Stunning Pilgrimage to Bodhgaya

Jul 30, 2017 | Views: 7,551

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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. Samfoonheei on Nov 2, 2019 at 12:36 pm

    Bodh Gaya is a religious site and place of pilgrimage for thousands yearly. It is considered the most important sacred spot for Buddhists world wide. It is the place where Gautama Buddha is said to have attained Enlightenment under what became known as the Bodhi Tree. Wow….. very informative of this powerful place. I am looking forward to see and feel the powerful energy at such a holy place. Having so many pilgrims and visitors congregating in one holy place to do aspirational prayers would be beneficial. I understand that each of us gets to accumulate the amount of merit of every person that is present doing the prayers. That’s wonderful. Just couldn’t wait to visit Bodh Gaya soon.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this wonderful sharing and a good video to watch before going on a pilgrimage soon.

  2. S.Prathap on Aug 22, 2019 at 2:50 pm

    Thank you very much for beautiful and good article about pilgrimage to Bodhgaya.Buddhist around the world is encourage to make a trip to Bodhgaya.Just Bodhgaya itself there is so many beautiful places to visit.

    The Bodhi tree where Buddha Shakyamuni attain enlightenment is consider the most significant of the 7 sacred sites in Bodhgaya.Here the details enough for us to plan a trip to Bodhgaya.

  3. 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? 🙂

  4. 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!

  5. 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. _/\_

  6. 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.

  7. 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

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

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

    img1501147965985

    img1501185722163

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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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  • astrogurutips
    Friday, Mar 5. 2021 08:11 PM
    Great article! Thank you so much for this decent article. I love the way you present your article. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.astrogurutips&hl=en
  • Samfoonheei
    Friday, Mar 5. 2021 04:19 PM
    In Mahayana Buddhism, a bodhisattva refers to anyone who has generated bodhicitta, a spontaneous wish and compassionate mind to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings. Bodhisattvas are common figures in Buddhist literature and art. They exist as guides and providers to help us following the teachings about generosity, patience, meditative balance, and insight into what is essential, so we can come to live in a way that benefits others. At the same time, we learn compassion for ourselves and see that we are not separate from the people we have imagined are estranged from us. Self and other heal together.
    Thank you for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/external-article/a-bodhisatta-is-a-being-devoted-to-enlightenment
  • Samfoonheei
    Friday, Mar 5. 2021 04:17 PM
    Thanks to Dr. Matthew William King who did a detail well research article regarding Dorje Shugden in Mongolia. Through his research he has confirmed that even long before H H Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche’s time, at least a century before, Dorje Shugden practice was already popularized in Lhasa. The practice of Dorje Shugden by the great lamas and many others had widely invoked the dharma Protector in Mongolia. Dr King’s research clearly demonstrates that Mongolia’s lamas had been promoting and encouraging the practice. Dorje Shugden was an established practice in the Sakya School for hundreds of years before Pabongka Rinpoche’s time. Hence Dorje Shugden definitely not a evil or spirits as claimed by the Tibetan leadership. Reading through this interesting article we could understand better how Mongolian lamas have been all along protecting and preserving not only the practice of Dorje Shugden, but also of Buddhism’s revival as a whole in modern-day Mongolia.
    THANK YOU for this interesting sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/how-mongolia-saved-dorje-shugden.html
  • sarassitham
    Friday, Mar 5. 2021 01:55 AM
    Very informative and interesting article, Sri Lanka offers everything that makes one escape a memorable one!. Being awarded a best tourist destinations with various fascinating attraction, ancient historic site from soulful Buddhist monasteries, temples to exotic and impeccable spots rarely explored. Thanks for the beautiful scenery photos sharing and hope to visit this beautiful Island and enjoy my stay.

    https://bit.ly/38aT3WI
  • sarassitham
    Wednesday, Mar 3. 2021 03:22 PM
    In the present-day many people suffers from eye problems .These disorders are usually overcome using powerful glasses and lenses, However using powerful glasses can worsen eye problems.

    This is really a great article for all of us. I am blessed to come across of these practice and teaching, hope to start soon and overcome my eye problem. Thank you so much for the sharing.

    https://bit.ly/3kMZiFu
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Mar 1. 2021 04:01 PM
    Interesting read with the discovery of various legends, texts by archaeologists thousands years ago. Historians and experts had investigated and found evidence of contact between humans and extra-terrestrial life very much earlier. Their findings theory seem that extra-terrestrials have visited Earth for millions of years. Since the age of the dinosaurs to ancient Egypt, from early cave drawings to continued mass sightings in the US. Historians had revealed that aliens have been with us all along. Encounters with strange beings and sightings of mysterious objects in the sky have been recorded. Such as Christopher Columbus’ first voyage to America witnessed strange lights in the sky and sightings of flying cigar-shaped crafts were reported during the Black Plague that struck Europe and Asia in the mid-1300s. There were many others historical evidence of early civilization that had close encounters with Aliens. Interesting read and to watch the video.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/ancient-aliens-closer-encounters.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, Feb 27. 2021 05:33 PM
    Watching the videos and looking at those pictures in this post tell us more. Sad to see the working conditions really bad especially in the brick kilns of Andhra Pradesh,India. We could see those working men, women and younf children are working round the clock 12 just to earn a living.
    We are considered more fortunate enough than them and we should not complain of what we have, live and so on. We should appreciate every moment , what we have now to do good and beneficial for others, no matter how hard and difficult at times as others might be worse than us.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing with us .

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/you-have-to-see-this.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, Feb 27. 2021 05:32 PM
    Wow…..wonderful dog lovers should read to help them to be more caring, loving having a pet. Once we have them as our pet we have the responsibility to give care and love to them. Dogs have feelings like us and is men best friend.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this essential facts for dog lovers.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/20-essential-facts-dog-lovers-must-always-remember.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, Feb 27. 2021 05:31 PM
    Scientists had looking at long term, discovered that estimated about 100 to 10,000 species will be extinct soon if nothing is done. Could imagine from microscopic organisms to large plants and animals will go extinct each year. Animal such as sharks, lions, Pit bulls dogs and so forth as mentioned in this blog can become extinct when humans over hunt and over fish, pollute the environment, destroy habitats , and many others. Reading this post tells us more those world’s most dangerous animals are in fact in danger themselves. But the actions of humans toward those dangerous animal has proven more dangerous than that of the animal. Interesting read .
    Thank you Shakila Rajendra for this sharing…..good knowledge . May more people are aware of the harm they are doing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/the-worlds-most-dangerous-animals-in-danger-themselves.html
  • sarassitham
    Thursday, Feb 25. 2021 01:04 AM
    This is kind of hard to believe and shocking to imagine the weirdest addiction of people in this planet, they are extremely strange. People can become addicted to actions, feelings, or behaviors, not just substances. There must be something behind of every addiction, I don’t think they are crazy or mentally ill, it’s their weird enjoyment for a short time.

    I had a friend in my primary school who eats mud during rainy days, she told me, it smells good and she enjoys doing it during her play time. I found it strange but has she grow up in different environment she forget about her addiction. So, I strongly believe, all behaviors can be changed when the person gains self-awareness and actually wants to change. Thanks for the interesting sharing and recall of my childhood friend.
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Feb 24. 2021 01:33 PM
    nteresting read of this history of how Dorje Shugden practice came into light . Since Dorje Shugden was introduced into the Sakya tradition, there have been many Sakya throne holders that practiced Dorje Shugden. Out of the 42 supreme throne holders throughout the history of the Sakya tradition, six of the thrones holders are confirmed to have practiced Dorje Shugden. They have built chapels to him, composed prayers and pujas (kangsols) to him and even propagated his practice amongst their disciples. They cannot be wrong and in fact as confirmed by the 39th Sakya Trizin Dragshul Trinley Rinchen Dorje Shugden is an enlightened being. Dorje Shugden kangsol (prayer) to invoke the blessings of Dorje Shugden composed by him is still widely used today. Dorje Shugden must be a powerful Dharma protector that Sakya tradition have been long relying. It has proven that Dorje Shugden is not a minor practice. Interesting read , may more people read this post to understand better.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this post .

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/sakya-trizins-dorje-shugden-prayer.html
  • sarassitham
    Tuesday, Feb 23. 2021 11:23 PM
    Thank you for sharing this yummy recipe. It looks very delicious, healthy and nutritious. I can’t wait to try making it has the ingredients are easy to purchase and methods are simple. I wonder what it taste like.

    https://bit.ly/37DAV7y
  • sarassitham
    Monday, Feb 22. 2021 11:55 PM
    There are lots of people have more than one reason for choosing vegetarianism. Many people choose a vegetarian diet out of concern over animal rights or the environment and others may be based on religious beliefs or even for healthier lifestyle.

    Regardless of whether you choose a vegetarian way of life, it’s always a healthy idea to eat a wide variety of foods and try out new foods when you can.

    Thank you for the sharing and compiling the list of vegetarian restaurants and organic shops in Klang Valley. I am glad to know whereabout and hoping to try them.

    https://bit.ly/3siC4tf
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Feb 22. 2021 03:30 PM
    Begtse Chen, a deity of alien origin, was incorporated into the pantheon of Tibetan Buddhism as a protector of the Dharma. This Proyector is one of the eight famous Dharmapala in Tantric Buddhism. Also known as red Mahakala and is especially revered in Mongolia where the origin of Begtse Chen can be traced to a pre-Buddhist deity in 16th century. It has become the mainstay of Protector practice in Mongolia. Interesting read.
    Thank you for this sharing .

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/the-dharma-protector-begtse-chen.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Feb 22. 2021 03:27 PM
    Interesting read of Kunkhyen Choku Ozer was a lineage master of the Manjushri Namasamgiti Tantra. He became known as Kunkhyen Choku Ozer due to his ability to penetrate the meaning of the great Buddhist treatises merely just by glancing at it. He could memolised texts just by reading it once. Reading this post and information at least I can know he is also a part of Dorje Shugden’s incarnation lineage. He is also famed for establishing the ancient monastery of Dakpo Tsele.
    Thank you Pastor David for this sharing as many of us would not have known this GREAT Lama was part of Dorje Shugden’s incarnation lineage.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/kunkhyen-choku-ozer-master-of-the-kalachakra-guhyasamaja-tantras.html

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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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2 yearss ago
Dorje Shugden works & archives - a labour of commitment - https://bit.ly/30Tp2p8
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha.
2 yearss ago
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha.
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha. She was his step-mother and aunt. Buddha\'s mother had passed away at his birth so he was raised by Gotami.
2 yearss ago
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha. She was his step-mother and aunt. Buddha's mother had passed away at his birth so he was raised by Gotami.
Another nun disciple of Lord Buddha\'s. She had achieved great spiritual abilities and high attainments. She would be a proper object of refuge. This image of the eminent bhikkhuni (nun) disciple of the Buddha, Uppalavanna Theri.
2 yearss ago
Another nun disciple of Lord Buddha's. She had achieved great spiritual abilities and high attainments. She would be a proper object of refuge. This image of the eminent bhikkhuni (nun) disciple of the Buddha, Uppalavanna Theri.
Wandering Ascetic Painting by Nirdesha Munasinghe
2 yearss ago
Wandering Ascetic Painting by Nirdesha Munasinghe
High Sri Lankan monks visit Kechara to bless our land, temple, Buddha and Dorje Shugden images. They were very kind-see pictures- https://bit.ly/2HQie2M
2 yearss ago
High Sri Lankan monks visit Kechara to bless our land, temple, Buddha and Dorje Shugden images. They were very kind-see pictures- https://bit.ly/2HQie2M
This is pretty amazing!

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

Always be kind to animals and eat vegetarian- https://bit.ly/2Psp8h2
2 yearss ago
My Dharma boy (left) and Oser girl loves to laze around on the veranda in the mornings. They enjoy all the trees, grass and relaxing under the hot sun. Sunbathing is a favorite daily activity. I care about these two doggies of mine very much and I enjoy seeing them happy. They are with me always. Tsem Rinpoche Always be kind to animals and eat vegetarian- https://bit.ly/2Psp8h2
After you left me Mumu, I was alone. I have no family or kin. You were my family. I can\'t stop thinking of you and I can\'t forget you. My bond and connection with you is so strong. I wish you were by my side. Tsem Rinpoche
2 yearss ago
After you left me Mumu, I was alone. I have no family or kin. You were my family. I can't stop thinking of you and I can't forget you. My bond and connection with you is so strong. I wish you were by my side. Tsem Rinpoche
This story is a life-changer. Learn about the incredible Forest Man of India | 印度“森林之子”- https://bit.ly/2Eh4vRS
2 yearss ago
This story is a life-changer. Learn about the incredible Forest Man of India | 印度“森林之子”- https://bit.ly/2Eh4vRS
Part 2-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
2 yearss ago
Part 2-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
Part 1-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
2 yearss ago
Part 1-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
The great Protector Manjushri Dorje Shugden depicted in the beautiful Mongolian style. To download a high resolution file: https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
2 yearss ago
The great Protector Manjushri Dorje Shugden depicted in the beautiful Mongolian style. To download a high resolution file: https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
The Mystical land of Shambhala is finally ready for everyone to feast their eyes and be blessed. A beautiful post with information, art work, history, spirituality and a beautiful book composed by His Holiness the 6th Panchen Rinpoche. ~ https://bit.ly/309MHBi
2 yearss ago
The Mystical land of Shambhala is finally ready for everyone to feast their eyes and be blessed. A beautiful post with information, art work, history, spirituality and a beautiful book composed by His Holiness the 6th Panchen Rinpoche. ~ https://bit.ly/309MHBi
Beautiful pictures of the huge Buddha in Longkou Nanshan- https://bit.ly/2LsBxVb
2 yearss ago
Beautiful pictures of the huge Buddha in Longkou Nanshan- https://bit.ly/2LsBxVb
The reason-Very interesting thought- https://bit.ly/2V7VT5r
2 yearss ago
The reason-Very interesting thought- https://bit.ly/2V7VT5r
NEW Bigfoot cafe in Malaysia! Food is delicious!- https://bit.ly/2VxdGau
2 yearss ago
NEW Bigfoot cafe in Malaysia! Food is delicious!- https://bit.ly/2VxdGau
DON\'T MISS THIS!~How brave Bonnie survived by living with a herd of deer~ https://bit.ly/2Lre2eY
2 yearss ago
DON'T MISS THIS!~How brave Bonnie survived by living with a herd of deer~ https://bit.ly/2Lre2eY
Global Superpower China Will Cut Meat Consumption by 50%! Very interesting, find out more- https://bit.ly/2V1sJFh
2 yearss ago
Global Superpower China Will Cut Meat Consumption by 50%! Very interesting, find out more- https://bit.ly/2V1sJFh
You can download this beautiful Egyptian style Dorje Shugden Free- https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
2 yearss ago
You can download this beautiful Egyptian style Dorje Shugden Free- https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
Beautiful high file for print of Lord Manjushri. May you be blessed- https://bit.ly/2V8mwZe
2 yearss ago
Beautiful high file for print of Lord Manjushri. May you be blessed- https://bit.ly/2V8mwZe
Mongolian (Oymiakon) Shaman in Siberia, Russia. That is his real outfit he wears. Very unique. TR
2 yearss ago
Mongolian (Oymiakon) Shaman in Siberia, Russia. That is his real outfit he wears. Very unique. TR
Find one of the most beautiful temples in the world in Nara, Japan. It is the 1,267 year old Todai-ji temple that houses a 15 meter Buddha Vairocana statue who is a cosmic and timeless Buddha. Emperor Shomu who sponsored this beautiful temple eventually abdicated and ordained as a Buddhist monk. Very interesting history and story. One of the places everyone should visit- https://bit.ly/2VgsHhK
2 yearss ago
Find one of the most beautiful temples in the world in Nara, Japan. It is the 1,267 year old Todai-ji temple that houses a 15 meter Buddha Vairocana statue who is a cosmic and timeless Buddha. Emperor Shomu who sponsored this beautiful temple eventually abdicated and ordained as a Buddhist monk. Very interesting history and story. One of the places everyone should visit- https://bit.ly/2VgsHhK
Manjusri Kumara (bodhisattva of wisdom), India, Pala dynesty, 9th century, stone, Honolulu Academy of Arts
2 yearss ago
Manjusri Kumara (bodhisattva of wisdom), India, Pala dynesty, 9th century, stone, Honolulu Academy of Arts
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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.

  • March 7, 2021 17:30
    Sandra asked: Respected pastors, Do you recommend doing Tsem Rinpoche’s guru yoga as part of daily Sadhana? I am sure I read on the article for the name retreat that it could be done as daily prayers but now I can’t see that sentence? Thank you.
    No reply yet
  • March 4, 2021 22:52
    Sandra asked: Respected pastors, Can a lay person work towards the preliminary practices by accumulating daily ? Many thanks.
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Yes, of course. Anyone can engage in the preliminary practices, you don't have to be ordained in order to do so. However for one's practice to be considered a full preliminary practice, you need to do 100,000 repetitions of whichever practice you are engaged in without break. That means you must engage in at least one session a day, until the count is completed. 10% of the count is also added on top, to make up for any unintentional mistakes. So the figure would actually be 110,000. If you skip a day, that means you have broken your preliminary retreat. If this occurs you can still dedicate the practice you have done so far, and you will still benefit from the merit generated and the purification of negative karma from the practice, but it is not counted as a full preliminary practice. Also you must adhere to the retreat procedures for the duration of the time it takes you to complete the particular preliminary practice. For example, an altar with daily offerings, retreat seat with swastika, refraining from eating black foods, etc. This may not be convenient for most people in our day and age. So what you can do is to spend a certain amount of time accumulating a specific figure, for example 10,000 repetitions of a particular practice. Seal the practice at the end with a strong dedication, like the King of Prayers. Later on, you can repeat the procedure more times until you complete 100,000. This method was given by H.E. Tsem Rinpoche for modern-day practitioners who do not have the time to complete 100,000 in one go. While it technically does not constitute a full preliminary retreat, you still gain immense merits and purification from engaging in the practice, even if spaced out. As Rinpoche said, it's better for you to do mini preliminary retreats than not doing any of the preliminary practices whatsoever. That being said, if you do have the ability to do a full preliminary retreat and it will not negatively impact you, such as create financial difficulties or strain familial relationships, then of course go ahead! To have the sincere wish to engage in any Dharma practice is wonderful. You can read more about the individual preliminary practices here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/preliminary-practice.html You can watch a short teaching on the preliminary practices by H.E. Tsem Rinpoche here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/cosmic-tantra.html
  • March 3, 2021 04:13
    Sandra asked: Dear respected pastors, what are dreams? Do dreams have significance? Are they simply images the mind views at night - do they resemble the dreamer's state of mind? Thank you for all your replies :) :)
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Hello. Nice to see you back here. On the normal level, both waking and dream states are both marred by our delusions. The teachings tell us that this deluded state continues through all our experiences, whether during the dreaming or waking states. The way to overcome this is to "wake up" from our delusions, or reach enlightenment. Normally when people think of dreams, they do so in psychological terms and so focus on the content of the dream. When we investigate the nature of the dream itself, we begin to investigate something deeper, the processes that underlies the whole of our existence. Understand this propels you further along the spiritual journey towards enlightenment. We have many dreams during one night of sleep, and may or may not consciously remember then when we wake up. In terms of content, dreams can be used to work through psychological issues or can indicate certain issues and overcoming them (as is common within Western psychological practices). In Tibetan Buddhism, dreams can be used for much more. In the advanced practices, one can transform ordinary dreams to further one's spiritual journey. This is not only in terms of working through psychological issues, but in terms of meditation and practice as well. Generally, there are three types of dreams as described below. Most of us only experience the first type, unless we progress on the spiritual path. 1. Samsaric dreams: these arise from karma and karmic traces in the mind. This can also include emotions, memories, etc. The meaning we find in these dreams are imputed by the dreamer, and not inherent in the dream. This also applies to waking life. We impute meaning onto situations and circumstances, rather than the meaning being inherent to the circumstance. It is like reading a book. Words in the book are just marks on paper, however, because we use our sense of meaning, we take a meaning out of it. However, this is always open to interpretation. For example, if you tell your dream to two people, they can interpret the meaning very differently, even though you told them the exact same details. 2. Clarity dreams: These dreams occur when you are fairly progressed in meditational practices and can carry this into the dream state. These dreams arise not from the emotions, or memories, etc., but from more subtler forms of karma and delusions. However, just like in waking mediational practice, you are not affected by the images or thoughts that appear to you. 3. Clear Light dreams: In the advanced tantric practices, there are teachings called dream yoga. The object of these is to achieve the clear light dreams, which are very difficult to achieve and take years and years of intense practice. The most important clear light mind that arises is actually at the time of our death, if we are trained enough in this very subtle state, we can actually control where we take rebirth. If we are more experienced in this state, then we can actually use it to meditate on the teachings and achieve enlightenment. Clear light dreams are a "lesser" type of clear light mind, that helps practitioners prepare for the time of death. When we have an auspicious dream such as of our teacher, our practice, the Buddhas, etc., even though this is auspicious, it is still more than likely to be just a samsaric dream. There are instances however, when the enlightened beings and Dharma protectors will send practitioners dreams to help with their practice or as methods of divination. Tsem Rinpoche once told us of a very powerful Nyingma lama known for his divination abilities. Students would ask him a question, then he would take a nap, and receive divination advice in this dreams, which he would then relay to his students. This lama was well-known for this ability because his dream divinations were extremely accurate. As I am sure you can tell, the scope of dreams with the Buddhist context is very vast and I will not be able to cover everything here. However, I hope that what I have written helps your understanding. Thank you.
  • March 1, 2021 23:37
    Sandra asked: Hello dear pastors, wish we could have an article like the one below to highlight the auspicious days of 2021. https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/auspicious-days.html
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Thank you for your suggestion. At the moment, there are no plans to publish another article with 2021 dates. But I have listed out some of the auspicious days and their dates for this year for you. I have only included future dates, not those that have already passed. Saga Dawa Duchen - 26th May 2021 Chokhor Duchen - 14th July 2021 Dorje Shugden Day - 24th August 2021 Lhabab Duchen - 27th October 2021 Gaden Ngamchoe or Tsongkhapa Day - 29th December 2021 I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • February 27, 2021 03:31
    Sandra asked: Respected pastors, Is it ok to pray from different areas in the house (even where there is no altar)? I was told you can't create 2 altars in 1 house.
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Thank you for your question and its nice to see you here again. The reason why we pray in front of our altars is because it becomes a focal point of the enlightened energies we are invoking. Therefore it becomes a kind of portal for the energies of transformation, peace, healing, prosperity and protection. It is also the place where we make offerings to the Buddhas. As such, most people usually only have 1 altar in their home. However, you can have more than 1 altar in your home. As it is an altar, it should be complete with representations of the body, speech and mind of the Buddhas. This would be an image (either a statue, thangka, tsa tsa, poster, framed picture, etc), a Dharma text and a stupa. In front of these, you should have at least 1 type of offering or more. This can be a fixed offering or maybe even a set of water offerings, which you make every day. Since practitioners make offerings on a daily basis, most opt to have only 1 altar, but there is no rule in Buddhism to say you can only have 1 altar. The altar however, should be placed in a respectful place. So, not in the bathroom. Or if in the bedroom, you should put a screen up to block it when you are changing, sleeping, etc. Alternatively, you can keep it in a cupboard, and close the doors during such activities. But altars should be dedicated places to the Buddhas, so don't put secular items in the same place, such as on the same shelf, etc. When it comes to praying, it is usually done in front of the altar, as you are invoking the enlightened beings. When you do your prayers there it becomes a powerful place in your home, and provides you with a sacred space to pray and meditate. However, if circumstances are difficult, then of course you can pray elsewhere. For example, when I first set up an altar, I was living in a single room with not much space. I set up an altar on a shelf but was not able to pray in front of it. Once I had made offerings, I would simply sit in another part of the room and do the prayers there. If it is really not convenient, then of course it is permissible to do the prayers elsewhere. It is better to do the prayers, than not do them at all if you can't be in front of your altar. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • February 25, 2021 01:33
    Kuenzang wangdi asked: What would be my most suitable colour ?
    pastor answered: Dear Kuenzang Wangdi, Thank you for your question. The following calculators may be of interest to you: Chinese Zodiac: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/horoscopes/the-chinese-zodiac.html Tibetan Astrology: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/tibetan-astrology/tibetan-astrology.html In relation to which colour if most favourable for you, unfortunately our calculators do not give this information. However, from a Buddhist practice viewpoint, what is more important is the transformation of the mind. Once we transform our minds according to teachings, we are able to overcome any obstacle and create good conditions for our lives. You can learn a very short mind transformation teaching here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/eight-verses-of-thought-transformation.html You can couple this with formal practice. If you are interested, a very good practice to bring energies of increase and generate a long life, merits, wealth and prosperity in your life, is the the practice of Gyenze. You can find information about the practice here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/prayers-and-sadhanas/dorje-shugden-gyenze-to-increase-life-merits-and-wealth.html. I hope this helps. Thanks.
  • February 22, 2021 22:14
    Naseer asked: Hi My name is Naseer Ahmed 8th dec 1979. Life path 1 Im looking to add to my name slightly... change it too... Naseer Al Ahmed... Would this be more complimentary as far as for the business front... or would it not make any difference
    pastor answered: Hello Naseer, As per your question, your Life Path Number is 1. The Life Path Number according to the system of numerology used on our website is calculated using your date of birth. Therefore, a change in name will not affect your Life Path Number. Some of the other calculators on the same page do however use your name. One of the smaller calculators you may be interested in is the Achievement Number, but again, this only uses your date of birth for the calculation. You can find it here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/numerology/numerology-calculator.html You may also be interested in two of our other pages: Chinese Zodiac - https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/horoscopes/the-chinese-zodiac.html Tibetan Astrology - https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/tibetan-astrology/tibetan-astrology.html Thank you for your question. I hope this helps.
  • February 20, 2021 18:36
    Sandra asked: After making a food offering to the three jewels (which we will eat for lunch etc), should we think of it as a blessing and partake?
    pastor answered: Hello Sandra, When making food offerings to the Three Jewels, which you eat yourself, when you recite the prayer and make the offering, you should visualise that the Buddhas receive your food offering and because you have made an offering, they are very pleased. It also fulfills one of the Refuge commitments, which is to offer the first portion of whatever we eat and drink to the Three Jewels, while remembering their kindness. You can then partake of the meal and consider it a blessing from the Three Jewels. Alternatively, you can set out a plate (which you reserve for this purpose) of food, which you can offer on your altar. Similarly, once the food has been left on your altar for a while, you can later remove it and consume it as a blessing. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • February 19, 2021 04:33
    Sandra asked: Is intovertedness a bad quality? Since Buddha is so altruistic and this is the opposite trait, it must be bad. How do you think one should lessen introverted tendencies?
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Introvertedness is not a bad quality. Altruism and compassion are different from being an introvert or extrovert. Introverts are generally quieter people, less expressive of their emotions, while extroverts are the opposite. Buddhist practice is not about expression of emotion. Rather the altruistic and compassionate teachings are more about how you help other people and sentient beings, physically or emotionally. If the qualities of introverted-ness are stopping you from developing these, then they need to change. But this may not be necessary, depending on the qualities that you are talking about. You can do simple meditations to building up the energy of compassion in your mindstream and you will see that you actions will automatically start to be more compassionate and altruistic. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • February 18, 2021 03:28
    Sandra asked: How should one behave when negative karma is being purified? How can we know if bad karma is being purified? Do we accumulate positive karma simultaneously when doing purification practices? Many thanks for your response.
    pastor answered: Hello again Sandra, There are two ways in which karma can be purified, the first is through our own efforts alone and the second is through our own effort, combined with a purification practice. Through our own efforts: this means that you transform your mind enough to not react negatively in any situation and only react in a positive manner. For example, you may have the karma to get angry. So you get into situations which makes you angry. If you react normally, then you will get angry again, this will only lead you to create more karma of being angry. But if you make the effort not to get angry in those situations then you do not create or multiply that karma. The original karma you have may lead you to be in those types of situations again, but if you do not get angry then after a while you start to purify that karma. Through your own efforts, combined with a purification practice: as you are working on transforming your mind, you can rely on the practices that help you to purify your karma, such as the practice of Vajrasattva or the 35 Confessional Buddhas. This boosts your ability to purify negative karma, based on the enlightened energies of the Buddhas. This however is only truly effective when combined with the Four Opponent Powers. You can read more about that here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/the-35-confessional-buddhas.html In general, when karma is being purified then you should remain level-headed and not act out of emotion or habit, but from your understanding of the workings of karma and the Dharma. But actually, this should not only be when karma is being purified. You should act and behave in this way all the time according to the Dharma, then you are, up to a point, always purifying karma. It is one of the reasons that so much emphasis is placed on refraining from negative actions and engaging in positive actions using your body, speech and mind, because these are the three means or 'doors' with which you interact with the world. At our level, we cannot tell if karma is being purified or not, only those who are more highly attained can tell. However, that is one of the reasons the Buddhist texts advise study of and belief in karma. If there is karma, then it can be purified, and the way to do so is transform your mind and invoke upon the enlightened beings. So if you are doing both, you can rest assured that you are in fact purifying your karma. When you purify negative karma, whether just through your own efforts or combined with a purification practice you collect merit, not positive karma. If you simply do a good action, you collect good karma. But if you are practicing the Dharma with the intention of achieving enlightenment, you take refuge, engage in the practice, and dedicate at the end, then you develop merit, not positive karma. If you want to read more about how karma works and how to purify it in more detail, I suggest you read a Lamrim text such as Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand, which you can order from your local bookstore or get online here (https://www.vajrasecrets.com/lamrim-liberation-in-the-palm-of-your-hand).
  • February 17, 2021 23:06
    Sandra asked: Hello pastors, thank you for your response to my earlier question. Do divination predictions change frequently? Why does that happen?
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Thank you for your question. Divinations, compared to astrological predictions, are much more accurate. There are many types of divination, but those based on the practice of enlightened beings are very accurate. Three of the most well-known in Tibetan Buddhism are the divination practices of Manjushri, Palden Lhamo and Dorje Shugden. You can read more about Dorje Shugden's dice divination here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/dorje-shugdens-dice-divination.html Questions that are asked during divinations are much more specific than the types of topics that astrological predictions can help with, therefore are based on very specific types of karma. This means that if you asked a divination question twice, without taking remedial actions in between, then the answer would most likely be the same, given that all the prerequisites have been held by the diviner and the divinations are genuine. However, if a divination is done and then remedial actions recommended, such as various practices or pujas, and these are done to the letter, then if the question is asked again, then the results would differ. This is because when engaging in these practices or pujas, either you generate the merit necessary to overpower the negative effects of the karma, or you purify the negative effects of the karma creating the situation. This however, is generally not done. You wouldn't ask the same question twice or over and over again. The reason for this is because one of the factors that comes into play when seeking divination is faith. This is faith in the fact that the remedial actions recommended will help whatever situation you are facing. Having seen H.E. Tsem Rinpoche do countless divinations for people, I can attest to this. Those who have faith and follow through with the advice, see a great improvement in the situation that led them to ask the divination question in the first place. Those that did not follow the advice either at all or not fully, did not see any improvement. And this makes sense, because they did not purify the effects of the karma enough, or generate enough merit. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • February 15, 2021 04:09
    sandra asked: How much importance should we give to astrological predictions or chart readings? Are these readings susceptible to change all the time,i.e, in the context of planetary movements? Can our own effort/actions supercede what is predicted in our birth chart?
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Thank you for your interesting question. You are absolutely correct about the universal principle of change. According to Buddhist practice, astrological predictions are based upon a fixed point in time. Take for example, your moment of birth, which most astrological readings take as the main point of reference. At that specific moment, there would have been various energies or planetary alignments, etc. Combined together, they are said to give an accurate prediction of what will occur to a person throughout their life. This however, is based on one's birth karma, to be born at that specific point in time and location. This birth karma also provides the driving force behind what will occur in a person's life, if that karma is not changed somehow. Hence, that is why astrological predictions can give very accurate readings on someone's personality, as well as life events. Birth karma provides the main force behind all other karma to come into play. That is why it is given importance in astrology. There are also more advanced methods to take into account planetary and energetical movements to give even more detailed and precise predictions that can even be made down to the month, day or hour of a person's life. In Buddhism, however, we believe that karma can be changed. It can multiply, be purified or exhausted, or the effects of that karma can be overpowered by another karma or spiritual merit. In these cases, the outcome will change. The way in which this happens is varied. It can be as simple as doing some prayers (to generate spiritual merit) or changing your behaviour, environment or location, the way you think, and the ways in which you react in various situations. That is why in Buddhist astrological systems, emphasis is placed on remedial measures to counteract negative outcomes. For example, someone may be born with an angry disposition from an astrological point of view. If this person goes through life acting from this anger, then the predictions based on the time of birth will occur. However, a remedial action can be undertaken, such as the person pracitising Chenrezig, who is the Buddha of compassion, or the person doing some form of charity work. These remedial actions generate compassion in the mind of the person, which counteracts the anger. As this happens and the karma is changed, then the person no longer needs to feels the negative effects of any bad astrological (or more correctly - karmic) situations. There are even some practices that specifically help to counteract negative astrological influences and help you to change things. Such an example is Black Manjushri. Within Tibetan Buddhism, according to your time and date of birth, you also have what is known as a 'Birth Buddha'. This is basically an enlightened being that you have an affinity with in this life. General remedial actions include making images of this particular Buddha or engaging in this Buddha's practice. This combined with a change in how we live - otherwise known as Mind Transformation in the Buddhist context - changes astrological outcomes. However, if we continue living without controlling our actions, words and thoughts, the predictions made using astrological readings will most likely still occur. I hope this explanation helps. Thank you.
  • February 7, 2021 00:16
    Purna Tamang asked: What is my lucky number and color ?
    pastor answered: Dear Purna Tamang, Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, none our horoscope apps on this page gives this information at this moment. However, you may find some of the other information provided useful. Below are the links: For Chinese Zodiac: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/horoscopes/the-chinese-zodiac.html For Tibetan astrology: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/tibetan-astrology/tibetan-astrology.html For Numerology: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/numerology/numerology-calculator.html For Fortune cookies: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/fortune-cookie Thank you and I hope you find something interesting in one of the apps.
  • January 20, 2021 03:32
    Sangita. asked: i want to buy my own house.which mantra i should chant to have my own house.kindly reply.
    pastor answered: Dear Sangita, Thank you for your question. Everything in our lives, whether good or bad is due to our karma. This is karma we have accumulated either in previous lives or earlier on in this life. You can learn more about this here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/discovering-yourself-a-teaching-on-karma-mindstream.html Sometimes, we go through obstacles or need some form of spiritual help to assist us in improving our situations. In these circumstances we can rely on the practice of certain deities. One of these deities is the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden. You can read more about this deity and his practice here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/beginners-introduction-to-dorje-shugden.html You can learn more about Dorje Shugden's practice here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/dorje-shugden-teaching-videos.html. I hope this helps. Thank you.
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Update on Empowerment cookies, special holiday packaging. The bakers are most grateful for the overwhelming support of 834 tubs ordered, with a big order of 314 tubs from a group of friends. Thank you to those cookie lovers who couldn’t get enough of it. Watch out for the next update. Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Thank you, generous and kind donors, made possible by Alice Smith School's Official Site through their Build Kindness Campaign. The whooping amount of RM63,000 will provide much needed food to 25 poor families for the next 12 months. On behalf of these families, thank you! Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
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Thank you, generous and kind donors, made possible by Alice Smith School's Official Site through their Build Kindness Campaign. The whooping amount of RM63,000 will provide much needed food to 25 poor families for the next 12 months. On behalf of these families, thank you! Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
The global pandemic hasn't been easy for all of us. Some find it diffucult to find a job to support the family. Despite that, we are still delivering basic food pack to our recipients nationwide. Thank you to our volunteers, donors, and sponsors. Without your support, we would be unable to reach out to many families. Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
2 months ago
The global pandemic hasn't been easy for all of us. Some find it diffucult to find a job to support the family. Despite that, we are still delivering basic food pack to our recipients nationwide. Thank you to our volunteers, donors, and sponsors. Without your support, we would be unable to reach out to many families. Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Thanks to Yap Optometry for gifting Robert a new pair of glasses to see better. We wish him many clear and bright days ahead. Thank you to all sponsors. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
4 months ago
Thanks to Yap Optometry for gifting Robert a new pair of glasses to see better. We wish him many clear and bright days ahead. Thank you to all sponsors. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Donation received to date: RM33,468.00 Yes! We've achieved the target for the #TamanNegara project. Fundraising is closed for this project. Thank you to all donors, 113 Orang Asli families will benefit from it. Stay tuned! #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
4 months ago
Donation received to date: RM33,468.00 Yes! We've achieved the target for the #TamanNegara project. Fundraising is closed for this project. Thank you to all donors, 113 Orang Asli families will benefit from it. Stay tuned! #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
FRESHLY BAKED by Kechara Empowerment trainees - Chocolate Chip Butter Cookies - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
4 months ago
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In memory of Wilson Lee, one of our most dedicated volunteers in Penang. Our heartfelt condolences to Wilson's wife, Tze Ling, family and friends. Our thoughts are with them for their loss. Thank you for your kindness and service to KSK Penang. From all of us in KSK.
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In memory of Wilson Lee, one of our most dedicated volunteers in Penang. Our heartfelt condolences to Wilson's wife, Tze Ling, family and friends. Our thoughts are with them for their loss. Thank you for your kindness and service to KSK Penang. From all of us in KSK.
Last weekend a Soup Kitchen activities @ Penang, Johor & Kuala Lumpur. Hot food, water, masks, biscuits, buns & fruits. This is what we give out to our friends living on the streets. Thank you to our sponsor & volunteers that make it happen. Come spread more love by being a volunteer at our activities. WhatsApp us today at 010-333-3260! See you soon! #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
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Last weekend a Soup Kitchen activities @ Penang, Johor & Kuala Lumpur. Hot food, water, masks, biscuits, buns & fruits. This is what we give out to our friends living on the streets. Thank you to our sponsor & volunteers that make it happen. Come spread more love by being a volunteer at our activities. WhatsApp us today at 010-333-3260! See you soon! #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Fwd: Dear Sotha
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Kechara Earth Project 13/9/2020
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Thank you Domino's Pizza Malaysia, Kasih & Piza campaign for sponsoring 85 boxes of pizza to our friends who live on the streets. Your flavourful pizzas have put a smile on their faces. Thank you! - Vivan @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #KasihdanPiza #ItsAllAboutYou
6 months ago
Thank you Domino's Pizza Malaysia, Kasih & Piza campaign for sponsoring 85 boxes of pizza to our friends who live on the streets. Your flavourful pizzas have put a smile on their faces. Thank you! - Vivan @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #KasihdanPiza #ItsAllAboutYou
Thank you Novo Nordisk! Your kind monetary donation and 1,320 boxes of masks will benefit many needy families under the Kechara Food Bank Program. Thank you! Much love from the needy families  ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #novonordisk #novonordiskmalaysia
6 months ago
Thank you Novo Nordisk! Your kind monetary donation and 1,320 boxes of masks will benefit many needy families under the Kechara Food Bank Program. Thank you! Much love from the needy families ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #novonordisk #novonordiskmalaysia
We were graced with the presence of Tengku Zatashah & The Alice Smith School Foundation yesterday. 130 homeless were blessed to be served by them. RM 20,000 donated by Alice Smith School Foundation will benefit 100 families registered under Kechara Food Bank Program. Thank you! Much love from the needy families ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #alicesmithschoolfoundation #alicesmithschool #volunteerism #homeless
6 months ago
We were graced with the presence of Tengku Zatashah & The Alice Smith School Foundation yesterday. 130 homeless were blessed to be served by them. RM 20,000 donated by Alice Smith School Foundation will benefit 100 families registered under Kechara Food Bank Program. Thank you! Much love from the needy families ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen #kecharafoodbank #kecharaempowerment #kecharasoupkitchen #alicesmithschoolfoundation #alicesmithschool #volunteerism #homeless
Thanks to the effort of our outstation team, we were able to mobilise food provisions to 600 families living in Kelantan, Penang, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor during the Raya period with each of these families receiving RM200 worth of provisions. Adding onto the current 368 families in Klang Valley, a total of 968 families were benefitted from this. Special thanks to the sponsors who have contributed especially Hong Leong Foundation and partially from Tesco Malaysia (where we also ordered the provisions from). ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
8 months ago
Thanks to the effort of our outstation team, we were able to mobilise food provisions to 600 families living in Kelantan, Penang, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor during the Raya period with each of these families receiving RM200 worth of provisions. Adding onto the current 368 families in Klang Valley, a total of 968 families were benefitted from this. Special thanks to the sponsors who have contributed especially Hong Leong Foundation and partially from Tesco Malaysia (where we also ordered the provisions from). ~ Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
So glad that our soup kitchen operations are back in full swing. Good to see the clients are observing the SOPs. Some of them lost their job during MCO and ended up on the streets. Special thanks to our sponsors and volunteers for the great support! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
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So glad that our soup kitchen operations are back in full swing. Good to see the clients are observing the SOPs. Some of them lost their job during MCO and ended up on the streets. Special thanks to our sponsors and volunteers for the great support! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
From serving cooked food to the homeless clients on the streets to mobilising provisions to the needy individuals in PPRs and shelters, we thank everyone of our Johor Bahru team for their kind contributions and effort to make it for the needy despite all the challenges! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
9 months ago
From serving cooked food to the homeless clients on the streets to mobilising provisions to the needy individuals in PPRs and shelters, we thank everyone of our Johor Bahru team for their kind contributions and effort to make it for the needy despite all the challenges! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
More photos taken from our "Hari Raya Hampers" distribution this week. Making sure everyone of our clients have something to be cheerful about. Apart from food, daily used items such as hygiene products, kitchen utensils, assorted fabric items, stationary items and toys were also included into our hamper bags making it extra heavier this month! Food items alone were about 35kg per family! Taking this opportunity to wish everyone of our Muslim volunteers, friends, supporters and clients a Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Maaf Zahir Batin. No doubt this year's celebration will be very different but appreciate everyone is safe and protected from the pandemic. We are in this together and let's work to fight this pandemic together! Thanking all sponsors and donors for the generous support enabling us to continue serve the needy with food, love and care. Big shoutout too to our wonderful team which already depleted by our very own strict SOP. All of you who worked tirelessly behind the s
9 months ago
More photos taken from our "Hari Raya Hampers" distribution this week. Making sure everyone of our clients have something to be cheerful about. Apart from food, daily used items such as hygiene products, kitchen utensils, assorted fabric items, stationary items and toys were also included into our hamper bags making it extra heavier this month! Food items alone were about 35kg per family! Taking this opportunity to wish everyone of our Muslim volunteers, friends, supporters and clients a Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Maaf Zahir Batin. No doubt this year's celebration will be very different but appreciate everyone is safe and protected from the pandemic. We are in this together and let's work to fight this pandemic together! Thanking all sponsors and donors for the generous support enabling us to continue serve the needy with food, love and care. Big shoutout too to our wonderful team which already depleted by our very own strict SOP. All of you who worked tirelessly behind the s
Our team have been working extra hours for the past few weeks to deliver provisions and hamper goodies to the needy families before Hari Raya! Heart warming to see the smiling faces of our recipients upon receiving 3 bags full of food and daily used items. Thanks to everyone of you who have contributed to our foodbank enabling us to give all our recipients (especially those celebrating) a Raya to remember! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
9 months ago
Our team have been working extra hours for the past few weeks to deliver provisions and hamper goodies to the needy families before Hari Raya! Heart warming to see the smiling faces of our recipients upon receiving 3 bags full of food and daily used items. Thanks to everyone of you who have contributed to our foodbank enabling us to give all our recipients (especially those celebrating) a Raya to remember! - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Thankful to all donors and those who have been committed in contributing not just money but time over the past testing weeks to help us ease the work of our frontliners and also the livelihood of the needy, their struggles over this pandemic period seemed a little easier to bear with because of your contributions! - Vivian @Kechara Soup Kitchen
9 months ago
Thankful to all donors and those who have been committed in contributing not just money but time over the past testing weeks to help us ease the work of our frontliners and also the livelihood of the needy, their struggles over this pandemic period seemed a little easier to bear with because of your contributions! - Vivian @Kechara Soup Kitchen
KSDS Level 2 virtual class, Lin Mun KSDS
10 months ago
KSDS Level 2 virtual class, Lin Mun KSDS
KSDS Level 3 virtual class. Lin Mun KSDS
10 months ago
KSDS Level 3 virtual class. Lin Mun KSDS
Wesak 2020
10 months ago
Wesak 2020
Recycle today for a better tomorrow. KEP-Serena
12 months ago
Recycle today for a better tomorrow. KEP-Serena
Today we are having recycling at Kechara Soup Kitchen. Do drop by here if you would like to get ride of the recyclable items from home. KEP - Serena
12 months ago
Today we are having recycling at Kechara Soup Kitchen. Do drop by here if you would like to get ride of the recyclable items from home. KEP - Serena
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Seen here is Bam, Vajrayogini’s seed syllable and also Kechara's logo. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Seen here is Bam, Vajrayogini’s seed syllable and also Kechara's logo. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: More melted butter was offered. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: More melted butter was offered. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
H.E. Zawa Rinpoche in deep concentration. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
H.E. Zawa Rinpoche in deep concentration. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Geshela is seen here wearing ceremonial hat called tsoksha. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Geshela is seen here wearing ceremonial hat called tsoksha. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
The Shize Fire Puja was performed according to scriptural sources. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
The Shize Fire Puja was performed according to scriptural sources. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
To find out more about the substances offered during jinsek/fire puja, have a read here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
To find out more about the substances offered during jinsek/fire puja, have a read here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
More about the symbolism of the offering items here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
More about the symbolism of the offering items here: http://bit.ly/WhatIsFirePuja - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Amongst all pujas, the fire puja is considered the king of all Pujas. It is the most powerful of all pujas within Tibetan Buddhism and its purpose is basically to remove all obstacles and its stains to enlightenment.
12 months ago
Amongst all pujas, the fire puja is considered the king of all Pujas. It is the most powerful of all pujas within Tibetan Buddhism and its purpose is basically to remove all obstacles and its stains to enlightenment.
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Graceful hand mudras were also part of the ritual. - shared Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Graceful hand mudras were also part of the ritual. - shared Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: One by one the offering substances were offered accompanied by traditional Tibetan recitations. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: One by one the offering substances were offered accompanied by traditional Tibetan recitations. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: JP Thong ensuring that Geshela's ritual items are within easy reach. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: JP Thong ensuring that Geshela's ritual items are within easy reach. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Pastor David Lai & Frederick Law were also on hand to assist with the puja ritual substances. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Pastor David Lai & Frederick Law were also on hand to assist with the puja ritual substances. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Pastor Niral Patel assisting H.E. Zawa Rinpoche during the puja. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Pastor Niral Patel assisting H.E. Zawa Rinpoche during the puja. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Peaceful fire pujas are excellent to remove inauspiciousness, problems that might be coming to our lifespan, wisdom, wealth, growth of Dharma. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
12 months ago
Highlights from the Shize Peaceful Fire Puja: Peaceful fire pujas are excellent to remove inauspiciousness, problems that might be coming to our lifespan, wisdom, wealth, growth of Dharma. - shared by Pastor Antoinette
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France 280,373
Brazil 211,379
Vietnam 189,354
Thailand 186,689
Taiwan 186,404
Italy 148,256
Spain 138,782
Mongolia 136,791
Portugal 131,161
Netherlands 127,888
Turkey 121,179
United Arab Emirates 113,273
Russia 100,999
Sri Lanka 98,031
Hong Kong 93,027
Romania 92,865
South Africa 92,199
Mexico 84,445
Myanmar (Burma) 78,489
New Zealand 77,284
China 75,570
Japan 74,258
Switzerland 73,827
South Korea 64,721
Cambodia 62,426
Pakistan 60,398
Bangladesh 57,492
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Dorje Shugden
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