Anagarika Dharmapala: The Revered Buddhist Revivalist

By | Feb 19, 2018 | Views: 1,007

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(By Tsem Rinpoche and Pastor Adeline)

Formerly known as David Hewavitharne, Anagarika Dharmapala (Sinhalese: අනගාරික ධර්මපාල) of Sri Lanka was one of the most revered Buddhist revivalists and writers of the 20th Century. He was well known as a significant reformer of Buddhism in Sri Lanka as well as one of the founding fathers of non-violent Sinhalese Buddhist nationalism. He was also one of the pioneers who revived Buddhism in India after it had been completely destroyed there, and the first Buddhist to preach the Dharma in Asia, Europe, and North America in modern times.

Together with Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and Colonel Henry Steel Olcott, Anagarika Dharmapala (henceforth referred to as Dharmapala) played a crucial role in the transmission of Sri Lankan Buddhism to the West. He also inspired a mass movement of South Indian Dalits, including the Tamils, to embrace Buddhism ahead of B.R. Ambedkar.

Dharmapala founded the Maha Bodhi Society of India in 1891, spoke at the 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions, and restored many sacred Buddhist monasteries and temples. In the latter stages of his life, he entered the order of Buddhist Sangha and was known as Venerable Sri Devamitta Dharmapala.

The Theosophists of 1893. Anagarika Dharmapala is seated on the front left.

The Theosophists of 1893. Anagarika Dharmapala is seated on the front left.

 

Early Life

On 17 September 1864, the leading light of Sri Lanka’s Buddhist Renaissance Movement, who was destined to spur on the people of Sri Lanka, was born into the Hewavitharne family, a rich and influential devout Buddhist family in Matara, Colombo. His father, Don Carolis Hewavitharne of Hiththetiya, was the owner of a furniture shop and his mother, Mallika Dharmagunawardhana, was the daughter of the richest merchant of Ceylon at the time, Andiris Perera Dharmagunawardhana. His given name was Don David Hewavitharne and his two younger brothers were Dr Charles Alwis Hewavitharne and Edmund Hewavitharne. Sri Lanka at that time was known as Ceylon, a British colony, and so the three brothers were educated according to the English schooling system. Dharmapala attended Christian College in Kotte; St Benedict’s College in Kotahena; St Thomas’ College in Mutwal and the Colombo Academy (Royal College).

Don Carolis Hewavitharne and Mallika Dharmagunawardhana

Anagarika Dharmapala’s parents, Don Carolis Hewavitharne and Mallika Dharmagunawardhana

Although educated in Christian schools, Dharmapala’s ideas were shaped by and conformed with the Buddhist way of life. In 1874, when he was only 10 years old, he attended a great debate between the Buddhist monks Venerable Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thera and Migettuwatte Sri Gunananda Thera, and Christian missionaries in Ceylon. Sometime later, the Founders of the Theosophical Society, Madame Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott, heard about the debate and wrote to the monks to inform them that they would travel to Ceylon to help with the Buddhist cause in the interest of universal brotherhood. Dharmapala wrote:

“The letters from Colonel Olcott and Madame Blavatsky were translated into Sinhalese and widely distributed. My heart warmed towards these two strangers, so far away and yet so sympathetic, and I made up my mind that, when they came to Ceylon, I would join them.

They did come to Colombo a few years later, when I was sixteen. The Buddhists entertained them royally. I remember going up to greet them. The moment I touched their hands, I felt overjoyed. The desire for universal brotherhood, for all the things they wanted for humanity, struck a responsive chord in me. I began to read their magazine… I pondered on the conversations I had had with the two Theosophists. I made up my mind not to entangle myself in the net of worldly desires. I would endeavour from then on to devote my life to the welfare of others. Exactly how I was to carry out my resolve, I was not certain, but I felt that somehow the way would be found in the writings of Madame Blavatsky.”

Source: The Esoteric World of Madame Blavatsky, by Daniel H Caldwell

 

Spiritual Imprints

It was in 1875 in New York that Madame Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott founded the Theosophical Society. Both were very sympathetic to what they understood about Buddhism and even declared themselves to be Buddhists. They even took Buddhist refuge vows and precepts from a prominent Sinhalese bhikkhu in 1880 when they arrived in Ceylon. It was at this time that the 16-year-old Dharmapala had the opportunity to meet them, an event that drew him into a life of religious dedication.

Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and Colonel Henry Steel Olcott

Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and Colonel Henry Steel Olcott

Three years later in 1883, the 19-year-old Dharmapala had already mastered the foundations of Christian theology and knew more than half of the Bible by heart. Dharmapala used this knowledge to highlight the hypocrisy he perceived in his missionary instructors. That year, a mob of Sri Lankan Catholics attacked a Buddhist procession, which prompted him to leave school. It was then that he turned his intellectual pursuits to Buddhism instead. Not long after that, he found himself studying under the two great and influential Buddhist leaders of the time, Venerable Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thera and Migettuwatte Sri Gunananda Thera. As a result, he developed great devotion towards Buddhist monks and this can be seen in one of his autobiographical notes, where he states:

“In contrast to my wine-drinking, meat-eating, and pleasure-loving missionary teachers, the Bhikkhus were meek and abstemious. I loved their company and would sit quietly in a corner and listen to their wise discourse, even when it was far above my head.”

Source: The Bible and Asia, by R. S. Sugirtharajah

Dharmapala began to read The Theosophist and other Theosophical books and, over time, became even more attracted to the works of Madame Blavatsky. On 3 February 1884, during Colonel Olcott’s visit to Ceylon, he signed the young Dharmapala up as a member of the Theosophical Society. In December that same year, the young Dharmapala was asked to travel to Chennai to assist with Madame Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott’s work. When his father refused, Dharmapala recounted:

“Madame Blavatsky faced the priests and my united family. She was a wonderful woman, with energy and will-power that pushed aside all obstacles. She said, ‘That boy will die if you do not let him go. I will take him with me anyway.'”

Source: The Biographical Process: Studies in the History and Psychology of Religion, by Frank E. Reynolds and Donald Capps

Indeed, Madame Blavatsky took Dharmapala to Adyar, Chennai in India without his father’s permission. Once, when he was in Adyar, he expressed his willingness to devote his life to the Theosophical cause. Instead, Madame Blavatsky advised him to learn Pali and work for the welfare of humanity. She told him not to take up the study of occultism.

Upon returning from India, he lived at the Theosophical Society Headquarters. Two years after that, in 1886, when Colonel Olcott and C.W. Leadbeater travelled to Ceylon, Dharmapala was working as a junior clerk and had already acquired a sound knowledge of the English, Sinhalese and Pali languages. In addition, he had also mastered the Buddhist scriptures.

Not long after, Dharmapala accompanied Colonel Olcott and Leadbeater on their tour throughout Ceylon, dedicating his time towards the welfare of Buddhism and the Theosophical Society. By that time, Dharmapala had his parents and uncle all working alongside Colonel Olcott to revive Buddhism, including introducing the Buddhist flag as a unifying symbol, and supporting Buddhist schools.

In 1889, Dharmapala travelled to Japan with Colonel Olcott in an effort to create an ecumenical “International Buddhist League”. From Japan, they travelled to Singapore, Hong Kong, Saigon, and Shanghai. The trip was hard on Dharmapala’s health. When winter hit Japan that year, Dharmapala had to be hospitalised due to severe rheumatism. After returning to South Asia, Dharmapala and Colonel Olcott established the Maha Bodhi Society in 1891. The trip to Bodhgaya was inspired by an earlier visit there in 1885 by Sir Edwin Arnold, the author of ‘The Light of Asia’. In accordance with the advice of Weligama Sri Sumangala Thera, Sir Edwin had advocated for the renovation of the site and its return to Buddhist care. Dharmapala resolved to restore Bodhgaya to its former status as a Buddhist holy site and began an international campaign that was to last until his death in 1933.

Sir Edwin Arnold, author of ‘The Light of Asia’

Sir Edwin Arnold, the author of ‘The Light of Asia

 

Buddhist Revival

Colonel Olcott was very devoted to the Buddhist education cause in Ceylon, and made countless trips there. As a result, he eventually set up more than 300 Buddhist schools in the country, some of which are still in existence today. It was during this period that David Hewavitharne decided to change his name to Anagarika Dharmapala. In Pali, Anagarika means ‘homeless one’ while Dharmapala means ‘Dharma Protector‘. An Anagarika is a midway status between an ordained member of the Sangha and a layperson.

In accordance with Buddhist practice at that time, Dharmapala took the Eight Precepts (to refrain from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, wrong speech, intoxicating substances, eating after noon, entertainment and fashion, and sleeping on luxurious beds), making these commitments for life. These Eight Precepts were commonly observed by Ceylonese laypersons on days of observance but not for life. Dharmapala was the first anagarika who was celibate and a full-time Dharma worker in modern times. It is said that he actually took the vows of celibacy when he was eight years old, and held them all his life.

Anagarika Dharmapala

Anagarika Dharmapala

After he changed his name and took his vows, he changed his attire to a yellow robe that was not of the traditional bhikkhu pattern, and kept his hair. Having renounced the wealth, position and comforts of secular life, Dharmapala began his spiritual work, travelling around the world and becoming a role model for lay activism among modern Buddhists. He is also viewed as a Bodhisattva in Ceylon.

Dharmapala’s commitment to a spiritual life was exemplified by his application to Helena Petrovna Blavatsky’s School of Discipleship, the Esoteric Section of the Theosophical Society, on 4 January 1891. Dharmapala marked this date in his diary as the day he began a new life. On 3 March 1891, his certificate of admission arrived with a letter from Bertram Keightley, Madame Blavatsky’s representative at the esoteric school in India, which stated:

“Your progress and development will be determined by the quantity and quality of the work you do for the Theosophical Society and the Masters, and your future status in the school will solely depend thereon.”

Source: http://theosophy.wiki/w-en/index.php?title=Anagarika_Dharmapala

On 8 May 1891, Madame Blavatsky passed away in London and Dharmapala marked her passing in his diary with the poignant words, “My beloved teacher is no more.

Dharmapala journeyed to remote villages in Ceylon to see for himself how the handicapped and local villagers were forced to suffer without proper roads, houses, schools and hospitals. Not long after, he became convinced that the greatness of a nation depended solely on the happiness and contentment of its rural folk. To Dharmapala, it was a fact. He dreamed of the day when Ceylon would gain independence, in order to breathe life back into local religion and the pristine glory of the Sinhala race. It was for these ends that Dharmapala served the Dharma in many ways. The most outstanding was the active part he played in reviving Buddhism in Ceylon and his contribution to the nationalist movement. He campaigned for these causes amidst tremendous difficulties without giving up.

In 1893, Colonel Olcott sponsored Dharmapala’s invitation to attend the World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago as a speaker representing Theravada Buddhism. With his erudite knowledge of the Dharma, Dharmapala and the Japanese Zen master Soyen Shaku inspired the first wave of interest in Buddhism amongst European-Americans. Dharmapala also gave lectures at the Parliament and during the Theosophical Congress, which was held around the same time.

The 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions held on the shore of Lake Michigan, Chicago, was the largest and most spectacular event among many other congresses in the World’s Columbian Exposition.

The 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions held on the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago, was the largest and most spectacular event among many other congresses in the World’s Columbian Exposition.

A description of Dharmapala was published in the St. Louis Observer on his memorable presentation at the 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions:

“With black curly locks thrown from his broad brow, his clean, clear eyes fixed upon the audience, his long, brown fingers emphasising the utterances of his vibrant voice, he looked the very image of a propagandist, and one trembled to know that such a figure stood at the head of the movement to consolidate all the disciples of Buddha and to spread the light of Asia throughout the world.”

Source: Buddhist Faith in America, by Michael Burgan, J. Gordon Melton

Dharmapala sailed to England a month before the Congress in July and was warmly greeted by Sir Edwin Arnold, C.W. Leadbeater, Bertram Keightley, and the young C. Jinarajadasa. Sir Edwin hosted Dharmapala in his house and when he journeyed to London, he stayed with Annie Besant. Mrs. Besant was furious to discover that he planned to travel by third class to New York, and so she upgraded him to first class instead. Dharmapala and Mrs. Besant arrived in the United States on September 2, after which Dharmapala continued to Chicago by train.

Dharmapala with Colonel Olcott and Annie Besant at 1893 Congress

Dharmapala with Colonel Olcott and Annie Besant at the 1893 Theosophical Congress

After the Congress, he spoke about “The World’s Debt to Buddha” and “Buddhism and Christianity” at the Parliament and both talks captivated people’s attention. Dharmapala skilfully ignited a desire to learn more about Buddhism amongst Western audiences, and his talks included references to science, Christianity and the European Enlightenment. He explained that the Buddha had denied the existence of a creator, and told his audience that science was preparing Western minds for Buddhist teachings. He remarked:

“Accepting the doctrine of evolution as the only true one, with its corollary, the law of cause and effect, he condemns the idea of a creator and strictly forbids inquiry into it as being useless.”

Dharmapala also added that Buddhism was “a comprehensive system of ethics and a transcendental metaphysics embracing a sublime psychology.” During the two-day congress organised by the Theosophical Society, Dharmapala was the appointed representative of the Ceylon Section of the organisation. He spoke twice, with 4,000 people present for his second talk, and gave a general presentation of Theosophy. His opening words were:

“Brothers and Sisters — A philosophical exposition of this grand subject of Theosophy is not within my province. Abler minds are here to give a Theosophic exposition of that beautiful subject. I am here as a Buddhist. I come to attend the religious Congress as such; but I am here to-day to express my deepest sympathy, my deepest, I should say, allegiance to the Theosophic cause, simply because it made me respect my own religion. And now look: there are Brahmans here on this platform, and here are my sweet sister, Mrs. Muller, and my brother Chakravarti, one a Brahman and the other a Christian, and by the study of Theosophy she loves it just now more than she used to do.”

Source: Dawn of Religious Pluralism: Voices From the World’s Parliament of Religions, 1893. Edited by Richard Hughes Seager.

Dharmapala brought the teachings of the Buddha to the Western world in a manner like never before through his talks. Needless to say, his work in America brought him international recognition and he made a deep impression on his Chicago hosts:

“No one who saw him then could ever forget the noble and Christ like beauty of the noted Sinhalese Buddhist and friend of H.P.B., Dharmapala. Tall and almost luminously ascetic, robed classically in spotless white, he was a lodestone to the throngs who swarmed into those meetings. Merely to look at him was a revelation of character and spiritual attainment.”

Leoline Leonard Wright, “Vignettes from the World’s Congress of Religions”

In a well-attended public ceremony in Chicago, he led the first American to accept Buddhism. It was held under the auspices of the Theosophical Society. The individual was Mr. C.T. Strauss, a Jewish haberdasher and member of the Theosophical Society delegation, who would later become an author and leading expositor of Buddhism in the West. Dharmapala visited Brooklyn, New York after Chicago where he met more members of the Society, attended some meetings, and gave a talk at the Aryan Theosophical Society. He also visited San Francisco on his way back home where he met more members of the Theosophical Society and gave them a public lecture that resulted in favourable comments in the West Coast newspaper.

Mary Elizabeth Mikahala Robinson Foster

Mary Elizabeth Mikahala Robinson Foster

Dharmapala made a good impression on the people he met and was described as a person of “gentleness, sincerity, and devotion”. When he stopped by Honolulu, the Hawaiian Theosophists greeted him warmly. There he met Mary E. Foster, a descendant of King Kamehameha, who later became a major donor to his causes. She had emotional problems and Dharmapala counselled her using Buddhist techniques. In return, she granted him an enormous donation of over one million rupees (equivalent to over $2.7 million as of 2010, but worth much more due to lower costs of goods and services in India).

At the World’s Parliament of Religions, Dharmapala also encountered important people in his life such as D.T. Suzuki, a brilliant Japanese scholar who was married to Theosophist Beatrice Lane Suzuki, and Dr. Paul Carus of the Open Court Publishing Company. He also became very friendly with Swami Vivekananda, and had great praise for the swami’s impact at the Parliament.

Dharmapala returned to America in 1896, invited by Dr. Paul Carus and again in 1902-1904, where he travelled and taught widely. He was in demand as a speaker, particularly after his notable performance in Chicago in 1893. During his 1896-1897 trip and subsequent visits to the US, he gave lectures to both Buddhists and Theosophists. Chicago Branch members wrote in December 1896:

“The last few months we have had the advantage of having with us three ‘wise men from the East’, the well-known Buddhist bhikshu, Anagarika H. Dharmapala, Virchand Ghandi, B.A., and Saalan, who are instructing us in Hindu philosophy, etc. and have been giving Sunday evening lectures on lines practically identical with Theosophical teachings.”

Source: http://theosophy.wiki/w-en/index.php?title=Anagarika_Dharmapala

On 30 October 1896, Dharmapala responded to a request by Dr. J.D. Buck to schedule a lecture, stating:

“I have received your kind note. I am sorry I have engagements accepted all through November. Early December I may or may not remain in Chicago.

You ask me “What would your price or terms be?” A follower of Buddha charges no price; he gives freely and abundantly. He lives for the world and works without expecting reward of any kind. Wherever I am asked to go, I go.

Source: http://theosophy.wiki/w-en/index.php?title=Anagarika_Dharmapala

During a visit to Boston in December 1903, Dharmapala attended a class by William James, a well-known American philosopher and psychologist, at Harvard University.

“I tried unobtrusively to reach the back of the lecture-hall to hear the great teacher of psychology, but it is difficult for a man in a yellow robe to be inconspicuous in America. Professor James saw me and motioned for me to come to the front of the hall. He said: ‘Take my chair, and I shall sit with my students. You are better equipped to lecture on psychology than I am.’ After I had outlined to his advanced class some elements of Buddhist doctrine, he turned to his students and said, ‘This is the psychology everybody will be studying twenty-five years from now.'”

Source: The Uses of Variety: Modern Americanism and the Quest for National Distinctiveness, by Carrie Tirado Bramen

In addition, Dharmapala’s portrait was featured as the frontispiece of The Chicago Vegetarian during his stay in that city. His article ‘The Best Food for Man’ was also printed in the work.

Dharmapala eventually separated from Colonel Olcott and the Theosophists because of the Colonel’s stance on universal religion. As pointed out by scholar David McMahan:

“One of the important factors in his rejection of theosophy centred on this issue of universalism; the price of Buddhism being assimilated into a non-Buddhist model of truth was ultimately too high for him.”

Source: The Making of Buddhist Modernism, by David L. McMahan

Dharmapala also stated that Theosophy was “only consolidating Krishna worship. To say that all religions have a common foundation only shows the ignorance of the speaker; Dharma alone is supreme to the Buddhist.”

At the same time, the differences between Colonel Olcott and Dharmapala seemed to be about their priorities. Colonel Olcott’s first priority was to spread Buddhist teachings, while Dharmapala prioritised the struggle to regain control of the temple at Bodhgaya, the sacred site where Lord Buddha Shakyamuni attained enlightenment, which at the time was under the control of a Hindu sect.

This rift grew further and resulted in Colonel Olcott’s resignation from the Maha Bodhi Society and Dharmapala’s resignation from the Theosophical Society in 1905. However, Dharmapala always held a connection with Madame Blavatsky’s teachings. In July 1925, he wrote to Christmas Humphreys saying that Madame Blavatsky was “the messenger of the Masters of Trans-Himalayan Lodge” and that he was a member of the Blavatsky Association in London. He said he wished “to see through it the spread of such teachings as were given by H.P.B. as she received them from the Masters” and added he thought there were “quite a number of Theosophists who were inclined towards the Buddha Dhamma.”

 

Religious Contributions

An English Letter Written By Srimath Anagarika Dharmapala in 23rd June 1902 to a Friend in Japan

A letter written by Anagarika Dharmapala in English to a friend in Japan, dated June 23, 1902

Dharmapala was fearless in his manner, independent in spirit, and his dynamic personality shone forth radiant energy which enthralled both national and international audiences. Wherever he went, large crowds assembled and listened to him with rapt attention. His vibrant voice resonated and inspired listeners with its magical effects. His masterful oratory spread across the country calling for Buddhist resurgence, Buddhist unity and national awareness.

He was at the forefront of national and Buddhist movements for 47 years. His weekly publication, Sinhala Bauddhaya, was a powerful organ of Buddhist opinion, which guided and inspired the nation’s religious and national campaigns. Besides these, he addressed thousands of meetings and published numerous articles in national and international journals. Whenever he wrote, he was a force to be reckoned with. However, Dharmapala’s personal correspondence shows his true form – warm and genial in friendship and devastatingly critical of himself.

Sir Edwin Arnold, author of ‘The Light of Asia’, had previously published articles in the Telegraph in 1885 that drew attention to the Bodhgaya Temple. At the time, it had been abandoned and was in deplorable condition. In January 1891, accompanied by the Japanese priest Kozen Gunaratna, Dharmapala embarked on a pilgrimage in 1891 to the recently restored Maha Bodhi Temple at Bodhgaya, India where Siddhartha Gautama – the Buddha – had attained Enlightenment.

He was shocked to discover the temple in the hands of a Saivite priest, the Buddha’s image transformed into a Hindu icon, and Buddhists barred from worship. Spurred on by Sir Edwin Arnold’s writings, he developed a strong urge to take action and began a movement of non-violent agitation. He wrote in his diary:

“As soon as I touched with my forehead on the Vajrasana a sudden impulse came to my mind. It prompted me to stop here and take care of this sacred spot so sacred that nothing in this world is equal to this place where Prince Sakyasinha gained Enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree.”

Source: http://theosophy.wiki/w-en/index.php?title=Anagarika_Dharmapala

Statue of Anagarika Dharmapala in Kolkata College Square

Statue of Anagarika Dharmapala in Kolkata College Square

The Maha Bodhi Society at Colombo was founded on 31 May 1891. The High Priest of Ceylon, H. Sumangala, became President, Colonel Olcott was Director and Chief Advisor, and Dharmapala was General Secretary. The new Society solicited contributions to maintain a staff at the site, and convened an International Buddhist conference at Bodhgaya in October 1891. The following year, its offices were established in Calcutta (now Kolkata) and a journal, ‘The Maha Bodhi’ began publication in 1892, with Dharmapala serving as its editor for many years.

One of the Maha Bodhi Society’s primary aims was the restoration of Buddhist control at Bodhgaya’s Maha Bodhi Temple, the chief of the four ancient Buddhist holy sites. To accomplish this, Dharmapala initiated a lawsuit against the Brahmin priests who had controlled the site for centuries.

After a protracted struggle, his battle was successful only after Indian Independence (1947) and 16 years after Dharmapala’s passing (1933), with the partial restoration of the site to the management of the Maha Bodhi Society in 1949. It was then that the temple management of Bodhgaya was entrusted to a committee comprised of equal numbers of Hindus and Buddhists. A statue of Anagarika Dharmapala was erected in College Square near the Kolkata Maha Bodhi Society in recognition of his life and works.

Anagarika Dharmapala (seated-centre) at the Mahabodhi Society Headquarters in Calcutta

Anagarika Dharmapala (seated-centre) at the Mahabodhi Society Headquarters in Calcutta

While living in England in 1893, Dharmapala contacted William Rhys Davids, founder of the Pali Text Society, for advice about the temple. Over the course of a number of years, the Maha Bodhi Society succeeded in restoring the ancient Buddhist shrines at Bodhgaya, Sarnath and Kushinagar. Substantial donations by Hawaiian Theosophist Mary E. Foster facilitated this work.

The Society was effective in raising awareness of the Buddhist heritage of India and Ceylon, and increasing the knowledge of Buddhism in the Western world. During his years with the Society, Dharmapala established Upasana Centres, libraries, schools, colleges, orphanages and hospitals in India and Sri Lanka to serve the general public. He was also a strong advocate of independence in both India and Sri Lanka.

The Maha Bodhi Society of India continues to this day in Kolkata, and related organisations have been established in Bangalore, Chennai, Colombo and elsewhere. Maha Bodhi Society centres were set up in various Indian cities and have successfully raised awareness of Buddhism amongst the Indian people. As a result, many educated Indians of all castes in South India have become Buddhists. Due to Dharmapala’s efforts, Kushinagar, the site of the Buddha’s parinirvana once again became a major pilgrimage site for Buddhists, as it had been many centuries ago.

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Dharmapala, Science, and Protestant Buddhism

Coined by scholar Gananath Obeyesekere, the term ‘Protestant Buddhism’ is often applied to Dharmapala’s form of Buddhism. It is protestant in two ways:

  1. It is influenced by Protestant ideals such as freedom of conscience, freedom from religious institutions, and focus on the individual’s internal experiences.
  2. It is in itself a protest against claims of Christian superiority, colonialism, and Christian missionary work aimed to weaken Buddhism.

“Its salient characteristic is the importance it assigns to the laity,” according to Gananath Obeyesekere. It arose among the new, literate middle class centred in Colombo.

The term ‘Buddhist modernism’ is used to describe forms of Buddhism that suit the modern world, usually influenced by the European Enlightenment, often adapted by Asian Buddhists as a counter to claims of European or Christian superiority. Buddhist modernists only emphasise certain aspects of traditional Buddhism. Some of the characteristics of Buddhist modernism include:

  1. Importance of the laity as opposed to the ordained Sangha;
  2. Emphasis on spontaneity, creativity, and intuition;
  3. Consistency with (and in anticipation of) modern science;
  4. Rationality and de-emphasis of supernatural and mythological aspects;
  5. Democratic, anti-institutional character; emphasis on meditation over devotional and ceremonial actions.

Dharmapala matches these descriptions, and is an excellent example of an Asian Buddhist modernist, perhaps also a paradigmatic example of Protestant Buddhism. He was particularly concerned with presenting Buddhism as consistent with science, especially with the theory of evolution.

 

Ancient Monasteries at Sarnath

Venerable Sri Devamitta Dharmapala (Anagarika Dharmapala after entering the order of Buddhist Monks)

Dharmapala was also known as Ven Sri Devamitta Dharmapala

Dharmapala last visited Ceylon again in 1931 when he founded the Anagarika Dharmapala Trust. He entered the holy order of ordained Bhikkus, taking the name Sri Devamitta Dharmapala upon returning to India. He received the higher ordination, ‘Upasampada’ in January 1933.

Dharmapala passed away on 29 April 1933 at Mulagandhakuti Vihara, the Buddhist temple he built at Isipatana, Sarnath, near Benares. It was here that he lived as a monk, and it was also the location where the Buddha had first preached after his Enlightenment.

Dharmapala’s last words were:

“Let me die soon. Let me be reborn. I can no longer prolong my agony, I would like to be born again twenty-five times to spread the Buddha Dhamma.”

Source: http://theosophy.wiki/w-en/index.php?title=Anagarika_Dharmapala

 

Survey of Writings

Most of Dharmapala’s works are collected in ‘Return to Righteousness: A Collection of Speeches, Essays, and Letters of the Anagarika Dharmapala’, edited by Ananda Guruge of the Colombo Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs, and published in 1965.

As the founder and editor of the journal of the Maha Bodhi Society for many years, Dharmapala regularly submitted articles to popular newspapers such as The Buddhist and Sinhala Bauddhaya to advise people on how to lead a pious and meritorious life.

His writings can also be found in early Theosophical journals while The Union Index of Theosophical Periodicals lists several articles by or about Dharmapala. Apart from that, he also wrote many other books and pamphlets. Many of Dharmapala’s works are available in Sinhalese. Below are his English-language publications in chronological order:

 

Downloadable Books

 

The World’s Debt to Buddha (1893)

worldsdebtbuddha

This paper was read to a crowded session of the Parliament of World Religions in Chicago on 18 September 1893. During this early stage of his career, Dharmapala’s main concern was to make Buddhism palatable to his Western audience. This talk is full of references to science, the European Enlightenment, and Christianity.

While presenting Buddhism in these familiar terms, he also hinted that it was superior to any philosophy of the West. In addition, he spent considerable time discussing the ideal Buddhist polity under Asoka and the Buddha’s ethics for laypeople.

Download Free PDF Version

 
thelifeandteachingsofbuddha

The Life and Teachings of Buddha

  • Published: 1912
  • Publisher: G.A. Natesan & Co (Madras)
  • Language: English

Download Free PDF Version

 
theconstructiveoptimismofbuddhism

The Constructive Optimism of Buddhism (1915)

Buddhism was often portrayed in the West, especially by Christian missionaries, as pessimistic, nihilistic, and passive. One of Dharmapala’s main concerns was to counter such claims, and this concern is especially evident in this essay.

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aryadharmashakyamuni

The Arya Dharma of Sakya Muni, Gautama, Buddha or, The Ethics of Self Discipline

  • Published: 1917
  • Publisher: Maha Bodhi Society (Calcutta)
  • Language: English

Download Free PDF Version

 

Great Sayings of Anagarika Dharmapala

greatsayingsofanagarika

  • Published: 1964
  • Compiled by Bhikshu Sangharakshita and Buddhadasa P. Kirthisinghe
  • Publisher: Buddhist Publication Society (Kandy, Ceylon)
  • Language: English
  • This booklet was published as a tribute to the Birth Centenary of the late Venerable Anagarika Dharmapala. The sayings reproduced here have been collected by Bhikshu Sangharakshita from the Vols. XVI, XIX, XXI, XXIII, XXV, and XXVII of the Maha Bodhi journal. They were first published separately in 1957 by the Maha Bodhi Society of India, Calcutta.

Download Free PDF Version

The texts above were sourced from legitimate book-hosting services offering these texts for free download. They are made available here for purely educational, non-commercial purposes.

 

Other Writings and Lectures

 

The Kinship between Hinduism and Buddhism

This lecture was delivered in the Town Hall at Calcutta on 24 October 1892.

  • Published: 1893
  • With Henry S. Olcott
  • Publisher: The Maha-Bodhi Society (Calcutta)
  • Language: English

 

History of an Ancient Civilization: Ceylon under British Rule (1902)

  • Published: 1902
  • Language: English
  • Los Angeles

 

The Psychology of Progress, or, The Thirty-Seven Principles of Bodhi

  • Published: 1912
  • Publisher: The Maha-Bodhi Society (Calcutta)
  • Language: English

 

Desire in Buddhism

  • Published: 1917
  • Language: English
  • This is primarily a criticism of the morals of Christian Europe, European colonialism, and Christian missionaries.

 

Buddhism in Its Relationship with Hinduism

  • Published: 1918
  • Publisher: The Maha-Bodhi Society (Calcutta)
  • Language: English

 

Message of the Buddha

  • Published: 1925
  • Language: English
  • In the later stages of his career, Dharmapala’s vociferous anti-Christian tone was more evident. Dharmapala must be understood in the context of British colonisation of Ceylon and the presence of Christian missionaries there. This work is a good example of ‘Protestant Buddhism’ as described above.

 

Evolution from the Standpoint of Buddhism

  • Published: 1926
  • Language: English

 

Basic Buddhism

  • Published: 1945
  • Publisher: All-Ceylon Buddhist Students’ Union (Sydney)
  • Language: English

 

Return to Righteousness, A Collection of Speeches, Essays, and Letters of the Anagarika Dharmapala

  • 1965
  • Edited by Ananda W. P. Guruge
  • Publisher: Anagarika Dharmapala Birth Centenary Committee, Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs (Colombo, Ceylon)
  • Language: English

 

Legacy and Conclusion

Dharmapala, who had nothing but love for his country and religion, had a truly international outlook. He was a colossus who rejected the barriers of race, creed and nationality. His activities were not simply confined to the land of his birth; he inspired men and events of other countries as well. His untiring struggle in India to acquire the holy site of Bodhgaya for the Buddhists is an outstanding example of his principles, which transcended barriers of race and nationality. He went about his onerous tasks with great zeal, and all that he uttered came from a sincere heart burning with patriotism and religious fervour.

AD007

With his enthusiasm and tireless efforts driving his human frame to lengths beyond common endurance, in a noble life dedicated to national and religious causes after seeing the plight his people had fallen into — their religion neglected, their lives dispirited and drifting into something alien and unnatural — Anagarika Dharmapala became an inspiration for his compatriots today.

In 2014, India and Sri Lanka issued postage stamps to mark the 150th anniversary of Dharmapala’s birth. A road has also been named in his honour as ‘Anagarika Dharmapala Mawatha’ (Anagarika Dharmapala Street) in Colombo.

 

Anagarika Dharmapala

Or view the video on the server at:
https://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/Anagarika.mp4

 
Sources:

  • http://www.anagarika.dharmapalappa.lk/home_en.htm
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anagarika_Dharmapala
  • http://www.londonbuddhistvihara.org/Dharmapala.htm
  • https://tricycle.org/magazine/anagarika-dharmapala/
  • http://theosophy.wiki/w-en/index.php?title=Anagarika_Dharmapala

 
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About Pastor Adeline Woon

Adeline Woon is a Buddhist Pastor and a Sangha-to-be in Kechara who enjoys learning and sharing the Dharma with others. Due to her deep interest in Buddhism from a young age, Adeline enrolled herself into the Dharma Drum University in Taiwan, where she graduated with a Master in Religious Studies in 2012.
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5 Responses to Anagarika Dharmapala: The Revered Buddhist Revivalist

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  1. dutapoker on May 27, 2018 at 6:39 pm

    It’s actually very complicated in this busy life to listen news on TV, thus I just use the web for
    that reason, and take the most recent information.

  2. Anne Ong on Feb 28, 2018 at 10:51 pm

    Inspiring story of this great man, a writer , revivalist named Anagārika Dharmapāla. His thoughts had from very young been shaped by the Buddhist philosophy and way of life.Then being deeply touched and influenced by the 2 founders of the Theosophical Society, he then resolved to live a life of religious dedication. He has dedicated his whole life to national and religious causes. He has left inspiration for many generation till today. Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Adeline for sharing this inspiring article .🙏😘

  3. Pastor Han Nee on Feb 26, 2018 at 5:38 pm

    Anagarika Dharmapala , the great Buddhist revivialist of the 20th century, who blazed the trail for the transmission of Sri Lankan Buddhism to the West, had made up his mind when he was 16 to devote his life to the welfare of others by fully renouncing worldly desires. His thoughts had from very young been shaped by the Buddhist philosophy and way of life.Then being deeply touched and influenced by the 2 founders of the Theosophical Society, he then resolved to live a life of religious dedication.

    At 19 , he turned his attention solely to his intellectual pursuits in Buddhism, after having studied under Christian missionaries up to that point.Then he took the 8 precepts for life, having taken his celibacy vows at the age of 8. Thus began his travels round the world and committment to his role of a lay activist. With his erudite knowledge of the Dharma, he became actively engaged in a series of lectures around the world, but mostly in the West.Because of his unique ability to place Buddhism in the path of science, he was able to convince his western audience that Science was actually preparing Western minds for Buddhist teachings.

    With sheer ingenuity , he spoke as follows:
    “Accepting the doctrine of evolution as the only true one, with its corollary, the law of cause and effect, (the Buddha) condemns the idea of a creator and strictly forbids inquiry into it as being useless.”
    Dharmapala also showed how the
    whole Buddhist ethical system and transcendental metaphysics engendered a powerful “sublime” and comprehensive psychology, making Buddhist psychology work with profound and far -reaching effects.

    He took the western world by storm. In 1903, after he gave a talk at Harvard University, upon the invitation of William James, a well-known American philosopher and psychologist, the professor told his students that ‘This is the psychology everybody will be studying twenty-five years from now”!

    Right to the end, he held that “Dharma alone is supreme to the Buddhists” and cannot be lumped together with the tenets of other religion, as having a common foundation.
    I applaud the single-minded focus of this great being in spreading the unerring truth of the Dharma of Lord Buddha.

    He will also be remembered for saving Bodhgaya for the Buddhists.

  4. Samfoonheei on Feb 24, 2018 at 11:39 am

    Inspiring story of this great man, a writer , revivalist named Anagārika Dharmapāla. He was the first global Sri Lankan Buddhist missionary and a pioneer in the revival of Buddhism in India. He was also one of the founding contributors of non-violent Sinhalese Buddhist nationalism and Buddhism. The saving of Bodhgaya for Buddhists from Hindu fundamentalists is his biggest and most notable contribution by Dharmapala. Bodhgaya is the place where Buddha attained enlightenment. It was Dharmapala that he restored stupas there. If not for Dharmapala, Bodhgaya today would have become a place of Hindu worship , Thousands of pilgrims and tourist from all over the world visits Bodhgaya today, which is one of the most sacred places for Buddhists’s world. He has dedicated his whole life to national and religious causes. He has left inspiration for many generation till today.
    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Adeline for sharing this inspiring article .

  5. Stella Cheang on Feb 19, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    The story of Anagarika Dharmapala is inspiring. He contributed to the revival of Buddhism greatly, and I am especially at awe with his work to regain “control” over Bodhgaya’s Maha Bodhi Temple from the Hindu Brahmins, who had controlled the site for centuries. This holy site is the chief of the four ancient Buddhist holy sites that are of utmost importance to Buddhist. Today, the site is entrusted to a committee with equal numbers of Hindu and Buddhist members. Even though the announcement of this outcome came 16 years after Anagarika Dharmapala’s passing, the success was his legacy.

    Anagarika Dharmapala’s intellectuality in Buddhism was not disregarded; he was one of the two speakers who inspired the first wave of interest in Buddhism amongst the heart of European-Americans who were deeply rooted in Christianity during to culture and upbringing. As a learned person, his writings on Buddhism give perspective from a philosophical, historical and also a practical point of view, making it relevant for many people of different intellectual level. I enjoy reading this article. Thank you for the sharing, Rinpoche and PAW.

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  • Sofi
    Sunday, Aug 18. 2019 11:04 PM
    Venerable Geshe Rabten Rinpoche known as Milarepa

    As is clearly seen in Helmut Gassner’s account, two of the most influential and trailblazing Tibetan lamas who taught in the West both practised Dorje Shugden and held him in high regard. His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, was not only once the Abbot of Gaden Shartse Monastery but was a well-known meditator, debator, tantric adept and teacher of thousands of monks and laypeople all over the world.

    Find out more of this great monk: http://bit.ly/2SRJrHB
  • Sofi
    Sunday, Aug 18. 2019 10:52 PM
    Growing up with Rinpoche: You’ve got mail

    Rinpoche, if people take the time to write and express their thoughts and feelings, that is something that should be appreciated and respected. And if people confide in Rinpoche, that information is always treated as sacred because it is not always easy for people to trust someone else enough to open up to them.

    Read more of Rinpoche’s kindness and care: http://bit.ly/2SNcf3O
  • Chris
    Sunday, Aug 18. 2019 05:21 PM
    China is one of the most powerful countries in the world nowadays and many countries had chosen to be in China’s good books. It is only a matter of time where all the Tibetan government’s supporter will stop supporting them and be on China’s side.

    Let’s face it. The struggle for Tibet’s independence has been on-going for 60 years but there is no progress at all. Now, even His Holiness the Dalai Lama is telling the Tibetans to go for Umaylam instead of Rangzen. However, Umaylam requires their cooperation with the Chinese government.

    It is good for Tibetans or Tibetan government to befriend China because they will need their mercy to get back to Tibet because China has all the reasons for not letting the Tibetans go back to Tibet. They certainly do not need Tibetans.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/dorje-shugden/the-importance-of-tibet-befriending-china.html
  • Yee Yin
    Sunday, Aug 18. 2019 05:15 PM
    This is something I don’t understand. In the beginning, the 14th Dalai Lama was practising Dorje Shugden and he did not say anything about Dorje Shugden. Suddenly in 1996, he banned everyone from practising Dorje Shugden saying Dorje Shugden is an evil spirit.

    Dorje Shugden is a practice given to the Dalai Lama by his teacher, Trijang Rinpoche. Trijang Rinpoche would never harm the Dalai Lama by giving the Dalai Lama the practice of an evil spirit. This does not make sense at all. Is the Dalai Lama implying his teacher was not good and wanted to harm him when he said Dorje Shugden is an evil spirit?

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/dorje-shugden/the-14th-dalai-lamas-prayer-to-dorje-shugden.html
  • Sofi
    Sunday, Aug 18. 2019 01:49 PM
    Voyage to the Colossus of Rhodes

    In school, I remember we had a competition to make anything we wanted with the sole condition that it had to use LED lights. It was around the time that out of all the various figures of ancient Greek mythology, my fascination with Medusa was at its highest. Her story is an interesting one. She was once a beautiful maiden who, cursed by the goddess Athena, was made to look so terrible that the mere sight of her would turn anyone to stone. Over time her anger overtook her and she became a scourge, plaguing mankind. The demi-god Perseus slayed her and used her dreadful head to turn to stone monsters, beasts and other men alike in his self-serving yet glorified journey which ended with the founding of the ancient city-state Mycenae.

    Journey with Pastor Niral as he travel the the country rich in mythology: http://bit.ly/2LMkhJA
  • Sofi
    Sunday, Aug 18. 2019 01:42 PM
    Growing up with Rinpoche: Putting down roots

    Rinpoche is never interested in secular activities just for the sake of it, but always uses his knowledge, interest and experience to see how he can improve the lives of those around him and how he can bring Kechara Forest Retreat (KFR) to the next level in terms of serving others. So for Rinpoche, a vegetable farm is not just a vegetable farm, but an activity that can bring Dharma to others.

    Find out what exciting plans that Rinpoche has: http://bit.ly/32NjBsV
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Aug 18. 2019 01:29 PM
    Over the years reading Rinpoche blog’s post , I have come across many true stories of how Rinpoche has helped countless of students and people in their career, sickness, business and so forth. Reading this post story is really amazing how relying on Setrap Protector and having trust and faith in our Guru has help Dato Eric Tan in his business . Dato’ Eric Tan’s achievements today is truly amazing all due his trust and never give up what ever happened.
    Thank you Pastor Loh Seng Piow for this sharing. May more people read this post and be inspired.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/behind-the-scenes/miracles-of-tsem-rinpoche-6.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Aug 18. 2019 01:28 PM
    Heartfelt watching the beginning of the video. Could imagine the fear the furry Edie encountered, so much so hiding at the corner. Edie was so scared and just needed is a hug and pad from some kind soul . Bronwyne Mirkovich is so compassionate , kind for saving Edie’s life. Thank you too Edie Gobbie from the American Maltese Association for helping with this wonderful project to rescue animals. Life is so precious nor matter what it is , it is still a life……human or doggie. Dogs are our best friends, never harm, abuse or hurt them.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this wonderful sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/all-she-needed-was-a-hug.html
  • Chris
    Saturday, Aug 17. 2019 07:47 PM
    Thank you Rinpoche and blog team for sharing this auspicious post with us. It is amazing that Kechara has the chance to make such offerings to the high lamas and monks in the monastery. This is a clear example of the generosity of Rinpoche that wishes each and every one of us to adopt.

    Making offerings to the sangha is very meritorious and we can collect a lot of merit with such actions because we are directly supporting the growth of Dharma and those high lamas are Buddhas. Seeing such pictures warms my heart and I rejoice to see those happy faces of those monks who received those very much needed offerings.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/students-friends/making-offerings-to-the-monastery.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, Aug 17. 2019 07:29 PM
    Wow ….. there have been so many UFO sightings in so many different countries. There are altogether eight UFO sightings within 10 days witnessed by people across the globe. They saw shiny unidentified flying objects flying past in the sky as reported. Very interesting….. strange object sparked theories of possible extra terrestrial sightings and they do definitely exist after all. Many UFO sightings have been reported in the last decades yet scientist or researchers yet to confirm the details or evidence to proof it. But the strange sightings in different countries at the same month could not be wrong as we know “they’ have been watching at the earth from some where up there.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing …..simple amazing caught on camera by those eye witness.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/ufo-ufo-everywhere.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, Aug 17. 2019 07:27 PM
    There may have been a chance for a civilization to start billions of years before life began on Earth as discovered by scientists. Several discoveries and theories from some of the greatest minds in science point to the likelihood that there is something beyond out there in the universe. I do believe that we are not alone in the universe. Well, there many on going research that has taken place to look for signs of extra terrestrial life such as aliens. Scientist have been using telescope and specimen data to radios to detect and send communication signals. Currently, scientist do not have any evidence to support that aliens exist but the research work still going on with the discovery of a varieties of beings in the universal . Stories of the sighting of aliens and other species by eye witnesses yet to proof their existence. Researcher and scientists have not given up hope to research for evidence. Interesting read .
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/mysteries-surrounding-ancient-aliens.html
  • Yee Yin
    Saturday, Aug 17. 2019 04:32 PM
    Buddha Manjushri is very compassionate. He will manifest in the forms that can benefit us. In this case, he manifested as an enlightened Dharma protector to help us remove our obstacles so we can practise and have realiation on Buddha’s teachings.

    I have read many stories about how Dorje Shugden has helped people including Tsem Rinpoche. Kechara is growing and flourishing because of the assistance from Dorje Shugden. As long as our motivation is right, Dorje Shugden will provide a conducive environment to fulfil our wishes.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/dorje-shugden.html
  • Sofi
    Friday, Aug 16. 2019 10:47 PM
    A Personal Account of Events with My Teacher – Honouring the Potential in All Sentient Beings

    Rinpoche’s bond with animals is even more palpable. Abandoned dogs find not only shelter but a loving home wherever Rinpoche is. Injured and unwanted birds find healing and a safe haven created to resemble their natural habitat. Fish are given clean, pure water and plenty of food. Even insects are not forgotten. Most important of all, their surroundings are designed to leave positive Dharma imprints in their mind streams and help them gain good rebirths.

    Read more here: http://bit.ly/2y5PyP1
  • Sofi
    Friday, Aug 16. 2019 10:41 PM
    My mother’s White Tara

    The previous Telo Rinpoche had lived in Mongolia and during the Communist upheaval in his country, he was imprisoned along with many other monks and religious figures. Telo Rinpoche prayed to this image of White Tara, which he had with him and in the middle of the night, his cell doors miraculously swung open and he was able to just walk out. Later, with the help of some American scientists, he escaped and travelled to the United States where he connected with the Mongolian-Kalmyk community there, which included my parents.

    Read here: http://bit.ly/2Me6Sd3
  • Sofi
    Friday, Aug 16. 2019 10:35 PM
    Stories from a Chela – Real Transformation

    “Rinpoche’s drive to create a lasting mental change in a person’s life is nothing but pure compassion. Rinpoche certainly doesn’t get anything out of the person changing to become a better person, in fact, it often takes an emotional and physical toll on Rinpoche himself. Yet, Rinpoche goes out of his way to help his students and others to the best of his ability. Rinpoche does this in a number of ways, I’ll only touch on a few” ~ Pastor Niral Patel

    Learn more from Pastor Niral why he said that: http://bit.ly/2K3DmUj

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The Unknown

The Known and unknown are both feared,
Known is being comfortable and stagnant,
The unknown may be growth and opportunities,
One shall never know if one fears the unknown more than the known.
Who says the unknown would be worse than the known?
But then again, the unknown is sometimes worse than the known. In the end nothing is known unless we endeavour,
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Third picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal.
Height: 33ft (10m)
4 weeks ago
Third picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal. Height: 33ft (10m)
Second picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal.
Height: 33ft (10m)
4 weeks ago
Second picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal. Height: 33ft (10m)
First picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal.
Height: 33ft (10m)
4 weeks ago
First picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal. Height: 33ft (10m)
The first title published by Kechara Comics is Karuna Finds A Way. It tells the tale of high-school sweethearts Karuna and Adam who had what some would call the dream life. Everything was going great for them until one day when reality came knocking on their door. Caught in a surprise swindle, this loving family who never harmed anyone found themselves out of luck and down on their fortune. Determined to save her family, Karuna goes all out to find a solution. See what she does- https://bit.ly/2LSKuWo
1 month ago
The first title published by Kechara Comics is Karuna Finds A Way. It tells the tale of high-school sweethearts Karuna and Adam who had what some would call the dream life. Everything was going great for them until one day when reality came knocking on their door. Caught in a surprise swindle, this loving family who never harmed anyone found themselves out of luck and down on their fortune. Determined to save her family, Karuna goes all out to find a solution. See what she does- https://bit.ly/2LSKuWo
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At Kechara Forest Retreat land we have nice fresh spinach growing free of chemicals and pesticides. Yes!
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At Kechara Forest Retreat land we have nice fresh spinach growing free of chemicals and pesticides. Yes!
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See beautiful pictures of Manjushri Guest House here- https://bit.ly/2WGo0ti
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Beginner’s Introduction to Dorje Shugden~Very good overview https://bit.ly/2QQNfYv
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Fresh eggplants grown on Kechara Forest Retreat's land here in Malaysia
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The Largest Buddha Shakyamuni in Russia | 俄罗斯最大的释迦牟尼佛画像- https://bit.ly/2Wpclni
2 months ago
The Largest Buddha Shakyamuni in Russia | 俄罗斯最大的释迦牟尼佛画像- https://bit.ly/2Wpclni
Sacred Vajra Yogini
3 months ago
Sacred Vajra Yogini
Dorje Shugden works & archives - a labour of commitment - https://bit.ly/30Tp2p8
3 months ago
Dorje Shugden works & archives - a labour of commitment - https://bit.ly/30Tp2p8
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha.
3 months ago
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha.
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha. She was his step-mother and aunt. Buddha\'s mother had passed away at his birth so he was raised by Gotami.
3 months ago
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha. She was his step-mother and aunt. Buddha's mother had passed away at his birth so he was raised by Gotami.
Another nun disciple of Lord Buddha\'s. She had achieved great spiritual abilities and high attainments. She would be a proper object of refuge. This image of the eminent bhikkhuni (nun) disciple of the Buddha, Uppalavanna Theri.
3 months ago
Another nun disciple of Lord Buddha's. She had achieved great spiritual abilities and high attainments. She would be a proper object of refuge. This image of the eminent bhikkhuni (nun) disciple of the Buddha, Uppalavanna Theri.
Wandering Ascetic Painting by Nirdesha Munasinghe
3 months ago
Wandering Ascetic Painting by Nirdesha Munasinghe
High Sri Lankan monks visit Kechara to bless our land, temple, Buddha and Dorje Shugden images. They were very kind-see pictures- https://bit.ly/2HQie2M
3 months ago
High Sri Lankan monks visit Kechara to bless our land, temple, Buddha and Dorje Shugden images. They were very kind-see pictures- https://bit.ly/2HQie2M
This is pretty amazing!

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

Always be kind to animals and eat vegetarian- https://bit.ly/2Psp8h2
3 months ago
My Dharma boy (left) and Oser girl loves to laze around on the veranda in the mornings. They enjoy all the trees, grass and relaxing under the hot sun. Sunbathing is a favorite daily activity. I care about these two doggies of mine very much and I enjoy seeing them happy. They are with me always. Tsem Rinpoche Always be kind to animals and eat vegetarian- https://bit.ly/2Psp8h2
After you left me Mumu, I was alone. I have no family or kin. You were my family. I can\'t stop thinking of you and I can\'t forget you. My bond and connection with you is so strong. I wish you were by my side. Tsem Rinpoche
3 months 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 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months ago
Beautiful pictures of the huge Buddha in Longkou Nanshan- https://bit.ly/2LsBxVb
The reason-Very interesting thought- https://bit.ly/2V7VT5r
3 months ago
The reason-Very interesting thought- https://bit.ly/2V7VT5r
NEW Bigfoot cafe in Malaysia! Food is delicious!- https://bit.ly/2VxdGau
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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
4 months 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
4 months 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
4 months 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.
4 months 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
4 months 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
4 months 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.
4 months 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.
4 months 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
4 months 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
4 months 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
4 months 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
4 months 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
4 months 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
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Videos On The Go

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    1 month ago
    Always be kind to animals-They deserve to live just like us.
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    Cute Tara girl having a snack. She is one of Kechara Forest Retreat’s resident doggies.
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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
    4 months 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.
    4 months 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.
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    4 months ago
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  • This dog thanks his hero in such a touching way. Tsem Rinpoche
    4 months 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
    4 months ago
    Join Tsem Rinpoche in prayer for H.H. Dalai Lama’s long life~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYy7JcveikU&feature=youtu.be
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    4 months 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
    5 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.
    5 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.
    5 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.
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    5 months ago
    Beautiful
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    5 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
    5 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
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  • SUPER ADORABLE and must see
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CHAT PICTURES

Children recite Migtsema and Manjushri mantra before the start of dharma class. Lin Mun KSDS
2 days ago
Children recite Migtsema and Manjushri mantra before the start of dharma class. Lin Mun KSDS
Student do full prostration before the start of dharma class. Lin Mun KSDS
2 days ago
Student do full prostration before the start of dharma class. Lin Mun KSDS
Wen Yue led students to do key chain as part of art and craft activity. Lin Mun KSDS
2 days ago
Wen Yue led students to do key chain as part of art and craft activity. Lin Mun KSDS
Teacher Kien shared some photos of sangha members. Lin Mun KSDS
2 days ago
Teacher Kien shared some photos of sangha members. Lin Mun KSDS
Throwback- close bonding during WOAH camp. Lin Mun KSDS
2 days ago
Throwback- close bonding during WOAH camp. Lin Mun KSDS
Teenage dharma class in Kechara House . Lin Mun KSDS
2 days ago
Teenage dharma class in Kechara House . Lin Mun KSDS
Throwback- Chinese New Year activity, calligraphy with best wishes words. Lin Mun KSDS
2 days ago
Throwback- Chinese New Year activity, calligraphy with best wishes words. Lin Mun KSDS
KISG has been performing White Tara and Dorje Shugden puja for 4 consecutive nights. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
3 days ago
KISG has been performing White Tara and Dorje Shugden puja for 4 consecutive nights. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
KISG members travelled to KFR for Ullambana today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
1 week ago
KISG members travelled to KFR for Ullambana today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
After the Bird Liberation, we proceeded with Dorje Shugden puja. Just before we started our puja, Pastor Patsy gave us a short Dharma Sharing. Pastor spoke about Dharma practice in these days and reminded us to always keep our samaya with Guru intact. To honour our promises, reduce our worldly activities and practice Dharma strongly. Thank you Pastor for the valuable advice~Jacinta, KPSG
1 week ago
After the Bird Liberation, we proceeded with Dorje Shugden puja. Just before we started our puja, Pastor Patsy gave us a short Dharma Sharing. Pastor spoke about Dharma practice in these days and reminded us to always keep our samaya with Guru intact. To honour our promises, reduce our worldly activities and practice Dharma strongly. Thank you Pastor for the valuable advice~Jacinta, KPSG
We chanted Medicine Buddha's mantra before we blessed them. May they be connected with Buddha always. ~Jacinta , monthly Bird Liberation Kechara Penang Study Group
1 week ago
We chanted Medicine Buddha's mantra before we blessed them. May they be connected with Buddha always. ~Jacinta , monthly Bird Liberation Kechara Penang Study Group
Special thanks to Linny Neoh and her friend for joining our Kechara Penang Study Group Bird Liberation. ~Jacinta, KPSG
1 week ago
Special thanks to Linny Neoh and her friend for joining our Kechara Penang Study Group Bird Liberation. ~Jacinta, KPSG
Birds were blessed before their departure to freedom. They deserved love & freedom too ~Jacinta,KPSG
1 week ago
Birds were blessed before their departure to freedom. They deserved love & freedom too ~Jacinta,KPSG
Pastor Patsy giving explanation during Bird Liberation event. Kechara Penang Study Group's monthly bird liberation - Jacinta
1 week ago
Pastor Patsy giving explanation during Bird Liberation event. Kechara Penang Study Group's monthly bird liberation - Jacinta
Re: Kechara Sunday Dharma Class every Sunday morning, Teachers and students start dharma learning at this blissful morning ~By KSDS Jayce Goh
2 weeks ago
Re: Kechara Sunday Dharma Class every Sunday morning, Teachers and students start dharma learning at this blissful morning ~By KSDS Jayce Goh
Kechara Sunday Dharma Class every Sunday morning, Teacher Lin Mun start class with Manjusri prayers after prostration ~By KSDS Jayce Goh
2 weeks ago
Kechara Sunday Dharma Class every Sunday morning, Teacher Lin Mun start class with Manjusri prayers after prostration ~By KSDS Jayce Goh
Mdm Glian Sim offered Serkym on behalf of KISG today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
2 weeks ago
Mdm Glian Sim offered Serkym on behalf of KISG today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Janice So offered water to Lama Tsongkhapa, Mother Tara, Dorje Shugden and all Buddhas. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
2 weeks ago
Janice So offered water to Lama Tsongkhapa, Mother Tara, Dorje Shugden and all Buddhas. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Ms. Leow offered lights and incense prior to the prayer session in Ipoh today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
2 weeks ago
Ms. Leow offered lights and incense prior to the prayer session in Ipoh today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
KISG has carried out a session of 21 Praises to Taras prayer recitations today in Ipoh. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
2 weeks ago
KISG has carried out a session of 21 Praises to Taras prayer recitations today in Ipoh. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Children were very excited to participate in the quiz. Lin Mun KSDS
2 weeks ago
Children were very excited to participate in the quiz. Lin Mun KSDS
We will do dedication before we end the dharma class. Lin Mun KSDS
2 weeks ago
We will do dedication before we end the dharma class. Lin Mun KSDS
It’s wonderful for parents and children to attend animal liberation together and recite mantra before releasing the birds. Lin Mun KSDS
2 weeks ago
It’s wonderful for parents and children to attend animal liberation together and recite mantra before releasing the birds. Lin Mun KSDS
Bigfoot cafe in Bentong. Lin Mun KSDS
2 weeks ago
Bigfoot cafe in Bentong. Lin Mun KSDS
Rejoice ! Children getting blessing from pastor on Wesak Day. Lin Mun KSDS
2 weeks ago
Rejoice ! Children getting blessing from pastor on Wesak Day. Lin Mun KSDS
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Dorje Shugden
Click to watch my talk about Dorje Shugden....