510).

The Oirats would later regroup south of the Altai Mountains in Dzungaria. But Geresandza’s grandson, Sholui Ubashi Khong Tayiji, pushed the Oirats further northwest, along the steppes of the Ob and Irtysh Rivers. Afterwards, he established a Khalkha Khanate under the name, Altan Khan, in the Oirat heartland of Dzungaria.

In spite of the setbacks, the Oirats would continue their campaigns against the Altan Khanate, trying to unseat Sholui Ubashi Khong Tayiji from Dzungaria. The continuous, back-and-forth nature of the struggle, which defined this period, is captured in the Oirat epic song “The Rout of Mongolian Sholui Ubashi Khong Tayiji,” recounting the Oirat victory over the First Khan of the Altan Khanate in 1587.

Altai Mountains

The Altai Mountains in Dzungaria

 

Resurgence of Oirat power

The statue of Altan Khan

A statue of Altan Khan

At the beginning of the 17th century, the First Altan Khan drove the Oirats westward to present-day eastern Kazakhstan. The Torghuts became the westernmost Oirat tribe, encamped in the Tarbagatai region and along the northern stretches of the Irtysh, Ishim and Tobol Rivers. Further west, the Kazakhs – a Turco-Mongol Muslim people – prevented the Torghuts from sending its trading caravans to the Muslim towns and villages located along the Syr Darya river. As a result, the Torghuts established a trading relationship with the newly established outposts of the Tsarist government whose expansion into and exploration of Siberia was motivated mostly by the desire to profit from trade with Asia.

The Khoshuts, by contrast, were the easternmost Oirat tribe, encamped near the Lake Zaisan area and the Semipalatinsk region along the lower portions of the Irtysh river where they built several steppe monasteries. The Khoshuts were adjacent to the Eastern Mongol khanates of Altan Khan and Dzasagtu Khan. Both Khanates prevented the Khoshuts and the other Oirat tribes from trading with Chinese border towns. The Khoshuts were ruled by Baibagas Khan and Güshi Khan who were the first of the Oirat leaders to convert to the Gelugpa sect.

Locked in between both tribes were the Choros, Dörbets and Khoits (collectively “Dzungars”), who were slowly rebuilding the base of power they enjoyed under the Four Oirats. The Choros were the dominant Oirat tribe of that era. Their chieftain, Khara Khula attempted to follow Esen Khan in unifying the Oirat tribes to challenge the Eastern Mongols.

The illustration of Dzungarian spearman and Kashgar "musketeer"

Illustration of a Dzungarian spearman and a Kashgar “musketeer”

Under the dynamic leadership of Khara Khula, the Dzungars stopped the expansion of the First Altan Khan and began planning the resurrection of the Dörben Oirat under the Dzungar banner. In furtherance of such plans, Khara Khula designed and built a capital city called “Kubak-sari,” on the Imil river near the modern city of Chuguchak. During his attempt to build a nation, Khara Khula encouraged diplomacy, commerce and farming. He also sought to acquire modern weaponry and build small industry, such as metal works, to supply his military.

The attempted unification of the Oirats caused dissension among the tribes and their Chief Tayishis who were independent minded but also highly regarded leaders themselves. This dissension reputedly caused Kho Orluk to move the Torghut tribe and elements of the Dörbet tribe westward to the Volga region where his descendants formed the Kalmyk Khanate. In the east, Güshi Khan took part of the Khoshut tribe to the Tsaidam and Koko Nor regions in the Tibetan plateau where he formed the Khoshut Khanate to protect Tibet and the Gelugpa sect from both internal and external enemies. Khara Khula and his descendants, by contrast, formed the Dzungars Empire to fight the Eastern Mongols.

 

Torghut migration

Volga River

Volga River

In 1618, the Torghuts and a small contingent of Dörbets chose to migrate from the upper Irtysh river region to the grazing pastures of the lower Volga River region, located south of Saratov and north of the Caspian Sea, on both banks of the Volga River. The Torghuts were led by their Tayishi, Kho Orluk. They were the largest Oirat tribe to migrate, bringing along nearly the entire tribe. The second largest Oirat tribe was the Dörbets under their Tayishi, Dalai Batur. Together they moved west through southern Siberia and the southern Urals, avoiding the more direct route that would have taken them through the heart of the territory of their enemy, the Kazakhs. En route, they raided Russian settlements and Kazakh and Bashkir encampments.

Many theories have been advanced to explain the reasons for the migration. One generally accepted theory is that there may have been discontent among the Oirat tribes, which arose from the attempt by Khara Khula, Tayishi of the Dzungars, to centralise political and military control over the tribes under his leadership. Some scholars, however, believe that the Torghuts sought uncontested pastures as their territory was being encroached upon by the Russians from the north, the Kazakhs from the south and the Dzungars from the east. The encroachments resulted in overcrowding of people and livestock, thereby diminished the food supply. Lastly, a third theory suggests that the Torghuts grew weary of the militant struggle between the Oirats and the Altan Khanate.

 

Period of self rule, 1630-1724

The image of the former Astrakhan Khanate

An illustration of the former Astrakhan Khanate

Upon arrival to the lower Volga region in 1630, the Oirats encamped on land that was once part of the Astrakhan Khanate, but was now claimed by the Tsarist government. The region was lightly populated, from south of Saratov to the Russian garrison at Astrakhan and on both the east and the west banks of the Volga River. The Tsarist government was not ready to colonize the area and was in no position to prevent the Oirats from encamping in the region. But it had a direct political interest in insuring that the Oirats would not become allied with its Turkic-speaking neighbours.

The Oirats quickly consolidated their position by expelling the majority of the native inhabitants, the Nogai Horde. Large groups of Nogais fled southeast to the northern Caucasian plain and east to the Black Sea steppe, lands claimed by the Crimean Khanate, itself a vassal or ally of Ottoman Turks. Smaller groups of Nogais sought the protection of the Russian garrison at Astrakhan. The remaining nomadic tribes became vassals of the Oirats.

At first, an uneasy relationship existed between the Russians and the Oirats. Mutual raiding by the Oirats of Russian settlements and by the Cossacks and the Bashkirs (Muslim vassals of the Russians) of Oirat encampments was commonplace. Numerous oaths and treaties were signed to ensure Oirat loyalty and military assistance. Although the Oirats became subjects of the Tsar, such allegiance by the Oirats was deemed to be nominal.

An image of Oirat manuscript in "clear script" (todo bichig)

Image of an Oirat manuscript in “clear script” (todo bichig)

In reality, the Oirats governed themselves pursuant to a document known as the Great Code of the Nomads (Iki Tsaadzhin Bichig). The Code was promulgated in 1640 by them, their brethren in Dzungaria and some of the Eastern Mongols who all gathered near the Tarbagatai Mountains in Dzungaria to resolve their differences and to unite under the banner of the Gelugpa sect. Although the goal of unification was not met, the summit leaders did ratify the Code, which regulated all aspects of nomadic life.

Ayuka Khan

Ayuka Khan

In securing their position, the Oirats became a borderland power, often allying themselves with the Tsarist government against the neighboring Muslim population. During the era of Ayuka Khan, the Oirats rose to political and military prominence as the Tsarist government sought the increased use Oirat cavalry in support of its military campaigns against the Muslim powers in the south, such as Persia, the Ottoman Empire, the Nogays and the Kuban Tatars and Crimean Khanate. Ayuka Khan also waged wars against the Kazakhs, subjugated the Mangyshlak Turkmens, and made multiple expeditions against the highlanders of the North Caucasus. These campaigns highlighted the strategic importance of the Kalmyk Khanate which functioned as a buffer zone, separating Russia and the Muslim world, as Russia fought wars in Europe to establish itself as a European power.

A Kalmyk Warrior, painted by Jean-Baptiste Le Prince in 1771

A Kalmyk Warrior, painted by Jean-Baptiste Le Prince in 1771

To encourage the release of Oirat cavalrymen in support of its military campaigns, the Tsarist government increasingly relied on the provision of monetary payments and dry goods to the Oirat Khan and the Oirat nobility. In that respect, the Tsarist government treated the Oirats as it did the Cossacks. The provision of monetary payments and dry goods, however, did not stop the mutual raiding, and, in some instances, both sides failed to fulfil its promises (Halkovic, 1985:41-54).

Another significant incentive the Tsarist government provided to the Oirats was tariff-free access to the markets of Russian border towns, where the Oirats were permitted to barter their herds and the items they obtained from Asia and their Muslim neighbours in exchange for Russian goods. Trade also occurred with neighbouring Turkic tribes under Russian control, such as the Tatars and the Bashkirs. Intermarriage became common with such tribes. This trading arrangement provided substantial benefits, monetary and otherwise, to the Oirat tayishis, noyons and zaisangs.

Fred Adelman described this era as the Frontier Period, lasting from the advent of the Torghut under Kho Orluk in 1630 to the end of the great khanate of Kho Orluk’s descendant, Ayuka Khan, in 1724, a phase accompanied by little discernible acculturative change (Adelman, 1960:14-15):

There were few sustained interrelations between Kalmyks and Russians in the frontier period. Routine contacts consisted in the main of seasonal commodity exchanges of Kalmyk livestock and the products thereof for such nomad necessities as brick tea, grain, textiles and metal articles, at Astrakhan, Tsaritsyn and Saratov. This was the kind of exchange relationship between nomads and urban craftsmen and traders in which the Kalmyks traditionally engaged. Political contacts consisted of a series of treaty arrangements for the nominal allegiance of the Kalmyk Khans to Russia, and the cessation of mutual raiding by Kalmyks on the one hand and Cossacks and Bashkirs on the other. A few Kalmyk nobles became russified and nominally Christian who went to Moscow in hope of securing Russian help for their political ambitions on the Kalmyk steppe. Russian subsidies to Kalmyk nobles, however, became an effective means of political control only later. Yet gradually the Kalmyk princes came to require Russian support and to abide in Russian policy.

During the era of Ayuka Khan, the Kalmyk Khanate reached its peak of military and political power. The Khanate experienced economic prosperity from free trade with Russian border towns, China, Tibet and with their Muslim neighbours. During this era, Ayuka Khan also kept close contacts with his Oirat kinsmen in Dzungaria, as well as the Dalai Lama in Tibet.

 

From Oirat to Kalmyk

Kalmyk16

Historically, the West Mongolian tribes identified themselves by their respective tribal names. Probably, in the 15th century, the four major West Mongolian tribes formed an alliance, adopting “Dörben Oirat” as their collective name. After the alliance dissolved, the West Mongolian tribes were simply called “Oirat.” In the early 17th century, a second great Oirat State emerged, called the Dzungar Empire. While the Dzungars (initially Choros, Dörbet and Khoit tribes) were establishing their empire in Western Inner Asia, the Khoshuts were establishing the Khoshut Khanate in Tibet, protecting the Gelugpa sect from its enemies, and the Torghuts formed the Kalmyk Khanate in the lower Volga region.

After encamping, the Oirats began to identify themselves as “Kalmyk.” This named was supposedly given to them by their Muslim neighbours and later used by the Russians to describe them. The Oirats used this name in their dealings with outsiders, viz., their Russian and Muslim neighbours. But, they continued to refer to themselves by their tribal, clan, or other internal affiliations.

The name Kalmyk, however, wasn’t immediately accepted by all of the Oirat tribes in the lower Volga region. As late as 1761, the Khoshut and Dzungars (refugees from the Manchu Empire) referred to themselves and the Torghuts exclusively as Oirats. The Torghuts, by contrast, used the name Kalmyk for themselves as well as the Khoshut and Dzungars. (Khodarkovsky, 1992:8)

Generally, European scholars have identified all West Mongolians collectively as Kalmyks, regardless of their location (Ramstedt, 1935: v-vi). Such scholars (e.g. Sebastian Muenster) have relied on Muslim sources who traditionally used the word Kalmyk to describe the West Mongolians in a derogatory manner. But the West Mongolians of China and Mongolia have regarded that name as a term of abuse (Haslund, 1935:214-215). Instead, they use the name Oirat or the go by their respective tribal names, e.g., Khoshut, Dörbet, Choros, Torghut, Khoit, Bayid, Mingat, etc. (Anuchin, 1914:57).

Over time, the descendants of the Oirat migrants in the lower Volga region embraced the name Kalmyk, irrespective of their locations, viz., Astrakhan, the Don Cossack region, Orenburg, Stavropol, the Terek and the Urals. Another generally accepted name is Ulan Zalata or the “red buttoned ones” (Adelman, 1960:6).

 

Kalmyks of Volga River

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Reduction in autonomy, 1724-1771

Ubashi Khan

Ubashi Khan, the great-grandson of Ayuka Khan

After the death of Ayuka Khan in 1724, the political situation among the Kalmyks became unstable as various factions sought to be recognised as Khan. The Tsarist government also gradually chipped away at the autonomy of the Kalmyk Khanate. These policies, for instance, encouraged the establishment of Russian and German settlements on pastures the Kalmyks used to roam and feed their livestock. In addition, the Tsarist government imposed a council on the Kalmyk Khan, thereby diluting his authority, while continuing to expect the Kalmyk Khan to provide cavalry units to fight on behalf of Russia. The Russian Orthodox church, by contrast, pressured many Kalmyks to adopt Orthodoxy. By the mid-17th century, Kalmyks were increasingly disillusioned with settler encroachment and interference in its internal affairs.

In the winter of 1770-1771, Ubashi Khan, the great-grandson Ayuka Khan and the last Kalmyk Khan, decided to return his people to their ancestral homeland, Dzungaria, then under control of the Manchu Empire. The Dalai Lama was contacted to request his blessing and to set the date of departure. After consulting the astrological chart, the Dalai Lama set the return date, but at the moment of departure, the weakening of the ice on the Volga River permitted only those Kalmyks who roamed on the left or eastern bank to leave. Those on the right bank were forced to stay behind.

Under Ubashi Khan’s leadership, approximately 200,000 Kalmyks began the journey from their pastures on the left bank of the Volga River to Dzungaria. Approximately five-sixths of the Torghut tribe followed Ubashi Khan. Most of the Khoshuts, Choros and Khoits also accompanied the Torghuts on their journey to Dzungaria. The Dörbet tribe, by contrast, elected not to go at all.

After failing to stop the flight, Catherine the Great abolished the Kalmyk Khanate, transferring all governmental powers to the Governor of Astrakhan. The title of Khan was abolished. The highest native governing office remaining was the Vice-Khan who also was recognised by the government as the highest ranking Kalmyk prince. By appointing the Vice-Khan, the Tsarist government was now permanently the decisive force in Kalmyk government and affairs.

 

Life In Tsarist Russia

Tsar Alexander I presenting the Kalmyks, Cossacks and Bashkirs of Russian army to Napoleon I in Tilsit, July 9, 1807

Tsar Alexander I presenting the Kalmyks, Cossacks and Bashkirs of the Russian army to Napoleon I in Tilsit, July 9, 1807

After the 1771 exodus, the Kalmyks that remained part of the Russian Empire became under the control of the Tsarist government. They however continued their nomadic pastoral lifestyle, ranging the pastures between the Don and the Volga Rivers, wintering in the lowlands along the shores of the Caspian Sea as far as Lake Sarpa to the northwest and Lake Manych to the west. In the spring, they moved along the Don River and the Sarpa lake system, attaining the higher grounds along the Don in the summer, passing the autumn in the Sarpa and Volga lowlands. In October and November they returned to their winter camps and pastures (Krader, 1963:121 citing Pallas, vol. 1, 1776:122-123).

Despite their great loss in population, the Torghuts still remained the numerically superior and dominating Kalmyk tribe. The other Kalmyk tribes in Russia included Dörbets and Khoshuts. Elements of the Choros and Khoits tribes also were present but were too few in number to retain their ulus (divisions of a tribe) as independent administrative units. As a result, they were absorbed by the ulus of the larger tribes.

The factors that caused the 1771 exodus continued to trouble the remaining Kalmyks. In the wake of the exodus, the Torghuts joined the Cossack rebellion of Yemelyan Pugachev in hopes that he would restore the independence of the Kalmyks. After the Pugachev rebellion was defeated, Catherine the Great transferred the office of the Vice-Khan from the Torghut tribe to the Dörbet tribe, whose princes supposedly remained loyal to the government during the rebellion. Thus, the Torghuts were removed from their role as the hereditary leaders of the Kalmyk people. The Khoshuts could not challenge this political arrangement due to their smaller population size.

Tsar Paul I

Tsar Paul I

The disruptions to Kalmyk society caused by the exodus and the Torghut participation in the Pugachev rebellion precipitated a major realignment in Kalmyk tribal structure. The government divided the Kalmyks into three administrative units attached, according to their respective locations, to the district governments of Astrakhan, Stavropol and the Don and appointed a special Russian official bearing the title of “Guardian of the Kalmyk People” for purposes of administration. The government also resettled some small groups of Kalmyks along the Ural, Terek and Kuma rivers and in Siberia.

The redistricting divided the now dominant Dörbet tribe into three separate administrative units. Those in the western Kalmyk steppe were attached to the Astrakhan district government. They were called Baga (Lessor) Dörbet. By contrast, the Dörbets who moved to the northern part of the Stavropol province were called Ike (Greater) Dörbet even though their population was smaller. Finally, the Kalmyks of the Don became known as Buzava. Although they were composed of elements of all the Kalmyk tribes, the Buzava claimed descent from the Torghut tribe. Their name is derived from two tributaries of the Don River: Busgai and Busuluk. In 1798, Tsar Paul I recognised the Don Kalmyks as Don Cossacks. As such, they received the same rights and benefits as their Russian counterparts in exchange for providing national military services (Bajanowa, 1976:68-71). At the end of the Napoleonic wars, Kalmyk cavalry units in Russian service entered Paris.

Kalmyk18

Over time, the Kalmyks gradually created fixed settlements with houses and temples, in place of transportable round felt yurts. In 1865, Elista, the future capital of the Kalmyk Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was founded. This process lasted until well after the Russian Revolution.

 

Russian Revolution and Civil War

Russian soldiers joining the revolution to overthrow the Tsarist regime in February 1917

Russian soldiers joining the revolution to overthrow the Tsarist regime in February 1917

Like most people in Russia, the Kalmyks greeted the February 1917 revolution with enthusiasm. Kalmyk leaders believed that the Russian Provisional Government, which replaced the Tsarist government, would allow greater autonomy and freedom with respect to their culture, religion and economy. This enthusiasm, however, would soon dissolve after the Bolsheviks took control over the national government during the second revolution in November 1917.

After the Bolsheviks took control, various political and ethnic groups opposed to Communism organized a loose political and military coalition called the “White Movement”. A volunteer army (called the “White Army”) was raised to fight the Red Army, the military arm of the Bolshevik government. Initially, this army was composed primarily of volunteers and Tsarist supporters but were later joined by the Cossacks (including Don Kalmyks), many of whom resisted the Bolshevik policy of de-Cossackization.

The second revolution split the Kalmyk people into opposing camps. Many were dissatisfied with the Tsarist government for its historic role in promoting the colonisation of the Kalmyk steppe and in encouraging the russification of the Kalmyk people. But others also felt hostility towards Bolshevism for two reasons: (1) the loyalty of the Kalmyk people to their traditional leaders (i.e., nobility and clergy) – sources of anti-Communism – was deeply ingrained; and (2) the Bolshevik exploitation of the conflict between the Kalmyks and the local Russian peasants who seized Kalmyk land and livestock (Loewenthal, 1952:4).

The Astrakhan Kalmyk nobility, led by Prince Dmitri Tundutov of the Baga Dörbets and Prince Sereb-Djab Tiumen of the Khoshuts, expressed their anti-Bolshevik sentiments by seeking to integrate the Astrakhan Kalmyks into the military units of the Astrakhan Cossacks. But before a general mobilisation of Kalmyk horsemen could occur, the Red Army seized power in Astrakhan and in the Kalmyk steppe thereby preventing the mobilisation from occurring.

White Army in the Battle during the Russian Civil War

The White Army in battle during the Russian Civil War

After the capture of Astrakhan, the Bolsheviks engaged in savage reprisals against the Kalmyk people, especially against Buddhist temples and the Buddhist clergy (Arbakov, 1958:30-36). Eventually the Bolsheviks would draft as many as 18,000 Kalmyk horsemen in the Red Army to prevent them from joining the White Army (Borisov, 1926:84). This objective, however, failed to prevent many Red Army Kalmyk horsemen from defecting to the White side.

The majority of the Don Kalmyks also sided with the White Movement to preserve their Cossack lifestyle and proud traditions. As Don Cossacks, the Don Kalmyks first fought under White army General Anton Denikin and then under his successor, General Pyotr Wrangel. Because the Don Cossack Host to which they belonged was the main centre of the White Movement and of Cossack resistance, the battles were fought on Cossack lands and was very disastrous for the Don Cossacks as villages and entire regions changed hands repeatedly in a fratricidal conflict in which both sides committed terrible atrocities. The Don Cossacks, including the Don Kalmyks, experienced heavy military and civilian losses, either from the fighting itself or from starvation and disease induced by the war. Some argue that the Bolsheviks were guilty of the mass extermination of the Don Cossack people, killing an estimated 70 percent (or 700,000 persons) of the Don Cossack population (Heller and Nekrich, 1988:87).

By October 1920 the Red Army smashed General Wrangel’s resistance in the Crimea, forcing the evacuation of some 150,000 White army soldiers and their families to Constantinople, Turkey. A small group of Don Kalmyks managed to escape on the British and French vessels. The chaos at the Russian port city of Novorossiysk was described by Major H.N.H. Williamson of the British Military Mission to the Don Cossacks as follows:

…We could still hear scattered rifle fire and the sound of naval guns, and the Bolshevik sympathisers were sniping from the rooftops. In places Red infantry had infiltrated into the town, and were going in for murder, rape and every kind of bestiality, while explosions rocked the towns as Whites set fire to petrol tanks, and the wind blew an immense pall of smoke across the bay. The waterfront was black with people, begging to be allowed on board the ships. Some of the Kalmuk Cossacks still had their horses and the little tented carts in which they had travelled, and in the water all sorts of rubbish floated – trunks, clothes, furniture, even corpses. Conditions were appalling. The refugees were still starving and the sick and the dead lay where they had collapsed. Masses of them had even tried to rush the evacuation office and the British troops had had to disperse then at bayonet point. Women were offering jewels, everything they possessed – even themselves – for the chance of a passage. But they hadn’t a ghost of chance. The rule was only White troops, their dependents and the families of men who had worked with the British were allowed on board.

From there, this group resettled in Europe, primarily in Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and France where its leaders remained active in the White movement. In 1922, several hundred Don Kalmyks returned home under a general amnesty. Some returnees, including Prince Dmitri Tundutov, were imprisoned and then executed soon after their return.

 

Formation of the Kalmyk Soviet Republic

 

Kalmyk Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic Top 6 Facts

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The Soviet government established the Kalmyk Autonomous Oblast in November 1920. It was formed by merging the Stavropol Kalmyk settlements with a majority of the Astrakhan Kalmyks. A small number of Don Kalmyks (Buzava) from the Don Host migrated to this Oblast. The administrative centre was Elista, a small village in the western part of the Oblast that was expanded in the 1920s to reflect its status as the capital of the Oblast.

In October 1935, the Kalmyk Autonomous Oblast was reorganised into the Kalmyk Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. The chief occupations of the Republic were cattle breeding, agriculture, including the growing of cotton and fishing. There was no industry.

 

Collectivization

 

Collectivisation Documentary

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In 1929 Joseph Stalin ordered the forced collectivisation of agriculture, forcing the Astrakhan Kalmyks to abandon their traditional nomadic pastoralist lifestyle and to settle in villages. All Kalmyk herdsmen owning more than 500 sheep were deported to labor camps in Siberia. Kalmyk resistance to Stalin’s collectivisation campaign and the famine that was induced by such campaign resulted in the deaths of a substantial number of Kalmyks.

In the 1930s, Stalin ordered the closure of all Buddhist monasteries and libraries, burning temples and religious texts in the process[citation needed]. The Buddhist clergy was either shot or condemned to long terms of confinement in the labor camps in Siberia where they all perished.

 

World War II and exile

A Kalmyk guardsman during World War II

A Kalmyk guardsman during World War II

In June 1941 the German army invaded the Soviet Union, taking control of the Kalmyk Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. In December 1942, however, the Red Army liberated the Republic from German control. On 28 December 1943, the Soviet government accused the Kalmyks of collaborating with the Germans and deported the entire population, including Kalmyk Red Army soldiers, to various locations in Central Asia and Siberia. Within 24 hours the population transfer occurred at night during winter without notice in unheated cattle cars.

According to N. F. Bugai, the leading Russian expert on deportations, 4.9% of the Kalmuk population died during the first three months of 1944; 1.5% in the first three months of 1945; and 0.7% in the same period of 1946. From 1945-1950 15,206 Kalmuks died and 7843 were born.

The Kalmyk Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was quickly dissolved. Its territory was divided and transferred to the adjacent regions, viz., the Astrakhan and Stalingrad Oblasts and Stavropol Krai. Since no Kalmuks lived there any longer the Soviet authorities changed the names of towns and villages from Kalmyk names to Russian names. For example, Elista became Stepnoi.

 

Return from Siberian exile

Nikita Khrushchev

Nikita Khrushchev

In 1957, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev permitted the Kalmyk people to return to their home. Upon return, however, the Kalmyks found their homeland had become settled by Russians and Ukrainians, many of whom chose to remain. On January 9, 1957, Kalmykia once again became an autonomous oblast, and on 29 July 1958, an autonomous republic within the Russian SFSR.

In the following years bad planning of agricultural and irrigation projects resulted in widespread desertification. In addition, industrial plants were constructed without an analysis of the economic viability of such plants.

In 1992, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Kalmykia chose to remain an autonomous republic of the successor government, the Russian Federation. The dissolution, however, facilitated the collapse of the economy at both the national and the local level, causing widespread economic and social hardship. The resulting upheaval caused many young Kalmyks to leave Kalmykia, especially in the rural areas, for economic opportunities in and outside the Russian Federation.

 

Treatment as non-Mongols

Kalmyk26

Historically, the Eastern Mongols regarded the Oirats as non-Mongols. The name “Mongols,” the title “Khan,” and the historic legacy attached to that name and title were claimed exclusively by the Eastern Mongols, viz., the Halh, Chahar and Tümed tribes.[dubious – discuss] They considered this claim as their birthright, since their lineage was traced back directly to the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty and its progenitor, Genghis Khan.

Until the mid-17th century, when bestowal of the title of Khan was transferred to the Dalai Lama, all Mongol tribes recognized this claim and the political prestige attached to it. Although the Oirats could not assert this claim prior to the mid-17th century, they did in fact have a close connection to Genghis Khan by virtue of the fact that Genghis Khan’s brother, Hasar, was in command of the Khoshut tribe.

In response to the Western Mongols’ self-designation as the “Dörben Oirat” (Four Oirat), the Eastern Mongols began to refer to themselves as the “Döchin Mongols” (Forty Mongols), expressed otherwise as “Döchin Dörben Khoyar” (The Forty and Four). This means that the Eastern Mongols claimed to have forty tümen (a cavalry unit of 10,000 horsemen) to the four tümen maintained by the Dörben Oirat. Simply put, it’s another way for them to clearly separate themselves from the Oirats (Khodarkovsky, 1992:7). Ironically, by the early 1690s, the Dzungar (successor state to the Dörben Oirat) attacks against the Eastern Mongols were so persistent and ferocious, the Eastern Mongol princes voluntarily led their people and Outer Mongolia into submission to the Manchu state.

Until recently, the Oirats (including the Kalmyks) have not recognized themselves as Mongols. Nor have they considered themselves Western Mongols. Nevertheless, the close relationship among all Mongolian-speaking peoples, principally the Kalmyks, Oirats, Khalkhas and Buriats, is evident from the well-established fact that they all:

  1. Share similar physical features with the Mongol people
  2. Speak languages known by their close linguistic affinity;
  3. Adhere to Tibetan Buddhism; and
  4. Maintain similar customs and traditions, despite centuries of internecine warfare and extensive and far-reaching migrations (Bormanshinov, 1990:3)

It is also noted that they share similar sub-tribal names as well, e.g., Kereit, Taichuud, Mergid and Chonos.

A recent publication of genetic studies of the Kalmyks seem to support their Mongol origins as well.

The genetic results support the historical record in that they indicate a close relationship between Kalmyks and Mongolians. Moreover, the genetic results indicate that the Kalmyk migration involved substantial numbers of individuals, and that Kalmyks have not experienced detectable admixture with Russians.

The Kalmyks’ ability to maintain a mostly homogenous existence contrasts with the Russian admixture with other similar people, “as there is evidence for Russian admixture with Yakuts,” for example. Thus far, genetic analysis of the Kalmyks supports their Mongol roots that also shows that entire families of Kalmyks moved to Volga region and not simply males as is generally the case with most nomadic tribal groups.

 

Origin of the name “Kalmyk”

The name “Kalmyk” is a word of Turkic origin that means “remnant” or “to remain.” Turkic tribes may have used this name as early as the thirteenth century. Arab geographer Ibn al-Wardi is documented as the first person to use the term in referring to the Oirats in the fourteenth century (Khodarkovsky, 1992:5 citing Bretschneider, 1910:2:167). The khojas of Kashgaria applied the name to Oirats in the fifteenth century (Grousset, 1970:506). Russian written sources mentioned the name “Kolmak Tatars” as early as 1530, and cartographer Sebastian Muenster (1488–1552) circumscribed the territory of the “Kalmuchi” on a map in his Cosmographia, which was published in 1544. The Oirats themselves, however, did not accept the name as their own.

 

Subgroups

There are three main ethnic subgroups of Kalmyks: Torghut, Dörbet, and Buzava. The Torghuts are numerically dominant. The Buzavs are a small minority and are considered to be the most russified Kalmyks.

 

Location

The map  illustration of the Republic of Kalmykia

The Republic of Kalmykia – click to enlarge

The Kalmyks live primarily in the Republic of Kalmykia, a federal subject of Russia. Kalmykia is located in the southeast European part of Russia, between the Volga and the Don rivers. It has borders with the Republic of Dagestan in the south; the Stavropol Krai in the southwest; and the Rostov Oblast and the Volgograd Oblast in the west and the northwest, respectively. Its eastern border is the Astrakhan Oblast. The southeast border is the Caspian Sea.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, a large number of Kalmyks, primarily the young, moved from Kalmykia to larger cities in Russia, such as Moscow and St. Petersburg, and to the United States. The move was precipitated by the desire of these Kalmyks to pursue better educational and economic opportunities and continues today.

 

Religion

Kalmyk lamas in front of a Kalmyk buddhist temple or also known as a khurul

Kalmyk lamas in front of a Kalmyk buddhist temple which is known as a ‘Khurul’ in Kalmyk

The Kalmyks are the only inhabitants of Europe whose national religion is Buddhism. They embraced Buddhism in the early part of the 17th century and belong to the Tibetan Buddhist sect known as the Gelugpa (Virtuous Way). The Gelugpa are commonly referred to as the Yellow Hat sect. The religion is derived from the Indian Mahayana form of Buddhism. In the West, it is commonly referred to as Lamaism, from the name of the Tibetan monks, the lamas (“heavy with wisdom”). Prior to their conversion, the Kalmyks practiced shamanism.

Historically, Kalmyk clergy received their training either on the steppe or in Tibet. The pupils who received their religious training on the steppe joined Kalmyk monasteries, which were active centers of learning. Many of these monasteries operated out of felt tents, which accompanied the Kalmyk tribes as they migrated. The Oirats maintained tent monasteries throughout present-day eastern Kazakhstan and along the migratory route they took across southern Siberia to the Volga. They also maintained tent monasteries around Lake Issyk Kul in present-day Kyrgyzstan.

The Oirats also built stone monasteries in the regions of eastern Kazakhstan. For instance, the remains of stone Buddhist monasteries have been found at Almalik and at Kyzyl-Kent. In addition, there was a great Buddhist monastery in Semipalatinsk (seven palaces), which derives its name from that seven-halled Buddhist temple. Further, remains of Buddhist monasteries have been found at Ablaiket near Ust Kamenogorsk and at Talgar, near Almaty, and at Sumbe in the Narynkol region, bordering China.

A Kalmyk Buddhist Temple near Astrakhan in the 1890s

A Kalmyk Buddhist Temple near Astrakhan in the 1890s

Upon completion of training, Kalmyk clergy dispensed not only spiritual guidance but also medical advice. As clergyman, the Kalmyk lamas enjoyed great political clout among the nobility and held a strong influence over the general tribal population. For many commoners, the only path to literacy and prestige was to join the Kalmyk monastic system.

As a matter of policy, the Tsarist government and the Russian Orthodox Church sought to gradually absorb and convert any subject of another creed or nationality. The aim of the policy was to eliminate foreign influence and to entrench newly annexed areas. The baptized indigenous population would then become loyal to the Russian empire and would agree to be governed by Russian officials.

The Kalmyks migrated to territory annexed by the Tsarist government and were subject to this policy as long as they remained in this territory. At first, the policies contributed to the conversion of the Kalmyk nobility. One of the earliest converts were the children of Donduk-Ombo, the sixth Khan of the Kalmyks who reigned between 1737 and 1741, and his Circassian-born wife (See Dondukov family). Another important convert was Baksaday-Dorji, the grandson of Ayuka Khan who adopted the Christian name, Peter Taishin. Each conversion was motivated by political ambition to become the Kalmyk Khan. Kalmyk Tayishis, by contrast, were given salaries and towns and settlements were established for them and their ulus (Khodarkovsky, 1992:39).

Illustration of a Khurul 's interior

Illustration of a Khurul’s interior

Later on, the Tsarist government policy of encouraging Russian and German settlements along the Volga indirectly pressured Kalmyks to convert for economic reasons. The settlers took the most fertile land along the river, leaving barren lands for the Kalmyks to graze their herds. The resulting reduction of herds led to impoverishment for Kalmyk Tayishis, some of whom led their ulus to Christianity to obtain economic benefits.

To discourage the monastic lifestyle, the government required the building of permanent structures at government determined construction sites while imposing Russian architects (Pozdneev, 1914). This policy resulted in the suspension of Lamaist canonical regulations governing monastery construction and in Kalmyk temples resembling Russian Orthodox churches. For example, the Khoshutovsky Khurul is modeled after the Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Other policies the Tsarist government implemented sought to gradually weaken the influence of the lamas. For instance, the government limited Kalmyk contact with Tibet. In addition, the Tsar began appointing the Šajin Lama (title of the High Lama of the Kalmyks). Further, the economic crises that resulted from settler encroachment forced many monasteries and temples to close and lamas to adopt a secularized lifestyle. The success of this policy is borne out by the decrease in the number of Kalmyk monasteries in the Volga region during the 19th century (Loewenthal, 1952 citing Riasanovsky, 1929).

Like the Tsarist government, the Communist regime was aware of the influence the Kalmyk clergy held over the general population. In the 1920s and the 1930s, the Soviet government implemented policies to eliminate religion through control and suppression. Towards that end, Kalmyk khuruls (temples) and monasteries were destroyed and property confiscated; the clergy and many believers were harassed, killed, or sent to labor camps; religious artifacts and books were destroyed; and young men were prohibited from religious training.

By 1940 all Kalmyk Buddhist temples were either closed or destroyed and the clergy systematically oppressed. Dr. Loewenthal writes that the policies were so enforced that the Kalmyk clergy and Buddhism were not mentioned in the work by B. Dzhimbinov, “Sovetskaia Kalmykiia,” published in 1940. In 1944, the Soviet government exiled all Kalmyks not fighting in the Soviet army to Central Asia and Siberia, accusing them of collaborating with the German Army. Upon rehabilitation in 1957, the Kalmyks were permitted to return home from exile, but all attempts by them to restore their religion and to build a temple failed.

By the 1980s, the Soviet campaign against religion was so successful that a majority of the Kalmyks had never received any formal spiritual guidance. By the late 1980s, however, the Soviet government reversed course and implemented policies favoring the liberalization of religion. As a result, the first Buddhist community was organized in 1988. By 1995, there were 21 Buddhist temples, 17 places of worship for various Christian denominations, and 1 mosque in the Republic of Kalmykia (Grin, 2000:7).

On December 27, 2005, a new khurul opened in Elista, the capital of the Republic of Kalmykia. The khurul was named “Burkhan Bakshin Altan Sume”. It is the largest Buddhist temple in Europe. The government of the Republic of Kalmykia sought to build a magnificent temple of a monumental scale in hopes of creating an international learning center for Buddhist scholars and students from all over the world. More significantly, the temple is a monument to the Kalmyk people who died in exile between 1944 and 1957.

The Golden Temple of Shakyamuni Buddha at Elista, the Republic of Kalmykia

The Golden Temple of Shakyamuni Buddha at Elista, the Republic of Kalmykia

The Kalmyks of Kyrgyzstan live primarily in the Karakol region of eastern Kyrgyzstan. They are referred to as “Sart Kalmyks.” The origin of this name is unknown. Likewise, it is not known when, why and from where this small group of Kalmyks migrated to eastern Kyrgyzstan. Due to their minority status, the Sart Kalmyks have adopted the Turkic language and culture of the majority Kyrgyz population. As a result, nearly all now belong to the Muslim faith.

Although Sart Kalmyks are Muslims, Kalmyks elsewhere by and large remain faithful to the Gelugpa Order of Tibetan Buddhism. In Kalmykia, for example, the Gelugpa Order with the assistance of the government has constructed numerous Buddhist temples. In addition, the Kalmyk people recognize Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama as their spiritual leader and Erdne Ombadykow, a Kalmyk American, as the supreme lama of the Kalmyk people. The Dalai Lama has visited Elista on a number of occasions.

Kalmyk29

 

Language

Kalmyk31

According to Robert G. Gordon, Jr., editor of the Ethnologue: Languages of the World, the Kalmyk-Oirat language belongs to the eastern branch of the Mongolian language division. Gordon further classifies Kalmyk-Oirat under the Oirat-Khalkha group, since he contends that Kalmyk-Oirat is related to Khalkha Mongolian – the national language of Mongolia.

Other linguists, such as Nicholas N. Poppe, have classified the Kalmyk-Oirat language group as belonging to the western branch of the Mongolian language division, since the language group developed separately and is distinct. Moreover, Poppe contends that, although there is little phonetic and morphological difference, Kalmyk and Oirat are two distinct languages. The major distinction is in their lexicons. The Kalmyk language, for example, has adopted many words of Russian origin. Consequently, mainly on lexiconal grounds, Kalmyk is classified as a distinct language (Poppe 1970).

By population, the major dialects of Kalmyk are Torghut, Dörbet and Buzava (Bormanshinov 1990). Minor dialects include Khoshut and Olöt. The Kalmyk dialects vary somewhat, but the differences are insignificant. Generally, the Russian Language less influenced the dialects of the pastoral nomadic Kalmyk tribes of the Volga region.

In contrast, the Dörbets (and later on, Torghuts) who migrated from the Volga region to the Sal’sk District of the Don region took the name Buzava (or Don Kalmyks). The Buzava dialect developed from their close interaction with Russians. In 1798 the Tsarist government recognized the Buzava as Don Cossacks, both militarily and administratively. As a result of their integration into the Don Host, the Buzava dialect incorporated many words of Russian origin. (Anon. 1914: 653-660)

During World War II, all Kalmyks not fighting in the Soviet Army were forcibly exiled to Siberia and Central Asia, where they were dispersed and not permitted to speak the Kalmyk language in public places. As a result, the Kalmyk language was not formally taught to the younger generation of Kalmyks.

Upon return from exile in 1957, the Kalmyks spoke and published primarily in Russian. Consequently, the younger generation of Kalmyks primarily speak Russian and not their own native language. This is a subject of popular concern. In recent years, attempts have been made by the Kalmyk government to revive the Kalmyk language. As such, some laws have been passed regarding the usage of Kalmyk on shop signs; for example, on entrance doors, the words ‘Entrance’ and ‘Push-Pull’ appear in Kalmyk.

The attempt to re-establish the Kalmyk language has suffered setbacks, however. Recently, the Russian Broadcasting Corporation cut broadcast time allocated to Kalmyk language programs on radio and television, choosing instead to purchase pre-produced programs, such as English language productions. This measure was undertaken to reduce production costs.

 

Immigration from China (the 2nd time)

In 2006, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov claim to prepare to immigrate 10000 people from China, since Torghuts in China speak the Torgut dialect. However, the Chinese side does not confirm the information.

 

Writing system

Zaya Pandita

Zaya Pandita

In the 17th century, Zaya Pandita, a monk belonging to the Khoshut tribe, devised a script called Todo Bichig (clear script). The script, which is based on the classical vertical Mongol script, phonetically captured the Oirat language. In the later part of the 19th and early part of the 20th centuries, todo bichig fell into disuse until the Kalmyks abandoned it in 1923 and introduced the Russian Cyrillic alphabet. But soon afterwards, around 1930, Kalmyk language scholars introduced a modified Latin alphabet, which did not last long.

 

List of modern oyirad groups

Mongolia
Торгууд, Дөрвөд (Дөрвөд дотор Хотон), Баяд, Захчин, Мянгад, Хойд, Дархад, Хошууд, Өөлд, Урианхай

China
Хөх нуур – Хошууд (Дээд Монгол)
Өвөр Монголын Алшаа аймаг – Алшаа Өөлд Хошууд, Эзнээ Торгууд
Шинжаань – Торгууд, Хошууд

Kyrgyzstan
Сарт-калмак (Хотон-Халимаг)

Russian Federation
Халимаг – Бузава (Бузаава), Торгууд, Дөрвөд, Хойд, Хошууд

USA
Халимаг – Бузава (Бузаава), Торгууд, Дөрвөд

 
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  • Ivan Nasidze, Dominique Quinque, Isabelle Dupanloup, Richard Cordaux, Lyudmila Kokshunova, Mark Stoneking, Genetic Evidence for the Mongolian Ancestry of Kalmyks, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, December 2005, 128(4):846-54. DOI 10.1002/ajpa.20159
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  • Europe’s biggest Buddhist temple opens in Kalmykia, The Buddhist Channel, 2005-12-27. Retrieved on 2008-11-01.
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  • Khoyt S.K. Last data by localisation and number of oyirad (oirat) (rar) – in russian [www.hamagmongol.narod.ru/library/pe_2008/hoyt_locnum_2008_r.htm]
  • Adelman, Fred. Kalmyk Cultural Renewal, PhD Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania,1960.
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  • Anuchin, D. “Kalmyki”, Entsiklopedicheskii Slovar Brokgauz-Efrona, XIV, St. Petersburg, 1914.
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  • Санчиров В. П. О Происхождении этнонима торгут и народа, носившего это название // Монголо-бурятские этнонимы: cб. ст. — Улан-Удэ: БНЦ СО РАН, 1996. C. 31—50.
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  • Хойт С.К. Генетическая структура европейских ойратских групп по локусам ABO, RH, HP, TF, GC, ACP1, PGM1, ESD, GLO1, SOD-A // Проблемы этнической истории и культуры тюрко-монгольских народов. Сборник научных трудов. Вып. I. Элиста: КИГИ РАН, 2009. с. 146-183.

 
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16 Responses to Kalmyk People’s Origin – VERY INTERESTING

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  1. Valentina Suhendra on Dec 14, 2018 at 5:18 am

    1984 Los Angeles-Left to right: Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen, His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, monk assistant to Zong Rinpoche and the 18-year-old Tsem Rinpoche prior to ordination. Read more- https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/category/me

    ZongRinpocheAdvice-001

  2. Pastor Shin Tan on Jul 20, 2018 at 5:33 pm

    Tsem Rinpoche at Kechara Forest Retreat, Bentong, Malaysia

    TR Pic

  3. Ragnar lee on Jul 5, 2018 at 8:05 am

    Interesting history of this ppl,
    Fits in with my own search of the
    Buryat ppl and the Kalmyk ppl
    Looking at the blood type B so prevalent among them

  4. Stella Cheang on Mar 26, 2018 at 10:22 pm

    The history of the Kalmyks, also known as the Oirat-Mongolians is nothing less than dynamic. From the time of Ghengkis Khan to an independent regime under the Tsardom and to the recent tragic during the Stalin Purge, Kalymks experienced glory, freedom, oppression and they survived. Even so, they have kept their culture, religion, faith and tradition in tact. It is very wonderful to see Kalmyk people live well and prosper today. Elista, the capital of Kalmykia in the Russia Federation houses the largest Buddha statue in Europe. Rejoice!

  5. Samfoonheei on Jan 9, 2018 at 11:51 am

    The name Kalmyk is the name given to western Mongolian people and later adopted by those Oirats who migrated from Central Asia to an area around the Volga River in the seventeenth century. The Kalmyks are the only inhabitants of Europe whose national religion is Buddhism, which they embraced in the early part of the seventeenth century. Kalmyks belong to the Tibetan Buddhist sect known as the Gelugpa. As it is also related to Rinpoche’s family history. The Kalmyk people has a long historical, religious, and cultural interesting background. Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this interesting read.

  6. David Lai on Nov 12, 2013 at 1:42 am

    This is indeed an interesting read. Although it is basically an intellectual read but one can’t help but feel the poignant fate of a powerful nomadic tribe that struggled to survive in hostile environments in Eastern Europe and finally America. It provides an interesting perspective of the background that Rinpoche’s foster parents came from. I guess the Kalmyk people truly found home at last in America and their uncertainty is not of survival anymore but on keeping their religious and social identity amidst the dominant American pop culture and intermarriage.

  7. […] Kalmyk People’s Origin -VERY INTERESTINGhttps://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/me/kalmyk-peoples-origin-very-interesting.html […]

  8. arn on Jan 29, 2013 at 8:34 am

    yellow hat &yellow jersey & mantras have been made for the great rider of the mountains CADEL EVANS & his family extended

  9. Jani Roszales on Oct 28, 2010 at 12:34 am

    Intriguing. Been trying to learn a different language for a while so this is extremely relevant! Thanks.

    • Wan Wai Meng on Oct 29, 2010 at 4:21 pm

      thank you carmen for sharing your insights into the Kalmyks in the US. The Kalmyks have gone to quite a lot and survived . I do feel Rinpoche picked the Kalmyk spirit of surviving against all odds and become a dharma teacher in barbaric Malaysia 🙂 . Malaysia incidentally has the lowest number of ordained people in the world, hence Malaysia is very samsaric.

  10. Carmen Koo on Oct 17, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    Its only the 4th day that we have been here in New Jersey and although each day seems to pass by so fast because we are packed with interviews with Rinpoche’s family and friends, we are all extremely motivated knowing that the result this project is going to bring is far greater than we would imagine.

    Last night, we had the utmost privilege and honour to attend a Kalmyk dinner together with Rinpoche’s family and friends at Rinpoche’s aunt (Aunt Matza’s) house that was organized by Sara (Rinpoche’s cousin). I had so much fun at the dinner; the smiles, the joy, the jokes, how close the family is, how loud everyone was, it all combined to create an atmosphere that was simple and comfortable yet highly interesting. Everyone’s smile resembled that of Rinpoche’s highly contagious grin. There was so much food, and drinks, and all of Rinpoche’s relatives and friends were very accomodating and extremely pleased to hear of Rinpoche’s dharma work in Malaysia and how beneficial it has been to society. It was a very enjoyable night that was filled with discoveries and plenty of drinks. No doubt, an experience that I will never forget (oh the food was excellent as well – they made alot of nice vegetarian dishes for us!!).

    It never fails to amaze me how much Rinpoche has put into the Dharma and what Rinpoche has achieved despite growing up in such difficult circumstances, and how Kechara has establised to what it is today. The people behind Kechara are truly inspiring.

  11. Carmen Koo on Oct 16, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    Day 3 in NJ.. The Kalmykians have a very rich history and now, quite a large population have settled in Howell, New Jersey. Mostly following Tibetan Buddhism, they have played an integral role in first bringing H.H. The Dalai Lama over to the United States and their role within the Tibetan Buddhism community here in Howell have been influential.

    Each day, not only do I learn more about Rinpoche, and more about myself but also I get to feel, to be part of, learn and understand more about a culture that has so much history and who have persevered so much to establish themselves today.

  12. Knut Eggers on Sep 26, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    I am so sorry, I would like to put more attention to this information,
    but since my time in school I have difficulties in putting my attention on historical information. Love.

  13. Shirley Maya Tan on Sep 21, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    Wow, this is really a info-rich post – I mean, really well researched and thorough. Thank you so much for always educating us, Rinpoche.

    Rinpoche truly finds all kinds of ways to enrich our minds.

    I will take my time to read and re-read this post in order to understand it fully. As it is also related to Rinpoche’s family history, it is extra important and special.

    Thank you again, Rinpoche.

  14. Sharon Saw on Sep 21, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Thank you for posting this fantastic history of the Kalmyks, which is part of Rinpoche’s genealogy as a descendant of the Torghuts royalty. Most people would not associate Buddhism with this region and not know that it’s the only republic in Europe that has Buddhism as its state religion! It’s also not coincidence that Rinpoche’s cousin, HE Telo Rinpoche, is the head of Kalmyk Buddhists.

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Noticeboard

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  • Sofi
    Thursday, Apr 25. 2019 11:11 PM
    A More Buddhist Facebook?

    Interesting how Facebook adopted some Buddhism into their corporate world. Read what did they use to inspire or activate their staff to better performance.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/a-more-buddhis-facebook.html
  • Lin Mun
    Thursday, Apr 25. 2019 09:45 PM
    I like this painting. Very nice colour combination, simple yet look so stunning. Even Lama Tsongkhapa emanation are depicted here separately. They are the great Buddha of Chenrezig, Vajrapani and Manjushri. Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this nice painting and the description.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/the-one-who-saves-four-armed-chenrezig#comment-841101
  • Lin Mun
    Thursday, Apr 25. 2019 09:22 PM
    Beautifully drawn thangka and thank you Rinpoche for providing the description of each Buddha. All 3 great Buddha of past, present and future are put here, including White Mahakala and Dorje Shugden. Very blessed to have this thangka to be in the house. To remind us to practise dharma as time is precious.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/the-future-buddha-to-come-buddha-maitreya
  • Sofi
    Thursday, Apr 25. 2019 05:39 PM
    He Rejected A $37 Million Contract To Do What?

    Wow, imagine someone rejecting USD37 millions! Don’t you just wonder why did he and for what? Must by such a strong conviction about something. Did he regret his decision?

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/he-rejected-the-37-million-contract-to-do-what.html
  • Yee Yin
    Thursday, Apr 25. 2019 12:40 PM
    Mr. Randy Pauch was very ill when he gave his last speech to the audience. In his speech, he had shared with us a few important points on how to be successful and happy.
    1. Always be appreciative and grateful to the people and things we have. In return, good things will happen to us.
    2. Don’t complain, because complaining does not solve the problems.
    3. When we are sorry for the mistakes we have made, we must do something to make it up. By just saying sorry is not enough.
    4. Be humble and not to react to the negative actions of others towards us.
    5. Be persistent and don’t give up easily. It took Mr. Randy 15 years to make his dream of working at Disney come true.
    6. Death is uncertain and it is beyond our control. We can choose to face death with a positive attitude so when we die, there will be no regret.
    7. Be honest and have integrity, it is hard to do but if we can do that, we will be truly happy and live our lives without regret.

    Mr. Randy had shown us that death is uncertain and we don’t have control over it. However, we have a choice on how we want to live our lives. We are in control of our own happiness. If we have positive thinking, we will be able to turn a negative situation into something positive and then learn and become a better person.

    http://bit.ly/TR-LiveHappy
    [no sender]
  • Yee Yin
    Thursday, Apr 25. 2019 11:57 AM
    There are four holy mountains in China, Mount Jiu Hua, Mount Wutai, Mount Emei and Mount Putuo. Mount Wutai is believed to be the abode of Buddha Manjushri, Mount Emei is believed to be the abode of Samantabhadra, Mount Putuo is believed to be the abode of Guan Yin (Avalokiteshvara) and Mount Jiu Hua is believed to be the abode of Ksitigarbha.

    Mount Jiu Hua is located in Qingyang County, Anhui Province in China, the highest peak being the Shiwang Peak (Peak of Ten Kings), at 1,342 metres above sea level. There are many temples on Mount Jiu Hua, the oldest and holiest one is called Huangcheng temple. A Korean prince called Jin Qiaojue engaged in a 75-year-long solitary practice and achieved enlightenment at the age of 99 when he passed away.

    http://bit.ly/TR-HolyMountain
    [no sender]
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Apr 25. 2019 11:42 AM
    Wow ……..outstanding colour art painting of Four-Armed Chenrezig and Dorje Shugden. Beautiful thangka to have it on altar or in our home. Merely looking at it tells a thousand words. Its truly a blessing.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/the-one-who-saves-four-armed-chenrezig
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Apr 25. 2019 11:41 AM
    Beautiful art paintings of Buddha of Power: Vajrapani and Dorje Shugden who is an emanation of the Buddha of Wisdom, Manjushri. Vajrapani is a Bodhisattva who represents the energy of the enlightened mind and energy that breaks through delusion. He dances wildly within a halo of flames, which represent the transformative power of Awakening.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing with a simple explanations for us to understand.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/the-buddha-of-power-vajrapani
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Apr 25. 2019 11:40 AM
    Hayagriva Is an extremely wrathful emanation of Amitabha and Chenrezig and Vajravarahi. Making prayers to Hayagriva is a swift and powerful means to overcome negative forces and obstacles including those caused by spirit harms. Its also beneficial to those who suffered from illnesses. A very powerful practice in the tradition of Kyerkangpa who received the practice from Guru Rinpoche in a dream. Beautiful thangka.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/tamer-of-nagas-hayagriva-sangdrup
  • Yee Yin
    Thursday, Apr 25. 2019 11:25 AM
    There are 3 Dharma Kings in Tibet. First Dharma King was Songtsen Gampo. His 2 wives from Nepal and China are said to be the emanations of Tara. Due to their influence, King Songtsen Gampo became an enthusiastic promoter of the Dharma in Tibet. The second Dharma King was King Trisong Detsen, he invited great Indian masters Padmasambhava and Shantarakshita to Tibet to spread the Dharma. He also constructed the first Buddhist monastery, Samye Monastery in Tibet and orchestrated the ordination of the first 7 Tibetan Sangha members. There are many good deeds King Trisong Detsen had performed in spreading the Dharma in Tibet, click here to read more:

    http://bit.ly/DharmaKing
    [no sender]
  • Sofi
    Wednesday, Apr 24. 2019 11:21 PM
    Neerja Bhanot – A Selfless Heroine

    She may be gone but she should not be forgotten for her brave deeds. Due her selflessness, she had saved many from the terrorists. Imagine under such conditions of fear and terror, she is still able to give up her safety for others. Do read of how Neerja Bhanot is a true heroine.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/neerja-bhanot-a-selfless-heroine.html
  • Sofi
    Wednesday, Apr 24. 2019 11:02 PM
    Rexie: the Australian Heroine

    Read about this loving dog that is protective of his family but also had save many lives. She had a special gift of saving people from suicide. We should never look down on animals just because they speak a different language and different set of living standard than us.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/rexie-the-australian-heroine.html
  • Sofi
    Wednesday, Apr 24. 2019 10:17 PM
    My Strange Addictions

    Many people develop some form of addition as an escape or temporary respite from the stress of life. But addictions are usually something that could affect our lives adversely, like drugs, sex, alcohol, smoking, food, etc. Do read more to find out stranger addictions that people have.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/my-strange-addictions.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Apr 24. 2019 12:44 PM
    Beautiful art painting Of Vajrapani and Dorje Shugden paints a thousands words. As a protector and guide of Gautama Buddha and rose to symbolize the Buddha’s power and Dorje Shugden a Dharma Protector in order to safeguard the Buddha’s teachings form a powerful combination in this beautiful thangka. It will be wonderful to have it printed in our house or on our altar.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/the-lord-of-secrets-vajrapani
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Apr 24. 2019 12:42 PM
    Beautiful art paintings of White Tara , Ushnishavijaya (Namgyalma), Amitayus, Dorje Shugden. In Tibetan Buddhism, White Tara is also known as Jetsun Dölma as a Buddhist saviour-goddess with numerous forms, widely popular in Nepal, Tibet, and Mongolia. She is the protective, helpful and comforting mother who shows limitless kindness, generosity and protection to all who rely on her.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this wonderful sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/the-supreme-saviouress-white-tara

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

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The Unknown

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

Photos On The Go

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A temple with a thousand Bodhi trees. Unusual and blessed- https://bit.ly/2Xn6nj6
2 days ago
A temple with a thousand Bodhi trees. Unusual and blessed- https://bit.ly/2Xn6nj6
My way of sharing....
1 week ago
My way of sharing....
Peace
1 week ago
Peace
Please contemplate deeply what this message is sharing. Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
Please contemplate deeply what this message is sharing. Tsem Rinpoche
Japanese Buddha statues. Beautiful program- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIfNibljnoI
2 weeks ago
Japanese Buddha statues. Beautiful program- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIfNibljnoI
Japanese Buddhist altars. Beautiful- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4uqb3jPpCs
2 weeks ago
Japanese Buddhist altars. Beautiful- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4uqb3jPpCs
Beautiful Lord Buddha carving which is so elegant. Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
Beautiful Lord Buddha carving which is so elegant. Tsem Rinpoche
We can love others as we heal ourselves inside...~Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
We can love others as we heal ourselves inside...~Tsem Rinpoche
Beautiful short and powerful teaching by Dilgo Kyentse Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
Beautiful short and powerful teaching by Dilgo Kyentse Rinpoche
China\'s huge Buddha statues. Amazingly beautiful- https://bit.ly/2DgSXxT
2 weeks ago
China's huge Buddha statues. Amazingly beautiful- https://bit.ly/2DgSXxT
Such a powerful imagery of Lord Buddha\'s determination. Fasting Buddha\'s meaning- HTTP://bit.ly/2VCfKLa
2 weeks ago
Such a powerful imagery of Lord Buddha's determination. Fasting Buddha's meaning- http://bit.ly/2VCfKLa
This poor boy is being forced to leave his friend to be sold for slaughter. Children have a natural connection with animals, and they know it is wrong to hurt and kill them. Children lose this connection by being indoctrinated (brainwashed) by their parents/peers into believing animals are here to be exploited, killed, and eaten.- from Lucinda Smyth FB page
2 weeks ago
This poor boy is being forced to leave his friend to be sold for slaughter. Children have a natural connection with animals, and they know it is wrong to hurt and kill them. Children lose this connection by being indoctrinated (brainwashed) by their parents/peers into believing animals are here to be exploited, killed, and eaten.- from Lucinda Smyth FB page
Some people really struggle and put in so much effort in their lives. Amazing. Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
Some people really struggle and put in so much effort in their lives. Amazing. Tsem Rinpoche
18th Century Mongolian made Namgyalma statue. Very artistic. Very beautiful. Usually her arms are \'all over the place\' but this one is so artistically placed and poised. Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
18th Century Mongolian made Namgyalma statue. Very artistic. Very beautiful. Usually her arms are 'all over the place' but this one is so artistically placed and poised. Tsem Rinpoche
My mother Ms. Dewa Nimbo came out with a new book. I am happy for her. Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
My mother Ms. Dewa Nimbo came out with a new book. I am happy for her. Tsem Rinpoche
Challenges makes you more responsible. Always remember that life without struggle is a life without success. Don\'t give up and learn not to quit.~-Rumi
2 weeks ago
Challenges makes you more responsible. Always remember that life without struggle is a life without success. Don't give up and learn not to quit.~-Rumi
May His Holiness Dalai Lama completely recover soon- https://bit.ly/2GgMO6c
2 weeks ago
May His Holiness Dalai Lama completely recover soon- https://bit.ly/2GgMO6c
How I made my beautiful Kyabje Zong Rinpoche statue in Nepal in 1987. I have many more photos for you to see here- 
 https://bit.ly/2Z2r0T5
2 weeks ago
How I made my beautiful Kyabje Zong Rinpoche statue in Nepal in 1987. I have many more photos for you to see here- https://bit.ly/2Z2r0T5
As of April 9, 2019 there are over 240k views on this blog post regarding the relationship between Bhutan\'s Highest lama Zhabdrung Rinpoche & Dorje Shugden.- https://bit.ly/2PrE6Ui
2 weeks ago
As of April 9, 2019 there are over 240k views on this blog post regarding the relationship between Bhutan's Highest lama Zhabdrung Rinpoche & Dorje Shugden.- https://bit.ly/2PrE6Ui
The handprint of His Holiness Kyabje Pabongka Dorje Chang Jetsun Dechen Nyingpo
2 weeks ago
The handprint of His Holiness Kyabje Pabongka Dorje Chang Jetsun Dechen Nyingpo
488 articles on animals, vegetarianism and environment and still growing. :) Enjoy the readings- https://bit.ly/2Psp8h2
2 weeks ago
488 articles on animals, vegetarianism and environment and still growing. :) Enjoy the readings- https://bit.ly/2Psp8h2
Beautiful Angel Dorje Shugden chapels in Kathmandu- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCaWhDHKyBA&feature=youtu.be

People love to visit & pray.
3 weeks ago
Beautiful Angel Dorje Shugden chapels in Kathmandu- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCaWhDHKyBA&feature=youtu.be People love to visit & pray.
Stunning pieces-Tibetan spiritual art-Free download- https://bit.ly/2oxb4qU
3 weeks ago
Stunning pieces-Tibetan spiritual art-Free download- https://bit.ly/2oxb4qU
Kechara visits Shar Gaden Monastery in South India-  https://bit.ly/2VozDp4
3 weeks ago
Kechara visits Shar Gaden Monastery in South India- https://bit.ly/2VozDp4
Obeisance to Yamantaka the powerful practice that destroys our bind to samsara.
3 weeks ago
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I love this picture of their Holinesses. Trijang Rinpoche was known to be very humorous and always joked and made Ling Rinpoche laugh very hard. The two tutors got along very well and very harmonious always. This made their job together of educating H.H. Dalai Lama very smooth and successful. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
I love this picture of their Holinesses. Trijang Rinpoche was known to be very humorous and always joked and made Ling Rinpoche laugh very hard. The two tutors got along very well and very harmonious always. This made their job together of educating H.H. Dalai Lama very smooth and successful. Tsem Rinpoche
(left to right)Dharma boy, Mumu boy and Oser girl. Super cute doggies of Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
(left to right)Dharma boy, Mumu boy and Oser girl. Super cute doggies of Tsem Rinpoche
You know you just want to kiss me reeeeeeeeal bad!!! ~Oser girl
3 weeks ago
You know you just want to kiss me reeeeeeeeal bad!!! ~Oser girl
Over 106k views! People really interested in this post: https://bit.ly/2Sczh6v
3 weeks ago
Over 106k views! People really interested in this post: https://bit.ly/2Sczh6v
This picture I found by accident on the internet recently. This exact photo was poster size and framed and was on Thubten Dhargye Ling\'s main altar in Los Angeles back in the 80\'s when I was there. It is beautiful picture of H.H. Dalai Lama in his youth with a light glow around his body as he meditates. I love this picture of His Holiness. Tsem Rinpoche Read more-  https://bit.ly/2FECC5S
3 weeks ago
This picture I found by accident on the internet recently. This exact photo was poster size and framed and was on Thubten Dhargye Ling's main altar in Los Angeles back in the 80's when I was there. It is beautiful picture of H.H. Dalai Lama in his youth with a light glow around his body as he meditates. I love this picture of His Holiness. Tsem Rinpoche Read more- https://bit.ly/2FECC5S
Starting on Vajra Yogini now. Practicing Vajra Yogini without initiation. Find out more- https://bit.ly/2JjTTXp
3 weeks ago
Starting on Vajra Yogini now. Practicing Vajra Yogini without initiation. Find out more- https://bit.ly/2JjTTXp
Beautiful new casing in Kechara for Vajra Yogini. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Beautiful new casing in Kechara for Vajra Yogini. Tsem Rinpoche
Thai tradition of Buddhism also reveres/respects/remembers their gurus and high monks just like in the Tibetan tradition. You can see here a high guru\'s statue housed beautifully with a canopy and enshrined in a altar inside a temple for people to pay homage to him. Also an act of collecting merits for the disciples. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Thai tradition of Buddhism also reveres/respects/remembers their gurus and high monks just like in the Tibetan tradition. You can see here a high guru's statue housed beautifully with a canopy and enshrined in a altar inside a temple for people to pay homage to him. Also an act of collecting merits for the disciples. Tsem Rinpoche
Offering sustenance on our shrine is a sign of appreciation spiritually
4 weeks ago
Offering sustenance on our shrine is a sign of appreciation spiritually
Beautiful piece of African Dogan style art you can print out large & frame for your home- https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
4 weeks ago
Beautiful piece of African Dogan style art you can print out large & frame for your home- https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
I hope you\'ll be blessed by this practice of Lady Ucchusma- 
https://bit.ly/2U5Arm9
4 weeks ago
I hope you'll be blessed by this practice of Lady Ucchusma- https://bit.ly/2U5Arm9
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4 weeks ago
Beautiful painting of Nechung Pehar Gyalpo & Dorje Shugden together. Masterpiece. More free downloads: https://bit.ly/2oxb4qU
Beautiful painting of Nechung Dorje Drakden & Dorje Shugden together. Masterpiece. More free downloads: https://bit.ly/2oxb4qU
4 weeks ago
Beautiful painting of Nechung Dorje Drakden & Dorje Shugden together. Masterpiece. More free downloads: https://bit.ly/2oxb4qU
Tsem Rinpoche’s moving experience with Lama Zopa in Kopan (1987)- https://bit.ly/2YyE42m
4 weeks ago
Tsem Rinpoche’s moving experience with Lama Zopa in Kopan (1987)- https://bit.ly/2YyE42m
Massive 2,600 year old Buddhist Monastery-Afghanistan- read more- https://bit.ly/2HTM48q
4 weeks ago
Massive 2,600 year old Buddhist Monastery-Afghanistan- read more- https://bit.ly/2HTM48q
A good person is made by the intensity of his adversity~Tsem Rinpoche
4 weeks ago
A good person is made by the intensity of his adversity~Tsem Rinpoche
BREAKING NEWS- Dharamsala MP Tenpa Yarphel says to make peace with Dorje Shugden people now!~ 
 https://bit.ly/2CESoxf
4 weeks ago
BREAKING NEWS- Dharamsala MP Tenpa Yarphel says to make peace with Dorje Shugden people now!~ https://bit.ly/2CESoxf
How the incomparable yet down to earth Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen changed my life forever- https://bit.ly/2VJjCtk

Photo: His Eminence Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen and Tsem Rinpoche
4 weeks ago
How the incomparable yet down to earth Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen changed my life forever- https://bit.ly/2VJjCtk Photo: His Eminence Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen and Tsem Rinpoche
Joanne Kam and Justin Ripley in Kechara doing some cooking..
4 weeks ago
Joanne Kam and Justin Ripley in Kechara doing some cooking..
You have to see this spectacular outdoor Amitabah statue in Vietnam. So sacred and majestic.~ https://bit.ly/2Ed0s9n
4 weeks ago
You have to see this spectacular outdoor Amitabah statue in Vietnam. So sacred and majestic.~ https://bit.ly/2Ed0s9n
Everyday offerings of fresh cooked food and drinks are offered to awakened world peace protector Dorje Shugden on my shrine. It is my way to thank Him for all the help He has given to so many people throughout the decades I\'ve introduced Him to. It is my way to include Him as my family and a feeling of closeness and gratitude I have for Him. He\'s a revered family member who happens to be enlightened and also my close friend. Tsem Rinpoche (Food offering prayer~ https://bit.ly/1VkYXJa)
1 month ago
Everyday offerings of fresh cooked food and drinks are offered to awakened world peace protector Dorje Shugden on my shrine. It is my way to thank Him for all the help He has given to so many people throughout the decades I've introduced Him to. It is my way to include Him as my family and a feeling of closeness and gratitude I have for Him. He's a revered family member who happens to be enlightened and also my close friend. Tsem Rinpoche (Food offering prayer~ https://bit.ly/1VkYXJa)
Read about this special Goddess Lok Yeay Mao of Cambodia. I came across her picture and found her very unique and blogged about it. Do enjoy the reading- https://bit.ly/2HR3vqi
1 month ago
Read about this special Goddess Lok Yeay Mao of Cambodia. I came across her picture and found her very unique and blogged about it. Do enjoy the reading- https://bit.ly/2HR3vqi
March 18, 2019-Oser is very photogenic as usual.
1 month ago
March 18, 2019-Oser is very photogenic as usual.
Click on "View All Photos" above to view more images

Videos On The Go

Please click on the images to watch video
  • Beautiful Monastery in Hong Kong
    2 weeks ago
    Beautiful Monastery in Hong Kong
  • This dog thanks his hero in such a touching way. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 weeks ago
    This dog thanks his hero in such a touching way. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Join Tsem Rinpoche in prayer for H.H. Dalai Lama’s long life~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYy7JcveikU&feature=youtu.be
    2 weeks ago
    Join Tsem Rinpoche in prayer for H.H. Dalai Lama’s long life~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYy7JcveikU&feature=youtu.be
  • These people going on pilgrimage to a holy mountain and prostrating out of devotion and for pilgrimage in Tibet. Such determination for spiritual practice. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 weeks ago
    These people going on pilgrimage to a holy mountain and prostrating out of devotion and for pilgrimage in Tibet. Such determination for spiritual practice. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Beautiful new casing in Kechara for Vajra Yogini. Tsem Rinpoche
    3 weeks ago
    Beautiful new casing in Kechara for Vajra Yogini. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Get ready to laugh real hard. This is Kechara’s version of “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane!” We have some real talents in this video clip.
    3 weeks ago
    Get ready to laugh real hard. This is Kechara’s version of “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane!” We have some real talents in this video clip.
  • Recitation of Dorje Dermo‘s mantra or the Dharani of Glorious Vajra Claws. This powerful mantra is meant to destroy all obstacles that come in our way. Beneficial to play this mantra in our environments.
    4 weeks ago
    Recitation of Dorje Dermo‘s mantra or the Dharani of Glorious Vajra Claws. This powerful mantra is meant to destroy all obstacles that come in our way. Beneficial to play this mantra in our environments.
  • Beautiful
    1 month ago
    Beautiful
    Beautiful sacred Severed Head Vajra Yogini from Tsem Rinpoche's personal shrine.
  • My little monster cute babies Dharma and Oser. Take a look and get a cute attack for the day! Tsem Rinpoche
    1 month ago
    My little monster cute babies Dharma and Oser. Take a look and get a cute attack for the day! Tsem Rinpoche
  • Plse watch this short video and see how all sentient beings are capable of tenderness and love. We should never hurt animals nor should we eat them. Tsem Rinpoche
    1 month ago
    Plse watch this short video and see how all sentient beings are capable of tenderness and love. We should never hurt animals nor should we eat them. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Cruelty of some people have no limits and it’s heartbreaking. Being kind cost nothing. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 months ago
    Cruelty of some people have no limits and it’s heartbreaking. Being kind cost nothing. Tsem Rinpoche
  • SUPER ADORABLE and must see
    3 months ago
    SUPER ADORABLE and must see
    Tsem Rinpoche's dog Oser girl enjoying her snack in her play pen.
  • Cute!
    4 months ago
    Cute!
    Oser girl loves the balcony so much. - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTcoWpKJm2c
  • Uncle Wong
    4 months ago
    Uncle Wong
    We were told by Uncle Wong he is very faithful toward Dorje Shugden. Dorje Shugden has extended help to him on several occasions and now Uncle Wong comes daily to make incense offerings to Dorje Shugden. He is grateful towards the help he was given.
  • Tsem Rinpoche’s Schnauzer Dharma boy fights Robot sphere from Arkonide!
    4 months ago
    Tsem Rinpoche’s Schnauzer Dharma boy fights Robot sphere from Arkonide!
  • Cute baby owl found and rescued
    4 months ago
    Cute baby owl found and rescued
    We rescued a lost baby owl in Kechara Forest Retreat.
  • Nice cups from Kechara!!
    4 months ago
    Nice cups from Kechara!!
    Dorje Shugden people's lives matter!
  • Enjoy a peaceful morning at Kechara Forest Retreat
    4 months ago
    Enjoy a peaceful morning at Kechara Forest Retreat
    Chirping birds and other forest animals create a joyful melody at the Vajrayogini stupa in Kechara Forest Retreat (Bentong, Malaysia).
  • His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche makes offering of khata to Dorje Shugden.
    4 months ago
    His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche makes offering of khata to Dorje Shugden.
    Trijang Rinpoche never gave up his devotion to Dorje Shugden no matter how much Tibetan government in exile pressured him to give up. He stayed loyal inspiring so many of us.
  • Very rare video of His Holiness Panchen Rinpoche the 10th, the all knowing and compassionate one. I pay deep respects to this attained being who has taken many rebirths since the time of Lord Buddha to be of benefit to sentient beings tirelessly. Tsem Rinpoche
    4 months ago
    Very rare video of His Holiness Panchen Rinpoche the 10th, the all knowing and compassionate one. I pay deep respects to this attained being who has taken many rebirths since the time of Lord Buddha to be of benefit to sentient beings tirelessly. Tsem Rinpoche
  • This bigfoot researcher gives good reasonings on bigfoot. Interesting short video.
    4 months ago
    This bigfoot researcher gives good reasonings on bigfoot. Interesting short video.
  • His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche of Gaden Shartse Monastery was one of the teachers of Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. Here in this beautiful video is Geshe Kelsang Gyatso showing his centre to Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, then proceeding to sit down to receive teachings. For more information- https://bit.ly/2QNac1u
    4 months ago
    His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche of Gaden Shartse Monastery was one of the teachers of Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. Here in this beautiful video is Geshe Kelsang Gyatso showing his centre to Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, then proceeding to sit down to receive teachings. For more information- https://bit.ly/2QNac1u
  • Tsem Rinpoche’s dog, Oser girl always sits on Rinpoche’s chair. When Rinpoche’s other dog, Dharma tries to get into the chair, he is chased away. Oser is the boss. She is possessive. Cute.
    5 months ago
    Tsem Rinpoche’s dog, Oser girl always sits on Rinpoche’s chair. When Rinpoche’s other dog, Dharma tries to get into the chair, he is chased away. Oser is the boss. She is possessive. Cute.
  • Lama Yeshe talks about how to practice at the beginning and at the end of each day during teachings given in London during the Lamas’ first European teaching tour in 1975. Lama Yeshe was a brilliant teacher and I wanted to share this with everyone so his teachings can reach more people. Tsem Rinpoche
    5 months ago
    Lama Yeshe talks about how to practice at the beginning and at the end of each day during teachings given in London during the Lamas’ first European teaching tour in 1975. Lama Yeshe was a brilliant teacher and I wanted to share this with everyone so his teachings can reach more people. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Our beautiful Dorje Shugden shop in the busiest part of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Many tourists visit our store and this area.
    5 months ago
    Our beautiful Dorje Shugden shop in the busiest part of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Many tourists visit our store and this area.
  • Living off the grid in Australia
    5 months ago
    Living off the grid in Australia
    A Jill Redwood is a jack of all trades, Jill built her own house on her property and lives entirely off the grid with no mains power or town water, mobile reception or television. Living on around $80 a week, Jill has over sixty animals to keep her company and an abundant garden that out serves as an organic supermarket right at her doorstep. Her main expenses are animal feed and the rates on her property. Watch this incredible three minute video and be inspired to live differently.
  • Kyabje Dagom Choktrul Rinpoche offering gold on a 350 year-old Dorje Shugden statue in his chapel in Lhasa. This is how Tibetans show homage and pay respect to a holy image. This chapel and statue of Dorje Shugden in Lhasa dedicated to Dorje Shugden was built by the Great 5th Dalai Lama. Tsem Rinpoche
    5 months ago
    Kyabje Dagom Choktrul Rinpoche offering gold on a 350 year-old Dorje Shugden statue in his chapel in Lhasa. This is how Tibetans show homage and pay respect to a holy image. This chapel and statue of Dorje Shugden in Lhasa dedicated to Dorje Shugden was built by the Great 5th Dalai Lama. Tsem Rinpoche
  • My sweet little Oser girl is so photogenic and adorable. Tsem Rinpoche
    5 months ago
    My sweet little Oser girl is so photogenic and adorable. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Heart Sutra sang by a monk for the modern crowd. Very interesting and beautiful. Tsem Rinpoche
    5 months ago
    Heart Sutra sang by a monk for the modern crowd. Very interesting and beautiful. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Submerging powerful mantra stones in water at Kechara Forest Retreat in Malaysia.
    5 months ago
    Submerging powerful mantra stones in water at Kechara Forest Retreat in Malaysia.
  • This topic is so hot in many circles right now.
    1 years ago
    This topic is so hot in many circles right now.
    This video is thought-provoking and very interesting. Watch! Thanks so much to our friends at LIVEKINDLY.
  • Chiropractic CHANGES LIFE for teenager with acute PAIN & DEAD LEG.
    1 years ago
    Chiropractic CHANGES LIFE for teenager with acute PAIN & DEAD LEG.
  • BEAUTIFUL PLACE IN NEW YORK STATE-AMAZING.
    1 years ago
    BEAUTIFUL PLACE IN NEW YORK STATE-AMAZING.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio takes on the meat Industry with real action.
    1 years ago
    Leonardo DiCaprio takes on the meat Industry with real action.
  • Do psychic mediums have messages from beyond?
    1 years ago
    Do psychic mediums have messages from beyond?
  • Lovely gift for my 52nd Birthday. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 yearss ago
    Lovely gift for my 52nd Birthday. Tsem Rinpoche
  • This 59-year-old chimpanzee was refusing food and ready to die until...
    2 yearss ago
    This 59-year-old chimpanzee was refusing food and ready to die until...
    she received “one last visit from an old friend” 💔💔
  • Bigfoot sighted again and made it to the news.
    2 yearss ago
    Bigfoot sighted again and made it to the news.
  • Casper is such a cute and adorable. I like him.
    2 yearss ago
    Casper is such a cute and adorable. I like him.
  • Dorje Shugden Monastery Amarbayasgalant  Mongolia's Ancient Hidden Gem
    2 yearss ago
    Dorje Shugden Monastery Amarbayasgalant Mongolia's Ancient Hidden Gem
  • Don't you love Hamburgers? See how 'delicious' it is here!
    2 yearss ago
    Don't you love Hamburgers? See how 'delicious' it is here!
  • Such a beautiful and powerful message from a person who knows the meaning of life. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 yearss ago
    Such a beautiful and powerful message from a person who knows the meaning of life. Tsem Rinpoche
  • What the meat industry figured out is that you don't need healthy animals to make a profit.
    2 yearss ago
    What the meat industry figured out is that you don't need healthy animals to make a profit.
    Sick animals are more profitable... farms calculate how close to death they can keep animals without killing them. That's the business model. How quickly they can be made to grow, how tightly they can be packed, how much or how little can they eat, how sick they can get without dying... We live in a world in which it's conventional to treat an animal like a block of wood. ~ Jonathan Safran Foer
  • This video went viral and it's a must watch!!
    2 yearss ago
    This video went viral and it's a must watch!!
  • SEE HOW THIS ANIMAL SERIAL KILLER HAS NO ISSUE BLUDGEONING THIS DEFENSELESS BEING.
    2 yearss ago
    SEE HOW THIS ANIMAL SERIAL KILLER HAS NO ISSUE BLUDGEONING THIS DEFENSELESS BEING.
    This happens daily in slaughterhouse so you can get your pork and Bak ku teh. Stop eating meat.

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.

View All Questions

CHAT PICTURES

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for other?’ Mr. Lim is definitely one of our dedicated volunteers for the past 10 years. He dedicates his time to fully support our Kechara Food Bank programme, not only to raise #zerofoodwastage awareness amongst the public but also to help the less fortunate. Thank you for taking part in making the world better. Your great work is much appreciated, Mr. Lim. #Kechara #foodbank #volunteer - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
5 hours ago
Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for other?’ Mr. Lim is definitely one of our dedicated volunteers for the past 10 years. He dedicates his time to fully support our Kechara Food Bank programme, not only to raise #zerofoodwastage awareness amongst the public but also to help the less fortunate. Thank you for taking part in making the world better. Your great work is much appreciated, Mr. Lim. #Kechara #foodbank #volunteer - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
KSK Penang Team visited a dialysis patient to deliver dry food provisions for his family. He has a kidney transplant when he was 12 years old and for the past years is undergoing dialysis three times a week and this has put a financial strain to him. We will try to assist him in anyway we can. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
yesterday
KSK Penang Team visited a dialysis patient to deliver dry food provisions for his family. He has a kidney transplant when he was 12 years old and for the past years is undergoing dialysis three times a week and this has put a financial strain to him. We will try to assist him in anyway we can. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
One day, we received a humble wish list from this poor family, an elderly mother who takes care of her grown up son with special needs. ‘It’s quite uneasy to use toilet without a proper door but I do not have enough money to fix it,’ said the mother. Without a second thought, our kindest sponsor, La Hong Eu has decided to make meaningful sponsorship to this case. Big thanks to Bernard Ting and Vickneshwaran for helping this family to replace the broken one with a brand new folding door. Together we are the reason that someone has a sweet smile on her face. #Kechara #foodbank #care - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
2 days ago
One day, we received a humble wish list from this poor family, an elderly mother who takes care of her grown up son with special needs. ‘It’s quite uneasy to use toilet without a proper door but I do not have enough money to fix it,’ said the mother. Without a second thought, our kindest sponsor, La Hong Eu has decided to make meaningful sponsorship to this case. Big thanks to Bernard Ting and Vickneshwaran for helping this family to replace the broken one with a brand new folding door. Together we are the reason that someone has a sweet smile on her face. #Kechara #foodbank #care - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Laying the rescued food down on the table would mean we will minimise chance of wastage from another level when our recipients will have the privilege to choose what they really need and want. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
3 days ago
Laying the rescued food down on the table would mean we will minimise chance of wastage from another level when our recipients will have the privilege to choose what they really need and want. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Have you ever done beading? Join us for a blessed Saturday in Kechara Forest Retreat! http://bit.ly/2IMh5eN - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 days ago
Have you ever done beading? Join us for a blessed Saturday in Kechara Forest Retreat! http://bit.ly/2IMh5eN - shared by Pastor Antoinette
What do you do on Saturday mornings? Join us for a meaningful time and be blessed by the Buddhas during the Spiritual Saturday at Kechara Forest Retreat! - shared by Pastor Antoinette
3 days ago
What do you do on Saturday mornings? Join us for a meaningful time and be blessed by the Buddhas during the Spiritual Saturday at Kechara Forest Retreat! - shared by Pastor Antoinette
With Dorje Shugden in your car, bus, bike, boat or lorry, you will be protected and blessed. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
4 days ago
With Dorje Shugden in your car, bus, bike, boat or lorry, you will be protected and blessed. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Recently in Kechara Forest Retreat, this bus was blessed and is now protected by the Three Jewels. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
4 days ago
Recently in Kechara Forest Retreat, this bus was blessed and is now protected by the Three Jewels. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Volunteers do not necessarily have the time, they just have the heart. In order to send the foodpack to our client in johor bahru area, we need a team that are always ready . Luckily, we have a group of wonderful volunteers that are commited to serve our community. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
4 days ago
Volunteers do not necessarily have the time, they just have the heart. In order to send the foodpack to our client in johor bahru area, we need a team that are always ready . Luckily, we have a group of wonderful volunteers that are commited to serve our community. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Children paint their own mask for Halloween day. Lin Mun KSDS
5 days ago
Children paint their own mask for Halloween day. Lin Mun KSDS
Parents and students did a group discussion together on the Bully topic  Lin Mun KSDS
5 days ago
Parents and students did a group discussion together on the Bully topic Lin Mun KSDS
A talk on Bully by Peggy. A very informative sharing for students and parents. Lin Mun KSDS
5 days ago
A talk on Bully by Peggy. A very informative sharing for students and parents. Lin Mun KSDS
Great to start kids with dharma knowledge from young. Lin Mun KSDS
5 days ago
Great to start kids with dharma knowledge from young. Lin Mun KSDS
Teacher Victoria guided the students to do prayer in the dharma class. Lin Mun KSDS
5 days ago
Teacher Victoria guided the students to do prayer in the dharma class. Lin Mun KSDS
Creative horror drawing created by Teacher Kien. Alice, KSDS
5 days ago
Creative horror drawing created by Teacher Kien. Alice, KSDS
Teacher Asyley led the kids to participate animal liberation. Alice, KSDS
5 days ago
Teacher Asyley led the kids to participate animal liberation. Alice, KSDS
Healthy Meals for lunch sponsored by Mr Ravi & friends! We thank you for your unending support to #kecharasoupkitchen in our plight in serving the #homeless. Would you like to sponsor lunch for our street friends? To find out more, checkout our website for more details :) Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
6 days ago
Healthy Meals for lunch sponsored by Mr Ravi & friends! We thank you for your unending support to #kecharasoupkitchen in our plight in serving the #homeless. Would you like to sponsor lunch for our street friends? To find out more, checkout our website for more details :) Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
1 week ago
1 week ago
Bernard was briefing the volunteers on the details before they headed out last Saturday to PPR Kota Damansara. #kechara #foodbank #urbanpoor - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
1 week ago
Bernard was briefing the volunteers on the details before they headed out last Saturday to PPR Kota Damansara. #kechara #foodbank #urbanpoor - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Seen here are team leaders giving their final briefing to the respective volunteers before they head out last night. Thank you very much to all the volunteers who turned up. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
2 weeks ago
Seen here are team leaders giving their final briefing to the respective volunteers before they head out last night. Thank you very much to all the volunteers who turned up. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Thank you very much to James and Shereen for sponsoring oranges for tonight's distribution. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
2 weeks ago
Thank you very much to James and Shereen for sponsoring oranges for tonight's distribution. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
We received a lot wine bottles for recycling. It was packed nicely by the person. KEP-Serena
2 weeks ago
We received a lot wine bottles for recycling. It was packed nicely by the person. KEP-Serena
Today we are having recycling activity at Kechara Soup Kitchen. You can drop the recycled items here if you are nearby. KEP-Serena
2 weeks ago
Today we are having recycling activity at Kechara Soup Kitchen. You can drop the recycled items here if you are nearby. KEP-Serena
The generous support from Tesco Malaysia and AEON Retail Malaysia have made it possible for us to continue with this contribution to those less fortunate. Thank you very much! Here are photos taken during the distribution at government low cost flat. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
2 weeks ago
The generous support from Tesco Malaysia and AEON Retail Malaysia have made it possible for us to continue with this contribution to those less fortunate. Thank you very much! Here are photos taken during the distribution at government low cost flat. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
The Promise
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  Tsem Rinpoche's Long Life Prayer by H.H. Trijang Choktrul Rinpoche
  Support Blog Team
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  Robe Offerings
  Vajrayogini Stupa Fund
  White Tara Mantra Bank Project
  Rinpoche's Medical Fund
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Dorje Shugden
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