Pilgrimage to Sri Lanka

Feb 3, 2018 | Views: 1,197

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This (mostly) pilgrimage trip to Sri Lanka was inspired by my Guru, H.E Tsem Rinpoche, who encouraged me to bring my family on a blessed pilgrimage trip instead of a regular holiday to places which do not have much meaning.

I thought about what my Guru said, and it makes a lot of sense especially since my children are growing up into their teenage years, and are already facing the real world. It is definitely extremely beneficial for children to receive the blessings of the Buddhas, so that they can hold the Buddha’s teachings in their heart when they grow up. It is also beneficial for us adults to visit holy places and receive the Buddha’s blessings too.

I thank Rinpoche for everything on this trip.

Lew Kwan Leng

 


 

Day 1: 29 November 2017

We arrived in Colombo at 9.30 am local time. We will be spending three nights in Sigiriya area (about 150km away from Colombo Airport), because it is near to Dambulla and the two ancient cities, Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura.

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We were greeted by a Buddha statue within Colombo Airport itself

Enroute to Sigiriya, we visited Mahamevnawa Buddhist Monastery and Bambaragala Ancient Temple. Mahamevnawa Buddhist Monastery is home to more than 700 Buddhists monks and nuns with over 50 branches in Sri Lanka and overseas, including USA, Australia and Europe. The monastery we visited in Polgahawela is the headquarters of the organisation.

It has a big prayer hall with a golden Buddha statue decorated very nicely with lights. Behind the prayer hall, there is a stupa-shaped hall with another Buddha statue. The compound beyond the second hall is restricted to monks only, and we could hear the sounds of the monks chanting. The environment was very calm and peaceful. There are also a few peacocks roaming around the compound.

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Exterior of the main prayer hall of Mahamevnawa Buddhist Monastery

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The Buddha image inside the main prayer hall. Photography is not allowed inside

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Exterior of the second prayer hall

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We did our prayers in the second prayer hall

After Mahamevnawa Monastery, we visited Bambaragala Old Temple which was just five minutes away. It is a small and old cave temple with a reclining Buddha statue and a Bodhi tree, with a monk living next to the temple.

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Entrance to the Bambaragala Old Temple. A monk lives here as the temple’s caretaker

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The Reclining Buddha. Some renovation work is being carried out in the temple

 

Day 2: 30 November 2017

We left for Polonnaruwa early in the morning as the journey takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes from Sigiriya to Polonnaruwa. Before reaching Polonnaruwa, we stopped to pay our respects to a replica of Avukana Buddha near Giritale. This standing Buddha is 12 meters (39 feet) tall and is believed to have been built during the 5th century, although some sources suggest it was constructed in the 12th or 13th centuries. This statue is situated next to a man-made lake built by King Agbo II in the 12th century. There is a bus stop right in front of the Buddha, and locals are often seen coming down from the bus to make a donation then hopping back into the bus.

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Beautiful 12 meter tall Buddha by the lake

It took another 25 minutes to get to the Ancient City of Polonnaruwa. Polonnaruwa was the capital city of the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa in the 11th century for about 180 years, and it has a great deal of history related to Buddhism.

The entrance fees for Polonnaruwa are USD25 for adults, and half price for children aged 6 to 12. It is recommended to get a local guide which costs around USD20. We started the tour in the museum to get a general understanding of the kingdom. Throughout the museum and ancient sites, we could see that many Buddhas were without their heads and hands. This is because blue sapphires were offered on the heads and hands of the Buddhas, and during the war, the heads and hands were broken and looted for the sapphires.

After the museum, we proceeded to the first ancient site which features the royal palace, audience hall and swimming pool. The second ancient site, called Sacred Quadrangle, is more related to Buddhism and is considered to be a sacred place. It has three buildings which housed the Buddha’s tooth during the Polonnaruwa period. In ancient Sri Lanka, the Buddha’s tooth was a symbol of the king.

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Sacred Quadrangle area

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Inscriptions that detail historical events

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Atadage, the oldest building in the Sacred Quadrangle, has been identified as the first building to house the Buddha’s tooth

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Hetagage, the second building to have housed the Buddha’s tooth

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Vatadage, the third building to have housed the Buddha’s tooth

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We did prayers in Vatadage

The same site also has a Bodhisattva Hall, a pavilion where the king listened to chanting, and an ancient temple.

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Bodhisattva Hall. Many of the Buddha images had blue sapphires engraved as the Buddhas’ eyes, and on the Buddhas’ hands, and were destroyed during the war for the precious gemstones

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The pavilion where the king listened to chanting

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The exterior of the ancient temple. Some restoration work is being carried out]

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The shrine area inside the ancient temple. The taller statue is about 3 metres high

The last and final stop for us in Polonnaruwa was Gal Vihara, which was also the most impressive. It has four statues of Buddha carved from one large piece of granite:

  1. Large seated image depicting the Buddha in meditative posture with the dhyana mudra. Height: 15 feet 2.5 inches (4.636 m).
  2. A smaller statue similar to the above seated image. Height: 4 feet 7 inches (1.40 m).
  3. Large standing image with arms folded across the chest, in para dukkha dukkhitha mudra or “sorrow for the sorrow of others”. Height: 22 feet 9 inches (6.93 m)
  4. Large reclining image, the largest Buddha image in Gal Vihara, depicting the Buddha’s parinirvana. Length: 46 feet 4 inches (14.12 m).

There are offering tables in front of each statue for visitors to place offerings on, as well as places for offering incense. The four statues are covered by a roof structure erected by UNESCO to preserve the ancient monument. In total, we spent about three hours in Polonnaruwa.

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Gal Vihara, which means “Rock Monastery” in Sinhalese

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Large seated Buddha at 15 feet 2.5 inches

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Smaller seated Buddha, protected by a metal cage

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Close up of the smaller seated Buddha

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Large standing Buddha at 22 feet 9 inches

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Large reclining Buddha at 46 feet 4 inches long

After Polonnaruwa, we proceeded to the Kaudulla National Park Safari where more than a hundred wild elephants can be observed.

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The jeep, our transport into the national park

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Wild elephant herds can be observed around the lake

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The elephants are not too far from us!

 

Day 3: 1 December 2017

We started our day early in the morning again, and it took about 1 hour and 30 minutes to arrive in Anuradhapura from Sigiriya. The Anuradhapura period spans from 377 BC to 1017 AD (almost 1,400 years), before the Polonnaruwa period. Many of the buildings here were built more than 2,000 years ago.

The entrance fees for Anuradhapura are USD25 for adults and half price for children aged 6 to 12. We engaged a local tour guide for about USD25, which is highly recommended because Anuradhapura is much bigger than Polonnaruwa. It was a public holiday and the entire Anuradhapura area was quite crowded with many local devotees who came to make offerings and pray.

We started by visiting monks meditation caves. It is believed that the first Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka meditated under these rocks some 2,300 years ago. These granite caves are quite small compared to limestone caves, and would have provided very good shelter from the rain for the meditating monks.

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More than 2,000 years ago, monks sat underneath these rocks and meditated here

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The rocks were cut across so that the rain would fall straight down instead of flowing inside the cave, to keep the cave dry so that monks could continue to meditate even when it was raining. Inscriptions are commonly seen here.

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There are many small holes on the floor and it is believed they are the result of grinding medicines. This is said to have been the clinic.

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Another cave which is very conducive for meditation

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View from within the cave

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Breaking rocks 2,000 years ago: Make some shallow holes, place oil inside the holes and burn the oil. With enough heat, the rocks will break

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Another cave suitable for meditation

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We did our prayers here; may we have the merit to be able to meditate in a cave in this life

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This cave was used by monks from royal families, before they were ordained, for resting and meditation.

We then moved on to Isurumuniya Temple which was built around the same period to house 500 young monks of high-caste when they were ordained. It has a beautiful reclining Buddha statue, wall paintings, a Bodhi tree and a small stupa on top. You will need to pay a separate entrance fee for Isurumuniya Temple (about USD1.50 for adults and half price for children aged 6 to 12 years old).

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Making offerings in front of the main shrine. Many visitors offered flowers to the Buddha

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Beautiful wall paintings

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Buddha in parinirvana

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Replica of the Buddha’s footprints

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The stupa in Isurumuniya Temple

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We did prayers next to the stupa in Isurumuniya Temple

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A group photo in Isurumuniya Temple

Our next stop was the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, a sacred fig tree said to be a branch of the historical Bodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya, under which Buddha Shakyamuni became enlightened. The Mauryan Emperor Ashoka’s daughter, Sangamitta Maha Theri, brought a branch from the original Mahabodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya to Sri Lanka and she offered it to the reigning monarch, King Devanampiya Tissa who, in 288 BC, planted it here in Anuradhapura.

Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi is considered to be the world’s oldest living human-planted tree with a known planting date. This sacred tree is surrounded by protective walls and railings, and many devotees chant prayers around the sacred tree.

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Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi is one of the oldest living human-planted trees, over 2,300 years old!

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Another angle of the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi Tree

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It is traditional to wear white when visiting temples in Sri Lanka. Many devotees sat around the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi to chant prayers, led by a monk.

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We also did our prayers here

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There are many other Bodhi trees surrounding the original tree

Next, we took a stroll to Ruwanwelisaya, a stupa said to contain the Buddha’s relics. This is one of the “Solosmasthana” (the 16 places of veneration) and the “Atamasthana” (the 8 places of veneration) in the ancient sacred city of Anuradhapura. Ruwanwelisaya is one of the world’s tallest monuments, with a height of 103 metres (338 ft) and a circumference of 290 metres (951 ft).

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Ruwanwelisaya Stupa

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The main entrance of the stupa

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There are many shrines around the stupa with many flower offerings

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Many devotees circumambulate the stupa

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Another shot of the magnificent stupa

We then went to Thuparamaya, which is also a Solosmasthana, where the right collar-bone of the Buddha is enshrined. This is the earliest stupa to be built (in 200 BC, 2,200 years ago) after the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka.

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Thuparamaya Stupa

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Making flower offerings at the stupa

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Stone pillars around the stupa suggest there is a structure with a conical roof surrounding the stupa

Our last stop was the Jetavanaramaya Stupa, which is said to contain part of the sash or belt of Buddha Shakyamuni, and was the tallest stupa in the ancient world. There is a small temple with a reclining Buddha in front of the stupa.

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Group photo at Jetavanaramaya Stupa

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The small temple next to the stupa

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We did our prayers inside the temple

Anuradhapura Ancient City is bigger than Polonnaruwa and it took us five hours to cover all the above sites. We also took the time to do prayers at most of the sites. If you plan to cover all Buddhist sites, it is recommended to spend two days in Anuradhapura.

Our next destination was the Avukana Buddha, which is about 1 hour and 20 minutes from Anuradhapura. Avukana Buddha was built about 1,500 years ago with a height of 13 metres (42ft). This huge statue, depicted in a variation of the Abhaya mudra, is carved from a large piece of granite rock. The statue is now covered with a roof for preservation purposes. The entrance fee is USD7 for adults, and half price for children aged 6 to 12.

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Avukana Buddha

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Another shot of Avukana Buddha

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The Bodhi tree in front of the statue

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Making prayers in front of Avukana Buddha

 

Day 4: 2 December 2017

We packed our bags and headed for Kandy, the second largest city in Sri Lanka. We had one more temple to visit in the Sigiriya area, which is the famous Dambulla Golden Temple and the Cave Temple. The Cave Temple is situated on top of a small hill, and you can start your climb from the Golden Temple. There is another shorter way up to the Cave Temple which is about 10 minutes drive from Golden Temple. Using the shorter route, it took us about 15 minutes to reach the Cave Temple. While climbing up the stairs, don’t forget to turn back and look at the beautiful view.

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Dambulla Golden Temple

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Circumambulating around the golden stupa

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Another beautiful view of Dambulla Golden Temple

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Prayers in front of the Golden Buddha

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The stairs leading up to the Cave Temple

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Beautiful view while climbing up

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Bodhi tree

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Exterior view of the Cave Temple

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Rocks are “cut” to keep the cave dry

The entrance fees for Dambulla Cave are USD10 for adults, and half price for children aged 6 to 12. You may also consider engaging a tour guide for about USD15. This temple’s history dates back to the first century BC. There are five caves in the Cave Temple, and each cave has tables for visitors to place flower offerings. The entire ceiling of all the caves are painted with beautiful Buddha images and patterns.

We started with the second and largest cave. Called the Temple of the Great King, it is 172 feet long. This cave is said to have 16 standing, 40 seated and 1 reclining Buddha, with the Bodhisattvas Maitreya and Avalokiteshvara, and a stupa.

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There are many statues inside Cave 2

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The two left most statues are Maitreya and Avalokiteshvara

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Elaborate and beautiful wall paintings

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There is a crack in the ceiling which is said to drip healing water

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The third cave, called the Great New Monastery, is 90 feet long (second largest cave). It is about 300 years old, which is considered “new”, and houses 50 Buddha statues in various positions.

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The statues in Cave 3

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Wall paintings in Cave 3

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The fourth cave, called the Western Temple, is about 54 feet long. The main image is a seated Buddha with the dhyana mudra. There is a stupa in the cave which is said to have been broken by thieves for the jewellery contained inside. Although the stupa has since been reconstructed, the cracks are still visible.

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The stupa in Cave 4

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The fifth cave is a small one with the Sleeping Buddha as the main image.

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Cave 5

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The Reclining Buddha in Cave 5

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Wall paintings in Cave 5

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We then went back to the first cave, called Temple of the King of Gods. The main image here, about 47 feet in length, depicts the parinirvana of the Buddha, with His main disciple Ananda standing next to the Buddha.

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Buddha in parinirvana in Cave 1

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The shrine in Cave 1

After we finished touring the five caves, we went back to the second cave to do our prayers there.

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Prayers in Cave 2

En route to Kandy, we also visited the Aluvihara Rock Temple whose history can be traced back to the 3rd century BC, where the Tripiṭaka (Pāli canon) was first written down completely on palm leaves in order to preserve the Buddha’s teachings. The compound has a Bodhi tree, stupa, and a small cave temple with Buddha statues in various postures and beautiful wall paintings of the Jataka Tales. From here, you can also see a huge golden Buddha statue up in the mountains, which is a 1.2km hike away.

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Entrance of the Aluvihara Rock Temple

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Making prayers in front of the Bodhi Tree

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The small but beautiful rock temple

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Wall paintings

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Outside the rock temple

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After arriving in Kandy, we went for a cultural dance performance before proceeding to the famous Temple of the Tooth Relic. The entrance fees are USD10 for adults and half price for children aged 6 to 12. You may also consider engaging a tour guide for about USD8 to explain and guide you through the complex. The Temple of the Tooth Relic has three food offering ceremonies every day – at 5.30 am, 9.30 am and 6.30 pm. We arrived in time for the 6.30 pm ceremony, and it is highly recommended to witness the offering ceremony although it can be rather noisy. During the ceremony, visits to the tooth relic are temporary closed.

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The exterior of the Temple of the Tooth Relic at night

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Food offering ceremony

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Wall paintings depicting food offering

We started queueing at 6.40 pm, and waited for about 10 minutes before visits were allowed again. You will not be able to see the Buddha’s tooth directly because it is enshrined inside a seven-layer stupa. Since many people are queuing to pay homage to the Buddha’s tooth relic, you only have a short time to make offerings of flowers (and a monetary donation if you wish) before you must move on. After making our offerings, we joined other devotees on the floor around the relic and did our prayers.

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The long queue of people patiently waiting to pay homage to the Buddha’s Tooth

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The seven-layer stupa housing the Buddha’s Tooth Relic

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Doing prayers in the temple

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Many devotees outside the hall of the Buddha’s Tooth

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There is also a library and shrine with a beautiful Buddha, but unfortunately photography is strictly prohibited.

On a separate note, Kandy hosts a huge annual parade called Kandy Esala Perahera, which is one of the oldest and grandest of all Buddhist festivals in Sri Lanka, featuring dancers, jugglers, musicians, fire-breathers, and lavishly decorated elephants. This 10-day event is held in July/August which is the time of the year that commemorates the first teaching given by the Buddha after he attained Enlightenment.

 

Day 5: 3 December 2017

Today we spent time in three temples in the Kandy area. As it is the full moon day, the temples were more crowded than usual as it is a holy day for Buddhists in Sri Lanka to pay homage to the Buddhas.

Our first stop was Bahirawakanda Temple which features an 88-ft Buddha statue which can be seen from the entire city of Kandy. The entrance fees for Bahirawakanda Temple are USD2 for adults and half price for children. There is a Bodhi tree here and you can make water offerings to the Bodhi tree. Throughout our visit, we could hear a Dharma talk by the Chief Monk in Sinhalese language on the loudspeakers. We also had the chance to make offerings to the Chief Monk after his Dharma talk. You can also view the entire city of Kandy from this temple.

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Shrine with beautiful paintings on the walls]

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Offering water to the Bodhi Tree

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Beautiful view of Kandy from Bahirawakanda Temple

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Making offerings to the Chief Monk

We then went to Ranawana Purana Rajamaha Viharaya which is about 700 years old. It is said to be one of the most beautiful temples in Sri Lanka, featuring a 100-ft high Walking Buddha statue. The entrance fees are USD2 for adults and half price for children. It also has a cave which houses a shrine and an ancient stupa. It is believed that the relics of the Buddha are enshrined in this stupa.

This temple also has a Dhamma school. Daily gilanpasa (permissible food & drinks after noon) pujas and monthly eight precepts programs are some of the many religious activities conducted at the temple.

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The entrance of Ranawana

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There are many beautiful sculptures in the temple

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Sculptures depicting the story of the Buddha with the devoted elephant and monkey

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Sculptures depicting the Buddha’s chariot driver assisting Him to escape the palace. The chariot driver is Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche’s previous life

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100 ft tall Walking Buddha

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Doing prayers in front of the Walking Buddha

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The Buddha and His main disciples

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Sculptures depicting the story of Devadatta hurling a huge stone at the Buddha

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Chanting session

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Wall paintings in the cave

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The stupa and Bodhi Tree

Our last stop of the day was ancient Gadaladeniya Rajamaha Viharaya, built more than 600 years ago. It features a 2.43 metre (8 ft) high statue of a seated Buddha in dhyana mudra pose. This temple also features a stupa complex, with one central stupa (12.3 m or 40 feet) surrounded by four smaller stupas. The entrance fees are USD2 for adults and half price for children. Many locals come to offer flowers and oil lamps in this temple.

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The famous stupa complex in Gadaladeniya

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Each of the four sides of the stupa has a small shrine like this

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8 ft high statue

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Doing prayers inside the temple complex

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The shrine beside the Bodhi tree

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The shrine and Bodhi tree

 

Day 6: 4 December 2017

We went to the southern part of Sri Lanka to visit two major Buddhist sites: Buduruwagala and Kataragama. En route to Buduruwagala, we stopped at Saliyala Purana Rajamaha Viharaya, the temple with the longest (132 feet) Sleeping Buddha statue in South Asia. The entrance fees are USD2 for adults and half price for children.

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After that, it was a long journey of 150 km with endless stretches of winding mountainous roads, passing by tea factories, various waterfalls, Nuwara Eliya (Little England) and Ella.

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Tea plantation

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Tea factory

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One of the many waterfalls

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Mountainous views in the Nuwara Eliya area

After almost five hours, we finally arrived at Buduruwagala. There aren’t many historical records about this ancient site but it is generally believed to be dated around the 9th or 10th century (about 1,000 years ago). Situated within a forested area, it consists of seven statues in a wide open space. The central statue is a Buddha Shakyamuni (16 m or 52 feet tall) with three statues on either side. The central figure on the left is Avalokiteshvara and next to him is Tara. The place is very calm and surreal, and it is said that wild elephants come to this place at night. The entrance fees are USD2.50 for adults and half price for children.

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Buduruwagala and the beautiful seven statues

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Doing prayers

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The three statues on the left of the main statue. In the centre is Avalokitesvara, and Tara is on the left

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The three statues on the right of the main statue.

Just to the left of the main Buddha statue is a carved “flame” which is about three feet (0.91 m) wide and four feet (1.2 m) high. Previously, the walls of the “flame” were wet with an oil that smelled very much like mustard oil, and many locals believed it had healing power. Nowadays, there is no longer any oil coming from the carved shape.

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Carved “flame” next to the main statue

After checking in to our hotel, we proceeded to Kiri Vehera Stupa in Kataragama, one of the 16 sacred places (Solosmasthana) in Sri Lanka that Buddha Shakyamuni visited, believed to have been built 2,500 years ago. According to legend, Buddha met with King Mahasena on His third and final visit to Sri Lanka. After the king listened to the Buddha’s discourse, he built the stupa on the exact spot where Buddha gave the teaching as a token of gratitude.

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Kiri Vihara at night. There weren’t many visitors as it was raining.

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There is a sheltered courtyard within the compound of the stupa, where we sat and did our prayers.

This ancient temple is unique because it facilitates a close and beautiful relationship between Buddhism and Hinduism. There is also a huge ancient Bodhi tree in Kataragama Temple. It is believed that this sacred tree is 2,300 years old and originated from the Bodhi Tree in Anuradhapura.

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Kataragama Temple, where the Bodhi Tree is planted

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The other entrance to Kataragama Temple

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The 2,300-year-old Bodhi Tree

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It drizzled when we did our prayers around the Bodhi tree

 

Day 7: 5 December 2017

Early in the morning, we left Kataragama for Bentota, a town which is about two hours away from Colombo. It was quite a long drive of more than 220 km. We stopped at Bentota Beach for a quick photo and also joined a two-hour river safari in Maduganga Lake which had many mangrove trees, a cinnamon island, and a few ancient temples.

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Maduganga Lake is nine square kilometres and has 56 islands

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Going through a mangrove “tunnel”

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Situated on one of the small islands, Kotdoowa Temple features a seated Buddha, a reclining Buddha and a Bodhi Tree

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One of the many Buddha statues in Maduganga Lake

 

Day 8: 6 December 2017

On our last day of pilgrimage, we visited three temples: Kande Vihara in Beruwala, Gangaramaya Temple and Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara in Colombo.

We woke up early in the morning and arrived at Kande Vihara at 6.30 am where we witnessed many people making offerings of flowers, fruit and rice to the Buddha before going to work. This temple was founded 300 years ago although it was much smaller at that time. Since then, much renovation and development work has been commissioned and today, it has a huge 48.8 m (160 ft) Samadhi Buddha. There is also a stupa and a Bodhi tree which is believed to be 300 years old within the temple.

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Doing prayers at the feet of the big Buddha

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The Bodhi Tree and the main prayer hall on the right

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The stupa next to the main prayer hall

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Beautiful statues inside the main prayer hall

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The Reclining Buddha inside the main prayer hall

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Devotees come to offer flowers, rice, milk, etc. before starting their day

We then headed to Colombo to visit the National Museum. This museum is huge with a great number of exhibits, many of which are related to Buddhism. It would have taken us at least four hours to cover everything but unfortunately we ran out of time.

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Exterior of the National Museum

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9th century bronze standing Buddha statue

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There are many Buddha statues in the museum

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A stupa with many Buddhas

Our next stop was Gangaramaya Temple which has strong influences of Mahayana Buddhism and a mixture of Sri Lankan, Thai, Indian and Chinese architecture, quite different from the other temples in Sri Lanka. It features a prayer hall with beautifully sculpted and painted Buddhas, a white stupa with a white jade statue, a Bodhi tree, and a relic chamber which is said to contain the Buddha’s hair. It also has an assembly hall for monks in the middle of Beira Lake, which is about 150 metres away from the main building.

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Inside the main prayer hall with its many beautiful and large Buddha statues

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Beautiful wall paintings

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We did our prayers in the main prayer hall

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One of the statues was being restored

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A Bodhi Tree

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The white Jade Buddha in front of the white stupa

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Seating area around the Bodhi Tree for chanting and prayer sessions

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Many rare and valuable Buddha statues are exhibited here

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Buddha’s hair is in this glass chamber

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The assembly hall for monks in the middle of Beira Lake

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The Bodhi tree and stupa next to the assembly hall by the lake

The last temple we visited on our trip was Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara. It is one of the 16 Solosmasthana and it is said that the temple was consecrated by Buddha Shakyamuni during his third and final visit to Sri Lanka.

The temple was built during Buddha’s time, about 2,500 years ago, and the original stupa of this sacred temple enshrined a throne on which the Buddha sat and preached during his visit. There is also a huge Bodhi Tree here, which many devotees queue and offer water to. When we left around 6.15 pm, a monk was leading many devotees in a chanting session in front of the Reclining Buddha inside the prayer hall. There is also an 18-foot stone statue of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara next to the stupa.

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Stupa in Kelaniya Vihara

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The main prayer hall next to the stupa

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Beautiful wall paintings inside the main prayer hall

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The stupa inside the main prayer hall

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Many devotees queue to make water offerings to the Bodhi tree

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We did our prayers inside the main prayer hall

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A monk led a chanting session in front of the Reclining Buddha

 

More Interesting Places We Did Not Manage to Visit

  • Mihintale, where Buddhism in Sri Lanka is believed to have started
  • Adam’s Peak, one of the most sacred pilgrimage places in Sri Lanka
  • Nagadeepa Purana Viharaya in northern Sri Lanka
  • Sigiriya Lion Rock, an ancient rock fortress and a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Royal Botanical Gardens in Kandy
  • Brief Garden in Bentota

 

Travel Tips in Sri Lanka

  1. Visa applications are done online. It takes about two hours for approval.
  2. Booking hotels in Sri Lanka is quite an easy task, as you can use online hotel booking sites such as Booking.com. A decent and clean guest house costs around USD30-40 per night for a double room, including breakfast.
  3. Although you can take public transportation to various places, I would recommend to rent a car or van with a driver, because this is much faster and you will be able to visit more places. It cost us USD480 to hire a 9-seater van and driver for eight days.
  4. Visiting tourist attractions such as Sigiriya Lion Rock, ancient sites, etc. can be expensive. Do check prices before you travel.
  5. Most hotels and tourist attractions accept both US dollars and Sri Lankan rupees. However, it is recommended to pay in rupees for better exchange rates.
  6. If you need a 3G/4G data plan, you can get a SIM card for about USD10 that comes with 7GB of data (valid for one year). Most of Sri Lanka has 4G coverage and decent internet speed.
  7. The sun rises at about 6.15 am and sets around 6 pm.
  8. Most of the roads are single lane and the speed limit is 70 km/h for cars/vans.
  9. Restaurant food which is suitable for foreigners is typically priced around USD5-8 per person. It generally takes about 40 minutes to prepare the food. Restaurants will usually wait until all the dishes are ready before they serve you, and the food can be cold by the time it is served.
  10. Most restaurants and guest houses can prepare vegetarian food upon request.
  11. Buddhists usually wear white-coloured clothing when visiting temples.
  12. You are required to wear long pants or long dresses when entering the temples. If you are wearing shorts, then you must cover your legs with a piece of cloth.
  13. You must take off your shoes/hat in temple areas.
  14. It is traditional to offer flowers in Buddhist temples and fruits in Hindu temples.
  15. You can sit almost anywhere inside the temples to do your prayers, including inside the Dambulla Cave and Tooth Relic Temple.
  16. Never take a photo with your back facing the Buddha. It is considered very disrespectful.
  17. If you see signs like “Please obtain a license to take a photo”, you are generally allowed to take photographs; but not when you see signs like “Strictly no photographs”. When in doubt, please check with the staff.

For more interesting information:

 

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7 Responses to Pilgrimage to Sri Lanka

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  1. wan wai meng on Mar 7, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    Some of the wall paintings, had a Byzantine feel to it. Lew you and your family had a whirlwind tour of Sri Lanka, thank you for given us more insights to the rich culture of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.

  2. Anne Ong on Feb 22, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    Rejoice to Lew and family! Thank you for sharing your beautiful experience pictures from your pilgrimage trip to Sri Lanka. Enoyed reading your post. Thank you Rinpoche and blog team for sharing this wonderful write up 🙏

  3. Alice Tay on Feb 18, 2018 at 12:28 am

    The best gift that we can give to the children is to instill dharma in them.
    In this pilgrimage trip, Lew and family able to make offerings and do prayers together that created causes to gain the same qualities as per enlightened beings. Lew and Wei Theng decided to bring their children for this pilgrimage trip of Sri Lanka instead of other places is really inspiring and be a good example to many other parents to consider and make the same aspirations for their family.

    Thank you Rinpoche and Lew sharing this wonderful article. This has opened my eyes to the beauty and significance of Buddha’s relic of such as Buddha’s tooth and hair.

  4. Lum Kok Luen on Feb 13, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    Thank Kwan Leng for sharing your pilgrimage trip with your family.
    It is indeed extremely meritorious to be able to visit these places together as a family as you embark on your Dharma path.
    The pictures shared are indeed beautiful and looking at the phots, one will collect merits as these are holy images of Lord Buddha.

    Great sharing and I have picked up ideas for a pilgrimage trip.

    Thank you.
    Lum KL

  5. Sarah on Feb 9, 2018 at 10:16 pm

    I enjoyed looking at the beautiful pictures of temples, buddha statues and stupas. What a lovely holiday and a beautiful pilgrimage for the whole family. It is a good idea to bring children on pilgrimages. They will receive Buddha’s blessings and collect merits to practise the Dharma. Thank you for the sharing.

  6. cc on Feb 9, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    👍🙏🙏🙏
    A great place to visit especially with families.
    Great photos. The paintings and the stupas in the caves is amazing.
    Will plan a trip there.

  7. Samfoonheei on Feb 6, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    Going on pilgrimage with family members are always more meaningful and meritorious than anything else . Its indeed a blessing all who are able to make the trip. Visiting all the holy temples whereby hold those relics ,caves ancient site and merely seeing the many Buddha images is a dream for anyone. Looking through those beautiful pictures in this article is a blessing, hoping one day I could able to visit these beautiful holy place in Sri Lanka.Thank you Lew Kwan Leng for sharing your pilgrimage to Sri Lanka and those beautiful pictures . A very details trip making those planning to go much easier.

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  • Samfoonheei
    Friday, Jan 17. 2020 05:58 PM
    Thank you Rinpoche for the sharing . FEARLESS is getting back up and fighting for what we want over and over again without giving up. Successful people have no fear of failure they stay open to all possibilities of the outcomes. We embrace change, even change that appears negative by thinking positive. Being fearless is more about who we are, rather than what we do. Fearless people are great, they are full of life, good energy, passion and self-belief. We must try as we never know if we do not try. Keep trying as the success rate is higher than we thought.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/thoughts.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Friday, Jan 17. 2020 05:54 PM
    Happiness is not made by what we own, it is what we share and giving generously and sincerely. A simple gift by June Tang tells all. Given sincerely from her heart on her birthday to Rinpoche . It’s all done without money, that’s very true and that’s what I consider true generosity for sure. Giving what she could. She give all and yet she feel as if it costs her nothing. But to Rinpoche its mean a lot of sincerity We seek to give with an open, pure heart, with no attachment to what we are .
    Quoted… no true spiritual life is possible without a generous heart. Generosity allies itself with an inner feeling of abundance—the feeling that we have enough to share.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing .

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/study-groups/its-all-done-without-money.html
  • S.Prathap
    Friday, Jan 17. 2020 04:19 PM
    There is no one that can help us, but us. Methods are given, but whether we grasp, apply and practise it is entirely up to oneself. If we don’t change then there is no point in learning the Dharma.
    A transformed mind is our own best protection. That mind can only come from consistent practice over time.When we see results, we will be encouraged to push ourselves more to practice well.Thank you very much for sharing a good article.

    https://bit.ly/2thDjjL
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Jan 16. 2020 04:26 PM
    Wonderful news ……the Chinese government has introduced a plan to encourage and reduce its citizens’ meat consumption by 50%, It’s a great move that China has done in the effort to avoid runaway global warming and for health reasons. The climate campaigners has been hoping for it. New dietary guidelines by the Chinese health officials have recommend and advise individuals to limit their meat consumption. As more evidence of chronic diseases such as heart attack, strokes ,hypertension and so forth are related to meat consumption. And for most to maintain a healthy life styles. They also implement dietary guidelines encouraging the general public to consume plenty of cereals, tubers, whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits as well. The Chinese government also put up billboards in attempt to reduce meat consumption by highlighting health risks associated with consuming meat. What we eat contributes to global greenhouse gas emissions and every one of us is responsible. People nowadays are reducing their meat consumption and opting for vegan and plant-based protein to improve their health . Hopefully more countries will follow China reducing the meat consumption. In a way more animals could be save in the slaughter house. And for the future generations to come .
    Thank you for this wonderful news .

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/look-what-chinas-doing.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Jan 16. 2020 04:23 PM
    Different parts of the world have each various interesting traditions and customs which individual will celebrate and follow. Religious festivals like Gadhimai festival, which is an animal sacrificial ceremony, and dog meat festival where dogs are slaughtered to celebrate the summer solstice have gathered cultural significance over the centuries. In Gadhimai festival , they believe that animal sacrifices to the Hindu goddess Gadhimai will end evil and bring prosperity. In Spain bulls festival or the Toro de la Vega, bulls are torture and kill. Same goes to the Pero Palo Festival where scared donkey being dragged unwillingly through the packed streets . Drive hunting where dolphins and whales are caught and killed for their meat. All these are some of the hidden cruelty and crime against animals in the world which many are not aware of it and do not want to know. But with social media , more and more got to know about it and are trying to end all these animals cruelty. The Indian officials are cracking down and trying to stop the transportation of animals for this festivals. It is good that the number of animals slaughtered during the Gadhimai festival has dropped sharply over the years. The Yulin Dog Meat Festival, which happens every year is a gruesome display of the dog meat trade. Chinese officials are doing their best and discouraging people from eating dog meat which is harmful in long term. Recent years there has been a drop in the consumption of dog meat in the China. Many people are aware of the abuses and torture of those poor dogs before been kill as meat. Looking at those pictures in the articles, tells a thousand words of all the suffering of these animals in the moment before death.
    Thank you Rinpoche and Shakila Rajendra for this sharing raising awareness of animals been abuse , torture and so forth.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/crimes-against-animals-the-world-doesnt-want-you-to-know-about.html
  • S.Prathap
    Thursday, Jan 16. 2020 03:54 PM
    This is what i like about being Malaysia expose with different religion yet there live harmony in society. It is awesome to read about this former Malaysian lady with a big heart and took actions to feed many .
    She understand the pain and sufferings of the people especially students had gone through without food. She was brought up in away she saw how her parents had the unprivileged and she is following their foot steps. Thank you very much for this touching article.

    https://bit.ly/2Ri4suG
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Jan 15. 2020 08:35 PM
    For centuries, humans have been gazed at galaxies and peered deep inside atoms for more answers to the space. No one knows for sure what it is up there. Scientist, astronomers and so forth are busy scanning the skies for more discoveries and seeking answers to the mysteries of space. World scientists are doing experiments in an effort to gain insight of it. After years of exploration , they are still looking for more discoveries. Interesting discoveries……..of the dark energy, eagle nebula , galaxy , UFO and more of what is existing beyond our imagination.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/top10-space-mysteries.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Jan 15. 2020 08:33 PM
    Peter Byrne is an absolute legend , been an icon, in search for Bigfoot, yeti and Sasquatch or abominable snowmen of the Himalaya. He was a real icon questing for the truth about the Yeti or snowmen. Since his much younger years , he was fascinated in the unknown and the mysterious that turned hunting as a hobby. In one of his hunting trip , he came across a tiger suffering that changed his whole life. From that time he stopped the cruel act of killing animals , ending his 16 years of hunting and founded a non-profit organization called the International Wildlife Conservation Society. He has lived a long and dedicated life in the conservations of animals and in the pursuit of searching for Sasquatch, Yeti and so forth. For decades, he search for Bigfoot, Yeti in the Himalayan has become more of a hobby for him. He has written multiple books on Bigfoot and other aspects of his life.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this interesting post and sharing of those videos.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/7-parts.html
  • S.Prathap
    Wednesday, Jan 15. 2020 04:45 PM
    This Medicine Buddha Healing Fountain was built in such away that it will deliver healing waters which were energized with natural crystals blessed by High Lamas. Those natural crystals were imbued with the healing energies of Medicine Buddha and Dorje Shugden.
    With the new healing fountain, visitors can bring home the holy healing energy in a bottle. Thank you very much Rinpoche and Kechara for making this Medicine Buddha Healing Fountain available for everyone.

    https://bit.ly/35WE0Mi
  • S.Prathap
    Tuesday, Jan 14. 2020 04:27 PM
    This article really inspired me, every year we live is formative year for us as it affects our future life, so we should really let go those bad influence from our parents. What Rinpoche wrote is so true, most of us are either positive or negative after getting influenced by our parents.

    Dharma will make us face ourselves, acknowledge our weak and negative aspects of character and will then guide us to move forward in a positively transformative direction.Thank you very much for sharing this good article with us.

    https://bit.ly/3a28XCh
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Jan 14. 2020 03:37 PM
    Ratsag Monastery is a popular pilgrimage site located in the Yab Valley in Tolung near to Lhasa, Tibet. Its a beautiful place located with interesting history behind it. It’s the statue of Vajra Yogini that attracted many pilgrims there. This monastery been built to purify the heavy negative karma associated with Ra Lotsawa Dorje Drakpa (1016-1128 CE) by the locals who is well known for introducing the Vajrabhairava-Yamantaka Tantras to Tibet.
    Interesting read of Vajra Yogini scared statues and about the history of the monastery. May the original statue of Vajra Yogini will be returned to Ratsag Monastery one day.
    I did made a trip last May with friends and saw those beautiful scared statues at the monastery. Merely by looking at it is a blessing.
    Thank you Pastor David for this interesting post with the history of the Sacred Vajrayogini Statue been explained.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/the-sacred-vajrayogini-of-ratsag-monastery.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Jan 14. 2020 03:34 PM
    Shailendra Dynasty was the name of an influential Indonesian dynasty that emerged in 8th-century Java. Shailendras were active influencer of Mahayana Buddhism whose reign signified a cultural renaissance in the region. The glorious Buddhist monuments was then built across the fertile volcanic plain named as Kedu Plain .
    The most incredible of them all was the massive stupa of Borobudur which is a very popular pilgrimage site for locals, tourist and Buddhist practitioners. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wow ….incredible it took more than 50 years to complete this architectural monument . Read and heard about this amazing monuments and all the beautiful stone inscriptions there. I have not been there before but wish to in the near future. Interesting read of all about this historical information on the Shailendra Dynasty.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/art-architecture/the-shailendra-dynasty-progenitor-of-mahayana-buddhism-in-indonesia.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Jan 13. 2020 02:13 PM
    Gunung Jerai considered a important part in the history of Kedah and it was a focal trading point for merchants century ago. Like all other mountains, Gunung Jerai has its fair share of history and fascinating tales. Wow……Interesting relics uncovered in the area provide evidence of a Hindu-Buddhist civilization dating back to the fourth century A. D. The mountain is an isolated sandstone peak in a relatively flat landscape. There are also many legends and folklore surrounding Gunung Jerai, making this mountain all the more interesting for ghost hunters, trekkers, historians , archaeologist to explore. The Bujang Valley is once the site of the Srivijaya Empire, an ancient Malay kingdom is the richest archaeological area in Malaysia. Ancient ruins and numerous artefacts from a lost Hindu-Buddhist civilization have been discovered. Artifacts such as porcelain, stoneware, clay, pottery, and so forth been unearthed . Wow…. More than 50 ancient Hindu or Buddhist temples, called candi, have also been unearthed as well. It has proven the spirituality of the place by the Hindu-Buddhist civilization centuries ago.. Incredible discoveries the ruins of these candi and other archaeological discoveries unearthed ruins at the site believed to be of more than 2,000 years.
    I have not been to the Archaeological Museum before but wish to see for myself. Interesting read …….Guung Jerai and Bujang Valley is a stunning place of historic, geological, zoological interests to visit.
    Thank you for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/art-architecture/the-historic-and-holy-site-of-gunung-jerai-and-bujang-valley.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Jan 13. 2020 02:12 PM
    First time coming across this word Kappa a water demon in Japan. The Kappa is also called by many other names by different folks. The kappa is said to be roughly humanoid in form inhabiting in the ponds and rivers of Japan. It is typically greenish in colour , some say its yellow-blue. Looks either scaly or slimy skinned, with webbed hands and feet, and a turtle-like carapace on its back. It has a scary nature and are extremely cunning as what the local describe it. In ancient Japanese folklore, the Kappa is a water demon a creature that is as mysterious as it is terrifying. This strange creature is thought to hold magical powers that can be used for both good and evil. Though many still refuse to believe in the existence yet there are still many sightings in the countryside of Japan as to this days.
    Looking at the images of Kappa mummy at Zuiryūji Temple, Osaka and Kappa mummy at the National Museum of Ethnology, Leiden ,Netherlands has indeed proof that Kappas do exist after all centuries ago. Interesting read of all the mysterious creatures which I have not heard before.
    Thank you for this interesting sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/kappa-the-japanese-water-demon
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Jan 13. 2020 02:10 PM
    Rinpoche loved all animals nor matter what species, animals they are. Rinpoche was a huge animal lover and would rescue any of the animals from a smallest to much bigger ones. Rinpoche ‘s love to them is un measurable , boring equal love to all of them. Because of Rinpoche ‘s love for animals Rinpoche had built the Dream Manjushri fish pond and aviary at Kechara Forest Retreat. Rinpoche had a soft spot for dogs and will help any of them along the way he met. Jersey and Tara are the fortunate dogs that been taking care by Rinpoche.
    A dog is definitely a man best friend and they are such agreeable friends.
    Thank you Pastor Jean Ai for this wonderful sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/growing-up-with-rinpoche-rinpoche-jersey-and-tara

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The Unknown

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

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On behalf of our Puja House team, Pastor Tat Ming receives food and drinks from Rinpoche. Rinpoche wanted to make sure the hardworking Puja House team are always taken care of.
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4 days ago
By the time I heard about Luang Phor Thong, he was already very old, in his late 80s. When I heard about him, I immediately wanted to go and pay my respects to him. - http://bit.ly/LuangPhorThong
It\'s very nice to see volunteers helping maintain holy sites in Kechara Forest Retreat, it\'s very good for them. Cleaning Buddha statues is a very powerful and effective way of purifying body karma.
4 days ago
It's very nice to see volunteers helping maintain holy sites in Kechara Forest Retreat, it's very good for them. Cleaning Buddha statues is a very powerful and effective way of purifying body karma.
Kechara Forest Retreat is preparing for the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations. This is our holy Vajra Yogini stupa which is now surrounded by beautiful lanterns organised by our students.
5 days ago
Kechara Forest Retreat is preparing for the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations. This is our holy Vajra Yogini stupa which is now surrounded by beautiful lanterns organised by our students.
One of the most recent harvests from our Kechara Forest Retreat land. It was grown free of chemicals and pesticides, wonderful!
5 days ago
One of the most recent harvests from our Kechara Forest Retreat land. It was grown free of chemicals and pesticides, wonderful!
Third picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal.
Height: 33ft (10m)
6 months 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)
6 months 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)
6 months 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
6 months ago
The first title published by Kechara Comics is Karuna Finds A Way. It tells the tale of high-school sweethearts Karuna and Adam who had what some would call the dream life. Everything was going great for them until one day when reality came knocking on their door. Caught in a surprise swindle, this loving family who never harmed anyone found themselves out of luck and down on their fortune. Determined to save her family, Karuna goes all out to find a solution. See what she does- https://bit.ly/2LSKuWo
Very powerful story! Tibetan Resistance group Chushi Gangdruk reveals how Dalai Lama escaped in 1959- https://bit.ly/2S9VMGX
6 months ago
Very powerful story! Tibetan Resistance group Chushi Gangdruk reveals how Dalai Lama escaped in 1959- https://bit.ly/2S9VMGX
At Kechara Forest Retreat land we have nice fresh spinach growing free of chemicals and pesticides. Yes!
6 months ago
At Kechara Forest Retreat land we have nice fresh spinach growing free of chemicals and pesticides. Yes!
See beautiful pictures of Manjushri Guest House here- https://bit.ly/2WGo0ti
7 months ago
See beautiful pictures of Manjushri Guest House here- https://bit.ly/2WGo0ti
Beginner’s Introduction to Dorje Shugden~Very good overview https://bit.ly/2QQNfYv
7 months ago
Beginner’s Introduction to Dorje Shugden~Very good overview https://bit.ly/2QQNfYv
Fresh eggplants grown on Kechara Forest Retreat\'s land here in Malaysia
7 months ago
Fresh eggplants grown on Kechara Forest Retreat's land here in Malaysia
Most Venerable Uppalavanna – The Chief Female Disciple of Buddha Shakyamuni - She exhibited many supernatural abilities gained from meditation and proved to the world females and males are equal in spirituality- https://bit.ly/31d9Rat
7 months ago
Most Venerable Uppalavanna – The Chief Female Disciple of Buddha Shakyamuni - She exhibited many supernatural abilities gained from meditation and proved to the world females and males are equal in spirituality- https://bit.ly/31d9Rat
Thailand’s ‘Renegade’ Yet Powerful Buddhist Nuns~ https://bit.ly/2Z1C02m
7 months ago
Thailand’s ‘Renegade’ Yet Powerful Buddhist Nuns~ https://bit.ly/2Z1C02m
Mahapajapati Gotami – the first Buddhist nun ordained by Lord Buddha- https://bit.ly/2IjD8ru
7 months ago
Mahapajapati Gotami – the first Buddhist nun ordained by Lord Buddha- https://bit.ly/2IjD8ru
The Largest Buddha Shakyamuni in Russia | 俄罗斯最大的释迦牟尼佛画像- https://bit.ly/2Wpclni
7 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
7 months ago
Sacred Vajra Yogini
Dorje Shugden works & archives - a labour of commitment - https://bit.ly/30Tp2p8
8 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.
8 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.
8 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.
8 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
8 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
8 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!!!
8 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
8 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
8 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
8 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
8 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
8 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
8 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
8 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
8 months ago
Beautiful pictures of the huge Buddha in Longkou Nanshan- https://bit.ly/2LsBxVb
The reason-Very interesting thought- https://bit.ly/2V7VT5r
8 months ago
The reason-Very interesting thought- https://bit.ly/2V7VT5r
NEW Bigfoot cafe in Malaysia! Food is delicious!- https://bit.ly/2VxdGau
8 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
8 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
8 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
8 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
8 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
8 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
8 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
8 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.
8 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
8 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
9 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.
9 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.
9 months ago
Beautiful picture. Rare. Three holy beings.
Click on "View All Photos" above to view more images

Videos On The Go

Please click on the images to watch video
  • Pig puts his toys away
    4 days ago
    Pig puts his toys away
    Animals are so intelligent. They can feel happiness, joy, pain, sorrow, just like humans. Always show kindness to them. Always show kindness to everyone.
  • Always be kind to animals-They deserve to live just like us.
    6 months ago
    Always be kind to animals-They deserve to live just like us.
    Whales and dolphins playing with each other in the Pacific sea. Nature is truly incredible!
  • Bodha stupa July 2019-
    6 months ago
    Bodha stupa July 2019-
    Rainy period
  • Cute Tara girl having a snack. She is one of Kechara Forest Retreat’s resident doggies.
    7 months ago
    Cute Tara girl having a snack. She is one of Kechara Forest Retreat’s resident doggies.
  • Your Next Meal!
    7 months ago
    Your Next Meal!
    Yummy? Tasty? Behind the scenes of the meat on your plates. Meat is a killing industry.
  • This is Daw
    7 months ago
    This is Daw
    This is what they do to get meat on tables, and to produce belts and jackets. Think twice before your next purchase.
  • Don’t Take My Mummy Away!
    7 months ago
    Don’t Take My Mummy Away!
    Look at the poor baby chasing after the mother. Why do we do that to them? It's time to seriously think about our choices in life and how they affect others. Be kind. Don't break up families.
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    7 months ago
    They do this every day!
    This is how they are being treated every day of their lives. Please do something to stop the brutality. Listen to their cries for help!
  • What happened at Fair Oaks Farm?
    7 months ago
    What happened at Fair Oaks Farm?
    The largest undercover dairy investigation of all time. See what they found out at Fair Oaks Farm.
  • She’s going to spend her whole life here without being able to move correctly. Like a machine. They are the slaves of the people and are viewed as a product. It’s immoral. Billions of terrestrial animals die annually. Billions. You can’t even imagine it. And all that because people don’t want to give up meat, even though there are so many alternatives. ~ Gabriel Azimov
    7 months ago
    She’s going to spend her whole life here without being able to move correctly. Like a machine. They are the slaves of the people and are viewed as a product. It’s immoral. Billions of terrestrial animals die annually. Billions. You can’t even imagine it. And all that because people don’t want to give up meat, even though there are so many alternatives. ~ Gabriel Azimov
  • 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
    9 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.
    9 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.
  • Beautiful Monastery in Hong Kong
    9 months ago
    Beautiful Monastery in Hong Kong
  • This dog thanks his hero in such a touching way. Tsem Rinpoche
    9 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
    9 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
  • 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
    9 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
    10 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.
    10 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.
    10 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
    10 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
    10 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
    10 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
    11 months ago
    Cruelty of some people have no limits and it’s heartbreaking. Being kind cost nothing. Tsem Rinpoche
  • SUPER ADORABLE and must see
    1 years ago
    SUPER ADORABLE and must see
    Tsem Rinpoche's dog Oser girl enjoying her snack in her play pen.
  • Cute!
    1 years ago
    Cute!
    Oser girl loves the balcony so much. - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTcoWpKJm2c
  • Uncle Wong
    1 years 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!
    1 years ago
    Tsem Rinpoche’s Schnauzer Dharma boy fights Robot sphere from Arkonide!
  • Cute baby owl found and rescued
    1 years ago
    Cute baby owl found and rescued
    We rescued a lost baby owl in Kechara Forest Retreat.
  • Nice cups from Kechara!!
    1 years ago
    Nice cups from Kechara!!
    Dorje Shugden people's lives matter!
  • Enjoy a peaceful morning at Kechara Forest Retreat
    1 years 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).
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    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.
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    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...
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    2 yearss ago
    Bigfoot sighted again and made it to the news.
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  • 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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A section for you to clarify your Dharma questions with Kechara’s esteemed pastors.

Just post your name and your question below and one of our pastors will provide you with an answer.

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CHAT PICTURES

Paying homage to Lama Tsongkhapa, Dorje Shugden and The Three Jewels by Ms. Leow. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
3 days ago
Paying homage to Lama Tsongkhapa, Dorje Shugden and The Three Jewels by Ms. Leow. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Mr. Lim offered Serkym to Dorje Shugden on behalf of KISG. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
3 days ago
Mr. Lim offered Serkym to Dorje Shugden on behalf of KISG. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Ms. Leow offered lights & incense to Lama Tsongkhapa, Dorje Shugden and all Buddhas prior to the puja. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
3 days ago
Ms. Leow offered lights & incense to Lama Tsongkhapa, Dorje Shugden and all Buddhas prior to the puja. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Kechara Ipoh Study Group has carried out weekly Dorje Shugden puja in Ipoh. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
3 days ago
Kechara Ipoh Study Group has carried out weekly Dorje Shugden puja in Ipoh. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
KISG started our 2020 first weekend with Mother Tara prayer recitations in Ipoh. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
2 weeks ago
KISG started our 2020 first weekend with Mother Tara prayer recitations in Ipoh. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Kids camp 2019 - Exciting stack up game. The kids enjoyed it very much. Lin Mun KSDS
4 weeks ago
Kids camp 2019 - Exciting stack up game. The kids enjoyed it very much. Lin Mun KSDS
Kids camp 2019 - Super delicious fried rice and decorated with heart. Lin Mun KSDS
4 weeks ago
Kids camp 2019 - Super delicious fried rice and decorated with heart. Lin Mun KSDS
Kids camp 2019 - Beautiful farm in Kechara Forest Retreat. Lin Mun KSDS
4 weeks ago
Kids camp 2019 - Beautiful farm in Kechara Forest Retreat. Lin Mun KSDS
Kids camp 2019 - Completion of puzzle game. Look at their happy faces. Lin Mun KSDS
4 weeks ago
Kids camp 2019 - Completion of puzzle game. Look at their happy faces. Lin Mun KSDS
KISG carried out weekly Dorje Shugden puja in Ipoh on Tuesday's evening. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
4 weeks ago
KISG carried out weekly Dorje Shugden puja in Ipoh on Tuesday's evening. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Long beans from our Kechara Farm 2019 harvested for our community here in Kechara Forest Retreat.
1 month ago
Long beans from our Kechara Farm 2019 harvested for our community here in Kechara Forest Retreat.
Bountiful harvest from our Kechara Farm 2019 for our community. Here are some long beans, four-angled beans, bitter gourds and karelas!
1 month ago
Bountiful harvest from our Kechara Farm 2019 for our community. Here are some long beans, four-angled beans, bitter gourds and karelas!
Bountiful harvest from our Kechara Farm 2019 for our community. This is Malabar spinach which is a herbal healer.
1 month ago
Bountiful harvest from our Kechara Farm 2019 for our community. This is Malabar spinach which is a herbal healer.
Bountiful harvest from our Kechara Farm 2019 for our community. This is Kangkung or water spinach.
1 month ago
Bountiful harvest from our Kechara Farm 2019 for our community. This is Kangkung or water spinach.
Bountiful harvest from our Kechara Farm 2019 for our community. This is Gui Hua Chai
1 month ago
Bountiful harvest from our Kechara Farm 2019 for our community. This is Gui Hua Chai
Kids camp 2019 - Meditation session for all participants. A great way to calm our mind & stay focus. Lin Mun KSDS
1 month ago
Kids camp 2019 - Meditation session for all participants. A great way to calm our mind & stay focus. Lin Mun KSDS
Kids camp 2019 - Who can resist this smiley face fried rice ? Lin Mun KSDS
1 month ago
Kids camp 2019 - Who can resist this smiley face fried rice ? Lin Mun KSDS
Kids camp 2019 - Participants writing their appreciation message to parents / guardians who sent them to this camp. Lin Mun KSDS
1 month ago
Kids camp 2019 - Participants writing their appreciation message to parents / guardians who sent them to this camp. Lin Mun KSDS
Kids camp 2019 - Big thanks to the dedicated food team for the delicious food prepared in the 3 days camp. Lin Mun KSDS
1 month ago
Kids camp 2019 - Big thanks to the dedicated food team for the delicious food prepared in the 3 days camp. Lin Mun KSDS
1 month ago
1 month ago
Kids camp 2019 - Sun team is showing their puzzle. It’s all about team work. Lin Mun KSDS
1 month ago
Kids camp 2019 - Sun team is showing their puzzle. It’s all about team work. Lin Mun KSDS
Kechara Kids Camp 2019 - Art time at beautiful yard in Enchanted Forest -Jayce Goh
1 month ago
Kechara Kids Camp 2019 - Art time at beautiful yard in Enchanted Forest -Jayce Goh
Kechara Kids Camp 2019 , cute meal - KSDS Jayce Goh
1 month ago
Kechara Kids Camp 2019 , cute meal - KSDS Jayce Goh
Kechara Kids Camp rules Wake up on time and wash themselves independently - KSDS Jayce Goh
1 month ago
Kechara Kids Camp rules Wake up on time and wash themselves independently - KSDS Jayce Goh
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