Halloween

Oct 18, 2016 | Views: 15,649

Dear friends around the world,

The celebration of Halloween is a growing trend around the world, especially due to the influence of popular American culture. Even though most consider it to be a secular festival, its origins are thousands of years old. Stemming from the ancient Celtic practices of Europe, over the centuries it has transformed into a secular festival, surviving sustained attempts to end its practice. In its form today it is mostly known for its scary costumes and decorations, fun games and trick-or-treating. Halloween is also one of His Eminence the 25th Tsem Rinpoche’s favourite celebrations, as His Eminence fondly remembers his time growing up in the United States of America. We hope you enjoy reading about the history, origins and practices of Halloween.

Pastor David Lai and Pastor Niral Patel.

 


 

Although most people consider Halloween to be a secular celebration, it has a long history steeped with spiritual significance

Although most people consider Halloween to be a secular celebration, it has a long history steeped with spiritual significance

 

The Beginnings of Halloween

Beyond the costumes and garish decorations, Halloween has more of an ancient origin than what is commonly known. Halloween itself is a contraction of the older name ‘All Hallows’ Eve’. Throughout history, Halloween was also known by a number of names including Samhain, All Hallows’ Evening, Allhalloween or even All Saints’ Eve.

It was originally celebrated on October 31st in pagan Europe, as an ancient celebration of the coming of winter. This date marked a very important time for pagans who believed that it was a very powerful harvest festival connected with the world of the dead and powerful forces. It was latter appropriated by the Christian faith and transformed into a three-day observance of Allhallowtide. Over time it has become a fun celebration that people all over the world take part in, but still retains it ancient roots.

 

The History

Most scholars agree that the modern celebration of Halloween began as the Celtic harvest festival of Samhain, which is pronounced ‘Sah-win’. Samhain literally means ‘summer’s end’ and is also the end of the harvest months. This celebration was held between October 31st and November 1st. It was celebrated in Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man and other places with Celtic influence. A similar harvest festival was celebrated by Brittonic Celts, called Calan Gaeaf in Wales, Kalan Gwav in Cornwall and Kalan Goañv in Brittany.

The festival of Samhain was an important part of the year for the ancient Celts.

The festival of Samhain was an important part of the year for the ancient Celts.

In 43 C.E., the Roman Empire had conquered the majority of the Celtic lands. During the four hundred years of Roman rule, two popular Roman festivals came to be incorporated into the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain. The first festival was Feralia, celebrated at the end of October when the Romans paid their respects to the dead. The second festival was a day honoring Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the traditional game of ‘bobbing for apples’ that is played today on Halloween.

According to Celtic tradition the festival began on the evening before November 1st. This is because day was believed to end at sunset. The next day would begin thereafter. In fact, Samhain and Calan Gaeaf are mentioned in some of the earliest Irish and Welsh literature. Furthermore, historians say that Celtic Halloween customs that have survived since the 19th century continue to use the same Gaelic and Welsh names for Halloween.

The Samhain festival occurs at the beginning of winter, which is the colder and darker half of the year. According to Celtic beliefs, this period is seen as a time of transition, when the boundary between this world and the next becomes ‘thinner’. Therefore, during Samhain – summer’s end on 31st October, it was believed that the ghosts of the dead would walk the earth. This means that the Aos Sí, which is pronounced ees shee, or the Celtic ‘spirits’ or ‘fairies’, could easily cross into our world and become particularly active during this time.

The Aos Sí were thought to roam the world during Samhain

The Aos Sí were thought to roam the world during Samhain

The Aos Sí were viewed with fear and respect in equal measure because they could haunt and disturb the living. During Samhain, it was popularly believed that people had to propitiate the Aos Sí so that they would not wreck havoc on the living. They did this by taking sweets, food and drinks out to the edge of the forest and away from the village in a procession in order to lead the spirits away from the homes of the living. It is very possible that the modern tradition of trick-or-treating stems from this ancient Celtic belief of appeasing the spirits. The belief that souls of the dead return home and need to be appeased has more ancient origins as an equivalent is also found in many other ancient cultures.

In 19th century Ireland, candles would be lit and prayers formally offered for the souls of the departed during this festival. After the ritual, feasting, drinking, and games would begin. All throughout Ireland and Britain, household festivities included rituals and games intended to foretell one’s future, especially concerning marriage and death. Apples and nuts were some of the most often used in these divination rituals. These rituals included apple bobbing, scrying or mirror gazing, pouring molten lead or egg whites into water and dream interpretation.

Special bonfires were lit and their flames, smoke and ashes were deemed to have protective and cleansing powers, and were also used for divination. In some places, torches lit from the bonfire were ritually carried around homes and fields to protect them. It is suggested that the fires were a kind of imitative or sympathetic magic. The fires mimicked the Sun, tapping into the ‘powers of growth’ to hold back the decay and darkness of winter. In Scotland, the local church elders in some parishes outlawed Samhain bonfires and divination games. Later, these bonfires evolved to keep away the devil himself.

The Celts believed in animal sacrifice, especially during Samhain in order to honour and appease the gods. They believed that since the earth had bore them bountiful harvest during the summer months, it was only right that they return the favour. Therefore, they offered animals onto the bonfires and from the charred remains the Druid priests would read the future much in the same way as reading tea leaves.

Aside from causing mischief and destroying crops, the Celts also believed that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for their Druid or Celtic priests, to make predictions of the future. The medieval Celtic people’s livelihood and survival depended on the volatile seasonal weather. Therefore, these predictions and prophecies became an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.

From the 16th century, the harvest festivities included mumming and guising in Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man and Wales. This meant that people would go house-to-house disguised in a costume, usually reciting a few verses of poetry or song in exchange for food. It is thought that the tradition may have originally began with people impersonating Aos Sí, or the spirits of the dead. They received offerings on their behalf, similar to the custom of souling, in which ‘soulers’ would go from house-to-house, offering prayers for the departed in exchange for ‘soul cakes’.

According to Celtic beliefs, impersonating spirits by wearing a disguise was believed to protect oneself from them. It is suggested that the mummers and guisers personify the old spirits of the winter, who demanded reward in exchange for good fortune. In Scotland, youths went house-to-house with a mask on, painted or blackened faces and these mischievous youths would often threaten to wreak havoc if they were not welcomed.

Folklorist F. Marian McNeill suggests that the ancient festival included the tradition of people in costume representing the spirits with their faces blackened by ashes taken from the sacred bonfire. At the turn of the 20th century, youths in Glamorgan and Orkney cross-dressed during the festival. Elsewhere in Europe, mumming and hobbyhorses were part of other yearly festivals. Since the 18th century, the tradition of disguising oneself as a malignant spirit led to playing pranks in Ireland and the Scottish Highlands.

The tradition of wearing costumes during Halloween has been around for centuries

The tradition of wearing costumes during Halloween has been around for centuries

The tradition of wearing costumes and playing pranks during Samhain spread to England by the 20th century. The traditional lanterns for guisers or pranksters at night during the festival were carved out of turnips or mangelwurzels – hollowed out and often carved with contorted faces. According to tradition, the lanterns were made to resemble the faces of spirits and were used to ward off evil spirits. This was common in parts of Ireland, Somerset and the Scottish Highlands in the 19th century. In the 20th century they spread to other parts of England and became the precursor to what is known as the ‘jack-o’-lantern’.

 

The Original Meaning of Halloween and What it is Today

Halloween is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people lit bonfires and wore costumes to ward off roaming spirits. Samhain is also known as summer’s end and this is reflected in the meaning of this harvest festival. Halloween straddles autumn and winter, plenty and scarcity, life and death. The festival is steeped in medieval European superstition as Samhain is celebrated as a means to prepare for the long cold, winter months.

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Pope Gregory I is also know as Saint Gregory the Great

The Celtic tradition of celebrating Samhain encountered its biggest threat when it came face-to-face with the Roman Catholic Church. The Catholic Church sought to convert the pagan Celts. Around 600 C.E., Pope Gregory I felt that it was not possible to convert all the pagans to Christianity immediately. Therefore, he decreed that missionaries should graft the new religion of Christianity onto the old. He used the example that if the pagans were worshiping a tree, the missionaries should consecrate the tree and encourage the pagans to continue to worship, but this time they would worship God.

The earlier missionary efforts were met with little success as the regular folk felt little interest in the new religion. They were disinterested in the Christian doctrine of waiting for the afterlife to be rewarded by God. By the 8th century, Pope Gregory III (731–741) had enough of accommodating the pagans and so, he decided to launch a direct counter. He established the Christian festival of All Saints Day on the very same day that Samhain was celebrated. This festival honoured all the saints that did not have their own day throughout the Christian calendar. This was his attempt to counter the worship of the Celtic gods during Samhain. Hence, Samhain was hijacked and appropriated as a Christian celebration. Despite this effort, there were still many who continued to hold on to the customs and beliefs of their Celtic heritage.

Subsequently, the church sought to seize power from the Druid priesthood, primarily the priestesses. The word witch comes from the word Wicca or ‘Wise One’. These priestesses were primarily healers and soothsayers and they lived alone in the forest. The church sought to demonize them, as they were the holders of the Celtic faith.

By the 9th century, Christianity had spread all over the Celtic lands of Europe, where most of its spiritual traditions gradually supplanted the older Celtic rites. By 1,000 C.E., the church began celebrating November 2nd as the new feast of All Souls’ Day, a day to honour the dead. This was a direct counter to the Celtic tradition of honouring the dead during the Samhain period.

It is evident that the newly consolidated Catholic Church in medieval Europe decided to replace the folk tradition of celebrating the Celtic festival of the dead with a Christianised version of the celebration. All Souls Day was celebrated on the same day and in a similar fashion to Samhain, with its big bonfires, parades, and costumes as saints, angels and devils.

The All Saints Day celebration (November 1st) became known as All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from the Middle English ‘Alholowmesse’ meaning All Saints’ Day) and the night before it (October 31st), the traditional night of Samhain in the old Celtic religion, was called All-hallows Eve. This eventually became known as Halloween.

 

Countries that Celebrate Halloween

Many countries all over the world celebrate Halloween or have festivals similar in nature to Halloween. The United States of America and Canada are the two countries that are most known for their Halloween festivities. It is said that over 65% of Americans decorate either their homes, offices or work places in preparation for the event.

Halloween is now celebrated all over the world

Halloween is now celebrated all over the world

In Europe, countries such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany and Sweden all celebrate Halloween, but not on the scale that it is celebrated in the United States of America and Canada. The tradition of Halloween has spread to other European counties due to its celebratory nature rather than historical relevance to cultural practice. Likewise Halloween is gaining popularity in Australia and New Zealand. These two countries do not have a strong cultural link to Halloween. However due to popular American influence, the practice of celebrating Halloween is on the rise. This influence also occurs wherever there are American or European expatriate communities.

In Asia, many countries have festivals somewhat similar in nature to Halloween such as the Hungry Ghost Festival in China or Kali Chaudas in India, though they are celebrated in very different ways. In other countries around the world that have been influenced by American culture or have a history of Catholic practice, people also celebrate Halloween in different ways. For example in Mexico, which has strong Catholic and also ancient Aztec roots, the festival is known as Dia de los Muertos or the Day of the Dead. It is a time in which adherents honour their beloved ancestors and others who have passed away.

 

The Spiritual Dimension to Halloween

From a Western Christian perspective, October 31st is known as All Hallows’ Evening or All Saints’ Evening. Western Christian churches include the Catholic Church and a wide group of Protestant churches. This celebration is the first in a three-day event known as Allhallowtide. It is followed by All Saint’s Day or Hallowmas and All Soul’s Day. During this festival, practitioners remember the dead, including the various martyrs who gave their lives to preserve their religion from persecution from the Roman Empire, the saints and faithful Christians who have passed on. The word ‘hallows’ is in reference to all the saints within Christendom. After its establishment, All Soul’s Day became a day during which Christians pray for the dead.

Catholics celebrate All Hallows Eve with a vigil

Catholics celebrate All Hallows Eve with a vigil

In countries with a strong Catholic background, Allhallowtide retains its spiritual significance. It was traditionally believed that on this night the veil between the world of the living and afterlife thinned, therefore people wore masks so that they would not be recognised by any spirits. In parts of Europe, such as Poland, people would pray out aloud as they walked through the forests so that the spirits could find comfort. In Spain, churches would ring their bells to remind practitioners to remember the dead. On this night, the Catholic Church holds a church service, known as the Vigil of All Hallows, after worshipers prepare themselves through prayer and fasting.

The Horned One, a Wiccan god invoked during modern Samhain rituals

The Horned One, a Wiccan god invoked during modern Samhain rituals

Amongst Pagan and Neo-Pagan traditions, it is the night on which Samhain is observed. Reconstructionist Pagans base their practices on historical records and traditional folklore. For them it is a time to honour the dead. Often bonfires are lit and meals are set out on dining tables for the dead. Traditional tales are told, songs sung and dances are performed. If a door or window faces east, it is left open with a candle burning on the sill to guide the dead back home. Those who are sensitive or mystically inclined see this as a time to commune with the Celtic gods who preside over this autumnal festival.

In Wicca, Samhain is considered to be a festival of darkness, which has its counter-balance in the festival of Beltane, the festival of light during the spring months. The festival includes praying for all those who have passed away including family, friends and even one’s pets. It used to be celebrated by leaving food out for the dead. During some rituals in which the Celtic gods are invoked, the dead are also invited to participate. It symbolises the beginning of the dark half of the year and the oncoming of winter. Rituals invoke the Wiccan Goddess in her form as the Crone and her consort in the form of the Horned One. These rituals include communicating with the dead, casting of magical spells and divinatory readings for the upcoming year through the use of runes, tarot or scrying. The original forms of divination during Samhain would have included reading the bones of the animals that were sacrificed to the gods during ritual. In fact is it said that Samhain is the best night to predict the future and prophecies were read deep into the night. This may in fact be one of the origins of telling ghost stories during Halloween.

Nowadays it is a common to see people decorate their houses with ghastly displays in celebration of Halloween

Nowadays it is a common to see people decorate their houses with ghastly displays in celebration of Halloween

 

How Halloween is Celebrated in Popular Culture

Many popular North American ways of celebrating Halloween have been adopted by countries all over the world, including in Europe where the festival has its original roots. These include:

 

Wearing Masks or Costumes

This tradition has its roots in the old European and Celtic traditions of wearing masks and costumes in order for people to protect themselves from being recognised by spirits. Other records say that people wore masks so the spirits didn’t mistake the living for the dead, and inadvertently take them to the afterlife once the night was over. Some religious scholars have argued that the tradition of dressing up in outlandish or ghoulish costumes is to poke fun at the concept of ‘satan’, who at one time caused terrible fear and anxiety within society.

Over time, the masks and costumes took on the characteristics of supernatural creatures of the dark such as vampires, ghosts, witches or devils. Nowadays, it is also very common to see costumes and masks of celebrities, superheroes and even cartoons. It is also common to see generic costumes that are easily recognisable such as princesses, ninjas or pirates. Dressing up in costumes became really popular in 1930s America, with the mainstream adoption of trick-or-treating.

A couple dressed as Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf

A couple dressed as Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf

 

Trick-or-Treating

This tradition has its roots in the ancient Celtic custom of leaving food out for the dead, in order to appease them, ensuring that they would stay away from the living. Amongst the Christians of Medieval Europe there developed a practice of offering ‘soul cakes’ to the impoverished, who would beg for food in return for praying for the souls of the departed, an act known as ‘souling’. These soul cakes were made especially during Halloween. The impoverished would go about the villages, towns and cities, praying for the dead or singing songs in return for the food.

This tradition was encouraged by the various Christian churches in an attempt to stamp out the pagan traditions of leaving food out for the dead. The act of leaving food was something that was seen as encouraging worship according to the pagan tradition, which ran at odds with the authority and practice of the churches. It was also viewed as a practice associated with witchcraft and therefore by association the devil, which the Church also sought to stamp out. Over time this became a practice in which only children participated.

In the contemporary era, this tradition transformed into something that children engage in whilst dressed in costumes and masks during Halloween night. Typically under adult supervision, children knock on people’s doors and exclaim “trick-or-treat?” In the case the person who answers the door is agreeable, they give the children candy, sweets or other small and edible gifts, reminiscent of the soul cake. Those who do not give sweets, enough sweets or acceptable edible items are often the victim of ‘tricks’ which range from amusing and scary, all the way to criminal damage in some extreme cases. For adults, Halloween themed parties have become very popular in recent decades as well.

Trick-or-treating has become very popular amongst the younger generations, especially since they get lots and lots of sweets.

Trick-or-treating has become very popular amongst the younger generations, especially since they get lots and lots of sweets.

 

Decorations, Games, Attractions & Food

During the Halloween period many people decorate their homes, front garden, offices and work places with scary decorations. These include figures of witches, ghosts, skeletons, zombies, etc. They do this as a form of secular celebration and for fun.

One such decoration is the Jack-o’-lantern. This tradition traces back to an Irish tale told about a man known as Jack the Stingy. He was a cruel and stingy man, who was also a drunkard. He would often play mean tricks on people, including his friends, family and even the devil. It is said he tricked the devil to climb an apple tree, and then placed crosses around the trunk of the tree. As the devil was unable to touch the crosses, he was unable to climb down the tree and return to hell. Jack made the devil promise him that he would not take his soul once Jack died. The devil agreed, Jack removed the crosses and the devil returned to hell. Once Jack had died, he arrived at the pearly gates of heaven and was greeted by St. Peter who told him that he had not led a good life, therefore had to go to hell. Arriving in hell, the devil remembered his promise and told Jack that he would not take his soul. Rather he would be banished to roam the world of the living in spirit form. Unable to see his way back to earth, he asked the devil how he would see the path back. The devil tossed him an ember from the fires of hell. Jack carved a turnip into a lantern, in which he placed the ember and used it to light the way back to earth. Jack was fond of eating turnips and would always carry one with him. Over time the tradition of carving turnips with scary faces developed.

During the settlement of the Americas by Europeans, the Irish brought over the custom of carving turnips and even potatoes with ghoulish faces, placing candles in them and leaving them outside the front door. This was an ancient custom to ward off Jack the Stingy, evil and protect against negative entities who roam around in the world of the living during Halloween. The faces are carved in a ghastly manner to scare these negative spirits away.

Jack-o'-lanterns have become synonymous with Halloween

Jack-o’-lanterns have become synonymous with Halloween

When they arrived in America, they found that pumpkins were easier to carve. Therefore the tradition of carving pumpkins evolved. Jack-o’-lanterns have become an image synonymous with Halloween. Nowadays, one can buy pre-carved pumpkins or even plastic decorative ones that have electric candles in them. The containers in which children collect their sweets while they trick-or-treat are often in the form of Jack-o’-lanterns or even a witch’s cauldron.

There are a variety of unique games played during Halloween. One such game is ‘bobbing for apples’. This game involves a large barrel or bucket filled with water and apples are set afloat on the it. Participants must use their teeth to remove the apples from the water, while their hands are behind their backs.

Playing games during Halloween has been around for centuries

Playing games during Halloween has been around for centuries

Another game includes hanging candy apples (also known as toffee apples) or doughnuts from string. Participants eat the apples as they swing on the string, again without being allowed to touch the apple or doughnuts with their hands. The use of apples is a facet of Halloween laden with cultural and historical significance. In ancient times, apples were associated with goddesses, immortality, resurrection and knowledge, as such they are associated closely with the harvest, which Halloween represents since it falls in the autumnal months. This is even more evident given the ancient Roman influence in Celtic lands and the association with the Roman goddess Pomona, whose symbol was an apple.

A more recent phenomena are attractions during the Halloween period. These attractions are purely for entertainment purposes, aimed at scaring or thrilling visitors. As technology advances, the sophistication at which these attractions are built and maintained, together with realistic costumes has led to a boom in such attractions all over the world. While most of these only appear during the Halloween season, they are known to make an estimated $300-500 million each year in the United States of America alone, making it big business. This goes to show that more and more people need forms of entertainment to take them away from the pressures of daily life, even if only for a short while.

During the Halloween season, one often sees food that although have come to signify the festival, were originally autumnal treats. These include the toffee apple as mentioned above, barmbrack (a bread with sultanas and raisins), caramel apples, caramel corn, cakes with Halloween decorations, cookies in the shape of Halloween themes, pumpkin pie and novelty sweets.

 

Common Halloween Imagery

Coupled with the iconic Jack-o’-lantern imagery mentioned above are many others that are popular during Halloween celebrations. Here are some of the most common.

Witches are a common sight during Halloween

Witches are a common sight during Halloween

Witches

The characteristic look of a witch has been corrupted over time and they have become demonised from what they actually were. The origin of the word is ‘wicca’ (male) or ‘wicce’ (female) and originally meant ‘wise one’. In ancient European societies, such as the Celts and among the pagan traditions, these were men and women who were natural healers. They used herbs and natural remedies to cure people of their ailments. They were very close to nature, so would live away from towns and villages, by themselves in the countryside. As they lived in the countryside their skin would have been calloused from working on the land, therefore they would have had a very tough look to them. They would communicate with the spirits of nature and were able to use powerful magic to heal and for divination of the future. Due to these roles, they were held in very high regards by pagan practitioners.

With the rise of Christianity in Europe, these people were demonised, especially the women. From a Christian viewpoint, these women directly countered Christian doctrine and practice, which were often centered around men. Since they worshiped the spirits of nature, rather than God, they were seen as evil. They also posed a threat to the growing reach and authority of the Catholic church, so their influence needed to be removed. Over time, with the influence of the Catholic church, these women became associated with the devil and evil practices. They were hunted down and punishments for continuing their practice was cruel.

In 1486, Pope Innocent VIII actually published a book in which he claimed a direct link between witches and the devil. Since that point, the persecution of traditional witches heightened. In fact at this time he even outlawed the pagan Celtic religion altogether. Those found guilty were brutally killed, often by being burned alive. This period in time is referred to as The Burning Times.

As part of this persecution, the popular image of witches was transformed from women who were in tune with the natural elements, to those who were evil. The notion that witches did evil deeds such as killing babies for their rituals spread. They began to be portrayed as old and crooked, with long ugly noses often with large warts, long disheveled hair, wearing long and flowing black garments. This imagery continues until today, and plays an important part of Halloween tradition.

 

The Broomstick and Cauldron

Associated with witches are the images of the broomstick and cauldron. These are traditionally thought to be implements witches used to engage in their evil acts. However, the implements were everyday items that a person would use back in the time of the Celts. The broom is a simple cleaning device. As witches lived in the countryside, there would have been a lot of natural debris, such as leaves. These would obviously have to be cleared up and people would use simple brooms made from sticks and branches for this purpose.

The cauldron is another simple implement. It is one of the earliest forms of a cooking pot. These would have been used by witches and in fact all people during that time to cook with, over an open fire. They would have used large spoons to stir whatever they were cooking. Over time this imagery became synonymous with a witch brewing an evil potion, as witches came to be demonised.

 

Pentacle – the Five-Pointed Star

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The Pentacle

The pentacle is often associated with witchcraft and evil, however its real meaning is not evil at all. In fact, the pentacle as a religious symbol from ancient times, represents the balance of the natural elements: earth, water, air, fire and space. It is a symbol that was used to invoke the energies of nature in order to restore balance. It can also be linked to the apple, which is also a symbol of the ancient traditions. If you cut an apple length ways, the core of the apple actually forms a five pointed star. Since its association with pagan rituals, it is considered a symbol that is negative in the world today due to the influence of Christianity.

 

Black Cats

This imagery stems from the earliest origins of Halloween among the Celts. It was commonly believed that black cats were once human beings who had been transformed into cats as punishment for evil acts they had committed or as victims of black magic. Over time, as Christianity gained ground, this notion was corrupted so that black cats became the witch’s familiar, or animal-spirit that aided a witch to cast magic, act as a spy or a friend. Over time it was also thought that a witch could turn into a black cat as well.

 

Bats, Owls and Creatures of the Night

Many animals are associated with Halloween such as the bat or owl. This association stems back to the Celtic tradition of lighting bonfires during Samhain. Before electricity and modern lighting was invented the only source of light at night was obviously fire. Light from these bonfires would have attracted mosquitoes and other flying insects. Since bats and owls feed on these insects, they would have been drawn to the fire as well. Therefore bats and owls were seen overhead and near the Samhain bonfires, and became associated with the festival. As pagan traditions were demonised, so were bats and owls. Overtime as Samhain transformed into Halloween, this imagery continued. Other creatures such as spiders, newts, or any creature of the night came to be associated with Halloween over time as people have a natural fear of such creatures.

 

Ghosts and Monsters

The origins of Samhain stem from the ancient pagan belief that the spirits of the dead can come back and harm us in this life during Halloween. This fear of the spirit world has been ingrained in the festival since its very beginning. This continues until this day with a strong fear of being attacked by ghosts. Other monsters such as ghouls is another attempt to demonise the ancient pagan religions. These were originally the nature spirits that the Celts, druids and witches worshiped and communicated with. As their practices were thought to be evil, the spirits transformed into menacing creatures over time.

 

The Devil Who is Actually a God

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The devil

The strength of the Christian demonisation of pagan culture is best exemplified in the common portrayal of the devil. The devil is depicted as a being with the body and face of a man, but the horns and legs of a goat. This is actually the portrayal of the Horned One, a god known throughout the ancient world, including both European pagan traditions and in ancient Greece, where he was known as Pan. Within pagan culture and modern Wicca, he is the male side of divinity, associated with nature, wildness, hunting, fertility and the life cycle. He was a god of great importance within the pagan traditions, especially since he was associated with bountiful harvests. During the time of the ancient pagans, ensuring one had a bountiful harvest in order to survive the harsh winter was of great importance, therefore the Horned One was especially worshiped. He was a benevolent god, who helped those who were close to nature grow good harvest and have abundance.

Over time however, with the growing influence of Christianity, he became heavily demonised just like the witches. Since his worship was so wide spread and ingrained in pagan culture, the Catholic church sought to equate him with the evil devil himself in order to persuade pagans to convert to Christianity. Therefore, he became synonymous with the devil. Before this period in Medieval history, the devil was only ever portrayed as the serpent Satan in the garden of Eden, who tempted Adam and Eve, or as Lucifer, the fallen angel. Strikingly, the form of Pan was to become the most common and well-known depictions of the devil to this day.

pan

Pan, also known as the Horned One

Despite this overt attempt to destroy pagan history and culture, the Catholic church has never been wholly successful in eradicating belief and worship of the ancient gods and their associated practices. To this day modern Wicca practitioners invoke the Horned One during their rituals, especially when celebrating Samhain. Even spiritual communities such as Findhorn invoke the god in his form of Pan to aid them in their endeavors to be closer to nature and for the growth of their various plants and vegetables. Paul Hawken in his book ‘The Magic of Findhorn’ describes him as a being with “shaggy legs and cloven hooves, pointed chin and ears, and two little horns on his forehead” and that he “lived in the Garden, and that his work was to help the growth of the trees.” Given the lengths that he was demonised and equated with the devil, it is testament to ancient beliefs that the Horned One is still remembered in his original form with his original functions in this day and age. The Horned One or Pan is not evil but a nature elemental who helps in bountiful harvests and fertility and should be remembered as so. One who encounters Pan should not think him the devil as that is the Christian corruption of his true nature in their power bid to convert the masses. Pan himself says in the book ‘The Magic of Findhorn’ the elementals and nature spirits that help and assist all natural growth have been abandoned. This is wrong to do so as man should not think he can live without nature. For the proper growth and health of nature, the assistance of elementals and nature spirits such as Pan and many others are needed. So the next time you see the image of the ‘devil’ remember that it is the corrupted form of the helpful elemental Pan and there is nothing evil.

 

Conclusion

Halloween as a contemporary holiday has a long and varied history, stemming from the ancient Celtic celebration of Samhain, which was supplanted with the Christian festival of Allhallowtide. Though people tried to destroy the various practices and beliefs of the festival, they have continued until today, albeit in a different form. While the form in which it is celebrated has changed, the deeper notions behind it, such the coming of the winter and fear of the spirit world still remain.

With growing acceptance all over the world, Halloween incorporates practices and imagery laden with meaning, though most of those who celebrate are often unaware of the historic roots of the celebration. As we have seen Halloween has now become a secular celebration, compared with its spiritual origins. Millions of people will celebrate Halloween in some way or another this Halloween. We hope this post has provided you a further insight into the rich and cultural history of Halloween.

 
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  1. Samfoonheei on Oct 23, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    Halloween has its roots in a pagan harvest festival, while different traditions were added on throughout the years. To some it was a very powerful harvest festival connected with the world of the dead and powerful forces. Halloween has an interesting history behind it. Nowadays it was celebrated filled with funs , colour ghoulish costumes and masks which has characteristics of vampires, ghosts, witches or devils. Interesting some even dress up as princesses, ninjas ,spider man and many chilling costumed . I am glad I now have a better knowledge of Halloween through these article.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these article

  2. Julien on Nov 27, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    I was never big on Halloween. It was never a celebration that I truly participated in and dress up in costumes for. Although there have been times where I had to, due to school or other events like that. However, that doesn’t make this article any less interesting to read about.

    It was interesting to know the actual history behind Halloween and how it was actually to celebrate the coming of winter. I didn’t know that such a festival could have had such an original meaning. I actually for the longest time thought that Halloween was a man-made celebration just for fun XD

  3. Hayden Chan on Nov 10, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    This post is so fascinating. I didn’t know about the witches history, but it is very cruel to just kill innocent ladies just because people think that they are witches . But this post is very interesting. The star is related to Elements of nature ,one word ,cool. Thank you , Rinpoche for posting this.??????

  4. nicholas on Nov 7, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    It’s an interesting article that provide a great info about Halloween. At this modern day we celebrate Halloween for the fun of it but there are so much to know about this ancient believe. Personally to me there is no right or wrong on others believe, tradition and culture but what important is respect for the different. As for Pan it sad that how an ancient god that being belief for his good blessing to help people who were close to nature grow good harvest became and evil devil just due to spiritual political reason. We live in this planet with many differences but one key to stay together in peace and be harmony is respect.

  5. Wah Ying on Nov 6, 2016 at 1:09 am

    这篇文章很有趣,让我知道更多关于我所不知道的万圣节这个节日的由来和背后的意义,特别是关于基督教会如何绑架整个节庆,将教会不允许的信仰原本的意义和庆祝方式,以其方式取代之。这的确说明了当权者或掌握权力者,倾向于铲除不符合他们信仰、挑战(或潜在挑战)其领导或无法为他们的政权服务的信仰/法门、个人或团体。只要投入足够的人力和资源,假以时日的确能将错误的变成正确的,正确的变成错误的。换了时间和地点,类似的事件还是在上演着--这跟多杰雄登护法明明是证悟的护法,是文殊菩萨的化身却被污蔑成魔类似;或者杜固扎巴坚赞圆寂后关于他的任何记载,几乎被当权者从历史上抹去雷同。

  6. Sharon Ong on Nov 5, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    This is an interesting read as I have always been fascinated by the origins of Halloween and paganism. With the usual rumours surrounding Wicca and Paganism, this post has helped me understand the essence of this non-mainstream religion better.

    Another interesting thing I learnt is the origins of trick-or-treating and why sweets are given to the trick-or-treaters. It came from the ancient Celtic practice of appeasing the dead with sweet offerings so that these spirits would not create havoc on the living.

    This post also reminded me of how impermanent things as seen in how a God propitiated for bountiful harvests in previous times is now seen as a Devil due to turn of events.

    Thank you, Pastor David and Pastor Niral. Enjoyed this piece very much!

  7. Wan Wai Meng on Nov 5, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    It is very true that this article addresses some of the imagery that have been labeled demonic and devilish. It is interesting to know the background of how something can be warped or changed to suit certain religious factions or practices. Something benign can also be changed to something threatening and that can harm others.

    But a very enjoyable article that is written in a light manner, and not heavy at all. Enjoyed going through this article and learning about the origins of this celebration.

    People of the past were preoccupied with survival, it is only when communities and societies become more established that they will start looking at spirituality or religious. And if some people were many levels more awake or more knowledgeable than others, they could manipulate others for their own ends. In the old world and in the new old knowledge and insight/intelligence to wield those power could determine between thriving or survival.

  8. Sock Wan on Nov 3, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    Ancient people knew we had to live harmony with our surrounding, with the nature. They had great respect to the elements in this universe. Unfortunately, as human progress we think we are owner of the earth and do lots of destruction to it. Global warming, unusual climate phenomena are signs of our earth losing its balance.

    One thing that I find interesting is the 5-pointed star symbol, it is also found in the depiction of Vajrayogini’s mandala. Same symbol exist in different culture or religion in an era where there was no internet, no postal service, no telecommunication, it must really mean something universally. It is something our ancestor discovered through their careful observation, how amazing. How come without science and technology ancient people could make so much discovery while we are using science and technology to deny the existence of their discoveries? Are we really more intelligent than our ancestors?

    • Sock Wan on Nov 3, 2016 at 12:59 pm

      Sorry, my mistake. The star in Vajrayogini Mandala is a 6-pointed star, not 5-pointed star as I have written in the previous comment. More information about Vajrayogini and her Mandala as explained by Tsem Rinpoche in this youtube video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHv9akFU9w8

      Rinpoche has kindly shared with me that:
      The 5-pointed star commonly used in Wiccan to represent the five elements. According to Pythagoras, the five points of the pentagram each represent one of the five elements that make up man: fire, water, air, earth, and psyche. (energy, fluid, breath, matter, and mind; also liquid, gas, solid, plasma, and aethyr, or spirit)

  9. Pastor Antoinette on Oct 31, 2016 at 12:18 am

    Thank you for this huge information and background related to Halloween.
    It is a big eye opener with the many stories like Jack-o-lanterns’, Pan the Horned One, witches and much more.

    It is very interesting how history developped from ancient times till now related to Halloween.

    Thank you Pastor David and Pastor Niral for this great article.

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  10. HelenaC on Oct 30, 2016 at 9:59 pm

    Very interesting article about Halloween. Most of us do not really know what is Halloween about beside all those make up and costume. For me is same as Asian Hungry Ghost Festival. But after reading the article I have a clearer understanding now. So much meaning and cultures behind it. i like the history of Jack the stingy. Very interesting hehehe….
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing and thank you Pastor Niral and Pastor David for the write up and research. Very nice hehehe and long hahahaha….
    Happy Halloween and cheers!

  11. Pastor KH Ng on Oct 29, 2016 at 10:49 pm

    What a fascinating history on the origin, meanings and intrigue of the Halloween. Today it is a popular in many countries and is associated with fun. It is interesting to know especially how ancient practices that are normal can be turned into something evil to serve another religion’s purposes; to convert others to that particular religion.

    Thank You Pastor David and Pastor Niral for this amazing article.

  12. So Kin Hoe (KISG) on Oct 29, 2016 at 10:28 pm

    Thank you Pastor David and Pastor Niral for spending time and effort to carry out so much researches about Halloween and put the information and details altogether to make this article complete and comprehensive. After reading this article, I have deeper understanding about the meaning, background and history of Halloween rather than just knowing the Halloween party where people are dressed up in ghostly manner or in other forms of demonic costume.

    The Halloween marks the end of summer and the beginning of winter season, which is a very important day for the ancient people in Europe as they should have kept sufficient harvested crops before going through the winter season where farming is not possible at all during the winter season. As I continue to read on the article, the Halloween is also a transition period where the boundary between our living world and the afterlife world becomes ‘thinner’ according to Celtic beliefs. This reminds us that our human’s life is not permanent and one day, we might become one of the souls in afterlife world after our death.

    The tale of Jack-o’-lantern has fascinated me a lot since I have never known the reason of why people carving a scary look on the pumpkin with a lighted candle inside the pumpkin.

    Thank you Rinpoche, Pastor David and Pastor Niral for sharing this article in Rinpoche’s blog and I hope many people will enjoy reading this article about Halloween.

    Happy Halloween to Rinpoche and all!

    With folded hands,
    kin hoe

  13. Datuk May on Oct 27, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    “Halloween incorporates practices and imagery laden with meaning, though most of those who celebrate are often unaware of the historic roots of the celebration.”

    That is so true, Pastor David and Pastor Niral. It is a great eye opener for me to understand so much on every aspect of the Halloween celebration. From the use of apples to pumpkin lanterns during this festival is so well explained.

    Thank you for all the research put into this article.

    What stands out for me is how the Catholic church had done so much to eradicate the festival of Samhain and its original meaning. And yet with deeper study of Halloween every aspect still goes back to what it is, to appease the dead and to be ready for the dark months of winter.

    Truly appreciate your work to this very informative article.

  14. Jutika Lam on Oct 26, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    Dear Pastor David and Niral,

    Thank you for taking the time to compile and write this lenghty and educational blog post on Halloween starting with the origins. I learnt a lot more than I previously knew about this festival!

    It is somewhat intriguing to know that the festival of Halloween we are celebrating had originated from as long as 43 C.E and started out as a Celtic festival which was meant to prepare for long, harsh winter times.

    Despite what Halloween is in current times, it is interesting to know that there is a deeper meaning to it which relates to a religion and culture and I hope that more poeple will read this article and know more about Halloween and it’s history.

  15. Anne Ong on Oct 26, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    Thank you to Pastor David and Pastor Niral for this write up about this wonderful and interesting history of Holloween. Now I know All Souls Day is connected with Holloween. And All Souls Day is similar to Chinese Ghost Festival. Happy Holloween to Rinpoche and everyone! 🙂

  16. BK on Oct 26, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    I enjoyed reading this very much, especially the history of how the Halloween tradition came to be and how each Halloween symbol has a long and rich history. I’ve long been interested in all forms of religion including paganism, especially stories of the land of faerie. So this article kind of brought back some of those memories 🙂

    What struck me the most however, is how the christian church was able to wipe out a large part of the rich celtic religion, replace it with their own interpretations AND have it accepted by the general public at large. This is no small feat and it goes to show that with enough persistence and believers, those in power are able to sway popular thinking in their favour, to the disbenefit of the group being targeted.

    In modern times, history is repeating itself in Tibetan Buddhism, specifically with regards to the Dorje Shugden issue. The same pattern can be seen whereby the Central Tibetan Administration is playing the role of the Christian church, Dorje Shugden practitioners are the downtrodden pagan believers and the world is at risk of forgetting that Dorje Shugden is in fact a compassionate and enlightened Buddhist protector and instead believe the CTA’s lies that he is a demon. Sounds familiar doesnt it??

  17. Pastor Han Nee on Oct 26, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche. Thank you Pastor David and Pastor Niral for a well-researched article on the history, origins and practices of Halloween.

    Halloween was originally celebrated as a Celtic harvest festival, known as the Samhain.Pagans believed that it was a very powerful harvest festival connected with the world of the dead and powerful forces. When the Romans conquered the Celtic parts of Europe, they superimposed their own two traditional festivals on this festival,the festivals where they paid their respects to the dead and where they celebrated a festival in honour of Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and tree. Then the Roman Catholics transformed it into a 3-day festival known as the “AllHallowTide”, which incorporates the All Saints Day and the All Souls Day.

    Many countries all over the world celebrate Halloween or have festivals similar to Halloween. The United States and Canada celebrate Halloween on a wide scale, decorating their homes, offices or workplaces in preparation for the event. The tradition of Halloween has spread to other European countries , as well as to Australia and New Zealand, due to its celebratory nature rather than historical relevance to cultural practice.

    For countries , with a strong Roman Catholic background, the Halloween festival takes on a spiritual significance. The same with those whose beliefs are still rooted in Pagan and Neo-pagan traditions. Elsewhere, Halloween is celebrated as a form of popular culture, where the popular activities are : the wearing of masks or costumes and the carrying out of the ‘trick-and-treat’ tradition by children , under the supervision of adults. Adults have their own themed parties.

    During the Halloween period many people decorate their homes, front garden, offices and workplaces with scary decorations. These include figures of witches, ghosts, skeletons, zombies, etc. They do this as a form of secular celebration and for fun. One example is the “Jack-o’-lantern”. The Irish brought over to America the custom of carving turnips and even potatoes with ghoulish faces, placing candles in them and leaving them outside the front door. The faces are carved in a ghastly manner to scare negative spirits away.

    Popular during the celebration of Halloween are the presence of modern witches and their associated imagery of cauldrons and broomsticks, the Pentacle or five-pointed star, the black cat, bats, owls and creatures of the night, and ghosts and monsters.

    Thus , we can see that today Halloween has become a secular celebration, compared with its spiritual origin. Nonetheless, the idea of celebrating it as a harvest festival can actually turn it into an occasion to celebrate it as a ‘spiritual harvest’ festival.

  18. Justin Cheah on Oct 22, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    Thank you sharing this article Pastor Niral and Pastor David. It is interesting to read especially the historic part of it. I feel it is worth doing and carrying on doing this as part of the carrying down the tradition. It serves to remind me and everyone of us that there are actually beings out there that we should understand their existence and they are living in another realm and remembering them in our prayers as well to perhaps plan the seed for them to have a good rebirth in future and continue their spiritual journey.

  19. Candice Loke on Oct 22, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    Thank you Pastor David Lai and Pastor Niral Patel for this Halloween research and article, it was truly an interesting read for me! I wouldn’t know Halloween would have had such an interesting origin and background, with so much of cultural twists in it had i not read this!

    What struck me the most is that of the conflicts between the newly introduced Roman Catholic and the long established ancient Celtic culture in the then pagan Europe. I would believe that the traditional practice of Celtic was still remained mainstream in pagan Europe even decades after the Roman Empire conquered that very region. Otherwise there would be of no use for the Roman Catholic Church to demonise Wicca The Wise One and Pan the Horned One if people were truly convinced and converted. From here we actually can see – throughout history of mankind, rulers have seen been using different means to ‘conquered’ others who have different thoughts/ideas than theirs through violence and fear, how pathetic!

    Beneath all these political play, I really like the true meaning of original Halloween – To celebrate the harvests, to give thanks to mother nature for what they have sown on the land. We really can see that back in those days, people appreciated nature more than people these days. Another great reminder for all of us.

    After reading this article, I have better understanding on the origin, background of Halloween, and of course meaning behind all those seemingly ‘scary’ Halloween features – Knowledge is powerful, as it dispels fears.

    Thank you Rinpoche, PDL and PNP _/\_

  20. Lowkhjb on Oct 21, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    Thank you Pastor David Lai and Pastor Niral Patel for taking the great detail effort to research into the origin of the practice of Halloween.

    A simple fun filled yearly event that most of us would take for granted ,with such a complicated dark history behind it.

    We should always respect the beliefs and practice of other religion.They may be created out of needs during those ancient times when they are more in tuned with nature and the need of HOPE for a better live.

  21. Beatrix Ooi on Oct 20, 2016 at 10:58 am

    I’ve never thought that Halloween could be related to any religion/ culture, it’s definitely something new to me. As far as I could remember, I’ve only attended a Halloween party once. It was kind of fun because everyone gets to dress up in costumes like they like and have realistic gory make ups on them. It’s not something we can do every day hehe…

    It’s funny how Western and Chinese cultures can be so different yet so similar to one another. Chinese celebrates Halloween too but in a different way. We do prayers and most of us would burn “hell money” which is a form of joss papers printed to represent bank notes, particularly to hungry ghosts in hope that they will not disturb families when they roam around during the hungry ghost festival.

  22. Lew on Oct 19, 2016 at 11:40 pm

    Halloween is gaining popularity in this part of the world. Every year, more and more people celebrate it. I am sure many or most people don’t understand its origin, thinking it is just a cool event where people can put on costume. I myself was not a big fan of Halloween until I have heard Rinpoche talked about it.

    What Pastor Niral and Pastor David wrote is very detail, which involves a lot of histories of the older religions such as Celtics, Pagans, etc. However, the one that caught my attention is Pan, the horned one, who is demonised in order to defame him.

    I hope people can understand the meaning of a festival celebration instead of just following the herd…

  23. Fong on Oct 19, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    Halloween is big in America. The American schools here celebrate it in a big way and the kids look forward to a bit of a scare and loads of candy. It helps the little ones overcome their fear. Hey, if there’s some good that come out of it. Everything is not so scary once we know its roots and purpose, and of course a bit of familiarization.

    So, Halloween had it’s roots in paganism. But, the real practice has been diluted except maybe for a few serious Wiccans and witches. I guess, they are entitled to their believes and I wish them well. Have fun and if no one is harmed, what’s a bit of fun. Life is already suffering, no need to add to it.

  24. William Chua on Oct 19, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    Halloween is a celebration deep in history and traditions. These days, it has become mainly a celebration of partying amongst the young and more of a novelty. It is a time to play dress up and scare people.

    This article is very informative and well researched which gave me a better understanding of the Halloween festivities. What struck me the most is the the Christians has demonised the God Pan in order to convert people into Christianity. That is really considered scare tactic.

  25. Samfoonheei on Oct 19, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    Thank you Pastor David and Pastor Niral for sharing this interesting article.There’s a lot to know about Halloween.Very detail and good explanation for us to understand the whole history of Halloween. The story of Halloween should be told to the younger generation to know what’s all about it….to them its just a festival with scary costumes and party through the night, celebrate in some way or the other without realizing the rich and cultural history behind it.I would not have understand until i read this article.
    What ever happen during “The Burning Times” same goes to practicing of Dorje Shugden as a Evil spirit but in fact is a protector which benefits many of us.Hope CTA will lift the ban on Dorje Shugden soon.

  26. Darren on Oct 19, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    I never really understand much about halloween, but thank you Pastor David & Pastor Niral for history and details of Halloween. 🙂

  27. Echeah on Oct 19, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    These days, Halloween has lost most of its past significance. Halloween is now a time to party, bring out the vampire suit, eye liner and fangs, drink and have fun. Shopping establishments, drinking holes and restaurants cash in on the Halloween theme every year.

    Be careful, when you get a knock on the front door and see a group of children with dark eyes trick or treating, it might be mascara or they might be black eyed children. What do you do? Boo!

  28. Jason Gill on Oct 19, 2016 at 7:09 am

    For me Halloween is the best time of year. The weather is getting colder, the sun sets earlier, plants there were thriving and alive just a month ago are starting to die. I am reminded of impermanence. The changing of Spring and Summer to Autumn and Winter is a constant reminder that I too will one day die.That everyone I know and love will cease to be.

    It is this constant reminder that has allowed me to become comfortable with death. I no longer fear death as many in the world do. I view death more as an old friend that will come to visit when it is my time to pass from this world.

    • Joy Kam on Oct 19, 2016 at 11:13 am

      Dear Jason Gill,

      Welcome to H.E. Tsem Rinpoche’s blog. I’m not sure if you are new here, but welcome anyway. Where are you from if you don’t mind me asking? And have you been on Rinpoche’s blog here before?

      I find your comments very refreshing and original as not many says that they appreciate Halloween and the change of seasons as a great reminder or death and impermanence. Certainly not many view “death” as an “old friend” that will eventually come visit us when the time is right. What you say is very true and when that time comes, those who are prepared will be comfortable and is ready for it, and those who are not will find it difficult to be at peace with it. So what is important is what we are doing now to prepare for it any time.

      Buddhist dharma always talks about this subject, there is even meditation to help us practice how to die and the stages and paths one will experience. When done correctly and consistently,when the time comes, we know what is expected and be calm. Your message has brought great reminders and reflections.

      With your appreciation on such profound deeper subjects, if I may, I would like to recommend some other links on impermanence or death to you. I hope you will enjoy reading and exploring them, if you have not already. Do leave comments of your thoughts as we can all learn from each others’ different perspectives.

      Thank you and good day!

      Below are some links for your reading pleasure…

      1) What Happens When We Die? Here’s What Buddhism Says!
      https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/what-happens-when-we-die-heres-what-buddhism-says.html

      2) The Dying Process
      https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/the-dying-process.html

      3) I spoke about Death Meditation in more detail
      https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/last-night-i-spoke-about-death-meditation-in-more-detail.html

      4) Dealing with Death ( a true and very sincere account)
      http://www.dorjeshugden.org/benefits/dealing-with-death

  29. Bradley Kassian on Oct 19, 2016 at 6:53 am

    Halloween has managed to incorporate the best of it’s long history and origins. I’m not going to lie, who doesn’t want chocolate, or to dress up in costumes for an evening? Halloween is one unique holiday that is both fun for kids and fun for adults. I love having jacko-lanterns, and handing out candy to kids. Where I am, we also have firework displays after 9pm. I also like the horror movie marathons hehe.

    I have a few Wiccan friends who celebrate the holiday as Samhain so I’ve seen some of it’s rustic celtic roots. So I’ve had a taste of different perspectives for this holiday celebrated by many people.

    • BK on Oct 25, 2016 at 7:46 pm

      Bradley, do share what the Wiccan celebration of Samhain were like. There are few Wiccans in Malaysia and most of us would not have had the opportunity to experience Samhain the way you have.

  30. Sofi on Oct 19, 2016 at 12:12 am

    Wow, thank you Pastor David and Pastor Niral for this insight into the origins of Halloween. It certainly had transformed dramatically from its original pagan festival of appeasing the dead to the commercialised celebration of today. Now you only see some connotations of the past in offering of sweets in “trick or treat” game by the children, the dressing up in costumes and the “Jack O’ Lantern”.

    It is interesting to read how the egos of men played in imposition of the idea of their “Godliness” onto others they considered inferior and thus transforming something natural to something evil to be wiped out. Just because the “Wise Ones” who held more importance in position due to their healing powers and probably in tune with nature power, the Christian Churches felt threaten as they would not conform to worshipping their “God”. So the Church demonised the “Witches” in order to destroy their goodness in the people’s perception and hence gives the Church the power to assert their religion on these people. However there are still remnants of their practices that they are not willing to let go and thus the Church use manipulation to incorporate similarity in practices to appease them.

    Reading this article makes me think of the similarity of the ban on Dorje Shugden by the 14th Dalai Lama and CTA on the practitioners. Dorje Shugden was made to be the “Evil Spirit” so that the perception of the people will be affected when in actuality Dorje Shugden is the most beneficial protector practice in this degenerate age. Just as the Witches were persecuted, the Shugden practitioners too faced the abuse and persecution. However, just as the Wiccan practice had prevailed and grown in numbers, the Dorje Shugden practice too survived and had spread in all directions of the world. With the recent proclamation by His Holiness the Dalai Lama that Dorje Shugden does not and never did harm his life nor the Tibetan Freedom cause, I think CTA should heed their esteemed spiritual leader’s message and lift the wrongful ban on Dorje Shugden immediately. It would be a restoration of religious freedom and according human rights back to their people as well as reuniting all Tibetan Buddhist practitioners.

  31. Stella Cheang on Oct 18, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    The facts on and surrounding Halloween are very fascinating because they involved a faith and culture that is little heard of; the Celtic faith. Reading on how Christianity was being spread and levied onto the Celtics remind me of how Christianity had been imposed on the aborigines of America. Interestingly, the religion promotes love and kindness yet it was the missionaries who used unscrupulous method to gain followers. Such technique is not unique to only the Christian history. If we read history of Tibetan Buddhism, we will realize that unscrupulous method is not new. Methar of Tengyeling Monastery is an example how innocent people in spite his spiritual attainment, had been unjustly and brutally murdered.

    Fast forward to the 21st century, Halloween have certainly evolved from its Bagan roots where Halloween was all about bon fire and holy rituals. Today, Halloween is a festival celebrated by many western countries, e.g. USA, Canada, some parts of Europe and increasingly, Asian countries. It is gaining popularity because of the eventful merriment. Many people seize this opportunity to decorate their homes and have a party to dress up in various costume, especially for the kids where they can roam free in the neighborhood to try their hand on “Tricks or Treats”. How nice!

    Thank you Pastor David and Pastor Niral for this article.

  32. Joy Kam on Oct 18, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    What an interesting read and certainly learnt a lot about the true in celebrating Halloween. Wow, so much misconceptions and so much ancient wisdom and truth diluted, perverted and lost. Thankfully ancient writings and modern technology (the internet) has managed to preserve the truth about how it all began if we wanted to investigate further. And this is kind of like what is happening with Dorje Shugden’s lineage, teachings and history too!

    Again due to human greed, power and selfish goals, something positive was turned into negative. The Church literally re-wrote history and set out to convert or destroy whatever or whoever that was in their way of dominating and controlling people through religion. It is no wonder many people today no longer have faith in “organised” religion… it is no wonder why I have friends today that snubs anything religious… so much hatred, bullying, misconceptions and crimes done onto those who were innocent in the name of “God”?! Reminds me again what we’re going through with Dorje Shugden practice and how Tibetan leadership are demonising it, burning its books, and forcefully overtaking and punishing those they feel threatened by … https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/the-buddhist-divide-an-unholy-campaign-against-religious-freedom.html

    Now I know that in actuality “witches” are not “evil”, it just a label, a name for those who worshipped nature (instead of the Christian Catholic God) and they are in fact healers. It is the Church who twisted its meaning and demonising it together with their gender biased MCP views of women. And because of that they were they were hunted down and punishments for continuing their practice! All this because they posed a threat to the growing reach and authority of the Catholic church, so their influence needed to be removed (power and greed).

    There was even a book published by their Pope at that time claiming the link between witched and the devil?! Sound familiar with the an Abbot and the Tibetan leaders who published a book claiming Dorje Shugden is a demon spirit and is bad.

    I also now realise the truth behind the silly depiction of the “Devil” being a half man, half goat/bull, animal with horns. Whereas in reality… he is actually the nature spirit that helps growth and harvest called PAN! Oh my gosh, how blinded and ignorant we have been!

    “The growing influence of Christianity heavily demonised PAN just like the witches. Since his worship was so wide spread and ingrained in pagan culture, the Catholic church sought to equate him with the evil devil himself in order to persuade pagans to convert to Christianity. Therefore, he became synonymous with the devil.
    So the next time you see the image of the ‘devil’ remember that it is the corrupted form of the helpful elemental Pan and there is nothing evil.”

    All this just goes to show how easily WE all just listen and follow blindly when something/someone is BIG/POPULAR/POWERFUL, we just automatically believe them. Sounds familiar again with the Dorje Shugden ban and what His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been saying about it.

    So the moral of the story is after reading this post… don’t just believe whatever people say, always investigate and find out more as knowledge is really power. Now when in celebration of Halloween, instead of it being another commercial making silly holiday, we can celebrate it in appreciation of the Celtic history. Also it is true, which I’ve also always thought so, that Halloween had something to do with the dead crossing over and a time to remember them.

    Thank you for all your research for this brilliant post Pastor Niral and Pastor David. I now have a deeper appreciation for Halloween and loving it even more for the truth behind its history.

    Incredible, how so much misconceptions has been formed about so many things which was once positive, helpful and respected by people. How so many have suffered and was wronged due to jealousy, power and greed. Hence, we need to strive to always preserve the truth and origins of things especially something that could bring great benefit and enlightenment to many, such as Dorje Shugden practice. And we are ever so fortunate to have Rinpoche’s blog here to house and preserve these truths for the future and generations to come. Thank you so much!

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Blog Chat

BLOG CHAT

Dear blog friends,

I’ve created this section for all of you to share your opinions, thoughts and feelings about whatever interests you.

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

Tsem Rinpoche


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UPCOMING TOPICS FOR MAY / 五月份讨论主题

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Give the room a chance to answer you. Patience is a virtue. And if after awhile, people don't respond, perhaps they don't know the answer or they did not see your question. Do ask again or address someone directly. Do not be offended if people do not or are unable to respond to you.

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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.

Noticeboard

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  • Yee Yin
    Wednesday, May 22. 2019 12:42 AM
    I am surprised China is actually quite advanced in environmental protection. Back in the 1960s, they had already started their environmental protection project. Back then they didn’t know if they would be able to grow trees on barren deserts but they did not give up and they keep trying. 57 years later, they created the biggest man-made forest. This is simply amazing. China does not look at short term benefit or return. They look at the long term effects.

    http://bit.ly/480MilTrees
    [no sender]
  • Yee Yin
    Tuesday, May 21. 2019 11:47 PM
    Kazi Dawa Samdup (1868 – 1922) was one of the earliest translators of Tibetan Buddhist texts into the English language, and a pioneer who introduced Tibetan Buddhism to the west. During his lifetime, he had served as the interpreter to kings, lamas, politicians, and explorers such as His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama Thubten Gyatso (1876 – 1933), Alexandra David-Neel (1868 – 1969), the Maharaja of Sikkim Sir Thutob Namgyal (1860 – 1914), and Sir Charles Alfred Bell (1870-1945).

    His encounters with these well-known personalities played an important role in giving him credibility, and attracting those who would offer their assistance to edit and publish his translations, such as Dr. Walter Yeeling Evans-Wentz (1878 – 1965) and Sir John Woodroffe (1865 – 1936).

    http://bit.ly/KaziTranslator
    [no sender]
  • Yee Yin
    Tuesday, May 21. 2019 11:23 PM
    According to Buddhist history, the first recorded use of incense occurred during Buddha Shakyamuni’s time, when a woman named Magadha Sangmo offered incense and prayers to request the Buddha to come forth and visit her village. Magadha Sangmo was the daughter of the Buddha main patron, Suddatta. She mirrored her father’s immense faith in Buddha Shakyamuni and was his ardent devotee.

    http://bit.ly/Sangmo
    [no sender]
  • Chris
    Tuesday, May 21. 2019 10:46 PM
    Thank you, Rinpoche and blog team on sharing this amazing story of Jadav Payeng with us. It is such an inspiration to see how one man’s effort can make a change and leave a remarkable impact on the environment.

    Jadav Payeng is just an ordinary man that lives on Majuli island. When he saw the island is in danger, he jumps into action and starts doing what he can do, which is planting a sapling a day in the barren wasteland of Majuli island.

    In the span of 40 years, a dense forest emerged from his effort and it is now even bigger than central park in New York. Many animals such as elephants, rhinos and even tigers have returned to live in that place. What he said was inspiring.

    “I see bad things happening on my island, and I do what I can to help.” – Jadav Payeng

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/forest-man-of-india-%E5%8D%B0%E5%BA%A6%E6%A3%AE%E6%9E%97%E4%B9%8B%E5%AD%90
  • sarassitham
    Tuesday, May 21. 2019 07:05 PM
    900 million trees are cut down annually throughout the world. Over 29 million trees are chopped off each day and 20 million acres of forests are sacrificed of which 6 million of those acres are turned into wood pulp to make paper. Given the extend of repercussions faced by China due to disrespect for its environment, a change of mindset should take precedence over just merely planting more trees to solve the grave matter. Perhaps this message may help them open their hearts to see that ‘Mother Nature’ is a *powerful force* not to be belittled or trifled with.
    https://bit.ly/1JiV420
  • R.Ummamageswari
    Tuesday, May 21. 2019 02:08 PM
    All of us can’t run away from our own karma where everyone has to face it no matter what happens. Some of us are experiencing the karma now, so it effects our prayers and spritual practices to our god. By reading this article i can understand that by praying and believing in Dorje Shugden, it helps us to create conducive conditions for a robust life and spiritual practice.

    As a Dharma protector, Dorje Shugden will remove our obstacles, and protect us and our loved ones. Dorje Shugden’s ability to manifest in different aspects such as wrathful, peaceful, and so on which is very important as it allows him to connect with more people from different levels, to help them with their differing problems.
    Read more: https://bit.ly/2Mm65rr
  • Sofi
    Tuesday, May 21. 2019 11:44 AM
    His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche’s Precious Teaching Collection

    Since he was a child, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche had shown special abilities to perform various miracles; one being invoking a female naga goddess at a nearby lake from his village.

    Read more about of H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche’s holy Guru, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and his precious teachings: http://bit.ly/HHZongRinpoche
  • R.Ummamageswari
    Tuesday, May 21. 2019 10:54 AM
    Beijing have taken part in various voluntary tree planting activities and planted over 200 million trees over the past 40 years. Trees also reduce the greenhouse effect by shading houses and office buildings. This reduces the need for air conditioning which in turn reduces the amount of fossil fuels burned to produce electricity.

    The combination of carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere, carbon storage in wood and the cooling effect makes trees extremely efficient tools in fighting the greenhouse effect. Planting trees remains one of the most cost-effective means of drawing excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. If every American family planted one tree, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would be reduced by one billion pounds annually. This equates the amount that human activity pumps into the atmosphere each year.
    Read more : https://bit.ly/2EjFq8H
  • nicholas
    Tuesday, May 21. 2019 01:46 AM
    Benefits of Praying to Dorje Shugden
    There are many benefits to praying to Dorje Shugden, which include:

    – Opening our minds to universal wisdom so we can develop clarity of mind, understanding and penetrative insight.
    – Easing the suffering we endure within our minds and helping us to acquire the necessary resources to achieve our full spiritual potential. Dorje Shugden has the ability to provide both physical and spiritual wealth on those who put their trust in him.
    – Increasing lifespan, material resources, merit and spiritual realisations.
    – Neutralising the effects of negative speech and its energies.
    – Safeguarding our physical and mental wellbeing and helping us to achieve our goals.
    – Neutralising the effects of black magic.
    – Providing us with spiritual support so that we can develop stability and determination to alleviate negative mental states that hold us back from achieving our full potential.

    Read more: https://bit.ly/2Mm65rr
  • nicholas
    Tuesday, May 21. 2019 12:24 AM
    Here’s another wonderful selection of supernatural encounters by celebrities. Find these neat as they show that people from all walks of life have experiences. Have a watch, learn and enjoy. Just click below on the video and watch. Very interesting episode.

    https://bit.ly/2Gd20A7
  • Yee Yin
    Monday, May 20. 2019 11:08 PM
    Located at the Longkou Nanshan Scenic Area is the world’s largest, seated bronze Buddha statue. The Longkou Nanshan Giant Buddha statue is 38.55 metre-tall (126 feet) and weighs 380 tonnes. It was completed and consecrated in 2004. The Longkou Nanshan Giant Buddha is also sometimes referred to as the Buddha of the East due to its location in China.

    http://bit.ly/LongkouBuddha
    [no sender]
  • Yee Yin
    Monday, May 20. 2019 10:58 PM
    Mr. John Blofeld who was one of the early Westerners whose genuine interest in Buddhism and the philosophies of the east manifested in his books. His books in turn opened the doorway for the west to be introduced to the vast wisdom of the east, especially from China and Tibet. China’s form of Buddhism is indeed profound and produced countless great masters and practitioners in the last thousand years. China’s culture, customs, way of life, food, writing, dance, music, architecture, inventions and so on have been immense and the impact they have had on the world is beyond measure. China is indeed a great and ancient civilisation.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/art-architecture/john-blofeld-and-his-spiritual-journey.html
    [no sender]
  • Yee Yin
    Monday, May 20. 2019 10:43 PM
    Ku Shulan was not born in a good family. She did not sound to have a good life. She didn’t have the opportunity to get an education and she was married to a husband who always abused her. Her life was just miserable.

    Even though her life was miserable, but she had a very strong passion for papercutting arts. Perhaps this was how she could express her feelings and bring some joy in her. Her works are very vibrant and full of energy. She was not defeated by her tough and difficult life.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/art-architecture/ku-shulan-goddess-of-paper-cut.html
    [no sender]
  • Lin Mun
    Monday, May 20. 2019 09:55 PM
    It’s amazing how one man can plant the trees all by himself and made into a huge forest. So much dedication to the love of nature and environment. I am sure this is not an easy task and require a lot of passion and determination to reach where it is today. Really hope that government will support him in all areas such as financial, human resource and etc. All of us have the responsibility to take care of our environment and we need to do something to save the world for our next generation.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this inspiring article.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/forest-man-of-india-%e5%8d%b0%e5%ba%a6%e6%a3%ae%e6%9e%97%e4%b9%8b%e5%ad%90
  • Lin Mun
    Monday, May 20. 2019 09:08 PM
    This is great idea. Many people live in the high rise buildings nowadays and will usually avoid any plantation. But planting in small container is convenient and very manageable. We can plant some herbs and we can use it for our cooking too. Everyone likes healthy food and organic style. With this method, we can at least produce some easy to plant herbs, and leafy vegetables. Also it is a healthy hobby to engage too. ��

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/container-gardening-how-to-grow-vegetables-without-a-backyard

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

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  Bigfoot, Yeti, Sasquatch

The Unknown

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

Photos On The Go

Click on the images to view the bigger version. And scroll down and click on "View All Photos" to view more images.
After you left me Mumu, I was alone. I have no family or kin. You were my family. I can\'t stop thinking of you and I can\'t forget you. My bond and connection with you is so strong. I wish you were by my side. Tsem Rinpoche
4 hours ago
After you left me Mumu, I was alone. I have no family or kin. You were my family. I can't stop thinking of you and I can't forget you. My bond and connection with you is so strong. I wish you were by my side. Tsem Rinpoche
This story is a life-changer. Learn about the incredible Forest Man of India | 印度“森林之子”- https://bit.ly/2Eh4vRS
3 days ago
This story is a life-changer. Learn about the incredible Forest Man of India | 印度“森林之子”- https://bit.ly/2Eh4vRS
Part 2-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
5 days ago
Part 2-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
Part 1-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
5 days ago
Part 1-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
The great Protector Manjushri Dorje Shugden depicted in the beautiful Mongolian style. To download a high resolution file: https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
6 days ago
The great Protector Manjushri Dorje Shugden depicted in the beautiful Mongolian style. To download a high resolution file: https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
The Mystical land of Shambhala is finally ready for everyone to feast their eyes and be blessed. A beautiful post with information, art work, history, spirituality and a beautiful book composed by His Holiness the 6th Panchen Rinpoche. ~ https://bit.ly/309MHBi
2 weeks ago
The Mystical land of Shambhala is finally ready for everyone to feast their eyes and be blessed. A beautiful post with information, art work, history, spirituality and a beautiful book composed by His Holiness the 6th Panchen Rinpoche. ~ https://bit.ly/309MHBi
Beautiful pictures of the huge Buddha in Longkou Nanshan- https://bit.ly/2LsBxVb
2 weeks ago
Beautiful pictures of the huge Buddha in Longkou Nanshan- https://bit.ly/2LsBxVb
The reason-Very interesting thought- https://bit.ly/2V7VT5r
2 weeks ago
The reason-Very interesting thought- https://bit.ly/2V7VT5r
NEW Bigfoot cafe in Malaysia! Food is delicious!- https://bit.ly/2VxdGau
2 weeks ago
NEW Bigfoot cafe in Malaysia! Food is delicious!- https://bit.ly/2VxdGau
DON\'T MISS THIS!~How brave Bonnie survived by living with a herd of deer~ https://bit.ly/2Lre2eY
2 weeks ago
DON'T MISS THIS!~How brave Bonnie survived by living with a herd of deer~ https://bit.ly/2Lre2eY
Global Superpower China Will Cut Meat Consumption by 50%! Very interesting, find out more- https://bit.ly/2V1sJFh
2 weeks ago
Global Superpower China Will Cut Meat Consumption by 50%! Very interesting, find out more- https://bit.ly/2V1sJFh
You can download this beautiful Egyptian style Dorje Shugden Free- https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
2 weeks ago
You can download this beautiful Egyptian style Dorje Shugden Free- https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
Beautiful high file for print of Lord Manjushri. May you be blessed- https://bit.ly/2V8mwZe
2 weeks ago
Beautiful high file for print of Lord Manjushri. May you be blessed- https://bit.ly/2V8mwZe
Mongolian (Oymiakon) Shaman in Siberia, Russia. That is his real outfit he wears. Very unique. TR
2 weeks ago
Mongolian (Oymiakon) Shaman in Siberia, Russia. That is his real outfit he wears. Very unique. TR
Find one of the most beautiful temples in the world in Nara, Japan. It is the 1,267 year old Todai-ji temple that houses a 15 meter Buddha Vairocana statue who is a cosmic and timeless Buddha. Emperor Shomu who sponsored this beautiful temple eventually abdicated and ordained as a Buddhist monk. Very interesting history and story. One of the places everyone should visit- https://bit.ly/2VgsHhK
2 weeks ago
Find one of the most beautiful temples in the world in Nara, Japan. It is the 1,267 year old Todai-ji temple that houses a 15 meter Buddha Vairocana statue who is a cosmic and timeless Buddha. Emperor Shomu who sponsored this beautiful temple eventually abdicated and ordained as a Buddhist monk. Very interesting history and story. One of the places everyone should visit- https://bit.ly/2VgsHhK
Manjusri Kumara (bodhisattva of wisdom), India, Pala dynesty, 9th century, stone, Honolulu Academy of Arts
3 weeks ago
Manjusri Kumara (bodhisattva of wisdom), India, Pala dynesty, 9th century, stone, Honolulu Academy of Arts
Silver Manjusri figure from Ngemplak Semongan (Indonesia). Apparently during the Shailendra Dynasty, Mahayana Buddhism was very strong in Indonesia. This Dynasty promoted Mahayana Buddhism and Manjushri was a principal Buddha of worship.
3 weeks ago
Silver Manjusri figure from Ngemplak Semongan (Indonesia). Apparently during the Shailendra Dynasty, Mahayana Buddhism was very strong in Indonesia. This Dynasty promoted Mahayana Buddhism and Manjushri was a principal Buddha of worship.
In Buddhism: The Importance of Having a Clean Room- https://bit.ly/2ZgrbKS
3 weeks ago
In Buddhism: The Importance of Having a Clean Room- https://bit.ly/2ZgrbKS
There is an area near Lumbini, Nepal, they have sightings of Yeti for hundreds of years. So they have signages in the area with Yeti artwork to highlight this. Interesting. TR
3 weeks ago
There is an area near Lumbini, Nepal, they have sightings of Yeti for hundreds of years. So they have signages in the area with Yeti artwork to highlight this. Interesting. TR
Photos of footprints (Yeti) are from a high altitude pass (Darwa Pass) connecting Gangotri valley to Yamunotri valley through old pilgrim route.
3 weeks ago
Photos of footprints (Yeti) are from a high altitude pass (Darwa Pass) connecting Gangotri valley to Yamunotri valley through old pilgrim route.
Beautiful picture. Rare. Three holy beings.
3 weeks ago
Beautiful picture. Rare. Three holy beings.
May 1, 2019-I really enjoy this picture of these visitors visiting Dorje Shugden\'s grotto in Kechara Forest Retreat today. They look happy, light and blessed after doing their prayers to Dorje Shugden. I wanted to share this picture.- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
3 weeks ago
May 1, 2019-I really enjoy this picture of these visitors visiting Dorje Shugden's grotto in Kechara Forest Retreat today. They look happy, light and blessed after doing their prayers to Dorje Shugden. I wanted to share this picture.- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
A postcard of my great grand aunt Princess Nirgidma of Torghut-Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
A postcard of my great grand aunt Princess Nirgidma of Torghut-Tsem Rinpoche
Rei Kawakubo – Grand Dame of ‘Hiroshima Chic’- https://bit.ly/2Vz4N06
3 weeks ago
Rei Kawakubo – Grand Dame of ‘Hiroshima Chic’- https://bit.ly/2Vz4N06
Just now, this beautiful grape and orange infused water drink with a blue glass was brought in for me. I was amazed at the colors. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Just now, this beautiful grape and orange infused water drink with a blue glass was brought in for me. I was amazed at the colors. Tsem Rinpoche
We have to look in and change from within to find the way out of all that makes us unhappy.~Tsem Rinpoche 

www.tsemrinpoche.com
3 weeks ago
We have to look in and change from within to find the way out of all that makes us unhappy.~Tsem Rinpoche http://www.tsemrinpoche.com
文冬野人咖啡厅开张了!- https://bit.ly/2IRGdBM
3 weeks ago
文冬野人咖啡厅开张了!- https://bit.ly/2IRGdBM
Click on this picture and read about this very sad girl. Please offer your prayers for her to take a good rebirth. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Click on this picture and read about this very sad girl. Please offer your prayers for her to take a good rebirth. Tsem Rinpoche
Bigfoot cafe in Bentong, Malaysia-Delicious vegetarian food in a beautiful setting- https://bit.ly/2VxdGau
3 weeks ago
Bigfoot cafe in Bentong, Malaysia-Delicious vegetarian food in a beautiful setting- https://bit.ly/2VxdGau
Tsem Rinpoche\'s personal shrine.
3 weeks ago
Tsem Rinpoche's personal shrine.
In Kechara Forest Retreat- Bentong, Malaysia, we have a beautiful outdoor offering grotto dedicated to Lord Dorje Shugden who fulfills the wishes of many visitors- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
3 weeks ago
In Kechara Forest Retreat- Bentong, Malaysia, we have a beautiful outdoor offering grotto dedicated to Lord Dorje Shugden who fulfills the wishes of many visitors- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
Guhya Manjushri of the Forbidden City| 密德文殊室利佛- https://bit.ly/2J3HIvM
4 weeks ago
Guhya Manjushri of the Forbidden City| 密德文殊室利佛- https://bit.ly/2J3HIvM
A temple with a thousand Bodhi trees. Unusual and blessed- https://bit.ly/2Xn6nj6
4 weeks ago
A temple with a thousand Bodhi trees. Unusual and blessed- https://bit.ly/2Xn6nj6
My way of sharing....
1 month ago
My way of sharing....
Peace
1 month ago
Peace
Please contemplate deeply what this message is sharing. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
Please contemplate deeply what this message is sharing. Tsem Rinpoche
Japanese Buddha statues. Beautiful program- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIfNibljnoI
1 month ago
Japanese Buddha statues. Beautiful program- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIfNibljnoI
Japanese Buddhist altars. Beautiful- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4uqb3jPpCs
1 month ago
Japanese Buddhist altars. Beautiful- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4uqb3jPpCs
Beautiful Lord Buddha carving which is so elegant. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
Beautiful Lord Buddha carving which is so elegant. Tsem Rinpoche
We can love others as we heal ourselves inside...~Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
We can love others as we heal ourselves inside...~Tsem Rinpoche
Beautiful short and powerful teaching by Dilgo Kyentse Rinpoche
1 month ago
Beautiful short and powerful teaching by Dilgo Kyentse Rinpoche
China\'s huge Buddha statues. Amazingly beautiful- https://bit.ly/2DgSXxT
1 month ago
China's huge Buddha statues. Amazingly beautiful- https://bit.ly/2DgSXxT
Such a powerful imagery of Lord Buddha\'s determination. Fasting Buddha\'s meaning- HTTP://bit.ly/2VCfKLa
1 month ago
Such a powerful imagery of Lord Buddha's determination. Fasting Buddha's meaning- http://bit.ly/2VCfKLa
This poor boy is being forced to leave his friend to be sold for slaughter. Children have a natural connection with animals, and they know it is wrong to hurt and kill them. Children lose this connection by being indoctrinated (brainwashed) by their parents/peers into believing animals are here to be exploited, killed, and eaten.- from Lucinda Smyth FB page
1 month ago
This poor boy is being forced to leave his friend to be sold for slaughter. Children have a natural connection with animals, and they know it is wrong to hurt and kill them. Children lose this connection by being indoctrinated (brainwashed) by their parents/peers into believing animals are here to be exploited, killed, and eaten.- from Lucinda Smyth FB page
Some people really struggle and put in so much effort in their lives. Amazing. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
Some people really struggle and put in so much effort in their lives. Amazing. Tsem Rinpoche
18th Century Mongolian made Namgyalma statue. Very artistic. Very beautiful. Usually her arms are \'all over the place\' but this one is so artistically placed and poised. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
18th Century Mongolian made Namgyalma statue. Very artistic. Very beautiful. Usually her arms are 'all over the place' but this one is so artistically placed and poised. Tsem Rinpoche
My mother Ms. Dewa Nimbo came out with a new book. I am happy for her. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
My mother Ms. Dewa Nimbo came out with a new book. I am happy for her. Tsem Rinpoche
Challenges makes you more responsible. Always remember that life without struggle is a life without success. Don\'t give up and learn not to quit.~-Rumi
1 month ago
Challenges makes you more responsible. Always remember that life without struggle is a life without success. Don't give up and learn not to quit.~-Rumi
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  • Our Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir speaks so well, logically and regarding our country’s collaboration with China for growth. It is refreshing to listen to Dr. Mahathir’s thoughts. He said our country can look to China for many more things such as technology and so on. Tsem Rinpoche
    3 weeks ago
    Our Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir speaks so well, logically and regarding our country’s collaboration with China for growth. It is refreshing to listen to Dr. Mahathir’s thoughts. He said our country can look to China for many more things such as technology and so on. Tsem Rinpoche
  • This is the first time His Holiness Dalai Lama mentions he had some very serious illness. Very worrying. This video is captured April 2019.
    3 weeks ago
    This is the first time His Holiness Dalai Lama mentions he had some very serious illness. Very worrying. This video is captured April 2019.
  • Beautiful Monastery in Hong Kong
    1 month ago
    Beautiful Monastery in Hong Kong
  • This dog thanks his hero in such a touching way. Tsem Rinpoche
    1 month ago
    This dog thanks his hero in such a touching way. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Join Tsem Rinpoche in prayer for H.H. Dalai Lama’s long life~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYy7JcveikU&feature=youtu.be
    1 month ago
    Join Tsem Rinpoche in prayer for H.H. Dalai Lama’s long life~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYy7JcveikU&feature=youtu.be
  • These people going on pilgrimage to a holy mountain and prostrating out of devotion and for pilgrimage in Tibet. Such determination for spiritual practice. Tsem Rinpoche
    1 month ago
    These people going on pilgrimage to a holy mountain and prostrating out of devotion and for pilgrimage in Tibet. Such determination for spiritual practice. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Beautiful new casing in Kechara for Vajra Yogini. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 months ago
    Beautiful new casing in Kechara for Vajra Yogini. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Get ready to laugh real hard. This is Kechara’s version of “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane!” We have some real talents in this video clip.
    2 months ago
    Get ready to laugh real hard. This is Kechara’s version of “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane!” We have some real talents in this video clip.
  • Recitation of Dorje Dermo‘s mantra or the Dharani of Glorious Vajra Claws. This powerful mantra is meant to destroy all obstacles that come in our way. Beneficial to play this mantra in our environments.
    2 months ago
    Recitation of Dorje Dermo‘s mantra or the Dharani of Glorious Vajra Claws. This powerful mantra is meant to destroy all obstacles that come in our way. Beneficial to play this mantra in our environments.
  • Beautiful
    2 months ago
    Beautiful
    Beautiful sacred Severed Head Vajra Yogini from Tsem Rinpoche's personal shrine.
  • My little monster cute babies Dharma and Oser. Take a look and get a cute attack for the day! Tsem Rinpoche
    2 months ago
    My little monster cute babies Dharma and Oser. Take a look and get a cute attack for the day! Tsem Rinpoche
  • Plse watch this short video and see how all sentient beings are capable of tenderness and love. We should never hurt animals nor should we eat them. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 months ago
    Plse watch this short video and see how all sentient beings are capable of tenderness and love. We should never hurt animals nor should we eat them. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Cruelty of some people have no limits and it’s heartbreaking. Being kind cost nothing. Tsem Rinpoche
    3 months ago
    Cruelty of some people have no limits and it’s heartbreaking. Being kind cost nothing. Tsem Rinpoche
  • SUPER ADORABLE and must see
    4 months ago
    SUPER ADORABLE and must see
    Tsem Rinpoche's dog Oser girl enjoying her snack in her play pen.
  • Cute!
    4 months ago
    Cute!
    Oser girl loves the balcony so much. - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTcoWpKJm2c
  • Uncle Wong
    5 months ago
    Uncle Wong
    We were told by Uncle Wong he is very faithful toward Dorje Shugden. Dorje Shugden has extended help to him on several occasions and now Uncle Wong comes daily to make incense offerings to Dorje Shugden. He is grateful towards the help he was given.
  • Tsem Rinpoche’s Schnauzer Dharma boy fights Robot sphere from Arkonide!
    5 months ago
    Tsem Rinpoche’s Schnauzer Dharma boy fights Robot sphere from Arkonide!
  • Cute baby owl found and rescued
    5 months ago
    Cute baby owl found and rescued
    We rescued a lost baby owl in Kechara Forest Retreat.
  • Nice cups from Kechara!!
    5 months ago
    Nice cups from Kechara!!
    Dorje Shugden people's lives matter!
  • Enjoy a peaceful morning at Kechara Forest Retreat
    5 months ago
    Enjoy a peaceful morning at Kechara Forest Retreat
    Chirping birds and other forest animals create a joyful melody at the Vajrayogini stupa in Kechara Forest Retreat (Bentong, Malaysia).
  • His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche makes offering of khata to Dorje Shugden.
    5 months ago
    His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche makes offering of khata to Dorje Shugden.
    Trijang Rinpoche never gave up his devotion to Dorje Shugden no matter how much Tibetan government in exile pressured him to give up. He stayed loyal inspiring so many of us.
  • Very rare video of His Holiness Panchen Rinpoche the 10th, the all knowing and compassionate one. I pay deep respects to this attained being who has taken many rebirths since the time of Lord Buddha to be of benefit to sentient beings tirelessly. Tsem Rinpoche
    5 months ago
    Very rare video of His Holiness Panchen Rinpoche the 10th, the all knowing and compassionate one. I pay deep respects to this attained being who has taken many rebirths since the time of Lord Buddha to be of benefit to sentient beings tirelessly. Tsem Rinpoche
  • This bigfoot researcher gives good reasonings on bigfoot. Interesting short video.
    5 months ago
    This bigfoot researcher gives good reasonings on bigfoot. Interesting short video.
  • His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche of Gaden Shartse Monastery was one of the teachers of Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. Here in this beautiful video is Geshe Kelsang Gyatso showing his centre to Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, then proceeding to sit down to receive teachings. For more information- https://bit.ly/2QNac1u
    5 months ago
    His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche of Gaden Shartse Monastery was one of the teachers of Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. Here in this beautiful video is Geshe Kelsang Gyatso showing his centre to Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, then proceeding to sit down to receive teachings. For more information- https://bit.ly/2QNac1u
  • Tsem Rinpoche’s dog, Oser girl always sits on Rinpoche’s chair. When Rinpoche’s other dog, Dharma tries to get into the chair, he is chased away. Oser is the boss. She is possessive. Cute.
    6 months ago
    Tsem Rinpoche’s dog, Oser girl always sits on Rinpoche’s chair. When Rinpoche’s other dog, Dharma tries to get into the chair, he is chased away. Oser is the boss. She is possessive. Cute.
  • Lama Yeshe talks about how to practice at the beginning and at the end of each day during teachings given in London during the Lamas’ first European teaching tour in 1975. Lama Yeshe was a brilliant teacher and I wanted to share this with everyone so his teachings can reach more people. Tsem Rinpoche
    6 months ago
    Lama Yeshe talks about how to practice at the beginning and at the end of each day during teachings given in London during the Lamas’ first European teaching tour in 1975. Lama Yeshe was a brilliant teacher and I wanted to share this with everyone so his teachings can reach more people. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Our beautiful Dorje Shugden shop in the busiest part of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Many tourists visit our store and this area.
    6 months ago
    Our beautiful Dorje Shugden shop in the busiest part of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Many tourists visit our store and this area.
  • Living off the grid in Australia
    6 months ago
    Living off the grid in Australia
    A Jill Redwood is a jack of all trades, Jill built her own house on her property and lives entirely off the grid with no mains power or town water, mobile reception or television. Living on around $80 a week, Jill has over sixty animals to keep her company and an abundant garden that out serves as an organic supermarket right at her doorstep. Her main expenses are animal feed and the rates on her property. Watch this incredible three minute video and be inspired to live differently.
  • Kyabje Dagom Choktrul Rinpoche offering gold on a 350 year-old Dorje Shugden statue in his chapel in Lhasa. This is how Tibetans show homage and pay respect to a holy image. This chapel and statue of Dorje Shugden in Lhasa dedicated to Dorje Shugden was built by the Great 5th Dalai Lama. Tsem Rinpoche
    6 months ago
    Kyabje Dagom Choktrul Rinpoche offering gold on a 350 year-old Dorje Shugden statue in his chapel in Lhasa. This is how Tibetans show homage and pay respect to a holy image. This chapel and statue of Dorje Shugden in Lhasa dedicated to Dorje Shugden was built by the Great 5th Dalai Lama. Tsem Rinpoche
  • My sweet little Oser girl is so photogenic and adorable. Tsem Rinpoche
    6 months ago
    My sweet little Oser girl is so photogenic and adorable. Tsem Rinpoche
  • This topic is so hot in many circles right now.
    2 yearss ago
    This topic is so hot in many circles right now.
    This video is thought-provoking and very interesting. Watch! Thanks so much to our friends at LIVEKINDLY.
  • Chiropractic CHANGES LIFE for teenager with acute PAIN & DEAD LEG.
    2 yearss ago
    Chiropractic CHANGES LIFE for teenager with acute PAIN & DEAD LEG.
  • BEAUTIFUL PLACE IN NEW YORK STATE-AMAZING.
    2 yearss ago
    BEAUTIFUL PLACE IN NEW YORK STATE-AMAZING.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio takes on the meat Industry with real action.
    2 yearss ago
    Leonardo DiCaprio takes on the meat Industry with real action.
  • Do psychic mediums have messages from beyond?
    2 yearss ago
    Do psychic mediums have messages from beyond?
  • Lovely gift for my 52nd Birthday. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 yearss ago
    Lovely gift for my 52nd Birthday. Tsem Rinpoche
  • This 59-year-old chimpanzee was refusing food and ready to die until...
    2 yearss ago
    This 59-year-old chimpanzee was refusing food and ready to die until...
    she received “one last visit from an old friend” 💔💔
  • Bigfoot sighted again and made it to the news.
    2 yearss ago
    Bigfoot sighted again and made it to the news.
  • Casper is such a cute and adorable. I like him.
    2 yearss ago
    Casper is such a cute and adorable. I like him.
  • Dorje Shugden Monastery Amarbayasgalant  Mongolia's Ancient Hidden Gem
    2 yearss ago
    Dorje Shugden Monastery Amarbayasgalant Mongolia's Ancient Hidden Gem
  • Don't you love Hamburgers? See how 'delicious' it is here!
    2 yearss ago
    Don't you love Hamburgers? See how 'delicious' it is here!
  • Such a beautiful and powerful message from a person who knows the meaning of life. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 yearss ago
    Such a beautiful and powerful message from a person who knows the meaning of life. Tsem Rinpoche
  • What the meat industry figured out is that you don't need healthy animals to make a profit.
    2 yearss ago
    What the meat industry figured out is that you don't need healthy animals to make a profit.
    Sick animals are more profitable... farms calculate how close to death they can keep animals without killing them. That's the business model. How quickly they can be made to grow, how tightly they can be packed, how much or how little can they eat, how sick they can get without dying... We live in a world in which it's conventional to treat an animal like a block of wood. ~ Jonathan Safran Foer
  • This video went viral and it's a must watch!!
    2 yearss ago
    This video went viral and it's a must watch!!
  • SEE HOW THIS ANIMAL SERIAL KILLER HAS NO ISSUE BLUDGEONING THIS DEFENSELESS BEING.
    2 yearss ago
    SEE HOW THIS ANIMAL SERIAL KILLER HAS NO ISSUE BLUDGEONING THIS DEFENSELESS BEING.
    This happens daily in slaughterhouse so you can get your pork and Bak ku teh. Stop eating meat.

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CHAT PICTURES

Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
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Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
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Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
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Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
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Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
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Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
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Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
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Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
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Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
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Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
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Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
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Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
2 hours ago
Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
2 hours ago
Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
2 hours ago
Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
2 hours ago
Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
2 hours ago
Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
2 hours ago
Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
2 hours ago
Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
2 hours ago
Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
2 hours ago
Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
2 hours ago
Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
2 hours ago
Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
2 hours ago
Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
2 hours ago
Glimpses of Wesak Day celebration at Kechara Forest Retreat
Glimpses of Wesak
2 hours ago
Glimpses of Wesak
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