My Short Bio in Pictures

Feb 16, 2013 | Views: 26,952

This is just a brief biographical account of my life in pictures till now. Many of these images appeared in The Promise, which is a more extensive pictorial biography, produced as instructed by my teacher. The Promise is available on Vajrasecrets, and also here on my blog as an eBook.

Much care,
Tsem Rinpoche

 

Childhood in Taiwan

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I was born on October 24, 1965 in Taipei, Taiwan. My mother, Mongolian Princess Torghut Noyen, Dewa Nimbo whose family escaped from Mongolia to Taiwan, met my father, Lobsang Gyatso, who was managing a school for Tibetan refugees in Taiwan. My mother became involved with my father, not knowing that he was already made and had a wife and children in Tibet. When my mother found out that my father already had a family in Tibet, she separated from him even before I was born.

However, the shame of having an illegitimate child, especially because she was a royal princess, led her to give me away for adoption as soon as I was born. It was not easy for her at the time because many of her countrymen criticised her for bearing a child out of wedlock. I understand for my mother and I wish she can heal from that.

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Before I was born, my mother dreamed of a baby white elephant entering her courtyard and she would tie the elephant to a tree. She dreamed this every night for nine months, she said to me. On the day before I was born, she dreamed of high lamas and monks performing various pujas in her house.

On the day of my birth, my mother delivered me with ease and no pain. My mother and my gurus later told me that these are all auspicious signs.

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When I was seven months old, monks came and recognised me as a reincarnated lama. They requested my mother to allow me to be taken to the monastery for my spiritual education but my mother did not allow them. She said that if I was really a high lama, I would eventually make my own way to the monastery.

Of course, the real reason was the fear of embarrassment that should I be enthroned as a high lama, the name of my birth mother and birth father would be made known, as per tradition. When enthroning a reincarnated tulku, the parents’ names are read out to the congregation. Because my mother did not want this information to be publicised, she refused the monks’ request.

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Kwan Mama with me when I was in Taiwan. She and her brother (below) would often come and take me for a break, away from Shi Mama’s. Kwan Mama was a very gentle and sweet lady. She showed a lot of compassion to me. Her family would feed, wash and cloth me, and buy me toys. I remember clearly that they would never hurt me and were always kind to me.

Instead, she found a caretaker and gave me to the woman’s family. The caretaker’s name was Shi Mama and in Taiwan, I lived in a small apartment together with her, her husband and their three sons. Later, I found out that Shi Mama was paid to take care of me but at the time, I did not know this. At the time, I thought Shi Mama was my mother and her three sons were my brothers.

The small apartment we lived in was on the second floor of a shoplot and I attended the neighbourhood school which was nearby. My foster family did not treat me well and I was frequently beaten and not given food. After school, I often ended up wandering the streets of Taipei looking for food. I remember this very vividly.

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Kwan Mama’s brother with me when I was small. He and his sister Kwan Mama said I was always happy, fun-loving and playful. I showed no signs of abuse. They said I was very intelligent and cooperative. Mr. Kwan would always take me to the public baths and wash me himself, because I was dirty and unwashed due to Shi Mama’s intentional neglect.

However, amidst all the ill-treatment, there was some respite when my real grandmother, Torghut Queen Dechen Minh came to visit me from time to time. She would bring with her toys, clothes or candy for me. In her presence, I would be allowed to enjoy these gifts but once she left, the toys were immediately taken from me.

I also fondly remember a kind lady, Kwan Mama and her brother, Mr. Kwan who would take me on trips to hot springs and buy me toys. I later found out that Kwan Mama was my mother’s classmate who was asked by my mother to watch over me.

I have always remembered Kwan Mama’s kindness but after I moved to the USA in 1972 when I was just seven years old, I lost touch with her. It was not until six to seven years ago that I managed to reconnect with Kwan Mama by asking one of my senior students, Irene Lim, to track Kwan Mama’s whereabouts in Taiwan. Irene finally managed to locate Kwan Mama and I have been keeping in touch with her ever since.

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In 2008, I reunited with Kwan Mama during my visit to Taiwan to do a puja for her sister before she underwent a major operation. Kwan Mama was very happy to be reconnected with me. From time to time, she sends offerings for me from Taiwan. I am eternally grateful to this kind lady who took pity on a child who had no parents. Kwan Mama also told me that she wanted to adopt me, but it was not allowed by my grandmother.

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During my trip to Taiwan in 2008, I also met my uncle, Torghut Prince David Minh who is the brother of my birth mother Dewa Nimbo. David Minh acknowledged me as his nephew and said he knew about me, but had no connection.

We had a nice meeting that was taped and he filled me in on a lot of information about our family that I never knew about. For example, it was David who told me before our family arrived in Taiwan, my grandparents, my mother and my uncle himself journeyed from Xinjiang to India where they met His Holiness 14th Dalai Lama. David has a wife and two daughters but we did not meet when I was in Taiwan.

For more information: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=8065

 

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Growing Up in America

In 1972, when I was seven years old, I left Taiwan for America. My birth mother and grandmother arranged for me to be adopted by a Mongolian couple, Boris (Burcha) and Dana Bugayeff. The Bugayeffs adopted me because they did not have a son. Like most Asian parents, it was their wish that their adopted son would grow up, get a good education, get married and carry on their family name.

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Me with my adoptive father, Boris (Burcha) Bugayeff

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Me with my adoptive mother, Dana Bugayeff

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I was seven years old and I was in First Grade at Land O’ Pines School. Some of my good school friends like Nina Noronow, David, Butchy, Ronaldo, Ray, Kim, etc. are in this picture. I am in the centre of the back row, wearing a blue shirt. Me and the girl next to me, Lily were the tallest in the class from First to Eighth Grade.

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Click on the map above to see Howell, New Jersey which is the place I grew up in, and my house, my school, my friends’ houses, the temples I always went to, etc. This was my world until I was 16 years old. As I type, our ‘Tsem Rinpoche Bio Research Group’ is visiting each of the places I have marked on this map. All of it will become a book and movie.

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My first Guru, His Eminence Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tharchin

My adoptive parents lived in Howell, New Jersey which was home to a large community of Mongolian refugees and it was here that I met my first Guru, the Abbot Emeritus of Sera Mey Monastery and an accomplished practitioner of the Vajra Yogini Tantra, Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tharchin at Rashi Gempil Ling (RGL), the first Kalmyk-Mongolian Buddhist temple in the United States located just 10 minutes’ away from my adoptive parents’ home.

Imagine – I travelled around the world and arrived in Howell, New Jersey in 1972 and this master arrived in the same small town just one year before me, in 1971. He was a direct disciple of His Holiness’ Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche and Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche. What are the chances of that? I do not think that is a coincidence at all. I believe in my previous life I collected merits to be around these great masters. I was very lucky because this master resided at RGL which was so close to my home.

So I would try and go to RGL as often as I could but it was not easy at all, due to my parents’ opposition towards my pursuit of spirituality. But even at a very young age, I had a very strong inclination and passion to practise Dharma and when I saw this master for the first time, I wanted to study with him. I wanted to be with him. I wanted to serve him.

I was naturally attracted to monks, temples and Dharma teachings. At times I would sit on my bed and imagine that I was a high lama sitting on a throne giving Dharma teachings to people. I would spontaneously draw pictures of Buddhist deities and pass them out to my relatives and friends for protection. Somehow, I instinctively knew that the Buddhas would bless and protect them. And I loved to read Dharma books and do meditations.

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I was fascinated by Buddhist deities such as Manjushri, Vajra Yogini, Heruka and Palden Lhamo. I searched for caves, lakes, forests and nearby hills to meditate in. I loved to hang out with other Dharma practitioners at RGL, and I loved going to the temple and doing prostrations. On days I was free, I would recite 30,000 to 40,000 OM MANI PADME HUM mantras without my parents knowing, and I did meditations from a book called Tibetan Yogas and Secret Doctrines by Walter Evans-Wentz. I loved to recite OM MANI PADME HUNG and OM AH RA PA TSA NA DHI which is Manjushri’s mantra.

And I always had the thought that I would not stay where I was, that I would travel and meet many people who would ask for my help. Because of this thought, I was always learning prayers and mantras. I had a very strong feeling not to do what everyone else was doing like going to school, getting married, etc. I prayed to become a monk and live in the temple.

As mentioned, my fascination with Dharma practice met with opposition from my adoptive parents because it did not match what they wanted for me as most Asian parents. My adoptive mother would physically and verbally abuse me if she caught me doing Dharma practice of any sort. I had to hide under my blanket to do my mantras or read Dharma books. The beatings intensified as I grew older and I rebelled, and told them I will be a monk. So I would have to be more and more underground and secretive with my Dharma study and practice.

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With my grandmother, the Torghut Queen Dechen Minh and my sweet dog Princey. I loved Princey so much.

Amidst all of this, I continued to receive visits from my grandmother, Torghut Queen Dechen who told me that she was my grandmother. Actually, it was my grandmother who taught me how to recite OM MANI PADME HUM. I have fond memories of her joking and laughing. She was genuinely very nice and sweet to me. I felt she loved me very much. She brought me over from Taiwan to be adopted here, hoping I would have a good life. Over the years, she would come and visit me as well as my birth mother.

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My birth mother, Princess Dewa Nimbo of Xinjiang

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My birth father, Lobsang Gyatso who is an ex-monk. He is from Aba, Tibet.

 

Royal Lineage

My mother, Princess Dewa Nimbo would come and visit me at my adoptive parents’ home from time to time, disguising herself as a relative of ours. Sometimes, she would bring me to live with her for one or two weeks. Later, after I went to India, she would write to me. When I entered Gaden Monastery in India, she wrote to tell me that she had separated from her husband and was struggling to put herself through a PhD and raising her kids. She told me that if I had problems, I should see her Guru, Sogpu Rinpoche in Nepal, for help and she would send me money when she finished her studies.

During my stay in Gaden, I was once asked by Sogpu Rinpoche, also known as Guru Deva, to go and see him in Nepal immediately. It was a sudden request and I did not have any money to travel at that time. I conveyed the news to my Guru, Kyabje Kensur Lati Rinpoche and Lati Rinpoche instructed me to go immediately. He said that the trip would be good for me and even lent me the money needed for the trip.

When I arrived at Sogpu Rinpoche’s Ladrang (a lama’s private residence is called a Ladrang), my birth father happened to be visiting Sogpu Rinpoche at that time. I had never met my father before that. My father had already been told by Sogpu Rinpoche about my visit and when I was finally introduced to my father by Sogpu Rinpoche, my father was shaking and crying, smoking and hiding behind a cigarette.

It was at that moment I knew in my heart that it was for real. That Tibetan man was really my father. The first thing my father said to me was, “Please forgive me, I am sorry” and he sobbed. We spent a few days together and later, he took the money he was carrying with him, which was about 5,000 rupees, and gave it to me. I used the money given by my father to pay back the money I borrowed from my Guru when I returned to Gaden. Sogpu Rinpoche was the one that introduced me to my birth father for the first time in my life. He asked me to forgive my father and so I did.

Upon returning to Gaden, I happily wrote a letter to my mother, explaining everything that had taken place in Sogpu Ladrang. My mother denied knowing my father. She said, “That old man in Taiwan, I don’t know who he is” and told me that she had no relations with him. She also said that if I wanted a relationship with him, I would have no relationship with her. After that, my mother severed all contact with me.

Until today, I have no contact with my mom or her two sons. She totally cut herself off from me. She is very unhappy with my dad and I understand, but I do wish they could know that I was their child and I deserved love and care also.

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This picture was taken in our family home in New Jersey. I am here pictured with my cousins. From left to right are Sara Andreyev, Sonia Waskin, Susie Gugajew and me. In the background are Sonia Tatinow and Ben.

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I grew up with my adoptive cousins. I’m picture here with Diana and Darlene Polchinoff. One of my cousins, Sara said that among Mongolians, they all knew I was royalty and they called me “Noyen Cuven” meaning ‘royal son’. They knew who I was and who my mother was, but all of them had to stay quiet and that this information was hush hush.

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Anyway, eventually the opposition from my adoptive parents towards my Dharma practice became extremely severe. It was to the extent that my adoptive mother began spreading very derogatory rumours about my Guru, Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tharchin. As a result, when I was between Fourth to Fifth Grade, I started having thoughts of suicide and made multiple attempts to run away.

Twice I attempted suicide, each time praying to Manjushri to let me take a new rebirth if I cannot practise Dharma in this life. However, both attempts were unsuccessful. I also ran away from home three times and on my third attempt, I was finally successful.

I ended up in Thubten Dhargye Ling (TDL) in Los Angeles where I met my next Guru, the Venerable Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen. I stayed and worked in Geshe-la’s centre TDL for eight years until I left America for good for Gaden. It was in this centre that I met my root Guru, His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. Zong Rinpoche is the guru of Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen and he had been invited to TDL by Geshe-la.

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Me with my cousin Susan Gugajew in Howell, New Jersey. When I was a child, she used to babysit me and take me for games, rides, amusement parks, arcades, eating, roller-skating. She and I were very close. She was the sister I never had and I was so proud of her.

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Click on map above to see the route I took to run away from New Jersey to Los Angeles for Dharma. I tried two times and was finally successful on my third runaway attempt. This is the route I took across the United States, from New Jersey to New York to Los Angeles, California. In Los Angeles, I worked and lived at Thubten Dhargye Ling (TDL) Dharma Centre until I went to India in 1987.

 

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Root Guru

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This is my altar in Los Angeles, when I lived in an apartment complex called Fenmore Apartments. It has since been demolished after it was badly damaged during an earthquake in the 1990s.

Even in wild, crazy 80s Los Angeles, my calling to do Dharma never waned. Everywhere I lived, I always had an altar and back then, I didn’t have money for statues which I wanted very much, so I would print out photographs and have them framed. But in the picture above, there is a clay statue of Shakyamuni behind His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s picture in the centre and there’s an interesting story to that statue.

I was walking past a secondhand store and the owner was using this Shakyamuni statue as a doorstop! I asked him how much it was and he said, “US$5.” I was like, “That’s it?!” and immediately, I grabbed it and excitedly took him home. I washed him and placed him in the centre of my altar.

On my altar, I’ve also got pictures of His Holiness Kyabje Ling Rinpoche, His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, Venerable Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, His Eminence Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tharchin, Dukkar, Tsongkhapa, Vajra Yogini, a Guru Tree, Palden Lhamo and Heruka on my shrine. Daily I would make offerings of milk, water and incense. I also did prostrations and my sadhana every single day. Right next to the altar, on the right side, is my bed.

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His Holiness Zong Rinpoche at Thubten Dhargye Ling in Los Angeles. I took this picture just before a Lama Tsongkapa initiation.

Of course on my altar is also a photograph of my precious root Guru His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. I met His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche at Thubten Dhargye Ling (TDL) in Los Angeles, USA. During Zong Rinpoche’s six months’ stay at TDL, I was appointed to be Zong Rinpoche’s personal attendant. I cooked for Zong Rinpoche and his entourage, cleaned their dishes, cleaned and tidied Zong Rinpoche’s room, assisted Zong Rinpoche in private audiences and Dharma teachings, and massaged Zong Rinpoche. I did this over and above all my other duties in the centre, while also holding a job outside the centre to financially support myself. We never took stipends or money from the centre, it was unheard of.

It was in TDL that Zong Rinpoche recognised me as an incarnate tulku (reincarnated lama) and invited me to stay in Zong Ladrang in Gaden Monastery. I had no hesitation to accept Zong Rinpoche’s offer. At the time, I had also received a few offers to model and act. I thought that if I went into acting, I could use the money to support the centre and Gaden. But I also wanted to become ordained and be a monk so I asked Kyabje Zong Rinpoche to do a divination for me.

Kyabje Zong Rinpoche said if I was to do any work in front of the camera like acting, I would be very successful but if I was to become a monk, then it would be very beneficial. Immediately, I requested and promised Kyabje Zong Rinpoche to become a monk. Therefore although I wanted to act, I didn’t pursue the offers I received because I was going to get ordained, as I had promised Rinpoche.

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When Zong Rinpoche came to TDL, Geshe-la vacated his room for his guru Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and I vacated my room to make way for Zong Rinpoche’s entourage. During that time, I stayed in the garage which Zong Rinpoche came to visit one day. I showed Zong Rinpoche some thangkas and in the photo above, he was describing 1,000-Armed Avalokiteshvara.

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During Zong Rinpoche’s visit, we also went to Yucca Valley, California which is where the photograph above was taken. We were there for two blissful weeks to receive empowerment of Vajra Yogini and full commentary explanations. I was also the attendant to Rinpoche so my room was just next door. Just think, my room was next door to Heruka himself.

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As mentioned above, I had requested Zong Rinpoche for a divination and it came out that it would be more beneficial if I became a monk. So I promised Zong Rinpoche to become a monk and as a symbol of his acceptance, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche cut a piece of my hair when I promised to go to Gaden to be ordained as a monk. Yes, Zong Rinpoche’s divination indicated that I had powerful karma to be a successful actor but if I became a monk, I would benefit many people. The choice was clear for me. I promised Rinpoche to become a monk and in 1987 I left USA for good to enter Zong Ladrang in Gaden Monastery.

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On one occasion before Zong Rinpoche left for India, Zong Rinpoche and entourage went on a shopping trip which I was privileged to assist on. During this outing, Zong Rinpoche bought many toys, some of which were given to the children of his students and friends. The rest, he asked his attendant to bring back to India to be kept in Zong Ladrang.

Years later, when his current incarnation was recognised and brought back to Zong Ladrang, he played with the toys that were bought during that shopping trip. Yes, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche prepared for his own next life!

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In 1984, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche left for India after six wonderful, incredible months with us in TDL. The picture above was taken before Zong Rinpoche left. I was 19 years old at the time, and it was the last time I ever saw my root Guru. I cried and cried in the lap of Zong Rinpoche. I would miss him so much. I didn’t know how I could go on without him. He was in India and I was in America, all the while trying to save enough money to get to India.

Then one day while I was at work, I received a phone call I never expected. I was told that Zong Rinpoche had passed away in India. I was devastated and did not recover from it for many years. Even going to India to be ordained as a monk felt empty because my Guru was no longer there. Nevertheless, I still went because I was determined to fulfill my promise to my Guru. Whether or not my Guru was alive, the promise to him still stood and I had to fulfill it. So I went to India and became ordained as a monk, just like I promised Zong Rinpoche I would do.

To this day, I still miss Zong Rinpoche very much and I have said that until today, not a day passes without me reciting Zong Rinpoche’s name mantra. When I arrived in Zong Ladrang, the presence of Zong Rinpoche was everywhere but Zong Rinpoche himself was not there. It felt empty…but of course I stayed.

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When the newly-recognised current Zong Rinpoche first met me at Gaden Monastery, he immediately waved at me, called me over to him and addressed me as his junior. He called me Zopa Rinpoche, which was derived from my ordination name Tenzin Zopa. But at the time, I had not yet been recognised as a tulku so how did this young child know?

Anyway, he asked me to come towards him, stretched both his hands up to me and asked me to carry him. I carried and hugged him tight, knowing in my heart that my beloved root Guru had returned. I played with him and stared at me deeply as if trying to remember something.

As a young boy, the current Zong Rinpoche was extremely hot-tempered; he threw his food or his things when he was ‘unhappy’. When his attendants saw that, they immediately folded their hands and said that this boy must be the undisputed incarnation of the previous Zong Rinpoche, who was well-known to be extremely wrathful and fierce.

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When the current Zong Rinpoche was being enthroned, at the ceremony I offered a Manjushri statue to Rinpoche. I saved money for months to purchase this Manjushri statue because I wanted my first gift to Rinpoche to be very auspicious. Later, I was told that after the ceremony, Zong Rinpoche asked for this statue and kept it near his bed always.

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I was very fortunate to live in my Guru’s house and to have such a close relationship with him. In this photograph above, I carried the current Zong Rinpoche on my lap at a Dharma teaching of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The photograph was taken in Dharamsala, North India. His Holiness the Dalai Lama was seated on a throne just 15 feet away from us, right in the front of where this picture was taken.

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Me with the current Zong Rinpoche at Gaden Monastery. This was in 1990 when I was 25. My father took this picture of Zong Rinpoche and myself in Gaden Monastery.

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In 2006, many years after I had moved to Malaysia, I met the current Zong Rinpoche again when I led a group of 63 pilgrims to make offerings of 3,000 Manjushri statues and 3,000 sets of robes to the monks in Gaden Monastery.

Today (2019), the current Zong Rinpoche is 34 years old and he is the top debater in Gaden Monastery. He is, without surprise, becoming a great scholar and master again. I am so happy.

It is without a surprise also that Zong Chocktrul Rinpoche is also a ritual master. At the funeral of His Eminence Kyabje Lati Rinpoche in 2010, His Holiness Zong Chocktrul Rinpoche presided over the funeral ceremony for the entire monastery. Zong Chocktrul Rinpoche is tall, very powerful in appearance and has a powerful presence. May he live very long and dharma activities grow huge.

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Looking back on my life, one of the things that amazes me is although I was living in America and far from any monasteries, still I had the incredible honour to meet many great masters. Not just my Gurus like Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tharchin, Geshe-la or Zong Rinpoche but I also had the honour to meet His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in Los Angeles. In the photo above, I requested His Holiness to ordain me and he asked me to come to India. So I did and in December 1987, His Holiness ordained me in Dharamsala, North India. What a great day it was for me. I loved meeting His Holiness so much.

I was able to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama a few more times after that. On one occasion, my Guru Kensur Rinpoche Jampa Yeshe introduced me to His Holiness the Dalai Lama as the reincarnation of the 72nd Abbot of Gaden Shartse. I offered His Holiness a Vajrapani statue, amongst other times. His Holiness then confirmed my recognition as a tulku (Rinpoche) and a picture was taken to commemorate the moment. We were in a room on top of the Gaden Lachi Prayer Hall, where all of the monks from Gaden Shartse and Gaden Jangtse Monasteries congregate for pujas, teachings and other events involving both monastic collages.

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Puja in Gaden Shartse Monastery with H.H. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche on the throne, Kyabje Lati Rinpoche and Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche. Click on image to enlarge.

 

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Tsem Ladrang, Gaden Monastery

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Me with my half-brother, Phuntsok, at Gaden

Tsem Ladrang of Gaden Monastery was built and sponsored by my birth father, Lobsang Gyatso, who is a disciple of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and His Holiness the Panchen Lama. Although I had not been in contact with my birth father for a long time, I reconnected with him when my half-brother, Phuntsok, came to visit me in Gaden.

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Me with my father and two other monks in Gaden

Phuntsok was shocked to see my living conditions in Gaden. At that time, I was living in a small leaking room in Zong Ladrang and was starving due to lack of financial support. When Phuntsok went back to Taiwan, he reported my living conditions to our father. Not long after that, my father himself flew to Gaden.

After seeing for himself my living conditions, he offered to sponsor the building of a Ladrang for me. He built a very beautiful house for me and also sponsored all of the offerings I needed to do for my tulku enthronement ceremony.

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Tsem Ladrang in Gaden built for me by my father Lobsang Gyatso. It had a nice big yard and lots of fruit trees and flowers. Kensur Rinpoche Jampa Yeshe lived on top and I was on the bottom floor with our students.

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Myself with my Guru, His Eminence Kensur Rinpoche Jampa Yeshe

At that time, I was the secretary and translator to my Guru, His Eminence Kensur Rinpoche Jampa Yeshe, the then-abbot of Gaden Shartse Monastery. I had been assigned to Kensur Rinpoche as my ‘house monk’ when I first entered Gaden Shartse Monastery. Kensur Rinpoche was well-known in the monastic community to be a pure monk who held his vows immaculately.

And so when Tsem Ladrang was built, I invited Kensur Rinpoche to live with me in Tsem Ladrang, offering him the biggest room while I occupied a smaller room in the house. I also became the house master where I trained and disciplined the monks in Tsem Ladrang to serve my Guru well. When I left Gaden to reside in Malaysia, I offered Tsem Ladrang of Gaden to Kensur Rinpoche and subsequently, Tsem Ladrang was renamed Kensur Ladrang.

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Me with Kensur Rinpoche and monks of Tsem Ladrang, Gaden Shartse Monastery

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Young monks of Tsem Ladrang in Gaden

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In Tsem Ladrang located in Gaden Monastery. The monks are having their meal in the Ladrang courtyard.

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In my nice room and my work/prayer area in Tsem Ladrang, Gaden. Simple but very comfortable. I was very happy living here in my own house in Gaden and wanted to stay forever. From here, I wrote thousands of letters to sponsors, students and friends for the monastery and Pukhang Khangtsen. Khangtsens are something like fraternity houses, but they are delineated by different regions of Tibet.

 

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Pukhang Khangtsen Monks’ Quarters

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In 1992, an exodus of monks who left Tibet arrived in Gaden Shartse Monastery in Mundgod, South India. Due to the shortage of accommodation, many monks did not have a place to stay and were sleeping in the corridors of the monastery. It was also the monsoon season and coming from a cold country like Tibet, to a hot and humid one like South India, many of them fell sick or were getting bitten by snakes.

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His Eminence Kyabje Lati Rinpoche was instrumental in my connection with Malaysia. He insisted I go and I dared not argue too much with him. I respected him too much.

Seeing the desperate situation of the newly-arrived monks, some senior monks in Gaden Shartse Monastery like one of my Gurus, His Eminence Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, convened a meeting. During the meeting, they requested me to go abroad to teach and raise funds to build monks’ quarters for the monks.

Initially, I was resistant to the idea of going abroad as I wanted to remain in Gaden. I had not left America in order to go elsewhere other than Gaden, and Gaden was where I wanted to be.

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During the construction of monks’ quarters for Pukhang Khangtsen, which I raised the funds for. This was my first big project for the monastery.

However, during the meeting, Lati Rinpoche insisted that I must go on a teaching tour. I told Lati Rinpoche that I am not qualified but Lati Rinpoche replied saying that I was and I should go. I begged him not to send me but Lati Rinpoche insisted. Since I dared not go against my guru’s instruction, eventually I agreed to go abroad.

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During the construction of monks’ quarters for Pukhang Khangtsen, which I raised the funds for. This was my first big project for the monastery.

Even then, I did not know where I should go. The only person I knew outside America and India was a nice monk called Reverend Khoon from Malaysia whom I had met during a pilgrimage to Bodhgaya. I wrote to Reverend Khoon and he invited me to come to Malaysia. That was the beginning of my connection with the people of Malaysia.

My mission was quite a resounding success. I was very well-received by the people of Malaysia and the money raised and donated to me, I offered back to Gaden Shartse Monastery’s Pukhang Khangtsen. When I returned to Gaden, and offered the money to Lati Rinpoche and the sangha, Lati Rinpoche cried. The monks’ quarters was built from the funds raised from Malaysia, and this building is still being utilised by the monks till today. I was able to house over 100 monks.

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During the construction of monks’ quarters for Pukhang Khangtsen, which I raised the funds for. This was my first big project for the monastery.

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Monks in front of Pukhang Khangtsen’s monks’ quarters. Today Pukhang Khangtsen houses more than 300 monks.

 

Go to Social Community Work

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Social Community Work

In Gaden, I was very active in social community work both within the monastery as well as in the surrounding villages and other needy areas. I have strong passion to help the less fortunate so I initiated various social community projects in India during my time in the monastery.

 

Feeding the Poor in India

As a young teenager who ran away from home so that I could have the freedom to practise Dharma, I slept on the streets and suffered severe hunger. As such, feeding the poor and homeless has always been close to my heart.

I conceptualised Kechara Soup Kitchen to feed the homeless and urban poor, and the origins of this idea can be traced back to the days when I was in India, where I was already feeding the poor.

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Offering Textbooks to Refugee Monks from Tibet

I have always very much been in support of education, whether it is the lay people going to school or monks who want to further their studies. I often raised funds to buy what the sangha needed to study. In this case, I was offering textbooks to 30 newly-arrived Tibetan refugee monks. I find it a great joy to provide for the Sangha.

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Sponsoring a Nursery School in Mundgod, India

A nursery school at Camp No. 3 in Mundgod, India that I sponsored and helped to build the community hall.

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They thanked me and a plaque put up behind us. I went with some Malaysians to visit the school The Tibetan lay people, numbering around 300, asked me to confer initiation upon them in this hall and I accepted. But before I could do so, I had to go to Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong again.

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Sponsoring Medical Facilities and Hospitals in Mundgod, India

I often raised funds for the hospitals in Mundgod. Buying them furniture, equipment, supplies, providing salary for staff, and especially sponsoring medicine for those who were very poor and could not afford treatment. These are the two clinics/hospitals I helped. I took all of these pictures to update the kind people who donated and contributed towards all of this.

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Helping Villagers at the Refugee Camp in Mundgod, India

Local Tibetan villagers greeting my arrival with khatas (traditional silk scarves). I raised funds to refurbish a school here and the villagers were very happy.

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Raising Funds to Install a Water Pump at Pukhang Khangtsen

This water pump at Pukhang Khangtsen was installed from the funds raised by myself. It takes three to five days to drill for water and then install a pump, which you can see here. I installed a few pumps to provide clean water for the monks and lay people.

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Go to Early Years in Malaysia

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Early Years in Malaysia (1992 to 2003)

I first came to Malaysia in 1992 under the instruction of my Guru, the late His Eminence Kyabje Lati Rinpoche. I came to Malaysia for a teaching tour and to gather help to build monks’ quarters in Gaden Shartse Monastery.

From 1992 to 2003, I travelled back and forth between India and Malaysia before I settle permanently in Malaysia. During this period, although Kechara House had been registered in 2000, there was no official premises for Kechara House yet, so I conducted pujas and gave Dharma talks in the houses of students and friends.

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Me conducting a puja at a friend’s house

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Me conducting a puja at a friend’s house

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Conducting a house blessing and teaching in Melaka

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Conducting a wedding ceremony in Grik, a town in the Malaysian state of Perak

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Blessing a new shop lot for a coffee shop in Johor Bahru, which is a state in the south of Malaysia

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Blessing a new shop lot for a coffee shop in Johor Bahru, which is a state in the south of Malaysia

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Giving Manjushri initiation at a student’s house in Kuala Lumpur

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Giving Manjushri initiation at a student’s house in Kuala Lumpur

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Meeting people after the Manjushri initiation

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Meeting people after the Manjushri initiation

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Giving Chenrezig Ngesung Kundrol initiation at a student’s house in Kuala Lumpur. This practice, if you hold the commitments which are very simple, will save you from taking rebirth from the lower realms for one lifetime.

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Giving a Dharma talk at a student’s house in Petaling Jaya, which is a suburb in the Malaysian state of Selangor

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Me doing a blessing prayer at Kelana Jaya (during my skinny days…hehehe)

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Me (centre) doing a trial setup for the then-Kechara Paradise outlet with some of my students. At the time, in order for some work I was doing, I needed to be in lay clothes for a while but keep my monks’ vows. So I sought, and received, my teacher’s permission to be in lay clothes.

 

Go to Kechara

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Below is a quick run-down of the wonderful services and facilities that we offer in Kechara. For a more extensive description, you can go to http://www.kechara.com or read this: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=6626

 

Kechara: A Brief History

In 2000, I founded Kechara, a Buddhist organisation dedicated to the teachings and practices of Dharma. Today, the Kechara organisation offers many facilities and services, each specialised in their particular field of expertise. They offer a multitude of activities ranging from Dharma classes, pujas, publications, filming, pilgrimages, Dharma shops, a vegetarian restaurant, Himalayan arts to feeding the poor and caring for animals. All these activities aim to connect spiritual aspirants to Dharma.

Kechara started in a small third-floor shoplot in SS2, Petaling Jaya which is a suburb in the Malaysian state of Selangor. Later, we moved to the SunwayMas Commercial Centre (also in Selangor) where we had a first-floor shoplot known as Kechara House 1.

Kechara House 1 itself was always full of students and friends, many of whom would travel all the way to Malaysia from America, Australia, Singapore, England and many other places to attend events at Kechara. People were finding something empty in their lives and were not finding satisfaction. Dharma fills that void for sure. Below are some photographs of the early days in Kechara House 1.

To cater for the growing crowd, we soon had to expand to Kechara House 2, a building just down the road which was used for activities like Dharma classes, birthday parties, students’ gatherings, etc. However, the congregation continued to expand and soon, the need to accomodate everyone became urgent, leading to the construction and establishment of a brand new, purpose-built Kechara House Gompa.

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Me receiving the offering of body, speech and mind during my birthday celebration at Kechara House 1 on October 24, 2009 from the then-President of Kechara House, Datin Ng Wee Chin

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Dharma gatherings in Kechara House 1, located on the first floor of a shoplot in Sunwaymas Commercial Centre, Petaling Jaya. Click on image to enlarge.

Dharma gatherings in Kechara House 1, located on the first floor of a shoplot in Sunwaymas Commercial Centre, Petaling Jaya. Click on image to enlarge.

 


 

Kechara House Gompa

Kechara House (KH) Gompa was opened in 2010, continuing Kechara’s aim of availing the ancient, universal wisdom of Buddha’s teachings with practitioners in Malaysia and the surrounding regions. Buddha’s wisdom has timeless and universal relevance, and can be practised by anyone in any culture, regardless of nationality, gender or age.

In organising activities that teach people practical methods of developing inner peace, love, wisdom and happiness as taught by Buddha, KH aims to help them improve their quality of life by developing inner peace, love, wisdom and happiness through spiritual practice. Kechara House can contribute to society by giving people a peace of mind to become even better citizens. To encourage people to do social works to benefit society at large. Religious practice must foster peace, understanding, and harmony always. Kechara believes in this deeply.

Regular pujas are conducted in the main prayer hall of Kechara House. Click on image to enlarge.

Regular pujas are conducted in the main prayer hall of Kechara House. Click on image to enlarge.

Lama Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelug tradition, welcomes visitors to Kechara House in the reception area. Click on image to enlarge.

Lama Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelug tradition, welcomes visitors to Kechara House in the reception area. Click on image to enlarge.

The main prayer hall in Kechara House is graced by three larger-than-life statues of Lama Tsongkhapa (10-ft, centre), Vajrayogini (7-ft, left ) and Setrap (7-ft, right). Click on image to enlarge.

The main prayer hall in Kechara House is graced by three larger-than-life statues of Lama Tsongkhapa (10-ft, centre), Vajrayogini (7-ft, left ) and Setrap (7-ft, right). Click on image to enlarge.

In prayer at Kechara House. Click on image to enlarge.

In prayer at Kechara House. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara House also hosts powerful pujas and prayer sessions on special festive occasions such as Chinese New Year, Wesak Day, Ullambana and Lama Tsongkhapa Day. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara House also hosts powerful pujas and prayer sessions on special festive occasions such as Chinese New Year, Wesak Day, Ullambana and Lama Tsongkhapa Day. Click on image to enlarge.

The multi-function hall at Kechara House is the venue for Dharma classes, children's activities and informal gatherings. Click on image to enlarge.

The multi-function hall at Kechara House is the venue for Dharma classes, children’s activities and informal gatherings. Click on image to enlarge.

The 'blog corner' at Kechara House where people can easily access the various Dharma materials on tsemrinpoche.com in the comfort of the gompa. Click on image to enlarge.

The ‘blog corner’ at Kechara House where people can easily access the various Dharma materials on tsemrinpoche.com in the comfort of the gompa. Click on image to enlarge.

 


 

Tsem Ladrang

Tsem Ladrang is my official residence and private office, and the headquarters of the Kechara organisation. The word ‘Ladrang’ literally consists of two words, ‘la’ which means ‘lama’ and ‘drang’ which means ‘residence’. Traditionally, some lamas have a Ladrang which administers the lama’s secular work so the lama can teach the Dharma. The Ladrang also functions to ensure the continuity of the lama’s work after his passing and is maintained to await the lama’s next incarnation.

Tsem Ladrang contains my personal living quarters, administrative offices for the Ladrang staff, an audience room and a central prayer hall that is dedicated especially towards Kechara’s Dharma work and growth.

The daily operations of the Ladrang are overseen and executed by the dedicated team of Ladrang staff. The Ladrang’s responsibilities include:

  • Attending to my secular needs
  • Preparing for teachings and Dharma events
  • Arranging for private audiences and/or divinations
  • Managing correspondence, gifts and offerings
  • Media and Communications for myself and the Kechara organisation
  • Making my Dharma teachings available via multimedia and online resources
  • Overseeing and supporting the Kechara organisation in all ways necessary

The Ladrang is administered by an able team, overseen by the Ladrang Liaisons who consist of JP Thong, Ooi Beng Kooi and Pastor Loh Seng Piow. Liaisons are personal assistants to the Lama. Ultimately, the Ladrang takes care of all secular matters of the Lama and centre, to relieve the Lama of mundane duties so that he can focus solely on teaching and spreading the Dharma.

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Kechara’s Buddhist pastors

Combining the responsibilities of the ordained and the appearance of a layperson, Kechara’s Buddhist Pastors are selfless, committed individuals who have taken an extraordinary step in dedicating their lives towards sharing the Buddhist tradition and serving the Buddhist community.

I conceptualised this pastorship role and ordained Kechara’s first pastors in 2011, to preserve the Dharma and to make Buddha’s teachings more accessible to the public. Pastors bridge the gap between the ordained sangha and the everyday practitioner, dispensing advice and counselling, performing blessings and rituals, and sharing their knowledge with the many who come to seek spiritual help and relief. The services offered by Kechara’s Buddhist pastors include:

  • Puja (prayer) services
  • Children’s baptism
  • House blessings
  • Vehicle blessings
  • Hospital visits
  • Bereavement services
  • Counseling
  • Marriage registration and solemnisation
  • Public teachings and Dharma classes
  • Vow giving (refuge vows, vegetarian vows, Eight Precepts, etc)
  • Answering questions from the public via the Ask A Pastor section on tsemrinpoche.com

Kechara’s Buddhist Pastors received their ordination vows from me, based on vows stemming from an unbroken lineage of Indian and Tibetan Buddhist masters going all the way back to Lord Shakyamuni, the historical Buddha.

There are two types of Buddhist pastor within Kechara:

  • Lay Pastors: Individuals who are committed to their spiritual practice but have pre-existing obligations to family and other commitments.
  • Sangha-to-be: Individuals who aspire to become fully ordained members of the Sangha (monastic community) in the near future

The selection and training of a new pastor is a rigorous process. The first Buddhist pastors were ordained on October 24, 2011 and every year since then, more have made this commitment to bring the Buddha’s teachings to people in our modern era.

Kechara's Buddhist pastors serve the community in a spiritual capacity. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara’s Buddhist pastors serve the community in a spiritual capacity. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara's pastors perform a variety of blessing ceremonies for members of the public especially during Buddhist festivals such as Wesak. Click on image to enlarge.

At events, or upon special request, pastors conduct children’s baptismal ceremonies to plant the seeds of Dharma in the child’s mindstream so that they may grow up connected to the Dharma and protected by the Three Jewels. Click on image to enlarge.

One of Kechara's most popular services is vehicle blessings. Our Buddhist pastors bless vehicles through prayers and rituals. After the ceremony, a blessed Buddha image is placed on the dashboard. Click on image to enlarge.

One of Kechara’s most popular services is vehicle blessings. Our Buddhist pastors bless vehicles through prayers and rituals. After the ceremony, a blessed Buddha image is placed on the dashboard. Click on image to enlarge.

A pastor of Kechara officiates during the marriage registration ceremony of a young couple. Click on image to enlarge.

A pastor of Kechara officiates during the marriage registration ceremony of a young couple. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara's pastors are empowered to perform last rites and bereavement rituals to blessed the deceased to take a good and swift rebirth. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara’s pastors are empowered to perform last rites and bereavement rituals to blessed the deceased to take a good and swift rebirth. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara's pastors also give teachings and classes to guide spiritual seekers along the path to enlightenment. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara’s pastors also give teachings and classes to guide spiritual seekers along the path to enlightenment. Click on image to enlarge.

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A Kechara pastor dispenses advice and guidance to a group of visitors at Kechara Forest Retreat. Click on image to enlarge.

A Kechara pastor blesses birds prior to releasing them as part of an animal liberation ceremony. Click on image to enlarge,

A Kechara pastor blesses birds prior to releasing them as part of an animal liberation ceremony. Click on image to enlarge.

At events, or upon special request, pastors conduct children's baptismal ceremonies to plant the seeds of Dharma in the child's mindstream so that they may grow up connected to the Dharma and protected by the Three Jewels. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara’s pastors perform a variety of blessing ceremonies for members of the public especially during Buddhist festivals such as Wesak. Click on image to enlarge.

 


 

Authentic puja services

Life sometimes brings problems and difficulties that can appear insurmountable. Within Buddhism however, pujas and prayers are a proven solution for life’s challenges. In fact, pujas are the direction of positive energy towards a positive aspiration, expressed in a series of rituals and prayers. Such group prayers generate stronger energies than when performed by just one person alone, and can be done for oneself or for someone who is far away. The benefit of pujas is manyfold and encompasses healing, long life, protection, wealth, wisdom, peace and the quick fulfillment of our wishes.

Kechara’s puja house offers a wide range of pujas for eveteamry life situation. Our dedicated team has been trained by qualified monks from the illustrious Gaden Monastery and everything they do – from the prayers and rituals to the altar set up and offerings – is done exactly as it has been for hundreds of years in the greatest monastic institutions of Tibet. To view the full range of pujas, visit VajraSecrets.com.

It is a testament to the dedication, diligence, commitment and sincerity of Kechara’s puja team that the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden took trance via the Venerable 7th Panglung Oracle at Kechara Forest Retreat in 2015. It was the first time in history that the invocation of Dorje Shugden into a qualified Tibetan oracle was performed purely by lay practitioners and without the involvement of Tibetan monks.

 

Kechara Puja House

Address:
18, Jalan Ah Peng,
28700 Bentong,
Pahang, Malaysia.

Opening Hours:
Tuesday – Saturday: 10am to 6pm daily

Kechara's puja house is located in the heart of Bentong town, less than 5km away from Kechara Forest Retreat. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara’s puja house is located in the heart of Bentong town, less than 5km away from Kechara Forest Retreat. Click on image to enlarge.

The warm and inviting atmosphere at Kechara's puja house welcomes those seeking divine assistance. Click on image to enlarge.

The warm and inviting atmosphere at Kechara’s puja house welcomes those seeking divine assistance. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara's pastors are on hand to guide those who need more information on the multitude of pujas available. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara’s pastors are on hand to guide those who need more information on the multitude of pujas available. Click on image to enlarge.

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Click on image to enlarge.

An interesting, creative photo wall inside the Kechara Puja House. Click on image to enlarge.

An interesting, creative photo wall inside the Kechara Puja House. Click on image to enlarge.

A traditional puja being conducted in the puja house's prayer room. Click on image to enlarge.

A traditional puja being conducted in the puja house’s prayer room. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara's puja team is trained in traditional rituals, and regularly performs outcall services including house blessings, bereavement ceremonies and altar consecration. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara’s puja team is trained in traditional rituals, and regularly performs outcall services including house blessings, bereavement ceremonies and altar consecrations. Click on image to enlarge.

Traditional Tibetan musical instruments are used in certain pujas. Click on image to enlarge.

Traditional Tibetan musical instruments are used in certain pujas. Click on image to enlarge.

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Click on image to enlarge.

Tormas (ritual offering cakes) are handmade in the traditional manner by the trained puja team. Click on image to enlarge.

Tormas (ritual offering cakes) are handmade in the traditional manner by the trained puja team. Click on image to enlarge.

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Publications and Education

Kechara’s publishing activities began in 2005, started by a group of young and dedicated students interested in bringing the ancient wisdom of Buddhist teachings into the context of contemporary living. It is possible to pursue a spiritual path without having to compromise one’s lifestyle or religious and cultural background. Hence Kechara’s vision is to empower individuals to achieve inner peace and personal development through easily applicable principles for daily practice. This is Kechara’s unique approach to bring the Buddha’s ancient wisdom to our very doorsteps.

For this reason, we have many books and videos in English and Chinese which are available at major bookstores, as well as online on VajraSecrets.com, Amazon, etc. The many titles published by Kechara offer readers the opportunity to heal and grow through knowledge and reading. Authored by myself and my senior students, these books offer diverse, new perspectives to deal with the challenges of modern daily life, combining the ancient wisdom of Buddha with modern insights, practical relatable examples and personal life experiences. They come in a variety of formats, from stunning coffee table books to traditional prayer texts; from collections of Rinpoche’s teachings to comic books for children and adults.

The many titles published by Kechara offer readers the opportunity to heal and grow through knowledge and reading. Click on image to enlarge.

The many titles published by Kechara offer readers the opportunity to heal and grow through knowledge and reading. Click on image to enlarge.

At Kechara, we firmly believe that knowledge is the first step towards finding happiness and peace. With knowledge, we develop wisdom; and with wisdom comes the clarity and ability to face any situation in the most positive and beneficial way.

To this end, we also offer Dharma talks and comprehensive education programmes for all levels of learning, including children, beginners and those interested in advanced, serious study. All programmes are based on ancient, authentic teachings and developed to suit modern lifestyles, aptitudes, attitudes and concerns.

Learning is an essential part of spiritual growth. Click on image to enlarge.

Learning is an essential part of spiritual growth. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara offers Dharma talks and comprehensive education programmes for all levels of learning. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara offers Dharma talks and comprehensive education programmes for all levels of learning. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara's Dharma classes for children are tailored for different age groups and are supplemented with a colourful variety of activities to assist in learning. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara’s Dharma classes for children are tailored for different age groups and are supplemented with a colourful variety of activities to assist in learning. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara's annual W.O.A.H Kids Camp is very popular amongst children and parents. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara’s annual W.O.A.H Kids Camp is very popular amongst children and parents. Click on image to enlarge.

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Fun activities during camp. Click on image to enlarge.

Fun activities during camp. Click on image to enlarge.

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Spirituality is introduced in a manner that is enjoyable and appealing to kids. Click on image to enlarge.

Spirituality is introduced in a manner that is enjoyable and appealing to kids. Click on image to enlarge.

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Some of the outdoor activities during camp. Click on image to enlarge.

Some of the outdoor activities during camp. Click on image to enlarge.

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Click on image to enlarge.

Certificates of achievement and prizes are distributed at the end of the camp. Click on image to enlarge.

Certificates of achievement and prizes are distributed at the end of the camp. Click on image to enlarge.

 


 

Disseminating Buddhism globally

Everyone loves a story. And there’s no better way to promote positive human attributes and qualities for social change than through the mastery of storytelling. Kechara’s production team actively produces original content using various creative channels to bring our message of peace to the global audience. After all, it is only through engaging the audience that actual learning can be shared with all.

Kechara’s production team is also documents my teachings and everything that happens within Kechara, and preserving it for posterity. The content ranges from teachings I have given privately and also publicly, to Dharma related videos such as spiritual practices, interviews with senior students, travel documentaries, the personal spiritual journeys of Kechara’s members, and special events within the Kechara family. Many of these videos can be viewed for free on my Youtube channel, which has garnered over seven million views to date (2019).

From formal video productions to on-the-fly live videos, Kechara's production team is willing and able to handle it all. Click on image to enlarge.

From formal video productions to on-the-fly live videos, Kechara’s production team is willing and able to handle it all. Click on image to enlarge.

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Kechara's production team tirelessly and professionally documents all important events in Kechara. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara’s production team tirelessly and professionally documents all important events in Kechara. Click on image to enlarge.

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Click on image to enlarge.

One of Rinpoche's senior students, Phng Li Kim has emerged as a local celebrity host who has found regional success through The Paranormal Zone series. Click on image to enlarge.

One of Rinpoche’s senior students, Phng Li Kim has emerged as a local celebrity host who has found regional success through The Paranormal Zone series. Click on image to enlarge.

Phng Li Kim and the crew of The Paranormal Zone hard at work! Click on image to enlarge.

Phng Li Kim and the crew of The Paranormal Zone hard at work! Click on image to enlarge.

Rinpoche has also connected millions around the world to the sacred essence of Dharma through the Internet, via diverse topics that range from Madonna to paranormal stories, amazing animal tales and inspiring, pick-me-up teachings. With a strong presence on popular social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, and with countless teachings freely available through YouTube and on TsemRinpoche.com, Rinpoche has transcended all borders to bring the teachings of peace to spiritual seekers everywhere, no matter where they are in the world.

In particular, TsemRinpoche.com has played a pivotal role in bringing the Buddha’s teachings and the lineage of Dorje Shugden to millions of people from all walks of life and from different cultures and backgrounds, with content available in English, Chinese, Nepali, Tibetan and Tamil. Keeping up with the times, Rinpoche has also taken to doing occasional live videos to engage directly with his global following.

TsemRinpoche.com has played a pivotal role in bringing the Buddha's teachings and the lineage of Dorje Shugden to millions of people from all walks of life. Click on image to enlarge.

TsemRinpoche.com has played a pivotal role in bringing the Buddha’s teachings and the lineage of Dorje Shugden to millions of people from all walks of life. Click on image to enlarge.

Rinpoche has a strong presence on popular social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Click on image to enlarge.

Rinpoche has a strong presence on popular social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Click on image to enlarge.

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Click on image to enlarge.

Rinpoche during a Facebook live video session. Click on image to enlarge.

Rinpoche during a Facebook live video session. Click on image to enlarge.

 


 

Preserving Himalayan artistic traditions

Art has long been known for its therapeutic qualities. Through our Himalayan arts studio, which specialises in the creation and adornment of Buddhist images, Kechara invites all who are interested in the arts to find peace, healing and relaxation through creative expression. Traditional art forms learnt directly from the skilled artisans of Nepal, India and Tibet are combined with new-age artistic influences, thus marrying ancient Buddhist art with contemporary living.

Inspired by my passion and belief in collecting merit through making offerings to the Buddhas, Kechara’s art studio offers a variety of Buddhist-related arts services including:

  • Mantra rolling and statue insertion
  • Creation of brocade clothing for Buddha statues
  • Adornment of Buddha statues with precious stones or beaded ornaments
  • Beautification and painting of Buddha statues in various styles
  • Repair and restoration of damaged Buddha statues and thangkas
  • Traditional thangka painting
  • Brocading of thangkas
  • Tailoring of monk robes and traditional ritual items made from fabric and brocade
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Statue painting. Click on image to enlarge.

Statue painting. Click on image to enlarge.

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Creating traditional wealth vases. Click on image to enlarge.

Creating traditional wealth vases. Click on image to enlarge.

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Mantra rolling. Click on image to enlarge.

Mantra rolling. Click on image to enlarge.

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Click on image to enlarge.

Creating intricate beadwork ornaments for Buddha statues. Click on image to enlarge.

Creating intricate beadwork ornaments for Buddha statues. Click on image to enlarge.

A variety of traditional sewing services are also available. Click on image to enlarge.

A variety of traditional sewing services are also available. Click on image to enlarge.

Thangka painting. Click on image to enlarge.

Thangka painting. Click on image to enlarge.

 


 

Helping the Homeless

Kechara helps the homeless under the banner of Kechara Soup Kitchen (KSK), which was conceptualised by me. As a young child, I was often hungry and after years of physical and emotional abuse, I ran away from home when I was 16 years old. I made a harrowing journey across the United States, from New Jersey to Los Angeles. Since this experience, I have always donated food to the poor and encouraged others to do the same.

In 2006, a group of my students began to distribute food in the centre of Kuala Lumpur. Being mindful and respectful of others’ beliefs, KSK is strictly non-religious and does not discriminate in terms of race or culture. For this reason, KSK food is always halal. As this group grew under the motto of “Hunger Knows No Barriers”, the team began to realise that they had to be more structured in order to be more efficient. Therefore, a working core committee of volunteers was formed to organise the allocation of volunteers for KSK’s routes, the raising of sponsorship and packing of food, amongst other duties.

Today, KSK distributes over 10,000 packets of food every month and their initiatives have grown to encompass serving hot meals from all our soup kitchen premises, street food distribution in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor Bahru, an active food bank programme in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Johor Bahru, Kelantan, Perak, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Sarawak, medical aid and mobile clinic services, counselling and rehoming services, equipping the underprivileged community with new skills to help them gain meaningful employment, and many other initiatives.

To stay up to date on KSK’s activities, follow them on Facebook.

Myself with the KSK team. Click on image to enlarge.

Myself with the KSK team. Click on image to enlarge.

Meal distribution from our soup kitchen premises. Over 10,000 meals are served each month. Click on image to enlarge.

Meal distribution from our soup kitchen premises. Over 10,000 meals are served each month. Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Mobile soup kitchen food distribution. Click on image to enlarge.

Volunteers attend a compulsory briefing before heading out on the streets to distribute food to the underprivileged community of Malaysia.

Volunteers attend a compulsory briefing before heading out on the streets to distribute food to the underprivileged community of Malaysia. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara Soup Kitchen's committed volunteers distribute food to underprivileged clients on the streets of Malaysia every week without fail, come rain or shine. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara Soup Kitchen’s committed volunteers distribute food to underprivileged clients on the streets of Malaysia every week without fail, come rain or shine. Click on image to enlarge.

The biggest impact an individual can contribute to the Kechara Food Bank programme is by being a volunteer in distributing the food.

The biggest impact you can contribute to Kechara Soup Kitchen’s programmes is by becoming a volunteer. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara Soup Kitchen has worked closely with Malaysia’s National Welfare Foundation to establish Pusat Transit Gelandangan Kuala Lumpur, a halfway house for the homeless that can facilitate 150 people at any one time. The team has also established working partnerships with corporations such as Tesco, Sunway Hotels, Munchy’s, SegiFresh and Komugi to collect and redistribute over 200 tonnes of surplus food to 93 NGO partners nationwide, serving over 16,000 underprivileged individuals. All our projects are supported by kind volunteers of all ages, coming from all walks of life, faiths, cultures and backgrounds.

Since our inception in 2008, permanent soup kitchens have been established in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, Johor and Penang, and we have been granted tax-exempt status by Malaysia’s Ministry of Finance since 2013. Kechara Soup Kitchen has also been a member of the Association of Asia Food Banks since 2015.

As opposed to warm meals provided by the soup kitchen to the homeless, Kechara's Food Bank programme provides dry food provisions to the urban poor.

As opposed to warm meals provided by the soup kitchen to the homeless, Kechara’s Food Bank programme provides dry food provisions to the urban poor. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara Soup Kitchen's Operations Director Justin Cheah holds up a day's haul in provisions for Klang Valley families.

Kechara Soup Kitchen’s Operations Director Justin Cheah holds up a day’s haul in provisions for Klang Valley families. Click on image to enlarge.

Distribution of food to recipients around the country requires up to 50 volunteers daily.

Distribution of food to recipients around the country requires up to 50 volunteers daily. Click on image to enlarge.

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Kechara’s food bank has distributed over 200 tonnes of surplus food to NGO partners and poor families nationwide. Click on image to enlarge.

From left to right: Ybhg. Dato' Sri Jamil Bin Salleh, Secretary-General to the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs; Shinobu Washizawa, Managing Director, AEON CO. (M) BHD.; Yang Amat Mulia Tengku Datin Paduka Setia Zatashah binti Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah and Poh Ying Loo, Executive Director, AEON CO. (M) BHD. launch the AEON Community Food Share Programme in partnership with Kechara Soup Kitchen.

From left to right: Ybhg. Dato’ Sri Jamil Bin Salleh, Secretary-General to the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs; Shinobu Washizawa, Managing Director, AEON CO. (M) BHD.; Yang Amat Mulia Tengku Datin Paduka Setia Zatashah binti Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah and Poh Ying Loo, Executive Director, AEON CO. (M) BHD. launch the AEON Community Food Share Programme in partnership with Kechara Soup Kitchen.

Yang Amat Mulia Tengku Datin Paduka Setia Zatashah binti Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah and Ybhg. Dato' Sri Jamil Bin Salleh, load a tray of food into a Kechara Soup Kitchen truck.

Yang Amat Mulia Tengku Datin Paduka Setia Zatashah binti Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah and Ybhg. Dato’ Sri Jamil Bin Salleh, load a tray of food into a Kechara Soup Kitchen truck.

Kechara's food bank has distributed over 200 tonnes of surplus food to NGO partners and poor families nationwide.

Kechara’s food bank has distributed over 200 tonnes of surplus food to NGO partners and poor families nationwide. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara's food bank has distributed over 200 tonnes of surplus food to NGO partners and poor families nationwide. Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of Kechara Soup Kitchen’s work is the hope and dignity it offers to those who are so often forgotten by society. Our good works have not gone unnoticed, and Kechara Soup Kitchen has won awards including:

On 18th February 2018, Kechara Soup Kitchen was conferred the World CSR Leadership Award for ‘Excellence & Leadership in Poverty Alleviation’, in recognition of its many years of service to the underprivileged community of Malaysia, and its contribution towards alleviating homelessness, hunger and poverty in partnership with the Malaysian government. Mr Justin Cheah, Kechara Soup Kitchen’s Operations Director was present in Mumbai, India to receive the award on behalf of Kechara Soup Kitchen.

The 'Fresh Cuts, Fresh Starts' initiative aimed to give less fortunate members of the community a new look with haircuts from professional hairstylists to brighten their day and support them in their efforts to better their lives. This was a joint effort between Canon Marketing (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd., Joe's Barber Shop and Kechara Soup Kitchen. Click on image to enlarge.

The ‘Fresh Cuts, Fresh Starts’ initiative aimed to give less fortunate members of the community a new look with haircuts from professional hairstylists to brighten their day and support them in their efforts to better their lives. This was a joint effort between Canon Marketing (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd., Joe’s Barber Shop and Kechara Soup Kitchen. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara Soup Kitchen also aids underprivileged clients with medical aid and mobile clinic services. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara Soup Kitchen also aids underprivileged clients with medical aid and mobile clinic services. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara Soup Kitchen also aids underprivileged clients with medical aid and mobile clinic services. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara Soup Kitchen also aids underprivileged clients with medical aid and mobile clinic services. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara Soup Kitchen and Tsem Rinpoche Foundation representatives distribute anti-mosquito care packages to urban poor families. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara Soup Kitchen and Tsem Rinpoche Foundation representatives distribute anti-mosquito care packages to urban poor families. Click on image to enlarge.

Distribution of anti-mosquito care packages to underprivileged children at Pertubuhan Kebajikan Anak Yatim Mary KL. Click on image to enlarge.

Distribution of anti-mosquito care packages to underprivileged children at Pertubuhan Kebajikan Anak Yatim Mary KL. Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

 


 

Compassionate Dining

Established in 2009, Kechara Oasis Jaya One, nestled in the busy uptown hub of Petaling Jaya, is our first vegetarian restaurant. This flagship restaurant comfortably seats up to 210 guests in the main dining area.

Kechara Oasis was conceptualised by me because I wish to promote a greater awareness of a vegetarian lifestyle.

Kechara Oasis makes vegetarian cuisine healthy, delicious, exciting and available to everyone. It also serves a greater purpose which is to provide a beautiful place where people of different walks of life can come together to enjoy a truly unbelievable culinary experience in every sense of the word. We must promote vegetarianism so no animals get harmed in anyway.

Webpage: http://www.kechara.com/dining

Kechara Oasis at Jaya One. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara Oasis at Jaya One. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara Oasis in Jaya One can accommodate wedding parties, gala dinners, private functions, product launches, cocktail receptions, AGMs, board meetings and entertainment shows for more than 200 guests. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara Oasis in Jaya One can accommodate wedding parties, gala dinners, private functions, product launches, cocktail receptions, AGMs, board meetings and entertainment shows for more than 200 guests. Click on image to enlarge.

Double boiled coconut soup. Click on image to enlarge.

Double boiled coconut soup. Click on image to enlarge.

“Little Octopus”

“Little Octopus”

Stir fried lotus root gingko.

Stir fried lotus root gingko.

Pan fried Tibetan momos.

Pan fried Tibetan momos.

More recently, we also opened Bigfoot Cafe in Bentong town, 45 minutes outside of Kuala Lumpur which is a cafe serving vegetarian snacks, light meals and drinks.

Bigfoot Cafe in Bentong. Click on image to enlarge.

Bigfoot Cafe in Bentong. Click on image to enlarge.

The cozy and inviting ambience at Bigfoot Cafe. Click on image to enlarge.

The cozy and inviting ambience at Bigfoot Cafe. Click on image to enlarge.

The elusive Bigfoot can be found in every nook and cranny! Click on image to enlarge.

The elusive Bigfoot can be found in every nook and cranny! Click on image to enlarge.

Beefsteak leaf Tofu

Beefsteak leaf tofu

Bigfoot Burger

Bigfoot burger

Bigfoot Nasi Lemak

Bigfoot nasi lemak

Cold wood ear

Cold wood ear mushrooms

 Snow fungus peach gum

Snow fungus peach gum

 


 

Contemporary Buddhist Retail

Cultures the world over recognise the familiar, serene image of the Buddha and the instant energies of peace, harmony and happiness he brings to any environment. Even as a child, I would draw little paper Buddha pendants and photocopy rare Buddha pictures that he found in books to give away to people, to bless and protect them.

Creating sacred images. Click on image to enlarge.

Creating sacred images. Click on image to enlarge.

In this spirit, Kechara creates and distributes its own Buddha images, from statues as large as 24 feet to pendants as small as one inch, to introduce the blessings of the Buddha and his holy teachings to the lives of as many beings as possible, and to make authentic Tibetan Buddhist items accessible and plentiful for people everywhere, especially for the purposes of spiritual practice.

This goal is made possible through VajraSecrets, a chain of Buddhist retail stores with a strong online arm that offers a wide range of Buddhist services, holy objects and practice supplies, catering for both practising Buddhists and those with a more general interest in meditation and spirituality.

Many of the products offered are made conceptualised by myself, carefully sourced by my students from monasteries or crafted by skilled Himalayan artisans, and each is handpicked to support and benefit spiritual aspirants along their spiritual journey. Our knowledgeable Dharma staff are well versed in Buddhist knowledge and practices in accordance with the Buddha’s teachings and the Gelug lineage, and can personally advise each and every customer on how best to set up an altar or get started on the spiritual path.

The retail team consciously adheres to the Buddhist principle that profits should not be made from the sale of Dharma items. Thus, the proceeds from our retail stores are channeled towards furthering the growth of the Dharma and to support Kechara’s works such as Kechara Forest Retreat and Kechara Soup Kitchen.

It is my wish to help everyone invite a little piece of Buddha’s wisdom into their lives, so many items from my personal collection of Buddhist objects have also been made available as pre-loved goods at our Flea Market in Kechara Forest Retreat, for visitors to bring home.

More recently, two affiliated retail stores known as The Dorje Shugden Shop and Bigfoot Universe have been established in the heart of Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur, and on Jalan Ah Peng in Bentong town respectively, selling basic Buddhist items, Dorje Shugden and Bigfoot-themed merchandise and local souvenirs.

 

Online Store
VajraSecrets.com

A wide range of Buddhist services, holy objects and practice supplies can be found at our online store, Vajrasecrets.com. Click on image to enlarge.

A wide range of Buddhist services, holy objects and practice supplies can be found at our online store, Vajrasecrets.com. Click on image to enlarge.

Some of the Buddha images designed and created in-house, which are available for invitation via VajraSecrets. Click on image to enlarge.

Some of the Buddha images designed and created in-house, which are available for invitation via VajraSecrets. Click on image to enlarge.

VajraSecrets offers a wide range of pendants for all budgets and occasions.

VajraSecrets offers a wide range of pendants for all budgets and occasions. Click to view product.

VajraSecrets offers a wide range of pendants for all budgets and occasions.

A unique and rare pendant of Flying Vajrayogini. Click to view product.

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A wide range of Vajrayogini-related items can be invited via VajraSecrets. Click to view full collection.

 

VajraSecrets @ Kechara House

Address:
No 7, Jalan PJU 1/3G,
Sunwaymas Commercial Centre,
47301 Petaling Jaya,
Selangor, Malaysia.

VajraSecrets @ Sunwaymas. Click on image to enlarge.

VajraSecrets @ Sunwaymas. Click on image to enlarge.

 

VajraSecrets @ Sunwaymas

Address:
23-1, Jalan PJU 1/3G,
Sunwaymas Commercial Centre,
47301 Petaling Jaya,
Selangor, Malaysia.

A wide variety of products is available at VajraSecrets @ Sunwaymas. Click on image to enlarge.

A wide variety of products is available at VajraSecrets @ Sunwaymas. Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

 

VajraSecrets & Flea Market
@ Kechara Forest Retreat

Address:
Lot 3189, Jalan Chamang
28700 Bentong,
Pahang, Malaysia.

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The retail space adjoining Wisdom Hall in Kechara Forest Retreat is home to both VajraSecrets and the Flea Market. Click on image to enlarge.

The Flea Market is popular amongst visitors looking for a bargain on pre-loved items while VajraSecrets offers a range of KFR-themed souvenirs and Buddhist practice supplies. Click on image to enlarge.

The Flea Market is popular amongst visitors looking for a bargain on pre-loved items while VajraSecrets offers a range of KFR-themed souvenirs and Buddhist practice supplies. Click on image to enlarge.

 

The Dorje Shugden Shop

Address:
Unit 37, No 79, 81 & 83,
Jalan Petaling,
50000 Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia.

The exterior of the Dorje Shugden Shop at Petaling Street in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. Click on image to enlarge.

The exterior of the Dorje Shugden Shop at Petaling Street in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. Click on image to enlarge.

The interior of the Dorje Shugden Shop at Petaling Street. Click on image to enlarge.

The interior of the Dorje Shugden Shop at Petaling Street. Click on image to enlarge.

 

Bigfoot Universe

Address:
No. 84 Jalan Ah Peng,
28700 Bentong,
Pahang, Malaysia.

Bigfoot Universe in Bentong town, Pahang. Click on image to enlarge.

Bigfoot Universe in Bentong town, Pahang. Click on image to enlarge.

 


 

Giving a Voice to the Voiceless

Animal care, rescue and rehabilitation has always been very close to my heart. I have often shared with others that kindness and compassion to animals is among the highest practices of unconditional love because animals, being weaker, cannot repay our kindness in ways we may expect. Animals are very important to me and every living being, no matter how small or insignificant, deserves the chance to live.

Our animal welfare team are committed to help animals in any way they can. Especially the sick and diseased; abandoned and abused; the weakest of the weak with no one to turn to for help and survival. As Buddhists, we believe that every being – big or small – deserves a life free of pain and suffering. Kechara’s animal welfare projects strive to create safe, beautiful havens for all animals to live out their lives freely, with love, care and the best possible living conditions, as every being deserves.

For this reason, Kechara has become a home to a variety of furry and feathered friends rescued over the years by myself. From abandoned koi fish to unwanted cockatoos suffering in neglect, animals such as these have found a new lease of life and a caring home in this forest sanctuary. If you’d like to support our animal welfare initiatives, please click here.

The 4,000 sq ft walk-in aviary at Kechara Forest Retreat is a spacious and safe sanctuary for birds with fresh water, food, fruit and snacks provided to the 50-strong flock daily. Click on image to enlarge.

The 4,000 sq ft walk-in aviary at Kechara Forest Retreat is a spacious and safe sanctuary for birds with fresh water, food, fruit and snacks provided to the 50-strong flock daily. Click on image to enlarge.

serves as a home for newly rescued birds, and those recuperating from illnesses. Click on image to enlarge.

The 720 sq ft Recovery Aviary serves as a home for newly rescued birds, and those recuperating from illnesses. Click on image to enlarge.

The aviary is home to four sulphur-crested cockatoos named Drolkar, Dechog, Ah Boy and Gongkar.

The aviary is home to four sulphur-crested cockatoos named Drolkar, Dechog, Ah Boy and Gongkar. Click on image to enlarge.

Two rescued African Grey parrots, Aki and Jamyang, also enjoy a safe, comfortable and happy life in KFR's aviary.

Two rescued African Grey parrots, Aki and Jamyang, also enjoy a safe, comfortable and happy life in KFR’s aviary. Click on image to enlarge.

The main aviary is also home to a large flock of cockatiels. Click on image to enlarge.

The main aviary is also home to a large flock of cockatiels. Click on image to enlarge.

The recovery aviary is home to many budgies, as they are too small to be safely integrated into the main aviary. Click on image to enlarge.

The recovery aviary is home to many budgies, as they are too small to be safely integrated into the main aviary. Click on image to enlarge.

Taking care of animals who are sick or unable to fend for themselves is a practice of compassion and care. Click on image to enlarge.

Taking care of animals who are sick or unable to fend for themselves is a practice of compassion and care. Click on image to enlarge.

 


 

Recycling and green initiatives

Understanding the close relationship we have with our environment, Kechara extends its love to this planet we call home. Recycling initiatives, held throughout the year, aim to make people more aware of what they use from Mother Earth, and encourages them to do their bit to save the world we live in for many future generation.

Recycling initiatives by Kechara. Click on image to enlarge.

Recycling initiatives by Kechara. Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

 


 

Kechara Forest Retreat

Kechara Forest Retreat, our 35-acre retreat centre in Bentong, Pahang. Click on image to enlarge

Reimagine a world lived better… compassionately.

“Since I was a young child, I wanted to create a place where people come together to live as one with nature, one with the earth; a place for healing, detoxification, contemplation, relaxation, and retreat. An international centre for meditation courses not based on religion but tapping into ourselves and our potential. A place for eco-living modelled on sustainability and growth. This project is Kechara Forest Retreat and it will be a space to inspire the world to do the same in their own communities.”

This is what I wish to do and in line with this, Kechara Forest Retreat (KFR) primarily serves as a Tibetan Buddhist Retreat and Wellness centre that heals, nourishes and enlightens life naturally and spiritually. Since the completion of Phase 1 within a year of its conception in early 2012, KFR has been gradually channeling eons of Buddhist wisdom through pragmatic teachings that are a source of peace to a world in search of spiritual empowerment, education and restoration of inner balance.

 

Rediscover Life at Kechara Forest Retreat

 

Explore Tibetan Spiritual Traditions

KFR is a sacred land, home to a pantheon of Tibetan deities presiding peacefully within its grounds, each catering to the different karmic propensities of visitors from all walks of life who step into our mandala. A visit here will have you feeling blessed, renewed and rejuvenated. And, even if you are not spiritually inclined, KFR presents the opportunity to experience the distinctively rich culture, history and traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.

Spend a few hours, a day or more as our guest, take a walk through our gardens, offer candles to the Buddhas, make a prayer in our meditation hall, or just sit and listen to the calming sounds of the forest.

 

Kechara Forest Retreat: Take Time for Important Things

The best way to explore KFR is to embark on a self-guided Holy Walk covering the following sacred sites within our beautifully manicured grounds.

  • World’s largest Dorje Shugden statue
  • Buddha Shakyamuni
  • Lama Tsongkhapa
  • Vajrayogini Stupa
  • Outdoor Dorje Shugden grotto
  • Buddha Nageshvaraja
  • Medicine Buddha Healing fountain
  • Four-Armed Manjushri
  • Loma Gyonma
  • Green Tara
  • Manjushri Nagaraksha
  • Gyenze Chapel

You can also visit the original cabin I stayed in when I first came to KFR, which my students have preserved here on this land. You are welcome to visit and pay homage at KFR’s sacred shrines and immerse yourself in the holy energies of the enlightened beings. You can also pay homage or show your respect in traditional Tibetan fashion via mantra recitation, hand-held prayer wheel spinning, circumambulation, prostration, meditation and making offerings of mantra stones, candles, incense, flowers, fruits, food (vegetarian please), beverages and more. And if you are seeking ways to deepen your spiritual practice, consider speaking to one of our Buddhist pastors to learn more about Tibetan Buddhism, rituals and pujas, or to receive advice and a blessing.

KFR-revamp-0.4

 

Escape into the Heart of Nature

Located in an exurban forest within the quaint town of Bentong, Pahang, KFR also advocates unconditional love for the entire environment. Hence, you may want to peruse our list of initiatives and activities that cultivate conscious communities with the concept of sustainable living.

The inner workings of ancient Buddhist teachings come to life daily amidst the contemporary settings of Kechara Forest Retreat.

The inner workings of ancient Buddhist teachings come to life daily amidst the natural setting of Kechara Forest Retreat.

 

Spiritual Living at its Best

Enveloped by the beauty of the pristine forestscape, our fully furnished accommodations exude positive feels that are tranquil and therapeutic. Both ‘Manjushri Guest House’ and ‘Dukkar Apartments’ have all the makings of a perfect abode for retreats, suited for individuals, families and groups. Here, the need to escape life and have a quiet moment to contemplate, meditate and rejuvenate the mind, body and being is fully captured in essence and spirit.

KFR-revamp-0.7

 

Help Us Build a Better Future

If you are interested to support Kechara Forest Retreat and lend us a hand, please click here to find out how you can contribute, or click here to explore our flexible volunteering projects that can fit your skill sets and personal interests. Every form of contribution is greatly appreciated – no matter how big or small.

 

Go to Events

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Events

Grand Setrap Puja

089

 

Wesak Day Celebrations @ Kechara House

091

 

Learning Pujas

093

 

Animal Liberation

094

 

Wedding Blessings

095

 

Legend of the Conch Shell

An award-winning theatre and dance production of Lama Tsongkhapa’s life.

096

 

Kechara House Gompa Renovation

Situated on Sunwaymas Commercial Centre, the Kechara House Gompa was renovated in 2009 and opened in 2010. Comprising of four shoplots in total, the premises can comfortably accommodate up to 700 people.

097

098

099

An artist’s impression of the gompa

 

Go to Pilgrimages: Bodhgaya (2004)

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Pilgrimages: Bodhgaya (2004)

In 2004, over 60 people went on a pilgrimage with me to Bodhgaya, India, the place where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment.

100

Myself conferring refuge vows on the pilgrims at Bodhgaya. We had a group of over 60 following me there.

101

Making offering of robes to the Buddha statue at the Mahabodhi Temple at Bodhgaya. This Buddha statue was carved 60 years after the Buddha passed away by one of his female disciples who actually saw what He looked like. So she had this statue carved to Lord Buddha’s actual likeness. This image is very holy.

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Giving a Dharma talk to the pilgrims at the guest house at Bodhgaya

104

Mahabodhi Temple. This was built by Ashoka to mark the very spot where Lord Buddha became Enlightened. The Bodhi Tree Buddha sat under is right next to this incredible stupa. All Buddhists must make a pilgrimage to this place once before your life passes by. You should make strong aspirations there, purify wrong deeds and generate a mind of Bodhicitta at this spot. Very powerful. Maitreya Buddha in the future will appear here also. So it is very important to visit.

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The Bodhi Tree under which Lord Buddha attained Enlightenment.. Yes it is still alive and protected by the Govt of India. Hundreds of thousands visit yearly. I have went many times.

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Me and pilgrims escorting Lama Tsongkhapa statue to be offered to Root Institute in Bodhgaya

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Placing the newly arrived Lama Tsongkhapa statue on the altar at Root Institute. I saw their altar and decided to sponsor this set of Lama Tsongkapa and disciples.

110

107 Me and pilgrims making a khata offering to Lama Tsongkhapa

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Me with pilgrims at Root Institute, a semi-monastic institute founded by Lama Yeshe

 

Go to Pilgrimages: Gaden (2006)

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Pilgrimages: Gaden Monastery (2006)

Gaden Lachi (Main Prayer Hall)

In April 2006, I led a group of 63 pilgrims to Gaden Monastery, my very own monastery to make offerings of 3,000 Manjushri statues and 3,000 sets robes to the Sangha of Gaden. This trip took almost a year to prepare, involving sourcing for 3,000 Manjushri statues, getting the faces of the statues painted, inserting mantras, sewing the clothes for each of the 3,000 Manjushri statues and sourcing and cutting of maroon cloth for 3,000 sets of robes for the monks.

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Me (representing Kechara House as the sponsor of the offerings), inviting His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama (represented by His Holiness’s picture) to the throne of H.H. at Gaden Lachi, the main prayer hall. A Lama Chopa puja sponsored by Kechara House was held prior to presenting the offerings of statues, robes, kuyong and food to the monks.

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Offering of food to the Sangha performing a Lama Chopa puja sponsored by Kechara House

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Me entering and making prostrations to the Sangha of Gaden

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Making a mandala offering to H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama at Gaden Lachi main prayer hall

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Offering a Manjushri statue to H.E. Sharpa Choeje Rinpoche

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Making offering of a Manjushri statue to H.E. Kensur Konchok Tsering Rinpoche.

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Offering a Manjushri statue to H.H. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche

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Gaden monks with a Manjushri statue and robes offered by Kechara House

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Representative of the monastery’s education department receiving offerings from me

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Explaining to the pilgrims the various sections of the monastery and its function

 

Gaden Shartse

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Leading the pilgrims to Gaden Shartse section of the monastery where I come from. I am an incumbent of Gaden Shartse.

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Making offerings of Body, Speech and Mind to the current incarnation of my Root Guru, H.H. Kyabje Zong Choktrul Rinpoche at Gaden Shartse Prayer Hall

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Giving a Dharma talk at Gaden Shartse’s audience room

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Lay people in Mundgod who heard that I was visiting Gaden came to greet me

 

Zong Ladrang

During this trip, I led the pilgrims to have audience with the young incarnation of H.H. Zong Rinpoche at his Ladrang. I made extensive offerings to Zong Rinpoche and every pilgrim had an opportunity to receive a blessing from His Holiness.

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Making prostration to my root guru’s incarnation, H.H. Kyabje Zong Choktrul Rinpoche at Zong Ladrang

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Making offerings to H.H. Zong Rinpoche

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Showing H.H. Zong Rinpoche pictures of the various departments of Kechara House. Rinpoche was very interested in what I explained to him.

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Myself and pilgrims with H.H. Zong Rinpoche at Zong Ladrang

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Visiting my old room at Zong Ladrang. Although I had very little to eat at the time and was almost starving, I was very happy as I was in Gaden with my Gurus and the High Lamas. I would never exchange anything for that. It was nice to visit the room I use to live in. All the students who came along visited also.

 

Phukhang Khangtsen

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Head of Pukhang Kamtsen, the fraternity house in the monastery that I belong to, presenting a pandit’s hat to me and requesting me to live long and turn the wheel of Dharma.

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Me with the pilgrims at Phukhang Khangtsen

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Wearing the pandit’s hat presented to me by the 300 monks of Pukhang Kamtsen, Gaden Shartse Monastery. It was auspicious to do so just after they offered to me.

 

Geshe Phuntsok’s House at Gaden Jangtse

136

A senior monk, Geshe Yeshe, making offering of Body, Speech and Mind to me in his Ladrang

 

Go to Pilgrimages: Kathmandu, Nepal (2008)

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Pilgrimages: Kathmandu, Nepal (2008)

In October 2008, I led a group of 61 pilgrims to Nepal to visit the holy power places in Kathmandu valley. Going on the Nepal pilgrimage was an extremely rewarding experience and for some people, it changed their lives. During the pilgrimage, I gave many Dharma talks to help everyone set a correct motivation. I also gave many explanations on the significance of the various holy places which had made our pilgrimage so much more meaningful and powerful.

 

Kathmandu Guest House, Thamel

138

At Kathmandu Guest House where we stayed during the pilgrimage. I gave a Dharma talk in the morning before we embarked on our visits to the holy places.

 

Chenrezig Temple

139

On our way to the Chenrezig Temple, known as Jal Bahal in Nepali, behind the busy main streets of Kathmandu

141

Chenrezig statue in the temple. This statue is one of the very famous set of three statues known as the “Self-Arisen Three Brothers”. One statue is with H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama at Dharamsala and another one is at the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet.

142

Offering a butterlamp at the Chenrezig temple

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Dedication prayers led by me at the Chenrezig temple

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Buying flower garlands on the streets of Kathmandu, for pilgrims to use to make offerings.

 

Tara Chapel and Thahity Chowk

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Making offerings at the Tara Chapel behind the alleyways of Thahity Chowk in the middle of Kathmandu City

147

H.H. Trijang Rinpoche has recommended praying to the White Tara statue (the centre statue in the picture above) within this chapel. I explained that this White Tara statue had “flown” in from Tibet and since Trijang Rinpoche had made this recommendation, it must be a very special and blessed statue. The White Tara statue is flanked by Green Tara on its right and Yellow Tara on its left.

 

Boudhanath Stupa at Boudha

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Pilgrims at Boudanath Stupa, one of the largest and holiest stupas in Nepal built in the 14th century. Tibetans believe that this stupa enshrines the precious bone relic of the Buddha. The area around the stupa houses a community of 16,000 Tibetans. Tibetans and pilgrims from around the world gather and circumambulate around the base of the stupa every single day. We are so happy to be here.

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Explaining the significance of the Boudanath Stupa to the pilgrims

 

Self-Arising Tara Chapel at Pharping

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Me with pilgrims at the base of the Self-Arising Tara Chapel at Pharping, 19km south of Kathmandu

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Giving an explanation of the Self-Arising Tara outside the chapel

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Inside the Self-Arising Tara Chapel

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A Tara image has spontaneously arisen from the surface of a rock. After being discovered by a meditator, pilgrims flocked there to make offerings and donations. Eventually a chapel was bulit to enshrine the image on the rock. The image has miraculously became clearer over time.

 

Guru Rinpoche’s Cave Above the Tara Chapel

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Here I gave an explanation on Guru Rinpoche’s cave. Guru Rinpoche or Padmasambava, who was renowned for the spread of Buddhism in Tibet, perfected his tantric meditation in this cave before entering Tibet. To indicate his presence, Padmasambava left a miraculous hand print on a solid rock at the entrance of the cave.

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Touching the handprint of Padmasambava with my forehead

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An old monk greeting me outside Guru Rinpoche’s cave

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Walking down from Guru Rinpoche’s cave with our large group of 60 people.

 

Vajra Yogini Chapel at Pharping

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I gave a Dharma talk in front of the Vajrayogini Chapel at Pharping. This chapel lies within a short distance from Guru Rinpoche’s cave. The Tibetans believe that this chapel is associated with the Pamtingpa brothers, who were some of the earliest Vajrayogini lineage holders who were initiated by their Guru, the Great Naropa himself into this practice. So this Chapel to Vajra Yogini is very significant and important to visit.

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Feeding a stray dog outside the Vajrayogini Chapel

 

Mahaboudha Stupa in Patan

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Pilgrims gathering around me in front of the Mahaboudha Stupa to listen to an explanation on the origins of the stupa. Located at Mahaboudha Temple or “Temple of a Thousand Buddhas”, this stupa is covered with hundreds of little Buddha plaques and has a statue of Shakyamuni enshrined at the bottom. It is a replica of the Mahabodhi Stupa at Bodhgaya built to commemorate Lord Buddha’s mother, Queen Maya Devi. Nearby is also another Chapel to Vajra Yogini.

 

Bijaswari Vajra Yogini Chapel

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Leading the prayers to Vajrayogini at the first Vajrayogini Chapel in Nepal, the Bijaswari Vajrayogini Temple, a short distance away from Swayambhunath Hill. This chapel started as a family’s personal place of worship and was later opened to public and became an important centre for worship. Today, the chapel is still cared for by the descendants of the family who built it. This chapel I have visited many times to offer tsok, prayers and bring students/friends here. This chapel contains 4 sacred forms of Vajra Yogini. Very rare to see in one place.

This is one of the very old and sacred image of Vajra Yogini inside the Bijaswari Vajra Yogini Chapel.

 

Swayambunath Stupa

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The Swayambhunath Stupa

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Explaining the significance of the Swayambhunath Stupa

 

Manjushri’s Teaching Site

Leading a prayer to Manjushri at Manjushri’s teaching site, a courtyard a short distance away from Swayambhunath Stupa. It is believed that Manjushri gives profound teachings to celestial beings at this very spot once a year. I offered a oral transmission of Manjushri prayers to the students here.

 

Naropa’s Cave at Pashupatinath

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Performing a Vajrayogini puja in Naropa’s cave at Pashupatinath. Pashupatinath is regarded as one of the holiest sites of the Hindu world and is included within the 24 holy places of the Tantric Buddha Heruka Chakrasamvara. Naropa practiced intently the Vajra Yogini tantra in this cave and became enlightened. He had visions of Vajra Yogini. It is a very important site for us to visit and make aspirational prayers. There is a beautiful statue of Naropa inside the cave. Next to this cave is the cave of his guru, Tilopa. Fantastic!

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Pilgrims doing their own prayers outside the Naropa cave where I was engaging in the Vajrayogini puja

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For more interesting information:

This is just a brief biographical account of my life in pictures till now. Many of these images appeared in The Promise, which is a more extensive pictorial biography, produced as instructed by my teacher. The Promise is available on Vajrasecrets, and also here on my blog as an eBook.

Much care,
Tsem Rinpoche

 

Childhood in Taiwan

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I was born on October 24, 1965 in Taipei, Taiwan. My mother, Mongolian Princess Torghut Noyen, Dewa Nimbo whose family escaped from Mongolia to Taiwan, met my father, Lobsang Gyatso, who was managing a school for Tibetan refugees in Taiwan. My mother became involved with my father, not knowing that he was already made and had a wife and children in Tibet. When my mother found out that my father already had a family in Tibet, she separated from him even before I was born.

However, the shame of having an illegitimate child, especially because she was a royal princess, led her to give me away for adoption as soon as I was born. It was not easy for her at the time because many of her countrymen criticised her for bearing a child out of wedlock. I understand for my mother and I wish she can heal from that.

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Before I was born, my mother dreamed of a baby white elephant entering her courtyard and she would tie the elephant to a tree. She dreamed this every night for nine months, she said to me. On the day before I was born, she dreamed of high lamas and monks performing various pujas in her house.

On the day of my birth, my mother delivered me with ease and no pain. My mother and my gurus later told me that these are all auspicious signs.

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When I was seven months old, monks came and recognised me as a reincarnated lama. They requested my mother to allow me to be taken to the monastery for my spiritual education but my mother did not allow them. She said that if I was really a high lama, I would eventually make my own way to the monastery.

Of course, the real reason was the fear of embarrassment that should I be enthroned as a high lama, the name of my birth mother and birth father would be made known, as per tradition. When enthroning a reincarnated tulku, the parents’ names are read out to the congregation. Because my mother did not want this information to be publicised, she refused the monks’ request.

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Kwan Mama with me when I was in Taiwan. She and her brother (below) would often come and take me for a break, away from Shi Mama’s. Kwan Mama was a very gentle and sweet lady. She showed a lot of compassion to me. Her family would feed, wash and cloth me, and buy me toys. I remember clearly that they would never hurt me and were always kind to me.

Instead, she found a caretaker and gave me to the woman’s family. The caretaker’s name was Shi Mama and in Taiwan, I lived in a small apartment together with her, her husband and their three sons. Later, I found out that Shi Mama was paid to take care of me but at the time, I did not know this. At the time, I thought Shi Mama was my mother and her three sons were my brothers.

The small apartment we lived in was on the second floor of a shoplot and I attended the neighbourhood school which was nearby. My foster family did not treat me well and I was frequently beaten and not given food. After school, I often ended up wandering the streets of Taipei looking for food. I remember this very vividly.

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Kwan Mama’s brother with me when I was small. He and his sister Kwan Mama said I was always happy, fun-loving and playful. I showed no signs of abuse. They said I was very intelligent and cooperative. Mr. Kwan would always take me to the public baths and wash me himself, because I was dirty and unwashed due to Shi Mama’s intentional neglect.

However, amidst all the ill-treatment, there was some respite when my real grandmother, Torghut Queen Dechen Minh came to visit me from time to time. She would bring with her toys, clothes or candy for me. In her presence, I would be allowed to enjoy these gifts but once she left, the toys were immediately taken from me.

I also fondly remember a kind lady, Kwan Mama and her brother, Mr. Kwan who would take me on trips to hot springs and buy me toys. I later found out that Kwan Mama was my mother’s classmate who was asked by my mother to watch over me.

I have always remembered Kwan Mama’s kindness but after I moved to the USA in 1972 when I was just seven years old, I lost touch with her. It was not until six to seven years ago that I managed to reconnect with Kwan Mama by asking one of my senior students, Irene Lim, to track Kwan Mama’s whereabouts in Taiwan. Irene finally managed to locate Kwan Mama and I have been keeping in touch with her ever since.

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In 2008, I reunited with Kwan Mama during my visit to Taiwan to do a puja for her sister before she underwent a major operation. Kwan Mama was very happy to be reconnected with me. From time to time, she sends offerings for me from Taiwan. I am eternally grateful to this kind lady who took pity on a child who had no parents. Kwan Mama also told me that she wanted to adopt me, but it was not allowed by my grandmother.

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During my trip to Taiwan in 2008, I also met my uncle, Torghut Prince David Minh who is the brother of my birth mother Dewa Nimbo. David Minh acknowledged me as his nephew and said he knew about me, but had no connection.

We had a nice meeting that was taped and he filled me in on a lot of information about our family that I never knew about. For example, it was David who told me before our family arrived in Taiwan, my grandparents, my mother and my uncle himself journeyed from Xinjiang to India where they met His Holiness 14th Dalai Lama. David has a wife and two daughters but we did not meet when I was in Taiwan.

For more information: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=8065

 

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Growing Up in America

In 1972, when I was seven years old, I left Taiwan for America. My birth mother and grandmother arranged for me to be adopted by a Mongolian couple, Boris (Burcha) and Dana Bugayeff. The Bugayeffs adopted me because they did not have a son. Like most Asian parents, it was their wish that their adopted son would grow up, get a good education, get married and carry on their family name.

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Me with my adoptive father, Boris (Burcha) Bugayeff

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Me with my adoptive mother, Dana Bugayeff

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I was seven years old and I was in First Grade at Land O’ Pines School. Some of my good school friends like Nina Noronow, David, Butchy, Ronaldo, Ray, Kim, etc. are in this picture. I am in the centre of the back row, wearing a blue shirt. Me and the girl next to me, Lily were the tallest in the class from First to Eighth Grade.

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Click on the map above to see Howell, New Jersey which is the place I grew up in, and my house, my school, my friends’ houses, the temples I always went to, etc. This was my world until I was 16 years old. As I type, our ‘Tsem Rinpoche Bio Research Group’ is visiting each of the places I have marked on this map. All of it will become a book and movie.

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My first Guru, His Eminence Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tharchin

My adoptive parents lived in Howell, New Jersey which was home to a large community of Mongolian refugees and it was here that I met my first Guru, the Abbot Emeritus of Sera Mey Monastery and an accomplished practitioner of the Vajra Yogini Tantra, Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tharchin at Rashi Gempil Ling (RGL), the first Kalmyk-Mongolian Buddhist temple in the United States located just 10 minutes’ away from my adoptive parents’ home.

Imagine – I travelled around the world and arrived in Howell, New Jersey in 1972 and this master arrived in the same small town just one year before me, in 1971. He was a direct disciple of His Holiness’ Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche and Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche. What are the chances of that? I do not think that is a coincidence at all. I believe in my previous life I collected merits to be around these great masters. I was very lucky because this master resided at RGL which was so close to my home.

So I would try and go to RGL as often as I could but it was not easy at all, due to my parents’ opposition towards my pursuit of spirituality. But even at a very young age, I had a very strong inclination and passion to practise Dharma and when I saw this master for the first time, I wanted to study with him. I wanted to be with him. I wanted to serve him.

I was naturally attracted to monks, temples and Dharma teachings. At times I would sit on my bed and imagine that I was a high lama sitting on a throne giving Dharma teachings to people. I would spontaneously draw pictures of Buddhist deities and pass them out to my relatives and friends for protection. Somehow, I instinctively knew that the Buddhas would bless and protect them. And I loved to read Dharma books and do meditations.

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I was fascinated by Buddhist deities such as Manjushri, Vajra Yogini, Heruka and Palden Lhamo. I searched for caves, lakes, forests and nearby hills to meditate in. I loved to hang out with other Dharma practitioners at RGL, and I loved going to the temple and doing prostrations. On days I was free, I would recite 30,000 to 40,000 OM MANI PADME HUM mantras without my parents knowing, and I did meditations from a book called Tibetan Yogas and Secret Doctrines by Walter Evans-Wentz. I loved to recite OM MANI PADME HUNG and OM AH RA PA TSA NA DHI which is Manjushri’s mantra.

And I always had the thought that I would not stay where I was, that I would travel and meet many people who would ask for my help. Because of this thought, I was always learning prayers and mantras. I had a very strong feeling not to do what everyone else was doing like going to school, getting married, etc. I prayed to become a monk and live in the temple.

As mentioned, my fascination with Dharma practice met with opposition from my adoptive parents because it did not match what they wanted for me as most Asian parents. My adoptive mother would physically and verbally abuse me if she caught me doing Dharma practice of any sort. I had to hide under my blanket to do my mantras or read Dharma books. The beatings intensified as I grew older and I rebelled, and told them I will be a monk. So I would have to be more and more underground and secretive with my Dharma study and practice.

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With my grandmother, the Torghut Queen Dechen Minh and my sweet dog Princey. I loved Princey so much.

Amidst all of this, I continued to receive visits from my grandmother, Torghut Queen Dechen who told me that she was my grandmother. Actually, it was my grandmother who taught me how to recite OM MANI PADME HUM. I have fond memories of her joking and laughing. She was genuinely very nice and sweet to me. I felt she loved me very much. She brought me over from Taiwan to be adopted here, hoping I would have a good life. Over the years, she would come and visit me as well as my birth mother.

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My birth mother, Princess Dewa Nimbo of Xinjiang

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My birth father, Lobsang Gyatso who is an ex-monk. He is from Aba, Tibet.

 

Royal Lineage

My mother, Princess Dewa Nimbo would come and visit me at my adoptive parents’ home from time to time, disguising herself as a relative of ours. Sometimes, she would bring me to live with her for one or two weeks. Later, after I went to India, she would write to me. When I entered Gaden Monastery in India, she wrote to tell me that she had separated from her husband and was struggling to put herself through a PhD and raising her kids. She told me that if I had problems, I should see her Guru, Sogpu Rinpoche in Nepal, for help and she would send me money when she finished her studies.

During my stay in Gaden, I was once asked by Sogpu Rinpoche, also known as Guru Deva, to go and see him in Nepal immediately. It was a sudden request and I did not have any money to travel at that time. I conveyed the news to my Guru, Kyabje Kensur Lati Rinpoche and Lati Rinpoche instructed me to go immediately. He said that the trip would be good for me and even lent me the money needed for the trip.

When I arrived at Sogpu Rinpoche’s Ladrang (a lama’s private residence is called a Ladrang), my birth father happened to be visiting Sogpu Rinpoche at that time. I had never met my father before that. My father had already been told by Sogpu Rinpoche about my visit and when I was finally introduced to my father by Sogpu Rinpoche, my father was shaking and crying, smoking and hiding behind a cigarette.

It was at that moment I knew in my heart that it was for real. That Tibetan man was really my father. The first thing my father said to me was, “Please forgive me, I am sorry” and he sobbed. We spent a few days together and later, he took the money he was carrying with him, which was about 5,000 rupees, and gave it to me. I used the money given by my father to pay back the money I borrowed from my Guru when I returned to Gaden. Sogpu Rinpoche was the one that introduced me to my birth father for the first time in my life. He asked me to forgive my father and so I did.

Upon returning to Gaden, I happily wrote a letter to my mother, explaining everything that had taken place in Sogpu Ladrang. My mother denied knowing my father. She said, “That old man in Taiwan, I don’t know who he is” and told me that she had no relations with him. She also said that if I wanted a relationship with him, I would have no relationship with her. After that, my mother severed all contact with me.

Until today, I have no contact with my mom or her two sons. She totally cut herself off from me. She is very unhappy with my dad and I understand, but I do wish they could know that I was their child and I deserved love and care also.

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This picture was taken in our family home in New Jersey. I am here pictured with my cousins. From left to right are Sara Andreyev, Sonia Waskin, Susie Gugajew and me. In the background are Sonia Tatinow and Ben.

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I grew up with my adoptive cousins. I’m picture here with Diana and Darlene Polchinoff. One of my cousins, Sara said that among Mongolians, they all knew I was royalty and they called me “Noyen Cuven” meaning ‘royal son’. They knew who I was and who my mother was, but all of them had to stay quiet and that this information was hush hush.

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Anyway, eventually the opposition from my adoptive parents towards my Dharma practice became extremely severe. It was to the extent that my adoptive mother began spreading very derogatory rumours about my Guru, Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tharchin. As a result, when I was between Fourth to Fifth Grade, I started having thoughts of suicide and made multiple attempts to run away.

Twice I attempted suicide, each time praying to Manjushri to let me take a new rebirth if I cannot practise Dharma in this life. However, both attempts were unsuccessful. I also ran away from home three times and on my third attempt, I was finally successful.

I ended up in Thubten Dhargye Ling (TDL) in Los Angeles where I met my next Guru, the Venerable Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen. I stayed and worked in Geshe-la’s centre TDL for eight years until I left America for good for Gaden. It was in this centre that I met my root Guru, His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. Zong Rinpoche is the guru of Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen and he had been invited to TDL by Geshe-la.

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Me with my cousin Susan Gugajew in Howell, New Jersey. When I was a child, she used to babysit me and take me for games, rides, amusement parks, arcades, eating, roller-skating. She and I were very close. She was the sister I never had and I was so proud of her.

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Click on map above to see the route I took to run away from New Jersey to Los Angeles for Dharma. I tried two times and was finally successful on my third runaway attempt. This is the route I took across the United States, from New Jersey to New York to Los Angeles, California. In Los Angeles, I worked and lived at Thubten Dhargye Ling (TDL) Dharma Centre until I went to India in 1987.

 

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Root Guru

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This is my altar in Los Angeles, when I lived in an apartment complex called Fenmore Apartments. It has since been demolished after it was badly damaged during an earthquake in the 1990s.

Even in wild, crazy 80s Los Angeles, my calling to do Dharma never waned. Everywhere I lived, I always had an altar and back then, I didn’t have money for statues which I wanted very much, so I would print out photographs and have them framed. But in the picture above, there is a clay statue of Shakyamuni behind His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s picture in the centre and there’s an interesting story to that statue.

I was walking past a secondhand store and the owner was using this Shakyamuni statue as a doorstop! I asked him how much it was and he said, “US$5.” I was like, “That’s it?!” and immediately, I grabbed it and excitedly took him home. I washed him and placed him in the centre of my altar.

On my altar, I’ve also got pictures of His Holiness Kyabje Ling Rinpoche, His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, Venerable Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, His Eminence Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tharchin, Dukkar, Tsongkhapa, Vajra Yogini, a Guru Tree, Palden Lhamo and Heruka on my shrine. Daily I would make offerings of milk, water and incense. I also did prostrations and my sadhana every single day. Right next to the altar, on the right side, is my bed.

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His Holiness Zong Rinpoche at Thubten Dhargye Ling in Los Angeles. I took this picture just before a Lama Tsongkapa initiation.

Of course on my altar is also a photograph of my precious root Guru His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. I met His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche at Thubten Dhargye Ling (TDL) in Los Angeles, USA. During Zong Rinpoche’s six months’ stay at TDL, I was appointed to be Zong Rinpoche’s personal attendant. I cooked for Zong Rinpoche and his entourage, cleaned their dishes, cleaned and tidied Zong Rinpoche’s room, assisted Zong Rinpoche in private audiences and Dharma teachings, and massaged Zong Rinpoche. I did this over and above all my other duties in the centre, while also holding a job outside the centre to financially support myself. We never took stipends or money from the centre, it was unheard of.

It was in TDL that Zong Rinpoche recognised me as an incarnate tulku (reincarnated lama) and invited me to stay in Zong Ladrang in Gaden Monastery. I had no hesitation to accept Zong Rinpoche’s offer. At the time, I had also received a few offers to model and act. I thought that if I went into acting, I could use the money to support the centre and Gaden. But I also wanted to become ordained and be a monk so I asked Kyabje Zong Rinpoche to do a divination for me.

Kyabje Zong Rinpoche said if I was to do any work in front of the camera like acting, I would be very successful but if I was to become a monk, then it would be very beneficial. Immediately, I requested and promised Kyabje Zong Rinpoche to become a monk. Therefore although I wanted to act, I didn’t pursue the offers I received because I was going to get ordained, as I had promised Rinpoche.

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When Zong Rinpoche came to TDL, Geshe-la vacated his room for his guru Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and I vacated my room to make way for Zong Rinpoche’s entourage. During that time, I stayed in the garage which Zong Rinpoche came to visit one day. I showed Zong Rinpoche some thangkas and in the photo above, he was describing 1,000-Armed Avalokiteshvara.

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During Zong Rinpoche’s visit, we also went to Yucca Valley, California which is where the photograph above was taken. We were there for two blissful weeks to receive empowerment of Vajra Yogini and full commentary explanations. I was also the attendant to Rinpoche so my room was just next door. Just think, my room was next door to Heruka himself.

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As mentioned above, I had requested Zong Rinpoche for a divination and it came out that it would be more beneficial if I became a monk. So I promised Zong Rinpoche to become a monk and as a symbol of his acceptance, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche cut a piece of my hair when I promised to go to Gaden to be ordained as a monk. Yes, Zong Rinpoche’s divination indicated that I had powerful karma to be a successful actor but if I became a monk, I would benefit many people. The choice was clear for me. I promised Rinpoche to become a monk and in 1987 I left USA for good to enter Zong Ladrang in Gaden Monastery.

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On one occasion before Zong Rinpoche left for India, Zong Rinpoche and entourage went on a shopping trip which I was privileged to assist on. During this outing, Zong Rinpoche bought many toys, some of which were given to the children of his students and friends. The rest, he asked his attendant to bring back to India to be kept in Zong Ladrang.

Years later, when his current incarnation was recognised and brought back to Zong Ladrang, he played with the toys that were bought during that shopping trip. Yes, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche prepared for his own next life!

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In 1984, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche left for India after six wonderful, incredible months with us in TDL. The picture above was taken before Zong Rinpoche left. I was 19 years old at the time, and it was the last time I ever saw my root Guru. I cried and cried in the lap of Zong Rinpoche. I would miss him so much. I didn’t know how I could go on without him. He was in India and I was in America, all the while trying to save enough money to get to India.

Then one day while I was at work, I received a phone call I never expected. I was told that Zong Rinpoche had passed away in India. I was devastated and did not recover from it for many years. Even going to India to be ordained as a monk felt empty because my Guru was no longer there. Nevertheless, I still went because I was determined to fulfill my promise to my Guru. Whether or not my Guru was alive, the promise to him still stood and I had to fulfill it. So I went to India and became ordained as a monk, just like I promised Zong Rinpoche I would do.

To this day, I still miss Zong Rinpoche very much and I have said that until today, not a day passes without me reciting Zong Rinpoche’s name mantra. When I arrived in Zong Ladrang, the presence of Zong Rinpoche was everywhere but Zong Rinpoche himself was not there. It felt empty…but of course I stayed.

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When the newly-recognised current Zong Rinpoche first met me at Gaden Monastery, he immediately waved at me, called me over to him and addressed me as his junior. He called me Zopa Rinpoche, which was derived from my ordination name Tenzin Zopa. But at the time, I had not yet been recognised as a tulku so how did this young child know?

Anyway, he asked me to come towards him, stretched both his hands up to me and asked me to carry him. I carried and hugged him tight, knowing in my heart that my beloved root Guru had returned. I played with him and stared at me deeply as if trying to remember something.

As a young boy, the current Zong Rinpoche was extremely hot-tempered; he threw his food or his things when he was ‘unhappy’. When his attendants saw that, they immediately folded their hands and said that this boy must be the undisputed incarnation of the previous Zong Rinpoche, who was well-known to be extremely wrathful and fierce.

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When the current Zong Rinpoche was being enthroned, at the ceremony I offered a Manjushri statue to Rinpoche. I saved money for months to purchase this Manjushri statue because I wanted my first gift to Rinpoche to be very auspicious. Later, I was told that after the ceremony, Zong Rinpoche asked for this statue and kept it near his bed always.

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I was very fortunate to live in my Guru’s house and to have such a close relationship with him. In this photograph above, I carried the current Zong Rinpoche on my lap at a Dharma teaching of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The photograph was taken in Dharamsala, North India. His Holiness the Dalai Lama was seated on a throne just 15 feet away from us, right in the front of where this picture was taken.

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Me with the current Zong Rinpoche at Gaden Monastery. This was in 1990 when I was 25. My father took this picture of Zong Rinpoche and myself in Gaden Monastery.

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In 2006, many years after I had moved to Malaysia, I met the current Zong Rinpoche again when I led a group of 63 pilgrims to make offerings of 3,000 Manjushri statues and 3,000 sets of robes to the monks in Gaden Monastery.

Today (2019), the current Zong Rinpoche is 34 years old and he is the top debater in Gaden Monastery. He is, without surprise, becoming a great scholar and master again. I am so happy.

It is without a surprise also that Zong Chocktrul Rinpoche is also a ritual master. At the funeral of His Eminence Kyabje Lati Rinpoche in 2010, His Holiness Zong Chocktrul Rinpoche presided over the funeral ceremony for the entire monastery. Zong Chocktrul Rinpoche is tall, very powerful in appearance and has a powerful presence. May he live very long and dharma activities grow huge.

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Looking back on my life, one of the things that amazes me is although I was living in America and far from any monasteries, still I had the incredible honour to meet many great masters. Not just my Gurus like Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tharchin, Geshe-la or Zong Rinpoche but I also had the honour to meet His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in Los Angeles. In the photo above, I requested His Holiness to ordain me and he asked me to come to India. So I did and in December 1987, His Holiness ordained me in Dharamsala, North India. What a great day it was for me. I loved meeting His Holiness so much.

I was able to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama a few more times after that. On one occasion, my Guru Kensur Rinpoche Jampa Yeshe introduced me to His Holiness the Dalai Lama as the reincarnation of the 72nd Abbot of Gaden Shartse. I offered His Holiness a Vajrapani statue, amongst other times. His Holiness then confirmed my recognition as a tulku (Rinpoche) and a picture was taken to commemorate the moment. We were in a room on top of the Gaden Lachi Prayer Hall, where all of the monks from Gaden Shartse and Gaden Jangtse Monasteries congregate for pujas, teachings and other events involving both monastic collages.

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Puja in Gaden Shartse Monastery with H.H. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche on the throne, Kyabje Lati Rinpoche and Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche. Click on image to enlarge.

 

Go to Tsem Ladrang, Gaden Monastery

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Tsem Ladrang, Gaden Monastery

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Me with my half-brother, Phuntsok, at Gaden

Tsem Ladrang of Gaden Monastery was built and sponsored by my birth father, Lobsang Gyatso, who is a disciple of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and His Holiness the Panchen Lama. Although I had not been in contact with my birth father for a long time, I reconnected with him when my half-brother, Phuntsok, came to visit me in Gaden.

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Me with my father and two other monks in Gaden

Phuntsok was shocked to see my living conditions in Gaden. At that time, I was living in a small leaking room in Zong Ladrang and was starving due to lack of financial support. When Phuntsok went back to Taiwan, he reported my living conditions to our father. Not long after that, my father himself flew to Gaden.

After seeing for himself my living conditions, he offered to sponsor the building of a Ladrang for me. He built a very beautiful house for me and also sponsored all of the offerings I needed to do for my tulku enthronement ceremony.

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Tsem Ladrang in Gaden built for me by my father Lobsang Gyatso. It had a nice big yard and lots of fruit trees and flowers. Kensur Rinpoche Jampa Yeshe lived on top and I was on the bottom floor with our students.

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Myself with my Guru, His Eminence Kensur Rinpoche Jampa Yeshe

At that time, I was the secretary and translator to my Guru, His Eminence Kensur Rinpoche Jampa Yeshe, the then-abbot of Gaden Shartse Monastery. I had been assigned to Kensur Rinpoche as my ‘house monk’ when I first entered Gaden Shartse Monastery. Kensur Rinpoche was well-known in the monastic community to be a pure monk who held his vows immaculately.

And so when Tsem Ladrang was built, I invited Kensur Rinpoche to live with me in Tsem Ladrang, offering him the biggest room while I occupied a smaller room in the house. I also became the house master where I trained and disciplined the monks in Tsem Ladrang to serve my Guru well. When I left Gaden to reside in Malaysia, I offered Tsem Ladrang of Gaden to Kensur Rinpoche and subsequently, Tsem Ladrang was renamed Kensur Ladrang.

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Me with Kensur Rinpoche and monks of Tsem Ladrang, Gaden Shartse Monastery

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Young monks of Tsem Ladrang in Gaden

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In Tsem Ladrang located in Gaden Monastery. The monks are having their meal in the Ladrang courtyard.

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In my nice room and my work/prayer area in Tsem Ladrang, Gaden. Simple but very comfortable. I was very happy living here in my own house in Gaden and wanted to stay forever. From here, I wrote thousands of letters to sponsors, students and friends for the monastery and Pukhang Khangtsen. Khangtsens are something like fraternity houses, but they are delineated by different regions of Tibet.

 

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Pukhang Khangtsen Monks’ Quarters

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In 1992, an exodus of monks who left Tibet arrived in Gaden Shartse Monastery in Mundgod, South India. Due to the shortage of accommodation, many monks did not have a place to stay and were sleeping in the corridors of the monastery. It was also the monsoon season and coming from a cold country like Tibet, to a hot and humid one like South India, many of them fell sick or were getting bitten by snakes.

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His Eminence Kyabje Lati Rinpoche was instrumental in my connection with Malaysia. He insisted I go and I dared not argue too much with him. I respected him too much.

Seeing the desperate situation of the newly-arrived monks, some senior monks in Gaden Shartse Monastery like one of my Gurus, His Eminence Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, convened a meeting. During the meeting, they requested me to go abroad to teach and raise funds to build monks’ quarters for the monks.

Initially, I was resistant to the idea of going abroad as I wanted to remain in Gaden. I had not left America in order to go elsewhere other than Gaden, and Gaden was where I wanted to be.

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During the construction of monks’ quarters for Pukhang Khangtsen, which I raised the funds for. This was my first big project for the monastery.

However, during the meeting, Lati Rinpoche insisted that I must go on a teaching tour. I told Lati Rinpoche that I am not qualified but Lati Rinpoche replied saying that I was and I should go. I begged him not to send me but Lati Rinpoche insisted. Since I dared not go against my guru’s instruction, eventually I agreed to go abroad.

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During the construction of monks’ quarters for Pukhang Khangtsen, which I raised the funds for. This was my first big project for the monastery.

Even then, I did not know where I should go. The only person I knew outside America and India was a nice monk called Reverend Khoon from Malaysia whom I had met during a pilgrimage to Bodhgaya. I wrote to Reverend Khoon and he invited me to come to Malaysia. That was the beginning of my connection with the people of Malaysia.

My mission was quite a resounding success. I was very well-received by the people of Malaysia and the money raised and donated to me, I offered back to Gaden Shartse Monastery’s Pukhang Khangtsen. When I returned to Gaden, and offered the money to Lati Rinpoche and the sangha, Lati Rinpoche cried. The monks’ quarters was built from the funds raised from Malaysia, and this building is still being utilised by the monks till today. I was able to house over 100 monks.

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During the construction of monks’ quarters for Pukhang Khangtsen, which I raised the funds for. This was my first big project for the monastery.

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Monks in front of Pukhang Khangtsen’s monks’ quarters. Today Pukhang Khangtsen houses more than 300 monks.

 

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Social Community Work

In Gaden, I was very active in social community work both within the monastery as well as in the surrounding villages and other needy areas. I have strong passion to help the less fortunate so I initiated various social community projects in India during my time in the monastery.

 

Feeding the Poor in India

As a young teenager who ran away from home so that I could have the freedom to practise Dharma, I slept on the streets and suffered severe hunger. As such, feeding the poor and homeless has always been close to my heart.

I conceptualised Kechara Soup Kitchen to feed the homeless and urban poor, and the origins of this idea can be traced back to the days when I was in India, where I was already feeding the poor.

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Offering Textbooks to Refugee Monks from Tibet

I have always very much been in support of education, whether it is the lay people going to school or monks who want to further their studies. I often raised funds to buy what the sangha needed to study. In this case, I was offering textbooks to 30 newly-arrived Tibetan refugee monks. I find it a great joy to provide for the Sangha.

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Sponsoring a Nursery School in Mundgod, India

A nursery school at Camp No. 3 in Mundgod, India that I sponsored and helped to build the community hall.

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They thanked me and a plaque put up behind us. I went with some Malaysians to visit the school The Tibetan lay people, numbering around 300, asked me to confer initiation upon them in this hall and I accepted. But before I could do so, I had to go to Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong again.

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Sponsoring Medical Facilities and Hospitals in Mundgod, India

I often raised funds for the hospitals in Mundgod. Buying them furniture, equipment, supplies, providing salary for staff, and especially sponsoring medicine for those who were very poor and could not afford treatment. These are the two clinics/hospitals I helped. I took all of these pictures to update the kind people who donated and contributed towards all of this.

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Helping Villagers at the Refugee Camp in Mundgod, India

Local Tibetan villagers greeting my arrival with khatas (traditional silk scarves). I raised funds to refurbish a school here and the villagers were very happy.

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Raising Funds to Install a Water Pump at Pukhang Khangtsen

This water pump at Pukhang Khangtsen was installed from the funds raised by myself. It takes three to five days to drill for water and then install a pump, which you can see here. I installed a few pumps to provide clean water for the monks and lay people.

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Go to Early Years in Malaysia

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Early Years in Malaysia (1992 to 2003)

I first came to Malaysia in 1992 under the instruction of my Guru, the late His Eminence Kyabje Lati Rinpoche. I came to Malaysia for a teaching tour and to gather help to build monks’ quarters in Gaden Shartse Monastery.

From 1992 to 2003, I travelled back and forth between India and Malaysia before I settle permanently in Malaysia. During this period, although Kechara House had been registered in 2000, there was no official premises for Kechara House yet, so I conducted pujas and gave Dharma talks in the houses of students and friends.

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Me conducting a puja at a friend’s house

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Me conducting a puja at a friend’s house

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Conducting a house blessing and teaching in Melaka

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Conducting a wedding ceremony in Grik, a town in the Malaysian state of Perak

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Blessing a new shop lot for a coffee shop in Johor Bahru, which is a state in the south of Malaysia

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Blessing a new shop lot for a coffee shop in Johor Bahru, which is a state in the south of Malaysia

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Giving Manjushri initiation at a student’s house in Kuala Lumpur

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Giving Manjushri initiation at a student’s house in Kuala Lumpur

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Meeting people after the Manjushri initiation

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Meeting people after the Manjushri initiation

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Giving Chenrezig Ngesung Kundrol initiation at a student’s house in Kuala Lumpur. This practice, if you hold the commitments which are very simple, will save you from taking rebirth from the lower realms for one lifetime.

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Giving a Dharma talk at a student’s house in Petaling Jaya, which is a suburb in the Malaysian state of Selangor

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Me doing a blessing prayer at Kelana Jaya (during my skinny days…hehehe)

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Me (centre) doing a trial setup for the then-Kechara Paradise outlet with some of my students. At the time, in order for some work I was doing, I needed to be in lay clothes for a while but keep my monks’ vows. So I sought, and received, my teacher’s permission to be in lay clothes.

 

Go to Kechara

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Below is a quick run-down of the wonderful services and facilities that we offer in Kechara. For a more extensive description, you can go to http://www.kechara.com or read this: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=6626

 

Kechara: A Brief History

In 2000, I founded Kechara, a Buddhist organisation dedicated to the teachings and practices of Dharma. Today, the Kechara organisation offers many facilities and services, each specialised in their particular field of expertise. They offer a multitude of activities ranging from Dharma classes, pujas, publications, filming, pilgrimages, Dharma shops, a vegetarian restaurant, Himalayan arts to feeding the poor and caring for animals. All these activities aim to connect spiritual aspirants to Dharma.

Kechara started in a small third-floor shoplot in SS2, Petaling Jaya which is a suburb in the Malaysian state of Selangor. Later, we moved to the SunwayMas Commercial Centre (also in Selangor) where we had a first-floor shoplot known as Kechara House 1.

Kechara House 1 itself was always full of students and friends, many of whom would travel all the way to Malaysia from America, Australia, Singapore, England and many other places to attend events at Kechara. People were finding something empty in their lives and were not finding satisfaction. Dharma fills that void for sure. Below are some photographs of the early days in Kechara House 1.

To cater for the growing crowd, we soon had to expand to Kechara House 2, a building just down the road which was used for activities like Dharma classes, birthday parties, students’ gatherings, etc. However, the congregation continued to expand and soon, the need to accomodate everyone became urgent, leading to the construction and establishment of a brand new, purpose-built Kechara House Gompa.

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Me receiving the offering of body, speech and mind during my birthday celebration at Kechara House 1 on October 24, 2009 from the then-President of Kechara House, Datin Ng Wee Chin

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Dharma gatherings in Kechara House 1, located on the first floor of a shoplot in Sunwaymas Commercial Centre, Petaling Jaya. Click on image to enlarge.

Dharma gatherings in Kechara House 1, located on the first floor of a shoplot in Sunwaymas Commercial Centre, Petaling Jaya. Click on image to enlarge.

 


 

Kechara House Gompa

Kechara House (KH) Gompa was opened in 2010, continuing Kechara’s aim of availing the ancient, universal wisdom of Buddha’s teachings with practitioners in Malaysia and the surrounding regions. Buddha’s wisdom has timeless and universal relevance, and can be practised by anyone in any culture, regardless of nationality, gender or age.

In organising activities that teach people practical methods of developing inner peace, love, wisdom and happiness as taught by Buddha, KH aims to help them improve their quality of life by developing inner peace, love, wisdom and happiness through spiritual practice. Kechara House can contribute to society by giving people a peace of mind to become even better citizens. To encourage people to do social works to benefit society at large. Religious practice must foster peace, understanding, and harmony always. Kechara believes in this deeply.

Regular pujas are conducted in the main prayer hall of Kechara House. Click on image to enlarge.

Regular pujas are conducted in the main prayer hall of Kechara House. Click on image to enlarge.

Lama Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelug tradition, welcomes visitors to Kechara House in the reception area. Click on image to enlarge.

Lama Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelug tradition, welcomes visitors to Kechara House in the reception area. Click on image to enlarge.

The main prayer hall in Kechara House is graced by three larger-than-life statues of Lama Tsongkhapa (10-ft, centre), Vajrayogini (7-ft, left ) and Setrap (7-ft, right). Click on image to enlarge.

The main prayer hall in Kechara House is graced by three larger-than-life statues of Lama Tsongkhapa (10-ft, centre), Vajrayogini (7-ft, left ) and Setrap (7-ft, right). Click on image to enlarge.

In prayer at Kechara House. Click on image to enlarge.

In prayer at Kechara House. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara House also hosts powerful pujas and prayer sessions on special festive occasions such as Chinese New Year, Wesak Day, Ullambana and Lama Tsongkhapa Day. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara House also hosts powerful pujas and prayer sessions on special festive occasions such as Chinese New Year, Wesak Day, Ullambana and Lama Tsongkhapa Day. Click on image to enlarge.

The multi-function hall at Kechara House is the venue for Dharma classes, children's activities and informal gatherings. Click on image to enlarge.

The multi-function hall at Kechara House is the venue for Dharma classes, children’s activities and informal gatherings. Click on image to enlarge.

The 'blog corner' at Kechara House where people can easily access the various Dharma materials on tsemrinpoche.com in the comfort of the gompa. Click on image to enlarge.

The ‘blog corner’ at Kechara House where people can easily access the various Dharma materials on tsemrinpoche.com in the comfort of the gompa. Click on image to enlarge.

 


 

Tsem Ladrang

Tsem Ladrang is my official residence and private office, and the headquarters of the Kechara organisation. The word ‘Ladrang’ literally consists of two words, ‘la’ which means ‘lama’ and ‘drang’ which means ‘residence’. Traditionally, some lamas have a Ladrang which administers the lama’s secular work so the lama can teach the Dharma. The Ladrang also functions to ensure the continuity of the lama’s work after his passing and is maintained to await the lama’s next incarnation.

Tsem Ladrang contains my personal living quarters, administrative offices for the Ladrang staff, an audience room and a central prayer hall that is dedicated especially towards Kechara’s Dharma work and growth.

The daily operations of the Ladrang are overseen and executed by the dedicated team of Ladrang staff. The Ladrang’s responsibilities include:

  • Attending to my secular needs
  • Preparing for teachings and Dharma events
  • Arranging for private audiences and/or divinations
  • Managing correspondence, gifts and offerings
  • Media and Communications for myself and the Kechara organisation
  • Making my Dharma teachings available via multimedia and online resources
  • Overseeing and supporting the Kechara organisation in all ways necessary

The Ladrang is administered by an able team, overseen by the Ladrang Liaisons who consist of JP Thong, Ooi Beng Kooi and Pastor Loh Seng Piow. Liaisons are personal assistants to the Lama. Ultimately, the Ladrang takes care of all secular matters of the Lama and centre, to relieve the Lama of mundane duties so that he can focus solely on teaching and spreading the Dharma.

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Kechara’s Buddhist pastors

Combining the responsibilities of the ordained and the appearance of a layperson, Kechara’s Buddhist Pastors are selfless, committed individuals who have taken an extraordinary step in dedicating their lives towards sharing the Buddhist tradition and serving the Buddhist community.

I conceptualised this pastorship role and ordained Kechara’s first pastors in 2011, to preserve the Dharma and to make Buddha’s teachings more accessible to the public. Pastors bridge the gap between the ordained sangha and the everyday practitioner, dispensing advice and counselling, performing blessings and rituals, and sharing their knowledge with the many who come to seek spiritual help and relief. The services offered by Kechara’s Buddhist pastors include:

  • Puja (prayer) services
  • Children’s baptism
  • House blessings
  • Vehicle blessings
  • Hospital visits
  • Bereavement services
  • Counseling
  • Marriage registration and solemnisation
  • Public teachings and Dharma classes
  • Vow giving (refuge vows, vegetarian vows, Eight Precepts, etc)
  • Answering questions from the public via the Ask A Pastor section on tsemrinpoche.com

Kechara’s Buddhist Pastors received their ordination vows from me, based on vows stemming from an unbroken lineage of Indian and Tibetan Buddhist masters going all the way back to Lord Shakyamuni, the historical Buddha.

There are two types of Buddhist pastor within Kechara:

  • Lay Pastors: Individuals who are committed to their spiritual practice but have pre-existing obligations to family and other commitments.
  • Sangha-to-be: Individuals who aspire to become fully ordained members of the Sangha (monastic community) in the near future

The selection and training of a new pastor is a rigorous process. The first Buddhist pastors were ordained on October 24, 2011 and every year since then, more have made this commitment to bring the Buddha’s teachings to people in our modern era.

Kechara's Buddhist pastors serve the community in a spiritual capacity. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara’s Buddhist pastors serve the community in a spiritual capacity. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara's pastors perform a variety of blessing ceremonies for members of the public especially during Buddhist festivals such as Wesak. Click on image to enlarge.

At events, or upon special request, pastors conduct children’s baptismal ceremonies to plant the seeds of Dharma in the child’s mindstream so that they may grow up connected to the Dharma and protected by the Three Jewels. Click on image to enlarge.

One of Kechara's most popular services is vehicle blessings. Our Buddhist pastors bless vehicles through prayers and rituals. After the ceremony, a blessed Buddha image is placed on the dashboard. Click on image to enlarge.

One of Kechara’s most popular services is vehicle blessings. Our Buddhist pastors bless vehicles through prayers and rituals. After the ceremony, a blessed Buddha image is placed on the dashboard. Click on image to enlarge.

A pastor of Kechara officiates during the marriage registration ceremony of a young couple. Click on image to enlarge.

A pastor of Kechara officiates during the marriage registration ceremony of a young couple. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara's pastors are empowered to perform last rites and bereavement rituals to blessed the deceased to take a good and swift rebirth. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara’s pastors are empowered to perform last rites and bereavement rituals to blessed the deceased to take a good and swift rebirth. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara's pastors also give teachings and classes to guide spiritual seekers along the path to enlightenment. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara’s pastors also give teachings and classes to guide spiritual seekers along the path to enlightenment. Click on image to enlarge.

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A Kechara pastor dispenses advice and guidance to a group of visitors at Kechara Forest Retreat. Click on image to enlarge.

A Kechara pastor blesses birds prior to releasing them as part of an animal liberation ceremony. Click on image to enlarge,

A Kechara pastor blesses birds prior to releasing them as part of an animal liberation ceremony. Click on image to enlarge.

At events, or upon special request, pastors conduct children's baptismal ceremonies to plant the seeds of Dharma in the child's mindstream so that they may grow up connected to the Dharma and protected by the Three Jewels. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara’s pastors perform a variety of blessing ceremonies for members of the public especially during Buddhist festivals such as Wesak. Click on image to enlarge.

 


 

Authentic puja services

Life sometimes brings problems and difficulties that can appear insurmountable. Within Buddhism however, pujas and prayers are a proven solution for life’s challenges. In fact, pujas are the direction of positive energy towards a positive aspiration, expressed in a series of rituals and prayers. Such group prayers generate stronger energies than when performed by just one person alone, and can be done for oneself or for someone who is far away. The benefit of pujas is manyfold and encompasses healing, long life, protection, wealth, wisdom, peace and the quick fulfillment of our wishes.

Kechara’s puja house offers a wide range of pujas for eveteamry life situation. Our dedicated team has been trained by qualified monks from the illustrious Gaden Monastery and everything they do – from the prayers and rituals to the altar set up and offerings – is done exactly as it has been for hundreds of years in the greatest monastic institutions of Tibet. To view the full range of pujas, visit VajraSecrets.com.

It is a testament to the dedication, diligence, commitment and sincerity of Kechara’s puja team that the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden took trance via the Venerable 7th Panglung Oracle at Kechara Forest Retreat in 2015. It was the first time in history that the invocation of Dorje Shugden into a qualified Tibetan oracle was performed purely by lay practitioners and without the involvement of Tibetan monks.

 

Kechara Puja House

Address:
18, Jalan Ah Peng,
28700 Bentong,
Pahang, Malaysia.

Opening Hours:
Tuesday – Saturday: 10am to 6pm daily

Kechara's puja house is located in the heart of Bentong town, less than 5km away from Kechara Forest Retreat. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara’s puja house is located in the heart of Bentong town, less than 5km away from Kechara Forest Retreat. Click on image to enlarge.

The warm and inviting atmosphere at Kechara's puja house welcomes those seeking divine assistance. Click on image to enlarge.

The warm and inviting atmosphere at Kechara’s puja house welcomes those seeking divine assistance. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara's pastors are on hand to guide those who need more information on the multitude of pujas available. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara’s pastors are on hand to guide those who need more information on the multitude of pujas available. Click on image to enlarge.

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Click on image to enlarge.

An interesting, creative photo wall inside the Kechara Puja House. Click on image to enlarge.

An interesting, creative photo wall inside the Kechara Puja House. Click on image to enlarge.

A traditional puja being conducted in the puja house's prayer room. Click on image to enlarge.

A traditional puja being conducted in the puja house’s prayer room. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara's puja team is trained in traditional rituals, and regularly performs outcall services including house blessings, bereavement ceremonies and altar consecration. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara’s puja team is trained in traditional rituals, and regularly performs outcall services including house blessings, bereavement ceremonies and altar consecrations. Click on image to enlarge.

Traditional Tibetan musical instruments are used in certain pujas. Click on image to enlarge.

Traditional Tibetan musical instruments are used in certain pujas. Click on image to enlarge.

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Click on image to enlarge.

Tormas (ritual offering cakes) are handmade in the traditional manner by the trained puja team. Click on image to enlarge.

Tormas (ritual offering cakes) are handmade in the traditional manner by the trained puja team. Click on image to enlarge.

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Click on image to enlarge.

 


 

Publications and Education

Kechara’s publishing activities began in 2005, started by a group of young and dedicated students interested in bringing the ancient wisdom of Buddhist teachings into the context of contemporary living. It is possible to pursue a spiritual path without having to compromise one’s lifestyle or religious and cultural background. Hence Kechara’s vision is to empower individuals to achieve inner peace and personal development through easily applicable principles for daily practice. This is Kechara’s unique approach to bring the Buddha’s ancient wisdom to our very doorsteps.

For this reason, we have many books and videos in English and Chinese which are available at major bookstores, as well as online on VajraSecrets.com, Amazon, etc. The many titles published by Kechara offer readers the opportunity to heal and grow through knowledge and reading. Authored by myself and my senior students, these books offer diverse, new perspectives to deal with the challenges of modern daily life, combining the ancient wisdom of Buddha with modern insights, practical relatable examples and personal life experiences. They come in a variety of formats, from stunning coffee table books to traditional prayer texts; from collections of Rinpoche’s teachings to comic books for children and adults.

The many titles published by Kechara offer readers the opportunity to heal and grow through knowledge and reading. Click on image to enlarge.

The many titles published by Kechara offer readers the opportunity to heal and grow through knowledge and reading. Click on image to enlarge.

At Kechara, we firmly believe that knowledge is the first step towards finding happiness and peace. With knowledge, we develop wisdom; and with wisdom comes the clarity and ability to face any situation in the most positive and beneficial way.

To this end, we also offer Dharma talks and comprehensive education programmes for all levels of learning, including children, beginners and those interested in advanced, serious study. All programmes are based on ancient, authentic teachings and developed to suit modern lifestyles, aptitudes, attitudes and concerns.

Learning is an essential part of spiritual growth. Click on image to enlarge.

Learning is an essential part of spiritual growth. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara offers Dharma talks and comprehensive education programmes for all levels of learning. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara offers Dharma talks and comprehensive education programmes for all levels of learning. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara's Dharma classes for children are tailored for different age groups and are supplemented with a colourful variety of activities to assist in learning. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara’s Dharma classes for children are tailored for different age groups and are supplemented with a colourful variety of activities to assist in learning. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara's annual W.O.A.H Kids Camp is very popular amongst children and parents. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara’s annual W.O.A.H Kids Camp is very popular amongst children and parents. Click on image to enlarge.

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Fun activities during camp. Click on image to enlarge.

Fun activities during camp. Click on image to enlarge.

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Spirituality is introduced in a manner that is enjoyable and appealing to kids. Click on image to enlarge.

Spirituality is introduced in a manner that is enjoyable and appealing to kids. Click on image to enlarge.

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Click on image to enlarge.

Some of the outdoor activities during camp. Click on image to enlarge.

Some of the outdoor activities during camp. Click on image to enlarge.

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Click on image to enlarge.

Certificates of achievement and prizes are distributed at the end of the camp. Click on image to enlarge.

Certificates of achievement and prizes are distributed at the end of the camp. Click on image to enlarge.

 


 

Disseminating Buddhism globally

Everyone loves a story. And there’s no better way to promote positive human attributes and qualities for social change than through the mastery of storytelling. Kechara’s production team actively produces original content using various creative channels to bring our message of peace to the global audience. After all, it is only through engaging the audience that actual learning can be shared with all.

Kechara’s production team is also documents my teachings and everything that happens within Kechara, and preserving it for posterity. The content ranges from teachings I have given privately and also publicly, to Dharma related videos such as spiritual practices, interviews with senior students, travel documentaries, the personal spiritual journeys of Kechara’s members, and special events within the Kechara family. Many of these videos can be viewed for free on my Youtube channel, which has garnered over seven million views to date (2019).

From formal video productions to on-the-fly live videos, Kechara's production team is willing and able to handle it all. Click on image to enlarge.

From formal video productions to on-the-fly live videos, Kechara’s production team is willing and able to handle it all. Click on image to enlarge.

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Kechara's production team tirelessly and professionally documents all important events in Kechara. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara’s production team tirelessly and professionally documents all important events in Kechara. Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

One of Rinpoche's senior students, Phng Li Kim has emerged as a local celebrity host who has found regional success through The Paranormal Zone series. Click on image to enlarge.

One of Rinpoche’s senior students, Phng Li Kim has emerged as a local celebrity host who has found regional success through The Paranormal Zone series. Click on image to enlarge.

Phng Li Kim and the crew of The Paranormal Zone hard at work! Click on image to enlarge.

Phng Li Kim and the crew of The Paranormal Zone hard at work! Click on image to enlarge.

Rinpoche has also connected millions around the world to the sacred essence of Dharma through the Internet, via diverse topics that range from Madonna to paranormal stories, amazing animal tales and inspiring, pick-me-up teachings. With a strong presence on popular social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, and with countless teachings freely available through YouTube and on TsemRinpoche.com, Rinpoche has transcended all borders to bring the teachings of peace to spiritual seekers everywhere, no matter where they are in the world.

In particular, TsemRinpoche.com has played a pivotal role in bringing the Buddha’s teachings and the lineage of Dorje Shugden to millions of people from all walks of life and from different cultures and backgrounds, with content available in English, Chinese, Nepali, Tibetan and Tamil. Keeping up with the times, Rinpoche has also taken to doing occasional live videos to engage directly with his global following.

TsemRinpoche.com has played a pivotal role in bringing the Buddha's teachings and the lineage of Dorje Shugden to millions of people from all walks of life. Click on image to enlarge.

TsemRinpoche.com has played a pivotal role in bringing the Buddha’s teachings and the lineage of Dorje Shugden to millions of people from all walks of life. Click on image to enlarge.

Rinpoche has a strong presence on popular social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Click on image to enlarge.

Rinpoche has a strong presence on popular social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Rinpoche during a Facebook live video session. Click on image to enlarge.

Rinpoche during a Facebook live video session. Click on image to enlarge.

 


 

Preserving Himalayan artistic traditions

Art has long been known for its therapeutic qualities. Through our Himalayan arts studio, which specialises in the creation and adornment of Buddhist images, Kechara invites all who are interested in the arts to find peace, healing and relaxation through creative expression. Traditional art forms learnt directly from the skilled artisans of Nepal, India and Tibet are combined with new-age artistic influences, thus marrying ancient Buddhist art with contemporary living.

Inspired by my passion and belief in collecting merit through making offerings to the Buddhas, Kechara’s art studio offers a variety of Buddhist-related arts services including:

  • Mantra rolling and statue insertion
  • Creation of brocade clothing for Buddha statues
  • Adornment of Buddha statues with precious stones or beaded ornaments
  • Beautification and painting of Buddha statues in various styles
  • Repair and restoration of damaged Buddha statues and thangkas
  • Traditional thangka painting
  • Brocading of thangkas
  • Tailoring of monk robes and traditional ritual items made from fabric and brocade
Click on image to enlarge.

Statue painting. Click on image to enlarge.

Statue painting. Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Creating traditional wealth vases. Click on image to enlarge.

Creating traditional wealth vases. Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Mantra rolling. Click on image to enlarge.

Mantra rolling. Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Creating intricate beadwork ornaments for Buddha statues. Click on image to enlarge.

Creating intricate beadwork ornaments for Buddha statues. Click on image to enlarge.

A variety of traditional sewing services are also available. Click on image to enlarge.

A variety of traditional sewing services are also available. Click on image to enlarge.

Thangka painting. Click on image to enlarge.

Thangka painting. Click on image to enlarge.

 


 

Helping the Homeless

Kechara helps the homeless under the banner of Kechara Soup Kitchen (KSK), which was conceptualised by me. As a young child, I was often hungry and after years of physical and emotional abuse, I ran away from home when I was 16 years old. I made a harrowing journey across the United States, from New Jersey to Los Angeles. Since this experience, I have always donated food to the poor and encouraged others to do the same.

In 2006, a group of my students began to distribute food in the centre of Kuala Lumpur. Being mindful and respectful of others’ beliefs, KSK is strictly non-religious and does not discriminate in terms of race or culture. For this reason, KSK food is always halal. As this group grew under the motto of “Hunger Knows No Barriers”, the team began to realise that they had to be more structured in order to be more efficient. Therefore, a working core committee of volunteers was formed to organise the allocation of volunteers for KSK’s routes, the raising of sponsorship and packing of food, amongst other duties.

Today, KSK distributes over 10,000 packets of food every month and their initiatives have grown to encompass serving hot meals from all our soup kitchen premises, street food distribution in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor Bahru, an active food bank programme in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Johor Bahru, Kelantan, Perak, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Sarawak, medical aid and mobile clinic services, counselling and rehoming services, equipping the underprivileged community with new skills to help them gain meaningful employment, and many other initiatives.

To stay up to date on KSK’s activities, follow them on Facebook.

Myself with the KSK team. Click on image to enlarge.

Myself with the KSK team. Click on image to enlarge.

Meal distribution from our soup kitchen premises. Over 10,000 meals are served each month. Click on image to enlarge.

Meal distribution from our soup kitchen premises. Over 10,000 meals are served each month. Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Mobile soup kitchen food distribution. Click on image to enlarge.

Volunteers attend a compulsory briefing before heading out on the streets to distribute food to the underprivileged community of Malaysia.

Volunteers attend a compulsory briefing before heading out on the streets to distribute food to the underprivileged community of Malaysia. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara Soup Kitchen's committed volunteers distribute food to underprivileged clients on the streets of Malaysia every week without fail, come rain or shine. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara Soup Kitchen’s committed volunteers distribute food to underprivileged clients on the streets of Malaysia every week without fail, come rain or shine. Click on image to enlarge.

The biggest impact an individual can contribute to the Kechara Food Bank programme is by being a volunteer in distributing the food.

The biggest impact you can contribute to Kechara Soup Kitchen’s programmes is by becoming a volunteer. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara Soup Kitchen has worked closely with Malaysia’s National Welfare Foundation to establish Pusat Transit Gelandangan Kuala Lumpur, a halfway house for the homeless that can facilitate 150 people at any one time. The team has also established working partnerships with corporations such as Tesco, Sunway Hotels, Munchy’s, SegiFresh and Komugi to collect and redistribute over 200 tonnes of surplus food to 93 NGO partners nationwide, serving over 16,000 underprivileged individuals. All our projects are supported by kind volunteers of all ages, coming from all walks of life, faiths, cultures and backgrounds.

Since our inception in 2008, permanent soup kitchens have been established in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, Johor and Penang, and we have been granted tax-exempt status by Malaysia’s Ministry of Finance since 2013. Kechara Soup Kitchen has also been a member of the Association of Asia Food Banks since 2015.

As opposed to warm meals provided by the soup kitchen to the homeless, Kechara's Food Bank programme provides dry food provisions to the urban poor.

As opposed to warm meals provided by the soup kitchen to the homeless, Kechara’s Food Bank programme provides dry food provisions to the urban poor. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara Soup Kitchen's Operations Director Justin Cheah holds up a day's haul in provisions for Klang Valley families.

Kechara Soup Kitchen’s Operations Director Justin Cheah holds up a day’s haul in provisions for Klang Valley families. Click on image to enlarge.

Distribution of food to recipients around the country requires up to 50 volunteers daily.

Distribution of food to recipients around the country requires up to 50 volunteers daily. Click on image to enlarge.

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Kechara’s food bank has distributed over 200 tonnes of surplus food to NGO partners and poor families nationwide. Click on image to enlarge.

From left to right: Ybhg. Dato' Sri Jamil Bin Salleh, Secretary-General to the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs; Shinobu Washizawa, Managing Director, AEON CO. (M) BHD.; Yang Amat Mulia Tengku Datin Paduka Setia Zatashah binti Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah and Poh Ying Loo, Executive Director, AEON CO. (M) BHD. launch the AEON Community Food Share Programme in partnership with Kechara Soup Kitchen.

From left to right: Ybhg. Dato’ Sri Jamil Bin Salleh, Secretary-General to the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs; Shinobu Washizawa, Managing Director, AEON CO. (M) BHD.; Yang Amat Mulia Tengku Datin Paduka Setia Zatashah binti Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah and Poh Ying Loo, Executive Director, AEON CO. (M) BHD. launch the AEON Community Food Share Programme in partnership with Kechara Soup Kitchen.

Yang Amat Mulia Tengku Datin Paduka Setia Zatashah binti Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah and Ybhg. Dato' Sri Jamil Bin Salleh, load a tray of food into a Kechara Soup Kitchen truck.

Yang Amat Mulia Tengku Datin Paduka Setia Zatashah binti Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah and Ybhg. Dato’ Sri Jamil Bin Salleh, load a tray of food into a Kechara Soup Kitchen truck.

Kechara's food bank has distributed over 200 tonnes of surplus food to NGO partners and poor families nationwide.

Kechara’s food bank has distributed over 200 tonnes of surplus food to NGO partners and poor families nationwide. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara's food bank has distributed over 200 tonnes of surplus food to NGO partners and poor families nationwide. Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of Kechara Soup Kitchen’s work is the hope and dignity it offers to those who are so often forgotten by society. Our good works have not gone unnoticed, and Kechara Soup Kitchen has won awards including:

On 18th February 2018, Kechara Soup Kitchen was conferred the World CSR Leadership Award for ‘Excellence & Leadership in Poverty Alleviation’, in recognition of its many years of service to the underprivileged community of Malaysia, and its contribution towards alleviating homelessness, hunger and poverty in partnership with the Malaysian government. Mr Justin Cheah, Kechara Soup Kitchen’s Operations Director was present in Mumbai, India to receive the award on behalf of Kechara Soup Kitchen.

The 'Fresh Cuts, Fresh Starts' initiative aimed to give less fortunate members of the community a new look with haircuts from professional hairstylists to brighten their day and support them in their efforts to better their lives. This was a joint effort between Canon Marketing (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd., Joe's Barber Shop and Kechara Soup Kitchen. Click on image to enlarge.

The ‘Fresh Cuts, Fresh Starts’ initiative aimed to give less fortunate members of the community a new look with haircuts from professional hairstylists to brighten their day and support them in their efforts to better their lives. This was a joint effort between Canon Marketing (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd., Joe’s Barber Shop and Kechara Soup Kitchen. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara Soup Kitchen also aids underprivileged clients with medical aid and mobile clinic services. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara Soup Kitchen also aids underprivileged clients with medical aid and mobile clinic services. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara Soup Kitchen also aids underprivileged clients with medical aid and mobile clinic services. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara Soup Kitchen also aids underprivileged clients with medical aid and mobile clinic services. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara Soup Kitchen and Tsem Rinpoche Foundation representatives distribute anti-mosquito care packages to urban poor families. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara Soup Kitchen and Tsem Rinpoche Foundation representatives distribute anti-mosquito care packages to urban poor families. Click on image to enlarge.

Distribution of anti-mosquito care packages to underprivileged children at Pertubuhan Kebajikan Anak Yatim Mary KL. Click on image to enlarge.

Distribution of anti-mosquito care packages to underprivileged children at Pertubuhan Kebajikan Anak Yatim Mary KL. Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

 


 

Compassionate Dining

Established in 2009, Kechara Oasis Jaya One, nestled in the busy uptown hub of Petaling Jaya, is our first vegetarian restaurant. This flagship restaurant comfortably seats up to 210 guests in the main dining area.

Kechara Oasis was conceptualised by me because I wish to promote a greater awareness of a vegetarian lifestyle.

Kechara Oasis makes vegetarian cuisine healthy, delicious, exciting and available to everyone. It also serves a greater purpose which is to provide a beautiful place where people of different walks of life can come together to enjoy a truly unbelievable culinary experience in every sense of the word. We must promote vegetarianism so no animals get harmed in anyway.

Webpage: http://www.kechara.com/dining

Kechara Oasis at Jaya One. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara Oasis at Jaya One. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara Oasis in Jaya One can accommodate wedding parties, gala dinners, private functions, product launches, cocktail receptions, AGMs, board meetings and entertainment shows for more than 200 guests. Click on image to enlarge.

Kechara Oasis in Jaya One can accommodate wedding parties, gala dinners, private functions, product launches, cocktail receptions, AGMs, board meetings and entertainment shows for more than 200 guests. Click on image to enlarge.

Double boiled coconut soup. Click on image to enlarge.

Double boiled coconut soup. Click on image to enlarge.

“Little Octopus”

“Little Octopus”

Stir fried lotus root gingko.

Stir fried lotus root gingko.

Pan fried Tibetan momos.

Pan fried Tibetan momos.

More recently, we also opened Bigfoot Cafe in Bentong town, 45 minutes outside of Kuala Lumpur which is a cafe serving vegetarian snacks, light meals and drinks.

Bigfoot Cafe in Bentong. Click on image to enlarge.

Bigfoot Cafe in Bentong. Click on image to enlarge.

The cozy and inviting ambience at Bigfoot Cafe. Click on image to enlarge.

The cozy and inviting ambience at Bigfoot Cafe. Click on image to enlarge.

The elusive Bigfoot can be found in every nook and cranny! Click on image to enlarge.

The elusive Bigfoot can be found in every nook and cranny! Click on image to enlarge.

Beefsteak leaf Tofu

Beefsteak leaf tofu

Bigfoot Burger

Bigfoot burger

Bigfoot Nasi Lemak

Bigfoot nasi lemak

Cold wood ear

Cold wood ear mushrooms

 Snow fungus peach gum

Snow fungus peach gum

 


 

Contemporary Buddhist Retail

Cultures the world over recognise the familiar, serene image of the Buddha and the instant energies of peace, harmony and happiness he brings to any environment. Even as a child, I would draw little paper Buddha pendants and photocopy rare Buddha pictures that he found in books to give away to people, to bless and protect them.

Creating sacred images. Click on image to enlarge.

Creating sacred images. Click on image to enlarge.

In this spirit, Kechara creates and distributes its own Buddha images, from statues as large as 24 feet to pendants as small as one inch, to introduce the blessings of the Buddha and his holy teachings to the lives of as many beings as possible, and to make authentic Tibetan Buddhist items accessible and plentiful for people everywhere, especially for the purposes of spiritual practice.

This goal is made possible through VajraSecrets, a chain of Buddhist retail stores with a strong online arm that offers a wide range of Buddhist services, holy objects and practice supplies, catering for both practising Buddhists and those with a more general interest in meditation and spirituality.

Many of the products offered are made conceptualised by myself, carefully sourced by my students from monasteries or crafted by skilled Himalayan artisans, and each is handpicked to support and benefit spiritual aspirants along their spiritual journey. Our knowledgeable Dharma staff are well versed in Buddhist knowledge and practices in accordance with the Buddha’s teachings and the Gelug lineage, and can personally advise each and every customer on how best to set up an altar or get started on the spiritual path.

The retail team consciously adheres to the Buddhist principle that profits should not be made from the sale of Dharma items. Thus, the proceeds from our retail stores are channeled towards furthering the growth of the Dharma and to support Kechara’s works such as Kechara Forest Retreat and Kechara Soup Kitchen.

It is my wish to help everyone invite a little piece of Buddha’s wisdom into their lives, so many items from my personal collection of Buddhist objects have also been made available as pre-loved goods at our Flea Market in Kechara Forest Retreat, for visitors to bring home.

More recently, two affiliated retail stores known as The Dorje Shugden Shop and Bigfoot Universe have been established in the heart of Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur, and on Jalan Ah Peng in Bentong town respectively, selling basic Buddhist items, Dorje Shugden and Bigfoot-themed merchandise and local souvenirs.

 

Online Store
VajraSecrets.com

A wide range of Buddhist services, holy objects and practice supplies can be found at our online store, Vajrasecrets.com. Click on image to enlarge.

A wide range of Buddhist services, holy objects and practice supplies can be found at our online store, Vajrasecrets.com. Click on image to enlarge.

Some of the Buddha images designed and created in-house, which are available for invitation via VajraSecrets. Click on image to enlarge.

Some of the Buddha images designed and created in-house, which are available for invitation via VajraSecrets. Click on image to enlarge.

VajraSecrets offers a wide range of pendants for all budgets and occasions.

VajraSecrets offers a wide range of pendants for all budgets and occasions. Click to view product.

VajraSecrets offers a wide range of pendants for all budgets and occasions.

A unique and rare pendant of Flying Vajrayogini. Click to view product.

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A wide range of Vajrayogini-related items can be invited via VajraSecrets. Click to view full collection.

 

VajraSecrets @ Kechara House

Address:
No 7, Jalan PJU 1/3G,
Sunwaymas Commercial Centre,
47301 Petaling Jaya,
Selangor, Malaysia.

VajraSecrets @ Sunwaymas. Click on image to enlarge.

VajraSecrets @ Sunwaymas. Click on image to enlarge.

 

VajraSecrets @ Sunwaymas

Address:
23-1, Jalan PJU 1/3G,
Sunwaymas Commercial Centre,
47301 Petaling Jaya,
Selangor, Malaysia.

A wide variety of products is available at VajraSecrets @ Sunwaymas. Click on image to enlarge.

A wide variety of products is available at VajraSecrets @ Sunwaymas. Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

 

VajraSecrets & Flea Market
@ Kechara Forest Retreat

Address:
Lot 3189, Jalan Chamang
28700 Bentong,
Pahang, Malaysia.

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The retail space adjoining Wisdom Hall in Kechara Forest Retreat is home to both VajraSecrets and the Flea Market. Click on image to enlarge.

The Flea Market is popular amongst visitors looking for a bargain on pre-loved items while VajraSecrets offers a range of KFR-themed souvenirs and Buddhist practice supplies. Click on image to enlarge.

The Flea Market is popular amongst visitors looking for a bargain on pre-loved items while VajraSecrets offers a range of KFR-themed souvenirs and Buddhist practice supplies. Click on image to enlarge.

 

The Dorje Shugden Shop

Address:
Unit 37, No 79, 81 & 83,
Jalan Petaling,
50000 Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia.

The exterior of the Dorje Shugden Shop at Petaling Street in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. Click on image to enlarge.

The exterior of the Dorje Shugden Shop at Petaling Street in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. Click on image to enlarge.

The interior of the Dorje Shugden Shop at Petaling Street. Click on image to enlarge.

The interior of the Dorje Shugden Shop at Petaling Street. Click on image to enlarge.

 

Bigfoot Universe

Address:
No. 84 Jalan Ah Peng,
28700 Bentong,
Pahang, Malaysia.

Bigfoot Universe in Bentong town, Pahang. Click on image to enlarge.

Bigfoot Universe in Bentong town, Pahang. Click on image to enlarge.

 


 

Giving a Voice to the Voiceless

Animal care, rescue and rehabilitation has always been very close to my heart. I have often shared with others that kindness and compassion to animals is among the highest practices of unconditional love because animals, being weaker, cannot repay our kindness in ways we may expect. Animals are very important to me and every living being, no matter how small or insignificant, deserves the chance to live.

Our animal welfare team are committed to help animals in any way they can. Especially the sick and diseased; abandoned and abused; the weakest of the weak with no one to turn to for help and survival. As Buddhists, we believe that every being – big or small – deserves a life free of pain and suffering. Kechara’s animal welfare projects strive to create safe, beautiful havens for all animals to live out their lives freely, with love, care and the best possible living conditions, as every being deserves.

For this reason, Kechara has become a home to a variety of furry and feathered friends rescued over the years by myself. From abandoned koi fish to unwanted cockatoos suffering in neglect, animals such as these have found a new lease of life and a caring home in this forest sanctuary. If you’d like to support our animal welfare initiatives, please click here.

The 4,000 sq ft walk-in aviary at Kechara Forest Retreat is a spacious and safe sanctuary for birds with fresh water, food, fruit and snacks provided to the 50-strong flock daily. Click on image to enlarge.

The 4,000 sq ft walk-in aviary at Kechara Forest Retreat is a spacious and safe sanctuary for birds with fresh water, food, fruit and snacks provided to the 50-strong flock daily. Click on image to enlarge.

serves as a home for newly rescued birds, and those recuperating from illnesses. Click on image to enlarge.

The 720 sq ft Recovery Aviary serves as a home for newly rescued birds, and those recuperating from illnesses. Click on image to enlarge.

The aviary is home to four sulphur-crested cockatoos named Drolkar, Dechog, Ah Boy and Gongkar.

The aviary is home to four sulphur-crested cockatoos named Drolkar, Dechog, Ah Boy and Gongkar. Click on image to enlarge.

Two rescued African Grey parrots, Aki and Jamyang, also enjoy a safe, comfortable and happy life in KFR's aviary.

Two rescued African Grey parrots, Aki and Jamyang, also enjoy a safe, comfortable and happy life in KFR’s aviary. Click on image to enlarge.

The main aviary is also home to a large flock of cockatiels. Click on image to enlarge.

The main aviary is also home to a large flock of cockatiels. Click on image to enlarge.

The recovery aviary is home to many budgies, as they are too small to be safely integrated into the main aviary. Click on image to enlarge.

The recovery aviary is home to many budgies, as they are too small to be safely integrated into the main aviary. Click on image to enlarge.

Taking care of animals who are sick or unable to fend for themselves is a practice of compassion and care. Click on image to enlarge.

Taking care of animals who are sick or unable to fend for themselves is a practice of compassion and care. Click on image to enlarge.

 


 

Recycling and green initiatives

Understanding the close relationship we have with our environment, Kechara extends its love to this planet we call home. Recycling initiatives, held throughout the year, aim to make people more aware of what they use from Mother Earth, and encourages them to do their bit to save the world we live in for many future generation.

Recycling initiatives by Kechara. Click on image to enlarge.

Recycling initiatives by Kechara. Click on image to enlarge.

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Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

 


 

Kechara Forest Retreat

Kechara Forest Retreat, our 35-acre retreat centre in Bentong, Pahang. Click on image to enlarge

Reimagine a world lived better… compassionately.

“Since I was a young child, I wanted to create a place where people come together to live as one with nature, one with the earth; a place for healing, detoxification, contemplation, relaxation, and retreat. An international centre for meditation courses not based on religion but tapping into ourselves and our potential. A place for eco-living modelled on sustainability and growth. This project is Kechara Forest Retreat and it will be a space to inspire the world to do the same in their own communities.”

This is what I wish to do and in line with this, Kechara Forest Retreat (KFR) primarily serves as a Tibetan Buddhist Retreat and Wellness centre that heals, nourishes and enlightens life naturally and spiritually. Since the completion of Phase 1 within a year of its conception in early 2012, KFR has been gradually channeling eons of Buddhist wisdom through pragmatic teachings that are a source of peace to a world in search of spiritual empowerment, education and restoration of inner balance.

 

Rediscover Life at Kechara Forest Retreat

 

Explore Tibetan Spiritual Traditions

KFR is a sacred land, home to a pantheon of Tibetan deities presiding peacefully within its grounds, each catering to the different karmic propensities of visitors from all walks of life who step into our mandala. A visit here will have you feeling blessed, renewed and rejuvenated. And, even if you are not spiritually inclined, KFR presents the opportunity to experience the distinctively rich culture, history and traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.

Spend a few hours, a day or more as our guest, take a walk through our gardens, offer candles to the Buddhas, make a prayer in our meditation hall, or just sit and listen to the calming sounds of the forest.

 

Kechara Forest Retreat: Take Time for Important Things

The best way to explore KFR is to embark on a self-guided Holy Walk covering the following sacred sites within our beautifully manicured grounds.

  • World’s largest Dorje Shugden statue
  • Buddha Shakyamuni
  • Lama Tsongkhapa
  • Vajrayogini Stupa
  • Outdoor Dorje Shugden grotto
  • Buddha Nageshvaraja
  • Medicine Buddha Healing fountain
  • Four-Armed Manjushri
  • Loma Gyonma
  • Green Tara
  • Manjushri Nagaraksha
  • Gyenze Chapel

You can also visit the original cabin I stayed in when I first came to KFR, which my students have preserved here on this land. You are welcome to visit and pay homage at KFR’s sacred shrines and immerse yourself in the holy energies of the enlightened beings. You can also pay homage or show your respect in traditional Tibetan fashion via mantra recitation, hand-held prayer wheel spinning, circumambulation, prostration, meditation and making offerings of mantra stones, candles, incense, flowers, fruits, food (vegetarian please), beverages and more. And if you are seeking ways to deepen your spiritual practice, consider speaking to one of our Buddhist pastors to learn more about Tibetan Buddhism, rituals and pujas, or to receive advice and a blessing.

KFR-revamp-0.4

 

Escape into the Heart of Nature

Located in an exurban forest within the quaint town of Bentong, Pahang, KFR also advocates unconditional love for the entire environment. Hence, you may want to peruse our list of initiatives and activities that cultivate conscious communities with the concept of sustainable living.

The inner workings of ancient Buddhist teachings come to life daily amidst the contemporary settings of Kechara Forest Retreat.

The inner workings of ancient Buddhist teachings come to life daily amidst the natural setting of Kechara Forest Retreat.

 

Spiritual Living at its Best

Enveloped by the beauty of the pristine forestscape, our fully furnished accommodations exude positive feels that are tranquil and therapeutic. Both ‘Manjushri Guest House’ and ‘Dukkar Apartments’ have all the makings of a perfect abode for retreats, suited for individuals, families and groups. Here, the need to escape life and have a quiet moment to contemplate, meditate and rejuvenate the mind, body and being is fully captured in essence and spirit.

KFR-revamp-0.7

 

Help Us Build a Better Future

If you are interested to support Kechara Forest Retreat and lend us a hand, please click here to find out how you can contribute, or click here to explore our flexible volunteering projects that can fit your skill sets and personal interests. Every form of contribution is greatly appreciated – no matter how big or small.

 

Go to Events

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Events

Grand Setrap Puja

089

 

Wesak Day Celebrations @ Kechara House

091

 

Learning Pujas

093

 

Animal Liberation

094

 

Wedding Blessings

095

 

Legend of the Conch Shell

An award-winning theatre and dance production of Lama Tsongkhapa’s life.

096

 

Kechara House Gompa Renovation

Situated on Sunwaymas Commercial Centre, the Kechara House Gompa was renovated in 2009 and opened in 2010. Comprising of four shoplots in total, the premises can comfortably accommodate up to 700 people.

097

098

099

An artist’s impression of the gompa

 

Go to Pilgrimages: Bodhgaya (2004)

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Pilgrimages: Bodhgaya (2004)

In 2004, over 60 people went on a pilgrimage with me to Bodhgaya, India, the place where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment.

100

Myself conferring refuge vows on the pilgrims at Bodhgaya. We had a group of over 60 following me there.

101

Making offering of robes to the Buddha statue at the Mahabodhi Temple at Bodhgaya. This Buddha statue was carved 60 years after the Buddha passed away by one of his female disciples who actually saw what He looked like. So she had this statue carved to Lord Buddha’s actual likeness. This image is very holy.

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Giving a Dharma talk to the pilgrims at the guest house at Bodhgaya

104

Mahabodhi Temple. This was built by Ashoka to mark the very spot where Lord Buddha became Enlightened. The Bodhi Tree Buddha sat under is right next to this incredible stupa. All Buddhists must make a pilgrimage to this place once before your life passes by. You should make strong aspirations there, purify wrong deeds and generate a mind of Bodhicitta at this spot. Very powerful. Maitreya Buddha in the future will appear here also. So it is very important to visit.

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The Bodhi Tree under which Lord Buddha attained Enlightenment.. Yes it is still alive and protected by the Govt of India. Hundreds of thousands visit yearly. I have went many times.

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Me and pilgrims escorting Lama Tsongkhapa statue to be offered to Root Institute in Bodhgaya

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Placing the newly arrived Lama Tsongkhapa statue on the altar at Root Institute. I saw their altar and decided to sponsor this set of Lama Tsongkapa and disciples.

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107 Me and pilgrims making a khata offering to Lama Tsongkhapa

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Me with pilgrims at Root Institute, a semi-monastic institute founded by Lama Yeshe

 

Go to Pilgrimages: Gaden (2006)

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Pilgrimages: Gaden Monastery (2006)

Gaden Lachi (Main Prayer Hall)

In April 2006, I led a group of 63 pilgrims to Gaden Monastery, my very own monastery to make offerings of 3,000 Manjushri statues and 3,000 sets robes to the Sangha of Gaden. This trip took almost a year to prepare, involving sourcing for 3,000 Manjushri statues, getting the faces of the statues painted, inserting mantras, sewing the clothes for each of the 3,000 Manjushri statues and sourcing and cutting of maroon cloth for 3,000 sets of robes for the monks.

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Me (representing Kechara House as the sponsor of the offerings), inviting His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama (represented by His Holiness’s picture) to the throne of H.H. at Gaden Lachi, the main prayer hall. A Lama Chopa puja sponsored by Kechara House was held prior to presenting the offerings of statues, robes, kuyong and food to the monks.

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Offering of food to the Sangha performing a Lama Chopa puja sponsored by Kechara House

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Me entering and making prostrations to the Sangha of Gaden

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Making a mandala offering to H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama at Gaden Lachi main prayer hall

118

Offering a Manjushri statue to H.E. Sharpa Choeje Rinpoche

119

Making offering of a Manjushri statue to H.E. Kensur Konchok Tsering Rinpoche.

120

Offering a Manjushri statue to H.H. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche

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Gaden monks with a Manjushri statue and robes offered by Kechara House

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Representative of the monastery’s education department receiving offerings from me

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Explaining to the pilgrims the various sections of the monastery and its function

 

Gaden Shartse

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Leading the pilgrims to Gaden Shartse section of the monastery where I come from. I am an incumbent of Gaden Shartse.

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Making offerings of Body, Speech and Mind to the current incarnation of my Root Guru, H.H. Kyabje Zong Choktrul Rinpoche at Gaden Shartse Prayer Hall

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Giving a Dharma talk at Gaden Shartse’s audience room

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Lay people in Mundgod who heard that I was visiting Gaden came to greet me

 

Zong Ladrang

During this trip, I led the pilgrims to have audience with the young incarnation of H.H. Zong Rinpoche at his Ladrang. I made extensive offerings to Zong Rinpoche and every pilgrim had an opportunity to receive a blessing from His Holiness.

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Making prostration to my root guru’s incarnation, H.H. Kyabje Zong Choktrul Rinpoche at Zong Ladrang

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Making offerings to H.H. Zong Rinpoche

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Showing H.H. Zong Rinpoche pictures of the various departments of Kechara House. Rinpoche was very interested in what I explained to him.

132

Myself and pilgrims with H.H. Zong Rinpoche at Zong Ladrang

131

Visiting my old room at Zong Ladrang. Although I had very little to eat at the time and was almost starving, I was very happy as I was in Gaden with my Gurus and the High Lamas. I would never exchange anything for that. It was nice to visit the room I use to live in. All the students who came along visited also.

 

Phukhang Khangtsen

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Head of Pukhang Kamtsen, the fraternity house in the monastery that I belong to, presenting a pandit’s hat to me and requesting me to live long and turn the wheel of Dharma.

134

Me with the pilgrims at Phukhang Khangtsen

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Wearing the pandit’s hat presented to me by the 300 monks of Pukhang Kamtsen, Gaden Shartse Monastery. It was auspicious to do so just after they offered to me.

 

Geshe Phuntsok’s House at Gaden Jangtse

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A senior monk, Geshe Yeshe, making offering of Body, Speech and Mind to me in his Ladrang

 

Go to Pilgrimages: Kathmandu, Nepal (2008)

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Pilgrimages: Kathmandu, Nepal (2008)

In October 2008, I led a group of 61 pilgrims to Nepal to visit the holy power places in Kathmandu valley. Going on the Nepal pilgrimage was an extremely rewarding experience and for some people, it changed their lives. During the pilgrimage, I gave many Dharma talks to help everyone set a correct motivation. I also gave many explanations on the significance of the various holy places which had made our pilgrimage so much more meaningful and powerful.

 

Kathmandu Guest House, Thamel

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At Kathmandu Guest House where we stayed during the pilgrimage. I gave a Dharma talk in the morning before we embarked on our visits to the holy places.

 

Chenrezig Temple

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On our way to the Chenrezig Temple, known as Jal Bahal in Nepali, behind the busy main streets of Kathmandu

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Chenrezig statue in the temple. This statue is one of the very famous set of three statues known as the “Self-Arisen Three Brothers”. One statue is with H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama at Dharamsala and another one is at the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet.

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Offering a butterlamp at the Chenrezig temple

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Dedication prayers led by me at the Chenrezig temple

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Buying flower garlands on the streets of Kathmandu, for pilgrims to use to make offerings.

 

Tara Chapel and Thahity Chowk

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Making offerings at the Tara Chapel behind the alleyways of Thahity Chowk in the middle of Kathmandu City

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H.H. Trijang Rinpoche has recommended praying to the White Tara statue (the centre statue in the picture above) within this chapel. I explained that this White Tara statue had “flown” in from Tibet and since Trijang Rinpoche had made this recommendation, it must be a very special and blessed statue. The White Tara statue is flanked by Green Tara on its right and Yellow Tara on its left.

 

Boudhanath Stupa at Boudha

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Pilgrims at Boudanath Stupa, one of the largest and holiest stupas in Nepal built in the 14th century. Tibetans believe that this stupa enshrines the precious bone relic of the Buddha. The area around the stupa houses a community of 16,000 Tibetans. Tibetans and pilgrims from around the world gather and circumambulate around the base of the stupa every single day. We are so happy to be here.

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Explaining the significance of the Boudanath Stupa to the pilgrims

 

Self-Arising Tara Chapel at Pharping

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Me with pilgrims at the base of the Self-Arising Tara Chapel at Pharping, 19km south of Kathmandu

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Giving an explanation of the Self-Arising Tara outside the chapel

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Inside the Self-Arising Tara Chapel

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A Tara image has spontaneously arisen from the surface of a rock. After being discovered by a meditator, pilgrims flocked there to make offerings and donations. Eventually a chapel was bulit to enshrine the image on the rock. The image has miraculously became clearer over time.

 

Guru Rinpoche’s Cave Above the Tara Chapel

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Here I gave an explanation on Guru Rinpoche’s cave. Guru Rinpoche or Padmasambava, who was renowned for the spread of Buddhism in Tibet, perfected his tantric meditation in this cave before entering Tibet. To indicate his presence, Padmasambava left a miraculous hand print on a solid rock at the entrance of the cave.

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Touching the handprint of Padmasambava with my forehead

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An old monk greeting me outside Guru Rinpoche’s cave

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Walking down from Guru Rinpoche’s cave with our large group of 60 people.

 

Vajra Yogini Chapel at Pharping

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I gave a Dharma talk in front of the Vajrayogini Chapel at Pharping. This chapel lies within a short distance from Guru Rinpoche’s cave. The Tibetans believe that this chapel is associated with the Pamtingpa brothers, who were some of the earliest Vajrayogini lineage holders who were initiated by their Guru, the Great Naropa himself into this practice. So this Chapel to Vajra Yogini is very significant and important to visit.

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Feeding a stray dog outside the Vajrayogini Chapel

 

Mahaboudha Stupa in Patan

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Pilgrims gathering around me in front of the Mahaboudha Stupa to listen to an explanation on the origins of the stupa. Located at Mahaboudha Temple or “Temple of a Thousand Buddhas”, this stupa is covered with hundreds of little Buddha plaques and has a statue of Shakyamuni enshrined at the bottom. It is a replica of the Mahabodhi Stupa at Bodhgaya built to commemorate Lord Buddha’s mother, Queen Maya Devi. Nearby is also another Chapel to Vajra Yogini.

 

Bijaswari Vajra Yogini Chapel

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Leading the prayers to Vajrayogini at the first Vajrayogini Chapel in Nepal, the Bijaswari Vajrayogini Temple, a short distance away from Swayambhunath Hill. This chapel started as a family’s personal place of worship and was later opened to public and became an important centre for worship. Today, the chapel is still cared for by the descendants of the family who built it. This chapel I have visited many times to offer tsok, prayers and bring students/friends here. This chapel contains 4 sacred forms of Vajra Yogini. Very rare to see in one place.

This is one of the very old and sacred image of Vajra Yogini inside the Bijaswari Vajra Yogini Chapel.

 

Swayambunath Stupa

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The Swayambhunath Stupa

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Explaining the significance of the Swayambhunath Stupa

 

Manjushri’s Teaching Site

Leading a prayer to Manjushri at Manjushri’s teaching site, a courtyard a short distance away from Swayambhunath Stupa. It is believed that Manjushri gives profound teachings to celestial beings at this very spot once a year. I offered a oral transmission of Manjushri prayers to the students here.

 

Naropa’s Cave at Pashupatinath

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Performing a Vajrayogini puja in Naropa’s cave at Pashupatinath. Pashupatinath is regarded as one of the holiest sites of the Hindu world and is included within the 24 holy places of the Tantric Buddha Heruka Chakrasamvara. Naropa practiced intently the Vajra Yogini tantra in this cave and became enlightened. He had visions of Vajra Yogini. It is a very important site for us to visit and make aspirational prayers. There is a beautiful statue of Naropa inside the cave. Next to this cave is the cave of his guru, Tilopa. Fantastic!

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Pilgrims doing their own prayers outside the Naropa cave where I was engaging in the Vajrayogini puja

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73 Responses to My Short Bio in Pictures

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  1. Joy Kam on Dec 14, 2018 at 4:48 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. JOY KAM on Oct 31, 2018 at 10:26 am

    View
    A poem inspired by seeing a picture of my teacher, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche…

    In the sport of correct views,
    all that is correct is just a view,
    without permanence or substance.
    As long as we hold onto views,
    our sufferings are gathered 
    to be experienced without end.

    Without the strong methods of emptiness
    and compassion, bereft of merit,
    we sink deeper without respite.
    To arise from this samsara is but
    a dreamscape on the deluded mind.
    Therefore seek the guru, who confers the yidam,
    hold your vows and fixate on liberation 
    free of new creations. Free of new experiences as 
    there are none. 

    ~ Tsem Rinpoche

    Composed in Tsem Ladrang, Kuala Lumpur on July 7, 2014

  3. Tsa Tsa Ong on Aug 21, 2018 at 11:26 pm

    So beautiful and interesting to see Rinpoche sharing Short Bio in pictures from a small baby Rinpoche until Rinpoche came to malaysia.😍 Reading and viewing the pictures makes me feel very blessed and closer with Rinpoche😘 Thank you so much Rinpoche and blog team for this wonderful picture bio.👍🙏😎

  4. Pastor Adeline Woon on Jul 29, 2018 at 1:31 am

    A poem by Tsem Rinpoche

  5. Valentina Suhendra on Jul 26, 2018 at 6:21 am

    I was walking past a second hand shop on Western Ave selling old things. They had a Japanese-style clay Buddha which was beige in colour on the floor, holding the door open. I thought the shopkeeper would collect a lot of negative karma without knowing if he kept such a holy item on the floor as a doorstop. So I went in to talk to him, but he didn’t look like he wanted to talk or that he even cared. So I asked him the price and he said US$5. I purchased it so he did not collect more negative karma. I was 17 years old and that was in 1982.

    I escorted my new Buddha home and washed it lightly and wiped it. I placed it on my altar and was happy with the Buddha. I would do my meditations, prayers, sadhanas, mantras and prostrations in front of this shrine daily. When I left for India in 1987, I could not bring this Buddha along and gave it to a friend. It was a nice size and I made offerings to this Buddha for many years in Los Angeles. In front of the Buddha I placed His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s photo. I remember I was so relieved that the price was affordable. But US$5 that time was still expensive for me but worth it I thought. But I was happy to have brought the Buddha home. Tsem Rinpoche

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com

    Altar1

    Altar2

  6. Pastor Shin Tan on Jul 17, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    Tsem Rinpoche at Kechara Forest Retreat, Bentong, Malaysia

    TR Pic

  7. Pastor Niral Patel on Jun 17, 2018 at 8:49 am

    The picture below was taken in Gaden Shartse Monastery’s main prayer hall during Lama Chopa puja. In the front row is His Holiness Gaden Trisur Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal when he was the abbot of Gaden Shartse Monastery. Next to him is His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and His Eminence the young Tsem Rinpoche. Sitting behind wearing the hat is Venerable Geshe Lobsang Phende as head chant master.

    lama chopa w Tibetan caption

    CsFcL_YVUAE8lkd (1)

  8. Valentina Suhendra on Oct 20, 2017 at 1:18 am

    H.E. the 25th Tsem Rinpoche is very devoted to his root guru, H.H. Zong Rinpoche.

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  9. Raj Kumar on Sep 23, 2017 at 12:12 am

    Dear Guruji.

    Thank you for the biography. I’m really Inspired, touched my heart. These are little things that Iearned from the biography:

    • Although Guruji had abusive childhood, it did not make Guruji a bitter person. Instead Guruji has become a compassionate person who always has others welfare in mind.

    • I felt very sad knowing about our Guru’s childhood.

    • Guruji’s integrity in keeping his promise really touched my heart and inspiring

    • Guruji’s samaya with his guru is very strong.

    • Guruji’s integrity and generosity are the qualities that are very appealing to me.

    Thank you.🙏🙏💐💐

  10. Matthew Campbell on Jul 7, 2017 at 11:08 am

    Reposted message which I sent to Joy Kam on Facebook… There should not be any shame associated with Illegitamacy… Children are a gift from the spirits… the most precious gift… Your mother was blessed by the gift of you and you have turned out to be a great, wise and noble person… which proves that no matter how a person enters this world, it does not have any bearing on the parents or child… You are a great person and I am happy to call you friend!!!

  11. Pastor Han Nee on Oct 24, 2016 at 6:02 am

    Thank you Rinpoche. This biography is extensive and comprehensive – capturing so much in a nutshell. There are many things in this biography that reminds me that Rinpoche is an extraordinary being.

    One is his irrepressible innate joy , as a child, that didn’t depend on its surroundings. Despite being severely abused by his adoptive family, Rinpoche never showed any sign of this abuse. Indeed to Kwan Mama and her brother, he was always happy, and fun loving, and they did not even know that he was so badly treated at home.

    Another thing is his love of the Dharma and a very strong inclination and passion to practice the Dharma from such a young age. He was naturally attracted to monks, temples and Dharma teachings from young. At times he would sit on his bed and imagine that he was a high Lama sitting on a throne giving Dharma teachings to people. He would spontaneously draw pictures of Buddhist deities and pass them out to his relatives and friends for protection. He loved to read Dharma books and do meditations.

    As a child, he was fascinated by Buddhist deities such as Manjushri, Vajrayogini, Heruka and Palden Lhamo. He searched for caves, lakes, forests and nearby hills to meditate in.
    When he met his first Guru Geshe Lobsang Tharchin Rinpoche, for the first time, he was drawn to him immediately. When he saw this master for the first time, he wanted to study with him. He wanted to be with him. He wanted to serve him.

    His kindness and compassion toward others, especially the needy, has been boundless from a young age. Rinpoche has always had a strong passion to help the less fortunate and had initiated various social community projects in India during his time in the monastery. These included feeding the poor in India, offering textbooks to refugee monks from Tibet, sponsoring a nursery school in Mundgod, India, helping villagers at the refugee camp in Mundgod, India, raising funds for installing a water pump at Pukhang Kamtsen.

    FEEDING THE POOR IN INDIA
    OFFERING TEXTBOOKS TO REFUGEE MONKS FROM TIBET
    SPONSORING A NURSERY SCHOOL IN MUNDGOD, INDIA
    HELPING VILLAGERS AT THE REFUGEE CAMP IN MUNDGOD, INDIA
    RAISING FUNDS FOR INSTALLING A WATER PUMP AT PUKHANG KAMTSEN

    Thank you for showing us how to love and benefit others in a constant spontaneous flow of thoughts and deeds.

  12. Valentina Suhendra on Nov 23, 2015 at 12:26 am

    Dear Rinpoche

    Thank you for the article. These are 5 things that I learned from the article:
    • Although Rinpoche had abusive childhood, it did not make Rinpoche a bitter person. Instead Rinpoche has become a compassionate person who always has other welfare in mind
    • Rinpoche’s integrity in keeping his promise really touch my heart and inspiring
    • Rinpoche is very generous with the poor and those who need help and poor.
    • Rinpoche’s samaya with his guru is very strong
    • Rinpoche’s integrity and generosity are the qualities that are very appealing to me.
    Valentina

  13. Phng Keng Hwa on Feb 5, 2015 at 10:46 pm

    Dear Rinpoche,

    Thank you for posting this, and thank you for building Kechara. Because Kechara came into existance, me and my family were able to be touhed once again by the Dharma, so thank you very much, Rinpoche, for founding Kechara! I am forever grateful that you came to Malaysia and decided to stay! I will work hard and do my very best to learn the Dharma now that I have the opportunity. 🙂

    Also, I will get a good education in the arts and a good job so that I can start donating with my own money and sponsoring organisations like Kechara for the benefit of all sentient beings. And so that I can fulfil my promise to you and buy plane tickets to India so that we may visit Shar Ganden once again. 😀

    Thank you, Rinpoche!

    Your humble student,
    Keng Hwa.

  14. tshewang choden on Feb 13, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Thank you, your eminence for sharing your hardtimes depecting how you strive to survive at the very young age to your journey of liberating sentient from Barbo. I would take this opportunity to thank you from the deep core of my heart la. May bright rays of your teaching(dharma)flourish in entire universe and May every individual attain enlightment.
    long live your Eminence.

  15. […] I was born to Tibetan and Mongolian parents, back in the 1970s, when I was studying in Land O’ Pines, New Jersey, I was very […]

  16. […] My Short Bio in pictures « Then & Now… Incredible Geshe Wangyal » […]

  17. In a nutshell | Tsem Rinpoche on Oct 1, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    […] This is just a really short, summarised version of Rinpoche’s lifestory! If you want more information or photographs, you can check out this link: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/me/my-short-bio-in-pictures1.html […]

  18. Lucas Roth on Sep 29, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    It is so nice to know how Rinpoche became the amazing man he is today. How he came from so far and how he did so much. Thank you Rinpoche for sharing your biography

  19. Manju Lama on Aug 20, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    After going thru Biography I wish to meet Rimpoche once in my life time and take blessing….

  20. […] My Short Bio in pictures « Lam Rim Retreat – to be in Book of Records! My favourite vegetables & fruits » […]

  21. Chechay Nidup on Jun 19, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    Hello la,
    My name is Chechay Nidup from Bhutan la. Your life so far has been an extraordinary journey la.It will be great if you can come to BHUTAN la. My brother is a Tulku in Mysore studying in Late Penor Rinpoche’s Monastry in Mysore, India. My brother in law(husband’s younger brother) is Zuri Rinpoche based in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Currently he is in retreat here in Bhutan.
    I hope you read this note la.

    Sincerely,
    Chechay Nidup
    Contact: 975 17611325

  22. paimma on Jun 13, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Dear Lama,

    I was just curious of the article on Devadatta on my fb. Opening that to read, lead me to wonder who is behind the article. That lead me to read ur short bio.

    I cudn’t help tears.I luv u 4 the human being dat ur. I don’t know the high lama dat u r.

    Ur story to me is an epic of human suffering. Many lives lived like dat and go on like dat. But I triumph at ur victory, u got the Dharma. U have not only healed but r healing many other lives ripped by suffering.

    Only one mundane thing I like to add here, watch ur weight! And retreats would help! Rest, u r a roaring tiger of a dharma animal. Keep going. I pray dat ur good intentions be multiplied and succeed forever more.

    I remain in Dharma,

    paimma.

  23. Joy on Mar 26, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    Rinpoche sure had a challenging childhood… but what is extraordinary and inspiring is… instead of the bad childhood experiences bringing Rinpoche down, Rinpoche rised above it all and decided to choose an extraordinary life and became a Hero in so many of our hearts. This is why we are in Kechara and this is why we celebrate! And all Rinpoche did was change Rinpoche’s perspective and using the experiences as an inspiration to benefit others. I also believe it was no coincidence that Rinpoche was born in to such circumstances and I believe it is to use the experience to relate with us lay people.

    The focus is on “others” and because of this, today Rinpoche is changing lives and it was just a simple choice of “self” or “others”.
    http://blog.tsemtulku.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/me/its-an-instant-choice.html
    Thank you Rinpoche, because of you, we are where we are here in Dharma.

  24. Adrian Cho on Mar 18, 2013 at 10:07 am

    This is wonderful and interesting, that we can knows more about Rinpoche and all the Kechara departments.

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this post.

  25. grace (KHJB) on Mar 1, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for the sharing, it was fun to read through with the photo and wording on it. despite of the difficulty encounter during the young time, yet Rinpoche find his own way and keep his promise to become monk.Rinpoche have build up Kechara with 13 dept now and benefit us by sharing his dharma, let us join any dept to let us have chance to collect merits..Rinpoche, you are the light in my life.

  26. Joy on Feb 21, 2013 at 4:42 am

    What good karma, merits do I have I sometimes wonder to have met such an extraordinary being, Lama, Guru… to have a guru with great compassion like a father and wisdom like a mother??? I must have done some silly thing right in the past to have crossed path with Tsem Rinpoche.

    I have not seen LA, NJ, Tibet… but I have seen to me what a living Buddha would be like if He walked on earth! Why I say this is simple… because of Rinpoche I have my life, because of Rinpoche I am alive, because of Rinpoche I am doing something good, meaningful and purposeful with my life and not end up wasting time chasing after samsara’s many delusional, impermanent happiness that will never ever last. I was once lost.. but now I am not. All the hardships Rinpoche went through I feel He went through it for us his students to be able to relate to him, to be able to be inspired by him, to be able to actually gain strength from it because looking at what we went through and what Rinpoche went through… u will realise all our silly little hardships is nothing compared to Rinpoche… and yet Rinpoche has arisen above it all and is succeeding in everything every one has told him he “cannot”… becoming a monk to benefit others, to love others.

    Rinpoche gives us “REAL DHARMA” in your face, raw, honest, truth! It hurts when someone tells you the truth because you know it is the truth… And you know it because it strikes a cord in you so deep.. you cannot just ignore. May we never be separated from Rinpoche and serve Rinpoche/Dharma to benefit the world…what else is left to do that is worth living?

  27. Darren Kechara Paradise on Feb 18, 2013 at 12:57 am

    Always one of my favourite blog post. Reading and viewing the pictures makes me feel closer with Rinpoche! Thank you so much Rinpoche and blog team!

  28. In a nutshell | Tsem Rinpoche on Feb 16, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    […] This is just a really short, summarised version of Rinpoche’s lifestory! If you want more information or photographys, you can check out this link: http://blog.tsemtulku.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/me/my-short-bio-in-pictures1.html […]

  29. Eunice Chan on Jan 31, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    Dear Ven.Tsem Rinpochi,
    I admire you having such a strong persistent mind for the Dharma since young that I have to believe that must be the connection of the Karma of the Buddhist teaching. What a wonderful spiritual and miracle life story! I lived in Kuala Lumpue from 1994 to 2000. Unfortunately that I had not heard about you while I was practising as a zen student under the Kwan Um School of Zen, but I occasionally still visited my Tibetan Guru, Geshe Lama Konchog while he was teaching in Malaysia or Singapore. Though I practised zen, I am now very interested in seeking an experienced Tibet Guru to be able to guide me the specific meditation for the dying process. I am not dying now but having great interest to prepare for myself and also help others if possible. I have practised many years in meditation and trained as a TCM doctor and hypnotherapist. Now I am working at the final stage of a PhD in Manchester, UK. I wonder if you would give some good advice how to seek a qualified teacher/ guru for that kind of training? Your advice will be much appreciated.

    With much respect and blessings
    Eunice

  30. […] My short bio in pictures […]

  31. Foo Mei Lee on Sep 27, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Its really emotional reading your short bio… perhaps Im a mother of three children I felt really sad for you having to be separated from your birth mother and adopted by a family who ill treated you. Rinpoche, you must be a very strong boy despite going thru the abuse and ill treatment, you still a happy boy… Thank you for sharing your life story. After reading your bio especially your earlier days, it make me feel that I should love my kids even more… Thank you.

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    […] My Short Bio in pictures Share and Enjoy: « Blessing Su Ming’s grandmother Kids Class at Kuantan Kechara Study Group » […]

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  34. DR on Jun 25, 2012 at 12:38 am

    The second edition of The Promise is out! More photos of Rinpoche and you will have deeper insights of this man whose birth changed the world and whose sacrifice changed our destiny. Read the sypnosis below:

    In Buddha’s Space
    http://www.buddhas-space.com
    It’s here! The beautiful, full technicolor pictorial biography of Tsem Rinoche has just arrived at our doorsteps in both English and Chinese. This latest version also includes a new chapter about Rinpoche’s previous life and an interview with one of his closest cousins, H.E. Telo Rinpoche of Kalmykia. This isn’t just any biography. It’s the incredible story of the strength of the human spirit, the trials and tribulations of one man and how he overcame all the odds to fight the obstacles, pursue the dream and bring light to the hearts of thousands all over the world. If we could live only a small percentage of what Tsem Rinpoche has, we would be much happier people. The Promise features rare photos that have never been published, stories that are being revealed for the first time ever and insights from people who have known Rinpoche across the many chapters of his life – from his childhood, to the heydays of Los Angeles, to the monastery, to the early days of Malaysia, to what Kechara is today. It’s all here, the story of someone who doesn’t just teach the Lamrim but who has lived it every moment of every day of his life. Get your own copy, be inspired and start making your own sacred promises here: http://www.kechara.com/publications/news/keeping-the-promise/

  35. MARIELA on Jun 24, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    GRACIAS TULKU RIMPOCHE,A SIDO PARA MI MUY SOBRECOGEDOR LLER SU BIOGRAFIA,, YA QUE E ESTADO EN BODHGAYA RECIENTEMENTE RECIBIENDO LA INICIACION DE KALACHACRA QUE IMPARTIO SS,EL VENERABLE DALAI LAMA.GRACIAS POR COMPARTIR SU BIOGRAFIA,,TASHI DELEK.

  36. cindy on Jun 16, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Even though Rinpoche had gone through alots of hanrdship during his childhood but until today he still helping alot of people through dharma praying & teaching them

  37. pat on Jun 15, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Rinpoche’s life journey is truly rough. Rinpoche have to go through so much disappoinment and hardship to teach dharma,raise funds and help so many,many people…very inspiring..cos Rinpoche stood firmed and determined and it’s all for the benefit of others…i was very lucky to have joined the Nepal pilgrimage trip that truly changed my life after the trip… cos it truly makes me think deeper…what good deeds have i done so far…….. i should do more meaningful things and not just waste my precious life away.Thank you Rinpoche…..I am truly grateful.

  38. Judy Lam on Jun 15, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    This generous sharing from Rinpochee will inspire and educate many people. I am touched by a few events. Rinpoche’s pictures with the new Zong Rinpoche and the Manjushri statue that Rinpoche bought with his hard earned savings to offer up to current Zong Rinpoche. Also when Rinpoche took Lati Rinpoche’s advice to raise fund for Pukhang Kamtsen monks quarters. I can imagine how difficult it is for Rinpoche to set foot in a strange land with not many friends & family members. Lati Rinpoche must be touched beyond words by Rinpoche’s offerings of money raised that he cried. Very touching stories. Thank You Rinpoche.

  39. yenpin on Jun 14, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    仁波切一路走来都十分孤单。一出生,生母就将他送去台湾的家庭寄养,在一个完全陌生的环境中成长。直到7岁那年,却被外祖母带到美国,将他送给一个在蒙古家庭,一切的生活重新在来过,自己的父母也不晓得是谁,怎能不孤单呢?。。。。。。
    后来,接触佛法,也很热爱佛法,但是身边没有一个人能了解他所爱的一切。身边的人觉得他是个怪人,养父母甚至阻止他学佛法,到了佛教中心,找到了心灵的安慰,却是波折重重。也不曾怨天尤
    人。
    经历那么多事已经非常了不起。但是仁波切对学佛法有一颗坚持的心,从不放弃才能走到现在
    孤身一人从印度前来马来西亚,从头开始。仁波切用爱与慈悲在马来西亚把佛法的种子慢慢传播,还创立了许多不同的部门,希望能吸引更多的人来学习佛法,利益众生。

    仁波切点燃智慧明灯,慈悲包容天地,用爱与关怀渡眾生。。。

  40. Yvonne Yap on Jun 14, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    詹杜固仁波切一路走来,真的很不容易。那种语言表达不到的心情,只有当事人才知道,看了真的让人很心酸。
    但在好的方面想,因为这些坎坷的路,让仁波切更加的勇敢,更加坚强,更加有耐力和智慧,这是个成功人士必须要有的条件。仁波切创下了很多不同的部门,都是利益众生的。

  41. abby F on Jun 14, 2012 at 12:11 am

    原来仁波切一路走来都十分孤单。一出生,生母就将他送给一个台湾的寄养家庭,在一个完全陌生的环境和家庭中成长。直到7岁那年,好不容易熟悉了台湾的一切,却被外祖母带到美国,还将他送给一个在蒙古家庭,一切重新来过,就连沟通的语言也要再学过。自己的父母也不晓得是谁,还弄乱了。这个孩子,怎能不孤单呢?

    然后开始懂事了,接触佛法,热爱佛法,但身边没有一个人能了解他所钟爱的一切。身边的人觉得他是个怪人,养父母甚至阻止他追求自己的所爱。到了佛教中心,找到了心灵的安慰,却又是波折重重,不停地给刁难。

    接着他开始离家出走,年纪小小就只身到美国的另一边,自己求存。自己找工作,努力工作,赚取一点儿小钱来过活,但他从不曾放弃修学佛法。给人欺负也挨了过去。最后遇见根本上师宋仁波切,但他和宋仁波切只相处了短短的6个月,宋仁波切便圆寂了。

    他又得只身到印度去,开始僧侣的新生活。又是孤单一个人到印度去,遭到歧视和怀疑,根本上师又不在了。他也这么撑下去。他十分钟爱寺院的生活,但他的上师又吩咐他到马来西亚教学以筹资建筑僧侣宿舍的经费。再一次,他只身一人前来马来西亚,又再从头开始。

    他从小到大都一个人做事情,过最煎熬的日子。他一个人,也不曾怨天尤人,现在还不停地帮助他人。做得到一个人去经历那么多事已经非常了不起,更甚的是他仍能继续用爱和慈悲来温暖很多很多人的心房。这个人,就是詹仁波切。

  42. deborah on Jun 13, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    This post is a reflection of The Promise, a beautiful book of Rinpoche’s extraordinary life. Good news that we now have a 2nd english edition and a chinese edition coming soon. Don’t miss it.

  43. Julia Tan on Jun 12, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Rinpoche is a special child. I think because of that the difficulties came along must be for a special purpose when Rinpoche grew up. This had made Rinpoche develop mature and tough personality even in the very young age. Rinpoche did not gave up every single chance to chase for His Dharma dream. Rinpoche run away from home in such a young age crossing the country which needed so much of guts, strength and FEARLESSNESS to move on. Meeting H.H. Zong Rinpoche made all these harship worthwhile.

    At that time Rinpoche has to work and support himself so that He can stay in the temple and serve His Guru. Even when later, H.H. Zong Rinpoche no longer around but Rinpoche still go to India and get ordination.

    I really like that picture of Rinpoche carrying Zong Rinpoche on His lap. It showed how close they are the Guru and disciple relationship. Rinpoche went abroad to teach and raise fund in the age of 27 to build the monks quarters of Pukhang Kamtsen. On top that Rinpoche use whatever He had to helped the poor in Mundgod.

    The Nepal trip was amazing. Looking at all the pictures, so much of good memories came back to me. Every morning before we depart to a new destination Rinpoche will surely gave us a Dharma talk. Indeed a very meritorious trip we had.

    Rinpoche’s life story has inspired a lot of people. All the good qualities that Rinpoche has is like a walking Buddha. Without Rinpoche, that will be no Kechara and we must be still a group of lost sheep heading no where, day in day out making money, hope that we can safe for our next life.

    Now, we have our Guru who can speak our langue, joke and laugh away with us, give us care and love equally, no matter who we are. The good fortune may not come by easily. It’s time for all of us to contemplate what can we do to repay Rinpoche’s kindness.

  44. Han on Jun 6, 2012 at 1:43 am

    Reading this inspiring post again and again bring me many thoughts

    I had the fortune to join The Nepal Pilgrimage Trip in year 2008 , I learned a lot from this trip, points that still stuck in my mind are :

    1) Rinpoche advized us that the pilgrimage trip was to pray for our enemies. Not to pray for ourselves
    2) The old monk we met at Guru Rinpoche’s cave was amazingly humble and compassionate, his face still vividly printed in my mind, i was fortunate to get his blessing
    3) I felt extremely blessed for every holy place we visited with Rinpoche during this Nepal trip.

  45. verontung on Jun 5, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    It’s such an inspiring when reading Rinpoche’s biography. It has always been so emotional and blessed after reading. All the pictures shows all the story of what Rinpoche is working hard for! Rinpoche’s determinaton and compassion is always so strong for dharma and all sentient being. I’m very happy that I can meet and know you more as my Guru. May Rinpoche stay healthy always! Thank you for sharing yourself to us so much!

  46. Jace Chong on Jun 5, 2012 at 11:15 am

    I read this post again after about 1 year and I found more story from the post. I think after a year of studying more about Dharma and Rinpoche, Rinpoche’s bio is still very very inspiring and I believe there are more stories behind each points.

    What does not change is Rinpoche’s dedication to Dharma, which is very very strong and immoveable in any situation, that really a living example to teach us to be like Rinpoche, to have Dharma in us and practice compassion with wisdom.

    I especially like the part Rinpoche in Gaden, that was where Rinpoche’s dream come true and Rinpoche was really enjoying every moment in the monastery.

    Actually after reading some other posts about the difficulties Rinpoche met throughout all periods, it’s very inspiring to read this post that, Rinpoche still appreciate everything that has happened. Rinpoche can just move on for Dharma no matter what difficulties he met. There are really way a lot to learn from Rinpoche.

    Thank you Rinpoche so much for spending your life to sentient beings, may you live long and healthy, and may all your wishes manifest swiftly!!

  47. Low ksjc on May 28, 2012 at 12:42 am

    Dear Rinpoche,

    I am glad to have the chance to go through your Pictorial Biography. It really shows through your dharma teachings, that lots of situation in life you have actually gone through it and personally experience it.I prostrate to you for all the hard ship that you have encounter and compassion you have shown. May those who are the fortunate ones ,have the chance to study real life dharma through you and your blog, our Dearest Guru.

    Thank You.

  48. […] more pictures and stories of Rinpoche’s childhood and formative years, check out :- http://blog.tsemtulku.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/me/my-short-bio-in-pictures1.html Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

  49. Tashi Choeden on Mar 30, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Rinpoche la, i am out of words to express how i feel after going through your Biograph….

    With best wishes
    Tashi

  50. Lester Lim on Aug 6, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    My respect to you dear Lama. I have been reciting your Name Mantra everyday. May I have your blessings to understand the teachings of Je Tsongkhapa!

  51. Lim Han Nee on Apr 9, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Re-viewing Rinpoche’s Bio makes me aware once again how fortunate we, your students in Malaysia, are. Reading again about the tremendous suffering and hardships you have endured to bring the precious Dharma to us here makes me feel ever so grateful and beholden to your great compassion and love for all of us.

    It must surely spur me on to seize each moment and each day to practice your instructions and your teachings.I must not sit back and wait for time is fleeting.

  52. swami gnanamitra on Feb 17, 2011 at 11:12 am

    i visit your page,like it.i am from kathmandu a free monk,,,have you any your center in pharphing also or in kathmandu????

  53. neeru shakya on Feb 17, 2011 at 12:34 am

    dear Rinpoche..
    Realyy feel gud 2 see u in this website as other’s desire i 2 hav a desire to meet u bt the problem is also same i live in Nepal .But i also have some aim that is to meet you and get bleesed from you.Please just make some miracle that i can meet you.

  54. Gyanu Gurung on Feb 16, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Dear Rinpoche la, Tashidelek,
    Really feel good to see this picture and reading. I want to meet you and take your blessing as well as want to put your hand on my head. But I live in Kathmandu, Nepal near the Swoyambhu Nath Stupa. I hope one day I’ll meet you.

    Take care
    Tashidelek.

  55. ajit phape on Feb 12, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Dear Rinpoche,
    Thank You very much for sharing your life story with good pictures of you. I had the opportunity of visiting the mundgod clinic and camp several times earlier. I wish to meet you whenever you come to mundgod as I am staying in Goa and it is near for my place.

    Bhavatu Sabbh Mangalam
    With Metta
    Ajit

  56. Chojay Lhamo on Jan 11, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Dear Rinpoche la,
    Thank you for sharing your life story which had been one which is very inspiring to us. Your determination and the hardship you have taken to pursue the Dharma, makes our struggles look so small. After going through all your Rinpoche has written i can feel your compassion and love for all living beings. Though i could not meet you in real, i feel lucky i could see you, read what you have written and i could feel your compassion and love for all the living beings. I feel blessed by going through rinpoche’s blogs.May i all living being be blessed by your Rinpoche and Have pacefull and long life your rinpoche la. I will always dream and pray to see you in real time iny my live time la.May all the living beings find the happiness they seek.

  57. Carmen Koo on Oct 31, 2010 at 12:25 am

    Reading Rinpoche’s short biography whether through this post or flipping through the hardcopy never fails to remind me of how much one can achieve if one puts their mind to it and focus. Everytime we use Rinpoche’s short biography to present and show the interviewees Rinpoche’s life and accomplishments thus far, I am silenced; in a positive way because I am amazed. There is no limit to what one can do.

    Like how I felt in the other States, the LA leg is also quite surreal, although I enjoyed this leg most because I can relate it more to Rinpoche. The culture just seems so right for Rinpoche. Also, in LA, Rinpoche could practice Dharma freely, and it was here that Rinpoche met Zong Rinpoche. It was a pleasure to meet Anila as well and to be able to go to TDL..

    I am sad to be laving the U.S. so soon but I also cannot wait to start cracking on the projects when we get back to KL.

  58. William on Oct 20, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    Dear Rinpoche,

    Thank you for sharing your life with us. Your life story has been one which is very inspiring. Your determination and the hardship you have to go through in order to pursue the Dharma, makes our struggles look so small. By reading and looking at the pictures, I can feel you compassion for living beings. You are truly a buddha in our time.

    My highest respect to Your Eminence.

  59. Mimi Chua on Oct 18, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    This blog is so timely out when David Lai was conducting the talk on Sunday on your bio. It makes it easier to follow while on justine TV that Sunday. When the team is small during the earlier days, there seem to be more personal audience. Through the merits created in producing this work, may all living beings find the happiness they seek.

  60. martin on Oct 18, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    Dear Rinpoche,

    I am completely overwhelmed looking at the pictorial above and for some reason, the pictures and stories make my heart feel very tender. The pictures speak volumes. Very unlike the images, stories and experiences we encounter each day which tend to harden us up. I only ever get the same feeling late at night after prayers when i am alone at the altar looking at the Buddha statues and remembering what they represent.

    In the same way, each of the 100 plus pictures above are like beautiful Buddha images and looking at them makes me explore not only my own spiritual potential but also the urgent need for me to be a better human being.

    With folded hands, thank you Rinpoche.

  61. Yoke Fui on Oct 18, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Each time I read Rinpoche’s bio, I feel uplifted and inspired.

    Many people do not like to talk about their past because of the painful memories. Rinpoche has no hesitation in opening up everything from the time he’s born till now to us. This goes to show that Rinpoche has no personal agenda and 100% transparent to all who visit his blog.

    Thank you Rinpoche for using your life to teach us.

  62. patsy on Oct 18, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Thank you, Rinpoche, for these photos bio. It has brought back many memories of Rinpoche’s early days/years in Malaysia. Through a “long and winding” difficult journey, Rinpoche has now taken Kechara into such great heights!
    Looking at one of the photos of Rinpoche giving Ngesung Kundrol Avalokitesvara initiation, I am so happy that I was there to receive the initiation from Rinpoche and now after so many years, I am one of the chosen who will be receiving this initiation from Rinpoche again in the new future.
    My salutation to you, Rinpoche for your kindness, love and care you have given us and never giving up on us. Thank you for sharing your life with us and every sentient being. I am so glad that I met you 15 years ago.

  63. Angel SH OOi on Oct 18, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    Dearest Rinpoche,
    Thank You so so much for taking Your time out to write and share with us Your WONDERFUL and MEANINGFUL BIOGRAPHY! I enjoyed reading it very much and also helped us to bring back some of our memories that we’ve been through with Rinpoche for the pass years. Thank You!
    With Rinpoche’s short bio will inspire and help a lot of people from inside and outside Kechara Organisation to understand better of Rinpoche’s vision and motivation. It is very touching and heartfelt to know Rinpoche’s background. But, it’s so encouraging and touching that since young Rinpoche wanted to be a monk and to benefit others more than Yourself!
    I am very proud and so lucky to be one of Rinpoche’s student and always under Rinpoche’s guidance and loving care! The most meaningful part is that some of us, fortunate enough to be with Rinpoche and seeing thru how Kechara Organisation started and still growing and glowing, and in near future Kechara will benefit more and more people all over the world! Thank You Rinpoche so much for sacrificing Your youth to benefit all of us! Thanks again…
    I love You Rinpoche,
    angel

  64. Andrew Chiam on Oct 18, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Dearest Rinpoche,

    You really stood out against the test of time and so many event that happens around you. Certainly u have come a long way and there are still many more to come. Each you have withstand with such preseverance thta you story really inspired and motivated each and every of us in different way to becomes a better person in life.

    Thank to you my great Guru.

    With love, devotion and respect,

    Andrew Chiam

  65. Sarah on Oct 17, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Wow!
    It’s very interesting to read about Rinpoche, and how Kechara and it’s departments came into existence. Especially when it’s accompanied with beautiful pictures!
    Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us =)

  66. Girlie on Oct 17, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Dear Rinpoche
    Thank you for a preview of things to come.
    Can’t wait for the full length feature of your bio.

  67. Shirley Maya Tan on Oct 17, 2010 at 10:41 am

    It’s really very emotional and yet beautiful to read through this pictorial bio. I can understand how it has taken Rinpoche 6 hours to do as Rinpoche had spent more than 6 years to accomplish all the above.

    Just looking at the map alone, I thought of how long and perilous Rinpoche’s journey from East to West Coast must have been for a young boy. Such determination and courage to pursue the Dharma.

    Most of us at 15 or 16 were more intent on pursuing other worldly goals or desires, always easily distracted. Some of us, even through our adulthood.

    I think that is the most striking difference between Rinpoche as a kid and the rest of us – Rinpoche’s love for the Dharma is engraved into Riinpoche’s heart and mind. Rinpoche practically live for the Dharma, and it is like a certain death of Rinpoche cannot practise/learn Dharma.

    As a kid, we were all more interested in fun and games. Dharma would not have even entered our minds. Not remotely.

    Reading this post clearly displayed how much it took Rinpoche to come this far, and yet the journey will not stop. It continues because Rinpoche has so many dreams, wishes and goals to accomplish. Now, I can understand how it takes only one man or one Lama and with the right help and support, this Lama can change the whole world.

    I shudder to think what if Rinpoche did not manage to escape from Howell. Then none of the above would have manifested and even bigger dreams cannot come to be. That loss would have been a great loss to all, and not just Rinpoche’s.

    Thank the Buddhas for Rinpoche’s perseverance and courage. Thank you for not giving up even when others have given up. May more support, resources, help and people come to Rinpoche to help Rinpoche complete your vision and legacy as soon as possible. With that, more people will benefit from it.

    It is without a doubt, your presence/life enriches our world and our lives beyond words. What Rinpoche has taught us and given us will last us through many lifetimes. Hence, indeed, Rinpoche is the most precious one.

    Thank you for sharing and giving so much of yourself to us all.

    With deepest gratitude and love,
    Shirley

  68. ck liew on Oct 16, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    Thank you , Thank you ! so much Rinpoche for this. This is so important for people like me that did not have the merits to be there in the early days , to go through the birth of Kechara & to meet you in person. Although i consider simply being able to read your blogs everyday bring much blessings to everyone. This blog i am sure alot of ppl will agrees with me has bring much benefits to everyone and getting to know you better and to receive teachings from. Your effort and time to write here is very very much appreciated. The sharing of your childhood and with each postings it became clearer and how everything started , how one man , a man which is so young ,skinny : ) and never been out of india and America due to his Guru instruction went all the way to raise funds to help the monastery.

    How he overcome his childhood difficulties and problems. But still be able to achieve all he has and will continue to achieve for the benefits of everyone else. Everything arisen out from your Guru Devotions and compassion !

    I very much respected you and am thankful to have even known you. Your kindness shall be repay and i wish not just within this lifetime even for future lifetimes i shall be able to connect with you and serve you once day in the next life.

    I take this early chance to wish you A HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY !

    with much love.

    ck liew.

  69. Patrick Lim on Oct 16, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    Dear Rinponche,
    As the days roll on, I find that it gets better. We have been going back to the earlier places to get more footage and yesterday afternoon, we sat down at a food court in a mall to interview Sara. As she tells the history, I let my mind travel to the time, place & incident & fascinating I was with that feeling. I might be just hallucinating but I let my mind travel.
    That night with Annie, we learned about Kalmycks in United States and how Tibetan Buddhism was brought in by them and the amazing photos of Dalai Lama when he first visited US and seeing Rinponche there was very interesting.
    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you…..

  70. Philip Yong on Oct 16, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    Really interesting. Cant wait for the book! You have my full respect Rinpoche!

  71. Anila on Oct 16, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    It was time Rinpoche had to go back to Gaden Monastery after fulfilling his assignment in raising funds for the 35 units of apartments for the monks to stay. Rinpoche had raised more than the required amount for the project. It was at that time when Rinpoche returned to India that his house Tsem Ladrang sponsored by Rinpoche’s birth father had just been built. Rinpoche invited me over to stay with him in his house in Gaden. I was very lucky to be able to visit him for a total of 6 times during the years from 1993 to 1998 when he was still in India. The shortest period is one month and the longest period is 8 months. I like Tsem Ladrang Gaden and his 30 monk students especially the very young ones. Rinpoche takes care of his students very well. Rinpoche’s monks are so different from the monks from other Ladrangs in the Monastery. I have witnessed a lot of charitable activities that Rinpoche has done.

  72. Anila on Oct 16, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche for putting your Pictorial Biography in the blog. It has brought back a lot of memories in yur early years in Malaysia. Although it was tough in 1992 trying to raise funds for the Monastery. The rough road you have travelled has now brought results for the benefit of a lot of people. Even in the early years when you give Dharma talks or Initiations there were so ma ny people and the place would be very crowded. You are a crowd puller Rinpoche. During consultations the queue would be so long until the host of the Dharma centre had to come and pacify those who had waited a long time. It was like yesterday that you had to use other centres and friend’s places to conduct Dharma talks, pujas, Initiations and consultations. And today you have Kechara Organisation with 13 departments.

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Be polite

Avoid the use of language or attitudes which may be offensive to others. If someone is disrespectful to you, ignore them instead of arguing with them.

Please be advised that anyone who contravenes these guidelines may be banned from the chatroom. Banning is at the complete discretion of the administrator of this blog. Should anyone wish to make an appeal or complaint about the behaviour of someone in the chatroom, please copy paste the relevant chat in an email to us at care@kechara.com and state the date and time of the respective conversation.

Please let this be a conducive space for discussions, both light and profound.

KECHARA FOREST RETREAT PROGRESS UPDATES

Here is the latest news and pictorial updates, as it happens, of our upcoming forest retreat project.

The Kechara Forest Retreat is a unique holistic retreat centre focused on the total wellness of body, mind and spirit. This is a place where families and individuals will find peace, nourishment and inspiration in a natural forest environment. At Kechara Forest Retreat, we are committed to give back to society through instilling the next generation with universal positive values such as kindness and compassion.

For more information, please read here (english), here (chinese), or the official site: retreat.kechara.com.

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  • nicholas
    Saturday, Dec 7. 2019 06:34 PM
    Do you know anyone who is constantly engaged in excessive, unreasonable and repetitive behaviour such as cleaning, hand-washing, or rearranging? If you do, that person is most likely suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

    OCD is characterised by irrational fear or obsession that triggers repetitive actions. Many people suffering from OCD are aware that their actions are illogical, but when they try to ignore the urge to perform a particular action, their anxiety increases until they eventually give in to their compulsion.

    According to the National Institute of Mental Health, OCD affects 1% of the adult population in the United States alone. OCD does not discriminate and can affect anyone regardless of race, gender or age. It has great implications on a person’s quality of life and can affect their emotional health, education, career and even their social and personal life as their obsessions can result in hours of repetitive ritualistic behaviour, thus preventing them from doing other things.

    Understand more about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder at http://bit.ly/33ZRciF
  • nicholas
    Saturday, Dec 7. 2019 06:25 PM
    Gyenze, otherwise known as Ratna Shugden, is one of the five main emanations of the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden. This particular emanation is Dorje Shugden manifesting in an increasing form. When sincere practitioners propitiate Gyenze, we invoke his blessings to increase outer and inner wealth, health, and spiritual merits.

    With this in mind, Hi