Stunning Pilgrimage to Bodhgaya

Jul 30, 2017 | Views: 6,147

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(By Tsem Rinpoche)

If there were only one place in this world where all Buddhists must go on pilgrimage, it has got to be Bodhgaya. Every year thousands of Buddhist pilgrims make their way to Bodhgaya to circumambulate, recite mantras and prayers, engaging in retreats, meditation and rituals. This is the most important sacred spot for Buddhists from all over the world. This is the very spot where Prince Siddhartha Gautama became the perfect awakened Buddha by attaining full enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree 2600 years ago. It is also the place where all the past, present, and future Buddhas will appear again.

It is said that Buddha himself advised his students to go on pilgrimage to four holy sites after his passing. These are the places where he was born, achieved enlightenment, turned the wheel of dharma, and passed into parinirvana. In fact, these places will be the exact same locations where future Buddhas will return to take rebirth, attain enlightenment, teach and enter parinirvana again.

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Imagine the great Buddha Shakyamuni spends his days and nights on these locations, meditating, gaining visions and attainments, conquering Mara, and achieving supreme liberation from samsara. The Buddha did all this for the sake of all sentient being, to seek the truth and to find a way out of suffering and of cyclic existence of death and rebirth. Therefore, Bodhgaya is highly charged with Buddha’s potent wisdom and compassionate energy that can plant seeds of enlightenment in all who come to visit.

“Sacred power places are imbued with the blessed energy of the many enlightened Beings that have resided, practised and benefited countless other beings there.”

~ H.E. Tsem Rinpoche

By visiting holy places like Bodhgaya, we make a very deep and profound connection to the outer Buddha, and this creates the cause for us to realise the Buddhanature within. The merits we collect from going on pilgrimage will no doubt strengthen our spiritual practice not just for this life, but for our future lives as well. It can also open up karmic imprints which will encourage our spiritual growth. People often feel recharged or energised after going on pilgrimages.

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The significance of going on pilgrimage to the four holy sites as advised by Lord Buddha

1. When we visit the Buddha’s birthplace:

We create the karma to have control of our rebirth; create causes to be born in pleasant places where we will have the right conditions and opportunities to practise Dharma.

2. When we visit the place where Buddha attained Enlightenment:

Seeds are planted in our mindstreams for us to also gain Enlightenment; we go towards the path of Enlightenment in all future lifetimes; even if we fail to attain Enlightenment within Buddha Shakyamuni’s age, we create the causes to be among the foremost disciples of Maitreya, the future Buddha, when he manifests.

3. When we visit the place where Buddha first taught Dharma:

We create the karma for…

  • the Dharma to really go into our mind and we are able to transform when we receive the teachings
  • being able to sponsor, propagate and put our energy towards the growth of Dharma
  • being able to speak and share Dharma to others, to transform their lives

4. When we visit the place Buddha passed away:

We create the cause to increase our life to be able to engage in spiritual practice and gain enlightenment; we will not die ordinary deaths with fear, anxiety, and we create causes to have control over our death and rebirth.

 

What To Do

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Just by taking time off, planning and making arrangements to go on a pilgrimage to a holy place such as Bodhgaya, one purifies tremendous amount of negative karma as well as accumulate tremendous amount of merits. This is due to the blessings of Buddha Shakyamuni as well as your motivation to go there.

The moment you arrive in Bodhgaya you should generate a good motivation with these words by H.E. Tsem Rinpoche, “this is the place Lord Buddha gained enlightenment, this is the place where Buddha became attained, this is the place where Buddha reach his final journey and from that very spot, under the sacred tree where he became enlightened, he changed all our lives. We are all here, doing Dharma, learning, talking, discussing is because the Buddha gained full enlightenment.”

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Outside the Mahabodhi Stupa, there are many street vendors selling fruits, flowers, incense, and robes for the Buddha in three different sizes. You can purchase these to bring into the temple to make offerings to the sacred Buddha image inside.

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As you enter the great Mahabodhi Temple ground, you should be mindful to refrain from talking too loudly, not to idle chatter or gossip. It is a time to watch your body, speech and mind. You will notice many pilgrims there are monks and nuns from all over the world and everyone is practising awareness and some are even observing a silent retreat. Immediately try to find a quiet place to sit and engage in your prayers. You can chant or recite the preliminary prayers, and do a meditation on Buddha Shakyamuni’s life, contemplating on how he renounced the trappings of a worldly life as a prince, his great deeds thereafter and how he achieved full enlightenment. You can also recite one round of Migtsema mantras as it contains the blessings of all three great Buddhas, Manjushri, Chenrezig and Vajrapani – that embodies the energies of wisdom, great compassion and skilful means of Lama Tsongkhapa. Naturally, you can also chant any mantra you are comfortable and familiar with. Then at the end of your prayers, it is very auspicious and important to dedicate the merits generated with the recitation of the King of Prayers as advised by H.E. Tsem Rinpoche.

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After you are done with the prayers, then you may take your bowl of offerings and proceed inside the main Temple shrine. Make three prostrations and offer up your offerings to Lord Buddha. You may pass the robes to the monks who are there to assist. They will help you put the robes on the beautiful Buddha image. While you are making your offerings it would be good to think “whatever that is said in the King of Prayers may it all come true”, and offer up whatever is mentioned in the King of Prayers to Lord Buddha. When we think in this way and offer everything as mentioned in the King of Prayers, it is very complete and we do not have to worry that we may have missed something important. When we make aspirational prayers and invoke upon the Buddha’s blessings in such a holy place, we are creating a direct cause for us to achieve the same state of compassion and enlightened qualities as the Buddha himself.

H.E. Tsem Rinpoche offering robes to the Golden Buddha Shakyamuni image during a pilgrimage to Bodhgaya

H.E. Tsem Rinpoche offering robes to the golden Buddha Shakyamuni image in the sacred Mahabodhi Temple during a pilgrimage to Bodhgaya. Click to enlarge.

H.E. Tsem Rinpoche on the left and the monk caretaker of the temple helping Tsem Rinpoche place robes on to the Golden Buddha Shakyamuni image. Click to enlarge.

H.E. Tsem Rinpoche on the left and the temple caretaker monk on the right, helping Tsem Rinpoche place robes on to the golden Buddha Shakyamuni image. Click to enlarge.

A monk helping pilgrims to put on robes that was offered to Lord Buddha

A monk helping pilgrims to put on robes that was offered to Lord Buddha

After making your offerings, pause for a moment, gaze upon the beautiful majestic Lord Buddha, look at his beautiful face radiating at you and think how fortunate you are to be here in the very spot where Buddha gained enlightenment. Many pilgrims say that they can feel Buddha’s great compassion and some would even weep because the energy there is so potent and pure. After you are done, you can proceed outside and engage in as many circumambulations as possible while reciting mantras. Be aware of others and do not bump into people, especially the monks who are engaged in walking meditation. All around the temple complex, you will see many pilgrims engaging in many different practices from prostrating, chanting, mandala offerings to engaging in various rituals. It is a remarkable sight to rejoice, as every single person is there engaging in some form of Dharma practice.

Pilgrims engaging in one of the four preliminaries - prostration retreat

Pilgrims engaging in one of the four preliminaries – prostration retreat

Here is a very good short video to watch before heading to Bodhgaya by H.E. Tsem Rinpoche:

In 2004, H.E. Tsem Rinpoche giving refuge to a group of pilgrims from Malaysia, in front of the Mahabodhi Stupa

In 2004, H.E. Tsem Rinpoche giving refuge to a group of pilgrims from Malaysia, in front of the Mahabodhi Stupa

In 2004, H.E. Tsem Rinpoche giving refuge to a group of pilgrims from Malaysia, in front of the Mahabodhi Stupa

Other practices we can engage in when visiting Bodhgaya would be the four preliminary practices, especially Vajrasattva mantra recitation, prostrations and mandala offering. You can even do Vajrasattva and prostration together. It is extremely powerful to do these virtuous practices in such a holy place where the Buddha’s blessing is the strongest.

On the south side of the Temple complex, you will find butter lamp houses where you can light hundreds of butter lamps and dedicate it to your loved ones

On the south side of the Temple complex, you will find butter lamp houses where you can light hundreds of butter lamps and dedicate it to your loved ones

 

Map Of Bodhgaya. Click on image to enlarge.

Map Of Bodhgaya. Click on image to enlarge.

Location and Population

Bodhgaya is located in north India, in the state of Bihar, about 10 kilometres south of the city of Gaya. It is situated west of the Phalgu River (or Falgu River, also known as Niranjana River), a stream of the Ganges River. Based on India’s 2011 census, the population of Bodhgaya is 38,439.

 

Climate

Bihar lies near the junction of the Gangetic Plain and the Chota Nagpur plateau. In general, Bodhgaya is considered to be an area with warm and temperate climate, with an average temperature of about 26.5 °C with an annual rainfall of about 1017 mm.

In the summer months of April to mid-June, temperatures can be as high as 35-40°C.
Monsoon season is from June to September. During the months of October to November and February to March, you can expect pleasant weather conditions and this is probably the best time to visit. The winter months are from December to January is mildly cold with temperatures as low as 5 to 10 °C.

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A Brief History

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Prince Siddhartha Gautama was born in Lumbini, which is now Nepal, on a very auspicious day. He had witnessed what is known as The Four Sights and was very disturbed by the sufferings of mankind. Due to this, Prince Siddhartha decided to find out what was the cause of human suffering. In order to do that, he realises he must renounce palatial life he was born into. Consequently, Prince Siddhartha renounced his palace, his privileged life, his title, affluence and also his family at the age of 29. He renounced all that and became a mendicant in search of the truth. Siddharta wanted to find a way to end the cycle of birth and death. He studied under many teachers, practised penance and self- mortification, going through severe austerities for six years. He only ate one grain of rice a day and as a result became very frail and was just skin and bones. After realising that this practice of severe austerities was leading him nowhere near the truth, and in fact clouding his mind and killing his body, he decided to abandon it. His five ascetic companions who were with Siddharta condemned him for giving up on the practice and left him.

Buddha realised that the extreme practice of severe austerities was not the way to liberation decided to abandon it.

Buddha realised that the extreme practice of severe austerities was not the way to liberation decided to abandon it.

Siddharta then proceeded to the east bank of Niranjana River and there he was offered Kheer (rice-pudding with milk) by a Brahmin’s daughter named Sujata. After having his first meal in a long time, he realised that being too extreme in one’s practice, either self-indulgence or self-mortification is not the right way to liberation. Instead, the middle path is required to achieve enlightenment. He then descended to Bodhgaya, crossing the river to Uruvela and prepared a seat with kusha grass to begin his meditation under a peepal tree, which later became known as the Bodhi Tree. This is how the use of kusha grass came about and is used during Buddhist retreats. It symbolises the Buddha’s meditation seat, where he practised to gain enlightenment. Siddhartha was determined to find the truth and made a strong conviction that he would not leave his seat until he reached his goal and thus, he started his battle against Mara – the embodiment of his ego and delusions.

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Mara tried everything in his power to distract Siddharta but it did not disturb him at all. There were three significant moments in his meditation that is marked by the three watches of the night. During the first watch, Siddharta gained complete vision of all his past lives. During the second watch, he saw how beings die and took rebirth depending on their karma. On the final watch of the night, Mara fearing Siddharta was about to achieve full liberation, unleashed his army of demons in an epic battle. Mara’s demon horde shot flaming arrows toward Siddharta, but through the power of compassion, the arrows turned into flowers. Mara’s final attempt was to claim the seat of enlightenment for himself. He challenged Siddharta, asking who will speak for him, that is when Siddharta touched the earth with his right hand and said, “the earth is my witness”. The earth shook in agreement, and Mara and his army was defeated and they beat a hasty retreat. Siddharta then realised the complete cessation of craving and became the fully awakened Buddha at age 35.

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The word Buddha means the All Knowing One, the All Compassionate One, the One who can show us the Truth to end all suffering. Other common names to call Buddha are Bhagawan, Tathagata, Samyaksam, Sugata, and or Sambuddha. As for Buddha’s seat of enlightenment, it is called Vajrasana or the Diamond Throne. The tree which Buddha sat under is called the Bodhi tree.

After achieving enlightenment, the Buddha spent seven weeks in deep meditation, in seven significant places around the Bodhi tree. He contemplated on how rare it is to achieve this precious human life.

 

About Bodhgaya

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This holy site where Buddha gained enlightenment is now known as Bodhgaya. Buddhist disciples from all around the world would embark on a pilgrimage trip to this sacred place. It is especially popular during the full moon in the month of Vaisakha (between April to May), which is also known as Buddha Purnima or Vesak Day – the celebration of the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and entering into parinirvana.

Throughout history, Bodhgaya has been documented in numerous historical accounts. Two of the most notable accounts are from the Chinese pilgrims, Fa Xian during the 5th century, and Xuan Zang, during the 7th century. Bodhgaya remained the center of Buddhist civilization in India until the Turkish army invaded the area in the 13th century.

It was only until the 18th century that the name Bodhgaya was used, before that is was called Mahabodhi, Uruvela, Sambodhi, or Vajrasana. In the 6th century, the main monastery was called Bodhimanda-vihāra in Pali. Today it is known as the Mahabodhi Temple.

H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche with his guru H.E. Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche at Bodhgaya

H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche with his guru H.E. Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche at Bodhgaya. Click to enlarge.

Below are some of the names, Bodhgaya was called within two hundred years before its current name. The names used are all influenced by the historical events surrounding the Buddha’s enlightenment:

  • Sambodhi: Complete Enlightenment – The name was used during the reign of Emperor Ashoka, 3rd-century B.C.E.
  • Bodhimanda: The area around the Bodhi Tree
  • Vajrasana: The Diamond Throne
  • Mahabodhi: Great Enlightenment – This name can be traced back to as early as the 7th century CE.

It was not until the temple was excavated and restored in 1861, was the name Buddha-Gaya or Bodhgaya known to the world.

 

About Mahabodhi Temple

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The great Mahabodhi Temple or Mahabodhi Mahavihara, which is commonly known as the Bodhgaya Temple or the Great Stupa. The Mahabodhi Temple represents India’s greatest architectural achievement of that period. The Diamond Throne shrine was built over a red sand stone that marks the Buddha’s Seat of Enlightenment (Vajrasana), the site where the original Bodhi tree was, which is considered the Navel of the Earth as revealed by the Venerable Ashvaghosa in his written work entitled Buddhacarita.

The Mahabodhi Buddha statue is actually made from black stone and layers of gold has been offered on to his body by H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama

The Mahabodhi Buddha statue is actually made from black stone and layers of gold has been offered on to his body by H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama

The Mahabodhi Temple’s main gate was built facing the eastern direction, where the Buddha was facing when meditated under the Bodhi Tree. The measurement of Mahabodhi Temple’s base is 48 square feet. From the base to the top, it is shaped like a stupa or pyramid, and crowned with a miniature stupa and a chhatravali (crowning parasol), which sits on a platform. There are four smaller pyramid-like structures stupa is located at four corners of the main structure, which is said to represent The Four Noble Truths and the 4 Brahma Viharas (Four Buddhist Virtues). The larger structure represents The Noble Eightfold Path. You will also see many Buddha images carved all around its exterior. The total height of the Mahabodhi Temple is 180 feet.

Inside the temple houses a beautiful 11 feet tall golden image of the seated Buddha Shakyamuni, in the ‘earth-touching’ (Sanskrit: Bhumisparsha) mudra. The statue is actually made of a black stone, and later His Holiness the Dalai Lama offered layers of gold on it. This ancient Buddha image is said to be the closest likeness to the actual Buddha.

According to legend, the Mahabodhi Temple was built by the great King Ashoka to commemorate the spot where Buddha gained enlightenment

According to legend, the Mahabodhi Temple was built by the great King Ashoka to commemorate the spot where Buddha gained enlightenment.

Amazingly, four of the originally sculpted stone railings surrounding the temple, dating from the Sunga period (184–72 BC), have survived amid replicas. Several original sections of the gate are now housed within the archaeological museum.

According to legend, the Mahabodhi Temple was built by the great King Ashoka to commemorate and to mark the spot where Buddha gained enlightenment before the current temple was built. King Ashoka visited Bodhgaya about 280 years after the Buddha’s enlightenment. It is said that King Ashoka spent one week at Bodhgaya, just gazing at the Bodhi Tree. In addition, it is also reported that he made several pilgrimages to Bodhgaya. Hence, it was concluded that King Ashoka was the one who built the Mahabodhi Temple. The temple would be one of the 84,000 monuments that King Ashoka had built in the 3rd century B.C. But the temple construction would only be completed in the 7th century during the reign of the Gupta Kings. Over the course of its history, it has been restored several times. The Burmese King, Mindon-Min also contributed a lot to the restoration of the temple in 1874.

In 1883, a thorough scientific restoration and renovation of the temple was done under the supervision of the British Archaeologist, Sir A. Cunningham and J.D.M. Beglar, together with an Indian Archaeologist, Dr Rajendra Lal Mitra. In 1956, during the 2,500th anniversary of the Buddha’s birth, the Government of India engaged in a massive renovation work on the temple and the premise was enlarged.

Another side of the great Mahabodhi Temple ground with many miniature stupas

Another side of the great Mahabodhi Temple ground with many miniature stupas

The holy Mahabodhi Temple is under the protection, management and care of the state government of Bihar ever since India gained its independence. In 2002, the Mahabodhi Temple was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its “outstanding universal importance as it is one of the most revered and sanctified places in the world”.

Pilgrims all over the world, Buddhist as well as Hindus would come to Bodhgaya to engage in various spiritual practices and receive blessings

Pilgrims all over the world, Buddhist as well as Hindus would come to Bodhgaya to engage in various spiritual practices and receive blessings.

Pilgrims from around the world from all walks of life would come to worship and circumambulate around the temple in a devotional clockwise direction. The sea of yellow and maroon robes of the sangha of the various traditions could be seen as well as Tibetan monks performing rituals such as mandala offerings. All around the temple grounds, you will also see many pilgrims engaging in prostrations on their prayer board.

If you wish to be in complete solitude, the Meditation Park is a perfect spot

If you wish to be in complete solitude, the Meditation Park is a perfect spot

For those who prefer solitude, the recently developed Meditation Park is an ideal spot. Located in the south-east of the temple, it offers facilities such as meditation huts and discussion courts. There are also two huge prayer bells and two water fountains next to a lotus pond in this lovely park.

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The Golden Buddha Image

There are many legends and stories regarding the sacred Buddha image inside the Mahabodhi Temple. The earliest Buddha image that was discovered in Bodhgaya dates back to the year 383 CE. The statue is now displayed in the Indian Museum of Calcutta. Although much of it has been damaged, the Buddha’s face can still be seen having a peaceful yet determined facial expression, making it an extraordinary sculpture.

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In the 17th century, a Chinese Buddhist monk by the name of Hsuan-Tsang travelled to Bodhgaya, left a detailed description of the Mahabodhi Buddha image. The description states, “He (the statue) was facing the east and as dignified in appearances as when alive. The pedestal on which the statue rests was 12 feet 5 inches broad and 4 feet 2 inches high. The dimensions of the statue itself with his two knees were 8 feet 8 inches apart, two shoulders 6 feet 2 inches and 11 feet 5 inches high. The Buddha’s features are perfectly depicted and the loving expression of his face lifelike. The statue stands in a dark chamber in which lamps and torches are kept burning, but those who wish to see the sacred features cannot do so by just coming into the chamber. In the morning they have to reflect the sunlight onto the statue by means of a great mirror so that the details can be seen. Those who behold them find their religious emotions much increased”.

The oldest Buddha statue from Bodhgaya dates back 383 CE is now house in the Indian Museum in Calcutta

The oldest Buddha statue from Bodhgaya dates back 383 CE is now house in the Indian Museum in Calcutta

Hsuan Tsang’s legendary story regarding the origins of the Buddha image was about a Brahmin who wished to enshrine a Buddha image after the Mahabodhi temple was built. Unfortunately, he could not find a suitable image or sculptor to carve the perfect image of Buddha for quite some time. One day a man appeared proclaiming he could carve the image of Lord Buddha on the condition that he was given a pile of scented clay, and a lamp to be placed inside the temple. He also gave strict instructions that the door to the temple should not be opened for the next six months. All the instructions were carried out but the Brahmin became impatient towards the end and he opened the door four days earlier than he was suppose to. He was awed struck by the beauty of the Buddha image that was perfect in every detail, except for one small part; the Buddha’s chest was incomplete. Later on came a monk who slept in the temple and had a vivid dream. He dreamt that Maitreya appeared and said that he was the one who carved the image of Lord Buddha. Today it is the most revered Buddha image in the Buddhist world.

The beautiful Buddha statue that sits in the sacred Mahabodhi Temple today

The beautiful Buddha statue that sits in the sacred Mahabodhi Temple today

Another legend is that the Buddha image was made 60 years after the Buddha’s parinirvana by a female disciple who has seen and received teachings directly from him. Being around when the Buddha was alive, she knew exactly what the Buddha looked like. She decided to commission her son to carve the Buddha in the likeness of the Buddha himself. Therefore, this image of the Buddha is said to be sculpted in the exact likeness of the Buddha himself.

In both Nalanda and Vikramasila monasteries had replicas of this same Buddha image. When Lama Atisha was in Tibet in the 11th century, he requested Vikramasila temple to create a painting of the great Mahabodhi Buddha image and sent it to him. An image of this Buddha was then created with the same dimensions as the original one and enshrined in the great stupa at Gyantse, about 100 miles south-west of Lhasa. The last monk from Bodhgaya, Sariputra, took the measurements of this image when he passed into Tibet in 1413. An inscription from the 15th century is found carved on a stone railing in Mahabodhi Temple by a Buddhist pilgrim named Jinadasa of Pavarta. Jinadasa mentioned that he had specially travelled a long way from his home just to gaze at the holy Mahabodhi Buddha. This is the last reference to the sacred Mahabodhi Buddha.

The Mahabodhi Buddha known as the Golden Buddha is the most highly revered Buddha image in the world

The Mahabodhi Buddha known as the Golden Buddha is the most highly revered Buddha image in the world

Later in 1880, the Indian government appointed Joseph Beglar to restore the Mahabodhi Temple. He enlisted the help of the great archaeologist Alexander Cunningham to work on the repairs to the temple but when it was done, they felt something was still missing. They realise it was a Buddha image that was missing from the main shrine and that they needed to find one that fits the shrine space of the great Mahabodhi temple. This was not an easy task although there were many Buddha statues around Bodhgaya yet none of them was suitable. They were either too small or too damaged to be placed on the main shrine. Finally, they found a suitable statue in Mahant, a Hindu monk’s home. Luckily, the statue was not damaged and the size was just perfect for the shrine. A rough inscription found on the base of the statue states that Chhindha Purnabhadra was the one who made the statue around the 12th century. This golden Buddha statue sits on the shrine of the sacred Mahabodhi Temple today, blessing all who gaze at him.

 

A sapling of the original Bodhi tree was rescued and carried off to Sri Lanka by King Ashoka’s daughter Sanghamitta

A sapling of the original Bodhi tree was rescued and carried off to Sri Lanka by King Ashoka’s daughter Sanghamitta

The Bodhi Tree

The Bodhi tree is the most sacred of fig trees as it is under this tree which Buddha sat, meditated, conquered Mara and became enlightened. It is the considered the most significant of the seven sacred sites in Bodhgaya. The original tree was known as Sri Mahabodhi. The great King Ashoka paid special attention to this Bodhi tree, often spending days gazing upon it. This made the queen, Tissarakkha very unhappy and in her jealous rage, she caused the death of the original Bodhi tree, through the use of poisonous thorns.

Fortunately, a sapling of the original tree was carried off to Anuradhapura, in Sri Lanka by King Ashoka’s daughter, Bhijjhuni Sanghamitta, before the tree was destroyed. It continues to flourish in Sri Lanka today. A few years later, a sapling from this tree in Sri Lanka was carried back to Bodhgaya to be planted on the very spot where the original tree once stood. King Ashoka then placed a red sandstone slab in between the tree and the temple to mark the spot where Buddha sat and gained full liberation, known as Vajrasana.

Vajrasana, the red sandstone slab that was built by King Ashoka is placed in between the tree and the temple to mark the spot where Buddha sat and gained enlightenment

Vajrasana, the red sandstone slab that was built by King Ashoka is placed in between the tree and the temple to mark the spot where Buddha sat and gained enlightenment

The tree stands at 80 feet tall and is located behind the Mahabodhi Temple. There is a Buddhist myth that if there was no Bodhi tree growing anywhere on this site, then the land surrounding the tree will be barren for a distance of one royal karisa, which is one square measure of land (nearly an acre). And no being, not even an elephant is able to travel on this land.

This is the very spot which is known to be the Navel of the Earth. Buddhist devotees believe that this is the only spot that has enough merits to support the weight of the Buddha’s great attainment. Others believed that when the world is destroyed, this will be last the place to be destroyed and it will also be the first place for the new world to take shape again. It will be the same spot where the future Buddhas will arise to turn the wheel of Dharma again. It is known that this Bodhi tree miraculously appeared when Gautama Buddha was born.

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No one is allowed to remove any part of this sacred tree, but pilgrims would eagerly pick up any leaves that naturally fall as it is considered a great blessing. Some people have reported the leaves would sometimes be naturally imprinted with seed syllable, for example, Manjushri’s letter ‘DHI’. It is extremely fortunate and a great blessing if we are the lucky one to receive this. Hence, you will notice that the ground around the Bodhi tree is amazingly clean and spotless!

Just outside the barrier gate of the Bodhi Tree, there is stone carving of Buddha’s footprints, which dates back to the 3rd century BC, during the reign of King Ashoka. King Ashoka declared Buddhism as the official religion of the land and with that he installed thousands of stone carvings of Buddha’s footprint all over his kingdom.

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The Seven Sacred Sites

Within the Mahabodhi Temple, there are seven significant and sacred sites associated with Buddha’s Enlightenment which pilgrims can explore. You will find pathways leading to six sacred sites around the beautiful green landscaped lawn and flowering trees.

 

1. Vajrasana

This is the actual spot that the Buddha sat and meditated under the great Bodhi Tree until he was fully liberated. After attaining Nirvana, the Buddha remain here for another seven more days. This sacred spot and the Bodhi tree is now protected by a stone barrier around it. A red sand stone slab built by King Ashoka marks the Diamond Seat where Buddha sat which is between the Tree and the Mahabodhi Temple wall.

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2. Animesa-locana (Animisa Cetiya)

Located on a small hill about 50 metres from the north-east side of the Mahabodhi Temple, towards the right side of the main entrance is Animesa-locana. The shrine here is shaped like a small stupa or a smaller version of the Mahabodhi Temple, with a small prayer hall that houses a beautiful Buddha image. It was here that the Buddha spent his 2nd week after he gained enlightenment, meditating in gratitude at the Bodhi tree. It is said that the Buddha gazed at the Bodhi tree without blinking even once, hence, the tree became known as animeshlochan or ‘unblinking’.

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3. Ratnachakrama

This sacred place lies near the north side of the Temple wall, known as the Jewelled Ambulatory or ‘jewel walk’. It contains stone lotuses that are raised on a platform, marking the steps the Buddha took on the 3rd week after his enlightenment. It is believed that the Buddha took 18 steps back and forth near the Bodhi tree, and where he stepped, lotuses appeared under his holy feet.

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4. Ratnaghar Chaitya

Located on the northwest of the main Temple, this small shrine or the Jewel House houses some small holy images of the Buddha. This is the spot where Buddha spent the fourth week in meditation, where he received visions of his future mission and blue, yellow, red, white and orange rays emanated from his body. These colours are now used in the present-day Buddhist flag.

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5. Ajapala Nigrodha

As we enter the Mahabodhi Temple, there is a stone pillar located just before the descending stairs to the Temple that marks the spot of Buddha’s 5th week of meditation. Originally, there was a Banyan tree there, where Buddha sat and gave a discoursed due to a question a Brahman asked, on the importance of performing good action (karma) and the equality of mankind. Not far from the pillar, you’ll find a brass bell donated by pilgrims from Myanmar in the early 19th century. There are also two female deities, kneeling on each side of the gateway, supposedly left there by the Myanmar missionaries in the 1800s.

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6. Muchalinda Pond

Towards the southeast corner of the Mahabodhi Temple, you’ll discover the remains of a 6 metre high stone pillar, believed to be erected by King Ashoka. It was built to mark Bodhgaya and was moved to its present location in 1956. The pillar has an elephant on top, and it stands just outside the temple railing, on the east gateway. Just south of this pillar is a pavilion and behind it, you will discover the huge Muchalinda Pond. It is said that this is where the Buddha spent his 6th week in deep meditation during which Mara had wanting to distract the Buddha by creating a huge storm. The Serpent King or Naga King appeared and protected the Buddha from the storm with its hood. Today in the middle of this pond, you can see an image of the Buddha with the Serpent King rising to protect him. The statue was donated in the 1990s by a group of pilgrims from Myanmar. There is also a pillar nearby with a semi circular top where people would throw coins on it, as it is believed it would bestow blessings if the coin lands on the top of the pillar. Others believe that if you rub the part of your body that has ailments on the pillar, it will heal itself over time.

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7. Rajyatana

Buddha spent his 7th week under this small forest tree located on the south-east side of the temple. This is the place where Lord Buddha started teaching to passer-by and gained his first two disciples; merchants named Tapussa (Tapassu) and Ballika (Bliallika) of Ukkala, which is modern day Yangon of Myanmar. They had come to offer Buddha his first meal after being in meditation for seven weeks. In return, the Buddha gave them eight strands of hairs, which are now placed inside the Shwedagon Pagoda at Yangon.

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International Buddhist Temples

Apart from the Mahabodhi Temple, there are other Buddhist temples from different nationalities situated nearby that are worth visiting. Some are within walking distance and some can be easily reached using rickshaws. Most of these temples are open from 6 am to 6.30pm and close between 12 noon to 2 pm. Here is a list of these temples:

 

1. Thai Monastery

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The beautiful Thai Monastery in Bodhgaya was built by the Thai Monarch, at the request of the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1956. It marks the close relationship between India and Thailand. This temple is unique as it is the only Thai temple in India. Its architecture follows the traditional temples of Thailand with its curved shaped roof. The temple faces the main road and is next to the tourist bungalow.

As you walk into the main temple hall, you will notice the quiet and serene atmosphere of the temple. On its altar stands an exquisitely carved bronze Buddha image standing at 25-metre tall.

Inside the main temple hall of the Thai Monastery

Inside the main temple hall of the Thai Monastery

Retreats are held in the monastery yearly especially in January. The monastery’s maximum capacity to accommodate retreatants is at 135 people. They will engage in meditation sessions such as Vipassana Yoga and attend teachings. Taking any kind of intoxicants such as alcohol and smoking is strictly prohibited during retreats.

Address: Bodhgaya, Bihar 824231, India
Phone: N/A
Opening Hours: N/A

 

2. Daijokyo Buddhist Temple

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Another temple worth visiting is the Japanese Daijokyo Buddhist Temple. Built on a 2-acre land that was allocated by the Government of Bihar, the temple was inaugurated by the then President of India, His Excellency Gyani Zail Singh, on February 13, 1983. The temple enshrines a beautiful golden Japanese Buddha statue in the meditation posture. The statue is made from bronze and it was brought over from Japan.

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Outside the temple ground, sits the Great Buddha Statue at 25-metre or commonly known as the 80-foot Buddha Statue. The Great Buddha Statue was inaugurated and consecrated on November 18, 1989, by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. This is the first large outdoor Buddha ever built in the history of India. Together with the Mahabodhi Temple, the statue is the symbol of holy Bodhgaya. It is also recognised as a World Heritage site and attracts pilgrims from all over the world.

The famous 80-foot tall Buddha Statue that is another symbol of holy Bodhgaya

The famous 80-foot tall Buddha Statue that is another symbol of holy Bodhgaya

Smaller statues of the Buddha’s ten great disciples can be seen on either side of the Great Buddha. Sariputra and Maudgalyayana were the first two statues presented and consecrated in November 1993. Following that was statues of the other eight great disciples; Mahakasyapa, Subhuti, Purna Maitrayani-putra, Mahakatyayana, Anuruddha, Upali, Rahula, and Ananda. They were all consecrated in March 1996. All of these statues were carved from sandstone which is the same material used for the Great Buddha Statue.

Address: Bodhgaya, Bihar 824231, India
Phone: +91 631 220 0747
Opening Hours: 7 am to 12 pm, 2 pm to 6 pm (to 5:30 pm in winter)

 

3. Royal Bhutanese Monastery

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The Royal Bhutanese Monastery offers pilgrims a chance to appreciate the intricate and exquisite details of a traditional Bhutanese temple and Buddha images. Built by the King of Bhutan, the Monastery houses a 7-feet tall Buddha statue together with a statue of Guru Rinpoche and 4-armed Chenrezig. The monastery’s interior wall features intricate clay carvings depicting the life story of Lord Buddha.

The monastery’s exterior is beautifully landscaped garden with plants, trees and well-maintained lawn. The monastery also conducts discourses on the Buddha and dharma teachings, meditation sessions for individual and group, peace prayers and other requested prayers. The peaceful ambience makes it conducive place for anyone to do their prayers and meditation.

Three very beautiful Bhutanese style statues of Guru Rinpoche, Lord Buddha and Four Arm Chenrezig is enshrined in the Royal Bhutanese Monastery

Three very beautiful Bhutanese style statues of Guru Rinpoche, Lord Buddha and Four Arm Chenrezig is enshrined in the Royal Bhutanese Monastery

The monastery also has a Guest House with 15 spacious rooms, either air-conditioned or without air-conditioned and attached bathrooms. They provide a 24-hour front desk, 24-hour room service, laundry and parking facilities. The monastery does not charge people for staying but donations are encouraged and welcomed which goes towards the upkeep of the monastery. The only conditions they have is that all guests respect and follow the rules of monastery, and to refrain from bringing in any kind of intoxicants during their stay.

With its architecture being one of the finest, based on Bhutan’s culture and tradition, the Royal Bhutanese Monastery is definitely a must-visit when you are in Bodhgaya.

Address: Birla Road, Bodhgaya
Phone: N/A
Opening hours: 7 am to 7 pm

 

4. Indosan Nippon Japanese Temple

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Just 15 km from the city Indosan Nippon Japanese Temple is perhaps one of the most popular temples in Bodhgaya. Located at Temple Road, it was built in 1972, assisted by the international Buddhist community. Carved from wood, the temple perfectly represents the beautiful fine architecture of traditional Japanese temples. The temple also showcases many traditional Japanese paintings illustrating the Buddha Shakyamuni’s life story.

The delicate traditional Japanese altar inside Indosan Nippon Japanese Temple

The delicate traditional Japanese altar inside Indosan Nippon Japanese Temple

Daily activities held at the temple includes meditation at 6 am and 5 pm.
Address: Bodhgaya, Bihar 824231, India
Phone: N/A
Opening Hours: 5 am – 12 pm, 2 pm – 6 pm

 

5. Metta Buddharam Temple

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This is a newly built Thai temple with a huge spectacular Buddha statue made from white marble. The peaceful and serene surrounding allows pilgrims to sit in quiet meditation. The architecture of this temple is amazing as its unique simplicity in colours draws you to look closely at its intricate detailed structure. The main temple floor is made from wood, giving it a feeling of warmth. The stairs and walkways are decorated with patterns that are made using semi-precious stones in the shape of flowers. There are also scenes of Buddha’s life story painted in the alcoves of the temple. Just below the temple, you’ll find a meditation room with cooling marble flooring, which is especially nice during the summer heat. The mirror tiles on its structure create beautiful reflections from the sunrays, forming a magical scene especially during sun set and sun rise.

Address: Sujata Bye Pass Road, Bodh Gaya 824231, India
Phone: +91 631 220 0090
Opening Hours: N/A

 

6. Burmese Vihara Monastery or Myanmar Buddhist Vihara

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The Burmese Vihara Monastery offers pilgrims a glimpse of traditional Burmese temple architecture and culture. The temple is beautifully carved ornate roof and temple structure must be seen to be appreciated. It is one of the first monasteries you will notice if you are coming from Gaya. Try to visit this temple during the mornings or mid-afternoons as the temple gate closes by 4 pm. The main temple hall is spacious and it enshrines a serene Burmese style Buddha statue smiling down at you.

The monastery also has a huge guesthouse that offers accommodation to pilgrims at no cost, but donations are very much welcomed.

Address: Gaya Village, Bodh Gaya 824231, India
Phone: +91 631 2200 721
Opening Hours: Temple gate close by 4 pm
Website: http://bodhgaya.myanmarvihara.org/

 

7. Vietnamese Temple or Vien Giac Institute

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Located just behind the Kalachakra Maidan, this beautiful Vietnamese style architecture temple offers and very calm and peaceful environment to do one’s meditation. All you need to do is request nicely. The tastefully decorated temple enshrines a small but beautiful Buddha statue. There are no monks in this temple but there is a caretaker who speaks rather good English, who is more than happy to show you around the temple.

The colourful altar inside the Vietnamese Temple

The colourful altar inside the Vietnamese Temple

Address: Kalachakra Ground, Bodh Gaya, India
Phone: +91 631 2200 237/252
Opening Hours: N/A

 

8. Chinese Temple

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The Chinese temple is located about 100 metres from the Mahabodhi temple. The temple was founded by Buddhist monk in 1997 but it has since been refurbished. It presents the beauty of traditional Chinese temple architecture with detailed Chinese elements carved all over the temple. Its woodwork is considered one of the oldest and most intricate. Inside the temple’s prayer hall housed three smiling golden Buddhas. The walls and ceiling have intricate Chinese paintings depicting Buddhist stories and mandala like flower motifs.

The Chinese Temple is enshrined with three smiling Amitabha Buddhas

The Chinese Temple is enshrined with three smiling Amitabha Buddhas

Address: Bodh Gaya 824231, India (100 meters from the Mahabodhi Temple Complex)
Phone: N/A
Opening Hours: 7 am – 7 pm daily

 

Other Places to Visit

 

1. Barabar Caves 

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The Barabar Caves located around 24 km north of Gaya, in the Makhdumpur region, is the oldest surviving rock-cut caves in India dating back from the Maurya Empire (322 – 185 BCE). It is an important archaeological site with inscriptions from the Ashokan era found in these caves.

These caves are found in the twin hills of Barabar and Nagarjuni. The caves at Nagarjuni Hills date back to the 3rd century BC of Ashoka and his son Dasaratha Maurya period. They are younger and smaller compared to the Barabar caves. Although King Ashoka and his son were Buddhist, they allowed other religious sects such as the various Jain sects to flourish as the believed in religious tolerance. The caves were utilised by a group of ascetics from the Ajivika sect.

The caves in Barabar Hill consists of two chambers that are carved out of the granite rock. The first chamber is usually for devotees to congregate, which looks like a large rectangular hall. The second chamber is smaller and shaped like domed, which is meant for worship. These chambers had structures that looked like at one point there could have been small stupas in them. Amazingly, inside the cave’s surface is extremely smooth, like as if it has been polished, and it creates an echo type of effect.

The Barabar Caves are well known due to the author E.M. Foster’s visits to India which were featured in his best seller ‘A Passage To India’, calling them ‘Marabar Caves’ in his story.
Another unique thing that can be found in the Barabar caves is its magnanimous arches which are rare in ancient history.

The arch-like shape facade of Lomas Rishi Cave, presents a more contemporary timber type of architecture. Above its doorway, you’ll see a row of elephants carved out, proceeding towards what looks like stupas along the curved architrave.

The arch-like shape facade of Lomas Rishi Cave, presents a more contemporary timber type of architecture. Above its doorway, you’ll see a row of elephants carved out, proceeding towards what looks like stupas along the curved architrave.

The Sudama cave was dedicated by King Ashoka in 261 BC and the arches are of bow shape. These caves have a domed like chamber with a rectangular hall for gatherings.

The Sudama cave was dedicated by King Ashoka in 261 BC and the arches are of bow shape. These caves have a domed like chamber with a rectangular hall for gatherings.

Karan Chaupar has a single rectangular room with amazing polished surfaces with inscriptions dating back to 245 BC

Karan Chaupar has a single rectangular room with amazing polished surfaces with inscriptions dating back to 245 BC

These caves are quite an amazing sight and they are worth visiting. The carving of the entrance of Barabar caves are so sharp and precise, that it looks like it is being cut using modern laser cutting technology. These caves play an important role in Buddhist history as several Jataka tales are depicted on their walls. They help to educate as well as preserve the history and the development of Buddhism in different stages. Buddhist and Hindu sculptures can also be found around the area.

Address: Barabar Caves, Barabar hill, Jehanabad, Bihar, 804408, India
Phone: +91 612 2234194
Opening Hours: 6 am – 6 pm
Entrance Fee: Free

Note: If you intend to hire a local guide, be sure to ask them for their official ID which is a Bihar State’s Tourism Development Corporation ID card. The cost to hire a guide is around Rs.500-1000 (depending on how well you bargain) for an entire day trip on a motorcycle.

 

2. Dungeshwari Cave Temples

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Dungeshwari Cave Temples also commonly called Mahakala caves is just around 12 km northeast from Bodhgaya. Here you’ll discover three ancient holy caves where Buddha meditated for six years. These are the caves where Lord Buddha went through self-mortification, eating only one grain of rice a day. After practising such extreme austerities for years, Buddha realised that the middle path is required to achieve supreme enlightenment. Hence, the Dungeshwari Caves commemorates this special event.

Many pilgrims would come to these caves to meditate, offer butter lamps and receive great blessings. Many say that the compassionate energy of the Buddha can be felt strongly in these caves.

Many pilgrims would come to these caves to meditate, offer butter lamps and receive great blessings. Many say that the compassionate energy of the Buddha can be felt strongly in these caves.

Another Buddha statue found in Dungeshwari Cave Temples

Another Buddha statue found in Dungeshwari Cave Temples

These caves are also known as Sujata Sthan to the locals and very popular amongst Buddhist as well as Hindu pilgrims. It is said that you feel the energy of Buddha’s great compassion and humility when meditating in these caves. Hence, visiting such holy sites generates great blessings from the enlightened one.

Inside these three caves contain two Buddhists shrines as well as one Hindu shrine. One of the Buddhist shrines houses an emaciated Buddha covered in gold and the other shrine has a 6-feet tall Buddha statue. In the Hindu shrine, you will find the deity Dungeshwari.

Address: Bodhgaya, Bihar 824231, India. Located on the Phalgu River
Phone: N/A
Opening Hours: 10 am – 5 pm daily
Entrance Fee: Free

 

3. Archaeological Museum in Bodhgaya

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Established in 1956, the museum has two main galleries, an open courtyard as well as two verandas showcasing various antiquities. You can find exhibits of Buddhist and Brahmin stone sculptures from the Pala period. Various scenes associated with the Buddhist pantheon, Zodiac signs on railings from the Sunga age and more.

In the first gallery, you will discover ancient sculptures such as a standing Yakshi (a female earth spirit), a crowned Buddha in bhumi sparsa (earth touching) mudra, Maitreya Buddha, various images of Lord Buddha in different poses, a standing image of Manjushri, just to name a few.

In the second gallery, you’ll find sculptures of Buddhist and Brahmanical faith. The museum’s courtyard displays a collection of 2000-year-old granite and sandstone railings, pillars, cross bars and stones that were salvaged from the Mahabodhi Temple.

There is a huge image of a standing Buddha in the abhaya mudra or the mudra of no fear at the outer veranda of the museum.

Address: Bodhgaya, Bihar 824231, India
Phone: +91 631 220 0739
Opening Hours: 10 am to 5 pm Closed on Friday
Entrance Fee: Rs. 10 (Adults) Children 15 years and below – Free
Website: http://asi.nic.in/asi_museums_bodhgaya.asp

 

Major Buddhist Festivals in Bodhgaya

 

Kagyu Monlam Chenmo

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“In Tibetan aspiration is known as ‘monlam’ and dedication is known as ‘sngo ba.’ These two go hand in hand. Aspiration is the one that initiates our accumulation, and dedication is the one that completes our accumulation of merit and wisdom as well.”

~ Thaye Dorje, the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa

Source: http://www.kagyumonlamchenmo.org/

This is a large prayer festival known as The Great Prayer Festival held by the Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism in Bodhgaya. It usually falls in late December to early January, corresponding from the 4th to the 11th day of the first month of the Tibetan calendar.

In the sutra called “A Wall of Flowers”, it mentions that any aspiration prayers made near a stupa that contains one of the Buddha’s relics, their prayers will definitely be fulfilled. What better place is there in this world that is filled with Buddha’s relics and energy than the sacred Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya.

The benefit from having a large number of people congregating in one holy place to do aspirational prayers would be that each individual gets to accumulate the amount of merit of every person that is present doing the prayers.

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The great Indian Buddhist master Nagarjuna once said, “if one makes aspiration prayers together with a highly developed Bodhisattva, the resulting prayer is so powerful that one can avert famine, natural disasters, and purify a great amount of negative karma”. This is the reason why every year hundreds and thousands of Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims, from four different schools, come together to do these aspiration prayers in numerous holy sites in India.

Previously two high Lamas who made aspirational prayers during the Monlam festival were His Holiness the 17th Karmapa Thaye Dorje and Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche in 1996. Both are known to be great bodhisattvas. Hence, the Kagyus believe that reciting prayers even just once with such highly attained beings, have greater effect than if one were to do it on their own a million times over.

For more information, visit: http://www.kagyumonlamchenmo.org/

 

Nyingma Monlam Chenmo

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Similar to the Kagyu’s Monlam Chenmo, every year from January to February, thousands of Nyingma practitioners from different lineages all around the world would gather here in Bodhgaya to make aspirational prayers during this great prayer festival.

The Nyingma’s pray for the preservation and continuation in turning the wheel of Dharma to benefit all beings, for the long life of great teachers from all Buddhist traditions as well as world peace. It is opened for all to join and booking is not required.

For more information, visit: http://nyingma-monlam.org/wordpress/

 

Vesakha or Wesak Day

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Held on the full month of the month May, this is the biggest Buddhist celebration known as Buddha Purnima or Buddha Day. It is held during the full moon of the Vesakha month celebrating Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and parinirvana. Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world would flock to Bodhgaya and engage in numerous virtuous practices to collect enormous amount of merits on this holy day. It is said that one’s merit is multiplied a million times over during significant occasions associated with an enlightened being such as Buddha Shakyamuni or Lama Tsongkhapa. One can engage in any of the five preliminary practices, recite millions of mantras, prostrations and more during this special day. Some may even wish to observe the eight precepts.

 

Buddha Mahotsava Event

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This is a Grand Buddhist Cultural Festival that is an annual three-day celebration, marked by cultural and religious festivities. Many renowned artists and cultural performances from all over India as well as other parts of the world would take part in this colourful celebration.

This celebration was started by the Prime Minister, Atal Bihar Vajpayee in 1999. Its objective was to promote Bodhgaya as an important pilgrimage as well as tourist destination.

 

Mahakala Puja

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Another very popular festival in Bodhgaya is the Mahakala Puja. This puja is conducted in a Kagyu monastery by the Karma Kagyu Sangha community. A three days extensive Mahakala ritual is performed to purify and remove obstacles a few days before the coming new year.

For more information, visit: www.facebook.com/KagyuMonlamChenmo

 

Kalachakra

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Every year the Kalachakra initiation conducted by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama attracts hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from all around the world. This event is organised by The Department of Religion and Culture of Central Tibetan Administration together with many international sponsors. It is usually held on the 11th month following the traditional Tibetan calendar, which is usually in the month of January. It is recommended that you check the official website to find out the latest details.

For more information, visit: http://www.kalachakra.in/

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Do’s and Don’ts

  • Mobile phones with camera are not allowed inside the Mahabodhi Temple. Security will check your bags.
  • Cameras are allowed but you are required to purchase a camera ticket for Rs. 100 per camera. Video camera tickets are Rs. 500 per camera.
  • You may keep your bags, mobile phones with cameras in the lockers provided. They are located just 50 metres west of the entrance.
  • Circumambulate the stupas and other sacred monuments in a clock-wise direction.

 

Respect

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  • Please remove your shoes before entering the Temple complex. You may wear socks.
  • Please be mindful to preserve the peace, tranquillity and sacredness of this holy area.
  • Do not climb onto any statues, buildings or monuments as it is considered extremely disrespectful and inauspicious. Bear in mind these sites are sacred to many people and they are being preserved for future generations.
  • Please dress decently, this is after all, a temple. It is recommended to wear loose comfortable clothing that are not revealing. Please do not wear shorts, or sleeveless tops, singlets to holy sites and temples.

 

Beware

  • An unfortunate bombing incident occurred on 7th July 2013 within the temple complex. Five people were injured. One bomb exploded near the holy Buddha image and the other near the Bodhi Tree. Three other bombs were found and defused. Fortunately, the Buddha image and the main temple was not damaged. Hence, ever since then security has been extremely tight.
  • Do not be fooled by people on motor bikes claiming to be tourist guides. They will charge you more than the actual cost which is supposed to be around Rs. 500 – 1,000 for a day trip on motor bike, no matter the distance. Request to see their official Bihar State – Tourism Development Corporation ID card first and then bargain for a better rate.
  • Like any other tourist spots, street vendors and shops will usually charge more than the usual rate for their goods, just be prepared to bargain.
  • Cows are sacred animals in India and even more so in a spiritual place like Bodhgaya. You will see many of them all along the streets. So be careful not to hit, harm or injure them in any way as it is illegal, and you can be heavily fine. There have been cases where foreigners are fined for such offences.

 

Beggars

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Bodhgaya has a huge population of beggars and they are usually hanging around outside the entrance of temples. These beggars gather in different groups, controlled by gang members. Children as young as seven or eight years old are being used to beg as tourists would tend to have a softer spot for kids. However, at times, they can be quite aggressive and persistent. So beware and if you do decide to help them, it is better to give in kind, such as food or clothing. It is also wise to do it discretely, otherwise, you will be swamped with beggars crowding all over you. Try not to give them cash, as we do not know what they will end up using it for and they tend to return to beg for more. Word gets around fast and you will be targeted especially if they know you are generous and will donate in cash. Some of them may even be picky, requesting for certain things. So do watch out, smile, be polite if you do not wish to donate and move along.

 

How To Get There

By plane

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To get to Bodhgaya is quite easy as there are planes that fly directly to Gaya airport which is around 17 kilometres to Bodhgaya. From the airport, you can take a taxi which is roughly 40 minutes to Bodhgaya.

Here are some examples of airlines that fly directly to Gaya:

  • Druk Air
  • Thai Airways
  • Indian Airlines flies from Kolkata
  • Air India fly from New Delhi
  • Indigo fly from New Delhi

Note: Do check with your travel agent for the latest schedule, timing and other possible flights.

Alternative airport: Patna Airport (115 kilometres to Bodhgaya)

There are multiple flights from Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Lucknow and Hyderabad that flies into Bodhgaya. It is recommended that to check the latest schedule with your local travel agent or the airport. From Patna Airport it is around 3 hours and 42 minutes by car or taxi to Bodhgaya.

By train

Alternatively, you can take the train from New Delhi, which is a one night’s journey (15 hours) to Gaya. It would cost around Rs. 1630 – Rs. 3740 depending on the type of class carriage you are taking. For more details, you can check here: https://www.90di.com/trains/DELHI/GAYA

Another place to take the train from would be Patna, which is an express train and takes about 2 hours to reach Gaya. The cost is Rs. 34 as of January 2008.

You can also catch the train from Calcutta, which will take around 8 hours. Tickets in the Second Class carriage with air conditioning will roughly cost Rs. 1,600.

Gaya Station is just 16 kilometres to Bodhgaya. From the station, you can take a bus or a rickshaw to Bodhgaya. Rickshaw prices may vary depending on time of day and how well you bargain. It roughly cost between Rs. 80 -120.

By bus

Bodhgaya and the town of Gaya are connected via the main road. There are regular bus services between these two towns. The Bihar state of Tourism Development Corporation has buses running daily to the holy site and its township. They can be reached via phone: 0612 222 5411

Buses also run to and from Varanasi, Nalanda, Rajgir, and Kathmandu. A good website to check availability, pricing and schedule for various transportation for your travels is: https://www.makemytrip.com/

 

Accommodation

Spending a day in Bodhgaya is not enough to cover all the sites and soak in the blessings. Some pilgrims would stay here for months like H.E. Tsem Rinpoche who went there to do retreats. It was during this time that Rinpoche met and made friends with a Malaysian monk, Rev. Khoon, and this led to Rinpoche’s visit to Malaysia later on and the rest is history.

Below are a few recommended accommodation. We would advise you to book in advance, especially during peak seasons, and to do further research based on your budget and requirements.

 

1. Burmese Vihara

Situated on Gaya Road, the monastery offers basic but clean accommodation. It mainly caters to Burmese pilgrims, however, if you can still enquire as they often have rooms available for others. They do not charge for their rooms, hence donations are encouraged.

Address: Gaya Village, Bodh Gaya 824231, India
Phone: +91 88043 92995
Website: N/A

 

2. Mahayana Guest House

Very clean rooms with hot showers and just a 5-minute walk to Mahabodhi Temple. They also have free Wi-Fi, airport transfers, a book shop and a coffee house. It is very safe to stay there and you can leave your things in the room while you head down to the temple. It is recommended to book at least a month in advance, as it can be full during peak season.

Address: Opp. Jai Prakash Park, Bodhgaya, Gaya, Bihar 824231, India
Phone: +91 631 220 0756
Website: N/A

 

3. Kundun Bazar Guest House

Comfortable and clean room with hot showers. Located near the old Vietnamese Temple, they provide many types of rooms, from single rooms to fully serviced apartments. Amenities include bike rentals, an internet cafe, snooker bar, self-service kitchen, laundry facility, tour packages, money exchange service and more.

Address: Bhagalpur Rd, Bhagalpur, Belsar, Bodhgaya, Bihar 824231, India
Phone: +91 95467 93434
Website: http://kundanbazar.in/

 

4. Rainbow Guesthouse

Clean rooms with TV with hot showers and a 24-hour front desk service. The guesthouse also offers car rentals and is just 600 metre to Bodhgaya Bus Station.

Address: Temple Street, 824231 Bodh Gaya, India (Near Burmese Monastery)
Phone: +91 94312 80810
Website: N/A

 

5. Hotel Tokyo Vihar

The hotel is located opposite the Japanese Temple and around 300 metres to the Mahabodhi Temple. Rooms are clean, with comfortable beds and nice bathrooms. The hotel was recently renovated and the rooms look new. Amenities include, free Wi-Fi, laundry service, postal service, safe deposit, telephone conference system, doctor on call service and transport as well as 24-hour room service.

Address: Opposite to Japanese Temple, 824231 Gaya, Bihar, India
Phone: +91 631 220 1141
Website: http://www.hoteltokyovihar.com/index.html

 

Sources:

  • https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/travel/my-bodhgaya-vajrayogini.html
  • http://wikitravel.org/en/Bodh_Gaya
  • http://www.mahabodhi.com/History/history.html
  • http://bstdc.bih.nic.in/bodhgaya.htm
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodh_Gaya
  • http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/buddhistworld/bodgaya.htm
  • http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Bodh_Gaya#Name
  • http://www.bhantedhammika.net/essays/the-buddhas-true-face
  • http://www.bodhgayatemple.com/?pg=premises
  • http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1056
  • http://bodhgaya.myanmarvihara.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=14&Itemid=26
  • http://www.cpreecenvis.nic.in/Database/BarabarCaves_2412.aspx

 

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  1. Yuande on Jul 24, 2018 at 4:17 pm

    Can you give me the original picture of this photo? Thank you

    BOD18 (1)

    • Pastor Elena Khong Jean Ai on Jul 24, 2018 at 5:13 pm

      Hi Yuande, perhaps you might find a higher resolution one on Google but that’s the highest resolution one we have unfortunately. Beautiful image though, isn’t it? 🙂

  2. Stella Cheang on Oct 31, 2017 at 5:02 am

    Buddhist around the world is encouraged to make a trip to Bodhgaya – the place where Buddha Shakyamuni attain enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. The Bodhi Tree is considered the most significant of the seven sacred sites in Bodhgaya. Another most sacred holy item is the great Mahabodhi Buddha image in the great Mahabodhi Temple compound as it most closely resemblance Buddha real life image. Thank you for this wonderful sharing. It inspires me to make a pilgrimage trip to Bodhgaya soon!

  3. Anne Ong on Sep 1, 2017 at 10:41 pm

    Great article about pilgrimage to Bodhgaya. Interesting write up, explainations, pictures and video. Thank you very much Rinpoche and blog team for this wonderful article. _/\_

  4. wan wai meng on Aug 10, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    Wonderful article about all the holy places around Bodghaya, and how one can also interact with the buddhist establishments and site. Wish I can bring my parents and family to visit this place soon. Will be a blessing for everyone.

  5. ann on Aug 10, 2017 at 12:18 am

    great information well presented…. I am Scottish u.k but have lived and practiced in Bodhgaya for 11 years….I have a social project in bdhgaya the karma project trust.and fund it by taking people on pilgrimage from 1 pilgrim to 50 pilgrims in the past….I was also one of the organisers of the dalia lama talk to youths on 31st December 2016 Bodhgaya….I am only woman foriegner registered bihar tourist guide in bihar if I can help you at any time please contact me on the email given……metta from bodhgaya

  6. APU CHOWDHURY on Aug 5, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    A SOOTHING BALM FOR THE DEJECTED, WOUNDED MIND
    VERY MUCH ENLIGHTEMING

    img1501147965985

    img1501185722163

  7. Joy Kam on Aug 3, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    If given another chance… I would definitely go to Bodhgaya again and if time permits do a prostration retreat there. The whole area is just buzzing with a strong energy of peace, serenity, calmness and sacredness. Words just cannot describe the feeling and you just basically want to be there to do your spiritual practice. It is just so conducive.

    But the funniest part is that inside is filled with Buddha’s blessings and compassion, but just right outside the entrance gate is huge groups of beggars! It appears that Bodhgaya is the perfect place for us to see all the realms, and this makes it even easier for us to meditate on the impermanence of life.

    Like what this blog post said being there you collect a tremendous amount of merits not just for this life but for all future lives. Thank you Rinpoche for bringing us there in 2004 and granting refuge to many on that trip. I will never forget that day and the greatest experience in my life.

  8. Samfoonheei on Aug 2, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    It will be wonderful to make a pilgrimage to Bodhgaya for every Buddhist and get connectted with the holy and energy. Every year thousands of Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims worldwide will visit these Holy site. Just Bodhgaya itself ,there is so many beautiful places to visit. And there a number of major festivals like the Mahakala Puja, Nyingma Monlam Chenmo , Wesak Day and so forth whereby locals, tourist and pilgrims could able to see and take part.
    I have not been to Bodhgaya but love to one day if got a chance.
    Thank you Rinpoche for these beautiful and very informative post.

  9. Paul Yap on Aug 1, 2017 at 10:41 pm

    I really like doing circumambulation at Bodhgaya Stupa, especially during winter night. I can just walk around the stupa the whole night. I love the peaceful energy, lots of people is doing meditation and prayers here.

  10. Fong on Jul 30, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    Reading articles like this makes me wish to go to Bodhgaya. It brings home the act that one should really go on pilgrimage to connect with the Buddha and his teachings.

    Here the information is detailed enough for us to enable us to plan our trips there carefully and to know what to look for in our planning.

  11. Pastor David Lai on Jul 30, 2017 at 6:12 am

    I have been to Bodhgaya twice and I thorough enjoyed each time. The place has tremendous blessings and the sight of so many people single-pointedly engaging in various Dharma practice of meditation, mantra recitation just adds to the atmosphere that encourages one to practice as well. This is not to mention the ancient awe-inspiring monumental structure of a temple that is the Mahabodhi stupa.

    I love the fact that the temple grounds is littered with shrines, stupas and various other artefacts. This is not to mention the central icon, the sacred Buddha statue enshrined within the temple itself. It is a exquisite statue that is really one of the most beautiful statues of Lord Buddha in the world. It’s no wonder that it has inspired many legends of its divine origins, which I won’t be surprise if it holds some truth in it.

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  • sarassitham
    Thursday, Apr 18. 2019 06:49 PM
    Keeping one’s surroundings clean not only shows respect to the people we invite into our space but inculcates the habit of discipline. Cleanliness is also important as it helps to remove negative vibes that accumulates over time. In short clean spaces attracts positive energies to dwell one’s home, heart and mind.

    Just as how we bath to rid ourselves from dirt, it is in the same context that we must adopt cleanliness regularly- both physically and spiritually.
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Apr 18. 2019 01:25 PM
    Beautiful rime thangka of Dorje Shugden having a rich and blending colours. Dorje Shugden is an emanation of the Buddha of Wisdom, Manjushri. As a Dharma Protector, Dorje Shugden helps us in many ways when we rely on him sincerely with faith and trust. Nor matter what religion we practiced and need not to be a Buddhist.
    OM BENZA WIKI BITANA SOHA
    May we be blessed by the wisdom, compassion and protection of Dorje Shugden.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/dorje-shugden-the-protector-of-our-time
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Apr 18. 2019 01:24 PM
    Beautiful rime thangka of Manjushri and Dorje Shugden. Its paints a thousand words been Manjushri as the patron Buddha of Wisdom and the Powerful Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden. Having beautiful rime thangka at our home would be wonderful.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/the-bestower-of-wisdom-manjushri
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Apr 18. 2019 01:23 PM
    Nevertheless, the weight of planning for our retirement will start to loom heavier each year. Personal retirement planning is often an intense challenge for loving parents with young children. There’s never enough time to do all the nothing we want. Having a family , successful career is not all. Life is uncertain and nothing is permanent. We ought to think further than that , we should make use of our time meaningful . A happy retirement filled with fun, happiness and compassionate where we engage in dharma all the well through, to have it make some difference that we have lived and lived well. Being happy is accepting where we are in life and making the most out of it every day, minutes meaningfully. Choosing to learn and practice dharma , volunteering , helping those who needs help is my choice . And preparing for the next journey as time is running out .
    Thank you Rinpoche for this profound teachings .

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/whats-your-retirement-plan.html
  • Pastor Lanse
    Thursday, Apr 18. 2019 10:45 AM
    To maintain the cleanliness of our house/room is not only to please ourselves or our worldy guests, it’s much more meaningful than these if we do it with a correct motivation. It can even bring us spiritual attainment.


    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/the-importance-of-having-a-clean-room
  • Sofi
    Thursday, Apr 18. 2019 10:30 AM
    Just because I don’t agree with the Dalai Lama does not make me a bad person

    An easy logical explanation and with so much respect for His Holiness by Rinpoche. I do question why I have to agree with the Dalai Lama when it is my Guru who had given me the Dharma and cared for my spiritual path? I can disagree and still have respect for His Holiness just as I have respect for the Christians, the Muslims, the Hindus and so forth. Read more and do share with us your thoughts on this matter.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/guest-contributors/just-because-i-dont-agree-with-the-dalai-lama-does-not-make-me-a-bad-person.html
  • Sofi
    Thursday, Apr 18. 2019 10:23 AM
    Sakya Pandita Kunga Gyeltsen

    Definitely a must read as he is an incarnation of Rinpoche and we should be inspired by his greatness and his enlightened activities that are still practiced today.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/sakya-pandita-kunga-gyeltsen.html
  • Sofi
    Thursday, Apr 18. 2019 10:19 AM
    Daily thoughts to ponder deeper – Lots of memes with Rinpoche quotes of wisdom for us to ponder on and share with others.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/daily-thoughts-to-ponder-deeper-2.html
  • Chris
    Thursday, Apr 18. 2019 08:08 AM
    This oracle is an amazing oracle that can take trance of 3 different deities, Nechung, Tsiu Marpo and Dorje Shugden. There are not a lot of oracles that can take trance of all these deities.

    Dorje Shugden has been labelled as negative spirits that harm its practitioner. It is impossible for an oracle that takes trance of higher beings such as Nechung and Tsiu Marpo to take trance of an evil spirit such as Dorje Shugden. Nechung or Tsiu Marpo will not let the evil spirit to enter their oracle and do harm. It is just not possible.

    This is another evidence of Dorje Shugden is not an evil spirit but an enlightened protector. He is the same with Tsiu Marpo who is an enlightened protector and that is why they can take trance in the same oracle.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/choijin-lama-the-state-oracle-of-mongolia.html
  • Nicholas
    Thursday, Apr 18. 2019 06:25 AM
    Recently the Tibetan ‘government-in-exile’ known as the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) was called to session and Tenpa Yarphel, a notable Member of the Tibetan Parliament (MP) spoke up about the need for Tibetans to be united. Tenpa Yarphel bravely addressed the Dorje Shugden unethical ban that, by now, everyone knows has been very damaging to the fragile Tibetan unity.

    Tenpa Yarphel then invited the Tibetan parliament to examine for themselves whether or not the ban had yielded any gain, and asked them to think about how it has not helped Tibetan unity:

    https://bit.ly/2CESoxf
  • Nicholas
    Thursday, Apr 18. 2019 06:14 AM
    Out of great compassion and in order to help us purify our deluded minds, the Buddhas manifest in various forms, each with unique accompanying practices, to help us progress on our path to enlightenment. These include special purification practices that are highly effective to purify negative karma of the body, speech and mind. The practice of the Dakini Ucchusma is one such purification practice and her lineage is alive in the present day, preserved by masters from various Buddhist lineages.

    Ucchusma is unique as she is the female form of Bhurkumkuta. The phenomenon of having male and female manifestations of the same Buddha is relatively rare. Her practice can be found in the Rinjung Gyatsa collection of sadhanas and she is particularly powerful and effective to purify defilements of the mind, deluded minds, negative thinking, broken promises and the resultant karma, illness, faulty memory, memory issues, body pollution and negative energy.

    https://bit.ly/2U5Arm9
  • Nicholas
    Thursday, Apr 18. 2019 06:05 AM
    These are the things His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said recently:

    1. Holiness has said that Dorje Shugden does not harm him
    2. Since it does not harm him, it does not harm the Tibetan cause because the Dalai Lama is the upholder of the Tibetan cause
    3. His Holiness the Dalai Lama said we can practise Dorje Shugden
    4. His Holiness the Dalai Lama even said where we can go if we want to rely on Dorje Shugden, when he tells the audience that there are monasteries adjacent to Gaden and Sera that practise Dorje Shugden (Shar Gaden Monastery and Serpom Monastery)

    The bottom line is His Holiness now says clearly that Dorje Shugden does not harm him and people can practise this path.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/dalai-lama-says-we-can-practise-dorje-shugden-finally.html
  • Yee Yin
    Thursday, Apr 18. 2019 01:24 AM
    How to explain when a kid is able to paint like a pro without having to study in an art school for years? This can only be explained as the imprints from his previous life. If talent is gifted by God, why is God so selfish by giving the talent to only some selected people? When we accept all sentient beings take rebirth again and again and habit and attitude are the only things we can bring to our next life, this can explain the phenomena very well. Therefore, what we want to be in the future, we can decide now.

    http://bit.ly/MiniMonet
    [no sender]
  • Yee Yin
    Thursday, Apr 18. 2019 01:16 AM
    When we practice Dharma and we do things to please the Buddha or collect merits, we are in fact developing good qualities that we can apply in our lives. Whatever we are doing, if we do it consistently enough, it becomes a habit. When it becomes a habit we will do the same regardless of the circumstances.

    http://bit.ly/InvitingBuddhas
    [no sender]
  • Yee Yin
    Thursday, Apr 18. 2019 01:01 AM
    Do you know where is the second tallest standing Buddha statue in the world? It is in Myanmar at Maha Bodhi Ta Htaung monastery with the name of Lay Kyun Sakkya. Apart from the standing Buddha statue, there are also a giant reclining Buddha statue, a magnificent stupa, and thousands of Bodhi trees that were planted by its founder, the late Maha Bodhi Ta Htaung Sayadaw Venerable Narada.

    http://bit.ly/MyanmarTemple
    [no sender]

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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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My way of sharing....
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My way of sharing....
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Please contemplate deeply what this message is sharing. Tsem Rinpoche
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3 weeks ago
I hope you'll be blessed by this practice of Lady Ucchusma- https://bit.ly/2U5Arm9
Beautiful painting of Nechung Pehar Gyalpo & Dorje Shugden together. Masterpiece. More free downloads: https://bit.ly/2oxb4qU
3 weeks ago
Beautiful painting of Nechung Pehar Gyalpo & Dorje Shugden together. Masterpiece. More free downloads: https://bit.ly/2oxb4qU
Beautiful painting of Nechung Dorje Drakden & Dorje Shugden together. Masterpiece. More free downloads: https://bit.ly/2oxb4qU
3 weeks ago
Beautiful painting of Nechung Dorje Drakden & Dorje Shugden together. Masterpiece. More free downloads: https://bit.ly/2oxb4qU
Tsem Rinpoche’s moving experience with Lama Zopa in Kopan (1987)- https://bit.ly/2YyE42m
3 weeks ago
Tsem Rinpoche’s moving experience with Lama Zopa in Kopan (1987)- https://bit.ly/2YyE42m
Massive 2,600 year old Buddhist Monastery-Afghanistan- read more- https://bit.ly/2HTM48q
3 weeks ago
Massive 2,600 year old Buddhist Monastery-Afghanistan- read more- https://bit.ly/2HTM48q
A good person is made by the intensity of his adversity~Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
A good person is made by the intensity of his adversity~Tsem Rinpoche
BREAKING NEWS- Dharamsala MP Tenpa Yarphel says to make peace with Dorje Shugden people now!~ 
 https://bit.ly/2CESoxf
3 weeks ago
BREAKING NEWS- Dharamsala MP Tenpa Yarphel says to make peace with Dorje Shugden people now!~ https://bit.ly/2CESoxf
How the incomparable yet down to earth Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen changed my life forever- https://bit.ly/2VJjCtk

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

Videos On The Go

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

ASK A PASTOR


Ask the Pastors

A section for you to clarify your Dharma questions with Kechara’s esteemed pastors.

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

Scroll down and click on "View All Questions" to view archived questions.

View All Questions

CHAT PICTURES

11 hours ago
yesterday
Bernard was briefing the volunteers on the details before they headed out last Saturday to PPR Kota Damansara. #kechara #foodbank #urbanpoor - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
3 days ago
Bernard was briefing the volunteers on the details before they headed out last Saturday to PPR Kota Damansara. #kechara #foodbank #urbanpoor - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Seen here are team leaders giving their final briefing to the respective volunteers before they head out last night. Thank you very much to all the volunteers who turned up. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
4 days ago
Seen here are team leaders giving their final briefing to the respective volunteers before they head out last night. Thank you very much to all the volunteers who turned up. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Thank you very much to James and Shereen for sponsoring oranges for tonight's distribution. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
5 days ago
Thank you very much to James and Shereen for sponsoring oranges for tonight's distribution. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
We received a lot wine bottles for recycling. It was packed nicely by the person. KEP-Serena
6 days ago
We received a lot wine bottles for recycling. It was packed nicely by the person. KEP-Serena
Today we are having recycling activity at Kechara Soup Kitchen. You can drop the recycled items here if you are nearby. KEP-Serena
6 days ago
Today we are having recycling activity at Kechara Soup Kitchen. You can drop the recycled items here if you are nearby. KEP-Serena
The generous support from Tesco Malaysia and AEON Retail Malaysia have made it possible for us to continue with this contribution to those less fortunate. Thank you very much! Here are photos taken during the distribution at government low cost flat. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
6 days ago
The generous support from Tesco Malaysia and AEON Retail Malaysia have made it possible for us to continue with this contribution to those less fortunate. Thank you very much! Here are photos taken during the distribution at government low cost flat. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Thank you committed university students of University of Malaya for helping in our #foodrescue activities. These still good to eat and in date edible bread will be very useful for the needy students in universities! Thank you Komugi Malaysia for contributing and help reduce food wastage! #zerofoodwastage #kecharafoodbank #kecharasoupkitchen #endhunger - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
1 week ago
Thank you committed university students of University of Malaya for helping in our #foodrescue activities. These still good to eat and in date edible bread will be very useful for the needy students in universities! Thank you Komugi Malaysia for contributing and help reduce food wastage! #zerofoodwastage #kecharafoodbank #kecharasoupkitchen #endhunger - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Throw back, Kechara Sunday Dharma School. Chen Chen run thru me when he saw I'm carry a table and Voluntary help me carry the table.. He really warm my heart and remind me must be kindness to others anytime everyway. Just happened that day's topic is "KINDNESS" Thank You Chen Chen, Lovely Boy right?
1 week ago
Throw back, Kechara Sunday Dharma School. Chen Chen run thru me when he saw I'm carry a table and Voluntary help me carry the table.. He really warm my heart and remind me must be kindness to others anytime everyway. Just happened that day's topic is "KINDNESS" Thank You Chen Chen, Lovely Boy right?
Throw back, Kechara Sunday Dharma School. Chen Chen run thru me when he saw I'm carry a table and Voluntary help me carry the table.. He really warm my heart and remind me must be kindness to others anytime everyway. Just happened that day's topic is "KINDNESS" Thank You Chen Chen, Lovely Boy right? By Asyley Chia KSDS
1 week ago
Throw back, Kechara Sunday Dharma School. Chen Chen run thru me when he saw I'm carry a table and Voluntary help me carry the table.. He really warm my heart and remind me must be kindness to others anytime everyway. Just happened that day's topic is "KINDNESS" Thank You Chen Chen, Lovely Boy right? By Asyley Chia KSDS
Throw back, Kechara Sunday Dharma School. Chen Chen run thru me when he saw I'm carry a table and Voluntary help me carry the table.. He really warm my heart and remind me must be kindness to others anytime everyway. Just happened that day's topic is "KINDNESS" Thank You Chen Chen, Lovely Boy right? By Asyley Chia KSDS
1 week ago
Throw back, Kechara Sunday Dharma School. Chen Chen run thru me when he saw I'm carry a table and Voluntary help me carry the table.. He really warm my heart and remind me must be kindness to others anytime everyway. Just happened that day's topic is "KINDNESS" Thank You Chen Chen, Lovely Boy right? By Asyley Chia KSDS
We have our Kechara Food Bank team leaders interview potential urban poor families on every Saturday. New volunteers are most welcomed to join and assist along the session. Kindly contact us at 010-3333260 for registration. #Kechara #foodbank - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
1 week ago
We have our Kechara Food Bank team leaders interview potential urban poor families on every Saturday. New volunteers are most welcomed to join and assist along the session. Kindly contact us at 010-3333260 for registration. #Kechara #foodbank - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Yvonne is dedicated and able to spend her time in taking care for the youngest group of KSDS. Alice Tay, KSDS
1 week ago
Yvonne is dedicated and able to spend her time in taking care for the youngest group of KSDS. Alice Tay, KSDS
Teacher Jayce shared Rinpoche’s teachings about kindness to the students. Alice Tay, KSDS
1 week ago
Teacher Jayce shared Rinpoche’s teachings about kindness to the students. Alice Tay, KSDS
Juin Xiang is the youngest students in KSDS and he is doing better and well behaved in the class now. Alice Tay, KSDS
1 week ago
Juin Xiang is the youngest students in KSDS and he is doing better and well behaved in the class now. Alice Tay, KSDS
We are very grateful to have weekly contribution of lunch by Tina Yow, Mr K H Ong and Lillian Chen. We thanked them for their kindness. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
1 week ago
We are very grateful to have weekly contribution of lunch by Tina Yow, Mr K H Ong and Lillian Chen. We thanked them for their kindness. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Teacher Kien showed the students on how to make mala. Alice Tay, KSDS
1 week ago
Teacher Kien showed the students on how to make mala. Alice Tay, KSDS
The youngest group of KSDS warmed up and get ready for the games. Alice Tay, KSDS
1 week ago
The youngest group of KSDS warmed up and get ready for the games. Alice Tay, KSDS
Kechara Soup Kitchen and Kechara Earth Project will be having our monthly recycling activity this Saturday. All are welcome to drop the recycleable items or to volunteer with us. Thank you very much in advance. #recycle #reduce #reuse #savetheplanet - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
1 week ago
Kechara Soup Kitchen and Kechara Earth Project will be having our monthly recycling activity this Saturday. All are welcome to drop the recycleable items or to volunteer with us. Thank you very much in advance. #recycle #reduce #reuse #savetheplanet - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Thanks to hongleongbank for sponsoring the food packs and mineral water for our clients. We appreciate your participation to add more love into the world. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
2 weeks ago
Thanks to hongleongbank for sponsoring the food packs and mineral water for our clients. We appreciate your participation to add more love into the world. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Ms. Janice So offered lights and incense to Lama Tsongkhapa, Dorje Shugden and the Three Jewels in Ipoh today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
2 weeks ago
Ms. Janice So offered lights and incense to Lama Tsongkhapa, Dorje Shugden and the Three Jewels in Ipoh today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Ms. Glian Sim prepared for all the Serkym offering sets prior the prayer session in Ipoh today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
2 weeks ago
Ms. Glian Sim prepared for all the Serkym offering sets prior the prayer session in Ipoh today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Ms. Leong Kit Ping performed water offering to Lama Tsongkhapa, Dorje Shugden and all Buddhas in Ipoh today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
2 weeks ago
Ms. Leong Kit Ping performed water offering to Lama Tsongkhapa, Dorje Shugden and all Buddhas in Ipoh today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Mr. Cheah Fook Wan offered Serkym to Dorje Shugden prior to the prayer session in Ipoh today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
2 weeks ago
Mr. Cheah Fook Wan offered Serkym to Dorje Shugden prior to the prayer session in Ipoh today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
The Promise
  These books will change your life
  Tsem Rinpoche's Long Life Prayer by H.H. Trijang Choktrul Rinpoche
  Support Blog Team
Lamps For Life
  Robe Offerings
  Vajrayogini Stupa Fund
  White Tara Mantra Bank Project
  Rinpoche's Medical Fund
  Dana Offerings
  Soup Kitchen Project
 
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Dorje Shugden
Click to watch my talk about Dorje Shugden....